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The new American right 



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The new American right 




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THE NEW 

AMERICAN 

RIGHT 



THE NEW 

AMERICAN 

RIGHT 



Edited by 

Daniel Bell 



CRITERION BOOKS NEW YORK 



Copyright 1955 by Criterion Books, Inc. 
Library of Congress catalog card number: 55-11024 



MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



To SAMUEL M. LEVITAS - executive 
editor and guiding spirit of The New 
Leader, who for the past twenty-five years 
has steered that worthy publication to 
the right of the left, and to the left of the 
right, seeking always the road of freedom 
and intellectual decency-this book is per 
sonally dedicated. 

D.B. 



Acknowledgments 



SEVEBAL OF the essays, as noted in 

the first chapter, appeared earlier in different places. "The 
Pseudo-Conservative Revolt/ by Richard Hofstadter, was 
based on a lecture delivered at Barnard College in spring 
1954 in its series on "The Search for New Standards in 
Modern America/ and printed in The American Scholar, 
Winter 1954-55. We are indebted to Dr. Basil Rauch, 
chairman of the program in American Civilization at 
Barnard, for releasing the essay prior to the publication 
of the Barnard series in book form. "The Intellectuals 
and the Discontented Classes/ by David Riesman and 
Nathan Glazer, appeared in Partisan Review, Winter 
1955. "The Revolt Against the Elite/ by Peter Viereck," 
was given originally before the American Historical Asso 
ciation in December 1954; sections of it have appeared 
in The Reporter, December 30, 1954, and The New 
Leader, January 24, January 31, 1955. "Social Strains in 
America," by Talcott Parsons, appeared in the Yale Re 
view, Winter 1955. "The Polls on Communism and Con 
formity," by Nathan Glazer and Seymour Martin Lipset, 
was prepared for this volume but includes sections of a 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

review-article by Mr. Glazer in Commentary, August, 
1955. "The Sources of the Radical Right/ " by Seymour 
Martin Lipset was prepared originally as a study by the 
Bureau of Applied Social Research for the Fund for the 
Republic, and it was published, in a somewhat different 
form from that which appears in this volume, in the 
British Journal of Sociology, June 1955. 

The editor and publisher gratefully acknowledge the 
kindness of the authors and editors of periodicals in 
granting permission to reprint these essays. 

My thanks to Nathan Glazer and Seymour Martin 
Lipset for the many discussions, out of which grew the 
suggestion for this volume, to William Phillips for en 
couraging the idea of publication and to Miss Kathleen 
Jett who typed considerable portions of the manuscript. 

D. B. 



The Contributors 



DANIEL BELL is a former managing editor of The New 
Leader and instructor in social science at the 
University of Chicago. He is at present a lecturer 
in sociology at Columbia University and labor 
editor of Fortune magazine. His essays on work, 
the sociology of leadership, and the intellectuals 
have appeared in several books. A monograph on 
the history of American Marxist parties, which ap 
peared in the compendium Socialism and Amer 
ican Ltfe (Princeton, 1952), is being revised and 
expanded for publication by Doubleday-Anchor 
books. Mr. Bell, with the assistance of William 
Goldsmith, is at work on a volume on Communism 
and the American Labor Movement, under a grant 
from the Fund for the Republic. 

RICHABD HOFSTADTER, professor of history at Columbia 
University, and one of the leading young his 
torians in the United States, is the author of Social 
Darwinism in American Thought and The Amer 
ican Political Tradition. Both will appear in reprint, 



CONTRIBUTORS 

the former by Beacon, the latter by Knopf-Vintage 
books. A recent work, The Age of Reform, an 
analysis of the populist and progressive move 
ments, given as the Walgreen lectures at the 
University of Chicago, was published by Knopf. 
A volume by Professor Hofstadter and Walter 
Metzger on the history of academic freedom in 
America will be published by the Columbia Uni 
versity Press. 

DAVID RIESMAN is best known for his book The Lonely 
Crowd, which, within five years of its publication, 
has been accepted as a contemporary classic. A 
former lawyer, Mr. Riesman is professor of social 
science at the University of Chicago and sometime 
visiting professor at Harvard, Yale and Johns 
Hopkins. He is the author, among other works, 
of Faces in the Crowd, a companion volume of 
case studies to The Lonely Crowd; a biography, 
Thorstein Veblen, and Individualism Reconsid 
ered, a collection of essays. 

NATHAN GLAZER, linguist and sociologist, was a collabo 
rator of David Riesman on The Lonely Crowd 
and Faces in the Crowd. An associate editor of 
Commentary magazine for nine years, Mr. Glazer 
conducted its monthly department, "The Study 
of Man," and contributed more than a dozen 
highly regarded essays on ethnic groups, prejudice 
and social theory. Mr. Glazer, now an editor of 
Anchor Books, gave the Walgreen lectures at the 
University of Chicago in the spring of 1955 on 
Judaism in America. These will be published by 
the University of Chicago Press next year. 

PETER VDERECK, historian and Pulitzer prize winning poet. 



CONTRIBUTORS XI 

is a stormy petrel of the "new conservatism" in 
America. Professor of modern history at Mount 
Holyoke College, he is the author of Metapolitics: 
From the Romantics to Hitler, Conservatism Re 
visited and the Shame and Glory of the Intellec 
tuals, as well as several books of poetry, Mr. 
Viereck, who lectured in Italy in 1955, is complet 
ing a new book of essays, in which The Unad 
justed Man will appear, to be published by Beacon 
Press. 

TALCOTT PARSONS, professor of sociology and chairman of 
the department at Harvard University, is one of 
the leaders of the dominant structure-function 
school in American sociology. His first book, The 
Structure of Social Action, was a synthesis of the 
work of Durkheim, Pareto and Weber. Together 
with several collaborators he has been seeking to 
create a general theory of social behavior. These 
attempts have resulted in a number of major works 
including The Social System, Towards a General 
Theory of Action (with Edward Shils), and Work 
ing Papers in the Theory of Action (with Robert 
F. Bales). His most recent book, with Robert F. 
Bales, is Socialization and the Family. 

SEYMOUR MARTIN LEPSET, associate professor of sociology 
at Columbia University, is the author of Agrarian 
Socialism, a study of the Cooperative Common 
wealth Federation in Canada; an editor, with 
Reinhard Bendix, of a reader in Class, Status and 
Power; and a co-author of a monograph on "The 
Psychology of Voting," which is included in the 
Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by Gard 
ner Lindzey. His most recent book, Union Democ 
racy, a study of the political process in the typo- 



CONTRIBUTORS 

graphical union, will be published by the Free 
Press in 1956, Together with his Columbia col 
leagues Richard Hofstadter, Herbert Hyman and 
William Kornhauser (now at Berkeley), Professor 
Lipset is completing an inventory of writings in 
political sociology, under a Ford behavioral studies 



Contents 



1 Interpretations of American Politics 3 

DANIEL BELL 

2 The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt 33 

RlCHABD HOFSTADTER 

3 The Intellectuals and the Discontented Classes 56 

DAVID RDESMAN AND NATHAN GLAZER 

4 The Revolt Against the Elite 91 

PETER VIERECK 

5 Social Strains in America 117 

TALCOTT PARSONS 

6^ The Polls on Communism and Conformity 141 

NATHAN GLAZER AND 
SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET 

7 The Sources of the "Radical Right" 166 

SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET 

Index 235 



THE NEW 

AMERICAN 

RIGHT 



Interpretations of 
American Politics 

DANIEL BELL 



Tms BOOK presents a series of novel 
essays on some recent political history, notably an exami 
nation of the "new American right" which had concen 
trated for a time around the leadership of Senator 
McCarthy, and which continues today in large, if inchoate, 
form. This is not, however, a book about Senator Mc 
Carthy, although two of the essays, by Talcott Parsons 
and S. M. Lipset, offer some fresh insights into the flash- 
fire spread of McCarthyism. McCarthyism, or McCarthy- 
wasm, as one wit put it, may be a passing phenomenon. 
This book is concerned not with these transiencies, but 
with the deeper-running social currents of a turbulent 
mid-century America. 



4 The New American Right 

This is a turbulence born not of depression, but of 
prosperity. Contrary to the somewhat simple notion that 
prosperity dissolves all social problems, we see that pros 
perity brings in its wake new social groups, new social 
strains and new social anxieties. Conventional political 
analysis, drawn largely from eighteenth and nineteenth 
century American experience, cannot fathom these new 
social anxieties nor explain their political consequences. 

This book, by establishing a new framework, attempts 
to provide an understanding of these new social problems. 
This framework is derived from an analysis of the exhaus 
tion of liberal and left-wing political ideology, and by an 
examination of the new, prosperity-created "status- 
groups" which, in their drive for recognition and respect 
ability, have sought to impose older conformities on the 
American body politic. This framework, drawn from some 
of the more recent thought in sociology and social 
psychology, represents a new and original contribution 
which, we feel, extends the range of conventional political 
analysis. To an extent, this is a "thesis book." It does not 
present a "total" view of politics nor does it supplant the 
older categories of political analysis, but it does add a 
new and necessary dimension to the analysis of American 
society today. Equally important, and of more immediate 
relevance perhaps, the application of these concepts may 
allow us not only to understand some puzzling aspects of 
the last decade, but also to illuminate the sub-rosa polit 
ical forces of 1956 and beyond. 

Politics in the United States has been looked at, roughly 
from three standpoints: the role of the electoral struc 
ture, of democratic tradition, and of interest groups 
sectional or class. & F 

Perhaps the most decisive fact about politics in the 
United States is the two-party system. Each party is like 
some huge bazaar, with hundreds of hucksters clamoring 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 5 

for attention. But while life within the bazaars flows freely 
and licenses are easy to obtain, all trading has to be con 
ducted within the tents; the ones who hawk their wares 
outside are doomed to few sales. This fact gains meaning 
when we consider one of the striking facts about American 
life: America has thrown up countless social movements, 
but few political parties; in contradiction to European 
political life, few of the social movements have been able 
to transform themselves into political parties. Here is one 
source of flux yet stability in American life. 

"It is natural for the ordinary American," wrote Gunnar 
Myrdal, "when he sees something that is wrong to feel 
not only that there should be a law against it, but also that 
an organization should be formed to combat it," and, 
we might add, to change it. American reform groups have 
ranged from Esperantists to vegetarians, from silver money 
advocates to conservationists, from trust-busters to social 
ists of fifty-seven varieties. These groups, intense and 
ideologically single-minded, have formed numerous third 
parties the Greenback Party, Anti-Monopoly Party, Equal 
Rights Party, Prohibition Party, Socialist Labor Party, 
Union Labor Party, Farmer-Labor Party, Socialist Party. 
Yet none succeeded. 

The wheat fanners of the north central plains have a 
homogeneity of cultural outlook and a common set of 
economic problems which national boundary lines cannot 
bisect. Yet in Canada, the wheat farmers formed a Social 
Credit Party in Alberta and a Cooperative Common 
wealth Federation in Saskatchewan, while their brothers 
in North Dakota could only, at best, form a Non-Partisan 
League within the Republican Party in order to press 
their interests. 1 

These factors of rigid electoral structure have set 
definite limits on the role of protest movements, left and 
right, in American life. ("Let me make the deals, and I 
care not who makes the ideals," an American politician 



g The New American Right 

has said.) They account in significant measure for the 
failure of the Lemke-Coughlin movement in 1936, and 
the Wallace-Progressive Party in 1948. They account for 
the new basic alliance between the unions and the Demo 
cratic Party. Whatever lingering hopes some trade union 
ists may have held for a labor party in the United States 
were dispelled by Walter Reuther at the C.LO. conven 
tion in November 1954 when, in answering transport 
leaders such as Mike Quill, he pointed out that a third 
party was impossible within the nature of the United 
States electoral system. This is a lesson that every social 
movement has learned. And any social movement which 
hopes to effect or resist social change in the United States 
is forced now to operate within one or the other of the 
two parties. This factor alone will place an enormous 
strain on these parties in the next ten years. 

The democratic tradition, the second of the interpretive 
categories, has played an important role in shaping 
American political forms. The distinctive aspect of the 
political tradition in the United States is that politics is 
the arena of the hoi polloi. Here the "common man" be 
comes the source of ultimate appeal if not authority. This 
was not so at the beginning. The "founding f athers," with 
the Roman republic, let alone the state of affairs under 
the Articles of Confederation, in mind, feared the "demo 
cratic excesses" which the poor and propertyless classes 
could wreak against those with property. Whatever the 
subsequent inadequacies of the economic interpretation 
of history in a complex society, it is clear that in 1787 
self-consciousness of property, and a desire to limit the 
electoral role of the people, were uppermost in the minds 
of the "four groups of personalty interests which had been 
adversely affected under the Articles of Confederation: 
money, public securities, manufactures, and trade and 
shipping." 2 This was reflected in the precautions written 
into the Constitution: a non-popular Senate, selected by 



INTEBPKETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 7 

the States; an appointive judiciary holding office for life, 
and a President elected through the indirect and cumber 
some means of an electoral college. 

But these barriers soon broke down. The victory of the 
Jeffersonians was the first step in the establishment of a 
"populist" character for the American democracy. The 
Federalists, seeing the success of the Jeffersonian methods, 
realized the necessity of imitating those "popular, con 
vivial and charitable techniques." As early as 1802, 
Hamilton, in a letter to Bayard, outlined a plan for a 
"Christian Constitutional Society," which would appeal 
to the masses "through a development of a cult of Wash 
ington and benevolent activities." 3 A Washington Bene 
volent Society was formed in 1808, but it was too late, the 
Federalists had already lost. Thirty years later their 
spiritual descendants, the Whigs, beat the Democrats at 
their own game. Casting aside Henry Clay, whose "Hamil- 
tonian" views were too well-established, the Whigs nomi 
nated General William Henry Harrison, the hero of the 
battle of Tippecanoe, against Andrew Jackson s successor, 
Martin Van Buren. 

"If General Harrison is taken up as a candidate," said 
Nicholas Biddle, the former head of the National Bank, in 
some direction to party managers (which might not have 
echoed so strangely in 1952), "it will be on account of the 
past. . . . Let him say not one single word about his prin 
ciples, or his creed let him say nothing promise nothing. 
Let no Committee, no convention no town meeting ever 
extract from him a single word about what he thinks or 
will do hereafter. Let the use of pen and ink be wholly 
forbidden." 4 

The "cider election" of 1840 was a turning-point in 
American political life. Harrison traveled from place to 
place in a large wagon with a log cabin on top, and a 
barrel of hard cider on tap for the crowds. Daniel Web 
ster, with the fustian of the demagogue, expressed deep 



8 The New American Right 

regret that he had not been born in a log cabin, although 
his elder siblings had begun their lives in a humble abode. 
Whig orators berated Van Buren for living in a lordly 
manner, accusing him of putting cologne on his whiskers, 
eating from gold plate, and of being "laced up in corsets 
such as women in town wear and if possible tighter than 
the best of them/ 

The lesson was clear. Politics as a skill in manipulating 
masses became the established feature of political life, 
and the politician, sometimes a front-man for the moneyed 
interests, but sometimes the manipulator in his own right, 
came to the fore. Increasingly, the upper classes withdrew 
from direct participation in politics. The lawyer, the 
journalist, the drifter, finding politics an open ladder of 
social mobility, came bounding up from the lower middle 
classes. The tradition of equality had been established. 
The politician had to speak to "the people" and in demo 
cratic terms. 

^ If the politician spoke to the people, he acted for 
Interests." The awareness of the interest-group basis of 
politics, the third of the categories, goes far back to the 
early days of the republic. Madison, in the oft-quoted 
Number Ten of the Federalist Papers, had written, "the 
most common and durable source of factions has been 
the various and unequal distribution of property. Those 
who hold and those who are without property have ever 
fonned distinct interests in society." James Harrington s 
maxim that "power always follows property," "I believe 
to be as infallible a maxim in politics, as that action and 
reaction are equal in mechanics," said John Adams the 
outstanding conservative of the time. 5 The threat to prop 
s 7 T^l^ <V^ SmaU farmer and ** b**te* 
toed the basis of the first disquiet in American politics 

The Shaysites in Massachusetts and other insurgents 
Gajeral Henxy Kn OX complained to George Washington 
"believe that the property of the United States has been 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 9 

protected from the confiscations of Britain by the joint 
exertions of all." Madison, looking to the future, antici 
pated that "a great majority of the people will not only be 
without land, but any other sort of property." When this 
has occurred, he predicted, the propertyless masses will 
"either combine under the influence of their common 
situation; in which case the rights of property and the 
public liberty will not be secure in their hands; or what is 
more probable," he continued, with the lessons of the 
Roman demagogues in mind, "they will become tools of 
opulence and ambition, in which case, there will be equal 
danger on the other side." 6 

The early factional struggles in American political life, 
rustic in form because of the agrarian weight of the popu 
lation, soon became sectional. This was inevitable since 
the different regions developed different interests: the 
rice, tobacco and cotton of the South; the fishing, lumber, 
commerce of New England. National parties came into 
being when the Federalists succeeded at first in combin 
ing the large planters of the upper and lower South with 
the commercial interests of the North Atlantic region, and 
when Jefferson challenged this combination by uniting 
the grain growers and other small farmers both North 
and South into a rival party. Since then, the national 
parties have been strange alliances of heterogeneous sec 
tional groups: Midwest fanners with the populist, Demo 
cratic and Republican parties; the urban immigrant North 
with the backward, nativist South. Ethnic and functional 
groups have, often by historic accident, flowed into one 
of the two parties: the Negroes, because of the Civil War, 
for sixty years or so voted Republican; the Irish, because 
of their original relation to Tammany Hall, became Demo 
crats; the Germans, settling in the Midwest, became 
Republican; the urban Italians, in reaction to their exclu 
sion by the Irish, became Republican. 

Within the sectionalism of American political life, arose 



10 The New American Right 

the narrower, more flexible tactic of the pressure group 
standing outside the particular party, committed to 
neither, giving support or winning support on the basis of 
allegiance to the single issue alone. One of the first 
skillful innovators of this tactic was George Henry Evans, 
a confrere of Robert Owen and a leading figure for a 
time in the reform politics of the 1830s and 40s. Evans 
had been one of the leaders of the Workingmen s Party 
in 1829, a New York party that began with moderate 
success but which faded when ideological differences 
inflamed a latent factionalism, and when the Democrats 
"stole their thunder" by adopting some of their imme 
diate demands. Evans who believed that free land would 
solve tiie ckss tensions and plight of the propertyless 
workers, organized an Agrarian League in the 1840s. His 
experience had taught him that a minority party could not 
win by its own votes and that politicians, interested pri 
marily in "deals not ideals/ would endorse any measure 
advocated by a group that could hold the balance of 
power. Evans "therefore asked all candidates to support 
his sliding measures/ In exchange for such a pledge, 
the candidate would receive the votes of the working- 
men/ 7 While the Agrarian League itself met with mid 
dling success, its tactics paid off in the later passage of 
the Homestead acts. 

In 1933, with the arrival of the New Deal, the feeling 
arose that a new era was emerging. In a widely-quoted 
book, Professor Arthur N. Holcombe of Harvard wrote: 
"The old party politics is visibly passing away. The charac 
ter of the new party politics will be determined chiefly 

by the interests and attitudes of the urban population 

There will be less sectional politics and more class poli 
tics,"* The emergence of "functional" groups, particularly 
labor, and the growing assertion of ethnic groups, seemed 
to underscore the shift The fact that Franklin Roosevelt 
was able to weave together these groups, some of whom 



DSTTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 11 

like the farmers had been allied with the G.O.P., seemed 
to indicate that some historic realignments were taking 
place. Some have. The trade union movement, politically 
articulate for the first time, is outspokenly Democratic; 
but the working-class vote has usuafly been Democratic. 
Ethnic groups which have played a role in politics have, 
by and large, retained their loyalty to the Democratic 
Party; but there are many indications that, as a result of 
rising prosperity and higher social status, significant 
chunks of these nationality and minority groups are be 
ginning to shift their allegiance. 9 The farmers, despite the 
enormous supports voted by the New Deal, have returned 
to the Republican fold. 

While sectional politics have somewhat diminished, 
class politics have not jelled. Elements of both are re 
flected in the rise of pressure groups and the lobbies. 
The most spectacular use of the seesaw pressure group 
tactic was the Anti-Saloon League, which, starting in 
1893, was able in two and a half decades to push through 
a Constitutional amendment prohibiting the manufacture 
and sale of liquor in the United States. Since then, the 
pressure group device has been adopted by thousands of 
organizations, whether it be for tariff reform, opposition 
to Federal medical programs, or political aid to the state 
of Israel. In 1949, the Department of Commerce estimated 
that there were 4,000 national trade, professional, civic 
and other associations. Including local and branch chap 
ters there were probably 16,000 businessmen s organiza 
tions, 70,000 local labor unions, 100,000 women s clubs 
and 15,000 civic groups carrying on some political educa 
tion. The enormous multiplication of such groups obvi 
ously cancels out many of the threats made to candidates 
defying one or the other interests. 10 But it makes possible, 
too, a dextrous art of logrolling, which itself makes it 
possible for small interests to exert great political leverage. 
Thus, when peanuts were eliminated from a farm subsidy 



12 The New American Right 

program in 1955, over one hundred Southern congressmen 
held up a crop support bill until the subsidy was restored. 
(Although Georgia peanuts account for less than one 
half of one percent of farm income, subsidizing this crop 
has cost the U.S. 100 million dollars in the past decade. ) 
The multiplication of interests and the fractioning of 
groups make it difficult to locate the sources of power in 
the United States. 11 This political fractioning, occurring 
simultaneously with the break-up of old property forms 
and the rise of new managerial groups to power within 
business enterprises, spells the break-up, too, of older 
ruling classes in the United States. A ruling class may be 
defined as a power-holding group that has both an estab 
lished community of interest and continuity of interest. 
One can be a member of the "upper class" (i.e. have 
greater privilege and wealth and be able to transmit that 
wealth) without being a member of the ruling group. 
The modern ruling group is a coalition whose modes of 
continuity, other than the political route as such, are still 
ill-defined. 12 More than ever, government in the United 
States has become in John Chamberlain s early phrase, 
"the broker state." To say this is a broker state, however, 
does not mean that all interests have equal power. This 
is a business society. But within the general acceptance 
of corporate capitalism, modified by union power and 
checked by government control, the deals and interest- 
group trading proceed. 

Granting the usefulness of these frames of political 
analysis-the role of electoral structure in limiting social 
movements and social clashes; the tradition of popular 
appeal; and the force of interest-groups in shaping and 
modifying legislative policy-in understanding "tradi 
tional political problems, they leave us somewhat ill- 
eqmpped to understand the issues which have dominated 
political dispute in the last decade. These categories do 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 13 

not help us understand the Communist issue, the forces 
behind the new nationalism of say Bricker and Knowland, 
and the momentary range of support and the intense 
emotional heat generated by Senator McCarthy. 

For Europeans, particularly, the Communist issue must 
be a puzzle. After all, there are no mass Communist 
parties in the U.S. such as one finds in France and Italy; 
the Communist Party in the U.S. never, at any single 
moment, had more than 100,000 members. In the last 
five years, when the Communist issue appeared on the 
national scene, the Communists had already lost consid 
erable political influence and were on the decline the 
Communists had been expelled from C.I.O.; 13 the Progres 
sive Party, repudiated by Henry Wallace, had fizzled; 
the Communists were losing strength in the intellectual 
community. 

It is true that liberals have tended to play down the 
issue. 14 And some rational basis for its existence was 
present, There was the surprise of the aggression in 
Korea and the emotional reaction against the Chinese and 
Russian Communists which carried over to domestic 
Communists. The disclosures, particularly by Whittaker 
Chambers, of the infiltration of Communists into high 
posts in government and the existence of espionage rings, 
produced a tremendous shock in a nation which hitherto 
had been unaware of such machinations. People began 
realizing, too, that numbers alone were no criteria of 
Communist strength; in fact, thinking of Communist 
influence on the basis of statistical calculation itself be 
trayed an ignorance of Communist methods; in the United 
States the Communists by operating among intellectual 
groups and opinion leaders have had an influence far out 
of proportion to their actual numbers. And, finally, the 
revelations in the Canadian spy investigations, in the 
Allan Nunn May trial in Britain and in the Rosenberg 
case that the Soviets had stolen United States atom secrets, 



14 The New American Right 

themselves added fuel to the emotional heat against the 
Communists, 

When all of this is said, it still fails to account for the 
extensive damage to the democratic fabric that McCarthy 
and others were able to cause on the Communist issue 
and for the reckless methods disproportionate to the 
problem: the loyalty oaths on the campus, the compulsive 
Americanism which saw threats to the country in the 
wording of a Girl Scout handbook, the violent clubbing 
of the Voice of America (which under the ideological 
leadership of such anti-Communists as Foy Kohler and 
Bertram Wolfe had conducted intelligent propaganda in 
Europe), the wild headlines and the senseless damaging 
of the Signal Corps radar research program at Fort Mon- 
mouth in short the suspicion and the miasma of fear that 
played so large a role in American politics. Nor does it 
explain the unchallenged position held so long by Senator 
McCarthy. 

McCarthy himself must be a puzzle to conventional 
political analysis. Calling him a demagogue explains little; 
the relevant questions are, to whom was he a demagogue^ 
and about what. McCarthy s targets were indeed strange! 
Huey Long, the last major demagogue, had vaguely at 
tacked the rich and sought to "share the wealth." Mc 
Carthy s targets were intellectuals, Harvard, Anglophiles, 
internationalists, the Army. 

His targets and his language do, indeed, provide impor 
tant clues to the "radical right?* that supported him, and 
the reasons for that support. These groups constituted a 
strange melange: a thin stratum of soured patricians like 
Archibald Roosevelt, the last surviving son of Teddy 
Roosevelt, whose emotional stake lay in a vanishing imaee 
of a muscular America defying a decadent Europe; the 
new rich -the automobile dealers, real estate manipula 
te^ od wildcatters-who needed the psychological a 
ance that they, like their forebears, had earned their 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 15 

wealth, rather than accumulated it through government 
aid, and who feared that "taxes" would rob them of that 
wealth; the rising middle class strata of the ethnic groups, 
the Irish and the Germans, who sought to prove their 
Americanism, the Germans particularly because of the 
implied taint of disloyalty during World War II; and 
finally, unique in American cultural history, a small group 
of intellectuals, many of them cankered ex-Communists, 
who, pivoting on McCarthy, opened up an attack on 
liberalism in general. 

This strange coalition, bearing the "sword of the Lord 
and Gideon," cannot be explained in conventional political 
terms. These essays do provide some frame, particularly 
one to explain the "new rich" and the "rising ethnic" 
groups. One key concept is the idea of "status politics" 
advanced by Richard Hofstadter. His central idea is that 
groups that are upwardly mobile (i.e. that are advancing 
in wealth and social position), are often as anxious and 
as politically febrile as groups that have become declass6. 
Many observers have noted that groups which have lost 
their social position seek more violently than ever to 
impose on all groups the older values of a society which 
they once bore. Hofstadter demonstrates that groups on 
the rise may insist on a similar conformity in order to 
establish themselves. This rise takes place in periods of 
prosperity, when class or economic interest group con 
flicts have lost much of their force. 15 The new, patriotic 
issues proposed by the status groups are amorphous and 
ideological. This theme is elaborated in the essay by 
Riesman and Glazer, with particular reference to the new 
rich. But these groups are able to assert themselves, the 
two sociologists point out, largely because of the exhaus 
tion of liberal ideology a collapse not from defeat but 
from "victory." The essay by Peter Viereck traces some 
of the historical roots of the peculiar rhetoric of the right, 
showing the sources of the anti-intellectualism and Anglo- 



i6 The New American Right 

phobia in the egalitarian populism of the last century. 
Professor Parsons, discussing the nature of social change 
in the United States, demonstrates how the resultant 
social strains foster the emergence of the new right. 
Glazer and Lipset, analyzing the recent study by Professor 
Stouffer on "Communism, Conformity and Civil Liberties," 
deal with limitations of "survey methods in elucidating 
social attitudes. The long concluding essay by Professor 
Lipset provides a detailed analysis of the social groups 
identified with the new right and assesses their strength. 

These essays were not written for this volume. All but 
the reviews of the Stouffer book appeared about the same 
time, and quite independently. And yet they showed a 
remarkable convergence in point of view. This conver 
gence itself indicates that some of the recent concepts of 
sociology and social psychology the role of status groups 
as a major entity in American life and status resentments 
as a real force in politics were being applied fruitfully to 
political analysis. 

Whether the groups analyzed in this volume form a 
political force depends upon many factors. Certainly 
McCarthy himself is, at the moment, at the nadir. By the 
logic of his own political position, and by the nature of 
his personality, he had to go to an extreme. And he ended, 
finally, by challenging Eisenhower. It was McCarthy s 
great gamble. And he lost, for the challenge to a Repub 
lican President by a Republican minority could only have 
split the party. Faced with this threat, the party rallied 
behind Eisenhower, and McCarthy himself was isokted. 
In this respect, the events prove the soundness of the 
thesis of Walter Lippmann and the Alsops in 1952 that 
only a Republican President could provide the necessary 
continuity of foreign and domestic policy initiated and 
maintained by the Fair Deal. A Democratic President 
would only have polarized the parties, and given the 
extreme Republican wing the license to lead the attack; 



36 The New American Right 

pseudo-conservative impulse can be found in practically 
all classes in society, although its power probably rests 
largely upon its appeal to the less educated members of 
the middle classes. The ideology of pseudo-conservatism 
can be characterized but not defined, because the pseudo- 
conservative tends to be more than ordinarily incoherent 
about politics. The lady who, when General Eisenhower s 
victory over Senator Taft had finally become official, 
stalked out of the Hilton Hotel declaiming, "This means 
eight more years of socialism" was probably a fairly good 
representative of the pseudo-conservative mentality. So 
also were the gentlemen who, at the Freedom Congress 
held at Omaha over a year ago by some "patriotic" organi 
zations, objected to Earl Warren s appointment to the 
Supreme Court with the assertion: "Middle-of-the-road 
thinking can and will destroy us"; the general who spoke 
to the same group, demanding "an Air Force capable of 
wiping out die Russian Air Force and industry in one 
sweep," but also "a material reduction in military expen 
ditures"; 2 the people who a few years ago believed simul 
taneously that we had no business to be fighting com 
munism in Korea, but that the war should immediately 
be extended to an Asia-wide crusade against communism; 
and the most ardent supporters of the Bricker Amend 
ment. Many of the most zealous followers of Senator 
McCarthy are also pseudo-conservatives, although there 
are presumably a great many others who are not. 

The restlessness, suspicion and fear manifested in vari 
ous phases of the pseudo-conservative revolt give evidence 
of the real suffering which the pseudo-conservative ex 
periences in his capacity as a citizen. He believes himself 
to be living in a world in which he is spied upon, plotted 
against, betrayed, and very likely destined for total ruin. 
He feels that his liberties have been arbitrarily and out 
rageously invaded. He is opposed to almost everything 
that has happened in American politics for the past twenty 



1$ The New American Right 

of public morals has been a continuing feature of our 

history. 

The sources of this moralism are varied. This has been 
a middle-class culture, and there may be considerable 
truth to the generalization of Svend Ranulf that moral 
indignation is a peculiar fact of middle-class psychology 
and represents a disguised form of repressed envy. 16 One 
does not find moral indignation a feature of the temper 
of aristocratic cultures. Moralism and moral indignation 
are characteristic of religions that have largely abandoned 
other-worldly preoccupations and have concentrated on 
this-worldly concerns. Religions, like Catholicism, which 
are focused on heaven are often quite tolerant of man s 
foibles, weaknesses, and cruelties on earth; theft, after all, 
is only a venial sin, while pride bears the stain of venality. 
This is a country, and Protestantism a religion, in which 
piety has given way to moralism, and theology to ethics. 
Becoming respectable represents "moral" advancement, 
and regulating conduct, i.e. being "moral" about it, is a 
great concern of the Protestant churches in America. 

This moralism, itself not unique to America, is linked 
to an evangelicalism that was largely unique. There has 
long been a legend, fostered for the most part by literary 
people, and compounded by sociologists, that America s 
has been a "puritan" culture. For the sociologists this has 
arisen out of a mistaken identification of the Protestant 
ethic with puritan code. The literary critics have been 
seduced by the myth of New England, and the literary 
revolt initiated by Van Wyck Brooks which sought to 
break the hold of puritanism in literature. While puritan- 
ism, and the "New England mind," have indeed played 
a krge intellectual role in American Me, in the habits and 
mores of the masses of people, the peculiar evangelicalism 
of Methodism and Baptism, with its high emotionalism, 
its fervor, enthusiasm and excitement, its revivalism, its 
excesses of sinning and of high-voltage confessing, has 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 10 

played a much more important role in coloring the moral 
temper of America. Baptism and Methodism have been 
the American religious creed because they were the rustic 
and frontier religions. In his page on "Why Americans 
Manifest a Sort of Fanatical Spiritualism," de Tocqueville 
observes: "In all states of the Union, but especially in the 
half -peopled country of the Far West, itinerant preachers 
may be met with who hawk about the word of God from 
place to place. Whole families, old men, women and 
children, cross rough passes and untrodden wilds, coming 
from a great distance, to join a camp-meeting, where, in 
listening to these discourses, they totally forget for several 
days and nights the cares of business and even the most 
urgent wants of the body/ 17 

The Baptist and Methodist churches grew while the 
more "respectable" Protestant bodies remained static, pre 
cisely because their preachers went on with the advancing 
frontier and reflected its spirit. "In the camp meeting and 
in the political gathering logical discourse was of no avail, 
while the language of excitement called forth an enthu 
siastic response," observed H. Richard Niebuhr. 18 

This revivalist spirit was egalitarian and anti-intellec 
tual. It shook off die vestments and the formal liturgies 
and preached instead the gospel and roaring hymn. This 
evangelicalism was reflected in the moralism of a William 
Jennings Bryan, a religious as well as an economic cham 
pion of the West, and in the urban revivalism of a Dwight 
Moody and the Y.M.C.A. movement that grew out of his 
gospel fervor. 19 In their espousal of social reform, the 
evangelical churches reflected the peculiar influence of 
moralism. They were the supreme champions of prohibi 
tion legislation and Sabbath observance. Reform, in their 
terms, meant, not as in the New Deal, a belief in welfare 
legislation, but the redemption of those who had fallen 
prey to sin and sin meant rink, loose women and 
gambling. 



30 The New American Right 

This moralism, so characteristic of American temper, 
had a peculiar schizoid character: it would be imposed 
with vehemence in areas of culture and conduct-in the 
censorship of books, the attacks on "immoral art/ etc., 
and in the realm of private habits; yet it was heard only 
sporadically regarding the depredations of business or 
the corruption of politics. And yet, this has had its posi 
tive side. To the extent that moral indignation apart from 
its rhetorical use in political campaigns-played so small 
a role in the actual political arena, the United States has 
been able to escape the intense ideological fanaticism 
the conflicts of clericalism and class-which has been so 
characteristic of Europe. 

The singular fact about the Communist problem is that 
an ideological issue was raised in American political life, 
with a compulsive moral fervor only possible because of 
the equation of Communism with sin, A peculiar change, 
in fact, seems to be coming over American life. While we 
are becoming more relaxed in the area of traditional 
morals (viz., the Supreme Court ruling against censorship 
in the case of the movie, The Miracle), we are becoming 
moralistic and extreme in politics. The fact that Senator 
McCarthy could seek to pin a Communist label on the 
Democratic Party, and tie it with a tag of "treason" and 
be abetted for a time by Attorney General Brownell and 
the Republican Party is a reflection of a new political 
temper in America. 

The tendency to convert politics into "moral" issues is 
reinforced by a second fact, the activities of the McCarthy- 
ite intellectuals-James Burnham, William Schlamm, Max 
Eastman, and their minor epigoni. The rise of intellectual 
apologists for a reactionary right is, too, a new phase in 
American life. The quixotic fact is that many of these 
men, ex-Communists, repudiated at first not the Utopian 
vision of Communism, but its methods. In the thirties, the 
crucial intellectual fight was to emphasize, against the 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 21 

liberal piddlers who sought to excuse the harshness of 
Stalinism by reference to the historic backwardness of 
Russia, or the grandeur of the Soviet dream, that in social 
action there is an inextricable relation between "ends and 
means/* and that consistently amoral means could only 
warp and hideously distort an end. Yet these men have 
forgotten this basic point in their defense of McCarthy. 
Schlamm, the author of a fine book about Stalinism, Die 
Diktatur der Luge (The Dictatorship of the Lie) applauds 
McCarthy as a man who is seriously interested in ideas. 
John T. Flynn, the old muckraker, denies McCarthy has 
ever made use of the lie. Max Eastman, slightly critical 
at times, worries most not about McCarthy but that the 
liberals by attacking McCarthy might be playing "the 
Communist game"; as if all politics were only two-sided, 
in this case McCarthy or the Communists. 

How explain this reversal? Motivations are difficult to 
plumb. Some of these men, as George Orwell once pointed 
out in a devastating analysis of James Burnham, 20 slavishly 
worship power images. The Freeman, the old-maidish 
house organ of the intellectual right, coyly applauded 
McCarthy as a tough hombre. 

Yet one significant fact emerges from this bile: the 
hatred of the ex-Communist is not so much of the Com 
munist, but of the "liberals," and the root of the problem 
goes back to the political situation of the Thirties. In 
recent years there has been a growing myth that in the 
1930s the Communist dominated the cultural life of 
America, its publishing houses, Broadway, Hollywood, 
and the colleges. The myth is a seductive one which grows 
more plausible with the revelation of different "name" 
personages who the public now discover were once open 
or covert fellow-travelers. Yet, as Granville Hicks points 
out, only one anti-Communist book is ever cited as having 
been suppressed in those years, while anti-Communist 
authors such, as Eugene Lyons, Max Eastman, Freda 



22 The New American Right 

Utiey, Jan Valtin all published anti-Soviet books. 21 The 
Communists, in fact, felt that the shoe at times was on 
the other foot. "In the autumn of 1934," says Hicks, "I 
wrote an article for the New Masses in which I argued 
that the New York Times book review assigned almost 
all books on Russia to anti-Communists/ The Nation 
book section under Margaret Marshall in those years was 
anti-Communist. The Communist cells in universities were 
small; at Harvard in 1938, at the height of the popular 
front, there were fourteen faculty Communists in all. 
While the Communists were able to enlist a sizable 
number of well-known names for their fronts, the Com 
mittee for Cultural Freedom, in issuing a statement in 
1939 bracketing the Soviet and Nazi states as equally 
immoral, displayed a more distinguished roster of intel 
lectuals than any statement issued by a Communist front 
How explain these contrasting images of the Red 
Decade the anti-Communists who regarded the Com 
munists as dominating the cultural life and the Com 
munists who complained that they had little influence? 
The evidence, I would say, lies on Hicks side. 22 The 
Communists did not dominate the cultural field, though 
they wielded an influence far out of proportion to their 
numbers. What is true, and here I feel Hicks missed the 
subtle edge of the problem, is that the official institutions 
of the cultural communitybecause of the Spanish Civil 
War, the shock of Fascism, and the aura of New Deal 
reform did look at the Communist with some sympathy; 
they regarded him as ultimately, philosophically wrong, 
but still as a respectable member of the community. But 
the vocal anti-Communists (many of them Trotskyites at 
the time), with their quarrelsome ways, their esoteric 
knowledge of Bolshevik history (most of the intellectuals 
were completely ignorant of the names of the Bolsheviks 
in the dock at the Moscow trials, Zinoviev, Kamenev, 
Bukharin, Piatakov, Sokolnikov, Rakovsky) seemed ex- 



INTERPKETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS #3 

treme and bizarre and were regarded with suspicion. 
The anti-Stalinists, by raising "extraneous" issues of a 
"sectarian" nature, were "sabotaging" the fight against 
Fascism. Hence, in the thirties, one found the Communist 
possessing a place in the intellectual world, while the 
anti-Communists were isolated and thwarted. 

Here, in a sense, is the source of the present-day resent 
ment against "the liberals." If one looks for formal or 
ideological definition "the liberal" is difficult to pin down. 
To a McCarthyite, "the liberals" dominate the intellectual 
and publishing community and define the canons of 
respectability and acceptance. And once again the knot 
of ex-Communists, now, as in the thirties, finds itself 
outside the pale. At stake is an attitude toward the Com 
munists. The Freeman intellectuals want the Communists 
shriven or driven out of all areas of public or community 
life. The "liberal" says the effort is not worth the price, 
since there are few Communists, and the drive against 
them only encourages reactionaries to exact a conformity 
of opinion. By refusing to sanction these measures, the 
liberals find themselves under attack as "soft." 

In these strange times, new polar terms have been 
introduced into political discourse, but surely none so 
strange as the division into "hard" and "soft." Certainly 
in attitudes towards the rights of Communists, there are 
many gradations of opinion among genuine anti-Com 
munists, as the debates in the Committee for Cultural 
Freedom have demonstrated. But for the Freeman intel 
lectuals, there are only two attributes hard or soft. Even 
the New Yorfc Post, whose editor, James A. Wechsler has 
fought Communists for years, and the Americans for 
Democratic Action, whose initiating spirit was Reinhold 
Niebuhr, and whose co-chairman, Arthur Schlesinger, 
Jr., was one of the early intellectual antagonists of the 
Communists, before McCarthy ever spoke up on the sub 
ject, have been denounced as "soft." 



24 The New American Right 

What does the term mean? Presumably one is "soft" if 
one insists that the danger from domestic Communists is 
small. But the "hard" anti-Communists insist that no dis 
tinction can be made between international and domestic 
Communism. This may be true regarding intent and 
methods, but is it equally so regarding their power; is the 
strength of domestic Communists as great as that of 
international Communism? It is said, that many liberals 
refused to recognize that Communists constituted a 
security problem or that planned infiltration existed. This 
is rather a blanket charge, but even if largely true, the 
"hard" anti-Communists refuse to recognize the dimension 
of time. The question is: what is the degree of the present- 
day Communist infiltration? Pressed at this point some 
"hard" anti-Communists admit that the number of actual 
Communists may be small, but that the real problem 
arises because the liberals, especially in the large Eastern 
universities, are predominantly "anti-anti Communists." 
But what is the content of this "anti-anti Communism?" 
That it won t admit that the Communists constitute a 
present danger. And so we are back where we started. 

The polarization of images reflects itself in a strange 
set, too, of contrasting conceptions about power position. 
The liberals, particularly in the universities, have felt 
themselves subject to attack by powerful groups; the pro- 
McCarthy intellectuals see themselves as a persecuted 
group, discriminated against in the major opinion forming 
centers in the land. A personal incident is relevant here 
A few years ago I encountered Robert Morris, the coun 
sel then for the Jenner Committee on internal subversion 
He complained of the "terrible press" his committee was 
receiving. What press, he was asked; after all, the great 
Hearst and Scripps-Howard and Gannett chains, as well 
as an overwhelming number of newspaper dailies, had 
^thusia^tically supported and reported tfie work of the 
Committee. I wasn t thinking of them, he replied. I 



was 



INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 25 

thinking of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

The paradoxical fact is that on traditional economic 
issues, these "liberal" papers are conservative. 23 All three 
supported Eisenhower. Yet, traditional conservative issues 
no longer count in dividing "liberals" from "anti-Com 
munists." The only issue is whether one is "hard" or 
"soft/ And so, an amorphous, ideological issue, rather 
than an interest-group issue, has become a major dividing 
line in the political community. 

The "ideologizing" of politics gains reinforcement from 
a third, somewhat independent tendency in American life, 
the emergence of what may be called the "symbolic 
groups." These are the inchoate, often ill-coordinated 
entities, known generally, in capital letters, as "Labor," 
"Business," the "Farmers," et al. The assumption is made 
that these entities have a coherent philosophy and a de 
fined purpose and represent actual forces. But is this true 
in a society so multi-fractioned and interest-divided? 

The utilitarians, the first to give politics a calculus, and 
thus begin an experimental social science, made a distinc 
tion between a social decision (the common purpose) 
and the sum total of individual self-interest decisions. 
Adam Smith assumed a natural harmony, if not identity, 
between the two. But Jeremy Bentham knew that such 
identity was artificial, although he felt that they could 
be reconciled by an intelligent legislator through "a 
well-regulated application of punishments." 24 The dis 
tinction between the self-interest and social decisions 
might be reworked in modern idiom as one between 
"market" and "ideological" decisions. The first represents 
a series of choices based on the rational self-interest of 
the individual or organization, with the aim of maximizing 
profit or the survival or enhancement of the organization. 
The second represents decisions, based on some purpose 
clothed in moral terms, in which the goal is deemed so 



26 The New American Right 

important as to override when necessary the individual 
self-interest. 25 

In modern society, the clash between ideological and 
market decisions is often as intense within groups, as 
between groups. The "labor movement," for example, has 
strongly favored lower tariffs and broader international 
trade; yet the seamen s union has urged that U.S. govern 
ment aid be shipped in American, not foreign bottoms, 
while the textile unions have fought for quotas on foreign 
imports. Politically minded unionists, like Mike Quill in 
New York, have had to choose between a wage increase 
for their members against a rise in transit fares for the 
public at large. Interest rivalries are often more direct. 
The teamsters unions have lobbied against the railroad 
unions and the coal miners against the oil workers. In 
every broad group these interest conflicts have taken 
place, within industry, farm, and every other functional 
group in the society. 

The tendency to convert interest groups into "symbolic 
groups" derives from varied sources. Much of it comes 
from "vulgar" Marxist thinking, with its image of a self- 
conscious, coordinated Business class (as in Jack London s 
image of "the oligarchs" in his The Iron Heel, and the 
stereotypes of "Wall Street"). Some of this was taken over 
by the New Dealers with their image of "America s Sixty 
Families." But the biggest impetus has come from the 
changing nature of political decision-making and the 
mode of opinion formation in modern society. The fact 
that decision-making has been centralized into the nar 
row cockpit of Washington, rather than the impersonal 
market, leads groups like the National Association of 
Manufacturers, the Farm Bureau, the A.F of L et al 
to speak for "Business," for the ^Farmers," for "L&or" 
At the same time, with the increased sensitivity to "public 
opinion, heightened by the introduction of the mass 
polling technique, the "citizen" (not the specific-interest 



INTEBPRETAT10NS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 27 

individual) is asked what "Business" or "Labor" or the 
"Farmer" should do. In effect, these groups are often 
forced to assume an identity and greater coherence be 
yond their normal intra-mural interest conflicts. A result 
again is that political debate moves from specific interest 
clashes, in which issues can be identified and possibly 
compromised, to ideologically-tinged conflicts which 
polarize the groups and divide the society. 

The essays in this book are primarily analytical. Yet 
they also point implicitly to a dangerous situation. The 
tendency to convert issues into ideologies, to invest them 
with moral color and high emotional charge, invites con 
flicts which can only damage a society. "A nation, divided 
irreconcilably on principle/ each party believing itself 
pure white and the other pitch black, cannot govern 
itself," wrote a younger Walter Lippmann. 

The saving glory of the United States is that politics 
has always been a pragmatic give-and-take rather than a 
series of wars-to-the-death. One ultimately comes to ad 
mire the "practical politics" of a Theodore Roosevelt and 
his scorn for the intransigents, like Godkin and Villard, 
who, refusing to yield to expediency, could never put 
through their reforms. Politics, as Edmund Wilson has 
described T.R/s attitude, "is a matter of adapting oneself 
to all sorts of people and situations, a game in which one 
may score but only by accepting the rules and recognizing 
one s opponents, rather than a moral crusade in which 
one s stainless standard must mow the enemy down/ 26 

Democratic politics is bargaining and consensus be 
cause the historic contribution of liberalism was to sepa 
rate law from morality. The thought that the two should 
be separate often comes as a shock. Yet, in the older 
Catholic societies, ruled by the doctrine of "two swords," 
the state was the secular arm of the Church, and enforced 
in civil life the moral decrees of the Church. This was 



s8 The New American Right 

possible, in political theory, if not in practice, because 
the society was homogeneous and everyone accepted 
the same religious values. But the religious wars that fol 
lowed the Reformation proved that a plural society could 
only survive if it respected the principles of toleration. 
No group, be it Catholic or Protestant, could use the 
state to impose its moral conceptions on all the people. 
As the party of the Politiques put it, the "civil society 
must not perish for conscience s sake/ 27 

These theoretical foundations of modern liberal society 
were completed by Kant, who, separating legality and 
morality, defined die former as the "rules of die game" 
so to speak; law dealt with procedural, not substantive 
issues. The latter were private matters of conscience with 
which the state could not interfere. 

This distinction has been at the root of the American 
democracy. For Madison, factions (or interests) were 
inevitable and the function of the republic was to protect 
the causes of faction, i.e., liberty and "the diversity in 
the faculties of men." As an interpreter of Madison writes, 
"free men, diverse man, fallible, heterogeneous, hetero 
dox, opinionated, quarrelsome man was the raw material 
of faction." 2 * Since faction was inevitable, one could only 
deal with its effects, and not smother its causes. One 
curbed these effects by a federal form of government, by 
separation of powers, et al But for Madison two answers 
were central: first, an extensive republic, since a larger 
geographical area, and therefore a larger number of 
interests, would lessen the insecurity of private rights" 
and second, the guarantee of representative government 

Representative government, as John Stuart MiU has so 
cogently pointed out, means representation of all interests 
since the interest of the excluded is always in danger of 
being overlooked." And being overlooked, as CaLun 
pointed out, constitutes a threat to civil order. But renre 
sentative government is important for the deeper reason 



INTEBPKETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 2Q 

that by including all representative interests one can keep 
up "the antagonism of influences which is the only real 
security for continued progress/ 29 It is the only way of 
providing the "concurrent majorities" which, as Calhoun 
knew so well, were the solid basis for providing a check 
on the tyrannical "popular" majority. Only through repre 
sentative government can one achieve consensus and 
conciliation. 

This is not to say that the Communist "interest" is a 
legitimate one, or that the Communist issue is irrelevant. 
As a conspiracy, rather than as a legitimate dissenting 
group, the Communist movement is a threat to any demo 
cratic society. And, within the definition of "clear and 
present danger," a democratic society may have to act 
against that conspiracy. But these are questions to be 
handled by law, The tendency to use the Communist issue 
as a political club against other parties or groups (i.e. to 
provide an ideological guilt by association), or the ten 
dency to convert questions of law into issues of morality 
(and thus shift the source of sanctions from courts and 
legitimate authority to private individuals), imposes a 
great strain on democratic society. 

