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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Muldoon on the US

I am reading the biography 'His Way' of Rob Muldoon by Barry Gustafson and its really interesting.

Last night before nodding off to sleep I came across this interesting passage on a trip Muldoon took to the US in 1965. At the invitation of the US State Department he spent 3 months studying topics of his choice. He focused on the workings of the US economy, especially taxation.
The most interesting part of the passage was the record of his development or conformation of generalised views on the US which Gustafson notes he later recorded in The Rise and Fall of a Young Turk.

Gustafson states that Muldoon "chided his Treasury guide on the number of US presidents who has been assassinated, described US culture as 'mush' which made Americans 'emotionally immature and warped', argued that the US 'political system formulated two hundred years ago is totally unsuited to the modern world' and is 'hopelessly corrupt', and concluded that 'it is almost impossible to be a successful politician in the US and remain an honorable man.' Although he conceded that 'the ordinary American... is a warm friendly person', he deplored the fact that 'so many things have an overlay of insincerity'. Muldoon believed that the United States exhibited all 'the classical symptoms of the decline of a civilisation."

Obviously not the type of things one would normally attribute to a National party politician in any era.
I wonder what Muldoon would think of today's US? I would hazard to say that I don't think he would think much has changed.

6 Comments:

  • hey have you come across anything in there that says Muldoon had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (aka CFS, Yuppie Flu, ME which stands for Myalgic Encephalitis)? I read in a review of the book that they mentioned he had it, but have never come across it anywhere else and it seemed highly unlikely to me that he could possibly have functioned as an MP and had CFS at the same time.

    By Blogger Span, at 6:28 pm  

  • I have not come across anything yet, I'll let you know if I come across it.

    Its quite a 'flattering' bio, so I dont know if it is going to get into speculation or anything really critical.

    By Blogger Constar, at 9:36 am  

  • Didn't Muldoon also refer to Jimmy Carter (the then President) as a peanut farmer?
    Carter actually has a PhD in astrophysics (don't that make him a rocket scientist?).

    By Blogger Greg Stephens, at 7:59 pm  

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