Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 125 (December 1947)
Scammon, Richard M.
Freedom vs. totalitarianism, pp. 14- PDF (2.3 MB)
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll:lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll = FREED OM 7(i;t$u5' = = = - T. OTALlTARiANISM -- PoiA.s*;C.a.! P.NeS -. *-1IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII I WANT TO discuss the role of the political party in the democratic state and compare it with the place of the political party in a communist dictatorship. Although many are inclined to look somewhat askance at political parties and to regard them at best as a sort of tolerated evil, history shows us no way for demo- cratic peoples to organize and express their ideas except through such parties, and everywhere "po- litics" is the lubricating oil of government. "Politics" acts as the intermediary between a state and its citizens, as the interpretative medium in which ideas are talked over and decisions reached. Everywhere that is, where democratic ideas themselves rule, for in a dictatorship the free, open com- petition of ideas is crushed and in its place is substituted the maneuver and intrigue of a palace guard. Opposition in a democracy is not a crime, an evil sin to be hunted down by a political police and punished in secret courts and dread concentration camps. It is the essence of democracy that those who, today, oppose may, tomorrow, govern. That is why . . . some people in the United States may be praising Pres- ident Truman, others may be de- nouncing him-the citizens may hear them both and make their choice. Indeed he may like neither point-of- view and speak out for himself... Henry Wallace, a former United States vice-president, may condemn the Marshall Plan for European re- covery-do you think any man in a communist-dominated state would dare speak up in favor of this blue- By Richard M. Scammon print for prosperity in Europe? This is the freedom of the democratic idea and this is its power. Democracy is strong because its political forces are free. Consider then the position in the communist state. The first act of any communist regime must be to neu- tralize, then to eliminate, all "oppo- sition" parties, for the idea of "opposition" is hateful to the dogma of dictatorial rule. When one man or one group of men has assumed for itself the power to declare what is right and what is wrong it is incon- ceivable that there be any "oppo- sition." In each communist state the same story of oppression and enslavement is repeated, verse by verse and chapter by chapter. The parliamen- tary immunity of legislators is re- Politics in a democracy means free, open competition of ideas. But in a dictatorship such com- petition of ideas is crushed and replaced with the maneuver and intrigue of a palace guard. So stated Mr. Richard M. Scammon in a radio broadcast to the German people. His speech, the fifth in the MG series on "Free- dom vs. Totalitarianism," is re- printed here. Mr. Scammon, who spoke from Berlin on 11 December, is chief of the Elections and Political Parties Branch, Civil Administra- tion Division, OMGUS. 14 moved and opposition political leaders are soon brought to trial for alleged treason to the people's will. Treason indeed it is, for anyone who disagrees with the tenets of the communist dictatorship is automatically a traitor, and the books of history are filled with the pages of these trials. Where these so-called trials are not sufficient, a police terror is instituted -midnight visitations, 20- and 30- and 40-hour "interrogations" of those suspected of harboring democratic ideas are the rule. A new "thought police" comes into being whose duty it is to hunt down and stamp out any vestige of that idea of opposition which the democratic state realizes is the true measure of strength and decency. W HILE THE DICTATORSHIP is in its early stages, it may not be wise to completely destroy the facade of democracy, for too many people have faith in simple democracy and distrust the "one party" dogma of the would-be dictatorship. For awhile, puppet political parties may be tol- erated with puppet leaders and puppet programs. Naturally, these puppet parties are not expected to be strong-they do not get their proper share of newspaper space, of paper supplies, of gasoline for election campaigns. Indeed, if any of them should actually develop real strength, they will soon find that their leaders are disappearing along with those of the persecuted democratic parties. But soon the rack of history turns again and the members of these puppet parties who are truly democrats flee, or are imprisoned, or simply become quiet and leave the field of political action to the police, the concentration WEEXLY INFORMATION BULLETIN 29 DECEMBER 1947
As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright