What’s Wrong with FDR, as Explained by—FDR

March 26, 2012

I visited the FDR Memorial the other day.  It’s full of quotes from the man, many of which have to do with the New Deal (“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American People”).  Many of them, on their face, might be ambiguous or generically in favor of helping the poor, but in the context of history, knowing what he actually did as president (the New Deal), it’s clear that he’s talking specifically about government policy.  In other words, FDR fell into the common liberal error (was it common then?) of conflating voluntary charitable help with forced redistribution.  Here’s just one example: 

In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice,the path of faith, the path of hope and the path of love toward our fellow men.

FDR favored a more powerful central government, confiscating more of people’s property and deciding for us how it should be used.  So I was very interested to find this forceful repudiation there as well (in the context of the Second World War):

They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.

Did the contradiction between the one and the other not occur to him?  Did it not occur to the people planning the monument?

Sources: See some of the quotes from the monument (scroll to bottom of each page):

Ambiguously related entries:

6 Responses to “What’s Wrong with FDR, as Explained by—FDR”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    Question: Isn’t money created by the government? When you say the government is confiscating people’s property, I think you’re forgetting that the property itself is created by the government, which in turn is created by the people who are giving it permission to confiscate the property it has created, in return for the privilege of having a functioning currency system – not to mention having a government. If you want to go back to a bartering system or attempt to set up private currency exchanges be my guest, but I don’t think the results would be pretty.

    • Tevyeh Says:

      “Isn’t money created by the government?”

      Yes, via the Federal Reserve system. However, while money is effectively created by the government, *wealth* is not. A relatively small portion of our total national wealth is held in the form of money. The purpose of money is to facilitate exchange by providing a liquid medium, which enables the creation of an economy far more efficient than a barter system.

      Personal or business income is usually measured in money, but the wealth that this money represents is not typically a creation of government.

      If the costs of managing a monetized economy (even if they were financed via taxes, which they aren’t) were the only justification for taxation, our taxes should be a tiny fraction of what they are.

      Anyway, I hope someday you realize that Chillingworth is not an anarchist, and that cricicism of this-or-that government policy is not a condemnation of the institution of government in general.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        His argument is that certain forms of taxation are akin to robbery. I am merely pointing out the flaws in that argument.

    • http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-economy-grinds-to-halt-as-nation-realizes-money,2912/

      Haha! Also, I always assumed it was some kind of over-simplification or tongue-in-cheek joke that liberals think the money is all the government’s anyway (as an explanation for some of their reasoning on taxation). Snoodickle, you bring parodies to life!

      Also, it occurs to me that sometimes government replaces God in the liberal mind. (I used to think this was an over-simplification, too, until one of my cousins told me he thinks that the role government should play in our lives is that of Deus ex Machina: that plot device where, when things are going really badly and everyone is confused, some god just shows up out of nowhere and fixes it all. In other words, the government should be God?) Snoodickle, you are talking about wealth the way Christians do when they say all we have is from God, so our job is to be grateful for it and be good stewards of it, and not miss it when God takes it back. Indeed, “God” alliterates with “Government.” So I guess I can see the connection.

      Anyway, you made my day. This is hilarious.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        You’re welcome. However, you’ve completely missed the point of my post, which is only that taxation is not akin to robbery precisely because we give the government the power to tax.

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