The reservations about reform liberalism’s political ideas voiced by its critics have been reflected in the practices and trends of contemporary American political processes. Denied the direction provided by substantive social norms, American government has been left at the mercy of interests adept at manipulating the political process on behalf of their particular, and often peculiar, self-serving values. The value neutrality of the reform liberals, combined with their optimistic, egalitarian assumptions about human nature, has fostered a kind of interest-group free-forall or, in Burke’s words, a “national gaming table” where the spoils of government accrue to the masters of technique and procedure. The scope of this competition has widened dramatically in the last three decades to the point where virtually every aspect of human existence in this country has become contested politically. The result has been a situation where important values of the reform liberals themselves have been seriously undermined. Science, the underlying source of value stability for the liberals, today is rapidly becoming but another weapon to be wielded by competing interests, and the poor and disadvantaged have found that often they are more important as fodder for the rhetoric of political conflict than as individuals in need. Finally, the unarticulated forms of social control that functioned passably well during the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have been significantly diluted. The politicization of what were once regarded as purely personal beliefs and problems has opened almost every facet of an inherently pluralistic society to cynical, questioning debate that is characterized by a level of personal involvement and intensity that appears to be considerably more 156accentuated than that accompanying earlier debates, which dealt primarily with economic issues.