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Address by

DOROTHY THOMPSON
President of Freedom House

at
CARNEGIE HALL




A finosf/iofto jpJi AmetUca
t t h e b e g in n in g of this evening our artists
presented you with the theme: Freedom Napa*Dies. Do not draw complacent concluw p
from it. Freedom does die. It dies e ^ y
minute, every hour, every year, and every
epoch; it is continually being slaughtered,
here, there, and everywhere. If it has always
lived, despite so many deaths, it is only because
it has never been killed everywhere at once.
Always, so far, some root of it has been left
somewhere, upon which new growth could be
grafted, to produce new seeds, for a new and
spreading life of freedom.
There are other things that never die.
Prejudice never dies. Aggression, egotism,
rapacity, greed, bigotry never die. And alas,
stupidity never dies. At no time, anywhere,
have virtue, or love, or tolerance, or coopera­
tion, or generosity, or intelligence—which are
the conditions of freedom—enjoyed a secure
monopoly of social life. The garden of freedom
is not a weedless garden. It is one that requires
incessant attention, lest its flowers be choked
and the ground it has cultivated for civilization
revert to the jungle of strife and tyranny.
Tyranny originates out of civil strife. Civil
strife originates out of blind conflicts of interest
and struggles for power. The conflicts of
interest are present in every society. The pre­
sumption of a free and democratic society is
that these conflicts can be resolved in justice
and reason. The condition for their beinjp«
resolved is the constant recognition that
are common interests, greater and wider train
conflicting interests; a welfare of the community
above the welfare of special groups however
powerful or highly organized; and a public
opinion that forever tests all struggles and
conflicts by the standard of the general welfare
of the whole.
Since the days of Aristotle, and before that,
since the days of the Hebrew prophets and
A




statesmen, political philosophers have known
that} no freedom and democratic society can
withstand more than a certain amount of
pressures that come, either from oligarchies of
great wealth, or from the rebellion of insecure
»H lhumiliated masses. All democratic politi{
philosophers, and most notable for us, those
our own country, from Washington, Hamilton
and Jefferson to Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson,
Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt
and Wendell Willkie, have known that a free

6
1

democratic society rests upon the sweetening
leaven of those of its members who have the
moral strength and the impartial reason to con­
sider social measures from the viewpoint of
how society as a whole is affected.
George Washington, in his Farewell Address,
warned against the dangers of faction. By
factions he meant political parties. That, and
not the warning against entangling alliances,
addressed to the specific situation of the
moment, constitutes the main tenor of the
famous address. Thomas Jefferson, and every
great statesman after him, liberal or conserva­
tive, recognized that unless political parties
agreed on more things than they disagreed on;
unless they sought to encompass and sum up in
their candidates and programs, the aspirations
of the whole nation, they would become, not
instruments of democratic government, but
mediums for the imposition, by democratic
means, of despotism.
All of our political philosophers have feared
that highly organized groups, operating through
mass pressures or money pressures would contly seek to win control over political life
over the state and the government, in
r to administer it, not in the interests of a
more perfect union, justice, defense, and the
general welfare, but in the interests of them­
selves, and their own power.
The party system in the United States tends
in that direction. Party membership between
elections is a nominal thing. Neither of our
two great parties contains millions of active
dues-paying members, holding regular meet­

y




ings for discussion and criticism of legislation,
and promoting constructive national and inter­
national plans, in an effort to improve the
social, economic and political structure. They
become popular parties only during campaigns.
Their control rests in the hands, not of the rap■£
disinterested and patriotic, but of the
directly interested and self-seeking.
Tn&y
make only periodic bids to the electors for the
leadership of the nation. Thus, their leader­
ship and moving spirits are job hunters or job
holders, or powerfully organized groups, seek­
ing to use the parties and through them the
people for their own self-protection and aggran­
dizement.

The pressures upon Congress come from the
same sort of groups. There are lobbies of
office-seekers; lobbies for dairy interests and
oleomargarine interests; lobbies for Manu­
facturers and lobbies for labor—all employing
high-pressure public relations counsels and
attorneys; all wielding money and power; all
exclusively motivated by self-interest. But
the Peoples’ Lobby—where has it ever been?

