Insidious Wiles of Foreign Influence
HAVE WE FORGOTTEN WASHINGTON'S ADVICE?
By MARTIN DIES, Congressman from Texas
Before the Mass Meeting for America, Madison Square Garden, New York, November 29, 1939
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VI, pp. 152-155.
FELLOW AMERICANS: In his Farewell Address, George Washington gave utterance to one of the most prophetic warnings that ever fell from mortal lips, when he said: "Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, my fellow citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government."
That we could have forgotten this admonition of the father of our country and permitted ourselves to be duped by foreign powers—their agents and their ideologies—is not flattering to our leaders. No wonder our pride is wounded by the humiliating disclosures which have been made before our Committee. In the horse-and-buggy age of Washington, our leaders could detect and resist the insidious wiles of foreign influence. It was reserved for this streamlined generation of sophisticated leadership to fill the role of the proverbial sucker.
It is in the nature of a national tragedy that our people or any group of our citizens or any of our chosen leader.
have failed at any time to heed the prophetic warning of Washington. We may yet avoid wholly unnecessary national calamities by giving heed to the words of his Farewell Address. Some of our people still hold a fatal attachment to European thought and institutions, and of late we have seen an increasing susceptibility to the insidious wiles of foreign influence that has led us farther and farther from the American way so clearly envisioned by the greatest patriot and statesman this country has ever produced.
Foreign influences have been at work to shape both the domestic and the foreign policies of the United States. Endowed with all the gifts necessary for originality as a nation, we persist in the attempt to ape the economic and political;-manners of Europe. Blessed as no other people on earth with all the conditions necessary for economic and intellectual independence, we hold stubbornly and stupidly to foreign ties which a sound Americanism should have dissolved in all of us.
Our European attachments would not be so unfortunate if Europe held the key to a way of life superior to the American way. But this is not the case. Americans have evolved to economic and political system far superior to the best that Europe has to offer. Under our system we have grown and prospered beyond the dreams of our founders. The American way, not the European way, promises steady advancement toward the more abundant life. The moment we abandon the principles of Americanism in favor of the totalitarian ideologies of Europe, that moment we begin the downward course toward the kind of dictatorships which have plagued Europeans for centuries.
The experience of this generation, far more than that of Washington's, has demonstrated that the insidious wiles of foreign influence are the most baneful foe of republican government. The communist influence imported to Spain from enslaved Russia doomed the Republic of Spain and was responsible for the slaughter of a million Spaniards. The insidious wiles of nazi and communist influence undermined the republic of Poland and Czechoslovakia so that they were incapable of offering effective resistance to the invasion of Nazi and Communist troops. The almost unique strategy of conquest in this century has consisted of sowing the seeds of division, confusion, and hatred as a means of preparing the way for later military invasion. First, the winds of class, religious and racial hatred; then the whirlwinds of war and destruction. Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler have brought near to perfection this strategy for the. destruction of the political and economic institutions of free people.
We in America are not now in danger of any invasion of foreign armies despite the lies of war-mongers and propagandists. Furthermore, no power or combination of powers could ever successfully invade our country, even if they dared to try, so long as we stand united in allegiance to the God of our Fathers and the Constitution upon which our economic and political institutions are founded. This confidence that we are invulnerable to attack-from-without rests only in part upon the strength of our armed forces, which we rightly maintain at maximum efficiency according to our defensive needs. This confidence—if it is to be an enduring trust in our capacity for self-protection—must rest even more upon that strength of unity which we derive from the glad and sacred commitment of all our people to the principles of Americanism. It is this unity of our commitment to Americanism which the insidious wiles of foreign influence are now seeking to undermine. It is this unity of our commitment to Americanism whose strength we have not properly valued as a measure of national defense. The safety of a modern republic lies first of all in ideological and spiritual defenses erected throughout the length and breadth of its territory, in the hearts and minds of its people. It is this fundamental national defense which we have been far less diligent in building than we have been in preparing to stop imaginary armies and navies at our borders and coasts.
Our first attention must be devoted to the un-American agents of foreign influence which are now at work within our borders.
