Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy: Rest in Perdition

On the occasion of Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy’s death last week, ABC News posted on its website the question: "What do the Kennedys mean to you?” and invited readers to comment. Most of the comments were severely critical of especially Ted Kennedy: a sodden, corrupt, hypocritical, power-lusting ogre, an appropriate climax of an elitist, disreputable succession of Kennedys. I had nothing positive to say about him, either, nor about any of the Kennedys. They were major movers of the nation in the direction of fascism. What they meant to me was the incremental destruction of this country.

The mainstream media currently is besotted with admiration for Kennedy and wailing over his passing. You would think that this was Argentina, when that country grieved over the deaths of Juan and Evita Peron -- a grief orchestrated and mandated by the government and its controlled news media and press. For example, Eugene Robinson, a columnist for The Washington Post, waxes nearly poetic in his tribute to Kennedy, “A Prince‘s Fate“:

“Princes often have lives that are difficult, even within the context of wealth and privilege. They have to find ways to keep from being eaten alive by ambition that can never be requited….The hardest task for an eternal prince is to construct an original identity of which he can be proud -- an identity that allows him to live a life of purpose, meaning and impact. Ted Kennedy accomplished this feat by becoming the greatest senator of our age and serving as the liberal conscience of the nation.”


Robinson’s thesis is that Ted Kennedy’s ambition to become president was foiled by many things, and so he remained a “prince.” Robinson is wrong: Kennedy’s ambition was requited. He was responsible for much of the post-Rooseveltian welfare state and regulatory legislation that currently burdens the country. And it was not so much ambition that motivated Kennedy, as vengeance on a country that would not grant him the status of “savior” or “king.”

Robinson, like many other columnists and news media pundits, glossed over Kennedy’s essentially malign character to portray him as a perfect model of a self-sacrificing humanitarian. But his blinders-defined tribute to Kennedy is almost tolerable compared to most politicians’ expressions of admiration. Consider New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s puerile, glassy-eyed hosanna:

"In the Senate, Ted Kennedy was our sun--the center of our universe. To be pulled by his strong gravitational field, to bask in his warmth was a privilege, an honor, and, for many of us, even a life-changing experience.”


What follows are my expanded comments on the ABC site on the Kennedys.

Ted Kennedy stunned the nation in 2008 when he endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. And while it was coincidence that Obama, as President, was vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard when Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer, it seemed to be a politically appropriate place for him to be, for that millionaire’s retreat was where Kennedy got away with what could only be generously called “manslaughter.” That is where, thanks to Kennedy, Mary Jo Kopechine met her death at the negligent hands of Ted Kennedy. For some details on how he lied about the incident and was released from criminal responsibility by the political influence of his father, see David A. Patten’s account here. Patten, however honest an account he delivers about Kennedy’s character flaws (including his incomprehensible answer to the question of why he wanted to be president), still extols his political career, crediting him approvingly with “perhaps the most impressive legislative record of the past half century.”

It would be appropriate to go back a few years and begin with Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., the “Godfather” of a political dynasty. It is a fair analogy to say that he was the Boston-Irish family patriarch to Vito Corleone’s New York-Italian patriarch, rising to power and influence through a combination of “business” and politics in roughly the same period, driven by power-lust and envy of the “smart set” and social establishment and determined to become part of that glittering parade of fashion and wealth. He established the leitmotif for his sons’ characters and careers. Most biographies of Kennedy Senior are carefully crafted narratives that skip over the unsavory aspects of his career, such as his alleged bootlegging empire during Prohibition (by importing liquor from Canada and Cuba). Near the end of Prohibition, he procured the exclusive rights to import Scotch whiskey from the U.K. and Canada into the U.S.

In all his business dealings, Kennedy Senior was not so much a productive businessman as a manipulator of already produced wealth and an exploiter of regulatory controls. His first job after graduating from Harvard in 1912 was as assistant state bank examiner. He helped run the Bethlehem Steel shipyards in Massachusetts during WWI, when he met and became close to Franklin D. Roosevelt, then assistant secretary of the Navy. He was the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was a lifelong Democrat and significant ally of Roosevelt, and staunch advocate of Roosevelt‘s domestic policies. FDR appointed Kennedy, an Anglophobe, ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1938.

Kennedy Senior’s prime ambition was to become president of the United States. One gaffe, however, doomed that prospect. As ambassador to the U.K., in November 1940, during the Battle of Britain, he asserted that Britain’s fight against the Nazis was not to save “democracy,” but merely to survive. Now, this is a curious dichotomy. If “democracy” is meant to imply a state of semi-freedom and semi-representative government (and not pure mob rule, which is what it actually means), of course its survival may be seen as a paramount value. The U.S., he implied, should view Britain’s opposition to Hitler as just a means to buy America time to prepare to fight the Nazis, insinuating that he did not otherwise care what happened to Britain. “Democracy” in Britain, he stated, was “finished” and “it may be here” (in the United States). He was perfectly willing to avoid a fight with Germany by concluding a peace treaty with Hitler. His remarks were not well received by either Roosevelt or the American public.

