excerpts from the book
The Decline and Fall
of the American Empire
by Gore Vidal
" The men who possess real power in this country have
no intention of ending the cold war."
" No triumph of peace can equal the armed triumph of
" We have a single system, and in that system the only
question is the price at which the proletariat is to be bought
and sold, the bread and circuses."
" The whole fabric of society will go to wrack if we
really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions. From top
to bottom the whole system is a fraud, all of us know it, laborers
and capitalists alike, and all of us are consenting parties to
" There is no regime to reactionary for us provided it
stands in Russia's expansionist path. There is no country too
remote to serve as the scene of a contest which may widen until
it becomes a world war."
Henry Wallace, Vice-President under Franklin Roosevelt 1941-1945,
and Progressive Party candidate for President in 1948
" Scare the hell out of the American people."
Senator Arthur Vandenburg, telling President Truman what the
he needed to do in order to to tax the American people to pay
for the weapons and covert activities of the US National Security
State that was being planned, to destroy the Russian Communist
"Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider
human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with
which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission
with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those
of their rulers. When we inquire by what means this wonder is
effected, we shall find that, as force is always on the side of
the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion.
It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded,
and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military
governments as wel I as to the most free and most popular."
David Hume, 1758, "Of the First Principles of Government"
Gore Vidal, from his book The Decline and Fall of the American
"In almost every case [where the United States has fought
wars] our overwhelming commitment to freedom, democracy and human
rights has required us to support those regimes that would deny
freedom, democracy and human rights to their own people.'
"The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is
one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country
has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity-much
less dissent. "
" Television in the early 1950s ceased to be a novelty
and became the principle agent for the simultaneous marketing
of consumer goods and of national security state opinion."
"Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged
to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President
everything will be all right. But it won't be. Any individual
who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential
is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent
oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are
paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of
the country, and they know it. Hence, the sense of despair throughout
the land as incomes fall, businesses fail and there is no redress."
" The war on drugs has nothing at all to do with drugs.
It is part of an all-out war on the American people by a government
interested only in control."
" The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture
is monotheism. From a barbaric bronze-age text known as the Old
Testament, three antihuman religions have evolved -- Judaiism,
Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are,
lliterally, patriarchial -- God is the omnipotent father -- hence
the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted
by the sky-god and his earthly male delagates."
" When the white race broke out of Europe 500 years ago,
it did many astounding things all over the globe. Inspired by
a raging sky-god, the whites were able to pretend that their conqueats
were in order to bring the One God to everyone, particularly those
with older and subtler religions."
" Another of our agreed-upon fantasies is that we do
not have a class system in the United States. The Few who control
the Many through Opinion have simply made themselves invisible.
They have convinced us that we are a classless society in which
everyone can make it."
" Thomas Paine, when asked his religion, said he subscribed
only to the religion of humanity."
" "Liberal" comes from the Latin liberalis,
which means pertaining to a free man. In politics, to be liberal
is to want to extend democracy through change and reform. One
can see why that word had to be erased from our political lexicon."