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American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967) 
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 American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)
American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter.



Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:37 pm
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Post Re: American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)
Getting close to my checkout limit on the book. May have to hit-and-run post.

Starting off-topic, my wife and I had the interesting experience of hiking into Herbert Hoover's fishing camp on the Rapidan River. The camp was an early Camp David; it's now in the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park. We got a tour of the now greatly reduced complex in the forest--rustic in a luxe kind of way. I hadn't ever thought much about Hoover. Of course, he gets blame for fiddling while the country melted down financially. But he was extremely able, a wunderkind before entering office. He held his libertarian positions sincerely and stubbornly. Chased out of office by voters fearing apocalypse, he continued to campaign against his successor's New Deal.

I'm sure historians still argue about the necessity of some of FDR's programs. Woodard says that, under the circumstances, he chose a less radical, less collectivist path than other countries did. He could not have done otherwise given the remaining strong libertarian DNA in the U.S. To push through his radical-enough proposals, he needed to divorce social goals from economic ones, meaning surrender to Southern pols on stopping the advance of civil rights. Then Woodard tells of a reaction against FDR's central-planning initiatives, in the face of his only partial success at un-depressing the country. World War was the real cure.

The National Liberal consensus continued after the war. These were the days, hard to imagine now, when the R or D after a politician's name meant less in terms of policies implemented. Presidential candidates might campaign to the left or right, but generally governed from the center when elected. I was damn lucky to be born in 1952--what a breeze the 50s were for a white kid born to educated, middle-class parents. I like Ike. Even Nixon was not so bad if we restrict our view to his policies (and he ended the draft, a great boon to me). Woodard shows him to be within the Nat. Lib. mold. (Apologies--Nixon's in the next chapter.)

Woodard's geographicalism doesn't always work, as with Lyndon Johnson, the Texan whose policies were probably more liberal than JFK's would have been. As time passes, there will be changes in coloration (red to blue states and v.v.). I still think his division of the country into nations is a useful perspective.



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Robert Tulip
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:13 pm
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Post Re: American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)
DWill wrote:
I'm sure historians still argue about the necessity of some of FDR's programs. Woodard says that, under the circumstances, he chose a less radical, less collectivist path than other countries did. He could not have done otherwise given the remaining strong libertarian DNA in the U.S.


True enough. But, I was reflecting on what the 50's might have looked like if someone other than Roosevelt had been president at that time. I'm referring to the large number of influential and powerful people who were urging him to take a different path. Given that people like Henry Ford, Joseph Kennedy, Randolph Hearst and Charles Lindbergh apparently were strong admirers of Hitler, and Walter Lipmann and Hearst were urging Roosevelt to assume dictatorial powers, it's easy enough to see how the United States could have gone down a very different political road at that time.



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Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:20 pm
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Post Re: American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)
Several pages in and we get our introduction to the Austrian economics of Ludwig V Mises and F.A. Hayek. :x

So after the Great Depression and WWII the new era of libertarian leaders begin to rise from the ashes. :hmm:

Oh the humanity! :P



Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:05 pm
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Post Re: American Character - Ch. 6: The Rise and Fall of National Liberalism (1933 - 1967)
Have a listen to this FDR speech extract from 1936, quoted in this chapter.


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wrote:
For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peaceā€¹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.


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DWill, Harry Marks
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