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Liberal Politics: The Myth of Camelot

Have you ever wondered why those on the left don't they call themselves "liberal" anymore?

A photo of Former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan, Italy on May 9, 2017.
A photo of Former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan, Italy on May 9, 2017. |

The Obama presidency was an eventful time for those who would call themselves "progressives" in America.

  • In his second inaugural address, Barak Obama became the first president to equate the fight for gay marriage with the fight against slavery, and the struggle for women's rights and civil rights.
  • The Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. 
  • Congress passed ObamaCare – or the 'Affordable Care Act' – without a single Republican vote.
  • Across the country, states passed measures legalizing the use of marijuana, not only for medicinal purposes, but also as a recreational drug.

Yes, it was a heady time for those who called themselves "progressive." But despite these advances in their political agenda, have you ever wondered why those on the left don't they call themselves "liberal" anymore?

In the Reagan era, the word "liberal" became synonymous with big government, wasteful spending, and radical social engineering. Middle America recognized that "liberals" wanted to steer America away from its roots in Judeo-Christian morality and toward a secular, post-Christian worldview. So the "liberals" changed their label – but they continued to sell the same leftist political products.

There pervades among so-called "progressives" a myth that fuel their imagination of what a "great society" should be or could be. It is a myth they call "Camelot."

Billy Graham Prays with President Kennedy
Prominent Evangelist Billy Graham prays with President John F. Kennedy. Graham biographer Hanspeter Nuesch explained that even though he rubbed shoulders with famous people, Graham did not stress fame - he even told the president to all him back because he was speaking with his maid. |

The term was adopted soon after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, when his wife, Jacqueline, used the word to describe his administration and the ideals for which it stood. Of course "Camelot" referred to the hit Broadway musical starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, which was popular at the time. The Kennedy's often played the popular soundtrack in the White House in the evenings.

During the Kennedy administration some of the most important questions of our times were confronted. Like King Arthur in "Camelot," President Kennedy properly used "might for right" in fighting for equal rights for African-Americans; in containing the global spread of Communism; and in cutting taxes to ease the financial burden on American families.

John F. Kennedy's legacy is threefold. First, it was his leadership in the area of civil rights, and then the tragedy of his assassination, that enabled President Lyndon Johnson to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was a righteous landmark law that needed to take place to bring equality to all races in this melting pot nation.

In an overt demonstration of support for the Civil Rights Movement, earlier in his presidency Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National guard in response to city officials defying federal court orders to enroll James Meredith at the University of Mississippi.

Kennedy will also be remembered for his strong and wise leadership during the Cuban missile crisis, one of the many battles fought to contain communism after World War II and up until the fall of the Berlin wall.

Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan addresses the nation from the Oval Office on national security with a presentation on the Strategic Defense Initiative. |

All of these accomplishments are well known. What is not as well known is that Kennedy is also remembered for having cut taxes in order to spur economic growth, which brought prosperity to America in the 1960s. This part of "Camelot" set the precedent for the tax cuts under President Ronald Reagan, which then brought prosperity in the 1980s.

To look back from the position of the 21st Century, one would wonder if John F. Kennedy was a conservative. If he were still alive, and hadn't changed like the rest of his party, he would be considered a conservative – possibly a radical conservative.

Ronald Reagan, a life-long Democrat until he switched parties in 1962, recognized the shift leftward and famously declared, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."

Sadly, it was almost immediately after Kennedy's assassination that the Democratic Party took a sharp turn to the left, abandoning the real policies of "Camelot" – and abandoning the Biblical worldview that guided many of the key decisions during that 1000-day administration. In the famous Billy Joel song, "We Didn't Start the Fire," the singer gives a litany of tragic events that took place in the mid-20th Century, then he shouts out, "JFK blown away, what else do I have to say?"

The Kennedy assassination – along with the war in Viet Nam – sparked the philosophical revolution that moved Western civilization away from our cultural roots and toward a Post-modernist, secular-humanist, Post-Christian worldview.

The policies of "Camelot" took place before this seismic cultural shift to the left.

So when people on the left look longingly at the days of "Camelot" in the Kennedy administration, they are peering at a mirage in the shifting sands of  What the Kennedy administration stood for culturally, militarily, and economically is a world away from what the so-called "progressives" stand for today.

Part of the mirage being espoused by "progressives" is that the fight for gay marriage follows in the legacy of the fight against slavery, or for women's rights or civil rights in America. It is a myth.

According the Heritage Foundation, Planned Parenthood performs more than 300,000 abortions per year, while also receiving $528 million in government aid. When they declare that aborting innocent children in the womb with government aid is serving society and alleviating suffering – it's a myth.

When 'progressives' say that Americans don't pay enough in taxes and we need to silently support the unchecked welfare state, with all of its fraud and uncontrolled spending – it's a myth.

When the progressives say government isn't big enough – it's a myth.

What it all comes down to is a question of whether we as individuals and a nation should be guided by biblical principles, or whether we should create a government policy "that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."

At the end of the movie version of "Camelot" we see King Arthur speaking to a boy and encouraging him to stay behind the lines of battle so he can carry on the message of "the round table" to the next generation. Ronald Reagan said the same thing about the foundations of American liberty when he declared:

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

Ironically, Reagan made this statement in 1961, just prior to the Cultural Revolution that swept aside so many of America's Judeo-Christian moorings. We must resolve to pay the price in prayer, communication, and hard work to take a stand for the biblical truths that were the true foundations of President Kennedy's "Camelot" if this nation – and Western Civilization as a whole – is to survive.

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author, popular speaker, and the Senior Editor at Inspiration.org. More from Craig at vonbuseck.com.

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