Monday, October 01, 2007

Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt

What FDR had in common with the other charismatic collectivists of the 30s. Excerpts:

On May 7, 1933, just two months after the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New York Times reporter Anne O'Hare McCormick wrote that the atmosphere in Washington was "strangely reminiscent of Rome in the first weeks after the march of the Blackshirts, of Moscow at the beginning of the Five-Year Plan..America today literally asks for orders." The Roosevelt administration, she added, "envisages a federation of industry, labor and government after the fashion of the corporative State as it exists in Italy." That article isn't quoted in Three New Deals, a fascinating study by the German cultural historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch. But it underscores his central argument: that there are surprising similarities between the programs of Roosevelt, Mussolini, and Hitler.

With our knowledge of the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II, we find it almost impossible to consider such claims dispassionately. But in the 1930s, when everyone agreed that capitalism had failed, it wasn't hard to find common themes and mutual admiration in Washington, Berlin, and Rome, not to mention Moscow. (Three New Deals does not focus as much on the latter.) Nor is that a mere historical curiosity, of no great importance in the era following democracy's triumph over fascism, National Socialism, and communism. Schivelbusch concludes his essay with the liberal journalist John T. Flynn's warning, in 1944, that state power feeds on crises and enemies. Since then we have been warned about many crises and many enemies, and we have come to accept a more powerful and more intrusive state than existed before the '30s.....

In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as "Fascist means to gain liberal ends." He wasn't hallucinating. FDR's adviser Rexford Tugwell wrote in his diary that Mussolini had done "many of the things which seem to me necessary." Lorena Hickok, a close confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt who lived in the White House for a spell, wrote approvingly of a local official who had said, "If [President] Roosevelt were actually a dictator, we might get somewhere." She added that if she were younger, she'd like to lead "the Fascist Movement in the United States." At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, "The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America."

Roosevelt himself called Mussolini "admirable" and professed that he was "deeply impressed by what he has accomplished." The admiration was mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt's 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, "Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices..Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism." The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised "Roosevelt's adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies" and "the development toward an authoritarian state" based on the "demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest."

In 1973 one of the most distinguished American historians, John A. Garraty of Columbia University, created a stir with his article "The New Deal, National Socialism, and the Great Depression." Garraty was an admirer of Roosevelt but couldn't help noticing, for instance, the parallels between the Civilian Conservation Corps and similar programs in Germany. Both, he wrote, "were essentially designed to keep young men out of the labor market. Roosevelt described work camps as a means for getting youth `off the city street corners,' Hitler as a way of keeping them from `rotting helplessly in the streets.' In both countries much was made of the beneficial social results of mixing thousands of young people from different walks of life in the camps. Furthermore, both were organized on semimilitary lines with the subsidiary purposes of improving the physical fitness of potential soldiers and stimulating public commitment to national service in an emergency."

And in 1976, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan incurred the ire of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), pro-Roosevelt historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., and The New York Times when he told reporters that "fascism was really the basis of the New Deal."




About time: "Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead apologized today for the school's lack of full support for the three lacrosse players falsely accused last year of raping an escort service dancer. It was Brodhead's first public apology for the university's handling of the case, which drew worldwide media attention. He said the university should have done more to reach out to the players and their families at a time of great peril. "This was a mistake. I take responsibility for it and I apologize," he said.... "If there's one lesson the world should take from the Duke lacrosse case," Brodhead said, "it's the danger of prejudgment and our need to defend against it at every turn." His short speech was greeted with a standing ovation by many in the crowd.... Brodhead forced the resignation of the lacrosse coach and canceled the 2006 Duke lacrosse season after the dancer claimed she was assaulted at a lacrosse team party on March 13, 2006"

Life in the California dream world: "A rash of recent murders has not only shattered the peace in Sacramento, it has shaken our community's sense of itself as a safe place to live and raise families. Two weeks ago, armed robbers broke into a home in southeast Sacramento County where residents were apparently selling drugs. Detectives say the assailants shot to death Sean Aquitania, a visitor at the home who tried to fight them off. One of the killers then walked outside and shot Aquitania's 7-month-old son, Sean Jr., in the head. The boy was strapped in a car seat, helpless. It was the cold-blooded murder of an infant. And it didn't happen on the streets of bloody Baghdad. It happened on a neighborhood cul-de-sac here in Sacramento. As local residents absorbed the horror of the deliberate murder of an infant, someone pumped four bullets into 21-year old Rodrigo Rodriguez, a scholarship student at the University of California, Berkeley, the first of his family to go to college, a young man who organized food drives and tutored kids from poor neighborhoods. The killing took place outside a barber shop in Oak Park two days after baby Sean's murder. Witnesses say the killer shot twice, and after Rodriguez fell, twice more. The shooter then jumped into the passenger seat of a waiting car and drove away."

British Leftists to destroy the navy that Napoleon and Hitler could not: "Ministers have drawn up confidential proposals to slash the number of ships in the Royal Navy, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. The expected reductions follow a fierce row between Service chiefs and the Treasury over defence spending. The Ministry of Defence has produced a plan to decommission five warships from next April, which would reduce the Navy's capability to the level where it could carry out only "one small-scale operation".

Superannuated traitor now totally nuts: "Daniel Ellsberg must miss being in the spotlight. The former star of the radical left, best known for giving the New York Times the "Pentagon Papers", is on the comeback trail, trying to restablish his radical credentials on the college speaking circuit. But times have changed and Ellsberg knows he must change with them; he must become as hysterically unbalanced in his criticism of government as any other lefty if he expects to stand out in a crowd. At American University on September 20, Ellsberg didn't disappoint. He said: "And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran - an escalation - which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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