Lerner, Max
January 1974
Foreign Affairs;Jan1974, Vol. 52 Issue 2, p287
This article explores the factors that influence the world's perception of the image of U.S. civilization. The image most nations get of the U.S. has been largely screened and distorted by a subjective press and media elite ready to think the worst of the U.S. It has included the convulsions and confrontations of the 1960s, the hippie culture, the squalor and bombings of the Vietnam War, the corruption of Watergate. The judgment around the world has been reinforced by a self-image filled with self-pity and self-hatred. The most intense decade of accelerative social revolution in American history carried social costs along with it. Yet what the U.S. got from the whole process was more than worth the cost. It gave more people better access to equal chances for an equal life. It gave American women a sharper sense of identity, and the feeling that the gap between social rhetoric and actualities could be narrowed for them as it has been for ethnic minorities. It showed that technology could be used to cure the scars and pollution it had largely caused, and that the reckless pace of economic and population growth could be leveled out and kept within limits. It brought with it new counter-cultural life styles and values.


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