Thursday, July 16, 2009

FDR's Bill Of Rights=Not Scary.

Today I listened to Glenn Beck for a little while as I did some housework. He was talking about 'FDR's Bill Of Rights', as gleaned from one of his Fireside Chats. Beck used his scariest voice to deliver his indictment of some of the terrible 'rights' that may be coming our way under Barack Obama. What are some of these horrible, evil, spine-curling socialisms we should fear? Cut to FDR:
"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."
Terrifying, right? Well, it gets worse. The socialisms keep coming:
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation. The right of farmers who raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition. The right of every family to a decent home. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
Protection against monopolies, the protection of recreations, homes, fair business practices, healthcare, and education. These are the things we're supposed to be afraid of? Glenn Beck talks about government as if it were some horrible Lovecraftian god, bent on the annihilation of humanity as a whole. I've heard him acknowledge before that government is a useful tool of the people (he compared it to fire), but I don't think he believes it.

Of the major institutions that shape our lives, we (the people) have the most control over government. We don't get to elect CEO's. We don't get to produce Madonna's next album. We do get to vote for our representatives, and they are rightly concerned with what we think.

Government isn't like fire. If it's properly managed, it's more like a fluorescent light bulb. Strict adherence to the perceived values of the founders is a narrow kind of thinking; They had a king stepping on their neck when they wrote the first bill of rights. They weren't exactly thinking about the internet age when they first put quill to parchment. The founders had more basic rights to consider.

The founders were brilliant in laying out the rights that they did lay out, but they could never have dreamed of how far our country has come since then, how educated it's citizens have become, and what a high standard of living we've achieved. We've entered an age (and a wealth) where we can secure a higher level of happiness, health, and enrichment for all of our citizens, with no cost to the freedoms secured by our founding documents. Ours is a country of visionaries.

The stuff FDR is talking about here is that kind of forward thinking that should inspire us to thought and action. Thanks to Glenn Beck for bringing this talk to my attention, and for demonstrating the poverty of his own worldview against the daring vision of one of this country's greatest progressives.

5 comments:

Willie Y said...

In my humble opinion Glen Beck is a half bubble off plum. He promotes the wildest theories, and what is worst is he has millions of people hanging on and believing every word he says. To me he is one scary individual.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Don't see how it can be good for capitalism if I'm afraid to leave my job or take a chance to start a business 'cause I don't want to lose my health insurance. And I don't see how you can justify calling yourself "pro-life," and not be a hardcore advocate for universal healthcare. Course, I'm sure these Republicans and so-called conservatives can talk out the side of their neck ad nauseum on this issue. Who do you choose for leadership--FDR or Glen Beck? Hmmmm. Tough choice there!

Spencer Troxell said...

Willie: I don't think Glenn Beck is someone to be feared. As long as Obama stays away from the guns and doesn't try to run for a third term, there's really nothing that's going to rattle the tea-partiers into such a tizzy again. Beck can't maintain the level of heightened concern in most of his fan base across a very long space of time. His voice and warnings will get drowned out by the sound of day to day life and reality among all but his most glassy-eyed followers.

Lodo: FDR, for sure. But then again, Glenn Beck never forced large numbers of Japanese Americans into internment camps. So, maybe FDR 2.0?

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

I know this is an old post but since you've brought it up again. Since I don't listen to Beck, did not hear what he said, and mostly don't care, I will address FDR. On the surface of the two quotes you have two well stated premises of captialism and a hint as to government's role. Both as stated are difficult if not impossible to argue against. The problem comes when the government oversteps it bounds to achieve the goals. We have the right to adequate health care, equal access to employment, housing, free speach, ability to practice your chosen religion. The problem comes when people demand the government pay for it. The Bill of Rights states very clearly that I have the right to free speech and assembly, but it does not say the government is going to by me a bus ticket and pay for my poster board or TV time to make it happen. I can practice my faith but the government isn't going to build me a church. Anything I want and am willing to pay for, I should be allowed to do. On healthcare, no one is turned away from a hospital or urgent care because they can't pay, IT'S ILLEGAL. And it should be illegal. If you want to buy a house and can afford it, the neighbors shouldn't be able to stand in the way. However, if I own an apartment building, I should be able to decide who lives there, because it is mine.

As long as if you have the talent, dedication, and the education to do the job, you have a decent shot at getting the job. A forty year old, 110 pound woman with one leg shorter than the other and Mr. Magoo near sighted can't be a NFL linebacker and the government shouldn't make her one out of fairness. If its determined that the minimum to be a firefighter is you have to 5'6" be able to carry a 100 pounds of equipment and still carry 180 pounds of dead weight, and pass a test proving you could read at 10th grade level and demonstrate math skills, I don't care whose feelings are hurt, what ethnicity they are, these are the minimum qualifications and we should only take the top candidates that fit these minimums. This is for the safety of the fire fighters and the people they are trying to help.

Most of what FDR has stated has been addressed, yes it can use some fine tuning. Most people are too greedy to let race, ethnicity, religion and others get in the way. If there is someone who does not rent an apartment or fill a job because they want a left handed, red haired, black, alaskan, hindu, vegitarian who likes making cookies, that's their problem.

The government should set laws to allow equal access, minimize monopolies and other fair trade practices but need to walk a fine line and err on the side of liberty.

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

You say government isn't like a fire, you're right. It is like water, the people are the dam holding it back. The water is always looking for a crack to seep through, cause erosion and escape the constraints of the dam. No the founding fathers weren't thinking of the internet age, and they shouldn't have been. If you try to predict the future, failure is almost assured. The founding fathers were looking for a principled government that knew its place and did not erode the freedom as quickly, they put in safeties so the people could build a new dam before the old one burst and guarantees so everyone would know and be prepared for that day, that is why there is the first and second ammendment.