Thomas Langston
Ideologues and Presidents

Differences among the planners centered about the relative weight to be given to persuasive as opposed to coercive means of government leadership. Berle generally favored the former. Although he thought that public ownership of vital industries would in time become 'irresistible,' Berle hoped that in the meantime the government might instill a new morality among the business elite. If necessary, Tugwell was willing to err on the side of coercion. Because man is social, he argued in 1932, 'the individual, to get anywhere himself, must subordinate himself, must sink or swim with others. He must consent to function as part of a greater whole and to have his role defined for him by the exigencies of his group.' That Tugwell took his ideas seriously is suggested by the fact that he saw the failure of the TVA and the National Recovery Administration (NRA) in terms of their inadequate concentration of power. Like Berle, Tugwell believed that public ownership of key industries, such as banking and utilities, was the way of the future. Unlike Berle, Tugwell at times prescribed action toward these ends in the New Deal.

The planners were ideologues. They represented their ideas as being logically coherent and compelling. Any intelligent person could see that truth was on their side, for they had discovered, or paid homage to those they felt had discovered, the inexorable laws of progress. Their theories were based, furthermore, on a view of man's ultimate nature. Man was a communal being who could find fulfillment only in cooperative, as opposed to competitive, institutional settings. In Tugwell's words:

Men are, by impulse, predominantly cooperative. They have their competitive impulses, to be sure; but these are normally subordinate. Laissez faire exalted the competitive and maimed the cooperative impulses.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.