tv Reel America Tragedy or Hope - 1972 CSPAN February 6, 2021 9:32am-10:01am EST
>> no, you do not have much time left. ♪ >> set mostly in a university library threatened by a mob, "tragedy or hope?" shows a dramatized political debate between a medical student, his 1770s ancestor, and a history professor, a sequel to the 1972 national education program film, "brink of disaster!" this production contrasts a dutch alleged -- alleged anarchy and counterculture with footage of american manufacturing and innovation to celebrate american exceptionalism, and argues that left-wing protesters are influenced by communism, atheism, and immorality. the national education program at searcy, arkansas created a variety of widely-distributed anti-communism films from the mid-1940s, to the early 1970s.
♪ >> this, this is the way it was. the three of us besieged in the college library. then suddenly to find out that one of us is a traitor. [pounding on door] >> sit down. don't be a hero with a broken head. >> open the door, johnny. >> johnny. >> i said open it. ♪ >> sorry, johnny. i could not see you becoming a part of that wrecking crew. >> all of us come to crossroads in life choosing which road to take from that day. long after, we wonder what life would have been had we taken the other way. let me introduce the three of us. >> this is john smith, honor student, football star, vietnam veteran. yet, somewhere along the way, he
chose the road to anarchy and self-destruction. this is one of his ancestors, jonathan smith, who gave his life for his country in 1776. i am sam harden, history department, this university. it is not often we get a second chance in life. a chance to go back and take the other way. let's see if we can work out and -- an allegorical second chance for john smith, and see what we can come up with for ourselves. will it be tragedy? or hope? ♪
>> to go back to when john smith came in here tonight, we had reason to think he was here to protect the valuable medical books from the rioters. imagine the shock when we find he is really here to let the rioters in. why should a normally decent, normally intelligent young person like john smith choose the road to communism over america and freedom? for one thing, our youth of today are the object of the most extensive, intensive, diabolical campaign ever conceived. organized and directed by our and their worst enemies. on many of our nations platforms, radical speakers make a well-paid living going around, many subsidized by communists my -- by telling young people what is wrong with america. [shouting]
on such a platform, we have seen many self proclaimed communists and revolutionaries, radical spokesman for various groups and professions, and sometimes even prominent political figures, all joining in a movement with which subversives plan to destroy -- the subversive communists plan to destroy america. why do so many fall for it? -- why do so many of our young people fall for it? some of it, of course, is mass hysteria. not stopping to think things through. not stopping to analyze the character or the motives of who is talking. ♪ a typical line from such rabble-rousers is- >> if america does not come around, america should be broken down. >> why do they swallow a lie like this? they think they want to be different. they want to do their own thing, lead their own lives, which too
often means wreck their own lives. it is true that there are things wrong in this country. the are social and economic inequities. they are being leveled off more and more all the time, but not by scenes like these. and not by our friend john here, so far. in fact, he is a prime example of what is wrong today. to begin with, he is a victim of irresponsible parents. he has missed the stabilizing influence of a good home and religious upbringing. he has been listening to the wrong people. he has gone in for drugs, loose morals, and wanton destruction. he blames it on what is wrong with america. maybe it is time some of us should start reminding him what is right with america. >> what is going on here? >> excuse me, johnny.
i was just -- i can't get over it. when i think of the tele candles we had and now this electricity -- this electrolicity. >> electricity. >> that is what i said. and all of the other things you have got, i am glad i come back to see them. we have been hearing things in the spirit world how this country is going to perdition in a hand basket. now that i see what our country has become. in spite of shortcomings. i might be old fashion to say -- old-fashioned to say this, professor, but johnny, i'm going back to being proud of america. >> just ignore the things that are wrong, right? >> i didn't say that. you are not listening to me. >> but that is part of the attitude, jonathan. >> it is part of being the radical. even in your day, you must have heard there is none so blind as he who will not see. and none so deaf as he who will not hear. >> i suppose so.
