Nov 11, 2007

Cyd Malone on the Back to the Land movement of the 1930s

During the 1930s, the wish of the world's politicians to "plan" other men's lives was strong and, by unhappy coincidence, so was their power to do so. The urge to "educate and uplift" their fellow (if lesser) man into a state more agreeable to their theories beat brightly in every progressive heart from Moscow and Berlin to London and Washington D.C.

The Communist Manifesto had vastly more influence on the intellectual mind than it does today, and its exhortation for "combination(s) of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country" was taken seriously as a workable idea and, more important, as a morally correct idea. Writings such as the Manifesto undoubtedly contributed to the birth of the Back to the Land movement, an intellectual fad that swept through the brains of many 1930s Western politicians.

As a result, the city of Magadan in Russia's Siberia was built from nothing, by and for Stalin's slave army. It still exists today. In Germany, the town of Ramersdorf was built from scratch on the magnanimous whim of Adolph Hitler; it too still exists today. And America's very own example of the fad was the West Virginia town of Arthurdale, constructed during 1933 on the magnanimous whim of Eleanor Roosevelt.

~ , "The Peculiar History of Arthurdale," Mises.org, August 8, 2007

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