This memorandum is submitted at your request as a basis for the discussion on August 24 with Mr. Booth (executive
vice president) and others at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues
of action for further consideration.
No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack. This varies
in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.
There always have
been some who opposed the American [corporatist] system, and preferred socialism or some form of statism (communism or fascism).
Also, there always have been critics of the system, whose criticism has been wholesome and constructive so long as the objective
was to improve rather than to subvert or destroy.
But what now concerns
us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists
or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently
pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.
Sources of the
The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other
revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more
numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before
in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.
The most disquieting
voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit,
the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the
movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal,
the most prolific in their writing and speaking.
much of the media -- for varying motives and in varying degrees -- either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these "attackers,"
or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such
a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.
One of the bewildering
paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction.
The campuses from
which much of the criticism emanates are supported by (i) tax funds generated largely from American business, and (ii) contributions
from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees of our universities overwhelmingly
are composed of men and women who are leaders in the system.
the media, including the national TV systems, are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend upon profits,
and the enterprise system to survive.
Tone of the Attack
is not the place to document in detail the tone, character, or intensity of the attack. The following quotations will suffice
to give one a general idea:
warmly welcomed on campuses and listed in a recent student poll as the "American lawyer most admired," incites audiences as
"You must learn
to fight in the streets, to revolt, to shoot guns. We will learn to do all of the things that property owners fear." The New
Leftists who heed Kunstler's advice increasingly are beginning to act -- not just against military recruiting offices and
manufacturers of munitions, but against a variety of businesses: "Since February, 1970, branches (of Bank of America) have
been attacked 39 times, 22 times with explosive devices and 17 times with fire bombs or by arsonists." Although New Leftist
spokesmen are succeeding in radicalizing thousands of the young, the greater cause for concern is the hostility of respectable
liberals and social reformers. It is the sum total of their views and influence which could indeed fatally weaken or destroy
A chilling description
of what is being taught on many of our campuses was written by Stewart Alsop:
"Yale, like every
other major college, is graduating scores of bright young men who are practitioners of 'the politics of despair.' These young
men despise the American political and economic system . . . (their) minds seem to be wholly closed. They live, not by rational
discussion, but by mindless slogans." A recent poll of students on 12 representative campuses reported that: "Almost half the students favored socialization of basic U.S. industries."
A visiting professor
from England at Rockford College gave a series of lectures entitled "The Ideological War Against Western Society," in which
he documents the extent to which members of the intellectual community are waging ideological warfare against the enterprise
system and the values of western society [corporatist society]. In a foreword to these lectures,
famed Dr. Milton Friedman of Chicago warned: "It (is) crystal clear that the foundations of our free society are under wide-ranging
and powerful attack -- not by Communist or any other conspiracy but by misguided individuals parroting one another and unwittingly
serving ends they would never intentionally promote."
Perhaps the single
most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who -- thanks largely to the media -- has become a legend in
his own time and an idol of millions of Americans. A recent article in Fortune speaks of Nader as follows:
"The passion that rules in him -- and he
is a passionate man -- is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says
quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison -- for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise,
poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the
buyer. He emphasizes that he is not talking just about 'fly-by-night hucksters' but the top management of blue chip business."
A frontal assault
was made on our government, our system of justice, and the free enterprise system by Yale Professor Charles Reich in his widely
publicized book: "The Greening of America," published last winter.
references illustrate the broad, shotgun attack on the system itself. There are countless examples of rifle shots which undermine
confidence and confuse the public. Favorite current targets are proposals for tax incentives through changes in depreciation
rates and investment credits. These are usually described in the media as "tax breaks," "loop holes" or "tax benefits" for
the benefit of business. * As viewed by a columnist in the Post, such tax measures would benefit "only the rich, the owners
of big companies."
It is dismaying
that many politicians make the same argument that tax measures of this kind benefit only "business," without benefit to "the
poor." The fact that this is either political demagoguery or economic illiteracy is of slight comfort. This setting of the
"rich" against the "poor," of business against the people, is the cheapest and most dangerous kind of politics.
