First ‘Excess’ Superintendent Axed in Alice A PROFESSOR INQUIRES Free Marketplace Is It Obsolete? ‘OUTSIDERS’ Weslaco Lawyer Challenges Strube by Chesterfield cigarettes, the story was big news in papers and on TV, but that when an appeal court reversed this decision and said the evidence could justify damages, none of the same media carried a story. “How can the marketplace decide which idea is true and which is false if because of the vast pressures of advertising, the vast means of communication carry one side of the story and not the other?” he asked. With respect to the recent University of Texas integration controversy, Wright said, the Austin daily published, last Sunday, “a slanted, irresponsible story which sounds very much like a press release” and which would cause persons not close to the situation to conclude that “surely only hotheads would expect” approval of more integration by the regents. Wright asked if these examples suggest that “the idea that is acceptable to the mass media of communication is going to be the idea that is going to be accepted.” “Isn’t there reason to fear that means of persuasion are such that we may be persuaded even against our own reason? . . . Isn’t this after all what modern advertising is based upon, that if a slogan is emphasized enough times we will put aside our critical intelligence and proceed as the slogan suggests ?” The same method is used currently in national politics by both parties, he said. Regretfully, he asserted that “peace, progress, and prosperity” was mere sloganeering for Eisenhower. And what, he asked, of subliminal advertising? say, a slogan below the threshhold of attention on the TV screens, “Nuclear War Is Just Dandy.” “If that comes, what has happened to truth and the best test of truth, the power of thought to get ‘itself accepted in the market?” he asked. Finally, he said, the theory of free speech is endangered by the growing practice of weighing, not an idea, ‘but the person who speaks it. He thought that if Walter Reuther advanced an excellent idea, most Texans would condemn it out of hand, and if General Walker made points Texas liberals found themselves agreeing with, they would start rethinking their ideas. He is concerned about free speech, Wright concluded, for three reasons: “I doubt if we have a free marketplace of ideas. I am not sure given a free marketplace of ideas that the sound idea will prevail, for I fear that the idea that will prevail is the one put into a catchy enough jingle. I fear we cut off discussion by our tendency to look not at the idea but at the speaker of the idea.” He assumed’ he would be expected to come forth with plans to improve the situation, but, he said, “I do not have the answer. It is a subject I have simply been worrying about and talking about with people for some months whether or not free speech is obsolete.” The chapter also heard a report from Bassett Maguire, assistant professor of zoology at U.T., on national activities of ACLU and from Observer contributing editor Ronnie Dugger on civil liberties in Texas. The chapter is considering establishing working committees in the areas of religious freedom; law enforcement; free speech, press, and ` assembly; privacy; the political independence of individuals; and the political impartiality of public insti AT LARGE Dallas Superintendent of Schools W. T. White gave permission for W. P. Strube Jr., a Houston insurance executive and vice president of the Christian ‘Anti-Communism Crusade, to address a Dallas high school assembly but he balked at allowing the distribution of anti-communism comic books supplied by Strube. “There are plenty of good materials without resorting to a comic-book format,” said White, in ordering the comic books and other pamphlets offered by Strube “held for examination.” Strube had asked teachers to distribute the material. In Alice, the first county superintendent has been voted out of office under the new state law which permits counties to abolish the office of school superintendent if they don’t think the job is necessary. Losing was C. A. Thormalen, who has been superintendent of schools in Jim Wells County for 22 years. There are only 162 students in the county schools. Thormalen is paid $14,004 a year in salary and in addition has a budget of $23,214. His duties will now be absorbed by the county judge. J. Evetts Haley says he will carry his textbook policing program to the state board of education, when it meets Monday, Nov. 13. He will continue to appeal for the exclusion from the textbook list of two histories, one written by Dr. Paul E. Boller Jr. of Southern Methodist University, the other by Dr. Merle Curti of the University of Wisconsin. Haley says both men are “soft on communism” and it shows up in theft writings. Dr. J. W. Edgar this week trimmed four more geographies from the textbook list, two of which had been protested ‘by Haley and his group of followers who call