Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Thursday, November 29, 2012

State of the union 1944. Socialist turning point?

This is from FDR in 1944. He states his famous 'second bill of rights'. He died about a year later, & the country was distracted by war, but it is interesting to think what might have been..

Was this a turning point away from socialism? These same principles were in the french socialist party pre ww2, & were part of the soviet constitution in 1936. Looking at this in hindsight, it seems terribly naive, but we have the history of the attempts at collectivism for the rest of the last century. It is interesting that a great many people, including those in actual power would think these things could be implemented by the govt.

But to be sure, there are many today who still think this is a reasonable list of 'rights'. They think govt can dictate this, & provide it.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.
For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

How is it your right to take from me to use for yourself? This is the basic process of providing for the second bill of rights that fdr lists. If there is no appeal to self evident truths, then we are back to 'might makes right'. You have no basis to claim any rights, as it has been throughout history. Only might provides the power to secure your rights.

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,'

You can leave god out of it.. earlier jefferson said, 'to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,' so you can go with 'nature' if you want.. he was not being denominational.

But without this appeal to natural rights of Man, we have nothing but the whims of govt power to determine what they are to protect, & this usually means the exploitation of the weak & minorities.

I see govt as being there to 'secure' my rights. If it fails in that charge, it is our right to alter or abolish it, and to institute NEW govt, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to us shall seem most likely to effect our Safety and Happiness.

This is not the majority deciding to screw the minority, or one powerful group oppressing another. It is a basic statement of human rights.. that ALL are entitled to. Govt is there to secure those rights for all, not just the moneyed elite, or the majority party, or the powerful. THAT is what makes the american experiment unique.. it was not just democracy.. it was democracy with a basis in an ideal.. and the ideal superseded what the majority wanted, if they should decide to exploit others. The american republic is not a majority that decides how to do everything, but a republic of laws that the nation abides by. The majority can tweak those laws, & change with the times, but the basic rights are immutable. The minority or 'outliers' as you call them, are protected from the tyranny of the majority. Govt becomes dictatorial when it no longer abides by the basic rules. When the majority think they can vote themselves special privileges, or take from others & violate their basic rights, the republic is over. It is a free for all, then, & we're back to survival of the fittest.

I'm not addressing any specific examples of govt overreach, but like a frog boiling in water, it is a gradual thing. From the beginning, americans have had a mistrust of govt.. we are not content to hope for a benign ruler, but wish to keep control of our system to keep the power grabbers at bay. Every generation has had to fight off the state centered ideology, with varying degrees of success. It is no different today, & tomorrow's generation will have the same battle. The state longs for supremacy, & the people have to keep them in check. Our 3 prong system is supposed to do that, but lately, they have worked together to ignore the constitution, & overreach in many areas.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, & don't believe the nation is in danger of wild eyed statists grabbing power & overrunning the white house, congress, & the supreme court. But we need to retain that citizen based system of govt, & not let it fall under the control of a ruling elite, or corporate media sponsored elections. We need our representatives to keep the faith.. to remain true to the vision of america, & not try to change it to some socialist utopia.

No comments:

Post a Comment