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The Book's Premise is Wrong - the Left has always been anti-American

Reader comment on item: Lee Harvey Oswald's Malign Legacy

Submitted by Steve Rogers (United States), Nov 23, 2007 at 17:26

As other comments have said, the premise of this hypothesis is false - the Left has *always* been anti-American. The Left has always recognized that the general public and American institutions in general are set against them ideologically, and that their agenda requires a complete reshaping of America. They've been working on that for the last 100 years or so (see, for example, Horowitz's book Radical Son for a particularly gripping account of growing up in that world).

The Left has always been about reshaping America from an individualistic capitalistic country into a collectivist government-operated state. It's what the Left was about very quietly in the 30s-50s, what erupted onto the streets in the 60's-70's, and what burned-out into the cynical hateful Left we have today. They have always had the same basic focus: - vilify business - tear down the family, - undermine objective rights-based law by vilifying the police - downplay the spectacular success of America, and portray it as the result of injustice or exploitation of some faction.

The answer to the opening question: "What happened to the self-assured, optimistic, and practical Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy? " is that such a thing never really existed. It would be more accurate to ask "Why can't the Left evade their true nature now when they did it so well for many years?" The Left can make their platform look optimistic and rosy because Americans are largely predisposed to accept the Leftist morality. It is the same creed as religion: self-sacrifice is one's duty and the highest moral ideal. The downfall of the Left is that they promised real results here on earth, rather than a mystical heaven as promised by religion.

Religion doesn't claim that altruism will be good for you - sacrifice might lay up treasures in heaven, but it doesn't do anything for you now. (Religions making promises of tangible results, like Jim Baker's PTL Club, fire up quickly and then vanish.) The Left, however, has set forth socialism as a practical way to organize society that will yield tangible benefits. That's where the optimism and heroic quality of the Kennedy Left comes from - it's the altruism that most Americans give lip service to on Sunday, but the Left advanced it as the organizing principle of society.

America's youth were drawn to this movement because it took everything they had been taught as children about how the world *should* be and told them that it could be real - that the hypocrisy of their parents was wrong and unnecessary. Today's bitter and hateful left is the result of continuous failure of Leftist ideas in every realm, not the untimely death of Kennedy. His death certainly changed the cultural landscape, but if anything it provided a scapegoat for failure in the short-run, and diverted calls for accountability from the welfare state - a call that has never come.

This American love-affair with altruism was inevitable given the social climate - a country with laws and political institutions based on the Enlightenment, but where Kant has driven Enlightenment philosophers out of the universities, and religion defines morality for most people. If it hadn't found an expression in Kennedy, it would have found a comparable figure. The 60's weren't something that the Left did to America, they're an expression of America's split philosophical identity.

The decline of the Left is also inevitable, because 1) their ideas a wrong, and 2) they promised tangible results from their social revolution. Kennedy's death wasn't what made the Left cynical - that is an inevitable result of holding a mistaken view, and blaming reality for the disaster that results when it's put into practice.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (42) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
grove [62 words]stacyMar 21, 2010 23:47170491
Owsald [93 words]BertEDec 19, 2009 10:27166012
he killed him for money case closed (revised) [305 words]adel elkabanySep 17, 2008 08:02138725
1Not just JFK, but also MLK and Bobby K. [267 words]DrRJPDec 18, 2007 13:24116467
Idealism Is The Psychosis of Morons [81 words]WinghunterSep 20, 2009 14:44116467
Oh Good Grief [99 words]JonDec 14, 2007 12:28116164
Another post Kennedy assassinations observation [548 words]HomefrontDec 13, 2007 07:42116103
1Oswald was a member of the pilgrim left [239 words]Peter HerzDec 7, 2007 09:14115871
1Oswald Killed Kennedy? [10 words]ploniDec 5, 2007 11:30115763
Two sides of the same coin [442 words]SheerahkahnNov 26, 2007 18:59114981
why did Oswald kill Kennedy [68 words]Robert L. FreedmanNov 26, 2007 12:47114946
Why Oswald killed Kennedy [109 words]Peter KauffnerDec 2, 2007 10:41114946
Ignoring The Obvious [310 words]Seamus MacNemiNov 25, 2007 18:42114810
Vietnam not Oswald [171 words]Lars NielsenNov 25, 2007 12:23114779
1Death of President Kennedy Emblematic of Those Times-But Points to Greater Tragic Legacy [936 words]M. ToveyNov 26, 2007 15:09114779
Vietnam Just Fuel, Not Fire [488 words]Michael USA, Viet VetDec 5, 2007 21:34114779
Reply to Michael USA [233 words]Lars NielsenDec 21, 2007 06:03114779
Nature vs. Nurture and a desire for votes [369 words]jennifer solisNov 23, 2007 23:10114548
The Book's Premise is Wrong - the Left has always been anti-American [619 words]Steve RogersNov 23, 2007 17:26114508
The Legacy of Abraham Zapruder & Creation of Suicidal Liberalism [527 words]James Burke,( Canada), CPA (Illinois),Nov 23, 2007 08:46114456
Disagree With "Oswald's Malign Legacy Hypothesis" [155 words]Peter StevensNov 22, 2007 23:13114422
Also Explains the Mechanism of Denial: "Sixteen Other Assassins..." [94 words]KarridineNov 22, 2007 19:41114414
The Dead Kennedy's and Liberal regression [212 words]Luta RD BelcherNov 22, 2007 15:04114383
Oswald's Malign Legacy [113 words]Tom QuiganNov 22, 2007 14:09114380
tunnel vision [116 words]David W. LincolnNov 22, 2007 10:43114369
Oswald's malign legacy? [270 words]Leon Van DykeNov 22, 2007 09:02114359
"Liberal" today means illiberal [195 words]Ian CampbellNov 22, 2007 07:30114355
This is line of reasoning is certainly thought provoking [652 words]Ken BesigNov 22, 2007 04:26114345
With my own eyes [304 words]zari namdarNov 22, 2007 04:14114344
An interesting perspective [130 words]jennifer solisNov 23, 2007 23:50114344
I'll Sign On With That [18 words]Seamus MacNemiNov 26, 2007 07:10114344
He's a She [33 words]jennifer solisNov 26, 2007 20:29114344
Nexus not in Kennedy Assasination [353 words]Stan KreisNov 22, 2007 01:43114333
Oswald [108 words]Gunther H. SchiffNov 21, 2007 23:54114319
US Treasury notes [167 words]meaNov 21, 2007 22:47114306
The Men Who Knew Too Much [268 words]Rebecca MouldsNov 21, 2007 22:38114305
Liberals are cultural marxists [61 words]RodgerNov 21, 2007 22:31114304
Lee Harvey Oswald [132 words]Dannel R. BallesterosNov 21, 2007 21:45114299
simplistic [306 words]John W. McGinleyNov 21, 2007 21:10114295
National Self-Hatred [186 words]Paul EidelbergNov 21, 2007 20:53114288
A clear, concise and very true article... [475 words]AyashaNov 21, 2007 20:23114285
Liberal Drivel and Capitalist Clap Trap [200 words]Seamus MacNemiNov 25, 2007 20:38114285

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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