This man Merwin K. Hart gives so clear an impression of being little more than a pygmy menace that it is difficult to rise to Jovian levels of condemnation. In his speech last night, for instance, which was sponsored by the Free Enterprise Society, a number of remarks proved him beyond doubt to be an anti-semite. To most people it is something of a truism to say that anti-semitism is evil--so much of a truism, in fact, that when a man stands on a chair and shouts "I hate Jews," it is better to ignore him and to concentrate criticism on shrewder, more careful anti-semites. Hart did not declare that he hated Jews, but he named the Truman administration, the Marshall Plan, and the U. N. to be influenced strongly by a powerful "international Jewish organization," and his feeble defense of this opinion against belligerent questions, his refusal to make clear the possible motives of this organization--in short, the blatantly prejudiced, untenable, enigmatic nature of his entire stand, should suffice in itself to condemn him in the eyes of anyone who heard him speak. Similarly, Hart's defense of Franco Spain was so undisguised in its emphasis, so contradictory and illogical in its substance, that it would be difficult to imagine him dangerously influencing human minds.
What is important, in this case, is the light, or rather shadow, that Hart's presence throws on the Free Enterprise Society. His views have been consistently expressed for many years, certainly since 1930, when he founded the National Economic Council, an organization which now publishes a semi-monthly newsletter devoted to such interesting considerations as a warning to every citizen to "possess himself of one or more guns, making sure that they are in good condition, that he and other members of his family know how to use them, and that he has a reasonable supply of ammunition." This suggestion is made, incidentally, in light of the fact that the "15 or 18 thousand Communists in New York City...would be plenty to take over the entire city, especially Manhattan Island." Although the Free Enterprise Society's executives have not yet explicitly defined their political position, they would not be likely to sponsor a man such as Hart unless his published opinions corresponded roughly with those of the Society. That he is the second speaker of his general classification to appear in succession--on November 6, the Society presented Allan W. Rucker, a man whom the New York State Department of Labor Board has called "fascistic"--lends additional cogency to this suspicion.
It is, of course, possible that the Free Enterprise Society was ignorant of Hart's opinions before he opened his month at last night's event. He was suggested as a speaker to the Society by a Boston banker, who quoted a third party as to Hart's qualifications. "His only weakness," said this latter gentleman, "lies in being too zealous in behalf of this Council....which sometimes causes him to take a more extreme view than might be regarded wise." If this chain of events led the Society into an embarrassing situation, it is guilty of becoming naively associated with men whose only apparent objection to Hart's stand is that it is untactfully "extreme." If, on the other hand, the Society was in full control of the situation, it has indicated the true nature of its sentiments.