Century of the Common Man

FDR and Henry Wallace at the 1943 Inaugural. Henry Wallace later proclaimed the Century of the Common Man in his famous speech.
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Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today I will be talking about what former vice president Henry Wallace described as the century of the common man. What condition is the common man in today since this is supposed to be his century? For the Castle Family week four out of quarantine passed uneventfully although the powers that be tell us we are now part of the masked ones whether we want to be or not. The family daughter remains marooned but safe and unmasked, virus free but in a distant land.

Henry Wallace defines the century of the common man

On May 8, 1942 in the Grand Ballroom of the Commodore Hotel in New York City Vice President Henry Wallace gave a speech to a packed house. It was packed with a diverse group from 33 different nations including all the nations of Latin America. It was the Vice President after all, and the nation was in the early stages of a World War. Mr. Wallace titled his speech “The Century of the Common Man.” He reviewed the great revolutions that had engulfed the world over the centuries in which he asserted the common man had tried to uplift himself through bloodshed. He emphasized that the next century would be different, since the coming change would be for the benefit of the common man. And because the government would bring it peacefully.

The common man and the Four Freedoms

He said he and President Roosevelt were proposing to make the following 100 years the century of the common man. And he would promote the Four Freedoms the President emphasized in his recent speech to Congress. These Four Freedoms, President Roosevelt told the world, were the Four Freedoms that Americans held to be so dear they would be willing to die for them or go abroad and kill to protect them.

The Four Freedoms were freedom of speech, freedom of religion or worship as the President worded it, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. We will address the state of the four in a moment. But first, the vice president’s speech became an international sensation. Mr. Wallace was an avowed socialist or communist depending on who you talked to. And that was 78 years before Bernie Sanders made it fashionable to be a socialist.

Cue the fanfare!

Composer Aaron Copland, son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, was so taken by the speech that he wrote a composition in honor of it which he called “Fanfare for the Common Man.” The piece became a part of Americana, and orchestras still play it today. I’m sure you’ve heard it sometime in your lifetime.

The vice president was honored by fellow socialists around the world for his idea of bloodless revolution although at the time the world was awash in blood.

Mr. Wallace proposed that the government should relive the burden of individual responsibility that the common man had shouldered since the advent of America. The burden would henceforth be socialized across all strata of society.

Incidentally, what is a common man?

What does it mean to be called common? In the traditional European definition, it meant anyone not a member of an inherited royal status or anyone not deemed royal by a member of the royal family. Here in America where we are supposed to reject such titles, it could mean anyone not of any esteemed social status. Money, not birth, usually determines such things in America.

From war to initial prosperity

At the time Mr. Wallace spoke, common men and women were dying by the millions across the world. Dying in battle, dying as collateral damage, and dying in the German Camps. When the war ended, the 15 years of the post war boom supervened. One could truthfully call that the golden age of the common man. Except for a few years fighting on the Korean peninsula, the world war and its aftermath uplifted the common man’s plight. The industrial machinery of war converted quickly to civilian consumer goods. That provided good middle-class jobs for the 12 million returning men. The former soldiers all needed houses, cars and all the other products that someone had to manufacture.

The common man had it good, until…

There were enough good jobs in manufacturing to go around, and each family could live on one income. So there was one spouse available to nurture the children. They had a car and could take a family vacation once a year. When the breadwinner retired he would have a pension waiting. That status existed through at least parts of the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. But then the Federal Reserve and the elites whose cause it serves, started to assert itself.

Vietnam

The Vietnam War put the final nail in the coffin of the century of the common man. President Nixon found it impossible to pay for both an expensive war and the great society programs left over from President Johnson. His solution was to cut the dollar’s historic tie to gold and set the dollar free with no limits on what could be printed and borrowed from the Federal Reserve via the central banks of the world.

The common man loses his jobs

This was all happening at the same time that American manufacturing was transferring to various offshore low wage countries. This transfer served the interests of the international elite but not the well-being of the common man. Gone were the well-paying middle-class jobs. So the only thing left for the common man were:

  1. The low paying service jobs, and
  2. Jobs that as President Bush told us, Americans would not do.

The American common man suddenly had to compete not only with low paid workers around the world. Now he must compete with low paid immigrants whom the elites imported in massive numbers.

All in your best interest

Those elites told him to be happy about all this change. It was all in his best interest. Furthermore the jobs that were taken from him and shipped to the third world would be replaced by modern high-tech jobs involving robotics etc. So he went to school to learn some of those high-tech jobs that perhaps would get him to Silicon Valley. Then he learned that most of them went to Asian Americans or just plain Asians.

The common man goes into debt

The common man heard that he had to not only accept this bum deal, but he had to like it. NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, GATT and the like were good for him because he would be able to go to Walmart and buy stuff from China real cheap. What a good deal! Except that he couldn’t even afford to buy the cheap junk because half the time he worked a temporary job. Or he was on unemployment, and always on food stamps. He could appear rich, he heard, if he could just acquire more debt.