>> are -- our friend john here, your descendent, in one sentence, he has illustrated the two basic tenets of being the true radical. he takes what you say, and deliberately twists it around. then, he accuses you of doing the very thing he is doing himself. >> he is? >> don't listen to him. he is only trying to confuse you. >> he is. >> answer me this. he did not say this but let's suppose he had. you imply that it is wrong to ignore all the things that are wrong in this country. >> of course it is wrong. >> then why isn't it just as wrong to ignore what is right in america? >> because there's more wrong than right. >> come on now, john. you have got a notebook there. make note of some of the things that are right. how do you judge a country? where should we begin? maybe we ought to start with the
number of people that want to move here compared to the number of people who want to get away? ♪ remember, there are no walls or barbed wire to keep people here who do not want to stay. i have noticed even the ones who complain the loudest do not want to leave. compare them with millions who want to get in. every year, people risk their lives to escape other countries, hoping to reach america. many die trying. why do they think it is worth risking their life to get here? freedom, that is the answer. and the highest living standard in the world. >> not for everybody. not in slums and ghettos. >> on the contrary, it is one of the harsh realities of life that every country has different levels of subsistence. but bracket for bracket, even the poorest here, live much better than their counterparts anywhere else in the world. to have good living conditions you have to have good working , conditions both in and outside
the homes. we have the best working conditions both places. ♪ an infinite variety of home appliances, furnishings and services to make housework immeasurably easier. on the farm and in the factory, the number and variety of power tools, ingenious machines, and labor saving techniques, make the job so much easier for the working man. what does all of this add up to? look. here we are. we make up 6% of the worlds population, and yet, we produce more than 50% of its manufactured goods. our 6% here, produces as much as the rest of the world combined. isn't that remarkable? the average american citizens living standard measured in wealth and purchasing power is twice that of the average system of other countries. -- citizen of other countries. three times better than most countries. and four times better than russia.
doesn't that begin to tell you something ago --? >> sure, if you want to measure greatness by purely selfish materialism. >> how do you want to measure it? >> there are other values, you know. >> wait a minute. just a minute. what is wrong with this type of materialism? it is the difference between life and the jungle and life in civilization. what other values are you talking about anyway? cultural? ethical? >> among others. >> materialism fosters those values among others. materialism provides money with which we can build the most -- build and equip the most schools, the most churches, the most hospitals, the most libraries, and the most research centers. as for being purely selfish, john, john, come on, use your intelligence. you know the communist line is based on the big lie. they pull off some fiendish, indefensible act against a nation or individual. then they shout down world
criticism by pointing at us and calling us capitalist -- capitalistic aggressors. for example, they suddenly attacked hungary. america protests, whereupon they accuse us of imperialist provocation. four -- for another example, there is an earthquake or other catastrophe, perhaps in a communist country. because americans believe the cry of a child is as pitiful and despicable in a communist land as anywhere else, we rush great stores of medicine, food and warm blankets to the stricken area. what do the commies do? they remove all usa identification, and replace it with communist labels, before distributing them. then, set up the howell that america is selfish. the plain fact is america is the most generous place on earth to our churches, american red cross, the government, we have provided foreign aid to foreign
-- more than 100 countries, running into countless billions. the united states has given more to needy nations including communist countries than all the communist countries have put together -- put together have given to all nations through all-time. of course they're going to say that we are selfish, that is the way they operate. others just parrot the communist lie. on the other hand, outright gifts are only one way america aids other nations. as we constantly raise our standard of living, the spinoff raises the living in other countries. america is the world rated inventor and perfecter. jonathan likes our electric lights. >> i surely do. but i like everything i see. >> that makes a good example. i said that we were inventors and perfecter's. we did not invent electricity. the basic facts of electricity were known some 2000 years before there was an america by scientists in greece and england and germany. and for 2000 years, nobody knew
