Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Scowling Libs

The Rise of “Punitive Liberalism” in the Wake of the Kennedy Assassination

by George Will  [edited, truncated, partially rewritten with emphasis added by FT]

"Ex-Marine Asks Soviet Citizenship"
~ Washington Post, November 1, 1959 (re Lee Harvey Oswald)

"He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It's — it had to be some silly little Communist."
~ Jacqueline Kennedy, November. 22, 1963

She thought it robbed [her husband’s] death of any meaning, –– but a meaning would be quickly manufactured to serve a new politics. First, however, an inconvenient fact — Oswald — had to be expunged from the story. So, just 24 months after the assassination, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the Kennedys' kept historian, published a thousand-page history of the thousand-day presidency without mentioning the assassin.

The transformation of a murder by a marginal man into a killing by a sick culture began instantly — before Kennedy was buried. The afternoon of the assassination, Chief Justice Earl Warren ascribed Kennedy's "martyrdom" to "the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots." The next day, James Reston, the New York Times luminary, wrote in a front-page story that Kennedy was a victim of a "streak of violence in the American character," noting especially "the violence of the extremists on the right."

Never mind that adjacent to Reston's article was a Times report on Oswald's Communist convictions and associations. A Soviet spokesman, too, assigned "moral responsibility" for Kennedy's death to "Barry Goldwater and other extremists on the right."

Three days after the assassination, a Times editorial, "Spiral of Hate," identified Kennedy's killer as a "spirit": The Times deplored "the shame all America must bear for the spirit of madness and hate that struck down" Kennedy. The editorialists were, presumably, immune to this spirit. The new liberalism-as-paternalism would be about correcting other people's defects.

Hitherto a doctrine of American celebration and optimism, liberalism would now become a scowling indictment: Kennedy was killed by America's social climate, whose sickness required "punitive liberalism." [NOTE: That phrase is from James Piereson of the Manhattan Institute, whose 2007 book "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism" is a profound meditation on the reverberations of the rifle shots in Dealey Plaza.]

The bullets of Nov. 22, 1963, altered the nation's trajectory less by killing a president than by giving birth to a destructive narrative about America. ...

Punitive Liberalism preached the necessity of national repentance for a history of crimes and misdeeds that had produced a present so poisonous that it murdered a president. To be a liberal would mean being a scold. ...

Kennedy's posthumous reputation — Americans often place him, absurdly, atop the presidential rankings — reflects regrets about might-have-beens. To reread Robert Frost's banal poem written for Kennedy's inauguration ("A golden age of poetry and power/ of which this noonday's the beginning hour") is to wince at its clunky attempt to conjure an Augustan age from the blending of politics and celebrity that the Kennedys used to pioneer The Presidency-as-Popular-Entertainment.

Under Kennedy’s ... successor, Lyndon Johnson ... drove to enactment the Civil Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid — liberalism became less concerned with material well-being than with lifestyle and cultural issues such as feminism, abortion and sexual freedom.

The bullets fired on Nov. 22, 1963, could shatter the social consensus that characterized the 1950s only because powerful new forces of an adversarial culture were about to erupt through society's crust. Foremost among these forces was the college-bound population bulge — baby boomers with their sense of entitlement and moral superiority, vanities encouraged by [the] intelligentsia ...

... During the late 1960s, ... Americans' recoil from liberal hectoring, catalyzed the revival of conservatism in the 1970s.  ... “Puntitive Liberalism” created a void that would be filled by Ronald Reagan 17 years after the assassination.

The moral of liberalism's explanation of Kennedy's murder is found underneath the human instinct’s tendency to reject the possibility that large events can have small, often squalid causes; there is an intellectual itch to discern large hidden meanings in events. 

And meanwhile, political opportunism remains perennial.


  1. Don't forget the creation of the Camelot legend!

  2. FT, why do you allow that (O)CT(O)PUS person constantly mock you? She treats you as if you were a joke. I notice they seem to mock people who come there to post pro republican posts and you seem to be their token republican. . These fake bleeding heart liberals are only after you blood!! You disappoint me on your refusal to strike back at her.

  3. Anon:

    Not to worry. The noxious little she-squid squirting out her ink is of no consequence. They enjoy congratulating one another on how high-minded they are, as they sling Jon Steward redux (snark without the humor or intelligence) or the latest blaring propaganda bulletins from Morons Spouting Nothing But Crap or The Daily Kook.

