Archibald MacLeish, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. '38, associate professor of History, were labeled Stevenson's "elitist" advocates of a "super government" in the current issue of Newsweek by political analyst Raymond Moley.
In his featured column Moley, a former professor at Columbia, made reference to what he called Stevenson's "bored acceptance of the hopeless weakness and dumbness of the average man." He further alluded to the Illinois Governor's "esoteric rationalization" and said, "There is much evidence of indecision and an inclination to avoid facing hard realities."
"Stevenson is the humblest human being I've ever met," MacLeish countered last night.
Black and White
In a prepared statement he said, "To the Greeks, Moly was the fabulous plant with the white flower and the black root which Hormea dug up to protect Odysseus from the charms of Circe. To the Republicans it seems to have the same use. Unable or unwilling to meet Stevenson's forthright and courageous arguments, they hope to neutralize these appeals to reason by such arguments as Professor Moley's contention that Stevenson is surrounded by an intellectual elite, and that he is talking over the heads of the people. The first charge may well be nothing mare than academic jealousy: Professor Moley was once a devoted worker in a Presidential campaign who attempted to do in Albany very much what Arthur Schlesinger Jr. is doing in Springfield.
Archie the Poet
"The second charge, however, gives the game away. It is no compliment to the American people to say that they are incapable of understanding the only forth-right and courageous discussion of the realities of their situation that they have heard in this campaign. I doubt very much that Moly will be an effective antidote for truth, whatever it may have been for Circe."
In his verbal barrage Moley said, "We find an affinity for a whole school of political sophisticates. They screen their advocacy of a super-government in a mass of pleasant verbiage. Archie MacLeish is the poet laureate of this school; Leon Henderson, its economist; Arthur Schlesinger Jr., its historian; and Stevenson, its statesman."
Schlesinger could not be reached for comment last night.