what to do with it. it remained for benjamin franklin to harness it, and his inventions were the basis from which later, americans invented and developed the electric light and telephone. intercontinental radio, motion pictures, television, and so on. >> ♪ hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal send me your kiss by wire. ♪ ♪ >> other americans have given the world the automobile, steamships, trains, planes, refrigeration, and the mechanized home about factory and farm. and most medicines now used around the world. again, some of these were known or at least suspected in rudimentary form. but it remained for america to really develop them and give them to the rest of the world to enjoy. mind you, john, america is only 300 years old, really just 200 years old as a nation. and yet, these 200 years,
largely due to america, has seen the development of mankind as a whole, increased astronomically, over all the thousands of years before that put together. tell me, john, what does this country have to do to rate your respect and admiration? >> may i say something? >> sure. >> it has done me a site of good coming forward in time like this to see how wonderful things have turned out. but i wish i could take it back with me, back in time, back those 200 years when we were starting as a nation. i wish you could've seen this country then. it was pretty. wild, but pretty. all woods and streams, hills and valleys patches of little farms. at first, most of us lived on farms because homes were scattered, each family was closer together. because we lived so close to the land, close to the seasons and
growing things, maybe it helped us feel closer to god. oh, it was backbreaking work farming in those days. when i see how farming is done today, it is hard to remember our first scratchings of the earth with the end of a stick. you just can't believe how much easier it made the work all over the world. >> because of mechanization in this country, only 5% of our people farm anymore. yet the nation is the best fed it ever was. and we supply a lot of food to other countries. >> of course, while better farm tools solved one problem, it raised new ones. farm workers were free to go into other production. other production was sure needed. but how could they go? travel, i mean. >> that's right, no highways. >> know, but there were waterways. no
ahoy, mates, i am interrupting something, i hope. >> jack, there you are, jonathan. -- jack. >> there you are, jonathan. >> gentlemen, this is jack. professor hardin. >> hello, captain. >> here is another one of your ancestors, johnny, this is captain jack smith. >> hello. >> a fine broth of a lad he is. we could have passed for twins except for my irish mother who gave me this red hair. >> you are john smith? >> no. at hundred years before me he was. -- 200. >> were you the captain of the claremont? >> no but i was upon it. fulton was the captain. toot and i grew up together. >> toot/ -- toot? >> that is what we called him. at 13, he fixed up a paddle oar to a fishing boat. he would sit in the stern and go, toot, toot.
>> later he dreamed up the steamboat. >> in a way. there have been boats since noah's ark. >> the principles of the steam engine were known in greece at -- over 1000 years ago and never developed. or even the two things thought of together. >> not till america. you see, johnny, in america, people have always been free to dream and to work to make their dreams come true. a lot of american inventors worked on the steamboat. there was fitch, stevens, rumsey, livingston. some of the boats were not much bigger than rowboats and it was a hard time they had going more than three miles per hour. a green mountain boy could walk faster than that. if he could find three miles of open ground. fulton designed a special boat with a special engine. we would run it from new york to albany and back.
30 hours up, 30 hours back. 300 miles. that was something steamboat had never done before. that is why fulton gets credit for the first steamboat. >> the claremont. >> sure. her full name was catherine of claremont. catherine his wife and claremont was the name of her papa's farm. her papa was the one who put up most of the money. the way he saw it, in this wilderness land, it was easier to build waterways than highways. he dreamed up a system for making rivers more navigable and tied them together with canals. indeed, he even invented the first power digger to remap rivers and dig canals. he planned the erie canal from the hudson river to lake erie. one of the first real steps in pushing this nation westward. did you know he built 15 more steamboats that opened up powers
shipping up and down the mississippi. the new orleans, i was captain of. >> and he worked in europe? didn't he? >> he helped several countries with their river and canal systems. so you see, america was still young and already, she was helping other countries. and she has been doing it ever since. i don't need to tell you what better getting around means a -- for any nation. >> if this nation had not done anything else, she has testified her destiny by developing power transportation for the world, water, land and air. and remember, all of this in little more than a century, 100 years. that is no time at all when we can trace other civilizations back 10,000 years. in little more than a 100 years this nation has given the world the steamboat, the railroad -- >> and then the model t. >> don't tell me? >> smitty.