In almost 170 years since its founding American democ 
racy has been rent only once by civil war. We have 
learned since then, not without strain, to include the 
"excluded interests," the populist farmers and the orga 
nized workers. These economic interest groups take a 
legitimate place in the society and the ideological con 
flicts that once threatened to disrupt the society, particu 
larly in the New Deal period, have been mitigated. The 
new divisions created by the status anxieties of new 
middle class groups pose a new threat, The rancor of 
McCarthyism was one of its ugly excesses. Yet, the 
United States, so huge and complex that no single political 
boss or any single political grouping has ever been able 
to dominate it, may in time diminish these divisions. This 



30 The New American Right 

is an open society, and these status anxieties are part of 
the price we pay for that openness. 

1 For an elaboration of the role of political contexts affecting attitudes, 
see the remarks following by Glazer and Lipset, on page 141; also, S, M. 
Lipset, Agrarian Socialism (University of California Press), pp. 224 
passim. 

2 Charles A. Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution 
(New York, 1935 edition), page 324. 

3 See Dixon Ryan Fox, The Decline of the Aristocracy in the Politics 
of New York. 

4 Cited in Charles A. Beard, The Rise of American Civilization ( 1940 
edition), Vol. 1, page 574. 

6 Cited in "American Individualism: Fact and Fiction," by A. T. 
Mason. American Political Science Review, March, 1952. Professor 
Mason s paper is the most concise account I know of the struggle be 
tween private economic power and popular political control in the 
United States. 

6 A. T. Mason, ibid., page 5. 

7 John R. Commons and associates, History of Labour in the United 
States, Vol. 1, page 531. 

8 A. N. Holcombe, The New Party Politics (New York, 1933) page 11 

9 See Samuel LubeU, The Future of American Politics (New York 
1952); Louis Harris, I* There a Republican Majority? (New York, 1955). 

10 For an extended discussion of the role of interest groups in Ameri 
can politics, see David Truman, The Governmental Process (New York, 
1951 j . 



24&J59) ^^ BieSman> The Lmel y Crowd (Anchor edition, pp. 

12 The amorphousness of power in contemporary United States and its 
relationship to the break-up of "family capitalism," in the United States 

S J^ OP f ,v y n 6 "?** ^ V a P er on " The Ambiguities of the Mass 
T^ w th % C ,omplerities f American Life," presented at a confer 
ence in Milan Italy, m September, 1955 on "The Future of Freedom." 

proceedinss f 



llf 7 contr lle * * ** ^wer than five percent of 

a peak contrd of 



A " ~"~ ^"wjj. Aii^iiuuci o jjj. jj 4.U J.y^^t 

sST?^- * astts-cras 

aetore the Civil War and immigration, discrimination in America 



INTEBPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN POLITICS 31 

was almost solely on religious grounds. In the decades that followed, the 
rising social classes began to create status demarcations. For an excellent 
account of the turning-point in social discrimination in America, i.e., its 
emergence in an egalitarian society, see the essay by Oscar Handlin, 
"The Acquisition of Political and Social Rights by tie Jews in the United 
States*" in the American Jewish Yearbook, 1955. 

In the expansion and prosperity of the 1870 s and 1880 s, Professor 
Handlin points out, "many a man having earned a fortune, even a 
modest one, thereafter found himself laboring under the burden of com 
plex anxieties. He knew that success was by its nature evanescent. For 
tunes were made only to be lost; what was earned in one generation 
would disappear in the next. Such a man, therefore, wished not only to 
retain that which he had gained; he was also eager for the social 
recognition that would permit him to enjoy his possessions; and he 
sought to extend these on in time through his family. . . . The last 
decades of the nineteenth century therefore witnessed a succession of 
attempts to set up areas of exclusiveness that would mark ojE the favored 
groups and protect them against excessive contact with outsiders. In 
imitation of the English model, there was an effort to create a *high 
society* with its own protocol and conventions, with suitable residences 
in suitable districts, with distinctive clubs and media of entertainment, 
all of which would mark off and preserve the wealth of the fortunate 
families." 

For an account of a parallel development in England, see the essay 
by Miriam Beard hi the volume by Graeber and Britt, Jews in a Gentile 
World. For the sources of discrimination in American traditions and 
populism, see Daniel Bell, "The Grassroots of Jew Hatred in America," 
The Jewish Frontier, June 1944. 

16 Svend Ranulf, Moral Indignation and Middle Class Psychology, 
Copenhagen, 1938. 

17 De Tocqueville, Democracy in America. New York, 1945, volume 
II, page 134. 

18 H. Richard Niebuhr, Social Sources of Denominationdism, New 
York, 1929, page 141. 

19 See W. W. Sweet, Revivalism in America, New York, 1944. 

20 Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays, New York, 1950. 

21 Granville Hicks, Where We Came Out, New York, 1954. 

22 1 have attempted to assemble some of that evidence in my essay on 
the history of American Marxist parties in the volume Socialism and 
American Life, edited by Egbert and Persons, Princeton, 1952. 

23 The sense of being a hunted, isolated minority is reflected quite 
vividly in an editorial note in The FreemanJune, 1955: "Since the 
advent of the New Deal (An Americanized version of Fabian socialism) 
the mass circulation media in this country have virtually closed their 
columns to opposition articles. For this they can hardly be blamed; their 
business is to sell paper at so much a pound and advertising space at so 
much a line. They must give the masses what they believe the masses 
want, if they are to maintain their mass circulation business; and there 
is no doubt that the promises of socialism reiterated by the propaganda 
machine of the government, have made it popular and dulled the public 
mind to the verities of freedom." 

24 Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation, Oxford edi- 



o The New American Right 

tion, page 3; see also, Elie Halevy, Growth of Philosophical Radicalism, 
New York, 1928; pp. 14-18. 

25 The distinction, thus, is more than one between opinion and be 
havior. Quite often an ideological decision will have greater weight for 
a group than immediate self-interest (defined in rational market terms), 
and the group will act on the basis of ideology. The task of a realistic 
social psychology is to identify under what circumstances the ideological 
or market conditions will prevail. 

as Edmund Wilson, in Eight Essays, New York, 1954 (Anchor Books), 
page 213. 

27 See Harold J. Laski, The Rise of Liberalism, New York, 1938, pp. 
43-51. Also, Franz Neumann, Behemoth, New York, pp. 442-447. 

28 See Neal Riemer, "J ames Madison s Theory of the Self -Destructive 
Features of Republican Government," Ethics. 

29 See John Stuart Mill, Representative Government ( Everyman edi 
tion, 1936), pp. 209, 201. 



The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt 



RICHARD HOFSTADTER 



TWENTY YEARS ago the dynamic 
force in American political life came from the side of 
liberal dissent, from the impulse to reform the inequities 
of our economic, and social system and to change our 
ways of doing things, to the end that the sufferings of the 
Great Depression would never be repeated. Today the 
dynamic force in our political life no longer comes from 
the liberals who made the New Deal possible. By 1952 
the liberals had had at least the trappings of power for 
twenty years. They could look back to a brief, exciting 
period in the mid-thirties when they had held power 
itself and had been able to transform the economic and 
administrative life of the nation. After twenty years the 

33 



34 The New American Right 

New Deal liberals have quite unconsciously taken on the 
psychology of those who have entered into possession. 
Moreover, a large part of the New Deal public, the 
jobless, distracted and bewildered men of 1933, have in 
the course of the years found substantial places in society 
for themselves, have become home-owners, suburbanites 
and solid citizens. Many of them still keep the emotional 
commitments to the liberal dissent with which they grew 
up politically, but their social position is one of solid 
comfort. Among them the dominant tone has become one 
of satisfaction, even of a kind of conservatism. Insofar as 
Adlai Stevenson won their enthusiasm in 1952, it was not 
in spite of, but in part because of the air of poised and 
reliable conservatism that he brought to the Democratic 
convention. By comparison, Harry Truman s impassioned 
rhetoric, with its occasional thrusts at "Wall Street," 
seemed passe and rather embarrassing. The change did 
not escape Stevenson himself. "The strange alchemy of 
time," he said in a speech at Columbus, "has somehow 
converted the Democrats into the truly conservative party 
of this country the party dedicated to conserving all that 
is best, and building solidly and safely on these founda 
tions." The most that the old liberals can now envisage is 
not to carry on with some ambitious new program, but 
simply to defend as much as possible of the old achieve 
ments and to try to keep traditional liberties of expression 
that are threatened. 

There is, however, a dynamic of dissent in America 
today. Representing no more than a modest fraction of 
the electorate, it is not so powerful as the liberal dissent 
of the New Deal era, but it is powerful enough to set the 
tone of our political life and to establish throughout the 
country a kind of punitive reaction. The new dissent is 
certainly not radical-there are hardly any radicals of any 
sort left-nor is it precisely conservative. Unlike most of 
the liberal dissent of the past, the new dissent not only 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 35 

has no respect for non-conformism, but is based upon a 
relentless demand for conformity, It can most accurately 
be called pseudo-conservative I borrow the term from 
the study of The Authoritarian Personality published five 
years ago by Theodore W. Adorno and his associates 
because its exponents, although they believe themselves 
to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of 
conservatism, show signs of a serious and restless dissatis 
faction with American life, traditions and institutions. 
They have little in common with the temperate and com 
promising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense 
of the word, and they are far from pleased with the domi 
nant practical conservatism of the moment as it is repre 
sented by the Eisenhower Administration. Their political 
reactions express rather a profound if largely unconscious 
hatred of our society and its ways a hatred which one 
would hesitate to impute to them if one did not have sug 
gestive clinical evidence. 

From clinical interviews and thematic apperception 
tests, Adorno and his co-workers found that their pseudo- 
conservative subjects, although given to a form of politi 
cal expression that combines a curious mixture of largely 
conservative with occasional radical notions, succeed in 
concealing from themselves impulsive tendencies that, if 
released in action, would be very far from conservative. 
The pseudo-conservative, Adorno writes, shows "conven 
tionality and authoritarian submissiveness" in his con 
scious thinking and "violence, anarchic impulses, and 
chaotic destructiveness in the unconscious sphere. . . . 
The pseudo conservative is a man who, in the name of 
upholding traditional American values and institutions 
and defending them against more or less fictitious dan 
gers, consciously or unconsciously aims at their aboli 
tion," 1 

Who is the pseudo-conservative, and what does he 
want? It is impossible to identify him by class, for the 



36 The New American Right 

pseudo-conservative impulse can be found in practically 
all classes in society, although its power probably rests 
largely upon its appeal to the less educated members of 
the middle classes. The ideology of pseudo-conservatism 
can be characterized but not defined, because the pseudo- 
conservative tends to be more than ordinarily incoherent 
about politics. The lady who, when General Eisenhower s 
victory over Senator Taft had finally become official, 
stalked out of the Hilton Hotel declaiming, "This means 
eight more years of socialism" was probably a fairly good 
representative of the pseudo-conservative mentality. So 
also were the gentlemen who, at the Freedom Congress 
held at Omaha over a year ago by some "patriotic" organi 
zations, objected to Earl Warren s appointment to the 
Supreme Court with the assertion: "Middle-of-the-road 
thinking can and will destroy us"; the general who spoke 
to the same group, demanding "an Air Force capable of 
wiping^ out the Russian Air Force and industry in one 
sweep," but also "a material reduction in military expen 
ditures" 2 the people who a few years ago believed simul 
taneously that we had no business to be fighting com 
munism in Korea, but that the war should immediately 
be extended to an Asia-wide crusade against communism- 
and the most ardent supporters of the Bricker Amend 
ment Many of the most zealous Mowers of Senator 
McCarthy are also pseudo-conservatives, although there 
arepresumably a great many others who are not. 

The restlessness, suspicion and fear manifested in vari 
ous phases of the pseudo-conservative revolt give evidence 
of the real suffering which the pseudo-conservative ex- 
penences in his capacity as a citizen. He believes himself 

fa^stTeir I * Whidl ^ iS Spled Up n P Iotted 

^^^s?^3S^? 

fj^*!. T_ , uppoj>ea to almost evervthincr 

that has happened in American politics for the past twenty 



THE PSEXJBO-CONSEKVATIVE BEVOLT 37 

years. He hates the very thought of Franklin D. Roosevelt. 
He is disturbed deeply by American participation in the 
United Nations, which he can see only as a sinister 
organization. He sees his own country as being so weak 
that it is constantly about to fall victim to subversion; 
and yet he feels that it is so all-powerful that any failure 
it may experience in getting its way in the world for 
instance, in the Orient cannot possibly be due to its 
limitations but must be attributed to its having been 
betrayed. 3 He is the most bitter of all our citizens about 
our involvement in the wars of the past, but seems the 
least concerned about avoiding the next one. While he 
naturally does not like Soviet communism, what dis 
tinguishes him from the rest of us who also dislike it is 
that he shows little interest in, is often indeed bitterly 
hostile to such realistic measures as might actually 
strengthen the United States vis-a-vis Russia. He would 
much rather concern himself with the domestic scene, 
where communism is weak, than with those areas of the 
world where it is really strong and threatening. He wants 
to have nothing to do with the democratic nations of 
Western Europe, which seem to draw more of his ire 
than the Soviet Communists, and he is opposed to all 
"give-away programs" designed to aid and strengthen 
these nations. Indeed, he is likely to be antagonistic to 
most of the operations of our federal government except 
Congressional investigations, and to almost all of its ex 
penditures. Not always, however, does he go so far as the 
speaker at the Freedom Congress who attributed the 
greater part of our national difficulties to "this nasty, 
stinking 16th [income tax] Amendment." 

A great deal of pseudo-conservative thinking takes the 
form of trying to devise means of absolute protection 
against that betrayal by our own officialdom which the 
pseudo-conservative feels is always imminent. The Bricker 
Amendment, indeed, might be taken as one of the primary 



g8 The New American Right 

symptoms of pseudo-conservatism. Every dissenting move 
ment brings its demand for Constitutional changes; and 
the pseudo-conservative revolt, far from being an excep 
tion to this principle, seems to specialize in Constitutional 
revision, at least as a speculative enterprise. The wide 
spread latent hostility toward American institutions takes 
the form, among other things, of a flood of proposals to 
write drastic changes into the body of our fundamental 
law. Last summer, in a characteristically astute piece, 
Richard Rovere pointed out that Constitution-amending 
had become almost a major diversion in the Eighty-third 
Congress. 4 About a hundred amendments were introduced 
and referred to committee. Several of these called for the 
repeal of the income tax. Several embodied formulas of 
various kinds to limit non-military expenditures to some 
fixed portion of the national income. One proposed to bar 
all federal expenditures on "the general welfare"; another, 
to prohibit American troops from serving in any foreign 
country except on the soil of the potential enemy; another, 
to redefine treason to embrace not only persons trying to 
overthrow the government but also those trying to 
"weaken" it, even by peaceful means. The last proposal 
might bring the pseudo-conservative rebels themselves 
under the ban of treason: for the sum total of these 
amendments might easily serve to bring the whole struc 
ture of American society crashing to the ground. 

As Mr. Rovere points out, it is not unusual for a large 
number of Constitutional amendments to be lying about 
somewhere in the Congressional hoppers. What is unusual 
is the readiness the Senate has shown to give them 
respectful consideration, and the peculiar populistic argu 
ments some of its leading members have used to justify 
referring them to the state legislatures. While the ordinary 
Congress hardly ever has occasion to consider more than 
erne amendment the Eighty-third Congress saw six Con 
stitutional amendments brought to the floor of the Senate 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 39 

all summoning simple majorities, and four winning the 
two-thirds majority necessary before they can be sent to 
the House and ultimately to the state legislatures. It must 
be added that, with the possible exception of the Bricker 
Amendment itself, none of the six amendments so honored 
can be classed with the most extreme proposals. But the 
pliability of the senators, the eagerness of some of them 
to pass the buck and defer to "the people of the country," 
suggests how strong they feel the pressure to be for some 
kind of change that will give expression to that vague 
desire to repudiate the past that underlies the pseudo- 
conservative revolt. 

One of the most urgent questions we can ask about 
the United States in our time is the question of where all 
this sentiment arose. The readiest answer is that the new 
pseudo-conservatism is simply the old ultra-conservatism 
and the old isolationism heightened by the extraordinary 
pressures of the contemporary world. This answer, true 
though it may be, gives a deceptive sense of familiarity 
without much deepening our understanding, for the par 
ticular patterns of American isolationism and extreme 
right-wing thinking have themselves not been very satis 
factorily explored. It will not do, to take but one example, 
to say that some people want the income tax amendment 
repealed because taxes have become very heavy in the 
past twenty years: for this will not explain why, of three 
people in die same tax bracket, one will grin and bear it 
and continue to support social welfare legislation as well 
as an adequate defense, while another responds by sup 
porting in a matter-of-fact way the practical conservative 
leadership of the moment, and the third finds his feelings 
satisfied only by the angry conspiratorial accusations and 
extreme demands of the pseudo-conservative. 

No doubt the circumstances determining the political 
style of any individual are complex. Although I am con 
cerned here to discuss some of the neglected social- 



40 The New American Right 

psychological elements in pseudo-conservatism, I do not 
wish to appear to deny the presence of important econo 
mic and political causes. I am aware, for instance, that 
wealthy reactionaries try to use pseudo-conservative or 
ganizers, spokesmen and groups to propagate their notions 
of public policy, and that some organizers of pseudo- 
conservative and "patriotic" groups often find in this work 
a means of making a living thus turning a tendency 
toward paranoia into a vocational asset, probably one of 
the most perverse forms of occupational therapy known 
to man. A number of other circumstances the drastic 
inflation and heavy taxes of our time, the dissolution of 
American urban life, considerations of partisan political 
expediency also play a part. But none of these things 
seem to explain the broad appeal of pseudo-conservatism, 
its emotional intensity, its dense and massive irrationality, 
or some of the peculiar ideas it generates. Nor will they 
explain why those who profit by the organized movements 
find such a ready following among a large number of 
people, and why the rank-and-file janizaries of pseudo- 
conservatism are so eager to hurl accusations, write letters 
to congressmen and editors, and expend so much emo 
tional energy and crusading idealism upon causes that 
plainly bring them no material reward. 

Elmer Davis, seeking to account for such sentiment in 
his recent book, But We Were Bom Free, ventures a 
psychological hypothesis. He concludes, if I understand 
him correctly, that the genuine difficulties of our situation 
in the face of the power of international communism have 
inspired a widespread feeling of fear and frustration, and 
that those who cannot face these problems in a more 
rational way "take it out on their less influential neigh 
bors, in the mood of a man who, being afraid to stand 
up to his wife in a domestic argument, relieves his feelings 
by kicking ; the cat/- This suggestion has the merit of 
both simplicity and plausibility, and it may begin to 
account for a portion of the pseudo-conservative public 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 41 

But while we may dismiss our curiosity about the man 
who kicks the cat by remarking that some idiosyncrasy in 
his personal development has brought him to this pass, 
we can hardly help but wonder whether there are not, 
in the backgrounds of the hundreds of thousands of 
persons who are moved by the pseudo-conservative im 
pulse, some commonly shared circumstances that will help 
to account for their all kicking the cat in unison. 

All of us have reason to fear the power of international 
communism, and all our lives are profoundly affected by 
it. Why do some Americans try to face this threat for 
what it is, a problem that exists in a world-wide theater 
of action, while others try to reduce it largely to a matter 
of domestic conformity? Why do some of us prefer to look 
for allies in the democratic world, while others seem to 
prefer authoritarian allies or none at all? Why do the 
pseudo-conservatives express such a persistent fear and 
suspicion of their own government, whether its leadership 
rests in the hands of Roosevelt, Truman or Eisenhower? 
Why is the pseudo-conservative impelled to go beyond 
the more or less routine partisan argument that we have 
been the victims of considerable misgovernment during 
the past twenty years to the disquieting accusation that 
we have actually been the victims of persistent con 
spiracy and betrayal "twenty years of treason"? Is it not 
true, moreover, that political types very similar to the 
pseudo-conservative have had a long history in the 
United States, and that this history goes back to a time 
when the Soviet power did not loom nearly so large on 
our mental horizons? Was the Ku Klux Klan, for instance, 
which was responsibly estimated to have had a member 
ship of from 4,000,000 to 4,500,000 persons at its peak 
in the 1920 s, a phenomenon totally dissimilar to the 
pseudo-conservative revolt? 

What I wish to suggest and I do so in the spirit of one 
setting forth nothing more than a speculative hypothesis 
is that pseudo-conservatism is in good part a product of 



42. The New American Right 

the rootlessness and heterogeneity of American life, and 
above all, of its peculiar scramble for status and its 
peculiar search for secure identity. Normally there is a 
world of difference between one s sense of national iden 
tity or cultural belonging and one s social status. How 
ever, in American historical development, these two 
things, so easily distinguishable in analysis, have been 
jumbled together in reality, and it is precisely this that 
has given such a special poignancy and urgency to our 
status-strivings. In this country a person s status that is, 
his relative place in the prestige hierarchy of his com 
munityand his rudimentary sense of belonging to the 
community-that is, what we call his "Americanism" 
have been intimately joined. Because, as a people ex 
tremely democratic in our social institutions, we have had 
no clear, consistent and recognizable system of status, 
our personal status problems have an unusual intensity. 
Because we no longer have the relative ethnic homo 
geneity we had up to about eighty years ago, our sense 
of belonging has long had about it a high degree of 
uncertainty. We boast of "the melting pot," but we are 
not quite sure what it is that will remain when we have 
been melted down. 

We have always been proud of the high degree of oc 
cupational mobility in our country-of the greater readi 
ness, as compared with other countries, with which a 
person starting in a very humble place in our social 
structure could rise to a position of moderate wealth and 
status, and with which a person starting with a middling 
position could rise to great eminence. We have looked 
upon this as laudable in principle, for it is democratic 
and as pragmatically desirable, for it has served many a 
man as a stimulus to effort and has, no doubt, a great 
deal to do with the energetic and effectual tone of our 
economic life. The American pattern of occupational 
mobility, while often much exaggerated, as in the Horatio 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 43 

Alger stories and a great deal of the rest of our mythology, 
may properly be credited with many of the virtues and 
beneficial effects that are usually attributed to it. But this 
occupational and social mobility, compounded by our 
extraordinary mobility from place to place, has also had 
its less frequently recognized drawbacks. Not the least of 
them is that this has become a country in which so many 
people do not know who they are or what they are or 
what they belong to or what belongs to them. It is a 
country of people whose status expectations are random 
and uncertain, and yet whose status aspirations have been 
whipped up to a high pitch by our democratic ethos and 
our rags-to-riches mythology. 6 

In a country where physical needs have been, by the 
scale of the world s living standards, on the whole well 
met, the luxury of questing after status has assumed an 
unusually prominent place in our civic consciousness. 
Political life is not simply an arena in which the con 
flicting interests of various social groups in concrete 
material gains are fought out; it is also an arena into 
which status aspirations and frustrations are, as the psy 
chologists would say, projected. It is at this point that 
the issues of politics, or the pretended issues of politics, 
become interwoven with and dependent upon the per 
sonal problems of individuals. We have, at all times, two 
kinds of processes going on in inextricable connection 
with each other: interest politics, the clash of material 
aims and needs among various groups and blocs; and 
status politics, the clash of various projective rationaliza 
tions arising from status aspirations and other personal 
motives. In times of depression and economic discontent 
and by and large in times of acute national emergency 
politics is more clearly a matter of interests, although 
of course status considerations are still present. In times 
of prosperity and general well-being on the material 
plane, status considerations among the masses can become 



44 The New American Right 

much more influential in our politics. The two periods in 
our recent history in which status politics has been par 
ticularly prominent, the present era and the 1920 s, have 
both been periods of prosperity, 

During depressions, the dominant motif in dissent takes 
expression in proposals for reform or in panaceas. Dissent 
then tends to be highly programmatic that is, it gets 
itself embodied in many kinds of concrete legislative pro 
posals. It is also future-oriented and forward-looking, in 
the sense that it looks to a time when the adoption of 
this or that program will materially alleviate or eliminate 
certain discontents. In prosperity, however, when status 
politics becomes relatively more important, there is a ten 
dency to embody discontent not so much in legislative 
proposals as in grousing. For the basic aspirations that 
underlie status discontent are only partially conscious; 
and, even so far as they are conscious, it is difficult to give 
them a programmatic expression. It is more difficult for 
the old lady who belongs to the D.A.R. and who sees her 
ancestral home swamped by new working-class dwellings 
to express her animus in concrete proposals of any degree 
of reality than it is, say, for the jobless worker during a 
slump to rally to a relief program. Therefore, it is the 
tendency of status politics to be expressed more in vin- 
dictiveness, in sour memories, in the search for scape 
goats, than in realistic proposals for positive action. 7 

Paradoxically the intense status concerns of present-day 
politics are shared by two types of persons who arrive 
at them, in a sense, from opposite directions. The first are 
found among some types of old-family, Anglo-Saxon 
Protestants, and the second are found among many types 
of immigrant families, most notably among the Germans 
and Irish, who are very frequently Catholic. The Anglo- 
Saxons are most disposed toward pseudo-conservatism 
when they are losing caste, the immigrants when they are 
gaining. 8 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 45 

Consider first the old-family Americans. These people, 
whose stocks were once far more unequivocally dominant 
in America than they are today, feel that their ancestors 
made and settled and fought for this country. They have 
a certain inherited sense of proprietorship in it. Since 
America has always accorded a certain special deference 
to old families so many of our families are new these 
people have considerable claims to status hy descent, 
which they celebrate by membership in such organiza 
tions as the D.A.R. and the S.A.R. But large numbers of 
them are actually losing their other claims to status. For 
there are among them a considerable number of the 
shabby genteel, of those who for one reason or another 
have lost their old objective positions in the life of busi 
ness and politics and the professions, and who therefore 
cling with exceptional desperation to such remnants of 
their prestige as they can muster from their ancestors. 
These people, although very often quite well-to-do, feel 
that they have been pushed out of their rightful place in 
American life, even out of their neighborhoods. Most of 
them have been traditional Republicans by family inher 
itance, and they have felt themselves edged aside by the 
immigrants, the trade unions, and the urban machines in 
the past thirty years. When the immigrants were weak, 
these native elements used to indulge themselves in 
ethnic and religious snobberies at their expense. 9 Now the 
immigrant groups have developed ample means, political 
and economic, of self-defense, and the second and third 
generations have become considerably more capable of 
looking out for themselves, Some of the old-family Ameri 
cans have turned to find new objects for their resentment 
among liberals, left-wingers, intellectuals and the like 
for in true pseudo-conservative fashion they relish weak 
victims and shrink from asserting themselves against the 
strong. 

New-family Americans have had their own peculiar 



46 The New American Right 

status problem. From 1881 to 1900 over 8,800,000 immi 
grants came here, during the next twenty years another 
14,500,000. These immigrants, together with their descen 
dants, constitute such a large portion of the population 
that Margaret Mead, in a stimulating analysis of our 
national character, has persuasively urged that the char 
acteristic American outlook is now a third-generation 
point of view. 10 In their search for new lives and new 
nationality, these immigrants have suffered much, and 
they have been rebuffed and made to feel inferior by the 
"native stock," commonly being excluded from the better 
occupations and even from what has bitterly been called 
"first-class citizenship." Insecurity over social status has 
thus been naked with insecurity over one s very identity 
and sense of belonging. Achieving a better type of job or 
a better social status and becoming "more American" have 
become practically synonymous, and the passions that 
ordinarily attach to social position have been vastly 
heightened by being associated with the need to belong. 
The problems raised by the tasks of keeping the family 
together, disciplining children for the American race for 
success, trying to conform to unfamiliar standards, pro 
tecting economic and social status won at the cost of 
much sacrifice, holding the respect of children who grow 
American more rapidly than their parents, have thrown 
heavy burdens on the internal relationships of many new 
American families. Both new and old American families 
have been troubled by the changes of the past thirty 
years-the new because of their striving for middle-class 
respectability and American identity, the old because of 
their efforts to maintain an inherited social position and 
to realize under increasingly unfavorable social conditions 
imperatives of character and personal conduct deriving 
from nineteenth-century, Yankee-Protestant-rural back 
grounds The relations between generations, being cast 
in no stable mold, have been disordered, and the status 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 47 

anxieties of parents have been inflicted upon children. 11 
Often parents entertain status aspirations that they are 
unable to gratify, or that they can gratify only at excep 
tional psychic cost. Their children are expected to relieve 
their frustrations and redeem their lives. They become 
objects to be manipulated to that end. An extraordinarily 
high level of achievement is expected of them, and along 
with it a tremendous effort to conform and be respectable. 
From the standpoint of the children these expectations 
often appear in the form of an exorbitantly demanding 
authority that one dare not question or defy. Resistance 
and hostility, finding no moderate outlet in give-and-take, 
have to be suppressed, and reappear in the form of an 
internal destructive rage. An enormous hostility to au 
thority, which cannot be admitted to consciousness, calls 
forth a massive overcompensation which is manifest in 
the form of extravagant submissiveness to strong power. 
Among those found by Adorno and his colleagues to have 
strong ethnic prejudices and pseudo-conservative tenden 
cies, there is a high proportion of persons who have been 
unable to develop the capacity to criticize justly and in 
moderation the failings of parents and who are pro 
foundly intolerant of the ambiguities of thought and 
feeling that one is so likely to find in real-life situations. 
For pseudo-conservatism is among other things a disorder 
in relation to authority, characterized by an inability to 
find other modes for human relationship than those of 
more or less complete domination or submission. The 
pseudo-conservative always imagines himself to be domi 
nated and imposed upon because he feels that he is not 
dominant, and knows of no other way of interpreting his 
position. He imagines that his own government and his 
own leadership are engaged in a more or less continuous 
conspiracy against him because he has come to think of 
authority only as something that aims to manipulate and 
deprive him. It is for this reason, among others, that he 



48 The New American Right 

enjoys seeing outstanding generals, distinguished secre 
taries of state, and prominent scholars browbeaten and 
humiliated. 

Status problems take on a special importance in Ameri 
can life because a very large part of the population suffers 
from one of the most troublesome of all status questions: 
unable to enjoy the simple luxury of assuming their own 
nationality as a natural event, they are tormented by a 
nagging doubt as to whether they are really and truly and 
fully American. Since their forebears voluntarily left one 
country and embraced another, they cannot, as people do 
elsewhere, think of nationality as something that comes 
with birth; for them it is a matter of choice, and an object 
of striving. This is one reason why problems of "loyalty" 
arouse such an emotional response in many Americans 
and why it is so hard in the American climate of opinion 
to make any clear distinction between the problem of 
national security and the question of personal loyalty. Of 
course there is no real reason to doubt the loyalty to 
America of the immigrants and their descendants, or 
their willingness to serve the country as fully as if their 
ancestors had lived here for three centuries. None the 
less, they have been thrown on the defensive by those 
who have in the past cast doubts upon the fullness of 
their Americanism. Possibly they are also, consciously or 
unconsciously, troubled by the thought that since their 
forebears have already abandoned one country one alle 
giance, their own national allegiance might be considered 
ficlde. For this I believe there is some evidence in our 
national practices. What other country finds it so neces- 
saiy to create institutional rituals for the sole purpose of 
guaranteeing to its people the genuineness of their na- 
FrenClmian or the 



or e 

Itahan find it necessary to speak of himself as "one hun 
dred per cent English, French or Italian? Do they find 
it necessary to have their equivalents of "I Am an Ameri- 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 49 

can Day"? When they disagree with one another over 
national policies, do they find it necessary to call one 
another un-English, un-French or un-Italian? No doubt 
they too are troubled by subversive activities and espi 
onage, but are their countenneasures taken under the 
name of committees on un-English, un-French or un- 
Italian activities? 

The primary value of patriotic societies and anti-sub 
versive ideologies to their exponents can be found here. 
They provide additional and continued reassurance both 
to those who are of old American ancestry and have other 
status grievances and to those who are of recent American 
ancestry and therefore feel in need of reassurance about 
their nationality. Veterans organizations offer the same 
satisfaction what better evidence can there be of the 
genuineness of nationality and of earned citizenship than 
military service under the flag of one s country? Of course 
such organizations, once they exist, are liable to exploita 
tion by vested interests that can use them as pressure 
groups on behalf of particular measures and interests. 
(Veterans groups, since they lobby for the concrete 
interests of veterans, have a double role in this respect ) 
But the cement that Tiolds them together is the status 
motivation and the desire for an identity. 

Sociological studies have shown that there is a close 
relation between social mobility and ethnic prejudice. 
Persons moving downward, and even upward under many 
circumstances, in the social scale tend to show greater 
prejudice against such ethnic minorities as the Jews and 
Negroes than commonly prevails in the social strata they 
have left or are entering. 12 While the existing studies in 
this field have been focused upon prejudice rather than 
the kind of hyper-patriotism and hyper-conformism that 
I am most concerned with, I believe that the typical 
prejudiced person and the typical pseudo-conservative 
dissenter are usually the same person, that the mecha- 



5o The New American Right 

nisms at work in both complexes are quite the same, 13 
and that it is merely the expediencies and the strategy of 
the situation today that cause groups that once stressed 
racial discrimination to find other scapegoats. Both the 
displaced old-American type and the new ethnic ele 
ments that are so desperately eager for reassurance of 
their fundamental Americanism can conveniently con 
verge upon liberals, critics, and nonconformists of various 
sorts, as well as Communists and suspected Communists. 
To proclaim themselves vigilant in the pursuit of those 
who are even so much as accused of "disloyalty" to the 
United States is a way not only of reasserting but of 
advertising their own loyalty and one of the chief char 
acteristics of American super-patriotism is its constant 
inner urge toward self-advertisement. One notable quality 
in this new wave of conformism is that its advocates are 
much happier to have as their objects of hatred the 
Anglo-Saxon, Eastern, Ivy League intellectual gentlemen 
than they are with such bedraggled souls as, say, the 
Rosenbergs. The reason, I believe, is that in the minds 
of the status-driven it is no special virtue to be more 
American than the Rosenbergs, but it is really something 
to be more American than Dean Acheson or John Foster 
Dulles-or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 14 The status aspira 
tions of some of the ethnic groups are actually higher 
than they were twenty years ago-which suggests one 
reason (there are others) why, in the ideology of the 
authoritarian right-wing, anti-Semitism and such blatant 
fonns of prejudice have recently been soft-pedaled. Anti- 
Semitism, it has been said, is the poor man s snobbery. 
We Americans are always trying to raise the standard of 
living, and the same principle now seems to apply to 
standards of hating. So during the past fifteen years or 
so the authoritarians have moved on from anti-Negroism 
and anti-Semitism to anti-Achesonianism, anti-intellectu- 
ahsm, anti-nonconf ormism, and other variants of the same 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 51 

idea, much in the same way as the average American, if 
he can manage it, will move on from a Ford to a Buick. 

Such status-strivings may help us to understand some 
of the otherwise unintelligible figments of the pseudo- 
conservative ideology the incredibly bitter feeling against 
the United Nations, for instance. Is it not understandable 
that such a feeling might be, paradoxically, shared at one 
and the same time by an old Yankee-Protestant American, 
who feels that his social position is not what it ought to 
be and that these foreigners are crowding in on his coun 
try and diluting its sovereignty just as "foreigners" have 
crowded into his neighborhood, and by a second- or third- 
generation immigrant who has been trying so hard to 
de-Europeanize himself, to get Europe out of his personal 
heritage, and who finds his own government mocking him 
by its complicity in these Old- World schemes? 

Similarly, is it not status aspiration that in good part 
spurs the pseudo-conservative on toward his demand for 
conformity in a wide variety of spheres of life? Conform 
ity is a way of guaranteeing and manifesting respect 
ability among those who are not sure that they are 
respectable enough. The nonconformity of others appears 
to such persons as a frivolous challenge to the whole order 
of things they are trying so hard to become part of. Natu 
rally it is resented, and the demand for conformity in 
public becomes at once an expression of such resentment 
and a means of displaying one s own soundness. This habit 
has a tendency to spread from politics into intellectual 
and social spheres, where it can be made to challenge 
almost anyone whose pattern of life is different and who 
is imagined to enjoy a superior social position notably, 
as one agitator put it, the "parlors of the sophisticated, 
the intellectuals, the so-called academic minds." 

Why has this tide of pseudo-conservative dissent risen 
to such heights in our time? To a considerable degree, 
we must remember, it is a response, however unrealistic, 



g2 The New American Right 

to realities. We do live in a disordered world, threatened 
by a great power and a powerful ideology. It is a world 
of enormous potential violence, that has already shown 
us the ugliest capacities of the human spirit. In our own 
country there has indeed been espionage, and laxity over 
security has in fact allowed some spies to reach high 
places. There is just enough reality at most points along 
the line to give a touch of credibility to the melodramatics 
of the pseudo-conservative imagination. 

However, a number of developments in our recent his 
tory make this pseudo-conservative uprising more intelli 
gible. For two hundred years and more, various conditions 
of American development the process of continental set 
tlement, the continuous establishment in new areas of new 
status patterns, the arrival of continuous waves of new 
immigrants, each pushing the preceding waves upward in 
the ethnic hierarchy made it possible to satisfy a remark 
ably large part of the extravagant status aspirations that 
were aroused. There was a sort of automatic built-in 
status-elevator in the American social edifice. Today that 
elevator no longer operates automatically, or at least no 
longer operates in the same way. 

Secondly, the growth of the mass media of communica 
tion and their use in politics have brought politics closer 
to the people than ever before and have made politics a 
form of entertainment in which the spectators feel them 
selves involved. Thus it has become, more than ever 
before, an arena into which private emotions and personal 
problems can be readily projected. Mass communications 
have aroused the mass man. 

Thirdly, the long tenure in power of the liberal elements 
to which the pseudo-conservatives are most opposed and 
the wide variety of changes that have been introduced 
into our social, economic and administrative life have 
intensified the sense of powerlessness and victimization 
among the opponents of these changes and have widened 
the area of social issues over which they feel discontent 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 53 

There has been, among other things, the emergence of a 
wholly new struggle: the conflict between businessmen 
of certain types and the New Deal bureaucracy, which has 
spilled over into a resentment of intellectuals and experts, 

Finally, unlike our previous postwar periods, ours has 
been a period of continued crisis, from which the future 
promises no relief. In no foreign war of our history did 
we fight so long or make such sacrifices as in World War 
II. When it was over, instead of being able to resume our 
peacetime preoccupations, we were very promptly con 
fronted with another war. It is hard for a certain type 
of American, who does not think much about the world 
outside and does not want to have to do so, to understand 
why we must become involved in such an unremitting 
struggle. It will be the fate of those in power for a long 
time to come to have to conduct the delicate diplomacy 
of the cold peace without the sympathy or understanding 
of a large part of their own people. From bitter experi 
ence, Eisenhower and Dulles are learning today what 
Truman and Acheson learned yesterday. 

These considerations suggest that the pseudo-conserva 
tive political style, while it may already have passed the 
peak of its influence, is one of the long waves of twentieth- 
century American history and not a momentary mood. I 
do not share the widespread foreboding among liberals 
that this form of dissent will grow until it overwhelms our 
liberties altogether and plunges us into a totalitarian 
nightmare. Indeed, the idea that it is purely and simply 
fascist or totalitarian, as we have known these things in 
recent European history, is to my mind a false conception, 
based upon the failure to read American developments in 
terms of our peculiar American constellation of political 
realities. (It reminds me of the people who, because they 
found several close parallels between the NRA and Mus 
solini s corporate state, were once deeply troubled at the 
thought that the NRA was the beginning of American 
fascism.) However, in a populistic culture like ours, which 



54 The New American Right 

seems to lack a responsible elite with political and moral 
autonomy, and in which it is possible to exploit the wildest 
currents of public sentiment for private purposes, it is at 
least conceivable that a highly organized, vocal, active 
and well-financed minority could create a political climate 
in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety 
would become impossible. 

1 Theodore W. Adorno et al., The Authoritarian Personality (New 
York, 1950), pp. 675-76, While I have drawn heavily upon this enlight 
ening study, I have some reservations about its methods and conclusions. 
For a critical review, see Richard Christie and Marie Jahoda, eds., 
Studies in the Scope and Method of "The Authoritarian Personality" 
(Glencoe, Illinois, 1954), particularly the penetrating comments by 
Edward Shils. 

2 On the Omaha Freedom Congress see Leonard Boasberg, "Radical 
Reactionaries," The Progressive, December, 1953. 

3 See the comments of D. W. Brogan in "The Illusion o American 
Omnipotence/ Harpers, December, 1952. 

4 Richard Rovere, "Letter from Washington," New Yorker, June 19, 
1954, pp. 67-72. 

5 Elmer Davis, But We Were Born Free (New York, 1954), pp. 35-36; 
cf. pp. 21-22 and passim. 

6 Cf. in this respect the observation of Tocqueville: "It cannot be 
denied that democratic institutions strongly tend to promote the feeling 
of envy in the human heart; not so much because they afford to every 
one the means of rising to the same level with others as because these 
means perpetually disappoint the persons who employ them. Democratic 
institutions awaken and foster a passion for equality which they can 
never entirely satisfy." Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. 
by Phillips Bradley (New York, 1945), Vol. I, p. 201. 

7 Cf, Samuel LubelTs characterization of isolationism as a vengeful 
memory. The Future of American Politics (New York, 1952), Chapter 
VII. See also the comments of Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Guterman on 
the right-wing agitator: "The agitator seems to steer clear of the area of 
material needs on which liberal and democratic movements concentrate; 
his main concern is a sphere of frustration that is usually ignored in 
traditional politics. The programs that concentrate on material needs 
seem to overlook that area of moral uncertainties and emotional frustra 
tions that are the immediate manifestations of malaise. It may therefore 
be conjectured that his Mowers find the agitator s statements attractive 
not .because he occasionally promises to maintain the American standards 
or kvmg or to provide a job for everyone, but because he intimates that 
he will give them the emotional satisfactions that are denied them in the 
contemporary social and economic set-up. He offers attitudes, not 
bread. Prophets of Deceit (New York, 1949), pp. 91-92 

Every ethnic group has its own peculiar status history, and I am well 
aware that my remarks in the text slur over many important 



THE PSEUDO-CONSERVATIVE REVOLT 55 

The status history of the older immigrant groups like the Germans and 
the Irish is quite different from that of ethnic elements like the Italians, 
Poles and Czechs, who have more recently arrived at the point at which 
they are bidding for wide acceptance in the professional and white-collar 
classes, or at least for the middle-class standards of housing and con 
sumption enjoyed by these classes. The case of the Irish is of special 
interest, because the Irish, with their long-standing prominence in mu 
nicipal politics, qualified as it has been by their relative non-acceptance 
in many other spheres, have an unusually ambiguous status. In many- 
ways they have gained, while in others, particularly insofar as their 
municipal power has recently been challenged by other groups, especially 
the Italians, they have lost some status and power. The election of 1928, 
with its religious bigotry and social snobbery, inflicted upon them a 
status trauma from which they have never fully recovered, for it was 
a symbol of the Protestant majority s rejection of their ablest leadership 
on grounds quite irrelevant to merit. This feeling was kept alive by the 
breach between Al Smith and FDR, followed by the rejection of Jim 
Farley from the New Deal succession. A study of the Germans would 
perhaps emphasize the effects of uneasiness over national loyalties arising 
from the Hitler era and World War II, but extending back even to World 
War I. 

9 One of the noteworthy features of the current situation is that funda 
mentalist Protestants and fundamentalist Catholics have so commonly 
subordinated their old feuds (and for the first time in our history) to 
unite in opposition to what they usually describe as "godless" elements. 

10 Margaret Mead, And Keep Jour Powder Dry (New York, 1942), 
Chapter III. 

11 See Else Frenkel-Brunswik s "Parents and Childhood as seen through 
the Interviews/ The Authoritarian Personality, Chapter X. The author 
remarks (pp. 387-88) concerning subjects who were relatively free from 
ethnic prejudice that in their families less obedience is expected of the 
children. Parents are less status-ridden and thus show less anxiety with 
respect to conformity and are less intolerant toward manifestations of 
socially unaccepted behavior. . . . Comparatively less pronounced status- 
concern often goes hand in hand with greater richness and liberation of 
emotional life. There is, on the whole, more affection, or more uncondi 
tional affection, in the families of unprejudiced subjects. There is less 
surrender to conventional rules. . , ." 

12 Cf. Joseph Greenblum and Leonard I. Pearlin, "Vertical Mobility 
and Prejudice" in Reinhard Bendix and Seymour M. Lipset, eds., Class, 
Status and Power (Glencoe, Illinois, 1953), pp. 480-91; Bruno Bettel- 
heim and Morris Janowitz, "Ethnic Tolerance: A Function of Personal 
and Social Control/* American Journal of Sociology, Vol. IV (1949), 
pp. 137-45. 

13 The similarity is also posited by Adomo, op. cit. 3 pp. 152 ff., and 
by others (see the studies cited by him, p. 152). 

14 1 refer to such men to make the point that this animosity extends to 
those who are guilty of no wrongdoing. Of course a person like Alger 
Hiss, who has been guilty, suits much better. Hiss is the hostage the 
pseudo-conservatives hold from the New Deal generation. He is a 
heaven-sent gift. If he did not exist, the pseudo-conservatives would not 
have been able to invent him. 



The Intellectuals 
and the Discontented Classes 



DAVID RIESMAN AND 
NATHAN GLAZER 



IN THE nineteen-thirties Maury 
Maverick, who died in 1954, was a quite exceptional but 
far from untypical representative of the Texas political 
outlook: free-swinging, red-tape cutting, "a man s a man 
for a* that." Born to a famous Texas name which had 
entered the common speech, he enjoyed living up to it 
by defending the downtrodden: the Spanish- Americans of 
San Antonio; the small businessmen; and, most coura 
geously, the Communists and their right to be heard in 
the municipal auditorium. In the Maverick era Texas was 
reputed to be the most interventionist state in the Union, 
providing some of the firmest support to Roosevelt s 
foreign policy. Its influential Congressional delegation, 
which included Sam Rayburn as well as Senator Tom 

56 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 57 

Connally and a less cautious Lyndon Johnson, were Roose 
velt s stalwarts as often in domestic as in foreign policy. 
But not many years later Maverick had turned into a 
political untouchable, and Texas competed with the North 
Central isolationist belt in violent opposition to the old 
Roosevelt policies no less than to the policies of Truman, 
his successor and legitimate heir. 

Texas demonstrates in extreme form the great shift in 
the character of American politics and political thinking 
since the Second World War. We can date the change 
more precisely than that. In the election of 1948, Harry 
Truman, more unequivocally and guilelessly committed to 
many New Deal policies and attitudes than F.D.R., won 
an election against a candidate far more liberal and 
capable, if less appealingly homespun, than Eisenhower, 
Even as late as the beginning of 1950, the special political 
tone of the Roosevelt era continued to influence public 
life. We need only recall the mood of the Democratic 
Senators investigating McCarthy s charges of Communist 
infiltration into the State Department early that year. The 
transcript shows them at ease, laughing away McCarthy s 
charges, taking it for granted that the country was with 
them, and that McCarthy was another Martin Dies. Four 
years later, another group of Democratic Senators sat in 
judgment on McCarthy. They were tense and anxious, 
seeking the protective cover of J. Edgar Hoover, trying to 
seem just as good Communist-hunters indeed, better 
Republicans than any of their colleagues. In the last 
years of Truman s term, while many demagogic anti- 
Communist steps were taken by a reluctant administration 
as well as many effective ones under Acheson s be 
deviled auspices the general climate of Washington still 
remained comparatively easygoing. Congress was a par 
tially manageable menace and General Vaughan still 
could get along without knowing the difference between 
Harry Dexter White and Adolf Berle. 



^g The New American Right 

Many explanations have been offered for what appears 
to be a decisive shift in the American mentality. Fear of 
the Soviet Union is alleged by some to be the cause; 
others blame McCarthy, his allies, and his victims; others 
look for cynical explanations, while still others think that 
Americans have abandoned liberal traditions for good and 
all. In this essay we attempt to estimate the real extent 
of the shift, to delineate some factors, previously ne 
glected, which may be relevant, and to offer some very 
tentative interpretations pointing toward the revival of a 
liberal political imagination. 



Detectable and decisive shifts of political mood can 
occur, of course, without affecting the majority. And this 
seems to be what has happened in this country. The less 
educated part of the population takes a long time learning 
to form an opinion about any international matter and 
even more time to change it. It is not easily accessible to 
new information and is not trained to alter its opinions 
under exposure to the public interpretation of events. 1 
Thus, the World War II alliance with the Soviet Union 
did little to change the suspicion and distrust with which 
(apart from sheer apathy) the poor and less educated in 
this country have always regarded Russia indeed, all 
foreign countries; these people were "protected" by their 
fatalism, generalized suspiciousness, and apathy from 
the wartime messages of the movies, the OWI, and like 
agencies. Consequently, the worsening of relations with 
the Soviet Union found the "backward" strata already 
holding the appropriate attitudes toward Russia-no 
change was demanded of them, and little change oc 
curred. 

The less educated of whom we speak are of course 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCO3STTENTED CLASSES 59 

literate; they have radios and TV and buy newspapers; 
and to an Asiatic they must appear to move with fabulous 
speed. Certainly, in non-political matters (where the 
"voter" has at hand the ready mechanism of a retail store) 
fashions spread with ever faster waves, and the "back 
ward" buy "modern" in furniture long before they will 
buy it in elections. Yet it is the educated, the readers of 
editorial pages, who have customarily been responsible 
for the major changes in American political position. For 
example, the shift of this group from neutrality to inter 
vention in 1940 and 1941 allowed the Lend Lease Act to 
slip through. It also supplied the cadre under Averell 
Harriman which then energetically did the actual lend- 
ing." 

The odd situation today, however, is that such a change 
does not suffice to explain what happened between 1950 
and 1952. Many of the intelligent (i.e., college-educated) 
and articulate minority still in the main are not unsym 
pathetic to Roosevelt s and Truman s foreign policies. 
They believe that the alliances with Britain and France 
must be maintained; they do not regard Communist 
infiltration as a serious problem; they do regard the threat 
to civil liberties by Communist hunters as a serious prob 
lem. If they do not always say so, this is partly for protec 
tive coloration, partly because, as we shall see, they have 
been put on the defensive not only strategically but also 
within themselves, (There are of course others of the 
college-educated who have always hated Truman and 
Roosevelt, largely for domestic "that man" reasons; they 
are not averse to using foreign policy as a heaven-sent 
means of vindication.) 

As we have seen, the shift has not been among the 
inarticulate they have always held their present atti 
tudes. The decisive factors, we suggest, have been two 
fold, and interconnected. On the one hand, the opinion 
leaders among the educated strata the intellectuals and 



5o The New American Right 

those who take cues from them have been silenced, 
rather more by their own feelings of inadequacy and 
failure than by direct intimidation. On the other hand, 
many who were once among the inarticulate masses are 
no longer silent: an unacknowledged social revolution has 
transformed their situation. Rejecting the liberal intellec 
tuals as guides, they have echoed and reinforced the 
stridency of right-wing demi-inteUectuals themselves 
often arising from those we shall, until we can find a 
less clumsy name, call the ex-masses. 



