I am going to present a long quotation from an article I wrote in TV Guide several years ago, and I ask you to read it with full use of your visual imagination:
"The closed-circuit TV cameras are rolling. An executive of a great industrial empire stands in a studio, sweating slightly, and trying to control his temper as a hostile reporter barks at him: 'Why is your company spewing filth into our air?…When are you going to stop poisoning our rivers?…Why aren't you hiring more blacks?…Why don't you have a woman on your board of directors?…You've just fired 500 workers—what are they supposed to do—starve?'
"The perspiring executive hardly has a chance to open his mouth. He reaches for the mike to answer, and it's rudely yanked away from him. He starts to speak; he is interrupted. When he does get a word in edgewise, the reporter challenges his facts, questions his veracity, impugns his motives, jeers, sneers, suggests that he is a menace to the city, the state, to America, the human race, and to the planet.
"Antagonized beyond endurance, the corporate chieftain suddenly blows up. His language is strong. A roar of sympathetic laughter fills the room—coming from a dozen fellow executives who constitute the 'studio audience.'
"This is a typical TV role-playing session run by a management consultant's firm for industrial clients. Thousands of such sessions are being conducted all over the country, with pseudo-reporters harrying big businessmen much as picadors and matadors harry bulls. It is the price being paid today for learning how to cope with the TV reporter."
This article continues by explaining the reasons for this curiously self-torturing process. They are two, as given by both the management consultants' firms and their clients. These training sessions are organized: (1) to teach businessmen how to get the business side of the story on the air; and (2) to teach them how to cope psychologically with and surmount the hostile bias of the nation's reporters. The premise of this entire educational operation is that newsmen in general, and TV newsmen in particular, can be expected to be immensely antagonistic to businessmen, and to behave in ways which actively prevent the business side of the story either from getting on the air at all, or from getting on the air in any form that might be described as favorable to business interests.
The management consultants teach their clients to keep cool in the face of outrageous provocation, to deal with malicious distortion, and to wrest the initiative away from the hostile reporter. One such consultant, Thomas J. Deegan, advisor to chief executives of such companies as Union Oil, told me that he tries to educate his clients to what he believes to be the motives of such hostile reporters. He says: "Corporate leaders, brilliant guys who run empires, are often terribly naive about the kind of motives involved in these attacks: petty malice, exhibitionism, a desire to topple the mighty. Men of proud leadership are frequently unaware of the small motives of lesser people. I've seen this all my life. I try to alert my clients to these motives."
But the motive of which all such consultants firms are overwhelmingly aware, above all, is ideological: it is hostility to business, to capitalism itself. It is the anticapitalist bias of American newsmen, they universally report, which has rendered it necessary for businessmen to pay huge fees to learn a kind of intellectual arm-wrestling in order to get the business side of the story on the air, to learn how to cope with verbal guerrilla warfare on the nation's airwaves.
If you knew nothing else about television news but this—the fact that sophisticated big business executives are going to such training schools—that alone would tell you that there was severe anti-business bias on the nation's airwaves. But such indirect deduction is not necessary. There is no intellectual—indeed, no intelligent—businessman alive today who is not directly aware of the problem. Certainly no one who has lived through the recent hysterical and hostile coverage of the energy crisis can be unaware of the frantic demands for more and more regulation of business by the state—coming in a chorus from TV newsmen. The very fact that the oil companies have had to spend fortunes in advertising to get their side of the story heard tells it all.
By contrast, the New Left movements of 1968, the Black Power movement, the Stop Growth movement, the hysterical ecology movement did not have to advertise to get their stories on the air. Their opinions—all anticapitalist in orientation—have roared through the television system like an ideological Niagara for years. The bias is gross and visible. Just recently, before his death, newsman Chet Huntley—having safely retired from television news—wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal discussing and analyzing this antibusiness bias of his colleagues. The antagonism to capitalism on the nation's airwaves, the deeply entrenched prejudice in favor of state control over the productive machinery of the nation, is not a subjective assessment. It is a hard cultural fact.
