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tone tone. The conservative, seems to me, has a healthy respect for the past. He looks to the past to instruct the present, and he doesn't despair. For example, we run into people that say, well, now if only Calvin Coolidge could come back from lunch, and everything be the way it used to be, then we'd be fine. The contemporary American conservatism is, in a certain sense, a new thing. It is the consolidation, both intellectual and political, of the reaction against 30
years of liberalism, which is the American word for democratic socialism, which was ushered in with the first rose (?) by the administration. I think that the conservative movement in America presently needs simply a focus to move forward, and I suspect that focus will be the candidacy of Barry Goldwater for President of the United States. (applause) Conservatism today is not the conservatism we have known during the heyday of liberalism and the welfare state. Today's conservatives make no apologies for its principles. (cheering and applause, music) Clinton Rossiter: There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists an indesoluble union between virtue
and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity. The smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained. Those were the words of George Washington. In 1789, on this spot in New York City, he was inaugurated as First President of the United States. Although Washington, like Lincoln, belongs to all Americans, he is considered by most historians to be this country's first conservative statesman, and the Washington heritage lives on. My name is Clinton Rossiter. No one can stand where I am standing now, and not be sensible that conservatism has played a major role in the rise of the United States.
This is the site of Federal Hall, the first capital of the United States under the Constitution, and in front here runs Wall Street, and up there stands Trinity Church, a site where the founding fathers met to worship. Both as a political force and as a philosophy, American conservatism has played a major role in the rise of the United States to greatness and affluence. As a political force conservatism is, in my opinion, roughly synonymous with the right wing of politics, and gathered there are the men of substance and status, the men of power who oppose the reformers on the left wing, and this street, Wall Street, is a place of substance and status and power. Conservatism is a philosophy as well as a political force, a philosophy that emphasizes tradition, aristocracy, order, and prudence.
This building, the site of our first government under the Constitution, is a physical reminder of America's tradition. The fact that ours is just about the oldest government on earth, a model of order and prudence in the governing of men, even in a world of change and upheaval. Each of the presences, the street and the hall, is a reminder of the special quality of American conservatism. It's a paradox that a conservative would emphasize progress or liberty, but I think you see the one thing about which men can be truly conservative in America is America itself, an open, progressive, liberty-conscious, opportunity-laden society. Now this paradox is doubled if we remember that American conservatives have not sat like roadblocks in the path of reform, but of themselves been engines of change.
Was a giant like JP Morgan, who strode these streets, a conservative, because he fought fiercely against the reformers of the left? Or was he in a way a radical, more of a radical and they were when he helped form the United States steel corporation and made over the face of America. So let us go into federal hall here and look briefly at some of the great giants of American conservatism. We will find out what they stood for, what they fought for, and what they gave to us who carry on today. On this site where Washington was inaugurated, the first Congress met under the Constitution. Here the departments of state, war, and treasury were created, the Supreme Court came into existence and the Congress adopted our cherished Bill of Rights.
The sense of continuity with the past is a lively force in modern America and is a conservative force. And the portraits in this room are a vivid reminder of what we have received from the past, a conservative as well as a liberal past. George Washington probably did as much as any succeeding president to give the United States a conservative stance. He could have been a meddling and innovating executive and operator, yet when faced with situations that called for decisive action, he was prudent and took a painfully long time to make up his mind. In his farewell address to the nation, he said, toward the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles. Washington was a man who knew the importance of ceremony, of symbol.
He was the Virginian who had provided much of the leadership of the American Revolution, which was not intended like most revolutions to make the world over, but to preserve the best institutions of an American world that had already been made over, and it was therefore a conservative revolution. The other founding father we may think of as a conservative, a man with a lifelong devotion to the cause of ordered liberty, was a Boston lawyer named John Adams. Here was a man who loved America as it was and had been, and who said to his own generation and future generations, legislators beware. Beware how you make laws to shock the prejudices or break the habits of the people. John Adams believed deeply that those who would found a state and make laws for it must presume that all men are bad or at least weak by nature, otherwise why the need for law. Still other conservatives were major figures in the great creative process of 1787 that
gave us the Constitution, and three of them left us that document of political wisdom we call the Federalist, and these are those three authors. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. In their Federalist papers can be plainly read the conservatism of the framers of the Constitution. Madison's and Hamilton's views of human nature wandered back and forth between bleak pessimism and conditional optimism, and John Jay held the moderate conservative view of the propertied American of the 18th century that the people who own the country ought to govern it. And what, after all, was the theory of checks and balances in the Constitution, if not an attempt to check and balance man's will to power and his tendencies toward corruption. These the Federalists were the men who put the Constitution into effect in the 1790's.