During the New Deal days a group of intellectuals led 
and played lawyer for classes of discontented people who 
had tasted prosperity and lost it, and for a mass of under 
privileged people who had been promised prosperity and 
seen enough mobility around them to believe in it. Today, 
both sources of discontent have virtually disappeared as a 
result of fifteen years of prosperity. 2 This same prosperity, 
and its attendant inflation, has hit many elderly and 
retired people who cannot adjust financially, politically, 
or psychologically to the altered value of a dollar people, 
who, though they have the money, cannot bring them 
selves to repair their homes because they have not been 
brought up to "do it yourself nor to pay three dollars 
an hour to someone else for doing it. Among the youth, 
too, are many people who are at once the beneficiaries 
and the victims of prosperity, people made ill-at-ease by 
an affluence not preceded by imagining its reality, nor 
preceded by a change to a character-structure more at 
tuned to amenity than to hardship. The raw-rich Texas 
millionaire appears often to be obsessed by fears that 
"they" will take his money away-almost as if he were 
fascinated by a fatality which would bring him, as it 
were, back to earth. 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 6l 

These people, whether suddenly affluent or simply 
better off, form a new middle class, called out of the city 
tenements and the marginal small towns by the uneven 
hand of national prosperity; many have moved to the 
fringes of urban centers, large and small. This has been 
described in Fortune as a new middle-class market, which 
will play a great role in keeping the economy prosperous. 
But in politics, these former masses do not have so benign 
an influencewe shall call them the discontented classes. 

Their discontent is only partially rooted in relative 
economic deprivation. Many of them, it is true, forgetting 
their condition of fifteen years ago, see only that the 
salaries and income they would once have thought prince 
ly do not add up to much. Politically, such people, think 
ing in terms of a relatively fixed income (in this case, of 
course, not from capital, save occasional rentals, but from 
salaries and wages) against a standard of variable ex 
penses, are generally conservative. And their conservatism 
is of a pinched and narrow sort, less interested in the 
preservation of ancient principles than in the current 
reduction of government expenditures and taxes. It is the 
conservatism we usually associate with provincial France 
rather than with the small-town venture capitalist of the 
older Yankee sort. This conservatism helps create the 
particular posture of the discontented classes vis-^-vis 
America s foreign role: they are mad at the rest of the 
world for bothering them, hate to waste money in spank 
ings and cannot stand wasting money in rewards. 

But more significant, and more difficult to understand 
and grapple with, is a discontent which arises from the 
mental discomforts that come with belonging to a class 
rather than a mass discomforts founded less on economic 
than on intellectual uncertainty. If one belongs to the 
middle class one is supposed to have an opinion, to cope 
with the world as well as with one s job and immediate 
surroundings. But these new members have entered a 
realm where the interpretations of the world put forth 



62 The New American Right 

by intellectuals in recent decades, and widely held among 
the educated, are unsatisfying, even threatening. Having 
precariously won respectability in paycheck and consump 
tion style, they find this achievement menaced by a politi 
cal and more broadly cultural outlook tending to lower 
barriers of any sort between this nation and other nations, 
between groups in this nation ( as in the constant appeals 
to inter-ethnic amity), between housing projects reserved 
for Negroes and suburbs reserved for whites; many fami 
lies also cannot stand the pressure to lower barriers be 
tween men and women, or between parents and children. 

When this barrier-destroying outlook of the intellectuals 
promised economic advance as well as racial equality, 
many of the impoverished could accept the former and 
ignore the latter. Now, having achieved a modicum of 
prosperity, the political philosophy of the intellectuals, 
which always requires government spending, taxes, and 
inflation, is a threat and the racial equality, which could 
be viewed with indifference in the city tenement or 
homogeneous small town, is a formidable reality in the 
new suburbs. When the intellectuals were developing the 
ideology justifying cutting in the masses on the bounties 
of American productivity, they were less apt to be called 
do-gooders and bleeding hearts the grown-up version of 
that unendurable taunt of being a sissy than now when 
the greater part of the masses needing help are outside 
the nation s boundaries. 3 

Very often, moreover, the individuals making up the 
discontented classes have come, not to the large civilizing 
cities, but to the new or expanding industrial frontiers 
to Wichita and Rock Island, to Jacksonville or the Gulf 
Coast, to Houston or San Diego, to Tacoma or Tona- 
wanda. Even those who become very rich no longer head 
automatically for New York and Newport. Whereas the 
Baptist Rockefeller, coming from Cleveland where he was 
educated, allowed Easterners to help civilize him by 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 63 

giving away his money, as Carnegie and Frick also did, 
these new rich lack such centralized opportunities for 
gratuitous benevolence, being constrained by the income 
tax and the institutionalization of philanthropy. And their 
wives (whatever their secret and suppressed yearnings) 
no longer seem to want the approval of Eastern women of 
culture and fashion; they choose to remain within their 
provincial orbits, rather than to become immigrants to an 
alien cosmopolitan center. Indeed, the airplane has made 
it possible for the men and Vogue and Neiman-Marcus 
for the women to share in the advantages of New York 
without the miseries, expenses, and contaminations of 
living there. Howard Hughes, for example, can do busi 
ness operating from a plane, yacht, or hotel room. 

All this, however, puts some complex processes too 
simply. New big money in America has always tended to 
unsettle its possessors and the society at large. For one 
thing, the absence of an aristocracy means that there is 
no single, time-approved course of buying land, being 
deferential to the values of those already on the land, and 
earning a title by good behavior. Though Rockefeller tried 
philanthropy, he was still hated, still needed the services 
of Ivy Lee. Yet he lived at a time when the aristocratic 
model, in Europe if not here, provided certain guide-posts. 
Today, the enormously wealthy new men of Texas have 
not even the promise of an assured well-traveled road, at 
the end of which stand duchesses, Newport, and gate 
keepers like Ward McAllister. Instead, such men may 
prefer to buy a television program for McCarthy, or to 
acquire the publishing firm of Henry Holt, or, on behalf 
of an anti-Wall Street business demagogue, the very rail 
road which once helped cement New York "Society," 

Moreover, the partial and uneven spread of cosmo 
politan values to the lower strata and to the hinterland 
has as one consequence the fact that rich men can no 
longer simply spend their way to salvation. Conspicuous 



g 4 The New American Right 

underconsumption has replaced conspicuous consumption 
as the visible sign of status, with the result that men who 
have made enough money to indulge the gaudy dreams of 
their underprivileged youth learn all too fast that they 
must not be flamboyant. This is a trick that the older 
centers of culture have played on the newer centers of 
wealth. The latter can try to catch up; Baylor and Hous 
ton Universities, and the Dallas Symphony, have not done 
too badly. Or they can enter the still gaudy forum of 
politics to get back at those they suspect of ridiculing 
their efforts. Perhaps there was something of this in 
Hearst, as there is in some of the newer magnates of the 
media. Senator McCarthy, with his gruff charm and his 
Populist roots, seems made to order for such men; and 
he has attracted some of the political plungers among the 
new underprivileged rich, 4 a task made easier by the 
fact that they have too few intellectuals and idea men to 
divide and distract them. 

Furthermore, a great many Americans, newly risen 
from poverty or the catastrophe of the Depression, are 
much more fearful of losing their wealth than are scions 
of more established families already accustomed to paying 
taxes, to giving to charity, and to the practice of noblesse 
oblige. We know many men who made their money in 
war orders, or through buying government-financed 
pknts, or through price supports, who hate the federal 
government with the ferocity of beneficiaries and doubt 
less want to cut off aid from the ungrateful French or 
British! Such men cannot admit that they did not make 
"their" money by their own efforts; they would like to 
abolish tie income tax, and with it the whole nexus of 
defense and international relations, if only to assert their 
own anachronistic individualism the more firmly. They 
are likely to be clients, not only of lawyers who specialize 
in the capital gains tax, but also of prophets and politi 
cians specializing in the bogeys of adults. 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 65 

The rapid and unanticipated acquisition of power seems 
to produce a sense of unreality people are "up in the air." 
We face the paradox that many Americans are more 
fearful today though more prosperous than ever before 
and though America is in some ways more powerful. 



It is the professional business of politicians, as of other 
promoters and organizers, to find in the electorate or other 
constituency organizable blocs who will shift their alle 
giance to them, who will respond with passion in the 
midst of indifference, and with identification in the midst 
of diffuse and plural ties. In the pre- World War I days of 
the great outcry against the Trusts, it was possible to 
find a few old and dislocated middle-class elements which 
resented the new dominance by big and baronial business 
in some respects, these were precursors of the present 
discontented classes, though with more to hope for and 
less to fear. In the thirties, the way had already in large 
measure been prepared for an appeal to unemployed 
factory workers and Southern and Western fanners on 
the basis of Wilsonian and Populist rhetoric, made into a 
heady brew by more recent infusions of radicalism, native 
and imported. These discontented masses showed in their 
voting behavior (in NLRB and Agricultural Adjustment 
Act elections as well as at the polls) that the appeal, 
whatever it meant to those who made it, hit home in 
terms of the listeners* wants and situation. 

How can the discontented classes of today be welded 
into a political bloc? This is the question that haunts and 
tempts politicians. The uncertainty of the Democrats 
faced with Stevenson and of the Republicans faced with 
McCarthy signifies not only disagreements of principle but 
also doubts as to whether a proper appeal has as yet 



gg The New American Right 

been found on which a ruling or controlling coalition can 
be built. As geologists cover the earth prospecting for 
oil, so politicians cover the electorate prospecting for 
hidden hatreds and identities. 

In local elections campaigns can be waged on the 
promise to hold down taxes and build no more schools. 
And many people in national affairs will respond to a 
promise to hold down inflation or to create more jobs. 
But when voters feel insecure in the midst of prosperity, 
it is not an economic appeal that will really arouse them. 
For it is not the jobs or goods they do not have that 
worry them; indeed, what worries them is often that they 
do not know what worries them, or why, having reached 
the promised land, they still suffer. Sharply felt needs 
have been replaced by vague discontents; and at such a 
time programs or clear-cut ideas of any kind are worse 
than useless, politically speaking. This is one reason why 
the appeal to the discontented classes is so often more a 
matter of tone than of substancewhy a gesture of retro 
active vindictiveness like the Bricker Amendment can 
arouse angry Minute Women and small-town lawyers, 
why on the whole the pseudo-conservative right has so 
small a program and so belligerent a stance. In this 
situation, ideology tends to become more important than 
economics. 5 

And when one must resort to ideology in a prosperous 
America, one must fall back on the vaguely recalled, 
half-dreamlike allegiances and prejudices serving most 
people for ideology. Americanism, of course, will play a 
major role; but, paradoxically enough, so do those under 
ground half-conscious ethnic allegiances and prejudices 
which, as Samuel Lubell has shown, still play a large part 
in American politics. In much that passes for anti-Com 
munism these strands are combined, as for instance for 
many Irish or Polish Catholics whose avid anti-Com 
munism enables them to feel more solidly American than 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 67 

some less fanatical Protestants who, as earlier arrivals, 
once looked down on them; similarly, a good deal of 
McCarthy s support represents the comeback of the 
German-Americans after two world wars. A haunting 
doubt about Americanism and disloyalty, however, affects 
not only those of recent enemy or socially devalued 
stocks but also those many businessmen forced to operate 
under government regulations of price and materials 
control, or under defense contracts. As Talcott Parsons 
has observed (see Chapter 5), these men are constantly 
being asked, on grounds of patriotism, to obey govern 
ment norms which they are as constantly opposing and 
evading; for them it is convenient to discover that it is 
not they who are ambivalent toward defense, but those 
others, the Reds or the State Department or the Demo 
crats. Many of these men, especially perhaps in small 
business, are victims of a prosperity which has made them 
rich but neither as enlightened as many big business 
managers nor as independent as their ideology expects 
them to be. 

Not all members of the discontented classes come from 
similar backgrounds or arrive at similar destinations; 
nevertheless, mobility a fast rise from humble origins, or 
a transplantation to the city, or a move from the factory 
class to the white-collar class is a general characteristic. 
They or their parents are likely to have voted Democratic 
sometime between 1930 and 1948, and such a memory 
makes them more susceptible to ideological appeals, for 
in rising above their impoverished or ethnically "un- 
American" beginnings, they have found it "time for a 
change" in identification: they would like to rise "above" 
economic appeals ("don t let them take it away") to ideo 
logical ones or, in more amiable terms, "above" self- 
interest to patriotism. Such people could not be brought 
in one move into the Republican Party, which would 
seem too much like a betrayal of origins, but they could 



68 The New American Right 

be brought to take a stand "above party"-and to vote for 
a non-partisan general whom the Democrats had also 
sought. According to a recent study reported by Professor 
Malcolm Moos, in two counties outside Boston the self- 
declared "independent" voters now outnumber the Repub 
licans and Democrats combined a reflection of this roving 
background of discontented classes which has become 
the most dynamic force in American political life. 6 Re 
cently, a woman who had campaigned for Eisenhower 
(while her husband voted for Stevenson) told one of us 
how much she admired Ike s sincerity, adding, "Actually 
I don t know enough about politics to identify myself 
with either one [major party], and I am a what do you 
call it an independent." Of course, not all independents 
stand in this sort of proud ignorance above parties and 
above the politicians who may have helped their parents 
with jobs or visas or the warmth of recognition. 

Just as many among the newly prosperous tend at pres 
ent to reject the traditional party labels (while others 
seek, perhaps after a split ticket or two, the protective 
coloration of the GOP), so they also reject the traditional 
cultural and educational leadership of the enlightened 
upper and upper-middle classes. They have sent their 
children to college as one way of maintaining the family s 
social and occupational mobility. Some of these children 
have become eager strivers for cosmopolitanism and 
culture, rejecting the values now held by the discon 
tented classes. But many of those who have swamped 
the colleges have acquired there, and helped their fami 
lies learn, a half-educated resentment for the traditional 
intellectual values some of their teachers and schoolmates 
represented, While their humbler parents may have main 
tained in many cases a certain reverence for education, 
their children have gained enough familiarity to feel con 
tempt (Tragically, the high schools and colleges have 
often felt compelled at the same time to lower their 



[HE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 69 

;tandards to meet the still lower level of aspiration of 
iese youngsters, no eager beavers for learning, but too 
well off to enter the labor force.) In many local school 
board fights, the old conservative and hence intellectually 
libertarian elites have been routed by lower-middle-class 
pressure groups who, often to their surprise, discovered 
the weakness of the schools and their defenders in many 
of these fights, much as on the national scene, ethnic 
elements helped identify the combatants. Once having 
seen the political weakness, combined with social prestige, 
of the traditional cultural values, the discontented classes, 
trained to despise weakness, became still less impressed 
by the intellectual cadres furnishing much of the leader 
ship in the Thirties. 

The high school and college training has had a further 
effect of strengthening the desire of the graduates to take 
some part in political life, at least by voting: we know 
that non-voting and non-participation generally is far 
more common among the uneducated. Even more, it has 
strengthened their need for an intellectual position to 
give a name, an identity, to their malaise. Whatever they 
think of intellectuals as such, they cannot do without 
them, and sustenance rejected in the form of the adult 
education work of the Ford Foundation is sought or 
accepted from mentors like Hunt s Facts Forum whose 
tone reflects their own uneasiness and yet gives it a 
factual, "scientific" cast. Thus they repay their "educa 
tion for citizenship." 

We have spoken earlier of the xenophobia and slowness 
in altering opinions characteristic of the lower classes. If 
in a survey people are asked, "Do you think it wise to 
trust others?" the less educated are always the more 
suspicious; they have in the course of life gained a 
peasant-like guile, the sort of sloganized cynicism so 
beautifully described by Richard Wright in Black Boy. 
In an hierarchical society, this distrust does not become 



yo The New American Right 

a dynamic social and political factor; except insofar as it 
prevents the organization of the masses it remains a 
problem only for individuals in their relations with, other 
individuals. But when the mistrustful, with prosperity, are 
suddenly pushed into positions of leverage, attitudes pre 
viously channeled within the family and neighborhood 
are projected upon the national and international scene. 

Recent psychoanalytically-oriented work on ethnic 
prejudice provides possible clues as to why overt anti- 
Semitism has declined at the same time that attacks on 
Harvard and other symbols of Eastern seaboard culture 
seem to have increased, In their valuable book, The 
Dynamics of Prejudice, Bruno Bettelheim and Morris 
Janowitz make the point that in America Jews and Ne 
groes divide between them the hostilities which spring 
from internal conflict: The super-ego is involved in anti- 
Semitism, since the Jew is felt to represent the valued 
but unachieved goals of ambition, money, and group 
loyalty ("clannishness"), whereas fear and hatred of the 
Negro spring from id tendencies which the individual 
cannot manage, his repressed desires for promiscuity, 
destruction of property, and general looseness of living. 
(In Europe, the Jews must do double duty, as the outlet 
for both id and super-ego dynamisms.) Today, on the 
one hand, the increasing sexual emancipation of Ameri 
cans has made the Negro a less fearsome image in terms 
of sexuality (though he remains a realistic threat to neigh 
borhood real estate and communal values) and, on the 
other hand, prosperity has meant that the Jew is no 
longer a salient emblem of enviable financial success. 
Thus, while the KKK declines the former "racial" bigot 
finds a new threat: the older educated classes of the East, 
with their culture and refinement, with "softness" and 
other amenities he does not yet feel able to afford. 7 

Furthermore, the sexual emancipation which has made 
the Negro less of a feared and admired symbol of potency 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES Jl 

has presented men with a much more difficult problem: 
the fear of homosexuality. Indeed, homosexuality becomes 
a much more feared enemy than the Negro. (It may also 
be that homosexuality is itself spreading or news of it is 
spreading, so that people are presented with an issue 
which formerly was kept under cover another conse 
quence of enlightenment.) How powerful, then, is the 
political consequence of combining the image of the 
homosexual with the image of the intellectual the State 
Department cooky-pusher Harvard-trained sissy thus be 
comes the focus of social hatred and the Jew becomes 
merely one variant of the intellectual sissyactually less 
important than the Eastern-educated snob! Many people 
say of McCarthy that they approve of his ends but not 
of his methods. We think this statement should be re 
versed to read that they approve of his methods, which 
are so obviously not sissified, but care little about his 
ends, which are irrelevant provided that the targets are 
drawn with the foregoing constellation in mind. 

As a result of all this, the left-wing and liberal intel 
lectuals, who came forward during the New Deal and 
who played so effective a role in the fight against Nazism 
and in "prematurely" delineating the nature of the Com 
munist as an enemy, today find themselves without an 
audience, their tone deprecated, their slogans ineffectual. 



Apart from this central social change, much has hap 
pened to reduce the intellectuals to a silence only tem 
porarily broken by such a clamor as that over McCarthy. 

For one thing, the success of the New Deal has silenced 
them. The New Deal as a triumphant movement at once 
of the "folk," liberal government officials, and the intel 
lectuals, came to an end in 1937. By this time the major 



72 The New American Right 

reforms, such as the NLRB and Social Security, had 
already been institutionalized, and many of the remaining 
unspent energies of the movement were dissipated in the 
Court-packing fight nominally waged to preserve the 
reforms. After this, the crusading spirit could only work 
on modifications and defenses of an extant structure (for 
instance, the last major New Deal bill, the Wages and 
Hours Act of 1938). This vacuum of goals was concealed 
by affairs in Europe; Fascism in Spain and Germany, and 
its repercussions in this country, absorbed many New 
Dealers, the intellectuals, and their allies among the 
cultivated, and provided them with an agenda. But it was 
assumed that, once the war was over, the New Dealers 
and their allies could return to the unending problem of 
controlling the business cycle and reforming the economy. 
The business cycle, however, refused to turn down, or 
did not turn down very far. The one postwar victory 
based on something like the old New Deal approach and 
coalition that of 1948 owed more to the anger of well- 
to-do farmers at the sag in agricultural prices than it did 
to the self-interested voting of the city workers. Had the 
depression come, the alliance forged by Roosevelt might 
have emerged unimpaired from the war-time National 
Unity front. But it turned out to be "too easy* to control 
the business cycle: Keynesianism was no longer esoteric 
knowledge but the normal working doctrine of adminis 
trators, liberal or conservative, and even the Republicans, 
as was demonstrated in 1953-4, could keep a down-turn 
in the business cycle under control. 

What was left on the home front? One could raise the 
floor under wages, but in a time of prosperity and infla 
tion that could not excite many beyond those, like the 
Textile Workers Union, who spoke for the worst-paid 
workers. One could press for socialized medicine, but 
this had little of the force of the old New Deal campaigns. 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 73 

One could denounce Wall Street and the interests, but it 
looked old-fashioned, and more, it divided the liberal 
intellectuals from those who, on the issues that still 
counted, were natural allies. For Wall Street was closer 
to the liberal intellectuals on the two domestic issues that 
were still alive civil rights and civil liberties and on 
the whole range of issues related to foreign policy than 
were the former allies of the liberal intellectuals, the 
fanners and the lower classes of the city, both in their 
old form as factory workers and in their new form as 
white-collar workers. 

Indeed, what has happened is that the old issues died, 
and on the new issues former friends or allies have be 
come enemies, and former enemies have become friends. 
Thus: the liberal intellectuals have had to switch their 
attitudes toward Wall Street as symbolizing both the 
great financiers and the giant corporations they organize 
and toward "small business." By 1940, one could no 
longer speak of Wall Street as "the enemy." Demographic 
shifts and the Depression, along with the increasing 
ability of industry to finance expansion from reserves, 
had already weakened the hegemony of Eastern capital. 
The New Deal, by rhetoric and by such legislation as the 
SEC and the Holding Company Act, weakened it further, 
in comparison with the growing power of mid-continent 
businessmen (not to speak of tax-privileged oil and gas 
men). And the war had the same effect, for the small 
businessmen and tougher big businessmen of the Midwest 
paid less taxes and less attention to OPA and WPB. Wall 
Street lawyers Stimson and McCloy (perhaps Wendell 
Willkie might be added), Wall Street bankers Forrestal, 
Lovett, and Harriman, all have had a far greater cosmo 
politanism and tolerance for intellectuals than do, for 
example, the big and little car dealers and other "small 
businessmen" of the Eisenhower Administration. 8 In gen- 



74 The New American Right 

eral, Wall Streeters, like the British Tories, are a chas 
tened lot and an easy symbol of abuse for pastoral and 
Populist simplifications. But, while Harry Hopkins and 
Tommy Corcoran recruited such men for Roosevelt, many 
New Dealers and their journalist and intellectual sup 
porters resented their entrance. 

They also resented the military, who were frequently 
similarly chastened men, sensitive to the limits of "free 
enterprise." The liberal political imagination in America, 
with its tendency to consider generals and admirals hope 
less conservatives, and its tendency to consider war an 
outmoded barbarity that serious thinkers should not con 
cern themselves with, was incapable of seeing that mili 
tary men, like Wall Streeters, might be natural allies in 
the new epoch, and that military issues would become at 
least as important as the domestic economic issues of the 
New Deal era. What could be more crucial today than 
the outcome of the struggle between the Strategic Air 
Command and the Army Ground Forces? Yet who con 
cerns himself with it? (The self-styled conservatives, 
being so often isolationists with overtones of manifest- 
destiny jingoism, have been on the whole even less well 
prepared to consider such issues.) 

When the comments on policy of intellectuals and aca 
demic people are dated by ignorance, the military man 
who might be guided by thoughtful civilians-and there 
are many such-feels the hopelessness of communication; 
he must, in spite of himself, resort to pressure and public 
relations to defend his service and with it his country. 
Aside from a few journalists like the Alsops, several able 
magazine editors, and a handful of academic people like 
Bernard Brodie and the late Edward Mead Earle, only 
atomic scientists (and their occasional sociological coun 
selors such as Edward A. Shils) have made serious efforts 
to grapple with such factors. 
Today, the Federal defense budget is so large as to 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 75 

leave little room for major socio-cultural argument; in 
Washington, at least, anything outside of it can be no 
more than a fringe benefit. As Eliot Janeway has pointed 
out, we are now in a defense cycle rather than a business 
cycle; and Daniel Bell, tracing this out in terms of the 
capital expansion consequences of military commitments, 
has emphasized how many of the conventional areas of 
business and social decision are foreclosed. If a depression 
permitting reshaping of political thinking is unlikely, so 
also is a huge surplus the spending of which could lead to 
a healthy controversy outside the warring military services 
and their highly placed civilian partisans. Everywhere we 
look, then, there is room for change only within a narrow 
margin, if we interpret change in terms traditional among 
intellectuals. 

At home, indeed, only the cause of racial emancipation 
remains to arouse enthusiasm. And this cause differs poli 
tically from the old New Deal causes in that it represents 
for many liberals and intellectuals a withdrawal from the 
larger statist concerns it is a cause which is carried into 
personal life and into the field of culture where it attracts 
many reflective young people who appear apathetic to 
civic and electoral politics. By its nature, the field of race 
is one in which everyone can have a hand: institution- 
alization has not proceeded nearly so far as it has with 
economic underprivilege. Thus, every state has some form 
of social security, but only a few have an FEPC; and, as 
many Americans become more sensitive to interpersonal 
considerations, they feel it imperative to work for the 
amelioration of racial slights that would not have troubled 
an earlier generation. But as we have indicated, the de 
mand for tolerance of Negroes cannot replace, politically, 
the demand for "economic equality": it is a very great and 
aggravating demand to make on children of white immi 
grants who are paying off the mortgage on their first 
suburban house. 



76 The New American Right 



Thus, for liberal intellectuals in the postwar era the 
home front could not be the arena for major policies, mo 
bilizing a majority coalition, that it was in the 1930 s; the 
focus had shifted to foreign policy. But for this the New 
Dealers and the intellectuals were generally unprepared. 
In particular, they were not prepared to view the Com 
munists and the Soviet Union as the enemy in the way 
they had earlier recognized Fascism as the enemy, and 
for this failure they were to suffer seriously. Not many 
New Dealers had actually been pro-Soviet: the liberal 
politicians, lawyers, and civil servants had little in com 
mon with Popular Front writers, who were contemptuous 
of reform and addicted to slogans about Marx, the prole 
tariat, and the Revolution. Indeed, the New Dealers were 
almost too ready to dismiss both the Stalinists and their 
left-wing sectarian critics; preoccupied with domestic re 
forms and anti-fascism, they formed no clear-cut image of 
Communism. They did not sympathize with it, let alone 
accept it, but they did not see it as a major enemy. 

Understandably, they could not be as ebullient in carry 
ing on a policy in which Communism was the major 
enemy as they could be in attacking depression and the 
interests. True, they did what was necessary: Truman s 
Point IV program and the Marshall Plan were the major 
postwar achievements of the American political imagina 
tion. However, these brilliant anti-Communist measures 
have not succeeded in saving the New Dealers from the 
taint of fellow-traveling. Moreover, these measures were 
not able to arouse among intellectuals, and sensitive young 
people, very much enthusiasm, even in the hearts of those 
active in administration of the aid program. For one thing, 
with the whole planet sending in distress signals, Point IV 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 77 

seems a drop of milk in a rusty Malthusian bucket to be 
defended more for what it symbolizes at home than for 
its often ambiguous blessings (lowered death rates and 
uncontrollable population growth) abroad. For another 
thing, all these measures of international hope and help 
have been launched and caught up in the spirit of cold- 
war public relations, Thus, no one knows any longer 
whether he supports a program because it is worthwhile 
and an expression of humaneness, or because it is neces 
sary to harry Soviet satellites or win over neutralists in 
Europe and Asia, or because it is necessary to appear 
tough-minded vis-^-vis congressmen and Philistines gen 
erally. A military "angle" has been discovered in, for in 
stance, the work of anthropologists seeking to mediate the 
coming of industry to Indonesia. While such practical 
compromises and dual motives are always involved in 
reform, in this case they have often served to confuse the 
reformers, who deny, even to themselves, that they are 
motivated by anything visionary; hence the intellectual 
climate becomes less and less open to political imagina 
tion. 9 

As the hope of solving our foreign problems by indis 
criminately and rapidly raising the standard of living of 
the rest of the world has waned, the more informed critics 
of contemporary politics have had to fall back on an 
austerity programa program promising less and requiring 
more: more money, more soldiers, more arms, more aid, 
hence more taxes. All this is required, of course, not for 
redistribution within America, though a good deal of this 
does ensue, but to provide a new carrier (it costs as 
much as a Valley Authority) or a radar early-warning 
defense (as costly as socialized medicine). This program 
divides the intellectuals among themselves many still 
agitate for socialized medicine but divides them still 
more grievously from the poor and uneducated for the 
latter, whatever the bellicose consequences of their 



-8 The New American Right 

xenophobia and love of verbal violence, always oppose 
war and sacrifice. 

It is perhaps in reaction to these dilemmas that one 
new issue that of the protection of traditional civil liber 
tieshas risen in recent years to monopolize almost com 
pletely the intellectuals attention. But this, too, is an 
issue which demands sacrifice from the uneducated 
masses not financial sacrifice but the practice of defer 
ence and restraint which is understood and appreciated 
only among the well-to-do and highly educated strata. 10 
Thus, a focus on civil liberties and on foreign policy tends, 
as we have seen, to make intellectuals seek allies among 
the rich and well-born, rather than among the working- 
men and fanners they had earlier courted and cared 
about; indeed, it tends to make them conservative, once 
it becomes clear that civil liberties are protected, not by 
majority vote (which is overwhelmingly unsympathetic), 
but by traditional institutions, class prerogatives, and 
judicial life-tenure. 

At the same time, the protection of civil liberties has 
had to cope with the Communist issue, much as other 
liberal causes have. The Sacco-Vanzetti case united the 
liberals; the Rosenberg case divided them. The great civil 
liberties cases of the post-Enlightenment era were not 
fought to save the Czar s spies and police from detection 
and punishment; they were fought for anarchists, for 
socialists and liberals, for professors teaching evolution 
or economics; and it takes either a case-hardened and 
sometimes disingenuous naivete about Communists or a 
subtle strategic decision about where to draw the line to 
muster much enthusiasm for the defense of intellectuals 
who plead the Fifth Amendment. In this situation, the 
defense becomes at best a rear-guard action, but cannot 
hope to be a "positive" program-a demand on the basis 
of which political identities can be reshaped. 

Where do the college-bred young stand in all this? In 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 7Q 

the late Thirties they were offered blood, sweat, and tears 
in the fight against Nazism. Some sought and accepted 
the agenda. But the fight against Nazism was made real 
by its domestic opponents: one saw almost all that was 
despicable anti-Semites, fascists, Europe-haters, the big 
oted and the crack-potlined up on the pro-Nazi side. 
Today, the pathetic passel of domestic Communists can 
not be compared with these fascists who organized street 
gangs or shook down businessmen; and many of the Com 
munists allies are decent, if misguided, liberals who 
haven t learned." In international politics, we must accept 
alliances with despots no more savory than our erstwhile 
domestic fascists. Thus, the young are asked to fight 
international Communism not on the basis of street ex 
perience but of what they are taught. Cool in spirit gen 
erally, they can hardly be expected to show enthusiasm. 
Indeed, a holding game against the Communists is a 
reality and a prospect to sober the most enthusiastic. The 
question of appeasement that most thoughtful people 
could reject offhand in the pre-atom-bomb era now be 
comes more insistent intellectually even while it becomes 
outlawed politically. 

If we leave substance aside, and consider the tone of 
politics, we realize that the loss of initiative by intellec 
tuals is coupled with a change of emotional accent. The 
conservative and ascetic program just sketched is not 
avant-garde; it is dull; there is no hope in it of saving the 
world; it assumes the world is well enough and only 
wishes the Communists thought so too. 

Demands are the basis of politics: the demands of a 
group or class, formulated by its intellectual leaders or, 
more accurately, the demands create and identify the 
group or class which then is led. When a group is either 
satisfied or exhausted, when for whatever reason it no 
longer makes demands, then it has lost the elan which 
can attract new forces. It can only hope that the institu- 



go The New American Right 

tions and battalions that have been built up by the van 
ished elan of the past are large enough to withstand the 
onslaught of those who do make new demands. 



6 

It is not only the dilemmas of policy that have been 
responsible for the decline of enthusiasm and vitality 
among the liberal intellectuals in the last decade or so. 
Another factor is hard to discuss without sounding like 
E. A. Ross, Henry Pratt Fairchild, and other pre- World 
War I opponents of immigration from Eastern and South 
ern Europe; yet it seems evident to us that the American 
crusading spirit has been sustained in considerable meas 
ure by the non-conformist conscience of New England 
and its offshoots in the Western Reserve and the Far 
West. 11 As long as the new immigrants looked up to this 
model, they tended to imitate the benign as well as the 
sharp-shooting doctrines and practices of the Yankees, but 
in a cumulative process which is only now reaching its 
end, the New Englanders themselves have run out of 
confidence and prestige: their land is now Vacationland, 
rather than the source of Abolitionist and other gospel; in 
the home territory, surrounded by Irish, Italians, Poles, 
French Canadians, Portuguese whom they have influenced 
more than either party will admit, they feel defeated and 
out of control in the charter institutions. 12 

This is not the place to trace the complex relations 
between the New England conscience and pragmatic 
reform. The remaining possessors of that conscience are 
still a national asset, but there are fewer of them propor 
tionately; their wealth is smaller proportionately; and, 
scattered throughout the country, they are more remote 
from the centers of ideas. New ideas have their head 
quarters in New York. They often originate with, or are 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 8l 

mediated by, Jews who have more reasons for hesitation 
and are perhaps psychologically as well as sociologically 
more vulnerable to pressure than the New Englanders 
just as the newer media (movies and broadcasting) in 
which they are influential are weaker in the face of 
censorship than the older media (book publishing and 
the press ) in which they play less part than the Yankees 
do. To be sure, there are many affinities between Jews 
and Puritans both are people of the Book and a political 
and intellectual alliance of the sort that Holmes and 
Brandeis once typified is still to be found, especially in 
smaller communities. 

On the whole, as Americanization spreads, the old 
Puritan families have been slowly losing status. Some have 
responded by eccentricity, leadership, intellectuality, and 
liberalism; others have joined angry "pro-America" move 
mentswhere, ironically enough (save in the DAR), they 
meet the very Irish or Italian or other newer elements 
who have displaced or jostled them. 13 Since they can no 
longer safely snub these ex- Wops, ex-Shanty Irish, and 
ex-Hunkies, they displace their animus onto the weak 
targets provided by intellectuals, "left-wingers," "one- 
worlders," and so on. 14 And they can blame these latter 
people for the very social changes that have brought the 
descendants of lowly immigrants into the top councils of 
what was once, in some areas, the ethnically rather ex 
clusive club of the Republican Party. Their blame, more 
over, is not entirely misplaced, for the New Deal, along 
with the war, did help bring prosperity and mobility and 
reputability to Catholics and Jews. 

After the war, the recognition of the Communist men 
ace still further boosted the status of Catholics by making 
them almost automatically charter members of the anti- 
Communist crusade. By the same token, the intellectuals, 
their limited links with Communism continuously and 
extravagantly exposed, became more vulnerable. We be- 



8 2 The New American Right 

lieve that Granville Hicks in Where We Came Out pre 
sents a reasonably just picture of the actual extent of 
Communist influence in the Thirties-an influence much 
less than is now often supposed even among intellectuals; 
indeed, his picture does not take sufficient account of the 
infinitesimal extent of Party effectiveness outside the 
major seaboard cities. The New Dealers, as we have 
already said, were even less affected than the intellectuals, 
but they shared with the latter some personal and journal 
istic ties; this, plus some dramatic cases like those of 
Harry Dexter White and Alger Hiss and the belated 
fellow-traveling of Henry Wallace, made it politically 
possible though fantastic to damn the New Deal as a 
Communist-front organization. This has created a situa 
tion obviously quite different from that of earlier decades, 
when though liberal intellectuals and New Dealers were 
also called Communists, they only became as a result 
firmer and angrier. Today such libel is not only a disaster 
for public relations but cause for an anxious inner 
scrutiny. For as it becomes clear that few of the causes 
liberals have espoused have been immune to exploitation 
by the Communists, the liberal intellectuals lose their 
former sure conviction about their causes and are put, 
inside as well as out, on the defensive. One evidence of 
this is the strategy of continuous balancing so many of 
us engage in: if one day we defend Negroes (one of the 
few causes which, though taken up by Communists, still 
gets relatively unambiguous attention from intellectuals), 
then the next day we set the record straight by calling 
for more aid to Indo-China not, let us repeat, merely for 
protective coloration but to make clear to ourselves that 
we are not fools or dupes of fellow-traveler rhetoric. 

The intellectuals themselves are further weakened in 
their own minds, at least-by the fact that their ideas, 
even where relevant to contemporary discontent, are 
quickly taken over by the mass media and transmuted 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 83 

into the common stock of middlebrow conceptions. They 
can no longer control, even by intentional opacity, the 
pace of distribution. Thus, what they produce soon be 
comes dissociated from them and their immediate coteries; 
in the division of labor, the middlebrows take over the 
function of dissemination and translation, and this aliena 
tion from their "product" leaves the intellectuals, even 
when they may reach a wider audience with more dis 
patch than ever before in history, with a feeling of 
impotence and isolation. 

And, finally, the self-confidence of the liberal intellec 
tuals is weakened by their own egalitarian ideology, which 
has led them not only to attack ethnic and class barriers 
but to defer to the manners and mores of the lower 
classes generally. Whereas in the days of Eastern sea 
board hegemony the masses sought to imitate the classes, 
if they sought to rise at all, today imitation is a two-way 
process, and intellectuals are no longer protected by class 
and elite arrogance (and the strategic ignorances arro 
gance protects) against the attitudes of their enemies. 15 
We find, for example, the cynicism of the lower strata 
reflected in the desire of the intellectuals to appear tough- 
minded and in their fear to be thought naive. Such tough- 
mindedness in turn may then require acceptance of bel 
ligerent and vindictive attitudes in domestic and foreign 
affairs, and a further weakening of any visionary hopes 
and motives. 

What the left has lost in tone and initiative, the right 
has gained. The right has believed, ever since "that man" 
entered the White House, in the utter deviltry of the 
New Deal. But what was once a domestic misanthropy 
has now been writ large upon the globe: the right has 
hit on what it regards as an unquestioned truth, which 
needs only to be spread (the utter sinfulness, the total 
evil, of the idea of Communism and the total perfection 
of the idea of Americanism); it maintains the zeal of 



g. The New American Right 

missionaries in propagating this truth; it feels today it 
possesses a newer, better, altogether more avant-garde 
knowledge, even though about so limited a subject as the 
influence of Communists on American culture and politics 
(look at The Freeman and The American Mercury, or at 
McCarthy and His Enemies for illustration). Moreover, 
this new right possesses that convenient and perhaps 
essential feeling of martyrdom which its very presence 
gives to many liberal intellectuals: it sees itself as a 
minority suffering for its desire to enlighten the people 
(Peter Viereck has referred to the "bleeding hearts of 
the right"). 16 

But the parallel is far from complete. For the left and 
the liberals in their days of influence really wanted some 
thing: they had specific reforms in mind, and specific 
legislation. The new right, with its few intellectuals trying 
to create a program for it, wants at best an atmosphere: 
it really has no desire to change the face of the nation; 
it is much more interested in changing the past, in rewrit 
ing the history of the New Deal, of the Second World 
War and its aftermath, or in more ambitious efforts, of 
the whole modern movement. Here again the comparison 
of the new right with the Communists is instructive, for 
the latter, too, in this country have been preoccupied with 
a state of mind: they have aimed, if not to make Ameri 
cans sympathetic to the Soviet Union, at least unsympa 
thetic toward its enemies here and overseas. To this end, 
their greatest efforts have been in rewriting recent and 
current history, in presenting a certain picture of the 
world in which big business, on the one side, supported 
fascism and anti-Semitism, while the Soviet Union, on 
the other side, fostered Negroes, Jews, and other minori 
ties, and defended the working class. American domestic 
politics have been useful to the Communists in providing 
object-lessons for this general theory and in recruiting 
stalwarts for its further propagation. In the same way, 



THE INTFT ,T .ECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 85 

one can read or listen to the organs of the new right and 
find nothing that amounts to a legislative program: the 
bills they want passed are those which give expression to 
their feelings about the past, such as the Bricker Amend 
ment, 17 or withdrawing Hiss s pension and otherwise 
harrassing Communists (often in ways that such veteran 
Communist-hunters as Governor Dewey think unjust and 
unwise) the fight for these measures is an educative 
fight in re-interpreting the past, When it comes to coping 
with world Communism, this group has nothing to pro 
pose in the way of strengthening anti-Communists abroad 
nothing but withdrawal or muted quasi-suicidal hints of 
preventive war. In fact, the hatred this group feels for 
the modern world, as manifested at home, in America, is 
so huge that there is little energy left over for the rest of 
the globe rather, there is an aimless destructiveness in 
which legislative and local battles simply focus and dram 
atize resentment. 

Nevertheless, this group now possesses the enthusiasm 
and momentum previously held by liberals. Its leaders 
cannot channel discontent; they can interpret it: they can 
explain why everything has gone wrong for the while, 
that is enough. Thus, the picture today in American poli 
tics is of intelligence without force or enthusiasm facing 
force and enthusiasm without intelligence. 

How much longer can this pattern last? International 
developments will probably be determinative the bellig 
erence coupled with isolationism of this rightist group 
may tempt or frighten the Soviet Union into further 
adventures and incidents, finally touching off a war of 
annihilation (we think this most unlikely, and assuredly 
not inevitable). But the present leadership of the discon 
tented classes has to do more than symbolize their disori- 
entation and lack of satisfying political loyalties if it is 
to solidify new allegiances. For this, no intellectual reserve 
of demands appears in the offing. Instead, the leadership 



86 The New American Right 

is continually subject to the temptation to fall back on 
the more developed intellectual positions of laissez-faire 
or of various brands of fascismbut these, it knows, will 
lose them much of their potential following, which is 
neither conservative in the older free enterprise sense nor 
on the lookout for, though tempted by, civil commotion 
and foreign adventure. It is not surprising that Congress 
represents the peak of strength of this group, since Con 
gress is a sounding-board for mood and an extraordi 
narily democratic one as much as it is a machine for 
pork-processing and bill-passing. A tone, however, soon 
becomes monotonous and, if not institutionalized when 
at its shrillest, fades away. 

In sum, the earlier leadership by the intellectuals of 
the underprivileged came about through a program of 
economic changes; and this program demonstrated an 
ability in the leaders to interpret the situation of the 
unorganized workers, of minority groups, and of marginal 
farmers. Today, a different group of classes (including 
many of these former underprivileged groups, now risen 
to middle-income status) wants something, but their 
wants (partly for the very reason that these people are 
now above subsistence or enfranchisement) are much less 
easily formulated. These new groups want an interpreta 
tion of the world; they want, or rather might be prepared 
to want, a more satisfying life. 

It is the unsatisfying quality of life as they find it in 
America that mostly feeds the discontent of the discon 
tented cksses. Their wealth, their partial access to educa 
tion and fuller exposure to the mass media indeed, their 
possession of many of the insignia they have been taught 
to associate with the good life-these leave them restless, 
ill at ease in Zion. They must continually seek for reasons 
explaining their unrest-and the reasons developed by 
intellectuals for the benefit of previous proletariats are of 
course quite irrelevant 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES 8/ 

Is it conceivable that the intellectuals, rather than their 
enemies, can have a share in providing new interpreta 
tions and in dissipating, through creative leadership, some 
of the resentment of the discontented classes? What kind 
of life, indeed, is appropriate to a society whose lower 
classes are being devoured faster by prosperity than 
Puerto Rican immigration can replenish? We have almost 
no idea about the forms the answers might take, if there 
are answers. But we do recognize that one obstacle to 
any rapprochement between the discontented classes and 
the intellectuals is the fact that many of the latter are 
themselves of lower-middle-class origin, and detest the 
values they have left behind the dislike is not just one 
way. They espouse a snobbery of topic which makes the 
interests of the semi-educated wholly alien to them more 
alien than the interests of the lower classes. Only in the 
great new melting pot of the Army would there appear 
to be instances where intellectuals discover that individ 
uals in the discontented classes are "not so bad, * despite 
their poisonous tastes in politics and culture instances 
where the great camaraderie of the male sex and the even 
greater one of the brass-haters bridge the gap created by 
the uneven development of social mobility and cultural 
status. Of course, to suppose that the intellectuals can do 
very much to guide the discontented classes by winning 
friends and influencing people among them is as ridicu 
lous as supposing that Jews can do much to combat 
political anti-Semitism by amiability to non-Jews, Never 
theless, there is only one side from which understanding 
is likely to come, and that is their own. 

1 For data on the negligible influence of political campaigns, see Paul 
Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet, The People s Choice 
(Harpers, New York, 1948). 

2 To be sure, there are enclaves where the underprivileged can still be 
found, as in the Southern Alleghenies or the rural Deep South. And, as 
we shall see, the fact that "everyone" has moved up means that mobility 
may not have kept pace with aspiration, one reason why the slogan 
"you never had it so good" is a poor campaign weapon. 

3 The concept of "intolerance of ambiguity," developed by Else 



gg The New American Right 

Frenkel-Brunswik and co-workers, is relevant here: these newly pros 
perous ones want to see the world clearly bounded, in blacks and whites; 
they have been brought up conventionally, to make use of conventional 
categories, and fluidity of boundaries threatens their self-assurance and 
their very hold on reality. 

* It is at this point that the lack of connection between the small cadre 
of truly conservative intellectuals and any sizable anti-liberal audience 
becomes a major factor in the present political scene. For patronage 
politics and for the untutored businessman, writers like Allen Tate or 
Russell Kirk have nothing but contempt; their "conservatism" (as some 
critics have pointed out) is based on an irrelevant landed-gentry and 
professional-class model. With a few exceptions, the pseudo-conservatives 
who have a radical and nihilistic message for the untutored have to face 
little intellectual competition, save from occasional socially conscious 
clergymen and priests. 

5 Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an "economic" appeal, 
nor is a well-paying job a "natural" need of mankind. Rather, the present 
insistence of the American workingman that he is entitled to such a job 
is the outgrowth of recent experience, clarified and interpreted for him 
by his leaders. These combine into a demonstration that depressions are 
not necessary (though perhaps wars are), and that therefore jobs and 
all that goes with them are necessary. 

6 According to a study of the 1952 election by the Survey Research 
Center of the University of Michigan, only two groupings in the popula 
tion were resistant to these appeals and went more strongly Democratic 
than in 1948: these were the Negroes on the one extreme of the social 
spectrum and the college-educated, upper income, and professional and 
managerial strata at the other extreme the latter also produced more 
Republican votes, as the result of a decline in the non-voters. See Angus 
Campbell, Gerald Gurin, and Warren E. Miller, The Voter Decides 
(Row, Peterson and Co., Evanston, 1954), Table 5.1. 

7 Professor Richard Hofstadter, to whose work we are indebted, re 
minds us of the status gain involved in being able to bait old-family 
Anglo-Saxons on the ground they are un-Americana greater gain than 
is to be won by demonstrating superiority simply to the Jews. (See 
Chapter 2.) 

8 In the perspective employed here, "Engine Charlie" Wilson s Detroit 
provides a smaller and less cosmopolitan environment than Secretary 
Humphrey s Cleveland. 

9 Commenting on an earlier draft of this paper and we are indebted 
to such comments for many important revisions Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., 
reminds us of Utopian thinkers still alive and kicking, such as String- 
fellow Barr, Clarence Streit, and the United World Federalists. We feel 
that the spectrum here is not wide or the proposals terribly imaginative; 
moreover, many of the proposals are counsels of despair, to avoid world 
catastrophe, rather than of hope, to improve American or planetary Me. 

10 ^It was evident in the first opinion polls of the thirties that the con 
ventional notion of the rich as conservative and the poor as radical was 
correct in the realm of government, labor, and distributive policy-thus, 
the poor have no objection to government ownership-but false in the 
realm of civil liberties and foreign policy where the greater impact of 



THE INTELLECTUALS AND THE DISCONTENTED CLASSES OQ 

mistrust and fear of the strange and the stranger among the poor came 
to light. 

11 In addition, the Southern Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, such as Wood- 
row Wilson, have played a great role, especially in the Democratic and 
in splinter parties. 

12 On the whole, the English settlements over the glohe indicate that 
the non-conformist conscience needs to be surrounded by other such 
consciences if it is to remain effective. The English Methodist who goes 
to Kenya or Australia to make his fortune is likely to retain the values he 
went out with, and not be prodded towards wider social sympathies, so 
that eventually his descendants will be estranged from Colonial Office 
officials representing his cousins who have stayed, and moved intellectu 
ally and morally forward in the Old Country. Similarly, the New Eng- 
landers who have left New England, the Quakers who have left Penn 
sylvania, may notdespite relative ease of intranational movement keep 
up with developments in the original centers of cultivated morality. In 
deed, New Englanders marooned in the Midwest (the late Robert Taft 
came of such stock) have been the source of much soured high-prin 
cipled reaction the "colonial" conscience at its worst. 

13 The Jews, so largely beneficiaries of inflation and gainers of middle- 
class and professional status, have overwhelmingly remained Roosevelt 
Democrats, though a kind of "leakage * has provided some of the leader 
ship and newspaper support for the new right. 

14 See Richard Hofstadter s excellent essay, "The Pseudo-Conservative 
Revolt" (Chapter 2). 

15 We ourselves had an experience of this when we undertook to write 
a criticism of Norman Dodd s report as Staff Director of the Reece Com 
mittee investigating foundations. We criticized not only the crackpot 
notions that socialists and the great foundations had plotted to take 
America over on behalf of education and the Federal government a plot 
somehow connected with "empiricism" and the prestige-laden "name" 
universities but we also ridiculed the illiteracy, the demi-educated vein 
in which the report was written. Then we had misgivings about pulling 
the rank of our own education and relative fluency, and withdrew our 
comments on the style of the report. It is no longer comfortable (or 
expedient) to bait the hillbilly, the hick, the Negro preacher, or the 
night-school lawyer so, too, with the political arriviste. The ridicule that 
greeted Bryan in Tennessee did not greet Congressman Reece. 

