Thursday, October 09, 2008

The End of America?

clipped from

Consumerism, expansionism undermine democratic way of life, Bacevich says

One week after the September 11 terrorist attacks, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was quoted as saying, “We have a choice. Either to change the way we live, which is unacceptable, or change the way they live. We chose the latter.”

In his latest book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Andrew Bacevich argues that the American culture of consumerism, among other things, has undermined basic democratic values. Photo by Frank Curran
Andrew Bacevich,
argued that it was time for Americans to abandon that thinking and instead look inward. We must change the way we live before it’s too late, the retired U.S. Army colonel urged.

“Can anyone possibly think at this stage that changing the way ‘they’ live is plausible or affordable?” he said. “To persist on the course that we are following will only lead to ever-greater debt and ever-greater dependence.”

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During a question-and-answer period after the speech, Natasha Cohen (CAS’12) asked Bacevich how internal change might be brought about.

“We need to live within our means, as individuals in our households and in terms of the services provided for by government at various levels,” he answered. “I’m no economist, but I do believe there is no free lunch. Everything has to be paid for.”

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