Friday, February 22, 2019

John Wayne on Socialism, Rebellion, and Black Power (Part VII of the Famous, 1971, Playboy Interview)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

PLAYBOY: Do you think [the Indians] have had the same advantages and opportunities that you've had?

WAYNE: I’m not gonna give you one of those I-was-a-poor-boy-and-I-pulled-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps stories, but I’ve gone without a meal or two in my life, and I still don't expect the government to turn over any of its territory to me. Hard times aren’t something I can blame my fellow citizens for. Years ago, I didn’t have all the opportunities, either. But you can’t whine and bellyache ‘cause somebody else got a good break and you didn’t, like these Indians are. We’ll all be on a reservation soon if the socialists keep subsidizing groups like them with our tax money.

PLAYBOY: In your distaste for socialism, aren’t you overlooking the fact that many worthwhile and necessary government services—such as Social Security and Medicare—derived from essentially socialistic programs evolved during the Thirties?

WAYNE: I know all about that. In the late Twenties, when I was a sophomore at USC, I was a socialist myself—but not when I left. The average college kid idealistically wishes everybody could have ice cream and cake for every meal. But as he gets older and gives more thought to his and his fellow man’s responsibilities, he finds that it can’t work out that way—that some people just won't carry their load.

PLAYBOY: What about welfare recipients?

WAYNE: I believe in welfare—a welfare work program. I don’t think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare. I’d like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living. I’d like to know why they make excuses for cowards who spit in the faces of the police and then run behind the judicial sob sisters. I can’t understand these people who carry placards to save the life of some criminal, yet have no thought for the innocent victim.

PLAYBOY: Who are “these people” you're talking about?

WAYNE: Entertainers like Steve Allen and his cronies who went up to Northern California and held placards to save the life of that guy Caryl Chessman. I just don’t understand these things. I can’t understand why our national leadership isn’t willing to take the responsibility of leadership, instead of checking polls and listening to the few that scream. Why are we allowing ourselves to become a mobocracy instead of a democracy? When you allow unlawful acts to go unpunished, you’re moving toward a government of men rather than a government of law; you’re moving toward anarchy. And that’s exactly what we're doing. [We’re there.] We allow dirty loudmouths to publicly call policemen “pigs”; we let a fella like William Kunstler make a speech to the Black Panthers saying that the ghetto is theirs, and that if police come into it, they have a right to shoot them. Why is that dirty, no-good, son of a bitch allowed to practice law?

PLAYBOY: What’s your source for that statement you attribute to Kunstler?

WAYNE: It appeared in a Christian Anti-Communism Crusade letter written by Fred Schwarz on August 1, 1969. Here, I’ll read it to you: “The notorious left-wing attorney, Bill Kunstler, spoke on political prisoners and political freedom at the National Conference for a United Front Against Fascism, which was held in Oakland, California, July 18, 19 and 20, 1969. He urged blacks to kill white policemen when they entered the black ghetto. He told the story of how a white policeman, John Gleason, was stomped to death in Plainfield, New Jersey. The crowd broke into prolonged applause. Kunstler
proceeded to state that, in his opinion, Gleason deserved that death.... Kunstler pointed out that no white policeman has set foot in the black ghetto of Plainfield, New Jersey, since July 1967." That could turn out to be a terrible thing he said. Pretty soon there’ll be a bunch of whites who’ll say, “Well, if that’s their land, then this is ours. They’d better not trespass on it.” It can work two ways.

PLAYBOY: What’s your opinion of the stated goals of the Black Panthers?

WAYNE: Quite obviously, they represent a danger to society. They're a violent group of young men and women—adventurous, opinionated, and dedicated—and they throw their disdain in our face. Now, I hear some of these liberals saying they’d like to be held as white hostages in the Black Panther offices and stay there so that they could see what happens on these early-morning police raids. It might be a better idea for these good citizens to go with the police on a raid. When they search a Panther hideout for firearms,
let these do-gooders knock and say, “Open the door in the name of the law,” and get shot at.

PLAYBOY: Why do you think many young people—black and white—support the Panthers?

WAYNE: They're standing up for what they feel is right, not for what they think is right—‘cause they don't think. As a kid, the Panther ideas probably would have intrigued me.

When I was a little kid, you could be adventurous like that, without hurting anybody. There were periods when you could blow the valve and let off some steam. Like Halloween. You'd talk about it for three months ahead of time, and then that night you'd go out and stick the hose in the lawn, turn it on and start singing “Old Black Joe,” or something. And when people came out from their Halloween party, you’d lift the hose and wet them down. And while you were running, the other kids would be stealing the ice cream from the party. All kinds of rebellious actions like that were accepted for that one day. Then you could talk about it for three months afterward. That took care of about six months of the year. There was another day called the Fourth of July, when you could go out and shoot firecrackers and burn down two or three buildings. So there were two days a year. Now those days are gone. You can’t have firecrackers, you can’t have explosives, you can't have this—don’t do this, don’t do that. Don’t... don’t... don’t. A continual “don’t” until the kids are ready to do almost anything rebellious. The government makes the rules, so now the running of our government is the thing they’re rebelling against. For a lot of those kids, that’s just being adventurous. They’re not deliberately setting out to undermine the foundations of our great country.

