Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, criticizes the ideology of "rugged individualism" as a "doctrine of the devil" and "dog eat dog." He's speaking as the guest of honor at the centenary anniversary dinner of the Philadelphia Board of Trade and is defending the Roosevelt administration's expansion of basic social welfare programs.
According to Ickes:
"Rugged individualism means exploitation of the weak by the strong and it secures unconscionable profits out of overburdened women working in sweatshops, and from little children toiling at the machines. ...
Other social injustices and abuses also will be wiped out, if not under the codes, then as the result of future legislation.
Old age pensions in their turn will give a feeling of security to those nearing the time when their ability to work effectively will be gone.
I believe we are at the dawn of an era when the average men and women and child in the United States will have an opportunity for a happier and richer life. And it is just and desirable that this be so. ...
Rugged individualism has become a museum piece. Cooperation is now the watchword. We acknowledge our interdependence on each other We realize that we will either go up or down together."
Harold Ickes also says that even on inauguration day, as well as shortly thereafter, apologists for rugged individualism were going to the administration, hat in hand, asking for government aid for banks and various industries.