Skip to comments.Lee Harvey Oswald's Malign Legacy
Posted on 11/21/2007 4:31:55 PM PST by forty_years
What's wrong with American liberalism? What happened to the self-assured, optimistic, and practical Democratic Party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy? Why has Joe Lieberman, their closest contemporary incarnation, been run out of the party? How did anti-Americanism infect schools, the media, and Hollywood? And whence comes the liberal rage that conservatives like Ann Coulter, Jeff Jacoby, Michelle Malkin, and the Media Research Center have extensively documented?
In a tour de force, James Piereson of the Manhattan Institute offers an historical explanation both novel and convincing. His book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter), traces liberalism's slide into anti-Americanism back to the seemingly minor fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was neither a segregationist nor a cold warrior but a communist.
Here's what Piereson argues:
During the roughly forty years preceding the Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963, progressivism/liberalism was the reigning and nearly only public philosophy; Kennedy, a realistic centrist, came out of an effective tradition that aimed, and succeeded, in expanding democracy and the welfare state.
In contrast, Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower lacked an intellectual alternative to liberalism and so merely slowed it down. The conservative "remnant" led by William F. Buckley, Jr. had virtually no impact on policy. The radical right, embodied by the John Birch Society, spewed illogical and ineffectual fanaticism.
Kennedy's assassination profoundly affected liberalism, Piereson explains, because Oswald, a New Left-style communist, murdered Kennedy to protect Fidel Castro's rule in Cuba from the president who, during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, brandished America's military card. Kennedy, in brief, died because he was so tough in the cold war. Liberals resisted this fact because it contradicted their belief system and, instead, presented Kennedy as a victim of the radical right and a martyr for liberal causes.
This political phantasm required two audacious steps. The first applied to Oswald:
With Oswald nearly deleted from the narrative, or even turned into a scapegoat, the ruling establishment Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover, and many others proceeded to take a second, astonishing step. They blamed the assassination not on Oswald the communist but on the American people, and the radical right in particular, accusing them of killing Kennedy for his being too soft in the cold war or too accommodating to civil rights for American blacks. Here are just four of the examples Piereson cites documenting that wild distortion:
In this "denial or disregard" of Oswald's motives and guilt, Piereson locates the rank origins of American liberalism's turn toward anti-American pessimism. "The reformist emphasis of American liberalism, which had been pragmatic and forward-looking, was overtaken by a spirit of national self-condemnation."
Viewing the United States as crass, violent, racist, and militarist shifted liberalism's focus from economics to cultural issues (racism, feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights). This change helped spawn the countercultural movement of the late 1960s; more lastingly, it fed a "residue of ambivalence" about the worth of traditional American institutions and the validity of deploying U.S. military power that 44 years later remains liberalism's general outlook.
Thus does Oswald's malign legacy live on in 2007, yet harming and perverting liberalism, still polluting the national debate.
Looks like Shooter 2.5, myself, and the several other right-thinkers on the assassination of JFK get to prosecute Oswald for the umpteenth time over Thanksgiving Day.
It gets worse, I was in my thirties before I found out that Bobby’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, was a Palestinian who hated him for his pro-Israel views and not a native of Planet Zorgon XV.
That recent fictionalized movie about his assassination—directed by Emilio Estevez—simply lays RFK’s murder at the feet of our violent culture.
perverting liberalism, I didn’t think it was possible for it to get any more perverted.
‘bout time we got a JFK thread. Tomorrow is the date. Today in other timezones.
Liberals blame Bush for all the countries ills so logically I'm assuming that JFK was to blame for his own assasination (since he was the president who was representing the country circa 1963)
Exception: I was 7 when JFK was killed. I knew a mad man killed him... Thanks Dad (Joe... deceased 2004)
Basically a good article, except that Oswald was no “New Left-type” communist (hippie, counter-cultural); he was an Old Left Stalinist type. Former Rumanian intelligence operative Ion Mihai Pacepa says the KGB inspired and promulgated most of the disinformation which distracted people from the fact that communist agent Oswald killed Kennedy. He also claims that Oswald was a loose cannon not operating under KGB control at the time.
It was unlikely that Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy.
Kennedy was killed by men who were afraid of him, likley men in our own government, or from the New Orleans Mafia.
