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THE IRRELEVANCE OF THE COLD WAR
@author: Manas Reprints
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VOLUME XV, NO. 48 NOVEMBER 28, 1962 THE IRRELEVANCE OF THE COLD WAR WE have three "authorities" for saying that the Cold War is irrelevant to the main issues of human life—and if there had been room we would have added "enormous" before "irrelevance," to head the discussion. In this case, authorities are hardly needed, but those whom we shall cite—a poet, a humanist (possibly the last of the great humanists in the classical tradition), and an anarchist—put what they say so deftly that quoting them gets us quickly launched. First the poet, Jean Forest, who contributed the following lines to Liberation for October, under the title, "Global Definition": capitalism is the accumulation of junk communism is state-sponsored junk accumulation on a more even level the world is dividing into two junkyards clank/clank Our humanist authority is Albert J. Nock. The quotation from him, however, is indirect. Hugh MacLennan, a Canadian writer who did the "Speaking of Books" column for the New York Times Book Review for Sept. 30, tells of the reactions of some of his friends after he had persuaded them to read Nock's autobiographical Memoirs of a Superfluous Man: This is a book that has annoyed or bored every business man to whom I have loaned it, but their reaction has been mild compared to what the book does to socialists. The business man snorts or shrugs, the socialist explodes into a frenzy of rage like a complacent salmon who suddenly finds himself caught on a hook he can't shake loose. For what Nock tells the socialist, in effect, is simply this: "How can you expect not to be disillusioned when your values are, at bottom, just the same as the corporation man's—for that matter, not much different from the Fascist's or the Communist's?" What Nock means by this is that all of them base their actions on these ideas which assume that man's chief end for practical purposes, is to produce, distribute and consume and to move large objects from place to place at ever-increasing rates of speed. Does happiness—can happiness—possibly result from such a doctrine? If you want a proof, Nock would say with a shrug, look around you. That is why he chose such a provocative title. In any society which accepts without question the theory of "economism," it follows logically, and in practice, that while a truly civilized man may live and even enjoy himself if he is lucky, wary, and skillful, yet he is utterly "superfluous" to that society—except insofar as he contributes to the production and consumption of wealth and to any scientific or technical activities which can make bigger and better sputniks. Hence it follows that true education, as Socrates or Goethe would have understood it, has also become superfluous. Hence it follows that Albert J. Nock, all his life, was superfluous, and that every civilized man will remain superfluous so long as economism reigns. Now for the anarchist, who is Geoffrey Ostergaard, writing in the October Anarchy (No. 20, Freedom Press, London) Since the days of Marx and largely owing to the influence of Marx, socialism has been conceived in terms of ownership. Until recently, at least, a socialist has been defined as one who believes in common, usually State, ownership as opposed to private ownership. However, with the experience of Russia and even this country [England] to guide us, it is becoming increasingly evident, as it has been evident to anarchists all along, that a mere change of ownership effects no radical change in social relations. When common ownership takes the form of State ownership, all that happens is that the State becomes the universal employer and the possibilities of tyranny are multiplied by the union of economic and political power. The values underlying capitalism are not changed; the worker remains essentially a thing, a commodity, a unit of labour: he has only changed one set of masters, the capitalists, for another set of masters, the political and managerial bureaucrats. . . . What matters to the worker is not who owns the enterprise he works in but MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE 2 "the actual and realistic conditions of his work, the relation of the worker to his work, to his fellowworkers and to those directing the enterprise." . . . As the German anarchist, Gustav Landauer, puts it: "The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently." In the last analysis, an anarchist is not a person who subscribes to a certain body of doctrine or set of beliefs: he is a person who behaves, or strives to behave, differently—in a way consistent with respect for the individuality inherent in all men. Intelligent radicals or political revolutionaries are also coming around to this view—or to something like it. For example, David McReynolds, an active member of the Socialist Party in the United States, has this to say in an article, "The Limits of Reform," in Liberation for October: The theory that Kennedy is simply trapped but a man of good will has little merit, but even if he were not trapped he would not close down the Cold War— the whole damn system rests upon that nuclear foundation. Our struggle is not to educate the leadership but to replace it. Now if, in fact, we cannot persuade the present leadership, and if in fact we must replace official liberalism with a real opposition, then we are saying that the people must be reached in their hearts and minds and won to a new way of thinking and acting, And that is impossible. It is less impossible than getting Kennedy to act in a new way, but it is still impossible. In fact, our whole situation is an impossible one and history may have the human race trapped in a blind alley. But let us choose the lesser impossibility—which is an appeal to the people. I propose, therefore, "the politics of the lesser impossibility." . . . The "politics of the lesser impossibility" demands that we accept a fundamental fact of real politics—formal political forms follow after informal cultural values. When the people really want to break with the hysterics and suicidal drift of the Cold War, there will be peace candidates rising up without any help whatever from the pacifists. That is, in some sense, already