thumbnail of A Federal Case; 1
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
This is a weekly review of the affairs of government hold a federal case produced in Washington. I'm an Zille correspondent for the national educational radio network. This week we're not going to hear about official Washington the Congress or the president. We're not even going to hear from people in the country's political mainstream. We are going to listen to Robert Scheer and Philip Luce. They are radicals. They are working for a cause. And neither one cares anything at all for this country's political middle. For Richard Nixon or the established government their individual causes are very different. She or unloose are at opposite ends of the pole. They were interviewed separately. They have very little in common. There has been a lot of talk in the past year that the political far right and far left aren't really so very far apart from each other. We're going to examine that notion in this program.
Sometimes you may think these men are talking about two different planets altogether but they are liking at least a few respects. They are both a little older than the student generation. Both are articulate and they both look something like hippies a bit past their prime. First you're going to hear them explain why they wear long here you'll be a Robert Scheer then feel the blues. I like long hair and I like the way it looks some people and I like the whole idea. You know it doesn't bug me to bug me if I found it offensive or ugly. Post what I like the fact that women with long hair you know I think a 7 are natural about always shaving every morning and cutting your hair and so forth. But my job was to organize among people who are very straight and so forth. Then I would probably cut my hair shorter and try not to try to remove what is rather. Minor obstacle or could be a major one I mean but it's an important thing and maybe I would use different language you know. My job is to
organize midwest thing. You know farmers I come on differently you know obviously that's not my job you know editor of a magazine. I do most my speaking on college campuses. So I don't find a beard and long hair get in the way you know. But I do think that one shouldn't lose sight of fact that when we talk about what's wrong with America we talk about it hangups. How have things like beers along here and why should they be so strung out. And at this point I don't mind letting people know that I'm not happy with the dominant culture and I don't accept the straight world and I don't accept their values and I don't believe in the American dream and so something nice about having a visible symbols like myself walking around of rejection of that dream and so I don't put down you know the whole cultural revolution hippie thing in that sense. And that trying to have a discussion is that I provoke as a result to be very fruitful You know I asked these guys in an airport bar you know was a bugging you so much you think I get laid more than you do is that what it is and when you know you feel sexually repressed or you think I got a better life feel lonely you know I'm not bugging you why you know
why doing this the whole thing and you get into some very interesting discussions. So I haven't I don't mind it. First of all because I've always dressed like this and more or less. Not saying sure but generally I was dressed like this and I've had fairly long hair for a period time Eastern mustache and a beard. I got tired of my mustache last year I had a beard. I get tired if I go back and the other thing is I think it's important especially for older people to realize that you can't stereotype people. Maybe when I walk down the street I think I'm a member of the asterisk. Now I know and many of our people in California have had longer hair much longer sideburns or beard or something and we try to show people not just through dress or anything but just do it. This is where we are. But you can't stereotype people like I know people that are members of Congress Party today that look like fraternity people.
Robert Scheer calls himself a sort of a communist a Marxist really. He's the editor of Ramparts magazine a few years ago he ran for Congress some successfully a little while ago he went to Algeria and made a movie with Eldridge Cleaver. And he came to Washington D.C. recently to speak at a meeting of the American Psychological Association about being a professional radical. Philip Luce used to be a communist but since 1965 he's been a radical for the other side. He's the college director of a group called the Young Americans for Freedom. Well yeah he takes care of the group's activities on campuses all over the country and he calls himself a libertarian conservative. Now you hear me ask them both how they've come to be the political activists they are today. She will answer first then lose. I want to know what you went through the last five years that that brought you some kind of regular
liberal to a radical political position. GRASSLEY ten years I wasn't just a regular But I think liberal you can work for you but have I supported life even if I believe in the American dream you know ashit. And what happened was that what happened to me as some kind of personal revelation of. Psychic readjustment that was what happened to the country and what happened to the world. I think that in the last ten years very clearly the United States exposed itself to the imperialist power that is its actions became clearer as the movements develop in the world to challenge that power. You had the Cuban revolution and the American attempt to suppress it. You had the Vietnam War and attempt to suppress that revolution. And you had a development of a serious black movement United States and. Coming out hot of the U.S. coming on that and finally of course as the protest movement developed we found that as it became effective the government became increasingly coercive and cracked down on it and the illusions of a liberal democracy were just swept aside by this reality and we learn that the
that it was just that an illusion that this whole myth of the free world was a fraud and then a fact when you got near the juggler when you got real power in the society society acted to preserve its power preserve its empire and just as it was willing to do against the Vietnamese now shows willing to do against Black Panthers arrestee S which is crackdown the repressive totalitarian and. So I think the United States is the major power in the world against change a major force against change. I think it's my job. I'm interested in improving people's well-being and to try to smash Texas a lot of things Papantonio in the last five or 10 years and you've changed your position politically rather drastically from radical. Communist sort of to conservative. Why. Well. That's part of the problem is that people always assume that because what was once a communist and is now a conservative libertarian. That there's been this gigantic shift. Certainly there was a shift from communism to