And the strangest single aspect of this phenomenon, bar none, is this: that one group in society, and one alone, supports, and gives potency to this massive, consistent, communications assault on the freedom of the American businessman—and that is: Big Business itself. It is Big Business that finances television. Without the money from Big Business, no such nation-wide assault could take place. We are looking here at a complex interaction that can only be described as suicidal: U.S. capitalism is systematically financing its own destroyers.
CORROSION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Now, I ask you, for a moment, to wrench your minds away from this strange self-destructive drama, to examine what is happening on quite another battle-front of our society. And that is the growing battle between the newsmen themselves and the government—under the general title of the battle to preserve the First Amendment. Again, I need hardly tell you, that for some years now, it has become apparent—particularly in broadcasting—that the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press has undergone serious corrosion. Indeed, we have heard a constant, frantic, almost frenzied cry from American newsmen to that effect. And however politicized, or exaggerated, that cry may have been—no one who has followed the news even casually can fail to know that the news world, in particular the broadcasting world, has become increasingly affected by the heavy hand of the State. Broadcasting is regulated to the teeth: its content is determined, influenced by, interfered with by a frightening number of agencies of the state: by Committees of the House of Representatives; by Committees of the Senate; by the Federal Communications Commission; by the Justice Department; by the Executive Office of Telecommunications Policy; by States Human Rights agencies; and by Equal Employment Agencies; and by every layer of the judiciary system up to the Supreme Court of the United States—each of these state agencies constantly spawning new rules and regulations to govern the conduct of this communications system. The interference by the State grows geometrically—it proliferates like a cancer, and the distress of newsmen has grown in recent years until it has reached a cry of keening agony.
And the strangest single aspect of this phenomenon, bar none, is that the men who are most in anguish over this development, the men who see in it the greatest possible threat to their own liberty and to the liberty of the United States, are the very same men who are beating businessmen over the head…who demand incessant government regulation of business…who lionize all antibusiness factions in this country…who are ideologically so set against capitalism, and so set in favor of government controls, that their bias has generated the defensive training schools for businessmen that I described above.
The incredible fact is that both newsmen and businessmen share the identical problem, the identical danger, the identical enemy—interference and control by the State—but do not seem to know it. And I should like today, to discuss what it is, in principle, that these two groups generally fail to understand…why they fail to understand it…and what, if anything, can be done about it.
To state it in its most abstract form—what is not being grasped here by most members of either group is a particular principle: the fact that liberty and private property are inextricably linked—that one cannot exist without the other…or, more broadly still: that intellectual and political freedom and capitalism are inextricably linked—and that if you destroy capitalism, you will inexorably destroy intellectual and political freedom.
What is this intimate link between the free mind and the free market? How do they work to reinforce each other? And what happens when you drive them apart? The simplest way to explain it is to describe the actual mechanics of the First Amendment itself—because that is the Constitutional provision which is explicitly directed towards the protection of the free mind—and explicitly forbids the State to abridge that freedom—formulated as "freedom of speech and of the press." And I am going to start at the absolute beginning of the process, at its very root—which is to say: the human mind.
FIRST, THE MIND
So, consider, please, for just a moment, the human mind itself. Barring mental disease or damage, the human mind is man's faculty of reason. That faculty is centered in the brain, and its functions are entirely invisible: they take place within the head—inside the skull. Unless they are externalized in the form of speech, or symbolic communication such as writing (artistic or scientific), photographs, or art—there is no way to know what the invisible mental processes are, or even to know that they are taking place. You can put a human being in prison—lock him up behind bars for his total life—and you cannot know what he is thinking—or stop him from thinking. The only way to interfere with this thinking process is to chop off his head, or administer drugs, or to use force of some kind. By its nature, internal thought, reason, is free, it is literally an inalienable right. It does not need a First Amendment to protect it. It cannot be regulated by the State. It is totally autonomous, totally self-regulated, totally private. Indeed, there is no form of private property more absolute than the ownership of one's own thoughts.