PLAYBOY: Is that what you think they’re doing?

WAYNE: They’re doing their level worst—without knowing it. How ‘bout all the kids that were at the Chicago Democratic Convention? They were conned into doing hysterical things by a bunch of activists.

PLAYBOY: What sort of activists?

WAYNE: A lot of Communist-activated people. I know communism’s a horrible word to some people. They laugh and say, “He’ll be finding them under his bed tomorrow.” But perhaps that’s because their kid hasn’t been inculcated yet. Dr. Herbert Marcuse, the political philosopher at the University of California at San Diego, who is quite obviously a Marxist, put it very succinctly when he said, “We will use the anarchists.”

PLAYBOY: Why do you think leftist ideologues such as Marcuse have become heroes on so many of the nation’s campuses?

WAYNE: Marcuse has become a hero only for an articulate clique. The men that give me faith in my country are fellas like Spiro Agnew, not the Marcuses. They’ve attempted in every way to humiliate Agnew. They’ve tried the old Rooseveltian [FDR] thing of trying to laugh him out of political value of his party. Every comedian’s taken a crack at him. But I bet if you took a poll today, he’d probably be one of the most popular men in the United States. Nobody likes Spiro Agnew but the people. Yet he and other responsible government leaders are booed and pelted when they speak on college campuses.

PLAYBOY: Beyond the anti-administration demonstrations on campuses, do you think there’s any justification for such tactics as student occupation of college administrative offices?

WAYNE: One or two percent of the kids is involved in things like that. But they get away with it, because 10 percent of the teaching community is behind them. I see on TV how, when the police are trying to keep the kids in line, like up at the University of California at Berkeley, all of a sudden there’s a bunch of martyr-professors trying to egg the police into violent action.

PLAYBOY: If you were faced with such a confrontation, how would you handle it?

WAYNE: Well, when I went to USC, if anybody had gone into the president’s office and shit in his wastepaper basket and used the dirt to write vulgar words on the wall, not only the football team but the average kid on campus would have gone to work on the guy. There doesn’t seem to be respect for authority anymore; these student dissenters act like children who have to have their own way on everything. They’re immature and living in a
little world all their own. Just like hippie dropouts, they’re afraid to face the real competitive world.

PLAYBOY: What makes you, at the age of 63, feel qualified to comment on the fears and motivations of the younger generation?

WAYNE: I’ve experienced a lot of the same things that kids today are going through, and I think many of them admire me because I haven’t been afraid to say that I drink a little whiskey, that I've done a lot of things wrong in my life, that I’m as imperfect as they all are. Christ, I don’t claim to have the answers, but I feel compelled to bring up the fact that under the guise of doing good, these kids are causing a hell of a lot of irreparable damage, and they’re starting something they’re not gonna be able to finish. Every bit of
rampant anarchy has provoked a little more from somebody else. And when they start shooting policemen, the time has come to start knocking them off, as far as I'm concerned.

PLAYBOY: What do you mean by “knocking them off”?

WAYNE: I'd throw ‘em in the can, if I could. But if they try to kill you, I’d sure as hell shoot back. I think we should break up those organizations or make ‘em illegal. The American public is getting sick and tired of what these young people are doing. But it’s really partly the public’s own fault for allowing the permissiveness that’s been going on for the past 15 or 20 years. By permissiveness, I mean simply following Dr. Spock’s system of raising children. But that kind of permissiveness isn’t unique to young people.
Our entire society has promoted an “anything goes” attitude in every area of life and in every American institution.

Look at the completely irresponsible editorship of our country’s newspapers. By looking for provocative things to put on their front pages, they’re encouraging these kids to act the way they’re acting. I wonder even more about the responsibility of the press when I read about events like the so-called My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The press and the communications system jumped way ahead of the trials. At the time, they made accusations that I doubted they could back up. Frankly, I hoped they couldn’t. Well, it turns out there may have been something to it. But I could show you pictures of what the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong are doing to our people over there.

I was at a place called Dak Song, where the children were all burned to death by the V.C., and that’s not an unusual thing. But for some reason, our newspapers have never printed pictures or stories about it. With all the terrible things that are being done throughout the world, it has to be one little incident in the United States Army—and the use of the word massacre—that causes the uproar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John Wayne was a profound thinker and indeed better informed than 99.9 % of most Americans.

Wayne was also right about 99 % of what he said. And for the other half he was more or less headed in the right direction.