Mr. Strickler is a journalist and reporter for the Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Daily News in which this article was first published.
Maybe you won’t meet him in a church, and possibly he won’t have slanted eyes.
He may label his philosophy as Christian, Republican, Democratic, Internationalist, Progressive, Liberal, or by whatever name.
Probably you meet him, and neither did I. But he is not so distant as most Americans want to believe, and it is safer for us to analyze his philosophy and recognize his aims.
Not long ago he approached me in the parish hall of a Boston church, shook my hand, and introduced himself as Henry Lin. Sunday morning services were over, and everybody was milling about and chatting warmly with each other in what is called fellowship hour.
Henry Lin and I each accepted a cup of coffee from smiling ladies at the service table, and then we began to chat, too, amidst the friendly buzz in the parish hall.
"Do you attend this church regularly?" he asked. I told him no, that I was a comparative stranger in Boston, here as a student. He asked where and what I was studying and nodded his head in approval when I told him I was a journalism major at Boston University.
In the course of conversation, I mentioned that I’d served in the Far East during my four Navy years. "Hong Kong?" he asked quickly.
"Yes, Hong Kong, too," I answered. His narrow eyes and whole attitude showed a renewed interest, for Henry Lin himself was Chinese, and I learned that his home was Hong Kong.
He claimed to be a naturalized American, that his work was engineering, and that he had received a master’s degree from a Boston area university. Also, my Oriental friend told me it was his first visit to this particular church, that he traveled about to different churches, and through his "work," to various cities.
Henry Lin was a small man, won’t expect to probably in his mid-thirties, and not at all impressive in appearance. He wore a plain tweed suit and carried a tan trench coat over his arm. His brown shoes needed polish. Yet, in spite of his plain appearance, Henry Lin impressed me as a quick, clever man, and a challenging conversationalist.
"What was your inmost impression of the Far East?" he wanted to know. Here I paused, a flood of colorful memories from that part of the world springing into mind; some were not happy memories. I merely told him that, having served in Korea and Japan and other Asian lands, I could appreciate the vast problems of population and economy.
Then Henry Lin proceeded to tell me specifically how I should feel toward the Far East (and toward the rest of the world, too). He implied that this could be a peaceful world, with all its collective peoples being well-fed and clothed, if only the United States would continue to send millions of dollars more in aid to Asia. His appeal was "help thy neighbor."
This does seem a logical appeal to a Christian people. It is the current and loud internationalist plea. I realized that Henry Lin seemed most eager to have me thinking in terms of "Christian internationalism."
My replies to his arguments were brief, polite, and provocative. I was curious; I wanted to know what Henry Lin believed and what he really stood for. So I said nothing to discourage his discourse.
"Such a Fine Suit…"
As we talked, Henry Lin would reach out occasionally to tug at the sleeve of my coat—as if to get my attention, which surely had not wandered at all from the subject. His was more of a picking gesture, however; he kept picking at my coat sleeve with his delicate bony fingers, and it began to annoy me.
The significance of his gesture became apparent, when in a general characterization of Americans, he used the phrase, "your fine suits." Actually, he had been feeling the material of my suit, which was comparatively new, usually worn as "Sunday best." Yet his attitude somehow made me uncomfortable; it seemed almost as if he were trying to make me feel ashamed of owning and wearing this suit, which he was possibly comparing to the garb of his fellow Asians. Subtly he was implying that I had no right to such a "fine" suit.
But I remembered how I had worked and earned the money to buy this suit and realized that I had every right to wear it proudly.
Henry Lin continued to simplify international affairs to the personal level, and this is how I came to understand fully the concepts of the man from Hong Kong.
Let’s Share Your Wealth!
He snapped at me suddenly: "If you have two rings and I have none, why shouldn’t you give one to me?" For a moment I couldn’t think of any reason not to give him one of my rings, if I’d had two. Then he glanced down at my hands and spotted the one (college) ring I was wearing. His eyes glittered as if he had caught me with something to which I had no right, and I instinctively let my ring hand fall from sight. I looked at his hands and saw he was wearing no rings.
I paused a moment to think. Then just as suddenly as he had asked the question, I got angry at it. I got angry at his bold, over-personal approach. Saying nothing, I thought to myself: "Just a minute, Buddy. Suppose I did have two rings—so what? You’ve got no right to ask why I shouldn’t give one to you. If you want a ring, either earn the money to buy it as I did, or offer something else of equal value in exchange. At the least, you are the one who should tell me—give me a convincing argument—why I should give you my ring."
The international application of his argument hit me hard. Henry Lin was pointing out that the United States is a wealthy nation; he was insisting in the same breath that we share this wealth with other nations. If you have two rings, why shouldn’t you give one to me?—this was his argument. He did not ask how he might obtain a ring, too. He did not say he needed a ring. He didn’t ask if I were willing to give one of mine. Henry Lin was demanding, in theory and according to his own beliefs, that I give him half my property, implying that I had no right to it.
