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From the very start of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt‚Äôs administration, there were unmistakable indications that his ‚ÄúNew Deal‚ÄĚ would be moving in the statist direction. Frances Perkins, FDR‚Äôs secretary of labor, recounted, decades later, a telling occurrence at the first FDR Cabinet meeting. She recalled:
At the first meeting of the Cabinet after the President took office in 1933, the financier and adviser to Roosevelt, Bernard Baruch, and Baruch‚Äôs friend General Hugh Johnson, who was to become the head of the National Recovery Administration, came in with a copy of a book by Gentile, the Italian Fascist theoretician, for each member of the Cabinet, and we all read it with great care.
Perkins related the Cabinet story to George Rawick, a socialist historian and professor, who published the quote above in an essay he wrote in 1969 for Radical America, the journal of the Students for a...