In this year of the great war, Fate and the
Constitution have conjoined in one short
period of time two major events. We are
about to stake our all on a bid for victory of
our arms; and we are going to vote as to
whether or not we should change the govern­
ment.
Whenever we discuss and vote as to whether
we should change the government every con­
ceivable division amongst us is magnified and
every rift is widened. Those whose interests
lie with the retention of the government b e < ^ |
active and scheming. Those whose in te i^ ^
are most served by a change, bend every energy
to put in power a government that, they hope
and believe, will better pay them heed. A
party and the interests most concerned with it,
bidding to stay in power, and another party
with its own satellites of interests bidding to
take the power, temporarily forget that they
are all members of the same community.
Normally we live by creating the greatest



1

areas of agreement and tolerance between
ourselves. But in election years we divide
into two camps and act as though we were con­
genital enemies.
Yet, though debate and disagreement are
of life and in the nature of the democratic
ess, orderly progress is possible only in
tnose fields where there is maximum common
consent and common agreement. No question
can be democratically solved except by an
immense measure of public consent.
And armies are united bodies of men. There
is not a Democratic and Republican Army.
There is only an American and a United
Nations Army. That American and United
Nations Army, acting under an American
Army plan will, within the next weeks and
months undergo the most gruelling test in this
war. Millions of its members may not be
able to vote under any plan that has been or
may be devised— for they will be in the midst
of battle. They will not be fighting for the
Democratic or Republican party, but for the
American people, and the people of the world.
The challenge of their unity at the front is to
the unity of the rear—the home country.
This challenge Freedom House has accepted.
We have presented an American program,
addressed to all men and women of good will
in all parties. Our intention is to demonstrate,
to the men at the front that behind them
are Americans, of whatever party label, who
are determined to stand together on all the
basically important, things, and to work for
them, no matter who is elected and no matter
f |t party may be in power. Our program
V^Jrndeed, dedicated to the ten million men
and women of the fighting forces who have
left so large a share of their political affairs
in our hands. We bear a double responsibility
— the responsibility for ourselves and for our
sons, for our own generation and for the one
that is offering its lives for the future.

n

You in this audience, and others like you,
could, if you would, demonstrate to the con­
ventions of both parties, to their candidates



for the Presidency and the Congress, and
afterward to the Congress itself, that there( are
voices in America to which they must listen,
over and above those which continually clamor
for legislation in their own interests, regardless
of the just claims, reasonable expectati^^
and obvious needs, of the people as a w l t f i
You could, if you would, set out to create a
most powerful pressure group—the pressure
group of patriots, concerned exclusively with
the general welfare of our people and the
people of the world.
The Freedom House program is not a post­
war blueprint. It is for action— NOW. Action
on the basis of intelligence. It is stupid and
dangerous to assume that the war is one thing
and the peace an entirely different thing, and
that with the success of our arms a new era of
cooperation and national and international
progress and serenity will automatically break
upon the world, like the sun of heaven.
The way the war is conducted; the actions
of our day to day diplomacy; the spirit and
vision creating itself in the people, as the war
unfolds will determine what sort of world the
end of the war will bring. Our domestic
behavior now, during the war, will condition
the post-war period. History does not begin
and end with war or with peace. For better or
worse it is continuous, constantly unfolding,
and what we shall be tomorrow will be con­
ditioned by what we do today.
Neither are national and international aims
and behaviors two separate things. Inter­
national cooperation is only enduringly pos­
sible between nations of people who are
suing approximately the same objectives,
whatever variety of means. If, for instance,
every nation and state is concentrated on
making the best and wisest use of its political
instruments, its means of production, its labor,
resources, money, talents and skills, to pro­
mote the welfare of its own people as a whole,
then it will naturally follow that a world
order will develop motivated by the same
purpose. If, however, even one single great



state seeks to improve its own standard of
livirig by the exploitation of people in other
lands; or if powerful groups within states
collaborate across frontiers to strengthen and
solidify their particular social or economic
ests against the welfare of their own
trymen or regardless of their welfare, then
a world order of ruthless imperialism will take
root and freedom will be slaughtered again.
There cannot be one aim for the nation and
another aim for the world of nations. Conflicts
within nations inevitably tend to create con­
flicts between nations, as the conflicting
interests attempt to widen and enlarge the
bases of their power.
In all nations and even in all individuals,
two kinds of competition exist. There is the
competition for privilege and advantage, which
gives us inner strife and international war.
But there is also the competition for perfection,
which gives us great civilizations. No one ever
injured his neighbor by trying to be better
than he in any creative process. No one ever
injured any craft or any profession, by trying
to be the best possible carpenter, or physician,
or manufacturer. It is the competition that
drives men to seek special advantages over
others, not residing in superiority of technique
or skill, but residing wholly in positions of
economic or political power, that corrodes
society, driving man against man and people
against people.
If, therefore, we seek to create a more free
and democratic society, at home and in the
world, we must seek to create a more harmonl society, by lifting competition above the
ggle for mutual elimination, into rivalry
for greater perfection and more constructive
achievement. Nations must seek to advertise
to each other those things which they do best—
whether it be in technological organization,
or in labor relations, or in road building,
housing, the care and education of children,
the securing of homes or the production of
art.^ The competition between nations can
be immensely creative, if it does not consist

