"They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property.
"And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man."
Roosevelt, then the president of the United States, even explicitly called for the "overthrow of this kind of power":
"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.
"Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.
"In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for.
"Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike."
The American people overwhelmingly agreed with FDR, particularly after they'd seen how badly "dictatorship by the over-privileged" worked out for us in 1929. The result was that from 1932 until 1980 American politicians knew how important it was for government, representing the best interests of both our nation and all of its people, to hold back the political power that the morbidly rich could marshal with their great wealth.
This was such conventional wisdom in both parties that Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar in 1956:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.
"There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
And business knew it, too. Big corporations and wealthy businesspeople largely stayed away from politics from the 1930s onward, not wanting to draw the ire of the American people.
Until 1971. In August of that year, Lewis Powell, a lawyer who largely defended tobacco and the interests of the Virginia's upper classes, wrote an apocalyptic memo to his neighbor and friend who was the head of the US Chamber of Commerce. In it, he suggested that America itself was under attack from "leftists" and people on "college campuses."
The solution, Powell proposed, was for a small group of very, very wealthy people to reshape American public opinion through think tanks, funding of universities and schools, and an all-out assault on the media. Take over the courts and at least one of the political parties, he suggested, and wrest control of our economy away from government regulation.
As I noted in The Crash of 2016:
Powell's most indelible mark on the nation was not to be his 15-year tenure as a Supreme Court Justice, but instead that memo, which served as a declaration of war -- a war by the Economic Royalists against both democracy and what they saw as an overgrown middle class. It would be a final war, a bellum omnium contra omnes, against everything the New Deal and the Great Society had accomplished.
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