In the household where the Watchdog grew up, public affairs and history were subjects for ongoing discussions, especially when college friends of older brothers were at the Sunday dinner table. (Arlen Specter was representative of the college group.) But one had to be able to substantiate whatever was said.
With 3rd son home for a few days from the University of Chicago, the tradition continues. Two assertions challenged in rapid succession were the deriviation of “Muckrackers” and the post “The Jungle” career of Upton Sinclair.
Wikipedia at Google confirmed 3rd son’s contentions concerning “muckrackers.” He said he knew it from his studies at McCaskey.
In checking on Sinclair, the Watchdog was partially vindicated. But as is so often the case when researching matters, he came across the below quotation which is very relevant in these days when scurrilous labels are used rather than substantive arguments. Two recent examples are accusing legitimate inheritance taxes on estates of multi-millionaires as “death taxes” and professional review of appropriate procedures under proposed health care as “death panels.”
“The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.” … Upton Sinclair, 1951
For half a century from the 1930s we had a very health mixed economy, a wise balance of free enterprise with socialism. Over the past three decades, the government’s proper role was belittled and regulations aborted by conservatives. The result has been the impoverishment of the middle class and the rapid decline of the nation.