Greens that are too Yellow to admit they’re really Reds!

by on 31 March, 2010

Andy-SempleAndy Semple profiles a few historical leaders in a contemporary context.

Below are just a few. I’m sure you can name others.

Kevin Rudd - who wants to introduce Cap & Trade aka CPRS and is willing to push the progressive agenda farther than Whitlam’s.

Malcolm Turnbull - any “Liberal” willing to support Kevin Rudd’s Cap & Trade scheme.

Al Gore - who stands to profit the most from worldwide Cap & Trade schemes.

Barack Obama - a president who seems to be willing to push the progressive agenda farther than former presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson & the Father of “Progressivism” Theodore Roosevelt.

To really understand where Australia is headed under Rudd, you need to look no further than where the US is headed under Obama. There’s an old saying that America leads the Western world and countries like Australia follow and while I’d like to think we as a country can make our own journey, I can see the Rudd captained journey being inspired by the actions of Obama. So who has been inspiring Obama? None other than the three former US presidents from the “progressive era”.  Here’s a brief look at them. As you read their thoughts and visions, you might recognise some stark parallels to today’s Australian politicians – from both sides of the aisle.
 
Father of “Progressivism” Theodore Roosevelt (26th US President)

Roosevelt, like other progressives, did not trust businesses or wealthy individuals because he didn’t believe that any of them were ultimately capable of doing what was best for the collective (unlike the Borg from Star Trek). Only government is capable of that.
 
In 1910, Roosevelt gave a landmark speech called “the New Nationalism” that clearly laid out his vision for America. “It has become entirely clear,” Roosevelt said, “that we must have government supervision of the capitalisation, not only of public-service corporations, including particularly, railways, but of all corporations doing an interstate business.”
 
It’s called Stewardship Theory – the Government must be the steward of the people’s, the steward of their needs. Roosevelt wanted to take it further. He suggested the National Government must be able to sit in judgement of the earning of private wealth and The National Government must be able to sit in Judgement of how private wealth is used.
 
You see, to progressives, government supervision is the answer to any problem supposedly caused by the “free market”. Just look at your history. It happened after the 1907 banking crisis, the Great Depression and of course, after the GFC, when PM Rudd proposed changes to the financial regulatory and industrial relations systems. Sure, Rudd did have a mandate for Fair Work, but like any politician, Rudd went too far and has given too much power to the unions.  40% of retailers expect wage bill rises under Fair Work - ARA says.
 
Woodrow Wilson (28th US President)

For whatever reason, history rates Wilson as one of the top 10 US Presidents of all time which for the life of me I can’t explain why given his complete distain for the First Amendment (better known as the right to freedom of speech). Wilson’s assault on the First Amendment was like nothing American citizens had seen before or since from anyone who’s taken the oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. It’s not because he lead the US into WWI it’s what he did after that. Wilson felt it was a priority to make sure that anything interfering with the war effort was stopped, including those who disagreed with it. That’s why he pushed through the Espionage Act of 1917, an attack on free speech that made it a crime.
 
“To convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war, to cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or to willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States. This was punishable by a maximum $USD 10,000 fine (almost $170,000 in today's dollars) and 20 years in prison.”

But Wilson didn’t think that Act was restrictive enough, so he pushed through an amendment to it called the Sedition Act of 1918.
 
Wilson wasn’t just concerned with the media, he was worried about private citizens ‘uttering’ things in private conversations! I guess those of us who think that’s an assault on free speech are just closed-minded idiots. Just look at Rudd, who denies his opponents the right to hold a different view on Climate Change. We are truly living in a strange world when the word sceptic, as in the term Climate sceptic has come to be used as an insult.

I wonder how those modern day progressives who are so keen to look back to the likes of Wilson with nostalgia, would feel if he was President today – he’d probably would have them all thrown in prison.
 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) (32nd US President)

FDR is another president who is inexplicably ranked near the top of many “best presidents ever” polls. The fact that he is the only president to ever to be elected four times is often cited as proof of his popularity, and popularity, as we all know, always equals competence. Kevin Rudd is popular, but is he really competent?

Anyway, back to FDR. Now the fact that FDR stayed in office for so long isn’t proof of his massive popularity, it’s proof of his massive ego (now who does that remind you of?). Worse, instead of using all if that time to change the country for the better, he used it to do more damage to the framework of America than any other president in history.