16 When not long ago we heard Frank Chodorov, a leading organizer 
and publicist of the right, speak to a businessmen s luncheon, we felt 
that he bore much the same relation to his audience that, for instance, 
a speaker sent out by the American League for Peace and Democracy 
might have borne to a meeting of a Unitarian Sunday evening forum: 
he was more extreme, and therefore seemed more daring, but he shared 
enough of the values and verbal tags of the group to disguise somewhat 
the extent to which he was pushing their logics and rhetorics to fanatical 
limits. Indeed, Communist organizing tactics have often given lessons to 
rightists, and the little library in a New Hampshire town that might 
have received, from an anonymous donor, a copy of a novel by Howard 
Fast or a subscription to The National Guardian will now get the Buckley 
and Bozell book or The Freeman. 



go The New American Right 

17 The Minute Women of America who buttonholed Senators on behalf 
of the Bricker Amendment are of course quite different in social position 
from the lower-class women who, in a few interviews a student super-" 
vised by one of us conducted by telephone, praised Senator McCarthy 
as the only one in Washington who was cleaning out the crooks and the 
Commies: they saw him as a land of Lone Ranger, bravely fighting an 
all-powerful "they." Throughout this paper, we have had to collapse 
such distinctions to form general categories; we hope to stimulate 
further discussion of the coalitions and the contradictionsthat we lump 
as the discontented classes. 



The Revolt Against the Elite 



PETER VIERECK 



Defeat of western silver. 

Defeat of the wheat. 

Victory of letterfiles 

And plutocrats in miles 

With dollar signs upon their coats 

And spats on their feet. 

Victory of custodians, 

Plymouth Rock, 

And all that inbred landlord stock. 

Victory of the neat 

Defeat of the Pacific and the long Mississippi 

And all these in their helpless days 

By the dour East oppressed, . . . 

91 



02, The New American Right 

Crucifying half the West, 
Till the whole Atlantic coast 

Seemed a giant spiders 9 nest 

And all the way to frightened Maine the old East 

heard them call, . . . 
Prairie avenger, mountain lion, 
Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, 
Smashing Plymouth Rock with his boulders from the 

West. 

from Vachel Lindsay s "higher vaudeville" imita 
tion of how a sixteen-year-old Bryanite Populist 
radical in 1896 would have viewed the revolt of 
western mass egalitarianism against Atlantic coast 
traditionalism and aristocracy. Note the stress on re 
venge ("avenger, mountain lion") for having been 
humiliated and patronized intellectually or socially 
by "that inbred landlord stock" of Plymouth Rock; 
this emotion of revenge for humiliation is often 
shared by recent immigrants in Boston and the east 
as well as by the Populist older stock in Wisconsin 
and the west. 



DUBING THE Jacobin Revolution of 
1793, in those quaint days when the lower classes still 
thought of themselves as the lower classes, it was for 
upper-class sympathies and for not reading "subversive 
leftist literature" that aristocrats got in trouble. 

Note the reversal in America. Here the lower classes 
seem to be the upper classes they have automobiles, lace 
curtains and votes. Here, in consequence, it is for alleged 
lower-class sympathies-for leftist" sympathies that the 
aristocrats are purged by the lower class. 

In reality those lower-class sympathies are microscopic 
in most of that social register (Lodge, Bohlen, Acheson, 
Stevenson, and Harvard presidents) which McCarthy is 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 93 

trying to purge; even so, leftist sympathies are the pretext 
given for the purge. Why is it necessary to allege those 
lower-class sympathies as pretext? Why the pretext in the 
first place? Because in America the suddenly enthroned 
lower classes cannot prove to themselves psychologically 
that they are now upper-class unless they can indict for 
pro-proletariat subversion those whom they know in their 
hearts to be America s real intellectual and social aris 
tocracy. 

Ostensibly our aristocrats are being metaphorically 
guillotined for having signed, twenty years ago, some 
pinko-front petition by that egghead Voltaire (a typical 
reversal of the 1793 pretext) and for having said, not 
"Let them eat cake," but "Let them read books (viola 
tion of loyalty oath to TV). Behind these ostensible pre 
texts, the aristocratic pro-proletarian conspirators are 
actually being guillotined for having been too exclusive 
socially and, even worse, intellectually at those fancy 
parties at Versailles-sur-Hudson. McCarthyism is the 
revenge of the noses that for twenty years of fancy parties 
were pressed against the outside window pane. 

In Populist-Progressive days and in New Deal days, 
those same noses were pressed with openly radical, openly 
lower-class resentment. During 1953 and 1954, the same 
noses snorted triumphantly with right-wing Republic 
anism. This demagogue s spree of symbolically decapi 
tating America s intellectual and social upper class, but 
doing so while shouting a two hundred per cent upper- 
class ideology, suggests that McCarthyism is actually a 
leftist instinct behind a self-deceptive rightist veneer. 
This combination bolsters the self-esteem of sons of 
Democratic urban day laborers whose status rose into 
stuffy Republican suburbia. Their status rose thanks to 
the Communism-preventing social reforms of Roosevelt. 
Here for once is a radicalism expressing not poverty but 
sudden prosperity, biting the New Deal hand that fed it. 



Q . The New American Right 

y^t 

What figure represents the transition, the missing link, 
between the often noble, idealistic Populist-Progressives 
(like that truly noble idealist, La Follette) and the 
degeneration of that movement into something so differ 
ent, so bigoted as McCarthyism? According to my hy 
pothesis, that transition, that missing link is Father 
Charles Coughlin. All liberals know that Coughlin ended 
by defending Hitler in World War II and preaching the 
vilest anti-Semitism. They sometimes forget that Coughlin 
began his career by preaching social reforms to the left 
of the New Deal; his link with Populism and western 
Progressivism emerges from the fact that Coughlin s chief 
panacea was the old Populist panacea of "free silver/ as 
a weapon against Wall Street bankers, eastern seaboard 
intellectuals, and internationalists, three groups hated 
alike by democratic Populists and by semi-fascist Cough- 
linites. And Coughlin s right-wing fascist anti-Semitism 
sounds word for word the same as the vile tirades against 
"Jewish international bankers" by the left-wing egalitarian 
Populist, Ignatius Donnelly. 

On the surface, Senators like Wheeler and Nye (origi 
nally Progressives and campaigners for La Follette) 
seemed to reverse themselves completely when they 
shifted in a shift partly similar to Coughlin sfrom 
"liberal" Progressives to "reactionary" America Firsters. 
But basically they never changed at all; throughout, they 
remained passionately Anglophobe, Germanophile, isola 
tionist, and anti-eastern-seaboard, first under leftist and 
then under rightist pretexts. Another example is Senator 
McCarran, who died in 1954. McCarran ended as a Mc- 
Carthyite Democrat, hating the New Deal more than did 
any Republican. This same McCarran had been an eager 
New Dealer in 1933, voting for the Wagner Act and even 
for the NRA. Yet throughout these changes, he remained 
consistently anti-internationalist, anti-British, anti-eastern- 
intellectual. 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 95 

Broadening the generalization, we may tentatively con 
clude: the entire midwest Old Guard Republican wing of 
today, journalistically or vulgarly referred to as "conser 
vative," does not merit that word at all. Theirs is not the 
traditional conservatism of a Winston Churchill or of a 
Burke or of our own Federalist papers. Theirs is not true 
American conservatism in the sense in which Irving Bab 
bitt defines indirect democracy (in his great book Democ 
racy and Leadership), as opposed to plebiscitarian, Tom 
Painean direct democracy. "Conservative" is no proper 
label for western Old Guard Republicans, nor for their 
incongruous allies among the status-craving, increasingly 
prosperous, but socially insecure immigrants in South 
Boston and the non-elite part of the east. What all these 
groups are at heart is the same old isolationist, Anglo- 
phobe, Germanophile revolt of radical Populist lunatic- 
fringers against the eastern, educated, Anglicized elite. 
Only this time it is a Populism gone sour; this time it lacks 
the generous, idealistic, social reformist instincts which 
partly justified the original Populists. 

Many of our intellectual aristocrats have helped to 
make the McCarthyite attack on themselves a success by 
denouncing McCarthyism as a rightist movement, a con 
servative movement. At first they even denounced it as a 
Red-baiting, anti-Communist movement, which is exactly 
what it wanted to be denounced as. By now they have at 
least caught on to the fact that it is not anti-Communist, 
has not trapped a single Red spy whether at Fort Mon- 
mouth, the Voice of America, or the State Department 
and is a major cause of the increased neutralism in 
Europe, McCarthy being the "Typhoid Mary" of anti- 
Americanism. 

But although American liberals have now realized that 
McCarthyism is not anti-Communist (which is more than 
many American businessmen and Republicans have real 
ized), they have still not caught on to the full and deep- 



g5 The New American Right 

rooted extent of its radical anti-conservatism. That is 
because they are steeped in misleading analogies with the 
very different context of Europe and of the European 
kind of fascism. Partly they still overlook the special 
situation in America, where the masses are more bourgeois 
than the bourgeoisie. I am speaking in terms of psychol 
ogy, not only of economics. A lot more is involved 
psychologically in the American ideal of the mass man 
than the old economic boast (a smug and shallow boast) 
that simply "everybody" is "so prosperous" in America. 
"Every man a king" is not true of America today. Rather, 
every man is a king except the kings. 

The real kings (the cultural elite that would rank first 
in any traditional hierarchy of the Hellenic-Roman West) 
are now becoming declassed scapegoats: the eggheads. 
The fact that they partly brought that fate on themselves 
by fumbling the Communist issue does not justify their 
fate, especially as the sacred civil liberties of everybody, 
the innocent as much as the guilty, must suffer for that 
retribution. 

America is the country where the masses won t admit 
they are masses. Consequently America is the country 
where the thought-controllers can self-deceptively "make 
like" patriotic pillars of respectability instead of admitting 
what they are: revolutionaries of savage direct democracy 
(Napoleon plus Rousseau plus Tom Paine plus the Wild 
West frontier) against the traditional, aristocratic courts 
and Constitution and against the protection of minority 
intellectual elites by the anti-majoritarian Bill of Rights. 
The McCarthyites threaten liberty precisely because they 
are so egalitarian, ruling foreign policy by mass telegrams 
to the Executive Branch and by radio speeches and Gallup 
Poll. The spread of democratic equal rights facilitates, as 
Nietzsche prophesied, the equal violation of rights. 

Is liberte incompatible with sudden egalite? It was, as 
people used to say in the Thirties, "no accident that" an 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 97 

American Legion meeting in New York in July, 1954, 
passed two resolutions side by side the first condemning 
another Legion branch for racial discrimination (the 
"Forty and Eight" society) and the second endorsing 
McCarthyism. This juxtaposition is noted not in order to 
disparage the long overdue anti-bigotry of the first resolu 
tion. Rather, the juxtaposition is noted in order to caution 
the oversimplifying optimism of many liberal reformers 
who have been assuming that the fight for free speech and 
the fight for racial tolerance were synonymous. 

Admittedly not all nationalist bigots have yet "caught 
on" to the more lucrative new trend of their own racket. 
Many will continue to persecute racial minorities as 
viciously as in the past, though surely decreasingly and 
with less profit. Because of the Southern atmosphere of 
Washington, the anti-segregation resolution could not be 
repeated when the Legion met there a month later. 

Often untypical or tardy about new trends, the South 
is more opposed to the good cause of Negro rights and to 
the bad cause of McCarthyism than the rest of the nation. 
One Southerner (I am not implying that lie represents 
the majority of the South) told me he regards as Com 
munistic the defenders of the civil liberties of any of our 
several racial minorities; then he went on to reproach the 
North for "not fighting for its civil liberties against that 
fascist McCarthy." 

The same day I heard that statement, I read an account 
of a McCarthy mass meeting in the North at which racial 
discrimination was denounced as un-American and in 
which anyone defending civil liberties against McCarthy 
was called Communistic. At the same meeting, a rabbi 
accused the opposition to Roy Cohn of anti-Semitic 
intolerance. Next, Cohn s was called "the American Drey 
fus Case * by a representative of a student McCarthyite 
organization, Students for America. This young represen 
tative of both McCarythism and racial brotherhood con- 



g8 The New American Right 

eluded amid loud applause: "Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy 
will be redeemed when the people have taken back their 
government from the criminal alliance of Communists, 
Socialists, New Dealers, and the Eisenhower-Dewey Re 
publicans." 

This outburst of direct democracy 1 comes straight from 
the leftist rhetoric of the old Populists and Progressives, 
a rhetoric forever urging the People to take back "their" 
government from the conspiring Powers That Be. What 
else remained but for Rabbi Schultz, at a second Cohn- 
McCarthy dinner, to appeal to "the plain people of 
America" to "march on Washington" in order to save, with 
direct democracy, their tribune McCarthy from the big 
bosses of the Senate censure committee? 

Bigotry s New Look is perhaps best evidenced by 
McCarthy s abstention, so far, from anti-Semitic and 
anti-Negro propaganda and, more important, by countless 
similar items totally unconnected with the ephemeral 
McCarthy. A similar juxtaposition occurs in a typical 
New York Times headline of September 4, 1954, page 
one: PRESIDENT SIGNS BILL TO EXECUTE PEACETIME SPIES; 
ALSO BOLSTERS BAN ON BIAS. Moving beyond that relatively 
middle-of-the-road area to the extremist fringe, note the 
significant change in "For America." This nationalist 
group is a xenophobic and isolationist revival of the old 
America First Committee. But instead of appeasing the 
open Nazis who then still ruled Germany, as in the old- 
fashioned and blunter days of Father Coughlin, "For 
America" began greatly expanding its mass base in 1954 
by "quietly canvassing Jewish and Negro prospects." 

And so it goes. From these multiplying examples we 
may tentatively generalize: Manifestations of ethnic intol 
erance today tend to decrease in proportion as ideological 
intolerance increases. In sharp contrast, both bigotries 
previously used to increase together. 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 99 

If sociologists require a new term for this change (as 
if there were not enough jargon already), then at least 
let it be a brief, unponderous term, I would suggest the 
word "transtolerance" for this curious interplay between 
the new tolerance and the new intolerance. Transtolerance 
is ready to give all minorities their glorious democratic 
freedomprovided they accept McCarthyism or some 
other mob conformism of Right or Left. I add "or Left" 
because liberals sometimes assume conformism is inevit 
ably of the Right. Yet "Right" and "Left" are mere fluc 
tuating pretexts, mere fluid surfaces for the deeper anti- 
individualism (anti-aristocracy) of the mass man, who 
ten years ago was trying to thought-control our premature 
anti-Communists as "warmongers" and who today damns 
them as "Reds" and who ten years from now, in a new 
appeasement of Russia, may again be damning them as 
"Wall Street warmongers" and "disloyal internationalist 
bankers/* 

Transtolerance is the form that xenophobia takes when 
practiced by a "xeno" Transtolerant McCarthyism is 
partly a movement of recent immigrants who present 
themselves (not so much to the world as to themselves) 
as a two hundred per cent hate-the-foreigner movement. 
And by extension: Hate "alien" ideas. Transtolerance is 
also a sublimated Jim Crow: against "wrong" thinkers, 
not "wrong" races. As such, it is a Jim Crow that can be 
participated in with a clear conscience by the new, non- 
segregated flag-waving Negro, who will be increasingly 
emerging from the increased egalitarian laws in housing 
and education. In the same way it is the Irishman s 
version of Mick-baiting and a strictly kosher anti-Semi 
tism. It very sincerely champions against anti-Semites 
"that American Dreyfus, Roy Cohn"; simultaneously it 
glows with the same mob emotions that in all previous 
or comparable movements have been anti-Semitic. 



too The New American Right 

The final surrealist culmination of this new develop 
ment would be for the Ku Klux Klan to hold non-segre 
gated lynching bees. 

At the same moment when America fortunately is 
nearer racial equality than ever before (an exciting gain, 
insufficiently noted by American-baiters in Europe and 
India), America is moving further from liberty of opin 
ion. "Now remember, boys, tolerance and equality/ my 
very progressive schoolma am in high school used to 
preach, "come from cooperation in some common task." 
If Orwell s 1984 should ever come to America, you can 
guess what "some common task" will turn out to be. 
Won t it be a "team" (as they will obviously call it) of 
"buddies" from "all three religions" plus the significantly 
increasing number of Negro McCarthyites, all "cooperat 
ing" in the "common task" of burning books on civil 
liberties or segregating all individualists of "all three" 
religions? 

It required Robespierre to teach French intellectuals 
that egalite is not synonymous with liberte. Similarly, 
Joseph McCarthy is the educator of the educators; by 
his threat to our lawful liberties, he is educating America 
intellectuals out of a kind of liberalism and back to a 
kind of conservatism. The intellectual liberals who twenty 
years ago wanted to pack the Supreme Court as frustrat 
ing the will of the masses (which is exactly what it ought 
to frustrate) and who were quoting Charles Beard to 
show that lie Constitution is a mere rationalization of 
economic loot-those same liberals today are hugging for 
dear life that same court and that same Constitution, 
including its Fifth Amendment. They are hugging those 
two most conservative of "outdated" institutions as their 
kst life preservers against the McCarthyite version of 
what their Henry Wallaces used to call "the century of 
the common man." 
Our right to civil liberties, our right to an unlimited 



THE BEVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 101 

non-violent dissent, is as ruggedly conservative and tradi 
tional as Senator Flanders and the mountains of Vermont. 
It is a right so aristocratic that it enables one lonely 
individual, sustained by nine non-elected nobles in black 
robes, to think differently from 99.9 per cent of the 
nation, even if a majority of "all races, creeds, and 
colors," in an honest democratic election, votes to sup 
press the thinking of that one individual. 

But what will happen to that individual and his liberties 
if ever the 99.9 per cent unite in direct democracy to 
substitute, as final arbiter of law, the white sheets for the 
black robes? 



Asians and Europeans ought never to confuse genuine 
American anti-Communism, a necessary shield for peace 
and freedom against aggression, with the pseudo-anti- 
Communism of the demagogues, which is not anti- 
Communism at all but a racket. American anti-Com 
munism, in the proper sense of the term, usually turns 
out to be a surprisingly sober and reasonable movement, 
fair-minded and sincerely dedicated to civil liberties. 
Indeed, when you consider the disappointed hopes and 
the murderous provocations suffered by an unprepared 
public opinion in the five years between Yalta illusions 
and Korean casualty lists, there emerges a reality more 
typical and impressive than the not-to-be-minimized 
existence of racketeers and thought-controllers; and that 
impressive reality is the sobriety, the reasonableness of 
America s genuine anti-Communists, whether Eisenhower, 
Stevenson or Norman Thomas. 

Pro-Communist periodicals in Europe have been link 
ing American anti-Communists and McCarthy, as if there 
were some necessary connection. The zany rumor that 



102 The New American Eight 

McCarthyism is anti-Communism may be spread by 
honest ignorance, but it may also be spread maliciously: 
to give anti-Communism a bad name abroad, to make 
anti-Communism as intellectually disreputable as it 
seemed during the Popular Front era, But the fact that 
pro-Communists find it strategic to link the McCarthy 
methods with American anti-Communism is no reason 
for our American anti-Communists to do so, or to allow 
even the hint of such a linkage to continue. 

To move to a different but overlapping problem: There 
is likewise no reason for philosophical conservatives 
(disciples of Burke, Coleridge, Tocqueville, Irving Bab 
bitt and the Federalists, rather than of President McKin- 
ley or Neville Chamberlain) to condone even the hint of 
any linkage between our philosophical conservatism and 
that rigor mortis of Manchester liberalism known as the 
Old Guard of the Republican Party. 

I now propose to develop the above two generaliza 
tions. First, if McCarthyism does not represent anti- 
Communism, what does it represent? Second, if the pres 
ent Republican Party does not merit the support of 
philosophical (Burkean or Federalist) conservatives, then 
who does merit that support in 1956? 

To a certain extent, the new nationalist toughness 
("McCarthyism") is the revenge of those who felt 
snubbed in 1928, when the man with the brown derby 
lost the election, and who felt snubbed a second time in 
1932, when the nomination went to his victorious rival 
from Groton and Harvard. 

But even more important than that old wound (the 
Irish Catholic role in McCarthyism being intolerantly 
overstressed by its liberal foes) is the McCarthy-Dirksen- 
Bricker coalition of nationalism, Asia Firstism and Europe- 
Last isolationism; and what is this coalition but a Mid 
west hick-Protestant revenge against that same "fancy" 
and condescending east? That revenge is sufficiently emo- 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 103 

tional to unite a radical wing with a reactionary wing. 
The revenge-emotion of McCarthyism has united the old 
Midwest Populist instincts on the down-with-everybody 
Left (barn-burners from way back and distrusters of 
Anglicized highbrow city-slickers ) with the rich Chicago 
Tribune nationalists on the authoritarian Right, Both these 
Midwest groups are Protestant, not Catholic. Both are 
against an east viewed as Europe First and Asia Last- 
shorthand for an east viewed as aristocratic, interna 
tionalist, over-educated, and metaphorically (if rarely 
literally) Grotonian. 

By itself and without allies, the resentment of lower- 
middle-class Celtic South Boston against Harvard (simul 
taneous symbol of Reds and Wall Street plutocrats ) was 
relatively powerless. (Note that no serious mass move 
ment like McCarthy s was achieved by the earlier out 
burst of that resentment in Coughlinism. ) It was only 
when the South Boston resentment coalesced with the 
resentment of flag-waving Chicago isolationists and 
newly-rich Protestant Texans (still denied entree into 
the chicte of Wall Street) that the American seaboard 
aristocracy was seriously threatened in its domination of 
both governmental and intellectual public opinion and 
in its domination of its special old-school-tie preserve, 
the Foreign Service. Against the latter, the old Populist 
and La Follette weapon against diplomats of "you inter 
nationalist Anglophile snob" was replaced by the dead 
lier weapon of "you egghead security-risk" meaning, as 
the case might be, alleged unbeliever and subverter or 
alleged homosexual or alleged tippler and babbler. All 
of these allegations have been made for centuries by 
pseudo-wholesome, "pious" peasants against "effete" 
noblemen. 

What is at stake in this revolt? Liberty or mere eco 
nomic profit? Probably neither. Nobody in any mass 
movement on any side in any country is really willing to 



104 The New American Right 

bear the burden of liberty (which is why liberty is pre 
served not by mass-will nor by counting noses but by 
tiny, heroic natural-aristocracies and by the majesty 
beyond mob majorities of moral law). As for economic 
profit, there is enough of that lying around in lavish 
America to keep both sides happily glutted, in defiance 
of both Marx and Adam Smith, Instead, the true goal 
of both sides the McCarthyite rebels and the seaboard 
aristocracy is the psychological satisfaction of determin 
ing the future value-pattern of American society. 

As a pretext for its drive toward this true goal, the 
first side uses "anti-Communism." (Falsely so, because 
nothing would please the Communists more than a vic 
tory of the Bricker, McCarthy and Chicago Tribune side, 
thereby isolating America from Western Europe.) As a 
counter-pretext, the second side uses "civil liberties/ 

The latter is not solely a pretext but valid enough at 
the moment, now that this side is seeing its own ox being 
gored. But ultimately much of its oratory about civil 
liberties rings as false as that of self-appointed anti- 
Communism, if only you consider the silence of the second 
side about "civil liberties" when the gored ox was not 
their own pet Foreign Service aristocrats and professors 
but the violated civil liberties of thousands of interned 
Japanese-Americans during World War II or the Min 
neapolis Trotskyites jailed under the Smith Act (in both 
cases under Roosevelt), not to mention the hair-raising 
precedent of currently denying a passport to the anti- 
Stalinist Marxist, Max Schachtman. With some honorable 
exceptions, the internment of friendless Japanese- Ameri 
cans, of un-"forward-looking" conscientious objectors and 
of presumably un-chic Trotskyites has evoked fewer 
decibels of "witch-hunt, witch-hunt!" from fashionable 
liberals, fewer sonorous quotations of what Jefferson 
wrote to Madison about free minds, than does the current 
harassing of a more respectably bourgeois and salonfdhig 



THE BEVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE K>5 

ex-Stalinoid from the Institute of Pacific Relations. Thus 
does snobbism take precedence over ideology in the con- 
f ormism known as "anti-conformism." 

In every American community, picture some eagle 
scout of "anti-Communism" battling some village Hamp- 
den of "civil liberties." What a spectacle! Insincerity or 
self-deception on both sides. 

Which of the two unattractive alternatives can be 
sufficiently improved and matured to become not merely 
a lesser evil but a positive good? Since the noble pretexts 
of both sides ring so hollow, why do I favor (while 
retaining an independent third position) a victory by the 
second of these two sides? Not for its beaux yeuxnot, 
that is, for its comic snobbism, its mutually contradictory 
brands of "progressive" political chic, "avant-garde" cul 
tural chic, and Eastern-college, country-club social chic. 
Even its trump card, namely, the ethical superiority to 
McCarthyism of its upper-class educated liberals, remains 
badly compromised by the 1930s the silence, because of 
expediency, during the Moscow Trials and the business- 
baiting McCarthyism-of-the-Left of too many New Deal 
agitations and investigations, Still, despite everything, 
the heritage known as "New England" (a moral rather 
than sectional term and diffused through all sections) 
does inspiringly combine the two things that mean most 
to me in determining my choice: respect for the free 
mind and respect for the moral law. 

This combination of moral duty and liberty may by 
1956 have a new birth of nationwide appeal, owing to 
the providential emergence of the leadership of Adlai 
Stevenson, a blender of New England and Middle West, 
an intellectual uncompromised by Popular Frontist illu 
sions or by the era of Yalta appeasement. 

No "great man" theories, no determinism: Let us take 
Stevenson merely as symbolizing imperfectly a still poten 
tial goal, a new era that may or may not be attained by 



lo g The New American Right 

his very diverse followers. For intellectuals, he symbolizes 
the mature outgrowing and discarding of what in part 
was their bad and silly era. A bad era insofar as they 
sacrificed ethical means to a progress achieved by Machia 
vellian social engineering. (Defined metaphysically, the 
ethical double standard of many toward Russia was a 
logical consequence of the initial false step of seeking a 
short-cut to material progress outside the moral frame 
work.) A silly era insofar as they alternated this expedi 
ency with the opposite extreme, that of idealistic a priori 
blueprints and abstractions; these lack the concrete con 
text of any mature, organically evolved idealism. An 
oscillation between these extremes was likewise character 
istic of the eighteenth-century liberal intellectuals, oscil 
lating between impractical Utopian yearnings and an all- 
too-practical softness (double standard) toward Jacobin 
social engineering. 

Here is one extremely small but revealing example of 
the new, maturer kind of intellectual leadership: Steven 
son did not have his name listed to endorse die Nation 
magazine (that Last Mohican from the liberal illusions 
of tiie 1930s), even though such routine endorsements in 
past years came automatically from the highest liberal 
intellectuals and New Dealers. Today, most liberal intel 
lectuals have learned to distinguish between the "liberal 
ism" of certain double-standard Nation experts (even 
while rightly defending their free speech against Mc- 
Carthyism or thought control) and tike valid liberalism 
of, say, the New Republic, the Progressive, or the Repor 
ter. Five years ago, when I began writing the chapter 
about the Nation in Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals, 
that ethical distinction was still unclear to most liberal 
intellectuals. How much saner America would be today if 
those businessmen who would like to be "conservatives" 
had some Republican version of Mr. Stevenson to teach 
them the comparable quality of distinguishing between 



THE BEVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 107 

endorsing genuine anti-Communism and endorsing the 
"anti-Communism" of the McCarthys, Jenners and Dirk- 
sens! 

What businessman today whether in the New York- 
Detroit axis or even in Chicago .Tri&tmeland sees any 
thing radical or even liberal about the SEC or insurance 
of bank deposits? These and other New Deal cushionings 
of capitalism have become so traditional, so built-in a 
part of our eastern business communities that their old 
feud with the New Deal becomes a fading anachronism, 
a feud dangerous only if it still hampers their support of 
Eisenhower s "New Deal Republicans" against the isola 
tionist nationalist Republicans. 

Though the partly unintentional effect of such New 
Deal reforms has been conservative, this does not mean 
we can go to the opposite extreme and call the New 
Deal as a whole conservative. In contrast with its Com 
munism-preventing social reforms, its procedures of agita 
tional direct democracy were occasionally as radical as 
the business world alleged them to be, by-passing the 
Supreme Court, the Constitution, and the rest of our 
indirect democracy. Further, the Popular Front attitude 
of expediency toward the sheer evil of Communism, 
though it mesmerized New Deal talkers in New York 
more than actual New Deal doers in Washington, was as 
radical an anti-ethics on the Left as ison the Right the 
similar anti-ethics of a Popular Front with McCarthyism. 

It is the bad and silly aspects of the New Deal, the 
procedural and unethical aspects, which have been rightly 
outgrown in new leaders like Stevenson, who rightly 
retain the valuable humane and conservative aspects. 
This refreshing development, by which unlike its nation 
alist Republican foes a fallible movement outgrows its 
own errors, is the decisive argument for supporting 
Stevenson and the Democrats in the Presidential election 
of 1956. The same support was actually earned by them 



io8 The New American Right 

already in 1952, but less obviously then, owing to the 
then legitimate hope that Eisenhower could help the 
Republicans to similarly outgrow their errors. 

Despite the magnificent personal intentions of our 
decent and kindly President, the present Republican Ad 
ministrationwhen considered as a whole, Knowland, 
Nixon and all has obviously failed to evoke a world- 
minded, responsible American conservatism. Instead, the 
Republican leadership has left to others (like the bipar 
tisan Watkins Committee) its own plain duty of restrain 
ing its wild men of the Right, whose activity was defined 
by the ever perceptive Will Herberg (New Leader, 
January 18, 1954) as "government by rabble-rousing, the 
very opposite of a new conservatism." Such revolutionary 
agitators would never be tolerated in the more truly 
conservative party of Eden, Butler and Churchill. 

A conservative kind of government would bring the 
following qualities: a return to established ways, relaxa 
tion of tension and calm confidence, reverence for the 
Constitution and every single one of its time-hallowed 
amendments and liberties, orderly gradualism, protection 
of the Executive Branch from outside mob pressure. The 
conservative kind of government would bring an increased 
respect even to the point of pompous stuffiness for time- 
honored authority and for venerable dignitaries. Specific 
ally, that would mean an increased respect for such 
dignitaries as Justices of the Supreme Court, famous gen 
erals decorated for heroism or with a Nobel Prize for 
statesmanship, past Presidents (because of the impersonal 
dignity of that office and because of the traditionalist s 
need of historical continuity), and any present President 
and his top appointments, especially in such a snobbishly 
aristocratic preserve as the Foreign Service. The above 
qualities are the stodgier virtues. They are not invariably 
a good thing, nor is conservatism in every context a good 
thing. AH I am saying is that these happen to be the 



THE BEVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 1CX) 

qualities of conservative rule, and the Republican Admin 
istration has not brought us a single one of them. 

The Democrats were voted out of office partly because 
the country was fed up (and rightly so) with certain of 
the more radical notions and agitations of the New Deal 
1930s. Yet, it now appears, by contrast, that those now- 
nostalgic "twenty years of treason" gave America a bit 
more of old-fashioned conservative virtues than the 
present self-styled anti-soap-boxing of Republican soap 
boxers. 

Unless one of two unexpected events occurs, the Re 
publican Party has forfeited its claim to retain in 1956 
those decisive votes of non-partisan independents which 
gave it victory in 1952. The unexpected events are either 
a far firmer assertion of presidential leadership over the 
anti-Eisenhower barn-burners and. wild men in the Senate, 
or else their secession into a radical third party. If either 
of these blessings occurs, there will again be good reason 
for independents to vote for Eisenhower: on moral 
grounds if he asserts his leadership, on strategic grounds 
if there is a McCarthy third party. The latter would save 
the Republicans in the same unexpected way that the 
secession of pro-Communists into the Progressive Party 
saved Truman in 1948. 

If neither of these unlikely blessings occurs for the 
Republicans, then the last remaining obstacle has been 
cleared away for all thoughtful conservatives and inde 
pendents, as well as liberals and Democrats, to support 
Adlai Stevenson for President in 1956. Though neither 
giddy optimism nor personal hero-worship is in order, at 
least there is a good chancein proportion to our own 
efforts to make it a good chance that a Stevenson party, 
outgrowing the bad and the silly aspects of the 1930s, 
will lead America beyond the two false alternatives of 
Babbitt Senior Republicans and Babbitt Junior liberals. 
Ahead potentially lies an American synthesis of Mill with 



no The New American Right 

Burke, of liberal free dissent with conservative roots in 
historical continuity. 

Of two American alternatives with bad records, the 
slanderous wild nationalists and the sometimes double- 
standard civil-libertarians, only the second alternative is 
capable of outgrowing a bad and silly past. The 1956 
elections can bring it a better and wiser future under the 
better and wiser intellectualism of Stevenson. Here ends 
a cycle once partly symbolized by Alger Hiss ("a genera 
tion on trial" ). Here, symbolized by Adlai Stevenson, 
begins potentially a new cycle of the glory, not the shame, 
of the eggheads. 



In view of America s present mood of prosperous mod 
eration, the McCarthy revolution and all other extremes 
of right and left will almost certainly lose. All that might 
rescue them is the emotionalism that would accompany a 
lost or costly war in China, But, luckily, the stakes are 
neither that high nor that desperate. America is no 
Weimar Republic, and McCarthyism tends to be more a 
racket than a conspiracy, more a cruel publicity hoax 
(played on Fort Monmouth, the Voice of America, the 
State Department) than a serious "fascist" or war party. 
Despite demagogic speeches ("speak loudly and carry a 
small stick"), the nationalist wing of the Republicans cares 
no more about really blockading and fighting the Red 
Chinese despotism than Hamlet s vehement player cared 
about Hecuba. Our indispensable European allies need 
not fear that Americans, even our nationalist wild men, 
will become preventive-warriors or trigger-happy. The 
struggle to be the new American ruling (taste-determin 
ing) ckss is a domestic struggle, in which foreign policy 



THE BEVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 111 

and Our Boys in China merely furnish heartless slogans 
to embarrass the older ruling class. 

In this struggle, two points emerge about diction: First, 
"nationalism" is less often a synonym of "national inter 
est" than an antonym; second, no alchemy has yet been 
invented by which a loud repetition of the word "anti- 
Communism" transforms a Yahoo into a Houyhnhnm. 

That the McCarthy movement normally accuses only 
non-Communists of "Communism" is one of the main 
rules of the game. Why? Not because the Communist 
menace to America has decreased (it has increased since 
Malenkov), but because McCarthy is not after the scalps 
of Communists in the first place but after the scalps of 
all those traditionalists who, like Senators Watkins and 
Flanders, favor government by law. And the reason why 
emotional McCarthyism, more by instinct than design, 
simply must be against traditionalists, conservatives and 
government-by-law is explained by its unadmitted but 
basic revolutionary nature. It is a radical movement trying 
to overthrow an old ruling class and replace it from 
below by a new ruling class. 

I use "ruling class" not in the rigid Marxist sense but 
to mean the determiners of culture patterns, taste pat 
terns, value patterns. For in America classes are fluid, 
unhereditary, and more psychological than economic. As 
suggested earlier, our old ruling class includes eastern, 
educated, mellowed wealth internationalist and at least 
superficially liberalized, like the Achesons of Wall Street 
or the Paul Hoffmans of the easternized fraction of 
Detroit industrialists. The new would-be rulers include 
unmellowed plebeian western wealth (Chicago, Texas, 
much of Detroit) and their enormous, gullible mass-base: 
the nationalist alliance between the sticks and the slums, 
between the hick-Protestant mentalities in the west (Pop 
ulist-Progressive on the Left, Know-Nothing on the Right) 



us The New American Right 

and the South Boston mentalities in the east. The latter 
are, metaphorically, an unexplored underground cata 
comb, long smoldering against the airy, oblivious palaces 
of both portions (liberal and Wall Street) of the eastern 
upper world. 

Nobody except McCarthy personally can bridge this 
incongruous alliance of sticks and slums, and likewise 
span both sides of their respective religions, Too many 
commentators assume that the censured McCarthy, being 
increasingly discredited, will now be replaced by a 
smoother operator, by a more reliably Republican type 
like Nixon. To be sure, an Arrow collar ad like Nixon, 
eager-eyed, clean-shaven and grinning boyishly while he 
assesses the precise spot for the stiletto, is socially more 
acceptable in the station-wagons of all kinds of junior 
executives on the make. However, even though the Vice 
President s tamer version of the McCarthy drama would 
flutter more lorgnettes in respectable suburbia, that gain 
would be counterbalanced by the loss of the still more 
numerous South Boston mentalities. The latter would 
thereupon revert to the Democratic party, from which 
only a "proletarian," non-Protestant McCarthy, never a 
bourgeois Rotarian Nixon, can lure them. 

A fact insufficiently stressed is that McCarthy himself 
was originally a member of the Wisconsin "Democrat 
Party/ The otherwise similar Senator Pat McCarran pre 
ferred to remain, at least nominally, a Democrat to the 
end. Here, clearly, is a function of voter-wooing-namely, 
wooing to Republicanism the slummier part of the 
thought-control bloc-which only a McCarthy and not 
even the most "glamorous" Nixon or Dirksen can perform 
for the wealthy, suburban, Republican anti-civil-liber- 
tarians I would, therefore, disagree with Adlai Stevenson 
when he equates Nixon s appeal with McCarthy s 

No one but McCarthy can combine these incompatibles 
ot Catholic slums and Protestant sticks into one move- 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 113 

ment, not to mention scooping up en passant the scattered 
lunatic fringes that emerged from anti-anti-Fascist isola 
tionism during World War II. Therefore, it is premature 
to write McCarthy off as finished. What will indeed 
destroy him in the long run is the fact that his organizing 
ability does not keep pace with his publicizing ability, 
and that the left (New Deal) and right (Wall Street) 
wings of the old aristocracy can today partly team up 
whenever they need to protect their common interests. 
The wealthy Wall Street lawyer Acheson symbolized this 
team-up under Truman and was hated for it; his aristo 
cratic, old-school-tie, Anglicized mannerisms were a Red 
flag to the McCarthyite plebeian revolution. 

The New Deal and Wall Street battled in the 1930s 
when their imagined interests seemed irreconcilable. (I 
say "imagined" and "seemed" because it was hardly a 
threat to Wall Street when the New Deal reforms immu 
nized workers against that lure of Communism to which 
French workers succumbed.) But the common Anglo- 
philism of the internationalist, educated eastern seaboard 
united them (fortunately for the cause of liberty) on the 
interventionist, anti-Nazi side during World War II. And, 
by today, the New Deal reforms have become so deeply 
rooted and traditional a part of the status quo, so conser 
vative in a relative (though not absolute) sense, that the 
new plebeian money from the Midwest can no longer 
count on a split between social chic (eastern money in 
New Canaan and Long Island) and progressive chic 
(cliches of "forwards-looking uplift). Whether under 
Eisenhower Republicans or Stevenson Democrats, there 
will be no such split. And, unless there is a lost war, this 
partial unity between the financial and the liberal wings 
of aristocracy will fortunately smash the McCarthyite 
plebeian insurrection of "direct democracy" (government 
by mass meetings and telegrams). 

The partial rapprochement between Wall Street and a 



114 The New American Right 

now middle-aged New Deal is evidenced by the many 
recent books by veteran New Dealers on the advantages 
of enlightened "bigness" in businessbooks, for example, 
by David Lilienthal, J. K. Galbraith and Adolf Berle. 
These three valuable writers I profoundly admire on most 
points, but I disagree on the following rhetorical question: 
While fully recognizing the harmful snob-motives of the 
medieval feudal mind, was there not, nevertheless, some 
sound moral core within its "reactionary" distrust of the 
cash-nexus bourgeois? 

Are liberal intellectuals, in a mirror-image of their 
former Left Bank stance, now suddenly to become joiners, 
good sports, success-worshipers, members of The Team? 
Will it next be a triumph of their adaptability to suffer in 
silence, without the old "holy indignation/ the spectacle 
of a Republican auto dealer patronizing a great scientist 
as if he were his clerk instead of approaching him cap in 
hand? In that case, who on earth, if not the intellectuals, 
will resist the periodic stampedes to entrust American 
culture to the manipulators of gadgets? This resistance to 
stampedes ought to express not the conformism of "non- 
conformism," flaunted to pose as a devil of a fellow, but 
the sensitivity of a deeper and finer grain, an ear conform 
ing not to bandwagon-tunes but to the finer, older, deeper 
rhythms of American culture. 

A few years ago, liberal intellectuals were reproaching 
me for refusing to bait Big Business-and today (in 
several cases) for refusing to equate it with Santa Glaus. 
Why do either? Business-baiting was and is a cheap 
bohemian flourish, a wearing of one s soulfulness on one s 
sleeve, and no substitute for seriously analyzing the real 
problem: namely, the compulsion of modern technics 
(whether under capitalist bigness or a socialist bigness) 
to put know-how before know-why. 

When the alternative is the neo-Populist barn-burners 
from Wisconsin and Texas, naturally I ardently prefer 



THE REVOLT AGAINST THE ELITE 

Big Business, especially a noblesse-obligated and New 
Dealized Big Business. For its vanity (desire to seem 
sophisticated) makes a point of allowing a lot more elbow- 
room to the free mind. But what a choice! All America s 
great creative spirits of the past, like Melville (who spoke 
of "the impieties of Progress") and conservative Henry 
Adams, would turn in their graves, as indignantly as 
would liberal Abraham Lincoln, at even the hint that no 
noble third alternative remained for a nation boasting of 
itself as the freest on earth. 

Insofar as they refute the old Stalinist lie about Amer 
ica s imaginary mass poverty and the imaginary pros 
perity of the Soviet slave kennels, let us welcome the 
belated liberal conversions to anti-business-baiting. But 
what when they go to the other extreme of whitewashing 
almost everything, from the old robber barons to the new 
"bigness"? What when the paeans to economic prosperity 
ignore the psychological starvation, the cultural starva 
tion, the mechanized mediocrity of too-efficient bigness? 
At that point, the value-conserver must protest: Judge 
our American elephantiasis of know-how not solely in 
contrast with the unspeakably low values of Soviet Com 
munism but also in contrast with our own high anti- 
commercial traditions of Hawthorne, Melville and Thor- 
eau, all of whom knew well enough that the railroad 
rides upon us, not we on the railroad. 

Where the Communist police state is the alternative, 
let us continue to emphasize that American Big Business 
is an incomparably lesser evil. But beyond that special 
situation no further concessions, least of all unnecessary 
ones. Let us frankly embrace as enjoyable conveniences 
the leisure and services resulting from IBM efficiency. 
But must the embrace be corybantic? Shall intellectuals 
positively wallow in abdicating before a bigness which 
admittedly gives Americans economic prosperity and, at 
present, a relative political freedom but which robotizes 



n6 The New American Right 

them into a tractable, pap-fed, Readers-Digested and 
manipulated mass-culture? 

Too utilitarian for a sense of tragic reverence or a sense 
of humor, and prone (behind "daring" progressive 
cliches) to an almost infinite smugness, one kind of 
bourgeois liberal is forever making quite unnecessary sac 
rifices of principle to expediency first to the fellow- 
traveling Popular Front line in the 1930s, now to the 
opposite line in the 1950s. But there comes a time when 
lasting values are conserved not by matey back-slapping 
but by wayward walks in the drizzle, not by seemingly 
practical adjustments but by the ornery Unadjusted Man. 

1 What do we mean by "direct democracy" as contrasted with "indi 
rect democracy* ? Let us re-apply to today the conservative thesis of 
Madison s tenth Federalist paper and of Irving Babbitt s Democracy 
and Leadership. 

Direct democracy (our mob tradition of Tom Paine, Jacobinism, and 
the Midwestern Populist parties) is government by referendum and 
mass petition, such as the McCarthyite Committee of Ten Million. 

Indirect democracy (our semi-aristocratic and Constitutionalist tradi 
tion of Madison and the Federalist) likewise fulfills the will of the 
people but by filtering it through parliamentary Constitutional channels 
and traditional ethical restraints. 

Both are ultimately majority rule, and ought to be. But direct democ 
racy, being immediate and hotheaded, facilitates revolution, demagogy, 
and Robespieman thought control, while indirect democracy, being 
calmed and canalized, facilitates evolution, a statesmanship of noblesse 
obUge, and civil liberties. 



Social Strains in America 



TALCOTT PARSONS 



To THE relatively objective ob 
server, whether American or foreign, it seems clear that 
the complex of phenomena that have come to be known 
as "McCarthyism" must be symptoms of a process in 
American society of some deep and general significance. 
Some interpret it simply as political reaction, even as a 
kind of neofascism. Some think of it as simply a manifes 
tation of nationalism. The present paper proposes to bring 
to bear some theoretical perspectives of sociology in an 
attempt to work out an interpretation which goes beyond 
catchwords of this order. 

McCarthyism can be understood as a relatively acute 
symptom of the strains which accompany a major change 

117 



1 18 The New American Right 

in the situation and structure of American society, a 
change which in this instance consists in the development 
of the attitudes and institutional machinery required to 
implement a greatly enhanced level of national political 
responsibility. The necessity for this development arises 
both from our own growth to an enormous potential of 
power, and from the changed relation to the rest of the 
world which this growth in itself, and other changes 
extraneous to American development, have entailed. The 
strains to which I refer derive primarily from conflicts 
between the demands imposed by the new situation and 
the inertia of those elements of our social structure which 
are most resistant to the necessary changes. 

The situation I have in mind centers on the American 
position in international affairs. The main facts are famil 
iar to all. It is not something that has come about sud 
denly, but the impact of its pressures has been cumulative. 
The starting point is the relative geographical isolation 
of the United States in the "formative" period of its 
national history, down to, let us say, about the opening 
of the present century. The Spanish-American War ex 
tended our involvements into the Spanish-speaking areas 
of the Caribbean and to the Philippines, and the Boxer 
episode in China and our mediation of the Russo-Japanese 
War indicated rapidly growing interests in the Orient. 
Then the First World War brought us in as one of the 
major belligerents, with a brief possibility of taking a 
role of world leadership. From this advanced degree of 
international involvement, however, we recoiled with a 
violent reaction, repudiating the Treaty of Versailles and 
the League of Nations. 

In the ensuing period of "normalcy," until the shock of 
Pearl Harbor settled the question, it could still be held 
that the "quarrels" of foreign powers beyond the Amer 
icas were none of our concern, unless some "arbitrary" 
disturbance impinged too closely on our national inter- 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 1*9 

ests. By the end of the Second World War, however, this 
attitude could not again be revived by any body of 
opinion which pretended to depend upon a realistic 
appraisal of our situation. Our own strength, in spite of 
our massive disarmament and demobilization, had grown 
too great; the defeat of France and the disorganization 
of Germany destroyed such continental European balance 
of power as had existed; Britain, though victorious, was 
greatly weakened in the face of world-wide commit 
ments; and Soviet Russia emerged as a victorious and 
expanding power, leading with a revolutionary ideology 
a movement which could readily destroy such elements 
of stability favorable to our own national values and 
interests as still remained in the world. Along with all 
this have come developments in military technology that 
have drastically neutralized the protections formerly con 
ferred by geographical distance, so that even the elemen 
tary military security of the United States cannot now be 
taken for granted apart from world-wide political order. 

The vicissitudes of American foreign policy and its rela 
tions to domestic politics over this period show the dis 
turbing effect of this developing situation on our society. 
We have twice intervened militarily on a grand scale. 
With a notable difference of degree, we have both times 
recoiled from the implications of our intervention. In the 
second case the recoil did not last long, since the begin 
nings of the Cold War about 1947 made it clear that only 
American action was able to prevent Soviet domination 
of the whole continent of Europe. It can, however, be 
argued that this early and grand-scale resumption of re 
sponsibility imposed serious internal strains because it 
did not allow time for "digesting" the implications of our 
role in the war. 

The outstanding characteristic of the society on which 
this greatly changed situation has impinged is that it had 
come to be the industrial society par excellence partly 



120 The New American Right 

because the settlement of the continental area coincided 
with the later industrial revolution, partly because of the 
immense area and natural resources of the country, but 
partly too because of certain important differences be 
tween American and European society. Since the United 
States did not have a class structure tightly integrated 
with a political organization that had developed its main 
forms before the industrial revolution, the economy has 
had a freedom to develop and to set the tone for the 
whole society in a way markedly different from any 
European country or Japan. 

All highly industrialized societies exhibit many features 
in common which are independent of the particular his 
torical paths by which their developments have taken 
place. These include the bureaucratic organization of the 
productive process itself, in the sense that the roles of 
individuals are of the occupational type and the organiza 
tions in which they are grouped are mainly "specific 
function" organizations. Under this arrangement the peas 
ant type of agricultural holding, where farming is very 
closely bound up with a kinship unit, is minimized; so too 
of small family businesses; people tend to look to their 
productive function and to profit as a measure of success 
and hence of emancipation from conflicting ties and 
claims; the rights of property ownership are centered 
primarily in the organization which carries functional 
responsibility, and hence permits a high degree of segre 
gation between private life and occupational roles for 
production purposes; contract plays a central part in the 
system of exchange, and para-economic elements tend to 
be reduced in importance. 

Outside the sphere which touches the organization of 
the economy itself, industrialism means above all that the 
structures which would interfere with the free function 
ing of the economy, and of their adaptation to it, are 
minimized. The first of these is family and kinship. The 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 121 

American family system, chiefly characterized by the iso 
lation of the nuclear or conjugal family, has gone farther 
than in any European society toward removing all inter 
ferences with the occupational roles of the breadwinning 
members, and with occupational mobility. A second field 
is religion. The American combination of federalism and 
the separation of church and state has resulted in a 
system of "denominational pluralism" which prevents or 
ganized religion from constituting a monolithic structure 
standing in the way of secular social developments. The 
third field concerns the matter of social stratification. 
The United States of course has a class structure; but it 
is one which has its primary roots in the system of occu 
pational roles, and in contrast to the typical European 
situation it acts as no more than a brake on the processes 
of social mobility which are most important to an indus 
trial type of occupational system. Under an effective 
family system there must be some continuity of class 
status from generation to generation, and there cannot 
be complete "equality of opportunity." In America, how 
ever, it is clearly the occupational system rather than 
kinship continuity that prevails. 

Linked to this situation is our system of formal educa 
tion. The United States was among the pioneers in devel 
oping publicly supported education; but this has taken 
place in a notably decentralized way. Not only is there no 
Department of Education in the Federal government, 
but even the various state departments are to a large 
extent service organizations for the locally controlled 
school systems. Higher education further has been con 
siderably more independent of class standards which 
equate the "scholar" with the "gentleman" (in a class 
sense) than has been the case in Europe. Also a far larger 
proportion of each age-group attends institutions of 
higher education than in European countries. 

Politically the most important fact about American in- 



122 The New American Right 

dustrialism is that it has developed overwhelmingly under 
the aegis of free enterprise, Historically the center of 
gravity of the integration of American society has not 
rested in the political field. There came to be established 
a kind of "burden of proof expectation that responsibili 
ties should not be undertaken by government unless, 
first, the necessity for their being undertaken at all was 
clearly established, and second, there was no other obvi 
ously adequate way to get the job done. It is therefore 
not surprising that the opening up of vast new fields of 
governmental responsibility should meet with consider 
able resistance and conflict. 

