What Americans Still Need to Know~ from the Man Who Crusaded Against the Current Collectivism.
“The world has survived error in ideas and confusion before.
And men have grown in soul and safety because
some groups of them have stood solid.
They stood fast not because they knew the solutions to all the confusions,
Not even because they had the power to find the solution.
They stood firm and they held up the light until the furies passed
because they held certain sacred principles of life, of morals, and of spiritual values.
I could at least do that.”
~Herbert Hoover, April 1950
Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) lived a life of public service for more than half a century; a life that in scope and duration may be unparalleled in American history. His life may also be unparalleled, as it has been remarked that Herbert Hoover was responsible for saving more lives than any other person in history. He orchestrated food relief for over 20 countries in Europe during and post WWI and WWII, as well as in the United States. (Largely privately funded, locally administered and bipartisan.)
Although the lists of Herbert Hoover’s physical acts of mercy are nearly infinite, his championing acts of spiritual mercy exceed them in their depth and breadth as they transcend across place and time.
Herbert Hoover recognized the lethal dangers to American liberty, morals and spiritual foundations that accompanied the statism concurrent in fighting wars- real, contrived or perceived wars. Hoover crusaded against the collectivism of Fascism, Nazism, socialism, communism, and the Planned Economy “regimentation” of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” which paved the road to shackles of serfdom in America.
“We cannot extend the mastery of government over the daily life of a people without somewhere making it master of the people’s souls and thoughts.
That is going on today. It is part of all regimentation.
Even if the government conduct of business could give us the maximum of efficiency instead of least efficiency, it would be purchased at the cost of freedom. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption, stifle initiative and invention, undermine the development of leadership, cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people, extinguish equality of opportunity, and dry up the spirit of liberty and the forces which make progress.
It is a false Liberalism that interprets itself into government dictation, or operation of commerce, industry and agriculture. Every move in that direction poisons the very springs of true Liberalism. It poisons political equality, free thought, free press, and equality of opportunity. It is the road not to liberty but to less liberty.”
Hoover, Hayek and multitudes of others have recognized it as “The Road to Serfdom.”
It behooves Americans today, to recognize the road we travel. Most suffer from a myopic perspective caught in the Marxist manacles of materialism. As history records:
Liberty atrophies quickly from disuse.
So, from a man who saw it coming in his day, and sounded the trumpet, we consult the memoirs of Herbert Hoover, whose messages remain all the more relevant to us as we and our children goosestep in regimentation under today’s Planned Economy Czars.
From February 9,1938 to March 28,1938 Herbert Hoover traveled to Europe and interviewed over 350 leaders including twenty-two Presidents, Kings and Prime Ministers; fifteen Foreign Ministers, a host of Cabinet officers, editors, professors, business and labor leaders from the countries of: Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, and England.
This was nineteen years after WWI and prior to the official beginning of WWII. In fact, Hoover met with Austria’s Chancellor Schuschnigg eight days prior to the Germans marching into Vienna for the Anschluss of Austria; and Schuschnigg’s imprisonment by the Nazi’s. Hoover met with Adolf Hitler in Germany just four days prior to this absorption of Austria. (March 12,1938)
Hoover summarizes his European interviews:
“There sounds constantly through this labyrinth the shrill note of new philosophies of government and the echoes of old orders of society disguised in new phrases. There are democracy, socialism and communism of fifty-seven varieties; there is Fascism with its variations from soft to hard; there are autocratic forms all the way from disguised democracy through authoritarianism, totalitarianism to dictatorships and unlimited monarchy…
I need not recall to you that after the war [WWI] the first rise of hope to this distraught humanity was democracy. [And-ed.] the steps by which this liberty was lost are as important to the American people as what actually happens under despotism when it arrives. They indeed need to sink into the American mind.
No country started with the intention to sacrifice liberty.
Each started to solve economic problems. In broad terms the steps are always the same. The economic system of Europe before and after the war was relatively free. There were many deep abuses. The new democracies brought resolute reforms on a large scale. But with the handicap of the miserable inheritance of the war, Utopia did not come.
Then came socialism hand in hand with its bloody brother communism
crying immediate Utopia in a wilderness of suffering people.
They took advantage of the tolerance and freedoms of liberal institutions to mislead the people. Their methods were the preaching of class hate, the exaggeration of every abuse, the besmirching of every leader, blame for every ill that swept over their borders.
At the next step politicians arose by trying to compromise with these enemies of true liberalism. The result was governments constantly interfering with the proper functions of businessmen, labor and farmers. By these compromises they further weakened the initiative and enterprise of the men who really made the system work. They destroyed that confidence and energy by which free economic systems are moved to great production. Finally came vast unemployment, conflict and desperate people.
But socialism has not triumphed from its work.
Socialism and its compromisers in Europe have invariably served only to demoralize democracies and open the door to reactionary forces.
Italy produced Fascism. Fascism promised a new Utopia through restored order, discipline and planned economy, jobs, and future for youth.
It is worthy of emphasis that Fascism has always begun in the form of managed [planned] economy.
And it was ushered in by the same cries and slogans that they were for the liberation of the common man.
With Managed Planning once started, each step has required another until it arrives at government dictation to business, to labor and farmers of wages, hours, production, consumption, prices, profits, finance, imports and exports. Coercion becomes a necessary instrument, and then it is but a few steps to complete dictatorship. All opposition becomes treason.
Denounce it as we may as despotism and the destroyer of liberty and abhorrent to free men, yet the Fascist form of government is today a raging power. Its acts are being rationalized into a philosophy. It has now embraced a sort of mysticism based on theories of racialism and nationalism.
In Germany Fascism has had its most complete development under the iron rule of the Nazi party…
But for us there are deeper issues in all this.
Under this regime the spirit of man is subordinated to the state.
The individual must be developed into conformity with the national will as expressed by the leaders. Whatever is deemed by them as good for the state becomes the standard of justice, right and morality. That has become the basis of law.
And Fascism has demonstrated a way to fool all the people all the time~
by suppression of all criticism and free expression; and by drilling children and youth, stage by stage, to a government prescribed mental attitude.
A controlled press and organized propaganda have poured this new faith into the adults. It has stamped out, or controlled, every form of independent association from Trade Unions to Universities. It has instituted a form of terrorism, for fear of the concentration camps is ever present. Its darkest picture is expressed in the heart-breaking persecution of helpless Jews.
Intellectual sterility and deadened initiative and individuality are its inevitable results. It is becoming a gigantic spartanism. And let no one believe it is about to collapse.”
….as Hoover points out: it is far easier to regiment than it is to un-regiment.
Yet, we can at least stand firm, sprinkle the salt and hold up the lights because some of us hold to certain sacred principles of life, of morals and of spiritual values.
So help us God.
*The Crusade Years 1933-1955, Herbert Hoover’s Lost Memoir of the New Deal Era and Its Aftermath. Edited and Introduction by George H. Nash
[bold type, mine]