happening. In cities where the peace movement is strong the major party candidates are trying to cultivate it—something unheard of only two years ago. But this political shift was based on the Volume XV, No. 48 "unpolitical" demonstrations and direct actions of the peace movement which made at least a minority of the population concerned. New attitudes and new values are the basis for new politics. . . . Thus we have two problems when we discuss real politics. On the one hand we must broaden our conception of politics to include more than the election of a handful of good men (important as that is). Our new concept of politics must mean realizing the value of defeated candidates, the value of discussion groups, public education, community peace centers, legal demonstrations, illegal direct actions, and individual resistance to war. None of these tactics alone will succeed. But by pressing each tactic to the limit of its effectiveness we may hope that—taken together—there would be a sufficient change in national attitudes to permit us to find a political alternative to suicide or surrender. . . . The task of revolutionary politics was never merely to shift the sets of officials in power, but to transform the nature of society. The enormously relevant point in this statement is that "the people must be reached in their hearts and minds and won to a new way of thinking and acting." Nothing else will count in the long run. Nothing else will generate the capacity to make a lasting peace. Now, the Cold War does not have this aim. The Cold War, for both sides, is aimed in the opposite direction. The Cold War is rigidly, uncompromisingly welded, for both sides, to old ways of thinking and acting. Only one thing would be worse than losing the Cold War, and that would be to win it, since winning it would have the delusive effect upon the winners of making them think that they know what they are doing, and have been going in the right direction. So there are moments when the appeal by worthy men to enter the conflict situation of the Cold War "nonviolently" instead of violently falls on deaf, or at least preoccupied, ears. Why this conflict situation? Why acknowledge in any way that the issues of this conflict are "real" issues? Why participate in the common delusion of "economism" even to this extent? But, it will be said, one must be "engaged"! And the answer comes, it is a poor soldier who MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 3 permits the enemy to choose the battleground. It is a poor debater who will not examine the premises of either contestant, but exhibits his devotion to "truth" throughout small encounters that never touch the heart of the matter. There are various ways to be "engaged," and to argue that only the familiar or "popular" forms of engagement are effective is to refuse to consider what may turn out to be, in the long run, a higher ground of the struggle. David McReynolds has an interesting paragraph along these lines: Unless one is an anarchist, it seems to me sound to exercise the right of the ballot. (Obviously we do not discharge our duties as members of society simply by voting—in many respects voting is the least important of our obligations. Most anarchists are probably better citizens and do more to make this a livable world than those loyal Americans who troop off to the polls once every two years but otherwise absent themselves from civic affairs. But the anarchist is not really abstaining from politics—he only thinks he is. In fact, while he may not vote, he participates most vigorously in other ways. A realistic approach to politics would not try to put civil disobedience in one corner and voting in another, as if they were opposites. They are both important and useful weapons in that "arsenal of democracy" by which the individual citizen helps to shape his society, protect injustice, and advance the social good.) But not all the instruments useful to the citizen who "helps to shape his society" should be spoken of as "weapons." If it is true that "formal political forms follow after informal cultural values," then here, in the way that each individual makes his own revelation of what he loves, honors, and obeys, is the true genesis of tomorrow's politics, and of tomorrow's war or peace. What are the superfluous men (in Albert J. Nock's meaning) of our time doing, these days? Well, among other things, they are standing outside the brazen gates of the Garrison State and banging on them to attract some attention to the folly of those gates and of what they represent in Volume XV, No. 48 human terms. They are entering the great fields of sterility and irrelevance to any human meaning and offering up sacrifice of themselves, in the hope that someone will wonder why. They are parading, picketing, performing symbolic rituals of law-breaking, challenging the Goliaths of nuclear war with the slingshots of conscience, trickling into county jails and federal prisons like the soft rain of mercy, puzzling officials, embarrassing judges, bewildering conventional lawyers who would like to help them, running mimeograph machines with all the ardor that Gandhi's followers spun cotton and wove khadi, and turning out considerable yardage in a different kind of grassroots communication. Paul Goodman speaks to this general point in another article in the October Liberation: . . . we must look, finally, . . . to direct functioning in what concerns us closely, in order to dispel the mesmerism of abstract power altogether. This has, of course, been the thinking of radical pacifism. The civil disobedience of the Committee for Nonviolent Action is the direct expression of each person's conscience of what it is impossible to live with. The studied withdrawal and boycotting advocated by the General Strike for Peace is a direct countering of the social drift toward catastrophe that occurs just because we cooperate with it. (The same holds for refusal in what is one's "private" important business, like the Women's Strike against poisoned milk or young men's refusing the draft.) Best of all, in principle, is the policy that David Dellinger [an editor of Liberation] espouses and tries to live by, to live communally and without authority, to work usefully and feel friendly, and so positively to replace an area of power with peaceful functioning. Interestingly, even