Blaming AmericanFirstnby Michael WardernThe Survival of the AdversarynCulture: Social Criticism andnPolitical Escapism innAmerican Societynby Paul HollandernNew Brunswick, NJ: TransactionnBooks; 299 pp., $27.95nPaul Hollander is dogged, if notndownright mulish, in his intellectualnfocus. As is the case in Soviet andnAmerican Society and his celebratednPolitical Pilgrims, this collection ofnpreviously published articles and reviewsnexplores the perceptions andnbeliefs of American intellectuals innregard to Marxist-Leninist countries.nWhat Hollander lacks in the flourishnand breadth of, say a Paul Johnson, henmore than makes up for with a depth ofninsight on an important topic. Simplynput, his thesis is that American intellectualsnalienated from mainstream valuesnand institutions have a need to idealizenadversaries of our system of constitutionalndemocracy.nIndeed, in discussing aging Sovietologistnand former diplomat GeorgenKennan, Hollander writes, “as Mr.nKennan’s appreciation for Americannsociety goes down, his esteem for itsnadversaries rises.”nHollander has seen much of othernpolitical and social systems and perhapsnthat is partial explanation of his continuingnstudy of those who advocate thenradical change of American society.nHe explains in an epilogue that he wasnborn to a Jewish home in Hungary,nand that he was 11 when Hitler’s Nazinarmy occupied his first homeland innMarch 1944. In January the followingnyear Stalin’s Communist army sweptnout their totalitarian predecessors tonimpose their own twisted vision of thengood society.nDespite superior achievement innschool in the postwar years, Hollandernwas denied further education, and ex­n26/CHRONICLESnREVIEWSniled in 1951 with his family to a smallnvillage because of his maternal grandfather’snexperience in business. Hensubsequently served in the army andndid construction work. Hollander flednHungary for Great Britain in Novembern1956 on the heels of the bloodynSoviet suppression of the failed revolution.nAfter obtaining a degree at thenLondon School of Economics inn1959, he came to the United States toncontinue his education and to make hisnhome. He received his Ph.D. in sociologynfrom Princeton in 1964, just inntime to catch the upheavals of then1960’s.nIt must have seemed strange to thisncomparative newcomer to observenhighly-educated scholars mustering allnof their critical faculties and harnessingnthem to the deepest suspicions aboutnthe American “system” and its leaders.nThese same individuals would gaze innawe at Castro, Che, Ho Chi Minh,nand Mao, as well as their local representatives,nand give them every benefitnof the doubt. With the fervor andnposture of religious crusaders, seeminglynfearless radicals strode Americanncampuses, occupying buildings, disruptingnclasses, and damaging propertynwhile the police watched. They carriednon these activities in solidarity with thenrevolutionary leaders from abroad, whonalso wanted to radically change Americannsociety.nThe information concerning thenfamine, mass murder, and massive duplicitynof communist systems was andnis available. Some choose to see it,nothers do not. For the most alienated ofnAmerican intellectuals, the Cubans,nNicaraguans, Vietnamese, etc. are revolutionarynexotica, heroic Rambos andnDavids of the left, ushering in the newnsociety. They are so different from thenimperialistic, technocratic Americans,nwith their weapons of mass destruction,nthat they have an entirely differentncharacter and are to be held to differentnstandards. Yet Norman Mailer andnothers have never made clear why “itnwas morally preferable to kill in Vietnamnone’s enemies with concealednbamboo spikes smeared in excrementnnn(to encourage blood poisoning) overnburning them with napalm.” The imagenconjures up a scene in ApocalypsenNow where the lost American colonel,nwho has adopted native ways, expressesnadmiration at the diabolical genius ofnthe Vietnamese who chopped off thenarms of those children who had beennvaccinated by the enemy Americans.nYes, indeed, small is beautiful.nThe spirit of the 1960’s survives, asndoes this same malevolence towardncapitalist technology that leads “on thenone hand to the despoliation of nature,non the other to the arms race and anpossible nuclear war.” Hollander citesnan interview with feminist MargenPiercy, who blames the ruling class fornoppressing and even “killing” thenmasses through the use of technologynin television, drugs, asbestos, contraceptives,nunnatural food, bad schools,nnuclear power, and assorted othernmechanisms.nYet life expectancies in capitalistncountries are on average higher than innCommunist countries, and pollutionnlevels are lower. Further, the Communistncountries are desperately seekingnWestern technology so they can “catchnup.”nWhile alienated intellectuals bemoanntechnology, they use it on a dailynbasis to communicate with their fellownbelievers, publish and broadcast theirnmessage to the public, bring pleasurento their leisure time, and reduce thenamount of time they spend in foodnpreparation, keeping warm or cool, andnpersonal grooming. While they seen”Big Brother” here in America, withnour great capability to gather and retainninformation, they cannot see what lessnadvanced versions of this technologyncan do when put to use in the greatnmodern police states of the 20th century.nThe implicit presumption is thatnsocialist technology is superior to capitalistntechnology, but one’s own microwavenand CD player are sacred.nIn the past alienated intellectualsnhad little by way of social and financialnsupport networks. Today it would seemnthat blaming America first is the shibbolethnfor success. Societal estrange-n