“One of the first efforts of all kinds of absolutism is to control the press and the schools as the sources of information and education of the people. Where the press is free, as it is in our country under the guaranties of the National and State Constitutions, it has a reciprocal duty of its own to perform toward the administration of the Government, of giving true reports to the people of the actions of public officials. To do otherwise would be to establish a petty tyranny of its own.”
—President Calvin Coolidge, from an “Address at the Dinner of the United Press in New York City on Difficulties with Mexico, Nicaragua and China,” April 25, 1927. The full text of the address is found here.
Almost the whole address may be read as an (unintentional, as he could not have known the way things would go) indictment of our modern-day actions and attitudes, and most especially of the alliance of convenience between neoconservative politics and neoliberal economics! Or more broadly, as I have phrased it on more than one occasion, the unholy alliance between Washington and Wall Street.
Much to ponder in these words of President Coolidge! For they are not only an indictment of where we have gone wrong, but a blueprint for how we might fix it, if we have the will. Whether we do, in fact, have the will is the proverbial $64,000 question.
N.B.: I have commented previously – including, I believe, in this blog – on the fact that I knew next to nothing about Calvin Coolidge until I ended up living on a street named for him! Since then, synchronicity (along with Ms Ross’s daily history posts) has handed me more than a few nuggets of his wisdom, and I have come to respect him a great deal.
He was known as “Silent Cal” because he only spoke when he had something worthwhile to say. That alone makes him remarkable – for anyone, but especially a politician! And when he did speak, it was generally worth listening to.