Lessons From Leuchtenberg

February 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Many of these quotes also apply to the past decade:

“By the end of the Harding administration, the Republican party was firmly committed to single-interest government. ‘Never before, here or anywhere else’, beamed the Wall Street Journal, ‘has a government been so completely fused with business.’ If, as Republican orators promised, this alliance succeeded in maintaining prosperity, the wisdom of single-interest politics would be proven. If it failed, a sharp reaction against single-interest politics would be inevitable.”

“Americans in the 1920’s, at least on the surface, were less sinridden and more self-indulgent than they had ever been before…. Abandoning the notion of saving income or goods or capital over time, the country insisted on immediate consumption, a demand which became institutionalized in the installment plan.”

“Dazzled by the prosperity of the time and by the endless stream of new gadgets, the American people raised businesess in the 1920’s into a national religion and paid respectful homage to the businessman as the prophet of heaven on earth.”

“Mangement had siphoned off gains in productivity in high profits, while the farmer got far less, and the worker, though better off, received wage increases disproportionately small when compared to (corporate) profits. As a result the purchasing power of workers and farmers were not great enough to sustain prosperity. For a time, this was partly obscured by the fact that consumers bought goods on installment at a rate faster than their income was expanding, but it was inevitable that a time would come when they would have to reduce purchases, and the cutback in buying would sap the whole economy.”

“Big business in America is producing what the Socialists held up as their goal; food, shelter, and clothing for all. You will see it during the Hoover administration” – Lincoln Steffens, 1928

“Political fundamentalism was an attempt to deny real division in American society by imposing a partiotic cult and coercing a sense of oneness. Every effort toward social change was condemned as un-American. This resistance to change and this insistence on conformity intertwined with the desire of rural churchmen to turn back modernism in religion and compel morality by statute.”

“The prosperity of the 1920’s produced the contagious feeling that everyone was meant to get rich. The decade witnessed a series of specualtive orgies, from ‘get-rick-quick’ schemes to the Florida real estate boom, climaxes in 1928 and 1929 by the Great Bull Market.”

“Throughout the history of the Klan runs a sordid thread of corruption. Many of the Klan leaders joined the organization primarily for personal profit; many who preached righteousness were morally corrupt …. The Stephenson episode revealed everything that was seamy about the Klan — the disloyalty of its leaders, the financial corruption, the political subversion, the moral hypocrisy, the sadism.”

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