“Connoisseurs of Liberty”….wise words by George Will

HERE is an excellent piece by George Will, a speech he made lauding The Cato Institute.  I picked the following  paragraphs out because I thought it was so important to consider them as a cautionary tale, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing; it’s not long.  The following information is so basic, such a big part of how I think most of us feel, that free competition is so important, etc.:

I want you to come back with me to a crime scene. I want to tell you about
something that happened in this country that you didn’t learn when you studied
the New Deal. The crime occurred in April 1934, the beginning of the second
year of the New Deal. It occurred at 138 Griffith Street in Jersey City, New Jersey.
I recently visited this neighborhood—now, as then, it’s a neighborhood of
immigrants. Now there are Asians and Latin Americans; then, they were from
Eastern Europe. Today 138 Griffith Street is a barber shop; then, it was a man’s
tailoring and pressing shop run by Jacob Maged, a 49-year-old immigrant from
Poland, father of two daughters.

The crime he committed was putting in his shop window a sign saying he
would press a man’s suit for 35 cents. Now, how did that become a crime in the land of the free and the home of the brave? The New Deal was in power, the New Deal
knew everything, and the New Deal had a theory. The theory was, when you have 
a depression, prices go down; therefore—a historic non sequitur—we’ll have a recovery
if we can force prices to rise. Therefore, we must outlaw competition, because
competition drives down prices. Therefore, they had the National Industrial
Recovery Act, and the first National Recovery Administration (NRA), which
wrote 500 different codes of noncompetition, cartelizing American industry.

Some of you may remember that the symbol of the NRA was a blue eagle—
you were encouraged to fly the Blue Eagle flag over your factory or put a Blue
Eagle poster in your shop window. The government had decided that 40 cents
was the proper price for pressing a man’s suit. For his nickel crime, Mr. Maged was arrested, fined $100 (doesn’t sound like much, but the median family income that year was $1,500), and sentenced to 30 days in jail. The judge thought this was a teachable moment, so he canceled the fine, pardoned him from his sentence, and hauled him back into court where—and this is from the New York
Times—he “gave him a little lecture on the importance of cooperation as opposed to individualism.” Maged left the court with the New York Times trailing him.
Duly chastened, he went back to his shop and took out the offending sign promising
a 35-cent job and put in its place the Blue Eagle. The next morning the New
York Times reported that Maged, “if not quite so ruggedly individualistic as formerly,  was a free man once more.”

A free man—if you define freedom as embracing a government propaganda
symbol under the threat of fine and imprisonment. I don’t.”

Z;  Interesting tale, isn’t it…too bad it’s true, too bad so many people actually bought into it.  How do you think our economy would be doing if we honored and supported FREE MEN in business, free for competition, free for innovation, free to succeed on their own?   It made us GREAT… Can we get that back?


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27 Responses to “Connoisseurs of Liberty”….wise words by George Will

  1. In m opinion, and not referenced in the speech [perhaps it wasn’t a requirement in 1934], more egregious than price fixing…..is the State mandated occupational licensing regime.

    Even before having your goods or services fixed not to the value of demand or the value of your labor, is having to ask the State permission to pursue an occupation. A fair argument can be made this to be required of specific professions where malfeasance can have a negative effect on the health or safety of a large number of Citizens…..but from people who cut flowers to providing manicures…..the Citizen is required to ask permission – and – pay a fee, just to pursue an occupation.



  2. -FJ says:

    Plato, “Republic (Book IV)”
    Must not injustice be a strife which arises among the three principles—a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal,—what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice, and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?

    Exactly so.

    And if the nature of justice and injustice be known, then the meaning of acting unjustly and being unjust, or, again, of acting justly, will also be perfectly clear?

    What do you mean? he said.

    Why, I said, they are like disease and health; being in the soul just what disease and health are in the body.

    How so? he said.

    Why, I said, that which is healthy causes health, and that which is unhealthy causes disease.


    And just actions cause justice, and unjust actions cause injustice?

    That is certain.

    And the creation of health is the institution of a natural order and government of one by another in the parts of the body; and the creation of disease is the production of a state of things at variance with this natural order?


    And is not the creation of justice the institution of a natural order and government of one by another in the parts of the soul, and the creation of injustice the production of a state of things at variance with the natural order?

    Exactly so, he said.

    Then virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the soul, and vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the same?


    And do not good practices lead to virtue, and evil practices to vice?



  3. Mustang says:

    Government is oppressive; none is more so than progressive government.