Although their influence waned in the White House and to some extent in Congress in the next century, the conservatives before they had departed, left behind them an implacable standard bearer as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. One of President John Adams' last so-called midnight appointments before he left office was the choice of John Marshall of Virginia as Chief Justice. For 34 astounding years, Marshall carried on the great work of building up the checks and balances of the Constitution. The result of all this was a struggle between what we might call a Liberal President, Jefferson, and a Conservative Chief Justice, Marshall. Marshall won this particular battle, that is, for an independent court, and the court there after became a bulwark of political and economic conservatism. And Marshall was still what gathered, still unyielding to his fathers in 1835, the practical
men of the right, men such as Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, were already moving toward a new political faith. Farms, factories, railroads, and states were sprouting all over the map, and the conservatives gradually became involved with the process of industrialization and also defenders of a strong national interest. This man they called the God-like Daniel cast his lot with nationalism and fought a brilliant if hopeless delaying battle against the forces of disunity that were threatening to tear the nation apart. To those who would leave the Union in order to preserve their liberties, Webster made the classically-ply liberty and union now and forever one and inseparable. And so some 85 years after independence on the eve of the Civil War, one might say that the two basic urges of political man, conservatism and liberalism, had made a reality on this
continent of man's age-old dream of free government, what we call constitutional democracy. If the Liberals had done most to give us our democracy, the conservatives had done most to give us our constitutionalism. As in so many other areas of American life, the Civil War was the great divide of American conservatism. Industrialism brought a mighty transformation and change became the built-in condition of American life, change man's cash profits. And so the men on the political right who had for so long opposed change, now in one of the most amazing about faces in history, took charge of industrial change. Tycoon, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, went about
the business of big business with thoughts in their minds that would never have occurred to John Adams. As Andrew Carnegie wrote in his 1889 essay entitled Wealth, the good old times were not good old times, neither master nor servant was as well situated then as today. But whether the change be for good or ill, it is upon us, beyond our power to alter and therefore to be accepted and made the best of. Some of these men saw their mission in religious terms. As John D. Rockefeller said on one famous occasion, the good Lord gave me the money. How could I withhold it from the University of Chicago? In point of fact, two great transformations were being wrought at this time. America became industrial and America became a full-blown democracy after the Civil War. The old vine conservatives who doubted popular government or questioned the materialistic
civilization surrendered all claims to political power and influence. Henry Adams is an especially poignant example of such a man. His great-grandfather and grandfather, John and John Quincy Adams, could hold consciously conservative ideas and be elected to the presidency. But old-fashioned conservatism was impotent by the time of Henry Adams. As he said in his autobiography, which he wrote in the third person, he had stood for his 18th century, his Constitution of 1789, his George Washington, his Harvard College. He had hugged his antiquated dislike of bankers and capitalistic society until he had become little better than a crank. We can say in any case that he was a humorous crank, for he also wrote, the progress from President Washington to President Grant was alone enough to upset Darwin.
From Grant onward, most of the presidents preached the gospel of economic individualism so abhorred by the thoughtful men on the right like Henry Adams. Ulysses S. Grant saw the hand of providence in the careers of the wealthy. He admired them, praised them, and accepted lavish gifts from them. In William McKinley and Calvin Coolidge, the conservative middle class found its ideal statesman, symbols of rugged economic individualism who can find their political activities to executing the wills of Congress, and I may say a conservative Congress. The plight of conservatism in the late 19th and early 20th century in America was most dramatically embodied in the person of Henry Ford. No man ever did more than Henry Ford to change the face of this nation. The assembly line, the five dollar day, and above all the inexpensive automobile helped
destroy the customs, manners, and practices of the people. Some say even their mating habits, of one way of life, and to put another in its place. Henry Ford was, if I may put it this way, one of the supreme radicals of all time, a mover and shaker worth matching with men in. Yet he was also a supreme conservative, a man well-content to honor the values of the American path. He was the builder, remember, in his later years of Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, an astonishing accumulation of Americana, the one-room schoolhouse, the buckboard, the delivery stable, the dirt road to market, the town pump, which he had done more than any other man to render obsolete. The contrast of Henry Ford's factory at River Rouge, and Henry Ford's Greenfield Village at Dearborn, or if I may put it this way, Henry Ford in the radical act of creation, and
Henry Ford in the nostalgic act of recreation, is at least a rough measurement of this paradox we call American conservatism, which even as it opposes small reforms, sponsors vast changes in our way of life. Today the conservative president, who was in the White House when the financial roof caved in in 1929, is perhaps the most celebrated living conservative. Mr. Herbert Hoover is an almost perfect example of the rhetoric of the American right. In August of 1962, at the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, the former president spoke of the strength and future of America. Herbert Hoover: That word of America carries meanings which I lie deep in the soul of our people. It reaches far beyond the size of cities and factories.
