Diamond’s Doctrine of the American Regime by Bill Schambra

William A. Schambra. "Martin Diamond's Doctrine of the American Regime." Publius 8.3 (Summer 1978): 213-18.


Several months ago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn ushered the graduating class of Harvard University into an ominous world: the world of frantic, debasing, self-interested Western materialism. In the scramble for self-aggrandizement, according to Solzhenitsyn, Western man has lost sight of the “high level of human possibilities,” sacrificed his “noblest impulses,” and insured the triumph of “moral mediocrity.” It would perhaps be of no comfort to Mr. Solzhenitsyn to learn that such a critique of American society is by no means new, and by no means a preserve of the religious right—we have only to recall Richard Hofstadter’s characterization of the Madisonian system as one of “umpired strife,” in which the possibility of the transcendence of conflict disappears in a sea of “grasping and contending interests.” Were one to judge by the persistence and manifold sources of this criticism, one could conclude that it is the gravest charge to be leveled against the American regime. This charge must be addressed, if we are to stand before the world as an alternative to our great totalitarian adversary.