THE BIG RICH Hugh Roy Says He’s Selfish THE VERY SAD STORY OF A VERY SICK GOAT By DICKSON TERRY Staff Correspondent St: Louis Post-Dispatch Cafe Society is a term you’d probably have to explain to Hugh Roy Cullen. Not because he is ignorant, but because it’s ‘ another world to him. Cullen is a 72-yearold man with several hundred million dollars and a lot of strong opinions on how just about everything, including the country, should be run. Houstonians doubt if Cullen has ever been inside the Sham, rock. Cullen and his wife live quietly in his beautiful limestone mansion at their 14,000-acre ranch in the country, where they go to bed early THE AGE OF CONFORMITY, by Alan Valentine \(Henry RegAlan Valentine has had a brilliant and versatile career. He has been, among other things, a Rhodes scholar, a successful businessman and civic leader, president for 15 years of the University of Rochester, and sometime Administrator for the Economic Stabilization Agency. This little volume presents what his experience has led him to believe about the present state of American culture. It raises provocative questions which intelligent partisans of democracy must answer. Three forces dominate human affairs in the West, according to Valentine, and the three together have already largely created and continue to create with no effective resistance a mass society of shallow, uniform, “equalitarian” standards and ideals. These forces are economic industrialization, direct and centralized popular government in the name of a numerical plurality in the political area, and, socially, the acceptance of mass standards of culture. The author devotes little attention to the first of these forces, merely indicating that various powerful pressures toward conformity seem inherent in capitalism as we know it. Nearly everyone agrees, nowadays, that the reconstruction of a vigorous individualism in an industrialized and cornplex world is an outstanding social problem. Valentine believes, however, that we are virtually unaware of the part played by the other two forces he enumerates, particularly by the second, in the making of the mess we are in. Here is the picture he presents: We have got too much democracy in this country; government, education, and culture generally are too much at the mercy of “the common man.” We have got too much democracy because the cornmon man is, in fact, too common. How common is he? Well, he has no compelling religious convictions; his ethical beliefs are tenuous and easily adaptable to his immediate desires; he is confused and overwhelmed by materialism. He insists that big government be substituted for personal initiative and responsibility that big government is the way to solve all problems, private and public. The average man is insistently equalitarian, judging no man his moral, intellectual, or cultural superior, and conceding no man a right to values different from his own. The distinction he makes between nonconformity and subversion is so vague that it amounts to no distinction at all. His desire is for quantity, not quality, for the untried new, not the tested old. He has no understanding of or use for tradition; he is impatient with any form of authority whatever, except, of course, that exercised in his own nameand to it all is forgiven. His ignorance of today’s complex problems is abysmal, and his confidence unbounded that he knows everything anybody need know to properly pronouce on them. “The people” are, in short, in a very bad and get up early, fix their own breakfast and ride out to look at the herd of 2,000 deer on the place. “My wife and I are selfish,” Cullen once explained. “We want to see our money spent during our lifetime so we may derive great pleasure from it.” So the Cullens Page 6 March 7, 1955 THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Mind way, and it is because the heavy hand of the common man is upon everything we do and think that the age we live in is an age of conformity. The bulk of this book consists of just such sweeping strictures on the culture of “the age of the common man.” Valentine is aware that Americans have their virtues, and very dear virtues, too, and no doubt he is right in insisting that our virtues are not nearly the whole truth about ourselves. But what does he believe we ought to be, and how would he have us go about being this? Unfortunately there is a great ambiguity here in the book; the author insists on pretending that argument and criticism are possible without a basis or point of view from which to argue and criticize. While his avowed thesis is that “increasing popular sovereignty brings a decline in political and cultural values,” he really has no opinion on the matter, he says: he is merely an impartial, objective observer of the character of present American culture. But his pretense is perfectly transparent. He is no mere observer, but a participant as well who feels deeply