It spreads from our religious faith, our ideals of individual freedom and equal opportunity, which have come in the centuries since we landed on these shores. It rises from our pride in the great accomplishments of our nation. Clinton Rossiter: The pride Mr. Hoover expresses in the past, the emphasis he places upon religion, the warning he gives us that discipline is the price of freedom. These are points that conservatives would dwell upon in any country of the West. Herbert Hoover: And if you will look, you will find that the Bill of Rights is an enforced law of the land. And you will find that the dignity of man and the equality of opportunities are more than nearly survived in this land, than any other on earth. Clinton Rossiter: And yet there is a hopeful tone about his speech, indeed almost a delight in the thought
of new discoveries, new inventions, and new ideas that will revolutionize our daily lives, that one would not expect to find in the French, a German, or even a British conservative. Herbert Hoover: You will also find that from our educational system, there comes, every year, a hope of stimulated minds. They bring new scientific discoveries, new inventions, and new ideas. It is true that they revolutionize or disturb our daily lives, but we can readily adjust ourselves in our government to them, without the assistance of Karl Marx. Clinton Rossiter: There is in addition an abiding faith in the miracle of America that promises success, even it does not always deliver on the promise to any man ready to toil and spin intelligently
and faithfully. Herbert Hoover: I was taken from this village to the far west, 78 years ago. They only material assets which I had were two dimes in my pocket, the sooter clothes that I wore, and I had some extra underpinning provided by La Vignance. But I carried from here something much more precious. I had a certificate of the fourth, or the fifth grade, I forgot which, of higher learning from the West Bank School. I had a stern grounding of religious faith. I carried with me recollections of a joyous childhood where the winter snow and the growing crops of Iowa were on a special provision for kids.
And I carried with me the family disciplines of hard work. And in conclusion, may I say to the boys and girls of America, that the doors of opportunity are still open to you, today the durability of freedom is more secure in your country than any place in the world. Clinton Rossiter: One message does come through clearly in this speech, and it is the essential message of American conservatism, that we will make whatever progress we can make into the future by following the directions laid down for us by our forefathers. That commitment to tradition still stands behind much of our conservative thinking today. (?): Unaccustomed as I am, to shortening my public addresses, I give you the conservative choice
for President Barry Goldwater. (cheers) Alan Weston: To many conservatives, young and old, Senator Barry Goldwater is the great statesman of the 1960s. Other conservatives prefer men such as Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York or Governor George Romney of Michigan. Given the pragmatic nature of American ideology and politics, conservatives have found today in both political parties and all income brackets and with sharply different views on public policy issues. My name is Alan Weston, Associate Professor of Public Law and Government at Columbia University.
Clearly, conservatives are not a monolithic movement. In fact, conservatism covers such a rolling ideological countryside that the best way to describe it is to define some of its outer boundaries. On the right border, conservatism does not extend to the regular hate groups in American life. Most conservatives regard these as extremist movements, which play into the hands of the liberals and discredit conservative philosophy. However, some conservatives share the alarm of the radical right over dangerous trends in American life, and thus will defend the John Burke society as sound in purpose, though sometimes unwise in tactics. How far to the left conservatism runs also is a hard question to answer. Few conservatives are in Americans for Democratic action or the American Civil Liberties Union. Yet there are conservatives who accept the new and fair deal, as accomplished facts, have a high dedication to civil liberties and due process of law, and opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy in the late 1950s.
