Dramatist in America: Letters of Maxwell Anderson, 1912-1958

By Laurence G. Avery; Maxwell Anderson | Go to book overview

reds and fellow travellers--and refuse to employ others--as it suits his fancy. I see nothing difficult or abstruse about this.

I don't know what you mean by saying that injustice has been done because of private individuals taking over what should be a government function. Public opinion is not a government function. It's made up of a lot of private interests and factions, and it should control the government--and in the long run does. It was public opinion, steered by all kinds of special pleadings, including the Times and Tribune, which injured the actors and writers who lost jobs. Some of them may have deserved it. Some did not. Some of the people who get elected to Congress deserve it. Some do not. As soon as a man lifts his head and takes a stand of any sort people are free to discuss him and his views, fairly and unfairly, wisely or unwisely. There's nothing illegal or antisocial about Red Channels. It's a listing of people who joined red front organizations, with lists of the organizations they joined. If Consumers' Digest is legal this is legal. If employers or buyers want to use either, they are exercising only their right of choice in a free country and a free market. This is not black-listing. It is public information, which they use or not, as they like. I got inveigled into one or two Communist fronts myself, and I'm ashamed of it, and wish it hadn't happened, but it did happen. It's part of my record and so long as we retain free speech and a free press my record lays me open to attack. As does any man's. If you think the government could or should control any of these things I wish you'd let me know how.

Sincerely, Maxwell Anderson

1.
Wharton had joined Rice (see no. 183) in the argument with Anderson about communists and blacklisting.
2.
The present hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, chaired by John S. Wood, opened on March 8, 1951, and ran until November 13, 1952.

-259-

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