Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sacco & Vanzetti

Join Alger Hiss on the ash heap of liberal iconography. Along with Upton Sinclair’s reputation as a truth teller – his own words now reveal him as just another guy lost to a “cause”, for a number of self-interested reasons.

“Soon Sinclair would learn something that filled him with doubt. During his research for ‘Boston,’ Sinclair met with Fred Moore, the men's attorney, in a Denver motel room. Moore ‘sent me into a panic,’ Sinclair wrote in the typed letter that Hegness found at the auction a decade ago.’Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me the full truth,’ Sinclair wrote. ‘ … He then
told me that the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them.’”


It’s important to note that the “doubt” expressed here isn’t over the pair’s guilt, but only as to what he should do:

“‘My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book,’ Sinclair wrote Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in 1927.

[snip]
He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him readers. ‘It is much better copy as a naïve defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public,’ he wrote to Minor.”


So, he’s got 4 powerful motivations for covering up the truth, ranging from will to believe, to fear of his life, to the mercenary desire to sell papers:

1. He was heavily & it appears publicly invested in the idea that they were innocent.
2. He wants to protect the socialist / anarchist movement.
3. He’s afraid he’ll be killed if he tells the truth.
4. He wants to sell his work.

HT: Jonah Goldberg.