..POLITICS AS HATE OR POLITICS AS LOVE? alert against the danger of subversive forces capturing the movement.” If you find someone not sincere, “… expel him or her at once.” But make a special effort with young people, because “with them, zeal of idealism. is most malleable and sensitive to the influence of Truth.” All this is in writing. No wonder they wanted to keep it secret ! Autocratic Fourth, autocratic decision making. Your chairman for this evening’s program, Pliny Shaw, was telling me of the recent Houston visit of Mr. Burov, the UN delegate from the USSR, during which he was asked why there is only one name on the ballot in a Russian election. “Well, you’re only going to elect one person,” he explained. FIA similarly makes no pretense of being a democratic organization. Local units are prohibited from “substantially altering” the “American Way of Life as defined,” which they had no part in defining, since it was presented to them when they joined as a condition of joining. The only apparthlt duty of a member is to work to take over control of the precinct conventions and to agree to support FIA-style candidates. The only apparent authority of the members of a local unit of FIA is to plan their own campaign to take over a precinct convention and to eject a member who they decide is not sincere or is subversive. The provisional executive committee regulates its own membership and appoints the national director and the state directors, who then set up local and regional organization. The organization flows from the topthat is, from the sources of moneydown. The national directors \(apparently to provide for elections for their replacement, but there is an equivocal section about the value of “experience and continuity of office.” The appointed officers operate what the booklet calls “a system of supervision” to “prevent capture or debasement by subversive elements”in other words, to throw out people they don’t like. This is borne out by another purpose of this system of supervision, stated, “Second, it will be necessary to retard the danger which comes with success, of well intended rivalry on the part of those who are latecomers but desire to take the lead.” \( Can’t you hear them saying, “We paid for this organization and we’re Any “superior director” can boot out any member of any local, and the only appeal is to the state directors, appointed by the provisional committee. There is no such thing as a democratic majority decision by the local overruling one of the directors on such an issue. Means to Ends Fifth, the end is taken to justify the means. The booklet says, follow Roberts Rules of Order except when in conflict with “some provision of the Plan of Action, in which case such provision shall prevail.” Since the Plan of Action is the defined American Way of Life, the Pledge, and the Plan for local organization, this simply means, skip the rules wheh you need to skip them to win. Ideas as Weapons , Sixth, instead of taking ideas as something t6 think about, use them as weapons. My concern here can be illustrated with a few quotes from the booklet. FIA organizers, it is said, “challenge to combat duty all patriotic men and women.” Again, “The minds of too many good citizens are too full of poison and confusion.” Again, the American way of life as defined is “the shield that turns aside attacks from these ideologies.” In this psychosis of politics, ideas are too dangerous for the citizens’ minds and must be converted into slogans of fear and patriotism and used as shields against alien apes bearing down with huge hypodermics full of poison. What do you do with a poisoner? You slay him, like a dragon. You do not think about him ; you lift your shield and strike. This mindless anti mental ‘antithought Know-nothingness would be primitive enough in the open ; cloaked as Freedom in Action it is treacherous and dishonest. It is what I mean by Politics as Hate. Deceit Seventh, deceit, even with your own members. FIA members draw people into the organization by stages, as one might seduce an innocent. The thought seems to be that bone-and-blood double-dyed FIA doctrine is too strong for the ordinary man ; he has to be tricked into it, little by little, as a pusher leads on a potential dope addict. This is not only deceitful ; it is tell-tale of many unspoken convictions held by the founders and financers of FIA. The device which shows this trickery best is the distinction FIA makes between the associate members’ pledge and the members’ pledge. The American Way of Life is defined in both pledges, but in the associate pledge, it is abridged. All the associate pledge amounts to is support of the basic documents of American history, individual freedom and religion, free enterprise, sound money, states’ rights, open opportunity, two party politics, and unlimited power must never be concentrated in the central government. Most Americans can buy most of that if they aren’t very well informed about what FIA means by some of it. Okay : you sign up, an associate member. You’re involved. You make friends. You go to meetings. You work a precinct or two. Then you’re ready : You take the full pledge. You find out the associate pledge left some key sentences out of the sacred definition of the American Way of Life : such as these: “Welfare Statism and Socialism … can lead to Russian Communism, aimed at the destruction of both freedom and religion.” “We must strip from all laws those provisions which … punish or penalize a person for success or which deprive him of the just rewards thereof.” “The many reserved powers that have been usurped must be recaptured. Such action will … reduce our tax burden …” \(After a statement, about open opportunity and preventing legislative all the deceptions of the Welfare State. Adequate and fair labor laws come within this field, along with antitrust and monopoly laws. No real American wants a dole ; he wants opportunity and just rewards for service.” The secret extension of the definition, for full fledged members with strong stomachs only, continues : “By using the established formula of party system control through work beginning at precinct levels, we have a voice in the selection of national candidates …” These, then, are the methods of Freedom in Action : secrecy, the use of fear, exclusiveness, autocratic decision-making, let the ends justify the means, use ideas as weapons, and deceive even your own members. FIA’s Ideas There is not time to examine FIA’s ideas, which is