AN INSTRUCTIVE ENCOUNTER WITH PROFESSOR SIDNEY HOOK OF NEW YORK CITY

George Anastaplo

            The complete correspondence (of 1952-1953) between George Anastaplo (1925-    ) and Sidney Hook (1902-1989) is provided here (followed by seven Appendices that may bear on the matters touched on in these nine letters). Photocopies of our original (single-spaced) letters have been deposited by me in the George Anastaplo Archives of the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago Library, in the University of Chicago Law School Library, and in the Faculty Archives of Loyola University of Chicago. This correspondence has long been listed as evidently available in the Register of the Sidney Hook Papers, 1902-2002, Hoover Institution Archives (Folder 3-4).

I was grateful at the time, and remain so, that a scholar as obviously accomplished and as distinguished as Professor Hook (who was Chairman, between 1948 and 1969, of the Philosophy Department of New York University) should have paid me the attention he did. Even so, I continue to be as startled as I was then by the tone of his letters, especially in dealing with a presumptuous student half his age. (This exchange of letters was the only contact we ever had.)

One can gather from Mr. Hook’s vivid rhetoric how intense Cold War political controversies could be at that time, especially in New York. He, as a lifelong Marxist (who was, into the early 1930s, apparently a vigorous apologist for the Leninist regime in Russia), was obviously accustomed to the harsh language he indulged in here. One can be reminded by all this of the passions that got us, during the following decade, into the Vietnam Debacle (an involvement, it is said, that Mr. Hook was opposed to having United States forces withdraw from “unilaterally”).

Our 1952-1953 correspondence was, all in all, an instructive encounter for me—an encounter with a man (a leading disciple of John Dewey) who was obviously more intelligent, and more articulate, than the bar admissions authorities (in Chicago) and the Justices (in Springfield, Illinois and in Washington who ruled against me again and again between 1950 and 1961. Those authorities and jurists, on the other hand, were consistently more civil (and hence less interesting?) than Mr. Hook.

The most recent discussions in print of my Illinois Bar Admission controversy (which began on November 10, 1950, three days after my twenty-fifth birthday), may be found in two front-page articles in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin of April 25, 2011. These articles (which have been posted on the anastaplo.wordpress “blog”) were prompted by the recognition that fifty years had passed since the decisive ruling against me in the United States Supreme Court on April 24, 1961. See In re George Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82 (1960). (Also ruled against on that occasion was my suggestion that I be admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court [that is, without the usual prerequisite of membership in a State Bar]. A recent revival of this “compromise” was advanced by Professor William T. Braithwaite [of St. John’s College, Annapolis] in a letter to a Member of the United States Supreme Court [a letter which is appended to the articles in the “blog” just cited].) See, for my discussion of these and related matters, the bibliography provided in John A. Murley, ed., Leo Strauss and His Legacy:    A Bibliography (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2005), pp. 733-855. (My recent review of files, because of an interest in “the Fiftieth Anniversary,” led me to reading the Sidney Hook letters for the first time in years—and they seemed worth doing something with in our circumstances today.)

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the 1952-1953 flare-up with Mr. Hook set forth in its entirety here is that it can put us on notice about the risks we run today in resorting to undisciplined language and to extreme measures in dealing with the genuine threats of Terrorism. Instructive here is an observation attributed to Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. about Sidney Hook—that he let “anti-Communism consume his life to the point that, like Aaron’s rod, it swallowed up nearly everything else.”

Our 1952-1953 correspondence follows. The block quotations in these letters are put by me in italics so that they may be readily identifiable as extended quotations when these materials are collected on the Internet in the anastaplo.wordpress “blog.” (Obvious slips in grammar, punctuation etc. in these letters have been silently corrected.)

I.

                                                                                                             1465 East 54th Place

Chicago 15, Illinois

2 May 1952

Dear Mr. Hook:

I have noted in the Chicago Tribune of 19 April 1952 a report on a speech you made before a conference of the National Education Association.  You are quoted as advocating the ousting from the teaching profession of anyone who might be a member of the Communist Party.

It seems to me that a position such as yours, as I understand it from the Tribune article and from your articles which have appeared elsewhere (there was one in the New York Times Magazine Section, I remember), is one that involves philosophical principles and practical considerations with which I cannot agree.  But I am fairly certain that we could agree that a free and open discussion of this and other subjects is vitally necessary, no matter what our assumptions and conclusions may be.

I have taken the liberty of sending you in the accompanying package a copy of a mimeographed volume, Some Rash Innovations and Speculations, which deals with the materials relating to an unsuccessful attempt upon my part to enter the Bar of Illinois.  I have also included in that volume, among other things, an interpretive essay I have written giving my own analysis of the situation.  You may be better able to understand what is going on by reading, after the Foreword, the comment by Professor Malcolm Sharp at the end of the volume and perhaps the first couple of pages of my Essay.  The crucial material in this volume is probably the reproduction of the two transcripts.  I hope that you are able to get some idea of what is going on.

It is possible that you may agree with the general positions taken by me in this volume (or, at least, most of them); and you may even come to the conclusion that the Committee on Character and Fitness has acted most improperly in this instance.  It seems to me, however (and this I say after acknowledging that my understanding of your position is limited), that the position you have in these matters would probably lead, in execution, to just the sort of thing that the Committee is doing.  (This is aside from any consideration of the philosophical soundness of your position–you will note, of course, that I challenge in my volume even the basis of your position.)

I wish you would look over this volume.  Should you have any comments on the subject, I would appreciate receiving them.

Respectfully yours,

George Anastaplo

Professor Sidney Hook, Chairman

Philosophy Department

New York University

New York, N.Y.

II.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Washington Square College of Arts and Science

Washington Square, New York 3, N.Y.

Department of Philosophy                                                                 Telephone: Spring 7-2000

May 13, 1952

Mr. George Anastaplo

1465 East 54th Place

Chicago 15, Illinois

Dear Mr. Anastaplo:

In reply to your letter of May 2, I have tried hard to read your mimeographed volume but the mimeographing is so bad I had to give it up after a while.  But I have read enough of it to find the evidence that you are a very much confused young man –  both philosophically and politically –  with a large bump of self-righteousness that prevents you from seeing the relevant issues.  I have sent you a couple of things of mine which will, I hope, make my position clearer to you since from your letter I judge that you haven’t got the foggiest notion of what my position is, and confuse the most elementary distinctions.

First of all, I don’t believe in loyalty oaths of any kind except for traditional ceremonial purposes.  Secondly, I don’t believe that a man’s views on loyalty oaths, or whether members of the Communist Party should be admitted to the bar, are relevant to determining his “character and fitness.”  Thirdly, I am firmly convinced that members of the Communist Party or of any other organization which instructs its members to prepare for the commission of actions incompatible with the performance of their professional duty, should not be admitted to the bar.  Please note the distinction between holding Communist or Fascist ideas, however they may be defined, and membership in a Communist Party organization.

This question cannot be intelligently discussed unless one knows something about the Communist Party, how it is organized, its underground apparatus, etc.  You don’t seem to know very much about it, and pontificate blithely about conspiracy as if it were merely heresy.  The activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities apparently are “antics,” irrespective of whether they are using the communist issue to smear the New Deal or whether they are exposing, under the fairest conditions, the nefarious work of a nest of spies like that of Hiss and his friends.  I don’t think you are really competent to discuss the question of whether members of the C.P. should teach or be permitted to practice until you learn something about them.

On the philosophical issue you are all at sea.  1.  There is no political right in a democracy to conspiracy or to overthrow of the government by force or violence.  A person who believes in democracy is justified in using force and violence against a dictatorship.  You mix up both types of situation.

2.  Morally human beings are free to use force and violence in any situation the conditions of which outrage their basic sensibilities.  (But if the revolt is made against a functioning democracy, then both logical and moral decency forbids their calling themselves democrats).  In other words there is a moral right to go to war for one’s ideals against society but in that case one must take the consequences without whimpering, like John Brown.  Your “rebel” sounds as if he would whimper.

