130. Is America A Dying Country?, Fact magazine
Is America A Dying Country?
Excerpts from Fact magazine, 1965, Vol. Two, Issue Five
"I think America is in a very bad way. We've simply got to stop breeding."
"Here, in California, when buildings are going up on every side of you, it's kind of hard to think in terms of doom and destruction."
"I do think it's a time of crisis. I think it's sort of a very important, questionable time, a time when we could go very wrong. There's great danger of our going very wrong, but I just don't know what's going to happen."
"Sure I see danger. There's always danger. If you didn't have any danger, why, you'd get fat and flabby. One danger, for example, is our fiscal policy. It's wonderful if it works, disaster if it don't. It would be a world catastrophe. And I don't like the looks of it. Cutting taxes and increasing public spending - it don't make sense. It'll be mismanaged by blundering politicians with an eye on the next election."
"I'm afraid that we're making the same mistake in the field of foreign policy that practically all the other countries of the world are making. We, too, rationalize our foreign policy by saying, in effect, 'This particular course of action is in our best national interest, and the the rest of the world can like it or else.' It is such a course of action that we have been following in Southeast Asia, with the result that today we are on the verge of a massive war."
"A lot of people do seem unhappy, and I think communication's got a lot to do with it. Say, 60 years ago we didn't know what was going on in these goddam countries that are always fighting each other. Jesus, the Arabs and the Jews and the tribes in Africa are always fighting. We never heard about this then, so consequently it didn't bother us at all. Now, in 5 seconds we know when something's happening somewhere, even if it's just a little brush war with two gunboats taking pot-shots at one another and missing in the Gulf of Tonkin. It hits home. Or you pick up the paper and you see this guy got slugged, that guy got killed on Second Avenue. Jesus Christ, it scares the hell out of you. But once apron a time you didn't hear about these things. Ignorance was bliss."
"Hell no! is my answer. I think those doom-criers are just all wet. I think there's health and life everywhere, because even in Alabama and Mississippi, with all the misery there, there are a lot of young people working their heads off, giving their all to rectify what's wrong. You can't call that dying."
"But America is not a dying country. It's a sick one, but not dying. The world has changed and our society hasn't changed with it. So today we fight battles of gunboat imperialism as though we were still able to establish banana republics. And these things are senseless because they're not even profitable. And yet we go on blindly, landing Marines."
"And all this emphasis today on civil rights is a little gagging, too. The men who talk about civil rights are in their hearts the worst kind of segregationists. Civil rights to them is nothing but a political weapon."
"The Negro revolution that's going on today is the best thing that could possibly happen to America. Within 10 years I think that America will be in the greatest era of prosperity in its history, because by then we may have solved our racial differences"
"Maybe the Negro revolution in this country is precisely the thing that's going to keep the country alive. I think we're really hitched to their wagon now, we're really attached to their star. If the Negro revolution succeeds, it will revitalize the whole country. We'll have all that new talent that we haven't been using up to now."
"There is this love-side of us and this hat-side of us—this animal, black, id quality in us. There are almost no permissible outlets for this. In Spain you go to a bullfight Sunday afternoon, and boy! you come home just wrung out, you've had just about as much violence as you can take. They're recognizing violence. They're not a Puritanical, goody-goody society. They're admitting that there's this terrible, black, violent side to us."
"The people who are really in trouble are not these kids but the men and women who have no outlets at all. I mean, what is the middle-class executive doing for kicks these days? He probably can't even get a girl to whip—unless his wife submits. These older people—lawyers, small-town politicians, what have you—are really getting worked up. Look how hysterical those legislators got about the free-speech movement. Their mood was generally more savage that that of the kids. The kids let it go in little doses day after day on the Berkeley plaza as they listened to Savio speak. But the oldsters have no emotional outlets at all."
"These doom-criers are sought out by a new class of prosperous people who don't feel secure in their prosperity. They feel very uneasy about their comfort; they feel a great guilt over it, which the doom-cryers help provide catharsis for. They're Pharisees in their social position and in their income. But they don't have the healthy obstinacy or self-confidence of real Pharisees."
"How the hell can anyone give you an answer? Any answer is nonsense.
Sure people are looking out for their own self-interests—they're out to survive. Like Fact Magazine. You have no regard for those you crucify—you're out to survive as a public whip.
You know, I was very interested yesterday in something Teddy White said to the Times. He was talking about the printers in New York who want a few bucks extra and are willing to strike a newspaper. And White said, 'Good God, don't hey revere words?
What are words to these men—just a way make a living?' Well, the answer is yeah. I think you can only revere words after you make a living."
"The fact is that today we are facing a situation unique in the history of mankind. All throughout history, man has been struggling to get a little bit more in the way of abundance and a little bit more in the way of leisure. Now we've had a big breakthrough. And the big challenge is to adjust to this abundance and this leisure, and to the technology and giant organizations that go with them."
"I don't think our society is falling apart. On the contrary, all of the troubles we're having are simply part of the process of coming together—growing pains. Folks are just as good as thy ever were, if not a little bit better, and I have yet to see any signs that they're getting discouraged.
Some of us bright guys worry just a little too much."
"Christ, not another one of those Fact Magazine polls! Look, darling, I'm having my nails done and everything else. You can't ask me something like that right off the hook like that."