ROLL CALL OF THE FAST-GROWING, WAR-MINDED AMERICAN RIGHT
Maclean's Washington editor Washington —
LESS THAN A YEAR after electing a cautiously liberal president, the U. S. A. is showing many signs of a sharp swing toward the far political right — sharp enough, for one thing, to turn Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator often described by his critics as “the man who is trying to repeal the twentieth century," from a handsome but rather absurd anachronism into a serious prospect for the White House in 1964.
American political swings are Americans’ own business, of course, but one thing in particular makes the current trend a matter of concern to the rest of the world. The right-wfingers are insisting (and it seems to be one of their most popular demands) that the position of the United States on Berlin must be absolutely inflexible, that it must not yield an inch, nor a fraction of an inch, however great the danger of “standing firm,” and that the ground on which to stand firm is the precise situation that now exists, a situation that even President Eisenhower conceded to be “abnormal.” They assert angrily that the U. S. has already retreated too far and too often, that the time is here for a final showdown with the Soviet Union, and that the U. S. must be willing to risk nuclear war.
The American swing to the right has also:
« Added untold thousands of names to the membership list of the John Birch Society, w'hich says it is fighting American Communists by using their own tactics, and to the rosters of similar if less-publicized outfits.
* Swamped congressmen with letters indignantly demanding the impeachment of Chief Justice Earl Warren of the U. S. Supreme Court as a Communist dupe, the immediate withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations, and a full-scale invasion of Cuba by U. S. forces.
Encouraged military officers with ultraconservative views to subject the men they command to extremist propaganda.
■fr Induced the House of Representatives to approve a new budget for the controversial house committee on un-American activities by a vote of 412-6. A lot of the 412 “ayes" say in private that the committee should be abolished but that, with the tide of opinion flowing to the right, they’d antagonize their constituents by condemning it in public.
Created a vast audience for two documentary-type movies produced by anti-Communist campaigners and calculated to emphasize the
Communist threat to the United States today.
Increased both the number and the circulation of right-wing publications.
Brought conservatism into sudden popularity on traditionally liberal university campuses.
LIBERALS FEAR FATAL MISCALCULATION_
With a crisis developing over Berlin, the question is w'hether mounting pressure from the far right will make it virtually impossible for the Kennedy administration to negotiate with the Soviet Union or East Germany. President Kennedy himself seems to agree completely that the U. S. must be adamant on the Berlin issue. He couldn't disagree, of course, without weakening his hand. Yet among diplomats at Washington there’s an awareness that a peaceful settlement of Berlin is hardly likely unless there are face-saving gestures of give and take. They're wondering whether, if a reasonable solution can be devised, the U. S. will bend just slightly. And. knowing that if the wishes of the right-wingers prevail there will be no bending at all. they’re wondering how much influence the right can now exert.
To date, the impact of the right-wingers on American foreign policy has been spotty. They've vehemently attacked U. S. foreign aid — but Congress still allocates huge sums for foreign aid. They’ve condemned the United Nations as an instrument of Communism — but the U. S. is still in the UN. They’ve blasted U. S. participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — but the U. S. is still in NATO. They've shrilly protested U. S. recognition of Russia and Russia’s satellites — but the U. S. still recognizes them.
On the other hand the right-wingers have succeeded in keeping U. S. support solidly behind the Chinese Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek and have prevented the recognition of the Communist government of mainland China.
They may or may not have been responsible for the fact that the U. S. financed, armed, trained and transported the Cuban refugees who attempted with such tragic consequences to recapture their country from Castro. There are veteran observers in Washington who maintain that it was the unceasing pressure of the right, first on the Eisenhower administration, then on the Kennedy administration, that launched what has since become known as the "Cuban fiasco.”
Those who believe this are apprehensive.
They feel that the same sort of pressure that led to rashness and lack of judgment in Cuba could lead to fatal miscalculations in the handling of the Berlin issue. They know, of course, that many and probably most Americans are temperate, liberal and rationally sceptical men, as unlikely to be swept away by demagoguery as any other free citizens. But they feel uneasy when confronted by examples like that of Col. Bluford H. J. Balter, a Middle Westerner whose remedy for w'orld tensions is this:
“Bomb Russia! Why did our Heavenly Father give us the atomic bomb? To use it judiciously to destroy Communism. Bomb Stalingrad and Moscow! The good Russian people will then be free.”