3.  It is not the Euthyphro which you should cite here but the Crito.  Socrates is a heretic,  not a conspirator, and takes his punishment, indeed insists upon it, because he still regards the community to which he belongs as his own.  He is not at war with it.

Now the nub of the matter is this.  Members of the Communist Party are at war with our society.  They are all actual or political agents of a foreign power.  Consequently, I do not say that they should be imprisoned, but merely denied access to any positions where if they carried out their orders, they would create more damage than would the intelligent attempt to get rid of them.

Try to understand this position before you reply to it.

Yours very truly,

Sidney Hook

Professor and Chairman,

Department of Philosophy

sh;elb

III.

                                                                                                            1465 East 54th Place

Chicago 15, Illinois

18 July 1952

Mr. Sidney Hook, Chairman

Department of Philosophy

New York University

New York, New York

Dear Mr. Hook:

I have allowed myself to reflect upon your letter of May 13 for about two months in order that I might not lay myself open to the charge that I had not permitted enough time to elapse during which I might have the opportunity to obey your parting injunction, “Try to understand this position before you reply to it.”  Even though you might be able to respond that evidently more time is needed by me, I must run that risk and get on with the discussion.

You note in your letter, before obliging me with an outline of your position in these matters, that it is your judgment upon reading my letter of May 3 that I did not have “the foggiest notion of what my position is . . .”  I have studied with some care your letter as well as the article that you were good enough to send along with it, “Academic Integrity and Academic Freedom” from the October 1949 issue of Commentary.  Although these tell us about your views on Communism and Communists, they still do not indicate just how you would have the teaching (or any other) profession clean up their own house and oust teachers who are Communist Party members.  I thought that perhaps other writings of yours would help me on this point (you referred in your letter to “a couple of things of mine”:    since only one article was sent along I figured that another article, more to the point I was interested in, might have been intended to be included by you).  Consequently, I have looked up a couple of your other articles, including the one in the New York Times Magazine in 1949 which Mr. Alexander Meiklejohn answered, and another in the Saturday Evening Post in the Fall of that year.  I have also looked at the exchanges of letters that followed the Commentary article.

I still do not know, however, how you intend the ousting you call for to be carried out.  You seem most concerned about those members of the Communist Party who are concealed and who do their work secretly and unscrupulously (e.g., those teachers who make anonymous defamatory charges about their colleagues).  How does one go about detecting and ousting them if it is decided that the institution should be rid of them?  The clearest passage I have found among those writings of yours that I have examined which relate to this problem seems to be the following from page 166 of the article, “What Shall We Do About Communist Teachers?”, Saturday Evening Post, September 10, 1949:

What follows?  Would those who admit that members of the Communist Party are unfit to teach, but oppose dismissing them, have us do nothing?  Shall we openly declare, once the issue is raised, that membership in the Communist Party will constitute no bar to teaching?  Nothing would be better calculated to let loose a reign of terror in the schools.  If anything is likely to goad legislatures and Congress to hasty and unconsidered action, it would be the refusal on the part of educators in their professional capacity to meet intelligently the problem created by those who, they admit, are unfit to teach.

 

Oddly enough, it is safe to predict that there will be very few dismissals, if any, once the principle is laid down that membership in the Communist Party is prima-facie evidence of unfitness to teach.  For already teaching members of the Communist Party have been resigning from it in droves to remain in the clear.

 

What good, then, the adoption of the principle?  Just this: the enormous educational and psychological effect of reaffirming the function of the teacher in a democratic society.  Everyone entrusted with teaching our youth will become focally aware of the standards of professional integrity.  It will become unmistakably clear that to subordinate one’s mind and teaching practices to the authority of an outside group is to place oneself beyond the educational pale.

But this and the paragraphs that follow do not tell us, or a committee of reasonably-minded faculty members assigned to the program of formulating an ousting procedure, how to proceed.  It does tell us that a certain principle is to be enunciated; but is there anything else to be done in the way of detecting and ejecting the members of the Communist Party on a campus?  It seems to me that the tentatively-phrased comment I made about your position–and it may be that cautiously-put comment that led you to think that I did not have the foggiest notion about your position since almost all of the rest of my letter is in the form of an inquiry and not an attempt at statement of your position–still has some sense to it:

It seems to me, however (and this I say after acknowledging that my understanding of your position is limited), that the position you have in these matters would probably lead, in execution, to just the sort of thing the Committee is doing.

That is to say, how is the ousting of Communist teachers of which you speak, which is supposed to satisfy government agencies that the teachers are doing the job properly, to be done?  There is a serious problem here and this you recognize.  And it is a problem which could have considerable influence upon the course of action that one should advocate and the rules that should be laid down.  I would like to have either a statement of your views on this point or a reference to a publication (yours or someone else’s) which deals with it from your point of view.

Although we seem to differ considerably on some points, we do share some views in this field.  There seems to be, for instance, a shared rejection of loyalty oaths.  We agree also that “a man’s views on loyalty oaths, or whether members of the Communist Party should be admitted to the bar,” are irrelevant to a determination of his “character and fitness.”  We also seem to agree that the principles to be invoked in these matters apply to the Fascist if they should apply to the Communist and vice versa.  But we seem to disagree as to what the principles should be in these matters.  Or, perhaps, we simply do not see the facts in the same manner.

I, for instance, do not believe that it is “conspiracy” that I am confusing with “heresy.”  For I cannot agree to your position that members of the Communist Party “are all actual or political agents of a foreign power.”  Nor can I assume that every member of a political party (even though it is a party that may have some “conspiratorial” aspects) is to be charged with even the illegal acts of the party as a whole or that membership in any such group should establish a prima facie case against character or educational employability.  I will not attempt to spell out here my position on these issues.  Instead, I am enclosing a carbon copy of an article of mine for your consideration, an article which is a restatement of my position in these matters.

I might add that this seems to be desirable not only as a substitute for spelling out once again my views but also that there might be cleared up some misconceptions that you seem to have about my views.  You state early in your letter that you were forced to give up reading my poorly mimeographed volume after a while.  This I can understand for I had done my duplicating with inferior equipment.  (I hope that the typewritten article will not be too blurred for your study.)  I should think, however, that you would have reserved your judgment until you could get a better copy or another statement, on my part, of my views.  If you had done so you might not have made the comments you did about my being at sea on the philosophical issue:     for I suggest that the first two points you make under that heading are such that if I am at sea you are also there in the very same boat.  And if you had been able to read further into the volume you might also have learned that your comments about my “whimpering rebel” were rather uncalled for.  As to the use of Euthyphro, that still seems to me to be appropriate in this instance when those who would act morally are so self-righteous and ignorant about moral issues.  This does not mean, of course, that the Critic has no validity, for you might also have noticed that I give or try to give during the hearings a paraphrase of the latter dialogue.

As I indicated earlier, we seem to share some views in this field.  It is my desire to learn just what the extent of our disagreement is, both in the principles to be applied and in the action to be taken by the individual and by the society.  I hope that you are better able to get an idea of what my position is from the accompanying article.  You may learn that I, despite my confusion and self-righteousness, do not embrace all of the errors that you attribute to me.  Even so, you might still conclude that I am doing a good deal of blithe pontification about many things but, at least, you would then know better that about which you are talking.  Should you have the time and inclination I would appreciate having any comments you might have about the position presented in my typewritten article.

Respectfully yours,

George Anastaplo

P.S.      Since I have only a few copies of this article I would like to have back this copy.  I am enclosing postage for this purpose.  You may copy, however, any parts of it that you like before returning it.

IV.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Washington Square College of Arts and Science

Washington Square, New York 3, N.Y.

Department of Philosophy                                                                 Telephone: Spring 7-2000

August 16, 1952

Mr. George Anastaplo

1465 East 54th Place

Chicago 15, Illinois

Dear Sir:

I have finally read your letter and enclosure of July 18.  Our agreements are quite superficial.  A whole abyss separates us, for I find your letter and enclosure a compendium of almost all the major errors one can make about the Communist issue today.  Anybody can be mistaken but to be so mistaken, and so certain that one is speaking in the name of Philosophy, and oh! so “morally” superior to better men than oneself—all that is lacking is a prayer to God to forgive your tormentors!—is something unique in my experience which has been quite varied.  Pardon me for saying it, and if I am wrong your style is responsible for misleading me:     you write like a person who either has a martyr-complex or is an insufferable prig or both.

