American Values – Book Review

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”


The above quote is a favorite line that Robert Kennedy shared with his son Robert Kennedy Junior. Robert Kennedy saw himself as a man on a mission to spread democracy and look out for the less fortunate in society. RFK tried to spread this message to his eleven children and ended up getting shot in the process. In the book, American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family, RFK Jr shares the lessons he learned while growing up in the Kennedy household.

Robert Kennedy Jr has been ostracized by his family since shedding light on some of the devious practices of the vaccine industry. I find it admirable that a person who has nothing to gain, but a lot to lose, is willing to stand out from the crowd and tell the ugly truth as they see it.

I’ve been following RFK Jr for a while now. He has a popular website called Children’s Health Defense, where he exposes the lax standards of vaccine manufacturers. He has a history of bringing lawsuits against Big Pharma and Big Oil. Whether you agree with him or not, I think even his detractors will have to admit that he is very knowledgeable about the science and pseudoscience mystic surrounding vaccines.

The thing that people despise about him is not so much his views, but the fact that his views are well researched and he continues to say them, over and over.

When he was attacking Big Pharma, and Big Oil, or litigating for a clean environment, he was seen as the darling of the left. When he went after the sacred cow of our times, vaccines, he became a despicable heretic. Vaccines are one of the areas of scientific inquiry that we are not supposed to question. To do so is considered heresy.

RFK Jr on Megan Kelly
A debate between RFK Jr and Alan Dershowitz

People ridicule him for his views on vaccines. I find his views rather tame. He supports holding vaccines up to the same safety standards as other pharmaceutical products.

I find it scandalous that we allow vaccines to be held up to a lesser standard of evidence and safety than other pharmaceutical products, and that we allow manufacturers to be immune from liability.

American Values

I was interested to read his book, American Values: Lessons I Learned From My Family, to learn about what it was like growing up in an American aristocracy, and how he found the courage to take a different stance on things like vaccines.

In the book, he tells about what it was like growing up on the Kennedy compound. He writes about the lessons he learned from his family, especially his father, his uncle Jack, grandparents, and cousins. He shares some extremely personal things like his drug use and recovery.

His family imparted a deeply held conviction to protect the environment, democracy, and those less fortunate. He believes in using the Government to help those in need. Much of the good works his family espouses seem laudable. The problem is they want to use other people’s money to support their pet ideas of how society should run.

His parents were devout Catholics who had eleven children. They read the bible as a family every night at the dinner table.

Fitness and sports were a big pastime for the family. His father and uncles had a 24-hour 50-mile hiking challenge they’d try to rope others into. Grandma Rose tried to impart her sense of fitness by swimming in the ocean every day (even in winter) and walking two miles every night. The entire family took daily horseback rides in the morning.

RFK Jr did not get along with his mother. He struggled with school and arbitrary rules. She was a devoutly religious woman with a penchant for rules. In the book, he referred to his mother as a broodmare. Perhaps this reference to horses has something to do with the family’s love for horses. Or perhaps it was a sort of jab at a mother he never got along with.

His father always wanted him to be tough and urged him to withstand outdoor adventures in freezing temperatures such as long hikes and white water rafting adventures. Yet, his father had pity for the poor and didn’t expect them to live up to the same fortitude as his family.

As a boy RFK Jr was an outdoor enthusiast, always trapping, fishing, hiking, or learning falconry. He never caught on to school. He kept many strange animals in the family home such as raccoons and exotic turtles.

School was made tolerable for RFK Jr by finding out he could numb himself to the boredom of it with drugs. He found that once he started taking drugs in 10th grade, he was able to do very well in school, moving from near the bottom, to the top of his class.

Some of the negative things about his family were mentioned only in passing. Like the time when his uncle Jack, president JFK, put general Edwin Walker into a mental hospital because he didn’t like his views on segregation. He also doesn’t mention how his grandparents lobotomized their daughter, Rosemary Kennedy, leaving her unable to walk or talk, simply because she embarrassed the family with her promiscuity. Rather than admit what happened, the family refers to Rosemary as mentally disabled.

Throughout the book, RFK Jr maintains his strongly held belief in democracy being a humanizing force for the good of humanity. This is in spite of the fact that he believes that the CIA had direct involvement with the killing of his uncle, JFK, and his father RFK. It is hard to understand how he maintains this belief. According to thinkers such as Jason Brennan, Hans-Herman Hoppe, and Bryan Caplan, it is democracy itself that leads to terrible outcomes.

Overall, I think the book will be of interest to those who enjoy reading autobiographies and have an interest in one of Americans most powerful political families.

4 thoughts on “American Values – Book Review

  1. I guess it depends on your definition of democracy. I’d democracy means having the right to vote for your leaders , that’s one thing. But if it means mob rule , that’s another. But I think we’d agree that we no longer have democracy in this country.


  2. As with you, we always have encouraged people to think for themselves, which requires responsibility, reading, research, and thoughtful considerations.


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