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‘NO LAUGHING MATTER’ Respectable and Radical: Unholy Wedlock “The Ultras,” special issue J. Cook. Copies available for 50 cents at 333 Sixth Avenue, New York 14, N.Y. Bulk rates: 10 copies for $4.00, 50 for $17.50, 100 for 830, 500 for $ 125. AUSTIN That the radical right in the United States is composed of crackpots, charlatans, neurotics and downright lunatics comes as no surprise to readers of the Observer, who have had front seats, as it were, to the spectacle of organized idiocy hacking away at our democratic institutions. “The Ultras,” prize-winning reporter Fred Cook’s detailed study of the far-right of 1962, takes the fact of their inanity pretty much for granted. The press has been glutted, in the two years since the John Birch Society’s rise to prominence, with documentations of lunatic fringe lunacy. Even Time Magazine, which propagates its share of right-wing ideology, has censured the excesses of the Birchers and their cohorts. COOK does not try to prove that far-right theory is ridiculous. This is the basic assumption of his article. Rather, his aim is to show that despite its buffoonery, which lends itself so well to satire, the radical right is at present no laughing matter. Its organization, financing, and leadership is far better today, Cook contends,-than that of the McCarthyites in the fifties or their counterparts in the thirties. Right-wing radicalism has become, by 1962, big businessin a very literal sense. “The Ultras,” therefore, is a series of variations on the theme of the unholy alliance between the radical right and what Cook terms the “respectable right.” The facts he offers to support his contention that such an alliance does exist is hardly cause for laughter on the left. There is, first of all, the beliefs which weld the two groups together: hatred of the New Deal and of high federal budgets, the sense of “a vast and menacing and overwhelming hostile conspiracy” beyond our borders, the hysterical attitude toward Red China, the suspicion of the United Nationsand so on, ad nauseum. “Not all minds, obviously, hold all the same tenets,” says Cook, “but so many embrace so broad a spectrum of such beliefs that the interests of the Respectable Right and the Radical Right merge in one overriding desirethe hope of finding a formula to turn back the clock. . . . The so-called Respectables stop short of the idiocy but sometimes only barely short of labeling as dedicated Communists such distinguished Americans as Eisenhower. But they frequently adopt, on lower levels where the idiocy is less obvious, the Radical Right’s theory of conspiracy and the witch-hunt methods that hobble thought in a free society.” Sharing, as they do, a large number of beliefs, goals, and neuroses, it is only natural that there should be a solid financial bond between the extremist “front men” and the more subdued respectables. And indeed there is. Professor Alan F. Westin of Columbia University says that “a cautious estimatebased on recent surveys of annual corporate donations and published gifts to the Radical Rightwould show that the business community contributed about $10 million to the Radical Right last year.” And Peter Edson, columnist for the Scripps-Howard press, writes that 50 right-wing organizations maintain “national headquarters or active lobbying and public relations offices in Washington.” Says Cook: “The results of such concentrated right-wing financing and lobbying showed, Edson reported, in the listing of conservative though leaders in ‘The First National Directory of “Rightist” Groups, Publications and Some Individuals in the U.S.’ This placed 162 Representatives, or 37 percent of the House, and twenty-five Senators, a quarter of the Senate, in the Right camp.” Appropriately, the first part of the report centers in California, where the present revival of ultraconservatism began and has since reached its most febrile heights of emotion. According to Cook, it is not fortuitous that the West Coast is the foremost vineyard of rightwing endeavor. “California is the No. 1 state in the nation in the manufacture of missiles, warplanes, all the intricate paraphernalia of potential nuclear annihilation. For these creative endeavors, it receives an annual bounty of more than $5 billion from a grateful federal government. . . .” And so to specifics. Leading the list of right-wing luminaries proselytizing in California is, of course, Dr. Fred Schwarz, who peddles his nostrums for the world’s ills under the label of anti-communism. Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, says Cook, is a million dollar a year business. U. . . figures obtained by State Attorney General Stanley Mosk showed that, in Los Angeles alone, in the ninety days following June 30, 1961, Schwarz’s crusade grossed $311,253 and chalked up a net profit of $214,737. . . .” THE CRUSADE’S list of backers reads like Dow-Jones: “The Allen-Bradley Company of Milwaukee, Wis., manufacturers of ‘quality motor controls and quality electronic equipment’and, incidentally, a holder of big armaments contractshas been among the foremost Schwarz supporters,” says Cook. Allen-Bradley, an associate of General Electric in the price-rigging scandal in the electrical industry, “has distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a huge handbill reproducing Schwarz’s entire testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee on May 29, 1957.” Schwarz later boasted of these handbills :”This document, I understand, has had wider distribution than any government document in the history of the United States, with the exception of the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” According to Cook, Schwarz’s “principal backer and financial angel” in California is industrialist Patrick J. Frawley, who among chief executive officer of Technicolor Inc., in which he hold 77,577 Schick Safety Razor Co., a diviman of the board of Eversharp. A less willing, but nevertheless influential backer of Schwarz, turned out to be Life Magazine. This publication was so unkind as to print some rather mild criticism of Schwarz’s shenanigans last year. Schwarz, Frawley, and Hollywood actor George Murphy immediately took Henry Luce to task for such bad sportsmanship, and effected a stunning confession of error from the magazine. The scene was the Hollywood bowl last Oct. 16; the performance was carried by 35 West Coast TV stations, who were hired by Schick Safety Razor Co. and Richfield Oil. “On the stage were such Hollywood glamor personalities as Linda Darnell, Dale Evans, John Wayne, Cesar Romero, Pat O’Brien, Lloyd Nolan, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Stack and