Following the disastrous Lincoln era, the country stepped back and reinstated certain liberties, but certainly not to the extent that liberty was completely restored. The income tax and the draft were repealed and the central bank was closed. Posse Comitatus came into being and the Bill of Rights was partially revived (1).
The people of the late Nineteenth Century had all of that to be thankful for, but thanks to Lincoln's never-ending legacy, the country had begun its decline into despotism.
As the Twentieth Century began, a parade of liberty's fierce enemies began. It was very difficult to decide who would be the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twentieth Century. After the century began, we were once again saddled with the income tax (this time for good), the Federal Reserve (this time for good also) and the draft (off and on), and added to that were Federal prohibition of alcohol (partially lifted) and narcotics, Federal control of foods and drugs, "progressive education" (pretty Neanderthal in my opinion), curbs on other personal behavior, an imperialist foreign policy, censorship (again) and the incarceration of dissidents (again).
It was indeed very difficult to decide who was the worst enemy as it took many to fool the public into believing that the above were improvements and to institute them.
My pick for the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twentieth Century was a man who landed two more fierce blows to liberty, right into the fist-prints of Abraham Lincoln. A part of one of these blows hit home to me personally, and I consider this to be a major detriment to my entire life.
That man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
If I believed in reincarnation, which being a Christian I do not, I would be positive that these men, along with the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twenty-first Century so far, were one and the same. They certainly all have the big-government, imperialist mentality.
There are many specific comparisons between Lincoln and Roosevelt (2). They could both use rhetoric to sway large numbers of people. They both oversaw, and won, great wars that have been shown to be unjust, and of course wars always unite the majority who do not have time to or will not question the government propaganda.
The most important thing the two had in common was how they ruled the country. There is no doubt in my mind that FDR studied Lincoln and took many pages out of his book, but not having been there, not having been anywhere at the time in fact, there is nothing specific that I know.
Franklin Roosevelt's first mighty blow to liberty, like Lincoln's, was economic. However, unlike Lincoln, he did not deal the blows quite simultaneously, even though they did overlap.
When Roosevelt came to office in 1933, the Great Depression had begun. We now know, of course, that the stock market crash in 1929 was caused by the Federal Reserve's intervention in the economy in the form of bank credit expansion (3). I will not dwell on that, but if it is not generally known it should be.
Republican Herbert Hoover was president at that time and he dove right in with interventions which were picked up and expanded on in 1933 by President Roosevelt and these interventions caused the Depression to go on and on for about seventeen years. History books say that it went on for about ten years, but in my opinion that is wrong. Reasons will be given below.
It is an establishment article of faith that Roosevelt's interventions in the economy (actually a government takeover of the economy plus significant infringements on civil liberties) "saved capitalism from itself." On the contrary, the great economist Murray Rothbard shows that an unfettered economy would have prevented the problem in the first place, but the economy was anything but unfettered. This "saved capitalism from itself" would be stand-up comic material if it were not so serious. First of all "saving from itself" is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has any marginal brain activity as it makes no sense at all. Secondly, what capitalism? Ever since Henry Clay's "American System" had been ushered in by Lincoln, capitalism (which really means laissez faire) had been at least partly stomped out in favor of mercantilism.
Mercantilism had been built upon steadily, especially since the turn of the Twentieth Century and had laid the groundwork for Roosevelt's nearly fatal blows to liberty.
Dr. Rothbard points out (4) that if a depression or recession does occur, the best way to alleviate its effects and restore normality as quickly as possible is to keep government's hands off. Roosevelt (and Hoover before him) must have had a premonition of Rothbard and the other great economist, Ludwig von Mises, as he did the very things that they said would deepen and prolong the Great Depression. Had he wanted to worsen the situation and gravitate wealth and power toward establishment interests (as Lincoln did), he couldn't have done a better job.
The Great Depression was the crisis that Roosevelt used to rally support for what was called the "New Deal," a militaristic and corporatistic top-down regimentation of the entire economy that was modeled after the fascist Mussolini system in Italy (5). As power was centralized in the federal government, graduates of "progressive education" rallied behind it. But, there were those on the right and the left who were independent enough to oppose it, and since FDR just happened to be a Democrat, those are now called the "old right." Ironically, Roosevelt warned the country that if these dissidents got their way and turned the country away from his Mussolini-type course, it would put the country at risk for fascism.