The impact of this problem on our orientation to 
foreign relations has been complicated by an important 
set of internal circumstances. It is a commonplace that 
industrialism creates on a large scale two sets of problems 
which uniformly in all industrialized countries have re 
quired modifications of any doctrinaire "laissez-faire" 
policy: the problems of controlling the processes of the 
economy itself, and of dealing with certain social reper 
cussions of industrialization. 

As the process of industrialization has developed in 
America there has been a steady increase in the amount 
of public control imposed on the economy, with the 
initiative mainly in the hands of the Federal government. 
This trend was accelerated in the latter years of the nine 
teenth century, and has continued, with interruptions, 
through the New Deal. The New Deal, however, was 
more concerned with the social repercussions of indus 
trialization, rather than with more narrowly economic 
problems. The introduction of a national system of social 
security and legislation more favorable to labor are per 
haps the most typical developments. This internal process 
of government intervention has not gone far enough to 
satisfy European socialists, but it certainly constitutes a 
great modification of the earlier situation. Moreover, in 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 

broad lines it can be regarded as firmly established. It is 
significant that the major political parties now tend to 
vie with each other in promoting the extension of social 
security benefits, that there is no likelihood of repeal of 
the Federal Reserve Act, and that there is no strong 
movement to place the unions under really severe legal 
restraints. 

On the whole, business groups have accepted the new 
situation and cooperated to make it work with consid 
erably more good faith than in Continental Europe. 
Nevertheless, these internal changes have been sufficiently 
recent and far-reaching to keep the strains attendant on 
them from being fully resolved. Moreover they have 
created an important part of the problems with which 
this examination is chiefly concerned, problems touching 
the composition of the higher strata of the society, where 
the primary burden of responsibility must fall. 

By contrast with European countries, perhaps in some 
ways particularly Britain, the United States has been 
conspicuous for the absence or relative weakness of two 
types of elite elements. The first of these is a hereditary 
upper class with a status continuous from pre-industrial 
times, closely integrated with politics and public service. 
The second is an occupational elite whose roots are essen 
tially independent of the business world in the indepen 
dent professions, the universities, the church, or govern 
ment, including civil and military services. 

In America the businessmen have tended to be the 
natural leaders of the general community. But, both for 
the reasons just reviewed and for certain others, this 
leadership has not remained undisputed. On the whole 
the business community has, step by step, resisted the 
processes of internal change necessitated by industrializa 
tion rather than taken the leadership in introducing them. 
The leadership that has emerged has been miscellaneous 
in social origin, including professional politicians, espe- 



The New American Right 

daily those in touch with the urban political machines, 
leaders in the labor union movement and elements in 
close touch with them. An important part has been played 
by men and women who may be said to exhibit a more 
or less "aristocratic" tinge, particularly in the Eastern 
cities, President Roosevelt of course having been among 
them. An important part has been played by lawyers 
who have made themselves more independent of the 
business connection than the typical corporation lawyer 
of a generation ago. Under the pressure of emergency, 
there has been a tendency for high military officers to 
play important roles in public life. 

Another important group has been composed of "intel 
lectuals" again a rather miscellaneous assembly including 
writers, newspapermen, and members of university facul 
ties. In general the importance of the universities has 
been steadily enhanced by the increasingly technical 
character of the operations of the economy; businessmen 
themselves have had to be more highly educated than 
their predecessors, and have become increasingly depen 
dent on still more highly trained technicians of various 
lands. 

The important point is that the "natural" tendency for 
a relatively unequivocal business leadership of the general 
community has been frustrated, and the business group 
has had to give way at many points. Nevertheless, a 
clearly defined non-business component of the elite has 
not yet crystallized. In my opinion, the striking feature of 
the American elite is not what Soviet propaganda con 
tends that it is the clear-cut dominance by "capitalists" 
but rather its fluid and relatively unstructured character. 
In particular, there is no clear determination of where 
political leadership, in the sense including both "politics" 
and "administration," is to center. 

A further feature of the structure of American society 
is intimately related to the residual strains left by recent 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 

social changes, There is a continuing tendency for earlier 
economic developments to leave a "precipitate" of upper 
groups, the position of whose members is founded in the 
achievements of their ancestors, in this case relatively 
recent ones. By historical necessity these groups are 
strongest in the older parts of the country. Hence the 
cities of the Eastern seaboard have tended to develop 
groups that are the closest approach we have though still 
very different from their European equivalent to an aris 
tocracy. They have generally originated in business in 
terests, but have taken on a form somewhat similar to the 
mercantile aristocracies of some earlier European socie 
ties, such as the Hanseatic cities. In the perspective of 
popular democratic sentiments, these groups have tended 
to symbolize at the same time capitalistic interests and 
social snobbery. In certain circumstances they may be 
identified with "bohemianism" and related phenomena 
which are sources of uneasiness to traditional morality. 
As the American social and economic center has shifted 
westward, such groups in the great Middle Western area 
and beyond have been progressively less prominent There 
the elites have consisted of new men. In the nature of 
the case the proportional contribution to the economy 
and the society in general from the older and the newer 
parts of the country has shifted, with the newer progres 
sively increasing their share. But at the same time there 
is the sense among them of having had to fight for this 
share against the "dominance" of the East. A similar 
feeling permeates the lower levels of. the class structure. 
A major theme of the populist type of agrarian and other 
radicalism had combined class and sectional elements, 
locating the source of people s troubles in the bankers 
and railway magnates of the East and in Wall Street. It 
must not be forgotten that the isolationism of the between- 
the-wars period was intimately connected with this sec 
tional and class sentiment. The elder La Follette, who was 



126 The New American Right 

one of the principal destroyers of the League of Nations, 
was not a "conservative" or in any usual sense a reac 
tionary, but a principal leader of the popular revolt 
against "the interests," 

It must also not be forgotten that a large proportion 
of the American population are descendants of relatively 
recent immigrants whose cultural origins are different 
from the dominant Protestant Anglo-Saxon elements. A 
generation and more ago the bulk of the new immigration 
constituted an urban proletariat largely dominated by the 
political machines of the great cities. By now a great 
change has taken place. The children of these immigrants 
have been very much Americanized, but to a considerable 
degree they are still sensitive about their full acceptance. 
This sensitivity is if anything heightened by the fact that 
on the whole most of these elements have risen rapidly in 
the economic and social scale. They are no longer the 
inhabitants of the scandalous slums; many have climbed 
to lower middle class status and higher. They have a 
certain susceptibility to "democratic" appeals which are 
directed against the alleged snobbery of the older domi 
nant elements. 

Finally, the effect of the great depression of the 1930 s 
on the leading business groups must not be forgotten. 
Such a collapse of the economy could not fail to be felt 
as a major failure of the expectation that business leaders 
should bear the major responsibility for the welfare of the 
economy as a whole and thus of the community. In gen 
eral it was not the businessmen but the government, under 
leadership which was broadly antagonistic to business, 
which came to the rescue. Similarly, the other great class 
of American proprietors, the farmers, had to accept gov 
ernmental help of a sort that entailed controls, which in 
turn inevitably entailed severe conflicts with the individ 
ualistic traditions of their history. The fact that the strains 
of the war and postwar periods have been piled so imme- 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 

diately on those of depression has much to do with the 
severity of the tensions with which this analysis is con 
cerned. 

My thesis, then, is that the strains of the international 
situation have impinged on a society undergoing impor 
tant internal changes which have themselves been sources 
of strain, with the effect of superimposing one kind of 
strain on another. What responses to this compound 
strain are to be expected? 

It is a generalization well established in social science 
that neither individuals nor societies can undergo major 
structural changes without the likelihood of producing a 
considerable element of "irrational" behavior. There will 
tend to be conspicuous distortions of the patterns of value 
and of the normal beliefs about the facts of situations. 
These distorted beliefs and promptings to irrational action 
will also tend to be heavily weighted with emotion, to 
be "overdetermined" as the psychologists say. 

The psychology of such reactions is complex, but for 
present purposes it will suffice to distinguish two main 
components. On the negative side, there will tend to be 
high levels of anxiety and aggression, focused on what 
rightly or wrongly are felt to be the sources of strain and 
difficulty. On the positive side there will tend to be 
wishful patterns of belief with a strong "regressive" 
flavor, whose chief function is to wish away the disturbing 
situation and establish a situation in phantasy where 
"everything will be all right," preferably as it was before 
the disturbing situation came about. Very generally then 
the psychological formula tends to prescribe a set of 
beliefs that certain specific, symbolic agencies are respon 
sible for the present state of distress; they have "arbi 
trarily" upset a satisfactory state of affairs. If only they 
could be eliminated the trouble would disappear and 
a satisfactory state restored. The role of this type of 
mechanism in primitive magic is quite well known. 



The New American Right 

In a normal process of learning in the individual, or of 
developmental change in the social system, such irrational 
phenomena are temporary, and tend to subside as capac 
ity to deal with the new situation grows. This may be 
more or less easily achieved of course, and resolution of 
the conflicts and strains may fail to be achieved for a 
long period or may even be permanently unsuccessful. 
But under favorable circumstances these reactions are 
superseded by an increasingly realistic facing of the 
situation by institutionalized means. 

Our present problem therefore centers on the need to 
mobilize American society to cope with a dangerous and 
threatening situation which is also intrinsically difficult. 
It can clearly only be coped with at the governmental 
level; and hence the problem is in essence a matter of 
political action, involving both questions of leadership 
of who, promoting what policies, shall take the primary 
responsibility and of the commitment of the many heter 
ogeneous elements of our population to the national 
interest. 

Consequently there has come to be an enormous in 
crease in pressure to subordinate private interests to the 
public interest, and this in a society where the presump 
tions have been more strongly in favor of the private 
interest than in most. Readiness to make commitments to 
a collective interest is the focus of what we ordinarily 
mean by "loyalty." It seems to me that the problem of 
loyalty at its core is a genuine and realistic one; but 
attitudes toward it shade all the way from a reasonable 
concern with getting the necessary degree of loyal co 
operation by legitimate appeals, to a grossly irrational set 
of anxieties about the prevalence of disloyalty, and a 
readiness to vent the accompanying aggression on inno 
cent scapegoats. 

Underlying the concern for loyalty in general, and 
explaining a good deal of the reaction to it, is the ambiva- 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 129 

lence of our approach to the situation: The people in 
the most "exposed" positions are on the one hand pulled 
by patriotic motives toward fulfillment of the expectations 
inherent in the new situation; they want to "do their bit." 
But at the same time their established attitudes and orien 
tations resist fulfillment of the obligation. In the conflict 
of motives which ensues it is a natural consequence for 
the resistance to be displaced or projected on to other 
objects which function as scapegoats. In the present 
situation it is precisely those parts of our population 
where individualistic traditions are strongest that are 
placed under the greatest strain, and that produce the 
severest resistances to accepting the obligations of our 
situation. Such resistances, however, conflict with equally 
strong patriotic motives. In such a situation, when one s 
own resistance to loyal acceptance of unpalatable obliga 
tions, such as paying high taxes, are particularly strong, 
it is easy to impute disloyal intentions to others. 

Our present emotional preoccupation with the problem 
of loyalty indicates above all that the crisis is not, as some 
tend to think, primarily concerned with fundamental 
values, but rather with their implementation. It is true 
that certain features of the pattern of reaction, such as 
tendencies to aggressive nationalism and to abdication 
of responsibilities, would, if carried through, lead to 
severe conflict with our values, But the main problem is 
not concerned with doubts about whether the stable 
political order of a free world is a goal worth sacrificing 
for, but rather with the question of how our population 
is rising or failing to rise to the challenge. 

The primary symbol that connects the objective exter 
nal problem and its dangers with the internal strain and 
its structure is "Communism." "World Communism" and 
its spread constitute the features of the world situation 
on which the difficulty of our international problem 
clearly centers. Internally it is felt that Communists and 



The New American Right 

their "sympathizers" constitute the primary focus of 
actual or potential disloyalty. 

With respect to the external situation, the focus of the 
difficulty in the current role of Soviet Russia is of course 
reasonable enough. Problems then arise mainly in connec 
tion with certain elements of "obsessiveness" in the way 
in which the situation is approached, manifested for 
instance in a tendency to subordinate all other approaches 
to the situation exclusively to the military, and in the 
extreme violence of reaction in some circles to the Chinese 
situation, in contrast to the relative tolerance with which 
Yugoslavia is regarded. 

Internally, the realistic difficulty resides mainly in the 
fact that there has indeed been a considerable amount of 
Communist infiltration in the United States, particularly 
in the 1930 s. It is true that the Communist Party itself 
has never achieved great electoral success, but for a time 
Communist influence was paramount in a number of im 
portant labor unions, and a considerable number of 
the associations Americans so like to join were revealed 
to be Communist-front organizations, with effective Com 
munist control behind the public participation of many 
non-Communists. Perhaps most important was the fact 
that considerable numbers of the intellectuals became 
fellow-travelers. In the days of the rise of Nazism and of 
the popular front, many of them felt that only Soviet 
Russia was sincere in its commitment to collective secu 
rity; tihat there was a Franco-British "plot" to get Ger 
many and Russia embroiled with each other, etc. The 
shock of the Nazi-Soviet pact woke up many fellow- 
travelers, but by no means all; and the cause was con 
siderably retrieved by Hitler s attack on Russia. 

Two other features of the Communist movement which 
make it an ideal negative symbol in the context of the 
present loyalty problem are the combination of conspira- 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 

torial methods and foreign control with the progressive 
component of its ideological system. On the one hand 
the party has drastically repudiated the procedures of 
constitutional democracy, and on this issue has broken 
with all the democratic socialist parties of Europe; it 
claims the protection of democratic procedures and civil 
liberties, but does not hesitate to abuse them when this 
seems to be advantageous. There has further never been 
any question of the American party determining its own 
policies by democratic procedures. Perhaps in fact the 
knowledge of the extent to which the "front" organiza 
tions have been manipulated from behind the scenes has 
been the most disillusioning aspect for liberal Americans 
of their experience with Communism at home. 

At the same time the movement had a large content of 
professed idealism, which may be taken to account for 
the appeal of Communism before the Cold War era for 
such large elements of liberal opinion in the United 
States, as in other Western countries. Marx was, after all, 
himself a child of the Enlightenment, and the Communist 
movement has incorporated in its ideology many of the 
doctrines of human rights that have formed a part of 
our general inheritance. However grossly the symbols of 
democracy, of the rights of men, of peace and brother 
hood, have been abused by the Communists, they are 
powerful symbols in our own tradition, and their appeal 
is understandable. 

Hence the symbol "Communism" is one to which a 
special order of ambivalence readily attaches. It has 
powerful sources of appeal to the liberal tradition, but 
those who are out of sympathy with the main tradition 
of American liberalism can find a powerful target for 
their objections in the totalitarian tactics of Communism 
and can readily stigmatize it as "un-American." Then, by 
extending their objections to the liberal component of 



The New American Right 

Communist ideology, they can attack liberalism in gen 
eral, on the grounds that association with Communist 
totalitarianism makes anything liberal suspect. 

These considerations account for the anti-Communist s 
readiness to carry over a stereotype from those who have 
really been party members or advanced fellow-travelers 
to large elements of the intellectuals, the labor movement, 
etc., who have been essentially democratic liberals of 
various shades of opinion. Since by and large the Demo 
cratic Party has more of this liberalism than has the 
Republican, it is not surprising that a tendency to label 
it as "sympathizing" with or "soft toward" Communism 
has appeared. Such a label has also been extended, though 
not very seriously, to the Protestant clergy. 

But there is one further extension of the association 
that is not accounted for in these terms, nor is the failure 
to include certain plausible targets so accountable. The 
extension I have in mind is that which leads to the inclu 
sion as "pro-Communist" of certain men or institutions 
that have been associated with political responsibility in 
the international field. Two symbols stand out here. The 
first is Dean Acheson. Mr. Acheson has for years served 
the Democratic Party. But he has belonged to the con 
servative, not the New Deal wing of the party. Further 
more, the coupling of General Marshall with him, though 
only in connection with China, and only by extremists, 
clearly precludes political radicalism as the primary ob 
jection, since Marshall has never in any way been identi 
fied with New Deal views. The other case is that of 
Harvard University as an alleged "hot-bed" of Commu 
nism and fellow-traveling. The relevant point is that Mr. 
Acheson typifies the "aristocrat" in public service; he 
came of a wealthy family, he went to a select private 
school (Groton) and to Yale and Harvard Law School. 
He represents symbolically those Eastern vested interests, 
against whom antagonism has existed among the new men 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 133 

of the Middle West and the populist movement, including 
the descendants of recent immigrants. Similarly, among 
American universities Harvard has been particularly 
identified as educating a social elite, the members of 
which are thought of as "just the type," in their striped 
trousers and morning coats, to sell out the country to the 
social snobs of European capitals. It is the combination of 
aristocratic associations through the Boston Brahmins 
and a kind of urban-bohemian sophistication along with 
its devotion to intellectual and cultural values, including 
precisely its high intellectual standards, which makes 
Harvard a vulnerable symbol in this context. 

The symbol "Communism," then, from its area of legiti 
mate application, tends to be generalized to include 
groups in the population who have been associated with 
political liberalism of many shades and with intellectual 
values in general and to include the Eastern upper-class 
groups who have tended to be relatively internationalist 
in their outlook. 

A second underlying ambivalent attitude-structure is 
discernible in addition to that concerning the relation 
between the totalitarian and the progressive aspects of 
Communism. On the one hand, Communism very obvi 
ously symbolizes what is anathema to the individualistic 
tradition of a business economy the feared attempt to 
destroy private enterprise and with it the great tradition 
of individual freedom. But on the other hand, in order to 
rise to the challenge of the current political situation, it is 
necessary for the older balance between a free economy 
and the power of government to be considerably shifted 
in favor of the latter. We must have a stronger govern 
ment than we have traditionally been accustomed to, and 
we must come to trust it more fully. It has had in recent 
times to assume very substantial regulatory functions in 
relation to the economy, and now vastly enhanced respon 
sibilities in relation to international affairs. 



134 The New American Right 

But, on the basis of a philosophy which, in a very 
different way from our individualistic tradition, gives 
primacy to "economic interests/ namely the Marxist phil 
osophy, the Communist movement asserts the unquali 
fied, the totalitarian supremacy of government over the 
economy. It is precisely an actual change in our own 
system in what in one sense is clearly this direction that 
emerges as the primary focus of the frustrations to which 
the older American system has been subjected. The 
leaders of the economy, the businessmen, have been 
forced to accept far more "interference" from government 
with what they have considered "their affairs" than they 
have liked. And now they must, like everyone else, pay 
unprecedentedly high taxes to support an enormous mili 
tary establishment, and give the government in other 
respects unprecedentedly great powers over the popula 
tion. The result of this situation is an ambivalence of 
attitude that on the one hand demands a stringent display 
of loyalty going to lengths far beyond our tradition of 
individual liberty, and on the other hand is ready to 
blame elements which by ordinary logic have little or 
nothing to do with Communism, for working in league 
with the Communist movement to create this horrible 
situation. 

Generally speaking, the indefensible aspect of this ten 
dency in a realistic assessment appears in a readiness to 
question the loyalty of all those who have assumed re 
sponsibility for leadership in meeting the exigencies of 
the new situation. These include many who have helped 
to solve the internal problems of the control of the 
economy, those who in the uneasy later thirties and 
the first phase of the war tried to get American policy 
and public opinion to face the dangers of the international 
situation, and those who since the war have tried to take 
responsibility in relation to the difficult postwar situation. 
Roughly, these are the presumptively disloyal elements 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AJVCERICA 135 

who are also presumptively tainted with Communism. Here 
again, admittedly, certain features of our historical record 
and attitudes provide some realistic basis for this ten 
dency. In fact many elements in both parties have failed 
lamentably to assess correctly the dangers of the situation, 
both internally and externally. New Dealers have stigma 
tized even the most responsible elements of the business 
world as economic royalists and the like, while many 
elements in business have clung long past a reasonable 
time to an outmoded belief in the possibility of a society 
with only a "night watchman" government. In foreign 
affairs, some members of the Democratic Party have been 
slow to learn how formidable a danger was presented by 
totalitarian Communism, but this is matched by the 
utopianism of many Republicans about the consequences 
of American withdrawal from international responsibili 
ties, through high tariffs as well as political isolationism. 
The necessity to learn the hard realities of a complex 
world and the difficulty of the process is not a task to be 
imposed on only part of the body politic. No party or 
group can claim a monopoly either of patriotic motive or 
of competent understanding of affairs. 

In a double sense, then, Communism symbolizes "the 
intruder." Externally the world Communist movement is 
the obvious source of the most serious difficulties we have 
to face. On the other hand, although Communism has 
constituted to some degree a realistic internal danger, it 
has above all come to symbolize those factors that have 
disturbed the beneficent natural state of an American 
society which allegedly and in phantasy existed before 
the urgent problems of control of the economy and greatly 
enhanced responsibility in international affairs had to be 
tackled. 

Against this background it can perhaps be made clear 
why the description of McCarthyism as simply a political 
reactionary movement is inadequate. In the first place, it 



136 The New American Right 

is clearly not simply a cloak for the "vested interests" but 
rather a movement that profoundly splits the previously 
dominant groups. This is evident in the split, particularly 
conspicuous since about 1952, within the Republican 
Party, An important part of the business elite, especially 
in the Middle West and in Texas, the * newest" area of 
all, have tended in varying degrees to be attracted by the 
McCarthy appeal. But other important groups, notably in 
the East, have shied away from it and apparently have 
come to be more and more consolidated against it. Very 
broadly, these can be identified with the business element 
among the Eisenhower Republicans. 

But at the same time the McCarthy following is by no 
means confined to the vested-interest groups. There has 
been an important popular following of very miscella 
neous composition. It has comprised an important part 
of those who aspire to full status in the American system 
but have, realistically or not, felt discriminated against 
in various ways, especially the Mid- Western lower and 
lower middle classes and much of the population of recent 
immigrant origin. The elements of continuity between 
Western agrarian populism and McCarthyism are not by 
any means purely fortuitous. At the levels of both lead 
ership and popular following, the division of American 
political opinion over this issue cuts clean across the 
traditional lines of distinction between "conservatives" 
and "progressives" especially where that tends to be 
defined, as it so often is, in terms of the capitalistic or 
moneyed interests as against those who seek to bring them 
under more stringent control. McCarthyism is both a 
movement supported by certain vested-interest elements 
and a popular revolt against the upper classes. 

Another striking characteristic of McCarthyism is that 
it is highly selective in the liberal causes it attacks. Apart 
from the issue of Communism in the labor unions, now 
largely solved, there has been no concerted attack on the 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 137 

general position of the labor movement. Further, the 
social program aimed toward the reduction of racial 
discrimination has continued to be pressed, to which fact 
the decision of the Supreme Court outlawing segregation 
in public education and its calm reception provide drama 
tic evidence. Nevertheless, so far as I am aware there has 
been no outcry from McCarthyite quarters to the effect 
that this decision is further evidence of Communist influ 
ence in high circles in spite of the fact that eight out of 
nine members of the present court were appointed by 
Roosevelt and Truman. 

Perhaps even more notable is the fact that, unlike the 
1930 s, when Father Coughlin and others were preaching 
a vicious anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism as a public issue 
has since the war been very nearly absent from the 
American scene. This is of course associated with full 
employment. But particularly in view of the rather large 
and conspicuous participation of Jewish intellectuals in 
the fellow-traveling of the 1930 s, it is notable that Jewish- 
ness has not been singled out as a symbolic focus for the 
questioning of loyalty. A critical difference from German 
Nazism is evident here. To the Nazis the Jew was the 
primary negative symbol, the Communist the most promi 
nent secondary one. But it must also be remembered that 
capitalism was symbolically involved. One of the functions 
of the Jew was to link Communism and capitalism to 
gether. This trio were the "intruders" to the Nazis. They 
symbolized different aspects of the disturbance created 
by the rapid development of industrialism to the older 
pre-industrial Gemeinschaft of German political roman 
ticism. It was the obverse of the American case a new 
economy destroying an old political system, not new 
political responsibilities interfering with the accustomed 
ways of economic life. 

Negatively, then, the use of the symbol "Communism" 
as the focus of anxiety and aggression is associated with 



138 The New American Right 

a high order of selectivity among possibly vulnerable 
targets. This selectivity is, I submit, consistent with the 
hypothesis that the focus of the strain expressed by 
McCarthyism lies in the area of political responsibility 
not, as Marxists would hold, in the structure of the 
economy as such, nor in the class structure in any simple, 
Marxian-tinged sense. 

The same interpretation is confirmed by the evidence 
on the positive side. The broadest formula for what the 
McCarthyites positively "want" besides the elimination 
of all Communist influence, real or alleged is perhaps 
"isolationism." The dominant note is, I think, the regres 
sive one. It is the wishful preservation of an old order, 
which allegedly need never have been disturbed but for 
the wilful interference of malevolent elements, Com 
munists and their sympathizers. The nationalistic over 
tones center on a phantasy of a happy "American way" 
where everything used to be all right. Naturally it is 
tinged with the ideology of traditional laissez-faire, but 
not perhaps unduly so. Also it tends to spill over into a 
kind of irritated activism. On the one hand we want to 
keep out of trouble; but on the other hand, having identi 
fied an enemy, we want to smash him forthwith. The 
connection between the two can be seen, for example, in 
relation to China, where the phantasy seems to be that 
by drastic action it would be possible to "clean up" the 
Chinese situation quickly and then our troubles would 
be over. 

The main contention of these pages has been that 
McCarthyism is best understood as a symptom of the 
strains attendant on a deep-seated process of change in 
our society, rather than as a "movement" presenting a 
policy or set of values for the American people to act on. 
Its content is overwhelmingly negative, not positive. It 
advocates "getting rid" of undesirable influences, and 
has amazingly little to say about what should be done. 



SOCIAL STRAINS IN AMERICA 139 

This negativism is primarily the expression of fear, 
secondarily of anger, the aggression which is a product of 
frustration. The solution, which is both realistically feasi 
ble and within the great American tradition, is to regain 
our national self-confidence and to take active steps to 
cope with the situation with which we are faced. 

On the popular level the crisis is primarily a crisis of 
confidence. We are baffled and anxious, and tend to seek 
relief in hunting scapegoats. We must improve our under 
standing and come to realize our strength and trust in it. 
But this cannot be done simply by wishing it to be done. 
I have consistently argued that the changed situation in 
which we are placed demands a far-reaching change in 
the structure of our society. It demands policies, and 
confidence, but it demands more than these. It demands 
above all three things. The first is a revision of our con 
ception of citizenship to encourage the ordinary man to 
accept greater responsibility. The second is the develop 
ment of the necessary implementing machinery. Third is 
national political leadership, not only in the sense of 
individual candidates for office or appointment, but in the 
sense of social strata where a traditional political respon 
sibility is ingrained. 

The most important of these requirements is the third. 
Under American conditions, a politically leading stratum 
must be made up of a combination of business and non- 
business elements. The role of the economy in American 
society and of the business element in it is such that 
political leadership without prominent business participa 
tion is doomed to ineffectiveness and to the perpetuation 
of dangerous internal conflict. It is not possible to lead 
the American people against the leaders of the business 
world. But at the same time, so varied now are the na 
tional elements which make a legitimate claim to be rep 
resented, the business element cannot monopolize or 
dominate political leadership and responsibility. Broadly, 
I think, a political elite in the two main aspects of 



140 The New American Right 

"politicians" whose specialties consist in the management 
of public opinion, and of "administrators" in both civil 
and military services, must be greatly strengthened. It is 
here that the practical consequences of McCarthyism 
run most directly counter to the realistic needs of the 
time. But along with such a specifically political elite there 
must also be close alliance with other, predominantly 
"cultural" elements, notably perhaps in the universities, 
but also in the churches. 

In the final sense, then, the solution of the problem of 
McCarthyism lies in the successful accomplishment of 
the social changes to which we are called by our position 
in the world and by our own domestic requirements. We 
have already made notable progress toward this objective; 
the current flare-up of stress in the form of McCarthyism 
can be taken simply as evidence that the process is not 
complete. 



The Polls on Communism 
and Conformity 1 



NATHAN GLAZER AND 
SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET 



TEN OR twenty years ago, no one 
could have predicted that the defense of civil liberties 
would become the complicated matter it became in the 
Fifties. A generation raised on campaigns for the defense 
of the civil liberties of socialists, pacifists, anarchists, and 
an outspoken or queer teacher here or there, found the 
problem simple. It could even extend its protection to 
the odd teacher or crackpot who supported the Nazis 
and the Fascists; there were too few of them to matter. 
But now the matter is more complicated. The Communist 
Party, however few actual party members there may 
have been at any given time, did have a far greater 
influence over American intellectual and cultural life, and 

141 



The New American Right 

in American government too, than anything that can be 
legitimately called Nazism or Fascism. And there is no 
question, too, that the American people-however defined 
-feel more intensely about Communists than they felt 
about Nazism and Fascism. This attitude was stiffened 
by the disclosures of past Communist influence, particu 
larly the espionage roles of some hidden units in govern 
ment, by lie rising chill of the cold war, and by the 
aggression of the Communists in Korea, Security became 
a natural issue almost a national idee fixe at least on the 
official levels of opinion and government. So, the last ten 
years have seen the creation of a whole system of law, 
administrative regulations, regulative bodies, and private 
agencies devoted, at one extreme, to putting Communists 
in jail, and at the other, to simply making life miserable 
for people who might have been or might be Communists. 
In the resulting hullaballoo and confusion, many people 
have been properly concerned over the erosion or abroga 
tion of civil liberties of Communists and non-Commu 
nists; other people have been properly concerned over 
the extent of the threat of Communism, and whether 
these measures form a really effective defense against the 
Communist movement. But how concerned were the 
American people about Communism? And who among 
them manifested these concerns, and to what extent? 
How far would Americans go in supporting restrictions on 
Communists and who among the people would go farth 
est? How much support could Senator McCarthy mobilize 
for his charges? The book which was published under the 
sponsorship of the Fund for the Republic Communism, 
Conformity, and Civil Liberties by Samuel A. Stouffer of 
Harvard is intended as an answer to some of these ques 
tions. It is, we should understand, a limited contribution 
and deals with only one part of the problem. It is a survey 
of opinions. From any survey of opinions we find out 
what people think. In this book we find out what the 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 143 

American people think about allowing advocates of public 
ownership of industry, opponents of religion, suspected 
Communists, and admitted Communists, to speak, pub 
lish, teach, hold government jobs, and so on. To a much 
smaller and less adequate extent, we find out how serious 
they consider the danger posed by domestic Communists 
to be. 

But this means (and perhaps this labors the obvious), 
that we will not find out whether, in fact, the civil liberties 
of advocates of public ownership, atheists and Commu 
nists have been infringed, whether they should be limited, 
how the present situation in this respect compares with 
the past, and whether it is likely to deteriorate or im 
prove in the future. 

Nor does this, as a study of opinions, concern itself with 
other realities that socialists and atheists and even Com 
munists regularly publish newspapers, and make speeches, 
and that, despite the "will of the American people" as 
reflected in opinion polls, persons in the first two cate 
gories teach and work for the government and for colleges 
and even school boards without major disturbances; in 
short, that liberty is not to be measured, or not solely, 
by the opinions of a random sample, the vast majority of 
whom have never thought about or considered the ques 
tions with which they are confronted; and that legislatures 
and courts and constitutions and the customary practices 
of our institutions are surer defenses of liberty than the 
off-the-cuff feelings of the man on the street. It seems, 
indeed, that it is almost in an absent-minded or abstracted 
way that the average American will propose very drastic 
measures for Communists. Most people just don t seem to 
be terribly concerned with domestic Communism or any 
political issue. Almost half the population, 44 per cent, 
report that they hardly ever follow news about Com 
munists. When asked, "Do you happen to know the names 
of any Senators and Congressmen who have been taking 



The New American Right 

a leading part in these investigations of Communism?" 
SO per cent of the national cross-section "could not come 
up with a single correct name not even the name of 
Senator McCarthy!" It is clear from other data in the 
study, that this non-interested group overlaps considerably 
with those Americans who do not vote and are uninter 
ested in politics in general. This group with presumably 
little or no weight in the body politic is actually much 
more anti-civil libertarian than those persons who are 
interested in the Communist problem, or in politics gen 
erally. Yet, whether people think about Communism, 
which people think about it, and, of that group, what 
they think ought to be done about it, is itself one of the 
most important facts in the situation. If public opinion 
is indifferent or enlightened, then government leaders 
may safely take whatever measures they think the extent 
of the Communist threat requires. If public opinion is 
violently anti-Communist and badly informed, then legis 
lators and officials may have to take measures which they 
feel are unwise, or the braver ones may have to undertake 
the difficult job of educating public opinion. So, despite 
the necessary limitations of the techniques used, much of 
value can be uncovered by a survey of what people think. 
Let us turn now to the study. Two organizations Gal- 
lup s American Institute of Public Opinion and the Na 
tional Opinion Research Center conducted independent 
interviewing, using the same questionnaire, and drawing 
samples of roughly the same size 2,400 persons in each 
sample so that they could check their results against each 
other. In most cases, the differences were minor, so we 
can accept these results as reliable. In addition to this 
national sample of 4,800 cases, a second sample of com 
munity leaders was interviewed by the two organizations. 
In a random sample of over 100 cities of more than 
10,000 and fewer than 150,000 people, fourteen leaders- 
political leaders, business and civic leaders, labor leaders, 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 145 

and heads of major voluntary organizations were inter 
viewed, being given the same questionnaire that was 
administered to the national sample. Thus, some 1,500 
community leaders were interviewed and it became pos 
sible to compare people of position and substance in the 
middle-sized cities of the country with the rest of the 
people of those towns, and with the country as a whole. 

Generally speaking, we find that a large proportion of 
the American people are intolerant on a variety of issues. 
Only 37 per cent of the general sample answered affirma 
tively the question: "If a person wanted to make a speech 
in your community against churches and religion, should 
he be allowed to speak or not?" Even more startling, only 
12 per cent of the population would allow "such a person 
... to teach/ while three-fifths would favor removing 
a book attacking churches and religion from public libra 
ries. 2 

While critics of religion are in an especially vulnerable 
position, many Americans would also deny traditional 
rights to those who, while not Communists, favored the 
nationalization of industry. Fewer than three-fifths of 
Americans answered yes to the question: "If a person 
wanted to make a speech in your community favoring 
government ownership of all the railroads and big indus 
tries, should he be allowed to speak or not?" Only a slim 
majority, 52 per cent, would retain a book favoring gov 
ernment ownership in the public library. Only one-third 
would permit an advocate of government ownership "to 
teach in a college or university." 

As might be expected, the freedoms of Communist 
advocates find short shrift with the American public. 
Only 27 per cent would allow an admitted Communist 
to make a speech. Nine-tenths of the population would 
not allow him to teach in a high school or university. 
Two-thirds would remove a book by a Communist from 
the public library. Approximately two-thirds would not 



146 The New American Right 

allow a Communist to work as a clerk in a store or be a 
radio singer. Over 75 per cent would take away his 
citizenship. Slightly over half, 51 per cent, would put an 
admitted Communist in jail. So concerned are Americans 
with suppressing Communism, that almost three-fifths of 
the people thought it more important "to find out all the 
Communists even if some innocent people should be 
hurt," while less than a third chose the alternate statement 
that it was more important "to protect the rights of inno 
cent people even if some Communists are not found out." 
(If it is any consolation, the "level of tolerance" if we 
measure it by what people say has never been assuringly 
high. ". . . even in 1943, after the battle of Stalingrad, 
two out of five Americans would have prohibited any 
Communist party member from speaking on the radio. 
By 1948 this proportion was up to 57 per cent; by 1952 
it had risen to 77 per cent; and in ... January, 1954 the 
figure was 81 per cent. ... An NORC survey before the 
war found 25 per cent who would deny socialists the 
right to publish newspapers; by 1953 [this figure had 
risen to] 45 per cent.") 

The finding that the majority of Americans tend to be 
politically intolerant is checked by the converse report 
of a larger proportion who felt that many civil liberties 
were being denied. Only 56 per cent agreed with the 
statement that "all people in this country feel as free to 
say what they think as they used to"; 31 per cent believed 
that some people do not feel as free as before, and 10 per 
cent stated that "hardly anyone feels as free to say what 
he thinks as he used to." 

When asked about themselves personally, 13 per cent 
of the sample replied that they felt less free to speak their 
mind than in years before. One can interpret these find 
ings in two ways: only 13 per cent felt less free than 
before, or as many as 13 per cent of the American people 
now feel less free. Our inclination is to choose the latter 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 147 

interpretation, for in any society few people ever want to 
speak their mind on a political subject and, if 13 per cent 
of the adult population, presumably 13,000,000 Ameri 
cans, feel inhibited to speak out politically, this is a serious 
situation. (Unfortunately, Professor Stouffer does not tell 
us who this 13 per cent may be. ) 

Rather than deal with these very many questions on 
many specific issues, however, Dr. Stouffer combines 
fifteen questions to form a "scale of tolerance/ and then 
examines the distribution of tolerance in the population. 3 
In effect he maps out those elements in the population 
which are strongest in their feeling for liberty, and those 
which are most indifferent, or most actively opposed to 
it for certain groups. 

If we arbitrarily take a cut-off point in the scale of 
tolerance, and call those achieving this score the "more 
tolerant" we find that: 

31 per cent of the national sample are "more tolerant" 

39 per cent of the people who live in metropolitan 
areas are "more tolerant/ 

46 per cent of the people who live in the West are 
"more tolerant/ 

47 per cent of those aged 21-29 are "more tolerant/ 
66 per cent of college graduates are "more tolerant/ 
The concentrations of the less tolerant" are to be found 

among the old, the poorly educated, Southerners, small 
town dwellers and workers and farmers. Of course, all 
these factors and some others of lesser weight in deter 
mining tolerance may be interrelated. The young tend 
to be better educated than the old, the people who live 
in big cities tend to be better educated than those in 
small towns, a higher proportion of Westerners than of 
Southerners live in big cities, etc. 

What is it then that makes a man more tolerant, when 
two or more of these factors come together, as they often 
do? One wishes that the author had done more to deter- 



148 The New American Right 

mine which of these factors was more important, but, 
even without this help, it seems that education is by far 
the most important. Two indications of its importance 
extracted from the data are these: if one takes all those 
between the ages of 21 and 60 and who are high-school 
graduates or of lesser educationand this forms a huge 
block of the population one finds that age seems to have 
no effect on tolerance while amount of education is deci 
sive. Thus, in this group, roughly 20 per cent of those 
with only grade school education, about 30 per cent of 
those with some high school education and close to 45 
per cent of high school graduates are "more tolerant- 
regardless of the ages in these educational categories. 

Another case: the South is far less tolerant than the 
other regions of the country; thus, only 16 per cent of the 
South is rated "more tolerant" as against 31 per cent of 
the Midwest, 39 per cent of the East, and 46 per cent 
of the West. But these very large differences are reduced 
to very small ones if one compares educated Southerners 
with educated people from other regions. Of college 
graduates in metropolitan areas, 62 per cent of South 
erners are among the "more tolerant/ compared (for the 
same category) with 64 per cent of the Middle West, 78 
per cent of the East, and 73 per cent of the West. Pretty 
much the same story is told when we compare those with 
"some college." It is only when we get to those with a 
high school education or less that we find the great gap 
between the South and the rest of the country. 

Education is perhaps most closely related to what is 
generally called "socio-economic status" or class, and 
which in many public opinion studies appears in the form 
of occupation. There is, however, considerable evidence 
to suggest that among men at the same educational level, 
occupational variation does make for a difference in their 
political attitudes. 4 Unfortunately, and most surprisingly, 
there is little data reported directly on this point, with 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 149 

the exception of one table and chart which indicate that 
farmers are the least tolerant group, followed in order of 
increasing tolerance by manual workers, clerical and sales 
people, proprietors, managers and officials, and as the 
most tolerant group, professionals and semi-professionals. 

These findings on education and occupation prepare us 
for a major conclusion of the study, namely that, by con 
trast with the opinions of the American people as a whole, 
the community leaders stand forth as bulwarks of civil 
liberties. Almost 85 per cent of the community leaders, 
as against only 58 per cent of the population as a whole, 
would allow an individual who favored nationalization of 
industries to speak. (Seventy-six per cent of American 
Legion post commanders and 75 per cent of D.A.R. 
regents would also allow him to speak. ) A heavy majority 
of the national cross-section (60 per cent) would not 
allow a man to make a speech against church and religion, 
while only a third of the community leaders would take 
the same position. Slightly over half (51 per cent) of 
the national cross-section said an admitted Communist 
should be jailed, while only 27 per cent of the com 
munity leaders held the same position. (The fact that 
commanders of American Legion posts and regents of 
the Daughters of the American Revolution are far more 
liberal than the American people in general is a surprise. 
But this may be a reflection less of a concern for civil 
liberties by the Legion and D.A.R. than the fact that 
the American people in general are indifferent to the 
ordinary requirements of democracy. ) 

These community leaders are drawn from the well- 
educated, professional and upper-level business classes. 5 
The majority of the following categories of community 
leaders, according to Stouffer, are in the more tolerant 
group: mayors (60 per cent), presidents of school boards 
(62 per cent), presidents of library boards (79 per cent), 
chairmen of Republican county central committees (70 



The New American Right 

per cent), chairmen of the equivalent Democratic com 
mittees (64 per cent), presidents of chambers of com 
merce (65 per cent), presidents of labor unions (62 per 
cent), chairmen of Community Chests (82 per cent), 
presidents of bar associations (77 per cent), newspaper 
publishers (84 per cent), presidents of Parent-Teacher 
Associations (68 per cent). 

In only three groups of community leaders did the pro 
portion in the "more tolerant group fall below 50 per 
cent: Commanders of the American Legion, regents of 
the Daughters of the American Revolution, and presidents 
of women s clubs. These leaders, however, who fell in 
the range of 46 to 49 per cent, were about as tolerant as 
the lower strata of the non-manual sector of the popula 
tion, or high school graduates. Since one would guess 
that the bulk of the leaders in these three categories have 
higher educational and status backgrounds than these, 
this finding would suggest that these three groups tend 
to recruit the less tolerant individuals among people in 
their class position. 

There can be little doubt that in the United States the 
rights of dissidents and of Communists are protected pri 
marily by the powerful classes who accept the traditional 
norms under which a democratic system operates. This 
seems to be true in other countries as well, that is, the 
upper and better educated strata are more likely to be 
tolerant of dissent, and to recognize the need for civil 
liberties than the workers, the farmers, and the less edu 
cated. The question may be raised as to why, if similar 
forces are operating here as elsewhere, the United States 
is more extreme in its reactions than other democratic 
countries. This problem was outside the focus of Professor 
Stouffer s study. Some reasons are suggested in the chap 
ter that follows. 

Having mapped out the areas of tolerance and intoler 
ance, we come to the really difficult questions that must 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 

precede any sort of deeper understanding. What does it 
mean to say, for example, that the less educated, the 
people in rural areas, the Southerners, and the old people 
are less tolerant? If we were to educate the uneducated, 
and encourage migration from rural areas to cities, and 
from the South to the North, does it mean that the level 
of tolerance in this country would be raised and our 
problems solved? At times Dr. Stouffer writes almost as 
if they would be, but this would be to take an extremely 
limited view. Clearly there are two problems. The first 
might legitimately be called that of intolerancethe 
meanness and narrowness that are the natural conse 
quences, at least in America, of isolation, poverty, lack 
of advantages," and old age. The intolerant are as likely 
to keep a socialist from opening his mouth as to throw a 
Communist into jail Communism as a peculiar problem 
does not affect this kind of personhis intolerance pre 
dates it and will outlive it. This is, in effect, a social prob 
lem. The Communists and their actions are occasions for 
the expression of this intolerance rather than its own true 
cause. Dr. Stouffer is right in linking this kind of intoler 
ance to Communism with intolerance of unorthodoxy in 
the fields of economics and religion. About this aspect of 
the problem, Dr, Stouffer tells a fairly complete story. 

But second, there is the fact that the level of political 
tolerance and intolerance changes from one period to 
another. For example, data reported in the Stouffer study 
indicate that the proportion of the population who would 
have denied various freedoms to Communists, socialists, 
or other deviants from conventional national values, was 
somewhat lower during the 1930s and World War II. 
Obviously the increase in intolerance is not a result of 
the fact that there now are more poorly educated people, 
or that the farm population has increased. The reverse is, 
of course, true. The important factor which has affected 
the degree of tolerance is the political problem of Com 
munism and how to deal with it, which is intimately 



152 The New American Right 

related to the state of civil liberties. But this question is 
more dependent on changes in international affairs and 
domestic American politics than on the raising of the 
educational level. 

Basically, there is a failure to distinguish between what 
we may call the intolerant those who will say "Kill the 
Communists" as easily as they will say "Jail die sex de 
viants" and "Fire a teacher who is a freethinker" and 
the concerned those who are sincerely worried about 
Communism, and think strong measures are necessary to 
deal with it. These two very different forms of what might 
be called intolerance are never distinguished in the anal 
ysis. The majority rules in public opinion research as in 
voting; and if the majority of the intolerant are poorly 
educated, come from backward areas, are old why, then, 
that characterizes all the "intolerant." 

These are admittedly subtle distinctions for a public 
opinion poll not that they could not be made if one were 
aware of their importance. We think that they are crucial 
for an understanding of the whole problem of Com 
munism, conformism, and civil liberties which Dr. Stouf- 
fer has taken up. If one does not make these distinctions, 
one can easily, by a process of damnation by association, 
dismiss important political problems which deserve to be 
discussed on their own merits, and not dismissed on the 
basis of who holds them. One cannot dispose of the ques 
tion of what measures are necessary to deal with Com 
munism by demonstrating that the poor and ignorant 
predominate among those who want to get tough with 
Communists, and that the well educated, the middle 
classes, and the community leaders tend to favor un 
limited civil liberties. 

This confusion between important categories becomes 
apparent in the construction of the scale of tolerance 
itself. The scale studies a single variable-tolerance. It 
assumes that the attitudes and motivation affecting a 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 153 

person who would deny certain civil liberties to Com 
munists, but grant them to atheists and socialists, are of 
the same order only different in degree from the atti 
tudes and motivations that would lead a person to deny 
civil liberties to all three categories. Mathematically, it 
appears that Dr. Stouffer is justified in his procedure 
the theory of scales asserts that when there is a certain 
pattern in the answers to a series of questions, then all 
the questions are measuring a single variable. But one 
must then say that while the scale is mathematically 
rational it is not politically rational. Regardless of what 
mathematics tells us, we know from our experience of 
politics that a person s attitude toward the question of 
rights for Communists may involve completely different 
considerations from those affecting his attitude toward 
rights for atheists and socialists. 

The difficulties inherent in operating with a simple 
dichotomy of the tolerant and intolerant emerge most 
strikingly when Dr. Stouffer directly takes up the problem 
of considering just what is the relationship between 
concern with Communism and tolerance. As the reader 
will recall, a measure of tolerance was derived from a 
series of questions about advocates of government owner 
ship of industry, opponents of religion, and accused and 
actual Communists. A new factor is now introduced that 
of "perception of the internal Communist threat." This 
is measured by a scale which includes such questions as 
"Do you think there are any Communists teaching in 
American public schools (or working in American defense 
pknts, etc.?") followed by the question, "How much 
danger is there that these Communists can hurt the coun 
try. . . ." The author considers the relationships between 
the perception of the internal Communist threat and 
tolerance of great importance, on the ground that, if 
there is a positive relationship we might expect an in 
crease in tolerance if the internal Communist threat is 



The New American Right 

perceived as falling; while a negative relationship-that 
is, the fact that people could be intolerant even though 
they perceived the internal Communist threat was unim 
portantwould suggest the need for "a long-sustained 
program of public education" to increase tolerance. It 
turns out that there is a positive relationship. And on 
this basis, the author concludes, "The relationship is high 
enough and consistent enough to suggest that if the 
internal Communist threat is now exaggerated, and if the 
American people were told this and believed it, tolerance 
of non-conformists would increase." 

Now something important has gone wrong in this 
demonstration. Dr. Stouffer has so set up his problem 
that any lover of tolerance should logically desire the 
perception of the Communist danger to be low for low 
perception, his figures show us, is related to high toler 
ance. This means, consequently, that if we desire toler 
ance, we should want people to believe what may be a 
falsehood (that is, the non-existence of a Communist 
threat in America); for this would make them more 
tolerant. 

Now this is not the first time that the values of tolerance 
and truth have been in apparent opposition. If we want 
people to be more tolerant to Negroes, it is possibly best 
that they should not believe that there are more Negro 
than white criminals, dope addicts, paupers, and so on- 
even though the facts are that there are more Negro 
criminals, paupers, and dope addicts. However, as Paul 
Kecskemeti argued in Commentary (March 1951) in his 
review of The Authoritarian Personality, there is some 
thing mechanical and ultimately false about this pro 
cedure of saying that everything associated with a good 
is itself a good, Dr. Kecskemeti pointed out that if anti- 
Semitism is associated with hostility to Soviet Russia, 
and lack of anti-Semitism with friendliness to Soviet 
Russia, it does not follow that we have to encourage 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 155 

friendliness toward the Soviet Union to encourage friend 
ship for the Jews. These relations are, if not fortuitous, 
then certainly historical, products of given moments, 
given combinations of events. These relations may change. 
It then becomes incumbent on us to decide, from the 
point of view of our own values and our own conception 
of the world, what is good and what is true, and try to 
achieve that directly, rather than to mechanically follow 
the pattern of accepting whatever cluster of attitudes fall 
together at any given moment as organically and neces 
sarily related. 

In the present situation, it would follow that if we 
believe it is true that native Communists exist and have 
played a considerable role in American government, 
society, and culture, and still play some role, then we 
need not resign ourselves to having these truths forgotten 
or actively denied, simply because that denial is related 
to tolerance. 

As a matter of fact, of course, there are many people, 
even in Dr. Stouffer s sample, who take the sensible atti 
tude of being aware of the extent of Communist activity 
in this country, without being intolerant (just as there are 
others who rate low in perception of the internal Commu 
nist threat and are intolerant). Perhaps it is just those lead 
ership groups the educated, and those in professional 
occupations who in general turn out to be the main 
supporters of tolerance who both perceive the Com 
munist danger and yet are tolerant. Dr. Stouffer, how 
ever, is so interested in following the majority, that large 
group which has a high perception of the Communist 
danger and are intolerant, that he gives little considera 
tion to these perhaps crucial minority groups. We find 
out little about them who they are, where they live, 
and how their numbers might be increased. Dr. Stouffer 
operates with one major value tolerance. Everything else 
is secondary. And what is associated with intolerance 



The New American Right 

(statistically speaking) should wither away and die, if 
we are to have a good society. Recall his conclusion: "If 
the internal Communist threat is now exaggerated, and 
if the American people were told this and believed it, 
tolerance of non-conformists would increase." 

