NOVEMBER 21, 1953
NEW YORK, Friday—I saw something in the newspaper the other day which seemed to me to show the change in the climate of our thinking rather dramatically. The article read that a lady who frequently consulted with Senator Jenner and who was a member of the text book committee of the State of Indiana had just suggested that Robin Hood might well be removed from all libraries because it would contaminate our young. The reason: Robin Hood took from the rich to give to the poor and that is a Communist theory!
Strange to say, when I was young a great many years ago we read Robin Hood and nobody thought of its being communistic. At least my grandmother never mentioned it. All I learned from it was that you could be a bad man and yet not wholly bad; that even in evil sometimes good could be found. I felt the charm of the characters who were part of the Robin Hood surroundings and I enjoyed the story and I must say that I never felt too sorry for the people whom he robbed because they always seemed to be able to get along without the worldly goods which he removed.
What a shame it is that the young people of today cannot have the pleasure that we had without being threatened by this new fear of communism. I seem to remember in a book that many of us revere that there is a story about the young man who asked the Master how he could be saved and that the answer was, "Give all your worldly goods to the poor." Is that story looked upon as Communist today?
Much more serious, however, is this same lady's recommendation that the mention of the Quakers should be expunged from our young people's knowledge. They must not learn about the Quaker religion nor about famous Quakers in this and other countries because the Quakers do not believe in war, and if we had fewer soldiers that would encourage the Communists.
To what absurdities are we really coming? Is the State of Indiana going to accept such foolish recommendations? Do they keep someone on their text book committee who has as little breadth and understanding as this lady seems to have? Does Senator Jenner really consult with this lady? Or does she consult him before she presents such opinions? If he agrees with them then I am not surprised that these investigation committees suggest that the Protestant clergy are riddled with Communists. Most of our clergy would like to see people think more of peace than of war and they certainly advocate that the rich should give to the poor. Not always voluntarily, either, but on the urging of those who see how some of their money can be better spent.
To be sure, Robin Hood was a fabulous robber, but perhaps all of us who ask for money for good causes from those we know have it to give might be considered as robbers because sometimes I am quite convinced that the giving is not completely voluntary. Either the force of public opinion suggests that, or their next-door neighbor may think less well of them if they are not gracious givers.
What is the use of dwelling on such absurdities, except to give you a laugh and perhaps to make you examine a little into what some people call communism? If Robin Hood and the Quakers are to be classed as Communist influences, we are living in a topsy turvy world!