First in answer to your questions.  I leave to each faculty the devising of the appropriate methods to carry out the exclusion of members of the Communist Party—or any other group pledged to subvert the presuppositions of free inquiry.  There are no fixed rules except the use of intelligence.  In most places because of the way the C.P. functions there will be found individuals and students expelled by the Party for refusal to obey orders.  When an inquiry becomes necessary one leads to another.  An intelligent faculty committee can tell when people are lying or telling the truth without benefit of general or specific loyalty oaths.

Now about your own position.  Your letter and enclosure make it clear that you regard it as wrong to inquire into a man’s membership in the C.P. not only for lawyers but for teachers and judges.  In fact you make the taboo quite general.  Presumably, if a man is a current and active member of the Ku Klux Klan or the C.P. you would not regard that fact as relevant in considering his professional qualifications to serve as a judge who is pledged to dispense justice independently of class or color or creed.  Presumably, if a man is a member of the C.P. you would not consider that relevant to hiring him for, or firing him from (if you discovered his membership), an atomic research plant doing restricted work.  Mutatis mutandis you see no justification in asking a man who wants to be a lawyer, who, if I mistake not, is considered an officer of the court, whether he is a member of an organization which seeks to destroy the state and the court, or a man who is supposed to be an objective teacher in pursuit of the truth whether he is a member of an organization which instructs him specifically to violate every obligation of a good teacher.  If one considers these cases carefully, especially the first two, one can hardly help concluding that to take a view like yours is a reductio ad absurdum of the position.  But since there is no absurdity to which some people will not resort to defend another absurdity, I point out that your position demonstrably rests upon (1) ignorance of fact and (2) misunderstanding of the relevant principle in interpreting the facts.

(1) In your letter you say that you do not agree that members of the Communist Party are all actual or potential (you misread this word) agents of a foreign power.  Excuse me for asking; and what do you know about it?  Have you read Krivitsky, Valtin, Foote, Fisher, Gitlow, Rossi, Chambers, the Minutes and Theses of the Congresses of the C.I. , the literature of the C.P., the Report of the Royal Canadian Commission, the proceedings of the Court trials and Congressional Hearings on the Underground Apparatus.  You can’t suck facts out of your fingertips.  Why not study the C.P. movement nationally and internationally before you declare yourself on whether it is organized as a conspiracy?

(2) But even though the party “may have some (sic!) conspiratorial aspects,” you add that you cannot assume that “every member of a political party is to be charged with even the illegal acts of the party as a whole or that membership in any such group should establish a prima facie case against character or educational employability.”

(a) You have two principles here and you swing back and forth between them in the most unconscionable manner without realizing that the first does not apply at all.  No one is saying that because some members of the C.P. stole atomic secrets or engaged in passport frauds all members of the C.P. should be sent to jail.  Even under the Smith Act the government tries to prove for each and every defendant that he specifically is guilty of violating the law.  A good deal of the moral fervor you work up is due to suddenly shifting from the question whether members of the C.P. should be permitted to teach or be lawyers to the question of whether they should be sent to jail just because they are Communists.

(b) The relevant principle is that the facts about the C.P. justify us in drawing a prima facie case against members in respect to employability or reliability for certain types of jobs—teaching, the military, government service, the law.  Now unless you contest the fact about the conspiratorial instructions given to C.P. members, there is a prima facie case, and you do not give one single reason either in your letter or enclosure against this prima facie case.  All you say is that to make an inference based on membership is to exclude people because of differences with “their opinions or beliefs” etc.  This is absurd.  The inference based on present and active membership is that the individual is likely to carry out the instructions, which he has voluntarily accepted, and that the sensible thing to do is to prevent him from doing it.

Your position is so extreme that you would even deny our right to refuse to hire a member of the C.P., no matter what the job is, because we can’t be certain he will carry out his dirty work. Of course, we can’t be certain but we can make a fairly reliable prediction particularly because we know – which you don’t seem to know – that the Party Control Commission automatically drops inactive and recalcitrant members, especially those who do not carry out instructions.  (I am asking my secretary to send you an issue of the Journal of Philosophy, containing a discussion which goes into the logic of the matter further.)

I can’t spare any more time!  Suffice it to say that there is hardly a page of your essay which does not contain some blunder of fact or egregious error in reasoning especially when you write of democracy.  No wonder, if you take Cary McWilliams’ book as a guide!

To sum up.  I don’t believe in loyalty oaths even for candidates for the bar.  I believe that a character committee (I don’t know how they are elected: I assume they are intelligent) is completely justified in asking a candidate whether he is a member of the Communist Party or any other organization which instructs its members so to act as to destroy the very presuppositions of professional integrity.  So long as a candidate answers the question, the fact that he regards the question as illegitimate and says so, should not of itself be sufficient to bar him.  He may be honestly mistaken and the reasons he gives may show a high order of intelligence.  Your refusal to answer the question whether you are a member of the Communist Party (assuming that you are not) does not bear on your character.  But the reasons you give for not being willing to answer the question (even if you did answer it negatively) have a bearing on your fitness, if intelligence is part of fitness.  I would question you closely on other points of law to find out whether the logical lacunae in your analyses were characteristic of all your discussion, or whether they cropped up only when you discussed the issue of Communist conspiracy.  Only in the latter case would I regard you as fit to practice law without doing an injustice to your clients.  And if I did come to the conclusion that your position on the employability of members of the C.P. was only a gentle obsession and not evidence of generic and stubborn stupidity and admitted you to the bar, I would advise your friends or your wife to give you a kind of spiritual dry-cleaning and take some of the unctuousness and moral stuffiness out of you.

                                                                                                            Yours very truly,

Sidney Hook

sh;elb

V.

                                                                                                            6026 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago 37, Illinois

18 September 1952

Mr. Sidney Hook, Chairman

Department of Philosophy

New York University

New York, New York

Dear Mr. Hook:

I have your letter of August 16, 1952 and the three publications, The Journal of Philosophy (Vol. XLIX, No. 4: February 14, 1952), “Sermons of Self-Destruction” by Peter Viereck (from the Saturday Review of Literature) and the Conspiracy or Heresy brochure of yours, that you were good enough to have sent to me.  I would like to comment on various aspects of your letter; since you have seen my “Philosophy, Heresy and the Illinois Bar” essay it will not be necessary to spell out all of my ideas in this field.

You observe in your letter that

. . .  No one is saying that because some members of the C.P. stole atomic secrets or engaged in passport frauds all members of the C.P. should be sent to jail.  Even under the Smith Act the government tries to prove for each and every defendant that he specifically is guilty of violating the law.

If it were advocated that the very act of joining and staying in the Communist Party would justify us in drawing a prima facie case against members with respect to espionage or fraud, because of the conspiratorial instructions given to all Communist Party members, you might protest and suggest that more is to be expected, that “each and every defendant” would have to be specifically shown, in addition to joining the Party, to be guilty of violating a law relating to espionage or fraud.

But you are saying that because some members of the Communist Party have violated what you consider to be the standards due from a member of a university faculty, and because of the conspiratorial instructions given to all Communist Party members, every member of the Communist Party should be excluded from the profession (or there should be at least a so-called prima facie case against him).  You do not go on to say, but instead argue rather strenuously against the notion (in the Journal of Philosophy exchange), that you would want to see each and every “defendant” tried for the purpose of determining whether he himself is guilty of violating specific standards in addition to having joined and remained in the Communist Party.  In the former instance you seem to have too great a respect for legal procedures to claim that we can rely upon organizational guilty and purpose to suffice for convicting particular members; but this does not seem so when you consider the academic (or, for that matter, the legal) profession.  Is this because there is more risk to the society from a corrupter of academic standards than from one who steals atomic energy secrets?  is this because a teacher has a greater duty to observe academic standards than a citizen has to abide by the laws that apply to fraud and espionage?  is this because one should be more aware of the fact that Communists corrupt campuses than that they steal secrets or practice fraud?  is it because one has more freedom of choice in the field of academic activity than in that of espionage activity?  or is it because it is not really a punishment to deprive a person of his tenure, livelihood, the benefits of his training and effort, and his reputation and that, therefore, the demands of the society outweigh the rights that we might otherwise grant an individual whom we seek to punish?

