Colorado Libertarians Message Board › Is Socialism the work of Democrats Alone?
|A former member||
On the mailing list Mykl Kryka pointed out that Norman Thomas was a six time candidate for president as a Socialist, who in 1944 declared that the socialist movement had been adopted by the Democratic party and therefore he no longer had a need to run for president.
In response, I offered these comments:
Herbert Hoover, who was president before Franklin Roosevelt, was asked by members of congress under Roosevelt, and even commissioned by the Roosevelt administration (but perhaps not seriously) to write a plan to undo the "New Deal" after Americans 'had been saved' by the Roosevelt administration. In effect, a way to turn back the clock on the massive federalization that Roosevelt's administration was creating.
Hoover and his wife wrote a plan (it was a book) that painstakingly laid out how to return to less government, or at least less federal government. The plan, if even taken seriously, was never implemented.
Hoover was appointed by Truman to head a commission to reorganize the executive branch with the idea that he could turn back the hands of time on what Roosevelt had done, and Eisenhower had Hoover doing the same thing under his administration. If there was any success in Hoover's work on smaller federal government, we may not be able to notice that now.
Hoover was involved in a global socialist movement even before he became president. This most likely stemmed from his personal charitable work in China before he was president. At the end of WWI, Hoover was involved in Supreme Economic Council and the American Relief Administration, which gave US aide to Russia and Europe in the early 1920s.
In 1928, when Hoover ran for president, he said, "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land." Apparently planning to drive federal aide to Americans in the same way that he had been doing outside of the US.
We now might consider what Hoover was doing as socialism, and Hoover was a Republican.
While it is well accepted that the Democrats had folded the Socialist movement into their party at the beginning of the 20th century, we might also consider that Republicans had quite a heavy hand in furthering the cause of socialism as well.
After the 1929 market crash Hoover said he would cut taxes and expand public works spending, while also keep a balanced federal budget. (sound familiar?)
Norman Thomas may have been happy that the Democrats had adopted the Socialist movement, as he's seems to have indicated in 1944, but history shows that the Republicans were pretty handy in doing that as well.
Hair Trigger (a student of history with an upset tummy)
Nice article, but Norm Thomas is not a very good target for demonization. As his Wikipedia article reveals, a lot of his socialism sounds like left libertarianism. He was opposed to racial discrimination, opposed to the Japanese internment, a great human rights defender.
Here is a Thomas quote Libertarians can identify with: ""I am not the champion of lost causes, but the champion of causes not yet won."
And remember Rand herself came from socialism to her more famous position.