So if this president was so popular, then explain to me why the US public ratified the Twenty Second Amendment, which limited future presidents to two four-year terms, so soon after finally getting rid of him? Had the people of America come away from FDR’s presidency thinking, “man, that really worked out well for us!” then you’d think America would’ve been in no mood for strict term limits.

You see, FDR was the first president to realise that you should “never let a crisis go to waste.” He used the economic turmoil and WW II to make the case for a massive expansion of government and he used the Great Depression to make people believe that he was the only one who could solve America’s problems (sound familiar, Kevin?) when, in reality, he was only making them worse.

On March 4, 1933, FDR won the election in a landslide (like Rudd in 2007). He took office with a lot of political capital (like Rudd) and an American public supportive of immediate action (like Australia). So FDR delivered, no promised a “New Deal” (Labor's 2007 campaign slogan - New Leadership) for Americans who couldn’t stand another “four more years of the same failed Republican policies” that Harding and Hoover had delivered for the last decade. Again, doesn’t this sound familiar here in Australia?
 
FDR (& Rudd) ran his campaign on a familiar theme: hope, change, and blame. FDR blamed Hoover for the high unemployment rate, (Rudd constantly blamed Howard for a variety of woes), for fostering the growth of greedy, out-of-control corporations (Rudd sees the death of neo-liberalism) and for problems with a lack of regulation and oversight. So FDR then made the case that the only solution to those problems was through a massive New Deal that would be implemented by the federal government.
FDR’s mandate resulted in the establishment of 34 new federal agencies, administrations, authorities and acts. Is any of this sounding familiar?
 
You see, Rudd resorts to the usual interventionist myths to justify his position. The greatest of these, of course, is the myth that FDR’s New Deal policies saved the US from the Depression.

Historian Burton Folsom Jr points out that while unemployment fluctuated throughout the '30s, average unemployment in 1939 was higher than in 1931, the year before FDR became president.

He also produces a revealing extract from testimony by Henry Morgenthau Jr, Roosevelt's treasury secretary, on May 9, 1939 to the House Ways and Means committee: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I'm wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises … I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started … And an enormous debt to boot."
 
Morgenthau was a fervent believer in the merits of government intervention and his view is an important warning to all policy makers about the dangers of "neo-interventionism". So take heed, everyone.

Rudd likes to call it "social capitalism" or "social democratic capitalism". No, it’s called "neo-interventionism", the 21st century name for good old socialism which by the way, Vladimir Lenin, drawing on Karl Marx's ideas of "lower" and "upper" stages of socialism, defines socialism as a transitional stage between capitalism and communism. Great!
 
In Rudd's view, social democrats must use a resurrected state power to regulate markets, strike a better balance between public and private interests, embrace Keynesian economics and correct for market failure from the financial system to climate change.

Progressives often want things at the expense of others. Sound familiar?
 
The progressive goal is always the same – Benefit the collective at the expense of the individual. So is the pursuit of happiness now a collective thing rather than an individual thing?
 
Take FDR’s 1944 State of the Union address where he said, “In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all – regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are,”
 
“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.”
“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.”
“The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.”
“The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.”
“The right of every family to a decent home.”
“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”
“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.”
“The right to a good education.”

The stuff FDR proposed sounded more like entries from Karl Marx’s diary. It’s typical socialist rhetoric that sounds good for the two seconds it takes before your brain starts to engage (or explode).
 
Rudd is rewriting Australia’s future and he’s doing it with blinding speed (don’t be fooled by his committee after committee deliberation). Like Teddy Roosevelt, he seems to believe that wealth must be spread around (Rudd will compensate low-income earners to the value of 120 per cent of the impact of the CPRS on their living costs), and like FDR, he seems to believe in the right to health care, a good job, education and a decent home. In other words, Rudd is a Progressive Frankenstein – a PM who’s created out of the most grotesquely destructive policies of his political idols. Malcolm Turnbull, in supporting Rudd’s CPRS legislation, is no better.

Andy is the founder and Managing Director of Stockbroking firm ANDIKA and the co-founder and Managing Director of boutique Funds Manager Xcelerator Capital Limited. He blogs regularly at www.andylsemple.com

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