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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6951/the-peculiar-history-of-arthurdale/

The Peculiar History of Arthurdale

August 8, 2007 by

During the 1930s, writes Cyd Malone, the wish of the world’s politicians to “plan” other men’s lives was strong and, by unhappy coincidence, so was their power to do so. The urge to “educate and uplift” their fellow (if lesser) man into a state more agreeable to their theories beat brightly in every progressive heart from Moscow and Berlin to London and Washington D.C.

As a result, the city of Magadan in Russia’s Siberia was built from nothing, by and for Stalin’s slave army. It still exists today. In Germany, the town of Ramersdorf was built from scratch on the magnanimous whim of Adolph Hitler; it too still exists today. And America’s very own example of the fad was the West Virginia town of Arthurdale, constructed during 1933 on the magnanimous whim of Eleanor Roosevelt. FULL ARTICLE


Scott D August 8, 2007 at 9:53 am

Thank you for bringing this very interesting bit of history to light.

matt August 8, 2007 at 10:40 am

A very good piece of History, unfortunately nothing has been learned by the folks in Washington since Arthurdale.
As for the quote below “supposedly” is correct.
The Civil War, it can be argued, opened the door for modern politicians to reintroduce slavery but in a more insidious form.

“Most Americans, not even a century removed from fighting a Civil War supposedly to end such an inhuman practice, agreed.”

Jon Tyree August 8, 2007 at 11:16 am

That is a fascinating story. And such a vivid lesson from our own history. It would be a good topic for a documentary.

Carol Ann August 8, 2007 at 11:18 am

Poster Matt succinctly summed up sediments. Learned dependency, humiliation, fear and the breaking of the human spirit — welfare is an insidious form of slavery.

Thanks for the great piece.

Ardalon August 8, 2007 at 2:49 pm

The entire scenario reminds me of the one in Atlas Shrugged – “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”. The novel is full of life-sized caricatures of little Ceasers you mention in your article.

Thank you for bringing it to light.

Lee Welter August 8, 2007 at 8:18 pm

I enjoyed my delirious laughter which was triggered by this instructive article, perhaps because it balances the somber implications of The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer, which I have been reading.

Cyd Malone August 9, 2007 at 8:46 am

Thank you all for your comments. It was a fun piece to research and write. Who ever said history is boring? Not only is it (usually) funny, it also can teach us valuable lessons.

Dave O August 9, 2007 at 11:23 am

Thank you for such an interesting article. All I learned of the New Deal in High School was the various work projects. I had no idea money was wasted on this scale. This deserves to be shared widely.

Anthony August 10, 2007 at 6:39 pm

For a good laugh, read the official version of it:


“Although the project had long been regarded as a failure in government planning, ER consistently felt proud about the role she had played in engineering the creation of a community. Most of Arthurdale’s residents were far better off than they had been as homeless, unemployed miners and the houses the government built afforded them a dignity that few in that section of the country had known prior to the government’s intervention. The stability that Arthurdale offered families allowed many more children to pursue education and many descendants of Arthurdale’s homesteaders went on to become successful professionals. The community itself continues to exist today, with many of the original structures still in use some seventy years later.”

What a crock.

Dorothy Murphy June 5, 2009 at 11:01 pm

This is an offensive, tritely-written piece of Ayn Rand dribble. I lived there with my family. My father built the church there and was its first pastor. Arthurdale was an amazing community of skilled artisans and masons.

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