Baux tuft_ bas Lowe tagf ATE gOSPITAL koittY “Wonder What The Creep Wants This Time” A Cowhand Speaks Out For Liberty As Senator Bill Blakley of Dallas was saying in his ‘maiden speech, opposing the gag rule on debate \(excerpted from the Congressional RecLost freedom is gone. It does not reappear. It is not compensated for elsewhere. Even after listening to the discussion here since the Senate convened, I cannot keep from feeling a sense of surprise that the issue involved should be presented as one ofand I will have to place the words in quotation marks”liberals” versus “conservatives.” It is not, I submit, a correct presentation. For the terminology indicates that “liberals” quotation marks again favor gag rule of the Senate and “conservatives” oppose gage rule of the Senate. No. This could not be true. Mr. President, it is not liberal to facilitate cutting off debate in the U. S. Senate on matters affecting the people of all the 50 states represented here. Is it, then, that only the conservatives are to speak out freely on behalf of free speech? At bottom, this issue does not have anything to do with liberalism or conservatism. But if defending the rights of minorities is to be regarded as conservatism, then I acceptI graspthe designation, conservative. Conservatively, if that is the word to be used, I believe the rights of minorities must be preserved. Conservatively, I go along completely with the 10th amendment to the Constitution, which provides that rights not delegated to the federal Government remain with the states or with the people. Conservatively, I hold to the concept that, in the Senate of the United States, each one -of the 50 sovereign states is the equal of any other. Conservatively, I stand for freedom of the individual ; for freedom of enterprise; for freedom in government. I hope, as I believe, that this kind of conservatism is Americanism as sound and valid in the second half of the 20th century as it was when some wise men met in Philadelphia and wrote a document that formed the basis for a new and free nation. AUSTIN McCarthyism is reviving in the country and may also in Texas if the legislature does not post watch against it. Signs of a sickness of spirit, like the symptoms of an illness, have been appearing again among us. First we noticed two business groups in North Texas giving money to public schools to teach “Americanism as defined,” which included free enterprise but not social security and made no provisions for monopoly. The businessmen’s money was actually being spent for public school teachers’ “pay supplements” in reward for their teaching their young the special message. When called, the Abilene public schools dropped the program and returned $5,000 of the money to the public school meddlers from Dallas and Fort Worth ; . but the Sweetwater schools did not return a cent, .refused to admit error, and went ahead. The Corpus Christi schools refused $5,000 of the “loot for patriotism,” but many other schools, like those in Burnet, went right on, and do to this day. As soon as the one program was slowed down, another, the “West Texas Heritage Study Program,” started up again. Meanwhile H. L. Hunt’s Wayne Poucher continues to lasso his lifeline around the neck of every liberal he can find and tug him toward the Gulf, there to drown him as a communist. FROM the east and from the west the right-wing fallout increases. Some student demonstration against the House Un-American Activities Committee in San Francisco becomes, inexplicably, a burning issue in Texas. Then we realize that the House Committee has supervised the making of a doctored film, “Operation Abolition,” smearing the students as communist dupes and throwing in James Roosevelt the better to spice the boiling oil. Forty copies of this film are circulating in Dallas alone. They are being played all over Texas \(with reliable defenders of civil liberties like Martin Dies providing clubs, dads’ clubs, PTA’s, high school assemblies, college assemblies, military reserve group meetings in the evenings. The message is plain : opponents of the House Un-American Activities Committee are communists or their dupes. Old Joe’s language is coming to life again : fellow-travelers, un-Americans, pinkos . . . Editorials begin appearing, of all places, in the Houston Post, warning of FBI director Herbert Hoover’s concern that communists are infiltrating the student movements of the country, advocating a super boy-scouts to police the younger generation. Perhaps there is suggested a billy-club of ostracism against the young liberal. From young friends of liberal bent in the high schools of Austin one hears that petitions are taboo and the liberals feel out of it ; like freaks. In the South, powerful emotions of defeat gather in the legislatures to club back against advancing integration. In Baton Rouge, legislators ,announce an investigation of communists at Louisiana State University. An English teacher whose offense was writing a racist about human equality resigns his post for the sake of his school. Another 127 faculty members sign a statement