The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

By E. Christian Kopff | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII
THE GHOST DANCE:
LIBERALISM IN CRISIS

Your house is beginning to collapse around you, the plaster drifting down to settle on the carpets, rain dripping onto the chairs and forming puddles on the table. You can do one of two things: fix the leaks and cracks or leave the house for a better one.

When your intellectual house starts to crumble, you confront the same choices. You can either start the laborious work of restoration and retouching, or walk out to find a new place to live. Today, however, many folks follow a third way. They continue to live in their collapsing houses-professing themselves pleased with the new ease of obtaining fresh water and commenting on the rug's new patterns.

The archetype of those who refuse to confront the collapse of their intellectual house is an American Indian known as the Shawnee Prophet. He began the Ghost Dance, a movement

-85-

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