Tuesday, November 18, 2003

That biography of That Man

Conrad Black is in the news these days after stepping down as CEO of his newspaper publishing empire. The news hook for this CP story today, however, is the publication of his new biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom [?!?!?]. The story notes in passing that it is a laudatory portrayal of the U.S. president.

It's not surprising that Mr. Black might like FDR. After all, Black wrote an admiring biography of big-government "conservative" chef Maurice Duplessis, who believed in using government to build the economy and clobber his enemies when he was premier of Quebec. It's dismaying, though, to think of any "conservative" lauding FDR, when that president exploded the growth of the American government and brought the U.S. fully into an interventionist foreign policy. (For a fuller treatment of this thesis, please consult the old biography on FDR by John Flynn, The Roosevelt Myth.) Old school conservatives like my friend Kevin Michael Grace would know what I am talking about.

Just because a leader like FDR is perceived as a success doesn't mean that he was when judged by history. Conservatives should take note.