So a friend was in a discussion with some old high school buds (circa mid-1970s), when the friend was accused of not being a liberal and not supporting perfectly good – liberal – statements of JFK. The friend mentioned the dilemma, asking for some points.
The problem with the argument that JFK was a liberal and how can you disagree with some of his statements, is its foundation.
The word “Liberal,” as historically used to reference the philosophy of Classical Liberalism, no longer means that. “Liberalism” means the support of the individual AGAINST the State, of demanding individual liberty AGAINST Statism. JFK was, for the most part, a Classical Liberal.
Classical Liberalism is the antithesis of the modern Democrat Party, which has been co-opted by Progressives. Progressivism and Liberalism are 180 degrees apart; nothing is further from the Classical Liberalism of JFK or Daniel Patrick Moynihan and other true Liberals, than are today’s Democrats. This is what former Congressman Zell Miller meant years ago when he said, “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.”
Those who today truly care about the individual, about his or her liberty, freedom and future, who strongly believe in the foundation of Liberalism – the philosophy – cannot support today’s Democrat Party, as it is the antithesis of those beliefs. Today’s Democrats believe everything should be controlled BY the same State that a Classical Liberal – one actually believing in the philosophy of Liberalism – trusts with nearly nothing.
Classical Liberalism was the underlying philosophy of the Founders in LIMITING the government. It is the foundation of the Constitution that limits their powers to a very specific set of items – the 18 Enumerated Powers – and leaves ALL ELSE to the People. Classical Liberalism is most clearly stated in the Constitution in the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States [ie the Federal Government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the People.” Nothing is more at-odds with those calling themselves “Liberal” today than the 10th Amendment – and Classical Liberalism.
Looked at from an honest, objective philosophical viewpoint, the only major American political group today that actually is Liberal in the original sense of Classical Liberalism – supports individual freedom and liberty and works AGAINST the increasing power of the State – like it or not, is the Tea Party. Classical Liberalism is the root of Tea Party.
If one doesn’t agree with that, one simply is ignorant of the foundation and philosophy of Classical Liberals and there’s really no point in trying to have an adult discussion of political philosophy with them.
The philosophical foundation of Progressivism, on the other hand, and of the modern Democrat Party, is that the People are too stupid to be able to govern themselves in the complex modern world. This is the FOUNDATION of Progressivism. Think about that for a moment: We are too dumb to manage our lives, but somehow are smart enough to pick one dummy from amongst us who somehow then becomes smart enough to manage ALL our lives.
Skip the philosophy. No State that has implemented the policies of today’s Democrats has survived. Not one in history. Fact.