JUNE 11, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Because I mentioned American Communists in my last column, it does not mean that I think they are the only group that is guilty in helping prepare for war rather than peace.
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It is not hard to recognize Fascist groups in this country, even though they do not call themselves Fascists. But it is not easy to recognize some of the other forces within our nation that pull us apart internally. These forces make us less powerful in the world, less strong internally, and therefore less able to use our power to hold the great nations together in the service of peace.
President Truman did a courageous and wise thing when he came out in favor of the Fair Employment Practices Committee bill. That is a moderate bill which gives all citizens of our country an equal opportunity to earn a living without discrimination because of creed or color. It does not deal with the social lives of people; it merely emphasizes something which has been written in our Constitution since the very beginning.
Yet there are individuals and groups in this country who will fight this measure. These men are not so easy to recognize as dangerous because they talk about freedom and democracy as though it belonged only to them. They forget that every time we deny freedom and democracy to any group within our country, we thereby serve notice on people in other parts of the world that they cannot be sure that we would concede them the right to freedom and democracy if they differed from us in any particular.
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I rode with a taxi driver the other day who was both an economist and a moralist. His thesis went something like this: We will not get rid of war in the world until peoples' hearts change and they are willing that nobody should starve. Sure, there can be rich and poor people. But everyone should be able to work, and if they work they should have some assurance that they will eat and have shelter.
He was really advocating the full employment bill, but we will find opposition from some people to this minimum assurance of security. They are dangerous because they hide behind phrases such as "free enterprise" and "the rights of individuals." This opposition will claim that they are dealing only with domestic issues. What they are really doing is to serve notice on the world that we haven't yet grown up to the acceptance of responsibility for the rights of human beings everywhere.
Until we convince the world that we assume this responsibility at home, that we recognize our own power and the power of our great Allies in this world and intend to help in using that power to promote the good of the peoples of the world as a whole, we can have no real confidence in building a peaceful world.