The problem of intellectual rights, of intellectual freedom—meaning the problem of protection of the mind from coercion—starts, then, only when human thought is externalized—when that thought is put out into the world for the consideration of other men. It is then, immediately, as history tells us, that the struggle for intellectual freedom starts.
The simplest external expression of thought, of course, is speech—and historically, the foes of free speech have, in their various areas, been the Church and the State—each seeking to inhibit and silence the types of speech seen as contesting or threatening their beliefs and power. This pattern has been disastrously uniform in human history. There have been incredibly few free countries in the history of the human race, and, significantly, all of them 19th century mutants—newly capitalist countries clustered in northwestern Europe, and in continental North America. In those few capitalist countries so long, that is, as they remained dominantly capitalist—speech was almost entirely free—with state interventions being rare, special, and, in our own country, causing an immense uproar when they have occurred. By the very nature of speech, it is necessarily the freest expression of thought. Unless one is prepared to assign a policeman to stand guard over every chattering citizen, it is virtually impossible to police the daily speech of the citizenry. Only in an extreme dictatorship, where the penalty for certain types of speech is imprisonment, torture, and death, can effective intimidation be established—and, as we know, even there the controls are never complete: conversation goes underground, but it goes on. It is impossible to regulate the human whisper.
When it exists at all, really effective coercion of thought primarily takes place in the area of written or symbolic communication—when the thinking process loses its ephemeral quality and is translated into material form…into the form of newspaper, a magazine, a book, a film, a scientific article, a technological report…in other words, into a material object which can be reproduced, circulated, and offered for sale to others. This is thought carried to its highest potency—and coercive control by the state of such material manifestations of human thought, is customarily what we call censorship. Effective censorship only occurs when thought actually takes the form of a tangible commodity, a product, that is every bit as material, as physical as a bar of soap—or of steel. Only then can the State take effective action: it simply removes the unwanted product from the market place. That is what censorship really means—the state's removal of an intellectual product from the free market by force, or, at a minimum, regulating its nature, and its circulation.
FIRST AMENDMENT DEFINED
To summarize, then: You cannot, you physically cannot, censor thoughts; they are hidden inside the head. You can only partially censor speech; speech is too ephemeral and omnipresent for effective control. But you can absolutely censor intellectual, scientific and artistic works: because they are physical commodities, they are products. Thus: their manufacture, distribution and sale can be prevented, either by state confiscation, or by state expropriation, or by state control and regulation of the means of production. When we speak of intellectual freedom in a country, what we really mean is that there is no state interference with the creation, manufacture, distribution, sale or purchase of intellectual products.
That is the system assured by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Once one understands that it actually applies to intellectual products—to intellectual commodities—one sees quite clearly that the First Amendment quite literally guarantees a free market in the realm of ideas. The free market of ideas is not a metaphor: it is an authentic economic statement. The First Amendment actually protects an entire chain of economic activities. It protects the inventor or creator of the product; the State may not interfere with his mental processes or their translation into symbolic form. It protects the negotiations of the inventor or creator: the State may not interfere with his selling his creation to any businessman—or publisher or film maker—who wishes to manufacture and distribute it. It protects the manufacturers of such intellectual products; the State may not interfere with their choice of the intellectual products they wish to buy, manufacture, and distribute. And it protects the various middle-men—bookstore owners or movie distributors, for example; the State may not interfere with their choice of the intellectual products they wish to sell to the consuming public. Finally, the First Amendment protects the consumer: the State may not interfere with his choice of what intellectual products he wishes to buy, take home, and read—or view in a commercial theatre or moving picture house.
In other words, the First Amendment, applied in its purest form, actually protects the marketing process of the intellectual product—starting with its inception all the way through the marketing chain, from creator, to the ultimate consumer. At every step of the chain, the state is powerless to expropriate or regulate. Which is another way of saying that at every step of the chain, property rights are acknowledged as absolute.