probably just as well because most of them, like an iceberg’s bulk, lurk yet beneath the icy surface, but from the speakers and the booklet we can draw some conclusions. FIA is against foreign aid. Chester Lauck said in 1957 that fdreign aid is like giving away 17 of our cities, and if anyone suggested doing that, “we’d want to burn him. at the stake and we should.” Cox told the Dallas Salesmanship Club, “We’ve given millions to Nehru’s Indians and neglected our own.” That sounds like he means we should help our own needy people, but he does not. FIA is against social services.. Blakley told FIA he is against the welfare state with all his being, although, as you will recall. he made an exception for his Braniff Airways. The booklet opposes “the abuse of the power to tax” and says “One of the sinister designs of this abuse is to level income to the plane of the least productive.” This is opposition to the federal income tax, or tax based on ability to pay. The booklet says government should get out of old age assistance, unemployment insurance, and workmen’s compensation. Emcee Lauck said in 1957 that “our forefathers” would not have wanted social security, unemployment insurance, or workmen’s compensation. The booklet also says that it is socialistic to contend “that security must somehow be guaranteed to all, irrespective of merit.” This amounts to opposition to social security. We’re going to decide who’s going to starve in his old age according to merit, you see. The booklet calls for a plan “of reintrodOcing the awards of the incentive motive into the ranks of labor.” That may mean no union security. Various speakers, and the booklet, condemn “minority groups” in American politics. The FIA banquet speaker, Blakley, condemned troops at Little Rock. FIA speakers are always castigating the United States Suprenie Court. So one can suppose they are against equal rights under the law for. Negroes. It does not take much more speculative extension to decide what such people think about slum clearance, aid to education, the tax loopholes’ for the insurance industry and the oil industry, the issue of public and private power, the question of a federal sales tax, or on the state level the question of a general sales tax, a state public utilities commission, Mr. Eckhardt’s graduated oil tax, Mr. Johnston’s company profits tax. They are going to take the reactionary position as a matter of their vested right to it. They proceed as though everyone is in conspiracy against them, and in a way they are right ; ordinary Americans, idling through political life with the use of intelligence, and without fear of the consequences of open solutions democratically arrived at, will have no time for such paranoia, if they know what it is. MA. is shrewd, is prepared to spend great sums of money, which its members have, and will enter into liaisons with moderates and other conservatives to defeat the liberals, as, indeed, FIA liaisoned with Price Daniel and Lyndon Johnson in 1958 to defeat the liberals at the state conventions ; and would again. Poets Answer But this is not to say why this dank, sinister movement so depresses a free and a proud American. Will you let me read Archibald MacLeish’s explanation ? “But you, Thomas Jefferson,/ You could not lie so still,/ You could not bear the weight of stone/ On the quiet hill, You could not keep your green grown peace/ Nor hold your folded hand/ If you could see your new world now,/ Your new sweet land. There was a time, Tom Jefferson,/ When freedom made free men./ The new found earth and the new freed mind/ Were brothers then. There was a time when tyrants feared/ The new world of the free./ Now freedom is afraid and shrieks/ At tyranny. Words have not changed their sense so soon/ Nor tyranny grown new./ The truths you held, Tom Jefferson,/ Will still hold true. What’s changed is freedom in this age./ What great men dared to choose/ Small men now dare neither win/ Nor lose. Freedom, when men fear freedom’s use/ But love its useful name,/ Has cause and cause enough for fear/ And cause for shame.*** Your countrymen who could have hurled/ Their freedom like a brand/ Have cupped it to a candle spark/ In a frightened hand. Freedom that was a thing to use/ They’ve made a thing to save/ And staked it in and fenced it round/ Like a dead man’s grave. You, Thomas Jefferson,/ You could not lie so still,/ You could not bear the weight of stone/ On your green hill, You ‘could not hold your angry tongue/ If you could see how bold/ The old stale bitter world plays new/ And the new world old.” “The American Way of Life as defined,” indeed. A little time back there was a somewhat more memorable attempt “to define America, her athletic democracy,” an attempt that flowed over many pages with shameless love and flows now still answering with its strong and limpid stream, from Whitman’s bark, the rustlings of secrecy and fear : “Thou mother with thy equal brood,/ Thou varied chain of dif ferent States, yet one identity only,/ A special song before I go I’d sing o’er all the rest,/ For thee, the future.” “The conceits of the poets of other lands I’d bring thee not …/ But an odor I’d bring as from forests of pine in Maine, or breath of an Illinois prairie,/ With open airs of Virginia or Georgia or Tennessee, or from Texas uplands, or Florida’s glades,/ Or the Saguenay’s black stream, or the wide blue spread of Huron,/ With presentment of Yellowstone’s scenes, or Yosemite,/ And murmuring under, pervading all, I’d bring the rustling seasound/ That endlessly sounds from the two Great Seas of the world.” “Land of the eastern Chesapeake ! land of the Delaware !/ Land of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan !/ Land of the Old Thirteen! Massachusetts land ! land of Vermont and Connecticut !/ Land of the ocean shores ! land of sierras and peaks !/ Land of boatmen and sailors ; fishermen’s land !/ Inextricable lands ! the clutched together ! the passionate ones !/ The side by side ! the elder and younger brothers ! the bony-limb’d !/ The great women’s land ! the feminine ! the experienced sisters and the inexperienced sisters V Far breath’d land! Arctic braced ! Mexican breez’d ! the diverse ! the compact !/ The Pennsylvanian ! the Virginian ! the double Carolinian !/ 0 all and each well-loved by me ! my intrepid nations ! 0 I at any rate include you all with perfect love!” R.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Feb. 14, 1959
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