JFK on human agency and choices

35th US President John F. Kennedy

The quote “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or make it the last” is attributed to John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), the 35th President of the United States. This powerful quote reflects Kennedy’s belief in the transformative potential of human agency and the major choices facing society.

JFK’s quote underscores the immense responsibility that rests on the current generation to shape the future of humanity. It highlights the extraordinary power and capacity of individuals and society to create positive change, progress, and advancements that can benefit all of humanity. The United States leader expresses a vision of a generation that strives for excellence, works towards the betterment of society, and contributes to the advancement of civilization.

At the same time, JFK issues out a stark warning about the consequences of inaction or wrong choices. He suggests that if the present generation fails to recognize and act upon its potential, it risks squandering opportunities for progress and jeopardizing the very existence of humanity. The president’s statement could be applied to the tense situation and fallout between the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event that almost nudged the world into a nuclear armageddon.

The quote in so many ways emphasizes the urgency of addressing global challenges, such as war, inequality, and environmental crises, and the need for collective action to overcome them.