November 24, 2010 - 12
I met Chalmers at his home in
Chalmers Johnson remains the individual in my experience who was the most direct, lucid and clear-minded presenter I have ever encountered. The sound and film team that accompanied me were in awe of his will, his mind and his clarity as we drove back to LA from
In recent years, as the American political economy veered into ominous terrain Dr. Johnson wrote a series of books on the precarious challenge of American Empire and the difficulties of preserving balance and democratic decency at home as the lure of empire drove our country off course. The old saying about empire that "To rule the waves you have to waive the rules" was evident to Chalmers as we expressed concerns that were reminiscent of the final speech of President Eisenhower. He wrote three books during the Bush-Cheney years airing his concerns about the military industrial complex, black budgets and more. The three books are "Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire" (2000), "The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic" (2004) and "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" (2006). A man who had worked in intelligence and against the
Chalmers Johnson shared with us his brilliant mind. He also shared with us a rarer gift
He was giving the gift he knew he was meant to give us. I saw a calmness in that sense of purpose and we discussed it openly at lunch. How he got to that place of courage is remarkable. His written work was outstanding. But as he passes, the image of his life that I most cherish is that of a man who uncompromisingly looked at society and the world, at the structures of power, and It is an example for all young scholars and public intellectuals. Chalmers Johnson provided a great deal of illumination and public good. Let us all honor his life by striving to emulate his powerful example.