Letter: Oklahoma City: thoughtlessness about America and Iran

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The Independent Online
From Professor Raymond W. Novaco

Sir: The patronising tone and superficial attributions (eg those on racism and on tourist timidity) of your editorial "A letter to America" (22 April) are thoughtless and unreflective. As a frequent visitor to Britain, I know how resolute your country has been in the face of terrorism and hold in high regard your values concerning human conduct and intelligent thought. Hence, it is most disconcerting to read an article that smacks of ideological bias and ill-timed high-horsemanship.

Present-day negativism toward government in the US happens to reflect the democratic process. Recently it induced the electorate to boot from office members of Congress who failed to serve its interests. Why scoff at that? Many US conservatives are indeed idealists who have become resentful of government intrusiveness precisely because it is oblique to the will of the electorate and especially because government has failed to do the elementary things that, in principle, justify its existence. While abjectly failing to provide for domestic tranquillity and the right to property, it has pursued a political course that has created divisiveness, inequality, the loss of shared symbols, educational failure and family disintegration.

Rather than take pot shots at the US during a time of crisis, it would behove you to be better informed about our political circumstances and the complexities of our anguish over the Oklahoma bombing.

Yours faithfully,



24 April

The writer is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine.