The editorial policy of Freedom Newspapers and Publisher R.C. Hoiles is based on the 10 Commandments, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence. The opinion columns of the newspapers are open to anyone who can attempt to show the publisher a better code for human behavior. –Statement of Policy
Time magazine: Mr. Hoiles is slightly to the right of Herod.
Associated Press: He was one of the giants in American journalism and our profession is the poorer now that he is gone.
Nation's Schools magazine: Hoiles pours poison in to the public consciousness.
United Press International: He was a towering figure in American journalism.
Milwaukee Journal: Among the bigoted, stingy and lunatic elements. His editors and printers grind their teeth to the roots as they handle his copy.
New York Times: Mr. Hoiles was a publisher of a hinterland journalistic empire. There may be individuals with equally unconventional views around the country but none has the combination of status, wealth and possible public influence.
Time magazine: Hoiles has a Stone Age philosophy with one touch of liberalism in his record: during the war, he campaigned to give the Japanese-Americans a break.
Copley News Service: He was a truly great man and a member of that small group of vanishing Americans from which we have all gained much strength and heritage.
Time magazine: A terrible tempered prune face.
New York Times: His papers are bright and he insists on keeping news presentation objective.
California Newspaper Publishers Association: Raymond Cyrus Hoiles does not believe in taxes, compulsory public support of schools, the postal system, fire department or police force. He's been described as crusty, prejudiced, bitter, and as one Texas public official said, "He's against everything."
The Free Trade magazine (Great Britain): A great guardian of liberty.
Evangelist Billy Graham: Mr. Hoiles encourages spirituality in his newspapers. He gave me the best cooperation in my entire career.
Radio station KNX: Freedom Newspapers Inc., headed by Mr. Hoiles, are a powerful voice in molding people.
Dr. F.A. Harper, economist and author: A man marked with true greatness and goodness who devoted his life to truth, which was his only guide.
Orange County Board of Supervisors: A man who devoted his entire life to the cause of maintaining individual liberty in a world where he saw that liberty often threatened. He fought unswervingly for that in which he believed, remaining always true to himself. A distinguished newspaper career.
California Newspaper Publishers Association: R.C., as he his known to his associates, is not a man to compromise with principle. Hoiles thinks of himself as a newspaper publisher first and a political philosopher second. The Hoiles philosophy stems from his deep-seated belief in a universal single standard of right.
Walter knott, Knott's Berry Farm: Mr. Hoiles wielded a great influence.
Chairman, Orange County Democratic Council: Of course, I didn't agree with his politics but he was a man of great integrity and he ran fair newspapers.
Japanese-American Citizens League: Mr. Hoiles was the only one with the courage of his convictions in taking a strong editorial stand against evacuation and relocation of more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast during World War II. In his editorials in The Register and other Freedom Newspapers, Mr. Hoiles challenged the government's right forcibly to relocate American citizens.
New York Times: The impact of his efforts is hard to measure. However, his Santa Ana paper undoubtedly has been a factor in the intense conservative spirit to be found in Orange County which adjoins Los Angeles. His constant battering at labor unionism has been a major source of open shop sentiment.
A Register reader: I associate Mr. Hoiles with a strict definition of freedom and liberty. I have learned to respect him for encouraging others to think for themselves. He was an honorable and dedicated American newsman. His contribution and his unflinching dedication to liberty and humanity is immeasurable. With men like Mr. Hoiles, the torch of liberty will not be extinguished.
Mayor of Santa Ana: R.C. Hoiles has promoted the Libertarian movement for 50 years but it is only now beginning to make itself felt in intellectual circles. It has grown to significant proportions. Mr. Hoiles was not a disciple of any doctrine or philosopher. He owed no allegiance to any political party or political school of thought. He honestly allowed margin for error in his own thinking and welcomed criticism or constructive evaluation.
Omicron Delta Alpha Fraternity: Outstanding in the defense of freedom and opposing Communism.
Robert LeFevre, president of Rampart College: The most remarkable thing about him was his willingness to stick his neck out. He was a one-man institution. When he was 84 he attended my classes in Colorado as the oldest person who had ever studied with me. R.C. demonstrated his ability to grapple with new ideas.
