LBJ's Great Society as Hubris of the Social Engineer

President Johnson Reacting to War News

22 Dec 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Texas, USA — While hosting Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at the LBJ Ranch, President Lyndon B. Johnson reacts to news of new problems in Vietnam. 1964. — Image by © CORBIS



by Richard Ebeling

Fifty years separate us, now, from 1964 and the beginning of two of the most momentous events of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency:  The declaring of war on America’s supposed domestic ills in the form of the “Great Society” programs, and the aggressive military intervention in a real war in Vietnam. Both of these “wars” reflected the arrogance and hubris of the social engineer who believes that he has the power and ability to remake and direct society in his own preferred image.

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