a critical and purgative group like The Realist is coming around to this point of view— with a hard row to hoe among urban poor people. Similar is to work in foreign lands as a citizen of humanity, trying to avoid the Power blocs and their aims; e.g., the Friends Service. The merit of all these activities is that they produce a different kind of human relations and look to a different quality of life This is a global and perhaps impossibly difficult task. But think. There is no history of mankind without these wars which now have come to the maximum: can we have any hope except in a different kind of human relations? MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 4 The enormous irrelevance of the Cold War lies in the fact that winning it will do nothing, and less than nothing, to "produce a different kind of human relations and look to a different quality of life." The struggle represented by the Cold War is supposed to be a contest over ultimate values. It is not. It is a competition between two rival forms of "economism." It is a bitter and possibly a lethal argument over how things are to be owned. "Owning" is not that important. The "things" which are to be owned, one way or another, are not that important. To assume or to assert that they are is an intolerable distortion of any reasonable scale of values for human life. Thus the Cold War itself already constitutes, for both sides, an overwhelming defeat of the essential good in being human. To say this is not to make light of the inhumanities that have already occurred in the name of the issues of the Cold War. It is not to be indifferent to the tragedy of Hungary, nor is it to turn away casually from the barbed-wire, concentration-camp society now being created in South Viet Nam through the influence of the United States. Rather it is to say that the willingness of the contesting powers in the Cold War to do such things, or allow them to be done, is directly related to the distorted values for which the Cold War is being maintained. The kind of society which assumes "that man's chief end, for practical purposes, is to produce, distribute and consume and to move large objects from place to place at everincreasing rates of speed," is the kind of society that will tolerate a national defense program which poisons the atmosphere with fall-out, that is content to devote its major intellectual and technological talents to the progressive terrorization of mankind, on the theory that thoroughly frightened people will be reluctant to go to war. And it is the kind of society which is so mixed up, morally, that it actually expects other people to believe its claim of defending the dignity Volume XV, No. 48 of man and the values of free human beings by such means. What further evidence do we need of the degrading ends of our acquisitive existence, whenit has reduced our defenses and self-justifications to a level which, by any normal standard of judgment, has lost all the essential marks of civilization? What shall we say of ourselves, and of our philosophy and "way of life," when, looking for the spokesmen of the best in the traditions of Western culture, we find that we have made them into superfluous men? How many of those who are acknowledged to be individuals of cultivation and sensibility are able to make their voices heard? How many try to make themselves heard? You hear a Bertrand Russell in England, a Lewis Mumford in the United States. A Schweitzer speaks from Africa. There are one or two more, perhaps, who would qualify as of this group, but the Saving Remnant among contemporaries is indeed a desperately tiny few. Camus is dead. James Agee is dead. We might take Agee as a type of the promise that is somewhere hidden in American life—a promise that finds it exceedingly difficult to survive. America does not make it easy for her saving remnant, her superfluous men, to survive. It may be well, here, to consider the quality and direction of Agee's thinking, as represented in what he said when Gandhi died. The following was printed by Dwight Macdonald in Politics, in the Winter, 1948 issue: I am one of those Western men of more or less good will, who have for many years held Gandhi in veneration, and who, for reasons which begin to seem preposterous and shameful only after hearing of his death, have never taken the trouble to learn much about him. I now begin to realize, with some acuteness, who this man was, what he proved and achieved, what is lost in his death, and what he has given us that we may hope, through sufficient study, and alteration of ourselves, to find, and to put to good use. Even in my present ignorance I can foresee that there is much in what I am going to try to learn that I may be unable to accept, or rise to, or abide by, or even to understand; and am aware, too, that much MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 5 that Gandhi achieved in India may prove hopeless of application in such a country as this and, accordingly, of no likely hope or use in any other of the most suicidal parts of the world. But even in this ignorance I know also that he proved, beyond our avoidance, that kinds of action are possible, and effective, which most even of the best of men have consistently discarded, and still discard, as impossible and that he has given us our best and perhaps our only reasons still to have any hope in any supportable future, for ourselves or for any other men. I suspect that only those who have come fully to despair of any form of political action to which we are accustomed, are ready to profit much by a study of Gandhi's life, and personality, and ideas, and methods, and discoveries, and accomplishments; but I cannot conceive of any other study, or any other kind of action, which promises as much. I trust and intend that my desire to learn what I am able from him will very long outlast the emotions and impulses provoked by his death, and will prevail over the incapacity for faith and the underlying despair which in me, as in so many others, have become habits of the mind and spirit, as hope and resolution are not. But I am still within those emotions, and am still moved principally by those impulses, and in obedience to them, I humbly dedicate my intention, my thankfulness, my reverence, and my love, to his ashes. May the world, if it