As much as I used to value the commentaries of Andrew Bacevich, who now runs his own ‘Think Tank’. Anyone who subscribes to the opinions of Mr. Caldwell , especially the notion that the 60’s of ‘sex, drugs, rock and Vietnam’ represent a toxic apostacy that America has yet to perform a necessary self-emancipation. This reads like a riff on Alan Bloom’s hysterical polemic.
The ‘Conservatives’ search for bad actors, is a perpetual indulgence. Its ‘as if’ the post war appearance of ‘The Beats‘ wasn’t a sign of something! ‘On the Road’ and ‘Howl’ were this first stirrings of that ‘something’? The time of ‘On The Road’ is the mid to late 1940’s. Caldwell trades upon the perennial suspicion of ‘Conservatives’ , who are in fact political reactionaries, who think, conceive, of themselves as in possession of civic/political/religious Truths, that cannot be subject to a personal/cultural/political critique, expressed as an alternative way of living/being! A quote from Mr. Bacevich essay is instructive of his admiration of Caldwell’s book.
Allow me to register my personal dissent. Ours is not an Age of Trump. It’s an Age of Chickens Coming Home to Roost. Honest observers can disagree on exactly when America took a wrong turn. Many conservatives of my (advanced) age still hold a grudge against the Sixties. In his splendid book The Age of Entitlement, Christopher Caldwell makes a strong case that the decade associated with sex, drugs, rock, and Vietnam left a poisonous legacy that still haunts the nation.
Yet, there is, as always, much to find worthy of thinking about, and to admire. A man, who has maintained a steadfast political/moral position on the crimes of the American National Security State. Although Mr. Bacevich would carefully avoid such a characterization.