Safe from his readers: Interpretation as inhospitality in Cold War America

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The two basic positions in the debate were represented by Erwin Griswold, Dean of the Harvard Law School and later Solicitor General of the United States, particularly in The Fifth Amendment Today (1955), and by Sidney Hook, a former leftist and prominent philosopher, who countered Griswold with Common Sense and the Fifth Amendment (1957).3 Griswold defends the privilege, arguing that an inference of guilt attendant on claiming the privilege is logically illegitimate-there is no necessary relationship between the refusal to speak and the guilt of the claimant, and so no legal consequences could attach to a claim of the Fifth. Against Griswold-and following Jeremy Bentham, whose opposition to the English antecedents to the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment was much discussed-Hook argues that the inference of guilt attending a claim of privilege against selfincrimination is inevitable and that to deny this simple fact is to deny the legal system the advantages of “common sense.” In general, Griswold’s position won the day in the courtrooms, whereas Hook’s position won in public.4 Despite the torrential abuse, and the informal economic sanctions, heaped on radicals, leftists, liberals, and others who were caught up in the Red Scare, investigating authorities frequently struggled to get convictions for contempt, perjury (or for the underlying offenses, such as conspiracy or espionage) once a witness or defendant claimed the Fifth. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity and hospitality in literature and culture: Modern and contemporary perspectives
EditorsJeffrey CLAPP, Emily RIDGE
Place of PublicationNew York; London
PublisherRoutledge
Pages175-189
ISBN (Electronic)9781317425847
ISBN (Print)9781138915848, 9781315690018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Cold War
Reader
Privilege
Guilt
Inference
Leftist
Common Sense
Abuse
Espionage
Authority
Courtroom
Sidney Hook
Witness
Sanctions
Offence
US Constitution
Philosopher
Economics
Conviction
Legal System

Citation

Clapp, J. (2016). Safe from his readers: Interpretation as inhospitality in Cold War America. In J. Clapp & E. Ridge (Eds.), Security and hospitality in literature and culture: Modern and contemporary perspectives (pp. 175-189). New York; London: Routledge.