These patrician conservatives are drawn largely from the Wall Street law firms, the big banks and brokerage houses, and the great families of the nation, such as the Rockefellers, the Mellons, and the Fords. One of the best ways to portray the elements of unity and diversity among conservatives is to ask some self-described conservatives for their views on critical issues before the nation. We did this and received an interesting spectrum of replies. We asked, what are the major contributions of present-day conservatives to the nation? This is Frank Meyer, on the board of National Review Magazine, an author of Indefensive Freedom. He is considered a right-wing ideological conservative. Frank Meyer: Conservatism in control of the policies of this country will contribute two things and things of the utmost and decisive importance. First, it will end the policies that liberalism of both parties has enforced upon us of appeasement and appeasement, retreat, and retreat before the forces of world conquering or rather
of communism, which wishes to dominate the world. Second, conservatism will, though it may take time after 30 years of a growth of a bureaucratic parasitic government, reverse the trend away from the Constitution, limit the interference of government and the affairs of the citizens, cut the government back to size, base it upon what it should be doing, the defense of the country, the preservation of order, the administration of justice, and get it out of the concerns of private individuals and associations of private individuals. Alan Weston: We asked the same question of Senator John Tower, Republican of Texas, who was considered a right-wing practical conservative. Senator John Tower: I think the major contribution that we can make is in opposing the programs that are presented to us by those who would establish an absolute or a welfare state by trying to arrest the current trend toward what we might call a socialistic state, even though some of the programs being
proposed may not be actually socialistic, they trend us in that direction. I think that the major contribution that conservatives can make right now is to hold the fort until such time as we have a conservative majority in the Congress or a conservative president and can begin to create or re-create, I should say, a climate of freedom in the United States. Alan Weston: Senator Leverett Saltonstall, Republican of Massachusetts, is a petretian conservative of the center, Northern style. Senator Leverett Saltonstall: It's a present-day conservative is a realism that our government cannot continue building up new programs, expanding old programs without some realization that these programs are costing them money, and that if their federal government is to be able to reduce their taxes so that they can have more money to spend in their businesses, to build up their businesses, get more production in the United States, they've got to see to it, that they don't ask
too much of their government too quickly. Alan Weston: Malcolm Bruce, Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, was an aide to President Eisenhower. He is a left of center conservative. Malcolm Bruce: The immediate contribution is to have as many people as possible get actively into the windy corridors in public affairs. When I say actively, I don't mean that they should just jump into the United States Senator or Congress, but I mean all the way down to the healthy substructure of American public and political life here. I think the conservatives have not given the kind of leadership here in public affairs of which they're capable of. Alan Weston: We ask these four conservatives, should the government have a role in financing education? (?) I am absolutely and firmly opposed to it. The control of education by the government centralized in Washington is dangerous to
the liberties of the country. There has never been a modern form of tyranny without universal compulsory free education controlled from the center of the country. I think that there should be the greatest possibility of education in the country including good encouragement to private education and public education should be totally controlled in the community. There's no earthly reason why taxes should not be rebated to individual parents who wish to provide for a private education for their children. (?) I don't believe the federal government should have a role in financing education. I believe that this is responsibility of state and local government. I believe it's responsibility of private organizations or what we might call church supported organizations. I think that federal financing would ultimately lead to federal control. I don't think we want federal control of our public school system. But I remind you that Hitler came to power in a free election and ultimately was able to brainwash the German people by controlling education.
So I might remind you that after all our system of free public education is a result of individual and local initiative and responsibility and not a result of federal action. (?) I think the role of the federal government in education comes principally in the assistance of constructing new buildings. Now buildings may be schools, they may be dormitories in colleges, or there may be some other form of construction, we'll say like even recreation fields. I personally am opposed to the federal government taking part in the maintenance and the operation of the schools. And by that I mean the actual size up as to what form education should take and teachers salaries and things of that character. (?) The answer to that question starts with the fact that the federal government always has taken a hand in federal education.
Now I feel that certainly any extensive kind of federal aid program to aid the construction of buildings and to subsidize teacher salaries that would lead to federal control or you get some kind of a gargantuan federal office of education superimposing every kind of control. I would be dead set against. But I don't think this is necessary for us to get the kind of aid we need to our educational system to help do some of the things that have suddenly overcome us because of an unusual population explosion here. So I'm not at all worried here if this is done with great care and caution about the federal government helping education in the United States. Alan Weston: What does this varied group of conservatives think about social security? Is it necessary? Should it be extended? (?) There's no question but that the problem of preparing for the exigencies of old age, unemployment, and so on is a problem.
But I see no reason why it cannot be solved by insurance in a private manner as other exigencies that men face are solved and have been solved in a free enterprize economy. I am not considering that we are accustomed to it and the state of the country being what it is proposing to abolish it. But I do think that it would be very interesting and indeed, elementally, justice, the persons who did not care to have the government take care of their needs for them, to make the system voluntary so that those persons who cared to take care of their own old age in their own manner could do so instead of having the government hold their hands for them. It might be interesting to see what would happen after a while if it were possible for persons to contract out. And I am sure we'd see an enormous growth of private insurance schemes. As to extension, yes, there are all sorts of measures to attempt to extend it and it is becoming, as a matter of fact, a way of increasing taxation when the income tax is already going so high that the government does not increase that.