As a U. S. senator, board chairman of the chief department store in Arizona's capital city of Phoenix, author of the best-selling book. The Conscience of a Conservative, designer of “antsy pants” — men’s underpants embellished with a pattern of red ants — and the intellectual leader of the ultra-conservatives, Barry Goldwater expresses his views more temperately than the fiery Col. Balter. But, according to his detractors, Goldwater tot) belongs to the "let's-all-commit-suicide school of thinking.” He preaches that there will have to be a “victory over Communism”, if there is to be a "tolerable peace,” and that the U. S. "must not make the avoidance of a shooting war" its prime objective. Such talk infuriates the substantial section of the U. S. population that sees nuclear war as the ultimate disaster.
NO TRUCK OR TRADE WITH COMMUNISTS_
Yet the rise in Goldwater’s stock as a presidential possibility has not been unrelated to the acceptance, by more and more Americans, of his thesis that Communism must be stopped, anti stopped now, and that concessions to Khrushchov’s Russia and the China of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai will do no more to preserve peace than the concessions to Hitler's Germany did in the 1930s.
Goldwater has consistently urged the resumption of nuclear tests by the U. S. The Gallup Poll reports that 77 percent of all Americans were against resuming the tests when polled late in 1959 but that 55 percent were for it when polled in July. Goldwater’s enthusiasts exult that this is indicative of how people are falling in line w'ith him.
There arc other indications — cryptic automobile bumper stickers that picture gold coins floating incredibly on
CONTINUG ON PAGE. 40
ROLL CALL OF THE WAR-MINDED AMERICAN RIGHT
co,zzinued Iroin page 11
Barry Goldwater: liberals see him as a primitive fanatic; conservatives hail him as a true prophet
water and have “1964” in the lower lefthand corner, the assertion by National Republican Chairman William Miller that the GOP may pick “a Rockefeller-Goldwater ticket or vice versa” for the 1964 election, and the long, loud applause that marks Goldwater’s public appearances — applause that, at a recent $l()0-a-plate Republican dinner in Washington, was longer and louder than that which greeted exPresident Eisenhower. Meanwhile, although the hard-covered edition of The Conscierite of a Conservative, priced at $3 and wrapped in a red, white and blue stars-and-stripesy jacket, has finally slipped from the New York Times’ list of bestselling non-fiction, a fifty-cent pocket book edition is selling as briskly as beer in a summer heat wave. The pocketbook cover is also red, white and blue; Goldwater, tall, distinguished and. as a rule, meticulously dressed in clothes as conservative as his philosophy, has lately entered the Senate chamber on several occasions wearing a red necktie, white collar and blue shirt. It’s rumored that this will be his campaign regalia and there are tongue-in-cheek suggestions that his slogan will be “Three cheers for the red, white and blue.”
He’s a curious phenomenon, this man Goldwater. He proclaims, in this sophisticated and complex year in which humans have journeyed into outer space, that the U. S. must not only be able to lick the Communist world but willing to prove it, and must resurrect social values and governmental theories abandoned as obsolete decades ago. He champions policies that have doomed politicians who clung to them after ideas and conditions changed. Yet if liberals of both the Republican and the Democratic party liken him to a primitive fanatic who refuses to believe that this earth is round, there are millions who hail him as a profound thinker and a true prophet. These people are from all classes, rich. poor. old. young, urban, rural, literate, illiterate. Their common bond is that they are isolationists, and suspicious of foreigners and foreign “entanglements.”
It is futile, in their eyes, to negotiate with Russia because Russia can't be trusted to abide by a treaty and is determined to conquer the world and destroy the “American way of life.” It is this fear of Russian intentions that explains why, more than other Americans, the right-wingers urge their government to go to the edge of war, and over the edge if it has to, rather than bargain with Khrushchov.
Goldwater tells his countrymen that the
cornerstone of U. S. foreign policy must be that Americans would prefer death to the loss of freedom. A right-wing colleague, Senator Styles Bridges, adds: “It is time we stopped permitting Russia to assume that we will never act until she strikes the first blow.” There’s a footnote from the American Council of Christian Churches, a right-wing body not to be confused with the National Council of the Churches of Christ: “There is a solemn responsibility resting upon the free world . . . if necessary to use atomic weapons first. It is . . . just that people committed to an anti-God system of the darkest tyranny be the victims of their own folly.” Goldwater accurately reflects the sentiments of most right-wingers when he cries that the United Nations is a Russian plot and that its secretariat is staffed by Communist agents. “Take the United Nations out of the United States and the United States out of the United Nations,” shouts the Congress of Freedom. Like other rightwing conclaves, the Congress of Freedom speaks of the UN as “the hideous glass house that Hiss built” — a reference both to the modern architecture of the UN
building in New York and to Alger Hiss, the U. S. state department aide who participated in the conferences that resulted in the UN and who later was accused by an ex-Communist, the late Whittaker Chambers, of being a Communist spy.
