Max Eastman

Max Eastman

Max Eastman was born in Canandaigua in 1883. Both his parents, Samuel Eastman and Annis Ford, were church ministers. In 1889 his mother was one of the first women to be ordained as a minister. Eastman graduated from Williams College in 1905 and afterwards studied philosophy with John Dewey at Columbia University.

Barbara Gelb has argued: "The son of two Congregational ministers from upstate New York, Eastman had been raised in an atmosphere of liberal-mindedness; having a mother who was the first woman to be ordained a Congregational minister in New York State, Eastman found himself perfectly at home in sympathy with the suffragists and other social reform movements of the day."

In 1907 Eastman moved to New York City, settling in Greenwich Village with his sister Crystal Eastman. Soon afterwards Eastman met Ida Rauh. According to William L. O'Neill: "Ida Rauh, a beautiful and intelligent Jewish woman with a private income, whom Max Eastman had known since first coming to New York. She was rebelling against her bourgeois family and explained the class struggle to him so clearly that he became a socialist." Eastman was persuaded to join the Men's League for Women's Suffrage.

The couple were married on 4th May, 1911 in Patterson, New Jersey. He later recalled that he awoke the next morning seized with terror: "I had lost, in marrying Ida, my irrational joy in life." The author of The Last Romantic (1978), has argued: "Unlike his affectionate mother and sister, Ida was never one to shower people, even her husband, with compliments and attentions. Yet these were necessary to Max's well-being. She was given to periods of indolence and so could not pour vitality into Max's languid nerves as he thought essential."

Sidney Hook got to know Eastman during this period. He later recalled: "Max Eastman was authentically American, sympathetic to the great rebels of the American past, intellectually independent, drawn to an undogmatic socialism on compassionate rather than economic grounds, an ardent supporter of women's rights at a time when it was dangerous even for a woman to be known as a feminist, defender of dissemination of information about birth control, an advocate of free love and open marriage, a pioneer for civil liberties, receptive to new ideas in almost every field. Max Eastman fought in more good causes than almost any man or woman of his generation, and yet he was by no means a purely literary radical - one of those who flaunt their radical ideas but never come within hailing distance of any political activity. Eastman put his very life and career on the line in pursuit of his radical ideas. More than once he had the courage to stand up to an enraged mob."

The Masses

Eastman developed a reputation as an outstanding journalist and in 1912 was invited to become editor of the left-wing magazine, The Masses. Organized like a co-operative, artists and writers who contributed to the journal shared in its management. Other radical writers and artists who joined the team included Floyd Dell, John Reed, William Walling, Crystal Eastman, Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandburg, Upton Sinclair, Arturo Giovannitti, Michael Gold, Amy Lowell, Louise Bryant, John Sloan, Art Young, Boardman Robinson, Robert Minor, K. R. Chamberlain, Stuart Davis, Lydia Gibson, George Bellows and Maurice Becker.

In his first editorial, Eastman argued: "This magazine is owned and published cooperatively by its editors. It has no no dividends to pay, and nobody is trying to make money out of it. A revolutionary and not a reform magazine: a magazine with a sense of humour and no respect for the respectable: frank, arrogant, impertinent, searching for true causes: a magazine directed against rigidity and dogma wherever it is found: printing what is too naked or true for a money-making press: a magazine whose final policy is to do as it pleases and conciliate nobody, not even its readers."

Army Medical Examiner: "At last a perfect soldier!" Robert Minor, New Masses (July, 1916) A poster of this cartoon and many others from The Masses and related radical publications, is available from the Georgetown Bookshop.
Army Medical Examiner: "At last a perfect soldier!" Robert Minor, New Masses (July, 1916)

Floyd Dell was appointed as Eastman's assistant: "Max Eastman was a tall, handsome, poetic, lazy-looking fellow... I was paid twenty-five dollars a week for helping Max Eastman get out the magazine.... At the monthly editorial meetings, where the literary editors were usually ranged on one side of all questions and the artists on the other. The squabbles between literary and art editors were usually over the question of intelligibility and propaganda versus artistic freedom; some of the artists held a smouldering grudge against the literary editors, and believed that Max Eastman and I were infringing the true freedom of art by putting jokes or titles under their pictures. John Sloan and Art Young were the only ones of the artists who were verbally quite articulate; but fat, genial Art Young sided with the literary editors usually; and John Sloan, a very vigorous and combative personality, spoke up strongly for the artists."