    Reminds me of the shit-slinging primates at the monkey house of our metropolitan zoo.

    Blogs like that are all about desperate people desperately trying to keep their fantasy bubble inflated. Mocking and criticizing the "other" to the point of dehumanization is what it's all about to them.

    Call them on it, and they roll over and howl in mock pain and fury, crying out in their tearful, offended victimhood. Like good little progressives, they've honed their passive-aggressivism to a fine art.

    It's a sad, predictable, banal game. Do yourself and you sanity a favor and avoid that circus of the grotesque.

    -- Wahrheit Freimacher

  4. Who knew the leftwing kook tidal wave that is now swamping our culture was building, even back then, 50 years ago?

    I do admire the progressive left's bald-faced and unabashed chicanery: If the facts don't fit, simply change them.

    Mr. Will is quite erudite.

    -- Miniver Cheevy

  5. Speramus Meliora; Resurget CineribusOctober 16, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I am so glad you wrote this piece. I listen in disbelief to these cretins and their apologists liberals always squawk about how wonderful this narcissistic is It’s all just about slick marketing of the smoke and mirrors. The founders and revolutionaries who informed themselves would be ashamed of our shoddy intellect and what we have allowed America to become.

    And on another note: Huma Abedin, Hillary's right hand woman, a person who has had access to who knows what kind of classified material, is the other mind boggling side of the MB infiltration into the heart of the American Federal government.

    Obama is clearly a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. and Huma not only worked for them, but her family is a member of them.

    The liberal mindset is that they are the elitists who knows what is best for you and how you should live. If you are poor and uneducated, they will use the government to enslave you and then have you serve them. For those of you who are poor and uneducated, you probably won't read this...just keep voting Democratic, and our country will surely go down the toilet.

    As for what anonymous said about allowing Octopus to constantly mock you, I agree.

  6. Their "punitive" nature simply demonstrates the extent of their desperation. Having killed off the "free-enterprise" goose that laid the golden egg, the crony capital socialist corporatocracy oligarch's need a circus spectacle to keep the people diverted.

  7. G_d forbid that American conservatives might actually throw off their tax yokes and roll back the dominions of the oligarch overlords.

  8. Quietly go to visit Progressive Eruptions and its parent site The Swash Zone. Don't talk. Don't recoil. Don't express anger, even to yourself. Don't allow yourself even to think of responding in kind. Don't run away. Don't react at all. Just listen and learn!

    Then, after you have witnessed the endless barrage of vilification, shrill mischaracterization, fact-based prevarication, chastisement, castigation and condemnation, the insolence and contempt, remember these words:

    "Blesséd are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

    "The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. ... The way of the ungodly shall perish.

    "God is our refuge and strength, a very preset help in trouble, therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed and the mountains carried into the midst of the sea and the waters, thereof roar and be troubled. ..."

    "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

    Then remember this simple poetic avowal of faith:

    I never saw a moor
    I never saw the sea
    Yet, know I how the heather looks
    And what a wave must be.

    I never spoke with God
    Nor visited in Heaven
    Yet, certain am I of the spot
    As of the chart were given.

    ~ ED (1830-1886)

    "God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap."

    And remember, He promised us that He would be with us always, even unto the end of the world.

    God bless!

  9. They HAVE to be p*ssed over at Progressive blogs.

    They passed all these environmental regulations and health care laws...

    ...and then AMAZINGLY, the corporate oligarchs outsourced all America's job's overseas where none of these stupid and costly regulations exist.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  10. OCTO doesn't upset me. He does harm to no one but himself when he indulges in these fatuous verbal assaults. I feel very sorry for him. If ever there were a soul in torment, surely it is he.

    When people surround themselves with a shell of smug superiority supported by spite, insolence, mockery, willful misunderstanding, chastisement and endless denigration, it's probably safe to say they are miserably unhappy.

    C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that one will never find happiness by seeking it directly. It may come only when and as we further closeness to God.

  11. Wise words:

    Their "punitive" nature simply demonstrates the extent of their desperation.

    Indeed. From Fred:

    “Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

    Mr. Theresites hit the progressive monster on the nose with this one:

    Having killed off the "free-enterprise" goose that laid the golden egg, the crony capital socialist corporatocracy oligarch's need a circus spectacle to keep the people diverted.