There is a name to this private-property, voluntary marketing system—laissez-faire capitalism. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States—when it is working in its purest form—guarantees laissez-faire capitalism to the realm of the intellect.
In fact: intellectual freedom is laissez-faire capitalism in the realm of the intellect. That is its real definition. Censorship, whenever it takes place, is the abridgement of laissez-faire capitalism in the intellectual realm.
It is not irrelevant or coincidental that universal intellectual freedom was born in the 19th century in capitalist countries of the West. It is an historical development made possible by capitalism alone and inevitably it dies as capitalism dies. Its disappearance under German National Socialism and its reappearance when free enterprise was reintroduced into West Germany is a dramatic laboratory example of the relationship.
Now, notice, please, that under this system, all protection—all protection—goes to the producer. The entire system is set up so as to protect exclusively freedom of production, freedom of the marketing process. There is not a stitch of consumerism in the system. In a pure application of the First Amendment, all that is guaranteed is that the producer of thought, and the means by which he circulates and markets his products, remain immaculately free. And from this exclusive preoccupation with safeguarding producers' rights, emerges a veritable miracle. From it pours forth a flood of newspapers, magazines, poetry, plays, movies, scholarly works, scientific works, technological works, and so on—every conceivable expression of the human mind, representing every known point of view. From it comes the whole, gorgeous, chaotic spectrum of human thought, human inquiry, human discovery, human values. Out it all comes, surging across the continent-simply because there is nothing to impede this free market—for only the State could possibly impede it, and the First Amendment has chained up the State. This is the brilliant reward and consequence of chaining up the State and giving absolute protection to intellectual producers—this rich, gaudy, astoundingly varied flood of human thought and creativity, all of it competing freely in the market place for the consumer's attention and his dollar.
In this system, the consumer is not "protected" at all. He has the incredible advantage of being able to wander through this flood of released intellectual, scientific and artistic wealth, to select and purchase what he wants, in accordance with his values, tastes and interests. Period. He may purchase like a sage—or like a fool. Nothing exists to protect him—except a host of voluntary mechanisms, like critics and book clubs, and so on, who make qualitative recommendations which he is free to accept or reject. Under the First Amendment, as written in the Constitution, there is no such thing as intellectual consumerism. The rule, where intellectual freedom is concerned, is Caveat Emptor. All protection goes to the producers of ideas; and rightly so: for without them—those precious innovative few—there is no intellectual life and society stagnates. Period.
Now, that is how laissez-faire capitalism works, in the free market of ideas. Properly understood, it is one of the greatest glories of human history.
FIRST AMENDMENT VIOLATED
It is valuable, against this background, to observe what happens when the State decides to violate the First Amendment, and to interfere with this system. And the most dramatic example of such violation of the First Amendment that we have today, on a grand scale, is: broadcasting. In broadcasting, from the ground up, the system has been totally destroyed; the First Amendment has been violated at every crucial stage of the marketing process. Meaning: whenever the State could theoretically intervene in the chain of production that reaches from the original creator to the ultimate consumer, it has intervened.
The State's chief, and most critical entry point, of course, is on the level of the means of production—which is the essential thing to control, if you wish to control any marketing system. Thus, unlike publishers, who may own and use their own printing presses at will, the broadcasters may not own and use their broadcasting facilities at will. The airwaves are declared to be "publicly owned," which boils down, simply, to ownership by the State. The State then chooses the individuals who will have access to the airwaves, by a licensing system. And the licenses are given out in accordance with standards. The standards, inevitably are content standards, or affect content indirectly. If they were merely competitive economic standards—for instance, the licenses going to the highest bidders in an open market, we'd be right back in the competitive laissez-faire situation again—and that is precisely what is forbidden. So the government—in the person of the FCC, the Congress, the Executive and the Courts, etc.—sets a variety of standards for content and standards for hiring, firing, selling, etc.—that influence content. Centralized, nationwide standards, if you please, with which all broadcasters must comply.
