It is odd, therefore, to find Oscar Chase in the pages of this journal telling on the Americans what amounts to the Polish joke of comparative law. The Americans, he says, are so defectively endowed, so culturally impaired, that they cannot learn from the stunning success of other systems of civil justice. Chase's essay is directed at (or more precisely, directed to evading the import of) an article that I published a decade ago, The German Advantage in Civil Procedure. Basing himself upon tired ethnic stereotypes about the individualism of Americans and the authoritarianism of Germans, Chase says that the disgraceful, truth-defeating excesses of adversary civil procedure in the United States deserve immunity from a critique that is based upon comparative example. He asserts that our litigation mess embodies our culture, hence that we cannot learn from the superior civil justice systems elsewhere. He is wrong.
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