By STEPHEN M. KRASON
(Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also cofounder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Among his books is The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic [Transaction Publishers, 2012], and most recently two edited volumes: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System [Scarecrow Press, 2013] and The Crisis of Religious Liberty [Rowman & Littlefield, 2014]. This column originally appeared in Crisismagazine.com. All rights reserved.)
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Different writers here and there have talked about 1965, 50 years ago, as a year of transition. It was a year in America when trends came into focus, culture was altered, and life changed — politically, socially, culturally, morally, and in the Catholic Church.
Perhaps historian James T. Patterson provided the most detailed elaboration on these developments and their implication for the country in his bluntly titled book from a song of the time, The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America.
First, the national policies put in place that year as LBJ launched his Great Society made the federal welfare/entitlement state a regular feature of American life and inaugurated what another historian, Steven F. Hayward, called the “third wave of the progressive administrative state.”
This was the year of Medicare and Medicaid, which made the federal government a health-care provider and re-shaper of the health-care system. What began then has culminated in Obamacare. … Continue Reading