survives, forever remember in gratitude and honor this man who shall, I am sure, have done the most among all men to make survival and virtue possible, and inseparable. May his work advance, transfigure and endure, even among the barbarians. Here, you might say, in Gerald Sykes' phrase, is "the politics of shipwreck," which is the only kind of politics worth practicing, these days. It bespeaks the enormous irrelevance of the Cold War. Volume XV, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 6 REVIEW "CHRIST AND FREUD" ARTHUR GUIRDHAM'S volume of this title (Collier Books, 1962) is a useful companion to Erich Fromm's Psychoanalysis and Religion. Dr. Fromm's comprehensive analysis of all religious beliefs as either "authoritarian" or "humanitarian" was largely a matter of effective generalization. Christ and Freud comprises some 230 pages of detailed examination of the psychological effects of different types of religious belief, and, as with Dr. Fromm's work, it issues in the conclusion that the concept of a "personal God" proves deleterious, when not disastrous, to the human psyche. On the other hand, and again in company with Fromm, Guirdham feels that contemporary psychiatry has severe limitations, characteristically showing little respect for the contemplative arts, and a negative skepticism concerning genuine mystical (or religious) experience. In his preface to Christ and Freud, Lawrence Durrell summarizes Guirdham's feelings on this point: Both science and religion tend to lose impetus and harden into dogma, to atrophy. The field of the human personality is deeply influenced by the very views it holds (or is taught) about its own nature. Some of these views come from science, some from religion. How valid are they and how acceptable today? To what extent do they prejudice or nourish the health of the individual human psyche? The author's introduction indicates the central themes of the book: The highest wisdom of the world has never been presented in a form palatable to the exponents of the scientific method as we understand it. The doctrines of Christ, Buddha and the Hindu sages are offered to the world not as neat and intellectually irrefutable propositions of Euclid but as systems to be tested by us so that we learn from actual experience whether they are true or no. Religion is emphatically not to be established by any form of theorising. That is the whole point. It is either a truth of experience or nothing. But it is a truth which can only be attained by a process of selfannihilation. It is only when man has shed his egotistical self and with it his needs that he is open to Volume XV, No. 48 a truth not specially moulded by himself nor determined by his needs. If the truth which comes to us when we are detached from ourselves is the same as is perceived by others vastly different from us in race and creed and separated from us in time then we are as near as we can ever be to absolute truth, even considered by most rigid standards of science. In this book I talk of self-annihilation and, at the same time, of how a higher self, of which the individual is acutely aware, is realized in the course of religious experience. There is nothing contradictory in this though at first sight it may appear slightly confusing. The self to be annihilated is that formed from the social and dynamic personalities. It is only when this is achieved that the higher Self can be realized. Dr. Guirdham thinks that Freud's identification of all religion with authoritarian and guilt-provoking mechanisms is an oversimplification, but, again like Fromm, he feels a great debt to Freud for his analysis of the "personal God" theology. In a chapter titled "Some Psychiatric Mechanisms in Religious Observance," Guirdham writes: Religion as conceived of by Freud is a neurosis and the latter condition is invariably associated with a sense of insecurity. . . . In the course of history it is all too obvious how the exponents of organized religion have used their particular creeds as a buttress for their own insecurity. The ferocity with which they have defended themselves against the adverse criticism of even minor deviations is illuminating. The naturally irreligious can be distinguished by the fury with which they support the articles of religion. Stable individuals do not display towards those who differ from them signs of intolerance, let alone those of vindictiveness. Next comes an important distinction between the psychological effects of typical Western religious beliefs and the more philosophic concepts characteristic of Eastern faiths: Freud has demonstrated how the child's reactions to his earthly father and to his Heavenly Father are closely related to each other. The love and fear of the child for his father are reflected in his love and fear of God. God is a supreme power and the child's attitude towards Him is coloured by his own experiences of his earthly father as the Lord of his circumscribed world. We may teach that God is love MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 7 but the child's conception of God is essentially that of a watchful being, loving perhaps, but noting his transgressions, perhaps not with anger, perhaps only with sorrow. But God is necessarily depicted as a personal being with personal reactions. It is the child's good fortune if he grows up in a house where God is hurt by his transgressions rather than moved to retribution. The psychological damage he experiences is probably less. But suppose instead of the idea of God as a personal being He is conceived of as an universal influence? How then does the child develop the guilt reactions and the obsessional desires to atone which Freud describes, and with reason, as the basis of so much religious observance? It can be argued that it is beyond the capacity of the child to conceive of God in anything other than personal form. This may be so, for the Western child, saturated in an atmosphere where God is conceived of as a personal entity and bearing within his mind the ancestral memory of such a belief. But the conception of God as an all-pervading spirit offers no difficulty to millions of beings whether they be children or adults, who exist in Buddhist and Hindu communities. But while for Freud the task was simply to recognize the falseness and danger of religious dogma, Guirdham sees the