I was a college student in Boston, intent upon my own training and next month’s tuition payment. But suddenly I knew what I was hearing; this is the argument of communism in its most basic terms. As did Henry Lin in his argument, communism demands redistribution of private property; it does not ask. The communist demand is followed by force and revolution, if it is not fulfilled "peacefully."
Under the Guise of Charity
For a moment I stared at this little man standing beside me in the parish hall of an American church. I imagined him chopping away at the pillars of this church with an ax—then realized that this picture was much too crude and simple. He had no ax in his hands, nor any gun or bombs; he was not wild-eyed.
The work of Henry Lin is far more insidious, for Henry Lin and his kind use the very principles of Christianity to destroy Christianity. They use the principles of freedom to destroy freedom—through an approach called "liberalism." This means simply that Christianity and freedom shall be redefined and re-evaluated in such a "liberal" way as to include the seeds of their own destruction.
I don’t know to what organizations Henry Lin may have belonged. That doesn’t matter, since "fronts" are as cheap as words. I do know positively from this and the following exposition of his own philosophy that Henry Lin is a Marxist thinker and lobbyist operating under the guise of liberalism and internationalism.
His specific work is to confuse and influence Americans to be "liberal" enough to allow the foundations of their own republican form of government to be chopped out from under them. His is a soothing voice, assuring us that there is no communist menace to America or the world, that all the world wants peace, peace, peace—on into a hypnotic drone. (That is, peace—if you will give me one of your rings.)
The arguments of Henry Linseem fantastically logical in theory. "Help thy neighbor" is an appeal which a generous and Christian people do not easily ignore; and certainly Americans have not been ignoring this international cry. We have been sending out tons of food and materials, tools, and even gold, largely on our own Christian principle of "help thy neighbor." We have been aiding generously those enemy nations which have sworn to "bury" us.
Certainly it would be shocking for Americans to face the truth that these tons of materials and money have been accepted by the peoples of the world under an entirely different principle called "share the wealth."
They Expect Americans To Give
Yet the time is long overdue to face this unpleasant truth and to realize that the seeds of this collectivist philosophy have been sowed deep in lands across the world. Most peoples, including the so-called neutralists, and even some of our allies, have been so influenced by the insidious socialist and communist concept that they actually believe America owes them a share of its wealth. (Owes them one ring, or perhaps the finger on which it is worn, or possibly a whole hand in the bargain.) They believe that American producers have little or no right to the wealth which they have mined and manufactured. Capitalism has become a dirty word, and the collectivists are urged to hate America simply because Americans do have better suits or more rings, and more food which is also produced by Americans.
Have the peoples of the world become so steeped in Marxist doctrine that they cannot understand or appreciate the universal religion of "help thy neighbor"? Have they so debased this religion that it now becomes an international chant for this false economy of "share the wealth"?
Henry Lin and I stood talking in the parish hall, while the others had long since gone, and the coffee in our cups had grown cold.
Although I said little compared to his shrewd arguments, I was not now listening so intently either; I was maneuvering for time to think the issues through in my own mind.
Henry Lin pointed out that the peoples of the world are intelligent enough to choose for themselves the system under which they will live. And then he asked the question I was anticipating: "Why do many choose communism even after hearing all the arguments for the American form of government?"
The only answer is that communism spreads like a plague among demoralized peoples—rich and poor alike—who believe the world owes them a living—who believe they will be given something for nothing—who believe they should simply be given a ring from another’s hand.
Communism may be readily accepted by those who have never known true freedom and therefore couldn’t truly desire and strive for freedom.
From the propaganda approach, it is infinitely more difficult to explain this freedom, which is an inherent spirit in individuals, than it is to promise something for-nothing to masses of people who are deceived and led to believe that such a lawless theory could actually work in practice.
His Real Objective
After the first two hours of our discussion in that Boston church, Henry Lin became more outspoken, more obvious in his arguments. He talked of the role of Soviet Russia in "fostering world peace" and urged that the United States should follow such an example.
In coldly matter-of-fact tones, he lamented the fact that it is sometimes necessary to wage war and to shoot men, pointing out that it is "better" to win a man’s mind than to shoot him. Also simpler and not as messy, I thought to myself.
We talked of propaganda and propaganda mediums, and I was surprised when the man from Hong Kong flatly admitted that he had been trying to influence me. He asked if I would join a certain students’ organization in Boston. And he asked if I had ever thought of writing anything for publication along this "internationalist" line.
As we parted in front of the church, I assured him that I did feel inspired to write an article for publication. At this his narrow eyes glittered and he smiled slightly.
And so I have mentioned the significant details of my casual encounter with this man during my days of study in Boston. I have written to help alert others to this twisted philosophy spread by Henry Lin, dedicated communist. The Henry Lins you meet may not be Oriental, or foreign born at all; many are from families that have lived and thrived in America for generations.
The Henry Lins you meet may not demand that you share your wealth with the entire world; they may only ask for "their share." But in any case, what these international drones have in mind is compulsory collectivism, not Christian charity.
Don’t Knock the Rich
Why should you grudge another The fortunes he does reap? Bless him! He’s one brother That you don’t have to keep.