To DeWitt Emery [Letter 289]

Item Reference Code: 139_E3x_022_001

Date(s) of creation

January 20, 1947


DeWitt Emery


January 20, 1947

Mr. DeWitt Emery
National Small Business
Men’s Association
39 South LaSalle Street
Chicago 3, Illinois

Dear DeWitt: 

Thank you for your letter. I was glad to hear from you again—and will be waiting for you to write more fully, as you promised. 

This is just to correct a minor point. Leonard Read is not correct if he told you that I had “raised hell with him for putting out a pamphlet on such a trivial subject.” I didn’t raise hell about the subject—and it’s certainly not a trivial one. I raised hell with him for publishing that whole pamphlet (“Roofs or Ceilings?”)—because it advocates collectivism in its premises and implications; because it hints that the nationalization of private homes might be the proper solution for the housing shortage; and because there is no excuse for anyone in his right mind to call the free-market, free-enterprise system a “system of rationing”(!) 

I am glad to see that you’re fighting to teach people to state their ideas in proper, clear and exact language. This is certainly needed badly among conservatives. I think their sloppiness with words and slogans (and, therefore, with ideas) is the root of all their troubles. 

With best regards,



Ayn Rand