And right away, as if by magic, we have the most extraordinary development in the history of American communications: huge monopoly production centers, churning out an absolutely identical product from coast to coast. And everybody stares at it, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, and wonders why, in this particular medium, we are afflicted with this insane, maddening uniformity, from Maine to California. And idiot philosophers arise to tell us that this is the nature of the medium—that it is the medium that determines the message…
And what happens to the creator in this system? Ask anyone who has ever written for TV, and he'll tell you. He must throw away his individual thoughts, his individual values, his individual views—and he must write to conform to this centralized, mass production machine…or he's out. The centralized standards—not his individual creativity—determine the content. The first and permanent casualty is originality, and with it perishes diversity.
And what happens to the consumer in this system? Well—he gets the standardized product, or he turns the set off. Period. He has virtually no choice. The paper-book rack at the corner drug store gives him more brilliant artistic variety than does the tube. And, like artistic diversity, ideological diversity, too, has been slugged on the head—this, of course, being one of the roots of the intransigent bias problem, whereby a relatively small group of men are able to create a uniform political orientation in a mass communications system, to the unending distress of those whose political views clash with theirs. Thus does government intervention work in the broadcasting industry.
In the communications world, television is widely understood to be a pathological medium—the pathology emerging from "the system" itself. What is not widely understood is the flow of that system. Ironically, it is constantly charged with being defective because of private ownership, competition and the "profit motive." In fact, there is scarcely a single problem in this pathological medium which cannot be directly traced to the fact that we do not in this area have a privately-owned competitive laissez-faire system.
"THE PUBLIC INTEREST"
And what is the excuse for this catastrophic violation of the First Amendment in our major communications system? Consumerism, of course. Originally called "the public interest." The rationalization for every step of the intervention process, from licensing to the setting of program types and standards, to ownership and sales arrangements, to Congressional investigations of the content of plays and of news, to decisions on how many people of the white, yellow, black and brown races should be hired to act and write in commercials, plays and news, to the court decisions as to what political biases may or may not be held by the broadcasters…all of this is allegedly in the name of the public which must be protected from…from what? From private property and private ownership of the means of production. Translation: from laissez-faire capitalism in the intellectual, artistic, and ideological realms. Translation: from a free market of ideas.
And in broadcasting, the American consumer has certainly been protected from these things—and in the process has been protected from thought itself. Television is the most intellectually barren communications medium in America.
And year after year, decade after decade, the government regulation, as in all industries, has grown more extensive, more penetrating, more detailed, more self-contradictory, more chaotic, until its effects have finally been experienced and grasped in a crudely direct form by the newsmen themselves. And we have heard the cry of agony go keening out in print and over the airwaves: Our press is not free; our intellectual freedom is threatened; our political liberty is threatened.
Of course it is threatened! What did these liberal gentlemen expect when the State choked off private property, forbade absolute ownership of the means of production, and took the privilege unto itself of setting content and employment standards to be obeyed in the intellectual realm?
Well, the strange answer is: the liberal gentlemen didn't expect it. They thought that you could keep intellectual liberty intact, while dragging the State into every area of existence and allowing it to regulate every aspect of human productivity. Well, you can't—neither in the art business nor in the news business, nor in any other kind of business. Production is an act of mind—whatever the commodity being produced. Headless men, lobotomized men, morons, mongolian idiots, cannot create and run either great news agencies or Hollywood studios, or giant industries. All are creations of intelligence. To dictate how production should be conducted in any business is to leash the mind. It is to violate liberty.
But that is a truth that contemporary intellectuals cannot bring themselves to face.
And so we see the authentically weird spectacle of newsmen being strangled by the State and crying out in anguish—while simultaneously they seek by every means to bring in the State to strangle others. We see newsmen who are losing their freedom because they never understood that that freedom was a direct function of capitalism, trying with zeal to finish off what remains of capitalism. And we see this whole insane process being financed by the very capitalists they are strangling—capitalists who themselves do not dare to challenge the theory of government intervention in principle, although they know that every single manifestation of it that they have ever experienced is destructive.
