The Capitol Insurrection: Our Altamont Moment,

Andrew Bacevich, president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

Like a shard of lightning illuminating a darkened landscape, a single event can bring an entire historical era into sharp focus. What had been half-hidden becomes nakedly exposed. Such a moment occurred on January 6 when supporters of President Trump assaulted, occupied, and ransacked the Capitol.

The insurrection of January 6 was this generation’s Altamont Moment. As did Altamont, it shattered delusions that never deserved to be taken seriously in the first place.

An infamous December 1969 rock concert in southern California that descended into mindless violence, Altamont demolished fantasies of the Sixties as an Age of Aquarius. Occurring just months after Woodstock had seemingly affirmed illusions of peace, love, and good dope giving birth to a new and more enlightened society, Altamont exposed the dark underside of such expectations. A post-mortem published in Rolling Stone accurately characterized Altamont as “the product of diabolical egotism, hype, ineptitude,” and sheer greed.

If you are looking for terms to describe America in our own age—not simply the age of Trump, but also of Iraq and Afghanistan, Amazon and Google, Fox News and Facebook, Antifa and Proud Boys, epic government dysfunction and the havoc wreaked by COVID-19—egotism, hype, ineptitude, and greed provide a good place to start. Läs artikel