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Fight on Hatred is Key to America’s Future, Fannie Hurst Tells Williamstown Parley

August 31, 1939
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

America, by virtue of her granting of freedom in the creative fields of human endeavor, has it in her power to “cross the threshold of what may be her Periclean age of creative production,” Fannie Hurst, the novelist, declared tonight at the Williamstown Institute of Human Relations.

Miss Hurst said that the key to America’s intellectual destiny lay in “our intolerance of intolerance, our hatred of hatred, our proud insistence upon our right to worship and have our being under the banner of liberty.” The restriction of cultural products in some European countries today with the “forbidden lists” of authors has added to the intellectual largess of America, she declared.

“By virtue of the obscene and sacrilegious behavior of certain governments of Europe today, America has come into a great intellectual inheritance. Giants like Einstein, Thomas Mann, emigrate to our shores to inter-marry their intellectual achievements with ours. Leaders of European thought are pouring, as from a cornucopia, the cream of their older civilization onto our fertile consciousness. The ill winds of the world have indeed blown us good. But it is not enough. There is no ultimate freedom, for instance, in any separate literature, so long as the reek of rotting cultures surround it. It may fertilize our own up to a point, but the foul and noxious miasmas that rise off fettered, gagged and punished nations, must inevitably waft us poise as.”

In a plea that differences between individuals and groups be minimized and similarities be emphasized, Miss Hurst said: “If there is one theme that I wish to highlight in this discussion here today it is my passionate conviction that down through the ages, up to this troubled present, this tendency to play up differences and play down similarities, is the root of much human evil. If the church, in a world that seems slowly coming into a spiritual renaissance, can succeed in translating to mankind that even religious differences are not so marked, as religious similarities, then indeed will it seem that a spiritual rebirth is conceivable for a tired and hating world. This holds for nations, races, religions. Minimize the differences between human beings, and you minimize the perils of freedom.”

Business today is one of the determining factors as to whether this country shall continue on the path of the traditional American principles of tolerance and brotherhood or whether it shall be torn by suicidal racial and religious animosities, declared Homer Buckley, advertising executive, who warned that “promoters of racial and religious hatred are concentrating their energies to a large degree on winning over business men to their subversive propaganda.” Buckley advocated an educational movement “among business men, for business men and by business men.”

Buckley charged that under various pretexts, “as for example, through the false charges that Jews are responsible for Communism, for the New Deal, etc.,” propagandists are trying to arouse business people against Jews and get business men to give financial support to movements which foster hatred.

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