Member Rara Avis
Most generally I will assume when someone says something, they intend to mean what they say. That is until some evidence indicates otherwise.
Therefore, I assume the person writing the information submitted by Brad meant what they said and Brad endorses the information or he wouldn't have submitted the same.
I don't recall saying I assumed or didn't assume anything, I just pointed out what I believe to be inconsistencies between two threads as far as assuming matters depending on one's bias.
I probably misunderstood, then, Tim, though I'm sure you can see where that might happen. Your reference to "direct causal relationship" in your first post tripped me up a bit. As I recall it, neither the person writing the information nor Brad recently questioned the cause and effect relationship of the "negative consequences of the Great Society." That would have been me, and of course I find much the same lack of evidence in this thread, especially for the final two points (Christopher covered the first already). I suspect better education and longer lives might have a little more to do with real science than with political science.
FWIW, I certainly wouldn't vilify President Johnson, either. As the successor to a self-styled and largely wishful Camelot (a word I don't think was ever used in reference to the Kennedy administration prior to November, 1963), LBJ faced an impossible task. I remember winning twenty bucks, a minor fortune to a 14-year-old kid, on the 1964 election from a die-hard Republican. Like 61 percent of the voters that year, the widest popular margin in American history at more than 15 million votes, I supported Johnson.
To this day, I think he was a great man, and more importantly perhaps, had a great heart. Unlike most of today's politicians, Johnson's fight against poverty was a personal one. He wasn't born with a silver spoon, and after surviving his own rural poverty growing up in central Texas, Johnson went on to spend his early adult years as a public school teacher working with kids, typically of Mexican descent, who made his own barebones childhood seem rich. Johnson's compassion for the impoverished was never a political platitude.
Regretfully, the road to hell is still paved with the best of intentions, and I think this country paid a high price for the unprecedented popular support of President Johnson. Politics, much like the courtroom, Tim, works best in an adversarial system. The good that Johnson did, and I think there was much good, was in almost every instance carried to excess because too few were able to effectively oppose him. Even strength and compassion, I think, need to be tempered.
Camelot, I believe, was a fine dream. That mythical age, however, wasn't founded on fighting for the sake of fighting, nor did it rest on the backs of the strong forever supporting the weight of the weak. On the contrary, the magic of Camelot sprang from noble attitudes and the promise that the weak, like Arthur and yes, like LBJ, could rise to strength by doing what they knew was right even at high personal cost. Camelot, I think, wasn't about saving the world, but rather expecting and perhaps even demanding that he world save itself.