…and then cannot service that debt

His self esteem languished in the gutter as he could not get proper education for his kids. Most of the degrees available were virtually worthless, and all involved a lifetime of debt for his children and himself. In fact, he could not make ends meet at all because his wages remained flat for 40 years or so while inflation ate away his lifestyle. In families fortunate enough to remain intact, both spouses had to work. Then the government took on the child raising responsibilities. One spouse worked to pay the taxes and one worked to pay the bills. They had to borrow to survive until they couldn’t meet the debt service anymore because income and expense never balanced.

But the government can borrow as it pleases

Good news for the government though, as computers relieved them of the burden of printing. Now they only had to hit a key stroke and the money appeared as if by magic. The government set the example for the common man to follow. Borrow whatever you need and pay back nothing until it all collapses. And then you take the fall, not the banks or Wall Street firms, you Mr. Common Man.

About those Four Freedoms: freedom of speech

Let’s look now, after that dismal picture, at those hallowed freedoms that President Roosevelt talked about. Surely that picture of freedom will lift the spirits of our bedraggled common man. Freedom of speech was the first one and guaranteed in the first amendment to the US Constitution. That one is easy to cover because it doesn’t exist anymore, at least not under the concept of freedom as we used to know it.

The only speech the elites now allow is speech that not only agrees with but exalts the prevailing political narrative. Our common man has no option but to lie to those who demand his view of things. He has no political opinion except those opinions the media assign to him. The goal of that media is to establish his opinion and make him believe it is his idea.

The common man (and the not-so-common man) may not say…

No college professor can dispute that narrative, no doctor, no scientist, no lawyer, and certainly no common man. To dispute the prevailing narrative would be to lose one’s job, one’s profession, one’s social standing and to face ostracism from polite society. If anyone had the audacity to actually speak his mind he would have to a humiliating, groveling, disgusting, apology. An apology which he does not mean and which does not work. The media still would symbolically paraded his head around the world on a pike. That would serve as an example of the penalty for non-compliance. In response, the common man, being also a practical man, keeps his mouth firmly shut. Let no one find out that he has a contrary opinion.

What about voting?

In his mind grows a burning anger at all this. He thinks that he has no voice and cannot affect this deteriorating condition. However, this is America so he can still vote and obtain change that way. That would send them a message that he is not going to take it anymore. No, our common man learns that no matter who he votes for, it just gets worse.

Freedom of religion

What about religion? Surely he can still worship as he pleases. No, the churches are closed now and possibly will be opened partially over a time frame to be determined by his betters. He also learns that his religion is out of favor right now. He hears a lot about the term Islamophobia, but he sees no sanction for those criticizing his religion. So the common man keeps his mouth shut, and hopes no one notices that he might have an opinion.

Freedom from want

The other freedoms listed by Mr. Wallace are not protected by the Constitution. But they are fine socialist talking points for sure. Freedom from want is a hard one isn’t it? I mean, the government is supposed to somehow prevent each person from want. No one wants for anything? No, let’s just restrict it to no one wants for the necessities of life. That would be food, clean water, housing, education, etc. He thinks its not for the best. but he waits like a baby bird for the government to feed him anyway.

Freedom from fear

Freedom from fear is the last one, and the common man says, don’t make me laugh. The last few months have been about nothing but fear. The government and its elite masters want us in a constant state of fear, so that we are much easier to control. His betters tell the common man to be afraid all the time to avoid risks, to take no chances. The government will solve all problems for him.

The century of the common man is a bust

He looks around and he sees all kinds of lies, hypocrisy, and destruction of everything he holds dear. Everything that he was raised to believe in is bad, and everything bad is now good. He may not attend church, but protesters fill the streets. Terrorists occupy the center of a once great city and no one does a thing about it. Pallets of bricks appear as if by magic on hand carts for the looters to use. A Nazi collaborator pays people to riot, loot, burn, and call other people vicious names in the public press.

His country, the one that his grandfather stormed Omaha Beach to save, is not his anymore.

Virtually all media tell him constantly that the problems are all his fault. Then he wonders how that could be and why so many blame him. He only wants to live a quiet and peaceful life. Welcome to your century Mr. Common Man.

The common man knows the plan

The common man is not stupid, however, and he knows the plan is something like this:

  1. Instill fear.
  2. Lock people inside their houses.
  3. Drive tens of millions out of work.
  4. Remove all pressure release valves, sports, concerts, theater, bars restaurants and the like.
  5. Close churches.
  6. Dehumanize people by forcing the healthy to wear masks.
  7. Wait for the explosion.

Finally, folks, what is the common man supposed to think about all this? He isn’t.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Until next time folks,

This is Darrell Castle.

About the image

“63-122” by FDR Presidential Library & Museum carries Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0

Attorney at Law at | Website | + posts

Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at castlereport.us

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