Happy Birthday to the man on the dime

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, was born today in 1882.

To mark his birthday, here is an excerpt from his July 2, 1932 “New Deal” speech accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

There are two ways of viewing the Government’s duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776.

The guy on the right is on the dime. The guy on the left isn't. There's a reason for that.

But it is not and never will be the theory of the Democratic Party. This is no time for fear, for reaction or for timidity. Here and now I invite those nominal Republicans who find that their conscience cannot be squared with the groping and the failure of their party leaders to join hands with us; here and now, in equal measure, I warn those nominal Democrats who squint at the future with their faces turned toward the past, and who feel no responsibility to the demands of the new time, that they are out of step with their Party.

Yes, the people of this country want a genuine choice this year, not a choice between two names for the same reactionary doctrine. Ours must be a party of liberal thought, of planned action, of enlightened international outlook, and of the greatest good to the greatest number of our citizens.

Now it is inevitable – -and the choice is that of the times — it is inevitable that the main issue of this campaign should revolve about the clear fact of our economic condition, a depression so deep that it is without precedent in modern history. …

… My program, of which I can only touch on these points, is based upon this simple moral principle: the welfare and the soundness of a Nation depend first upon what the great mass of the people wish and need; and second, whether or not they are getting it.

What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it; and with work, a reasonable measure of security–security for themselves and for their wives and children. Work and security–these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the spiritual values, the true goal toward which our efforts of reconstruction should lead. These are the values that this program is intended to gain; these are the values we have failed to achieve by the leadership we now have.

 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Boo!

    edit: good on working to end prohibition though.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The world can NEVER have too much FDR. A++++ would like again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it; and with work, a reasonable measure of security–security for themselves and for their wives and children.

    Interesting, in the light of a recent discussion, that the people of America all have wives.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s not forget how the New Deal acted as a grand act of affirmative action for White folks, neither. 

  • Rob Brown

    I’m sorry, when I think FDR I think of the internment of Japanese-Americans, despite the other things he did right.

  • Quixote

    Yes, the New Deal was the product of a sexist and racist time.  Let’s not forget that it was still better than not having a New Deal.

  • Anonymous

    Every American president had his faults.  Washington and Jefferson owned slaves.  Lincoln suspended habeas corpus.  Truman approved the atomic bomb attacks on Japan.  Kennedy approved the Bay of Pigs Invasion and allowed the dramatic increase of the American military presence in Vietnam.

    But they are not judged solely based on their faults and failures.  Otherwise — by that standard Don Shula was a bad coach because his pro football teams lost 173 games.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “Yes, the New Deal was the product of a sexist and racist time.  Let’s not forget that it was still better than not having a New Deal. ”

    not really. The era was called the Great Depression for a reason. It lasted a long time. If the New Deal had actually worked the way they thought it would it would be called the Not That Bad Depression.

  • Anonymous

    With New Deal: lots of people with money to feed their families. Without New Deal: lots of people without money to feed their families. I am not sure what the difficulty is here.

    What we need today is another Works Progress Administration.

  • Anonymous

    With New Deal: lots of people with money to feed their families. Without New Deal: lots of people without money to feed their families. I am not sure what the difficulty is here.

    What we need today is another Works Progress Administration.

  • Anonymous

    The New Deal didn’t cause the Great Depression, and the economy started to recover before WWII, so don’t use the “WWII fixed the economy” myth.

  • Anonymous

    At that time, there wasn’t a large female work force. There wasn’t until WWII started and a lotof the men had to be put into the fight.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, the extent of government involvement in the economy during World War 2 proved to all and sundry that the very visible hand of the government could accomplish things the invisible hand of the market would have utterly floundered at.

    One thing, for example, that markets are very bad at is actually equalizing incomes. What FDR’s government did was purposely force wages closer together in The Great Compression.

