The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions

By Eugene J. McCarthy | Go to book overview

34
Censorship

Most discussion of censorship in recent times has dealt with efforts to limit or halt the use of pornographic material after it has been produced.

More serious in a democracy is the selection and control of political information and ideas before they are even spoken or published.

Who determines what persons shall speak and write, since not everyone can speak or write? Who selects what is to be recorded and transmitted to others, since not everything can be recorded?

There is danger in the concentrated control of television and radio stations; danger, too, in government efforts to regulate broadcasting. There is danger in concentrated ownership of newspapers and some danger in the development of nationally syndicated columnists. There is danger in standardized education and in the concentration of selection by book publishers and reviewers.

All these problems require serious attention. Some of them can be alleviated by private initiative. For example, the journalism reviews now published by some reporters provide standards by which to judge the press.

The problem of government control over information seems more dangerous and more difficult to counter. In the name of national security, the government justifies the withholding of almost any item of information and, beyond that, even the making of false statements.

The problem of government control was intensified during the Eisenhower administration, in part because many of its appointees were drawn from big business and from the military. The procedures of those institutions are not democratic, nor are they ordinarily conducted with the safeguards of the Constitution. Neither of them has anything comparable to the "balance of powers" concept.

Consequently, the Eisenhower administration took on many aspects of a corporate-military structure. The President and his Cabinet

-182-

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The Hard Years: A Look at Contemporary America and American Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction by Tom Wicker vii
  • Preface xix
  • Part I - Institutions 1
  • 1 - Toward a More Responsible Presidency 3
  • 2 - The Vice President as Crown Prince 15
  • 3 - Changes in the Congress 19
  • 4 - The Courts, the Last Appeal 28
  • 5 - Court of Ideas 32
  • 6 - A Kind Word for the Bureaucrats 35
  • 7 - A Kind Word for the Military 45
  • 8 - A Warning About the Military Establishment 49
  • 9 - The Cia and the Inner Ring 58
  • 10 - The Corporations 61
  • 11 - The Universities 68
  • 12 - The Democratic and Republican Parties 75
  • 13 - Alternatives to the Major Parties 80
  • Part II - Operations 87
  • 14 - A Hard Look at the Primaries 89
  • 15 - Personality Cults 96
  • 16 - The Cult of the Expert 97
  • 17 - A Good and Becoming Exit 100
  • 18 - Listen to Mr. Parkinson 104
  • 19 - The Sst: Object Lesson in Dynamics of Opposition 106
  • 20 - The Lobbyists 109
  • 21 - Grant Park, Chicago 116
  • 22 - Marching on Washington 118
  • 23 - Changing America 122
  • Part III - Principles 125
  • 24 - Innocence in Politics 127
  • 25 - Language and Politics 130
  • 26 - Poetry and War 135
  • 27 - Ares 144
  • 28 - Intellectuals and Politics 148
  • 29 - Out of Phase 155
  • 30 - Trouble in the Economics Community 158
  • 31 - Constitutional Amendments 165
  • 32 - Five Systems of Justice 170
  • 33 - The Enemies List 173
  • 34 - Censorship 182
  • Part IV - A Good Person is Not So Hard to Find 185
  • 35 - John Bennett 187
  • 36 - Emerson Hynes 189
  • 37 - John Kennedy 190
  • 38 - Dan and Doris Kimball 193
  • 39 - Robert Lowell 196
  • 40 - Wayne Morse 197
  • 41 - Lewis Mumford 203
  • 42 - Eleanor Roosevelt 205
  • 43 - Frank Rosenblatt 207
  • 44 - Adlai Stevenson 208
  • Notes 215
  • Index 223
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