Recently, I wrote a post pulling together details about how Teddy used "reaching across the aisle" to undermine any attempt to keep government small, in passing the 1906 Hepburn Act.
But what happened after the act passed? Well, it significantly damaged the railroad industry, and some news outlets at the time attributed the economic recession: the Panic of 1907 (whom some also call the "Roosevelt Panic") specifically to the Hepburn Act.(Source) The Panic had multiple causes to be sure, but Hepburn clearly did not help.(source)
Let's examine what happened. Because Theodore just had, HAD to have bigger government, he undercut an entire industry and made it impossible for them to adequately continue. So what happened? Nature abhors a vacuum, that's what happened.
With all of the air sucked out of the room by the ICC, the Hepburn Act, and meddling progressive republicans, the Trucking industry stepped in. This new industry blew new air into the room and they've been trucking ever since. Now, I'm not the first historian to notice this,(source) at least, not in regard to the train half of the equation. I'm just the first to point out that progressivism is to blame. This is the logical conclusion of following a bankrupt ideology instead of paying attention to the constitution. In this article, Professor Albro Martin primarily focuses in on how the Hepburn Act ravaged the train industry.
However, if one is true then the other must also be true. A and b arrive hand in hand. Killing the train gave birth to the truck. Stuff has to be moved around somehow. What, did TR think we would all just sit around and accept his dictates without trying to get around the obstacle he created? Of course not, people have done this since time began, innovating their way around big government obstacles. The train industry cannot just sit around ravaged, without someone else coming along and saying "hey, we can do this" without the damaging effects of big government - brought to you by progressives. Trucking would again be strengthened by necessity during WWI, and trains would again be attacked later by Woodrow Wilson. This continued governmental assault necessarily has to have an end result. What is that result?
Today in the 21st century, progressives know full well that their schemes will destroy industry and destroy the lives of citizens. And they don't really care. To them, that's a good thing.
At least in this context, in the days of TR and other big government progressives probably really think that the utopia was upon them and that transporters would be more than happy to bend over and take it, even though no lube was being used.
Sorry for the graphic depiction folks. But there's just no good end result when government goes bullying people around. They hurt us. Government hurts us. Progressivism is the most destructive force in America and it has been now for almost 120 years. Isn't it time more people honestly dig in to their history, the progressives' history, and see just how much damage they've done to us?
Now, of course someone is going to come along and start saying "you're just an apologist for the railroad trusts" blah blah blah - do you really not understand how people would have been significantly hurt by the Panic of 1907? That panic may not very well have even needed to have happened. With regard to the railroad trusts, they made their own beds, but I'm not very interested in hurting everybody in the nation just so you can get your revenge. That's really petty.
What's the funniest thing of all, is that progressives have for the last decade or more been trying to revive an industry that THEY themselves destroyed. How is it that train technology, technology that's several hundred years old, is somehow the harbinger of the greatest progress? Every city must have mass transit, all of the cities must have government(they say "public") transit. That's progress - old technology.
In the end, trucking probably would have superceded trains anyways because of the advantages of open road, but we still have to respect the process as it actually happened and point out the authoritarianism of progressives going back to the turn of the 20th century. If they did it, then they own it. We should not be afraid to call a spade "a spade".