libertarianism. But the libertarianism that I spoused now and most the organization espouses is really not terribly different from my ideas when I first entered graduate school. The real break for me was from libertarianism into communism. I know I've more or less returned to where I was so that I don't consider a day shift from the extreme left or the extreme right. I think that I started out as a libertarian and made a horrible error in judgment and. I can't justify. But there where I've returned to it's not just about what I started from and my ideals and my goals at this point are very similar to what. I believe that the country has to be changed. I think we are in an absolutely chaotic state the United States emotionally psychologically politically. But I don't believe that the change that's needed is a change towards more government which is really what the left is talking about. The left is not what decentralization the left does not want less government. The Left Front has a purpose as well as a more centralized government much more government control
over all of our lives and every kind of area. We talk to certainly when I was on the left constantly of the fact that the American Revolution the new American Revolution will be different from that in China Czechoslovakia Cuba. So here when it's all said and done it wouldn't be. Obvious that the change would be. Somewhat different because it would be American it would be Americans doing it and no revolution copies another one exactly. But the end result to my mind would be the same would be a more centralized government it would simply change the power structure as it stands for another power structure. But we want to do at this point is abolish the power structure. But we want to do is as much as anything is returned to what we consider at least to be the founding principles of the constitutional principles of this country which means less and less government means that we believe that many people who call themselves conservatives have really sold out that what they have done is simply got a part of the the high life offered to them by the federal government have sold out their principles. So we're looking for and trying to convince people now that it's not enough just say you're
conservative but you must have consistent conservative principles and consistent conservative principles are not those principles espoused by people who call themselves conservatives in many cases made people in government for instance that claim they're conservative and yet believe in oil depletion allowances call themselves conservatives and yet propose legislation to keep people from smoking either cigarettes or her water or anything else because it's inconsistent it's inconsistent with a policy of freedom and we believe that people are capable of choosing their own freedoms and that's not necessary for the government to regulate everything you do. So that we're arguing really for a return to what we consider to be basic conservative traditional concepts and that this is this is what I believe in when I went to college and that's certainly what I believe in Shia and loose talk about some of the developments in this country in the last 10 years from different perspectives. They both mention the role of the left and government repression but they see it
differently. Again sheer first loose second a lot of people going through a change in their perception of things I think the population is more sophisticated about these things they're less naive in their worship of the American dream that's why we have hippies as well yet we have kids go to San Francisco and some of us were kids like rock music and take drugs you know we got I think Seymour Martin the secret could wreck a celebration now and have it be actually be accepted Cardus you know to see a professional conference you know with young students challenges you know established leaders to challenge think university something that has been a success. Recognition You get kids now who you know just are so much sharper more sophisticated than their professors so obviously people have been able learn but most people don't act on this now is because it's painful to you know if you act too much on a joined up in jail I mean if you. You're too strong against the war and you have to be a draft age and you take a principled position you'll end up in jail if you
do too much to support the Black Panthers or if you're black and you become a Black Panther you'll end up being killed or in jail you know and it involves paying a price and the government I think become increasingly repressive and people now are more aware that there's a price to be paid so they develop rationalizations for not acting you know they want to call on to the House or the car they want to be able to be with their family they concentrate more on their personal needs and personal problems they become. You know. More. Bob with that they develop rationalizations for leading what is really a piggish existence because it's completely a selfish personalized existence and then they know that. If you have a good one here is impossible to travel a limited circle anyway. You just go into an airport you're going to get into an argument. Try drinking in a bar you can get in an argument you know. People can be quite belligerent so I know about the hate and violence and stupidity that exists in America you know and you see it all the time. I speak a lot of places where I run into a couple weeks get now to be speaking in the wheezy and Mississippi. I've
spoken before rotary clubs and Lions Clubs I ran for Congress in a district that included some rather backward areas like Oakland and Albany Chalo fornia you know I had to deal with a rather conservative reactionary people. Bad sound think overoptimism I know what the media can do to people how can destroy their brains and what the system can do that's precisely why I oppose it. On the other hand I don't think you can surrender to that to futility. And I think that when we look at what the Left has done over the last 10 years it's had remarkable success. You know I think people should get despondent. We were able to expose the nature of American imperialism to a lot of people were able to at least put a lot of pressure on not spreading that one Vietnam liking of on the other ones and I think that you just got to keep plugging away at it. I believe the conditions in the south racially were in some cases better 10 years ago and they are today because it seems to be instinctive of people that this and I tell them you've got to do something they don't want to do it where they want to or not.
