Kirkus Star


Email this review


A thoughtful, astute, sometimes abrasive, examination of the sorry spectacle of investigation by intimidation continues the evaluation of political theory and present practices of The Loyalty of Free Men (1950). Re-stating the fundamental fact that ""political liberty consists of limitations upon the authority of governments"", a fact which was at the basis of the Constitution when the separated powers of government were established, Alan Barth goes on to show how these powers are gravely out of balance as the legislative branch has acquired a dominance which is a danger to liberty, trespassing on the prerogative of the Executive, the judiciary, and the people. The investigatory power, while invaluable, is also difficult to define and difficult to control- and the ominous uses and abuses are demonstrated by recent political activities. McCarthy's assumption of the executive function led to many ""wrecking operations"" in which the Voice of America was ""reduced to a gurgle"", the State Dept. was ruined- and reputations with it. The Kefauver hearings were a usurpation of the rights of the Courts; legislative trials have become a ""device for condemning men without the formalities of due process""; foundations, churches, universities and the press have not been immune -- and suggested safeguards and a code of fair procedure can only establish certain limitations. The dangerous demagoguery of our time which has substituted inquisition for inquiry is exposed here- and appraised for the more serious reader in terms of political and judicial precedent and opinion.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1955
Publisher: Viking