William James was much concerned about “faithtendencies,”nwhich he defined as “extremely activenpsychological forces, constantly outstripping evidence.” ThenGorbachev era fully confirms his apprehensions. Theneminent psychologist even constructed a seven-rung “faithladder”:n1. There is nothing absurd in a certain view of thenworid being true, nothing self-contradictory;n2. It might have been true under certain conditions;n3. It may be true, even now;n4. It is fit to be true;n5. It ought to be true;n6. It must be true;n7. It shall be true; at any rate for me.nJames’ faith-ladder has never been more in evidence thannover the last six years since Mikhail Gorbachev came tonpower in the Soviet Union; True, there has been a bit morencaution in the West about Gorbachev than there was aboutnStalin. But not very much.nThe “faith-tendencies” that troubled James reached thenArnold Beichman is a Hoover Institution research fellow.nHis book The Long Pretense: Soviet Treaty DiplomacynFrom Lenin to Gorbachev has just been published bynTransaction Publishers.n24/CHRONICLESnWilling BeliefnIn Gorbachev, in Russia, in Reformnby Arnold Beichmannnnzaniest heights on the New York Times editorial page. In anpiece of prose that might even embarrass a Pravda paranymph,nthe Times wrote on December 8, 1988, in praise ofna Gorbachev speech at the United Nations:nPerhaps not since Woodrow Wilson presented hisnfourteen points in 1918 or since Franklin Rooseveltnand Winston Ghurchill promulgated the AtlanticnGharter in 1941 has a world figure demonstratednthe vision Mikhail Gorbachev displayed yesterday atnthe United Nations . . . Breath-taking. Risky. Bold.nNaive. Diversionary. Heroic. All fit.nAnd as if that wasn’t worshipful enough, the Times rhapsodizednon May 21, 1989:nImagine that an alien spaceship approached Earthnand sent the message: “Take me to your leader.”nWho would that be? Without doubt, MikhailnSergeyevich Gorbachev.nWell, you sort of expect that sort of wilding on the Timesneditorial page. (Have you read Anna Quindlen, the newestnTimes columnist, on the second war of the Persian Gulf?)nOne expects Ted Turner to say: “Gorbachev has probablynmoved more quickly than any person in the history of thenworld. Moving faster than Jesus Christ did. America isn