Granville Hicks, '23, Teaching Fellow in American History, vigorously asserted his right to free speech last night at the New England Town Hall Meeting when Herbert Brutus Ehrmann, '12 moderator of the meeting, sought to prevent him from answering a question about Communism and Fascism over the radio.
Speaking at the City Club in Boston, Hicks was displeased because the program had been arranged so that the part on which he was to speak was not broadcast over Station WAAB. After awhile, a radio listener sent in the question which asked which came first, Communism or Fascism, and is freedom of speech allowed under Communism. Ehrmann remarked that since Hicks had not been heard on the air, it would not be necessary to answer the question.
"I had no such understanding," proclaimed Hicks, "I understood I was to speak, answering questions on the air." According to eye-witnesses, Ehrmann stalled for a while until too much valuable radio time slipped by; then gave in, and Hicks triumphantly explained his case. Later, more questions were asked Hicks, but Ehrmann stated that "Mr. Hicks will answer this one briefly." Once again the controversy flared as Hicks declared lie would answer as long as he thought necessary.
At another time, a member of the audience rose with the question, "Mr. Hicks, what do you suppose would happen if a modern Patrick Henry arose to say in Germany or in Russia, 'Give me liberty or give me death.' Which would he got?" Hicks was not hesitant in his reply. "He'd got it in the neck!" was his answer. "What do you think?"
The subject of the forum was "How Shall Democracy Meet the Threat of Totalitarianism?