The Masses was often in trouble with the authorities. One of Art Young's cartoons, Poisoned at the Source, that appeared in the July 1913 edition of the magazine upset the Associated Press company and he was indicted for criminal libel. However, after a year, the company decided to drop the law suit.

Eastman, like most of the people working for The Masses, believed that the First World War had been caused by the imperialist competitive system and that the USA should remain neutral. This was reflected in the fact that the articles and cartoons that appeared in journal attacked the behaviour of both sides in the conflict.

Espionage Act

After the USA declared war on the Central Powers in 1917, The Masses came under government pressure to change its policy. When it refused to do this, the journal lost its mailing privileges. In July, 1917, it was claimed by the authorities that cartoons by Art Young, Boardman Robinson and Henry J. Glintenkamp and articles by Eastman and Floyd Dell had violated the Espionage Act. Under this act it was an offence to publish material that undermined the war effort. One of the journals main writers, Randolph Bourne, commented: "I feel very much secluded from the world, very much out of touch with my times. The magazines I write for die violent deaths, and all my thoughts are unprintable."

Max Eastman
Eugene Debs, Max Eastman and Rose Pastor Stokes.

Floyd Dell argued in court: "There are some laws that the individual feels he cannot obey, and he will suffer any punishment, even that of death, rather than recognize them as having authority over him. This fundamental stubbornness of the free soul, against which all the powers of the state are helpless, constitutes a conscious objection, whatever its sources may be in political or social opinion." The legal action that followed forced The Masses to cease publication. In April, 1918, after three days of deliberation, the jury failed to agree on the guilt of Dell and his fellow defendants.

The second trial was held in January 1919. John Reed, who had recently returned from Russia, was also arrested and charged with the original defendants. Floyd Dell wrote in his autobiography, Homecoming (1933): "While we waited, I began to ponder for myself the question which the jury had retired to decide. Were we innocent or guilty? We certainly hadn't conspired to do anything. But what had we tried to do? Defiantly tell the truth. For what purpose? To keep some truth alive in a world full of lies. And what was the good of that? I don't know. But I was glad I had taken part in that act of defiant truth-telling." This time eight of the twelve jurors voted for acquittal. As the First World War was now over, it was decided not to take them to court for a third time.

The Liberator

In 1918 Eastman joined with Art Young, Floyd Dell and his sister, Crystal Eastman, to establish another radical journal, The Liberator. Other writers and artists involved in the magazine included Claude McKay, Boardman Robinson, Robert Minor, Stuart Davis, Lydia Gibson, Maurice Becker, Helen Keller, Cornelia Barns, and William Gropper.

"Jimmie, take the head of the class. You certainly do better than this doddering imbecile." Art Young, The Liberator (October, 1920)
"Jimmie, take the head of the class. You certainly
do better than this doddering imbecile." Art Young, The Liberator (October, 1920)

In 1922 the journal was taken over by Robert Minor and the Communist Party and in 1924 was renamed as The Workers' Monthly. After this Eastman left the United States and travelled to the Soviet Union. Eastman had welcomed the Russian Revolution but became disillusioned when Joseph Stalin ousted Leon Trotsky.

Critic of Joseph Stalin

Eastman divorced his first wife, Ida Raub, to marry Elena Krylenko in 1924. He met her during a visit to the Soviet Union. Elena's brother, was Nikolai Krylenko, who, as president of the supreme tribunal he prosecuted all the major political trials of the 1920s. Later, Joseph Stalin appointed Krylenko as Commissar for Justice and was involved in the conviction of a large number of members of the Communist Party during the Great Purges.

Max Eastman
Claude McKay and Max Eastman in 1924.

