To Orwell Today,

Hi again Jackie,

While scanning your interesting web site once more, and reading some of its articles and questions on JFK, I noticed that you referred to JFK as a "true socialist". I couldn't disagree with you more strongly on this point. This is a misnomer that hurts his image more than it helps. A poor choice appellation attributed to him if it is being used figuratively in reference to his great compassion for the common working man and the economically oppressed.

Socialism, as I understand it, has the government assuming the role of an overseer, using heavy taxation to care for its citizenry in health, unemployment, education, etc., resulting in a government welfare state. President Kennedy does not need that untrue association.

By all documentation JFK was opposed to higher taxes and any programs that would ultimately lead the nation into a counter-productive socialistic system. Unfortunately he was blamed by the right wing for some of the subsidy bondoogles of Johnson and other well meaning liberals of the sixties and seventies. Yes he believed in helping those who were trapped in a never ending spiral of poverty, or elements of society who couldn't help themselves whatever the reason may be, by providing them with some form of workable relief assistance. But he would make it clear to his aids and consultants that he wanted ideas and programs that would give Americans who were on the outside of social and economic equality the incentive to bring out their best within a free enterprise system, who would ultimately contribute back into that system. Programs that would carelessly turn potentially industrious men and women into a lazy part time, some time working class, who spent most of their time indulging hand outs and riding the social car of ease were not acceptable.

This comprehensive strategy involving both political parties on dealing with national economic social issues was going to be his focused domestic policy agenda during his second term.

JFK believed in the free enterprise system we have in America - healthy, strong, liberating, and challenging the individual's ability to succeed. What did concern him most about capitalism, as it did a number of presidents before him, centered on its inherent evils. First there is the greed of big business. They are the ones that need to be kept in check and monitored by good leadership in government, as he did so with the U.S. Steel companies.

Secondly, the tendency of the general populace to be cold and uncaring toward their fellow man in the area of financial wellbeing and social equality. This reality troubled him immensely.

"...if a free society cannot help the many who are poor,
it cannot save the few who are rich..."
Inaugural address January 20, 1961

JFK was a compassionate man and a free enterprise capitalist with a good head on his shoulders. In his Berlin speech he made it clear that democracy was not perfect, and freedom had its difficulties; but under good and moral leadership there wasn't anything better for mankind this side of heaven.

His ideal system envisioned a country whose growing economy was based on a competitive market place and a strong work force within a framework of fairness and compassion, whose citizenry and government worked together wisely in the care of the weak and disenfranchised. So really it is something more than just a system. It is a hard working country with a better vision for life, and a conscientious nation with a caring heart. This is part of the Kennedy idealism that many in the past have rejected and mocked. Too many cynics with opinions, and not enough courageous idealists without illusions.

To reiterate, he unquestionably believed that it was the government's responsibility and sacred trust to be on guard against any and all greedy predators that feed on capitalism. And to make sure they did not trounce on the little ones of society, or mislead the nation into domestic and foreign policy schemes in order to further their own contemptible pursuit of profit and power. Socialism, however, would never be considered by him as a plausible solution to aberrant capitalism. Rather, an inspired appeal for people to wake up and deal with the inequities realistically before unwanted consequences befell them.

The 35th president's record while he was in congress, and later in the executive office, speaks for itself on these issues, and his personal views concerning capitalism, socialism, and communism as well.

All the best,
Patrick Zuniga

...conversation continues at JFK KIND OF SOCIALIST

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~