Goldwater blasts foreign aid as vigorously as he blasts the UN, and insists that diplomatic relations with Russia should be severed. In this he conforms exactly with the blueprint of a right-winger drawn by Dr. Ralph Ellsworth and Dr. Sarah Harris in The American Right Wing, a scholarly study of conservatism published by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science. He also conforms in other ways.
“On the left,” Ellsworth and Harris write, “there is often a feeling that the government of the U.S.S.R., dictatorship though it is, represents the Russian people and is preferred by them to the czarist regime that preceded it . . . Rightists, on the other hand, feel that any association with the Soviet government is appeasement and a betrayal of the Russian people, who are thought to be held in bondage by a little band of gangsters.”
Says Goldwater: “It is high time that our leaders stopped treating the Russian people and the Soviet government as one and the same thing. The Russian people, we may safely assume, are basically on our side. . . . Our entire approach to the cold war would change for the better the moment we announced that the United States does not regard Mr. Khrushchov’s murderous clique as the legitimate rulers of the Russian people or of any other people.” Ellsworth and Harris state in The American Right Wing that the right has a long tradition of believing in an international conspiracy of unscrupulous men or nations to destroy civilization. Goldwater has repeatedly warned that “we are confronted by a revolutionary world movement that possesses . . . the will to dominate absolutely every square mile of the globe” — a movement with a “fifth column that operates conspiratorially in the heart of our defenses.”
This warning is currently being blared at Americans by more than 1,000 rightwing organizations that publish and distribute anti-Communist literature. Quite a proportion of these organizations have religious overtones and their periodicals tend to have names like The Cross and the Flag, The Sword of the Lord, and Bible News Flashes. Some are anti-Jewish as well as anti-Communist. Aryan Views and kindred publications cheered Admiral John G. Crommelin’s unsuccessful campaign for the governorship of Alabama. Crommelin’s platform held that the key to survival is a “thorough understanding of the Communist-Jewish conspiracy . . . to mix the blood of the white Christian people of the south with Negroes . . . destroy Christianity ... set up a world government in the framework of the United Nations . . . and to eliminate all racial distinction except the so-called Jewish race, which will then become the masters . . . of a slave-like world population of coppercolored mongrel humans.”
The lunatic fringe of the right wing discerns conspiracy in the fluoridation of water to prevent tooth decay, Salk polio vaccine, mental health programs. Free Men Speak, the organ of the Golden Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, features items about George Indest, Jr., the “nationally known authority on fluoridation of water supplies,” who says that the federal and state health services of the U. S. are riddled with Russian-born doctors and dentists. These conspirators are fluoridating the water to sap American
strength and spirit and cause cancer. But, worse still, they are inoculating school children with Salk vaccine. In Free Men Speak, he admonishes parents to “keep their, children away from polio shots” and adds: “The school children of today represent our army and navy ten years from now. If millions of them can be inoculated, let’s say with a radio-active substance that will cause cancer in a few years, why ten years from now the Communists could w'alk in and take over our nation of old men.”
Goldwater, whose own father was Jewish, has avoided the right-wing's Admiral Crommelins. He has also avoided the George Indests, although he did once read into the Congressional Record an article by a California journalist who was sure a mental hospital being built in Alaska was really a jail in which right-wingers would be imprisoned and brainwashed by leftwingers.
Goldwater has not shunned sixty-oneyear-old Robert Welch, Harvard graduate, retired candy-maker, founder of the John Birch Society and author of The Blue
Book, in which Welch professes a “firm belief that Dwight D. Eisenhower is a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” Welch says similar things about other leaders, the National Council of Churches, and, naturally, the United Nations. His John Birch Society, named for an American missionary supposed to have been killed by Chinese Communists in 1945, in the last few months has grabbed more headlines than all its right-wing rivals combined.
