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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Repost: The Revolution Was

Take some time this weekend to prepare yourself for the upcoming New "New Deal" with this wonderful essay from Mises.org, originally written in 1938 by Garet Garrett on how Frank Roosevelt and the original New Dealers accelerated America down the road to socialist serfdom long before many of us were born.

An excerpt from Section 6, "The Domestication of the Individual":

***
Well, what could be done with a people like that? The answer was propaganda. The unique American tradition of individualism was systematically attacked by propaganda in three ways, as follows:

Firstly, by attack that was direct, save only for the fact that the word individualism was qualified by the uncouth adjective rugged; and rugged individualism was made the symbol of such hateful human qualities as greed, utter selfishness, and ruthless disregard of the sufferings and hardships of one's neighbors;

Secondly, by suggestion that in the modern environment the individual, through no fault or weakness of his own, had become helpless and was no longer able to cope with the adversities of circumstances. In one of his fireside chats, after the first six months, the president said, "Long before Inauguration Day I became convinced that individual effort and local effort and even disjointed Federal effort had failed and of necessity would fail, and, therefore, that a rounded leadership by the Federal Government had become a necessity both of theory and of fact." And,

Thirdly, true to the technique of revolutionary propaganda, which is to offer positive substitute symbols, there was held out to the people in place of all the old symbols of individualism the one great new symbol of security.

After the acts that were necessary to gain economic power the New Deal created no magnificent new agency that had not the effect of making people dependent upon the federal government for security, income, livelihood, material satisfactions, or welfare. In this category, its principal works were these:

  • For the farmer, the AAA, the FCA, the CCC, the FCI, the AMA, and the SMA, to make him dependent on the federal government for marginal income in the form of cash subsidies, for easy and abundant credit, and for protection in the market place;
  • For the landless, the FSA, making them dependent upon the federal government for a complete way of life which they did not always like when the dream came true;
  • For union labor, the NLRB, making it dependent on the federal government for advantage against the employer in the procedures of collective bargaining, for the closed shop, and for its monopoly of the labor supply;
  • For those who sell their labor, whether organized or not, the FLSA-WHD (minimum wages and minimum hours), making the individual dependent on the federal government for protection (1) against the oppressive employer, (2) against himself lest he be tempted to cheapen the price of labor, and (3) against the competition of others who might be so tempted. Thus for better or worse the freedom of contract between employee and employer was limited.
  • For the unemployed, to any number, the WPA, making them directly dependent on the federal government for jobs, besides that they were kept off the labor market;
  • For the general welfare and to create indirect employment, the PWA, causing states, cities, towns, counties, and townships to become dependent upon the federal government for grants in aid of public works;
  • For home owners in distress, the HOLC, making them dependent on the federal government for temporary outdoor employment, rehabilitation, and vocational training, besides that these too, were kept off the labor market;
  • For bank depositors, the FDIC, making them dependent on the federal government for the safety of their bank accounts;
  • For the investors, the SEC, making them dependent on the federal government for protection against the vendors of glittering securities;
  • For the deep rural population, the REA and the EHFA, making them dependent on the federal government for electrical satisfactions at cost or less;
  • For those who live by wages and salaries the SSB, making them dependent on the federal government for old-age pensions and unemployment insurance; also for stern protection against the consequences of their own personal thriftlessness, since half of what goes into the social security reserve fund is taken out of their pay envelopes by the government, whether they like it or not, the government saying to them, "We will save it for you until your winter comes." And since there is no saying anything back to the government this becomes compulsory thrift.

No individual life escaped, unless it was that of a desert rat or cave dweller.

It was thus that the hand of paternal government, having first seized economic power, traced the indelible outlines of the American Welfare State...

***

Read the whole thing, and think about how the exact same plays are being run today by the statists on both sides of the aisle in our local, state, and Federal councils of government.

Think too about the odds of conventional political activity -- including, most essentially, the education of sufficient voters as to the fundamental immorality of state socialism -- being in any way adequate to the task of caging and taming a Leviathan who has supped for seventy-five years on the taxpayers' earnings.

And yet otherwise-rational folks gasp in horror when someone like Billy Beck says:

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...Voting isn't going to do it, for all the reasons stated above, and their long-run implications. We really are past that now, and nobody who doesn't realize this is in any position to actually help. They're just making noise while the ship goes under.
***

The issue that I cannot avoid, logically and with solid supporting evidence, is as follows:

If conventional political activity is the answer to today's challenges, then a related preceding question must be "How did we get here?"

And the answer to that question must be, based on historical fact since April, 1865, that a majority of we the People have voted at the local, state, and Federal levels for every damned bit of what we have threatening our economic, moral, and even physical existence today - whether in advance of a politician's election or via ratification after the fact through reelection of that pol.

The statists promised it - "it" being an almost-infinite variation on the same "car in every garage, two chickens in every pot" formula.

A majority of the voters elected the statists.

The statists delivered it, largely via overt and covert theft from the masses clamoring for it.

A majority of voters said on Election Day, "Please, sir, may I have another?"

And the statists' power grew.

And voters craved ever more from Government.

Gloryosky.

Tempus fugit.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jay21 said...

Thanks for "shattering" some of the myths of FDR, it bothers me often how people deitify former Presidents.

August 9, 2008 at 6:03 AM  

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