Which one of these distinctions should one stand by to explain the different procedures advocated in the two cases?  In every one but the last one–and even here there may often be more punishment in being deprived of one’s profession than of a fine or, in some cases, of even physical freedom–the distinction might point to more of a leniency in favor of the state against the individual in the case of the atomic energy thief than in the case of the teacher.  But the effect of your position is that the thief must be shown specifically to be guilty when he is to be punished by the state while the teacher, before an academic society can punish him to the full extent that it can, has only to be shown to be a member of the Communist Party (which, in the case of the thief or the defrauder, was not enough).  I suggest that the safeguards set up in the process of convicting a thief–particularly one of the principal safeguards, that the individual be specifically shown to have committed the offense charged–should be insisted upon in the process of “convicting” and discharging university professor.  (Nor, I further suggest, is the problem avoided by noting that in one case it is a matter of criminal action while in the other it is simply that of qualification.  Such a distinction can lead to some rather undesirable results if your approach is followed:     thus, because some members of the Communist Party engaged in passport frauds (and because all of them had implicit instructions to engage in such frauds), all Communists should be considered unqualified for passports no matter how they went about trying to get them.)  The only justification I can see for the position you take (aside from the possible rationale that since there is no legal limit to what teachers can do to each other they can devise any procedure they please without regard to fundamental conceptions of justice, a rationale that I do not believe should be attributed to you) is based on a view of the inconsequentiality of economic sanctions in a society that seems to be most unrealistic and dangerous.

During the course of [our] correspondence, however, I have been more interested in learning from you just how you would proceed to do the ousting of Communists that you have advocated so strenuously the past few years.  You have disavowed the loyalty oath as a feasible technique.  You have also indicated that you would not consider it to have a bearing on character (and, I assume, upon academic qualification) if one refuses to answer questions relating to whether he is a Communist.  So, there is still the question that I put in my last letter and which prompted me to write my first letter of inquiry:

. . . You seem most concerned about those members of the Communist Party who are concealed and who do their work secretly and unscrupulously . . . How does one go about detecting and ousting them if it is decided that the institution should be rid of them? . . .

You have answered that this is a problem to be left to each faculty, emphasizing that “there are no fixed rules except the use of intelligence.”  You then indicate in your last letter just where this use of intelligence would lead you as a faculty member, providing the only specific suggestions about procedure that I have been able to find on this point in any of the writings you have sent me:

. . . In most places because of the way the C.P. functions there will be found individuals and students expelled by the Party for refusal to obey orders.  When an inquiry becomes necessary one leads to another.  An intelligent faculty committee can tell when people are lying or telling the truth without benefit of general or special loyalty oaths.

In short, it seems that you would have faculties purged of their corruptive elements through a process that involved a “necessarily close interrogation of students and colleagues to check up on such teachers.”  The words which I have just quoted were used by you to describe the operation that would be necessary for the surveillance necessary to detect such teachers as they indoctrinate students in the classroom  (The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XLIX, pp. 117-118); but these words essentially apply, I believe, in describing also the process that would inquire of expelled or disaffiliated Communists as to who their “co-conspirators” were.  This process, even though it relies upon an “intelligent faculty committee” which is often so hard to find on these matters at even the better campuses, would probably disrupt a campus more than all of the “conspirators” that you see on them.  For I do not see you, and your restraint in these matters is probably considerably above the average in its intelligent appreciation of the dangers of “Cultural Vigilantism,” advocating any other method but that which exploits almost altogether the informer who may be anxious to call out upon those who have excluded him from an exclusive fraternity, even those who he thinks “really” belong to that fraternity although he does not know for sure.  Indeed to this process could also be applied the words that you used when you evaluated the surveillance process, that it “would be not only degrading but would poison the atmosphere of any decent academic community” (The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XLIX, p. 118).

When we consider the methods available in these matters, and when we appreciate the effects of such methods–whether they be methods that use the informer in matters political, or the employment of the inquisition or the use of the loyalty oath–we can see one of the principal reasons behind a tradition of abstinence from inquiries into such matters in this way:    the harm caused is far more than the harm that is supposed to be avoided (and one can say this, I believe, even if one assumes your estimate of the harm that is to be avoided).  It is easy enough to advocate the “use of intelligence.”  But it seems to me we should have learned long ago that the intelligent thing to do in these matters, where the risks are not such as to endanger seriously the society (in the sense that the most successful sabotage or espionage might), is to wait upon specific acts that can be attributed to an individual (acts aside from joining an organization), even though we might be tempted to believe that “the sensible thing is to prevent him from doing it.”  As for the risks in other areas, such as that of government secrets, the methods of prevention include those of intensive police investigation.  There we might feel that the risks are important enough to warrant considerable expense in carrying on extensive preventive measures.  In the case of the teacher or the lawyer, however, even though these professions are important to its members, there is not the risk to the society to justify, in lieu of waiting until the deeds are done, either the degrading methods that could be used or the expenditure of funds that would pay for “better” methods that would not only make us believe that we are preventing most of the offenses but are also finding out just how many offenses are committed.

And now quickly to some other matters that are treated in your letter.  As to the argument relating to the qualifications of a judge:     I do not believe it would require much effort to show that the problem of selection for any political office is an entirely different one from that of qualifying one for an academic position or as a lawyer (even though a lawyer is technically considered an officer of the court).  As to the person engaged in secret work or with access to secret files, I have already indicated where the difference lies there.  Should you wish, however, I could explain the extent of difference in these problems.

Of course, as you suggest, there are materials that I have not read about the Communist Party and its relation to a foreign power.  There will always be, I suppose.  You must not be so certain, however, that your facts lead to but one policy conclusion and that those who suggest a different policy must be in drastic need of an introduction to the facts of life.  As I have already indicated, in attempting to appraise the value of your approach, one could have your general view of the facts and still be reluctant to adopt the self-defeating method you seem to be inclined to advocate.

Furthermore, I suggest that one should be inclined to take with a grain of salt not only some of the reports of the ex-Communists but, to some extent, even the minutes and literature of the Communist Party.  People do not always do the things they are supposed to do, the things they say they will do or should do, or even the things they are saying they are doing.  And this is so even when they join groups dedicated to certain causes.  Of course, there are common sense limits here but those limits, which are often narrowed far too much, should be quite wide in fields relating to political and religious activity.  In the most disciplined organization, especially when one may leave without incurring governmental penalties, there is room for individual variation.  And the free society is free partly because it insists that there is such room and that membership in groups will not suffice, that additional specific acts that prove beyond a reasonable doubt (when we can risk waiting to see) that an intention is being translated into action should first be seen before an individual is punished (and this, I suggest, should apply also to the free academic society).  (And this should not be avoided by a very loosely employed concept of “conspiracy.”)

All this continues to apply, it seems to me, even when there is such an organization as a “Party Control Commission” to supervise the activities of Party members:     I should be much more inclined to test each individual on his record than to depend as much as you seem to do on the policing done by such a Commission.  In fact, there is something peculiar about the insistence (as in the exchange in the Journal of Philosophy where, it seemed to me, Dr. Lowe presented rather well an aspect of the general problem) that a man’s good record and his conduct are almost nothing next to the “prima facie case” established by a membership conveniently validated and tested by such a Commission.  I might add that I can think of few practices that would make for even more discipline and orthodoxy in organizations than the insistence by outsiders that one’s record and conduct in his day-to-day activities is to count as practically nothing against the finding of that organization’s control commission.  (In passing, I should note that your repeated reference to “prima facie case” puzzles me: I can see no way, if the Journal of Philosophy exchange with Dr. Lowe is indicative, even when there is a good record in the case, how that case can be rebutted by the accused person.  You might as well call it, so long as you want to use a legal term, “a conclusive presumption.”)

