Somewhere in my office is a paperback entitled No More
Our popular mythology of the origins of the Second World War created a frightening mindset among our leadership. That war was a real struggle for the future of
During 1968, while the conference published as No More
Nixon also, however, ended the draft. The Army and Marine Corps were in a wretched state by the time he left office and needed many years to rebuild. Their leadership knew how much harm
In the 1990s, however, the Boom generation took power. The challenge they faced was stated, as I have just discovered, by no less a figure than Abraham Lincoln when, as a young man of 28, he spoke at the Springfield Men’s Lyceum in 1838 about the heritage of the American revolution. There he really stated the theory of generations and crises that I have explored so often here during the last eighteen months. He began by speaking of the achievements of his grandparents’ and earlier generations, the Revolution and the Constitution.
We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them--they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their's was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.
So young Americans might have spoken in 1965—their parents and grandparents had secured liberty not only in the
Then, all that sought celebrity and fame, and distinction, expected to find them in the success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it:-- their destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired to display before an admiring world, a practical demonstration of the truth of a proposition, which had hitherto been considered, at best no better, than problematical; namely, the capability of a people to govern themselves. If they succeeded, they were to be immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties and cities, and rivers and mountains; and to be revered and sung, and toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called knaves and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful; and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so. But the game is caught; and I believe it is true, that with the catching, end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question then, is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would inspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon?--Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.--It sees no distinction in adding story to story, upon the monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen.
23 years before he became President,
The Boom generation has had totalitarian tendencies from the moment it emerged on the stage in the late 1960s and revived Marxism-Leninism in
President Bush, over the weekend, claimed the mantle of Harry Truman and compared the war on Islamic radicalism to the Cold War. The Cold War, however, was fundamentally defensive, and its greatest asset was the strength of democratic traditions, even in defeated