Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So can we call him a Socialist now?

President Obama channeled Teddy Roosevelt yesterday when he gave a speech denouncing those crazy theories about free markets.  Back in 1913, the New York Times had this to say about Teddy Roosevelt's version of New Nationalism (hat tip: Jonah Goldberg):

Theodore Roosevelt has now thought out and matured his doctrine of Socialism. ... That is Roosevelt Socialism.  We have called it super-Socialism.
Their analysis of the effect of Roosevelt's super-Socialism can be readily applied to the Obama super-duper-Socialism.  In fact, when you read the passage below, substitute "Obama" for "Roosevelt".
There are not enough great fortunes to satisfy Mr. Roosevelt's great Progressive Party after it has once made a beginning of redistributing wealth by confiscation.  Observe that Mr. Roosevelt's death and income taxes are not laid for revenue--he says nothing about revenue.  They are imposed to take away the possessions of the rich....Inevitably, all fortunes save the most modest, would be laid under contribution.
Now the effect of this cannot be mistaken.  It would kill the spirit of enterprise, at once put a stop to industrial progress, and being the country's business to the dead level of stagnation ....Any form of Socialism would being on industrial paralysis, Mr. Roosevelt's most of all.  His plan could have no other results.
The trouble is that after a little there would be nothing to confiscate.  And that is the vice of Mr. Roosevelt's Socialistic doctrine.
And what were Roosevelt's motivations?  According to the Times it was because
he knew that with his great skill he could make this Utopian dream attractive to that very considerable part of society which is the material with which agitators work--the discontented, the unsuccessful, the envious.  And upon a Progressive Party thus assuembled and fortified with delusions he would rise again to power.  It is as the basis of his ambition that he has formulated his plan.
Needless to say, today's NY Times editors do not have the same wisdom as their 1913 predecessors.