Thursday, July 04, 2019

The American Businessman

In 1963 German journalist Hans Habe met Arizona’s Republican Senator Barry Goldwater.  This was his takeaway:  
Hans Habe
Here, I thought, stood an American businessman who, when he goes to sleep at night, does not dream of the Knights of Camelot or of Thomas Jefferson or even of Napoleon Bonaparte.  The hero of his dreams, in color TV, is the self-made man of America’s pioneering era.  Is such a man a conservative?  Perish the thought!  Conservatism implies the strict rule of law, respect for the existing order to the point of snobbery.  The American businessman, on the other hand, admittedly no snob, dreams of the Golden Age of disorder in which a man like H.L. Hunt, the richest man in America...could win his first oil well at a poker game.  He dreams of plain lawlessness to which, according to him, America owes her greatness, he dreams of...a form of government without taxes and without central direction.  Since we Europeans are accustomed to identify fascism with uniforms, the goose step and discipline of every kind, we find it very difficult to understand the fascism of the American businessman, who would only impose that minimum of discipline required to protect the economic chaos which he favors.  
      - Hans Habe, The Wounded Land: Journey Through a Divided America (1964)

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