n

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in being drunk with sight of power, releasing
“ wild tongues that have not thee in awe; sjuch
boastings as the gentiles use and lesser breeds
without the law,” to quote Kipling's words.
Were the standards applied to nations those
which measure the serenity, welfare, progrj^k
and happiness of the people, states that
counted as insignificant powers would stana
very high in the great race of humanity after a
better life: Denmark, Sweden, Holland and
Norway would loom in many ways above the
greatest powers. We ourselves could learn
from free Norway how to feed school children,
from Denmark and Holland how to make rich
and prosperous farms on reclaimed soil, sup­
porting a miraculous agrarian culture, from
Sweden how to create harmony between the
various classes of producers, and from Switzer­
land how to overcome racial, national and
religious hatreds.
And similarly, if the two great American
political parties were genuinely contending
with each other, as to which of them could best
bring about a great, constructive and endur­
ing peace, provide the widest measure of
employment and social security, do most to
reclaim our waste lands, restore our soil,
broaden and deepen our education, reduce
crime, give us energetic and economic govern­
ment, further the widest possible creation and
distribution of material satisfactions, and lift
the intellectual and spiritual level of the
people, their contests with each other would
all be creative.
Is it too much to hope for such a develop­
ment? It is not too much to hope for. S u (^ \
development is not outside the range of h u i^ ^
yearnings and desires. But hoping for it will
accomplish nothing whatsoever. Only believ­
ing in it, working for it, living for it, and
fighting for it, will bring it about.
Nor can we work merely as isolated individ­
uals.
The egotistic graspers after special
privileges and powers are always highly organ­
ized ^and plentifully heeled.
There is no
political or economic instrument of power



which does not attract them with its oppor­
tunities. Their lawyers and public relations
counsels are present when the laws are being
written and when the laws are being inter­
preted; they are ever busy with their pencils
adding machines, toting up the effect of
y Jtry measure upon their own enterprises,
Whatever they may be. They are immensely
efficient in their own interests, and that is,
in fact, their sole test of efficiency.
Is it impossible to expect a measure of the
same effort from those who consider the
efficiency of their country, their society, and
their world above their own narrower interests?
Is it impossible to expect from civilians the
same social diciplines for the common interests,
the same consideration for the nation as a
whole and for the freedom and welfare of the
world that we take for granted from our
soldiers?
We of Freedom House, believe that millions
of Americans are open to the challenge to lay
aside their egotistic interests, open their minds,
widen their sensibilities and set out to seek
the welfare of America, its land, its culture, its
people and the larger welfare of the peoples of
the world.
W e started as a small group, growing out of
the old “ Fight for Freedom,” composed of
those people who did not think it a matter of
no concern to the people of America whether
the peoples of all the rest of the world should
fall into exploitation and slavery.
But we have never thought of ourselves as a
small group. We feel ourselves, in our very
g V te s , as a great movement— here in this
^ Jan try, and all over the world. Almost with
astonishment we see that as the people of
England and of the underground movements
in Europe, come out with their programs and
begin to dream of their futures—-they think
and say the things that we have been thinking
and saying amongst ourselves.
W e have never spoken or thought of ourselves
as liberals, conservatives, radicals, or revolu­
tionaries. Somehow none of these words seem



to fit the needs of our hearts and the aspira­
tions of our minds. If it is liberal to believejjn
Mankind, in man’s power through thought and
action to control his own destiny in freedom,
then we are all liberals. If it is conservative to
cherish the wisdom of the past and to prgp\
that we will move into every future over* )
bridge instead of a yawning chasm— then we
are all conservatives. If it is radical to know
that there are new powers, new inventions,
new resources, new opportunities in the world
that demand new thinking and fresh evalua­
tions and a rebuilding of our American house
along modern lines— then we are radicals.
And if it is revolutionary to be determined
to replace the rule of force by the rule of law;
if it is revolutionary to be absolutely deter­
mined that for the next hundred years no
more boys shall be blinded, and deprived of
their limbs, and line our hospitals with shat­
tered faces, then we are revolutionary!