The Apathy and
Default of Business
What has been the response of business to this massive assault upon its fundamental economics, upon its
philosophy, upon its right to continue to manage its own affairs, and indeed upon its integrity?
sad truth is that business, including the boards of directors' and the top executives of corporations great and small and
business organizations at all levels, often have responded -- if at all -- by appeasement, ineptitude and ignoring the problem.
There are, of course, many exceptions to this sweeping generalization. But the net effect of such response as has been made
is scarcely visible.
In all fairness,
it must be recognized that businessmen have not been trained or equipped to conduct guerrilla warfare with those who propagandize
against the system, seeking insidiously and constantly to sabotage it. The traditional role of business executives has been
to manage, to produce, to sell, to create jobs, to make profits, to improve the standard of living, to be community leaders,
to serve on charitable and educational boards, and generally to be good citizens. They have performed these tasks very well
But they have
shown little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics, and little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical
A column recently
carried by the Wall Street Journal was entitled: "Memo to GM: Why Not Fight Back?" Although addressed to GM by name, the article
was a warning to all American business. Columnist St. John said:
like American business in general, is 'plainly in trouble' because intellectual bromides have been substituted for a sound
intellectual exposition of its point of view." Mr. St. John then commented on the tendency of business leaders to compromise
with and appease critics. He cited the concessions which Nader wins from management, and spoke of "the fallacious view many
businessmen take toward their critics." He drew a parallel to the mistaken tactics of many college administrators: "College
administrators learned too late that such appeasement serves to destroy free speech, academic freedom and genuine scholarship.
One campus radical demand was conceded by university heads only to be followed by a fresh crop which soon escalated to what
amounted to a demand for outright surrender."
One need not agree
entirely with Mr. St. John's analysis. But most observers of the American scene will agree that the essence of his message
is sound. American business "plainly in trouble"; the response to the wide range of critics has been ineffective, and has
included appeasement; the time has come -- indeed, it is long overdue -- for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American
business to be marshalled against those who would destroy it.
of Business Executives
What specifically should be done? The first essential -- a prerequisite to any effective action -- is for
businessmen to confront this problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.
first need is for businessmen to recognize that the ultimate issue may be survival -- survival of what we call the free enterprise
system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.
The day is long
past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth
of profits, with due regard to the corporation's public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management
must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis
on "public relations" or "governmental affairs" -- two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.
first step by individual corporations could well be the designation of an executive vice president (ranking with other executive
VP's) whose responsibility is to counter-on the broadest front-the attack on the enterprise system. The public relations department
could be one of the foundations assigned to this executive, but his responsibilities should encompass some of the types of
activities referred to subsequently in this memorandum. His budget and staff should be adequate to the task.
Role of the Chamber of Commerce
But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not
be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action
over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power
available only through united action and national organizations.
is the quite understandable reluctance on the part of any one corporation to get too far out in front and to make itself too
visible a target.
The role of the
National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital. Other national organizations (especially those of various industrial and
commercial groups) should join in the effort, but no other organizations appear to be as well situated as the Chamber. It
enjoys a strategic position, with a fine reputation and a broad base of support. Also -- and this is of immeasurable merit
-- there are hundreds of local Chambers of Commerce which can play a vital supportive role.
It hardly need
be said that before embarking upon any program, the Chamber should study and analyze possible courses of action and activities,
weighing risks against probable effectiveness and feasibility of each. Considerations of cost, the assurance of financial
and other support from members, adequacy of staffing and similar problems will all require the most thoughtful consideration.
The assault on
the enterprise system was not mounted in a few months. It has gradually evolved over the past two decades, barely perceptible
in its origins and benefiting (sic) from a gradualism that provoked little awareness much less any real reaction.
sources and causes are complex and interrelated, and obviously difficult to identify without careful qualification, there
is reason to believe that the campus is the single most dynamic source. The social science faculties usually include members
who are unsympathetic to the enterprise system. They may range from a Herbert Marcuse, Marxist faculty member at the University
of California at San Diego, and convinced socialists, to the ambivalent liberal critic who finds more to condemn than to commend.