It's up to seven and a quarter percent and heading for ten percent without deductions or exceptions. I am totally opposed to expanding it, totally opposed to such schemes as Medicare which would expand it. (?) Again, I think the need exists for some sort of Social Security program, but in recognizing a need, we mustn't always automatically assume that there is a federal responsibility to meet the need. I think this is a responsibility that could be met on the state level. I am hopeful that there will be no further expansion of federal Social Security. A lot of people are brought into the Federal Social Security program that don't want to be simply because they are compelled by a legal process to be a part of Social Security. There are a great number of people that would like to provide for their own future, that would like to use the money that's invested in Social Security to make their own provisions for security in their old age. (?) I think Social Security, as we know it, is here to stay. I think it will gradually be expanded.
The problem is to give the aid to the people who have put their money into Social Security through their life's earnings, to assist people who are on old age pensions to a more comfortable way of life, and yet not go beyond the amounts that can be raised through the revenues by which Social Security is provided. (?) Social Security was necessary at a certain time in the growth of our nation, where I think we did not have widespread retirement programs in American industry and American business. Now I do think that in the years ahead, contrary to what some people may believe, that we're not necessarily going to have an expanded Social Security, contrary to this idea that we've got to get bigger and bigger coverage, that we may well have a shrinkage of the government participation in this as we have a partnership between private industry and business and
government here with retirement programs. This I think reinforces one point about conservatism, that because you start it doesn't mean as so many people argue that it's got to always get larger and larger and larger. When the job is over, when the need has been met, you can get out of it or at least you can pull it down. Alan Weston: We ask this conservative spectrum, what should be government's fiscal responsibilities? (?) The fiscal responsibilities of the government of the United States are of course limited to paying for the responsibilities of the government, and those responsibilities should constitutionally be limited to, the defense of the country against foreign enemies, the preservation of domestic peace and order, and the administration of a system of government. Everything else should be left to individual persons and associations of free individual persons, and therefore the fiscal responsibility of the government should be restricted to paying for its right and through duties and for no more.
(?) The government I think should live within its means. I don't think we can go on piling deficit on top of deficit without there someday being a day of reckoning. I think it's both economically unsound and immoral for this generation to saddle generations yet unborn with a gigantic federal debt so that we can have some comfort and security ourselves in the present time. (?) The fiscal responsibility of the government should be one to balance the budget, to balance the budget because that means that our dollar will have a stable value. It means that we will have a greater confidence in the future of our government. People here in the United States will know what their dollar is worth. People abroad will not be afraid that the dollar will become inflated and be of less of value. (?) Every government has got to really fight to keep down inflation. So this is one of its preeminent responsibilities. Now in the other direction, government has increasingly been looked through to do what
is necessary to weather proof the economy against the great troughs of depression that we have sometimes had in the past. This is all well and good provided that government doesn't smother incentive by getting too much into the economic domain. Alan Weston: What cheers conservative spokesmen on is the upsurge of interest in conservatism among American youth from college campuses to the under 35-year-old divisions of political and civic life. Just how large this conservative upsurge is on college campuses like this and elsewhere, no one can measure, and it is clearly not a mass movement, but it is vocal, activist, and interesting. What caused its appearance in the late 1950s and early 60s? There are several reasons. Partly, this is the normal rise to political activity of young people from upper income business and professional families, suburban and rural communities, and the old families from white
Anglo-Saxon Protestant groups. They are shaped by the climate of affluence and prestige, which they believe liberalism to threaten. Not everyone in the new conservatism is rich, white, or gentile, however. There are some young conservatives without wealth or high social status who still identify with the values of the business community and with the traditions of the old America. They believe these are the policies that reward initiative and talent in the United States. Such self-selected conservatives are hostile to what they regard as the leveling process of American liberalism. Another important factor in the upsurge of campus conservatism is the nature of youthful protest itself. During the intellectually stimulating and pressure-free years of college, young people naturally challenged the values and institutions of the adult generation. Back in the 1920s, the time of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, a young person could announce to his parents at dinner that unions or a socialist might be a good thing, and dad would
gasp in horror at this youthful radicalism. Today, 30 years later, after the new deal, the fair deal, and Eisenhower republicanism, many parents themselves are liberals. Government, the cultural media, and the universities are all citadels of orthodox liberalism. To make dads splutter today, some can announce that maybe Barry Goldwater has the right ideas, or that one should read the National Review magazine rather than The Reporter or the New Republic. To challenge the establishment of adult America, young people now are drawn either to the new conservatism or to democratic socialism. Among the most interesting groups in this connection is young Americans for freedom, or as it is also known, YAF. YAF was founded in 1960 and has over 320 chapters with 20,000 young people. (?) I have been informed that near here there is a meeting of the ADA, which commanded an
