Their Causes and Consequences
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In his probing new introduction to Anti-American Myths, which was initially published twenty years ago as Nine Lies About America, Arnold Beichman notes a powerful fact: what makes the United States unique is not only its military power nor its huge economy, nor even its great technological innovations. Rather, what differentiates the nation from virtually all others is that there is no large-scale territorial movement whose sponsors seek to secede from the country and to establish a new nation. And yet, anti-Americanism has characterized a small portion of ideologists whom Beichman refers to as radical egalitarians. These prophets of doom still abound. Everywhere the glib accusations are leveled: America is sick, racist, materialist, aggressive, decadent, and only violent revolution can save it. Even the collapse of the Soviet Union and of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe has not quelled the rhetoric of anti-Americanism. It is Beichman's aim to explain the roots of such persistent opposition to American society as presently constructed. Tom Wolfe in his Foreword shrewdly observes: "This is not a book 'about America'... it is a book that uses the subject of the United States as a device with which to explore the modern intellectual's retrograde habits of mind. Beichman finds nothing particularly amusing about what American intellectuals do to rationality and the English language, let alone the common weal, when they get on the subject of the United States. But I, for one, find his demonstration of the hash these men have made of the mother tongue extremely entertaining." When initially published, Beichman's classic was termed "powerful, persuasive and credible ... a laser beam of fact and reason" by the Los Angeles Times, and a "most valuable antidote to a lot of cliche thinking and cliche thinking and cliche writing" by the New York Times. Edwin McDowell, in his review for the WaH Street Journal reminds the reader that Beichman "is not a rightwinger bent on defining the status quo. .. but unabashedly a man of the left... an important figure in the international trade union movement."Anti-American Myths'' will be of interest to intellectual historians, political scientists, sociologists, and all readers interested in contemporary social and political affairs.