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On January 6, 1941, at the edge of what would become a terrible global war, Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed Congress and spoke of a better future “founded upon four essential human freedoms.” These were, as he saw it, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. It was — and remains — a moving prescription for the planet from an American president.

More than three quarters of a century later, twitching in the Oval Office is a president who seems to believe that freedom of speech and expression (his excepted) is fake news; that the freedom of every person to worship in his or her own fashion shouldn’t include Muslims or perhaps people who live in “huts” in “shithole countries” (or was it “shithouse countries”?); that freedom from want only applies to plutocrats (because they, naturally enough, always want more); and above all that the need to fear, to be afraid, truly afraid — an emotion on which, as TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon points out today, the national security state in its present outlandish form has been built — couldn’t be more useful. It’s what, as recent national security budgets have shown, funds and builds so much, walls included.

So in a White House in which the fear not of god but of Trump is to be instilled in everyone, don’t expect this president to lay out four essential anythings, no less freedoms, other than his freedom to say whatever happens to cross his mind, however bizarre it may be. If a genuine program for a better future is to be laid out by anyone, it certainly won’t be by our tweeter-in-chief. In other words, it’s up to the rest of us to do it, which means, as Rebecca Gordon suggests, that we need to muster our better selves in resistance to our present American world without the expectation of a helping hand from Washington.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump 
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  1. Veritas says:

    That’s laughable. I mean, come one, who is it that’s chipping away at freedom of speech and freedom of worship, never mind freedom of association? And how the heck are freedom from want and freedom from fear rights?

  2. Stubby says:

    Tom Dispatch is consistently one of the best examples of official US leftist discourse. Official US leftist discourse features a number of characteristic verbal tics conducive to lugubrious helplessness, and this article exemplifies them quite well.

    Official US leftist discourse always climaxes with a ringing call to us the people: put on your thinking caps, go back to the drawing board, and figure out what to do. Like nobody ever did that before. From scratch, like we have no idea what to do.

    Official leftist discourse is profoundly parochial. It cites, in this case, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – in a historical void that somehow forgets that the whole world including us took the Four Freedoms and ran with them. We expanded the Four Freedoms into an Economic Bill of Rights. Then we articulated them into the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, making them by acclamation state and federal common law, under the supreme court’s The Paquete Habana decision. Then we made binding conventional law of them with the core human rights conventions,

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CoreInstruments.aspx

    institutionalizing independent expert review and setting out precise interpretive principles in General Comments and detailed implementation guidelines in the Limburg Principles and the Siracusa Principles. Then we laid out the Paris Principles for domestic application under independent expert oversight.

    Official US leftist discourse always demands that you reinvent all those wheels. We don’t have to lay out a ‘genuine program for a better future.’ We just pop open a can. That’s what the Soviet bloc did when it collapsed. That’s what the successor states of the US kleptocracy will do when the USA collapses. We know the requisites for any sovereign state.

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx

    That’s your constitution right there. Stop the war machine with the UN Charter. Stop national-security impunity with the Rome Statute. Stop the police state with core human rights. All the org-chart nonsense is American atavism from slave days. It doesn’t matter once you get the rights and freedoms right.

  3. fnn says:

    FDR is no hero. The machinations of FDR caused the outbreak of general European war in 1939. FDR’s minions encouraged the Poles not to negotiate with Germany and bullied Chamberlain into making the notorious blank check war guarantees to Poland. Even though the Brits knew they could do nothing to help the Poles if war came.

    You can consult Herbert Hoover if you don’t believe me:

    http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2012/05/poland-as-pawn-hoover-identifies.html

    Or a celebrated mainstream liberal Jewish Zionist historian:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1G7H48SQQAXD8/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0471033413

  4. “The machinations of FDR caused the outbreak of general European war in 1939. FDR’s minions encouraged the Poles not to negotiate with Germany and bullied Chamberlain into making the notorious blank check war guarantees to Poland. Even though the Brits knew they could do nothing to help the Poles if war came.” — tnn

    That’s like saying that Gorbachev caused NATO to move east in violation of all the agreements made by USA’s neocons to the contrary back after the fall of the Berlin Wall. As though Gorbachev knew that’s what USA’s neocons planned to happen and that Gorbachev wanted that to happen.

    Back in the late 1930s, Chamberlain and the entire British establishment — like Gorbachev half a century later when Russia pulled out of Easy Germany– were patsies, pitiable but not culpable for allowing the Nazi government to take over the Sudetenland, rendering Czechoslovakia indefensible. It wasn’t FDR, it was the entire British establishment, that gave Hitler the Sudetenland in the name of uniting the German people (according to the principle of nationalism so popular at the time) without firing a shot. Everything Hitler had done up til then could be understood as uniting the German people … and it’s likely that the British felt some guilt for having shafted Germany at Versailles. Hitler took advantage of all that, as the great con artist that he was.