potential liberation of a "higher self" as the possible result of applying psychoanalytical insights. When a man is conditioned by an endless series of purely personal fears and ambitions—and by religious beliefs which depend upon them—he can never be "reborn" in the necessary therapeutic sense. Yet it is by an endless series of psychological deaths and rebirths that a man reaches emotional and mental maturity. And because this view of life and human development is so rare in contemporary culture, according to Guirdham, we witness an enormous increase of functional disorders, particularly psychoneuroses. It is apparent that Dr. Guirdham examines the practice of psychiatry by a light often associated with Zen philosophy. In a chapter titled "Freedom and Captivity," he implies the necessity of a sort of "tearing-down" process in successful therapy: Psychiatry has not faced the fact that the limitation of the scope of personality rather than its increased expression is the key to peace. I know of no Western school of psychiatry which advocates the diminution of the potential of personality by the reduction of its instinctive urges. I use the word reduction rather than control because the latter implies the discipline inflicted on the dynamic by the social personality. This has always occurred and is responsible for the process of repression which results in our accentuation of neurotic tendencies. The reduction of the power of the instinctive personality can only be achieved by techniques of contemplation, self-analysis and relaxation dedicated to the aim of seeing oneself as a unit of life separated off from the main stream of existence by the malforming illusion of personality. Until we have learnt to see ourselves as nothing we will never liberate the real self which is buried below not only our social but our instinctive personality. Such aims and techniques may be practiced under the aegis of religion or outside the confines of organized psychiatry. They play no part in psychiatry as practiced in the medical profession. Volume XV, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 8 members stop submitting to mass compulsions. The Remnant, in short, must grow. COMMENTARY THE ROLE OF THE REMNANT POSSIBLY some readers will feel that this week's lead article (see page 5) is too "exclusive" in its choice of those who belong to the Saving Remnant. Surely, it will be said, there are more than Bertrand Russell, Lewis Mumford, and A1bert Schweitzer! And of course, there are. But these three have distinction as mature men who represent the flower of our culture. They have won wide recognition as talented and completely civilized members of the human community, apart from their labors for peace. You might say that they are the least sectarian of the workers for peace because what they do for peace arises as the natural implication of their wholeness as men, and not from only the naked moral insight which is the genius of the warresister. The usage of the phrase, "saving remnant," probably derives from the Prophet Isaiah's reference to the "very small remnant" left undestroyed by the enemies of the children of Israel. The expression has been given a new currency by Gerald Sykes, who calls his current book The Hidden Remnant (Harper), and it is in the sense provided by Mr. Sykes that we have used the term. It goes without saying that there is always a new Remnant in the making and it seems to us that with this small minority lies whatever hope we have of a future civilization and humane culture. We hazard the guess that the Remnant now in formation—which is indeed "hidden" from any public perception—may be shaped not so much by the leadership of a few rare and distinguished individuals as by the emergence in more ordinary folk of certain insights basic to moral survival. There is a sense in which the "distinguished individual" cannot by himself make a sufficient impression on the mass society. The mass society must first recover from its moral insensibility, and this can happen only as more and more of its Volume XV, No. 48 There are various ways to think of such a Remnant. In a chapter entitled, "The Remnant Is Not an Elite," Mr. Sykes gives one version: . . . a Remnant means, both originally and in the sense in which it is used here, a group of people who have survived or can survive a great catastrophe, while an elite means a group of socially superior persons. The origin of one word is religious, of the other social. In its flowering a society may produce an elite. It is only in a time of extreme trial that it is called upon to produce a Remnant. . . . The Remnant takes no satisfaction in its scarcity. . . . Since the Remnant is created by disaster, actual or impending, its members want as many fellow-members as possible, in all walks of life. One of its worst fears is that it may fail to come sufficiently into being. It must contend with its own tendencies toward exclusiveness, neurotic withdrawal, solipsism, top-loftiness, and kindred vices over which it must be victorious or fail. Its purpose is religious, in a non-ecclesiastical sense. It seeks not merely survival as individuals, though that must come first; but also to achieve the survival of the best characteristics of society, the characteristics that may be called sacred. The United States, for instance, has certain qualities which no thoughtful person will want to see perpetuated. It also possesses other qualities which should and must be perpetuated. The unworthy traits will never be extinguished, but they can be made to seem shameful—through the influence of a Remnant. Since the role of the members of the Remnant has so little definition in our culture, it is difficult to get Mr. Sykes' idea across. Any quotation leaves it incomplete. Yet it needs to be gotten across. His book, in other words, should be widely read. Meanwhile, his conception of the Remnant reminds us somewhat of the endeavor of Pythagoras in founding his school at Krotona. The Greek philosopher sought to train individuals in a way of life that would enable them to go out into society and lift it to a higher level by the leverage of their personal example. MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 9 influence to the Communist Party." further from the Steinhilber analysis: CHILDREN . . . and Ourselves LOYALTY—TO WHAT? ON