hello, smitty. >> meet john jeremy smith. professor hardin. >> please to meet you, professor. >> and that young fellow over there is -- >> grandfather! >> you remembered. you could not have been -- what was it? seven or eight when i died. >> eight, but i remember. >> good boy, johnny. what is this all about, jonathan? >> we were reminding him what it was that made this country great. >> who, johnny? >> i know him, he is my own flesh and blood. >> he is ours, too, just a few generations removed. >> why don't you save your breath for the young scalawags out there on the campus. have you seen what has been going around out there? >> we have seen them, that is why we need johnny's help. and people like him. >> why didn't you say so? >> where are we at? >> we were talking about
america's contributions to the world in materialistic ways, just a few highlights. talking about invention and transportation and you chimed in with your friend henry and the model t. >> we never called him henry. i worked for mr. ford, as close as anyone for a spell, i guess. he was a fine man. >> i always thought henry ford was about as american as you could get. he was raised on a farm and he knew what it was like to work for a living. he grew up in a home with religious principles. >> when he married they raised their children the same way. and so did their children. >> true. and while mr. ford did not make the first automobile but did the -- he probably did the most to start the automobile industry. >> he did in my book. model t was the first practical automobile, one the general public could afford. >> he also developed the moving assembly line, another american invention. one that other countries are now using.
assembly lines made the work -- not only made the work easier, the increased efficiency raised wages. mr. ford did not have it all his own way very long. the competition found ways to make better cars. how did mr. ford react to that? >> he put his mind to it and built a still better one. that is the way it has gone on, back and forth ever since. that is the way american free enterprise works, isn't it? >> exactly. it is the greatest economic system known to man. it allows you to take the greatest good for the greatest number. our enemies say that we are materialistic, we provide -- we are. we provide material benefits that make life better and longer, not just for america but all over the world. i wish i could say we were completely unselfish but i can say this. we are the least selfish nation on earth. is that wrong? our enemies say we are capitalistic. we are.
but you need capital to build schools and hospitals and industrial plants. to lighten labor. the last time i was in detroit, i was in the ford plant. it could have been general motors or chrysler, but it was ford. i saw a huge press stamping out fenders. and i asked the foreman, how does it operate? he told me the man pushes the button and the conveyor up -- carries them away. >> how much does a machine like that cost? >> half $1 million. >> just one machine? >> just one. >> not that many machines cost that much money a piece. but in american industries the cost of power tools and inventories was more than $35,000 per worker. american industry has put up that capital so they can produce more and better goods, less laboriously and in a competitive
market, so more people can enjoy more and better products. that is the american capitalistic system. is that wrong? >> no. >> then what is wrong? [glass smashing] >> that is wrong. we have got to go out there and put a stop to this foolishness. do you think we can do it alone? >> you will never know unless you try. >> not alone. i have done it once, i can do it again. i may be a spirit, but this old musket should work. sorry, the best i could buy. that's fine. it is quicker but i will straighten it out. >> how about this? quite a family i am from. >> and quite a country they helped built for us. -- build for us. [shouting mob] >> wait a minute, fellas. >> what is the matter, johnny? >> i'm getting me something better than this.
we have had it all along, we just have not been using it. i'm going to go out there and tell them what is right with this country. that is still our best weapon. when they talk about what is wrong we are going to counter with what is right with america. it may make the difference between today's tragedy and our hope for the future. let's try it. ♪ [god bless america playing] >> you>> are watching american history tv. today, we are brought to you by
these television companies. ♪ are in washington, d.c., violence erupted in the halls of congress. three men and a woman members of a forgery can gang in 1950 attempted the assassination of truman open fire on the gallery of the house of representatives. five congressmen were ahead. clifford davis of tennessee, kenneth roberts of alabama, george fallon of maryland. they were injured. observers noted the attack came from a conference in venezuela. it suggested the mitten -- the motive -- an act of apparently
blind violence carefully correlated to inflame america's relations with our neighbors. estimates of the number of shots fired ranged from 15 to 30. each bullet hole found as a grim reminder to those of this art -- surprise attack. the gangs shot bystanders. there is a widespread search. to irving forrest, raphael miranda, andre cordero, the gun wielders and their accomplices perpetrated a criminal outreach unique on america's history. wanton violence that shocked and stirred the nation. >> this is c-span's new online
store on c-span.org. to check out the new products -- we are taking preorders for the congressional directory. every purchase helps support c-span's nonprofit operation. shop today at c-span shop.org. >> next, we visit plimoth patuxet in plymouth, massachusetts to explore the recreated 17th-century colonial village and talk to interpreters about daily lives. the year depicted is 1627, seven years after the mayflower landed. when about 160 pilgrims lived there. richard: i am richard pickering, deputy executive director at plimoth patuxet museum and we are in the 17th century english village, a re-creation of