us intellectual is free to hold whatever opinions he likes on Vietnam, Cuba, the Congo, or other foreign policy issues, but his freedom to express these views publicly is often limited in several subtle ways. The most effective of these is money. From grants, subsidies, and research centres, both public and private, money is available to intellectuals who wish to study a wide variety of non-controversial subjects. However, it is less likely to be available for an analysis of more ‘sensitive’ subjects, unless the scholar’s approach assures his avoiding controversial conclusions and implies his agreement with the viewpoint of the Establishment.
Such economic facts have two disastrous consequences. The number of books and articles expressing any significant dissent is vastly reduced, thus diminishing the variety of non-Establishment views available to the educated audience. But worse, young intellectuals suffer a constant subtle pressure to pursue only those interests which may lead to economic and professional rewards; to study only that which is safe (for example, political scientists backed by lucrative grants are interviewing Cuban exiles in Miami to learn ‘the truth’ about Castro’s Cuba).
In brief, economic realities diminish the variety of viewpoints actually held by us citizens on any controversial subject. The subsidization of books and magazines by the cia is only the worst symptom of a more general sickness. So absurd has the situation become that foreign policy truths are ‘unspeakable’, as Senator J. William Fulbright put it in his famous speech vainly attempting to destroy myths and broaden the range of foreign policy debate. When those truths are spoken, as by Senators Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening on Vietnam, for months at a time they go unreported or are buried in the back pages of the national press.
What has been happening in the United States in the past decade is not a series of persecutions, open and brutal, against alleged ‘crypto-Communists,’ as in the McCarthy era, but rather a less open and more
Thus, correspondents of major newspapers and magazines who report brutal tortures made possible by the us military presence in Vietnam, or describe the reactionary, repressive nature of military takeovers in Latin America, are transferred to other areas or resign at an early age. John Gerassi found his reports to Time magazine edited beyond recognition and so quit, later writing The Great Fear, the Reconquest of Latin America by Latin Americans. The book sold poorly, since reviewers, echoing the Establishment line, ridiculed Gerassi for his ‘naivete’ and ‘ignorance’ about ‘Fidelismo’. Gerassi’s journalistic talents momentarily saved him when Newsweek, under new liberal ownership, hired him. But his exposé of the fascism of Brazil’s new military junta led to his quiet removal from the Latin American editorial desk of Newsweek. There are innumerable other cases of journalists–and of government officials reporting from foreign areas—who have been silenced or transferred to new appointments in recent years.