Finally, there is the matter of your suggestion that since my logic is so bad in this matter it would be a good idea to inquire further to learn whether my intelligence was of the poor quality suggested by this failure.  Not only that, but my knowledge of the law should also be investigated–or, I should say, reinvestigated, for a careful reading of my materials would have revealed that I had more than satisfied both the law school and state examiners on these points.  It is a rather risky game to play, this business of implying incompetence and incapacity on the part of those with whom one is in disagreement on important issues.  This is especially so when the use of this device, along with vehement attacks such as those found in the opening and closing paragraphs of your letter, might make one wonder whether you always treat your correspondents in such a manner or only when, as in this case, you find yourself unable to meet crucial and basic questions (such as the one about the method to be used in implementing the action that you advocate without, at the same time, poisoning the atmosphere of the academic community ) in a manner that satisfies even yourself.

Respectfully yours,

George Anastaplo

VI.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Washington Square College of Arts and Science

Washington Square, New York 3, N.Y.

Department of Philosophy                                                                 Telephone: Spring 7-2000

September 30, 1952

Mr. George Anastaplo

6026 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Mr. Anastaplo:

Life is short and politics is long.  And in the future I cannot undertake to answer any more letters of yours on Communist teachers.  There comes a point in every discussion in which either one sees or one doesn’t.  From letter to letter you shift your argument, and I do not believe your mind is really open to new arguments and evidence – not that you have answered the old ones.

Just a few comments as a tribute to my faith in the rationality of man.  The answer to your rhetorical questions on page 1 is simple.  Of course, discharging a member of the Communist Party as educationally unreliable is an economic hardship, if you like, a form of punishment.  So is refusing to play cards with a professional gambler who has aces up his sleeve before he uses them.  It requires no great art to recognize two things:     that this “punishment” is not comparable to depriving a man of his life or freedom, and that this punishment is deserved, since the teacher voluntarily joined and remained in an organization which gave him dishonorable instructions.  He could have gotten out. The responsibility is his.  If he didn’t get out I am justified in assuming he intends to carry out his instructions.

I have made this point in replying to Lowe but you ignore it.  The situation is clear.  The University proclaims in advance so that none but an idiot is unaware of it: whoever joins an organization to carry out unprofessional activity etc. etc. will not be retained on the staff.  Any man who is then discovered as a member of the C.P. has in actuality brought his punishment on himself.  Further this procedure doesn’t apply to Communists getting passports because they are not under instructions to engage in passport frauds.

If you read what I wrote you know that I know the difference between a C.P. member in an atomic plant and one in a school.  (Until you read Lowe you didn’t see any difference:     you would not discriminate in hiring Communists in either place.)  What you don’t seem to understand is how important a teacher can be in a student’s life.  We don’t have to agree with Henry Adams, that “the teacher affects eternity; he never knows where his influence stops,” to recognize that he can ruin a student’s life or career by enrolling him as a member in the C.P.  I’ve seem it done a number of times.  The student is flattered by his teacher’s interest.  A whole technique exists to snare them.  It is a sad, cruel and rotten business – done under the guise of friendly teacher–student relations.  Speak to a parent sometime whose son or daughter has been the object of a successful campaign of attention on the part of a C.P. teacher.  You can’t “prove” in a court of law that there has been an abuse of trust:     in the end the student joins voluntarily.  But the C.P. teacher is carrying out instructions.

You confuse everything in trying to show that because a faculty committee would question former Communists if they existed about someone charged with being a member of the C.P., the result would be like trying to catch a known member of the C.P. in the act of carrying out his instructions.  You lack imagination as well as logic here and I half wonder whether you are not deliberately fudging the difference between the two situations.

Surely you can see that I was criticizing the proposal to hire and retain members of the C.P. and to punish them only if they succeeded in indoctrinating etc.  This would mean a quiet investigation, if the charge were made that a professor was a member of the C.P.  Because an ex-Communist tells me that Y is a communist, we don’t have to believe him. You may not believe in the “jury” system. I do. We don’t have to swear anybody but only examine all the available evidence.  In my Saturday Evening Post article I point out that investigation would follow after evidence of some cell activity.  Where in all this is the degrading business which comes from watching and spying.  Why, give an intelligent committee which has studied the subject a list of a man’s writing in any field in which the C.P. has a line, give them the list of his organizations, let them talk to the man, and his accusers, and I am confident that such a committee would do a better job than most judges and juries in ascertaining the facts.

Finally, you should know from my writings that I enjoy discussion, and if you are acquainted with other correspondents of mine you will find that any personal remarks I make are independent of the cogency of my argument.  But the remarks I made about you, I am sorry to say, I believe true.  They would be true even if you were less wrong than you are.  You write like a prig with a martyr-complex.  This struck me from the beginning even before I replied to you.  You are wordy, often irrelevant, and shifty in argument.  And although I am prepared to believe you are intelligent, your position on the hiring of Communists (which is the same as your position on firing them) is stupid.

I may be wrong about all this.  But if style is the clue to the man, I may not be.  Why don’t you sit down in a cool moment and take stock of yourself?  You probably “bollixed up” not only your own life but others in your foolish stand before the Bar Committee in which you obviously dramatized yourself in your own eyes as a Chicago Socrates or Thoreau.  My guess is that you were trying to please someone – perhaps some leader in a great books course.  However that may be, the only thing that can help you now is a stiff dose of the truth.

The Lord only knows why I had to impart it.

Yours truly,

Sidney Hook

Chairman, Dept. of Philosophy

sh;elb

VII.

                                                                                                            6026 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago 37, Illinois

11 December 1952

Mr. Sidney Hook, Chairman

Department of Philosophy

New York University

New York, New York

Dear Mr. Hook:

I suppose it is just as well that our exchange of correspondence comes to an end.  Evidently, we have both been disappointed, perhaps each in a different way, by the arguments and reactions of the other.  But we have managed to examine several aspects of a problem that is vexing our society today, even though we both may feel that the other has not “really” grasped the import and tendency of the points made by the other.  Thus, all this has not been a total loss even though the cost may have been rather high.

You have been burdened enough already with expositions of my views in these matters.  It would probably serve no useful purpose now to try to follow up your remarks, in your letter of September 30, about the point on passport frauds, about my supposedly new-found awareness of the difference between “a C.P. member in an atomic plant and one in a school,” or about the “sad, cruel and rotten business” that might result when a teacher betrays his trust.  Suffice to say that I do not believe you appreciate my position about these matters as expressed in previous letters and in my other materials.

About the shifting in my arguments that you see, however, I would like to say something.  I thought I had made it clear that I was willing to meet your arguments at different stages of their development, first challenging and then accepting many of your “values” and “facts.”  That is to say, I have registered my disagreement with many of your views of the facts and then have gone on, after assuming for the sake of discussion many of the facts, to learn from you “just how you would proceed to do the ousting of Communists that you have advocated so strenuously the past few years.”  You might call this type of procedure “shifting”; I am more inclined to view it as a quite legitimate technique in the process of arriving at some understanding of what is desirable practical action.

Proceeding in this way, I had this to say, in my letter of 18 September 1952, about the use of your “intelligent committee” to do the groundwork for the ousting of Communists from a university faculty:

. . . This process, even though it relies upon an “intelligent faculty committee,” which is often so hard to find on these matters at even the better campuses, would probably disrupt a campus more than all of the “conspirators” that you see on them.  For I do not see you, and your restraint in these matters is probably considerably above the average in its intelligent appreciation of the dangers of “Cultural Vigilantism,” advocating any other method but that which exploits almost altogether the informer who may be anxious to call out upon those who have excluded him from an exclusive fraternity, even those who he thinks “really” belong to that fraternity although he does not know for sure.  Indeed to this process could also be applied the words that you used when you evaluated the surveillance process, that it “would be not only degrading but would poison the atmosphere of any decent academic community” (The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. XLIX, p. 118).

