Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quote of the day

Last month marked the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. So for today's quote, here's one of the concluding paragraphs from Christopher Lasch's 1971 essay "The Foreign Policy Elite and the War in Vietnam" (reprinted in his The World of Nations, 1974). I'm not sure I agree entirely with everything in it, but that would have to be the subject of another post sometime.
"The [Vietnam] war is more than a generalized expression of American culture; it is also the particular expression of a particular class which has for too long played the dominant role in our affairs. This was not a war thrust on the country by reactionaries or marginal elements; it was a liberal war, the culmination of twenty years of cold war carried out under liberal auspices and reflecting the traditions of a ruling class supposedly enlightened, mature, and superior to the grosser strains in American life. The pretensions of the political elite have been thoroughly shattered by this debacle, and if the American people have learned anything from it, they will not again turn to a Johnson or a Kennedy merely because he presents himself to the public as more moderate than a Goldwater or a Nixon."