Neither the media nor the businessmen appear to understand today that their problems as producers are identical, that the dangers they face are identical. They do not understand that whenever the individual's freedom of productivity is abrogated or interfered with by the State, freedom as such is diminished. And that the more the State intervenes, the more it is diminished until finally, the creators and producers in both the intellectual and material realms will wake up one day to discover that they have permanently lost their liberty.
THE CRUCIAL PRINCIPLE
This identity of interests, and identity of dangers should, theoretically, cause the media and the businessmen to be allies in battle. Tragically, however, they are not. The newsmen continue to imagine that you can have intellectual freedom without the free market. The businessmen continue to imagine that you can have the free market without intellectual freedom. Both are actually losing their liberty by virtue of the identical philosophical error—the failure to grasp that the free mind and the free market are mutually dependent and inextricably linked. This is, certainly, a crucial principle—and if one does not understand it, one can and will act as one's own destroyer; and that is clearly what both the media and the business community are doing today. They are jointly committing suicide. And they are taking the entire nation with them.
One might leave it at that—describe it as ignorance—and prescribe massive doses of education as a cure. That is usually what free enterprisers always recommend—and I am no exception. Certainly both newsmen and businessmen show signs of a desperate need of education in economics, and, generally, in libertarian theory. But, somehow, I doubt that book learning alone is the answer, given the particular nature of the business-media suicide pact.
You see, it is an extremely peculiar suicide pact, and surely, of the two partners, the businessmen are more peculiar than the newsmen, since the businessmen are clearly, and often consciously, financing their own attackers. For that matter, newsmen do not exist in a vacuum; without exception they are on the payrolls of business—many of whom are highly distressed by the ideological orientation of their own staffs. In fact, when you examine this suicide pact at very close range—you see that it really consists of businessmen paying newsmen salaries to attack business—in a business totally financed by other businesses.
The reasons conventionally given for this situation are very revealing. The employers in the media—the men who own and direct the corporations—will tell you that they do not consider it correct to violate their reporters' intellectual and professional judgments—they see the newsmen's minds as untouchable absolutes. The advertisers in the media, similarly, will tell you that they wouldn't dream of violating the editorial integrity of news departments by lodging protests or making demands—again: because they consider the newsmen's minds and professional judgments to be inviolable absolutes.
What you actually have here, then, is a little nucleus of hostile reportorial minds being treated with immense respect and even fearful reverence, by surrounding rings of potent businessmen. And the strangest thing is that none of these potent businessmen ever consider the fact that they too have minds, that they too make professional judgments, and that their minds and judgments, too, merit immense respect. By implication, they behave as if the free mind and its rights were totally irrelevant to them, to their activities, their interests and their enterprises—as if, somehow, they had no minds…or, perhaps, more accurately, as if reporter's minds had special rights, and theirs had none.
BUSINESSMEN HAVE RIGHTS TOO
And this suggests that there is a dimension to this problem which is not exclusively economic or philosophical, but psychological as well—in the sense of subjective or introspective. There is good reason to believe that many businessmen do not think of themselves as thinkers—even when they are brilliant men, who spend 18 hours a day thinking their heads off, and, indeed, can think circles around the average hack reporter. Somehow, thinking about the complex area of material production does not, to them, count as thinking. There is also good reason to believe that because of this, many businessmen do not quite grasp that they have First Amendment rights—that the scientists and technologists whose work underlies or guides their activities have First Amendment rights—that the protections and guarantees given by the Constitution to free speech and the free press apply directly to them—and that nothing in the First Amendment suggests that one category of intellectual activity must forfeit its rights to another category of intellectual activity. Nowhere does it say that the minds of businessmen are Constitutionally subordinate to the minds of reporters! But businessmen do not seem to know this.