When we consider the methods available in these matters, and when we appreciate the effects of such methods–whether they be methods that use the informer in matters political, or the employment of the inquisition or the use of the loyalty oath–we can see one of the principal reasons behind a tradition of abstinence from inquiries into such matters in this way:     the harm caused is far more than the harm that is supposed to be avoided (and one can say this, I believe, even if one assumes your estimate of the harm that is to be avoided).  It is easy enough to advocate the “use of intelligence.”  But it seems to me we should have learned long ago that the intelligent thing to do, in these matters where the risks are not such as to endanger seriously the society (in the sense that the most successful sabotage or espionage might), is to wait upon specific acts that can be attributed to an individual (acts aside from joining an organization) even though we might be tempted to believe that “the sensible thing is to prevent him from doing it.”  As for the risks in other areas, such as that of government secrets, the methods of prevention include those of intensive police investigation.  There we might feel that the risks are important enough to warrant considerable expense in carrying on extensive preventive measures.  In the case of the teacher or the lawyer, however, even though these professions are important to its members, there is not the risk to the society to justify, in lieu of waiting until the deeds are done, either the degrading methods that could be used or the expenditure of funds that would pay for “better” methods that would not only make us believe that we are preventing most of the offenses but are also finding out just how many offenses are committed.

I realize that you take issue with this analysis of the problem.  But I suggest once again that your prescription of intelligent committees is, under the present circumstances, most unrealistic.  Nor need you rely upon the evaluation of one whom you like to see as not only a prig and martyrdom-bound but also often irrelevant and stupid in these matters.  For as long ago as June 21, 1949, in a letter printed in the New York Times, an analyst who was willing to accept many of the assumptions you make about Communism in the schoolroom still thought that certain other considerations, some of which I have noted, suggested a policy decision just the opposite of yours.  The man I am referring to is Mr. John Dewey, someone whom you might consider more intelligent about these matters than I am and certainly a man who appreciates the role of the teacher in society.  I do not know whether he changed his position before his death but I do think that the points he makes in the last six paragraphs of this letter deserve much attention.  His letter, as it was reprinted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reads as follows:

Up to the present time I have hesitated to express the serious doubts I have felt about the view that no one who is known to be a member of the Communist Party should be permitted to teach in any higher institution of learning.  The ground of my qualms was not a belief that the issue is not serious; nor was the fear inspired by the idea that expression of doubt would result in my being regarded as a Communist sympathizer.  It was due to my great respect for the university men who advocated the contrary view; and who are still actively engaged in educational affairs as I am not.

Moreover, I am bound to agree with them that membership in the Communist Party explicitly and officially commits a member to placing his loyalty to the party and to a foreign nation above his loyalty to the county of which he is a citizen and subject. In the abstract, there can be no doubt that this unfits one for the office of teaching impressionable students.

Aversion, however, to deciding important matters on abstract grounds, without reference to concrete conditions and probable consequences, prevented me from giving ready assent to the proposition that this commitment is of itself alone, without evidence of bias in conduct of work, a sufficient ground for dismissal.

In any case, it leaves the field open for more dangerous subversive action on the part of fellow-travelers and those who falsely deny they are members of the party.

In the case of fanatical Communists it even puts a premium on increased duplicity. It fails to take account of the fact that in all human probability there are members of the Communist Party among the body of teachers who are not so fanatical as to have engaged in subversive activity on the sly.

It would not be strange if some of these teachers react to the  proposed measures as a challenge to take their professed Communism more seriously than they have done in the past.

The above reasons are technical, however, in comparison with the fact that action of the kind proposed is bound to have direct consequences which will be much more harmful in the end than are the evils directly guarded against.

Such a movement gets taken up into a larger movement where it goes far beyond the point that was intended by the scholarly leaders who proposed something which in abstract logic was justified.

It acts as provocation to those who are much more emotional than scholarly; who are more given to following a crowd than to engaging in careful discrimination; it stimulates them to carry a campaign to the point where the university presidents and professor who endorsed a limited move will be the first to disapprove.

This consideration was the original ground of my doubts and dissent.  I could not be sure, however, that in fact the proposed measures would add fuel to the flame of blind and emotional action.  Recent events have now proved that the fear is warranted.

It is enough in this connection to cite the action of the Committee on Un-American Activities, or at least of its chairman, in engaging in a hunt of passages in college textbooks that might be regarded as “dangerous,” and in carrying on the hunt not by private collection of textbooks from publishers so as to have them examined by experts, but by publicly putting the heads of colleges and of universities in a position in which they are inevitably exposed to suspicion and to public resentment which has been needlessly and harmfully inflamed.

It is to be hoped that the public response to the very great error of the committee will check the hysterical wave.  I do not see, however, how the original proposal, coming as it did from university leaders, did anything, to put it as mildly as possible, to discourage the sort of thing which has been going on.

Probably some of these teachers were moved by a proper desire to protect institutions of learning from unjust and wholly needless suspicion and attack.  The outcome, however, seems to teach quite a different lesson.

Thus, a concession is made, “Probably some of these teachers were moved by a proper desire to protect institutions of learning from unjust and wholly needless suspicion and attack.” But three years later you do not seem to appreciate present conditions well enough to see that which seems so obvious that even those “stupid” about such matters have learned along with Mr. Dewey—to see, that is, that “The outcome, however, seems to teach quite a different lesson.”

In closing I should like to note that I do not consider my life “bollixed up” by my “foolish stand” here in Chicago.  A position was taken for which I have always been willing to take the consequences.  I can only hope that these consequences do not dull my taste in the future for those stiff doses of truth that you have recommended.  In the meantime, we can both wonder whether Mr. Dewey was wrong when he commented about suggestions such as yours and their effect upon the current hysterical wave,  “I do not see, however, how the original proposal, coming as it did from university leaders, did anything, to put it as mildly as possible, to discourage the sort of thing which has been going on.

Thank you for the time and effort that has been consumed.  I am sorry that you must conclude, after so much expenditure, that I am one of those who just doesn’t see.  I hope that you can take some consolation from the fact that I believe I have seen certain things even more clearly than before as a result of your efforts.

                                                                                                Respectfully yours,

                                                                                                George Anastaplo

VIII.

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

Washington Square College of Arts and Science

Washington Square, New York 3, N.Y.

Department of Philosophy                                                                 Telephone: Spring 7-2000

December 17, 1952

Mr. George Anastaplo

6026 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago 37, Illinois

Dear Mr. Anastaplo:

You seem to be biting on a sore tooth.  Dewey wrote his letter before he read my article in the New York Times (he had been out of the country when it appeared).  After several exchanges of letters, he sent me a letter endorsing the position I took in my Saturday Evening Post article of September 10, 1949.  All he wanted was the recognition that there would be provision for possible exceptions.  In his interview with Ben Fine on his 90th birthday, he came out flatly against the employment of C.P. teachers.

One of the things that influenced him was the spontaneous and universal refusal of educators to honor the stupid and arrogant request of the House Committee for them to submit textbooks.

Dewey didn’t think that educators were being scared—as you and so many others repeat despite the evidence that they are showing more guts than they ever did before.

I am writing something on procedure which I shall publish soon with no expectation that it will make any difference to what you believe.  Even if I could show in practice a way of dismissing C.P. members from their post (after investigating each situation but not specific classroom conduct) without committing injustices against non-Communists or poisoning the educational atmosphere, you would still oppose the measure.  That is why I don’t think you are arguing sincerely—except in the sense of the fanatic who is determined to cling to a position, no matter what, and who as Santayana somewhere defines him, “having forgotten his aim redoubles his efforts.”

Glad to know you are carrying your crown of thorns lightly

Yours,

Sidney Hook

sh;elb

IX.

                                                                                                            6026 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago 37, Illinois

9 April 1953

Mr. Sidney Hook, Chairman

Department of Philosophy

New York University

New York, New York

Dear Mr. Hook:

Talk of sore teeth and halos is quite beside the point.  I have been concerned all along, and am still, with the question of “just how you would proceed to do the ousting of Communists that you have advocated so strenuously the past few years.”  I see by the next-to-last paragraph of you letter of December 17th that this concern was not altogether without foundation since you announce your decision to write “something on procedure.”  I would appreciate being notified as to where this article appears so that I might see just how you plan to dismiss Communist teachers “without committing injustices against non-Communists or poisoning the educational atmosphere.”