As a staunch believer that rights come from God and accrue to the sovereign individual, and that the ownership of (and therefore complete control over) one's body along with one's real and personal property is the chief of these unalienable rights, meaning I, as a libertarian, hardly know where to begin when discussing Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal"! It must have been a libertarian's worst nightmare (6).
The entire program was harm heaped upon harm to individuals. And, obviously, since society is made up of individuals, to harm individuals is to harm society as a whole. Insult was literally added to injury when the American people were told that all of this was "for their own good." The harm continues to this day in both general and specific ways.
The general harm that continues to this day that has stood out in my mind over my whole life is the attitude of the American people toward paternalistic authority or the "nanny state." A loss of freedom for more "security" is welcomed. If something is mandated or prohibited for reasons of health, safety, or financial security, people welcome government intervention rather than resent it. I believe this is a sickly, not a healthy, way of looking at things, and I believe the Founders would agree with me on that. I also believe the turning point from individual self-reliance to the seeking of government protection came during the Roosevelt years, the seeds having been sewn by "progressive education," (in quotes because it was neither progressive nor education).
This does not mean that a person who participates in voluntary society is dependent. Far from it. The person who takes the initiative to buy, sell, trade, and seek pleasure by interacting with other unique individuals is just as independent as the recluse. But this initiative is often lacking today, as people wait for or consult government (or lawyers) to tell them what they can and cannot do. They don't trust themselves to understand the difference between right and wrong and think things through for themselves.
As for a specific example of how the New Deal still forces individuals into dependency to this day, I will come to that later as I show how I have personally been gravely harmed, and so have you if you have a speck of independence.
Back to the New Deal itself: It was a whole slew of economic fallacies that aggravated and prolonged the Great Depression. As an advocate of the gold standard I will begin with Roosevelt's treatment of gold. A gold standard serves as an anchor of sorts, keeping the ship of monetary policy from drifting into currents of a wildly fluctuating (usually rising) money supply. Of course, a greater money supply does not cause prosperity. What causes prosperity is a greater supply of goods and services. Absent those, being knee-deep in dollar bills will not help. Dr. Rothbard treats this subject very well as I have pointed out.
Roosevelt abandoned the gold standard, thereby cutting the chain to the anchor. The whole idea of that was to raise prices in the marketplace, a counterproductive and wrong-headed approach per Rothbard. Up until this time, gold coins had been our standard money (7). Not only that, the Federal government confiscated (euphemistically "bought") all gold, except for jewelry, fillings, and the like from the people.
One thing I would like to find out about this gold confiscation is why anyone in his or her right mind obeyed. Any reader who can remember back that far and can tell me that is welcome to contact me. It seems to me that, defiant attitude aside, it would be in one's economic self-interest to hide the gold for profitable sale later.
Also came the abominable Agricultural Adjustment Act (or AAA) and the National Recovery Administration (or NRA) that turned the entire economy into a couple of government-run cartels with all of the efficiency of the Postal Service and all of the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service. These, as I stated, were modeled after the Italian fascist system.
The purpose of the AAA was to cartelize agricultural markets and the purpose of the NRA was to cartelize industrial markets. This cartelization stifled competition, which is essential to bringing higher quality goods at lower prices to consumers. And, during the Great Depression, people were actually going hungry, so lower prices and a greater abundance of goods were particularly important to consumers.
However, true to the bogus economic hypotheses of John Maynard Keynes and against the wisdom of the great economist Ludwig von Mises, and against my own simple logic, the Roosevelt administration was determined to increase government, raise prices, and cut productivity.
I do not believe I need to tell you why raising prices and cutting productivity during a depression is idiotic. But I might need to point out that increased government spending is wrong. It is because the taxes required will decrease individuals' ability to save and invest, which helps to end a depression. (Taxation also, obviously, takes away money they may need for the necessities of life.) (8)
The methods employed to cut productivity need to be pointed out. Not only did this keep food, clothing and other goods away from the needy, but it was also a very severe infringement on civil liberties. Thomas DiLorenzo points out in Reassessing the Presidency that detailed and hairsplitting rules and regulations were made that were strictly enforced with severe penalties. Work hours were curtailed in productive (private) sectors while cushy jobs were handed out to favorites in the non-productive (government) sector. One of the single worst instances was, while children were going hungry, the government was paying farmers with their parents' money to burn crops and slaughter livestock. This was a PR disaster, of course, so they began to pay farmers to not produce in the first place (9) or to meticulously regulate the crops allowed. (10)
Fortunately, for the country, we had a Supreme Court at that time (before FDR managed to pack it) that had a small handle on freedom. In 1935, after government tactics gave rise to a protest (there were still enough people then who still believed in freedom), the Supreme Court ruled that both the AAA and the NRA were unconstitutional. But this did not at all faze the worst Twentieth Century American enemy of freedom.
Undaunted, President Roosevelt forged on towards destruction with his "Second New Deal." This brought on a host of new assaults on the badly beaten economy and comatose freedom. This time it was aimed at the average wage earner. I hardly know where to begin, but let us begin with something most people favor, and that is the Fair Labor Standards Act, which decreed a minimum wage.
Now, we all want to see wages rise, and under the minimum wage, some wages will rise. However, other wages will go down to zero as some employees will be laid off because employers no longer find it worthwhile to hire them. These employees are the very people who need work the most. Now, with this law, they are prohibited from working at wages below the minimum. They have two choices: to find someone who will hire them at the higher wage or not to work at all. They always had these choices, along with the choice to work at the lower wage. Now the third choice has been taken away which hurts those who would have made that choice for one reason or another (usually because they just could not find anything better). Unemployment is the result of the minimum wage.
A corollary to that was the National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act) which gave special privileges to labor unions. Of course, special privilege for one means an infringement on the rights of another. One special privilege the unions received under this act was to be able to compel someone to join the union. No club, church, or sewing circle that I know of can do that. It would be unthinkable because you and I have the right not to join. However, this union special privilege takes away this right not to join. The unions could make workers in their particular trade join, they could make employers allow union officials trespass on employers' private property to look at employers' books, they could mete out damage and injury with impunity, and they could do more. In other words, unions were (and still are to a large extent) above the law. At the same time, government control over labor relations was basically similar to that under Hitler and Mussolini (11).
The state (meaning the Roosevelt administration), along with its establishment cronies benefited greatly to the major detriment of everyone else.
And, that boils down to one thing: The individual, the building block of the whole thing, simply did not count under Roosevelt. All this effort that was (allegedly, anyway, that is if you believe Roosevelt was really trying to improve things) put into lifting society from depression was for naught because individuals were ignored. Individuals always pursue their own and their families' interest, but they were kept from doing so in the name of society, and, of course, because society is the individuals in it, society was not helped.
Another program, but the last one I will touch upon here (there are many more and I could write a whole book), is the dread Social Security Act which dealt a terrible blow to freedom of Americans yet unborn, and insulted their intelligence besides. This is the thing that adversely affected me personally, possibly more than any other single thing.
The best I can muster to say about Social Security is that it is a Ponzi scheme. It takes earnings out of the pockets of younger workers and gives this money to retirees (that is, what is left of the money after a hefty overhead). It is actually a transfer program, but what we are told about the program is an insult twice over.
First, we are told that the money taken from younger workers is held in a "trust fund" to be given back to them over time after they retire. This is insulting, first, because we are expected to believe this when we know, or should know, full well that it is really a transfer program whereby the money goes directly from worker to retiree, with a hefty percentage going for administration, meaning to government bureaucrats who do not produce any real goods or services. We need to keep in mind that government jobs destroy private sector jobs (12). In the Social Security "fund" there are only IOU's (13).
Secondly, it is insulting because the program is compulsory and we are told it is for our own good. Individuals have the God-given right to make that decision. If an individual puts that money in a bank account, even with interest rates as they are right now in early 2005, very low, he will be ahead of the game financially. After all, it is the individual's responsibility to look ahead, and if one fails to do that, there are churches and charities to help. Proper tax reform would fill up those offering plates.
We also need to remember two promises made to us at the beginning of Social Security. One was a ceiling on the amount to be taken, which was 3 percent. The other was that the Social Security number would never be used as a national identification number. We all know what happened to both of these promises, and most other government promises.
Another thing that most people do not seem to understand is that we are told that our employer must kick in a matching contribution and that is a "freebie." It is not a freebie, since, to make our employment worthwhile to our employer, we must produce enough to cover the cost of this employer contribution.
I personally deeply resented this intrusion into my life, but found no way to both earn an honest living and opt out of Social Security without sacrificing other principles even dearer to me. So, the harm was done and I am that much worse off. Money that could have been saved and invested over the years is gone and so are opportunities to do some good with it. Will I get anything back? For years I assumed that would not, but now it looks like I might get something back. And, if I do, true to a vow I made when I learned there was no way to avoid being harmed so much "for my own good," I will make sure every penny of it goes to one or more organizations that are actively fighting to restore our liberty in general, and this liberty in particular (14).
I am determined that this particular harm will be turned around to do something good, no matter what.
Meanwhile, the New Deal(s) sank the country even deeper. Government spending grew which, as I stated, made things worse because money spent by government bureaucrats cannot also be spent according to consumer preferences in the private sector. Government spending "crowds out" private spending in areas which the consumers have decided are the more important areas. Plus, government spending is just that: spending (meaning consumption). Government propaganda notwithstanding, it is not investment or saving, both of which are actually of paramount importance for lifting an economy out of a depression (15). Therefore, reduced government spending and tax cuts are called for, but true to form, the Roosevelt administration did not do that. Rather, it taxed and taxed, spent and spent, creating many pork barrel projects (16).
The pork projects were typical as they were aimed at Western swing states during election time rather than the poorer Southern states that were Roosevelt strongholds (17). In other words, like pork barrel projects from the sorry beginning of organized civil governments, their real purpose was to aggrandize establishment interests.
In fact, the entire New Deal was political! It had to be. Roosevelt had all those advisers, and anyone who has studied even freshman-level economics understands that there is no way for such a program to improve the economy. This is not rocket science.
The second major blow dealt to liberty by Roosevelt was very similar to that of Lincoln, only it was very likely worse.
It was the U.S. participation in World War II, a war that was totally unnecessary and actually caused by our totally unnecessary and wrongful participation in World War I.
What happened was that our participation in World War I and our signing of the Treaty of Versailles gave rise to Hitler (18), and Roosevelt really dug in his heels on the Treaty, thus making some Treaty opponents sympathetic to Hitler. Eventually it resulted in the declaration of war on the part on England and France. After Roosevelt's campaign promises not to do so, he and Winston Churchill conspired to draw the U.S. into the war in a Lincolnesque manner by falsifying information, tampering with elections and other means (19), not to mention provoking Germany and then provoking Japan into the first shot at Pearl Harbor (20). I think it is generally known now (or at least it should be) that Roosevelt knew that was coming and even provoked it, just as Lincoln anticipated and provoked the attack on Fort Sumter. In fact, I would highly recommend chapter 16, "Roosevelt and the First Shot: A Study of Deceit and Deception" in Reassessing the Presidency. This gives a complete and well-documented rundown of why and how Roosevelt provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and saw it coming.
Over a year before Pearl Harbor was hit, and once Hitler had conquered France, polls were showing that the American people were very afraid of Hitler and preferred our getting into war to allowing him to win a war with England (21). While Roosevelt wanted to get into a war and the "progressively educated" populace sheepishly followed, some dissented. Many of these dissenters were the same people who realized how unworkable and downright wrong-headed the New Deal was. Of course these people were demonized and some wound up in prison.
Roosevelt wanted to get into the war "to help the British" defeat Germany for the usual reasons presidents get into wars, which is to increase their power and prestige. He was also interested in help from Britain to get a world organization started. This was something just about all libertarians, including myself, fiercely oppose: the United Nations. We see it as a threat to our national sovereignty and to the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.
After the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt formed a commission to investigate what happened that allowed the attack. The commission was to investigate it at the Hawaii end only, and not at the Washington end, where provocation and anticipation of the attack were known (22). The cover-up continued on and on (23). The top military officers who were in charge were scapegoated, but posthumously exonerated.
All those people, more than 2,000 (24), were killed that day because Franklin Delano Roosevelt had become a power-hungry, imperial president and had dealt a severe blow to the face of liberty in the fist-print of Abraham Lincoln. He would have said he "haaaaad" to go to war, and "haaaaad" to impose all the economic policies, thus sounding like a sheep.
Had we stayed out of World War II, maybe two of the worst dictatorships that the world has ever seen (Hitler and Stalin) would have fought until they both went belly up, saving the lives and life-styles of millions and making world peace a possibility.
Of course, what was going on here at home during the war could only be described as a dictatorship. International (imperial, or world police) power is not the only reason a president would want to get into war, as we saw during the Lincoln discussion. Lincoln had set the dangerous precedent of presidential war powers at home and Roosevelt exercised these unconstitutional powers to the fullest extent. It was not that difficult. The economy had been regimented through most of the 1930s and the "progressively educated" populace bought into the myths about the New Deal being the solution to the Great Depression and about U.S. entry into World War II being what finally ended the Depression.
The Depression was not over by any means. People were still having grave difficulties, and the only reason the unemployment rate went way down was because so many men went to war and so many other people were hired to administer the bureaucracies. This did not end the Depression any more than throwing a rock through a window will bolster an economy when it gives a window-repair person a day's work. The idea that war is good for an economy is what Nineteenth Century classical liberal economist Frédéric Bastiat called the Broken Window Fallacy (25). The American people were ignorant of sound economic policies and woefully ignorant of the great libertarian principles of the Founders. They had become used to being told what to do and were now totally united behind the president, at least as far as the war was concerned. Of course, people are prone to human nature, and the cost of the war was always passed to someone else whenever possible (26).
So, Roosevelt and his accomplices got away with everything a power-monger could ever want. They lost no time in exercising "war powers" and covering up the cost.
Of course, those who decided to get into war were not the same people who were to fight it. If they were to go themselves, maybe they would have taken a more sensible approach. Rather, in the same spirit as the years of economic compulsion, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, or the male draft, was passed. Some groups of men were exempt, public officials being one. (Wonder why?) In addition, the Act called for businesses to fill government orders on a priority basis, a possible eminent domain-like proceeding being a penalty along with fines and jail time.
The draft involuntary servitude was also used to shame the rest of the citizenry into sacrifices on the grounds that their sacrifices were "lesser."
So much for civil liberties.
On the economic front (although, as pointed out, the draft law did impact businesses), the Federal government got itself involved in every aspect of business. In fact, in many areas it was downright socialist. Roosevelt tried to tell the American people that the loss of life, limb, and property were not a sacrifice, but a "privilege." With privilege like that, who needs Communism? In fact, with privilege like that, it is time for individuals to assert their rights!
And, just as they were in Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, these "privileges" were backed up by iron-fisted methods. Congress compliantly gave Roosevelt the powers he was craving. We had a full-blown socialist command economy (27).
The cost of all of this to government was enormous. So, rather than raise taxes, which would have been poor in the PR department, the government inflated the currency. One or the other has to be done to cover deficit spending. Inflation actually is a hidden tax. Then the government tried to hide inflation by way of price controls (28), while it continued its drunken-sailor spending on the military, bringing about the military industrial complex as it crushed the economy and dished out more power to the president (29).
It cost the average person even more. Of course price ceilings always produce shortages. So, when wages were exempt from the ceilings, mainly to please unions, causing more unemployment, regular people were not helped. Rationing was tried as a solution, but that only gave rise to favoritism and corruption on the part of handpicked members of rationing boards. At the end of the day, the government was making all decisions, and the military came first.
I had a co-worker who was a pre-schooler at that time. Like so many small children, she had an ear infection. Penicillin had just been introduced and this would have cured a painful earache. However, it was not available to little children. Soldiers came first. Soldiers who should never have been in a war that should never have happened got priority over innocent children who could have been maimed for life. This is an example of how government decision-making can affect an individual.
And to think that all this authoritarian centralization was for the purpose of whipping National Socialism!
And, unlike their brave actions taken when they struck down some New Deal programs as unconstitutional, this time the Supreme Court did nothing to defend freedom! Of course, by that time Roosevelt had packed the Court with his own collectivist appointees.
And as far as state nullification was concerned, that had been long forgotten!
The most outrageous act of the Supreme Court justices, however, was when they turned their back on 110,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry (and others), most of whom were law-abiding American citizens (30). This was truly an all-time low.
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that would take three years of life away from these 110,000 people by sending them to internment camps with absolutely no due process of law whatsoever, no opportunity to protest, and almost no time at all to get ready (31). This act was proof positive that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had absolutely no regard for the rights of the individual and thought in terms of collectives, just as Abraham Lincoln had done before him in his attitudes toward the blacks. This is racism, pure and simple, and this and all other types of collectivism are entirely wrong.
What is truly the most incredible thing about the internment of these law-abiding Americans is that while I was growing up in the Northeast, we kids were never even told this had happened. Of course, I cannot remember the actual time, but when I was in grade school it was not really that long after World War II.
I am positive that why we were not told is that the schools were constantly praising our great government's gallant defense of freedom. I went to public school through junior high and firmly believe that my time would have been better spent swinging on tree branches like a monkey. Even an 8-year-old in second or third grade could easily see a major disconnect between the internment and the alleged defense of freedom.
But what of the adults? What did they know? I have not done so yet, but I will be asking my elderly relatives about this later this year when I visit the Northeast. Now, I know that the generation of the day was profoundly obedient, thanks largely to "progressive education" (read one-size-fits-all mass indoctrination in "good citizenship," group first, cooperation, team playing, and other such collectivist nonsense), and either the lapdog news media did not report the internment at all or sugar-coated it the best they could.
The government can twist around the news in such a way as to get people to go along. It did under Lincoln (non-conforming editors faced prison), and now it was doing so under Roosevelt. But internment camps? Perhaps they were less crowded, cleaner, and more comfortable than Auschwitz, perhaps families were not separated, and perhaps more food and medicine were available, but the people were confined there, like it or not so, realistically, this was a major violation of rights that cannot possibly be justified.
Once the war was over, the peace dividend kicked in and the Great Depression finally lifted. Much of the government intervention in the economy ended as did the use (waste) of time and resources on war materials and the populace, with unspent money, started to save, invest, and spend. Of course, Roosevelt was out of office in early 1945 to the immense joy of freedom lovers, not that Truman was a model libertarian, but at least "that man" was gone.
Fortunately at that time, most people still understood the benefits of frugality, so they did not spend all they had; rather they put a lot of their money into banks to be invested in capital. The rest of their money, what did not go to charity (Europe was in desperate need of help and Americans were very generous) was spent on needed items, which were snapped up as they rolled off the assembly lines.
The left will be quick to point out that women, who had done a top-notch job filling in for men at work while the men were overseas, were let go from these jobs in many cases when the men returned. While this must be judged on a case-by-case basis, I do agree that there is a major issue here in light of the fact that women can do everything men can do (aside from those requiring more muscular strength on average). However, we must remember that over time people have since learned to be more realistic.
Unfortunately, we did not live happily ever after. People had been trained to do what their government told them to do. The federal government made many inroads in the demise of liberty, which included a precedent for confining large numbers of law-abiding citizens in camps, and paved the way for bigger and worse things. Government was bigger and more powerful than it ever had been in the U.S., and big government was here to stay.
President Roosevelt was not content with confining his quest for power to the U.S. He wanted to rule the world!
It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who introduced the country to intrusive international policy and globalism (32) just as Lincoln introduced it to the mercantilist economic system. Woodrow Wilson, the other main contender for worst Twentieth Century American enemy of liberty, had entered and fought World War I to "make the world safe for democracy" and proceeded to make the world impossible for freedom. Now, during the trouncing of Americans' economic and civil liberties nearly to death, Roosevelt wanted to export the whole thing. He determined to do a couple of terrible things: to establish the United Nations that, as we know, would later push and be pushed by the establishment to become a world government (subordinating our Constitution), and to make major concessions to Communist dictator Stalin, who was in the process of killing by starvation, execution, and by other means tens and scores of millions of people and impoverishing hundreds of millions more.
Roosevelt, like Lincoln, was power-hungry, and he admired (and perhaps envied) Stalin. He covered up for Stalin a particularly gruesome atrocity that took place in 1939, called the Katyn Forest Massacre, in which the Russians murdered 15,000 Polish soldiers for no reason and then left their bodies there. Years later they were found by the Germans. When the Red Cross wanted to investigate, Roosevelt suppressed it (33). For all we know, this is not the only such incident. For every such thing that sees the light of day, we do not know how many remain hidden. Sugar-coating rights violations in Russia made it possible for the American people to accept the Soviet Union as an ally.
The U.S. extended material aid to Russia during the war through Roosevelt's "Lend-Lease" proposal to send arms and supplies to them with no strings attached.
And, of course, all this time he was lying about his intentions of getting into the war. He swore up and down that he would stay out, even as he was looking for an excuse to get in. Once that excuse came, American taxpayers, whose children were crying for food and medicine, not only had to finance that, but also had to finance increased aid to the Soviet Union.
And, once in the war, Roosevelt talked of a German "unconditional surrender" which prompted Hitler to dig in his heels. Japan also would not consider "unconditional surrender." Clearly, Roosevelt wanted to get into war and stay there. He played with the lives of people all over the world to stay in the war and to please his buddy Stalin. As a result, half of the world's population wound up under the yoke of Communism (34) and there was no way that much, if any, of the rest could be described as "free." Everybody (except top establishment cronies) was poorer as a result.
Some historians claim that Roosevelt had naively been sucked in by Stalin, but my opinion is that Roosevelt had hordes of advisors at his service, and if I can figure this out, he could. There is no excuse for either Roosevelt or Lincoln.
To fight and win that war and to establish the U.N. (which did not happen until later, of course, but it did happen), which were Roosevelt's goals, along with his idea of the U.S. as the world's policeman to keep Communism at bay, were most detrimental to liberty.
In closing, Roosevelt's mighty blows to liberty were, in the fist prints of Lincoln, first in authoritarian, collectivist, centralist domestic policy which devastated individual liberty in the U.S., and second in imperialist, interventionist warmongering which caused the deaths of hundreds of millions, destroyed unknown amounts of property, and shattered or at least reduced individual liberty all over the world (35). His legacy is deeply reflected in the platforms of both branches of the Authoritarian Party.
(1) Gregory, Anthony, "Are Current Bill of Rights Erosions Unprecedented?" http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/gregory1.html
(2) North, Gary, "Lincoln and FDR" http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north34.html
(3) Rothbard, Murray, America's Great Depression, Richardson and Snyder, 1983, New York. The whole book, especially Chapter 1. If you read only one thing to understand economic upturns, downturns, booms, recessions, and depressions, please make sure it is this chapter. You can read this and other great books online at http://www.mises.org. Also see other works by Dr. Rothbard such as What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case Against the Fed. To obtain these, see "catalog" at mises.org.
(4) Ibid P. 25-26
(5) Denson, John V., ed., Reassessing the Presidency, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001, Auburn, Ala., P.435.
(6) Ibid, Chapter 15. The entire chapter, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal" by Thomas DiLorenzo, gives a very good rundown of all the various New Deal programs.
(7) Ibid P.434. Also Rothbard, Murray N., Making Economic Sense, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1995, Auburn, Ala., P. 298-300.
(8) Rothbard, America's Great Depression, P. 28.
(9) Denson, P. 434.
(10) Rothbard, Making Economic Sense, P. 85-88. Some of these rules were still in effect when Dr. Rothbard published his book, and may still be now, thanks to government-enforced farm cartels.
(11) Denson, P. 441.
(12) Ibid. P. 443.
(13) http://www.sierratimes.com/05/03/09adamo.htm (Please make sure you pick up the entire URL) Adamo, Christopher G., "Why Liberals Abhor True Social Security Reform" explains this. Problem is, he seems to favor President Bush's plan that will, I think, only make matters worse.
(14) One might simply refuse to accept the money, which I did consider. But why leave it in the hands of those who would spend it to kill Iraqi kids or perpetuate the insane war on drugs? So I will apply for it. Yes, you do have to apply for it, and you start 3 months before you become eligible by calling the nearest Social Security office.
(15) Rothbard, America's Great Depression spells this out very well.
(16) Denson, P. 444-445.
(17) Ibid, P. 446.
(18) Higgs, Robert, Crisis and Leviathan, Oxford University Press, 1987, New York, P. 198.
(19) Denson, P. 486-491.
(20) Denson, P. 496-501. Also see Woods, Thomas E. Jr., A Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004, Washington, D.C., P. 174-176.
(21) Higgs, P. 199.
(22) Denson, P. 515.
(23) Ibid, P. 515-517. In this important chapter, Denson (the book editor who wrote this chapter) credits Robert B. Stinnett's Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor with bringing this to the light of day.
(24) Woods, P. 181.
(25) Hazlitt, Henry, Economics in One Lesson, Laissez Faire Books, 1996, San Francisco, P. 11-12. A very good beginning book on economics that appeals to reason, aimed at the rugged individualist.
(26) Higgs, P. 198. This whole chapter is an excellent source of information on Roosevelt's wartime domestic policies.
(27) Ibid, P. 204-211.
(28) Rothbard, America's Great Depression, P. 29
(29) Higgs, P. 212.
(30) Ibid, P. 225.
(31) http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-6,GGLD:en&q=%22Executive+Order+9066%22 There is a wealth of information here.
(32) Denson, Reassessing the Presidency, P. 528.
(33) Ibid, P. 530.
(34) Ibid, P. 542.
(35) Woods, Chapter 14, entire chapter.