Let us look at the strategy of these foreign agents. The communists have used the bait of class hatred and anti-capitalism to draw within the sphere of their leadership many people who would never accept the principles of Marxism under the label of communism. The fascists have employed a similar strategy to attract the support of certain so-called patriotic groups. They have dangled the bait of intolerance and bigotry disguised as nationalism and patriotism before the distorted vision of many people who would never accept the principles of Marxism under the label of nazism or fascism. By this strategy the agents of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini have been able to use thousands of gullible Americans to promote their interests in America, to support their foreign policy, to divide our people into hostile camps, and toobtain industrial and military secrets in the United States.
The case of Sam Carp, of this city, illustrates what happened. Carp, a brother-in-law of Molotov, Premier of Russia, brought back from Russia with him in cash, according to his own admission, a hundred one-thousand-dollar bills, and had placed to his credit in the bank hundreds of thousands of dollars additional, together with a commission from Molotov to spend one hundred million dollars in the United States, largely for military and naval plans. According to his own books and admissions he distributed thousands of dollars to reserve army officers, reserve naval officers, lobbyists, and even fifty seven thousand dollars—mostly in cash—to a member of the National Committee of one of our major political parties, and to an assistant publicity director of this same National Committee, in order to expedite the securing of government approval of military plans.
Our Committee also developed testimony which showed that a high official of our other major political party was actively engaged in promoting and encouraging the un-American doctrine of radicalism.
To illustrate how completely communists in America are under the control of Soviet Russia, I cite you the testimony of Browder, Foster, Weiner, Trachtenberg, and Bedacht who said that, if this country entered the War on the side of France and England, they would not support the United States, and who also admitted that if communists in the United States did not obey the decisions of the Communist International they would have to quit the Communist Party.
For Americans today, the greater menace to national security comes from the un-uniformed agents of foreign powers. It has been the work of our Committee for these past eighteen months to tear the mask from organizations which have been set up to serve the interests of foreign principals. The Communist Party is nothing more nor less than a conspiracy masked as a political party—a conspiracy organized in Moscow for the purpose of undermining and eventually destroying our national security. It is a shameful situation to find the agents of Stalin in control of certain labor unions, some so-called liberal organizations, and holding key positions in our government.
The folly of ignoring the counsel of Washington upon the assumption that times have changed and that a principle applicable in one generation is inapplicable in another is well illustrated by the humiliating spectacle of several million people and scores of organizations in the United States under the control of foreign governments. This could never have come about if we had adhered faithfully to the proposition that American policy must be based exclusively upon American needs and designed to protect American interests.
The great majority of our people are, indeed, united in disapproval of Stalin and Hitler. Only a small but well organized and consequently effective minority acknowledge fealty to the two dictators. This is bad enough, but what is far worse is that while condemning Hitler and Stalin many people, perhaps unwittingly, subscribe to the same fundamental philosophy of government which produced these dictators as an inevitable consequence. The core of that philosophy is a bureaucratic state capitalism, which more and more appears as the common characteristic of the regimes of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. This bureaucratic state capitalism is nothing more nor less than monopoly raised to its highest power. It is, furthermore, a form of government which has its roots in Marxism.
Marxism as applied in present-day Germany is disguised under the name of naziism. In Italy it masquerades as fascism, and in Russia as communism. But naziism, fascism, and communism are merely different cults of the same pagan religion of materialism born in the brain of Karl Marx. The teachings of Marx and of Christ stand at opposite poles.
Marx represents the lowest forms of materialism; Christ symbolizes the highest and noblest conceptions of the spiritual. To Marx, man at his best was merely an intelligent animal of no more importance than the beasts of the field. To Christ, man is the noblest handiwork of God. This irreconcilable conflict between the teachings of Christ and Marx, between love and hatred, constitutes the most far-reaching issue before the world today. It is the issue upon which the future of western civilisation is staked. The church is confronted with an inescapable challenge to prosecute a victorious war against the forces of materialism and totalitarianism which negate its Christ-given ideals.
Not all of the adherents of Marxism in America are card-holding members of the Communist Party. Some of them are distributed among scores of numerically inconsequential organizations, but the great majority of Marxists do not belong, as such, to any organization. They masquerade under the name of liberals, and they deny, with technical accuracy, that they are communists; but the truth is that they worship at the shrine of Marx and derive their political and economic conceptions from his writings.