Eastman went to live in France in 1924 where he wrote Since Lenin Died (1925), and Marx and Lenin: The Science of Revolution (1926). In these books Eastman warned of the dangers posed by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. The book was unpopular with most American Marxists and Eastman was denounced as a rebellious individualist. Sidney Hook argued: "Of all the forms of intellectual independence Eastman displayed in his life, nothing matched the courage he had to summon up when he stood practically alone on his return from the Soviet Union in 1924. He had brought with him the first hard evidence of the Stalinization of the Bolshevik regime. In consequence, he became a rebel outcast in his own country and a pariah in the radical movement that had been central to his life."

Leon Trotsky

In 1927 Eastman returned to the United States and now a supporter of Leon Trotsky, becomes his translator and unofficial literary agent. During the Great Purge most of Eastman's left-wing friends in the Soviet Union were executed by Stalin. Books published during this period include The Enjoyment of Laughter (1935), The End of Socialism in Russia (1937), Stalin's Russia and the Crisis in Socialism (1940), Marxism, Is It Science? (1940) and Heroes I Have Known (1942).

Anti-Communism

During the Second World War Eastman began to question his socialist beliefs. In 1941 the Reader's Digest appointed him their roving editor and began publishing his attacks on socialists and communists. He wrote: "Red Baiting - in the sense of reasoned, documented exposure of Communist and pro-Communist infiltration of government departments and private agencies of information and communication - is absolutely necessary. We are not dealing with honest fanatics of a new idea, willing to give testimony for their faith straightforwardly, regardless of the cost."

In 1952 Eastman was introduced to Alexander Orlov, a NKVD officer who had fled to the United States in 1938. Orlov had been working on a book about Joseph Stalin. Eastman agreed to be his literary agent. Eastman arranged for Orlov to meet Eugene Lyons, another former Marxist who was now a staunch anti-Communist. This led to a meeting with John S. Billings, the editor of Life Magazine. Orlov submitted his manuscript to the magazine and the first of the four articles, The Ghastly Secrets of Stalin's Power, appeared on 6th April. The article created great controversy and was discussed in great depth in the American media. With each successive installment, the circulation of the magazine reached new heights. Orlov's book, The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes, was published by Random House in the autumn of 1953.

In the 1950s Eastman was a strong supporter of Joe McCarthy and the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). His anti-Communist articles in the Reader's Digest, The Freeman and the National Review in the early 1950s played an important role in what became known as McCarthyism. In June 1953 he wrote: "Red Baiting - in the sense of reasoned, documented exposure of Communist and pro-Communist infiltration of government departments and private agencies of information and communication - is absolutely necessary. We are not dealing with honest fanatics of a new idea, willing to give testimony for their faith straightforwardly, regardless of the cost. We are dealing with conspirators who try to sneak in the Moscow-inspired propaganda by stealth and double talk, who run for shelter to the Fifth Amendment when they are not only permitted but invited and urged by Congressional committee to state what they believe. I myself, after struggling for years to get this fact recognized, give McCarthy the major credit for implanting it in the mind of the whole nation."

In 1955 he published Reflections on the Failure of Socialism. He argued: "Instead of liberating the mind of man, the Bolshevik revolution locked it into a state's prison tighter than ever before. No flight of thought was conceivable, no poetic promenade even, to sneak through the doors or peep out of a window in this pre-Darwinian dungeon called Dialectic Materialism. No one in the western world has any idea of the degree to which Soviet minds are closed and sealed tight against any idea but the premises and conclusions of this antique system of wishful thinking. So far as concerns the advance of human understanding, the Soviet Union is a gigantic road-block, armed, fortified and defended by indoctrinated automatons made out of flesh, blood and brains in robot-factories they call schools."

Max Eastman
Max Eastman

In 1956 Eastman wrote: "We are fighting this cold war for our life, and we must fight on all fronts and in every field of action. We must employ in a campaign to liberate the enslaved countries and deliver the world from the menace of Communist tyranny all the means employed by the Communists to destroy and enslave us-expecting only that we fight with the truth, adhering to moral principle, while they fight with lies and a deliberate code of treachery. And we must make our aim as clear to the world as the Communists have made theirs. We must never affirm our loyalty to Peace without linking to it the word Freedom."

