private lives and institutions of Americans, to force equality ofncondition on everyone, was to Frost the great evil of New Dealndomestic politics, and the chief source of moral corruption innsociety. The welfare state could not save men from their inherentnlimitations and failures; it could only intensify theirnweaknesses by making them slavish wards of the state. Shortlynafter Roosevelt’s death, when someone suggested thatnAmerica needed a political Messiah to solve its economic andnsocial problems, Frost wrote: “How can any one fail to see wenhave one and of the Messianic race, namely Karl Marx. AndnI’m not joking. F. D. R. came as near being one as I suspect anDemocracy can feel the illusion of.” To the poet the greatestninternal danger to the United States during the 1930’s was notnits failure to solve the economic problems of the Depression,nbut the New Deal revolution in government, which destroyednmany constitutional limits upon federal power and moved thennation toward a permanent egalitarian and coUectivist society.nAlthough the external forms in the constitutional divisionnof sovereign power between the states and federal governmentnwere maintained, the arbitrary powers usurped by the federalngovernment destroyed the balance of power at the expensenof the states, and weakened the independence of institutionsnand individuals. The New Deal revolutionized the whole systemnof taxation: instead of taxing to meet the necessary expensesnof government, new government programs were multipliednin order to justify great increases in income taxes. Thusnnot only the economy, but every aspect of American life camenunder the power of federal regulatory agencies. Frost’s fearnthat the movement of all power toward centralization in Washingtonnwould endanger corporate and private freedom was confirmednwhen Roosevelt attempted to pack the Supreme Court,nand again when he violated the two-term tradition for Presidentsnand ran for office four times.nDespite his strong opposition to the New Deal (which hencalled “the New Deil,” in Scottish dialect “the New Devil”),nFrost stayed within the Democratic Party, and vowed henwould continue a Democrat even if he had “to push everyonenelse out of the party but Carter Class.” He was convinced thatnhe could do more good as a critic of the socialist heresies withinnhis party than as an outsider. His attacks on New Deal economicnplanning were based upon the same assumptions thatnstrict constitutional limits were necessary on any centralizednauthority that had always characterized his social and politicalnphilosophy. Roosevelt’s domestic program, like Woodrow Wilson’sninternational pacifism, violated the freedom of individualsnand institutions by making compulsory benevolence thenbasis of peace, harmony, and equality among classes, just as internationalnpacifism claimed to do among nations. Both violatednlegitimate self-interest as the true source of human actions,nand were based upon a false theory of human nature.nFrost’s opposition to New Deal liberalism came to a head innA Further Range (1936), in a series of satirical poems “aimednat the heads of our easy despairers of the republic and of parliamentarynforms of government. I encounter too many such,”nthe poet noted, “and my indignation mounts till it overflowsnin rhyme.” In “Departmental” he satirized the depersonalizednactions of federal bureaucrats and the “brain trust.” Frost believednthese New Deal supervisors were infatuated with thenSoviet Russian Five Year Plan as a model for social change innAmerica, and he called them “the guild of social planners.” “AnRoadside Stand” portrays such planners as “greedy good-do­ners, beneficent-beasts of prey,” swarming over the lives ofnAmericans, destroying their moral character, self-reliance, andnintegrity, by corrupting them with welfare-state bounties,nwhich they would come to regard as entitlements and abstractn”rights.” “Build Soil^A Political Pastoral” was inspired by thenNew Deal farm policies, which Frost believed treated farmersnas having “sub-marginal minds.” “Provide, Provide” satirizesnpaternalism in government. “To a Thinker,” primarily a satirenon Roosevelt, also probes the larger problem of all men whosengenius for self-deception makes them ambitious to play God.nFrost perceived the New Deal, at heart Henry Wallace’sn”century of the common man,” as part of “the sweep towardncollectivism in our time. In “A Considerable Speck” he attackednits humanitarian type of compulsory benevolence:nI have none of the tenderer-than-thounCollectivistic regimenting lovenWith which the modern world is being swept.nTo the poet the New Deal was a calculating, sentimental, hypocritical,nand egalitarian regime, aiming to create “a homogenizednsociety,” a regimented collective of people “all piggingntogether” in an undifferentiated mass, in which the cream ofnhuman nature would not be allowed to rise to the top. Henconfessed that he found it “harder to bear the benevolencenthan the despotism” of New Deal politicians in their effort toncreate a Utopian welfare state. He commented ironically onnthe indifference of New Deal liberals toward the destructionnof constitutional limited government in favor of a centralizedncollective system: “You know how liberals are. You know hownthey were about the Russian revolution . . . You can pack thenSupreme Court for all of them. Nothing is crucial.”nEven before A Further Range provoked a declaration of warnagainst Frost by the entire American political left, early in then1930’s Granville Hicks and F. O. Matthiessen, Marxist literaryncritics at Harvard University, and such liberals as MalcolmnCowley and Edmund Wilson, had attacked him for failing tonwrite poems in support of the proletarian class struggle. Thenself-styled “intellectuals” of the left, a loose coalition of Marxists,nsocialists, Freudians, journalists, and academic liberals, ardentlynsupported the New Deal, and heaped scorn on Frost’snconservative social and political philosophy. During the summernof 1936 A Further Range was attacked in reviews by HoracenGregory in The New Republic, by R. P. Blackmur in ThenNation, by Newton Arvin in Partisan Review, by RolfenHumphries in New Masses, and by other Marxists and liberalsnin literary journals. The ultimate charge against Frost was thatnhe was “a reactionary” and “a counter-revolutionary,” and henwas judged a second-rate poet because he refused to use hisnart as a means to their partisan political ends. Frost had alwaysncondemned such a theory of art as mere propaganda, as “madnglad stuff,” and he argued that “it is not the business of thenpoet to cry for reform.” He rejected the ideology of these NewnDeal defenders because he doubted that the problems ofnpoverty, crime, war, ignorance, disease, and human misery evernhave final or absolute solutions through political actions byngovernment. His faith was in a free society, functioning strictlynunder constitutional law, making maximum use of individualninitiative and motivated by self-interest. In this faithnFrost was one of the most ardent defenders of the AmericannRepublic as established originally by its Founding Fathers.nnn<5>nAUGUST 1992/23n