Strange bedfellows: FDR and J.D. Rockefeller

Legacies are built and preserved through time for us by their voices from the past.  They speak to us everyday through their memorable speeches and quotes.  We still “feel” and know the intent of Abraham Lincoln´s words in our hearts when we read the Gettysburg Address, or get goosebumps when we read the carefully worded document that simply states that: “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”  These words inscribed in a document in Philadelphia, proclaimed the legal right (the casus belli) to dissolve the bond of monarchy and sovereign rights given by privilege.  Mercantilism had finally met its match through the restriction of free trade.  Trade in property could not be infringed as a right and therefore this pioneer and unfortunately, this important first step in liberty was born with a legacy that would haunt it forever: slavery.  Although all men were created equal, slavery had not been abolished and therefore the definition of “man” was restricted to whatever a paper said it was.

The Libertarians have long vilified FDR for many things (Social Security, Lend Lease, Bretton-Woods, Pearl Harbor, etc.), but we can’t deny him his place in history.  FDR’s most memorable speech (apart from Pearl Harbor) must be the one inscribed at the entrance to the Statue of Liberty and which is known as the Four Freedoms speech.  Said freedoms are as follows:

1Freedom of speech

2Freedom of worship

3Freedom from want

4Freedom from fear

I don’t think anyone can deny that each one of these is a universal principle that therefore applies to any and all. Within this ethos lies the assumption that cooperation is a given and is always the first option.

As I compare those feelings with JD Rockefeller’s which are also cast in bronze (in front of Rockefeller Center).  I find that they also apply within the same world vision, and are not contradictory.

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.

I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master.

I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living. I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs. I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order. I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.”

JD Rockefeller´s vision is very compatible with FDR´s insofar as global cooperation, albeit being cast as opponents in thought through history.  I ponder this and what, if any, of President Trump´s quotes will be inscribed in bronze somewhere.  It promises to be Yuge.  Doonesbury, the last bastion of gonzo journalism in America (the home of the free because of the brave), has been covering him for over 30 years and have recently printed a compendium, aptly named: YUGE! 30 years of Doonesbury on Trump.

How will we judge this presidency in the future?  What words will Donald J. Trump utter that will be remembered in bronze?  Whatever they may be, YUGE is definitely one of the many words the Trump era has now bestowed upon us.  In just 50 days I have learned new terms like fake news, and alternative facts, thrown in with Bowling Green Massacres that never existed and conspiracies and numbers out of thin air.  He did mention during his campaign that he would love a statue of himself in DC, “perhaps next to Hamilton” he said before a complacent crowd that cheered.

We need more Doonesbury and less Donald, viva la free press.  Occupy your mind.

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