FDR, The Benign Dictator

President George H.W. Bush, speaking on the 5th anniversary of FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech, called him “our greatest American political pragmatist” and praised him for having “brilliantly enunciated the 20th-century vision of our Founding Fathers’ commitment to individual liberty.” Wild Willey claimed that government should foster and protest the same in a 1996 speech as did GW Bush during is 2003 Mission Accomplished speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

In 1941, FDR during the State of the Union address, articulated to Congress the Four Freedoms he believed that every man should be entitled to, regardless of where they lived. The first two, freedom of speech and religion were already guaranteed to Americans under the First Amendment. However, the second two freedoms that FDR stressed, freedom from want and fear, were and still are today a mark of Socialism.

While pretending to “recognize” the freedom of speech, FDR went on to explain that “a free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups…The best way of dealing with the few slackers or troublemakers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, to use the sovereignty of government to save government.”  FDR’s “suggestion” that government should guarantee his Four Freedoms and his statement that government could and should suppress dissent, left many worried that he was looking for an extreme expansion of government power.  Their worries came true as FDR’s Four Freedoms doctrine quickly became enshrined in American political mythology.

The Four Freedoms became a primary justification for the creation of the United Nations which FDR helped establish after the war. His wife, Eleanor, worked to have them included in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

During his 1944 State of the Union, FDR decided to dip his toe deeper into the socialist pool by suggesting that our Bill of Rights were “inadequate” to assure us “equality” in the pursuit of happiness.  The solution he offered was an economic bill of rights because, according to FDR, “true individual freedom can’t exist without economic security.”  His economic bill of rights included the right to a useful and remunerative job, the right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation along with a decent home, adequate medical care, the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health and, the right to a good education.  These specific rights, he claimed, would not only guarantee America’s security but would guarantee America’s place in the world.   And of course, it would also allow government to stick their nose into the lives of every American. 

He also stated that liberty also required “the right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which would give him and his family a decent living.”  In other words, FDR was advocating for government to inflate food prices high enough to keep the nation’s least efficient farmer behind his mule and plow.  Of course, to achieve this newfound economic freedom would require unlimited federal control over every farm.

In addition to farmers, FDR proclaimed the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition. And, of course, this new right could only be secured by giving bureaucrats unlimited control over the private sector.   

During his speech, FDR scooped George Orwell’s 1984 by revealing that slavery was freedom – or at least “close enough for government work,” by urging Congress to enact a National Service law for the duration of the war to make very able-bodied adult available for war production or other essential services.

Congress obliged by passing the Universal Conscription Act which FDR promised would be a unifying moral force whereby every man and woman could find that inner satisfaction that came from making the fullest possible contribution to victory. Presumably, the less freedom people had, the more satisfied they’d become. And anyone who did not feel liberated by federal commands was a bastard who deserved all the misery officialdom heaped upon them.

Americans are still suffering because Franklin Roosevelt’s freedom bunkum was not immediately laughed off the national stage.

Any politician who seeks more power today to bestow more freedom in the distant future deserve all the ridicule Americans can heave his way.

“FDR, with the approval of Congress, turned the US into a National Socialist economy…. The United States has been a National Socialist economy ever since. Some people have renamed this “capitalism.” It is not however, free market capitalism but state sponsored or “crony” capitalism, which is in line with a National Socialist economy.”  Howard Galt, Editor,  A Conscious Conservative  

Source:  FDR’s Worst Perversion of Freedom: The “Four Freedoms” Speech, Mises; The “Four Freedoms” Speech: FDR’s Worst Perversion of Freedom, Foundation for Economic Education;  1944 State of the Union Address, Teaching American History.org

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