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Is America is Due for a Revolution?

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American TelevisionMay 1, 2015 – September 20, 2015 The Jewish Museum, New York

Here’s the good news: The chaos and upheaval we see all around us have historical precedents and yet America survived. The bad news: Everything likely will get worse before it gets better again.

Michael Goodwin writes: That’s my chief takeaway from “Shattered Consensus,” a meticulously argued analysis of the growing disorder. Author James Piereson persuasively makes the case there is an inevitable “revolution” coming because our politics, culture, education, economics and even philanthropy are so polarized that the country can no longer resolve its differences.

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“How, Piereson wonders, was it possible that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara became heroes to the American left when it was a committed communist who killed the left’s beloved Kennedy?”

To my knowledge, no current book makes more sense about the great unraveling we see in each day’s headlines. Piereson captures and explains the alienation arising from the sense that something important in American life is ending, but that nothing better has emerged to replace it.shattered consensus

The impact is not restricted by our borders. Growing global conflict is related to America’s failure to agree on how we should govern ourselves and relate to the world.

[Order James Piereson’s bookShattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order” from Amazon.com]

Piereson describes the endgame this way: “The problems will mount to a point of crisis where either they will be addressed through a ‘fourth revolution’ or the polity will begin to disintegrate for lack of fundamental agreement.”

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

He identifies two previous eras where a general consensus prevailed, and collapsed. Each lasted about as long as an individual’s lifetime, was dominated by a single political party and ended dramatically.

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“Piereson also deftly demolishes the myth of Camelot by recounting how a grieving first lady created the legend on a single weekend after the president’s funeral…White and his editors resisted the grandiose and sentimental story line, but finally relented to the grieving widow. White later expressed regret for helping to create the Camelot myth.”

First came the era that stretched from 1800 until slavery and sectionalism led to the Civil War. The second consensus, which he calls the capitalist-industrial era, lasted from the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression.

Author James Piereson

Author James Piereson

“That’s not to say he’s pessimistic — he thinks a new era could usher in dynamic growth, as happened after the previous eras finally reached general agreement on national norms. But first we must weather a crisis that may involve an economic and stock-market collapse, a terror attack, or simply a prolonged and bitter stalemate.”

It is the third consensus, which grew out of the depression and World War II, which is now shattering. Because the nation is unable to solve economic stagnation, political dysfunction and the resulting public discontent, Piereson thinks the consensus “cannot be resurrected.”

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“The problems will mount to a point of crisis where either they will be addressed through a ‘fourth revolution’ or the polity will begin to disintegrate for lack of fundamental agreement.”

That’s not to say he’s pessimistic — he thinks a new era could usher in dynamic growth, as happened after the previous eras finally reached general agreement on national norms. But first we must weather a crisis that may involve an economic and stock-market collapse, a terror attack, or simply a prolonged and bitter stalemate. Read the rest of this entry »

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JFK’s murder soured liberals on America

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Daniel Pipes writes: In three main ways, the JFK murder still has repercussions for Americans and the world. It also has a unique place in my life.

First, had the assassination attempt not succeeded, arguably neither the Vietnam War nor the Great Society expansion of government would have afflicted the United States as they did. The Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived project concludes that “JFK would have continued to resist a US war in Vietnam. Even though the Saigon government, weak and corrupt, was destined for the dustbin of history, he would have resisted those calling on him to send US combat troops to Vietnam. He might have ended all military involvement.”

As for government expansion, American historian Don Keko writes that Kennedy “lacked Lyndon Johnson’s legislative abilities which would have doomed much of what became known as the Great Society. . . . Without the Great Society, the nation does not experience massive budget deficits and the economy would have been stronger.”

Second, Kennedy’s assassination profoundly impaired American liberalism. James Piereson’s 2007 book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution (Encounter) establishes how liberals could not cope with the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald, a Communist, murdered Kennedy to protect Fidel Castro’s control of Cuba. Kennedy died for his anti-Communism; but this wildly contradicted the liberals’ narrative, so they denied this fact and insisted on presenting Kennedy as a victim of the radical Right, reading Oswald out of the picture.

