Friday, March 16, 2018

Timothy Leary and Richard Nixon, Together Again

Every day the news gets darker. Polarization is increasing, constitutional norms are being overthrown, the social fabric is tearing and as Yeats said, “the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Still, as bad as it appears on cable news each night, it’s nothing compared to what was happening in the 60’s and 70’s. Cities were burning, violence was loose upon the land. Nixon was drinking himself to sleep each night, and new villains had to be created to take the heat off Watergate and Vietnam. For Nixon, one of those villains became Timothy Leary.

The story of Leary, the enemy that Nixon created to embody all that he thought wrong with the country, is story that is a little bit Wag the Dog, Keystone Cops and All The President's Men.

The story is that Steven L. Davis and Bill Minutaglio tell in The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD.

My conversation with Steven L. Davis: