T Nation

FDR's Inaugural, 1933


#1

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today....Values have shrunken to fantastic levels....our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side....the savings of many years of thousands of families are gone."

"More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."

"Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men....Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money (and exhortations) to follow their false leadership. They have no vision, and when there is (none) the people perish."

"The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore (it. Doing it will involve) the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit....there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often (results in) callous and selfish wrongdoing. (We need) action and now....to put people to work....(by redistributing land to those) best fitted (to use it (and) by preventing the tragedy of....foreclosure of our small homes and our farms."

We need in place "safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people's money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency....For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less."

How does this compare with Obama's Inaugural? Was FDR 'spot on' then and Obama now?


#2

Let us hope that Obama is not another FDR.

Here is how Winston Churchill (amusing note: I initially mistyped that as Winstrol Churchill, but no matter) in 1937 evaluated FDR’s Presidency:

"“The Washington Administration has waged so ruthless a war on private enterprise that the United States . . . is actually at the present moment leading the world back into the trough of depression.”

Or what of FDR’s own self-evaluation: “Stalin is my brother.”

Or FDR’s spending: in his first year he proposed spending more than three times what the revenues were.

After having promised "“I propose to you that the government, big and little, be made solvent and that the example be set by the President of the United States and his cabinet…Stop the deficits! Stop the deficits!”

Or say his forced confiscation of Americans’ gold, paying those he took it from $20 an ounce and then turning it around and selling it to foreign governments at $35.

Or say his fascist (by literal definition) National Recovery Administration, which his fellow Democrat, Senator Glass, called “the utterly dangerous effort of the federal government at Washington to transplant Hitlerism to every corner of this nation.” And which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

By fascist, I mean government control of enterprise.

For an analysis of the New Deal given in 1936 by fellow Democrat, Governor Al Smith, see: http://www.geocities.com/mark_willey/smith36.pdf

Let us hope Obama is not like this.

(Yes, I know the bedwetters will be crying that Churchill, Glass, and Smith were just meanies and/or ignoramuses who did not know that they were talking about, and FDR was the greatest ever, so let’s just stipulate that the view also exists that FDR was the greatest ever. Generally among those buying into “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” and usually approving each and every plank of the Communist Manifesto. I do realize FDR has great popularity with many approving maximally big, maximally powerful government.)


#3

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Let us hope that Obama is not another FDR.

Here is how Winston Churchill (amusing note: I initially mistyped that as Winstrol Churchill, but no matter)
[/quote]

Déformation professionelle?


#4

Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.


#5

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.[/quote]

Yup!

It is a pun in french.

Formation professionelle means something like learning a craft or “career training”.

A deformation professionelle means that you have been formed by it in unexpected ways, like automatically ending win-with -strol in your case.

There is a warning in there, because that can take much more serious forms, like a manager who sees everything, even personal relationships in terms of economic efficiency or a policeman that thinks everyone is a POS because he sees them every day.


#6

[quote]orion wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.

Yup!

It is a pun in french.

Formation professionelle means something like learning a craft or “career training”.

A deformation professionelle means that you have been formed by it in unexpected ways, like automatically ending win-with -strol in your case.

There is a warning in there, because that can take much more serious forms, like a manager who sees everything, even personal relationships in terms of economic efficiency or a policeman that thinks everyone is a POS because he sees them every day.[/quote]

Not to be confused with “fingerspitzenge-fool?”


#7

[quote]orion wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.

Yup!

It is a pun in french.

Formation professionelle means something like learning a craft or “career training”.

A deformation professionelle means that you have been formed by it in unexpected ways, like automatically ending win-with -strol in your case.

There is a warning in there, because that can take much more serious forms, like a manager who sees everything, even personal relationships in terms of economic efficiency or a policeman that thinks everyone is a POS because he sees them every day.[/quote]

Thanks!

That is a very good term that we don’t have.

As is the custom of native English-speakers, presumably we will now steal it :wink:


#8

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
orion wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.

Yup!

It is a pun in french.

Formation professionelle means something like learning a craft or “career training”.

A deformation professionelle means that you have been formed by it in unexpected ways, like automatically ending win-with -strol in your case.

There is a warning in there, because that can take much more serious forms, like a manager who sees everything, even personal relationships in terms of economic efficiency or a policeman that thinks everyone is a POS because he sees them every day.

Thanks!

That is a very good term that we don’t have.

As is the custom of native English-speakers, presumably we will now steal it :wink:

[/quote]

“force of habit” is pretty close. or “forcive habit” as many say it.


#9

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
orion wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Have to admit I never learned the meaning of “Déformation” ??

(Never got further than 3rd year French.)

I expect it was a matter of the fingers being habituated on typing “Winst” to end the word in that manner.

Yup!

It is a pun in french.

Formation professionelle means something like learning a craft or “career training”.

A deformation professionelle means that you have been formed by it in unexpected ways, like automatically ending win-with -strol in your case.

There is a warning in there, because that can take much more serious forms, like a manager who sees everything, even personal relationships in terms of economic efficiency or a policeman that thinks everyone is a POS because he sees them every day.

Thanks!

That is a very good term that we don’t have.

As is the custom of native English-speakers, presumably we will now steal it :wink:

“force of habit” is pretty close. or “forcive habit” as many say it.[/quote]

Deformation has connotations of a physical handicap caused by your job. Imagine a hump or a limp caused by your job, just in your mind.


#10

This French expression also makes the context more specific. For example if I were to say merely that someone (who is a doctor) did something from force of habit, that would communicate nothing about where the habit came from, whereas this expression does do that.

That is on top of the advantage that Orion just pointed out – “force of habit” suggests nothing as to the habit in question resulting in a deformation, so to speak, in any way, whereas one might want to communicate exactly that feeling.

I hope the English language steals it.


#11

Bill, I’d like you to post a source on that “Stalin is my brother” quote from FDR. While I don’t doubt Winst"rol"/on Churchill (I should photoshop a picture of that) said what he said, I have very strong suspicions that the context with which FDR said “Stalin is my brother” had nothing to do with an economic policy leaning towards fascism or communism. That would be a very damning self admission indeed.


#12

Actually FDR had a long history of admiration for Stalin and efforts to prop him up, including using taxpayer money to produce films presenting Stalin as being just wonderful.

But as to your specific question, first, there is no context making it okay to call someone who had killed millions under his dictatorship one’s “brother.” What would you think about “Hitler is my brother”? Really little difference.

But as you wished the context: FDR was bothered that he had traveled a great distance to accomodate Stalin and saw no signs that Stalin was pleased with him personally at all, so he came up with a plan that he would start making fun of Churchill, hoping to please Stalin in this way.

I now quote from the book Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by Conrad Black:

“A vague smile passed over Stalin’s eyes, and I decided I was on the right track. As soon as I sat down at the conference table, I began to tease Churchill about his Britishness, about John Bull, about his cigars, about his habits. It began to register with Stalin. Winston get red and scowled, and the more he did so, the more Stalin smiled. Finally Stalin broke into a deep hearty guffaw, and for the first time in three days I saw light. I kept it up until Stalin was laughing with me, and it was then that I called him ‘Uncle Joe.’ He would have thought me fresh the day before, but that day he laughed and came over and shook my hand. From that time on our relations were personal, and Stalin himself engaged in occasional witticism. The ice was broken and we talked like men and brothers.”

So it turns out that the quote is a paraphrase which more accurately should have been that FDR said he and Stalin talked like brothers.

However, inasmuch as Stalin had by even very early in FDR’s Presidency murdered 10 million Ukrainians, and by this time murdered far more of those under his dictatorship, and FDR had never had a critical word (that I have ever seen) for Stalin and did propagandize for him, I think it’s fair to say that he wouldn’t have described his meeting and characterized his talk with such a tyrant as being “like brothers” except for genuinely finding kinship.

I’ve never seen anything from FDR that would indicate the opposite. Can any think of an example?

And it can’t be said, “Oh, but the war was so terrible that being chummy with Stalin was the lesser of two evils and a great President was forced to make the wise choice,” because Stalin had been murdering millions since well before the start of the war, during FDR’s Presidency and what is the sign that FDR ever saw even the slightest problem with that?

I realize that Stalin (for some peculiar, if it is peculiar) reason has never among most people in this country acquired the reputation, in terms of gut feeling, that his deeds deserve.

So substitute in one’s imagination “Hitler” for each case of Stalin, and imagine that Hitler had been murdering millions since the very beginning of FDR’s Presidency and FDR gave Hitler the same press, and had a meeting and spoke the same of his meeting, as he did with Stalin.

Would we not then fairly criticize FDR severely for that? Would it not say something extremely shocking, in fact?

No different with Stalin.

As to whether the quote had to do with economic policy, I didn’t say that it did. Though I can appreciate that since much of the remainder of the topic was economic, that could have seemed the intended point. The point was just a self-felt connection that FDR described regarding Stalin. Which I think the full quote supports: a self-felt real connection.

As opposed to FDR viewing Stalin as a murderous monster that he was forced to be diplomatic with. Nope, no sign of such feeling from FDR. Quite the opposite.

But yes, it turns out the quote was an imperfect paraphrase that has somehow acquired life as a quote, but is only close to the gist rather than being the precise words or really the exact gist. I apologize for my error there in mistakenly having thought of and presenting it as an exact quote.

Stalin was one of the most hideously murderous monsters and oppressors in history. If any have evidence that FDR objected to Stalin, his acts, or his form or manner of government on any moral, philosophical, or other level, let it be presented!

I would also wonder which plank of the Communist Manifesto FDR cannot be shown to have supported – let alone one that he could be shown, from his deeds, to have been opposed to.

So that is why while many hope for Obama to prove to be another FDR, I hope that he will not.


#13

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:

But yes, it turns out the quote was an imperfect paraphrase that has somehow acquired life as a quote, but is only close to the gist rather than being the precise words or really the exact gist. I apologize for my error there in mistakenly having thought of and presenting it as an exact quote.

…[/quote]

If FDR said anything like this at all, I would opine that it was in the context of the conduct of the War. (And not at Yalta, fans.)

But more likely, the"quote" is just a misattribution of something far more witty from Churchill, of course:

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”


#14

Why did I even bother typing out this:

[i]I now quote from the book Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by Conrad Black:

“A vague smile passed over Stalin’s eyes, and I decided I was on the right track. As soon as I sat down at the conference table, I began to tease Churchill about his Britishness, about John Bull, about his cigars, about his habits. It began to register with Stalin. Winston get red and scowled, and the more he did so, the more Stalin smiled. Finally Stalin broke into a deep hearty guffaw, and for the first time in three days I saw light. I kept it up until Stalin was laughing with me, and it was then that I called him ‘Uncle Joe.’ He would have thought me fresh the day before, but that day he laughed and came over and shook my hand. From that time on our relations were personal, and Stalin himself engaged in occasional witticism. The ice was broken and we talked like men and brothers.” [/i]

when the reply winds up being:

[quote]DrSkeptix wrote:
But more likely, the “quote” is just a misattribution of something far more witty from Churchill, of course:

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
[/quote]

You have reason to not consider the above fuller quote valid?

Or if your reference is to the shorter questionable quote, on a hypothesis that perhaps FDR alsp at some time said that exactly that way, a problem with that would be that sources giving the place where the shorter quote was allegedly given cite this same meeting as where the substantiated longer quote occurred. So they would not seem to be based on separate things.


#15

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Why did I even bother typing out this:

[i]I now quote from the book Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by Conrad Black:

“A vague smile passed over Stalin’s eyes, and I decided I was on the right track. As soon as I sat down at the conference table, I began to tease Churchill about his Britishness, about John Bull, about his cigars, about his habits. It began to register with Stalin. Winston get red and scowled, and the more he did so, the more Stalin smiled. Finally Stalin broke into a deep hearty guffaw, and for the first time in three days I saw light. I kept it up until Stalin was laughing with me, and it was then that I called him ‘Uncle Joe.’ He would have thought me fresh the day before, but that day he laughed and came over and shook my hand. From that time on our relations were personal, and Stalin himself engaged in occasional witticism. The ice was broken and we talked like men and brothers.” [/i]

when the reply winds up being:

DrSkeptix wrote:
But more likely, the “quote” is just a misattribution of something far more witty from Churchill, of course:

“If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

You have reason to not consider the above fuller quote valid?

Or if your reference is to the shorter questionable quote, on a hypothesis that perhaps FDR alsp at some time said that exactly that way, a problem with that would be that sources giving the place where the shorter quote was allegedly given cite this same meeting as where the substantiated longer quote occurred. So they would not seem to be based on separate things.[/quote]

Oh, no reason. I took the opportunity to qote WC for perspective on the practicality of statecraft. Norms are sacrificed in war. I guess I will have to read the Black book now. This will be another cycle of revisionist FDR history.

So, is this a story told by FDR boasting–say after Teheran or Almaty conferences–to impress how others how charming he was that he could rile WC and seduce Stalin at one blow? AFter all, there was nothing to lose by teasing WC, and FDR was deluded enough to think that Stalin was charmed into cooperation and transparency.

FDR’s singular accomplishment was charm, and an ability to find smart and willing people to work for him. Judgment? I suppose every literate person would think his judgment failed him in his estimation of Stalin and Stalin’s goals. (And, I add at the same breath, a man of similar greed and evil intent, Joseph Kennedy.)