They just don't want to do it. They like to be told. I think that young people at least are very pointed now with the fact that the whole of society is really collapsing around them. At least as far as older people are concerned I'm very happy to see the change and the lack of a better term the lifestyle of many young people on the campuses of many young people just in general in high school. So I think this is all good. I think it's good and last and the thing that still bothers me is of course in my mind that nothing will be changed by simple violence. Nothing will be changed by advocating a state of anarchy in this country. And it bothers me sometimes just to see people willing to destroy almost for destruction say. But the problem is now they've been struggling often on that side to laugh since at least 1960 and I don't believe they've created that much real change in this country.
Now that's a period of nine maybe ten years that the struggle has been on and I don't see the real changes that they've been willing to spend nine or 10 years and have achieved relatively little. Well they may have politicized the country but they may have also you know just set up this Thermador in reaction to it because what they have politicized seems to me to be in many ways working against them. The reaction of State Legislatures. The fact that for instance in a state like California not one state bond issue has passed in the last two years in the city of Los Angeles a fantastic bond issue was proposed in the last election for the city schools which couldn't pass. Now these bond issues are failing because parents are fearful of what's going on in the schools. This is this is what I have achieved in my mind. Now they may have radicalized a number of students but is it worth radicalizing the students if you destroy all of the educational process or if you have created this fantastic cleavage among the citizens of this country.
I don't think it is. And while I think many of you understand is that the federal government even up to now has not been repressive like it could have been. Well for instance you have the rest of the people in Chicago you have a reaction against the Black Panther Party. You have reaction to state law or national law and I guess traffic from state to state you know to organize students for riots on campuses. It's nothing in comparison with historically what the government did when it considered itself faced with a serious threat. International Workers of the world the Wobblies the time of the First World War. I know that is popular among young people think they're the most repressed class in the world the government is really after them so it's over they have denied it that the government has taken action against them. Nothing like it could. I'd certainly don't see anything like a police state here in so far as as we all see obvious actions of either the state government local government is policing powers that are
absurd. Time is still running like a police state. Oh sheer unloose agree that the press in our country is not objective but they have different judgements of how it is functioned. Robert Scheer talks about the clichés in our establishment and the press. To establishment has a notion of neutrality which is very convenient to it which is that there's such a thing as an objective journalist an objective journalist is one who supports the status quo that's why subjective. And he raises any more profound questions that he's not objective. I don't feel ashamed at all of any of the work that's been done in Rampart I think it's solid I think it's tough and I think it stands up I think the reporting stands up by the New York Times this must be sophisticated journalism and points it involves cliches where we've been right on the war of Viet Nam and they were wrong. The New York Times celebrated dmn. SEE The New York Times said Jem was a Democrat. They welcome him to this country when he came you know the New York Times reported that 1962. You know. Well. You know even in 62 it didn't break completely it talked about changes that if you just get rid of
GM it will be a good war. I was the Howard Stern position at the time so we just had reform in Saigon victories around the corner. That kind of position well we've been consistently right on the war. You know the New York Times said it will go right down the line you have part time position on integration of blacks and blacks are disputed what patient will have integration of problem be solved. But wasn't true. I support a black power black male and CSW seems to me has turned out to be correct. You know so. I think our analysis is far more complex sophisticated an accurate analysis of the New York Times going to talk about academic analysis and amazing collection of trivia you know stupidity. When I was in all those dissertations and academic works anybody really look at the literature as sociology or psychology to find the answers to our problems. You know it's a rare book that you would you even bother to recommend to someone. Most people know it what they did when they went to get their doctorate was to learn to be mindless and not to do important work and that's why you have a revolt in these professions now. I think the most interesting work being done is sociology or psychology. So obviously being done by the radicals by people who are