attendance of some 2,000 souls. It's my understanding that the capacity of this house is some 18,000, and I see there's not even a raftor's place left. (cheers) Nobody can tell me the conservative movement but does not have vitality. This is proof that it does. Alan Weston: YAF is essentially an ideological movement. Its members publish newspapers and pamphlets, organize rallies, and take positions on leading issues. Most of all, they criticize liberalism. One of its active speakers in the New York City area is Myrna Bain. One of the places at which Miss Bain spoke recently was the 9W Bowling Club in Anglewood
Cliff's New Jersey. The lounge had been rented by the young Americans for freedom for a debate on conservatism. Myrna Bain: Now, for some time, the individual or whenever anyone mentions individual freedom or individual liberty. From the political after-always get a slight sneer, and you get comments, oh, we want to return to the days of robber barons, the days of foremans, and the J.P. Appoint Morgan and various others who made money after the Civil War, or running rampant over the workers of this country. But this is not what the conservatives mean when they talk about individual freedom and individual liberty. We are not talking about a society where everyone is necessarily equal, because as conservatives we do not feel that everyone is equal. We do not think that everybody is physically equal, and we do not feel as individuals that people mentally are equal, and we most definitely do not feel that people spiritually
are equal. (?) One question I have, based on your brief, has to do with the word equality as you used it. And I found it rather puzzling when you seem to mean by equal the term identical. Are you by your statement also saying that the constitutional statement, the statement in the Gettysburg address and the statement of the Declaration of Independence, which asserts the equality of all human beings, is a meaningless statement? Myrna Bain: Before the law all men are equal, you are equal to a trial by jury or equal to certain property rights. You are equal to certain rights to hold and acquire possessions that these things cannot be taken from you except by law. But outside of that, we do not feel that men are equal. (?) Miss Bain, you seem to have a rather difficult time with facts as statistics as we all do. I wonder how you envision a social arrangement that will deal with the fact of 40 millions
of people in our country living with incomes of less than $4,500 per year, with the fact of cities that are strangling themselves and that are increasingly making slums, with the fact that we will have to whether we like it or not, determine some social arrangement that will meet the needs of the literally billions of people who are starving. Myrna Bain: We do not talk about social arrangements. We do not believe in arranging society because we believe, first of all, society of people and groups and aggregates. And therefore, when you talk about social arrangements, you're really talking about arranging the lives of people. But it is not like a society that we have now where we are faced with either IBM, Poffer's Union, or the Kennedy administration. I think all three of them have far too much power and the individual has nothing to say. (?) I'm addressing my questions, Miss Bain.
I think it would be helpful for me if we could focus on a specific issue. In this case, I'd like to refer to a question of medical care for the aged. Myrna Bain: For number one, I'd like to say that the need for Medicare is a need in the mind of President Kennedy. It was one of his many issues that he, were thought up, and which he would have a campaign issue just before the 62 congressional elections. There are 17 million elderly people in the United States and because there are 17 million elderly people in this country, you've been told, therefore, there is a need for compulsory national health program. This is not true. Who is to decide the needs of the individual? Some men sitting in an office somewhere and building 24 floors in the Lord knows how many rooms. Who is to decide how much food I need to eat, how much money I should make, where I should live? New York City Housing Authority?, the Department of Agriculture?, the Pentagon? I say no. But there's a line that we must all draw as to what state can do for us or even should
do for us. Alan Weston: One goal of Young Americans for Freedom from its inception has been to secure influence in the citadel of servitism, the Republican Party, and its recruiting station, the young Republican clubs throughout the country. The recently elected chairman of the young Republicans in Washington, Texas, and Michigan have all been YAF members. But not all young Republicans have welcomed YAF's brand of conservatism. A political party seeks to win elections, and that takes majorities, not passionate minorities. Some young Republicans, typified by the Harvard Drawing Editors of Advance, a progressive Republican magazine, believe that the ideological approach of young Americans for freedom and the policies of Barry Goldwater, would doom the Republican Party to a continual second place in American politics. These modern conservatives seek a way to reach more than traditional Republican supporters
and appeal to working people and minority groups. Tom Laura Seller: Here in the heart of Harlem, 7th Avenue near 133th Street, with one of the many vacant stores rented by the New York Republican Committee for the purpose of giving free tax advice to the people of the neighborhood. This store is open during the tax season and will help many hundreds of people. The responsibility of the New York Young Republican Club to man this particular store with expert tax consultants from our organization. I'm Tom Laura Seller, President of the New York Young Republican Club. This annual tax assistance program is one of the many projects we sponsor throughout the year. We do this because people-to-people contact is vital for any political organization. We feel this demonstrates the new progressive Republican. One who has spoken, then written about this, is our Vice President Owen Racliff (?).