Roy Rogers.” Among the speakers were Senator Thomas J. Dodd \(D., extravaganza, C. D. Jackson, the publisher of Life, arose and asked forgiveness for having published an “oversimplified misinterpretation” of Schwarz. “In Los Angeles, weeks later,” says Cook, “politicians of both parties told Chalmers Roberts of the Washington Post that Jackson’s public apology at the Hollywood Bowl was the greatest coup that had been scored by the anti-communists.” COOK MENTIONS, along with another financial backer, Coast Federal Savings and Loan Association of Los Angeles \(“third largest enterprise of its kind in several organizations who have lent at least moral support to the Crusade: the Sears, Roebuck head office in Chicago; General Electric of Schenectady, and the American Security Council, “that lofty, militaristic, rightwing brain trust that Sears and General Electric reportedly help to finance and control.” So much for Schwarz. Cook moves on to another hotbed of ultrasthis time in Texas. Here, it goes without saying, the oil industry bears the brunt of the financing. There is oilman-social theorist-novelist H. L. Hunt, who modestly estimated in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in March that he puts “probably less than $1 million a year” into the radical right. A good portion of this sum goes into financing Wayne Poucher’s Life Line radio program. “Poucher, who received the American Legion Mercury Award in 1960, is heard daily on 212 radio stations in some 28 states more than half the nationand his outlets include about 25 percent of available, big-channel stations.” 140 CATALOGUE of the radical right in Texas is complete without mention of Dan Smoot, one of that growing legion of ex THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 7 September 7, 1962 FBI men who gravitate to extremist prominence. Smoot got his start with Hunt’s old Facts Forum project. He now distributes the Dan Smoot Report, and counts as one of his main supporters D. B. Lewis, who runs the Lewis Food Club, which markets Dr. Ross Dog Food, Skippy, and other pet products. “Before he met Lewis, Smoot says, the big television networks had been blunt in rejecting his ‘freedom’ program. Lewis changed all that. Smoot himself credits Lewis with using the big stick of economic pressure to force the networks to give Smoot’s program time on the air. . . . Smoot, once flatly rejected by the networks, was welcomed with such open arms that he was soon carrying the Radical Right messages into some twenty or more states.” From Texas’ own peculiar brand of cranks Cook moves to the Robert Welch saga. Thanks to Welch’s especially colorful brand of boobery, the public is perhaps fairly well apprised of the John Birch Society’s history, but here again Cook is intent upon specific links between extremism and respectability. A list of the men who comprised the Birch Society’s first “governing council” is sufficient to give an idea of such links. The council, in Cook’s words, “covered a broad spectrum of American public and economic life.” The list is too long to reproduce here, but it includes high executives of national business enterprises, publishers of far-reaching journals\( such as Farm & Ranch, with a 1.3 million administrators and ambassadors, former high-ranking military men, and, like Welch himself, former officials of the National Association of Manufacturers. These Birch backers are, of course, pillars of American respectability. A significant and often-overlooked area of right-wing force is given special attention by Cook in “The Ultras”: the institutions who, parading as universities or think factories, turn out vast quantities of extremist propaganda. There is, for example, Harding College at Searcy, Arkansas. Its propaganda affiliate, set up on the campus, is called the National Education Program. It is a tax-free foundation distributing pamphlets, films \(such as the famous Communism on the and anti-communism seminars, such as the one sponsored last spring by the Grand Prairie, Texas, PTA. Too, there is the American Security Council, which includes in its activities “. . . foreign-policy making, issuing bulletins that advise the President and the State Department of the errors of their ways and suggesting the directions in which they should be leading the nation.” “It is financed and supported,” says Cook, “by nearly 3,200 American companies, paying annual dues ranging from $30 for those employing as few as 24 workers to $900 for firms employing more than 10,000.” Then there is the Foreign Policy Research Institute, also rightwing subsidized, which Senator William Fulbright singled out in last year’s memorandum to the President for conducting seminars at the National War College under the auspices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. COOK’S CONCLUSIONS concerning the status of the right wing in America now are not pleasant, and thus may very well go unheeded. America, he implies, is not nearly as far from fascism as it would like to believe. “.. . the face of America that emerges from the portrait of the Radical Right of 1962 is not the face of fascism as we have known it in Europe. But unmistakably it is a face bearing the marks of a sickness that could develop into fascism. . . . And this sickness is a far greater menace in America today than a virtually non-existent, burrowing communism.” Who is to blame? The radical right, certainly. The respectable right as well. President Kennedy and other intelligent moderates who categorically refuse to admit the growing danger of the lunatic element. And . . . the liberals. “When Chalmers Roberts, of the Washington Post, toured the nation this year to study the phenomenon of the upsurge of the Radical Right,” Cook says, “the reported that he ‘finds the liberals acting as though they were in political foxholes. This is especially true in Texas and Arizona.’ “Ever since the Hiss case,” Cook continues, “. . . liberals all too frequently acted as if they were second-class, suspect citizens. . . . The lack of guts in the liberal camp has been one of its least attractive features.” And, he might have added, it is the one most highly capitalized on by the radical right. C.D. MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 America’s Most Beautiful WEDDING INVITATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS EXCLUSIVE NEW DESIGNS 5-DAY SERVICE ALSO Imprinted Christmas Cards 15% Off ‘Til Oct. 1 FUTURA PRESS, INC. 1714 South Congress HI 2-8682 HEAR JOHN de J. PEMBERTON Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union Friday, September 14, 7:30 P.M. Selecman Hall, SMU Campus, 5950 Bishop Blvd. Subject: “The Status of Civil Liberties in the Nation”