Hendin writes that affection and harmony are growing scarcer, "in and out of families." We are drawing more and more into ourselves and away from family, country, and community. 24
Reagan is not likely to lend federal power to the quest for stability in personal relationships. To do so, however indirectly, would require a willingness to curb individual freedom, change, and economic growth; but both Republican ideology and the corporate economy regard such restraint as anathema. To make family, community, and morality the goals of public policy would require that we subordinate private liberty to civil order, something neither Reagan nor his party is likely to consider. As Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick, wrote in 1979,
Republican spokesmen have consistently emphasized private concerns such as profit and taxes, and private virtues such as self-discipline and self-reliance and either have not had, or have not communicated, a persuasive conception of the public good. 25
The reason is simple: the tradition of liberal individualism, which shapes Republican ideology, acknowledges no public good that is not simply an aggregate of private goods and liberties. Reagan will give social conservatives the symbols, but he will leave the substance to the forces that are making for privatism and social disintegration. If there is light and hope in the future of the Republic, it is not visible in the election of 1980.