Debunked: "In politics, nothing happens by accident" - FDR

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The claimed quote is:

"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
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This is a FAKE QUOTE. According to Wikiquote:

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt#Misattributed

There are no records of Roosevelt having made such a statement, and this is most likely a misquotation of the widely reported comment he made in a speech at the Citadel (23 October 1935):
"Yes. we are on the way back — not by mere chance, not by a turn of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we planned it that way, and don't let anybody tell you differently."
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Even that is a corruption, as the original is "we are planning it that way".

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14963

Yes, we are on our way back— not just by pure chance, my friends, not just by a turn of the wheel, of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever before because we are planning it that way. Don't let anybody tell you differently.
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Additional research by Loren Collins tracks the origin of the misquote down to a 1971 book Non Dare Call it Conspiracy.

http://www.lorencollins.net/blog/?p=39

It seem like the original quote from the speech (about the economic recovery) was frequently shortened for several decades into the 50's and 60's to "we planned it that way", and often used against FDR. Indeed Frank Knox, who ran against FDR as Vice Presidential candidate, used the phrase "We planned it that way" as the ironic title of a 1938 pamphlet attaching FDR.



And in 1938, Maurice Spector wrote:


But the “Roosevelt Revolution” claimed more than that it had put America on relief. It promised that it would plan reform and recovery.

“Yes,” boasted Roosevelt in his Charleston speech in 1935, “we are on our way back, not just by pure chance, my friends, not just by a turn of the wheel, of the cycle. We are coming back more soundly than ever because we are planning it that way, and don’t let anybody tell you differently.”

The New Deal is primarily a petty-bourgeois attempt to rescue capitalism by the methods of social reformism. If the present Stalinist effort to mobilize the masses in support of the New Deal is treacherous, no less false was their first characterization of the New Deal as fascist. Certainly the New Deal contains elements common to all capitalist state-planning and Roosevelt represents the Wall Street bankers in the general sense that he aims to preserve capitalist property. But. it must be remembered that the social-democracy at different times also attempted to “control” capitalism by these methods.
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Which attempts to link FDR's New Deal to communism, which of course was the major source of conspiracy theories later in the 1950, and hence probably explains how the quote ended up eventually corrupted and inserted in the conspiracy quote canon.

So that phrase "we planned it that way" was famously associated with FDR. But the claimed quote that "In politics, nothing happens by accident" is a gross corruption. In fact FDR was making the opposite point by pointing out how unusual it was for something to go well as the result of a plan. He really saying "look at me! I planned something and it worked! Amazing!"
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's fun to search the Presidential archives to see quotes that MIGHT someday get used by the conspiracy community:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/#search

Like this one:

His intrigues, his plots, his machinations, his sabotage in this New World are all known to the Government of the United States. Conspiracy has followed conspiracy.
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He's just talking about Hitler. But of course the "New World" is something that people would seize on. Actually "New World", just refers to the US. With Europe being the "Old World".

Historical context is very important. Of course you never get that in a quote.
 

Nephre

New Member
Yeah, this isn't really debunking. Multiple sources "misattribute" this quote to FDR, but you simply point to a Wiki page as "evidence." Please. You need to prove that FDR didn't say it (in light of literally 100 references to the contrary) to prove that he did not say it.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
You need to prove that FDR didn't say it (in light of literally 100 references to the contrary) to prove that he did not say it.

This is a debunking site. If you can debunk the title by citing a source for when he said it, that would be great.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Yeah, this isn't really debunking. Multiple sources "misattribute" this quote to FDR, but you simply point to a Wiki page as "evidence." Please. You need to prove that FDR didn't say it (in light of literally 100 references to the contrary) to prove that he did not say it.

There was more than 1 site quoted in the debunk - and it does't matter how many sites quote it incorrectly - especially if they are all taking it from 1 erroneous original - repetition is not evidence.

proving he didn't say it is argument from ignorance - a logical fallacy - see https://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/arguing-from-ignorance/
Arguments from ignorance infer that a proposition is true from the fact that it is not known to be false
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