These Marxists who are not attached to the Communist Party are characterized, especially in these times, by their constant assaults upon the American economic system which to them is a pile of "folklore" possessing just about the same degree of validity and respectability as Polynesian magic. Some of them have received appointments to high government positions from which vantage points they carry on an incessant attack upon our economic system. Most of them are milk-and-water Marxists. Nevertheless, by their contempt for the American economic system and their unflagging efforts to discredit it, they serve the ends of those other Marxists who feed upon the strong meat of violent revolution. They also furnish a pretext but not a justification for the activities of that other brand of Marxists, the Fascists, who masquerade as patriots and pose as the saviors of the country from the threat of communism. Just as Hitler saved Germany from communism only to turn around and embrace it. These Marxists are seeking to sabotage by degrees the political and economic system of America in favor of bureaucratic state capitalism. . . . First, the attacks upon our economic system. Second, the advocacy of the Marxian principle that the government has the duty to support the people. Third, subtle proposals to regiment agriculture, labor and industry under a system of planned economy. Fourth, the abolition of private property and public ownership of basic industries and, finally, dictatorship. This is the clever process by which the Marxists plan to subvert the liberties and institutions of this country. They did not originate this clever strategy. It came from the following advice given to their disciples by Marx and Engels: "The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the Bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state. . . . Of course, in the beginning this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of Bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable but which in the course of the movement outstrip themselves and necessitate further inroads upon the old social order."
In these words, my fellow citizens, you have the key to the subtle strategy employed by the Marxists in America to undermine and eventually destroy our economic and political institutions. We are now witnessing the first stages of this campaign, namely, the attacks upon our economic system, the attempt to convince the people that the government ought to support them, and the proposals to regiment our economic life under cleverly devised schemes of planned economy.
In exposing and combatting this campaign, we must make clear to the people that no economic system is so perfect that it cannot be improved and none is so sacred that it is above criticism. But the cure for the ills of private capitalism is more capitalism, a wider diffusion of private property in order that there may be a firmer foundation for personal liberty. Private property rights are not in conflict with the most sacred human rights, as the Marxists would have us believe. Everywhere throughout the world today, where men have been persuaded to sacrifice the rights of private property on the altar of bureaucratic and totalitarian state capitalism there has followed a complete destruction of those fundamental human rights which were widely achieved in the century of liberalism. One of the illustrious founders of this republic observed with prophetic insight the technique of the demagogues, which is the same technique now employed by the Marxists, when he wrote: "Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants." That, in brief, is the one-sentence biography of Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and of the numerous breed of socialistic politicians with which we are plagued in America.
When I was a boy I lived on a farm about four miles from Greenville, Texas. One Saturday my mother gave me five dollars and instructed me to go to Greenville to buy some groceries. On the way to town I passed by the county fair, and there I listened with rapt attention to a smoothtongued orator. He was selling snake oil which he claimed would cure any malady or affliction. Neither before nor since have I heard such an eloquent speaker. If he were living today he would be a successful politician. After he had concluded his speech he afforded me the great opportunity and privilege of buying some snake oil. Because of the rare opportunity which this presented, I spent all of my five dollars for the snake oil and returned home with my pockets bulging with bottles. I can testify from first-hand experience that the snake oil had no power to heal or drive away pain, otherwise it would not have been necessary for me to eat my meals in a standing posture for at least a week. I have not again seen that snake oil peddler but I have seen many like him who are doing a prosperous business selling the people, for cash, political nostrums and panaceas far more harmful to the body politic than the snake oil was to me.
We must also make clear to the people that if the government is to be charged with the responsibility of supporting the people, it must exercise the corresponding right to discipline the people. The same law which makes "papa" support his children gives him the right to spank them. You cannot get government support without government spanking.
Let no one imagine for a minute that Americanism is a reactionary doctrine of economics and politics contrived to serve the interests of greed. Americanism is still the world's brightest hope for the abolition of avoidable poverty. Americanism is progressive but it rejects the notion that change and innovation are of themselves necessarily evidence of progress. Innovation may spell reaction. We must be socially-minded without becoming socialistic.
The millions of patriotic American laborers whose toil has contributed so much in this country to the fulfillment of the age-old dream of liberty and economic security for all have more to gain than any others by the preservation of Americanism against the insidious wiles of Stalin's and Hitler's agents. The dictatorships of Stalin and Hitler are certain enslavement for the laborer, the complete abrogation of all rights to collective bargaining. It is precisely because the agents of Stalin aim first of all at the capture of the American labor movement that the forces of organized labor inthis country must be the first to welcome the exposure of communist aims in this country. Let organized labor, for its own sake and for the sake of the whole American economy, turn out the red demagogues who are trying to exploit its hard-won achievements in the interests of the foreign commissariat of Moscow.
