The Corner

JFK and The End of Liberalism

This week on Uncommon Knowledge, James Piereson, author of an astonishing new book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. By the time you finish this book—or, for that matter, by the time you’ve watched all five of the interviews that we’ll be airing this week—you’ll have concluded that Piereson has done something nigh unto impossible: taken an event we all thought we understood, and illuminated it so brilliantly that it’s clear we never really understood it at all. Camelot and the Cultural Revolution explains a very great deal of all that has taken place in American politics since that tragic day in Dallas.

In today’s interview, a tale of two liberalisms: the early 1960s liberalism of John F. Kennedy and the quite, quite different liberalism of Jimmy Carter just a decade-and-a-half later.

Kennedy constantly talked about the future, and [for him] the future was going to be brighter than the past. What happened [with his assassination] was that the assumption of American progress among liberals was shattered.

President of the William E. Simon Foundation and director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University, James Piereson explains how American liberals lost their faith in America.


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