  4. -FJ says:

    Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

    To the SJW: “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” – Leo Tolstoy


  5. CI: quite right.
    Under Nixon, a purported conservative, price controls were instituted again.
    Horrible failure.
    Excellent life lesson for the country, if only it had a memory.


  6. bocopro says:

    Licensing. Feh! Nothin but gummint unlawfully confiscating your rights and then sellin ’em back to you.

    And as for George Will . . . I usedta consider him knowledgeable and wise. Now I see him as a pompous, condescending, self-inflating, past-his-prime, cherry-pickin pontificator who’s right about as often as Geraldo Rivera or Juan Williams (roughly 50% of the time).

    As soon as I see Will’s prints on somethin, my suspicion hackles go up.


  7. bocopro says:

    Re the Tolstoy quote:


  8. I’m with you Bocopro! George Will is a supercilious prig! A self-important, pompous twit!
    The government intrusion into every facet of our lives, property and professions is staggering. President Reagan has been the only Chief Executive in my 60 years that actually shrunk the size, scope and cost of government…. and truthfully, he didn’t actually cut it down…. he just slowed its expansion to a crawl.

    How we go about actually chopping this beast down and discarding it? I don’t have a clue how we tackle that.


  9. Imp says:

    “State permission to pursue an occupation.”

    Damn CI..spot on. It can also be applied to any state that demands we be forced to make a payment for a a right from the Bill of Rights. Namely the second amendment. I believe that any state that restricts our rights, should be sued and fined and I’d wish they would have their statehood revoked or suspended until they complied as they did for over two centuries.. It’s ironic to me that’s its the majority of the original 13 colonies that fought revolution , signed a Bill of Rights, a Declaration of Independence and a constitution they ratified in 1787 … have stained that sacred of all documents….those states who have restricted or eliminated those rights or have made it nearly damn impossible to comply with or obtain. That’s criminal too CI..IMHO.


  10. Mal says:

    Where government SHOULD’VE stepped in and take action was against big oil for causing the “shortage” in April, 1973, then again in the fall of 1978, causing us to wait in long lines for 2 hours and drain our wallets. The results were catastrophic to our economy. Up to that time, prices of everything had been very stable, from food, autos, homes, etc. all of which took off like a sky rocket.
    Everybody is affected by the price of oil. I know for a fact it was all orchestrated.


  11. -FJ says:

    Price controls lead to this


  12. Imp says:

    FW..Dear Lady you’ve nailed it as usual. It can be said that you’re another straight shooter up there in God’s country of West Virginia. I remember the night on FNC when Bill O’Reilly roasted him to his face on national TV and cut his mic off…basically throwing him out on his pompous ass.


  13. Imp says:

    OT..I’m blown away by the reception the President is receiving in France today!!


  14. Mal says:

    Right, Imp. Obama, eat your heart out!


  15. Imp says:

    Mal…and it looks like they get along and the First Lad gets to speak one of the 6 languages she knows.


  16. Baysider says:

    Spiritual growth and great courage precede greatness. Happily, the new deal also brought us the Schecter case which brought down the National Industrial Recovery Act. But the fact that you have to go to court, spend your time and money to keep your rights is nothing new to a Soviet Monica rental housing provider.


  17. Bob says:

    Socialism is slavery. – Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Serfdom

    Impeding economic freedom is the first step on the road to serfdom, or slavery. Without economic freedom we have no freedom. It gets real simple, real quick.


  18. geeez2014 says:

    Wait!! some of you can’t let yourself read and digest what happened back then because George Will relates the STORY!? NAAA…. If there are FACTS, I don’t care who gives them and I don’t think you ought to either, if you don’t mind my saying so! My goodness!

    EXCELLENT piece that shows just how we started going down a very slippery path….
    Hoping some of you appreciate the mssage..

    Bob….excellent, thank you. So true.

    Imp… I know SO many people who speak more than one language and I adore Melania, but don’t have much faith in her grasp of other languages if she’s lived here THIS long and speaks this haltingly…I admire the thought! My own mother spoke 5 languages very welll (Arabic, Turkish, French, English and German) but it didn’t take her long to forget the Arabic or Turkish…and German, because she didn’t have many to speak it with…….now my German is much better than hers…and she schooled in German language.
    So be impressed by Melania but the language thing is practically a hoax 🙂
    I’m with you on the amazing French reception….what I’m hoping is that Trump is reaching these people as a friend, someone they can actually talk with, not a stiff new-president type who isn’t down to earth. A good thing! Things can get DONE??!!