Owen Racliff (?): There is a real and traditional place in the Republican Party for the progressive Republican. We acknowledge that there is a conservative element in the GOP, but this is true of the Dems, of the Democrats as well. We try to demonstrate our ideologies in the men we support, such as Governor Rockefeller, Senator Jabbits, and Congressman John B. Lindsey, who was once a President of this club. We try to expand ourselves in people-to-people contact. More than just the usual campaign hoopla, which young people are known for. But we also must keep ourselves alert concerning the right-wing extremists in the country today. Those people who have a generally unsympathetic attitude toward minorities, toward the UN, toward those proven social legislations which we believe in in this country. This doesn't mean that we are well-fairists or dreamers of the left, far from it. We make a clear distinction between the liberal who believes in progress within the free
enterprise system in this country, and the so-called liberal who seems to have a nagging nostalgia about socialism and other Marxist fallacies. In this context, we regard the fact that business knows what's best for itself, whether it's a big steel industry or the smallest local candy store. And what's good for those businesses is generally good for the country. If it concerns labor, we believe labor is a vital unit in the free enterprise system, such as management is. And we would deplore the expansion of power in the labor movement as much as we do in the business monopoly. If we had to be pinned down, I suppose we could say that basically we are a moderate group, but dynamically moderate. We pursue a sane and progressive attitude according to the needs and purposes of our times. We're not just in the middle of the road.
We'd like to think we're at the nub of the situation. We move neither left nor right. We hope we move forward. Alan Weston: Some conservatives see their future in progressive policy. Others advocate a return to right-wing truth. And there are conservatives who see no future for the right-wing at all. One such conservative is writer Noel Parmentel Jr. Noel Parmentel Jr.: I personally see very little reason to be optimistic about the right-wing prospects in America. We will be gone. It's too bad because we're the only, in my view, the only remaining defense against the herd and against the herd's ring mass to the egalitarian. But it's all our own fault, and this cop failure can be squarely attributed to the fact that our matchless ability to make ourselves ridiculous in the eyes of the American public. 1946, the election seems to me, turned the tide from the New Deal toward conservatism
in America, particularly the election, in 1946. That was the time to build a national political movement. So what did we give them for a starter? We gave them the American public the antics of Conan Shine (?). While I sort of poke fun at Conan Shine's antics, I don't mean to attack Joe McCarthy. I think the nation owes Joe McCarthy, a debt of gratitude, which it can never repay. If only for the job he did on scaring the bureaucracy out of about ten years of growth and showing up American liberals for the national college they are. What did we do in 1952? We had a chance to nominate, to send a tap, the only conservative was Calvin Coolidge's chance at the American presidency. And ultimately we've had a sleazy parade of foreigners and ex-communists who have given us the word on the loyalty of various American citizens.
We've got to stop being divisive. We've got to get these Southern Democrats into the Republican Party. The only home we have is the Republican Party. We've got to try to nominate conservatives from the precinct level up. And then if we lose, we've got to go along with the Republican nominee. We've got to make a serious attempt to nominate any like Goldwater or if possible capture George Romney or even Nelson Rockefeller. But pulling for the right wing is like, in the end, pulling for the New York Mets really. It's a gallant little band, it's a thin red line, it's the Alamo, it's Wake Island, it's the German army, it's Stalingrad, it's Horacio at the bridge. Clinton Rossiter: American conservatism, something of a paradox. I have the feeling that most persons who have watched this program would now agree with my opening observation, that the conservative movement is a paradox, a bundle of confusion. Why?
Certainly it's a paradox because of the fact that the institutions and traditions, most worth preserving in this country, are those of a free, hopeful, open, forward-looking society. And liberals are just as intent upon preserving these as our conservatives. So it is especially hard for the American conservative to conceive his mission, indistinctly conservative terms. Also most spokesman of the American right, in their understandable delight over the rediscovery of conservatism in these last few years, have not yet faced up to the things that divide conservatives even as other things unite them. Although all American conservatives may be united in opposing the bright plans of reformers like Walter Ruther, they are divided from one another deeply, if not hopelessly, by dozens of cross-cutting differences. In the busy camp of American conservatism, there are not merely Catholics and Protestants, farmers and businessmen, Republicans and Democrats.