THe kicker is that even expert miliary riflemen ( which Oswald was not) could not fire the shots in rapid succession with accuracy required, with the firearm used by Oswald. Only with the greatest difficulty could an expert rifleman duplicate Oswalds alleged shooting pattern. I am talking the best we have, champions.
So as far as I am concerned Oswald could not have done it, he was the patsy, the screen for others who have gotten cleanly away.
So this book is a lot of liberal punk bunk. Liberalism died when Neville Chamberlain waived a paper stating " Peace In our Time." The Kennedy years were simply a last death spasm of it. Piereson has in his writing taken a dead social movement ( liberalism) and attempted to breath new life into it, which is the purpose of his work. In truth liberalism is a Utopian philosophy which prevents people from coping with things as they are. It is a curse upon America.
Liberals want heaven NOW , and can't wait until they die. For that reason the try to create heaven on earth, a blasphemy in the face of God.According to them we humans need to be able to act without consequences to our actions. In essence that is liberalism.We should screw without having children, use drugs without penalty , kill without capital punishment, ad infinitum.
No, liberalism was dead the day it was born. Kennedy had little to do with it, except to give us one more reason as to why it should end as quickly as possible. His personal conduct outside of his marriage is only one manifestation of why that is so, among many others in his presidency.
No liberal has done lasting good, they only APPEAR to do it, and they work very, very hard on appearances, but not on the substance of doing good. True good can only happen when no thank you or acknowledgement for it is expected. That is hardly a liberal talking point, as you all may have noticed.
Piereson is full of himself, and his work is simply a bald attempt at the redefinition of history. He overates Kennedy, who if anything was a sordid, needy, tragic figure who managed to do a few things right when he acted conservatively. Most of what he did ended quite badly.
I wonder if it is possible that Oswald was also a ‘double agent’, like the one associated with Waco and the first attack on the WTC, and possibly OKC?
Yes, the two terrible Kennedy assassinations were carried out by (1) communist (though NOT “new leftist”) Lee Harvey Oswald, who was carrying out his own version of neo-Stalinist activism even if he was not under KGB operational control; (2) Palestinian fanatic Sirhan Sirhan, who murdered Bobby Kennedy for his sympathy toward Israel.
How ironic that liberals were able to misuse these assassinations, not to wage war against communists and anti-Israel fanatics, but to support the lurch leftward of the Demagogic Party.
As for the New Left, I believe that David Horowitz looks at the 1956 Khrushchev revelations of the Stalin horrors; American Communists (and many, many "Uncle Joe" admirers) became disillusioned with the Soviet system as well as ours. The red-diaper babies and other youths turned more toward Mao and to anarchy. "Bring it all down, man."
As I recall Professor Huntington's book, Who Are We?, there also, after decades of trying, was the emergence of the deconstructionists among our "intellectuals."
Traditional, patriotic Democrats were run out of the Democratic Party as the above mentioned Rats took over.
We average Joes and Janes were all kind of caught flat-footed. The men we respected were leading us "down the path" nightly on that fantastic new invention, TV; they were mostly journalists from The War. We trusted them.
Yep, of course a proto-Nazi (who subscribes to Worker and requested Gus Hall to act in his legal defense) is going to take a shot at Major General Edwin A. Walker. Sheesh.
‘Cept I’m STILL not convinced that Oswald did it - at least not all by himself..
Didn't Mrs. Kennedy refuse to change clothes that day by saying "Let them see what they've done?"
One could interpret this as an assumption that plotters had killed Kennedy. However, he had enemies, everyone knew that. Some organized. Some rather loud.
It’s probably because you don’t understand ballistics. There are a lot of police and military who have learned to move their trigger finger toward the rear but they have no idea what happens after that.
Who else was he an agent for, by that theory? Read what Ion Mihai Pacepa said. Oswald was a diehard Marxist. He had inside information which, when supplied to the Soviets, allowed them to shoot down the U-2 piloted by Gary Powers. He nearly killed anti-Communist U.S. general Edwin Walker. Pacepa claims he was not acting under Soviet orders when he shot Kennedy, but who knows; maybe he was, but that would just be too explosive for them to admit. Certainly the KGB was very capable of spinning out the disinformation campaign which deflected attention toward the Mafia, the extreme right, etc.