Read the rest of this entry »


Did the Tea Party Kill JFK?

resident Kennedy's limousine speeds along Elm Street toward the Stemmons Freeway overpass moments after he was shot at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Tex., Nov. 22, 1963. Secret Service agent Clint Hill is seen on the back of the car as Jacqueline Kennedy tends to her fatally wounded husband. (AP Photo)

President Kennedy’s limousine speeds along Elm Street toward the Stemmons Freeway overpass moments after he was shot at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Tex., Nov. 22, 1963.  (AP Photo)

Rich Lowry writes:  For all these years, they’ve hidden the truth about the Kennedy assassination.

It didn’t require a conspiracy. It just took repeating a falsehood until it was accepted as conventional wisdom. The myth about the Kennedy assassination is that President John F. Kennedy, at great personal risk, traveled to Dallas a.k.a. the City of Hate, and was somehow murdered by an atmosphere of intolerance. The truth is that he was shot by a communist.

Read the rest of this entry »


Repeat after me: JFK was killed by a Communist. Again: JFK was killed by a Communist. One more time…

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1963 Revisionism

John J. Miller writes:  Repeat after me: JFK was killed by a Communist. Again: JFK was killed by a Communist. One more time: JFK was killed by a Communist.

Mugshot taken of Lee Harvey Oswald, taken foll...

Mugshot taken of Lee Harvey Oswald, taken following his arrest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because the New York Times keeps telling us how the Dallas of 1963 was a right-wing “city of hate.” The latest installment comes today:

“In the early 1960s, a small but vocal subset of the Dallas power structure turned the political climate toxic, inciting a right-wing hysteria that led to attacks on visiting public figures. … In sermons, rallies, newspapers and radio broadcasts, the city’s richest oil baron, a Republican congressman, a Baptist pastor and others, including the local John Birch Society, filled Dallas with an angry McCarthyesque paranoia.”

Darn it, Lee Harvey Oswald’s Communism is such an inconvenience for these people. (Antidote: James Piereson’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal.)

Don’t worry, though, there’s still plenty of hate in Texas and, well, all over the place.

“The extremism in Dallas in 1963 still thrives in Texas today, though less so in Dallas itself. Back then, commentators on the radio program sponsore by the oil baron H. L. Hunt said that under Kennedy, firearms would be outlawed so people would not “have the weapons with which to rise up against their oppressors.”

This past February, in West Texas, the sheriff in Midland County, Gary Painter, said at a John Birch Society luncheon that he would refuse to confiscate people’s guns from their homes if ordered by the Obama administration and referred to the president’s State of the Union address as propaganda.

Other Texas politicians in recent years have embraced or suggested support for increasingly radical views, including Texas secession, Mr. Obama’s impeachment and claims that the sovereignty of the United States will be handed over to the United Nations. And, of course, it is not just in Texas.”

So if another murderous left-winger does something terrible in 2014, the New York Times will find a way to blame it on conservatives. It will always find a way.

JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist…

The Corner 

More from punditfromanotherplanet on Oswald and Kennedy


Just because it’s a phony crisis doesn’t mean it can’t be made even phonier

smugThe always dyspeptic Mark Steyn writes: Way back in January, when it emerged that Beyoncé had treated us to the first ever lip-synched national anthem at a presidential inauguration, I suggested in this space that this strange pseudo-performance embodied the decay of America’s political institutions from the real thing into mere simulacrum. But that applies to government “crises,” too — such as the Obamacare “rollout,” the debt “ceiling,” and the federal “shutdown,” to name only the three current railroad tracks to which the virtuous damsel of Big Government has been simultaneously tied by evil mustache-twirling Republicans.

This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al.) is authorized in perpetuity — or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed. Read the rest of this entry »