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Severo makes his very fair critique & commentary on the as he would have it, untimely release of some (Roosevelt - FDR ) cartoons that have emerged into intellectual circles it seems, for the 70th anniversary of the Roosevelt reorganization and court-packing plans:
Ornstein does not see it fitting to make a comparison in any way between FDR & the Bush legacy.



fdr cartoon

"Here is a thoughtful response to the "dictatorship" cartoons to which I just sent a pointer.


The difference between then and now is that Roosevelt was (a) one of our absolutely smartest presidents while Bush is one of our dumbest and (b) Roosevelt had a good heart and good intentions and was acting from severe frustration of the barriers put up by a "nine old men" Supreme Court and conservative bureaucracy -- no excuse for his tactics, mind you.

I never believed either the motivation (beginnings) or the ends justify the means when it comes to preserving our frail, vulnerable democratic traditions!

I did a paper in college comparing and contrasting "the two greatest propagandists of the 20th Century" -- Joseph Goebbels and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR's famous "Fireside Chats" radio show was an absolute stroke of propagandistic genius. But the nation needed something like that just then, and he was struggling first to get people through the greatest economic catastrophe in the nation's history and later to save the free world from totalitarian fascism, not destroy the freedoms of America in the name of a permanent war-footing (read 1984 lately?) and a vague and shifting enemy."

From the FDR cartoon archives

"Goebbels invented the Big Lie -- say something over and over enough and people believe you. Keep people marching, singing, attending huge ornate rallies and drilling for a war of conquest and no one has time to think, or discuss ethics, or what civilization means. Kill off the 5 percent intellectual leadership of a population (check out the Meyer Report on how-they-brainwashed-our-boys interviews after the Korean War, in which an Army psychiatrist interviewed several thousand returned POWs). When you eliminate just 5 percent of the population, which the Nazi's did, you have a nation of sheep followers left.

In addition to the 6 million Jews the Nazis killed in the Holocaust (of whom we're frequently reminded) there was "the other 6 million" who died at their hands -- well documented by William L. Shirer in his, "The Berlin Diaries." The "other 6 million" consisted primarily of intellectuals, liberals, moderates and community leaders of any stripe who didn't join the Nazi Party with a fulsome enthusiasm -- with a few thousand Gypsies thrown in for flavoring.

Goebbels and Roosevelt both used propaganda extensively and shamelessly, but for different purposes and ends -- and I'm not saying FDR was all that truthful. But his lies were comparatively little tactical lies, not the kind of basic Big Lie of the Nazis.

The great line from General Douglas MacArthur (besides "Old soldiers never die ...". which I saw him deliver on TV) was, when he learned of Roosevelt's death, "Ah, Roosevelt. There was a man who always told the truth, unless a lie would do." I buy that -- the only thing Mac ever said that I agreed with. So I'm not being naive about FDR.

And an afterthought: What do you suppose is the motive of the author of that clever cartoon series at this time?

COULD it be to undermine our national shock and dismay at how much the current administration has lied, misled, propagandized, befuddled, snookered and shafted us while systematically dismantling our institutions, traditions, individual privacy and other safeguards of liberty, separation of internal and external intelligence agencies, and common standards of treatment of prisoners (isolation, torture, denial of basic rights -- to the point of making Kafka's Russia seem amateurish)?

To put out something in cartoon form (which is at the level of understanding of probably the majority of voters) at this time -- no matter whether it's historically accurate and fair -- says essentially that, "Hey, what are you upset about? The great hero of America's liberals, FDR, did the same thing, see? Here, let me draw you a picture."

It oversimplifies the circumstances and debases the motivations, even if perhaps a number of the tactics were wrong-headed and dangerous."

Digg it, don't bury it!
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