I have thus come to believe that in addition to recommending huge poultices of economics and philosophy, there is a direct and burning need to make businessmen intimately and self-consciously aware that they, too, are men of the mind—perhaps more so, in many cases, than the media people before whom they are shivering in awe, today…that objective respect is due in their minds…and that their minds are sheltered, too, by the crucial First Amendment to the Constitution. I do not think that a man can care about the relationship between the free mind and the free market—if, in some mysterious fashion, he doesn't identify himself as a man who thinks, as a man of ideas, as a man of reason—even when he is such a man.
I believe that businessmen, as a group, must learn to fight for their minds, for their mental rights, so to speak, for their identity as thinkers—as an introspective precondition for tackling the economic-political battle for their freedom. The lethal suicide pact in which they finance their own destruction would not go on for 24 hours, were this lesson learned. Nor, I suspect, would men of great powers have to take lessons in how to deal with hostile, ignorant, pipsqueaks, were this lesson learned. And certainly bosses would not quail before lowly employees, were this lesson learned.
It is a great many years now that brilliant economists have been meeting in conclaves and concluding that further education in economics is the answer to the great mystery of why the American capitalist is behaving like a Gulliver who perpetually shakes in the knees at the sight of pygmies.
Well, economics is one answer. Philosophy is another. But I would like to submit today, that intellectual self-awareness is a third—that it may even be the precondition for the others. I firmly believe that if the American businessman is ever to fight for the free market—he can only do so from an inner fulcrum of respect for his own mind and the proud awareness of its right to be free.
There is clearly a psychological, as well as a philosophical, link between the free mind and the free market—and I think the time has come to explore it.
At the opening of this article, I referred to a management consultant named Thomas J. Deegan—who told me that one of his activities was to educate business and corporate chieftains to the motives of hostile reporters. I'll remind you once again, of what he told me. He said: "Corporate leaders, brilliant guys who run empires, are often terribly naive about the kind of motives involved in these attacks: petty malice, exhibitionism, a desire to topple the mighty. Men of proud leadership are frequently unaware of the small motives of lesser people. I've seen this all my life. I try to alert my clients to these motives."
Well, I'm actually suggesting a corollary to Mr. Deegan's statement. I am saying that corporate leaders, "brilliant guys who run empires," are often terribly naive about their own motives—the courage, imagination, and confidence implied in long-range planning; the alert, driving intelligence and the complexity of thought required to run such empires; the strength of character and intellectual self-confidence that underlies that "proud leadership." We have seen this, too, all our lives.
The time has come to render this class of unusual men alert to their own motives—so that they can resist the insolent attacks of petty men who perceive in businessmen only one, ugly motive: blind greed—so that they can reject the artificial mantle of guilt that others would have them wear—so that they can resist the incredible barrage of blackmail to which they are subjected.
For it is the acceptance of that very insolence, that artificial guilt, that blackmail, that has undermined the businessman to the point that he no longer knows his intellectual and moral rights, and no longer defends his Constitutional rights. He must stop accepting it, stop feeling, somehow, that it is legitimate that he be treated as a second class citizen. He must start to experience himself as a first-class citizen, so that he can demand that he be treated as one. There can be no external rebellion against injustice—until there has been an internal rebellion against it.
It is that very internal rebellion that we must seek to generate before it is too late.
Edith Efron is a journalist with 30 years of professional experience. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, she has been a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine; a reporter for Time-Life; Managing Editor of Special Editorial Departments of Look; as well as a free lance writer for several national magazines, Miss Efron, as media critic, contributes regularly to TV Guide's weekly critique of network news, called "News Watch." She was a media critic for Public Broadcasting Radio in 1972. Her books include The News Twisters (1971) and How CBS Tried to Kill a Book (1972), both published by Nash, L.A. This paper was delivered at Pepperdine University's Business-Education-Media Seminar and is printed here with permission from Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "The Free Mind & the Free Market".