protesting. Certainly true in history. I think of social science come alive at all only because social scientists become radicalized and start serving people and trying to answer their problems and trying to deal with in our society. And what happened over the last. Why would a cold war period is that we were systematically prevented from doing that if you say so the other ones had the cliches they had the cliches of the American dream you know and American democracy and there really was no empire and we were out to help people would point for in the Peace Corps you know and it was cliché Paris for social Narcissa if you try probing beyond it you are considered some kind of crazy communist you and Scully was thrown out. They fired anyone who had a different analysis than they fired the communists they fired the marxists they were the totalitarians and you can see the difference in the university journalism courses you never talk about avatars you never talk about ownership of newspapers to kids come out of college having taken journalism we know nothing about who runs the journalism industry who pays the bill how are decisions made. You know you study economics you never learn about advertising Sanderson's textbook and even have a chapter on until
the most recent edition. I don't know if it's still does but certainly didn't the last time I looked at it when I tore it out of it. She talked about the American economy without ever talking about advertising without ever talking about a consumer society. You know what I'm talking about capitalism really would have a talk about the world empire. So they were the ones who used the cliches you know and not all the blues there is no problem as long as the press continues to express all points of view. I don't think first of all it's possible to have an unbiased press. I think that's a fallacious kind of assumption because I think that any press man or any Press Syndicate or any newspaper is naturally biased one way or the other on certain events. But I think that's good because I think that to try to create the concept that we would have totally rational people with no biases running the press would just never work because you you would you would believe that you're getting news that is completely untainted. But of course it always would be. I think it's one of the problems of television is having
this point where they're trying to give the impression of being totally neutral and yet they obviously aren't. And therefore I think they should just make it clear that they're not just go ahead and do it. Do their own thing so to speak. I see the press at this point functioning well. I think that. We all have criticisms of the press no matter what side of the political fence we set. I think that only within this country is it possible to have a diversity of opinion that one finds in the press. Left right center so that while I get angered sometimes with the refusal of Time magazine to cover certain events or or to carry in a certain way I'm quite sure that people on the other side of the political spectrum are equally as angered by Time magazine. But I don't want to abolish time or censor the New York Times writing like that because I feel that it's only within a country like this whereby you can have a diversity of opinion where you can have a New York Times a Human Events magazine or newspaper or a National Review and still have communist press functioning so that a person can find what he
wants to if he looks enough within the whole of society to either reinforce his own viewpoints or to pick up new ones. Now you'll hear she are talking about what has to be done as he sees it within the laft movement. Lewis will talk about some of the goals of Young Americans for Freedom. Well you know the fact is that we are living in the belly of the beast you know this is the most powerful in the world and it's got a lot of things that it's command and and often forces aren't that strong and they have the means of buying off people and conning them co-opting them they control the media they can give out rewards they can buy off the working class they can buy off the academic intellectuals and somebody called him yesterday at the petit bourgeois shopkeepers that are professionals and give these people their Porsches and cars and houses and so forth. So what we have to basically try to find out is how to deal with this powerful society and to help bring it down so we can help people around the world and help people internally. And we do it by exporting some of its
contradiction is a contradiction of poverty existing society contradiction of black people being repressed. You know rich wealthy society and as far as tactics we are forced to thrash about because of our weakness. We look for the holes we played the holes we try to find that we have societies vulnerable. Sometimes as a demonstration sometimes it's seizing the university buildings sometimes it's a record of politics I'm not very dogmatic about tactics but basically you have to have a radical program because the radical program is what's needed to deal with. You have to examine its. Institutions you have to call for fundamental challenge those institutions can deal with the war in Vietnam was an accident or mistake it's part of a whole foreign policy you can't deal with the problem of black people united states is again an accident or somebody's oversight it's part of a whole system of racism that has always existed in this country and as part of its economic structure so you have to have a radical program and you also have to have radical tactics which allow you to confront the society and that's what's required but once that's said