  • Rob Brown

    It’s very easy to say that everybody had faults and shrug them off, overlook them, avoid talking about them, pretend they never happened.  But to me that’s kind of like saying “Oh sure, this individual may have lost his temper and broken your nose, but before that and after that he was really nice and loving to you, so let’s not dwell on that whole nosebreaking thing.  Nobody’s perfect, you know.”

    There are some things which should never be swept under the rug.

  • MaryKaye

    I think we can reasonably say both “Here are some things FDR did right, let’s emulate them” and “Here are some things FDR did wrong, let’s do better.”

    I really dislike the logic that says “If this is a Good Guy, do what he does even if it looks wrong; if this is a Bad Guy, don’t do what he does even if it looks right.”  For one thing, it leads to the infuriating situation where some people are inclined to be anti-environmentalism because Pagans like me are for it,  never mind whether it’s good or bad in itself.

    I think we could really use a New Deal that avoided the racism and sexism of the previous iteration, but kept the job creation and infrastructure rebuilding.

  • Anonymous

    It’s very easy to say that everybody had faults and shrug them off, overlook them, avoid talking about them, pretend they never happened.

    I don’t know how you could read my comment and get the impression that I’m advocating overlooking or ignoring someone’s faults.

    People should not be judged solely based on their faults and failures. 

  • Rob Brown

    Well said, MaryKaye.  I’m not going to go so far as to say “FDR WAS THE DEVIL HIMSELF!” or anything, but I don’t want to deify him either.  He did some stuff right, which is worth emulating, and he did some stuff wrong, which is worth knowing about so that we minimize the chances of it happening again.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the New Deal was the product of a sexist and racist time.  Let’s not forget that it was still better than not having a New Deal.

    I like to think of it as a challenge to do better next time, to include those who were excluded before.

    Because, I fear, there will always be a next time.

  • Lori

     
    not really. The era was called the Great Depression for a reason. It lasted a long time. If the New Deal had actually worked the way they thought it would it would be called the Not That Bad Depression.  

    Your knowledge on this topic is clearly as limited as your understanding of the Civil War. 

  • Lori

     
    There are some things which should never be swept under the rug. 

    Not the topic of discussion every single time the person’s name is brought up =/= swept under the rug. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    ellie -

     ”
    With New Deal: lots of people with money to feed their families. Without New Deal: lots of people without money to feed their families. I am not sure what the difficulty is here.”

     not when they enacted policies that were designed to RAISE the prices of food and other things. most notably paying farmers NOT to grow food. during a depression!

  • Anonymous

    [citation needed]

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick
  • Dan Audy

    Chris, can you seriously not do this again?  It was bad enough having you constantly claim things that weren’t factual in the Ron Paul thread, move goalposts when you were proven wrong, and ignore people’s responses in favour of reciting your talking points again but we don’t need that here too.  Your ignorance and lack of intellectual honesty has turned a couple threads into festering mounds of stupid where a half dozen people constantly struggle to get a thought through your head while you heroically resist all knowledge that doesn’t conform to your beliefs. 

    The standards of this community involve discussion where people listen and respond to each other without dishonest manipulation along with accepting (and providing) research and information to support or refute arguments.  If you aren’t willing to act as a good faith participant in this community please go back to whatever echo chamber that people will agree with whatever you say that you came from.

  • Rob Brown

    Not the topic of discussion every single time the person’s name is brought up =/= swept under the rug.

    All right then, I have a question for you.  Not too long ago, I found an acquaintance’s profile, and the profile had an Ayn Rand quote in it.  The quote had nothing to do with Objectivism or “parasites” or anything like that.  To paraphrase, it was “You shouldn’t agree with everybody else all the time just because that’s what’s expected of you.”  My reaction was basically “Okay, I don’t disagree with that particular quote because agreeing with people blindly is stupid, but still, Ayn Rand was a pretty awful person, and I’m really surprised that you consider her worth quoting about anything.”