rebuking the legislature for thought control; what comes next, no one knows. M cCARTHYISM first became a potent force during the Truman years, when right-wingers believed they were losing on every front and had to devise some new way to frighten the people. Now, again, they are losing. They lost the national election and cannot reasonably hope to win in 1964 without a new national scare. They are losing the conflict in the South, mainly because the students in the colleges have turned out to be more effective messengers of change than the lawyers in the courts. They have only two strongholds left : the Congress, where they have the committee seniorities and the clubs of legislative inquiry, and the state capitols, whose sovereignty has been glorified by conservative interests seeking to reduce the impact of federal liberalism. But they also have McCarthy’s lesfrom the panicky spirit among us, from our fear of ideas and open situations, and they have the subtler example of cleaned-up McCarthyism, Richard Nixon, who is less dangerous than McCarthy in the same degree that “The Clean Bomb” is less dangerous than the earlier, nasty one. So now come Reps. Don Garrison and W. H. Miller from the Houston matrix of Dixiecrats, Freedom in Action, and Roosevelt-haters, proposing the establishment of a little House un-Texan Activities Committee. They are protesting, “Ain’t no witch-hunters here, we just want to study the Smith Act.” Legislators who believe that, politics aside, the touchstone of the free way of life is the free thought of the individual: Beware. R.D. Trading Out For A Crime In Oklahoma MT. ENTERPRISE Louis William Bennet, one time plumber from Muskogee, went to the Oklahoma State Prison in 1957 to begin 35 years. The sentence did not seem excessive, since he had been convicted of killing an old man, Fred F. Ernest, 70, with a ball peen hammer, and had got off with a charge reduced to manslaughter. And he had confessed. Probably a lot of people thought an example should be made out of anybody who would do a thing like that; with a confession, you didn’t have to worry about getting the wrong one, either. With time off and all that, Bennet would be out in just ten years or so, ready to kill somebody else. This was nothing short of declaring open season on old men. A few days ago, having done better than three years of his 35, Bennet got out and started home. Gov . Edmondson wanted to see that he spent Christmas with his family ; his pardon has been voted unanimously. Leonard McLain, who is 33 and already serving life at Huntsville for a similar murder it was an old woman, and a piece of pipe, in Dallas, the second timetold people behind the walls that he had killed Ernest a few days before he committed the crime for which he is in -prison. Oklahoma Crime Bureau agents questioned McLain, gave Bennet a lie detectOr test, and accepted the story. Bennet’s pardon and release followed. Then why had he confessed? “I was willing to trade out . . .” Bennet says. Sheriff’s officers had told him he better confess. “They said I would not get over ten years and would get off sooner with good behavior, and that I might get the chair if I didn’t confess.” And then, he had had a nervous breakdown. The sheriff’s men gave him his choice : take a few years, maybe ten, sure, or risk electrocution. AFTER BEING ARREST-ED for a crime you didn’t commit, you can linger in delicate agony trying to estimate the inestimable, the mind of a jury, and one not yet impaneled at that, with on the one hand undeserved imprisonment and then ruin for yourself and your family for you will have confessedand on the other a good chance of a dishonorable death and no possibility whatever of redemption or recompense. And after you go on and have your breakdown, and give up in despair, you find yourself with the brutal joke of having got three-and-one-half times what you traded for ; you can go on to prison and start on the new torment of waiting, every day, for the only thing that can save you, which is that a man who is completely and absolutely in the clear, and who is capable of bludgeoning an old man to death, convict himself of murder. The point is sometimes made that even with the death penalty, the actual number of executions is so low as barely to be noticeable. In the case of Louis William Bennet, the death penalty did not have to be carried out. It did not have to be mentioned in court. It merely had to exist, and the possibility of justice went out the window. The electric chair here specifically served the commission of a crime. WHAT IF BENNETT had been sterner, or merely more optimistic? After all, a former plumber from Muskogee isn’t going to be hiring many present-day Clarence Darrows, and the crime was revolting. And the executioners have learned one thing from the Chessman case : kill ’em quick. If Bennet had not yielded, McLain might now be in some danger himself : for crimes against the sleep of the Right-thinking. CHARLES LANGFORD Signs of a Sickness Faint Touch of Danger in the Air
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