If you really want to know what liberalism is and I mean real liberalism in its basic form, what it actually is, not what’s known as progressivism or what’s been called “modern liberalism”, which is really democratic socialism, a different philosophy from liberalism, then you should study Jack Kennedy. Because he lays it out very well, as a philosophy that’s based on individual freedom, civil liberties. And helping people who are off of their feet, get themselves on their feet. American Liberals aren’t the United States version of Social Democrats in Europe. Todays so-called American Progressives are the United States version of Social Democrats. Jack Kennedy understood what liberalism is. That it’s about freedom and that freedom is so important, that is has to be protected.
Which is why JFK was such an anti-Communist, because he believed communism and as well, was as anti-freedom, anti-American, anti-individual and anti-liberal. These are what real Liberals are, people who would be viewed as soft on communism or soft on statism in general, aren’t Liberals, but Socialists, or Statists. Jack Kennedy believed as a Liberal Democrat that freedom should be defended. And that part of that, not all of it, but part of that meant having a strong defense, but that a strong defense shouldn’t be the only tool that’s used to defend freedom. But something that we can and should use when we are under attack and something to use to prevent others from attacking us. And this is just liberalism as it relates to foreign policy.
Liberalism is also relevant as it related to the economy. Not to have some superstate that Senator Kennedy back in 1960, said that’s so big that it’s designed to take care of the people for themselves and protect Americans from themselves. But is there to do the things that people can’t do for themselves. Like national security and law enforcement, but also helping people who are down who can’t fend for themselves, give them an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet. And become productive in life. This is how liberalism is different from progressivism, democratic socialism, or libertarianism. Jack Kennedy as far as I’m concern at least, was the last Liberal Democrat nominated by a major political party for President until 1984 with Fritz Mondale and the 1988 with Mike Dukakis and with Bill Clinton in 1992.
LBJ in 1964, had liberal tendencies on civil rights and perhaps broader social issues and even foreign policy, but was more of. Again what’s called an FDR Progressive on economic policy. With the Great Society and so forth, same thing with Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George McGovern in 1972. Jimmy Carter, leaned left, but more of a centrist, or a Moderate Liberal. But Jack Kennedy was the real thing and has done as good of a job, at least from everything I seen. In defining liberalism for what it really is and not how its been stereotyped.
Zencat: JFK Liberal Party Nomination Speech 1960