Of course, even if such a procedure were feasible, I would still oppose it, but the grounds of my opposition would be somewhat narrower than those I now have.  I believe I have made it clear that the argument that the process of dismissing Communists brings with it results that not even the most ardent advocate of dismissal should want—that this argument is only one objection.  Other arguments which hold that this is an injustice so far as particular members of the Communist Party are concerned and that it is not only a departure from certain principles about each man being held accountable only for his specific deeds but that it would also deprive the community of the legitimate contributions of various Communist teachers–this other set of arguments, which I have examined in my essay, “Philosophy, Heresy and the Illinois Bar,” I reserve for those who are more open to persuasion on that score and who are more willing to consider the demands of justice.  You can label an attitude such as mine fanatical – and I grant the force of the quotation from Santayana even while I doubt its applicability in this context – but you should keep in mind my earlier caution about the attribution to one’s opponent of labels which might better be applied to the attributor.

I would be surprised if a procedure could be devised for use by even “intelligent committees” today that would eliminate Communist teachers without, at the same time, committing any other injustices or poisoning the atmosphere.  I doubt that such a method could be devised, especially if one assumes that there will remain some teachers, including sincere and honorable non-Communists, who will agree neither to anything resembling a loyalty oath (which, I know, you have already discounted as undesirable) nor to the proposition that Communist teachers should be dismissed.  If such a procedure could be devised, it would probably be better than what is happening now for it would tend to limit what I would call the injustice and the poisoning of the atmosphere.  The problem then remaining, as to whether the procedure should be used, would be dependent for the most part upon considerations of justice and of what the community was being deprived of.

I fear, however, that it is unrealistic to suppose that even such a “localization” of injustice (I realize that you would not consider it that) is possible by means of any procedure.  In this connection, I should like to point out that you seem to have missed the point of my quotation from Mr. Dewey’s letter of June 21, 1949.  I do not know, of course, exactly what Mr. Dewey wrote to you but those sentiments of his reported in the interview that I believe you are referring to (the interview relied upon in the article by Mr. Benjamin Fine, in the New York Times, 19 October 1949, p. 31, c. 8) do not appear to conflict with what he said in the letter that I quoted from.  You state that “in his interview with Ben Fine on his 90th birthday, he came out flatly against the employment of C.P. teachers.”  Mr. Fine does report him as saying, “I do not think Communists should be permitted to teach,” but he said as much in the letter from which I quoted when he wrote,

Moreover, I am bound to agree with them that membership in the Communist party explicitly and officially commits a member to placing his loyalty to the party and to a foreign nation above his loyalty to the country of which he is a citizen and subject.  In the abstract, there can be no doubt that this unfits one for the office of teaching impressionable students.

On abstract grounds, at least, he had been against permitting teachers who are Communists to teach.  Declaring his aversion “to deciding important matters on abstract grounds,” however, he goes on to say that he believes that “the direct consequences” of the process of removing teachers who are Communists would be “much more harmful in the end than are the evils directly guarded against.”  In the interview with Mr. Fine he seems to have gone over to another appraisal of “the direct consequences,” although this is not altogether certain from the report there given.  But even in the Fine interview, Mr. Dewey comes back to the attitude for which I had quoted him in my earlier letter when he says, “But in getting rid of Communists we must not destroy the morale of the teaching profession.”

As you might notice upon glancing at my letter of 11 December, I referred to the last six paragraphs of Mr. Dewey’s letter as worthy of special attention (after observing that he was someone who was willing to accept many of the assumptions you make about Communism in the schoolroom [underscoring added]).  In those paragraphs, Mr. Dewey points out that,

Such a movement gets taken up into a larger movement where it goes far beyond the point that was intended by the scholarly leaders who proposed something which in abstract logic was justified.

It acts as provocation to those who are much more emotional than scholarly; who are more given to following a crowd than to engaging in careful discrimination; it stimulates then to carry a campaign to the point where the university presidents and professors who endorsed a limited move will be the first to disapprove.

This consideration was the original ground of my doubts and dissent.  I could not be sure, however, that in fact the proposed measures would add fuel to the flame of blind and emotional action.  Recent events have now proved that the fear is warranted.

It is enough in this connection to cite the action of the Committee on Un-American Activities, or at least its chairman, in engaging in a hunt of passages in college textbooks that might be regarded as “dangerous,” and in carrying on the hunt not by private collection of textbooks from publishers so as to have them examined by experts, but by publicly putting the heads of colleges and of universities in a position in which they are inevitably exposed to suspicion and to public resentment which has been needlessly and harmfully inflamed.

It is to be hoped that the public response to the very great error of the committee will check the hysterical wave.  I do not see, however, how the original proposal, coming as it did from university leaders, did anything, to put it as mildly as possible, to discourage the sort of thing which has been going on.

Probably some of these teachers were moved by a proper desire to protect institutions of learning from unjust and wholly needless suspicion and attack.  The outcome, however, seems to teach quite a different lesson.

I believe that these considerations are still important.  You must also if you have been led to write an article about procedures that would avoid consequences such as those that Mr. Dewey feared.  It may be, as you say, that Mr. Dewey was influenced by the “spontaneous and universal refusal of educators to honor the stupid and arrogant request of the House Committee for them to submit textbooks.”  It also may be, however, that some of the other things that have happened since might have led him back to the good sense of his final six paragraphs.  In any event, even though I cannot agree with Mr. Dewey in some of his evaluations, I believe that my reference to him was quite appropriate, whatever his subsequent opinion on the subject, as a reminder that even one whom you consider to be anything but fanatical or unintelligent has seriously questioned the value of proposals such as yours even when they are based on “a proper desire to protect institutions of learning from unjust and wholly needless suspicion and attack.” It seems to me, moreover, that many events since June, 1949 reinforce Mr. Dewey’s conclusion that “The outcome, however, seems to teach quite a different lesson.”

It may seem to you, on the other hand, that educators today “are showing more guts than they ever did before.”  I cannot help but wonder, however, whether they, presidents and members of faculties alike, are exhibiting enough.  I would be more inclined to accept your evaluation if educators were less determined to make themselves appear respectable before the threatening glances of would-be inquisitors (who, I am afraid, will not be bought off by such displays of respectability) and more disposed to assert that independence which is more proper and becoming for them.

Respectfully yours,

George Anastaplo

APPENDICES (1952-2008)

            Seven comments seem appropriate here:    two are comments on my exchanges with Sidney Hook, the other five on my career as citizen and teacher. These materials are presented, for the most part, in the order in which they were originally prepared. All are presented in their entirety, except where otherwise indicated.

A.

            [The following letter was from my wife to me. (The name [XYZ] deleted from this copy is that of an intense graduate student we knew who was at that time an avowed Marxist and a determined apologist for the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union, of which I was known by him to be a severe critic.)]

Saturday (23 Aug 1952)

Dear George,

Mr. Hook is annoyed. You may be comforted to know that all the moral priggishness in the world is not yours, since he has so evidently reserved a generous portion for himself. Seriously, though, such a spectacle of viciousness as appears in his letter is extremely ugly and I wonder why he is overreacting so violently. We both know that the usual response is, “Go away young man, let someone else talk to you about your little problem.”

I imagine that I see a great deal of [XYZ] in him, and you know that I consider [XYZ] emotionally unbalanced and treacherous. I doubt that you have taken his outburst seriously; certainly the tone of his letter should outweigh any possible inclination to accept him as a valuable critic. He makes too much noise to have anything to say.

If I were you, I’d consider the matter entirely closed. His mind is not receptive enough for even a courteous disagreement and discussions of issues; and you have learned what there is for him to teach.

Sara

B.

            [The following paragraph was prepared by me as a conclusion to my letter of September 18, 1952 to Mr. Hook (set forth above). I deleted this paragraph, however, in the copy of the September 18, 1952 letter sent by me to him. Perhaps I felt that it would not be appropriate for a young man to speak thus to an eminent elder.]

In closing, I would make one further comment:    you note in your letter [of August 16, 1952] that I had misread [on July 18, 1952] the world “political” for the work “potential” in the sentence,

They (members of the Communist Party) are all actual or political agents of a foreign power.       

