|1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt Flips the Forgotten Man and Liberalism Is Re-defined.|
In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt began a redefinition of the word Liberalism. Prior to this time, Liberalism meant "a belief in individual liberty." 1932 marked the beginning of a new meaning: "a belief in paternalistic government and trading individual liberty for state-sponsored security."
In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about helping someone he called "the forgotten man." This phrase came from a book that had been written decades earlier by William Graham Sumner. However, Roosevelt flipped Sumner's definition of "the forgotten man."
Sumner defines "the forgotten man" in this way: Jim and Franklin want to help Sally, so they team up and pass a law that coerces John to co-fund their little project. In this scenario, Sumner defines the forgotten man as John, who is coerced to co-fund someone else's project. He is the man who works, prays, and pays his own bills and is never considered by the likes of Jim and Frank.
Franklin defined Sally as "the forgotten man" and totally flipped the original concept. In Franklin's scenario, Jim and Franklin were Roosevelt himself and other like-minded people. The vast majority of American citizens became those who were coerced into co-funding Roosevelt's pet projects.
Franklin started by defining "the forgotten man" as all the poor at the bottom of society. That brought about such serious and terrible economic consequences that he changed his mind after three years.
Franklin's second definition of "the forgotten man" was certain defined groups of people, senior citizens, farmers, writers, artists, and union members. Under this definition, the PWA was formed, making county governments dependent on federal government, a condition that had not previously existed.
The purpose was to integrate federal control into every small town in America. This was the beginning of the loss of liberty for the American people. The Wagner Act, Public Utilities Law, Social Security, and Works Progress Administration came quickly into existence. The Works Progress Administration produced the Marxist play, Power, as part of the advertising campaign.
Many journalists were now on the federal payroll in the new introduction into the new brand of Liberalism.
By 1936, there was no similarity between the 1932 US federal government and what the federal government had then become.
The "New Deal" didn't help the economy. It actually stifled the economy--which is what Liberalism always does. Unemployment was over 19 percent. The stock market could not recover.
Special interest groups were born--those who would give their votes in exchange for handouts from the federal government. The federal projects were aimed at the middle class rather than the poorest citizens. Federal spending nearly quadrupled in these few years. Franklin was merely buying votes. During the pre-election months, he targeted his spending to buy enough votes to win critical states.
This article draws some insights from "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes
Last updated: Dec, 2010
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