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Ed Driscoll

‘On Presidents’ Day, Recall FDR’s Victims’

February 17th, 2014 - 12:05 pm

Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner asks us to spare a moment to remember the Forgotten Men of the 1930s and ’40s:

Innocent Japanese Americans: Government, ultimately, is force and the threat of force. This is most in view when it comes to imprisonment.

Certainly one of the very worst sins of the U.S. Government was FDR’s creation of internment camps. More than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, none of whom had ever been accused of a crime, along with Italian- and German-Americans, were packed off to prison camps. Think about it this way: FDR’s internment of a hundred thousand Americans was closer in time to today than it was to the Emanicipation Proclamation.

Roscoe Filburn, who dared farm for himself: The sphere of individual liberty – the freedom to mind your own business – is a rival to government power.

Roscoe Filburn wanted to grow some wheat for himself and his family. FDR’s administration said that was illegal. The Filburn Foundation explains:

In 1941, he grew twelve acres of wheat beyond what was permitted under a Department of Agriculture directive – The Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1938 – which set his quota at 11.1 acres with a normal yield of 20.1 bushels per acre.

The extra planting yielded 249 bushels of wheat and he was fined 49 cents per bushel ($122.01).

The Roosevelt administration won in court, and that case, Wickard v. Filburn, is the precedent by which ObamaCare defenders say they can force you to buy insurance. After all, if government can prohibit you from growing your own wheat in your own back yard for you to feed to your own children, what can’t government do.

And since, in many ways, FDR’s first eight years in office were essentially an attempt to apply Woodrow Wilson’s heavy-handed efforts to suppress free speech and nationalize industry during World War I to a peacetime economy, it’s worth remembering his victims as well, particularly since there’s also a direct line from Wilson to his current successor.

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