Freedom: The Second Bill of Rights

April 27, 2012 - 9:30am

FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address was a landmark statement of a comprehensive definition of American freedom.  In the 1930's and 1940's the right-wing Liberty League, founded by the Du Pont's and other wealthy industrialists, articulated a freedom from the "abusive powers of government" as their central cause. Today it's ALEC, American's for Prosperity, the Tea Party and other corporate sponsored groups that pretend to stand for freedom and liberty.

They are silent on the affirmative freedoms that FDR described in his speech: 

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education

Read Eric Alterman's How Classical Liberalism Morphed into New Deal Liberalism for more background.

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