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Garry Wills Wants Liberals to Fight the Good Fight Against the National Security State

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March 7, 2010 Â The liberal President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated U.S. involvement in Vietnam and thereby brought about a great military debacle. Ever since LBJ's Vietnam war, liberals have been in bad odor. Of course LBJ also brought us the overly ambitious, but not entirely effective, Great Society, which has inspired the wrath of American conservatives ever since. Of course American conservatives are still expressing their wrath about Social Security. In any event, the time has come for American liberals to get their act together to fight the good fight against conservatives more effectively. With this goal in mind, I would like to call attention to the new book by the ever-resourceful Garry Wills of Northwestern University.

With the rise of Alexander the Great, the experiment in limited participatory democracy in ancient Athens came to an end after about two centuries, and Athens was absorbed into Alexander's empire.

With the rise of Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus), the ancient Roman Republic came to an end after about five centuries, as Octavian transformed the appearances of the old Roman Republic into the new Roman Empire, with himself as the first emperor.

With the rise of secret research in World War II on the atomic bomb, the appearances of the old American Republic came to an end after about a century and a half, as various presidents transformed the old American Republic into the new National Security State, with each successive president in turn as the commander-in-chief of the new National Security State.

In effect, the new Nationa lSecurity State overturned and reversed the cause for which the American Revolution had been fought and for which the U.S. Constitution had been written.

But, hey, aren't most Americans today happy to live in the new National Security State, with each successive president as the commander-in-chief of the National Security State?

After all, Dick Cheney is.

But Garry Wills isn't. So he rails against the new NationalSecurityState as though the spirit of 1776 and the U.S. Constitution were still alive in the hearts of Americans today.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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