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The Fall of the United States + Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Program #VIDG003-VIDG002.

First Program: Gore Vidal - The Fall of the United States

At the end of WWII, the U.S. emerged as a global power with unprecedented wealth and advantages. Most of that has been squandered. We’ve gone from number one creditor nation to number one debtor. As its vast military machine straddles the globe, at home, things fall apart. The mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, need a massive taxpayer bailout. Same too for Wall Street banks. Even “New York Times” columnist Thomas Friedman, a champion of U.S. dominance and empire, mentions the word “decline” and U.S. in the same sentence and points to problems “in infrastructure, basic research and education.” Curious that he doesn’t mention the huge Pentagon budget, hundreds of bases, and the permanent war economy as factors contributing to the decline. The signs of decay are everywhere but Washington politicians from both parties largely avoid talking about it. Imperial fantasies and mendacities continue.

Second Program: Gore Vidal - Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Politicians in Washington of all stripes, whatever the occasion, love to quote the Founding Fathers. But there's one quote you'll never hear. It's from James Madison. He said, "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Speaker(s):

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, over six decades, was a singular figure in the United States. Coming from a background of privilege and power, he nevertheless challenged many of the prevailing notions about Washington's intentions and actions domestically and internationally. He was a student of history and incorporated his vast knowledge into a series of bestselling novels as well as political books. He coined the phrase USA, "the United States of Amnesia." He was deeply troubled by the erosion of democracy and civil liberties at home and the expansion of American imperialism around the world. He saw the two joined at the hip. He was, as they say in cricket, an all arounder, someone who could play many positions with equal skill. He loved the arts, theater, and film and wrote plays and screenplays as well as acted in some. He died on July 31, 2012.


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