The Seeds of the Attack Are Sown
The story begins a long time ago, but within the clear memory of many living Americans—in the year 1937. Franklin D. Roosevelt was President of the United States. He had just been reelected for a second term. During his first term, in a complete reversal of all his campaign promises, he demanded of Congress a set of laws which would change the entire concept and nature of our form of government and our way of doing business.
In the intervening decades since Roosevelt’s first election—years of depression, communist infiltration, socialist revolution, and war—it has been forgotten that Roosevelt was elected in 1932 on what was essentially a conservative platform. It is one of the ironies of history that the man who denounced Herbert Hoover as a “spendthrift,” who made ringing demands for economy in government, who as governor of New York made impassioned pleas for the rights of the sovereign states, would become the architect and first leader of America’s slide into a European-type authoritarian system of government.
The American Republic had been established as a shining beacon to freedom-loving peoples all over the world. Not the least of its attractions, of course, was the fact that it also brought to free men the greatest abundance ever known. Since it was a free system—and was made up of free human beings—it had its periods of recession and depression, but not even in their most severe aspects did they ever sink to the level of congenital poverty of the European systems from which our people fled.
With all its faults, Americans were wedded—for better or for worse—to our American way of life. And in 1932, despite almost three years of severe economic depression, they elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to the presidency, believing they were naming a man who would bring about whatever adjustments and reforms were necessary within the framework of the American system. That is what the candidate had told them he would do. It is true that the people were demanding that something be done about the economic crisis; they believed—mistakenly—that Hoover was doing nothing, and they wanted a change. But they did not want a change from the American system to some collectivist system. If they had, they could have voted for Norman Thomas and his outspokenly socialist program—as some 800,000 of them did.
By the time Roosevelt took office, in March 1933, the economic disaster, with the closing of the banks, was complete. He made one feeble attempt to carry out a campaign promise by asking, and getting, from Congress a 25-percent reduction in government expenses. That took care of the platform on which he was elected. He then proceeded to act as though it had never existed, and we had the circus of “the hundred days,” in which, helped along by the severity of the depression, Roosevelt prevailed upon a compliant Congress to pass a batch of laws completely alien to our form of government and our free-enterprise economic system. They were supposed to end the depression. In fact, they were sold to the people on that basis by the growing coterie of left-wing philosophers who surrounded the President. But they didn’t end the depression. If anything, they prolonged it, because they were designed not to restore health to our traditional system but to confuse it, undermine it, and eventually to destroy it.
Our latter-day New Dealers and “liberals” are fond of declaring that, no matter what else may be said of Roosevelt, he did “end the depression.” And, after the manner of Hitler’s Big Lie, they have repeated this over and over again so often, even imbedding it in the majority of textbooks used in our schools, that today millions of people believe it. Yet, when World War II broke out in Europe—seven years after Roosevelt’s first election—there were as many unemployed people in America as on the day he took office. It was by embroiling us with Europe and eventually dragging us into the war that Roosevelt “ended the depression”—not with his myriad New Deal schemes and laws.
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