Dr. F.A. Harper, economist and author: He was a man who wasn't afraid to espouse unpopular causes and who would stick rigidly by what he thought was right. A source of continuing controversy over his editorial stand against "government schools," Mr. Hoiles maintained that tax-supported schools are based on forced taxation, and force, he said, was immoral whether it originated with an armed robber or a government. As his newspaper empire grew, so did his reputation as a crusading editor, continually searching for truth. In his latter years, Mr. Hoiles' name began appearing in college journalism textbooks, usually in the context of representative of a vanishing breed of newsmen willing to fight for a cause. At the time of his death, newspapers carrying the familiar "Torch of Freedom" on their mastheads were going into more than half a million homes in California, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina and Florida.
Dean Witter & Co.: He kept himself informed on community affairs and he had the interest of the community at heart. Sometimes we didn't agree with Ray but we always had a friendly exchange of ideas and he was very broadminded.
Editorial on the death of Mr. Hoiles: Much controversy has surrounded his career. When, in Ohio, a bomb blew off the porch of his home and another placed in his car, the reason was his paper's expose of government corruption. But most of the controversy that surrounded him was because of his stand that government should not be in the school business. He also opposed any other intervention in the lives of individuals. In recent years, an increasing number of people are saying, "Mr. Hoiles has the right idea."
Rose Wilder Lane: Mr. Hoiles, innumerable other persons are and will e indebted to you, more than you or they will ever know, for your candle not only sheds its beams far in darkness, but kindles others that kindle more lights. It's good that you were born.
Westbrook Pegler: I think you are one of the few editors, as distinguished from editorial clerks, propagandists and merchants of palatable information and opinion, in the United States.
Frank Chodorov: I wish there were many more like you around. The world would be a far more interesting place to live in. In the darkness of collectivism which now envelops the earth, those who preach the doctrines of freedom are indeed like beacon lights.
Columnist John W. Beck: In our present maelstrom of conflicting ideologies, and of political and business expediencies so often used at the expense of integrity, it is heartening to think of you, and to know you will not swerve from your high principles, that you have the courage of your convictions, and that consistency – that rare jewel of jewels – shines throughout all your efforts. This can be said of very few men.
Ludwig Mises, New York University: Over a period of more than 50 years you have brilliantly served your fellow-citizens as a champion of freedom and a staunch advocate of sound economic policies. You never made compromises and your example is remarkable indeed in this time-serving and compromising age.
Ernest Benn, Society of Individualists, London: I envy you your success and the size of the organization you have created to keep alive the ideals on which civilization depends and without which it must come to an end.
Congressman Ralph W. Gwinn, Washington, D.C.: I am proud to be a fellow citizen of one who holds that the government is bound by the same rules of moral conduct that the individual is bound by. Having a newspaper merely extends and enlarges the individual's moral obligations. So I salute you, sir, as one who has refused to dissolve his individual moral sense in his newspapers.
Columnist George Peck: As you are aware, out columns are released under the caption, "The American Way," and as you further know, I am acquainted with thousands of editors across the nation. Let me say to you in all sincerity, I know of no editor or publisher who more closely typifies "The American Way," or who has done more to preserve it than R.C. Hoiles.
Merwin K. Hart, president, National Economic Council: You have been and are a tower of strength to the libertarians of the United States. It is men such as you who throughout history have been the real defenders and champions of American liberty.
George S. Benson, president, Harding College: Your newspaper fight for America's Constitutional Government and freedom of individual opportunity is extremely commendable because principles and ideals do not continue from generation to generation just because they are right, they do not continue from generation to generation just because they are legislated. On the contrary, they must be taught to generation after generation or they will cease to exist. I have genuine admiration for your courage and your determination and the great service that you have rendered to your fellow man.
Willis E. Stone, president, American Progress Foundation: In the larger sense, your greatest success as a patriot comes from the faith, courage, resolution and objectivity you have instilled in the hearts of others.
Verne P. Kaub, president, American Council of Christian Laymen: Your Freedom Newspapers are outstanding in the field of daily journalism. You lend to these papers and editorial touch which is unsurpassed. You have every reason to be proud of the contributions which you have made to the cause of liberty.
News story on the death of Mr. Hoiles: His life was an editorial. In death he leaves a legacy of millions of words suggesting to all who will listen that human beings can enjoy happier, more prosperous lives in a voluntary society in which no man uses force or threat of force against his neighbor. He operated successfully in the field of mass communications for more than 65 years, often in directed competition with publishers who took a less rigid stand against socialism. At the time of his death, The register, flagship of the 20-newspaper group, was the largest selling daily newspaper in Orange County, the nation's most competitive newspaper market.
Movie, "Man Against the Tide," about Mr. Hoiles' life: "I have tried to get people to think. They have to know when their freedom is being taken away from them. And they have to think to make decisions. All life is making decisions." – R.C. Hoiles.
