Saturday, December 21, 2013

God, Nature, and the New Deal

(Harold Ickes, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Harold L. Ickes (1874-1952) was the Secretary of the Interior, and the director of the Public Works Administration, during the New Deal. He once said, "If I had my way about National Parks, I would create one without a road in it. A place where man would not try to improve upon God." (From the Ken Burns' documentary series The National Parks: America's Best Idea

(Theodore Roosevelt, photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)

President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) once said of the Grand Canyon, "I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it." (From

(WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

During the New Deal, the WPA planted 177 million trees across America. The Civilian Conservation Corps? About 3 billion. The formerly unemployed reforested vast areas of America. Today, unfortunately, we have no such creativity or ingenuity regarding the issue of unemployment.

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