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.

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.