December 11, 1961, the United States Supreme Court, by unanimous decision, declared unconstitutional a loyalty oath demanded of the teachers in the Florida public schools. This particular "oath" penalized teachers holding beliefs or opinions thought to be favorable to "Communist influence" by refusing them teaching positions, and made vulnerable to perjury charges the teacher who, while "leftist," did not consider himself to be a "Communist" supporter. The Court outlawed the Florida oath on the ground that it violated the "due process" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment—a decision of considerable importance, since this is the first case of its kind to secure a Supreme Court ruling, providing a clearer idea of the constitutional limits which the courts will impose on loyalty oaths in general. August Steinhilber, a writer for School Life (January-February), summarizes the implications of the decision: What the Court in effect said in the Cramp [Florida] case is that it will declare invalid ambiguous legislation containing penal provisions. It warned that it may impose even stricter standards against vagueness on any statute that in any manner impairs individual liberty. Its decision is evidence that it believes that constitutional standards apply equally to all phases of law and that it will test future loyalty oaths by all standards. The details of the Florida oath controversy are instructive. David Cramp, a public school teacher, did not take the loyalty oath prescribed for teachers at the time of his appointment, but the oversight was not discovered until nine years later. When he was then requested to "rectify" the oversight, Cramp refused on the grounds that the oath violated his constitutional rights. In particular, he objected to Clause Three, which required him to swear that he had "not lent and will not lend aid, support, advice, counsel, or Volume XV, No. 48 We quote The issue in the case centered on the meaning of the phrase "lend aid, support, advice, counsel, or influence to the Communist Party." What, asked the Court, was the meaning of these words? Could a person who had voted for a Communist legally on a ballot safely sign the oath? Could a lawyer who has represented the Communist Party in court take the oath? Could a journalist who defended the constitutional rights of a Communist safely swear? Does a person who knowingly supports a cause supported also by the Party—such as teacher pay raises and disarmament—give aid, comfort, advice, support, or influence to the Party? Justice Potter Stewart said: "The very absurdity of these possibilities brings into focus the extraordinary ambiguity of the statutory language. With such vagaries in mind, it is not unrealistic to suggest that the compulsion of this oath provision might weigh most heavily upon those whose conscientious scruples were the most sensitive. While it is perhaps fanciful to suppose that a perjury prosecution would ever be instituted for past conduct of the kind suggested, it requires no strain of the imagination to envision the possibility of prosecution for other types of equally guiltless knowing behavior. It would be blinking at reality not to acknowledge that there are some among us always ready to affix a Communist label upon those whose ideas they violently oppose. And experience teaches that prosecutors too are human." Justice Stewart, who spoke for the Court, reaffirmed the Court's position that "no one may be required at peril of life, liberty, or property to speculate as to the meaning of penal statutes. All are entitled to be informed as to what the State commands or forbids." The oath subjected Mr. Cramp to two risks: If he took the oath, he might be found guilty of perjury by a court interpreting his actions as falling within the meaning of the statute even though he honestly believed that he had never supported the Communist Party; if he did not take it he would lose his job. The loyalty-oath champions show practically no interest in preserving the basic American right of the individual citizen to his private opinions— apparently because they feel themselves to be the guardians of the only opinions which are legitimate. And seldom do we find a man in high public office sure enough of his own convictions MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 10 to take an unequivocal stand against all subversions of the right to think and speak freely. It is for this reason that we quote with great pleasure from a paper by one Senator John F. Kennedy, published back in April of 1960. Grounded on thoughtful study of the opinions of a number of great Americans, this paper was written to expose the folly of a college loyalty oath which accompanied the Defense Education Act of 1958—involving a program for student loans. The oath had caused a number of Eastern universities to refuse to participate in the loan program. Mr. Kennedy wrote: Many bright students, whose talents this nation needs to develop in competing with the Soviets, require financial assistance to continue their studies. But today, if those needy students attend Harvard, Yale, Mills, Grinnell, Sarah Lawrence, Oberlin, Swarthmore and a dozen or so other schools— including some of our best science laboratories—they cannot obtain a Federal loan. These colleges and universities are refusing to participate in the loan program. They need the money—they know their students need the money— but they refuse to administer one of the bill's strangest provisions: a section which requires every student, scientist or other scholar applying for a loan to not only sign the customary oath of allegiance, but also to sign a vague, sweeping affidavit declaring that he does not believe in or support any organization which believes in or teaches the overthrow of the Government by illegal methods. How can our universities police this affidavit they find so distasteful and humiliating? How can they investigate what organizations their students might "believe in," and what those organizations believe? If a student does not belong to a subversive organization, might not his beliefs still be contrary to the affidavit? We are particularly impressed by Mr. Kennedy's concluding remarks: To waste desperately needed educational funds trying to administer this kind of provision is the height of folly. I would be concerned