Now, the fact of the matter is that “political” was given by you [on May 13, 1952]; if there was a misreading, there was also a miswriting. I mention this to illustrate to what extent you seem to go to insist your opponent is entirely at any fault. Of course, you might observe, I should have read “potential” for “political,” for it not only conforms with the facts but pairs more naturally with “actual.” It seems to me—and here I may be straying off into one of those logical lacunae you berate me for—that it is practically meaningless to insist that all members of the Communist Party are actual or potential agents of a foreign power:    all, or almost all, of us are potentially, even those among us who may be most steadfast in their opposition to that power at this time or who have even had the privilege of becoming “ex-agents” of that foreign power. To insist that I should have read “potential” for “political” is, I suggest, to insist that I should have assumed that nonsense had been written. I was willing at the time, however, to give you the benefit of the doubt in that regard.

C.

            [The following letter of June 22, 1961 was sent to me by Leo Strauss, a teacher of mine at the University of Chicago and a scholar highly regarded in politically-conservative circles. This two-sentence letter to me (in Chicago) by Mr. Strauss (in Palo Alto, California) was evidently prompted by his reading of the Petition for Rehearing I had filed in the United States Supreme Court after that Court had ruled against me (five-to-four) in my Illinois Bar Admission Case (In re George Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82 [1961]). That Petition may be found elsewhere in this anastaplo.wordpress collection, having been posted on March 6, 2011.]

CENTER FOR ADVANCED STUDY IN BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

     202 Junipera Serra Boulevard Standford, California Davenport T-2052

         June 22, 1961

Dear Mr. Anastaplo:

This is only to pay you my respects for your brave and just action. If the American Bench and Bar have any sense of shame they must come on their knees to apologize to you.

As ever yours, Leo Strauss

D.

            [The following excerpt is from a review of my first book, The Constitutionalist:    Notes on the First Amendment (Southern Methodist University Press, 1971). The review was published in 60 California Law Review 1476 (1972). The reviewer was C. Herman Pritchett, a Past President of the American Political Science Association. This excerpt recalled much-publicized episodes in my career in this country and abroad.]

On April 24, 1961, the Supreme Court of the United States, by a vote of five to four, affirmed the action of the Illinois Supreme Court which, by a vote of four to three, had upheld the decision of the Committee on Character and Fitness of the Illinois bar which, by a vote of eleven to six, had decided that George Anastaplo was unfit for admission to the Illinois bar.This was not Anastaplo’s only such experience with power structures. In 1960 he was expelled from Soviet Russia for protesting harassment of another American, and in 1970 from the Greece of the Colonels. As W. C. Fields might have said, any man who is kicked out of Russia, Greece and the Illinois bar can’t be all bad.

E.

            [The following letter is from a scholar who had, as a graduate student, been in political philosophy courses I had offered in the 1970s. He himself has gone on to a distinguished career as teacher and author. He is known as a political conservative. His “Veterans’ Day” reference recalls, in effect, my service in the United States Army Air Corps, for which I volunteered in 1943 as an 18-year-old and in which I served as a flying officer until 1947, at which time I accepted a commission in the Air Corps Reserve which I kept into the 1950s (and perhaps beyond). My Air Corps service took me (not without some “close calls”) as far West as Formosa, as far South as Liberia, and as far East as Saudi Arabia. It was a remarkably liberating experience for a young man who was born in St. Louis and who was raised in a small town in Southern Illinois. I could even wonder, during the early years of our Korean “police action,” whether I would be called upon to return to active duty in the Air Force, something which I was prepared to do. My principal reservation about our Korean involvement (just as has happened for us in Afghanistan) was that we did not recognize when we had accomplished the legitimate objective that may have called for our intervention in June 1950. In November 1950 my difficulties with the Committee on Character and Fitness accidentally began, six months after the birth of our first child (who is now a lawyer).]

May 29, 2005

Dear Mr. Anastaplo:

Today being Veterans’ Day the time seems fitting to express to you a gratitude I’ve been mindful of for quite a while.

Nearly every day I’ve realized as I teach or write that I’m attempting to convey some insight derived from courses you’ve taught or from writings you’ve produced. Probably the memorials of today provoked this note because just lately it has occurred to me that of the many teachings you’ve imparted by words and deeds, not the least has been the indispensability of courage to teaching. Curious that the quality apparently most distant of the virtues from wisdom should prove most helpful, is not indeed absolutely requisite, to gaining an enduring influence upon students.

My best to you and [your wife].

F.

[The following observations are from the conclusion of an article by Ramsey Clark, “The Lawyer’s Duty of Loyalty,” 16 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 459, 469 (1985). The author, a former Attorney General of the United States, had been a classmate of mine at the University of Chicago Law School (Class of 1951). (See George Anastaplo, The American Moralist:  On Law, Ethics, and Government [Athens, Ohio. Ohio University Press, 1992], p. 185.) The passage by Justice Hugo L. Black drawn on here by Mr. Clark, from In re George Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82, 116 (1961), is from the concluding paragraph in Justice Black’s Dissenting Opinion in that case. The Justice arranged that this passage should be read (with other things) at his funeral in Washington Cathedral:

Too many men are being driven to become government-fearing and time-serving because the Government is being permitted to strike out at those who are fearless enough to think as they please and say what they think. This trend must be halted if we are to keep faith with the Founders of our Nation and pass on to future generations of Americans the great heritage of freedom which they sacrificed so much to leave to us. The choice is clear to me. If we are to pass on that great heritage of freedom, we must return to the original language of the Bill of Rights. We must not be afraid to be free.

The concluding sentence of Justice Black’s dissent has been used as the title of a book on the First Amendment published in 2011 by Oxford University Press. The conclusion of Ramsey Clark’s 1985 article is set forth here (along with its footnote).]

What we [lawyers] need is some sense of unity among ourselves in seeing how and why we ration justice, why we have a huge prison population made up predominantly of poor young black men. The law not only fails to do its duty respecting their rights but often helps cause the conditions which put them in prison.

So long as commercial success is the highest value of the profession, justice will be rationed. So long as we don’t work as hard for social justice as we do for legal justice, not realizing that legal justice cannot be accomplished without social justice, justice will be rationed.

If we can look beyond out mores, or value patterns, and see the meaning of materialism for the conduct of the agents of the rule of law, then we can liberate ourselves. As individuals we can find ways to pursue justice, to share justice, to spread justice among people for whom it has been a rare quality. In doing so, we find freedom for ourselves as well.

Fear will be the enemy, as it is of every human act that defies cultural norms. I would leave you with Justice Black’s admonition from a glorious case we should all remember, In re Anastaplo: “We must not be afraid to be free.”17

17.     In re Anastaplo, 366 U.S. 82, 116 (1961) (Black, J., dissenting). See MEMORIAL ADDRESSES AND OTHER TRIBUTES IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES ON THE LIFE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF HUGO LAFAYETTE BLACK, 92d Cong., 1st sess., House Document No. 92-236 (U.S. G.P.O., 1972), at 64-65. See also Nat’l L. J., June 18, 1979, p. 21; Anastaplo, How to Read the Constitution of the United States, 17 LOY. U. CHI. L. J. 1, 26, n. 74 (1985).

[Ramsey Clark agreed to provide a Foreword if and when my decade-long series of commentaries on our responses to the September Eleventh assaults should be collected in one volume. These commentaries may be found at 29 Oklahoma City University Law Review 165-382 (2004), 4 Loyola University Chicago International Law Review 135-65 (2006), and 35 Oklahoma City University Law Review 625-851 (2010). Another University of Chicago Law School Classmate of mine, Abner J. Mikva (who served in Congress, on the United States Court of Appeals, and in the White House) provided a Foreword for my book, On Trial: From Adam & Eve to O. J. Simpson (Lexington Books, 2004).]

G.

            [The following dedication (of 2008) graced the copy given to me by Ramsey Clark of his book, Crime in America:   Observations on Its Nature, Causes, Prevention and Control (New York:    Simon and Schuster, 1970).]

For George Anastaplo

who has never been

afraid to be free

from an old friend

–Ramsey Clark

 

 


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