Such faculty members need not be in a majority. They are often personally attractive and magnetic; they are stimulating teachers,
and their controversy attracts student following; they are prolific writers and lecturers; they author many of the textbooks,
and they exert enormous influence -- far out of proportion to their numbers -- on their colleagues and in the academic world.
faculties (the political scientist, economist, sociologist and many of the historians) tend to be liberally oriented, even
when leftists are not present. This is not a criticism per se, as the need for liberal thought is essential to a balanced
viewpoint. The difficulty is that "balance" is conspicuous by its absence on many campuses, with relatively few members being
of conservatives or moderate persuasion and even the relatively few often being less articulate and aggressive than their
extending back many years and with the imbalance gradually worsening, has had an enormous impact on millions of young American
students. In an article in Barron's Weekly, seeking an answer to why so many young people are disaffected even to the point
of being revolutionaries, it was said: "Because they were taught that way." Or, as noted by columnist Stewart Alsop, writing
about his alma mater: "Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores' of bright young men ... who despise the
American political and economic system."
As these "bright
young men," from campuses across the country, seek opportunities to change a system which they have been taught to distrust
-- if not, indeed "despise" -- they seek employment in the centers of the real power and influence in our country, namely:
(i) with the news media, especially television; (ii) in government, as "staffers" and consultants at various levels; (iii)
in elective politics; (iv) as lecturers and writers, and (v) on the faculties at various levels of education.
Many do enter
the enterprise system -- in business and the professions -- and for the most part they quickly discover the fallacies of what
they have been taught. But those who eschew the mainstream of the system often remain in key positions of influence where
they mold public opinion and often shape governmental action. In many instances, these "intellectuals" end up in regulatory
agencies or governmental departments with large authority over the business system they do not believe in.
If the foregoing
analysis is approximately sound, a priority task of business -- and organizations such as the Chamber -- is to address the
campus origin of this hostility. Few things are more sanctified in American life than academic freedom. It would be fatal
to attack this as a principle. But if academic freedom is to retain the qualities of "openness," "fairness" and "balance"
-- which are essential to its intellectual significance -- there is a great opportunity for constructive action. The thrust
of such action must be to restore the qualities just mentioned to the academic communities.
What Can Be Done
About the Campus
The ultimate responsibility for intellectual integrity on the campus must remain on the administrations
and faculties of our colleges and universities. But organizations such as the Chamber can assist and activate constructive
change in many ways, including the following:
Staff of Scholars
The Chamber should
consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system. It should
include several of national reputation whose authorship would be widely respected -- even when disagreed with.
Staff of Speakers
There also should
be a staff of speakers of the highest competency. These might include the scholars, and certainly those who speak for the
Chamber would have to articulate the product of the scholars.
In addition to full-time staff personnel, the Chamber should have a Speaker's Bureau which should include
the ablest and most effective advocates from the top echelons of American business.
The staff of scholars (or preferably a panel of independent scholars) should evaluate social science textbooks,
especially in economics, political science and sociology. This should be a continuing program.
of such evaluation should be oriented toward restoring the balance essential to genuine academic freedom. This would include
assurance of fair and factual treatment of our system of government and our enterprise system, its accomplishments, its basic
relationship to individual rights and freedoms, and comparisons with the systems of socialism, fascism and communism. Most
of the existing textbooks have some sort of comparisons, but many are superficial, biased and unfair.
We have seen the
civil rights movement insist on re-writing many of the textbooks in our universities and schools. The labor unions likewise
insist that textbooks be fair to the viewpoints of organized labor. Other interested citizens groups have not hesitated to
review, analyze and criticize textbooks and teaching materials. In a democratic society, this can be a constructive process
and should be regarded as an aid to genuine academic freedom and not as an intrusion upon it.
If the authors,
publishers and users of textbooks know that they will be subjected -- honestly, fairly and thoroughly -- to review and critique
by eminent scholars who believe in the American system, a return to a more rational balance can be expected.
Equal Time on
The Chamber should insist upon equal time on the college speaking circuit. The FBI publishes each year
a list of speeches made on college campuses by avowed Communists. The number in 1970 exceeded 100. There were, of course,
many hundreds of appearances by leftists and ultra liberals who urge the types of viewpoints indicated earlier in this memorandum.
There was no corresponding representation of American business, or indeed by individuals or organizations who appeared in
support of the American system of government and business.