There are primitives and sophisticates, sentimental agrarians and hard-headed industrialists, small town boys and big city slickers, protectionists and free traders, xenophobes and xenophiles, McCarthyites and anti McCarthyites, men who hate both change and reform and men who hate only reform, men on the way up and men on the way down. If we divide the American right wing into large categories and make our criterion the kind of peace conservatives have made with the immense changes of the past 30 years, first set in motion by Franklin D. Roosevelt, well, here are men like Governor Rockefeller, who really seem over-adjusted to the legacy of Roosevelt and want to give us more social security at home and more commitments abroad. Then there are men like President Eisenhower, remarkably adjusted, who are prepared faithfully
to administer reforms they would not have proposed in the first place. And then there are men like Senator Goldwater, who are, let us say, unadjusted, and want, so they say, to roll back the course of history at least a few years. The real American conservative needless to add is a man who does not quite know his own mind, but then neither does the real American liberal. It is only the extremists of right and left, apparently, who know their own minds perfectly, and from the power of such man, I am tempted to pray may the good Lord deliver us. A final source of confusion on the right wing is the question which is already being thrust upon all of us, but especially upon conservatives. Will our traditional, established ways of thinking and doing be equal to the demands of the new world of automation, of abundance, of overpopulation. Can conservatism in fact be a healthy
force in a restless country with vast problems to solve, an embattled country with vast dangers to endure? I would like to think it can, and so I imagine do even the sternest critics of modern American conservatism. If we are going to have a growing conservatism of thought and practice in this country, we must all hope that it will be a worthy successor to the conservatism of Washington, Adams, Marshall, and Webster. (music) This is NET, National Educational Television.
This is NET, National Educational Television, and we must all hope that it will be a worthy
Series
Perspectives
Episode
The American Conservative
Producing Organization
WNDT (Television station : Newark, N.J.)
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/512-r785h7cx44
NOLA Code
PERS
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/512-r785h7cx44).
Description
Episode Description
"This program examines the history, philosophy, and present position of the American conservative. Through film, interviews, and commentary, the program stretches across the spectrum of conservative thinking from Frank Meyer, a conservative philosopher who writes for the National Review, through Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.) and Senator John Tower (R-Tex.) to Malcolm Moos, former assistant to President Eisenhower. In New York City's Federal Hall, host Clinton Rossiter - historian, philosopher, and professor of government at Cornell University - opens the program by tracing the history and position of the conservative from George Washington to Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller. During Professor Rossiter's comments, viewers watch President Hoover speak at the dedication of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, in August 1962. Columbia University Professor Alan Westin - the program's second host - describes the new surge in American conservatism in America's youth, and tries to pinpoint some identifying characteristics of the modern conservative. In separate interviews, Mr. Meyer, Senator Saltonstall, Senator Tower, and Mr. Moos answers questions on the position of the American conservative particularly in the areas of government fiscal policy, education and social welfare. Viewers also see films of conservatism in action - Senator Barry Goldwater at a Madison Square Garden rally of Young Americans for Freedom, a debate sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and a meeting of the Young Republicans of New York City. Noel Parmentel Jr., writer, conservative and outspoken critic of conservatism adds his comments on the right wing. Professor Rossiter concludes with an overview of the program. The American Conservative is a 1963 production of WNDT, New York City" (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
Episode Description
1 hour piece, produced by WNDT. It was originally shot on videotape.
Broadcast Date
1963-05-23
Asset type
Episode
Genres
Documentary
Topics
History
Politics and Government
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
01:02:30
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Director: Myhrum, Robert
Guest: Parmentel, Noel, Jr.
Host: Westin, Alan
Host: Rossiter, Clinton L.
Interviewee: Saltonstall, Leverett
Interviewee: Moos, Malcolm
Interviewee: Meyer, Frank
Interviewee: Tower, John
Producer: Benjamin, James
Producing Organization: WNDT (Television station : Newark, N.J.)
Speaker: Goldwater, Barry
Speaker: Hoover, Herbert
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 1 inch videotape: SMPTE Type C
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Duration: 0:58:09
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-5 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Color: B&W
Duration: 0:58:09
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: B&W
Duration: 0:58:09
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-4 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Copy: Access
Color: Color
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2058434-3 (MAVIS Item ID)
Generation: Master
Color: Color
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Citations
Chicago: “Perspectives; The American Conservative,” 1963-05-23, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-r785h7cx44.
MLA: “Perspectives; The American Conservative.” 1963-05-23. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-r785h7cx44>.
APA: Perspectives; The American Conservative. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-r785h7cx44