Friday, April 1, 2011

Daniel Webster Answers Michael Moore, or, The More Things Change…


In the wake of the Wisconsin collective bargaining fight, we’ve heard a great deal from Michael Moore, the SEIU, and other Trotskyites about the oppression of the worker by corporations, hedge fund managers, and the rich in general.

I found this quote from Daniel Webster and thought it was a perfect answer to Mr. Moore and the others, in addition to showing just how tired their arguments are. It’s from an 1838 speech in which the Massachusetts Senator opposed a White House plan for reining in banks in the wake of a financial crisis:

“[T]here are persons who constantly clamor against this state of things. They call it aristocracy. They beseech the poor to make war upon the rich, while, in truth, they know not who are either rich or poor. They complain of oppression, speculation, and the pernicious influence of accumulated wealth. They cry out loudly against all banks and corporations, and all the means by which small capitals become united, in order to produce important and beneficial results. They carry on a mad hostility against all established institutions. They would choke up the fountains of industry, and dry all its streams.

“In a country of unbounded liberty, they clamor against oppression. In a country of perfect equality, they would move heaven and earth against privilege and monopoly. In a country where property is more equally divided than anywhere else, they rend the air with the shouting of agrarian doctrines. In a country where the wages of labor are high beyond all parallel, and where lands are cheap, and the means of living low, they would teach the laborer that he is but an oppressed slave. Sir, what can such men want? What do they mean? They can want nothing, sir, but to enjoy the fruits of other men's labor.”


  1. He was a great orator, but wasn't he always borrowing money from rich friends and merchants who helped elect and support him?

  2. Yes, that's true (How did I ever live without Wikipedia). Looks like too much time in government can lead to a bad case of "Do as I say, not as I do", regardless of which side of the aisle you sit on.