Every campus has
its formal and informal groups which invite speakers. Each law school does the same thing. Many universities and colleges
officially sponsor lecture and speaking programs. We all know the inadequacy of the representation of business in the programs.
It will be said
that few invitations would be extended to Chamber speakers. This undoubtedly would be true unless the Chamber aggressively
insisted upon the right to be heard -- in effect, insisted upon "equal time." University administrators and the great majority
of student groups and committees would not welcome being put in the position publicly of refusing a forum to diverse views,
indeed, this is the classic excuse for allowing Communists to speak.
The two essential
ingredients are (i) to have attractive, articulate and well-informed speakers; and (ii) to exert whatever degree of pressure
-- publicly and privately -- may be necessary to assure opportunities to speak. The objective always must be to inform and
enlighten, and not merely to propagandize.
Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties. Correcting this is indeed a long-range
and difficult project. Yet, it should be undertaken as a part of an overall program. This would mean the urging of the need
for faculty balance upon university administrators and boards of trustees.
The methods to
be employed require careful thought, and the obvious pitfalls must be avoided. Improper pressure would be counterproductive.
But the basic concepts of balance, fairness and truth are difficult to resist, if properly presented to boards of trustees,
by writing and speaking, and by appeals to alumni associations and groups.
This is a long
road and not one for the fainthearted. But if pursued with integrity and conviction it could lead to a strengthening of both
academic freedom on the campus and of the values which have made America the most productive of all societies.
The Chamber should enjoy a particular rapport with the increasingly influential graduate schools of
business. Much that has been suggested above applies to such schools.
Should not the
Chamber also request specific courses in such schools dealing with the entire scope of the problem addressed by this memorandum?
This is now essential training for the executives of the future.
While the first priority should be at the college level, the trends mentioned above are increasingly
evidenced in the high schools. Action programs, tailored to the high schools and similar to those mentioned, should be considered.
The implementation thereof could become a major program for local chambers of commerce, although the control and direction
-- especially the quality control -- should be retained by the National Chamber.
What Can Be Done
About the Public?
Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public
generally may be more important for the shorter term. The first essential is to establish the staffs of eminent scholars,
writers and speakers, who will do the thinking, the analysis, the writing and the speaking. It will also be essential to have
staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public. Among
the more obvious means are the following:
The national television
networks should be monitored in the same way that textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance. This applies not merely
to so-called educational programs (such as "Selling of the Pentagon"), but to the daily "news analysis" which so often includes
the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system. Whether this criticism results from hostility or economic ignorance,
the result is the gradual erosion of confidence in "business" and free enterprise.
to be effective, would require constant examination of the texts of adequate samples of programs. Complaints -- to the media
and to the Federal Communications Commission -- should be made promptly and strongly when programs are unfair or inaccurate.
Equal time should
be demanded when appropriate. Effort should be made to see that the forum-type programs (the Today Show, Meet the Press, etc.)
afford at least as much opportunity for supporters of the American system to participate as these programs do for those who
Radio and the
press are also important, and every available means should be employed to challenge and refute unfair attacks, as well as
to present the affirmative case through these media.
It is especially important for the Chamber's "faculty of scholars" to publish. One of the keys to the success
of the liberal and leftist faculty members has been their passion for "publication" and "lecturing." A similar passion must
exist among the Chamber's scholars.
be devised to induce more "publishing" by independent scholars who do believe in the system.
There should be
a fairly steady flow of scholarly articles presented to a broad spectrum of magazines and periodicals -- ranging from the
popular magazines (Life, Look, Reader's Digest, etc.) to the more intellectual ones (Atlantic, Harper's, Saturday Review,
New York, etc.) and to the various professional journals.
Paperbacks and Pamphlets
The news stands -- at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere -- are filled with paperbacks and pamphlets advocating
everything from revolution to erotic free love. One finds almost no attractive, well-written paperbacks or pamphlets on "our
side." It will be difficult to compete with an Eldridge Cleaver or even a Charles Reich for reader attention, but unless the
effort is made -- on a large enough scale and with appropriate imagination to assure some success -- this opportunity for
educating the public will be irretrievably lost.
hundreds of millions of dollars to the media for advertisements. Most of this supports specific products; much of it supports
institutional image making; and some fraction of it does support the system. But the latter has been more or less tangential,
and rarely part of a sustained, major effort to inform and enlighten the American people.
