The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions

By Eugene J. McCarthy | Go to book overview

Preface

We in the United States long believed that we were the masters of organization and technology; that if anyone could make things work, we could -- and better than anyone else.

We boasted that our economy was the most productive, that our technology was the best in our own time and the best in history. We said that our military establishment was the most powerful and most effective, our democracy the best in the world.

Somewhere in the last ten years, this mastery of technique and this story of success began to come apart. Things stopped working the way we thought they would.

After years of war, our military establishment was unable to force surrender on a small, underarmed, and technologically inferior country in Asia.

It was not only the total war machine that seemed to have problems. There were problems with particular instruments of war. The TFX airplane, later renamed the F-111, was meant to be the superplane of our military; it was to solve all problems and meet all needs of the Navy and the Air Force. We found that it had only one weakness: it did not fly very well.

American automobiles, once the pride of our mass-production industry, are regularly recalled for major repairs. And the ones that run are criticized as antisocial, anti-city, and dangerous to health because of their contribution to pollution. Not to mention their conspicuous consumption of precious fuel. Abandoned cars clutter the landscape from Maine to California.

Our economy falters. The oil embargo and the energy shortage have shown the economy to be far more vulnerable to outside forces than Americans had previously realized or conceded. Unemployment is a serious problem. Millions of Americans are permanently poor. Inflation continues unabated and is now a key issue in every national

-xix-

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The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction by Tom Wicker vii
  • Preface xix
  • Part I - Institutions 1
  • 1 - Toward a More Responsible Presidency 3
  • 2 - The Vice President as Crown Prince 15
  • 3 - Changes in the Congress 19
  • 4 - The Courts, the Last Appeal 28
  • 5 - Court of Ideas 32
  • 6 - A Kind Word for the Bureaucrats 35
  • 7 - A Kind Word for the Military 45
  • 8 - A Warning About the Military Establishment 49
  • 9 - The Cia and the Inner Ring 58
  • 10 - The Corporations 61
  • 11 - The Universities 68
  • 12 - The Democratic and Republican Parties 75
  • 13 - Alternatives to the Major Parties 80
  • Part II - Operations 87
  • 14 - A Hard Look at the Primaries 89
  • 15 - Personality Cults 96
  • 16 - The Cult of the Expert 97
  • 17 - A Good and Becoming Exit 100
  • 18 - Listen to Mr. Parkinson 104
  • 19 - The Sst: Object Lesson in Dynamics of Opposition 106
  • 20 - The Lobbyists 109
  • 21 - Grant Park, Chicago 116
  • 22 - Marching on Washington 118
  • 23 - Changing America 122
  • Part III - Principles 125
  • 24 - Innocence in Politics 127
  • 25 - Language and Politics 130
  • 26 - Poetry and War 135
  • 27 - Ares 144
  • 28 - Intellectuals and Politics 148
  • 29 - Out of Phase 155
  • 30 - Trouble in the Economics Community 158
  • 31 - Constitutional Amendments 165
  • 32 - Five Systems of Justice 170
  • 33 - The Enemies List 173
  • 34 - Censorship 182
  • Part IV - A Good Person is Not So Hard to Find 185
  • 35 - John Bennett 187
  • 36 - Emerson Hynes 189
  • 37 - John Kennedy 190
  • 38 - Dan and Doris Kimball 193
  • 39 - Robert Lowell 196
  • 40 - Wayne Morse 197
  • 41 - Lewis Mumford 203
  • 42 - Eleanor Roosevelt 205
  • 43 - Frank Rosenblatt 207
  • 44 - Adlai Stevenson 208
  • Notes 215
  • Index 223
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