New Court for Independents

By denying Corliss Lamont a passport for European travel, the State Department has begun to draw an iron curtain which is as great a danger as its Russian counterpart to understanding and spreading democracy. This is the curtain of an unofficial "house arrest" which may envelop individuals whose particular brand of "Americanism" conflicts with the preachings of Senators McCarthy and McCarran--State Department critics who spend more time than the Supreme Court in interpreting and defending the Constitution.

Lamont is a self-styled left-wing philosopher, an independent thinker, teacher, and author. He is probably not "American" in the American Legion or McCarran definition of the word. But he is not a Communist. He has supported the United Nations cause in Korea and strongly objects to the lack of civil liberties in Communist Russia. Two months ago, he wrote to the McCarran Subcommittee on Internal Security, "For the one-thousandth time, I completely and categorically deny that I am or ever have been a Communist."

This is not enough for the State Department, which is restricting Lamont on the ground that his "presence abroad at this time was deemed contrary to the interests of the United States."

Lamont is not a security risk. Nor is he under arrest for any civil or criminal charges. He is an American citizen, who, like millions of others, pays his taxes and votes for his favorite political candidate. But he is different because he has asserted his constitutional right to criticize his government--without hiding behind any party standard. For this, he is judged "subversive."