I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican

May 24, 2015 in Economics, Government

I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican… or I would have been.

Here’s some (Brainy Quotes) from Theodore Roosevelt… I wrote a quick history lesson at the bottom.

  • “It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
  • “I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes.”
  • “The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for … the protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use.”
  • “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” Corruption. 
  • “Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive potential you have and, in recognition of all this, would you mind having your salary halved.”
  • “The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
  • “I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.” (Wealth breeds laziness.)
  • “Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.”
  • “The government is us; we are the government, you and I.”
  • “Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.” (Speaking about the people who became the modern day republican leaders.) “The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.” (He kinda predicted Hilter… and/or  Fox News)

History lesson:

Teddy attracted progressives from the democratic party, but then the republican party leaders abandoned his principles and kept many of the democratic voters after his terms were over. Progressive is a term used widely for new economic ideas. Increasing taxes is progressive, but so is globalization and promoting large corporations. The new economic policies of the republican progressives were free market, low taxes, and reduced government spending… and the businesses grew so large they became reminiscent of capitalistic feudalism. After these principles emerged they never left the Republican party. Teddy would best fit in the Green Party today, while still appealing to the conservative core beliefs in all regards… except the exploitation of nature and on economic policy. He’s probably the last republican that ever read the full text of  “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith that led to our democratic capitalism. The post-Teddy Republican’s ignore the father of capitalism, Smith, while using some of his words to justify only that which serves their greed.

Today, Teddy or Adam Smith would have no problem breaking up big business and using tax money from the top down to create sustainable controlled economic growth. Teddy was the last republican leader that feared big business more than big government. He knew that government is only as big as the businesses they produce. Excessive profits do more harm than excessive social programs. My friends, we are all somewhere in the middle… well, except the fringe free market libertarians in control of the GOP. These 1909 new republicans were too progressive in values and economics… embracing big business and large profits was a new economic theory they tested. “Trickle down”, it could be called. They actually created the roaring 1920’s that we love watching in the Great Gatsby. We all know that led to the Great Depression. Sustainable growth, like Teddy envisioned, would have propelled us more than a decade further in productivity, and with unmeasurable happiness and lives saved.

These new businessmen inside our government had a disdain of federal government, regulations, and taxation. They tried to privatize the federal government from 1909-1929; income inequalities and the Great Depression resulted afterwards. I call this boom and bust economics. Sound familiar? This is why there is no Teddy Roosevelt republicans today… the economics make us seem liberal and we can’t vote for any republicans.

After the Depression, business and economics became more public/socialized… and prosperity slowly restored. The free market republicans sat dormant during 50 years of social liberal created economic moderate growth. Then the boom and bust economics re-emerged with the libertarians and the Tea Party.

All of politics today is quite liberal, nothing is conservative about our debt. Building economies and countries isn’t cheap. Labels are funny, cause they often have no base in fact or definition, they just become vessel of emotion that drive apathy. You can see the difficulty trying to explain political economy to a layman. Still, I encourage everyone to perpetually try to understand the evolution of our social order… be a patriot… look for the Teddy inside you.

In the last 40 years we have slowly returned to these free market policies. Reagan engaged progressives much like Teddy once had. In the late 1970, we trusted the GOP again, and they sold us away to big business again. Many democrats even played along this time under the guise of international economics and free trade.

Find me a republican who has decades on record being outspoken about big business, who supports a progressive tax system, and I’d vote for them over Hillary… but not Bernie. Bernie is the guy who will break up big business, protect the environment, and create more stable labor markets… just like Teddy always tried to do. Teddy just kicked lazy people’s ass a little harder. Unlike modern day republican leaders, Teddy didn’t try to pull out the rug under the “less qualified” people first. Unfortunately, after 100 years, I will never trust a conservative leader again… progressive free market economics is embedded in their core. Yet, it came out of thin air.

If you go research Teddy and decide you are a Teddy Roosevelt Republican too, then give Bernie a chance. Democratic Socialists are the real conservatives today. Both the democrats’ and the Pope’s ethics align on public policy, on the need for more democratic socialism. Free market (anarchy) is a progressive and short sighted liberal idea that never panned out, yet keeps finding ground in a party guised in religion. Keep the values, but lose the party obsessed with catastrophic economic values.

I’ll leave you with this, a Franklin Roosevelt speech during his re-election while combating feudalistic free market economics. It sums up the “recent” problem American politics had experienced, when Teddy turned democrats into the republicans that then abandoned him… Franklin heeding this warning:


Here is a related post on Adam Smith... he’s the guy who coined the term “laissez faire”, that conservatives love.