I was really hoping I could get past the date without dealing with the 11-22 Truthers again.
By the way, I had fun on the eleventh this month. The 9-11 truthers were at Dealy Plaza again. They blamed the CIA and Hunt. The nutcase accused me of being either CIA or FBI. I’m surprised the guy can walk upright.
You present a flawless analysis of “old” and “new” liberalism. Thanks
I was in 1st grade, lived 40 miles of Dallas, LHO’s niece was in my class, her family lived about 2 blocks away and I later met his brother Robert. None of that has anything to do with my opinion, but I think LHO did not fire a shot that day and that he was set up.............a patsy.
Liberals have forgotten that heaven awaits only after death. It was never meant to exist here on earth, unless you learn in the conservative way to accept what the world presents instead of constanty denying it,appreciate what you have, work hard to have it, and be continually thankful for it.
Happy " THANKS GIVING" in that context, kind sir!
JFK had a good friend that few today are aware of ... namely, Joe McCarthy. The two men saw eye to eye regarding the enemies of Western Civilization.
Now here is something to ponder. At the time of his assassination, Kennedy was being briefed on Golitsyn. Just who was Oswald working for, indeed? Classic KGB false flag recruit.
I don’t think Oswald ‘was’ a U.S. spy.
I wonder if the U.S. intelligence agencies believed he was a double working for them, and they were being duped.
That is why I compared it to the situation with Waco and OKC.
The FBI thought they had a double agent, but he apparently had other thoughts.
Excellent.And you know with the barrage of disinformation,much of it inspired and directed by the KGB, the Americans, on Left or Right fell for it. Everybody's an expert on the grassy knoll and how many shots coul of Oswald fired. Yeah, sure, New Orleans Mafia. Why, KKK, Stormfront.com, while we're at it. KGTB -> Castro -> Oswald -> KGB then working the MSM. Daniel Pipes' got it right. The Kennedy Assasination Cult is as reliable as the KGB misinformation campaigns once were, minus the expertise and the cunning.
Now aren't you a little cutie!
Chances are, if you weren't out dodging the draft somewhere, you might have really learned how to shoot...
Whole different world out there when the targets shoot back, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?
Now let's clarify something: we have a number of coincidences that annoy me about the open and shut case on Oswald. 1. There's a very good quality one hour interview with Oswald ostensibly about his Fair Play for Cuba committee. When was the last time you heard of an assassin getting a full hour of interview on good quality film? 2. His Fair Play for Cuba office was downstairs from the FBI office in New Orleans. A little unusual to say the least. 3. There is a fairly detailed description by Oswald of his time in the Soviet Union which reads like well-written field report by an agent. 4. Last, but not least, what reaction did Oawald have when he faced the press for the first time at the police station? He pointed to his black eye and complained that the police did it to him.
Now - if you had killed the president, how likely would it have been that your first complaint would be about your treatment?
Unless you were set up, of course.
But we'll never know, because Ruby shot him to death right there in that same police station.
So how many high power rifle matches have you won, my non-combat civilian friend?
I distinctly remember watching a TV Special ( CBS w/ Walter Cronkite, IIRC) where they duplicated the shots.
They had a similar rifle, elevated to the same height, moving target, the whole enchilada.
It could and was done.
And seeing the 'missing' frames of the Zapruder film, there is absolutely no question that the wound on Kennedy's right front head was an exit wound.
That shot didn't come from the side or front. It came from the rear.
Is there a person with an IQ over 65 that believes that Oswald was anything other than a pawn? This article is for soft minds.
Suggestion. Read “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner.
"During the roughly forty years preceding the Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963, progressivism/liberalism was the reigning and nearly only public philosophy;"
He ignores the Mccarthy Era and the great service, extensively documented by Anne Coulter , and others, of how conservativism saved our nation from a liberal based evolution towards socialism and communism. Liberals have become socialists now, where the only parameter by which human happiness can be measured is in ao called equitable redistribution of material wealth according to current Utopian liberal parameters.( Universal Health Care, open up to illegal aliens, the list goes on and on) Joe McCarthy is not mentioned at all. Piereson is therefore wrong in much of what he says. So is PIpes.
Joseph McCarthy was the catalyst that initiated the social evolutionary rage movement of liberal Utopians. And we are here to end it. That is our task.
