JFK in a video from 1960 when he was running for President of the United States as U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, gave a speech at the New York State Liberal Party convention defining liberalism and what liberalism is to him. And there are a couple of things from this speech that partisan right-wingers who like to view him as a Conservative and Progressives who are in love with the welfare state and based most of their politics around what the Federal Government can do for people should take from this speech. Which will be on this blog and that you can find for yourself on YouTube.
For right-wingers, he was saying why he was a Liberal and what liberalism isn’t. Which should be enough evidence for them if that is what they are interested in seeing, instead just trying to score political points off it, as well as with his administration. And for the let’s say today’s Progressives, (who I prefer to call Social Democrats which is a little different) when you see this video about how Jack Kennedy felt about his liberalism and liberalism in general, they should know, again if they are interested in facts and not just scoring political points, from JFK while he was in Congress, or as President of the United States, wasn’t as far to the Left for them when it came to economic, or foreign policy.
So-called Progressives, like to partially quote Jack Kennedy’s speech from 1960 on liberalism. And they only use the part where he says, “if being a Liberal is someone who cares about the welfare of others, their education, housing, health care, their economic security” (to use as examples) than he meaning JFK is a Liberal. And they use this one part of a much larger speech. And David Greenburg of The New Republic whose column today in The New Republic that you can read by clicking the link on this blog, his column was no different.
And so-called Progressives use it to make the case that JFK was a Liberal. But in the way that Social Democrats see liberalism and Liberals, people who believe that it is the job of government to look after people and take care of people and that is how you secure freedom for everyone. Instead of empowering people to be able to make their own decisions and be able to take care of themselves. Which is the real definition and version of economic liberalism. Using government to empower those who need it in order to be able to take care of themselves.
I’ll just layout the other half of what Senator Kennedy said about liberalism from 1960, which again you can see by viewing the video from this blog. Senator Jack Kennedy said, “that if being Liberal is about being soft abroad, or being Liberal is about being against local government and local control, or being Liberal is someone whose not concern with people’s tax dollars”, than he meaning John F. Kennedy is not a Liberal. So there goes the social democratic version of JFK that today’s so-called Progressives or ‘Modern Liberals’, (a term I hate as a Liberal myself) and how JFK was not that type of Democrat. Now here is the liberal version of Jack Kennedy and how he described his own liberalism.
“If a Liberal is someone who looks forward and not behind, who welcomes new ideas, cares about the welfare of others, than I” meaning JFK is proud to be a Liberal”. But most people on the Left care about the welfare of others, because most of us have a role for government when it comes to the economy. Because we do not want a small percentage of the country controlling so much of the wealth. Where we disagree on the Left from Liberals on the Center-Left to let’s say Social Democrats or Democratic Socialists is where it comes to what type and how much government involvement in the economy.
Democratic Socialists on the Far-Left, have big role for what government should do in the economy. And what it should actually be doing for people in these areas. And President Kennedy did not govern as someone who had a new government program or expansion of a current government program to meet most of it not all the economic and personal needs of people in the United States. He wanted government to be there to help people who needed it, but also to help them be able to help themselves.
Senator Kennedy, also went on to say in his 1960 speech about liberalism, “that being Liberal is not about being in favor of a superstate, or being in favor of government force when voluntary action will do to solve our problems in society”. He was in favor of a strong effective Federal Government to so the things that we needed it to do. Not to try to run people’s lives for them. That government should be there to help people in need be able to help themselves. And meet the national security, law enforcement, equal rights protections meaning civil rights challenges, as well as foreign policy concerns of the country. That is what liberalism was to him, as well as myself. And what liberalism actually is and not how it has been successfully stereotyped by the right-wing and use to run with by the New-Left.