28 I CHRONICLESnOPINIONSnThe Treason System by Harold OJ. BrownnLe systeme de trahison {The TreasonnSystem) by Eric Werner, Lausanne,nSwitzerland: L’Age d’Homme.nThe Germans have a word for it:nSchadenfreude. It means, Hterally,nharm-joy, and refers to the nastynbut common human tendency to rejoicenwhen harm comes to someonenelse. In English, we don’t have thenword, but we certainly have the phenomenon.nThink of the nationwidenjubilation over what happened tonRichard Nixon (and, incidentally, tonAmerica) during the Watergate scandal.nToday we have it again, with thenmedia blitz over President Reagan’snIran-Contra connection.nEuropeans are often perplexed bynthe way in which America’s leadingnpoliticians and media figures seem tontake pride in their ability to run theirnown country down and to hamper itsneffectiveness. There is such a thing asnreasonable self-criticism, but to mostnEuropeans, the American phenomenonninvolves Schadenfreude carried tonthe point of auto-destruction.nIt was not always so. The UnitednStates was once the home of jingoism:n”My country, right or wrong!” —npatriotism carried to the point of virtualnblindness, when anything could benexcused if it seemed to be in thennational interest. Today we have thenopposite phenomenon, in whichnbreaches of every standard of confidentiality,ncivility, and honor are taken forngranted, excused, even approved, ifnonly they are not in the national interestnand injure only our own nation.nMost Europeans cannot understandnthe marathon flagellation of PresidentnHarold O.J. Brown is pastor of thenEvangelische Kirchgemeinde innKlosters, Switzerland, and ancontributing editor to Chronicles.nReagan because of the weapons-forho^tages/Contranfunding deal. Thenfrightful uproar over his visit to Bitburgncemetery two years earlier was evenn•4^?,^^.nnnless understood. Nor can many Europeansnunderstand why the UnitednStates gratuitously insulted Austria byndeclaring that Austrian presidentn