The Hollywood Ten were humanitarian heroes. They were ten individuals, who were fired for holding certain beliefs, beliefs which just happened to be communist. These individuals were fired from top paying jobs that carried a great amount of respect. They were fired for the heroic deed of defying congress and their employers. This belief is common today in a world heavily influenced by leftist Hollywood, and it is also a load of baloney. The public is content with believing the farce put forth by Hollywood and other ‘intellectuals’ that these people were innocent victims accused merely of thinking. Whenever one mentions communists and a threat of losing a job there is an enormous uproar. ‘Witch-hunts’ they say. No one should be forced to say what their ideological viewpoints are to keep a job. Nonsense, of course they can.
When a businessperson opens up shop, puts their blood, sweat, tears, money, and more into their business; they have every right to decide who can and cannot work in their place of business. This is a fact many intellectuals of our time – and times past – wish to skew. To them, everyone has a ‘right’ to a job, even at the expense of the business owner. After all, it is the workers who are doing all of the ‘work.’
That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is this. When a business is opened up, the capital put forth; what is the first thing a businesswoman must do? Spend money. They must spend money on construction, or renting an office building, telephones, faxes, internet and more. They must also hire workers, and pay for advertisement. This is done before the proprietor sees one cent of profit. Many times an entrepreneur must take a loss for up to 5 years or more before seeing any returns. Yet the people still continuing to be paid are the workers, the companies that provide telephone service, internet service, cleaning service, and so on. Each of those companies receives money from the businessperson and is able to pay their workers. If a business does not pay its workers, it will inevitably lose those workers and go bankrupt.
To assume that workers in Hollywood should be any different is just the elitist attitude that is the major problem. The Hollywood Ten and any other worker is accepted and hired to work at a particular place of business on the basis of the business’s requirements. Businesses do not grow in nature. Men and women must start them and make them work. Since the entrepreneur is putting up all the risk, it is their right to hire whom they wish. If the owner chooses it is not in the best interests of their company to hire a person for any reason that is their choice. As the business owner, they will have to live by their choices. If the executives in charge of Hollywood during the 40s decided that having communists in their employ was detrimental to their success, they have every right, and obligation, to terminate their contracts.
A book entitled Ayn Rand and Song of Russia: Communism and Anti-communism in 1940’s Hollywood by Robert Mayhew, attempts to put the record straight as to the farce of intellectual deterrents put up over the last fifty plus years. Song of Russia is a movie produced in 1943 with such obvious propaganda as to show every Russian as a happy little peasant enjoying life in Stalinist Russia, and to show such things as these peasants enjoying a bountiful harvest. This at a time when even the Russian government admitted to an enormous famine which killed – according to their government – an estimated ten million people (many accounts say much more than this). It shows the two heroes of the movie dancing in a luxurious club, while in the real world millions were killed by maniacal dictatorship. It claimed the peasant farmers ‘owned’ their tractor, even though they lived in a place where no one owned anything. It presented the female lead, a peasant girl named Nadya, traveling from a small town into Moscow. While excluding the GPU agents and other massive obstacles to her progress of attaining a pass to enter Moscow.
In the book Mayhew succinctly covers the massive changes the script undertook, at the behest of many very dubious characters; as well as Ayn Rand’s testimony to the House Un-American Activities (HUAC) congressional board in 1947. The author introduces his book with a sentence told to Ayn Rand which motivated her throughout the rest of her days.
At a bon voyage party for Ayn Rand in January 1926, before she left Russia for
the United States, a gentlemen approached her and said: ‘When you get there,
tell them that Russia is a huge cemetery and that we are all dying.’ This is
what Ayn Rand spent her life attempting to proliferate to the world.
Today there are many claims presented as the atrocities the Hollywood Ten - and others who were supposedly prosecuted by congress during the three periods of the investigations towards Hollywood in 1947, 1951-52, 1953-55 - underwent. The claims touted are always the same; these ‘Ten’ and their comrades were heroes who were standing up for the Bill of Rights, for freedom of speech and more.
What these supposed advocates of freedom fail to acknowledge – or refuse to acknowledge – is the differentiation between the ideological and the physical. This is what is meant by the Bill of Rights. The idea of civil liberties i.e. free speech, free assembly etc applies and belongs only in the realm of ideas. Once those ideas cross into physical violence, they become null and void. What the HUAC (House Un-American Activities) was investigating was not merely what their ideological viewpoints were, but whether or not those under question were a card carrying member of the Communist Party. Indeed they carried cards. Being a member of the Communist Party meant much more than simply believing in what the communists believed, it meant adhering to their creed and law. It meant taking orders. It meant belonging to an organization of murder, violence, sabotage, and spying. This moves the individuals being investigated from the realm of ideas into criminal law. Moreover, those who were card carrying members also received their orders from a foreign government, which puts them in the realm of treason and military law. The Congressional hearings were correct in their condemnation.
To further elucidate this point I refer to Ayn Rand’s commentary on her HUAC testimony regarding communist membership.
Membership in the Communist Party is a formal act of joining a formal
organization whose aims, by its own admission, include acts of criminal
violence. Congress has no right to inquire into ideas or opinions, but has every
right to inquire into criminal activities. Belonging to a secret organization
that advocates criminal actions comes into the sphere of the criminal, not the
As she further states, allowing members of the Communist Party is like saying it is ok for a certain religious sect to practice religious sacrifices. The members of that religious sect would be persecuted for murder. Their ideological backing would have no merit on the trial. The same logic applies to the HUAC hearings, although Congress seemed to pursue these villains with a half-hearted vigor.
The fact that the Hollywood Ten claimed they did not want to reveal their connection to the Party because they would lose their jobs, only indicates their perpetration of a fraud. It attests to the fact that they wished to conceal information from their employers, co-workers, customers and the general public. That people would not deal with them if they knew the truth only shows the gravity of their wrongs. By condemning Congress for not allowing the Hollywood Ten to commit their crimes is a mockery to the idea of individual rights and the Rule of Law. This is equivalent to a con artist saying to congress that if they force them to reveal their con then the jig is up for them and they will lose their livelihood.
The false idea being pushed around the intellectual forum today that these supposed heroes were fighting for their freedom of speech is ridiculous. Again, free speech wasn’t an issue. The issue was whether or not these people were in fact members of a party which would kill any of their own people to keep them quiet. Ironically enough, as these Ten were portraying their viewpoints of Stalinist Russia in American movies, an atrocity rarely heard of was being carried out by that evil dictator; the extermination of the Lubyanka Thousand. The Lubyanka was a Moscow headquarters of the Soviet secret police. Many innocent people were imprisoned, tortures, and killed there. The Lubyanka Thousand were the over one thousand writers murdered there.