Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Read FDR's Folly by Jim Powell

I've recently finished reading FDR's Folly and I'm here to say it's one of the best books on the subject I've read. It's chock full of fact-filled horror stories with a moral: each one tells you exactly what America's first unopposed dictator was up to and what the results were. That is, he was unopposed by all but the Supreme Court of the day.

It's now all-but forgotten, but the Supreme Court — flawed from day one, admittedly — once stood as a bulwark protecting individual rights. They shut down several of FDR's more egregious rapes of liberty. Even when the vote went the wrong way there were some heroic statements made by justices of the time. (This was before they were castrated by FDR's bluff to pack the Court and his subsequent appointments.)

From Chapter 12 comes this one:
Nebbia v New York, 291 U.S. 502 (1934). A Rochester grocer was convicted of selling two bottles of milk for less than the nine cents per quart ordered by the Milk Control Board.

McReynolds, "The Legislature cannot lawfully destroy guaranteed rights of one man with the prime purpose of enriching another, even if, for the moment, this may seem advantageous to the public...

To him with less than nine cents it says-- You cannot procure a quart of milk from the grocer although he is anxious to accept what you can pay and the demands of your household are urgent."
The odds of even the allegedly conservative members of today's SCOTUS recognizing that principle are less than 1 in 4. I.e., only Thomas would come close, and then not consistently.

Anyway, the point is, if you have time to read only one book about that period, so supremely relevant to events of today, FDR's Folly by Jim Powell should be the one.

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