“Rulers were accorded power, and the people consented to that power on consideration that they be accorded certain rights. The task of statesmanship has always been the redefinition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order. New conditions impose new requirements upon Government and those who conduct government.”— Franklin Roosevelt, Address to the California Commonwealth Club, September 23, 1932.
On September 23, 1932 presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt gave an address to the California Commonwealth Club in San Francisco where he laid out his vision for governance. Delivered by Roosevelt to California’s Commonwealth Club during his first run for the White House, this speech was penned by Adolf Berle, a noted scholar and a member of Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust” who drew deeply upon earlier Progressive thought, especially that of John Dewey. During his address he stated:
“The Declaration of Independence discusses the problem of Government in terms of a contract. Government is a relation of give and take, a contract, perforce, if we would follow the thinking out of which it grew. Under such a contract rulers were accorded power, and the people consented to that power on consideration that they be accorded certain rights. The task of statesmanship has always been the redefinition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order. New conditions impose new requirements upon Government and those who conduct government.”
Every man has a right to life; and this means that he has also a right to make a comfortable living. He may by sloth or crime decline to exercise that right; but it may not be denied him. We have no actual famine or dearth; our industrial and agricultural mechanism can produce enough and to spare. Our Government formal and informal, political and economic, owes to everyone an avenue to possess himself of a portion of that plenty sufficient for his needs, through his own work.
Every man has a right to his own property; which means a right to be assured, to the fullest extent attainable, in the safety of his savings. By no other means can men carry the burdens of those parts of life which, in the nature of things, afford no chance of labor: childhood, sickness, old age. In all thought of property, this right is paramount; all other property rights must yield to it. If, in accord with this principle, we must restrict the operations of the speculator, the manipulator, even the financier, I believe we must accept the restriction as needful, not to hamper individualism but to protect it. These two requirements must be satisfied, in the main, by the individuals who claim and hold control of the great industrial and financial combinations which dominate so large a part of our industrial life. They have undertaken to be, not business men, but princes of property. I am not prepared to say that the system which produces them is wrong. I am very clear that they must fearlessly and competently assume the responsibility which goes with the power. So many enlightened business men know this that the statement would be little more than a platitude, were it not for an added implication.”
Thoroughly educated in Progressive principles, Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that the task of statesmanship is to redefine our rights “in the terms of a changing and growing social order.” While the Founders thought the truths they celebrated in the Declaration of Independence were self-evident and so also timeless and unchanging, FDR argued for a new self-evident economic truth. His proposed “Economic Bill of Rights” lays out the means by which our new economic rights are to be secured, thereby achieving social equality and social justice.
The first of the 2012 Presidential Debates is over. With over 72 million viewers, the undisputed champion of this round was Mitt Romney who towered like the brilliant, unyielding professor over a petulant, adolescent "community organizer."
Wednesday night, Americans witnessed the first debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. By all accounts, Governor Romney soundly bested the failed president both on his command of the facts and in his demeanor. While seeing Governor Romney dominate the debate is very encouraging, it does not change the reality that America is a bankrupt nation that long ago ceased to be a free, constitutional republic.
The focus of the debate was domestic policy — the economy, health care and the role of government. Chief among these topics was the economy, according to the conventional political wisdom that Americans vote first for their economic future and for the candidate who they believe will provide the greatest sense of individual economic security and prosperity.
The caveat here is the qualifier "who they believe," and that perception will be shaped by competing visions built on both truth and leftist deception. The vision that prevails will be determined by the ability of voters to distinguish the difference. Unfortunately, the election of Obama in 2008 provided ample evidence that the American electorate's ability has diminished in recent years, primarily because the spirit of Liberty has been eroded by decades of classist propaganda promulgated by the progressive and statists left and enforced by the main stream media.
What you witnessed was a debate between a dedicated socialist/progressive ideolog (Barack Obama) and a moderate progressive who believes government has a legitimate role in our lives (Mitt Romney). Don’t get me wrong. At this stage in our history it is much better to elect a Mitt Romney progressive, and perhaps slow down the steady march of progressivism that we have seen for the past 100 years, than continue with the draconian socialist policies of the Democrat Party. The completion of Congress will tell the tale. It is also important to note that during the next four years many federal judges will be appointed (including the possibility of a Supreme Court Justice) and this is reason enough to defeat Barack Obama.
In the debate about their ideas to improve the American economy, there can be no doubt that Governor Romney's plan will result in job-creation and economic growth; two thousand years of economic history and scholarship prove incontrovertibly that lower taxes and fewer government regulations result in economic prosperity. The same history has demonstrated the universal failure of all forms of collectivism, Marxism, and statism as enthusiastically embraced by President Obama.