It would seem crucial to determine whether the internal 
Communist threat is exaggerated or not: if it is, there is 
no conflict between the values of truth and tolerance. 
If it is not, then there is a conflict, for Dr. Stouffer seems 
to take it for granted that the sensible position of being 
aware of the threat and yet upholding tolerance cannot 
be expected to grow. But on this crucial if, Dr. Stouffer 
does not commit himself. Dr. Stouffer, it seems, would 
like to take the position that the threat is exaggerated 
but, hampered by a crippling notion of scientific objec 
tivity, never quite decides to take the leap. He seems to 
have fallen a victim of that canon of contemporary 
scientific research which defines the universe of any 
study by the methods used in that study. Because there 
is no way of deciding the extent of the Communist threat 
with the methods of public opinion research, Dr. Stouffer 
finds it impossible to take a stand on this question. And 
yet, if social science is to make a contribution to a prob 
lem it must try to encompass it in all its reality and not 
limit itself to that part of it which falls within the purview 
of a given method. 

To return then to our distinction between the intol 
erant and the concerned between those who want to 
throw the Communists into jail just as they want to throw 
anyone with whom they disagree into jail, and those 
who are aware of the existence of a Communist problem, 
and diverge in their views as to what measures are 
necessary to deal with it. Dr. Stouffer has told us the 
story about the first group, which must indeed always 
concern us, and in doing so he has made a contribution 
to sociology. The second group, however, is for the most 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 157 

part lost in his sample, and its crucial characteristics 
cannot be easily discerned. It is this group which is most 
important politically. Their tolerance (or intolerance) is 
different from that of the less educated majority; their 
perception of the internal Communist threat (or lack of 
it) is also different. It is possible to be tolerant out of 
complete indifference to political developments and abys 
mal ignorance. It is also possible to be tolerant out of a 
commitment to democracy. It is possible to be intolerant 
out of a sadistic and brutal attitude to other people. It is 
also possible to be intolerant out of love of one s country 
and a rational and strong belief that it is so seriously 
threatened that certain measures, unnecessary in other 
times and in the face of other enemies, may be necessary. 
Without an awareness of these distinctions and these 
distinctions play no role in Dr. Stouffer s study-^-one can 
make no contribution to the political problems of Com 
munism and civil liberties. 

The failure to be interested in the political problem of 
civil liberties led Dr. Stouffer to make little use of one 
of the unique aspects of this study, the interviews with 
1,500 community leaders. We learn little or nothing about 
the factors which affect the differences in attitude toward 
Communism and civil liberties within this group, or 
among the privileged and educated classes from whom 
they are largely selected. In a political context, it is the 
views of these groups which matter most because they 
write to the newspapers, fill the legislatures, and control 
the local communities. If this upper stratum was more 
unified in its support of civil liberties, as are seemingly 
comparable groups in Great Britain and English-speaking 
Canada, then the fact that the large majority was intol 
erant would be of little significance politically/ 

If we look at this elite group, we find many individuals 
who are convinced that Communists represent a "very 
great" or a "great" danger to the country, but nevertheless 



X g3 The New American Right 

are high in tolerance. There is comparatively little differ 
ence between the proportion of community leaders, 37 
per cent, who believe that Communists are a "great" or 
"very great" danger and the 43 per cent of the general 
population who have the same sentiments. However, 57 
per cent of the community leaders who believe Com 
munists present a serious threat are high on the scale of 
tolerance, while only 27 per cent of the general popula 
tion who are similarly fearful of Communists hold a com 
parable position on the tolerance scale. Or if we compare 
the reactions of the college educated and those who did 
not go beyond grammar school to perception of the 
Communist danger, we find very little difference. Twenty- 
nine per cent of the college group score high on the scale 
of perception of the internal Communist threat, as con 
trasted with 27 per cent of the least educated group. 
The differences are striking, however, with regard to 
tolerance. Half of the college group who score high on 
perception of the threat also score high on tolerance, 
while only 11 per cent of the grammar school group 
who see a serious Communist menace are high in toler 
ance. 

The ability of many individuals to differentiate between 
sensitive areas, and the diffuse attacks on civil rights of 
Communists and dissidents, is brought out sharply by the 
responses to the specific items which make up the toler 
ance scale. Although community leaders are much more 
tolerant than the bulk of the population, they do not 
differ from the lower classes and tie uneducated on the 
question whether Communists should work in defense 
plants, or teach. Close to 90 per cent of both groups would 
deny these forms of employment to Communists i.e. for 
them, a sensitive area. On the other hand, the majority 
of the population favor putting an admitted Communist 
in jail, but only 27 per cent of the community leaders 
have the same opinion. 

These variations in the responses of different groups 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 159 

suggest the need for a more elaborate politically oriented 
classification of groups, rather than simply high and low 
on tolerance. It is possible to differentiate among four 
groups: those who perceive the Communist danger as 
great, and are intolerant; those who perceive the danger 
as great, but are tolerant; those who see little danger and 
are tolerant; and a group who see little danger and are 
still intolerant. The great debate in America as to how to 
treat Communists has been carried out among the first 
three groups. And we would suggest that the strongest 
supporters of civil liberties in the country are those who 
recognize the Communist threat as great, but who would 
still maintain all the guarantees of political freedom for 
obnoxious and even dangerous minorities. When we 
argue with people who think that Communists are a 
danger, and who favor harsh measures against them, it 
is the latter attitude, not the perception of danger which 
should be changed. Dr. Stouffer could have added greatly 
to the debt that we already owe him for this informative 
study, if he had told us more about the factors which 
are related to such a pattern of tolerance. 

One other major problem arises in using the survey 
technique. While the polls can tell us in considerable 
detail the nuances of attitude difference among a wide 
variety of stratified groups, these results are often mis 
leading if interpreted without reference to the specific 
organizational commitments which in action may modify 
or even contradict the abstract attitude. To take a sharp 
example: In Australia, in 1951, a national referendum was 
held on the proposal, advanced by the Liberal govern 
ment, to outlaw the Communist Party. Just prior to the 
announcement of the referendum, a Gallup poll showed 
that 80 per cent of those questioned favored such a move. 
Yet, the vote in the referendum held three months later 
was 50.6 per cent against outlawing the Communist 
Party. What had happened? As a general fact, most of 
the Australian people, especially the Catholics, were in 



160 The New American Right 

favor of the action. But because it was proposed by the 
government, it became a party issue, with the Labor 
Party and the trade unions coming out in strong opposi 
tion. In the end, the Catholics were less in favor of out 
lawing the Communist Party than any Protestant group. 
The reason is that three-fourths of the Catholics, as 
workers, vote Labor. Their political and trade-union loyal 
ties turned the trick. 7 

From Stouffer s data we see that Democrats, being in 
greater proportion workers, and less educated, are, in 
consequence, less tolerant than Republicans. Yet, on the 
questions reported in the final chapter dealing with 
Congressional investigations, Democrats are more hostile 
to the anti-Communist investigations than Republicans. 
Here again context modified attitude, for party position 
became the chief determinant. 

The question of what determines the party s attitude 
is quite a complex one. Generally speaking, the weight 
of party strategy is still determined by economic class 
issues, and these traditionally carry with them ideological 
commitments. Sometimes these are along liberal-and- 
conservative lines, defined historically. Sometimes these 
are shaped by other traditional attitudes. This is con 
firmed, strikingly, in the picture of the South, as seen on 
Stouffer s scales. On the questions of civil liberties, the 
South is the least tolerant section of the country. How 
ever, the South was the most anti-McCarthy section of 
the country. There are many reasons: the traditional 
attachment to the Democratic Party and the fact that 
McCarthy is a Republican; McCarthy is a Catholic and 
the South is the most anti-Catholic section in the country; 
McCarthy attacked the Army, and the South has tradi 
tionally been the most pro-military section of the country; 
the South is politically the least informed and people 
follow local leaders and local opinion which may be more 
unrelated to national issues at large. Whatever the source 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY l6l 

of the contradictions, knowing that the South, in general, 
is intolerant, does not tell us how it will react to a specific 
instance of intolerance. 

The problem of attitude and context can be examined, 
too, against the background of European history. A study 
by the UNESCO institute in Cologne showed that upper- 
class Germans were more in favor of a democratic political 
structure (a multi-party as compared to a one party or 
no party system) than lower-class groups. (Similar find 
ings were reported, too, for Japan with regard to concern 
for civil liberties.) Education here too, tended to make 
the upper-class groups more pro-democratic than the 
lower-class groups. But the political parties supported by 
the upper- and middle-class groups have tended to be 
anti-democratic, while those of the working-class have 
fought harder for democratic rights. Clearly the relation 
ship between "authoritarian" attitudes and party and 
political structure is quite complex. Clearly too, political 
events, in the large, are the results mainly of what or 
ganized groups do, and this may have little relevance to 
the sentiments of their members or supporters considered 
in the mass, 

The relationship between attitude and context is dis 
cussed by Dr. Stouffer towards the end of his book 
(pages 210-215) and we have no quarrel with him on 
this score. If we were to make a criticism it is that in 
writing a book concerned with the dynamic factors 
affecting civil liberties, he stresses static structural vari 
ables such as education, sex, and religion, and for the 
most part ignores the way in which the interplay of 
different institutional and political factors may affect any 
actual problem of civil liberties. Thus the possible effect 
of an increase in the educational level of the American 
population seems more important in this book than a 
change in the policy of the Republican leadership. But as 
we have seen, a change in Republican policy toward 



The New American Right 

Senator McCarthy has sharply changed the climate of 
opinion within a short space of time. Thus the optimistic 
thought that as the young grow older and more people 
become better educated there will be an increase in 
"tolerance," may not be warranted. This depends on the 
political situation. 

The most significant problem of civil liberties in 
America is not why did a minority launch an attack on 
the rights of others, but rather why was the defense to 
that attack so weak at first, and so late in coming. Some 
partial reasons may be suggested. The conservative upper 
class individuals who believe in civil liberties did not 
respond to the attack by leftists and liberals with whom 
they disagreed, because it was put as a party issue. The 
liberals and Democrats, on the other hand, were initially 
unable to distinguish between legitimate exposes of Com 
munist subversion and espionage, and the indiscriminate 
red-baiting and attacks on liberals; as a result the Demo 
crats fought every charge of Communism or espionage 
as a political smear. Since some of the charges were true, 
the liberals and Democrats either buried their heads in 
the sand, or later sought to outdo the Republican anti- 
Communists. Thus the Democratic members of Congress 
for a long time shied away from fighting Senator Mc 
Carthy because they felt they were vulnerable to the 
charge of having accepted Communist support, or be 
cause public opinion polls, which did not differentiate 
among the politically potent and impotent as Stouffer has 
done, indicated that large sections of the American popu 
lation supported McCarthy. And later, to demonstrate 
their anti-Communism, three of the most liberal members 
of the Senate pushed through the bill to outlaw the 
Communist Party. 

Actually the right-wing attacks were halted only when 
the conservative defenders of civil liberties stood up to 
the issue. McCarthy was stopped in the Senate by Eisen- 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 163 

hower and the southern Democrats. In the local com 
munities, vigilante attacks against schools, colleges and 
libraries have been stopped most effectively when leaders 
of the conservative upper class stepped in, and defended 
civil liberties. In this instance, at least, the instincts of 
the American conservative group finally responded to the 
tradition of civil liberties and democratic procedure, 
rather than to political advantage. Whether these conser 
vative groups would respond in similar fashion to the 
defense of democratic rights on a direct economic class 
issue is a moot point to the extent that American business 
accepts its own ideology of fighting state intervention, 
and to the extent it remembers how fascist states throttled 
business, too, it will respect democratic rights in these 
matters as well. 

Unfortunately, no effort has been made to combine the 
techniques of survey research, so admirably employed in 
the Stouffer study, with an intensive study of those 
aspects of American society which encourage or challenge 
efforts to reduce civil liberties. One cannot criticize Pro 
fessor Stouffer for not dealing with such problems, yet it 
would cast much light on American politics if we had 
some answers. For example, who are the minority of 
community leaders who are intolerant? Some clues are 
provided by the different roles of such leaders, i.e. those 
who are tied to patriotic functions tend to be more 
intolerant; but who among the possible adherents of the 
American Legion or the D.A.R. participate in such 
groups? (One answer might be that people who psy 
chologically tend to be authoritarian, within the family 
and society, are intolerant of deviation in general, and 
tend to be more patriotic and nationalistic. The Stouffer 
data show a relationship between such indicators of an 
"authoritarian personality," and intolerance.) 

From sociological hypotheses, we would expect that 
support of right-wing extremism in American life is to be 



164 The New American Right 

found disproportionately among the upward-mobile, the 
nouveaux riches, and among the downward mobile as 
well. This is perhaps particularly true of minority ethnic 
groups, which in becoming upward mobile, have tended 
to take over the norms of 100 per cent Americanism in 
order to become accepted. (Unfortunately, Stouffer re 
ports no data relating ethnic groups or social mobility 
and intolerance.) And, one may point to the fact that 
two centers of right-extremist and intolerant activity, 
Texas and southern California, are also areas in which, 
on an elite level, there are a disproportionate number of 
nouveaux riches. It is to these sociological hypotheses 
and an attempt to locate such groups in the social struc 
turethat the next chapter is addressed. 

1 The authors wish to acknowledge the kind cooperation and advice 
of Mr. David Riesman. The suggestion for the chapter grew out of dis 
cussions with him. They have been guided by some of the ideas 
expressed by Mr. Riesman in his critique of the Stouffer book presented 
before the American Association for Public Opinion Research in Madison, 
Wisconsin, April, 1955. 

2 Professor Stouffer in interpreting these findings describes them as 
reactions to atheists. The questions, however, dealt with attacks on 
churches and religion, not advocacy of atheism, The two are not neces 
sarily the same. 

3 In this chapter, we shall follow Dr. Stouffer s use of the term 
"tolerant" to describe people who would allow Communists, and religious 
and political dissidents basic civil liberties. While we do not want to 
argue the question in detail here, we are somewhat troubled by the use 
of the term tolerance to describe the right of minority free expression. 
When Republicans support the right of Democrats to speak or run can 
didates, they are not being "tolerant"; presumably they believe that the 
welfare of the country requires the existence of opposition. The original 
meaning of the word "tolerance" involved an assumption that one 

tolerated" the existence or rights of someone who was in error. The 
American Creed is not a creed of tolerance, but rather the belief that 
the greater good for society comes out of opposition and free discussion. 

4 Data on businessmen, from the Stouffer study, which the book omits 
is reported in the May, 1955 Fortune. These data reveal a wide variation 
in the attitudes of businessmen between the poorly educated and the 
well educated. One would want to know whether this difference corre 
sponds to the variation between small and large businessmen or inde 
pendent businessmen and the executives of large corporations. 

5 Unfortunately, Professor Stouffer did not compare community leaders 
with other individuals in the same socio-economic strata; whether com- 



THE POLLS ON COMMUNISM AND CONFORMITY 165 

munity participation draws the more tolerant individuals, or whether the 
responsibility of community leadership makes one more tolerant would 
have been an interesting question to pursue. 

16 It is interesting to note that a survey of Canadian opinion on civil 
liberties indicates that the bulk of the population in that country are 
as opposed to civil liberties for Communists as are Americans. For ex 
ample, in a poll taken in Canada in 1950, 58 per cent favored a law to 
"make it a criminal offense to be a member of any Commmunist organi 
zation." Stouffer s 1954 study reports that 51 per cent of the Americans 
favor putting "an admitted Communist in jail." The same Canadian 
survey reports that 83 per cent would bar a Communist from govern 
ment employment, and 57 per cent supported a law to "prevent a Com 
munist from voting in any election." Stouffer does not have any com 
parable questions to these, but the 83 per cent figure for Canadians who 
would bar Communists from public employment, compares with the 86 
per cent of Americans who would not allow Communists to teach in 
colleges. 

The difference between Canadian political reactions to the problem 
of internal Communism as compared with those which occurred in the 
United States appears to rest more on the nature of its elite and political 
structure than on differences in basic sentiments of the population. See 
Chapter 7 for a discussion of this problem. 

7 See Leicester Webb, Communism and Democracy in Australia (New 
York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1955). 



The Sources of the 
"Radical Right" 1 

SEYMOUR MARTIN UPSET 



IN THE last five years we have seen 
the emergence of an important American political phe 
nomenon, the radical right This group is characterized 
as radical because it desires to make far-reaching changes 
in American institutions, and because it seeks to eliminate 
from American political life those persons and institutions 
which threaten either its values, or its economic interests. 
Needless to say, this movement is opposed to the social 
and economic reforms of the last twenty years, and to 
the internationalist foreign policy pursued by the succes 
sive Administrations in that period. 

The activities of the radical right would be of less 
interest if it sought its ends through the traditional demo- 

166 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* l6/ 

cratic procedures of pressure-group tactics, lobbying, and 
the ballot box. But, while most individuals and organiza 
tions which we shall consider as part of the radical right 
do use these means, many use undemocratic methods as 
well. The singular fact is that radical right agitation has 
facilitated the growth of practices which threaten to 
undermine the social fabric of democratic politics. The 
threats to democratic procedure which are, in part, an 
outgrowth of radical right agitation involve attempts to 
destroy the right of assembly, the right of petition, the 
freedom of association, the freedom to travel, and the 
freedom to teach or conduct scholarly research without 
conforming to political tests. 2 This movement, therefore, 
must be seriously considered by all those who would 
preserve democratic constitutional procedures in this 
country. 

In evaluating the activities of the radical right, this 
chapter is divided into three sections: Part 1 deals with 
continuing sources of extremist politics in America as they 
have their sources in American history; Part 2 analyzes 
the social groups which are more prone than others to 
support the radical right today; and Part 3 deals with 
the specific character of McCarthyism as the principal 
expression of radical right ideology on the current scene. 



1 

STATUS AND CLASS POLITICS 

Any analysis of the role of political extremism in the 
United States must recognize two fundamental political 
forces operating under the varying historical conditions 
of American society. These forces may be distinguished 
by the terms status politics and class politics. Ckss politics 
refers to political division based on the discord between 



168 The New American Right 

the traditional left and the right, i.e., between those who 
favor redistribution of income, and those favoring the 
preservation of the status quo. Status politics, as used 
here, refers to political movements whose appeal is to the 
not uncommon resentments of individuals or groups who 
desire to maintain or improve their social status. 3 

In the United States, political movements or parties 
which stress the need for economic reform have usually 
gained strength during times of unemployment and de 
pression, On the other hand, status politics becomes 
ascendant in periods of prosperity, especially when full 
employment is accompanied by inflation, and when many 
individuals are able to improve their economic position. 
The groups which are receptive to status-oriented appeals 
are not only those which have risen in the economic 
structure and who may be frustrated in their desire to 
be accepted socially by those who already hold status, 
but also those groups already possessing status who feel 
that the rapid social change threatens their own claims 
to high social position, or enables previously lower status 
groups to claim equal status with their own. 

The political consequences of status frustrations are 
very different from those resulting from economic depri 
vation, for while in economic conflict the goals are clear 
a redistribution of incomein status conflict there are no 
clear-cut solutions. Where there are status anxieties, there 
is little or nothing which a government can do. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that the political movements which 
have successfully appealed to status resentments have 
been irrational in character, and have sought scapegoats 
which conveniently serve to symbolize the status threat. 
Historically, the most common scapegoats in the United 
States have been the minority ethnic or religious groups. 
Such groups have repeatedly been the victims of political 
aggression in periods of prosperity, for it is precisely in 
these times that status anxieties are most pressing. 4 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 169 

American political history from this perspective emerges 
in a fairly consistent pattern. Before the Civil War, there 
was considerable anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant activ 
ity. Such agitation often took the form of organized 
political parties, the most important of which was the 
Know-Nothing or American Party. And it was during a 
prosperous decade that these parties and movements 
were at their height. The Know-Nothings who polled one 
fourth of the total popular vote for President in 1856 
reached their greatest power in a period of widespread 
prosperity and inflation and practically vanished in the 
depression year 1857. 5 The American Protective Associa 
tion (A.P.A.), which emerged in the late 1880 s, was the 
next major organized anti-Catholic movement and it too 
arose in a period of renewed prosperity. A contemporary 
analyst of this movement has pointed to the status con 
cerns which motivated many of the members of the A.P.A. 
Latter day Know-Nothingism (A.P.A.ism) in the 
west, was perhaps due as well to envy of the grow 
ing social and industrial strength of Catholic Ameri 
cans. 

In the second generation American Catholics began 
to attain higher industrial positions and better occu 
pations. All through the west, they were taking their 
place in the professional and business world. They 
were among the doctors and the lawyers, the editors 
and the teachers of the community. Sometimes they 
were the leading merchants as well as the leading 
politicians of their locality. 6 

Interestingly enough, the publisher of many anti- 
Catholic A.P.A. works was also the publisher of the Social 
Register, which was first copyrighted in 1887, the year 
in which the A.P.A. was organized, 7 a fact which suggests 
a possible link between this mass organization and the 
desire of high-status, old family Americans to resist the 
upward mobility of the second generation Catholics. A 
large, number of individuals listed in the Social Register 



170 The New American Right 

were among the important financial supporters of the 
A.P.A., as well as of other anti-immigration organizations. 
The Progressive movement, which flourished from 
1900-1912, is yet another protest movement which at 
tracted the interest and participation of large numbers 
of Americans during a period of high prosperity. This 
movement, while differing considerably from the others, 
since it was concerned with liberal social reforms, may, 
nevertheless, be a reflection of status politics. Richard 
Hofstadter has suggested that it was based in large meas 
ure on the reaction of the Protestant middle class against 
threats to its values and status. 3 The Progressive move 
ment had two scapegoats the "plutocrat" millionaires, 
and the immigrants. 9 The rise of the "robber barons," the 
great millionaires and plutocrats of the late nineteenth 
and early twentieth centuries, served to challenge the 
status of many old, upper-middle-class American families 
which had previously considered themselves the most 
important group in society; these new millionaires were 
able to outdo them in philanthropy and in setting new 
styles of life. The Progressive movement, like previous 
expressions of status politics, was also opposed to immi 
gration. It viewed the immigrant and the urban city 
machines based on immigrant support as a basic threat 
to American middle-class Protestant values. 

And finally the Ku Klux Klan, which vigorously attacked 
the rights of minority groups, also emerged in prosperous 
times, the 1920 s. It is important to note, however, that 
while the Klan was against Jews, Catholics and Negroes, 
it also represented the antagonism of the small town and 
provincial city Protestant lower-middle class and working 
class against the "cosmopolitanism" of the upper classes. 
The upper-class, largely metropolitan-centered, Protestant 
churches were a frequent target of Klan attack The 
^English minister of a high Protestant church, divorced 
women who were accused of "playing around," physicians 



THE SOURCES OF THE ^RADICAL RIGHt" 

who had allegedly engaged in sexual irregularities with 
patients, were among those subjected to Klan violence. 10 

At its height, the Klan had the support of millions of 
individuals, and dominated political life in Indiana, 
Maine, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Arkansas, 
Ohio, and California. It would be rash to give any simpli 
fied interpretation of the factors underlying such an im 
portant social movement If, however, one asks what had 
occurred on the American scene to encourage such a mass 
expression of provincial resentment, one important factor 
is the growing predominance of the large metropolitan 
centers, which were centers of Catholics, Jews, and high- 
status Protestants. In the changing world of post- World 
War I America, the fundamentalist provincial was faced 
with the fact that he and his communities had lost much 
of their independence and status. The war boom, and 
later, the prosperity of the twenties, made it possible for 
many individuals to rise economically, including members 
of previously lower-class minority groups, such as the 
Jews and Catholics. The Catholics were also beginning 
to get national political power. These changes were 
paralleled by a seeming decline in basic morality, and 
a growth in religious cynicism. The Klan, with its attack 
on metropolitan "cosmopolitanism" and the more tradi 
tional minority ethnic scapegoats, seems to have provided 
an outlet to the frustrated residents of provincial America, 
who felt their values, power, and status slipping away. 

The hypothesis that the Klan represented the reaction 
of a large section of provincial America to the frustrations 
of boom-time social change may, of course, be questioned 
in view of the fact that it declined considerably as an 
organization after 1926, before prosperity ended. This 
decline, however, seems in large measure to be related to 
the fact that the overwhelming majority of Klan leaders 
were publicly exposed as obvious charlatans, who were 
using the organization to feather their own nest, and to 



172 The New American Right 

the social pressure directed against the Klan by the upper 
class and every section of the press. The loss of respect 
ability led to a rapid withdrawal from the organization by 
its middle-class adherents, and the jailing for fraud of 
some of its leaders soon disillusioned the large section of 
working-class supporters. 

The 1928 Presidential election campaign, however, wit 
nessed a new outburst of bigotry directed against the 
Catholic Democratic candidate, Al Smith (which showed 
that the sentiments which gave rise to the Klan had not 
vanished). In this election, the Democratic Party increased 
its vote in the large metropolitan centers, while reaching 
its lowest point in decades in the smaller communities. 

These four movements, Know-Nothings, A.P.A., Pro 
gressives, and Ku Klux Klan, all illustrate the way in 
which. American society has thrown up major protest 
movements in periods of prosperity, thus confounding 
the general assumption that protest politics are primarily 
products of depressions. The prosperity movements differ 
from those groups who are products of economic crises 
in that they find "scapegoats" who threaten their value 
system, while other protest groups have direct economic 
targets. The Progressives, a group one does not normally 
see this way, were concerned with the manner in which 
the nouveaux riches and the immigrants were corrupting 
American institutions, while the Klan, a status-resentment 
group par-excellence, attacked the "cosmopolitanism" of 
Catholics, Jews, and the metropolitan elite, which under 
mined the middle-class Protestant virtues. Perhaps the 
most significant single fact concerning the strength of the 
Klan and the role of organized bigotry in America is that 
every effort to build a mass social movement based on 
bigotry during the great depression of the 1930 s had little 
success. It is the common concern with the protection of 
"traditional" American values that characterizes "status 
politics" as contrasted with the regard for jobs, cheap 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 173 

credit, or high farm prices, which have been the main 
emphases of depression-born "class politics." 

If we assume that this is a pattern in American politics, 
it is not surprising that the continuing prosperity of the 
late nineteen forties and early fifties should also have 
developed a political movement resembling the four 
discussed above. McCarthyism, like its predecessors, is 
characterized by an attack on a convenient scapegoat, 
which is defined as a threat to American institutions, and 
also involves an attempt to link "cosmopolitan" changes 
in the society to a foreign plot. 11 



THE STATE OF TOLERANCE IN AMERICA 

A second important factor to consider in evaluating 
present trends in American politics is the traditional atti 
tude toward tolerance in American society. The historical 
evidence, some of which has been cited above, indicates 
that, as compared to the citizens of a number of other 
countries, especially Great Britain and Scandinavia, Amer 
icans are not a tolerant people. In addition to discrimina 
tion against ethnic and religious minorities, each war and 
most pre-war situations have been characterized by the 
denial of civil liberties to minorities, often even of minori 
ties which were not opposed to the war. Abolitionists, for 
example, faced great difficulties in many areas, North as 
well as South, before the Civil War. Many were fired from 
schools and universities. During World War I, German- 
Americans and Socialists often experienced personal phys 
ical attacks, as well as economic discrimination. In the 
last war, the entire Japanese- American population on the 
west coast was denied the most elementary form of per 
sonal freedom. 12 

Political intolerance has not been monopolized by 
political extremists or wartime vigilantes. The Populists, 



174 The New American Right 

for example, discharged many university professors in 
state universities in states where they came into power in 
the 1890 s. Their Republican opponents were not loath 
to dismiss teachers who believed in Populist economics. 
Public opinion polls, ever since they first began measuring 
mass attitudes in the early thirties, have repeatedly shown 
that sizable numbers, often a majority, of Americans op 
pose the rights of unpopular political minorities. 13 In both 
1938 and 1942, a majority of the American public opposed 
the right of "radicals" to hold meetings. 

The state of current attitudes toward civil liberties has 
been reported on in detail in a study by Samuel Stouffer, 
based on interviews with a random sample of Ameri 
cans in the spring of 1954. Large sections of the 
American population opposed the rights of atheists, 14 
Socialists, 15 and Communists 1 * to free speech and free 
publication. 

One important factor affecting this kck of tolerance 
in American life is the basic strain of Protestant puritan 
ical morality which has always existed in this country. 
Americans believe that there is a fundamental difference 
between right and wrong, that right must be supported, 
and that wrong must be suppressed, that error and evil 
have no rights against the truth. This propensity to see 
life in terms of all black and all white is most evident, 
perhaps most disastrous, in the area of foreign policy, 
where allies and enemies cannot be gray, but must be 
black or white, 17 

The differences in fundamental economic philosophy 
and way of life between the Democrats and Republicans 
in this country are far less than those which exist between 
Conservatives and Socialists in Great Britain. Yet political 
rhetoric in this country is comparable in Europe only for 
those campaigns between totalitarian and their oppo 
nents. While McCarthy has indeed sunk American politi- 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 175 

cal rhetoric to new depths, one should not forget that his 
type of invective has been used quite frequently in 
American politics. For example, Roosevelt called some of 
his isolationist opponents, "Copperheads/ a term equiva 
lent to traitor. 1 * If various impressionistic accounts are to 
be believed, many Republicans, especially Republican 
businessmen, have a far deeper sense of hatred against 
Roosevelt and the New Deal, than their British or Scan 
dinavian counterparts have against their socialist oppo 
nents. 

Although Puritanism is probably one of the main 
sources of American intolerance, there are certainly many 
other elements which have contributed to its continuance 
in American life. The lack of an aristocratic tradition in 
American politics helped to prevent the emergence of a 
moderate rhetoric in political life. Almost from the start 
of democratic politics in America with the early adoption 
of universal male suffrage, the political machines were led 
by professional politicians, many of whom were of lower- 
middle-class or even poorer origins, who had to appeal to 
a relatively uneducated electorate. This led to the devel 
opment of a campaign style in which any tactic that 
would win votes was viewed as legitimate. Thus, Jefferson 
was charged with "treason," and with being a French 
agent before 1800, while Republicans waved the "bloody 
shirt" against the Democrats for decades following the 
Civil War. In order to involve the masses in politics, 
politicians have sought to make every election appear as 
if it involved life or death for the country or for their 
party. 

Another factor which has operated to diminish tolerance 
in this country has been mass immigration. The preva 
lence of different cultural and religious ways of life has 
always constituted a threat to American stability and 
cultural unity. In order to build a nation, it was perhaps 



176 The New American Right 

necessary that men should be intolerant of the practices 
of newcomers, and should force them to assimilate. All 
through world history, the intermingling of people from 
different cultural backgrounds has resulted in strife. Such 
conflict is obviously not conducive to the emergence of a 
tradition of civic discipline, in which everyone has the 
right to live out his life as he sees fit, and in which 
minorities are protected. 

The minority immigrant groups themselves have con 
tributed to the support for conformity. One of the princi 
pal reactions of members of such groups to discrimina 
tionto being defined as socially inferior by the majority 
cultureis to attempt to assimilate completely American 
values, to reject their past, and to overidentify with 
Americanism. They tend to interpret indiscrimination 
against their ethnic group as a consequence of the fact 
that they are foreign and they behave differently, that in 
short they are insufficiently American. Many of those who 
adopt the assimilationist solution attempt to enforce con 
formity within their own group, and are intolerant of 
those who would perpetuate foreign ways and thus earn 
the enmity of those of Anglo-Saxon origin. 19 

At least one other element may be suggested as having 
operated against the development of tolerance: those 
situations which have encouraged or required men to take 
the law into their own hands in order to enforce the moral 
values of the dominant groups in society. Such events 
occurred in the South after the Civil War, and in the 
West continuously with the expansion of the frontier. In 
the South, as Myrdal has pointed out, the conservative 
groups have resisted legal procedures in order to maintain 
white supremacy. On the western frontier, many men 
considered it necessary to engage in vigilante activities 
to eliminate lawlessness. Both of these traditions, espe 
cially the continuing Southern one, have helped to destroy 
civic discipline. 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 177 



AMERICANISM AS AN IDEOLOGY: 
UN-AMERICANISM 

A third element in American life related to present 
political events is the extent to which the concept of 
Americanism has become a compulsive ideology rather 
than simply a nationalist term. Americanism is a creed 
in a way that "Britishism" is not. 

The notion of Americanism as a creed to which men 
are converted rather than born stems from two factors: 
first, our revolutionary tradition which has led us to 
continually reiterate the superiority of the American creed 
of equalitarianism, of democracy, against the old reac 
tionary, monarchical and more rigidly status-bound sys 
tems of European society; and second, the immigrant 
character of American society, the fact that people may 
become Americans that they are not simply born to 
the status. 

But if foreigners may become Americans, Americans 
may become "un-American." This concept of "un-Ameri 
can activities," as far as I know, does not have its counter 
part in other countries. American patriotism is allegiance 
to values, to a creed, not solely to a nation. An American 
political leader could not say, as Winston Churchill did 
in 1940, that the English Communist Party was composed 
of Englishmen, and he did not fear an Englishman. 20 

Unless one recognizes that Americanism is a political 
creed, much like Socialism, Communism or Fascism, 
much of what is currently happening in this country must 
remain unintelligible. 21 Our national rituals are largely 
identified with reiterating the accepted values of a politi 
cal value system, not solely or even primarily of national 
patriotism. For example, Washington s Birthday, Lincoln s 
Birthday, and the Fourth of July are ideological celebra- 



The New American Right 

tions comparable to May Day or Lenin s Birthday in the 
Communist world. Only Memorial Day and Veteran s Day 
may be placed in the category of purely patriotic, as dis 
tinct from ideological, celebrations. Consequently, more 
than any other democratic country, the United States 
makes ideological conformity one of the conditions for 
good citizenship. And it is this emphasis on ideological 
conformity to presumably common political values that 
legitimatizes the hunt for "un- Americans" in our midst. 



THE MULTIPLE ELITES 

While factors persistent in the culture have exerted 
great pressure towards conformity to the creed of Amer 
icanism, yet the rapid growth, and size, of the United 
States has prevented American society from developing 
an integrated cultural or power structure similar to those 
in smaller and older tradition-oriented European nations. 
One cannot, for example, speak of an American elite, be 
it economic, political or cultural. The elites that exist are 
fractioned regionally, ethnically, and culturally, so that 
friction and competition constantly arise among these 
segmented groups: West against East, North against 
South, new rich versus old rich, Anglo-Saxons against 
minority ethnics, the graduates of Ivy League schools 
against others, etc, 

This segmentation has facilitated the emergence of new 
social movements, religions, and cultural fads. But it also 
has prevented any one of them from engulfing the coun 
try. Each new movement is opposed by some segment of 
a rival elite, as well as that part of the general population 
which follows it. Thus Populism, the Ku Klux Elan, the 
abortive labor and socialist parties, the Progressive move 
ment, and the Know-Nothings, have all had important 
successes within specific regions, communities, or ethnic 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 179 

groups; but each died away without coming to national 
power. In the United States, seemingly, with the excep 
tion of prohibition, it has been impossible to build a 
durable national movement on a single issue, or on an 
appeal to a single interest group. 

While the heterogeneity and sheer size of the United 
States apparently bar any extremist ideological group from 
coming to national power, it also promotes the emergence 
of such groups on a more parochial base since any can 
almost always find enough supporters, leaders, and finan 
cial backers to make an impression on the body politic. 
Any appeal, be it anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, Huey 
Long s "Share the Wealth movement," Townsend s Old 
Age pension crusade, monetary reform, Technocracy, or 
others such as those mentioned earlier, will have some 
appeal. It is almost an axiom of American politics that 
any movement can find some millionaire backing, and it 
does not take many millionaires to set up an impressive 
looking propaganda apparatus. Each of the various radical 
groups, the Socialist Labor Party, the Socialist Party, and 
the Communist Party, has had its millionaires. In recent 
decades, the Communists were more successful than 
others on the left in this regard. 

The fact that it is relatively easy to build a new political 
or economic reform movement in America has often been 
overlooked by many observers because of the failure of 
every effort to construct a third major political party a 
difference, obviously, between the ease of a movement 
and the difficulty of a party. The failure of third-party 
efforts has been a consequence, however, of the American 
electoral system with its requirement that only one party 
can control the executive branch of the government at 
one time. Actually, the two major American parties are 
coalitions, and the underlying base of American politics 
is much closer to the French multi-party system than it is 
to the British two-party political structure. American 



The New American Right 

parties are coalitions of distinct and often conflicting 
factions, and no one interest group is able to dominate 
the government. As in France, however, it is relatively 
simple for a new ideological or interest group to gain 
representation, but it is almost impossible for it to secure 
majority control of the government. 22 For example, in the 
1920 s many Klan-backed individuals were elected to 
Congress, state legislatures, and some governor s office. 
At about the same time, the quasi-socialist Non-Partisan 
League won control of the Republican Party and the 
state government in North Dakota, and had considerable 
influence in a number of other midwest states, while an 
offshoot of it captured the Democratic Party and the 
governor s chair in Oklahoma. In the 1930 s the Demo 
cratic Party of California, Oregon and Washington, was 
captured temporarily by Socialist factions i.e., Upton 
Sinclair s EPIC movement in California, and the Coopera 
tive Commonwealth Federation in the other two coast 
states. At the same time, three Northern midwestern 
states were actually governed by left-wing offshoots of 
the Republican Party the Non-Partisan League in North 
Dakota, the Progressive Party in Wisconsin, and the 
Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota. Townsend, Huey 
Long, Father Coughlin, and the Communists were also 
able to send some men to Congress through the mecha 
nism of winning primary contests in one of the major 
parties. Today, as in the past, various ideological or 
interest factions strive to increase their representation in 
government through rather than against the traditional 
parties. 

The fact that the leaders of American political parties 
have much less influence over the men whom they elect 
than do the heads of parties in the British Commonwealth 
also facilitates the emergence of dissident political ten 
dencies. A Labor or Tory member of the British parlia 
ment could never engage in a one-man crusade with a 



THE SOUBCES OF THE "RADICAL BIGHT l8l 

power comparable to control of a Senate committee such 
as Senators Langer, La Follette, and McCarthy, have 
done at different times. 

The tendency of American society to throw up new 
movements or organizations is, of course, not limited to 
the political field. Tocqueville, more than a century ago, 
called attention to the American propensity, as compared 
with the greater lassitude of Europeans, to form organiza 
tions for various purposes. The reason for this distinctive 
pattern lay in the fact that America did not have a distinct 
aristocratic elite which could fulfill the functions of or 
ganization and leadership performed by the elite in 
Europe. And, Tocqueville argued, the very multitude of 
existing voluntary associations facilitated the emergence 
of new ones, since the older associations, because they 
train men in the skills of organization, provide a resource 
when some new need or new social objective is per 
ceived. 23 What little comparative data exist, suggest that 
this empirical generalization is still valid. 24 

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Americans who 
regard Communism as a great evil should form associa 
tions to combat it. These groups are but one more mani 
festation of American political and moral activity, much 
like the popular attempts to ban liquor, gambling, or 
immorality in comic strips. One may point to similar 
developments in the sphere of religion. Perhaps no other 
country, including Israel, has thrown up so many new 
religious sects. Spiritualism, the Mormon Church, Jeho 
vah s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Sci 
ence, and the Churches of God, are but some of the 
sects with over 100,000 church members which were 
born in the United States. 

The various dissident social and religious movements 
have reflected the openness of the American social order. 
Conventional morality is not supported by a cohesive 
system of social control since there are, in effect, a variety 



The New American Right 

of moralities. This generalization does not contradict the 
previous discussion of intolerance in American life, for 
intolerance to be effective on a national scale must repre 
sent the will of a majority or all-powerful group. Fortu 
nately, with the exception of groups which are defined as 
agents of a foreign actual or potential military enemy, it 
has been impossible for any group to convince the country 
to actively support restrictions against others who do not 
conform to the beliefs of one or another segment of 
American society. A Canadian sociologist, S. D. Clark, 
has commented on this aspect of American society. He 
suggests that the much tighter political and social control 
structure of Canada frustrates efforts at dissident move 
ments before they can develop, while the United States 
permits them to emerge, but frustrates their dreams of 
power: 

Critics outside the country [the United States] 
might well pause to consider not the intolerance 
which finds expression in McCarthyism but the tol 
erance which makes it possible for McCarthyism 
to develop. In Canada it would be hard to conceive 
of a state of political freedom great enough to permit 
the kind of attacks upon responsible political leaders 
of the government which have been carried out in 
the United States. More careful examination of the 
American community in general, and perhaps of the 
academic community in particular, would probably 
reveal that, in spite of the witch hunts in that coun 
try, the people of the United States enjoy in fact a 
much greater degree of freedom than do the people 
of Canada. 25 



THE SHIFT TO THE RIGHT 

Four aspects of American society have been suggested 
as contributing to an understanding of extremist political 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 183 

developments in the United States: the role of the status- 
driven during periods of prosperity, their fear of other 
groups which threaten their status; the absence of a firm 
tradition of civic discipline or tolerance; the definition of 
Americanism in ideological terms; and the lack of an 
integrated cultural and political social control structure. 

In order to understand the recent manifestations of 
political intolerance, however, it is necessary to discuss a 
fifth factor, the consequences of a liberal or conservative 
climate of opinion on the power of extremist groups. The 
period from 1930 to 1945 saw the predominance of liberal 
sentiment in American politics. This was largely the 
result of two factors, the depression and the threat of 
Fascism. The depression emphasized the need for socio- 
economic reforms and helped to undermine the legitimacy 
of conservative and business institutions. It was followed 
immediately by a war which was defined as a struggle 
against Fascism. Since Fascism was a rightist movement, 
this fact tended to reinforce the political predominance 
of leftist liberal sentiments. 

During this period the political dynamic in most demo 
cratic countries was in the hands of the left, and it used 
this strength to undermine the prestige of conservatism. 
In the United States, for example, several Congressional 
Committees conducted exposes of "undemocratic" activi 
ties of big business. In the thirties, the Nye Committee 
"exposed" the way in which Wall Street bankers had 
helped plunge the United States into World War I in 
order to maintain their investments, while the La Follette 
Committee revealed that large corporations employed 
labor spies and gangsters to prevent their employees from 
forming trade unions. The famous Truman Committee 
often exposed big business profiteering during World 
War II. All three committees helped to foster an anti- 
business and anti-conservative climate of opinion. It is 
quite true that the House Un-American Activities Com- 



1 8^ The New American Right 

mittee operated at the same time as the liberal commit 
tees, but though it secured considerable publicity, it was 
relatively unimportant compared with the role of anti- 
subversive committees in the post-war years. 

The period of liberal supremacy was also marked by a 
great growth in the influence of the Communist Party. 
In the United States, the Communists were concerned 
with penetrating and manipulating liberal and moderate 
left groups, rather than with building an electoral party. 
The Communists, by concealing their real objectives, by 
acting positively for liberal causes, by being the best 
organizers of the left, were able to penetrate deeply into 
various liberal organizations and into the labor movement. 
An index of their success may be seen in the fact that 
close to a dozen Congressmen, one state governor, many 
members of the staffs of liberal Congressmen and Con 
gressional Committees, and a number of high-ranking 
civil servants, showed by their subsequent political be 
havior that they were close followers of the Communist 
Party. 

The post-war period, on the other hand, has seen a 
resurgence of conservative and rightist forces. This has 
resulted from two factors, a prolonged period of pros 
perity and full employment, and second, the change in 
foreign policy. Where once we warred against Fascism, 
which is identified with the "right," we now war against 
Communism, which identifies with the left." And while 
Fascism and Communism are much closer to each other 
in moral consequences and actual practice than either is 
to the democratic right or left, by the general populace, 
the one is considered right and the other left. 26 And just 
as the Communists were able to secure considerable influ 
ence during the period of liberal ascendency, right-wing 
extremists have been able to make considerable headway 
during the conservative revival. Thus, the period from 
1947-8 to 1954 presents a very different picture from the 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 185 

previous decade and a half. The conservatives and the 
extreme right are now on the offensive. The "free enter 
prise" system which provides full employment is once 
more legitimate. Liberal groups feel in a weak position 
politically, and now wage a defensive battle, seeking to 
preserve their conquests of the thirties, rather than to 
extend them. 

It is striking to observe the similarities in the rhetoric 
of the liberals and conservatives when on the offensive. 
In the thirties, conservatives, isolationists, business lead 
ers, Republican Senators and Congressmen were criticized 
by some liberals as being semi-Fascist, or with being 
outright Fascists. Similarly in the last half-decade, many 
conservatives have waged an attack on liberals, Democrats 
and opponents of a vigorous anti-Russian foreign policy 
for being pro-Communist, or "creeping Socialists." The 
sources of die violent attack on conservatism in the earlier 
period came in large measure from the Communists and 
their fellow travelers, although it was voiced by many 
liberals who had no connection with the Communist 
Party and were unaware of the extent to which they 
had absorbed a Communist ideological position. More 
recently, the extreme right wing, the radical right of the 
American political spectrum, has been successful in setting 
the ideological tone of conservatism. 

It is important to note the parallelism in the rhetoric 
employed by liberals when criticizing the State Depart 
ment s policy toward the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil 
War of 1936-1939, and that used by many extreme right 
ists toward the policy of the same department a few years 
later in the Chinese Civil War. The liberal left magazines 
portrayed an American foreign office staffed by men who 
were sympathetic to extreme conservatism if not outright 
Fascism, and who tricked Roosevelt and Hull into pursu 
ing policies which helped Franco. Various individuals, 
some of whom are still in the State Department, such as 



i86 The New American Right 

Robert Murphy, were labeled as pro-Franco. The recent 
right-wing accusations that our Chinese policies were a 
result of Communist influence in government sound like 
a rewritten version of the Fascist conspiracy of the thir 
ties. The same allegations about the social background of 
State Department members, that many of them come from 
Groton, Harvard, and the Brahmin upper class, were 
used by the Communists in the thirties to prove that the 
State Department was ultra-rightist in its sympathies, and 
are used today by McCarthy and other radical rightists 
to account for presumed sympathies with Communism. 27 
The State Department s refusal to aid Loyalist Spain was 
presented as convincing proof of the presence of Fascist 
sympathizers within it. In the same way, the radical 
right now refuses to acknowledge that men may have 
made honest errors of judgment in their dealing with the 
Russians or the Chinese Communists. 

So similar are the political approaches of the radical 
right and the Communists that one may fittingly describe 
the radical right doctrine as embodying a theory of 
"Social Communism" in the same sense as the Communists 
used the term "Social Fascism" in the early thirties. The 
Communists, before 1934, argued that all non-Communist 
parties including the Socialists were "Social Fascists," that 
is, they objectively were paving the way for Fascism. The 
principal organ of the radical right today, the Freeman, 
contends that all welfare state and planning measures are 
"objectively" steps toward the development of a totali 
tarian Communist state. The New Deal, Americans for 
Democratic Action, the C.I.O. Political Action Committee, 
all are charged with "objective" totalitarianism. Both the 
Communists and writers for the Freeman have argued 
that the "social" variety of Fascism or Communism is 
more dangerous than the real thing, for the public is more 
easily deceived by a sugar-coated totalitarian program. 
The Communists in pre-Hitler Germany concentrated 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT l/ 

their fire not on the Nazis, but on the "Social Fascists," 
the socialists and liberals, and the Freeman and other 
sections of the radical right let loose their worst venom on 
the American liberals. 

An example of the violent character of this ideology 
may be seen in a 1950 Freeman article which contended 
that, "This new political machine, which . . . rules the 
old Democratic Party is an outgrowth of the CIO s 
Political Action Committee (PAG)/ It further claimed 
that "every single element in the Browder [Communist 
Party] program was incorporated in the PAG program. 
It has been the policy of the Administration ever since/ 7 
The labor movement organized around Truman because 
of the Taft-Hartley Act. Why, asked this Freeman writer, 
did labor unite against this act, which though it "injured 
the Communists . . . certainly did not injure the workers." 
. . . Because the Communists executed another strategic 
retreat. They let go of their prominent offices in the CIO 
but they still had control of the press, and the policy- 
making and opinion-forming organs. Then they got their 
ideas into the opinion-forming agences of the AFL, espe 
cially its League for Political Education. 

"How could the AFL be captured by the Communist 
policy-makers? It had a great tradition, but in face of 
CIO gains/ its leaders thought they had to do some 
thing. And the Communists were ready and waiting to 
tell them what to do policies nicely hidden behind the 
cloak of higher wages, more benefits, but still fitting 
perfectly the symbols laid down to guide policy-makers 
by Earl Browder in 1944." 

The article went on to ask, "What proof have we that 
the Politburo in Moscow wanted the election of Wallace? 
Wallace certainly did not poll the total Communist vote. 
For eight years they had worked on getting control of a 
major party. Why give up the Truman party? . . . 

"Practically every word of Truman s campaign came, 



i88 The New American Right 

again, from Browder s pattern of 1944, which is the policy 
of the PAG Practically every word of his attack on the 
80th Congress can be found earlier in the pages of the 
Daily Worker and the People s Daily World. 

"What then was the role of Wallace and the third 
party? It was the old Communist dialectic. By setting up 
Wallace as the left/ the Communists could make Tru 
man s platforms and speeches look like the center/ " 28 

Here is a picture of the real world that should be 
placed side by side with that of the Communists. As they 
see a country controlled by a self-conscious plot of Wall 
Street magnates, of two "capitalist" parties competing 
just to fool the people, this radical rightist sees a night 
marish world in which the Communists also have two 
political parties in order to fool the people, in which 
Wallace s million votes only represented a presumably 
small part of total Communist strength. 

In both periods, the thirties and the fifties, the ex 
tremists have been able to capitalize on sympathetic 
predispositions. These ideological predispositions have 
not reflected sympathy with extremism by the average 
liberal or conservative, but rather led men to view with 
sympathy any attack directed against their principal 
political opponents. The lack of any normative restric 
tions against violent political rhetoric in American politics, 
to which attention was called earlier, facilitated the 
adoption by basically unideological politicians of termi 
nology which in large part resembles that used by rival 
totalitarians in Europe. In effect, the extreme left and 
right have been able to influence the ideological setting 
of American politics since the early thirties. The radical 
right today, like the Communists before them, have been 
able to win influence far outweighing their numerical 
support in the general population, because they have 
seemingly been the most effective fighters against those 
policies and groups which are repugnant to all conserva 
tives. 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT** l8g 

2 

THE TWO CONSERVATIVES 

The conservative elements in American society can be 
divided into two groups, the moderate conservatives and 
the radical right. These two may be differentiated by their 
attitude toward the New Deal era. The moderates are 
generally willing to accept the past within limits, that is, 
they do not want "to turn the clock back." They accept 
various Roosevelt reforms; they tolerate the labor move 
ment; they tend to be internationalist in ideology and to 
accept the policies of Roosevelt in the last war. Moderate 
conservatives also believe in constitutional processes, civil 
liberties, and due process. 

