Originally appeared on Normal American. Sharply written and salient, as I’ve come to expect. -NCS
The reason I abhor Communism, perhaps more than most, is that I am naturally somewhat of a liberal. I believe in the right of the people to govern themselves and in the preservation and extension of democracy, whereas Communism is the most despotic form of government in the world, backed by force and terror, where the people have no rights and no liberties of any kind, such as we know them in this country of ours.
There are some things commendable about the Communists, because we know exactly where they stand and what principles they advocate. It is entirely different, I am ashamed to say, with the Republicans and Democrats, who make their platforms one day and begin to forget about it the next—especially the Democratic Party.
All Communists, no matter where they are, advocate identically the same principles. Therefore, it is very easy to describe what they are, and I believe that merely stating those principles is the best way to combat Communism in the United States. They can not appeal to intelligent free American citizens, whose rights and liberties are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Communists seek to destroy all religion and teach hatred of God. They seek to destroy private property and inheritance. To promote the bitterest class hatred. To bring about a class or civil war in order to establish a Soviet form of government, under the red flag.
Those are the principles of Communism. None of them can appeal to the free people of this country. Therefore the way to combat Communism is by education, to point out to the American people just what these Communists stand for, and Communism will not go very far. The trouble is that these Communists are fanatics, and are well organized.
It is not atheism—anyone has the right not to believe. But it is the bitterest kind of militant teaching of the hatred of God and the destruction of all forms of religion, whether it is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, or the old Greek Orthodox Church.
That kind of doctrine can not go very far, when understood, in the United States of America. I do not parade my religion. I admit that the different articles of faith, dogmas, and creeds do not mean a great deal to me, but at the same time I believe religion is the greatest moral force in the world, and that if you wipe it out, as the Communists propose, you go back to the paganism and barbarism of thousands of years ago and virtually destroy civilization as we know it.
But what did they teach? Hatred of all our great men—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt—hatred of all our free institutions, hatred of our public school system, urging the over throw of our republican form of government by force and violence; teaching, lastly, hatred of the American flag.
These doctrines have even honeycombed certain colleges in our country, colleges where young boys and girls are sent by their parents, who have made enough money under our industrial system and free institutions to send them there, and there they are told that everything is wrong and rotten and corrupt in America.
If they persist in spreading this doctrine of poison and hatred and urging the overthrow of our system of government by force and violence, then it is clearly the duty of the Congress of the United States to enact laws to deport all alien Communists!
They do not fear our police, or our courts, or our jails.
There have been far too many defeatists in the ranks of business, and the time has come for the business men of America to change from the defensive to the offensive. These radicals, Communists, Socialists, and pink intellectuals go around this country of ours telling us everything is wrong, rotten, and corrupt.
There is not a single social or economic problem that we can not solve in America on sound American principles without recourse to socialism and Communism on the left or fascism or Hitlerism on the right.
We have the same capacity, the same intelligence, the same common sense, the same patriotism, as our forefathers when they solved their difficult problems, and we can solve them in our day and generation for the best interests of all the American people but only on sound American principles of govern ment.
Our republican form of government is denounced by all these Communists and Socialists [who] tell you, the American people, that democracy has failed and that you are not competent for self government any longer. Let me say to you that the American people do not propose to surrender any of their rights or their liberties for a government of assassination and bullets or for any despotic, autocratic dictatorship.
The time has come for the business men of America to reaffirm their faith in themselves, in our American institutions, political, economical, and industrial. I could talk to you for an hour on the evils and abuses of our economic system, but at the end of the hour I could tell you that it is the fairest and best industrial and economic system in the world today, and that our people are better off than any other nation in the world.
Let us, therefore, rededicate ourselves to the proposition that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.
Let us reaffirm our faith in our republican form of government, because it is the soundest, the fairest, the wisest, the most honorable, and the best form of government yet devised by the mind of man.
Let us cherish and defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States and preserve its rights, liberties, and blessings, not only for our selves but for generations of free, unborn American citizens. Let us serve notice on all Socialists, Communists, pink intellectuals, Fascists, and Hitlerites, that there is no room in America for their autocratic and dictatorial forms of government or their doctrines; that we have faith in our free institutions and our republican form of government, and that we believe that we have the best form of government in the world today.
Note: The above is taken from a speech that Rep. Hamilton Fish III, a New York Republican, gave to the Citizens Alliance of Minneapolis in 1935. The Fish family had been active in politics since the Revolution. His grandfather served as New York’s governor and as U.S. Secretary of State. Fish served in the U.S. Army as an officer during World War I.
Portions of Fish’s speech talking about conscription and trade with the Soviet Union have been left out. Not one word has been added. The first part of the speech appeared in the June 22, 1935 edition of the Saturday Press newspaper. The second part, shown below, was published a week later. –NA