That being said, Kennedy Senior’s sons benefited from his ill-gotten largess. Like father, like son. Not one of them ever held a productive, wealth producing job in his life. Only two of them ever ventured into the real world: Joe Junior, the eldest, whose experimental bomber blew up in England during WWII, and John F. Kennedy, who at least saw some action in the Pacific, although the full story of PT109 may or not ever be known. Because of the draft, Teddy Kennedy enlisted in the Army (signing up for four years, instead of the intended two, but his father got him out of that, as well), and landed a plumb assignment in Paris, France.

All four Kennedy sons, “Joe Junior,“ JFK, Robert and "Ted," grew up as spoiled aristocrats, completely insulated from the productive world and responsibility for their own lives and actions. The real world, the world that produced all their clothes, cars, and pricy baubles, was their oyster. They only knew how to milk it and corrupt themselves in the process. Things could be had, never made. They were sent to the "best" schools where they were taught that the productive, wealth-producing world was their private realm -- that it wasn't "fair" and ready to be redistributed to their dependents -- if they went into politics. And, that's where they went.

When they could take time from their drinking and hedonism.

But, one doesn’t go into politics without a political philosophy, however crude, populist, or sophisticated it may be. The sons adopted the statist, collectivist, and socialist philosophies of their teachers -- and the cynical pragmatism of their father. That was fine with Joseph Kennedy. He knew nothing about living a productive life, either. He never had to earn a living, never had to sustain his own life -- in terms of trading values. It is interesting to note that Kennedy Senior was impressed by Harold Laski, the premier British socialist of the time, and wished his sons to study under him at the London School of Economics. “Joe Junior,” being groomed for a political career which his father hoped would lead to the White House, spent a year with Laski before enrolling in Harvard Law School. In 1935 JFK enrolled at the LSE with the intention of studying political economy for a year under Laski’s tutelage, but an illness hospitalized him shortly after his enrollment. During the autumn of the same year, he enrolled in Princeton University, but was forced to leave after contracting jaundice. The next autumn, he began attending Harvard College.

Much of what burdens this country today, including a welfare state for the poor and for pull-peddling businesses, and especially the fascist/socialist agenda that is inculcated in virtually every level of education today, we owe to the Kennedys.

In that respect, Barack Obama is just a Johnnie-Come-Lately. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of his bid for the White House was an act of hate for America. He knew what Obama's credentials were -- a community-organizing socialist who has appointed to power and is advised by a company of communists and socialists.

Some of Kennedy’s “accomplishments” include: strengthening OSHA‘s powers; a quadrupling of spending for cancer funding and research (but, should government be involved in medical research? No); WIC program (Women, Infants and Children, administered by the Federal Food and Nutrition Service ); Meals On Wheels; Title IX; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Americans With Disabilities Act; Medical Relief Act; No Child Left Behind Act; Anti-Apartheid Act; National Military Child Care Act; Direct Lending Program; Family and Medical Leave Act; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; Children's Health Insurance Program; Funding for the AMBER Alert system; Family Opportunity Act. And much, much more. Not one of them a legitimate, Constitutionally-mandated government action.

The Kennedys should be damned, not revered or mourned. The whole corrupt, smarmy, elitist lot of them.

When a true, objective history is written about the second half of the 20th century, about how the freest country in history slid into statism and political and economic collapse, the Kennedys will be dealt the justice and judgment they have dodged and been denied for so long -- by historians, by students, by the press.

Ted Kennedy died of a malignant soul cancer long ago -- of corruption, of hating America as a free country of free individuals. One could say that the tumor that infected his character finally spread to his brain. In all justice, no true American -- no American who valued his own freedom, his own liberty, his own life -- should mourn Kennedy's passing. No flags should be ordered to half-mast for this traitor. Americans should say: Good riddance! And we hope Mary Jo Kopechine waited for him at the gates of hell with her own pitchfork, for if there is a hell, that is where Ted Kennedy has gone.

May he rest in perdition.

14 comments:

Lisa said...

Ed, you are the best. Thank you for this article.

Joshua Lipana said...

Brilliant article Ed! I've been waiting for someone to denounce that man. Thank you for this superb article.

Slade Calhoun said...

Well stated, Mr. Cline, as usual. I understand that the creep liked to snicker at the latest Chappaquidic jokes. I once encountered Teddy on a plane bound for Palm Beach. I wasn't too political at the time, but I had the decency to sneer. (Oh yes, he saw my look, our eyes met, and I stand six-four.)