If American business
devoted only 10% of its total annual advertising budget to this overall purpose, it would be a statesman-like expenditure.
In the final analysis, the payoff -- short-of revolution -- is what government does. Business has been
the favorite whipping-boy of many politicians for many years. But the measure of how far this has gone is perhaps best found
in the anti-business views now being expressed by several leading candidates for President of the United States.
It is still Marxist
doctrine that the "capitalist" countries are controlled by big business. This doctrine, consistently a part of leftist propaganda
all over the world, has a wide public following among Americans.
every business executive knows, few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American
businessman, the corporation, or even the millions of corporate stockholders. If one doubts this, let him undertake the role
of "lobbyist" for the business point of view before Congressional committees. The same situation obtains in the legislative
halls of most states and major cities. One does not exaggerate to say that, in terms of political influence with respect to
the course of legislation and government action, the American business executive is truly the "forgotten man."
of the impotency of business, and of the near-contempt with which businessmen's views are held, are the stampedes by politicians
to support almost any legislation related to "consumerism" or to the "environment."
what they believe to be majority views of their constituents. It is thus evident that most politicians are making the judgment
that the public has little sympathy for the businessman or his viewpoint.
programs suggested above would be designed to enlighten public thinking -- not so much about the businessman and his individual
role as about the system which he administers, and which provides the goods, services and jobs on which our country depends.
But one should
not postpone more direct political action, while awaiting the gradual change in public opinion to be effected through education
and information. Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson
that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be
used aggressively and with determination -- without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic
of American business.
as it may be to the Chamber, it should consider assuming a broader and more vigorous role in the political arena.
Opportunity in the Courts
American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive
and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court,
the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.
and groups, recognizing this, have been far more astute in exploiting judicial action than American business. Perhaps the
most active exploiters of the judicial system have been groups ranging in political orientation from "liberal" to the far
The American Civil
Liberties Union is one example. It initiates or intervenes in scores of cases each year, and it files briefs amicus curiae
in the Supreme Court in a number of cases during each term of that court. Labor unions, civil rights groups and now the public
interest law firms are extremely active in the judicial arena. Their success, often at business' expense, has not been inconsequential.
This is a vast
area of opportunity for the Chamber, if it is willing to undertake the role of spokesman for American business and if, in
turn, business is willing to provide the funds.
As with respect
to scholars and speakers, the Chamber would need a highly competent staff of lawyers. In special situations it should be authorized
to engage, to appear as counsel amicus in the Supreme Court, lawyers of national standing and reputation. The greatest care
should be exercised in selecting the cases in which to participate, or the suits to institute. But the opportunity merits
the necessary effort.
The average member of the public thinks of "business" as an impersonal corporate entity, owned by the very
rich and managed by over-paid executives. There is an almost total failure to appreciate that "business" actually embraces
-- in one way or another -- most Americans. Those for whom business provides jobs, constitute a fairly obvious class. But
the 20 million stockholders -- most of whom are of modest means -- are the real owners, the real entrepreneurs, the real capitalists
under our system. They provide the capital which fuels the economic system which has produced the highest standard of living
in all history. Yet, stockholders have been as ineffectual as business executives in promoting a genuine understanding of
our system or in exercising political influence.
The question which
merits the most thorough examination is how can the weight and influence of stockholders -- 20 million voters -- be mobilized
to support (i) an educational program and (ii) a political action program.
are now required to make numerous reports to shareholders. Many corporations also have expensive "news" magazines which go
to employees and stockholders. These opportunities to communicate can be used far more effectively as educational media.
itself must exercise restraint in undertaking political action and must, of course, comply with applicable laws. But is it
not feasible -- through an affiliate of the Chamber or otherwise -- to establish a national organization of American stockholders
and give it enough muscle to be influential?
A More Aggressive
Business interests -- especially big business and their national trade organizations -- have tried to maintain
low profiles, especially with respect to political action.
