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Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2019

Mussolini, who did not allow his work as dictator to interrupt his prolific journalism, wrote a glowing review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward. He found “reminiscent of fascism … the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices”; and, in another review, this time of Henry Wallace’s New Frontiers, Il Duce found the Secretary of Agriculture’s program similar to his own corporativism (pp. 23-24).

https://mises.org/library/three-new-deals-why-nazis-and-fascists-loved-fdr

David Gordon

Critics of Roosevelt’s New Deal often liken it to fascism. Roosevelt’s numerous defenders dismiss this charge as reactionary propaganda; but as Wolfgang Schivelbusch makes clear, it is perfectly true. Moreover, it was recognized to be true during the 1930s, by the New Deal’s supporters as well as its opponents.

When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, he received from Congress an extraordinary delegation of powers to cope with the Depression.

The broad-ranging powers granted to Roosevelt by Congress, before that body went into recess, were unprecedented in times of peace. Through this “delegation of powers,” Congress had, in effect, temporarily done away with itself as the legislative branch of government. The only remaining check on the executive was the Supreme Court. In Germany, a similar process allowed Hitler to assume legislative power after the Reichstag burned down in a suspected case of arson on February 28, 1933. (p. 18).

The Nazi press enthusiastically hailed the early New Deal measures: America, like the Reich, had decisively broken with the “uninhibited frenzy of market speculation.” The Nazi Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, “stressed ‘Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies,’ praising the president’s style of leadership as being compatible with Hitler’s own dictatorial Führerprinzip” (p. 190).

Nor was Hitler himself lacking in praise for his American counterpart. He “told American ambassador William Dodd that he was ‘in accord with the President in the view that the virtue of duty, readiness for sacrifice, and discipline should dominate the entire people. These moral demands which the President places before every individual citizen of the United States are also the quintessence of the German state philosophy, which finds its expression in the slogan “The Public Weal Transcends the Interest of the Individual”‘” (pp. 19-20). A New Order in both countries had replaced an antiquated emphasis on rights.

Mussolini, who did not allow his work as dictator to interrupt his prolific journalism, wrote a glowing review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward. He found “reminiscent of fascism … the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices”; and, in another review, this time of Henry Wallace’s New Frontiers, Il Duce found the Secretary of Agriculture’s program similar to his own corporativism (pp. 23-24).

Roosevelt never had much use for Hitler, but Mussolini was another matter. “‘I don’t mind telling you in confidence,’ FDR remarked to a White House correspondent, ‘that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman'” (p. 31). Rexford Tugwell, a leading adviser to the president, had difficulty containing his enthusiasm for Mussolini’s program to modernize Italy: “It’s the cleanest … most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes me envious” (p. 32, quoting Tugwell).

Why did these contemporaries sees an affinity between Roosevelt and the two leading European dictators, while most people today view them as polar opposites? People read history backwards: they project the fierce antagonisms of World War II, when America battled the Axis, to an earlier period. At the time, what impressed many observers, including as we have seen the principal actors themselves, was a new style of leadership common to America, Germany, and Italy.

Once more we must avoid a common misconception. Because of the ruthless crimes of Hitler and his Italian ally, it is mistakenly assumed that the dictators were for the most part hated and feared by the people they ruled. Quite the contrary, they were in those pre-war years the objects of considerable adulation. A leader who embodied the spirit of the people had superseded the old bureaucratic apparatus of government.

While Hitler’s and Roosevelt’s nearly simultaneous ascension to power highlighted fundamental differences … contemporary observers noted that they shared an extraordinary ability to touch the soul of the people. Their speeches were personal, almost intimate. Both in their own way gave their audiences the impression that they were addressing not the crowd, but each listener as an individual. (p. 54)

But does not Schivelbusch’s thesis fall before an obvious objection? No doubt Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini were charismatic leaders; and all of them rejected laissez-faire in favor of the new gospel of a state-managed economy. But Roosevelt preserved civil liberties, while the dictators did not.

Schivelbusch does not deny the manifest differences between Roosevelt and the other leaders; but even if the New Deal was a “soft fascism”, the elements of compulsion were not lacking. The “Blue Eagle” campaign of the National Recovery Administration serves as his principal example. Businessmen who complied with the standards of the NRA received a poster that they could display prominently in their businesses. Though compliance was supposed to be voluntary, the head of the program, General Hugh Johnson, did not shrink from appealing to illegal mass boycotts to ensure the desired results.

“The public,” he [Johnson] added, “simply cannot tolerate non-compliance with their plan.” In a fine example of doublespeak, the argument maintained that cooperation with the president was completely voluntary but that exceptions would not be tolerated because the will of the people was behind FDR. As one historian [Andrew Wolvin] put it, the Blue Eagle campaign was “based on voluntary cooperation, but those who did not comply were to be forced into participation.” (p. 92)

Schivelbusch compares this use of mass psychology to the heavy psychological pressure used in Germany to force contributions to the Winter Relief Fund.

Both the New Deal and European fascism were marked by what Wilhelm Röpke aptly termed the “cult of the colossal.” The Tennessee Valley Authority was far more than a measure to bring electrical power to rural areas. It symbolized the power of government planning and the war on private business:

The TVA was the concrete-and-steel realization of the regulatory authority at the heart of the New Deal. In this sense, the massive dams in the Tennessee Valley were monuments to the New Deal, just as the New Cities in the Pontine Marshes were monuments to Fascism … But beyond that, TVA propaganda was also directed against an internal enemy: the capitalist excesses that had led to the Depression… (pp. 160, 162)

This outstanding study is all the more remarkable in that Schivelbusch displays little acquaintance with economics. Mises and Hayek are absent from his pages, and he grasps the significance of architecture much more than the errors of Keynes. Nevertheless, he has an instinct for the essential. He concludes the book by recalling John T. Flynn’s great book of 1944, As We Go Marching.

