Earlier this week I noted the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower's farewell address, the famous "military-industrial complex" speech. Well, today is the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower's successor's inaugural address, JFK's "Ask not" encomium. The libertarian slice of my brain has always hated that speech, and Gore Vidal's recollection of it describes why:
When he gave the inaugural address I was thrilled because I was as stupid as everybody else. I remember it was old Max Ascoli, whom we used to laugh at - he was married to a Rockefeller, Italian-Jewish intellectual, ex-liberal, and put something out called Report magazine. Arthur Schlesinger and I were praising this wonderful speech, and Max Ascoli said, "I haven't heard anything so dreadful since Mussolini." We thought, "sour old Max." ... Well, when you read that speech today you realize that we're declaring war on the entire world. The national security state's voice had spoken.
Okay, that's overstating it a bit. But there certainly is something martial about it.
(ht: Seth Studer)