    Is that the wrong reaction?  Because I think that if somebody seems to think Rand was a wise person with good ideas, then it’s worth bringing up the fact that no, she wasn’t wise and no, she didn’t have good ideas, and to give examples of her horrible ideas.

  • Anonymous

    You do understand that following World War I, agricultural surpluses were so high that food was literally rotting in the fields, right? And that food prices were so low that farmers were losing their farms due to foreclosures (after they took out huge loans to expand production, not realizing that when the war stopped Europe’s agricultural output would come back on line just at the same time as the world’s demand for food would drop significantly, right?

    I mean, I know you don’t understand that. You don’t actually know anything. do you? But I just feel like it’s important to put that out there.

  • Lonespark

    Raisin’ a glass to class traitors everywhere.  Even when they are More Complicated than the heroes we might want.

  • Dan Audy

    not when they enacted policies that were designed to RAISE the prices of
    food and other things. most notably paying farmers NOT to grow food.
    during a depression!

    Because agricultural prices had dropped so low much product was being left unharvested because sale prices were below labour costs.  This hurt farmers badly leaving them unable to pay mortgages and disproportionately hurt the poor sharecroppers and tenant farmers.  In order to prevent an economic collapse that would close farms and the corresponding extreme rise in food costs as production would no longer meet demand (because there would be a delay in price recovery due to surpluses) that would generate inflation the government introduced the AAA to create sufficient purchasing power for farmers by reducing the supply by about 30% and using a tax on processors of farm products to compensate farmers.  This ensured that sharecroppers and tenant farmers (who again were disproportinately hit by these low prices) weren’t forced off the land without any income and further increasing the unemployment problem.

    http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1639.html

  • Lori

     
     Because I think that if somebody seems to think Rand was a wise person with good ideas, then it’s worth bringing up the fact that no, she wasn’t wise and no, she didn’t have good ideas, and to give examples of her horrible ideas.  

     

    Did that quote prove that the person thinks that Rand was wise or did it just prove that s/he agrees with that one sentiment? No one is wrong all the time. I bow to no one in my dislike of Rand and her entire scam passing itself off as a worldview, but I’m not sure I think it makes sense to embargo every single thing she ever said. I wouldn’t quote her on my (nonexistent) Facebook page, but I’m not sure it makes sense to jump to condemn anyone who does. It makes a good opening for a conversation about her views, but I don’t think it creates a need to go all thought police on the person. 

    Beyond that, FDR is not Rand and slacktivites are not random people on Facebook. With a couple very notable exceptions the folks here are pretty well informed. I think that in a thread about FDR it makes sense to talk about the things he did that were wrong. I just don’t think that also discussing the things he did right means that any of the wrong is being swept under the rug.

  • Lori

     
    I mean, I know you don’t understand that. 

     

    Experience leads me to believe that you’re correct and Chris doesn’t understand that, but I also think it probably doesn’t matter. He’s a Libertarian. If farmers were losing their farms it must be because the Almighty Market, blessed be its name, dictated that they did not deserve to have farms and that any attempt to prevent them from losing their entire livelihood was just wrong. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/crops_17.html

    ” So, in the late spring of 1933, the federal government carried out “emergency livestock reductions.” In Nebraska, the government bought about 470,000 cattle and 438,000 pigs. Nationwide, six million hogs were purchased from desperate farmers. In the South, one million farmers were paid to plow under 10.4 million acres of cotton.

    The hogs and cattle were simply killed. In Nebraska, thousands were shot and buried in deep pits. Farmers hated to sell their herds, but they had no choice. The federal buy-out saved many farmers from bankruptcy, and AAA payments became the chief source of income for many that year.

    It was a bitter pill for farmers to swallow. They had worked hard to raise those crops and livestock, and they absolutely hated to see them killed and the meat go to waste. Critics charged that the AAA was pushing a “policy of scarcity,” killing little pigs simply to increase prices when many people were going hungry”

    not my kind of solution there.

    Also, I think we can all agree not letting jews escaping the nazis into the country because of  “quotas”  was a stain on FDR AND the isolationists.

