Letter to Mrs. Guilhert

October 31, 1949


Dear Mrs. Guilhert:


I will gladly write your article if you will show me any evidence that women as such are any more likely to amend matters than men. Actually American politics is crammed full of women's activity and I cannot see that there is any sex differentiation. I think you misconceive the nature of politics, which is the art of bringing men to agree on a workable resolution of their diverse interests. There has never been a time anywhere in the world [when] the facts of government could seem pure and beautiful to a mind filled with ethical concepts. Men as a species, which includes women, are very mixed, very deplorable, and mostly evil. Any of us could invent offhand a theoretically more admirable species and a far finer government. Politics, however, is the art of the actual and the possible. I think we are doing well in this country and there have been few times in its history when great men were at hand. If you admire Thomas Jefferson you must know that he was a devious and frequently dishonorable politician, though an exceedingly successful one, and that his integrity was questioned by many during his lifetime and has been by many others up to now. He was a very great man indeed but he made many failures and did innumerable things which I am sure must appall the point of view from which you write. I do not believe that women will ever act politically more wisely nor more unselfishly than men and I am by no means sure that unselfishness is either a wise or a safe force in politics.


Sincerely yours,