Mark Terry

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fear Itself

September 30, 2008
From Franklin D. Roosevelt's Inaugural Address:

I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.


Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

The "bail out" is beginning to look like the same kind of group-think that got us into the Iraq war. "We just gotta do it, Steve. We just gotta! Everybody agrees!"

I didn't agree. I don't agree with the proposed bail out, and I'm glad the House voted it down.

If you must have government intervention, then let the government intervene on behalf of the home owners in trouble: offer low interest loans to owners facing foreclosure. Heaving money at the lending and mortgage institutions to keep them afloat---the very institutions that got people into trouble to begin with, or allowed people to get themselves into trouble---will not reduce anyone's debt or interest rates. It will not save anyone's home. It will not keep anyone out of the hypothetical soup line. It will only prop up institutions that are suffering because its clients cannot pay off their debt, cannot keep up with their interest rates, cannot stay in their homes and out of the soup lines. If you must hand out money, hand it out to the people, not the institutions. Solve the problem bottom-up, not top-down.

You don't pour soup onto a corporate CEO and expect it to trickle down to the people who need it. It's folly to think money works any differently.

I am opposed to the bill that failed on Monday. There is no doubt in my mind it was the absolute wrong thing to do. I am shocked by all the pundits who say, "It's ugly but necessary." Ugly is as ugly does. This bill, if it passes in any similar form later in the week, will have terrible long term consequences.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

Group think is a powerful thing and people are sheep.


I wish it weren't so. Being someone who myself isn't a sheep I find it highly frustrating when EVERYBODY jumps on board with something out of panic without thinking it through.

Our downfall will always be the sheep mentality of most human beings.

2:06 PM  
Blogger kitty said...

What we have to fear is fear mongering in the 24/7 news.


4:13 AM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

Exactly, Kitty. Pisses me off! The news media creates far more problems than they solve.

People rant about freedom of the press, but the truth is...they aren't cracking the highest secrets in government. The kinds of things it might actually behoove us to know they don't have access too. The things we get instead is sensationalized scare tactics that cause people to live in a generalized state of anxiety. I rarely watch any kind of news program. Watching a tiny bit more now because of the election, but after that the TV gets turned back off.

3:00 PM  

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