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  • Words of Warning from 1940

    Herbert Hoover was no laissez-faire president like Calvin Coolidge, however he did respect the constitution, and he never was willing to go as far as Franklin Roosevelt. He made a speech just before Roosevelt’s election to a third term, in which he made some salient points—ones we would still be wise to consider today.

    With Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin in power, and with a myriad of other dictators and authoritarian powers sprinkled across Europe, it was critical that the free citizens of America see the danger of handing over the reigns of industry to government—that economic power is so much more than just economic. As Hayek said a few years later, “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”

    Hoover explained this concentration of power that had preceded the tyrannies of every stripe popping up in Europe, and warned that the same could happen in America. The danger lies in the belief that government can solve all economic problems, if only it has enough power. Quoting from The Roosevelt Myth:

    In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. They believed that was the way to correct abuse or to meet emergencies in systems of free enterprise. They exalted the state as the solver of all economic problems.

    These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice, and free government.

    These men are not Communists or Fascists. But they mixed these ideas into free systems. It is true that Communists and Fascists were round about. They formed popular fronts and gave the applause. These men shifted the relation of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller.

    Hoover then goes on to name the ways in which the government is taking on the role of controller—and they are precisely the same controls government is taking on today:

    Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production or industry, farmer and laborer. They devalued, pump-primed and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control … When it was too late they discovered that every time they stretched the arm of government into private enterprise, except to correct abuse, then somehow, somewhere, men’s minds became confused. At once men became fearful and hesitant. Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.

    Obama jokes about his exalted state. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner he said, “During the second 100 days, we will design, build and open a library dedicated to my first 100 days.” And joked, “My next 100 days will be so successful, I will complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest.” But we should know by now that this is not funny: we have a dangerous belief in the power of the executive. The situation we face to day is in some ways less dangerous than when Hoover delivered this warning, as there are fewer external totalitarian powers to fight. However, at home we face the same challenge: will we cede our freedoms to government, in exchange for some promised, temporary economic security?

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Words of Warning from 1940

    1. Marsha, Wheeling Wes says:

      I agree with the word of warning we need to remember the President and Congress serve the people. We do not serve them and this needs to be made clear.

      From what I understand from the constitution the Executive branch is limited to 5 powers and everyone should ignore him, including the congress if he over reaches outside these realms:

      1. Treaties with an up or down vote of the Senate

      2. Commander-in-Chief

      3. Grant Pardons

      4. Appoint Supreme Court Justices and other offices established by law approved with an up or down vote.

      I have been trying to figure out why all these empty proclamations (so called executive orders) are made by the U.S. Presidents Office? The framers purposely gave the Executive branch 5 limited powers. I often chided President Bush when he over reached especially Medicare Part D support and other issues, including TARP I. I feel this President has gone even farther and should be reminded by Congress his executive power limitations by politely writing him a letter. If he does not comply they should use Congressional powers to stop the tyranny.

      And so I believe the Executive branch taking over companies and/or demanding anything of these companies is overreaching and an abuse of power. His actions threatening companies and/or Americans have been a violation of the first, fourth, ninth and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Executive branch has no other powers than the five limited powers listed in the constitution and therefore the President of the United States can not dictate to anyone.

      The United States President is weakest head of state for a reason. The framers wanted to avoid tyranny and they understood power corrupts.

      Congress (both houses) knows better; they like to use the President as battering ram so they can deflect their (Congresses) failed responsibilities as the Presidents problem. The people can demand his censorship and/or impeachment.

      The U.S. Congress derives its strength from the people and the Ninth Amendment makes this very clear the people have the power not the three branches listed in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights makes it clear there is a fourth branch of government and that is the people where all the power is derived. It is important that the coalition of these 50 independent states take back their power. Repeal the 16th and 17th amendments to start. Get four more states to assert their sovereignty through the 10th amendment and then demand Congress comply with their 17 limited powers.

      We the People need to demand our power back and demand this of our state legislators.

    2. MAS1916 - Denver, CO says:

      This is a great piece!

      The GOP has to stand up and say 'no' to the economic policies being forced upon us. The crisis atmosphere created by Team Obama justifies taking over key parts of American society. And we can expect Him to do for Health Care and Energy what He has done for General Motors and Chrysler.

      For Republicans, being the 'Party of No' is exactly what the nation needs it to be. Traditional GOPers tend to react poorly when accused of just saying 'no' to everything. But that is the job of the opposition. Republicans MUST resist the allure of being an activist partner in this government. Americans want someone to say 'no.' Those that heed this call, will be rewarded with election.

      In addition to Health Care, there are multiple opportunities for Republicans to put the brakes on His activist government. The public wants this!

      For a Top Ten list of things Republicans must say 'no' to, you can hit:

    3. Joseph, So. IL says:

      Great to make comment on a Blog, but what are YOU doing to correct the Leftist Fools? Joe and Mary 6-pak are not going to read your comments @ Heritage, better take it into your communities, where all the chattle can hear.

    4. M. Hatter, Texas says:

      Wonderful piece of history, and the stark truth. Thanks for all the research.