    -- Wahrheit Freimacher

  12. Kennedy spoke at our college and I stood in line to shake his hand afterwards. He was running for president then and well-liked by the college kids as a charismatic
    speaker. IMO, the mystique about the guy is that he was assassinated
    in broad daylight and those of us
    who watched the nascent media were more than shocked. Had he not been killed, perhaps he would have been on less of a pedestal, neither Mr. Will nor I will ever know. For that matter, what if Lincoln had not been assassinated? to take history as it is,
    elicit what facts there are and accept them.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. "Just listen and learn!"

    Are you freaken Delusional?

    Learn What, How to be a Communist?

  15. In the blind eyes of these progressive's you speak of, anyone who doesn't see things their way is stupid and/or a bigot.
    You have to be a complete imbecile to even visist that disgusting place.

    Shame on you FT for even considering that.

  16. Gotta agree with American Soldier on this one.

    Poke the crazies with the common sense stick, and they'll just bite it off, and maybe your hand while they're at it.

  17. It's depressing when we get responses that show very clearly that the respondent has either not read the remarks he's criticizing, or not understood them.

    In the first instance it would be better to refrain from commenting at all. In the second it would be advisable to ask questions first and "shoot" later.


    Whitman's motto sums up the most salubrious approach to living possible right there.

  18. I see you deleted my comment, and I understand, sir. I'll restate without the vulgarity.

    Octo is a man???

    I thought (S)he was a frustrated old crone, given the way he snipes and scolds and falls to his fainting couch when anyone displays the temerity to respond to his sniveling attacks.

    (S)he is a master at the leftwing agitprop of attack, attack, attack, then playing the victim when someone responds.

  19. Time for Senate Republicans to begin their much deserved Walk of Shame...



  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    "Cruz was never going to jam the House by delaying a deal and absorbing all the blame for the consequences. That the media thought so reveals that his image has changed radically since getting to the Senate. He’s no longer viewed as the GOP’s answer to Barack Obama.
    Give Republicans credit where credit is due: They certainly know how to Screw things up.

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Maybe because the liberals killed the last honest president, so that they could survive. Survive they did, and now brought in a Socialist so they can destroyed America, which was their goal the entire time. And now they have!
    The whole Kennedy family was no damn good. The old man the bootlegger before taxes. They got elected they made the laws to protect their own interest. None of this is secret. How about Mary Jo Kapechne. Teddy killed her and got away with murder. Were you aware she was pregnant? Time forgets, Don't you.

  25. This rhyme was cute (sorta), but the false colors under which it traveled are unacceptable.

    We don't like counterfeit ID's here, even when they're notably satirical.

    i'm a liberal teapot
    short and stout
    here is my handle
    here drips my snout

    when i win a battle
    i like to rub it in
    and when i must skeedaddle
    i soak my cares in gin!

    I suggest these mild changes:

    I'm a liberal teapot
    Fat not thin
    I cannot handle
    Loss. I must win

    When i win a battle
    I like to rub it in
    And when i must skeedaddle
    I go out and sin!

  26. Hello Mr. Free Thinke,

    You mentally ill friend has escaped from the asylum and is impersonating me again.

    I really don't mind. It's like watching a dog who's been in a kennel and has, at last, be let out of his confinement.

    Let Thersites have his fun. He is amusing.

  27. ...besides, i can go anywhere and get censored. after all, like a librul factory owner, I've got to have an edge,

    an even playing field doesn't "affirmatively" offer an advantage.

  28. FT,
    Quietly go to visit Progressive Eruptions and its parent site The Swash Zone. Don't talk. Don't recoil. Don't express anger, even to yourself. Don't allow yourself even to think of responding in kind. Don't run away. Don't react at all. Just listen and learn!

    I can't take the risk on the effects that doing so might have on my blood pressure.

    Intransigence in the new civility now. **sigh**

  29. q- how many senators does it take to destroy the Constitutional balance of powers?

    a- only one, if his name is Mitch McConnell.

  30. Off topic but since pop culture is a topic here

    "Pop songs are smarter than us; they know what they can and cannot do. We have less choice; we must destroy this world or die."

    Dire but food for thought.

  31. The Republican leadership is obtuse, and therefore, highly unsatisfactory.

    The Democratic leadership is downright demonic.

    The electorate is simply moronic.

    -----------> Katharine Heartburn

  32. You are right,of curse, Katharine, but you offer us no remedies. Please use that nimble brain and caustic wit of yours to see if you can't help find a path out of the wilderness into the light.



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