Nov 14, 2020 in History


Hoover vs. Hook: Understanding Communism

A professional politician should be educated in the issues of law, diplomacy and economics, and develop leadership skills. The most successful politicians are skillful leaders who know how to manage their supporters and usual people. The programs of such politicians become foundations for the entire political parties. One of such parties is a communist party. In the period of the Cold War, the US prominent politicians wanted to stop all the activities of the communist party in their state because they considered their actions to be dangerous. This paper compares the speeches of Edgar Hoover, the ex US president, and Sidney Hook, a political philosopher devoted to communism, and makes a conclusion that Hook was more reasonable and persuading in his understanding of this political strategy.


Though the addresses of Hoover and Hook are both devoted to the topic of communism in the United States, the writings contain many differences conditioned by their individual views. The first notion that is discussed from different perspectives by the authors is communist threat. This concept is considered to be complex by Hoover, and the former American President evaluates communist threat as the greatest danger for the American nation (Schrecker, 2002). Hoover states that communism will be responsible for the destruction of the American form of government. It has a potential to ruin American democracy, free enterprises and competition. Communists can create a Soviet of the United States (Schrecker, 2002). These emotional statements confirm that the ex-President felt the burden of communist threat.

To compare, the general tone of Hooks address is calmer than of Hoovers and the politician disagrees with the President on certain points, namely on the issue of communist threat. He states that in a liberal society the free circulation of ideas is a normal thing, and the fact of whether they constitute a treat for people should be properly checked (Schrecker, 2002). The next issue, in which Hook does not support Hover, is the question of heresy and conspiracy of the communists. While Hover distinguishes the notion of communist conspiracy only, Hook states that an important failure of the liberal society is inability to recognize an obvious difference between communist heresy and conspiracy (Schrecker, 2002). In Hooks opinion, conspiracy is a purely specific form of heresy when players do not observe the rules of the game (Schrecker, 2002). Therefore, the main Hooks accusation of Hoover is in inaccuracy of understanding the notions that form communism.

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Besides the concept of communist threat, it is worth comparing the interpretations of the notion of fear of communists, which both Hoover and Hook have to different extents. Thus, Hoover states that his fear of the communist party is strong, and he proves this fact by telling how powerful a communist party is. Apart from explaining the discussed notion of conspiracy in regards of the communist party, he also defines what infiltration means and how dishonest and menace communists can be when they infiltrate into labor unions. Hoover uses some statistical data to prove the scale of the problem and states that in the times when he was the President, for every 1,814 Americans there was one communist in the United States (Schrecker, 2002). Another frightening argument is that communists are better organized than the Nazis and fascists (Schrecker, 2002). Hook warned the Americans only against communist conspiracy and considered all open revelations of communism not to be dangerous (Schrecker, 2002). Hoover is definitely more frightened by communists than Hook.

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Along with some radical differences in Hook and Hoovers understanding of communism, there is a common characteristic between their perceptions and interpretations. They both understand that the basis of Marxism-Leninism is very firm for all communists, and the representatives of this political party heavily rely on it. Hook and Hoover recognize the importance of Lenins guidelines, and both cite the same words of the communist leader who stated that it was necessary for any communist to agree to all possible sacrifices and all sorts of legal and illegal methods to continue communist propaganda and work (Schrecker, 2002). Both authors are indignant that Lenin educates communists to be ready for any sacrifice for the sake of the party.

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The solution to a communist problem offered by Hook is as properly structured as his vision of communist threat. He states that the ideas of liberalism are the clues to fighting the problematic sides of communism. Hook thinks that the most significant danger for the American nation in the times when the communist party wants to put pressure on the government and to impose their ideas is, actually, the absence of its own exact concepts that will address concrete tasks to fight communist conspiracy (Shrecker, 2002). I support Hooks point of view. Many influential political movements exist in the world, and a liberal democratic society should not neglect their existence and allow the formation of their strategies. However, this society should think how to fight the negative sides of these movements and express some fresh ideas that will be productive for this process.

To conclude, it is important to affirm that communism and other political strategies will always be widely discussed by their opponents. However, any criticism has to be constructive. Hoover said that the entire scope of communist views and activities are dangerous for the American society. However, judging by his description and conclusions, it is possible to stop communists only by violence and repressions. These are no methods that a liberal democratic society would choose. Hook is much more consistent in his understanding of communism and is correct, offering to manage communist conspiracy and prompting the party to lead an open game.


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