Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes

During the Great Depression, my grandfather was a young farm boy in the west. He recounted a story to me on several occasions about when a portion of Roosevelt's New Deal was forced upon the farmers in his area. There were friends who were not getting enough food, families who had gone without meat for over a year when agents of the federal government came into the valley rounded up the yearling calves, slaughtered and burned them with the idea that scarcity would prop up markets. The waste, the loss of liberty,  and the idea of being commanded what to do with your private property bothered my grandfather his entire life.

In Doctrine and Covenmants 134:2 it reads:
We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
The famous economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell wisely quipped, "It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."

I believe that. I believe that we can do more good with less government and more freedom. I think those who believe they can manipulate markets and send every little problem to central planning need to study a bit more history. The loss of liberty is a disaster, always.

This is the second time I've read this book. It was worth reading again and I think it's time I ought to purchase my own copy and stop borrowing one from the library. Schlaes also touches on the the history of education in this country and where it went wrong and the men and ideologies that affected that change. The history of John Dewey requires more time than I have but THIS is helpful to understand his influence.

The following quote seems to have been the inspiration for the title of the book. It's the forgotten man that pays. He pays for the the failed programs that cost dreams and freedom and for vast failures for which no one is held accountable.  The real history of FDR's administration isn't taught in the public schools and it is important information to know. This is a book I will purchase and keep.

"As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X, or in the better case, what A, B, and C shall do for X…. What I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of…. He works, he votes, generally he prays—but he always pays…. —WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER, YALE UNIVERSITY, 1883" 

— Amity ShlaesThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

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