themselves “Texans for America.” Edgar explained he had ruled against the geographies because they violated the state board’s order that geographies should not be fused with other social sciences, such as history, economics and government. In Houston, Eddie Rickenbacker, chairman of the board of Eastern Airlines, told the Downtown Rotary Club that Americans will someday erect a monument to the late Sen. Joe McCarthy “for his heroic effort to awaken the American people,” that “the Red conspirators have spread 300,000 agents” in this hemisphere, that Washington is full of “intellectual delinquents,” that “bureaucrats from Washington swoop like vultures over cities large and small and infest and assault the countryside,” and that the income tax should be repealed to prevent billions of dollars from “going down the rat hole annually.” University of Texas criminal law professor George Stumberg, a member of the committee preparing recommendations for revision of the Texas Criminal Code, told a criminal law institute in San Antonio that more prisoners should be released on parole because the risk is “not nearly so great as we have assumed,” that punishment in capital cases should not be set by juries but by the judge because the juries are usually ignorant of the defendant’s background and his chances for rehabilitation, and that’ in cases where defendants plead not guilty the trial should be in two parts: first to determine guilt or innocence, second, if the verdict is guilty, to determine degree of punishment. AUSTIN The “free marketplace of ideas” may no longer assure the success of the most reasonable ones in the United States, suggested Charles Alan Wright, professor of law, author, and liberal Republican, this week before the new Austin chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. While one reason for free speech is the idea that “it is a part of the dignity of individuals that they should not be denied the right to say what they think,” Wright said, the fundamental constitutional philosophy underlying the dictrine is the notion that what Holmes called “the free trade of ideas” will result in the selection of the most reasonable ones. “Can we really say with conviction that in 1961 the truth will out in the free marketplace of ideas?” Wright asked. Instead of a free marketplace, he asked, “do we have a marketplace in which the blare of the loudspeakers carrying the accepted and popular ideas is so great that the vendor of unpopular ideas cannot be heard?” On the issue of nuclear war and alternatives to Present U.S. foreign policy, he said, both sides are being expressed, but, he asked, how many people read the Observer and the Progressive, “as compared with the millions who pick up Life Magazine and read that 97 out of 100 will be saved or who turn on the TV and listen to the President and other molders of opinion? “I am terribly afraid that the hucksters are more likely to sell their wares,” he said. One might respond that the two national parties are a proper forum for both sides to find their champions, but this is not happening, he said. “We are hearing from all national leaders one side of the question of which there are two sides. Are you sure under these circumstances that the truth will prevail?” He said that when a Pennsylvania court held that evidence did not sustain a suit for damages for lung cancer allegedly caused Walker Resigns; Politics Next? WASHINGTON The Army has accepted the resignation of the controversial Texas general, Edwin A. Walker, who announced he wished to resign because “my career has been destroyed in its usefulness to my country” and in order to carry on his fight against communism as a civilian. Walker, who has been in close touch with Sen. John Tower, has been speculated as a political candidate in Texas in the near future, perhaps in the congressmanat-large race in 1962 or against Sen. Ralph Yarborough in 1964. In resigning, Walker gave up more than $12,000 yearly retirement money as well as military medical and commissary benefits. He said he could not accept retirement with its pay because to do so “would be a compromise with my principles.” Walker, who is 51, visited with his mother in San Antonio last week. The general will be a witness at congressional hearings later this month on charges by Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Tower, and others, that military leaders who have spoken out against communism are being muzzled. WESLACO A militant move in opposition to some of the restrictive pronouncements made by members of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade and of the John Birch Society has -developed here under the leadership of Garland F.Smith, prominent Democratic leader, banker, and attorney for the city . of Weslaco, the Weslaco school board, and of three water districts. Specifically Smith, who in ordinary business has a reputation for mildness, has lashed out at what he calls the efforts ‘ of the ultra-conservative groups to stifle free speech. “If you take away freedom of speech, you take away our most effective anti-communism tool,” he has said. On one occasion recently Smith demanded the use of the microphone immediately after it was relinquished by W. P. Strube, Houston insurance executive and vice president of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, and told Strube to his face what he thought of some of his doctrines. This face to face clash came at a rally in the Weslaco High School auditorium. Smith was heckled by the mostly pro-Strube audience.. In his position as attorney for the Weslaco school board Smith had ruled against the use of school buses for transporting students to Harlingen to attend one of Strube’s rallies. Some other school districts in the Valley used their buses for this purpose. Smith said he based his ruling on the state law prohibiting use of public school property for religious purposes; he said Strube’s work is religious “because they fly the Christian flag.” Strube has been busy in the DALLAS The Dallas Freedom Forum, an ideological offshoot of Dr. Fred Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, opened its second fall seminar with the emphasis on institutions of -American freedom, shifting from last year’s theme of Anti-Communism. The three-day session, held at the Baker Hotel, included speeches by AEC news commentator Paul Harvey; W. .Cleon Skousen, former assistant to J. Edgar Hoover and author of The Naked Communist; Dean Russell, economist and former research writer for the president of U.S. Steel; and Schwarz. Harvey, in an interview, said that America desperately needs a slogan and something to cling to. He said the training of Yugoslav pilots was “unforgivable.” In his luncheon talk before nearly a thousand persons, Harvey said that Khrushchev doesn’t need to get into a hot war with us. “He knows that both sides would lose and that we’d reduce Russia to a mass of glass for a thousand years. What confuses Americans is that enemy coming in through the back door disguised as homefolks in the form of teachers, preachers, and politicians.” Skousen called for “cleaning out the State Department, revamping the UN charter, outlawing the Communist Party and isolating Soviet Russia and her satellites diplomatically” and imposing a 100 percent trade embargo against the Soviet bloc. One of the sessions televised live was devoted to a “Panel of Valley lately, on a lecture swing through schools, Rotary clubs, and churches. He has had the support of Hoiles newspaper chain in Harlingen, McAllen, and Brownsville. One Hoiles newspaper misquoted Smith to the effect that he opposed allowing Strube the use of the school auditoriums. Actually Smith several times said of Strube, “This man has a right to speak and use a high school auditorium. In fact, I’m going to take my boys to hear him.” Smith’s only legal opposition was in regard to the use of school buses for transporting the students to hear Strube. Smith, on his own anti-Christian Anti-Communism Crusade lecture tour, told his audiences that “we’re being agitated from the outside.” He said, “I don’t know anyone in the Rio Grande Valley who is not anti-communist. However, anyone who dares to defer with these extreme rightists must face either being smeared or giving up freedom of speech. . . . The John Birch Society considers a liberal a socialist, a socialist a communist, and a communist a traitor.” Smith frequently quotes Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address on the point: “If there be those among us who would change our form of government, let them speak as a monument to the safety with which error of opinion may be expressed, if reason is left free to combat it.” Smith adds to this: “The communist ideology is so full of holes and alien to everything American, it never can win if reason is used. But we can’t win if half the nation is calling the other half traitors.” Professions” with participation by Dr. William Elliott, Highland Park Presbyterian Church; Sidney Latham, attorney for Hunt Oil Co. and president of the Dallas Library Board; Dr. Dan Sutherland, physician; and Dr. W. T. White, superintendent of Dallas schools. Elliott deplored the excessive anxiety and doleful despair now permeating our country. Ending the forum on a surprising note, mystery speaker Charles T. Vetter, a training officer in international communications and communism in the U.S. Information Agency of the State Department, said, “If I were a Russian official I would like to plant spies in conservative organizations and liberal organizations and start them fighting until they lost all communication with each other.” This was in direct contrast to earlier speakers who had voiced a theme that liberals were subversive. During his talk, members of the audience voiced audible disapproval of the State Department.
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