wc buy an English ear. What 1 am gel-
ting at is neatly and simply synthesized
in jusl one magazine piece by one
author Roberl Meivneird Hulfhius.
writing leer Look magazine lasl spring.
It weis an orthodox reigu-of-terror piece,
climaxed hv the assertion thai il was
no longer safe to give money to Harvard
Now here is a man who at the age ol
twont v-e'ighl weis appointed Deem of the
Yale Law School, and who by the time
he weis thirty was recognized as such
em articulate and important critic eel
Vmerican education thai he was handed
a whole university to experimenl with,
which be did, for twenty years or so. He
ripped the curriculum to pieces: he
swepl away academic cobwebs; he instituted new courses, w ipi'd out others: he
brought in new professors eunl hired
football coaches, and resurrected greal
bonks; and throughout il all he swore
by eill lhe gods ilieil he meant to do one
thing: lb- meanl to educate. We meant
to leach his -t it,le-nIs how lo ihink.
\iul thirty years later, while slill upholding his educational theories ageiinsl
all comers, he w riles this kind of foolishness aboul lhe' WOrld WC live' ill.
Knowing of his respeel for Plato, I
wonder if Plain's dictum lhal the educated mein is one who can "see things as
they an'" doesn't make him fidgety. Or
whether, given his respect for Descartes,
Who said, / think therefore I 11111. Mr.
Hutchins can even he sure he exists.
After finishing theit article in Look, bear-
ing in mind Mr. Hutchins'pretensions, I
could imagine anything- could imagine
Lucky Luciano writing a book aboul
bow to live one's life al peace with one's
'.ml and one's neighbor, or ;i 250-pound
En 1 x lecturing on her patented formula
'Or keeping thin. Surely to bring in
Mr. Hutchins lo head a university which
propose-s to teach students how lo think
,R like bringing in as chief pilot for
''em Vmerican \irways a man with St.
> ilus' dance.
I exaggerate, you feel. I oversimplify,
but I don't. I maintain thai there isn't
;| dialectical magician in this country—
°r even one in England who can prove
' eun wrong in concluding thai the man
"ho points to thai ceiling and says "Thai
'' a cumulus cloud" is blind: and I say
"nil the man who reports thai there is
' reign of terror on in this country cein-
ftoi eis-is- evidence, cannot, for eill inputs eiml purposes, ihink: and that's
j'11' -ho,, ihai fiis Robert Hutchins, who
has been given fifteen million dollars by
j'11 Ford Foundation lo prove that war
N peace, slavery is freedom, hysteria is
public protests demanded a scalp
. One' or two other illustrations of lhe
^capacity of lhe Liberal to assess ev i-
'''ii..'. -1,1,1 | musl move' on to other char-
■"'h'lislics of his mind. One ihinks itn-
—Wide World Photo
Robert M. Hutchins
mediately of the J. R. Matthews episode.
In an article of a scries which described the Communist penetration of
our institutions, Mr. Matthews came, in
due course, lo our churches. And he
began his article nn them by making a
purely statistical observation which he
ben kid up in lhe body of tbe article itsell
by listing the names of many of the
unfortunate clergymen who had associated themselves, for the most part during ei period of moral and intellectual
blackout, wilh one or more Communist
The article in question vvas written for
a conservative magazine, thus quite a
while elapsed before anyone read il. But
then someone did. and there was hell lo
pay for ibis eissetult on Christianity
w hiih. incredibly, is what il grew to be
after the Liberals were through with it.
\ senator of the United States said, publicly. "When someone' makes charges so
foul, he ought to have the courage lo
name names." Our Liberal leaders fell
all over each oilier making public pro-
lesls, and demanding J. B. Matthews'
sceilp. Inevitably, il vvas delivered unlo
litem. Only then did the Liberals feel
theii lhe crisis was past, theit they could
go back and preach aboul how ye shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make
The afternoon thai I beard that J.
R. Matthews vvas fired withoul a hceir-
itlg. withoul einv specific challenge lo
any of lhe data on lhe basis of which he
made his generalization that afternoon
I felt the Liberals were through. The
meaning of the J. B. Matthews episode
would suddenlj dawn upon the community, anil never again, no never, not
even ai college commencements, could
anv of these people talk aboul how
,|o,.. ji go? "We shetll seek lhe truth and
endure the consequences?"—or aboul
the presumption of innocence, or about
ei fair hearing, or about hysteria without sending the audience into gales of
laughter. I expected, and I am quite
serious, that the social significance of
the slogan. "Remember J. B. Matthews."'
woulel feir outweigh in history, the military significance of the war-cry. "Remember the Alamo."'
The mistake I made is obvious, and
will probably strike most of my leaders
as childish. I had assumed thai the Liberals would recognize that they had
sinned: and that having done so, they
would repent and reform. Hotv innocent
I was. For the most part, they do not
know—to this day—the meaning of what
ihcv did. And the balance, those who
know, don't care. To say "Remember
J. R. Matthews!" lo a Liberal audience
communicates about as much as "Dig
lhal crazy mixed-up square" would to a
group of Oxford dons.
\ final word aboul the Liberal and
objective evidence. The research of the
past ten years has made it literally impossible to uphold, rationally, the position lhat an attack by the Japanese, in
one form or another, came in 1911 as a
complete surprise' to Presidenl Roosevell
and his close associates. Rut no evidence
—of any kind will alter the Liberal
version of Pearl Harbor. Neither clefl
mountains, separated seas, nor signs in
tbe sky testify ing to tbe truth will shake
the Liberals' failh in Mr. Roosevell as
a "firsl principle," or their belief in his
infallibility and omniscience as its
corollaries. Not even a Liberal himself,
not even an illustrious one. can do any-
Ihing about this, intellectual commitment. Charles Beard tried il. and they
hounded him out of public life. What
goes on. I asked a shrewd man. after
reading a bitter excoriation of Beard
by one of lhe court historians over at
Columbia University in 1017. "Il's as
simple as ibis." he lold me, "The greatest historian of our time has tackled the
greatest politician of our time. There's
no doubt aboul who is going to win."
To sum up. II hen the Liberal ihinks.
he lends to think illogically. He lends,
moreover, to he inconsistent, and to
ignore anv evidence that fails to harmonize vvilh the verdict he proposes at
all cost lo support.
Such are the qualifications of our intellectual elite.
THE "ARMCHAIR" LIBERAL
"mother fundamental charcteristic of
the Liberal mind, related to and perhaps
responsible For some of its inconsistencies, is intolerance. The sloti<<l Liberal who reposes in his armchair and
reviews, conscientiously, kindly, ungrudgingly, lhe parade of ideas thai
differ from his own. bears verv little
resemblance to ihe dogmatic trigger-
happy Liberal of today. The Liberal today makes of intolerance a way of life.
1 Living prescribed the limits within
which political discussion may safely go
forward, be enforces those' limits bv
'''Acts FORUM NEWS, June, 1955