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What happens when a state tries to purge its state universities or a community tries to purge its public schools of alleged subversives? […] What happens is the demoralization and eventual corruption of the school system. This is not a momentary or even temporary affair; it is something the consequences of which may be felt for years. The search for subversives results in the intimidation of the independent, the original, the imaginative, and the experimental-minded. It discourages independence of thought in teachers and students alike. It discourages the reading of books that may excite the suspicion of some investigator or some Legionnaire. It discourages the discussion of controversial matters in the classroom, for such discussion may be reported, or misreported, and cause trouble. It creates a situation where first-rate minds will not go into teaching or into administration and where students therefore get poor teaching. In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience. In the long run it will create a generation not only deprived of liberty but incapable of enjoying liberty.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Free Enterprise in Ideas,” Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954)

Originally published in the Saturday Review (1952), based on a speech to the Advertising Council's American Round Table, New York City (1951).
Added on 9-Feb-22 | Last updated 22-Jun-22
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The parliamentary battle of the NSDAP [Nazi Party] had the single purpose of destroying the parliamentary system from within through its own methods. It was necessary above all to make formal use of the possibilities of the party-state system but to refuse real cooperation and thereby to render the parliamentary system, which is by nature dependent upon the responsible cooperation of the opposition, incapable of action.

Ernst Rudolf Huber
Ernst Rudolf Huber (1903-1990), German jurist and constitutional historian
Constitutional Law of the Greater German Reich [Verfassungsrecht des Grossdeutschen Reiches] (1939)

Reprinted in National Socialism, US State Department (1943).
Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 12-Sep-21
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He [the pseudo-conservative] 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 own way in the world … cannot possibly be due to its limitations but must be attributed to its having been betrayed.

Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) American historian and intellectual
“The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt” (1954)
Added on 28-Oct-20 | Last updated 28-Oct-20
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I am not willing, now or in the future, to bring bad trouble to people who, in my past association with them, were completely innocent of any talk or any action that was disloyal or subversive. I do not like subversion or disloyalty in any form and if I had ever seen any I would have considered it my duty to have reported it to the proper authorities. But to hurt innocent people whom I knew many years ago in order to save myself is, to me, inhuman and indecent and dishonorable. I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions, even though I long ago came to the conclusion that I was not a political person and could have no comfortable place in any political group.

Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) American playwright, screenwriter
Letter to Rep. John S. Wood, House Committee on Un-American Activities (19 May 1952)

National Archives copy. Reprinted in The Nation (31 May 1952).

In the letter Hellman offers to come before the committee and talk of her own life and beliefs, but not if she could then be compelled to "name names" of others. As a result of the letter and her invoking the Fifth Amendment at the HUAC hearings, Hellman was put on the Hollywood Blacklist for the rest of the decade.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Mar-23
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