Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a liberal, but was suspicious of upper-middle-class liberals. … [He] grew increasingly alarmed as he watched the Democratic Party become more defined by the salon liberalism of the Upper West Side. …Also, it is interesting to note that, as David Brooks points out,
Moynihan opposed the Vietnam War even while serving in administrations that waged it, but he became appalled by the effect late-’60s radicalism was having on the professoriate. “The elite intelligentsia of the country are turning against the country — in science, in politics, in the fundaments of patriotism. How can we not pay for this?” he wrote in a memo to Richard Nixon in 1969.
When Moynihan returned to Harvard in 1971 he found pervasive intellectual decay. “My impression of our graduating class this year was of persons who had apparently scarcely had an adult conversation in their full four years.”
The problem was that liberals were no longer willing to test their own assumptions. “The liberal project began to fail when it began to lie,” he remarked in 1991.
The problems were caused not merely by white racism, he argued [in a 1965 memo to LBJ regarding the troubles blacks suffered under within American society], but also weak family structure. “Probably not much more than a third of Negro youth reach 18 having lived all their lives with both parents,” Moynihan pointed out. “The breakdown of the Negro family is the principal cause of all the problems of delinquency, crime, school dropouts, unemployment and poverty which are bankrupting our cities.”