    ‘tnn’, like all the World War II revisionists, leaves one major point out. That was the military invasion of Czechoslovakia (unprovoked and unjustifiable) by the Wehrmacht, 15 March 1939. If you don’t believe me, please read The Rise and Fall of the American Empire: A Re-Interpretation of History by Rocky Mirza, pp. 352-353 (available online at Google Books), which is one of your generally anti-USA histories, yet it is still a history book. Also see, Peter Demetz: Prague in Danger: The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45

    Hitler, a psychopath, was unable to comprehend that the British leaders and the British people actually believed in the good old values of truthfulness and honest dealing. He was a psychopath, which means he could not conceive of honest dealing or take anyone else’s point of view into account, except as information to be exploited by him.

    Yes, I know there are all these great revisionist historians (e.g., David Irving) who seem to think that because they can show that the conformist historians are full of crap, which they are, therefor the proposition that Hitler was a psychopath need not even be examined. All the revisionists gloss over the invasion of Czechoslovakia, just as they gloss over the fact that the official Nazi view was that the Slavic peoples were racially inferior to the so-called Teutonic people. In fact, the Slavs (which includes both Czechs and Slovaks) were/are linguistically and most likely genetically closer to the Aryan roots than were the mutts of the Third Reich.

    All this is unrelated to gas chamber theories, etc. — my arguments here have nothing to do with Jews or Israel, although I do not deny that there may be truth in theories of Zionist interference in British politics to promote the Balfour Declaration, etc., but if you think that proves that FDR and not Hitler started World War II, then you’re a nut job who refuses to look at history. Worse, you are one of the increasing number of anti-USA idiots who think, e.g., FDR was behind 9/11. BTW: I am a critic of Israel and I know about the USS Liberty for which I condemn Israel as an enemy of the USA.

    Hitler was a psychopath and a supreme political opportunist. The pity is that he could have led a great war against Communist tyranny and Germany could have been much better off with Russia as a friend than it ever was the way it went under Nazi bogus racial theories. As for whether it was Hitler or really Martin Bormann who signed the various orders, I don’t know and I couldn’t care less. Also, whether Hitler’s psychopathy could constitute a valid plea of insanity to get him off the hook for whatever crimes he did or did not commit, again, I don’t know and I couldn’t care less.

    One fact is certain: Hitler, not FDR, started the European World War II.

    • Replies: @fnn
  5. fnn says:
    @Grandpa Charlie

    Hitler turning the rump Czech state into a German protectorate hardly seems like a good reason to blow up the world. Prague was (arguably) historically more Germanic than it was Czech. For one little example, the most famous Czech writer, Kafka, was a German speaker.

    All the revisionists gloss over the invasion of Czechoslovakia, just as they gloss over the fact that the official Nazi view was that the Slavic peoples were racially inferior to the so-called Teutonic people. In fact, the Slavs (which includes both Czechs and Slovaks) were/are linguistically and most likely genetically closer to the Aryan roots than were the mutts of the Third Reich.

    Not true. Listen to this interview:


    Also note that the Slovaks were NS Germany’s first allies and the Czechs under the occupation were given the same benefits as German workers- with the bonus of not being subject to conscription. The lack of discontent prompted the British to send in a Czech emigre team to assassinate Heydrich.

    Hitler also got along well with the Poles when Pilsudski was in charge. Here’s Wikipedia on Pilsudski:

    After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933, Piłsudski is rumored to have proposed to France a preventive war against Germany. It has been argued that Piłsudski may have been sounding out France regarding possible joint military action against Germany.Lack of French interest may have been a reason for Poland signing the Non-Aggression Pact of January 1934. Little evidence has, however, been found in French or Polish diplomatic archives that such a proposal for preventive war was ever actually advanced.Hitler repeatedly suggested a German-Polish alliance against the Soviet Union, but Piłsudski declined, instead seeking precious time to prepare for potential war with either Germany or the Soviet Union. Just before his death, Piłsudski told Józef Beck that it must be Poland’s policy to maintain neutral relations with Germany, keep up the Polish alliance with France and improve relations with the United Kingdom.

    Hitler (not Nazis in general, see the above audio interview) had a personal animus towards Russians-not Slavs as a whole. Churchill was a more consistent racialist thinker:

    https://www.counter-currents.com/2016/03/hitler-vs-the-untermenschen-myth-reality/

    Churchill incidentally made arguments similar to Hitler’s: Concerning the need for eugenics in England, the good that was the replacement of the Australian Aborigines by “the stronger race” that was the Anglo-Saxon Australians, and the refusal to provide food to starving Bengalis that had been “breeding like rabbits.” He once said during the war: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

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