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Einstein and Twentieth-Century Politics'A Salutary Moral Influence'$
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Richard Crockatt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785491

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785491.001.0001

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Freedom and Cold-War Politics

Freedom and Cold-War Politics

(p.154) 7 Freedom and Cold-War Politics
Einstein and Twentieth-Century Politics

Richard Crockatt

Oxford University Press

Freedom held a special place among Einstein’s values, but in his hands it was a complex concept. In science he was a cosmic determinist, while in the human realm he regarded freedom as the primary value. The cold war found him treading a careful path between collectivist and individualist values, between planning and individual freedom. Politically he took the left liberal side, highly critical of Truman’s cold-war policies. In the domestic cold war he publicly took the part of individuals targeted by Senator McCarthy and other anti-Communists, while also giving open support to African Americans civil-rights leaders such as Paul Robeson and W. E. Du Bois. Drawing fire from many Americans for his high-profile opposition to the cold-war consensus, he remained uncompromising. Yet even here he calibrated his interventions carefully, choosing causes in which he was able to retain control of the uses made of his influence.

Keywords:   freedom, determinism, cold war, McCarthy, civil rights

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