Let us be done with these meaningless labels
with which men put posters over their brains to
cover the absence of Reason! Let us go to
work—with anyone who will go to work with
us—for the triumph of reason over empty
slogans, and content over patent medicine
formulas! Let liberals liberate, let conserva­
tives conserve, let revolutionaries change
what needs to be liberated, conserved and
changed!
We sit here tonight in Carnegie Hall and we
are relatively speaking, a handful of people.
But we belong to a movement which is sweep­
ing the world. The blood cries from the very
earth to all who have ears to hear— and onf
those who have ears to hear belong to vL
future.
What keeps unknown millions oi
men together— Britons, Americans, Russians,
Chinese, Norwegians, Frenchmen, South Slavs
and West Slavs and all the rest? What is the
cement? Is it only fear? Is it not also hope?
To what do they look forward? To the same
situation that produced this mess? To 1918?
To 1929? To 1933? To 1939?
No. But we must give form to the aspira


tions which we dimly comprehend. And we
mi^st think with cool reason of what is imme­
diately and ultimately to be achieved.
Thus we have written as the first plank in
our platform “ the realization in victory, and
^ | th e basis of the collaboration already establied amongst most of the nations of the world,
"of a world organization for peace under law,
with equal freedom, equal justice, and pro­
portionate responsibility for all nations.”

We want to be specific as to meanings.
We say: “ We recognize that Peace can be
ultimately defined only as the substitution of
the rule of law for the tests of force. We know
that international law to have the same force
as domestic law demands the creation of an
international authority to legislate, adjudicate
and enforce it.”
We do not intend to be swerved from this
objective even if the peace does not establish
this organization— even if it takes the rest
of our lifetimes to establish it. We are not
going to take our dolls and go home if we don't
get perfection the moment the war ends. But
meanwhile, we have a very immediate and
practical proposal. We advocate an amend­
ment to the Constitution ending the power of
one-third of the Senate to hold up the aspira­
tions of the world. We shall therefore work for
“ an amendment to the Constitution relative to
the treaty-making processes which would sub­
stitute for the present requirements of two-thirds
concurrence by the Senate, a majority con­
currence by both houses of Congress.”
The most important plank in our domestic
'^liicy is the preamble to the six that follow. We
tajiert in that preamble that “ the General
Welfare of the American people takes prece­
dence over all special, sectional, group or
private interests.”
With that in mind, we intend to support
competitive enterprise in all fields except
natural monopolies, recognizing however that
all enterprise exists, not just for itself and its
own profits, but to serve the people.
We believe that full and efficient peacetime



employment of our resources, machines, and
men is the prime necessity of material welfare
and human dignity. The unemployed man is
a disfranchised and frustrated creature in a
modern industrial society. And we insist on
government aid for this, wherever governm
aid is necessary.
We realize that if freedom has any meaning
whatsoever it must mean greater and more
equal educational and economic opportunity
for all Americans, regardless of race, color,
creed or economic status.
We recognize also that the power to tax is
the power to destroy as well as the power to
create. Our taxation system is utterly irra­
tional and obsolete. We demand a complete
overhauling of it, a “ taxation reform, to facili­
tate creative economic forces as against sterile
wealth, to eliminate inequalities, and to
rationalize and simplify the municipal, state,
and federal system as a whole.”
We recognize further that good government
means responsible government, purged of the
chance to pass the buck. We therefore demand
a better federal administration, through a more
responsive cabinet system continually in touch
with Congress, with strict definitions of the
frontiers of all departments, to end overlapping
and increase responsibility.
And finally, we demand that all the branches
of government realize that the basis of every­
thing is people. W e demand that they realize
that we have a declining population growth
that must be put on the upswing by the creation
of greater confidence and security—for the
worker at whatever task, and for the home a#
the children for whom he makes his cm ^
effort. We know and insist that the Ameri­
can home, and the American child, is the
bulwark of the nation and the hope of the
future. We intend, therefore to work for
housing programs, school feeding programs,
extended dental and medical care especially
for children, better organized and more appro­
priate cultural activities, vastly improved
physical training, a radical improvement in all



