OCTOBER 29, 1951
En Route To PARIS—The Advertising Council, Inc., which recently sponsored a six-hour discussion on the basic elements of a free, dynamic society, has now published a condensed version of this discussion in book form. Those who participated in the debate were all men worthy of attention from the American public. Paul G. Hoffman was the moderator and the members of the panel were Chester I. Barnard, Erwin D. Canham, Russell W. Davenport, Peter F. Drucker, Lewis Galantiere, Harry D. Gideonse, Frank Tannenbaum and Walter H. Wheeler, Jr.
The Advertising Council has before this faced the problem at home and abroad of interpreting what some of us variously call "the American way of life," "the free enterprise system" or "the democratic doctrine." The council has found that it is not an easy task to present to people clearly what are the vital differences between a free and dynamic society and the kind of society which stems from the Marxist theory and which at present is imposed on a third of the world's people. This discussion, of course, is not exhaustive, and it will require more of such discussions to clarify our thinking. Much of what is said in the book, it is hoped, will provoke discussion. There will be people who agree and others who will disagree violently with the speakers and their theories. I am grateful, however, for this effort to make "a full statement in modern specific terms of the free world doctrine as we see it." We will have to face what are the moral and religious bases of our society and what are our concepts of political and civil liberty today. We will also have to look at the workings of our free, competitive, dynamic economic system and judge of its progress toward social justice.
From my point of view an effort of this kind is very valuable. It will not only start discussion on a widespread scale in this country, but if this and similar books are given wide distribution abroad it will begin to make intelligible, to those with whom we have to work in many parts of the world, the ideas that lie back of the kind of work we do. Many of us take it for granted that our deeds stand by themselves and that we should not need to make any explanation. Unfortunately this is not so. Deeds may be interpreted in a number of ways; and it takes time to make others understand that our people, who have been primarily concerned over a long period with their own economic development, can be interested in the development of other people and can have a vision that looks forward to a better world for us all, and not just to the personal interests of the United States of America.