Suppose one were to pose the question: why is anxiety so endemic to our current national life? The most likely response would be a supercilious shrug: naturally, anxiety must be the common state of those who have lived through upheaval, destruction, dislocation. Some would add self-evident political explanations—the threat of Communist totalitarianism, the perilous state of domestic civil liberties, or both. Others would stress the uneasy search for spiritual roots or the prevalence of anti-intellectualism.
As it happens, whatever relevant empirical data we have, that of the opinion polls reveals something quite different. Samuel Stouffer’s inquiry into attitudes towards Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties...
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