states of mothers’ pensions, and extended
anjd rationalized plans for family security.
Freedom House does not want to blueprint
all these ideals. But we intend to work with
all groups, whether they arise in the ranks of
^ u lu s try , labor, government, or the free proI jsion s who are putting expert thought upon
>mese problems. We will criticize and publicize
their findings. And we shall not rest until
America has achieved what is in our magni­
ficent land, our incomparable resources, our
highly productive labor, our advanced tech­
nology and our educated brains to achieve.
It is our intention to raise a standard, hold
to it, and hold other people to it.
I ask you: Is this worth while? Is it as worth
while for you as it is to me? I know that I
cannot go on, writing words on paper, making
speeches over the radio, receiving fan letters
and slam letters, all as a kind of prima donna
performance. I know that I have got to join
the people who feel as I do, and care as I do,
and put whatever talents I may have at their
service. I want to be part of a body of human
beings who are going somewhere. And I
believe with everything there is in me, that all
of us want to be doing something that will
enable us to look into the eyes of the young
men who will come back from the war— some­
thing that will enable us to look into their eyes
proudly and not cast our eyelashes to the
ground when we pass them.
If you feel this way, too, than make up your
minds tonight to join us. Copies of the program
which I have outlined are available at Freedom
^"feuse. If you want to go along with it, sign
join us, and make up your mind to work.
vVe need allies— millions of allies. We will
welcome and collaborate with all other organ­
izations and movements that in one phase or
another are going the same way.
Influence is not enough. Virtue must create
energy, and energy must create power, and
power is in numbers and in organized will.
You here tonight are challenged to be the
vanguard. You are challenged to take this



program up and use some private initiative
about spreading it— in your personal mail, ( in
all your contacts, in your party and group
affiliations. You are challenged to furnish
ideas and to take steps to implement them
yourselves.
We shall be bound together to furthe
movement. And I have not the sligh
doubt that if even half of the four thousand
people gathered in this hall go out to further
this movement, using their own wits, and their
energies, it will gather at a rate that will aston­
ish the nation.
Do we not all see that the collapse of tyranny
will leave a vacuum in the world? With what
shall it be filled, if not by the thoughts and
programs of men and women of intelligence
and good will.

My friends, with all the earnestness at my
command, I entreat you to believe me when I
say, that Free Democracies must do more than
merely defeat their enemies in this war; they
must do more than merely survive! They
cannot merely survive. If that is our program,
we shall perish as a free society no matter how
the war ends. Democracy must demonstrate
its capacity to meet the crying needs of this
frustrated and rebellious world. It must create
a great era of peace. It must solve the econo­
mic problem, creating work for all able-bodied
men and women; it must be constantly creating
and re-creating a living, worthy culture; it must
meet the increasing social problems of a highly
. interdependent industrial age. If we fail the J
■youth who come after us will not tread I
I the old paths, just because they were onf I
trodden by heroic men, when democracy A ,
' young. They will make their own new worla, |
I to meet these problems, and if they cannot 1
I make it peacefully they will make it with 1
|violence. Nothing stands still in this life. I
I Social life grows, changes, expands, and moves |
| and whenever it stands still it is pushed over 1
hby something more dynamic.
I
Fellow Americans— the invasion is about to f
| begin. Let us, also, begin our invasion.



F R E E D O M HOUSE

•
DIRECTO RS
D O RO TH Y THOMPSON
President
H A R R Y D. GID EON SE
Chairman of Board
W ILLIA M AGAR
Vice-President
H A RR Y SCHERM AN
Vice-President
H E R B E R T BA YA RD SWOPE
Treasurer
GEO RGE F IE L D
Secretary
Herbert Agar
Cass Canfield
Mrs. Ward Cheney
Rev. George B . Ford
Helen Gahagan
Arthur J . Goldsmith
Mrs. Harold K . Guinzburg
Helen Hayes
Bishop Henry W. Hobson
Mrs. Andrew Jackson
Elsa Maxwell
Justice Ferdinand Pecora

Ralph Barton Perry
Samuel Shore
George N. Shuster
Mrs. Kenneth F . Simpson
Spyros Skouras
Rex Stout
Henry P. Van Dusen
Robert J . W att
W. W . Waymack
Walter White
Wendell L. Willkie
Mrs. Elsie B . Wimpfheimer

FREEDOM HOUSE
5 W E S T 54th ST R E E T , New York 19, N. Y.
m JIb s c r ib e to this program and wish to enroll as a member
of Freedom House (Minimum Annual Dues $2.00)
Name..................................................................................................
Address..............................................................................................
I want to help by contributing $..................................
(tax exempt)



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