Flynn, comparing the New Deal with fascism, foresaw a problem that still faces us today.

But willingly or unwillingly, Flynn argued, the New Deal had put itself into the position of needing a state of permanent crisis or, indeed, permanent war to justify its social interventions. “It is born in crisis, lives on crises, and cannot survive the era of crisis…. Hitler’s story is the same.” … Flynn’s prognosis for the regime of his enemy Roosevelt sounds more apt today than when he made it in 1944 … “We must have enemies,” he wrote in As We Go Marching. “They will become an economic necessity for us.” (pp. 186, 191)

Originally published September 2006.

Be seeing you

While Donald Trump flirts with Russia, Eastern Europe ...

FDR with his “Uncle Joe”

 

 

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Mass Shootings and Political Misuse of Them Have Unintended Consequences – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on August 7, 2019

In other words, trust, an important cement in any society, is everywhere being erased. 

When trust is erased, things fall apart. 

When things fall apart, mass violence is the consequence.

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto, kept from you by the sordid presstitutes, is here:  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/08/05/the-el-paso-shooters-manifesto/

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/08/05/mass-shootings-and-responses-to-them-have-unintended-consequences/

Paul Craig Roberts

The unintended consequences of mass shootings and the attempts to use these shootings for various agendas can be far worse than the shootings themselves and ultimately endanger far more people.

I was listening to NPR this morning prior to President Trump’s 10 AM EST address on the shootings.  NPR set Trump up for blame.  Trump opposes illegal immigration and spoke of the 20,000 person caravan as “an invasion.”  And so forth.  And it wasn’t just NPR.  As USA reported, while joining in the blame trump orchestration, “Media outlets around the country, and around the world, decried his [Trump’s] role in inspiring a shooter who gunned down 20 people.” US Rep. Veronica Escobar (D,TX) said:  “All of this has happened because Hispanic people have been dehumanized. They have been dehumanized by the president, by his enablers, by other politicians.”

Rep. Escobar did not explain why and how a country’s defense of its borders constitutes dehumanization of those that the law requires to be kept out.  Is the President of the United States, who is sworn to enforce the laws and Constitution of the US, supposed to violate the law?  If the American people want open borders, they should inform their representatives and get a law passed that abolishes border controls.  If Hispanics are dehumanized by being kept out, so are Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians, and Venezuelans, all people declared to be national security threats to the US which employs a massive armed force to be sure these threats don’t invade us. Just imagine how we dehumanized the Japanese and Germans during World War II by keeping them from invading us…

We are unlikely to discover the real causes as long as shootings are used to advance agendas.  What is important is not the facts but the advancement of agendas.

Whereas the Dayton shooter wants to kill fascists, which presumably includes white supremacists, the El Paso shooter is portrayed as a white supremacist who hates Hispanics.  Even President Trump has bought into this characterization of the shooter.  However, the El Paso shooter’s manifesto doesn’t support this characterization of his motives. He is concerned that the core population of his country is being marginalized and dispossessed by several developments including automation and illegal immigrants and their demands.  It so happens that the current illegal immigrants are from south of the border, but he doesn’t hate them because they are Hispanic.  If they were coming from Asia, or Africa or a different planet, he would see it as the same problem. To the shooter, it is not a problem of hate but of fact. There are more people than there are jobs.

He addresses the issue that his actions will be blasted “as the sole result of racism and hatred of other countries.”  He blames this response on American hypocrites, largely white people, who “support imperialistic wars that have caused the loss of tens of thousands of American lives and untold numbers of civilian lives. The argument that mass murder is okay when it is state sanctioned is absurd. Our government has killed a whole lot more people for a whole lot less.”

One of the El Paso shooter’s concerns with immigration is that “continued immigration will make one of the biggest issues of our time, automation, so much worse. Some sources say that in under two decades, half of American jobs will be lost to it. . . . So it makes no sense to keep on letting millions of illegal or legal immigrants flood into the United States.”  This logical conclusion together with betrayal by America’s white leaders and the damage done to Americans by the corporations are the political and economic reasons he gives for his attack. “My motives for this attack are not at all personal.”  In other words, the attack does not stem from his hatred of Hispanic immigrants but from the adverse consequences for American citizens of mass immigration from wherever.

He also writes in his manifesto that “the idea of deporting or murdering all non-white Americans is horrific.  Many have been here at least as long as the whites, and have done as much to build  our country.”

As for being inspired by Trump to murder immigrants, the El Paso shooter writes: “My ideology has not changed for several years. My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president. I [am] putting this here because some people will blame the President or certain presidential candidates for the attack. This is not the case. I know that the media will probably call me a white supremacist anyway and blame Trump’s rhetoric. The media is infamous for fake news Their reaction to this attack will likely just confirm that.” Truer words were never spoken.

The fact that the El Paso shooter’s manifesto does not support the storyline of the media is the reason the media refuses to publish the manifesto and why the Drudge Report was denounced for posting the manifesto.  The shooter’s manifesto contradicts the controlled explanation of the event… Read the rest of this entry »

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