DECEMBER 12, 1953
NEW YORK, Friday—The Women's Committee for Brandeis University had its first area meeting on Wednesday, meeting in the morning for a workshop and then having a lunch and panel of speakers in the afternoon. The panel consisted of Dr. Sachar, Mr. Max Lerner and myself.
This Women's Committee has been building the library of Brandeis University. By that I mean it has purchased the books and has done a remarkable job in creating a really satisfactory library for a great university. But now the need is for an additional building and the Women's Committee has pledged itself to undertake this addition.
How hard these women work! The room was overflowing on Wednesday for the lunch and the afternoon meeting and we felt that everybody's enthusiastic interest would translate itself into work.
We speakers were supposed to address ourselves to the proposition, "What's Right With the World," a rather novel subject in these days when so many of us are inclined to think only of what's wrong with the world. Dr. Sachar and I found a good many things which we felt we could truthfully say were right with the world.
But Mr. Lerner told us frankly some of the things which he felt were wrong, among them was the current attack on intellectuals as such. He said that sometimes quite unconsciously people use the word "intellectual" as a derogatory term.
He cited Senator Ferguson's answer to Adlai Stevenson's Chicago speech in which the Senator called Mr. Stevenson an egghead. Said Mr. Lerner, "What is wrong about being an egghead? If I had to choose between being an egghead or a pinhead, I would certainly prefer to be an egghead." And I think I agree with him.
The attacks on our schools today and on our clergy are of course only incidents but they reflect a little the attitude toward educated people. We are all of us opposed to the evils of fascism and communism but in fighting these evils we must beware lest we adopt the very methods used by fascists and communists and find ourselves destroying things of value in our own country when what we really are trying to destroy is a foreign concept with which we disagree and yet which we are being led to copy.
I wonder sometimes if the Junior Senator from Wisconsin has made a study of one of his predecessors who occasionally appealed to the people to back up his particular point of view. It may be that he felt he would get much the same response that Father Coughlin used to get from a similar appeal and it must be a disappointment to find he is much less successful.