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:
- “Forced Redistribution ≠ Charitable Giving”
- “What’s Wrong with the Welfare State”
- “More Government, Less Liberty”