For over twenty-five years Eastman worked as a roving reporter for the Reader's Digest where he advocated free enterprise and warned of the dangers of communism. He also wrote two volumes of autobiography: The Enjoyment of Living (1948) and Love and Revolution (1965).

Max Eastman died at his summer home in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the age of 86, on 25th March, 1969.

Primary Sources

(1) Barbara Gelb, So Short a Time (1973)

Early in 1913 he (John Reed) began contributing pieces to the newly reorganized, barely solvent, but-to Reed-totally felicitous magazine, the Masses. It was a Socialist monthly. Housed in a red brick building on Greenwich Avenue, the magazine had been launched at the beginning of 1911 as a forum for anti-capitalist literature by an idealistic but impratical Dutchman named Piet Vlag. After about a year and a half the Masses floundered and its tiny staff of contributors, which included the artist, John Sloan, the cartoonist, Art Young, and the poet, Louis Untermeyer, held an emergency session to rescue it.

It was Young's idea to ask Max Eastman, a twenty-nine-year-old Columbia professor who had recently been dismissed for his radical views, to take over the editorship of the Masses. Eastman, whose first love was poetry, accepted somewhat reluctantly. There was to be no salary, at least not until the magazine got back on its feet, and the argument of future success and glory was not convincing.

Nevertheless, Eastman accepted. The son of two Congregational ministers from upstate New York, Eastman had been raised in an atmosphere of liberal-mindedness; having a mother who was the first woman to be ordained a Congregational minister in New York State, Eastman found himself perfectly at home in sympathy with the suffragists and other social reform movements of the day.

He regarded his acceptance of the editorship of the Masses as a gamble. As it turned out, it gave him his first influential platform. During the next few years he achieved a reputation as one of the leading American intellectuals and radicals. He was also, like so many of the radicals of that period, a romantic.

Boyishly handsome, he was married at this time to an aspiring actress named Ida Rauh, one of several wives and a clutch of mistresses who floated through his life.

By December 1912, Eastman had been able to persuade a wealthy woman, who knew nothing of Socialism, to back the Masses, and it was launched on its controversial career...

Eastman asked a recent arrival in Greenwich Village, Floyd Dell, to be his associate editor. Dell, who was the same age as Reed, came from a small town in Illinois and had worked on newspapers in Chicago. He had been a Socialist since he was fourteen, and his ambition was to write novels, though he had tried his hand at playwriting. He was tall and slender, with a broad forehead and pointed chin, and wore long sideburns.

The absence of salary increased rather than diminished the fervor and esprit de corps that ruled the small circle of Masses editors and contributors. Editorial meetings were lively and uninhibited, and seldom confined to business. Reed was often there, holding forth on his pet theory of the moment and his articles ran side by side with the contributions of Carl Sandburg, Sherwood Anderson, Bertrand Russell, Maxim Gorky, and Vachel Lindsay.

(2) Floyd Dell, Homecoming (1933)

I wrote a little piece called "Mona Lisa and the Wheelbarrow", about Leonardo da Vinci and the "two great riddles of the world today-machinery and women"... The little piece sold to Harper's Weekly for enough money for me to live on for a whole month. I visited the Smart Set, where the editor, Willard Huntington Wright, very flatteringly told me that my story, Jessica Screams, had caused more cancellations of subscriptions than any other story they had ever published. By Berkeley Tobey, who was the business manager of The Masses, and my boon companion, I was taken to the office of that magazine, and there I met Max Eastman, the editor, and John Reed. Max Eastman was a tall, handsome, poetic, lazy-looking fellow; Jack Reed a large, infantile, round-faced, energetic youth. The magazine had been started by a group of Socialist artists and writers; it had run out of money, and stopped; then they had read in the papers something that Max Eastman, a professor of philosophy in Columbia University, had said; he was evidently a Socialist, and they wrote a letter and asked the professor of philosophy if he would like to edit their magazine. He quit his professorial job, raised some money, and now the magazine was going again.