about those students who did sign the affidavit. We want their minds to be free and flexible, searching out new ideas and trying out new principles. But a young student who has Volume XV, No. 48 sworn—under penalty of a Federal indictment for perjury—as to what he privately believes (and what he thinks some organization he believes in believes) is likely to be rather cautious about changing his beliefs or joining new organizations. Other students may feel that Federal inquiry into their beliefs is so unrealistic as to be meaningless—and in their minds, oaths of allegiance as well as sworn affidavits will be dangerously cheapened. Perhaps a few perjurors will be caught under this requirement. But we already have enough anticommunist, anti-sedition and anti-espionage statutes to catch these few students, if any, without damaging—in the minds of millions of other students—their respect for free inquiry and free government. If William Penn or Benjamin Franklin or Henry Thoreau attended college in America today, I doubt that they would sign that affidavit, despite their great loyalty to this country. And our effort to develop the best minds of the country needs all the Penns and Franklins and Thoreaus we can attract. I would be concerned, if we cannot eliminate this provision, about the U.S.A. Never before have we tried to legislate orthodoxy in our colleges, sought to put students in jeopardy for their private beliefs or assumed a scholar is disloyal until he swears to the contrary. Surely this is not the way to "catch up" with the new Russian excellence in education, science and research—by imitating their objective of teaching students what to think instead of how to think. What kind of security is it that assumes all is well because thousands of affidavits are signed: do we really believe that loyalty can be reduced to an automatic formula, coerced and compelled instead of inspired? I think it high time that we recalled the words of Mr. Justice Hugo L. Black: "Loyalty to the United States can never be secured by the endless proliferation of loyalty oaths. Loyalty must arise spontaneously from the hearts of people who love their country and respect their government." The subject of loyalty oaths obviously involves far-reaching psychological and philosophical considerations. Whatever one's formal political loyalties, everyone, in our opinion, should be glad that the present President of the United States so recently evidenced a clear realization of this fact, and was so unequivocal in stating his convictions. MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 11 FRONTIERS Factors of Survival DURING the recent crisis brought about by the establishment of missile-launching devices in Cuba, and our government's reaction to them, it appeared possible that the brittle button of havoc could be pressed and that destruction could fall upon soil and cities that once seemed so immune from the penalties of war. Until a certain fatal moment, the habit of thinking from this viewpoint of immunity had prevailed and a markedly large percentage of our populace, including politicians who seemed perfectly willing to have the ballots marked in blood if need be, were calling for invasion, the sinking of ships, and even the obliteration of our opposite number. Then, suddenly, there was the realization that any overt act of ours could be answered by a force as mighty and as cataclysmic as our own. I remember having written of our pre-nuclear skies, "Where once the slender hands of lightning slept in thunder muffs"; but now thermonuclear fists that can react on reflex rather than the climate of reason lurk behind the clouds that each man will walk under from here on. Realizing this, a city—to use Los Angeles for an example— shook off all other ideas and aims save those of survival. Survival, when you come to think of it, is a rather strange thing for modern man to embrace when he has in fact largely dedicated himself to avoiding any noticeable survival in terms of his identity and responsibility. Immersed as the general populace is in meaningless diversions and even painful distractions, its drive is precisely that of avoiding the austere challenge of a true survival. Excepting the bomb, this is probably modern man's greatest threat. How then do people react when physical survival does become the question? Selfishly, one could say on the basis of some of the facts at hand, and still be wrong. That quite a few behave irrationally is obvious. Some approach survival Volume XV, No. 48 with a serious and dangerous mistrust of anyone but themselves. But how these people would act if they were actually the survivors of a grave disaster is something we can hardly foresee. The saying, "Never under-estimate a human being," has ominous as well as optimistic content. Already the selfishness that is bound to show its features in a culture that makes consumption a virtue has appeared in caricature as people mobbed the supermarkets, buying as much as three and four hundred dollars' worth of food, and quantities of bottled water. The idea was to get there first and get as much as one could without any regard for the next person in line. Many of the supplies they bought would soon have perished when the electric power went off. In most cases, people bought far more than the two weeks' supply suggested by the Civil Defense Director. Even gourmet stores had a run on their most exotic products. Yet after all of our years of Wagon Train and other Westerns, there was little call for the staples of survival in the old frontier tradition—beans, corn meal, salt pork, bacon, and the like. But the tradition of the Westerns prevailed in many cases after the food had been hoarded. The male head of the family set about arming himself to be able to protect his supplies against those who had hoarded less. Gun stores, especially those dealing in surplus military weapons, did an unprecedented business—sometimes, luckily, selling guns for which ammunition is no longer made! I was in a hardware store for ten minutes and during that short time two frantic citizens came to ask for obsolete cartridges. I wonder if these people really have so little faith in their fellows as to declare cold war on them before being so much as approached for a morsel of food or a drink of water? Probably. One wonders how many of