Governor Romney may well win the election this November and slow America's headlong plunge into economic and political collapse, but (spoiler alert), regardless of who wins the election, here is what we will find four years from now: Mitt Romney has not promised to pay down America's crushing debt, nor even to balance the federal budget, but rather to "put America on track to a balanced budget." Sounds great, but we are already bankrupt — we should have put ourselves on that track twenty years ago. Romney wants to "simplify and modify" business regulations — not eliminate them, despite their having no basis in the Constitution. He has promised to honor the institution of marriage, help you and your family, and repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Article II of the Constitution does not charge the president with honoring marriages, helping my family and me, or controlling my health care decisions. I think Mitt Romney is a fine man and would make a good president, but I do not want his help with my life. I want him to honor the oath he will take as president next January 20 — to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. But he will not do that. Four years from that day, the national debt will be far lower than if Barack Obama remains in office, but it will still be higher than it is today. Unconstitutional and tyrannical federal agencies, from the Department of Education to the EPA to the FCC, will get up to a little less mischief for a while, but they will all continue to employ millions of petty tyrants and masterminds frustrating the creative energy of millions of Americans and degrading the lives of all in the process.
Having launched the New Deal, an ambitious program of political and economic re-engineering aimed at ending the Great Depression; President Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination to run for a second term. In this speech at the 1936 Democratic Convention, he defends his programs—some of which had been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court—and tags opponents as “economic royalists.” In the speech he stated:
“An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living—a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor—other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”
The brave and clear platform adopted by this Convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that Government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.
But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.
For more than three years we have fought for them. This Convention, in every word and deed, has pledged that that fight will go on.
The defeats and victories of these years have given to us as a people a new understanding of our Government and of ourselves. Never since the early days of the New England town meeting have the affairs of Government been so widely discussed and so clearly appreciated. It has been brought home to us that the only effective guide for the safety of this most worldly of worlds, the greatest guide of all, is moral principle.
We do not see faith, hope and charity as unattainable ideals, but we use them as stout supports of a Nation fighting the fight for freedom in a modern civilization.
Faith-- in the soundness of democracy in the midst of dictatorships.
Hope--renewed because we know so well the progress we have made.
Charity-- in the true spirit of that grand old word. For charity literally translated from the original means love, the love that understands, that does not merely share the wealth of the giver, but in true sympathy and wisdom helps men to help themselves.
We seek not merely to make Government a mechanical implement, but to give it the vibrant personal character that is the very embodiment of human charity.
We are poor indeed if this Nation cannot afford to lift from every recess of American life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in the world. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of human fortitude.
In the place of the palace of privilege we seek to build a temple out of faith and hope and charity.”
I believe Romney, while donning the mantle of conservatism believes in the Second Bill of Rights as enumerated by FDR in his 1944 State of the Union Address when he proclaimed:
“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.
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.”
The problem is that the right to receive such goods and benefits are extracted from our fellow citizens by the government that the majority has elected. To dole out these goods and benefits the majority, while believing they are providing social justice, are giving government the coercive power of the purse and the tyranny of the bureaucracy.
It was demoralizing to watch the spectacle of two men arguing about who would make a better dictator over how much money we are allowed to keep, how we will purchase our health care, how we will educate our children, and how we will conduct our private business affairs with one another. America has drifted so far away from its founding principles that not a single commentator observed the obscenity of two presidential candidates saying such things in front of a rendering of the Declaration of Independence. Its author, Thomas Jefferson, told Americans in his First Inaugural Address, in 1801, what their president should promote for the prosperity and happiness of the people: a "wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned."
Standing in front of Jefferson's words that heralded the dawn of human freedom, we witnessed two men argue about what percentage of our incomes they will confiscate at the point of a gun — 35 or 40 percent? When America was still a republic of free men, President Jefferson boasted, "It may be the pleasure and the pride of an American to ask, what farmer, what mechanic, what laborer ever sees a tax gatherer of the United States?"
The American federal government has become a bloated, twisted caricature of republicanism (with a little "r"). Congress and the federal judiciary recognize no limitation upon their power to dictate every aspect of our lives — our incomes, medical care, education, religious institution being forced to providing birth control and abortifacients against their tenants and right down to our light bulbs and the flow rate of our shower heads and toilets. The presidency is a virtual dictatorship; last night, Governor Romney and President Obama told us they were going to raise or lower taxes, repeal and enact laws, and "invest" the incomes they seize in businesses of their choice. Standing under a giant bald eagle that held a ribbon with the words "the Constitution forever," our two candidates and every member of the press ignored the fact that the Constitution gives Congress the power to enact laws and lay taxes, and that no power is granted to the president to make business investments.
Romney-Ryan must cast their campaign in the mold of Ronald Reagan and offer a clear and bold free-enterprise plan for economic recovery. They must boost American morale, and they must speak plainly about Obama's failed socialist regime. They must also pledge to end Obama's distorted dreams of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
As Romney noted in his closing remarks:
“This is an important election and I'm concerned about the direction America has been taking over the last four years. I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It's bigger than our respective parties. It's an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and for your children? There are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening, and they lead in very different directions."
The stark reality is that on November 6, Americans are electing a king to reign over a bankrupt country. If Governor Romney wins the crown, he will be a wise and frugal king, and his edicts will improve our lives for a time and delay our descent into chaos — but the chains of debt and the machinery of federal tyranny will remain when his reign ends. I have little choice but to cast my vote for Romney's ascension to the presidential throne. My fervent hope is that his policies will succeed and show America that it can return to the government our Founders envisioned. A government based on the Declaration of Independence and the tenants of the Constitution, not on Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.