Friday, August 24, 2012

Memo from Norman Mailer to Romney/Ryan

"So long as there is a cold war, there cannot be a conservative administration in America. There cannot for the simplest reason. Conservatism depends upon a huge reduction in the power and the budget of the central Government. Indeed, so long as there is a cold war, there are no politics of consequence in America. It matters less each year which party holds the power. Before the enormity of defense expenditures, there is no alternative to an ever-increasing welfare state. It can be an interesting welfare state like the present one, or a dull welfare state like President Eisenhower’s. It can even be a totally repressive welfare state like President Goldwater’s well might be. But the conservatives might recognize that greater economic liberty is not possible so long as one is building a greater war machine. To pretend that both can be real is hypocritical beyond belief. The conservatives then are merely mouthing impractical ideas which they presume may bring them power. They are sufficiently experienced to know that only liberalism can lead America into total war without popular violence, or an active underground." (Norman Mailer, The Presidential Papers, 1963, p. 170-171)


Andrew Shields said...

In the meantime, both parties have learned that great economic power (not liberty) can be established precisely by building and sustaining a greater war machine.

Thomas said...

i think they understood this even at the time. Mailer was trying to expose the absurdity of their "philosophy".