Concern over the nation's security threatens to put "our basic freedom, freedom to thought, into a strait jacket," Professor Kirtley F. Mather told a Ford Hall Forum audience last night at Jordan Hall. Mather's talk was entitled "The Threat to Freedom in the United States."
Attempts to control the minds of educators and young men are ominously similar to Hitler's tactics in Germany, Mather said. He cited the case of a faculty member in Evansville College, Evansville, Indiana, who was dismissed because he and served as the chairman of a Wallace rally. Such actions put a cloud of fear over university teachers which prevents them from expressing their real opinions or associating with any persons who might be suspicious.
Opposes Massachusetts Bill
Mather said that there is at present a bill submitted to the Massachusetts legislature which would restrain colleges from teaching about "atheistic communism." But there is a difference, Mather pointed out, between teaching certain doctrines, so that they may be compared with others, and advocating them. "In the market place of opinion," Mather said, "democracy will always win providing there is freedom of discussion."
Freedom is also essential to the growth of science, Mather continued. While security is necessary in certain scientific research it is also important to make the distinction between free thought and disloyalty. Mather presented, as an example of the hysteria prevailing in the scientific world, the case of a lady scientist who was called upon to explain the presence of a Paul Robeson record album in her room.