these tough-minded individualists profess to be Christians. Far better for them if the stores had stocked a few surplus jawbones of an ass. One thing struck me personally. I was in a hospital during the first two or three days of the MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 12 scare and I made a point of asking the doctors and nurses if they had laid in their supply of food. Invariably their answer was a variation of, "I won't have time to think of food if a bomb drops and doesn't get me. I'll be too busy." These people naturally projected themselves into disaster in an effective role. Whatever their other shortcomings, medicine and the adjunctive healing arts have an ethic that supports them and gives them direction when the chips are down. One can envy them or, better still, emulate them. But here is the other side of the coin—after the bomb has dropped. Picture a family setting in a household of dead gadgets. The TV's glazed, dead eye accenting the uselessness of the rest of the electronic corpus gives baleful indication of a technological vacuum. One can see the food and bottled water piled where an eye can be kept on them, and there is a certain bareness to the rooms since the furniture has been feeding the cook fires in the barbecue pit. Father nervously checks his gun as he mans the barricade at the front door and directs Junior to keep a good watch at the back. Smackover, the neighbor in the rear, was waiting for his paycheck before he stocked up and hence is a known threat. Wattleford, on the right, has been sharing food with those in need, and since he always was a bleeding heart and an egghead he may expect the same of others and must be closely watched. The wife is looking at one of the six back issues of Life that make up their total library and wondering why the advertisements seem so silly and empty. Survival goes on at a frightening slow pace and sigalerts say, "Stay where you are." Long Beach is a dead cousin, which is to say it has been obliterated and the family have a cousin there. No one knows if the fallout is lethal or not or how everything will end. The family looks lost, lost, lost, and sick, sick, sick. This picture isn't too unrealistic if the first acts of some people during the recent crisis are to be taken at face value, and presuming that a bomb destroyed only part of the city and immobilized the rest. It's a picture that you may be sure won't Volume XV, No. 48 be dramatized on TV as an object lesson indicating the need for inner resources and perhaps some form of outer-directed motivation to take the place of electronic and other diversions that can so easily be cut off. Think of the emotional vacuum: gone are even the worries over debt and status that vie with entertainment and consumption in relieving us of the feared recognition of our survival and the search for identity and responsibility which it will entail. The realization hasn't yet come to Americans that it may be better to accumulate personal security than groceries, better to be an implement of a purposeful sense of identity, linked with a destiny bigger than the self, rather than to be just a long gut with fangs at one end. I'm convinced that people who have a true sense of survival, those who can look at themselves and see who and what they are in relationship to the rest of the world, will resist and cease to encourage those forces that can bring the world to crisis and cataclysm. Perhaps as each crisis occurs there will be more honest selfconfrontation and a few more such people will emerge. That is the big hope of the world. Those who find triumph only in bluffs that aren't called, whether here or in Russia, are standing pat on another diversion—and playing the most dangerous game on earth. On apparently good authority, Matt Weinstock (in his column in the Los Angeles Times) told of students in both junior and senior high school classes breaking into hysterical demonstration and crying out, "I don't want to die; I'm too young to die," and the like. They're right of course, and there was certainly some psychological basis for their hysteria created by their elders. When they were simply told not to be silly and to calm themselves, a great teaching opportunity was lost—one that may not come again when the youngsters would be so open to suggestion. Then, if ever, was the occasion to ask them what they wanted to live for. The good teacher would have rejected jingoistic answers MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 13 (not that I think he would have gotten many), and delved into their real aspirations. The lines of communication between them and us seem to have grown very weak, and perhaps here would have been a chance to restore them. We've given them so little to go on, but they are eventually going to have to do something other than rebel on the social periphery. The innate seed of their response and direction needs only to be nurtured; attempts at hybridization can only perpetuate our own errors. When I look at the younger people who try to play it cool but are acting out in a frenzy that is marked by speed and anger, I think of my own generation that inherited the Depression and sadly recall how we botched an opportunity to salvage our morally bankrupt estate. I wrote at that time (this seems to be my day to quote myself): Streamlined, slung low for speed, With backward impulse geared to forward need, We burn the anxieties of our lost estate To keep a schedule that began too late. . . . Now I hope more than anything else for a generation of responsible survival—one that can project itself into the future with acts and deeds that arise naturally out of a way of life and an ethic. It seems to me that each generation until now has been putting itself up as collateral for borrowed time. Perhaps if a few of us will stop looking around for bankers who will promise us more time, and start acting as if every day were really our own—and all we have—we could begin to accumulate the funds of moral survival. This might be an example that could be followed by the young. In contrast, the sorry spectacle of the recent crisis can only produce a revulsion, followed by more aimless rebellion and hidden contempt. WALKER WINSLOW Los Angeles Volume XV, No. 48 MANAS Reprint November 28, 1962 ...
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