Karl Hess: Presidential Speechwriter Turned Homesteader

A Plowboy Interview with Karl Hess, Presidential speechwriter turned homesteader, former supporter of the Military-Industrial Complex, who now doesn't pay taxes and barters for what he and his wife can't grow or make for themselves.

| January/February 1976

The Plowboy Interview spotlights Karl Hess, Presidential speechwriter turned homesteader, who doesn't pay taxes and barters for what he needs.

Karl Hess: Presidential Speechwriter Turned Homesteader

It was so easy back then — during the 1950's and early 60's — to be a Right Thinking Citizen of the United States. Easy because we all knew who wore the White Hats (yeaaa!) and who wore the Black Ones (boooo!).

"Capitalism" — which we naively defined as equal parts free enterprise, democracy, and the Winning of the West — was Good. "Communism" — which was anything associated with Russia or Red China — was Bad.

And "they" wanted to get "us". And, despite the fact that God was on our side, they'd do it too if we didn't somehow "keep ahead" : (The day-and-night fear of Right Thinking Americans throughout the 50's and early 60's was that the United States would fall behind in some nebulous, unspecified contest and quickly suffer a very concrete — though undefined — fate: "The communists will just come in here and take over.")

And so "progress" — which was already as American as mom, flag, and apple pie — became our secret weapon. Our be-all, end-all. ("Your future is great in a growing America.")

"New" and "improved" were Good while "conservation" and "little old bird-watchers in tennis shoes" were Bad ("Your future is Great in a growing America.")

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