Now as it happened, when the magazine had stopped, the business manager, an enterprising Dutchman named Piet Vlag, had taken its moribund remains to Chicago, and had there united it with a Socialist and Feminist magazine published in Chicago by Josephine Conger-Kaneko. I had been at a meeting where the merger was made, and I had been made an editor of The Masses; but that had all been illegal, and I didn't mention it to Max Eastman or Jack Reed. But when they asked if I had any stories, and I asked them how long, and they said about six hundred words, I said I hadn't any of that length but would write them one; and the next day I wrote a story of that length called A Perfectly Good Cat; the magazine didn't pay for anything, but it was a great honor to have the privilege of contributing to it; the story, when published, was to evoke more letters of protest from shocked contributors, including Upton Sinclair, than anything The Masses had ever published up to that time. That Smart Set story and that Masses story would seem very tame now; but readers were easily shocked in those days.

I did not find a job, but I managed to keep going for the rest of the year by selling a few things to the magazines. Then, in December, one noon as I was walking down Greenwich Avenue, I was called into Gallup's restaurant to a gathering of some half dozen editors of The Masses, and was told that I was to be an editor, and get paid twenty-five dollars a week for helping Max Eastman get out the magazine; I said that was fine, but strictly on condition that I got my salary with never more than one week's delay...

I was paid twenty-five dollars a week for helping Max Eastman get out the magazine. My job on The Masses was to read manuscripts, bring the best of them to editorial meetings to be voted on, send back what we couldn't use, read proof, and "make up" the magazine - all duties with which I was familiar; and also to help plan political cartoons and persuade the artists to draw them. I could submit my stories and poems anonymously to the editorial meetings, hear them discussed, and print them if they were accepted.

At the monthly editorial meetings, where the literary editors were usually ranged on one side of all questions and the artists on the other. The squabbles between literary and art editors were usually over the question of intelligibility and propaganda versus artistic freedom; some of the artists held a smouldering grudge against the literary editors, and believed that Max Eastman and I were infringing the true freedom of art by putting jokes or titles under their pictures. John Sloan and Art Young were the only ones of the artists who were verbally quite articulate; but fat, genial Art Young sided with the literary editors usually; and John Sloan, a very vigorous and combative personality, spoke up strongly for the artists.

(3) Max Eastman, policy of The Masses (December, 1912)

This magazine is owned and published cooperatively by its editors. It has no no dividends to pay, and nobody is trying to make money out of it. A revolutionary and not a reform magazine: a magazine with a sense of humour and no respect for the respectable: frank, arrogant, impertinent, searching for true causes: a magazine directed against rigidity and dogma wherever it is found: printing what is too naked or true for a money-making press: a magazine whose final policy is to do as it pleases and conciliate nobody, not even its readers...

We do not enter the field of any Socialist or other magazine now published, or to be published. We shall have no further part in the factional disputes within the Socialist party; we are opposed to the dogmatic spirit which creates and sustains these disputes. Our appeal will be to the masses, both Socialist and non-Socialist, with entertainment, education, and the livelier kinds of propaganda.

(4) At the beginning of the First World War, the editor of The Masses, Max Eastman, wrote an article entitled The War of Lies (October, 1914)

Food is as important to armies as ammunition - but more important than either is an unfailing supply of lies. You simply cannot murder your enemy in the most efficient manner if you know he is in every essential the same kind of a man as yourself.

Governments have tried to lay up a sufficient stock of lies before the war start, but always in vain. The progress of popular intelligence scraps such lies almost as fast as they are manufactured. The only safe way is to produce an entirely new stock in the panic days immediately before the war, when the people have no time or inclination to think, and are cut off from all communication with the other side. After the war starts, of course, the industry may be indefinitely continued.

This should be bourne in mind in reading tales of the barbarous atrocity of soldiers, now on one side and now on the other.

(5) The Masses (September, 1917)

The Post Office was represented by Assistant District Attorney Barnes. He explained that the Department construed the Espionage Act as giving it power to exclude from the mails anything which might interfere with the successful conduct of the war.

