I love this story so much because it replicates the story I tell to begin Chapter 4 of FREE ENTERPRISE: in 1948 the 15 y.o. son of DeWitt Emery, a leading free enterpriser, has to write an essay explaining free enterprise but can't find a definition for it any reference work. /1
Emery was so upset by this that he sent his secretary to the Chicago Public Library, where, despite being assisted by three top-notch reference librarians, she was unable to find a definition of free enterprise either./2
This set off what I call in my book a "free enterprise freakout," a periodic condition of free enterprise discourse, the first of which happened in 1943, when a Gallup Poll revealed that only 3 in 10 Americans could define the term "free enterprise."/3
The interesting thing about the Gallup Poll is that George Gallup's article about this in Nov, 1943, which highlighted the danger of this condition of ignorance, offered no definition of the term either./4
As I show in my book, this concern set off a wave of free enterprise definition contests, of the sort that Emery's son, a high school freshman, participated in as did thousands of students around the country./5
The advertising journal PRINTERS INK even held a juried contest in 1944, in which ad men and women were invited to send in their best definition that "John Q. Public could understand."/6
The journal received dozens of entries but its editors ultimately abandoned the contest because Leonard Dreyfuss, the ad man who suggested the contest, was displeased with all of them. /7
Pat Frayne, a labor reporter, offered my favorite response: this phrase, long "used a cliche-club over the head of organized labor and cliche-cloak for management," was now shown to have "neither a dictionary for a father nor an encyclopedia for a mother." /8
Free enterprisers soon turned this problem into a virtue by describing it as "traditional,", with deep roots in history extending back to the Founders at least, and also a species of American "common sense."/9
If you are interested in reading more about the (mostly failed) quest to define free enterprise and how this contested term evolved to stand primarily in opposition to the New Deal, and, later, the New Deal Order, here is a link to my @yalepress book./10
Oh, and one other relevant thread in my book is that advocates of "free enterprise" were so frustrated by their inability to define it that they periodically discussed ditching the phrase and replacing it with something else./11

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More from @LarryGlickman

Jun 14
The idea that Trump became “delusional” after the election or that a drunk Rudy Giuliani gave him the idea to lie about the election results is undermined by Trump’s consistent claims that he would refuse to admit defeat since well before the 2020 election nytimes.com/2020/09/23/us/…
As several people have pointed out, he did this before the 2016 election as well.

And the 2012 election as well….

Read 4 tweets
Jun 8
Has anyone noted that the timeline presented here is at odds with that presented in Woodward and Costa's PERIL, which quotes Kushner saying on _Nov. 7_, "The family will go in when the family needs to go in. But it's not time for that"?/1
Here’s a passage from PERIL that doesn’t reveal Kushner to be “washing their hands of the Trump presidency.”/2 Image
Shouldn't this article have pointed out that this account is somewhat in tension with other contemporary examinations of the post-election timeline?/3
Read 4 tweets
Jun 5
This is a good interview in “The Morning” with David Gelles about why “economic inequality began soaring four decades ago,” but, I think, it underplays the role of unions and the state in promoting the regime of relative equality during the era of New Deal order./1
Why did large American companies “bend over backward to distribute their profits widely” and to their workers? Of course, a great deal of this had to do with union power./2
The timeline for the end of the great compression is at least 5 decades long and has less to do with the tenure of Jack Welch than with developments that preceded him. If Welch were head of GE in the early 1950s, he too would have had to “bend over backward” to pay workers./3
Read 6 tweets
Jun 2
This is probably the single most important issue we face, and the United States is not only not taking the lead but utterly failing to meet the challenge. /1 washingtonpost.com/world/2022/06/…
It doesn’t help that the GOP is the only major political party that not only denies the reality of climate change but actively promotes policies to abet it. /2
And it doesn’t help that Joe Manchin is the 50th Democrat in the Senate, and that some of the Democratic leadership, like Pelosi, mocked, rather than embraced, the Green New Deal./3
Read 7 tweets
Jun 1
This piece does a good job of highlighting various Republican defenses of their use of military-grade weaponry as campaign props. But I wish it had sometimes challenged or questioned these far-fetched justifications. /1 washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/…
An example: This both sides justification by a veteran GOP strategist is premised on something undoubtedly true—that “the right feels they are going to lose their Second Amendment rights.” But it seems important to interrogate this feeling, which is not grounded in reality./2
How about following this graph with one about actual Democratic proposals & specifically what the House has already approved? Letting this statement go unanswered would be like repeating GOP lies about ACA without pointing out, for example, that there were no “death panels.”/3
Read 5 tweets
May 28
By this logic, why have any laws at all? /1
Note that conservatives, like Carlson, make this argument highly selectively, as they favor punitive legislation in many other areas./2
“Law and order” has always been a highly selective slogan. Look at how Trump practiced and sanctioned lawlessness, yet called himself a great believer in “law and order,”/3
Read 6 tweets

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