Among its directors are a former ambassador, two former presidents of the National Association of Manufacturers, two congressmen, a former U. S. commissioner of internal revenue, a former personal aide to General Douglas MacArthur, a retired air force lieutenant-general, a former dean of Notre Dame Law School, and Revilo Pendleton Oliver, professor of classics at the University of Illinois, who said in April that there are. in the Kennedy administration, “weak-in-the-head personalities” who may be “acting in the interests of the Communist conspiracy,” but that he had “no means of knowing whether President Kennedy is a Communist or not.”
Goldwater, a friend of Welch, has said he’s “impressed by the type of people” in the John Birch Society, and Boston’s Cardinal Cushing has said: "I do not know any more dedicated anti-Communist in the country than Robert Welch.” Other opinions of the society and its founder are less flattering. The distinguished editor and syndicated newspaper columnist, Ralph McGill, says the society is “as subversive as the most persistent Communist spy ring'’ and Congressman Henry S. Reuss, Democrat from Wisconsin, has compared
sections of Welch's Blue Book with matching sections of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Senator Gale McGee has described the John Birchers as "twisted, distorted, sick people who seek to charge with conspiracy all those who differ with them." The senator evidently shares the Quaker view of rightwing extremists or "super-patriots.” as set out in the American Friends Service Bulletin. This is that they try to rationalize psychotic fears by calling them "concern for country.” and that they see a threat to the United States in the UN or UNESCO because these include strangers of different culture, language, religion, race. "But their fears, to cause such hysteria, must be related to something far more basic than flag and country,” says the Friends Service Bulletin, concluding that the purest delusion of the paranoiac is that he has "hundreds of lurking secret enemies."
But for all the criticism heaped on them, the John Birchers devotedly tackle their self-appointed task of fighting Communism with Communist methods. They are busy compiling "the most complete and accurate files in America on Comsymps (Bircher talk for Communist sympathizers). Socialists and Liberals.’’
This fall they will faithfully obey Welch's injunction to move in on ParentTeacher Associations and take over, and not to "let the dirty tactics of the opposition" deter them. They will continue the heavy stream of mail to congressmen demanding the impeachment of Chief Justice Warren for judgments they say favored C ommunists, and for the school desegregation order. They will continue to advocate, as Barry Goldwater docs, a U. S. invasion of Cuba and U. S. withdrawal from the UN. They will continue to pay membership fees — S24 a year for a man anil $12 for a woman. And they will continue to go up and down the U. S. arranging showings of Operation Abolition, which the Washington Post has called "forgery hv film."
Operation Abolition purports to prove, with pictures, that students who demonstrated against the House Committee on un-American Activities when it held sittings in San Francisco in May. I960, were Communists or Communist stooges. It was pieced together for the committee by a Washington firm from newsreels the committee had seized, and its message is that Communists are contaminating young Americans and that nobody hut Communists wants the committee abolished. Critics say the film sequences have been edited and spliced in such a way that Operation Abolition is not a documentary but a deliberate misrepresentation, that the
spoken commentary by a member of the committee’s staff is a mass of lies and exaggerations, and that the students are maliciously defamed. The John Birch Society asserts with pride that it has been responsible for more showings than any other sponsor of the 700 copies of the movie that are now in circulation.
While the Birchers are showing Operation Abolition, the Christian anti-Communist Crusaders will be showing Communism On The Map. produced by Dr. George Benson of Harding College in Arkansas. After being a missionary in China for a fundamentalist sect that eschews modern doctrines like Darwin’s theory. Benson was appointed president of Harding College in 1936, when it was tiny and poor. His espousal of right-wing causes soon attracted the rewarding attention of rich conservatives, and his institution now has 1,000 students, an endowment fund of $6.000.000. and a $200.000-a-year "educational" budget for spreading right-wing gospel. He sends free material to 3,000 weekly newspapers and says 10,000,000 Americans have seen his technicolor Communism On The Map.
Both films have been used by the military brass to indoctrinate the troops, as well as by the Birchers and the Christian anti-Communist Crusaders to enlighten civilians. But the defense department hasn't permitted the armed forces to show them since Major - General Edwin A. Walker was relieved of his command at Bonn. Germany, for suggesting to his men that Communists had infiltrated practically every American institution and that the Birchers’ accusations against prominent people in and out of government were wellfounded. Walker got caught at it and disciplined. but he's one of many officers who have indoctrinated their charges too enthusiastically. Chairman J. William Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had his staff enquire and received a report on eleven cases of "education and propaganda activities of military personnel" in the last year. The report said: "These propaganda activities may well become important obstacles to public acceptance of the president's program and leadership, if they are not already . . . Running through all is a central theme that the primary, if not exclusive, danger to this country is internal Communist infiltration . . . The nature of the Communist threat often is developed by equating social legislation with socialism, and the latter with Communism . . . Much of the administration’s domestic legislation . . . under this philosophy would he characterized as steps toward Communism . . . This
view of the Communist menace renders foreign aid, cultural exchanges, disarmament negotiations and other international programs as extremely wasteful if not actually subversive.” The defense department’s civilian bosses have been unhappy about the right-wing propagandists who wear uniforms ever since the storm blew up around General Walker. They are trying to stop them but right-wingers seem to be flourishing everywhere else.
Goldwater, as a case in point, is more eagerly sought as an after-dinner speaker than either of his two main competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller. And Fred Schwarz, the immigrant founder of the Christian anti-Communist Crusade who landed in the U. S. from Europe with $10 in his pocket, says the Crusade collected $382,000 in 1960 and expects contributions of between $500,000 and $1,000,000 this year. Bircher Welch refuses to disclose the take of his society, but if its membership is 60,000, which is said to be an extremely low estimate, it must collect around $1,000,000 in fees alone. Welch is driving for 1,000,000 members, who, if half were men and half were women, would pay annual fees of $18,000,000. Welch has other sources of revenue: an audience of 6,000 paid $1 per head to attend one meeting at which he spoke.
Literally hundreds of other anti-Communist organizations, both big and little, have never had it so good. In their present temper, Americans are so receptive to the anti-Communist message that Dr. Frank Buchman’s Moral Re-Armament movement is now condemning homosexuality less on moral grounds than because it is a weakness Communists have learned to exploit.
Student shot “red” professor
And at the universities of the U. S., students with right-wing views have come into their own for the first time since Franklin Delano Roosevelt replaced Herbert Hoover in the White House. For nearly thirty years such students had been ridiculed, scorned, written off as stuffed shirts. Young conservative students, in a weird reversal of the usual order, now clash with gray-haired liberal professors. In California one of them was so outraged by the liberal teachings of a “red” professor that he shot a gun at him, blowing off part of his jaw and killing a fellow student.
If the unfortunate incident didn't help college conservatism, neither does it seem to have hurt it. Goldwater is a campus idol. Unlike the late Senator Taft and other conservatives of the past, he appeals to the young, has none of the affected mannerisms of the demagogue, speaks grammatically in a well-modulated voice, and has the gift of always sounding sensible.
"Senator Goldwater,” says Mike Uhlmann, president of Yale’s Calliopean Society, “is bringing out a conservatism long latent in college. The liberals are now answering the conservatives, not the other way around. We have a respectability we lacked before.”
In their new-found respectability, conservative students have joined Goldwater and other American right-wingers, in an onslaught not just on Communists but on big government, big taxes, big labor. Domestically, they are against federal spending for health, education and social welfare. They say welfare is the field of private charity.
With Goldwater. they are against federal efforts to desegregate schools and say these efforts violate state rights. They are also against federal aid to agriculture, federal laws that strengthen labor unions, federal income taxes that “put a premium
on brains and enterprise.” These, they hold, are socialistic things, too close to Communism for comfort.
They are for a “balanced budget,” a "sound dollar,” and very much for congressional committees to investigate leftwingers. As Ralph Ellsworth and Sarah Harris note in The American Right Wing, the bitter denouement of McCarthyism, the epithets like "native fascist” and “hatemonger,” did not. as the liberals hoped, shrivel the influence of Washington w'itch hunters: “Far from scotching the breed in its nest, the . . . campaign appears rather
to have brought converts to the right, and to have added a certain stature to those (the investigators) who persisted in doing their w'ork in the face of it . . . McCarthy, once the leader, is now' the honored martyr ot the American Right Wing.”
Goldwater, and his increasing millions of right-wingers, are for more defense spending and against disarmament. And, which concerns the rest of the world most, they want Uncle Sam to put a delicately balanced chip on his shoulder and challenge the U.S.S.R. and mainland China to “knock it off if you dare.”
Can they persuade the Kennedy administration to adopt such an attitude? That’s anybody’s guess at the moment. But, as Ellsworth and Harris say: “Right-wingers keep in constant touch with their congressmen — write letters, send telegrams, mail reprints of articles, testify before committees. and are often quoted in the Congressional Record." The authors of The American Right Wing found in their exhaustive survey that this pressure has a telling impact on government, and that there is no comparable pressure from the political centre or left. ★