Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saving Capitalism

Saving Capitalism? That was the rather unique description of the New Deal given by Dr. Eric Rauchway on CSpan this morning. It has been trying to listen to the right wing as they lit into any kind of public service that the government could actually be expected to do. It is rather amazing that the entire party of Nope could disassociate itself completely from the social contract. You remember the social contract, it's the one that gives the government power to rule, so that it can protect public interests. It was refreshing to hear a scholar/historian using actual knowledge of the subject to point out that the actual policies that put our resources to work for us in the trying 1930's were flawed only in that they could have been bigger and that would have brought us out of the Great Depression sooner.

While much of the real horrors of the Depression have always seemed to me to have stemmed from the drought that brought on the Dust Bowl, I find it an interesting insight that the excesses of unregulated capitalism could well have led to the conclusion that the system itself was threatened. The country has seen less than turbulent social upheaval in our recent election, and I tend to forget that there were riots and actual violence not so long ago. In the days that saw people working to get real representation, and against violence like that of labor organization, back to the Civil War episodes, it seems as if violence and insurrection were closer to the surface.

Those of you more closely acquainted with studies of history probably are more familiar with the unrest that happened more often in the early 1900's. We seem to be at a period now when people voice all the views we can have and not share, but don't very often take up those pitchforks. That was more the resort when we had fewer outlets, it would seem. I can pick up my remote and turn off the babblings of Congressmen like Phil Gingrey and DeMint, and have just had to do that for the past week. If I don't want to share racist sentiments, I can go to other websites than those that entertain them. I usually don't get into the kind of wrangling that goes in even at websites I like. Maybe that's one reason I can't see an outbreak of violence as a possibility, but from his experience with that period, Dr. Rauchway has the idea that actual overthrow of government was possible. The aspect that we could have viewed capitalism as a failure because unregulated investment of people's funds had led to its loss was probably more likely in President Roosevelt's view as well. When I listened this morning to his talks, his appeal to the public to get together to work out the solution I saw it in a new light. The country came together, shouldered a responsibility and worked through that time.

Hopefully, despite the efforts of the wingers who would rather tear down than do their job, that will happen again. There are times like watching the scurvy bunch try to shut out that public service that is their job, the subject of their oath of office, that I don't want to share this country with them at all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ruth, the right-wing did try to overthrow the government in 1933. Irenee DuPont and other industrialists recruited Major General Smedley Butler to do the deed. He, being a good guy, reported it to Congress. Which, being wimps, did nothing. See Jules Archer.

--Charles of MercuryRising

11:00 AM  
Blogger CMike said...

Er, I don't think there's anything "unique" about a claim that FDR "saved capitalism." That has been the standard view of liberals and the complaint of leftists for decades.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Charles, thanks and I will look into that, although what I have heard about the Butler episode seemed to indicate his information was impossible to authenticate. Of course, with what we've seen of the war criminals in retreat in Crawlforth, that info is also probably manipulated to keep the public from knowing a full truth.

CMike, I was particularly enjoying that description because the wingers have been making such a big attempt to equate the FDR era with socialism. Since our system so obviously needs social programs right now, that is causing our public representatives/progressives to modify programs that are badly needed, so I see that approach as good for contradicting the claim of Landon-era 'creeping socialism' and wanted to stress it. Thanks for the comment.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

Since I've lived in DE for over 50 years, I've formed an opinion of the duPonts and their wonderful legacy. An old kocker at a party once told my brother that FDR was a 'class traitor'. The company is strongly anti-union, and is very stingy towards its employees. The A.I. duPont Children's Hopital was originally a building to house the duPont offspring 'challenged' by the excessive accumulation of recessive genes, all in the name of 'keeping it in the family'. The hospital grounds is surrounded by a stone wall covered on top with broken glass-that pretty well says it all. Lovely people.

8:43 AM  

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