Prescience of prophets

So I don't know enough about political science, nor do I know much about Eisenhower, but I stumbled across this passage recently. It's from his farewell address in 1961. Roll over, Nostradamus:
"Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations -- corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Now, agree or disagree with some of his assumptions, he seemed to have grasped the road ahead pretty well. Seems those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.. You can read the full text or listen to it(-how wild we are in an age to so vividly experience the past!) here.


  1. Forty seven years later we have the situation where every aspect of USA "culture" is permeated by the "values" of the Pentagon military-industrial-entertaiment complex.

    Many books have been written on this topic. The most recent one is The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Life by Nick Turse.


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