then people in each locale have got to figure out which tactics work at a given time and then as I say a better look for the points of weakness. But I do think there's a need now to begin developing a serious movement of opposition that has organizational reform I don't think. It can be just a student movement and I think it could be a sectarian. Small Marxist movement that is in need for a national movement that involves adults as well as younger people that are involved. People who want Moxie survivors those who are. And a movement of opposition and confrontation against the repression this country against the growing fascism. I think the left is to feel part of its obligation in that at least to provoke other people aside to think about the issues at least to confront the society that was terribly necessary as politicized society and that was its first historical task because the society with one wanted to ignore the problems want to pretend they want any problems and the left for US through its confrontation tactics the society recognise just what it was all
about. I could begin to take stance and that's good. Now I think the left has to move on to that second task which is to build a base to build alliances. Well of course we are arguing that it is not evil in itself to make money and we are basically capitalists and we're not ashamed to be known as capitalists. But we do argue that one of the one of the real tragedies the United States has been that one of the reasons the economy does not function. You know our minds to the fullest possible extent at this point is because of governmental interference with an economy that we're not only about monopoly laws here we're talking about the fact that the government has so many restrictions on business as a whole. At this point there isn't capable of functioning to its fullest possible extent. It just doesn't function as well as it could because of government interference in the business industries. I suppose what I would like to see is. Total change in the. Way the ghouls. Most people
believe that this is beginning that among students. We would like as much as possible to begin peacefully stop the violence on the campuses by peacefully I mean we do not advocate police coming on campuses. We do not advocate student brawls or vigilante action but we do believe that the violence has got to stop. First of all so students can attend classes if they want to. And secondly says so that private property is no longer violated. And thirdly is because we believe that the actions of the left are only thermidor and insofar as they are creating a fantastic backlash from the right. This backlash will hurt all dissent of possible student dissent on the campuses and we believe that we're dissenters too and that when the state legislature start passing laws the laws will not just be against the left but also be against the right so that we are trying through legal means through the implementation of legal suits this fall to stop the left where we can on the campuses. But we are also hoping
to educate students through a variety of means through free universities of possible through bringing speakers on the campus through balancing the economics of political science departments allowing people to believe in capitalism and free market economy to teach. Just as equally as those devoutly Paul Samuelson or Marx teach so that we think the rational thought we were great believers in rational thought passe as it may be that in the free marketplace of ideas the rationality will win out. Now this is true we believe that we have a more rational program than the left or the left and that if it's true then we would win the minds of people over the period of time at least we could change the country. The far left and the far right may not be all that close to each other after all. Robert Scheer and Philip Luce seem to agree when they say they don't want this present government controlling their lives. But for sure it's not just the government that's bad it's the whole
system. The economy everything that's causing the ills in our society for loose the ills in society aren't the fault of the economic system. The trouble is all with government and less government would somehow take care of everything. There's some irony in the fact that the point on which these two spokesman most closely agree has nothing to do with their politics but rather with the way they dress. But the problem is that they've been struggling often on the left since at least 1960 and I don't believe they've created that much real change in this country. And I think that we look at what directed and over the last 10 years have had remarkable success. You know I think people should get despondent. This has been a federal case. Your correspondent Dale. His program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
A Federal Case
Episode Number
Producing Organization
National Educational Radio Network
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-wh2ddb15).
Series Description
"A Federal Case" is a weekly program produced by the National Educational Radio Network which examines current political topics in the United States and Washington, D.C. Each episode features interviews with experts, members of the public, and lawmakers concerning a specific issue of government.
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: National Educational Radio Network
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-38-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:40
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “A Federal Case; 1,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “A Federal Case; 1.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: A Federal Case; 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from