  • Dan Audy

    not my kind of solution there.

    Nope your prefered solution would have been for the farmers to go bankrupt and lose their farms, voluntarily cull their herds, and for the poor to still be hungry because then the government wouldn’t have interfered and the free market would be working.  Personally, I think that hiring more out of work people to harvest and butcher and giving the food to the poor would have been a much better solution but it is incredibly dishonest of you to pretend your objection is to the waste rather than the fact the government was intervening in economic policy.

    Also my comment about moving goalposts and distracting from the topic when you are being proven wrong – your last sentence is a prime example of this intellectual dishonesty.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Further to that, the food-price shock that could have resulted from uncontrolled loss of supply instead of a planned-for supply-management program could have turned the 1930s into the 1970s: inflation and mass unemployment at the same time.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Is that the wrong reaction?  Because I think that if somebody seems to think Rand was a wise person with good ideas, then it’s worth bringing up the fact that no, she wasn’t wise and no, she didn’t have good ideas, and to give examples of her horrible ideas.

    I would disagree with this. 

    This is a form of ad-hominem.  To say that, because a person making an argument is unwise that any argument they make is unwise would be a logical fallacy.  A person having many unwise ideas might be a good predictor that any other idea they share would be unwise, but it would be wrong to say that is necessarily so.  Each idea has to be allowed to stand or fall on its own virtues, rather than those of the person who voiced it. 

    There are many people for whom I do not agree on every issue, yet do find something constructive to take from what they say.  For example, I might find Howard Philips Lovecraft’s racism disgusting, but at the same time I can appreciate some of what he brought to his horror writing.  I can agree with Robert A. Heinlein on a lot of issues he brought up about morality (and indeed I take his quote on duty rather seriously,) while disagreeing with him on some of his other values. 

    As the blog’s byline goes, “Test everything, hold fast to what is good.”

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I didn’t pretend anything. I said it was crazy of them to destroy food when people were starving. and it was.

    ” In the South, one million farmers were paid to plow under 10.4 million acres of cotton.The hogs and cattle were simply killed.”

    ??? they could have fed and clothed …you do the math.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Without knowing the food supply situation in the USA (was there a huge oversupply to the point where adding even more food would have been pointless? Even with the soup kitchens etc?) the bald statement of ZOMG FOOD WASTE doesn’t really do much except to try and shock peoples’s sensibilities as a rhetorical point scoring tool.

    Kind of like how ZOMG WELFARE gets hauled out by a Republican every time he or she wants to trash a Democrat.

  • Rob Brown

    The reason I reacted the way I did was because seeing the Rand quote made me wonder how many of her other beliefs the guy agreed with.  For my part, I’m sure that if I looked at everything Ronald Reagan ever said I could find something I agreed with, but I wouldn’t quote him on it.  (The exception would be if I prefaced the quote by saying “This is maybe one of the few things Reagan was right about”.)  Usually when people quote somebody, they hold that person in high regard, and I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea of my opinion of Reagan, whom I don’t regard all that highly.

    I wasn’t condemning the guy or going thought police on him as Lori says, or at least I don’t think that’s what I was doing by asking him how much he agreed with Rand on other things.  That being said, if it turned out he were an Objectivist, I don’t think I’d have much to say to him, because I have trouble ignoring somebody’s politics and just talking about the weather or sports or what have you, and when politics does come up I’ve learned the hard way that you usually can’t change people’s minds.  You’ve got to wait for people’s minds to change on their own, and they either will or they won’t.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    what possible context could there have been for destroying that much food and cotton during a depression?