that so much conformity is bad. Continuing with his thesis: The only way to reverse our mad rush toward total conformity is to make it possible for genuine individuals of great talent and culture to rise to power. We have got to recognize that the common man is necessarily commonthat no important improvement is even possible in the culture of the great mass of men. If we recognize this, he says, the obvious solution to our problems is to turn everything over to “a natural aristocracy of talents and virtues.” If this meant no more than the desirability of a greater willingness among us to acknowledge men of ability and to trust more of our affairs to their direction, one might agree; but Valentine does not seem to mean this at all. After all, Valentine points out, the Founding Fathers had a low opinion of the wisdom of the common man. Government was to be ultimately responsible to him of course, but only after his power had been diluted and refined by passage through a complex system of checks and balances and a highly restricted suffrage, and always under the control of an upper class relatively indifferent to the pressure of popular opinion. Many of these restrictions no longer exist, he says, nor is there any longer a ruling social aristocracy f rom whose ranks can come men willing and able to rise above and ignore the mob. The principles that governed the birth of our democracy are not the principles that govern us today, he says; we suffer a pervasive mediocrity in all things as the inevitable consequence. Such is Valentine’s thesis, at any rate. I have not commented at length because it would take up too much space. Of course it is an old, old thesis; but the clear rethinking of fundamental democratic principles, necessary to meet it fairly, will surely be good for us all. Robert Russell. have given away almost $200,000,000 in cash and oil reserves. The people of Houston think highly of Cullen. Reecntly a 360page biography of him came off the presses. At a luncheon in honor of the occasion. Mayor Roy Ho fheinz said: “Houston is proud to have been the place where the touch of the hand of Cullen’s has been permitted to fall by Almighty God.” It’s only in Texas you could find oratory like that, too. 4’ * Cullen was 40 years old before he made any money. He went to school only as far as the third grade, quitting to go to work. In 1911, he moved from San Antonio to Houston, and got a job selling real estate. When he saved a little money, he promoted his first well. It was a dry hole. He kept on promoting, and in 1921 brought in a small producing well. The tide in his acreer was turned when lie formed a partnership with the late J. M. West. West was already prospering, having a number of leases and some production. West and Cullen brought in the Thompson field, one of the biggest, and sold their interest in it to the Humble Oil Co. for $20,000,000. That was the beginning of the big money for Cullen. Cullen owns two Cadillacs and one Oldsmobile, which in Big Rich circles in Texas is extremely modest. …. While most oil men are ardent state’s righters, fearing any government encroachment on their domain, nearly all of those in Houston, if they dabble in politics at all. have confined themselves to the local and state variety. A notable exception is Cullen, who plainly looks upon himself as a powerful figure in national affairs. Cullen had always been active in Houston politics and sometimes in state politics, but he ventured on the national scene only when Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated. Cullen went east and inquired around about Roosevelt and came back and announced that F. D. R. talked too much and he was against him. He despised the New Deal, which he called creeping socialism. He once bought full page ads in the Louisville Courier-Journal to try to defeat Alben Barkley, and other full page ads in Washington, D. C., and other papers to air his views of anything connected with the Democratic party. First he was for Wilkie, and then he decided Wilkie was too much of a One World man, a philosophy of which Cullen wanted no part. He fought the Marshall Plan, called it a handmaiden of world union, and said the billions to be sent to Europe should either go to retiring the governinent indebtedness or be put into atomic bombs and long-range airplanes to protect the country. At one time he was a Truman man, but Truman’s policies, when he became President, \(particularly too much for Cullen and he turned against Truman. He was a Dewey man, too, but, later turned against him. A staunch states rights advocate, he marshaled the third party forces in Texas to join the Dixiecrats and split the Democratic party in the South. He said he was against a third party, but that Truman and the “political grafters” in the North had just about wrecked the Democratic party, and that the Dixiecrat split might “eventually turn the Democratic party in the