I'm no linguist, but I have been told that in the Russian language there isn't even a word for freedom.
-- Ronald Reagan (Mintz, 1986, p. 26)
Freedom should be the right to be stupid if you want to be.
-- Ronald Reagan (Reagan, 1989, p. 426)
Is the "land of the free" the home of the stupid? The answer is no. The sorts of cognitive biases that have been demonstrated in the last six chapters are basic to the way human beings think. Americans have no monopoly on cultural schemata, ingroup favoring, attribution and memory biases, or pressures toward cognitive balance. Nor are these sorts of things an indication of mental inadequacy. Differences in cognitive styles affect how and when these sorts of cognitive effects happen, but even powerful minds are susceptible to the sorts of schemabased information-processing biases shown in this book.
The main point is that biased perceptions of international relations are anchored in a nation's collectively held patriotic self-image, and that these biased international perceptions serve to bolster and perpetuate the patriotic beliefs upon which they are based. This book was written in an effort to explore the cognitive structures and processes through which this occurs.
These dynamics have been demonstrated in terms of American beliefs and perceptions in the post-World War II era. The American patriotic schema has been a long-standing, stable, and pervasive fundamental belief system in Ameri-