Professor Pei of Columbia is concerned primarily with the individual in America, equates liberty with freedom from government. ""America is fast becoming a nineteenth century middle European country,"" he warns, goes on to apply his yardstick of individualism (the American cornerstone) to government programs and activities. From this viewpoint he considers the role of the Supreme Court, pressure groups, electors and electorate; the minimum wage, income tax (inflationary, stifles initiative, an incursion on freedom--""The power to tax is the power to destroy""), which he would replace with a disbursement tax on business, sales and excise taxes, etc. Internationally, he variously castigates the U.N. and Communism (and the young mother with the ""Better Red than Dead"" placard); on the artistic front, he reveals a monumental generation gap (the ""meaningless utterances"" of Holden Caulfield, for example) that is more a state of mind than age. Indeed, the whole book is a curious melange of productive suggestions and ""turn-back-the-clock"" exhortations, with no conception of societal dynamics or the nature of progress. Such an on-his-uppers mentality may find its advocates in illiberal conservatives who have not worked through their views.