     

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    Harvesting the food and cotton and re-distributing it to the needy would have continued the downward trend of agricultural prices – why pay for what you can have for free? Of course, people weren’t buying the stuff anyway, but redistributing the commodities would have hurt farmers in the short term and the long term, and would only have helped some of the hungry for a little while while hurting them in the long term as well (no farmers = no food). Next to packing the courts, the mass destruction of agricultural products was by far the least popular thing FDR did (possibly refusing to sign the WWI bonus bill, or the whole gold confiscation thing – actually, FDR did a number of unpopular things during the New Deal), but that doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do. Did it cause food prices to go up? Yes, but at the same time as the other New Deal policies caused wages to go up, saving farmers and non-farmers alike. 

    By contrast, the quota on Jews and the internment of Japanese were both hugely popular at the time, and were also the wrong thing to do. (The internment was, however, consistent with New Deal themes. Eleanor was convinced that one of the problems that the Japanese faced was social isolation due to voluntary and involuntary enclave forming. The internment was designed to disperse Japanese communities through the country – Japanese teens were given the option to leave the camps to go to colleges, for instance – so that the population would seem less threatening, and would be forced to integrate into society. [leaving aside the involuntary elements of the enclaves, and the fact that Issei Japanese were not allowed to become citizens - It's more Complicated than That, after all])

  • Matri

    Also, I think we can all agree not letting jews escaping the nazis into
    the country because of  “quotas”  was a stain on FDR AND the
    isolationists.

    Isolationists, isolationists, hmm… I seem to recall you specifically crowing about someone’s isolationist policy as being the best thing since sliced bread…

    Oh, that’s right: Your hero, Ron Paul.

  • P J Evans

    Try this thought:
    THERE WAS NO MARKET TO BUY IT.

  • Lori

     
    Isolationists, isolationists, hmm… I seem to recall you specifically crowing about someone’s isolationist policy as being the best thing since sliced bread…

    Oh, that’s right: Your hero, Ron Paul.  

     
    I think we’re all supposed to pretend that things like excluding Jewish refugees are a bug, not a feature of isolationism. It would be nice if that was true, but it’s not. 

  • P J Evans

     There was a lot of both panic and racism involved in the internment camps. Some communities actually protected their neighbors with Japanese ancestry – but not many.

  • Anonymous

    Do we really need to respond to the troll in this thread? It was vaguely entertaining when he stuck to the one thread, but I for one do not relish the prospect of every thread becoming a place where Chris Hadrick demonstrates he is completely incapable of abstract reasoning, or even consistent capitalization. Especially given the sheer volume of his contributions, >200 in a handful of weeks.

    tldr; DNFTT

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “Harvesting the food and cotton and re-distributing it to the needy would have continued the downward trend of agricultural prices”

    man oh man. You’re description is mostly accurate though and it does not seem like a ringing endorsement of the New Deal.

    now I’m reading about a guy who was jailed for charging 35 cents to press a suit when the prescribed NRA price was 40 cents. It’s cheap to evoke the founding fathers I guess but I don’t think they envisioned this type of thing.

     

    matri Lori- I’m glad you agree FDR was wrong about not letting jews escaping hitler into the country.  

  • Matri

    Another sterling example of your dishonest, deliberate misinterpretation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Remember Beatrix? Does anyone remember that?

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    To accomplish its goal of parity (raising crop prices to where they were in the golden years of 1909-1914), the Act had to eliminate surplus production.

    You shriek for answers, and they’re right there in the Wikipedia article you linked above.

    I hate to be rude, but … can you even read?

  • Matri

    I hate to be rude, but … can you even read?

    No. No, he cannot.

  • FangsFirst

    can you even read?

    No. No, he cannot.

    ‘ang on a minute. It’s entirely possible that there are other answers here. A brief and possibly, but not definitively, all encompassing list:

    A) No.
    B) Yes, but I refuse.
    C) Yes, but I can’t comprehend it.
    D) Yes, but all the squiggly characters sound different in my head from everyone else’s.
    E) Yes, but a wizard cast a spell on me, and I can only read words that affirm my pre-existing notions.
    F) Yes, but thinking is not high on my list.
    or
    G) Yes. Wait, or do I have to understand it, too?


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