Four cartoons and four pieces of text in the August issue were specified as violations of the law. The cartoons were Boardman Robinson's Making the World Safe for Democracy, H. J. Glintenkamp's Liberty Bell and the conscription cartoons, and one by Art Young on Congress and Big Business. The conscription cartoon was considered by the Department "the worst thing in the magazine". The text objected to was A Question, an editorial by Max Eastman; A Tribute, a poem by Josephine Bell; a paragraph in an article on Conscientious Objectors; and an editorial, Friends of American Freedom.

(6) Max Eastman, Love and Revolution (1964)

There was one big difference between the Masses and the Liberator; in the latter we abandoned the pretense of being a co-operative. Crystal Eastman and I owned the Liberator, fifty-one shares of it, and we raised enough money so that we could pay solid sums for contributions.

The list of contributing editors, largely brought over from the Masses, reads as follows: Cornelia Barns, Howard Brubaker, Hugo Gellert, Arturo Giovannitti, Charles T. Hallinan, Helen Keller, Ellen La Motte, Robert Minor, John Reed, Boardman Robinson, Louis Untermeyer, Charles Wood, Art Young.

Later Claude McKay, the Negro poet, became an associate editor. At a New Year's party in 1921, we elected Michael Gold and William Gropper to the staff - two opposite poles of a magnet: Gropper as instinctively comic an artist as ever touched pen to paper, and Gold almost equally gifted with pathos and tears.

(7) Claude McKay met Max Eastman for the first time in 1918

The rendezvous with Max Eastman was to be at his study-room, somewhere in or near St. Luke's Place. I got there first and was about to ring when my attention was arrested by a tall figure approaching with long strides and distinguished by a flaming orange necktie, a mop of white hair and a grayish-brown suit. The figure looked just as I had imagined the composite personality of The Masses and The Liberator might be: colourful, easy of motion, clothes hanging a little loosely or carelessly, but good stuff with an unstylish elegance. As I thought, it was Max Eastman.

We went up into a high room and he lounged lazily on a couch and discussed my poems. I had brought a batch of new ones. There was nothing of the "I" first person in Max Eastman's manner. Nor did he question me to any extent about myself, my antecedents, and the conditions under which I lived and wrote at the time. He was the pure intellectual in his conversation and critical opinion.

R. Kempf, Come on in, America, the Blood's Fine!, The Masses (July, 1917)
R. Kempf, Come on in, America, the Blood's Fine!, The Masses (July, 1917)

(8) Sidney Hook, Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century (1987)

If one looks for a paradigmatic figure of the radical American intellectual in the first half of the twentieth century, one can hardly do better than to focus on Max Eastman, now in eclipse among the current generation of intellectuals, radical and non-radical alike. Yet despite his reputation as a founder of The Masses, his heroic opposition to the American entry into World War I, and the indirect influence he had in radicalizing American intellectuals by his translation of Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution, he was excluded from any organized political and cultural radical activities during this period of growing domination by Communist Party members or sympathizers. His criticism of Stalin had placed him in the camp of the counterrevolution.

Max Eastman was authentically American, sympathetic to the great rebels of the American past, intellectually independent, drawn to an undogmatic socialism on compassionate rather than economic grounds, an ardent supporter of women's rights at a time when it was dangerous even for a woman to be known as a feminist, defender of dissemination of information about birth control, an advocate of free love and open marriage, a pioneer for civil liberties, receptive to new ideas in almost every field. Max Eastman fought in more good causes than almost any man or woman of his generation, and yet he was by no means a purely literary radical - one of those who flaunt their radical ideas but never come within hailing distance of any political activity. Eastman put his very life and career on the line in pursuit of his radical ideas. More than once he had the courage to stand up to an enraged mob. He narrowly escaped lynching and physical assault during the terror of the post-World War I years. One reason why he did not take Senator Joseph McCarthy seriously enough in the fifties was his vivid recollection of the twenties, when he and his friends withstood a real reign of terror without resorting to the Fifth Amendment or similar evasions. He could not understand how any genuine radical could feel intimidated if given an opportunity to talk back to benighted congressmen.

