Pegler Tells of Those Who Would Quarantine Pegler

Westbrook Pegler

Shreveport Times/January 12, 1955

My colleague and stablemate, George Sokolsky, recently came upon and wrote about an indiscreet admission by a writer in an obscure New York Socialist paper that in 1950 a political element undertook to quarantine Pegler. I will quote a few lines from Sok’s article and from the essay in the Socialist propaganda paper and then go into my act.

“The word quarantine is used to cut off a person or a place from contact with others,” George wrote. “Usually the function of quarantining lies with a government agency. When persons join together for such a purpose they are most often snobs who prefer not to associate with their inferiors or they enter upon a conspiracy to boycott the quarantined person.”

He then pounced upon the admission that “around 1950, sophisticates began to dismiss Westbrook Pegler as a ‘faded menace’ whose stuff was old hat.”

“The only trouble with this modified form of quarantine,” the Socialist paper said, “was that it didn’t work. Pegler lost some papers but he gained others.”

Now Sokolsky asked, “who are these sophisticates who began to dismiss Pegler? Did they attend a meeting? Did they telephone each other? Did they start a whispering campaign? By what means did they operate this ‘modified’ form of quarantine?”

In asking these questions, of course, George was just being rhetorical. He knows the answers and so do I. The purposes of this organization are not charity nor philanthropy but political action. To achieve such political action it resorts to persecution of law-abiding Americans for “non-conformity” and for independent thought and expression and to systematic book-burning. These methods, strangely enough, are high on the list of the evils which these mock-intellectuals pretend to abhor and to oppose.

George knows who they are and so do I. He knows where their main office is and so do I. He knows that they do hold meetings and do telephone each other and so do I. And he and I know other means by which this “modified form of quarantine” was and continues to be operated clear across the United States.

I have had professional advice that this attempt to muzzle criticism of the deity of a pagan theocracy and members of the, as it were, Holy Family, by the means which they use in some cases, is actionable as a conspiracy. I have not rejected the idea of calling them to account but have deferred the decision because the job in hand is more immediate. I take quite seriously my duty to enlighten to the limit of my ability and the facilities available to me a public which has expressed confidence in me and paid me well for a long time.

Many journalists have submitted. I never have submitted and never will because I simply can’t do it. However, I have tried to reason with some individuals and to persuade them that this impudence is inciting resentment among persons of the gentlest and most charitable instincts who nevertheless stand by their political principles.

This cult has tried to sanctify Eleanor Roosevelt and to condemn as blasphemers whosoever fails to uncover at mention of her name. It is equally horrid to disbelieve in the United Nations, public education directed from a federal bureau in Washington, the infallibility of Eisenhower and the unforgivable perfidy of Joe McCarthy, These are not all the articles of a creed and code but they are high on the list which, altogether, amounts to prescription of the true Republican Party and the Constitution of the United States.

As I look back to the start of the New Deal and survey the field of my profession, I realize that I could have had a much less troubled career had I renounced principle and joined the opposition. Other reporters did this and fared very well, some of them on less professional ability than mine. I could have planted relatives on the payrolls, as others have done; wangled contracts, dined often at the White House and traveled over in Army and Air Force planes at nominal expense, if any.

But it just wasn’t born in me to do that. The “Quarantine” through the whispering campaign which Sokolsky knowingly refers to may ultimately succeed. But if so I will go down knowing that I did not die on my knees.




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