A Timely Classic from T.R.


CLASS WARFARE is a term bandied about these days by those whose knowledge of the term is as superficial as their analysis. Warfare is a strong term no doubt, but there are certainly those who target certain classes of wealth and for their own selfish economic and political ends. Call it what you may like, but the incontrovertible fact is that certain political forces have harvested a bitter anger of the wealthy. And I fear that in 2012, more than ever before, the value of such divisive demagoguery is all important in the re-election strategy of the incumbent. The President's most recent gimmick in this campaign is the Buffet Rule, a piece of legislation symbolic of all that is wrong with the Obama's style of governing. As November approaches, we can only expect more class hustling from an increasingly isolated and desperate man seeking to cling to power. We should expect this more so if that man has already manipulated the legacy of a President whose character is so far superior to his own. In times like these, it is important to remember the wise words of a truly accomplished American hero, a man who had attained the requisite life experience before he assumed the supreme executive authority. His whole life had taught him that the idea of classism was not merely unethical, but that it was entirely antithetical to the core ideals of America. Below is part of a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt, expounding on this subject:

President Theodore Roosevelt, October 25, 1905, in Little Rock, Arkansas:

We must now see that there never comes any spirit of class antagonism in this country, any spirit of hostility between capitalist and wage-worker, between employer and employed; and we can avoid the upgrowth of any such feeling by remembering always to treat each man on his worth as a man. Do not hold it for him or against him that he is either rich or poor. If he is a crooked man and rich, hold it against him, not because he is rich, but because he is crooked. If he is not a rich man and crooked, hold it against him, still because he is crooked. If he is a square man, no matter how much or how little money he has, stand by him because he is a square man. Distrust more than any other man in this Republic the man who would try to teach Americans to substitute loyalty to any class for loyalty to the whole American people. Republics have flourished before now, and have fallen; and they have usually fallen because there arose within them parties that represented either the unscrupulous rich or the unscrupulous poor, and that persuaded the majority of the people to substitute loyalty to the one class over loyalty to the people as a whole.

Remember that the rancorous envy that hates the rich is only one side of the shield whose obverse is the insolence and arrogance that looks down on the poor. The two qualities are fundamentally the same...Distrust the man who would persuade you that he would do you good by trying to do any other man harm. The man who is true to you will ultimately be the man who is true to the great fundamental principles of righteousness. In public life the man who seeks to persuade you that he will benefit you by wronging anyone else, if the chance arises, will surely try to benefit himself by wronging you. What as a nation we need is to stand by the eternal, immutable principles of right and decency, the principle of fair dealing as between man and man, the principles that teach us to regard virtue with respect and vice with abhorrence, wherever either virtue or vice may be found. If we substitute for the line that divides the decent man from the man who is not decent, the line dividing the rich man from the poor man, or the line making any other artificial division, we will have done irreparable wrong to the Nation itself"