And the only one up to that task is Duncan Hunter.
I actually believe that Oswald was the assassin, though I don’t believe he worked alone. I’ve seen enough to convince me that he was a pawn in a KGB/Cuba plot with an assist from the US Mafia. I believe the mob was trading for help in starting up the South American drug trade through Cuba and retaliating for RFKs crack down while he was his brother’s AG. That doesn’t, in any way, detract from this writer’s point.
Maybe. Kennedy was killed because of executive order #11110, which called for the printing of billions of silver certificates, thus bypassing the Federal Reserve system, and returning monetary control to the US Govt.
Presidential assasins are either anarchists, communists, or muslims. Go figure huh. And the Democrats spin it 180 from reality. Go figure huh.
Yes. I have an IQ well over 65 and I’m convinced that Oswald was the lone gunman.
Oliver Stone made a movie that completely distorted history and now millions of people think there was a government conspiracy that killed JFK. Read “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner and get the real facts.
Presidential assassins: Democrat, Anarchist, Communist, Jew hater.
People on this thread seemed to like the article - I found it a huge reach - putting aside whether Oswald “did it” or not, the fact is he was a nut and a loose cannon and hardly one to base a political theory of the last 40 years on.
What happened to American liberalism? In my opinion it was co-opted by the communist enemy. The communists saw them as useful idiots and used and exploited them in the areas of civil rights, Viet-nam and others.
The left embraced communism and communism embraced the left. I really don’t think the story is that complicated. Scratch the surface of a liberal and you’ll find a hard core leftist/marxist/stalinist/maoist underneath. Right, Hillary?
What flavor koolaid do you prefer?
Oliver Stone is irrelevant. Learn some history, and kick off the comic books; a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I really don't know. I have heard some of his tax speeches however. And I think they were on the side of the little guy. I can't trash the guy at all.
Also, someone who is humorless and self-centered.
I truly believe that liberalism results from a chemical imbalance in the brain.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste tell you the highly intelligent dupes of KGB disinformation. KGB’s job was simple: sow the seeds of doubt. They succceeded better than expected. Instead of focusing on the Communist agents in the State Department, in Congress, in the White House, in the media, the dupes have been playing their children’s mystery games with the grassy knoll fantasies, outdoing each other with lame theories about Oswald’s shooting skills. Wow, impressive! Highly intelligent, indeed.
Despite that emotion about Kennedy then, later I read his history and his personal life. I do not beliebve that Kennedy was much more than a messianic icon for an already doomed Utopian liberal movement. Utopianism is dangerous for our nation. It prevents us from coping with conditions as they are. We see things only darkly through such idealism, and make many mistakes which hurt our nation badly. Thuis we take a woman Jew, and send her to negotiate trade agreements with conservative traditional Saudi monarchs, and feel smug and good about ourselves while OPEC does the nasty with Saudi concurrence. ( Madelaine Albright)We should be more skilful than that, and less smugly idealistic. The task at hand needs to outweigh this weakness for a vaunted style dictated by liberal Utopianism, no matter how ideologically laudable. Thats one reason liberals literally suck at power politics.
Thats what Kennedy now represents to me.
And likewise the Islamofascists. I had not thought of it in this way, but I like the approach. Utopians are so easy to use in this way, naivete.
Nor I, on his monetary policies. His personal life was a total abyss, but the same can be said for most of his successors.
Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of ballistics can look at the Zapruder film and understand where the shots came from.
Do a little research.
That's what he was scripted to be, but he forgot to read the script. On the important issues, such as national security, taxes and monetary policy, he was a solid patriotic conservative. That is what got him assasinated; EO #11110.
Like I said, my knowledge of ballistics - interior and exterior - is quite adequate. Just a bit presumptious of you to think otherwise..
Given all that has taken place since 1963, and my impressions at the time, I will never cease believing that the assassination of JFK was caused precisely by that lurch leftward within his own party - and the left's embrace of FDR's manipulation of information.
RFK's assassination was a foretaste of what we've reaped by underestimating the pathology that deforms the middle east - and the left's embrace of those infected most by that pathology.
On that note, I think it speaks highly of him as a president of this country in spite of it. If we don't have a sound currency, we ain't got nothing. He must of understood that. Fast forward 44 years.