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Freedom Is As Freedom Does

In today’s era of radical right-wing politics, we must never forget how things were during the turbulent McCarthy era. Corliss Lamont lived through it and reveals how Congress trampled on American freedoms. He includes his own battles with Senator Joseph McCarthy, the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Service. His landmark court cases continue to buttress the rights of us all.

 

Foreword by Bertrand Russell

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By Corliss Lamont

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Corliss Lamont served as a director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1932–1954, and as chairman of the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, which successfully challenged Senator Joseph McCarthy's senate subcommittee and other government agencies. In the process Lamont was cited for contempt of Congress, but in 1956 an appeals court overturned his indictment. From 1951 until 1958, he was denied a passport by the State Department.

 

In 1965 he secured a Supreme Court ruling against censorship of incoming mail by the U.S. Postmaster General. In 1973 he discovered through Freedom of Information Act requests that the FBI had been tapping his phone, and scrutinizing his tax returns and cancelled checks for 30 years. His subsequent successful lawsuit set a precedent in upholding citizens' privacy rights. He also filed and won a suit against the Central Intelligence Agency for opening his mail.

 

Corliss Lamont was president emeritus of the American Humanist Association, and in 1977 was named Humanist of the Year. In 1981, he received the Gandhi Peace Award. In 1998 Lamont received a posthumous Distinguished Humanist Service Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.

 

 

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