August 24, 2011, 7:36 pm
When did America go wrong? The crackpot right has been backdating the origins of the country’s original sins from the 60s.
Heady with triumph in 1995, Newt Gingrich, the pseudo-intellectual’s Eric Cantor of the ’90s, offered the standard post-Reagan cram course version of American history from 1607 to—wait for it—1965:
There is a core pattern to American history. Here’s how we did it until the Great Society messed everything up: don’t work, don’t eat; your salvation is spiritual; the government by definition can’t save you; governments are into maintenance and all good reforms are into transformation….From 1965 to 1994, we did strange and weird things as a country. Now we’re done with that and we have to recover.
Dick Armey, erstwhile House Majority Leader, now éminence grise of the Tea Party, declared then: ”To me all the problems began in the 60s.” He meant the likes…