Day By Day

Monday, July 06, 2009

Robert McNamara Has Died -- Good Riddance!

For me, he always represented all that was wrong with the technocratic/meritocratic culture that emerged as a dominant force in postwar America. A leader of the self-styled "best and brightest" generation of bright young Ivy Leaguers, McNamara brought with him the naive progressive faith that government, staffed by credentialed experts and guided by social science research and modern management techniques, could discover and implement the policies that would produce Utopia. Then, when failure in Vietnam exposed his technocratic hubris as a fraud, he lapsed into a nauseatingly moralistic, apologetic mode of discourse that cast himself as the moral guide for the rest of the nation.

What lay behind it all, of course, was a simple sense of personal and class superiority that he based first in technocratic/meritocratic achievement and then in moralistic posturing and self-flagellation. He and his associates were never the "best and the brightest", they only thought of themselves as such. I, for one, am not sorry to see him pass from the scene.

Read his obit here.