direction the Southern Democrats want to see it go.” In the 1952 campaign, Cullen spread money around 23 states besides Texas. This included contributions to the campaigns of Senator McCarthy in Wisconsin, and Senator Jenner, in Indiana. His recorded direct contributions were $53,000, but estimates around Houston place them at around $750,000. * * He boasts of having groomed Eisenhower for the presidency, and sends a steady flow of letters and telegrams to the President, Senators and Congressmen telling them how he thinks things should be By BRUCE CUTLER Written for The Texas Observer The rains have stopped in Central America and it is hot. Two naked children solve the problem of temperature by taking turns pushing each other into a mud wallow near one of the wells. I greet my friend Jaime, the local agricultural agent, as he comes down the road into our new rural cooperative community for landless peasants. We walk toward a thatched canopy under which some warm and arsenical-looking chibolas, soft drinks, are for sale. But a woman, Maria, comes out from one of the houses and intercepts us. With a great waving of arms she says that the cabrito, one of their two white goats, is sick. We swallow the &List in our mouths. “Goats and people are suffering from the same maladies, I think,” Jaime says. We go in to see the goat. Very bad, we see. The goat is stretched out on his side, stifflegged, and his belly is swollen. We squat down next to the goat, whose red eye screws around and glares at us. He swallows a bleat and closes his eye. Maria’s husband Juan joins us and squats next to us and the goat. “Very bad,” he says. He wiggles the goat’s forelegs. They flop stiffly and the goat’s eye rolls round again. A louder bleat. “Tetanus,” Maria says. Jaime flashes his hand in the goat’s eyes. The goat blinks and tries to draw his head back. “Not tetanus,” Jaime says. “Tetanus,” Maria says. Two neighbors come in and shake hands around. They squat and we form a circle around the goat. Silence. “Poor goat,” one says. “Feels like me,” the other says. “Goat gets sick if you look at him,” Juan says. General agreement. Jaime thumps the goat’s belly. The goat’s eyes open and the rear legs jerk. “Hum,” Jaime says. Silence. “Gastritis. They always get it eating that grass we planted on the soccer field.” A broad hint to Juan and Maria about their choice of pasture. “We’ll try bicarbonate of soda,” Jaime concludes. “What?” Maria asks. handled. Every now and then he calls a press conference in Dallas. Reporters dutifully attend. Quite often they get a statement to the effect that Cullen is extremely worried about the way things are being handled in Washington, and that he sees little hope for the future of the country. Cullen once called Senator McCarthy “the greatest man in the country” and sponsored the Senator’s visit last spring to make the annual San Jacinto commemorative address here. The fact that McCarthy drew only 4200 people to a stadium which holds 30,000, combined with subsequent events in the Senator’s career may have had something to do with the general opinion around Houston that Cullen and other oil millionaires who courted McCarthy are rapidly cooling off toward him. “Alka-Seltzer, to be plain,” Jaime barks. “Bring some.” “Puf,” she says. She obeys, however. I get up and find an old pop bottle on a shelf. I take it over to the well. By now the children are unrecognizable and perfectly happy. I persuade one to pump while I put my head under the stream. When I get back to the house with a bottle of water, Jaime is ready with the Alka-Seltzer and drops it in. “Open, little papa,” Jaime says. He forces the bottle between the goat’s teeth. Kicks and a loud bleat. More visitors are attracted in, and four of us roll the goat over on his back. His four legs stand upright like table legs. “Drink the chibola,” Jaime says. The goat’s eyes pop and his teeth grind shut. Water goes up the goat’s nose. He sneezes and we duck the shower. Jaime tries again and finally finds the critical angle. The water slides down the goat’s gullet and we rest for a moment. The goat’s red eyes open again and he bleats. Suddenly, he punctuates with a loud hiccup. Jaime taps the belly. More bleats and hiccups. He turns to me. “What we should do is take a tube and hammer and pound a hole there,” he says, pointing to the belly. Maria puts the pop bottle back on the self, looking glum. More hiccups and bleats. The goat’s eyes are closed. “Caramba.” A sudden insight. “Maria,” Jaime says, “get some epsom salts and an enema.” The pop bottle rolls on the shelf and Maria wheels around, her eyes flashing. “A what?” “Epsom salts and an enema. Hurry.” Word has gone around the village. Men come in small . groups from the fields and leave their long cane-knives at the door. A sudden silence as Maria re-enters with Dr. von Strumpet’s original and patented poreclain enema, and a package of epsom salts.