Of all the forms of intellectual independence Eastman displayed in his life, nothing matched the courage he had to summon up when he stood practically alone on his return from the Soviet Union in 1924. He had brought with him the first hard evidence of the Stalinization of the Bolshevik regime. In consequence, he became a rebel outcast in his own country and a pariah in the radical movement that had been central to his life.

Max Eastman's life was so rich and full that few people are sufficiently interested or qualified to do justice to it. If any man could be called the darling of the gods, it was he. In figure, voice, face, expression, and wit, even in his twilight years, he was almost invariably compared on first encounter to a Greek god. He affected women in the way Helen of Troy must have moved men. When Eastman persuaded John Dewey to chair a formal debate between him and me on the meaning of Marx, I made only one condition-that no more than half of the invited audience be made up of women. Dewey grinned knowingly. The formal debate never came off, but until the Moscow Trials in the mid thirties brought us together, we never met without heated informal debate.


(9) Max Eastman, The Freeman (1st June, 1953)

Red Baiting - in the sense of reasoned, documented exposure of Communist and pro-Communist infiltration of government departments and private agencies of information and communication - is absolutely necessary. We are not dealing with honest fanatics of a new idea, willing to give testimony for their faith straightforwardly, regardless of the cost. We are dealing with conspirators who try to sneak in the Moscow-inspired propaganda by stealth and double talk, who run for shelter to the Fifth Amendment when they are not only permitted but invited and urged by Congressional committee to state what they believe. I myself, after struggling for years to get this fact recognized, give McCarthy the major credit for implanting it in the mind of the whole nation.

(10) Max Eastman, Reflections on the Failure of Socialism (1955)

Instead of liberating the mind of man, the Bolshevik revolution locked it into a state's prison tighter than ever before. No flight of thought was conceivable, no poetic promenade even, to sneak through the doors or peep out of a window in this pre-Darwinian dungeon called Dialectic Materialism. No one in the western world has any idea of the degree to which Soviet minds are closed and sealed tight against any idea but the premises and conclusions of this antique system of wishful thinking. So far as concerns the advance of human understanding, the Soviet Union is a gigantic road-block, armed, fortified and defended by indoctrinated automatons made out of flesh, blood and brains in robot-factories they call schools.

(11) Max Eastman, National Review (22nd February, 1956)

With distinguished exceptions, it is only those of us who have been, if not inside the Communist movement, at least close enough to feel and know by experience its passions and purposes and schemes for achieving them, who fully realize what the free world, and its captain the United States, are up against. We are, in a way that others are not, fortified against the vice of self-deception. And for the last fifteen years self-deception has been the essential foreign policy of the United States. Our Western statesmen simply can not get it through their heads that they are fighting an armed international religion with a fixed creed and a fixed purpose to destroy free institutions throughout the world.

Nobody wants a hot war in the present state of technology. The Communists want it least of all, both because they would surely be destroyed, and because their fanatical aim is to take over the American industrial plant as a going concern, not as a heap of unapproachable ruins. But the Communists take advantage of this universal abhorrence of a hot war to wage the cold war with every means and instrument they can lay hold of or devise. We, on the contrary, cannot make up our mind to face continually and with resolution the fact that we are in a cold war. We can’t seem to get it through our heads that the golden rule, although a noble and wise aphorism in its place, has no application to the task of calling the bluff and stopping the depredations of a bully. “Speak softy and carry a big stick,” was the maxim applied by Theodore Roosevelt to such exigencies. “Carry a perfectly enormous stick, and announce in a loud voice every morning that no matter what happens you are not going to use it,” has been the maxim of our government for the last ten years.

We are fighting this cold war for our life, and we must fight on all fronts and in every field of action. We must employ in a campaign to liberate the enslaved countries and deliver the world from the menace of Communist tyranny all the means employed by the Communists to destroy and enslave us-expecting only that we fight with the truth, adhering to moral principle, while they fight with lies and a deliberate code of treachery. And we must make our aim as clear to the world as the Communists have made theirs. We must never affirm our loyalty to Peace without linking to it the word Freedom.