      I think the main difference between then and now is that all of the starry-eyed liberals are those out in the hinterlands doing the voting for "change" and those power-greedy, excessively-privileged, politicians in the Congress, who are without a clue as to the despotic system they are enabling, this time.

      It would be hard to make a case that this regime is starry-eyed about anything but having access and control of the most powerful and influential country and economic system in the world, at this time.

      The President has, unfortunately, been schooled in dialectic-materialist and radical doctrine and rhetoric from childhood. There is no evidence of any influences to the contrary, except his grandmother. The company that he chose to keep after he left her care shows that he carries along little evidence to show her influence. I would be thrilled to see evidence to the contrary.

      At the last, before beginning his political career, he was trained in Saul Alinsky's academy for "community organizers" in Chicago, and spent three years applying that training, in Chicago. That training, basically focused on never revealing your true intentions, but blending in with whatever people will accept, while you are demolishing centers of power in preparation of establishing a new center of power, has been brilliantly exhibited, with a few exceptions. (The true intention taught at the academy is the extension and domination of the middle and upper class by the working class, in alignment with classic Marxist theory. And that leads to the most pertinent feature for us of that theory, "the end justifies the (any) means".)

      Anyone who finds themselves contending with a radical materialist (that will be almost all of us) must expect that they will have to do battle to defend whatever they have of value, literally. Which, if I'm not mistaken, is where we find ourselves now. And that is where I'm leading: If we don't want to cede our freedoms to government, what will we have to do to defend them, at this point? I pray that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the President has professed to believe, will be powerful in love for the President, and powerful to the bringing down of strongholds against the free exercise of worship, speech and citizenship.

    5. richard schuster, me says:

      Our current administration, Obama and his band of thieves, are so arrogant, condescending and confident that they actually believe they can pretty much do anything they desire by simple fiat. Unfortunately, half of the people in this country are so blinded by the light, (the one coming from Obama's halo…or is it coming from his 14 teleprompters?…anyway I digress. Half of the people who voted for this mess are going to go along supporting this new agenda until they realize, if they ever do, that it was one big mistake. Obama will listen to one thing and one thing only. TAX REVOLT. Anybody listening? Wanna' get their attention? This is the only way. I'm ready. Are you?

    6. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    7. Amendment X Savage, says:

      The exact same argument I blogged about years ago: http://short.to/9z4f. This is exactly what happens with an ignorant or willfully ignorant or indoctrinated electorate that then votes. And representatives and courts that use the Constitution for toilet paper.

    8. Lance says:

      People, give it up already. Americans of today are simple-minded and lazy. They will continue to exchange their freedoms for the safety and security provided by the State.

    9. Becky in Michigan says:

      Tax Revolt? How do we start that without ending up in jail?

      No, much as it sounds like something all of us would be interested in, I think we had better "take it to the STREETS" and try and educated the "chattle" about what is happening to the basic building blocks of the USA. Educate them about the Executive Power Grabs that are occurring. Tell them the history of previous attempts like this and the outcomes. Give em a bit of a history lesson because Lord knows, none of the teachers will be educating our children along those lines.

      Write to the local newspapers and get your ideas published so others can chew on it for awhile. Every baby step will count, eventually. We have one more year to educate and get some balance back into our government.

      I write to my Congressman and Senators…what a waste of time for me. They are all Democrats and have their noses packed into the crack of the Demo(n) party so deeply, they have difficulty breathing.

      I can't believe that most of the people that voted for BHO actually intended for this tyrant to take over like he has. In fact, my next Letter to the Editor will start with that question. Come on you guys, we can make a difference if we try.

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    13. ELVA says:

      Becky in Michigan is right on, to start making baby steps and make the VOICES of AMERICANS heard. WE really need a thunderous combined chorus of voices to stop the tyrants in power from trying to change even one item of our constitution. All the baby steps need to be strengthened to become one major leap in the right direction to protect our Heritage. The good people need to stop being the silent majority. Elva

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    15. JWThinkwright says:

      Democrat party has nothing to do with democracy. When I try to speak the word,

      Democrat,” or try to type it, my tongue gets caught, and I start choking, or my fingers take the “all thumbs” route, and I start hitting the wrong keys. My mind knows that instead of being

      called Democrats, people like Pelosi and Reid should be called Demos, short for Demolishers, or

      alternately they should be called Nihilists, a term that fits them far better than


      They are a humorless bunch who express not the slightest reservation about the murder of the

      most helpless and innocent among us, third trimester babies. The components in the U.S.

      Constitution that are our greatest liberties: free speech, religious freedom, right to bear arms,

      right to own property, and feel secure about ownership, are under constant attack by the

      Demo/Nihilists. George Orwell had it right, the reverse of ostensible meaning is the true

      meaning. “Democrat,” is a misnomer.

      Republicans don’t have the Moxie to point out these self evident facts, even though

      they would advance their cause by doing so. Advice for Republicans: You attract votes by being

      strong. What sort of voter wants to associate with timid losers? Further comments along this

      line can be seen on Free Republic by clicking the “see comparison” link.

      See comparison…

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