Sunday, May 31, 2009

Next: 1968

I've started reading Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man by Garry Wills. I'd seen a reference to it somewhere as one of the best works on Nixon but could never find it in libraries. A few weeks ago I found it at the Goodwill Store in SE Portland, they have an excellent book section for those in the area.

It also has some relevance to the Bacevich work, in that one of the catalysts for militarism in America is the counter-reaction to the cultural changes of the 60's. The sections I've read so far cover 1968, and it's eye-opening to someone who wouldn't exist for a few years. Wills describes an atmosphere of fear, mistrust, and paranoia dominating society. Violence- be it racial, political, and everything else- was a constant expectation and it was frequently met (much more frequently then today's boogieman, terrorism). At first glance I'd say it's inaccurate to see Bacevich's militarists as countering the spirit of the 60's, their seige mentality seems more like a continuation of it. Everyone was afraid or angry about something, conflict was the norm. Some people moved on, others stayed in their bunkers. The latter are today's militarists.

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