As suggested in
the Wall Street Journal article, it has been fairly characteristic of the average business executive to be tolerant -- at
least in public -- of those who attack his corporation and the system. Very few businessmen or business organizations respond
in kind. There has been a disposition to appease; to regard the opposition as willing to compromise, or as likely to fade
away in due time.
Business has shunted
confrontation politics. Business, quite understandably, has been repelled by the multiplicity of non-negotiable "demands"
made constantly by self-interest groups of all kinds.
responsible business interests, nor the United States Chamber of Commerce, would engage in the irresponsible tactics of some
pressure groups, it is essential that spokesmen for the enterprise system -- at all levels and at every opportunity -- be
far more aggressive than in the past.
There should be
no hesitation to attack the Naders, the Marcuses and others who openly seek destruction of the system. There should not be
the slightest hesitation to press vigorously in all political arenas for support of the enterprise system. Nor should there
be reluctance to penalize politically those who oppose it.
Lessons can be
learned from organized labor in this respect. The head of the AFL-CIO may not appeal to businessmen as the most endearing
or public-minded of citizens. Yet, over many years the heads of national labor organizations have done what they were paid
to do very effectively. They may not have been beloved, but they have been respected -- where it counts the most -- by politicians,
on the campus, and among the media.
It is time for
American business -- which has demonstrated the greatest capacity in all history to produce and to influence consumer decisions
-- to apply their great talents vigorously to the preservation of the system itself.
The type of program
described above (which includes a broadly based combination of education and political action), if undertaken long term and
adequately staffed, would require far more generous financial support from American corporations than the Chamber has ever
received in the past. High level management participation in Chamber affairs also would be required.
The staff of the
Chamber would have to be significantly increased, with the highest quality established and maintained. Salaries would have
to be at levels fully comparable to those paid key business executives and the most prestigious faculty members. Professionals
of the great skill in advertising and in working with the media, speakers, lawyers and other specialists would have to be
It is possible
that the organization of the Chamber itself would benefit from restructuring. For example, as suggested by union experience,
the office of President of the Chamber might well be a full-time career position. To assure maximum effectiveness and continuity,
the chief executive officer of the Chamber should not be changed each year. The functions now largely performed by the President
could be transferred to a Chairman of the Board, annually elected by the membership. The Board, of course, would continue
to exercise policy control.
Essential ingredients of the entire program must be responsibility and "quality control." The publications,
the articles, the speeches, the media programs, the advertising, the briefs filed in courts, and the appearances before legislative
committees -- all must meet the most exacting standards of accuracy and professional excellence. They must merit respect for
their level of public responsibility and scholarship, whether one agrees with the viewpoints expressed or not.
The threat to the enterprise system is not merely a matter of economics. It also is a threat to individual
It is this great
truth -- now so submerged by the rhetoric of the New Left and of many liberals -- that must be re-affirmed if this program
is to be meaningful.
There seems to
be little awareness that the only alternatives to free enterprise are varying degrees of bureaucratic regulation of individual
freedom -- ranging from that under moderate socialism to the iron heel of the leftist or rightist dictatorship.
We in America
already have moved very far indeed toward some aspects of state socialism, as the needs and complexities of a vast urban society
require types of regulation and control that were quite unnecessary in earlier times. In some areas, such regulation and control
already have seriously impaired the freedom of both business and labor, and indeed of the public generally. But most of the
essential freedoms remain: private ownership, private profit, labor unions, collective bargaining, consumer choice, and a
market economy in which competition largely determines price, quality and variety of the goods and services provided the consumer.
In addition to
the ideological attack on the system itself (discussed in this memorandum), its essentials also are threatened by inequitable
taxation, and -- more recently -- by an inflation which has seemed uncontrollable. But whatever the causes of diminishing
economic freedom may be, the truth is that freedom as a concept is indivisible. As the experience of the socialist and totalitarian
states demonstrates, the contraction and denial of economic freedom is followed inevitably by governmental restrictions on
other cherished rights. It is this message, above all others, that must be carried home to the American people.
It hardly need
be said that the views expressed above are tentative and suggestive. The first step should be a thorough study. But this would
be an exercise in futility unless the Board of Directors of the Chamber accepts the fundamental premise of this paper, namely,
that business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late.