    I was impressed by Macron’s English but I don’t expect to hear that much on the Cons. blogs!!
    For a Frenchman, his accent was extremely good..


  19. To repose my comment. We tried to do price controls again in the 70’s under Nixon.
    It wasn’t just the 30’s.
    And it didn’t take a court case to stop it in the 70’s. It made things worse and it was obvious.
    Some lessons are never learned if not remembered..


  20. Imp says:

    Z…I dunno…she’s been living in New York all these years, a salad bowl if there ever was one..traveling the world. In NYC alone I’ll bet she gets to use 3 or 4 of her 6 languages. English, French, Italian, Sloak I’d think. But yes..one can get rusty. And I’m sure you know people who’ve been here forever and still have horrendous accents. Liks many Spanish speakers we have listen too? Take that phony from Univision Z. After this trip I’d like to hear a native French speaker say she killed her French or was It perfect?


  21. geeez2014 says:

    Imp..a horrendous accent is one thing (and I know only a couple with a truly horrendous one who’ve been here about 40 years), syntax is another.
    I don’t mean to be harsh on Melania, but people with language acumen are my wheel house and she may have a spattering of different languages, I’m sure she does, but most people are far more articulate after this many years in America and if her English is still so bad, imagine the French and Italian she rarely gets to practice… I don’t care, it just bugs me they tout this and …I’d say ‘not so much’….
    She’s lovely, she’s probably quite bright, and from how she treated the Israeli President’s wife, I’d say she’s got a heart of gold.

    Ed, I loved this story because it’s yet another way to show how lousy a president FDR was, maybe not for then, but for the future of America.


  22. geeez2014 says:

    I went shopping after having written the comment above admonishing poor Bocopro and AOW, two of the brightest I know….I kept worrying I’d been harsh and I WAS!
    I still mean what I said but please never think I meant it quite like the insult it sounds like from the tone which,as you know, is hard to get over via emails or blog comments 🙂


  23. Imp says:

    Z…Oh we know that ‘TONE’ well Mizz. LOL


  24. bocopro says:

    Ce n’est pas un insulte grosse. IOW, you ain’t gittin no cherry here. You’re allowed your opinion just as I am mine.

    But certain people could tell me that cheese is bad for my arteries and I’d be automatically suspicious of the fact because of the source. Will has earned my suspicion because he’s usually such a pompous ass who prefers the sound of his own voice to that of any other.

    Ditto with numerous public figures, such as Soetoro, Querrie, Lynch, and so on. You know how you were when Jay Carney spun Soetoro’s foxpaws, right? Same-o with me when Will talks. Is he often right? Sure. So was Slick, on occasion, but that didn’t make him an effective leader.

    Even a blind squirrel will stumble upon an acorn from time to time, and that’s how I take opinions thrown around by Williams or Rivera or Will or Maddow, et al.

    FWIW, I take much of what DJT says with the obligatory grain of salt, too, and fervently wish that he’d hire a consigliere to filter his twittering.

    I am by NO means a Republican except in that I find them slightly less profligate and hypocritical than les leftistes. I consider myself a libertarian — get gummint out of people’s lives, AND their faces, and give us a set of laws and a tax code that can be read and understood in something less than an average lifetime.

    Problem with that is the Libertarian party offers such TWITS as PotUS candidates. I mean . . . Gary Johnson? Rilly? RUSM? Hadda vote for DJT just to negate at least one Felonia von Pantsuit vote.

    Incidentally, I never was a great fan of FDR, or JFK for that matter. FDR was a socialist who foisted a classic ponzi scheme on us which is now discombobulating before our eyes. No one has EVER convinced me that he was unaware of Yamamoto’s plan for cleansing the Pacific of Murkan influence.

    He was convinced he was doing the right thing, I’m sure. I’m convinced he was wrong much of the time.


  25. geeez2014 says:

    Bocopro, most people in the conservative blogs are NO FANS of FDR…he was really against most of what we hold near and dear.
    Also, I find that many people went off George Will when he didn’t support Trump…he went rather wildly away from Trump, though I know he’d never vote for Shrillery…He got quite nasty and I even doubted his close friendship with Krauthammer would continue after some of their banter on FOX about Trump!!

    Imp: I don’t think I sound like that TOO often!! ?? But, I’m also okay with it!


  26. cube says:

    No fan of FDR either, but this has to do will George Will… I’m a conservative, but this man has turned my stomach for many years. With conservative friends like this, we don’t need democrats .


  27. cube says:

    Sorry, I meant to say “but this has to do with George Will”. Sometimes my fingers go faster than my brain.


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