Tim C said...

Joshua, here is a previous denouncer, just for the record - http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson083009.html.

However, VDH generally a) isn't entirely correct in his views (to which degree varies) and b) is a historian rather than a philosopher, and not surprisingly fails to see the true causes of the history he analyzes. For instance, in this case his attack is blunted by implicit endorsement of "public service" as a worthy pursuit (among other things).

Cline, on the other hand, not only thinks in principle and hence broadens the scope of his blast to include the whole damn dynasty, but also doesn't undermine his own argument implicitly (again, comes from thinking in principle).

I've said it before, I think Rand would be proud indeed. I sure am - thanks again Ed!

Jon said...

Mr. Cline, I'm just letting you know that I look forward to every single one of your posts. Out of all of the blogs I read (Voices for Reason, CapMag, Walt Williams, Sowell, Stossel, and a few Objectivist bloggers), yours is the one I cannot wait to read when I see a new one show up in my Google Reader. You attack the point directly without any hesitation, and do it with style. Thank you!

Teresa said...

Another of your great, straightforward articles, Ed. I jest wonder bout bootlegging? Is that less honorable than smuggling when necessary? Is there a context here we should look into?

Teresa

pomponazzi said...

I agree with Jon. Ed is one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your compliments. Moving and other publisher matters have eaten up my time over the last month or so, thus the sparse commentaries on current events.

Teresa: I'm glad you brought up the issue of bootlegging. Of course, Prohibition was entirely unconstitutional and a blatent infringement on individual rights. Just as smoking bans (the expropriation of private property, such as restaurants and bars, for the benefit a one group), bans on transfats and soda drinks and the like in the name of "public health," and so on, Prohibition was a costly experiment in "social engineering," which no government should have the power to enact.

However, while Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.'s father was a successful bar owner (and banker), Kennedy Sr. had no qualms about the gov't's banning the drinking of liquor. I'm not aware of any protests he made against the law. But, Grade A pragmatist that he was, he took advantage of the law to build up a fortune, just as the Italian crime families did. When repeal of Prohibition loomed, the Italian families lined up hard drugs and prostitution to replace the lost revenue from bootlegging (and also lobbied heavily in Washington and state capitals against repeal). Kennedy acted and got the exclusive importation rights to Scotch whiskey and other hard liquors. The Italian families also invested heavily in domestic production of liquor ("bathtub gin" and the like).

Kennedy Senior's career is so dark, and his affiliation with FDR and other power-lusters, that one can only naturally suspect that much more lies beneath the public record of his career. His sons were simply chips off the old block in terms of wanting and wielding political power.

The right Constitutional amendment could have prevented all that.

Ed

Neil Parille said...

And let's not forget the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which opened up the country to a flood of third world immigrants.

Say what you want about immigration, but I don't think it is a coincidence that multiculturalism, PC, and postmodernism started at the same time as massive immigration.

Park said...

Mr. Cline,
I have one problem a statement in your article: you classify the AMBER system as illegitimate, something not within the government's proper scope of authority. However, the AMBER system is an interstate notification system to find and recover abducted children and apprehend their abductors, i.e. to fight kidnapping. Isn't this a valid law enforcement activity, one which a moral government would have a duty to undertake? What was your reason for putting that on the laundry list of horribles?
-Park Jennings

Anonymous said...

Park asks about Kennedy supporting the AMBER system to alert people and the police to a child abduction: " Isn't this a valid law enforcement activity, one which a moral government would have a duty to undertake?"

It may be a valid law enforcement activity -- that's arguable, and I'm not prepared here to explore the issue -- but it is not a valid federal function. And one must keep in context Kennedy's support of that idea and law and contrast them with the destruction of lives and property as a consequence of legislation he did support and advocate. His support of AMBER was as cynically vote-getting and pragmatically populist as any other "humane" idea he advocated. It was as phony and irrelevant as, say, Hitler endorsing the humane treatment of animals. He petted his favorite dog, remember, while he ordered the murders of six million Jews and uncounted Germans and other groups. Obama wears an American flag pin on his suits, but is working to convert this country into a slave state or into one large federal prison.

Ed

Michael Smith said...

Great article, Ed, and a wonderful antidote to the nauseating boot-licking of the media towards this band of power-lusting, blood-sucking looters.

By the way, if any of you have not gone to that ABC news website, the comments there are a must read. Most are not very intellectual, but the scorn heaped on the Kennedys demonstrates that the American sense-of-life is not completely dead.

Anonymous said...

Michael: Re the ABC site on Kennedy: I left two of those "scornful" comments. ABC asked for it -- and that was as revealing as the White House's "snitch on your fishy neighbor" invitation, which was accepted by countless Americans who told Obama and Company to buzz off.

Ed

Anonymous said...

Nice one Ed