A Measure of Freedom: An Anti-Defamation League Report

A Measure of Freedom: An Anti-Defamation League Report

A Measure of Freedom: An Anti-Defamation League Report

A Measure of Freedom: An Anti-Defamation League Report


On the eve of the founding of the Republic, one of the wisest Americans of his time said:

"To get the bad customs of a country changed, and new ones, though better, introduced, it is necessary first to remove prejudice, enlighten ignorance, and convince [the people] their interests will be promoted by the proposed changes; and this is not the work of a day."

If we were to couple this sound advice of Benjamin Franklin with the oft-repeated but frequently neglected clarion call that "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom," the argument of this book becomes clear. For it seeks to change the "bad customs" of our country by awakening the people to the havoc that the prejudices in their midst create; it proposes to arouse Americans against those who fatten upon these prejudices to the nation's eventual destruction.

Anti-Jewish propaganda has corrupted the nation's bloodstreams in the past decade, coursing into big cities, small towns, and the farm country. It has had many names--the Black Legion, the Christian Front, the Gentile League, the Ku Klux Klan, the German- American Bund--and has often cloaked itself in a guise of respectability and patriotism.

It has even emerged as an organized political movement. In the United States the depression provided an unhealthy climate which nourished corrupt thinking, inflammatory speechmaking, and malevolent publications. In recent years it has become more apparent that anti-Semitism is only a part of the whole problem of prejudice and discrimination.

Freedom and liberty cannot be bought with complacency. Social and economic freedom can be maintained only by a continuing appreciation of the traditional American concept of democracy. Intelligent opposition must be generated against both the open and the hidden forces which seek to destroy it. And a militant unity among freedom--minded men is necessary to hit--and hit hard--at bigots.

True freedom precludes any compromise of democracy's principles, whether the pressures come from the fascist right or the communist left. The militant unity must be composed, therefore, of men and women who believe only in democracy, who will not sacrifice their principles by permitting any totalitarian invasion upon them for temporary gain. This is the creed upon which this book is written.

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