The radical right, on the other hand, refuses to accept 
the recent past, or is radical in the quixotic sense that it 
rejects the status quo. Most, though not all of the radical 
right are opposed to: (1) the welfare state; (2) the labor 
movement; (3) the income tax; (4) World War II the 
radical right sees the war as an avoidable mistake, and 
prefers in retrospect a policy of Russia and Germany 
fighting it out alone. 29 

In a larger sense, the radical right views our entire 
foreign policy from the recognition of Russia to Potsdam 
as appeasement, treason and treachery. It is opposed to 
membership in the United Nations, and to entangling 
foreign commitments. It is Asia-oriented, rather than 
Europe-oriented. It is suspicious of Great Britain as a 
Machiavellian power which has manipulated us into two 
wars, and now refuses to back us in our time of need. 

Since the radical right believes that both our domestic 
and foreign policies over the last twenty years have repre 
sented tremendous setbacks for the country, it seeks an 
explanation of these calamitous errors, and finds it in the 



igo The New American Right 

penetration of the government and the agencies of opinion 
formation by the Communist movement. The radical right 
is far from having a unified ideology. Some groups are 
more concerned with our past and present foreign policy, 
others with domestic affairs. But the common denominator 
which unites the radical right is the identification of the 
policies which it opposes, either in the economic or foreign 
sphere, with the "softness" of Franklin Roosevelt and die 
Democratic Party to the Soviet Union and the American 
Communist Party. 

To some extent the two principal sources of bitter 
opposition to Roosevelt and the Democrats, the extreme 
economic conservatives and the isolationists, have tended 
to come together and adopt each other s ideologies. For 
example, right-wing Texans were ardent advocates of 
American entry into World War II. The Texas legislature 
by an almost unanimous vote passed a resolution tilling 
Charles Lindbergh that he was not welcome in Texas 
during his leadership of America First. Today, however, 
many of the same Texans regard our participation in 
World War II as a blunder. On the other hand, a number 
of isolationists, such as Burton K. Wheeler, William 
Henry Chamberlain, and others, who were liberal or radi 
cal in economic matters, have become domestic conserva 
tives. John T. Flynn is perhaps the outstanding example. 
He wrote regularly for the New Republic during the thir 
ties and criticized Roosevelt s domestic and international 
policies from a left-wing point of view. With the onset of 
World War II, Flynn joined the America First movement. 
This action subjected him to vicious smears from liberal 
interventionists, who charged that he cooperated with Fas 
cists. 30 He found increasingly that his audiences and the 
magazines that would accept his articles were right-wing 
conservatives, and gradually in joining with the right in 
foreign policy, he accepted their position on economic 
issues as well. 



THE SOURCES OF THE RADICAL RIGHT 

It is difficult to demonstrate that similar changes in 
political ideology have occurred among sections of the 
general population. A cursory inspection of election results 
in Wisconsin and other midwest states, however, indicates 
that many voters who once supported liberal isolationists 
are now backing right-wing nationalists. It would be inter 
esting to know, for example, what proportion of those 
who supported the isolationist but progressive Bob La 
Follette in Wisconsin now backs McCarthy. Conversely, 
some of the economic radical rightists such as the new 
millionaires of Texas, or men who were involved in the 
Liberty League in the thirties, have accepted the isola 
tionist interpretation of the past, even thought they were 
not isolationists before World War II. 

Increasingly, a coherent radical right ideology has 
emerged which attacks past Democratic foreign policy as 
pro-Soviet, and criticizes New Deal economic policy as 
Socialist or Communist inspired. What are the sources of 
the support of the radical right in this country? It is 
difficult to answer this question since the groups who 
back the efforts to suppress the civil rights of men with 
whom they disagree, do not themselves agree on all or 
even most issues. The common denominator on which all 
the supporters of extremist action in the political arena 
agree is vigorous anti-Communism. This issue, today, has 
replaced anti-Catholicism or anti-immigrant sentiment as 
the unifying core for mass right-wing extremist action. 
One can identify some of the groups which play important 
roles in the anti-Communist crusade. These include groups 
reacting to the need for status policies, both the upward 
mobile ethnic population, and some of the downward 
mobile old American groups; groups responding to eco 
nomic as well as status appeals; the nouveaux riches, and 
the insecure small businessmen; the traditionalist and 
authoritarian elements within the working-class groups 
whose values or ties to groups in other countries make 



192 The New American Right 

them especially vulnerable to anti-Communist appeals 
(such as the Catholics or people coming from countries 
occupied by the Communists); and the traditional isola 
tionists, especially those of German ancestry. 

STATUS POLITICS AND THE RADICAL RIGHT 

One traditional source of extreme conservatism in the 
United States is the derivation of status from a claim to 
the American past the people who belong to such filio- 
pietistic organizations as the Daughters of the American 
Revolution, the Colonial Dames, veterans* organizations, 
historical commemoration societies, patriotic groups, etc. 
The point one must always recognize in considering such 
organizations is that few of them are actually what their 
name implies. That is, most of these organizations which 
supposedly contain all those who have a right to member 
ship in the groups by virtue of their own actions or those 
of their ancestors only are supported by a minority of 
those who are eligible. The Daughters of the American 
Revolution, for example, do not contain all the female 
descendants of Revolutionary soldiers, but only a small 
segment, those who choose to identify themselves in that 
fashion. 31 The same point may be made about the mem 
bership of groups commemorating the War of 1812, the 
Civil War, the Confederacy, and other comparable 
groups. Further, in practice, the members who are active 
in these groups, who set policy, constitute an infinitesimal 
minority of the total membership. 

What is the minority deriving status and other gratifica 
tions from such membership? Various sociological insights 
may be of some help here although unfortunately there 
is little or no research on their membership. It has been 
suggested that individuals who participate in such socie 
ties tend disproportionately to be people who have little 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 1Q3 

other claim to status. They may be members of families 
which once were important, but whose present position is 
such that on the basis of personal achievement alone 
they would have little right to social prestige. Many such 
individuals tend to magnify this one claim to status, a 
claim to history, a claim to lineage, an identification with 
a heroic American past, which other people cannot have. 
It is their defense against the newcomers, against the 
rising minority ethnic groups. And consequently, such 
individuals and their organizations make a fetish out of 
tradition and past styles of life, and tend to be arch- 
conservative. Thus the groups which have the greatest 
sense of status insecurity will oppose both economic re 
form and internationalism, both of which are viewed as 
challenges to tradition. 

While on one hand, the status-threatened old-family 
American tends to over-emphasize his identification with 
American conservative traditions, and thus be potentially 
or actually a supporter of the radical right, the new 
American, the minority ethnic, also is in strong need of 
asserting his status claims. For while the old American 
desires to maintain his status, the new American wishes 
to obtain it, to become accepted. This is particukrly true 
for those members of the minority groups who have risen 
to middle or upper class position in the economic struc 
ture. These groups, having entered at the bottom, tend to 
view the status hierarchy as paralleling the economic 
ladder; they believe that one need only move up the 
economic scale to obtain the good things of the society. 
But, as they move up economically, they encounter social 
resistance. There is discrimination by the old-family 
Americans, by the Anglo-Saxon against the minority 
ethnics. The Boston Brahmins, for example, do not accept 
the wealthy Irish. 32 As Joseph Kennedy, father of the 
present Senator and former Ambassador to Great Britain, 
once put it in reaction to the fact that the Boston press 



The New American Right 

continually made reference to him as Irish: "I was born 
here, my children were born here. What the hell do I have 
to do to be an American?" All through the country, one 
can find ethnic groups, often composed of third and fourth 
generation Americans, who have developed their own 
middle and upper classes, but who are still refused admit 
tance into the social circles of Anglo-Saxon Protestants. 
One of the major reactions to such discrimination, as indi 
cated earlier, is to become overconformist to an assumed 
American tradition. Since many members of these ethnic 
groups do not want to be defined as European, they also 
tend to become isolationist, ultra-patriotic, and even anti- 
European. For them, as for the old American tradition 
alist, the positive orientation towards Europe of liberals, 
of moderate conservative internationalists, creates a chal 
lenge to their basic values and to their rejection of Europe. 
Thus the status-insecure old-family American middle- 
class, and the status-striving minority ethnics, both arrive 
at similar political positions. 

But to return at this point to the theme developed in 
the earlier discussion of status politics, status insecurities 
and status aspirations are most likely to appear as sources 
of frustration, independent of economic problems, in pe 
riods of prolonged prosperity. For such times make it 
possible for individuals and groups who have moved up 
to constitute a visible threat to the established status 
groups; while at the same time the successfully mobile 
begin to search for means of improving their status. It is 
obvious that there are always many who do not prosper 
in periods of prosperity. And it is precisely members of 
the older prestigeful groups who are disproportionately 
to be found among the rentier class economically, with 
many living on fixed incomes, old businesses and die like 
sources of income which are prone to decline in their 
relative position. 33 

Thus, clearly, prosperity magnifies the status problem 



THE SOUKCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 195 

by challenging the economic base of the older groups, and 
accentuating the claim to status of the emerging ones. As 
a general hypothesis I would suggest that the supporters 
of the radical right in the 1950 s come disproportionately 
from both the rising ethnic groups, and those old-family 
Americans who are oriented toward a strong identification 
with the past. 84 

THE ECONOMIC EXTREMISTS 

A second source of support for extreme right-wing 
activities, here as in other countries, is the important 
group of newly wealthy individuals thrown up by great 
prosperity. New wealth most often tends to have extremist 
ideologies, to believe in extreme conservative doctrines 
in economic matters. 35 The man who makes money himself 
feels more insecure about keeping it than do people who 
possess inherited wealth. He feels more aggrieved about 
social reform measures which involve redistribution of 
the wealth, as compared with individuals, still wealthy, 
who have grown up in an old traditionalist background, 
which inculcates the values of tolerance traditionally 
associated with upper-class aristocratic conservatism. It is 
not without reason that the new millionaires, such as those 
in Texas, have given extensive financial support to radical 
right movements, politicians, and to such propaganda 
organizations as Facts Forum. 

While the most important significance of the newly 
wealthy lies in the power which their money can bring, 
rather than in their numbers, there is a mass counterpart 
for them in the general population, the small independent 
businessmen. Statistical data on social mobility in the 
United States indicates a great turnover in the ranks of 
these groups. 36 A large proportion, if not a majority of 
them, come from other social strata: the small storekeepers 



196 The New American Right 

and businessmen often are of working-class origin; the 
small manufacturer often comes out of the ranks of execu 
tives, white collar or government workers. 

These small businessmen, perhaps more than any other 
group, have felt constrained by progressive social legisla 
tion and the rise of labor unions. They are squeezed 
harder than large business, since their competitive posi 
tion does not allow them to pay increases in wages as 
readily as can big firms. Governmental measures such as 
social security, business taxes, or various regulations which 
require filling out forms, all tend to complicate the opera 
tion of small business. In general, these people are ori 
ented upwards, wish to become larger businessmen, and 
take on the values of those who are more successful, or 
perhaps more accurately, they tend to take over their 
image of the values of more powerful groups, values 
which are often those of the radical right. Thus, as an 
hypothesis, it may be suggested that in terms of economic 
interest motivation, the principal financial support of the 
radical right comes from those who have newly acquired 
wealth, and from small business. 37 

Extreme conservatism on economic matters is, of course, 
not new. During the thirties it was represented by the 
Liberty League, and by various measures of organized 
business groups to block the development of trade unions. 
In general, one could probably safely say that most big 
business was willing to use undemocratic restrictive 
measures, such as labor spies and thugs, to prevent the 
emergence of trade unions in the twenties and thirties. 
The basic difference between the radical right and the 
moderate right, at present, however, is that the moderate 
right, which seemingly includes the majority of big busi 
ness, has come to accept the changes which have occurred 
in the last twenty years, including trade unions and vari 
ous social reforms, whereas the radical right still looks 
upon these as basic threats to its position. In practice 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 1Q7 

economic rightists efforts to turn the clock back have 
been successful in many states which are characterized 
by the lack of metropolitan areas, by rural and small-town 
predominance in the legislatures. In such states, laws 
have been passed outlawing the closed union shop, the 
amendment to repeal the income tax amendment to the 
Constitution has been endorsed by the legislature, and 
other legislation designed to destroy the reforms of the 
thirties and forties has been enacted. The fact remains, 
however, that the bulk of the reforms and institutions the 
liberal left created in the thirties and forties remain intact, 
and the business conservatives and the radical right can 
not feel secure or victorious. 



THE "TORY" WORKER 

The previous sections have dealt with factors differen 
tiating middle and upper-class supporters of right-wing 
extremism from those who back more moderate policies. 
The stress on the radical right backers in these strata does 
not mean that the principal support of this type of politics 
lies here. In fact, survey as well as impressionistic data 
suggest that the large majority of these classes adhere to 
moderate politics, principally those of the moderate con 
servative, and that the overwhelming majority of the 
middle and upper groups have been consistently opposed 
to McCarthy and the whole radical right movement. The 
various studies of attitudes toward civil liberties and 
McCarthy suggest that the lower a person is in socio- 
economic status or educational attainment, the more likely 
he is to support McCarthy, favor restrictions on civil 
liberties, and back a "get tough" policy with the Com 
munist states. 3 * 

The lack of tolerance exhibited by large sections of the 
lower classes as compared with the middle classes is, of 



ig8 The New American Right 

course, quite understandable. Support of civil liberties 
or tolerance for persons with whom one strongly disagrees 
requires, one would guess, both a high degree of material 
and psychic security, and considerable sophistication. As 
compared with the bulk of the middle and upper classes, 
the working class lacks these attributes. The consequences 
of these differences are manifest not only in the political 
arena, but in religion as well, for chiliastic evangelical 
religions have tended to draw their support from the 
lower classes, while liberal "tolerant" denominations have 
almost invariably been middle and upper class groups. 

When one attempts, however, to go beyond the vari 
ables of economic status and education, in distinguishing 
between support or opposition to McCarthy or greater or 
less tolerance in civil liberties among the lower classes, 
the principal differentiating factors seem to be party 
allegiance, and religious beliefs. In the United States and 
Great Britain, the conservative workers, those who back 
the Tory or Republican parties, tend to have the most 
intolerant attitudes. Comparative impressionistic data 
suggests that these differences are not inherent in varying 
social strata, but rather are a consequence of partisan 
identifications and values. That is, the Democratic and 
Labour parties are more concerned with propagating a 
civil libertarian value system than are the conservative 
parties. Within the Democratic and Labour parties, how 
ever, the working class is more intolerant than the middle 
class. 39 

The support which a large section of the American 
working class gives to right-wing extremism today may 
also be jrelated to the greater sense of status deprivation 
felt by "failures" in periods of prosperity discussed earlier. 
Workers who fail to get ahead while some friends, class 
mates, and feUow war veterans do, are also likely to feel 
embittered. This prosperity-born bitterness should result 
in more varied forms of protest in America than in 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 199 

Europe, since American workers, unlike European ones, 
do not have a Socialist ideology which places the blame 
for individual failure on the operation of the social sys 
tem. 40 While the lower strata constitute the largest section 
of the mass base of the radical right, especially of Mc 
Carthy, who, as we shall see later, makes a particular 
appeal to them, in power terms they are the least signifi 
cant. Up to now, there are no organized working-class 
groups, other than some of the fundamentalist churches, 
which support radical right activities. 41 And unlike the 
middle and upper-class supporters of rightist opinions in 
the area of civil liberties, and foreign policy, who are also 
economic conservatives, many of the lower-class fol 
lowers of radical right leaders are in favor of liberal 
economic policies. Those workers who tend to back ex 
treme right policies in economic as well as civil liberties 
and foreign policy areas tend to be the most tradition- 
alistic and apolitical in their outlook. The principal sig 
nificance of lower-class attitudes, therefore, lies in the 
votes and responses to public polls which they contribute 
to the radical right rather than in their potential utiliza 
tion as part of a mass base for an organized movement. 42 



THE ISOLATIONISTS 

A fourth basis of strength of the radical right has 
developed out of the old isolationist-interventionist con 
troversy. The traditional isolationists have become, in 
large measure, a base of the radical right. If one looks 
over the background of isolationism in this country, it 
seems largely rooted in ethnic prejudices or reactions, ties 
to the homeland, and populist xenophobia. Samuel 
Lubell, for example, suggests, "The hard core of isola 
tionism in the United States has been ethnic and emo 
tional, not geographic. By far the strongest common 



200 The New American Right 

characteristic of the isolationist-voting counties is the 
residence there of ethnic groups with a pro-German or 
anti-British bias, Far from being indifferent to Europe s 
wars, the evidence argues that the isolationists are over 
sensitive to them." 43 

During two wars, the pro-German ethnic groups have 
been isolationists. In addition to the Germans, and some 
midwestern Scandinavian groups tied to them by religious 
and ecological ties, many Irish also have opposed support 
of Britain in two wars. Because German influence was 
concentrated in the Midwest, and in part because isola 
tionist ideologies were part of the value system of agrarian 
radicalism, isolationism has been centered in the Midwest, 
especially among once-radical agrarians. The agrarian 
radicals of the Midwest tended to be xenophobic, suspi 
cious of eastern and international finance capitalism. The 
various agrarian movements regarded efforts to involve 
the United States in European conflicts as motivated by 
the desire of eastern bankers to make money. The radical 
agrarian character of isolationism, however, gradually 
began to change for at least two reasons: (1) numerically 
its mass Midwest base became less and less rural as the 
farm population declined, and more and more small-town 
middle class in character; and (2) interventionism was 
identified with the New Deal and social reform. 44 Thus 
the small-town midwestern middle class was anti-New 
Deal, conservative and isolationist; this all added up to 
a fervent opposition to Roosevelt and his domestic and 
foreign policy. 

This former isolationist group, especially its German 
base, was under a need to justify its past, and to a certain 
extent, to gain revenge. 45 The Germans, in particular, 
were considered disloyal by the Yankees and other native 
American stock in two wars. Consequently, campaigns 
which seem to demonstrate that they were right and not 
disloyal would obviously win their support. The way in 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 201 

which one can understand the resentment against the 
UN and other international agencies is that these organi 
zations are symbolic of American foreign policy and espe 
cially of the foreign policy of World War II, of collective 
security, of internationalism, of interventionism; and thus 
the attack on UNESCO, the attack on the UN is an 
attack on the past, an attack on Roosevelt, an attack on 
our whole foreign policy from 33 on. 

The common tie which binds the former isolationist 
with the economic radical conservative is on the one hand 
the common enemy, Roosevelt and the New Deal, and 
secondly, the common scapegoat with which they can 
justify their past position. Both can now suggest that they 
were right, right in opposing the foreign policy or correct 
in opposing certain economic policies because these past 
policies were motivated or sustained by Communism or 
the Communist Party, Thus, both have an interest in 
magnifying the Communist plot, in identifying liberal and 
internationalist forces in American society with Com 
munism. 



THE CATHOLICS 

A fifth source of mass support for the radical right in 
the recent period are many Catholics. As a rapidly rising 
group which was largely low status until recently, Catho 
lics might be expected to be vulnerable to status-linked 
political appeals. In addition and probably more signifi 
cant, however, Catholics as a religious group are more 
prone to support anti-Communist movements than any 
other sect with the possible exception of the fundamen 
talist Protestant churches. 46 This predisposition derives 
from the long history of Catholic opposition to Socialism 
and Communism, an organized opposition which has been 
perhaps more formalized in theological church terms than 



202 The New American Right 

in almost any other group. This opposition has, in recent 
years, been magnified by the fact that a number of coun 
tries taken over by the Communists in eastern Europe are 
Catholic, and it is notable that in Europe those countries 
which are most in danger of Communist penetration are, 
in fact, Catholic. 

In the past, however, Catholics in the United States 
and other English-speaking countries, have been tradi 
tionally allied with more left-wing parties. For example, 
in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, the Catho 
lics tend to support the Labor Party. In the United States, 
they have backed the Democratic Party, while in Canada 
they support the Liberal Party. 47 

The identification of Catholicism with the left in the 
English-speaking countries, as compared with its identifi 
cation with the right in Western Europe, is related to the 
fact that the Catholic Church is a minority church in the 
English-speaking countries, and has been the church of 
the minority ethnic immigrants who have been largely 
lower class. As a lower status group, Catholics have been 
successfully appealed to by the out-party, by the party 
of the lower class. 

The rise of the Communist threat, however, and the 
identification of Communism with the left has created a 
conflict for many Catholics. Historically, this ideological 
conflict has developed just as the Catholic population in 
most of these countries has produced a sizable upper and 
middle class of its own, which in economic terms is under 
pressure to abandon its traditional identification with the 
lower class party. The Republican Party in the United 
States and the (conservative) Liberal Party in Australia 
as well, it is interesting to note, are now given an oppor 
tunity to break the Catholics from their traditional politi 
cal mores. The conservatives face the problem in the era 
of the welfare state, that welfare politics obviously appeal 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 203 

to lower-class people. Consequently, for the conservatives 
to gain a majority (and here I speak not only of the 
radical right but of the moderate conservatives as well), 
they must have some issues which cut across class lines, 
and which can appeal to the lower classes against the 
party of that class. Traditionally, nationalism and foreign 
policy issues have been among the most successful means 
for the conservatives to break through class lines. In this 
specific case, if the conservatives can identify the left 
with Communism they may gain the support of many 
Catholics, both lower and middle class. This combination 
of the party desire to win elections plus the general desire 
of conservatives to dominate the society has led them to 
adopt tactics which normally they would abhor. 

It may be appropriate to recall that the use of bigotry 
as a tactic by the conservatives to gain a political majority 
is not unknown in American history. The Whig Party 
before the Civil War, faced with the fact that increased 
immigration, largely Catholic, was constantly adding to 
the votes of the Democratic Party, realized that they 
might never obtain a majority. (They were in much the 
same position as the Republican Party from 1932 to 
1952. ) The Whigs, led largely by the so-called aristocratic 
elements in American society, upper-class Protestants both 
north and south, supported mass movements which were 
anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant, because of the belief 
that this would be the only way to win elections against 
the party of the "Demagogues," as they described the 
Democratic Party. 

The upper-class Whigs hoped to break lower-class 
white Protestants from their support of the Democratic 
Party by identifying that party with the immigrants and 
with the Catholics. Today, of course, the position is 
reversed. The attempt is not so much to break Protestants 
from the Democrats, but to win the Catholics from the 



The New American Right 

Democrats. The Republicans wish to break the Demo 
cratic allegiance of the Catholics, rather than use them 
as a scapegoat to secure lower-class Protestant voters. 48 

It is also interesting to note that, since liberal groups 
draw so much support from the Catholics, it is an exceed 
ingly delicate matter for them to defend themselves 
against the charge that they once made common cause 
with the Communists. American liberals are under pres 
sure to deny their past, rather than defend it. To admit 
that liberals ever had sympathy for the Soviet Union, or 
that they ever in any way collaborated with Communists 
would be akin to confession, at least so far as their 
Catholic supporters are concerned, of collaboration with 
the Devil. In order to defend itself and to retain its 
Catholic base, the liberal left must either outdo the right 
in Communist charges, or at least tacitly agree with it. 
It fears that a large part of its mass base agrees with the 
radical right on the Communist question. 49 

The introduction of a bill to outlaw the Communist 
Party by the most liberal members of the United States 
Senate is an example of this phenomenon. Many of them 
are vulnerable to the charge of Communist collaboration. 
Paul Douglas, as a Socialist, visited the Soviet Union, and 
was addressed as Comrade by Stalin. This interview was 
published by the Communist Party. Wayne Morse was 
strongly backed by Harry Bridges in his election to the 
United States Senate. Hubert Humphrey was elected to 
the Senate by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, short 
ly after the Communists captured the old Minnesota 
Farmer-Labor Party, and merged it with the Democratic 
Party of the state. None of these men ever supported the 
Communist Party, or even has any record of fellow- 
traveling for a brief period. Nevertheless, facts such as 
these would be difficult to explain without these men 
giving repeated evidence of their being strongly anti- 
Communist. 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL BIGHT* 

The situation in the Catholic community, today, is 
similar to conditions in the Jewish community during the 
thirties. The Jews, concerned with the growth of Nazism, 
felt the need to do something about it. Nazism became 
an important political issue for them. This situation played 
into the hands of the Communists who used the fight 
against Nazism as their principal appeal. And it is a fact 
that the Communists had considerable success among 
the Jews in this period. 50 Perhaps even more important 
was the fact that this influence often affected the political 
ideology and tactics of Jewish organizations which were 
in no way Communist. 

Today the Catholics face the Communist issue as the 
Jews did Nazism. Even unscrupulous anti-Communism, 
the sort which is linked to motives and policies unrelated 
to the problem of fighting Communists, can win support 
within the Catholic community. And just as the Com 
munists were able to press forward various other aspects 
of their ideology among the Jews in the 1930 s, so the 
radical right, stressing the anti-Communist issue, is able 
to advance other parts of its program. The radical right 
uses the anti-Communist issue to create or sustain hos 
tility among the Catholics against the New Deal, against 
social reform, at the same time identifying liberalism 
with Communism. 

It is, therefore, impossible to analyze the impact of 
the radical right on American life without considering 
the vulnerability of the Catholics to the Communist issue, 
and the effect of this Catholic sensitivity on the political 
strategy of both Republican and Democratic politicians 
in their reactions to the radical right. For politic reasons 
many existing analyses of the radical right have found it 
convenient to ignore the Catholics, and attempts have 
been made to interpret the problem in terms of other 
variables or concepts, some of which, like the minority 
ethnic s reaction to status deprivation, have been sug- 



206 The New American Right 

gested in this chapter as well. While such processes are 
important, it should not be forgotten that the majority of 
Catholics is still proletarian, and not yet in a position to 
make claim to high status. The role of the Catholic 
vulnerability to the radical right today, like the similar 
reaction of the Jews to the Communists a decade ago, 
must be considered independently of the fact that both 
groups have also reacted to the situation of being an 
ethnic minority. 51 



THE CATALYTIC ELEMENTS 

No analysis of the social strata and political tendencies 
which make up the radical right can be complete without 
a discussion of the catalytic elements, members of near 
Fascist and so-called borderline organizations, or individ 
uals who though never members of such groups have 
maintained right-wing authoritarian sentiments. These 
groups and individuals have advocated extremist right- 
wing ideologies for a long time. Although their number 
may vary and their strength may fluctuate, they remain as 
a chronic source of potential extremist sentiments and 
organization. During the thirties, there were many avow 
edly authoritarian Fascist and racist organizations. 
Racism, at least in the form of anti-Semitism, lost much 
of its appeal during and following World War II. But 
while racism became even less useful politically than it 
ever had been, exposes of Communist plots, a traditional 
activity of most right-wing authoritarians, fitted in with 
the popular mood. It is probable that the neo-Fascist 
groups and individual authoritarians today use the Com 
munist issue instead of anti-Semitism. 52 For many of them 
hunting Communists with the seeming approval of society 
is much more palatable than attacking Jews. Engaging 
in attacks on alleged Communists or subversives may 



THE SOURCES OF THE ^RADICAL, RIGHT" 2O/ 

now serve to enhance their status, while attacks on 
minority groups meant accepting the role of a political 
and social deviant. 

Here again, the analogy may be made with the role of 
the Communists in the late thirties and early forties. 
Being pro-New Deal and anti-Fascist, political values 
which were held by a large part of the population, made 
it psychologically much easier for Communists to operate 
than when they were primarily engaged in an avowed 
struggle for Communism. A number of former Com 
munists have reported that many of the party members 
and leaders seemed much happier in this role in the late 
thirties and early forties than in their earlier phase as 
avowed revolutionaries. In this latter period, the Com 
munist movement was much more effective in initiating 
campaigns which appealed to large sections of the popu 
lation. 

While there is no right-wing conspiracy equivalent to 
that of the Communist Party (the various organizations 
and groups are disunited and often conflict with each 
other), nevertheless, there is an amorphous radical right 
extremist movement which receives the support of many 
who are not open members of extremist organizations. 
These may be termed the fellow-travelers of the radical 
right. In sociological terms, these groups should come 
disproportionately from the categories discussed earlier, 
that is, from the status-threatened or the status-aspiring, 
from the nouueaux riches, from the small businessman, 
from the ardent Catholics. However, it may be suggested 
that some of the research findings of studies such as the 
Authoritarian Personality 53 are relevant in this context. 
The Authoritarian Personality and similar studies suggest 
that for a certain undefined minority of the population 
various personality frustrations and repressions result in 
the adoption of scapegoat sentiments. Such individuals 
are probably to be found disproportionately among the 



The New American Right 

members of various patriotic and anti-Communist socie 
ties, in the crackpot extremist groups, and significantly in 
the committees of various Communist-hunt groups, for 
example, in the un-American activities committees of 
local Legion posts, and other groups. No one can object to 
people fighting Communists. If a minority in an organiza 
tion denounces individual X or Y as a Communist, one 
may expect a general tendency for other members of the 
group to accept the charge in terms of their identification 
with the organization. Thus, with the climate of opinion 
shifted to the right, and with the Communist issue impor 
tant to many people, that minority of individuals who for 
one reason or another feel the need to hunt out local 
subversive conspirators will be supported by many in 
dividuals and groups, who left alone would rarely engage 
in such activities. 54 

One other group is important in the development of the 
radical right since World War II: the ex-Communists. 
Some of them, along with some other former non-Com 
munist radicals, have given a coherent tone and ideology 
to the radical right. Basically, the radical right is unintel- 
lectual. Its leaders know very little about Communism or 
international affairs, and as a matter of fact, have little 
interest in international affairs. The former radicals and 
Communists can pinpoint for the ideologists and spokes 
men of the radical right those areas in American life 
where Communists have been important, those aspects 
of American foreign policy which are most vulnerable 
to attack. Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon 
is to be found in The Freeman. Many of the writers for 
this magazine have been former leftists, such as James 
Burnham, William Schlamm, John Chamberlain, Ralph De 
Toledano, J. B. Matthews, Freda Utley, Eugene Lyons, 
John T. Flynn, George Schuyler, and Charlotte Haldane. 

Before concluding this review of general tendencies, 
one interesting and important contradiction between radi- 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 2OQ 

cal right ideology in the United States and the conse 
quences of its promulgation should be stressed. Most of 
the intellectual and political spokesmen of the radical 
right proclaim a belief in complete liberty for all. The 
Freeman reads like a philosophical anarchist magazine. 
Its present editor, Frank Chodorov, has proclaimed the 
libertarian gospel in two recent books, One is a Crowd, 
and The Income Tax: Root of All Evil The New Deal is 
often denounced for having endangered civil liberties and 
individual freedom by increasing the power of the state 
and trade unions. Many of the speakers at the November 
29, 1954 Madison Square Garden rally to protest the 
Senate censure of Senator McCarthy demanded the pres 
ervation of a "government of limited powers." Writers 
for The Freeman often criticize the tariff. Basically, the 
ideology of extreme conservatism in this country is laissez- 
faire. McCarthy s young intellectual spokesman, William 
Buckley, strongly supported the doctrines of Adam Smith 
in the same book in which he demanded a purge of 
American university faculties of left-wingers. 55 In a real 
sense, the radical right is led by the Frondists of American 
society, those who want to turn the clock back to a 
golden age of little government. 



3 

McCARTHYISM: THE UNIFYING IDEOLOGY 56 

Extreme conservatism cannot ever hope to create a 
successful mass movement on the basis of its socio- 
economic program alone. Except during significant eco 
nomic crisis, the majority of the traditional middle and 
upper class conservative elements are not likely to support 
extremist movements and ideologies, even when presented 
in the guise of conservatism, and the lower classes do not 



210 The New American Right 

support movements in defense of privilege. The problem 
of the radical right is to develop a political philosophy 
which will have appeal to its traditional rightist support, 
but will also enable it to win a mass base. Nazism was 
able to do this in Germany by combining a strong nation 
alist appeal to the status-threatened German middle and 
upper class, together with an "attack on Jewish interna 
tional capitalism" designed to win over those most con 
cerned with economic reform. As a number of European 
political commentators have suggested, anti-Semitism has 
often been the extreme rightist equivalent for the Socialist 
attack on capitalism. The Jewish banker replaces the 
exploiting capitalist as the scapegoat. 

In the United States, the radical right had to find some 
comparable method of appealing to the groups which 
have a sense of being underprivileged, and McCarthy s 
principal contribution to the crystallization of the radical 
right in the 1950 s has been to locate the key symbols 
with which to unite all its potential supporters. 67 Mc 
Carthy s crusade is not just against the liberal elements 
of the country, cast in the guise of "creeping Socialists;" 
he is also campaigning against the same groups midwest 
Populism always opposed, the Eastern conservative finan 
cial aristocracy. In his famous Wheeling, West Virginia 
speech of February 9, 1950, McCarthy began his crusade 
against internal Communism by presenting for the first 
time an image of the internal enemy: 

The reason why we find ourselves in a position of 
impotency is not because our only potential enemy 
has sent men to invade our shores, but rather be 
cause of the traitorous actions of those who have 
been treated so well by this nation. It is not the less 
fortunate, or members of minority groups who have 
been selling this nation out, but rather those who 
have had all the benefits the wealthiest nation on 
earth has had to offerthe finest homes, the finest 
college educations, and the finest jolts in the govern- 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 

ment that we can give. This is glaringly true in the 

State Department. There the bright young men who 

are horn with silver spoons in their mouth are the 

ones who have been worse. 5S 

This defense of the minority groups and the under 
privileged, and the attack on the upper class has charac 
terized the speeches and writings of McCarthy and his 
followers. McCarthy differs considerably from earlier 
extreme right-wing anti-Communists. He is rarely inter 
ested in investigating or publicizing the activities of 
men who belong to minority ethnic groups. The image 
of the Communist which recurs time and again in his 
speeches is one of an easterner, usually of Anglo-Saxon 
Episcopalian origins, who has been educated in schools 
such as Groton and Harvard. 

The attack on the elite recurs frequently in the current 
writings of the radical right. The Freeman magazine 
writes that "Asian coolies and Harvard professors are 
the people . . . most susceptible to Red propaganda/ 59 
Facts Forum describes intellectuals as the group most vul 
nerable to Communism, and defines intellectuals as, 
"lawyers, doctors, bankers, teachers, professors, preachers, 
writers, publishers/ 60 In discussing the Hiss case, Facts 
Forum argued that the forces defending Hiss which were 
most significant were not the Communists, themselves, 
but "the American respectables, the socially pedigreed, 
the culturally acceptable, the certified gentlemen and 
scholars of the day, dripping with college degrees. ... In 
general, it was the *best people who were for Alger 
Hiss," 61 In discussing McCarthy s enemies, the Freeman 
stated: "He possesses, it seems a sort of animal, negative- 
pole magnetism which repels alumni of Harvard, Prince 
ton, and Yale. And we think we know what it is: This 
young man is constitutionally incapable of deference to 
social status 962 

Over and over again runs the theme, the common men 
in America have been victimized by members of the upper 



212 The New American Right 

classes, by the prosperous, by the wealthy, by the well 
educated. When specific names are given, these are almost 
invariably individuals whose names and backgrounds per 
mit them to be identified with symbols of high status. As 
McCarthy could attack other individuals and groups, this 
concentration on the Anglo-Saxon elite is no accident, 
What are the purposes it serves? 

Since McCarthy comes from Wisconsin, where for forty 
years isolationism and attacks on eastern business and 
Wall Street were staple political fare, he may have been 
searching for an equivalent to the La Follette appeal. 
Much of the electorate of Wisconsin, and other sections 
of the Midwest, the German-Americans and those who 
were sympathetic to their isolationist viewpoint, have 
been smarting under the charge of disloyalty. McCarthy 
has argued that it was not the isolationists, but rather 
those who favored our entry into war with Germany who 
were the real traitors, since by backing Great Britain 
they had played into the hands of the Soviet Union. The 
linkage between the attacks on Anglo-Saxon Americans 
and Great Britain may be seen in McCarthy s infrequent 
speeches on foreign policy; these invariably wind up with 
an attack on Great Britain, sometimes with a demand for 
action (such as economic sanctions, or pressure to prevent 
her from trading with Red China). 63 Thus McCarthy is in 
fact attacking the same groups in the United States and 
on the world scene, as his liberal predecessors. 

On the national scene, McCarthy s attacks are probably 
much more important in terms of their appeal to status 
frustrations than to resentful isolationism. In the identifi 
cation of traditional symbols of status with pro-Com 
munism the McCarthy followers, of non-Anglo-Saxon 
extraction, can gain a feeling of superiority over the 
traditionally privileged groups. Here is a prosperity-born 
equivalent for the economic radicalism of depressions. 
For the resentment created by prosperity is basically not 



THE SOUKCES OF THE "BADICAL BIGHT" 213 

against the economic power of Wall Street bankers, or 
Yankees, but against their status power. An attack on their 
loyalty, on their Americanism, is clearly also an attack 
on their status. And this group not only rejects the status 
claims of the minority ethnics, but also snubs the nou- 
veaux riches millionaires. 

The celebrated Army-McCarthy hearings vividly pre 
sented to a national television audience the differences 
between the McCarthyites and their moderate Republican 
opponents. Every member of McCarthy s staff who ap 
peared on television, with but one exception, was either 
Catholic, Jewish or Greek Orthodox in religion, and Ital 
ian, Greek, Irish, or Jewish in national origin. The non- 
military spokesmen of the Eisenhower administration on 
the other hand were largely wealthy Anglo-Saxon Protes 
tants. In a real sense, this televised battle was between 
successfully mobile minority ethnics and, in the main, 
upper-class Anglo-Saxon Protestants. 

It is also interesting to note that McCarthy is probably 
the first extreme rightist politician in America to rely 
heavily on a number of Jewish advisors. These include 
George Sokolsky, the Hearst columnist, Arthur Kohlberg, 
a Far-Eastern exporter, and of course, his former counsel, 
Roy Cohn. (These Jewish McCarthyites are, however, 
unrepresentative of the Jewish population generally, even 
of its upper strata, since all survey data as well as impres 
sionistic evidence indicate that the large majority of 
American Jews are liberal on both economic and civil 
liberties issues.) 

An attack on the status system could conceivably an 
tagonize groups within the radical right: such as the 
patriotic societies, the Daughters of the American Revo 
lution, and members of old upper-status families like 
Archibald Roosevelt, who chaired a testimonial dinner 
for Roy Cohn. Yet, attacks on the Anglo-Saxon Yankee 
scapegoat do not have this effect because they are directed 



The New American Right 

against majority elements in the society. Criticism of 
Jews or the Irish, or Italians or Negroes, would have 
resulted in an immediate response from members of the 
attacked group. Anglo-Saxon white Protestants, as a 
majority group, however, are not sensitive to criticism, 
they are not vulnerable to being attacked, nor do they 
expect attack. McCarthy, on the one hand, can throw out 
symbols and images which appeal to the minority ethnics, 
to the Germans, to the Irish, and the Italians, without at 
the same time securing the hostility of radical rightists 
who also are members of the D.A.R., the Sons of the 
American Revolution, the Patriotic Dames or any other 
comparable group. 64 And in spite of his populist-type 
symbols, he can retain the support of these groups and 
the cooperation of some big businessmen. This is his 
peculiar power. To the status-deprived he is a critic of 
the upper class; to the privileged, he is a foe of social 
change and Communism. 



ANTI-COMMUNISM: THE WEAKNESS OF A 
SINGLE ISSUE 

In spite of its early successes in intimidating opponents, 
and gaining widespread support behind some of its 
leaders, the radical right has not succeeded in building 
even one organization of any political significance. And 
without organizing its backing, it cannot hope to secure 
any lasting power. This failure is not accidental, or a 
result of inept leadership, but stems from the fact rather 
that the only political issue which unites the various sup 
porters of radical right politicians is anti-Communism. 65 
It is only at the leadership level that agreement exists on 
a program for domestic and foreign policy. The mass 
base, however, is far from united on various issues. For 
example, as McCarthy well knows, the dairy farmers of 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 215 

Wisconsin want the government to guarantee 100 per 
cent parity prices. But this policy is an example of 
government regimentation to some of the extremist ele 
ments on his side. 

The Catholic working class remains committed to the 
economic objectives of the New Deal, and still belongs 
to trade unions. While McCarthy and other radical right 
ists may gain Catholic support for measures which are 
presented under the guise of fighting Communism, they 
will lose it on economic issues. And should economic issues 
become important again as during a recession, much of 
the popular support for McCarthyism will fall away. As 
a result any attempt to build a radical right movement 
which has a complete political program is risky, and 
probably will not occur. 

The radical right also faces the problem that it unites 
bigots of different varieties. In the South and other parts 
of the country, fundamentalist Protestant groups which 
are anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic back the radical right 
in spite of the fact that McCarthy is a Catholic. 

One illustration of the way in which these contradic 
tions among his supporters can cause difficulty is a state 
ment which appeared in the New York Journal-American: 
"I think Joe owes the Army an apology but I doubt if our 
soldiers will get it. The Senator has sure lost his touch 
since he took up with those oil rich, anti-Catholic Texas 
millionaires. They are the very same gang which threw 
the shiv at Al Smith back in 1928." 66 

Perhaps the greatest threat to the political fortunes of 
the radical right has been the victory of Eisenhower in 
1952. As long as the Republican Party was in opposition 
the radical right could depend upon covert support, or 
at worst, neutrality from most of the moderate conserva 
tive sections of the Republican Party, Even when they 
viewed the methods of the radical right with distaste, the 
party leadership saw the group as potential vote gainers. 



The New American Right 

The frustration of twenty years in opposition reduced the 
scruples of many Republicans, especially those who were 
involved in party politics. 

The differences between the radical right and the mod 
erate right are evident indeed and open factionalism 
existed in the party long before the election of Eisen 
hower. Nevertheless, the evidence is quite clear that a 
large proportion, if not the majority of the moderate 
Republicans, did not view McCarthy or the radical right 
as a menace to the party, until he began his attack upon 
them. Walter Lippmann once persuasively argued that 
when the Republicans were in office they would be able 
to control the radical right, or that the radical right would 
conform for the sake of party welfare. Most Republicans 
probably at the time agreed. However, the program of 
Eisenhower Republicanism has not been one of turning 
the clock back, nor has it fed the psychic needs of the 
radical right in domestic or foreign policy. Eisenhower s 
policies in the White House have certainly not reduced 
the needs of radical right groups for political action, for 
scapegoatism. They have not reduced McCarthy s desires 
to capitalize upon popular issues to maintain power and 
prestige in the general body politic. As a result, the radi 
cal right is now forced to struggle openly with the 
moderate conservatives, essentially the Eisenhower Re 
publicans, who in large measure represent established big 
business. 67 This is a fight it cannot hope to win, but the 
danger exists that the moderates in their efforts to resist 
charges of softness to Communism, or simply to defeat 
the Democrats, will take over some of the issues of the 
radical right, in order to hold its followers, while destroy 
ing the political influence of its leaders. 

The development of open warfare between the mod 
erate Republican, high status, and big business groups 
on one hand, and McCarthy and the radical rightists on 
the other, has probably represented the turning point in 



THE SOURCES OF THE RADICAL RIGHT 217 

the power of the latter. Thirty years earlier, the Ku Klux 
Klan was severely crippled by the emerging antagonism 
of the traditional power groups. As was pointed out 
earlier, many of its middle-class members dropped out 
of the organization when they discovered that such mem 
bership would adversely affect their status and economic 
interests. Today as in 1923-24, the moderate conservative 
upper-class community has finally been aroused to the 
threat to its position and values represented by the radical 
right. 68 

It is extremely doubtful that the radical right will 
grow beyond the peak of 1953-54. It has reached its 
optimum strength in a period of prosperity, and a reces 
sion will probably cripple its political power. It cannot 
build an organized movement. Its principal current sig 
nificance, and perhaps permanent impact on the American 
scene, lies in its success in overstimulating popular reac 
tion to the problem of internal subversion, in supplying 
the impetus for changes which may have lasting effects 
on American life, e.g., the heightened security program, 
political controls on passports, political tests for school 
teachers, and increasing lack of respect for an under 
standing of the Constitutional guarantees of civil and 
juridical rights for unpopular minorities and scoundrels. 

It is important, however, not to exaggerate the causal 
influence of the radical right on the development of 
restrictions on civil liberties in American life. More 
significant than the activities of any group of active 
extremists are the factors in the total political situation 
which made Americans fearful of Communism. Perhaps 
most important of all these is the fact that for the first 
time since the War of 1812, the United States has been 
faced with a major foreign enemy before whom it has had 
to retreat The loss of eastern Europe, of China, the 
impasse in Korea, Indo-China and Formosa, the seeming 
fiasco of our post-war foreign policy, have required an 



The New American Right 

explanation. The theory that these events occurred be 
cause we were "stabbed in the back" by a "hidden force" 
is much more palatable than admitting the possibility that 
the Communists have stronger political assets than we do. 
The fear and impotence forced on us by the impossibility 
of a nuclear war requires some outlet. And a hunt for the 
internal conspirators may appear as one positive action. 
Political extremists are capitalizing on our doubts and 
fears, but it is the situation which creates these doubts 
and fears, rather than the extremists, that is mainly re 
sponsible for the lack of resistance by the political 
moderates. 

Every major war in American history has brought with 
it important restrictions on civil liberties. Recognition of 
this fact has often led Americans who were primarily 
concerned with the preservation of civil liberties to oppose 
our entry into war. Before World War II, such ardent 
anti-Fascists as Robert Hutchins and Norman Thomas 
opposed an interventionist policy, on the grounds that 
entry into a prolonged major war might result in the 
destruction of American democracy. History fortunately 
records the fact that they were mistaken. The current 
situation, however, is obviously more threatening than 
any previous one, for one can see no immediate way for 
the United States to win the fight against Communism. 
And we now face the serious danger that a prolonged 
cold war may result in the institutionalization of many 
of the current restrictions on personal freedom which 
have either been written into law, or have become normal 
government administration procedure. Those who regard 
extremist anti-civil libertarian phases of American history 
as temporary and unimportant in long-range terms should 
be cautioned that one of the consequences of the Ku Klux 
Klan and the post World War I wave of anti-radical and 
anti-foreigner hysteria was the restrictive immigration 
laws based on racist assumptions. The Klan died and the 



THE SOURCES OF THE "BADICAL 



anti-radical hysteria subsided, but the quota restrictions 
based on the assumption of Nordic supremacy remained. 
Clearly the recent defeat of Senator McCarthy and the 
seeming decline of radical right support have not resulted 
in an end or even modification of many of the measures 
and administrative procedures which were initiated in 
response to radical right activity. Consequently if the cold 
war continues, the radical right, although organizationally 
weak, may play an important role in changing the char 
acter of American democracy. 69 

1 The intellectual sources of this paper are far more numerous than the 
footnote references acknowledge. In particular, I am indebted to Richard 
Hofstadter, whose "The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt" forms chapter 2 of 
this volume, and Immanuel Wallerstein s "McCarthyism and the Con 
servative" (MA. thesis in the Department of Sociology, Columbia Uni 
versity, 1954). This paper is Publication No. A169 of the Bureau of 
Applied Social Research, Columbia University, one of a series prepared 
for the Fund for the Republic. 

2 1 do not assert that every or even most individuals or groups I classify 
in the radical right are involved in, or sympathetic to efforts to reduce 
personal freedom. In fact, as is made clear later in this paper, the ideol 
ogy of the radical right is a belief in as much laissez-faire as possible. 
Most supporters of radical right politics believe that they are helping to 
increase democratic rights for everyone. The point is, however, that the 
nature of their attacks on political opponents, the definition they make 
of liberal or left politics as illegitimate, un-American, creeping socialism, 
fellow-traveling or worse, does have the consequence of encouraging the 
denial of civil liberties to their political opponents. 

3 For a discussion of class and status politics in another context see, 
S M Lipset and R. Bendix, "Social Status and Social Structure," British 
Journal of Sociology, II (1951), especially pp. 230-33. Similar concepts 
are used by Richard Hofstadter hi Chapter 2. 

* It is important to note that scapegoat and ethnic prejudice politics 
have not been exclusively the tactic of prosperity-based movements. Anti- 
Semitic movements, in particular, have also emerged during depressions. 
The Populist movement and Father Coughlin s National Union for 
Social Justice are perhaps two of the most significant ones. It should be 
noted, however, that both of these movements focused primarily on pro 
posed solutions to economic problems rather than racism. Initially, these 
groups were concerned with solving economic problems by taking away 
control of the credit system from the private bankers. Anti-Semitism 
emerged in both as a means of symbolizing their attack on eastern or 
international financiers. It is interesting to note that many movements 
which center their explanation of the cause for depressions on the credit 
system often wind up attacking the Jews. The Social Credit movement 
is the most recent example of this pattern. Apparently the underlying 



220 The New American Right 

cultural identification of the international financier with the international 
Jew is too strong for these groups to resist. In each case, however, 
Populism, Coughlinism, and Social Credit, the economic program pre 
ceded anti-Semitism. 

5 Historians have traditionally explained the decline of the Know- 
Nothings as a result of their inability to take a firm position on the 
slavery issue. Recent research, however, suggests that the depression 
may have been even more important than the slavery agitation. Detailed 
study of pre-Civil War electoral behavior indicates that the slavery issue 
played a minor role in determining shifts from one party to another. 
Evidence for these statements will be found in a forthcoming monograph 
by Lee Benson of the Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia 
University. 

6 Humphrey J. Desmond, The A.P.A. Movement (Washington: The 
New Century Press, 1912), pp. 9-10. 

7 While the A.P.A. arose and won strength in a prosperous era, it 
continued to grow during the depression of 1893. Gustavus Myers, how 
ever, suggests that one of the major reasons for its rapid decline in the 
following two or three years was the fact that many of its leaders and 
members became actively involved in the class politics which grew out 
of this depression. That is, many A.P.A.ers either joined the Bryan move 
ment or actively supported McKinley, depending on their socio-economic 
position. Thus, the decline of the A.P.A., also, may be laid in large part 
to the fact that a depression accentuates economic issues and makes 
status concerns less important. 

See Gustavus Myers, History of Bigotry in the United States (New 
York: Random House, 1943), pp. 244-245. 

8 R. Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1955). 

9 Quantitative evidence which fits in with this interpretation of the 
Progressive movement may be found in an unpublished paper, "The 
Genteel Revolt Against Politics A study of the New York State Progres 
sive Party in 1912," by Richard Ravitch. He summed up his statistical 
analysis as follows: 

"It would be wrong to assume that the Progressives were anti-Catholic, 
but it was unusual for a political party in New York to have only one 
Catholic in its midst. Several Bull Mooses [Progressives] had belonged 
to the Guardians of Liberty, an organization which attacked the Church; 
but they withdrew to avoid the political repercussions. Certainly it can 
be said that the overwhelming religious affiliation was that of the Con 
servative [high status] Protestant sects. 

"They were men conspicuous for their lack of association with the two 
groups which were slowly becoming the dominant forces in American 
fife the industrialist and the union leader. They were part of an older 
group which was losing the high status and prestige once held in 
American society. The Progressives represented the middle-class of the 
nineteenth century with all its emphasis on individualism and a set of 
values that was basically provincial. Resenting the encroachment on 
his* America by the corporations and urban masses, the formation of the 
Progressive Party may he considered his way of protesting what was now 
his defensive position in the bewildering drift* which characterized 20th 
century society." 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT^ 

Evidence that anti-Catholic sentiment was strong during the pre- 
World War I prosperity may also be adduced from the fact that a lead 
ing anti-Catholic paper, The Menace, had a circulation of 1,400,000 in 
1914. 

Emerson H. Loucks, The Ku Klux Klan in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 
Pennsylvania: The Telegraph Press, 1936), p. 16. 

10 This discussion is based largely on an unpublished paper by Nathan 
Glazer. For documentation of the various points made here see John 
Moffat Mecklin, The Ku Klux Klan: A Study of the American Mind 
(New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1924); E. H. Loucks, op. tit.; 
Henry Fry Peck, The Modern Ku Klux Klan (Boston: Small, Maynard 
and Co., 1922); Frank Bohn, "The Ku Klux Klan Interpreted," American 
Journal of Sociology, January 1925, pp. 385-407. 

11 It is interesting to note in this connection that much of the earlier 
extremist agitation also dealt with supposed plots of foreign agents. For 
example, the agitation leading to the Alien and Sedition Acts before 
1800, the anti-Catholic movements, all involved claims that agents of a 
foreign power or of the Pope sought to subvert American life and insti 
tutions. The leaders of these movements all argued that men with 
loyalties to foreign institutions had no claim to civil liberties in America. 
"Can a Romanist be a good citizen of America . . . ? Romanism is a 
political system as a political power it must be met. . . . No ballot for 
the man who takes his politics from the Vatican. 9 Reverend James B. 
Dunn, leader of the A.P.A. quoted in Myers, op. tit,, p. 227. (Emphasis 
in Myers. ) 

The present situation, of course, differs from these past ones in that 
there is a foreign directed conspiracy, the Communist Party. But today, 
as in the past, the new right seeks to link native, non-Communist expres 
sion of dissent to foreign powers as well. 

12 Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, Politics and the Japanese 
Evacuation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949). 

13 See Herbert Hyman and Paul Sheatsley, "Trends in Public Opinion 
on Civil Liberties," Journal of Social Issues, IX (1953), No. 3, pp. 6-17. 

14 Samuel A. Stouffer, Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties 
(New York: Doubleday and Co., 1955), p. 32-33; see the summary and 
discussion of his findings in Chapter 6. 
is Ibid., pp. 28-31. 

16 Ibid., pp. 39-46. 

17 David Riesman has suggested that the factors sustaining extreme 
moralism in American Me are declining as more and more Americans 
are becoming "other-oriented," more concerned with being liked than 
being right. While Riesman s distinction between inner-oriented and 
other-oriented people is useful for analytical purposes, I still believe 
that viewed cross-culturally, Americans are more likely to view politics 
in moralistic terms than most Europeans. No American politician would 
say of an ally, as did Churchill of Russia, that I will ally with the "devil, 
himself," for the sake of victory. The American alliance with Russia had 
to be an alliance with a "democrat" even if the ally did not know he 
was democratic. Both the liberal reaction to the possibility of alliance 
with Chiang Kai-shek and Franco, and the conservative reaction to 
recognition of Communist China are but the latest examples of the 
difficulty which morality creates for our international diplomacy. See 



The New American Right 

David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd (New Haven: Yale University 
Press 1950), for a discussion of the decline of such morality; and 
George Kennan, American Diplomacy, 1900-1950 (New York: New 
American Library, 1952). Gabriel A. Almond, The American People and 
Foreign Policy (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1950), Chap. 
Ill, "American Character and Foreign Policy"; Raymond Aron, The 
Century of Total War (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1954), pp. 103-104, 
for analysis of the way in which morality in politics hampers our foreign 

is See Will Herberg, "Government by Rabble-Rousing," The New 
Leader, Jan. 18, 1954. 

19 It is true, of course, that there has been an alternative nationalist 
reaction, such as Zionism among the Jews, the Garvey movement among 
the Negroes, and identification with national societies among other 
groups. In large measure, however, these patterns have been the reaction 
of lower-status, usually foreign-born members of immigrant groups. 
Once assimilated, and accepted, immigrant groups often adopt the so- 
called "third generation pattern in which they attempt to re-identify 
with their past national traditions. While this pattern would seem to 
conflict with assumption that conformity is the norm, I would suggest 
that it fits into the needs of individuals in a mass urban culture to find 
symbols of belongingness which are smaller than the total society. 

20 Churchill made this statement in the House, in defending his refusal 
to declare the Communist Party, then opposed to the war, illegal. 

21 See Leon Samson, Toward A United Front (New York: Farrar and 
Rinehart, 1933). 

22 For further comments on this theme see S. M. Lipset, Democracy 
in Alberta," The Canadian Forum, November and December 1954, pp. 
175-177, 190-198. 

23 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (London: Oxford 
University Press, 1946), pp. 376-381. 

24 Arnold Rose, "Voluntary Associations in France," in Theory and 
Method in the Social Sciences (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota 
Press, 1954), pp. 72-115. Mass Observation, Puzzled People (London: 
Victor Gollancz, 1947), pp. 119-122. 

25 S. D. Clark, "The Frontier and Democratic Theory," Transactions 
of the Royal Society of Canada, Volume XL VII, Series III, June 1954, 
p. 72. 

26 That this is somewhat legitimate may be seen by analyzing the 
social bases of support of these totalitarian movements. In general, Com 
munists, where strong, receive support from the same social strata which 
vote for democratic socialist or liberal groups in countries with weak 
Communist movements. Conversely, Fascist and right authoritarians, such 
as De Gaulle, have received their backing from previous supporters of 
conservative parties. There is little evidence of an authoritarian appeal 
per se. Rather, it would seem that under certain conditions part of the 
conservative group will become Fascists, while under others, part of the 
support of the democratic left will support the Communists. See S. M. 
Lipset, et al., "Psychology of Voting," in Gardner Lindzey, ed., Handbook 
of Social Psychology (Cambridge: Addison Wesley, 1954), pp. 1135- 
1136. 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 223 

27 For a discussion of the way in which the radical right systematically 
attacks the Brahmin upper class in the State Department, see pp. 210-11 
of this essay. Even as late as 1952, the left-wing journalist I. F. Stone 
attempted to bolster his attack on American policy in Korea by calling 
attention to the fact "that Acheson on making his Washington debut 
at the Treasury before the war, had been denounced by New Dealers 
as a Morgan man/ a Wall Street Trojan Horse, a borer-from-within on 
behalf of the big bankers." I. F. Stone, The Hidden History of the 
Korean War (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1952), p. 204. 

It should be noted that, in so far as education at Harvard, Yale or 
Princeton is an indicator of upper-class background, the extremist critics 
of the State Department are correct in their claim that persons with a 
high-status background are disproportionately represented in the State 
Department. A study of 820 Foreign Office Officers indicated that 27 per 
cent of them graduated from these institutions, while only 14 per cent 
of high-ranking civil servants in other departments had similar collegiate 
backgrounds. (R. Bendix, Higher Civil Servants in American Society 
[Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1949] pp. 92-93.) 

Some evidence that elite background is even of greater significance 
in the higher echelons of the State Department may be found in a recent 
article published in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin: 

"The new United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of 
Germany (James B. Conant, Harvard 14, and former president of the 
University) will find, if he looks about him, fellow alumni in comparable 
positions. Across the border to the south and west, the Belgian ambassador 
is Frederick M. Alger, Jr. 30, and the French ambassador is C. 
Douglas Dillon, 31. Down the Iberian Peninsula the ambassadors to 
Spain and Portugal are John D. Lodge 25, and James C. H. Bon- 
bright 25. A bit to the north, Ambassador Conant will find Ambassador 
Robert D. Coe 23 in Denmark and John M. Cabot 23 in Sweden. In 
the forbidden land to the east of him is Charles E. Bohlen 27, Ambas 
sador to the U.S.S.R. Near at hand, across the Channel, is the senior 
member of Harvard s ambassadorial galaxy, Winthrop W. Aldrich 07, 
LL.D. 53, Ambassador to Great Britain. . . . There seem^to be enough 

Harvard ambassadors for a baseball team in Europe ( Ambassadors 

in Harvard Alumni Bulletin, vol. 57, May 21, 1955, p. 617.) 

2s Edna Lonergan, "Anatomy of the PAC," The Freeman, November 
27, 1950, pp. 137-139. 

29 A good example of extreme right ideology is contained in the news- 
paper report of a speech delivered at a meeting of Alliance, Inc., a right- 
wing group sponsored by Archibald Roosevelt: 

"Gov. jT Bracken Lee of Utah declared last night that We have in 
Washington what to my mind amounts to a dictatorship. 

"Asserting that high spending was heading the country toward poverty, 
he ... [said] that the end result of all dictatorships was the same. They 
end up with a ruling class and all the rest of us are peons. ... 

"There was no difference, he continued, between the Government in 
Russia and an all powerful central government in Washington, ... 

all the trouble in Washington began when a constitutional 
amendment authorized the income tax. He assailed the United Nations, 
foreign aid and Federal grants to the states. 



224 The New American Right 

"He appealed to those who felt the way he did to speak up now/ 
When a voice in the audience asked, How, he replied: If you feel that 
McCarthy s on our side say so/ This reference to Senator Joseph R. 
McCarthy of Wisconsin evoked applause, cheers and whistles/ 

See "Governor of Utah Sees Dictatorship," New York Times, Febru 
ary 18, 1955, p. 19. 

For a description of the ideology of the radical right, or as he calls 
them, the ultra-conservatives, see Clinton Rossiter, Conservatism in 
America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955) pp. 183-186. 

30 One hypothesis which may explain the subsequent bitterness of some 
of the former liberals and leftists who broke with Roosevelt over his 
foreign policies is contained in a defense of the Moscow trials of the 
1930 s written by John T, Flynn in his more leftist days. 

"Americans found it difficult to believe that the old Bolsheviks recently 
executed in Russia, after all their years of warfare against capitalism, 
could have been really guilty of intriguing with Italy and Germany to 
destroy Stalin. That seemed unbelievable. This incredulity struck me as 
possible only by ignoring the strange distance which the human mind 
and heart can lead a man of strong feeling when they begin to generate 
hatreds. Now we have a weird case of it in our own far more composed 
country. Would anyone have believed, four years ago for instance, that 
in 1937 we would behold John Frey, of the A.F.L. as fine a person as 
one would care to meet actually consorting with a company union in 
steel to defeat and destroy a singularly successful industrial union move 
ment led by John L. Lewis? Yet this fantastic thing has occurred. It is 
no stranger than a Russian editor full of hatred of Stalin seeking to 
circumvent that gentleman s plans by teaming up for the moment with 
Hitler." New Republic, March 24, 1937, pp. 209-210 (my emphasis). 

31 It is worth noting that existing evidence suggests that there is a 
substantial difference in the reactions of men and women to the radical 
right. Women are much more likely to support repressive measures 
against Communists and other deviant groups than are men as measured 
by poll responses, and many of the organizations which are active in 
local struggles to intimidate school and library boards are women s 
groups. In part this difference may be related to the fact that women 
are more explicitly concerned with family status in the community than 
are men in the American culture, and hence, may react more than the 
men do to status anxieties or frustrations. The organizations of old family 
Americans which are concerned with claiming status from the past are 
predominantly female. Hence, if the thesis that status concerns are related 
to rightist extremism and bigotry is valid, one would expect to find more 
women than men affected by it. 

Secondly, however, evidence from election and opinion studies in a 
number of countries indicates that women are more prone to be con 
cerned with morality in politics. They are much more likely to support 
prohibition of liquor or gambling, or to vote against corrupt politicians 
than men. This concern with morality seems to be related to the greater 
participation in religious activities by the female sex. Since Communism 
has come to be identified as a moral crusade against evil by every 
section of American public opinion, one should expect that women will 
be more likely to favor suppression of evil, much as they favor suppres 
sion of liquor and gambling. The propensity to support efforts to repress 



THE SOURCES OF THE RADICAL RIGHT 

"corrupt ideas" is probably intensified by the fact that much of the 
concern with the activities of Communists is related to their potential 
effect on the young. See H. Tingsten, Political Behavior: Studies in Elec 
tion Statistics (London: P. S. King, 1937), pp. 36-75 for a report of 
comparative data on women s attitudes and political behavior. In the 
1952 Presidential election in the United States, more women voted 
Republican than Democratic for the first time in many years. It has 
been suggested that this was a product of the raising of strong moral 
issues by the Republicans. See L. Harris, Is There A Republican Ma 
jority? (New York: Harper s and Sons, 1954), Chapter VI. 

The recent Stouffer study of attitudes toward civil liberties further 
tends to validate these inferences. The data indicate clearly that in 1954 
women were much more intolerant of Communists, critics of religion, 
and advocates of nationalized industry than men. Similarly, presidents of 
women s clubs were less tolerant than any other group of community 
leaders interviewed with the exception of officers of the D.A.R. and the 
American Legion. (See S. A. Stouffer, op. cit. f pp. 131-55, 52.) Part 
of the difference in attitudes between men and women reported in this 
study is accounted for by the fact that women are more religious than 
men, and religious people are more likely to be intolerant than the non- 
religious. However, even when religious participation is held constant, 
women are more likely to be intolerant than are men. I would suggest 
that part of this difference is related to the fact that women are more 
likely than men to reflect the political concerns derived from status. 
Unfortunately, the Stouffer study does not attempt to measure the effect 
of status concerns on political beliefs. For an excellent study which does 
attempt to do this in the context of analyzing the electoral support 
of British political parties see Mark Benney and Phyllis Geiss, "Social 
Class and Politics in Greenwich," British Journal of Sociology, 1950, 
VoL I, pp. 310-324. The authors of this study found that women were 
more likely to report themselves in a higher social class than men at the 
same occupational level, and those who reported themselves to be higher 
status were more conservative. 

32 For an excellent description of the reactions of the Boston Brahmins 
to the Irish, see Cleveland Amory, The Proper Bostonians (New York: 
E. P. Dutton and Company, 1947), p. 346. 

33 La an article written shortly before his death, Franz Neumann sug 
gested that one of the social sources of political anxiety which led to 
individuals and groups accepting a conspiracy theory of politics is social 
mobility: 

"In every society that is composed of antagonistic groups there is an 
ascent and descent of groups. It is my contention that persecutory 
anxiety but one that has a real basis is produced when a group is 
threatened in its prestige, income, or its existence. . . . 

"The fear of social degradation thus creates for itself *a target for the 
discharge of the resentments arising from damaged self-esteem/ . . . 

"Hatred, resentment, dread, created by great upheavals, are concen 
trated on certain persons, who are denounced as devilish conspirators. 
Nothing would be more incorrect than to characterize the enemies as 
scapegoats, for they appear as genuine enemies whom one must extirpate 
and not as substitutes whom one only needs to send into the wilderness. 
The danger consists in the fact that this view of history is never com- 



226 The New American Right 

pletely false, but always contains a kernel of truth and, indeed, must 
contain it, if it is to have a convincing effect." 

Franz L. Neumann, "Anxiety in Politics," Dissent, Spring 1955, pp. 
141, 139, 135. 

34 One study of McCarthy s appeal indicates that, among Protestants, 
he gets much more support from persons of non- Anglo-Saxon ancestry 
than from those whose forefathers came from Britain. The polls are not 
refined enough to locate old Americans who support patriotic organiza 
tions, but the activities of groups which belong to the Coalition of 
Patriotic Societies are what would be expected in terms of the logic 
of this analysis. See Wallerstein, op. cit. 

35 These observations about the nouveaux riches are, of course, not 
new or limited to current American politics. William Cobbett commented 
in 1827: 

". . . this hatred to the cause of public liberty is, I am sorry to say it, 
but too common amongst merchants, great manufacturers, and great 
farmers; especially those who have risen suddenly from the dunghill to 
chariot." 

G. D. H. Cole and Margaret Cole, eds., The Opinions of William 
Cobbett (London: The Cobbett Publishing Co., 1944), pp. 86-87; see 
also Walter Weyl, The New Democracy, (New York: The Macmillan 
Co., 1912), pp. 242-243 for similar comments on the American nouveaux 
riches, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

36 See S. M. Lipset and Reinhard Bendix, "Social Mobility and Occu 
pational Career Patterns II. Social Mobility," American Journal of Soci 
ology, Vol. LVII (March 1952), pp. 494-504. 

37 Again, poll data fit this hypothesis. Material from a 1952 Roper 
poll shows that the most pro-McCarthy occupational group in the coun 
try is small businessmen. See Wallerstein, op. cit. For an excellent dis 
cussion of the reactionary politics of upward mobile small business, see 
R. Michels, "Psychologic der anti-Kapitalistischen Massenbewegungen," 
Grundriss der Sozialokonomik, Vol. IX, No. 1, p. 249. A recent study of 
post-war elections in Great Britain also suggests that small businessmen 
react more negatively to welfare state politics than any other occupa 
tional group. John Bonham reports that a larger proportion of small 
businessmen shifted away from the Labor Party between 1945 and 
1950 than any other stratum. See the Middle Class Vote (London* 
Faber and Faber, 1954), p. 129. 

88 There is a considerable body of evidence which indicates that 
economic liberalism (support of the labor movement, government plan 
ning, and so forth) is correlated inversely wtih socio-economic status, 
while non-economic "liberalism" (support of civil liberties, and inter 
nationalism), is associated positively with socio-economic status. That is, 
the poor are for redistribution of wealth, while the more well-to-do are 
liberal in non-economic matters. See G. H. Smith, "Liberalism and 
Level of Information," Journal of Educational Psychology, February 
1948, pp. 65-81; Hyman and Sheatsley, op. cit., pp. 6-17; reports of the 
American Institute of Public Opinion, passim. 

These findings are paralleled by various reports which suggest that 
lower status and education are associated with high scores on scales 
designed to measure degree of authoritarianism. See H. H. Hyman and 
P. B. Sheatsley, "The Authoritarian Personality-A Methodological 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL BIGHT** 227 

Critique," in M. Jahoda and R. Christie, Studies in the Scope and 
Method of The Authoritarian Personality (Glencoe, HI.: The Free Press, 
1954), p. 94; R. Christie, "Authoritarianism Re-examined/ in ibid., pp. 
169-175. 

Janowitz and Marvick have reported the interesting finding based on 
a national sample that the two most "authoritarian" groups are the 
poorly educated lower class, and the poorly educated lower middle 
class. See M. Janowitz and D. Marvick, "Authoritarianism and Political 
Behavior," Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 1953, pp. 185-201. 

The Stouffer study reports results similar to these earlier ones. In 
addition it indicates that leaders of community organizations, most of 
whom are drawn from the upper part of the class structure and are 
college educated, are much more favorable to civil liberties than the 
general population. See S. A. Stouffer, op. cit. t pp. 28-57, and passim. 

39 Zetterberg in an unpublished study of attitudes toward civil liber 
ties in a New Jersey community found that working-class respondents 
were much more intolerant on civil-liberties questions than middle-class 
respondents, and that working-class Republicans were somewhat more 
anti-civil libertarian than working-class Democrats. Similar conclusions 
may be deduced from various reports of the American Institute of 
Public Opinion (Gallup Poll) and the Stouffer study. The first indicates 
that lower-class respondents are more favorably disposed to McCarthy 
than middle and upper class, but that Democrats are more likely to be 
anti-McCarthy than are Republicans. Stouffer reports similar findings 
with regard to attitudes toward civil liberties. Unfortunately, neither 
the Gallup Poll nor Stouffer have presented their results by strata for the 
supporters of each party separately. See S. A. Stouffer, op. cit., pp. 
210-215. A survey study of the 1952 elections indicates that at every 
educational level, persons who scored high on an "authoritarian person 
ality" scale were more likely to be Eisenhower voters than were those 
who gave "equalitarian" responses. Robert E. Lane, "Political Personality 
and Electoral Choice," American Political Science Review, March 1955, 
p. 180. 

In Britain, Eysenck reports that "middle-class Conservatives are more 
tender-minded [less authoritarian] than working-class Conservatives; 
middle-class Liberals are more tender-minded than working-class Lib 
erals; middle-class Socialists more tender-minded than working-class 
Socialists, and even middle-class Communists are more tender-minded 
than working-class Communists." H. J. Eysenck, The Psychology of 
Politics (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954), p. 137. Similar 
findings are indicated also in a Japanese study which reports that the 
lower classes and the less educated are more authoritarian than the 
middle and upper strata and the better educated, but the supporters of 
the socialist parties are less authoritarian than those who vote for the 
two "bourgeois" parties. See Kotaro Kido and M. Sugi, "A Report on 
Research on Social Stratification and Social Mobility in Tokyo (III). 
The Structure of Social Consciousness," Japanese Sociological Review, 
January 1954, pp. 74-100. See also National Public Opinion Research 
Institute (of Japan) Report No. 26, A Survey of Public Attitudes Toward 
Civil Liberty (Tokyo 195). 

An as yet unpublished secondary analysis of German data collected by 
the UNESCO Institute at Cologne yields similar results for Germany. The 



228 The New American Right 

working classes are less favorable to a democratic party system than are 
the middle and upper classes. However, within every occupational stratum 
men who support the Social-Democrats are more likely to favor demo 
cratic practices than those who back the more conservative parties. The 
most anti-democratic group of all are workers who vote for non-Socialist 
groups. (This analysis was done by the author. ) 

It is also true that the working class forms the mass base of authori 
tarian parties in Argentina, Italy, and France. Ignazio Silone is one of the 
few important Socialists who have recognized that recent historical 
events challenge the belief that the working class is inherently a pro 
gressive and democratic force. 

". . . the myth of the liberating power of the proletariat has dissolved 
along with that other myth of the inevitability of progress. The recent 
examples of the Nazi labor unions, those of Salazar and Peron , . . have 
at last convinced of this even those who were reluctant to admit it on 
the sole grounds of the totalitarian degeneration of Communism. . . . 
The worker, as we have seen and as we continue to see, can work for 
the most conflicting causes; he can be Blackshirt or partisan/ Ignazio 
Silone, "The Choice of Comrades," Dissent, Winter 1955, p. 14. 

It may in fact be argued that the lower classes are most attracted to 
chiliastic political movements, which are necessarily intolerant and au 
thoritarian. Far from workers in poorer countries being Communists 
because they do not realize that the Communists are authoritarian, as 
many democratic Socialists have argued and hoped, they may be Com 
munists because the evangelical "only truth" aspect of Communism is 
more attractive to them than the moderate and democratic gradualism 
of the social democracy. 

40 See R. K. Merton, "Social Structure and Anomie," in his Social 
Theory and Social Structure (Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1949), Chapter 
IV. 

41 The large Catholic working class, although predominantly Demo 
cratic, also contributes heavily to the support of extremist tendencies on 
the right in questions dealing with civil liberties or foreign policy. This 
pattern stems in large measure from their situation as Catholics, and is 
discussed in a later section. 

42 It is interesting to note in this connection that the large group of 
persons who are inactive politically in American society tend to be the 
most conservative and authoritarian in their attitudes. These groups, 
largely concentrated in the lower classes, do, however, contribute to the 
results of public opinion polls since they are interviewed. Consequently 
such polls may exaggerate greatly the effective strength of right-wing 
extremism. Stouffer reports that those less interested in politics are less 
tolerant of the civil liberties of Communists and other deviants than 
are those who are interested. See S. A. Stouffer, op. cit., pp. 83-86. 
Sanford, who found a negative relationship between socio-economic 
status and authoritarian attitudes, states: "We have data showing that 
authoritarians are not highly participant in political affairs, do not join 
many community groups, do not become officers in the groups they 
become members of." F. H. Sanford, Authoritarianism and Leadership 
(Philadelphia: Stephenson Brothers, 1950), p. 168; see also G. M. Con 
nelly and H. H. Field, "The non-voter-Who he is, what he thinks," 
Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 8, 1944, pp. 175-187. Data derived from 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT" 

a national survey in 1952 indicate that when holding education constant, 
individuals who score high on an "authoritarianism" scale are more 
likely to belong to voluntary associations than those who score low. 
The high "authoritarians," however, are less likely to engage in political 
activity or have a sense that they personally can affect the political 
process. Robert E. Lane, op. cit., pp. 178-179. On the other hand Bendix 
suggests that the apathetic traditionalist group was mobilized by the 
Nazis in the final Weimar elections; see R. Bendix, "Social Stratification 
and Political Power," American Political Science Review, Vol. 46, 1952, 
pp. 357-375. 

43 Samuel Lubell, The Future of American Politics (New York: 
Harper and Bros., 1952), p. 132. LubelTs thesis has been challenged by 
R. H. Schmuckler, "The Region of Isolationism/ American Political 
Science Review, June 1953, pp. 388-401. Schmuckler denies that the 
statistical evidence proves that any one factor is basically correlated 
with voting behavior of isolationist members of Congress. Lubell, how 
ever, uses other indicators of the effect of ethnic attitudes on voting on 
foreign policy issues, the changes in the election of 1940. Regardless of 
who is correct, the basic hypothesis that feelings about past American 
policy which are linked to the position of different ethnic groups, affect 
the current political behavior of these groups may still be valid. 

44 Among once liberal Midwest isolationist politicians who were first 
liberals and became extreme rightists were Senators Nye, Wheeler and 
Shipstead. 

45 "The memory of opposition to the last war seems the real main 
spring behind present-day isolationism. What really binds the former 
isolationists is not a common view on foreign policy for the future, but 
a shared remembrance of American intervention in the last war. The 
strength of the Republican appeal for former isolationist voters is essen 
tially one of political revenge." Lubell, op. cit., p. 152. 

46 Various national surveys have indicated that Catholics are more 
likely to be favorable to Senator McCarthy than adherents of other 
denominations. (See the reports of the American Institute of Public 
Opinion.) The recent survey of attitudes toward civil liberties reports 
that outside of the South, church-going Catholics are more intolerant 
than church-going Protestants. See S. A. Stouffer, op. cit., pp. 144-145. 

47 See S. M. Lipset, et aL, op. cit., p. 1140; Eysenck, op. cit., p. 21. 

48 A similar effort is being made at the current time by the Australian 
conservatives who are attacking the Labor Party for alleged softness 
towards Communism, and for allowing itself to be penetrated by the 
Communists. The presence of a large Catholic population in these coun 
tries, traditionally linked to the more liberal party, is probably one of 
the most important factors affecting the reluctance of the moderate 
conservative politicians to oppose the tactics of the extremists on their 
own side. 

49 In Canada, also, the Catholics have provided the main dynamic for 
threats to civil liberties, which are presented as necessary parts of the 
struggle against Communism, The government of the Catholic province 
of Quebec passed legislation in the thirties which gave the government 
the right to invade private homes in search of Communist activities and 
to padlock any premises which have been used by the Communists. 
Civil liberties groups in Canada have charged that these laws have 



230 The New American Right 

been used against non-Communist opponents of the government espe 
cially in the labor movement. 

50 There is, of course, no reliable quantitative way of measuring this 
influence, although all students of the Communist movement agree that 
its success was greatest among Jews. In Canada, where under a par 
liamentary system, the Communist Party was able to conduct election 
campaigns in districts where they had hopes of large support, they 
elected members to the Federal House and provincial legislatures from 
Jewish districts only. Similarly, in Great Britain, one of the two Com 
munists elected in 1945 came from a London Jewish district. 

51 It is possible to suggest another hypothesis for Catholic support of 
political intolerance in this country which ties back to the earlier dis 
cussion of the working class. All existing survey data indicate that the 
two religious groups which are most anti-civil libertarian ai 



w , are the Cath 

olics and the fundamentalist Protestant sects. Both groups are predom 
inantly low status in membership. In addition, both fall under the 
general heading of extreme moralizing or Puritanical religions. In the 
past, and to a considerable extent in the present also, the fundamentalists 
played a major role in stimulating religious bigotry, especially against 
Catholics. It is important, however, to note also that a large part of 
the American Catholic church is dominated by priests of Irish birth or 
ancestry. French Catholic intellectuals have frequently referred to the 
American Catholic church as the Hibernian American church. Irish 
Catholics, like French Canadians, are quite different from those in the 
European Latin countries. They have been affected by Protestant values, 
or perhaps more accurately by the need to preserve the church in a 
hostile Protestant environment. One consequence of this need has been 
an extreme emphasis on morality, especially in sexual matters. Studies 
of the Irish have indicated that they must rank high among the sexually 
repressed people of the earth. The church in Ireland has tended to be 
extremely intolerant of deviant views and behavior. The pattern of 
intolerance among the American Irish Catholics is in large measure a 
continuation in somewhat modified form of the social system of Ireland. 
Thus the current anti-Communist crusade has united the two most 
morally and sexually inhibited groups in America, the fundamentalist 
Protestants and the Irish Catholics. I am sure that much could be done 
on a psychoanalytical level to analyze the implications of the moral and 
political tone of these two groups. For a good report on morality and 
sex repression among the Irish in Ireland and America, see John A. 
O Brien, ed., The Vanishing Irish (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953); see 
also C. Arensberg and S. Kimball, Family and Community in Ireland 
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948). 

52 Many, however, still make Aesopian references to the Jews. For a 
good current report on the anti-Semitic fringe within the radical right 
see James Rorty, "The Native Anti-Semite s New Look/" Commentary, 
Nov., 1954, pp. 413-421. y 

In reporting on the Madison Square Garden rally called by the Ten 
Million Americans Mobilizing for Justice, a group formed to fight the 
move to censure McCarthy, James Rorty suggests that many of the par 
ticipants were individuals who had taken part in Fascist rallies in the 
thirties. 

"Edward S. Fleckenstein, an American agitator and associate of neo- 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL RIGHT* 231 

Nazis whom Chancellor Adenauer had the State Department oust from 
Germany, had worked overtime to mobilize his Voters Alliance of Ger 
man Ancestry. So successful were his efforts that Weehawken, Secaucus, 
and other northern New Jersey communities had sent delegations so 
large that, according to organizer George Racey Jordan, it had been 
necessary to limit their allotment of seats, to avoid giving an unrepre 
sentative character to the meeting/ James Rorty, "What Price McCarthy 
Now?", Commentary, January 1955, p. 31. 

I was present at this rally, and from my limited vantage point, would 
agree with Rorty. Men who sat near me spoke of having attended 
"similar" rallies ten and fifteen years ago. Perhaps the best indicator of 
the temper of this audience was the fact that Roy Cohn, McCarthy s 
counsel, felt called upon to make a speech for brotherhood, and reiter 
ated the fact that he was a Jew. One had the feeling that Cohn felt 
that many in his audience were anti-Semitic. 

53 See T. W. Adorno, et al, The Authoritarian Personality (New 
York: Harpers, 1950). See also Richard Christie, op. tit., pp. 123-196, 
for a summary of more recent work in this field. 

54 Stouffer reports that individuals who support "authoritarian . . . 
child-rearing practices" and respond positively to the statement: "People 
can be divided into two classes the weak and the strong," are prone to 
also advocate strong measures against Communists, supporters of nation 
alized industry, and critics of religion. These questions are similar to the 
ones used on various psychological scales to locate "authoritarian per 
sonalities." S. A. Stouffer, op. tit., pp. 94-99. 

55 William Buckley, God and Man at Yale (Chicago: Henry Regnery 
and Co., 1951). 

56 Much of the data in this section are drawn from Wallerstein, op. tit. 

57 I am not suggesting that McCarthy or the radical right are Fascists 
or even precursors of Fascism. For reasons which are discussed below, I 
do not believe they could build a successful social movement even if 
they wanted to. Rather, however, I do suggest that the extreme right in 
all countries, whether Fascist or not, must find a program or issue which 
can appeal to a section of the lower middle class, if not the working class, 
if it is to succeed. 

58 Congressional Record, February 20, 1950, p. 1954. (My emphasis.) 

59 The Freeman, Vol. I, No. 1, p. 13. 

* Facts Forum Radio Program, No. 57. 

61 Ibid. ( My emphasis. ) 

162 The Freeman, November 5, 1951, p. 72. (My emphasis.) 

63 "Where have we loyal allies? In Britain? I would not stake a shilling 
on the reliability of a government which, while enjoying billions in 
American munificence, rushed to the recognition of the Chinese Red 
regime, traded exorbitantly with the enemy through Hong Kong and has 
sought to frustrate American interests in the Far East at every turn/* 
Joseph R. McCarthy, The Story of General George Marshall, Americas 
Retreat from Victory (No. pubL, 1952), p. 166. 

"As of today some money was taken out of your paycheck and sent 
to Britain. As of today Britain used that money from your paycheck to 
pay for the shipment of the sinews of war to Red China. . . . 

"Now what can we do about it We can handle this by saying this to 
our allies: If you continue to ship to Red China, while they are imprison- 



232 The New American Right 

ing and torturing American men, you will not get one cent of American 
money." Joseph R. McCarthy, quoted in the New "York Times, November 
25, 1953, p. 5: 1-8. 

64 It is, of course, possible that Anglo-Saxon Protestant supporters of 
McCarthy react similarly to the members of minority ethnic groups to the 
mention of Groton, Harvard, striped-pants diplomats, and certified gentle 
men, that is, that they too, take gratification in charges which reduce the 
prestige of those above them, even if they are also members of the same 
ethnic group. In large measure, I would guess that it is the middle-class, 
rather than the upper-class members of nationalistic and historical so 
cieties who are to be found disproportionately among the supporters of 
the radical right. Consequently, they too, may be in the position of 
wanting the high and mighty demoted. 

165 In addition much if not most of the support for radical right policies 
reported by the polls comes from groups which normally show the lowest 
levels of voting or other forms of political participation, women, members 
of fundamentalist sects, and conservative workers. These groups are the 
most difficult to organize politically. 

It is unfortunate that most American politicians as well as the general 
intellectual public do not recognize that the public opinion poll reports 
on civil liberties, foreign policy, and other issues are usually based on 
samples of the total adult population, not of the electorate. Consequently, 
they probably greatly exaggerate the electoral strength of McCarthyism. 
For a related discussion see David Riesman and Nathan Glazer, "The 
Meaning of Opinion/ in D, Riesman, Individualism Reconsidered 
(Glencoe, HI.: The Free Press, 1954), pp. 492-507. 

66 Frank Conniff in the Journal- American, quoted in The Progressive, 
April 1954, p. 58. 

67 The cleavage in the Republican Party revealed by the vote in the 
United States Senate to censure McCarthy largely paralleled the lines 
suggested in this paper. The party divided almost evenly in the vote, with 
almost all the Republican Senators from eastern states plus Michigan 
voting against McCarthy, while most of the Republicans from the Mid 
west and far western states voted for him. The cleavage, in part, reflects 
the isolationist and China-oriented section of the party on one side, and 
the internationalist eastern wing on the other. From another perspective, 
it locates the Senators with the closest ties to big business against 
McCarthy, and those coming from areas dominated by less powerful 
business groups on the other. There are, of course, a number of deviations 
from the pattern. 

An indication of the temper of the right wing of the Republican Party 
may be seen from the speeches and reaction at a right-wing rally held 
in Chicago on Lincoln s Birthday. Governor J. Bracken Lee ot Utah 
stated, "We have gone farther to the left in the last two years [under 
Eisenhower] than in any other period in our history. I have the feeling 
that the leadership in Washington is not loyal to the Republican Parly. 
Brigadier General William Hale Wilbur, U.S. Army, retired, charged that 
the "great political victory of 1952 is being subverted. . . . American 
foreign policy is no longer American." McCarthy drew loud cheers while 
denouncing the evacuation of the Tachens. Senator George W. Malone of 
Nevada stated that Washington is "the most dangerous town in the 
United States." New York Times, February 13, 1955, p. 54. 



THE SOURCES OF THE "RADICAL BIGHT" 

68 Perhaps the most interesting event in the extremist versus moderate 
conservative battle occurred in the 1954 senatorial elections in New 
Jersey. There, a liberal anti-McCarthyite, Clifford Case, former head of 
the Fund for the Republic, ran on the Republican ticket on a platform 
of anti-McCarthyism. A small group of right-wingers urged "real Repub 
licans * to repudiate Case and write in the name of Fred Hartley, coauthor 
of the Taft-Hartley Act on the ballot This campaign began with con 
siderable publicity, but soon weakened. One reason for its rapid decline 
was that a number of the largest corporations in America put direct 
economic pressure on small businessmen, lawyers, and other middle-class 
people active in Hartley s behalf. These people were told that unless they 
dropped out of the campaign, they would lose contracts or business 
privileges with these corporations. It is significant to note that one of the 
few remaining groups vulnerable to direct old-fashioned pressure from 
big business is the middle-class backers of right-wing extremism. 

69 The stress in this paper on the radical right should not lead to 
ignoring the contribution of the Communist Party to current coercive 
measures. The presence of a foreign controlled conspiracy which has 
always operated partially underground, and which engages in espionage 
has helped undermine the basis of civil liberties. Democratic procedure 
assumes that all groups will play the game, and any actor who consist 
ently breaks the rules endangers the continuation of the system. In a real 
sense, extremists of the right and left aid each other, for each helps to 
destroy the underlying base of a democratic social order. 



Index 



Acheson, Dean, 50, 53, 57, 92, 

111, 113, 132, 223 
Adams, Henry, 115 
Adams, John, quoted, 8 
Adenauer, Konrad, 231 
Adorno, Theodore W., 35, 47, 

54 f., 231 

Aldrich, Winthrop W., 223 
Alger, Frederick M., Jr., 223 
Almond, Gabriel A., 222 
Alsops, 16, 74 
Amory, Cleveland, 225 
Arensberg, C., 230 
Aron, Raymond, 222 

Babbitt, Irving, 95, 102, 116 
Barr, Stringfellow, 88 
Bayard, James Asheton, 7 
Beard, Charles A., 30, 100 
Beard, Miriam, 31 
Bell, Daniel, 31, 75 
Bendiz, Reinhard, 219, 223, 

226, 229 

Benney, Mark, 225 
Benson, Lee, 220 



Bentham, Jeremy, 25, 31 
Berelson, Bernard, 87 
Berle, Adolf A., Jr., 57, 114 
Bettelheim, Bruno, 55, 70 
Biddle, Nicholas, quoted, 7 
Boasberg, Leonard, 54 
Bohlen, Charles E., 92, 223 
Bohn, Frank, 221 
Bonbright, James C.H., 223 
Bonham, John, 226 
Bozell, Brent, 89 
BrickerJohnW.,13,102,104 
Bridges, Harry, 204 
Brodie, Bernard, 74 
Brogan, D. W., 54 
Brooks, Van Wyck, 18 
Browder, Earl 187-188 
Brownell, Herbert, Jr., 20 
Brunswik, Else Frenkek See 

Frenkel-Brunswik, Else 
Bryan, William Jennings, 19, 

89, 92, 220 

Buckley, William, 89, 209, 231 
Bukharin, Nikolai I., 22 
Burke, Edmund, 95, 102, 110 



236 

Burnham, James, 20 f., 208 
Butler, Richard Austen, 108 

Cabot, John M., 223 
Calhoun, John C., 28-29 
Campbell, Angus, 88 
Carnegie, Andrew, 63 
Case, Clifford, 233 
Chamberlain, John, 208; quoted, 

12 

Chamberlain, Neville, 102 
Chamberlain, William Henry, 

190 

Chambers, Whittaker, 13 
Chiang Kai-shek, 221 
Chodorov, Frank, 89, 209 
Christie, Richard, 54, 227, 231 
Churchill, Sir Winston, 95, 108, 

177, 221 f. 

Clark, S. D., 182, 222 
Clay, Henry, 7 

Cobbett, William, quoted, 226 
Coe, Robert D., 223 
Cohn, Roy, 97 ff., 213, 231 
Cole, G. D. H. and M,, 226 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 102 
Commons, John R., 30 
Conant, James B., 223 
Connally, Tom, 57 
Connelly, G. M., 228 
Conniff, Frank, 232 
Corcoran, Tommy, 74 
Coughlin, Rev. Charles E., 6, 94, 

98, 103, 137, 180, 219 

David, Elmer, 40, 54 
de Gaulle, Charles, 222 
Desmond, Humphrey J., 220 
de Tocqueville, Alexis. See 

Tocqueville, Alexis de 
De Toledano, Ralph, 208 
Dewey, Thomas E., 85, 98 
Dies, Martin, 57 



INDEX 

Dillon, C. Douglas, 223 
Dirksen, Everett M., 102, 107, 

112 

Dodd, Norman, 89 
Donnelly, Ignatius, 94 
Douglas, Paul H,, 204 
Dreyfus, Alfred, 97, 99 
Dulles, John Foster, 50, 53 
Dunn, Rev. James B., quoted, 

221 

Earle, Edward Mead, 74 

Eastman, Max, 20 f . 

Eden, Sir Anthony, 108 

Eisenhower, Dwight D., 16, 25, 
35 f., 41, 53, 57, 68, 73, 98, 
107 ff., 113, 134, 162 f., 213, 
227, 232 

Evans, George Henry, 10 

Eysenck, H. J., 227, 229 

Fairchild, Henry Pratt, 80 
Farley, James A., 55 
Fast, Howard, 89 
Field, H. H., 228 
Flanders, Ralph E., 101, 111 
Fleckenstein, Edward S., 230 
Flynn, John T., 21, 190, 208; 

quoted, 224 
Forrestal, James V., 73 
Fox, Dixon Ryan, 30 
Franco, Francisco, 186 f., 221 
Frenkel-Brunswik, Else, 87-88; 

quoted, 55 
Frey, John, 224 
Frick, Henry Clay, 63 

Galbraith, J. K., 114 

Gallup, George H., 144, 227 

Gaudet, Hazel, 87 

Gaulle, Charles de, 222 

Geiss, Phyllis, 225 

Glazer, Nathan, 16, 30, 221, 232 



INDEX 

Godkin, Edwin L., 27 
Greenblum, Joseph, 55 
Grodzins, Morton, 221 
Gurin, Gerald, 88 
Guterman, Norbert, quoted, 54 

Harriman, Averell, 59, 73 
Haldane, Charlotte, 208 
Halevy, Eli, 32 
Hamilton, Alexander, 7 
Handlin, Oscar, quoted, 31 
Harrington, James, quoted, 8 
Harris, Louis, 30, 225 
Harrison, William Henry, 7 
Hartley, Fred, 233 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 115 
Hearst, William Randolph, 64 
Herberg Will, 108, 222 
Hicks, GranviUe, 21-22, 31, 82 
Hiss, Alger, 55, 82, 85, 110, 211 
Hitler, Adolf, 55, 94, 130, 186, 

224 

Hoffman, Paul, 111 
Hofstadter, Richard, 15, 88 f., 

170, 219 f. 
Holcombe, Arthur N., 30; 

quoted, 10 
Hoover, J. Edgar, 57 
Hopkins, Harry, 74 
Hughes, Howard, 63 
Hull, Cordell, 185 
Humphrey, George M., 88 
Humphrey, Hubert H., 204 
Hunt, H. L., 69 
Hutchins, Robert, 218 
Hyman, Herbert, 221, 226 

Jackson, Andrew, 7 
Jahoda, Marie, 54, 227 
Janeway, Eliot, 75 
Janowitz, Morris, 55, 70, 227 
Jefferson, Thomas, 9, 104, 175 
Jenner, William E., 107 



Johnson, Lyndon B., 57 
Jordan, George Rainey, 231 

Kamenev, Lev B., 22 
Kant, Immanuel, 28 
Kecszkemeti, Paul, 154 
Kennan, George, 222 
Kennedy, John F., 193 
Kennedy, Joseph P., 193 
Kido, Kotaro, 227 
Kimball, S., 230 
Kirk, Russell, 88 
Knowland, William F., 13, 108 
Knox, Henry, quoted, 8-9 
Kohlberg, Arthur, 213 
Kohler, Foy, 14 

La Follette, Robert M., Sr., 94, 

103, 125, 181, 183, 191, 212 
Lane, Robert E., 227, 229 
Laski, Harold J., 32 
Lazarsfeld, Paul, 87 
Lee, Ivy, 63 
Lee, J. Bracken, quoted, 223, 

232 

Lemke, William, 6 
Lewis, John L., 224 
Lilienthal, David, 114 
Lincoln, Abraham, 115 
Lindbergh, Charles A,, 190 
Lindsay, Vachel, 92 
Lippmann, Walter, 16, 216; 

quoted, 27 
Lipset, Seymour Martin, 3, 16, 

30, 219, 222, 226, 229 
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Jr., 92 
Lodge, John D., 223 
London, Jack, 26 
Lonergan, Edna, 223 
Long,Huey, 14, 179 f. 
Loucks, Emerson H., 221 
Lovett, Robert A., 73 
Lowenthal, Leo, quoted, 54 



238 

Lubell, Samuel, 30, 54, 66, 199, 

229 
Lyons, Eugene, 21, 208 

McAllister, Ward, 63 

McCarran, Pat, 94, 112 

McCarthy, Joseph R., 3, 13-17 
passim, 20-24 passim, 36, 57 
f., 63-67 passim, 71, 84, 90, 
92 , 97-113 passim, 136, 
142, 144, 160, 162, 174, 181, 
186, 191, 197 ff., 209-216 
passim, 219, 224, 226 f., 229 
; quoted, 231 

McCloy, John J., 73 

McKinley, William, 102, 220 

Madison, James, 28, 104, 116; 
quoted, 8 f . 

Malenkov, Georgi M., Ill 

Malone, George W., 232 

Marshall, George C., 132 

Marshall, Margaret, 22 

Marvick, D., 227 

Marx, Karl, 104, 131 

Mason, A. T., 30 

Matthews, J. B., 208 

Maverick, Maury, 56-57 

May, Allan Nunn, 13 

Mead, Margaret, 46, 55 

Mecklin, John Moffat, 221 

Melville, Herman, 115 

Merton, R. K., 228 

Michels, R., 226 

Mill, John Stuart, 28, 32, 109 

Miller, Warren E., 88 

Moody, Dwight, 19 

Moos, Malcolm, 68 

Morris, Robert, 24 

Morse, Wayne, 204 

Murphy, Robert, 186 

Mussolini, Benito, 53 

Myers, Gustavus, 220 f . 

Myrdal, Gunnar, 176; quoted, 5 



INDEX 

Napoleon, 96 

Neumann, Franz L., 32; quoted, 

225-226 
Niebuhr, H, Richard, 31, quoted, 

19 

Niebuhr, Reinhold, 23 
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 96 
Nixon, Richard M., 108, 112 
Nye, Gerald P., 94, 183, 229 

O Brien, John A., 230 
Owen, Robert, 10 
Orwell, George, 21, 100 

Paine, Tom, 95 f., 116 
Parsons, Talcott, 3, 16, 67 
Pearlin, Leonard I., 55 
Per6n, Juan D,, 228 
Piatakov, 22 

Quill, Mike, 6 

Rakovsky, Christian G., 22 

Ranulf, Svend, 18, 31 

Ravitch, Richard, quoted, 220 

Rayburn, Sam, 56 

Reece, B. Carroll, 89 

Reuther, Walter, 6 

Riemer, Neal, 32 

Riesman, David, 15, 30, 164, 
221, 232 

Robespierre, 100 

Rockefeller, John D., 62-63 

Roosevelt, Archibald, 14, 213; 
quoted, 223 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., 10, 37, 
41, 50, 55-57, 59, 72, 74, 83, 
89, 93, 102, 104, 124, 137, 
175, 185, 189 ., 200 f., 215- 
216, 224 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 14, 27 

Roper, Elmo, 226 

Rorty, James, quoted, 230-231 



INDEX 

Rose, Arnold, 222 

Rosenberg, Ethel and Julius, 13, 

51,78 

Ross, E. A., 80 
Rossiter, Clinton, 224 
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 96 
Rovere, Richard, 38, 54 

Salazar, Antonio de Oliveira, 228 
Samson, Leon, 222 
Sanford, F. H., quoted, 228 
Schachtman, Max, 104 
Schlamm, William, 20 f ., 208 
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., 23, 

88 

Schmuclder, R. H,, 229 
Schultz, Rabbi, 98 
Schuyler, George, 208 
Sheatsley, Paul, 221, 226 
Shils,EdwardA.,74 
Shipstead, Henrik, 229 
Silone, Ignazio, quoted, 228 
Sinclair, Upton, 180 
Smith, Adam, 25 
Smith, Alfred E., 55, 102, 104, 

172, 209, 215 
Smith, G. H., 226 
Sokolnikov, Grigory Y., 22 
Sokolsky, George, 213 
Stalin, Josef, 204, 224 
Stevenson, Adlai, 34, 65, 68, 92, 

101, 105-106, 107-113 passim 
Stimson, Henry L,, 73 
Stone, L K, 223 
Stouffer, Samuel A., 16, 142- 

143, 149-165 passim, 174, 

221, 225, 227 ff, 231 
Streit, Clarence, 88 
Sugi, M., 227 
Sweet, W.W., 31 



Taft, Robert A., 36, 89 

Tate, Allen, 88 

Thomas, Norman, 101, 218 

Thoreau, Henry, 115 

Tingsten, H., 225 

Tocqueville, Alexis de, 31, 102, 

181; quoted, 19, 54 
Townsend, Francis E., 179 f . 
Truman, David, 30 
Truman, Harry S., 30, 34, 53, 

57, 59, 76, 109, 113, 137, 

183, 187-188 

Utley, Freda, 21 f ., 208 

Valtin, Jan, 22 
Van Buren, Martin, 7-8 
Vaughan, Harry H., 57 
Viereck, Peter, 15, 84 
Villard, Oswald Garrison, 27 
Voltaire, Francois, 93 

Webb, Leicester, 165 
Webster, Daniel, 7 
Wechsler, James A., 23 
Weyl, Walter, 226 
Wheeler, Burton K., 94, 190, 

229 

White, Harry Dexter, 57, 82 
Wilbur, William H., 232 
Wifflde, Wendell, 73 
Wilson, Charles E., 88 
Wilson, Edmund, 32; quoted, 27 
Wilson, Woodrow, 89 
Wolfe, Bertram, 14 
Wright, Richard, 69 

Zetterberg, 227 
Zinoviev, Grigori E., 22 




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