With equal sincerity and severity we must condemn those other cults of the Marxists, namely, the Fascists and Nazis. They, too, are at work in America in the attempt to subvert the political and economic institutions in our country. Some of them are members of Fascist organizations in this country, but the majority of them masquerade as patriots and use the bait of racial and religious hatred to attract followers in this country to their standards. While we stand united in disapproval of such organizations as the German-American Bund, the Silver Shirts, the American Nationalists, and others that are unquestionably Fascistic in spirit and in ultimate aims we will fall far short of our duty as Americans if we hesitate to make known clearly and unmistakably our uncompromising opposition to that contemptible breed of fake patriots who make their bigotry and intolerance under the guise of patriotism and Americanism.
In the language of a great writer, we condemn any man "who conspires" against the liberties of the nation, conspires to subvert the most precious bequest of past ages, the dearest hope of future time; he would destroy genius in its birth, and enterprise in its sources, and sacrifice the prolific causes of intelligence and virtue to his avarice or his vanity, his caprices or his ambition; would rob the nation of its nationality, the people of the prerogatives of man; would deprive common life of its sweets, by depriving it of its security, and religion of its power to solace, by subjecting it to supervision and control. His crime would not only enslave a present race of men, but forge chains for unborn generations. There can be no fouler deed."
From this great gathering we offer to Americans of every race, creed, and economic condition an American program which will restore us to the path of constitutional democracy from which, under the insidious wiles of foreign influence, we have begun to stray. Let us not be fearful of launching a crusade against the purveyors of class, racial, and religious hatred and the conspirators who are now seeking to subvert the institutions of our country.
We reaffirm our allegiance to the God of our fathers and the Constitution of our country. As did our fathers in the past, so now do we turn to God for aid and guidance.
We declare that any man who under any pretext, preaches, spreads, or encourages—directly or indirectly, openly or secretly—race, religious, or class hatred is un-American.
We maintain, as did our fathers, that every American, regardless of race, creed, or economic condition, is entitled
to the equal protection of our laws and institutions if he loves America and the principles for which it stands. We hold that the Bill of Rights is the sacred heritage of every American, and we condemn those groups and organizations in our midst who seek to use the Bill of Rights for the purpose of destroying it.
We beseech our citizens to drop all the hyphens which tie them to Europe. Either we are Americans or we are not.
To the newcomer in our midst, we extend the helping hand. We welcome him to the greatest fraternity of citizens ever known, and invite him to learn early and well the principles upon which this state is founded. But to the disciples of totalitarianism who would bring with them the strife of Europe, we say "halt." Marxists of all brands are not welcome at our gates.
We here and now declare that our first duty is to our own people and that charity begins at home. Our hands are full with the task of preserving this republic from its enemies within; we have no need to embark upon foreign expeditions in order to engage enemies in combat. Our responsibility to ourselves and to this period of world history is to make American democracy work at home under the American flag.
Both our economic and political life is predicated upon the democratic principle of competition. We reject un-American monopoly of either the state or private variety, in either the economic or political realm. We deplore the trend toward centralization of power in Washington as the first stage toward dictatorship.
These issues rise above partisanship and political expediency. This is no time for pussy-footing and cowardly politicians.
The people must be warned that an organized campaign, composed of the reds and pinks in all walks of life, is about to be launched for the purpose of discrediting the work of our Committee. This is Moscow's last stand against exposure. The people must also be warned against the racketeers who would capitalize for their own selfish gain upon a rebirth of Americanism.
So far as the continuation of our investigation is concerned, I here and now beseech the Administration to come out openly and say whether it is for or against our Committee. If it is against the Committee, let it boldly assume the responsibility for opposing the continuation of our investigation. If it is for the Committee, let it support with the necessary funds and other assistance the work which we are trying to do in exposing the menace of "isms."
With an abiding faith in the mercy of Almighty God and confidence in the patriotism of our people, we express the firm determination of this great gathering and Americans everywhere in this closing declaration: God gave us America; the Marxists shall not take it away.