February 12, 1949
Miss Edna Lonigan
American Writers Assoc., Inc.
270 Park Avenue
New York 19, N. Y.
Dear Miss Lonigan:
Thank you for your report on the Board Meeting of January 27.
In regard to the three proposed versions of a possible amendment to the By-Laws of the Association, barring Communists as members, I want to place on record my approval of the first version, the one proposed by Louis Waldman, and my most emphatic opposition to the other two versions, those of John T. Flynn and Morris Markey.
Mr. Waldman’s version is clear-cut, objective and covers the issue completely. The other two versions are so inexact, self-contradictory and controversial that they do not constitute a definition of any kind.
I could not subscribe to Mr. Flynn’s version, because it confuses private boycotts with government censorship. I believe, for instance, that every member of our Association has a perfect right, and a moral duty, to boycott the DAILY WORKER.
Mr. Markey’s version would make it necessary for me to resign from the Association and necessary for the Association to expel me, because I most emphatically do not believe that the philosophy set forth in the Constitution of the United States is a “Democratic philosophy,” and I do not hold a “Democratic” philosophy, if one uses that word correctly. Nowadays, the word “Democratic”, like the word “liberal”, has lost all specific, objective meaning. It has become a rubber word which every person stretches to mean whatever he wishes it to mean. But since we are an organization of writers, we,
Miss Edna Lonigan -2- February 12, 1949
above all people, should use words in their exact meaning. Historically and philosophically, a democratic philosophy means a belief in unlimited majority rule (total rule by the majority, unlimited by any individual rights). This is not the philosophy on which the Constitution was based. The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy. If proof is needed, here is a quotation from THE FEDERALIST:
“Such democracies (pure democracies) have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
And what does Mr. Markey mean when he states that we should all believe “the philosophy set forth in the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments”? Does he believe the Eighteenth Amendment? I don’t.[*]
I would appreciate it very much if you would read this letter at the next meeting of the Board when the proposed amendments are discussed.
With best regards,
*The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the production, transport and sale of liquor in the United States. It was ratified in 1919 and repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933.