A Journal for Western Man




Franklin Roosevelt and the Fascists

G. Stolyarov II

Issue LX- May 26, 2006



Here is an interesting "Know Your Statists Challenge." Examine the following quotations. Then match them to their author. The available choices are Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The answer is revealed below; try not to look at it until you have made your final guesses. Can you spot the quote from FDR, or is it not all that simple?

A. “..above all the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual… By this we understand only the individual’s capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men.”

B. “The [] people must march forward as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline.”

C. “...moral law, binding together individual and the generations into a tradition and a mission, suppressing the instinct for a life enclosed within the brief round of pleasure in order to restore within duty a higher life free from the limits of time and space.”

Here are the answers: Quotation A is from Hitler, B—from FDR, and C—from Mussolini.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt indeed had a vast ideological basis in common with the fascists he ended up fighting against during World War II. FDR—Assistant Secretary of the Navy during Woodrow Wilson’s administration—was obsessed with Wilsonianism and the statist reign of terror and brutal suppression of dissent that occurred in the United States during the World War I era, thus seeking to establish a peacetime statist regime similar to Wilson's "emergency" regulatory state. He got what he wanted during the New Deal and World War II.

Frightening about FDR's presidency is the degree of fanaticism the government deliberately and actively elicited from the masses. Upon passage of the (unconstitutional) National Industrial Recovery Act and its component National Recovery Administration, a rally of millions was orchestrated in New York, with one bootlicking man stating that he thought his marriage day was the high point of his life until he heard of the National Recovery Administration. Then about ten thousand schoolchildren were arranged into the shape of the NRA eagle. One is instantly reminded of images from the 1936 Berlin Olympics, in which Hitler orchestrated similar displays of leader/government worship.

Roosevelt’s reference to an entire people "marching forward as a loyal army" invokes images of Nazi columns stomping through the streets of Paris.

FDR was a populist demagogue, not a genuine sympathizer with the "common man." He realized that brainwashing the less educated, less wealthy citizens—who may not have been exposed to the idea that initiation of force is immoral—was a key to gaining power of the sort he desired. He did so through similar propaganda schemes to those that were used by other statists of his time. Hitler and Stalin loved to be filmed petting little children; they were known in the propaganda pamflets as "Uncle Adolf" and "Grandfather Stalin." In this spirit—and in that of his attention-mongering cousin, Theodore Roosevelt—FDR stated once that a scene with his granddaughter observed by the press was more important politically than an elaborate oratory.   

I wonder what would have occurred in the United States had FDR survived World War II; by his ideological inclinations, I would expect his policies to even more closely mirror those of the Hitler whom FDR's drafted "loyal army" helped defeat.  

Americans should not consider a quasi-fascist President as one of their history’s best. Rather, they should recognize FDR’s ideas as antithetical to American liberty, individualism, free markets, and rationality.

G. Stolyarov II is a science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. His newest science fiction novel is Eden against the Colossus. His latest non-fiction treatise is A Rational Cosmology. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at gennadystolyarovii@yahoo.com.

This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA’s Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue LX Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's new comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, at http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/rc.html.