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The Nixon Legacy


The Nixon Legacy

Tom Engelhardt

Let me give you a reason that’s anything but historical for reading Tim Weiner’s remarkable new book, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon. Mind you, with the last of the secret Nixon White House tapes finally made public some 40 years after the first of them were turned over to courts, prosecutors, and Congress, this will undoubtedly be the ultimate book on that president’s reign of illegality.


And the the cornerstone of The Nixon Legacy is:

Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

Nixon’s Views on Presidential Power: Excerpts from a 1977 Interview with David Frost


“After all, the NSA’s global surveillance network was set up on the Nixonian principle of sweeping it all up – the words, in whatever form, of everyone who was anyone (and lots of people who weren’t).”

There is certainly a historical linkage and we can benefit from studying Nixon but Nixon hardly originated this “Nixonian principle,” it is the dream of dictators and megalomaniacs throughout history.

If Nixon had never existed, we would still face the challenge of people in power who seek to expand that power with no restraint. We need to institute popular democratic systems that apply restraints on power.


I was living in Key West in the early l990s when Jean Shinoda Bolen’s books: “Gods in Everyman” and “Goddesses in Everywoman” crossed my path. Delighted to find a Jungian Psychologist who made such astute use of the same archetypes that form the basis for the ancient metaphysical science of Astrology, I began a work that integrated all of this information. I share this because while studying the mythological archetype of the old god Saturn-Cronus–the one who’d rather DEVOUR his children than pass the torch of power onto the next generation, insights came to life. It became clear to me how strongly Nixon personified this persona when he gave the order to shoot at the kids protesting at Kent State.

A Capricorn, Nixon more closely embodied the persona of Saturn-Cronus than anyone in modern history. (A few others like J. Edgar Hoover and Karl Rove do come close.)

When we are taught that these types of character flaws are rare and belong to solo individuals, we lose the understanding of the power and timelessness of these archetypal forces.

I recently completed an article that ties planetary cycles–particularly those that emphasize the sign of Capricorn–in with repressive actual trends. We are passing through such a phase now.

The beauty and importance of this science of correspondences is that it works a lot like The Weather Channel in advising the approach of a dangerous storm system.

It’s not so much that Nixon’s way has become that of the U.S. martial-Stasi state as much as planetary passages through Capricorn have lent this archetype enormous force and that force is being actualized by the nation whose leaders presume themselves omnipotent, all-seeing, and as impenetrable to outside interferences as thought Shakespeare’s MacBeth.

Always, the chief sins are hubris, paranoia–which is a belief in fear over love, and marked self-interest at cost to others.

The Course in Miracles asserts that people act from only 2 central motivations: Love (which involves a Trust in a benign universe) and Fear (which lends itself to all of the ways that people arm themselves and destroy others).

In astrology, we say that Saturn (fear/Capricorn) is the ENEMY to the sun–which is the benign light of creation and tied to Leo, sign of the Heart and all things love-based.

I took it as a personal gift that Nixon resigned (was nearly impeached) on my birthday: August 9. I just found out that’s also the birthdate of John Kiriakou. It’s a date associated with a significant eclipse cycle and thus generates events of major magnitude. Tragically, bombs dropped over Japan also coincide with this date.

(Another such date as many recognize is September 11. It’s been significant to events in the U.S., Chile, and Europe… with its 180-degree complement, March 11 figuring in with the tragic and ongoing radioactive wound still emanating from Japan’s Fukushima.)

One last thing, since it’s tough to take notes while driving… about a month or two ago while I was driving and listening to NPR a guest was talking about the Nixon Presidency and how often he was rip-roaring drunk. I forget during which event that was the case and one of his advisors had to demand that he pull himself together as he had to make a Press Conference. He was so haunted by demons that he was an insomniac who REALLY hit the booze… as do so many with guilty consciences.


Sleep it off already.