Good Man, Useful Idiot

Eugene Debs was the Socialist Party candidate for president four times, eventually ending up with about 4% of the vote in the 1920 election. Neat thing about that? He was in prison at the time and stripped of his citizenship.

Now look, Debs seems like a nice guy. His speeches, of which one is the point of this post, are really good. He wasn’t an abstract idea guy like so many socialists of his time and today (and other fringe political movements like libertarians). He saw problems, read some ideas, found them persuasive, and used his personal charm to grow his cause in very simple and direct ways.

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The News from the Front!

Another new find, this one a pamphlet by the Paris Chamber of Commerce with an update on the Great War in May of 1916. This is a good little snapshot of Wilson’s “Stop or I will say stop again!” foreign policy. In a few months he would be reelected with the catchphrase “He kept us out of war!”. A couple months after that, we would be sending under-trained troops to be slaughtered in that war we were kept out of. Worst president ever.

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