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Literature of Disillusionment

   Illusions were shattered on both sides after the Cold War ended

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Elaine Scarry, the essayist and literature professor long ago suggested that, in counterpart to the ingenious system of government framed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the United States also possessed a material constitution, consisting of the technological systems of the nation and no less remarkable than the political structure for being evolved in practice rather than written down. Riffing on Scarry’s conception, historian of technology Thomas Hughes noted the tendency to take the latter for granted.  The intellectual historian Perry Miller had already observed, in The American Scholar,  how casually Americans “flung themselves into the technological torrent,