New York Times: He was generous in fostering schools, lectures and publications aligned with his philosophy and an enthusiastic circulator of books, pamphlets and magazines that tend to support his opinions and is a tireless personal preacher and discussant of his views.
The California Publisher: An expose by Hoiles of an alleged paving contract corruption by his competitor in Ohio caused one of the bitterest newspaper battles in Ohio history. It lasted for over three years and saw such gangland techniques used against Hoiles as house bombings and sticks of dynamite under the hood of a car.
New York Times: Gives the appearance of a mild, almost shy man, amiable in his contempt of many present-day shibboleths; eager to reason about his views and even, on occasion, to alter them. Hoiles says he is against anything that restricts free trade, internationally or domestically, including the licensing of businesses, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, labor unionization, which he says deprives members of the right to work without paying tribute, and religious organizations which advocate compulsion to enforce social norms.
Publisher Hoiles' views on the newspaper business on the occasion of his 55th year as a newspaperman
If the publishing trade were a man, R.C. Hoiles would be his hair shirt. –Editor
"What this country needs as much as anything else are newspapers that believe in moral principle and have enough courage to express these principles and point out practices and beliefs that violate moral principles. A newspaper that only tries to run editorials and columnists and news items that are popular is of mighty little value to its readers.
"A newspaper that does this is not worth its salt. The reason this kind of newspaper is of little value is that it encourages errors. It is not a clearing house for opinions. It neglects to do its duty for fear it might lose subscribers and lose profits.
"A newspaper that can be intimidated in its editorial policy can also be intimidated in its news columns. And what good is a newspaper that is afraid to offend some person who is temporarily benefited by acts that are out of harmony with moral principles, such as the Commandments, the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence?
"How can people correct their errors if they are not pointed out? And if a newspaper is afraid to let people point out errors or will not point them out itself, it simply is worshipping the Golden Calf and is not worthy of the respect of American citizens.
"Of course, this does not mean that a newspaper should go into private matters, but it does mean that it should be willing to think out loud on such questions as education, labor relations and political subjects in general.
"Because many newspapers have catered to things that are popular and have been afraid to make themselves a method of bringing light to all readers, we are in the shape we are in today with dishonest money, mounting debts, corruption of people in public offices and one war after another.
"A newspaper has a responsibility because it is the most economical method of exchanging ideas. A newspaper that is afraid to discuss things that are ‘sacred cows' to the majority will be afraid to handle news stories that might cost it advertising or subscriptions. A newspaper that hides behind its columns and will not answer any or all questions about what it is advocating is not a real newspaper and is of little value to its readers.
"Just so, politicians or citizens who accuse another of misconduct and will not write a bill of particulars or answer any and all questions are being of no real service to their fellow man.
"A newspaper should shed light on moral, political or economic questions. If it has light, it will do this. If it only pretends to throw light, but has no light, it will have to hide behind its editorial chair.
"Those people who think a newspaper is violating moral law and refuse to support it are to be admired if they are first willing to answer any and all questions to show their own position is in harmony with moral principles and the newspaper's is not.
"There is no instrument that could do as much to get the American people to reverse their trend away from the ideologies set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Commandments and return to these ideologies as American newspapers.
"A newspaper that is afraid of losing subscribers because of principles is of little value to itself or anyone else. It might make dollars but its publisher loses his own self respect – his own soul.
"I believe that the newspaper business is one of the most important of all businesses. It is a business that can do a lot of good or a lot of harm. It cannot do very much good unless it is consistent and stands for principles that are in harmony with natural moral law.
"Whether a controversial editorial is good or bad – that is, useful or harmful to readers – depends upon whether or not the newspapers who believe the position taken by the newspaper or columnist is harmful to others. In other words, whether the newspaper or columnist is willing to defend his position by answering questions and defining his terms by reducing them to principles.
"A controversial editorial of this kind is certainly useful to the community and to the nation. It is useful because it tends to cause people to use their own mental faculties. And anything that does that benefits everyone.
"It is hard to conceive how an individual, an editor, a preacher, or a teacher, or a politician can develop his faculties if he is so arbitrary that he makes statements that he cannot defend in open discussion. It is a recognized fact that truth can always defend itself in open discussion, provided it is truth.
"It is hard to conceive how truth can be recognized unless beliefs can be challenged not by particular people, but by anyone. Most anyone could defend his position if he selected his own opponents.
"It seems that years ago men were more willing to publicly attempt to defend their position than they are today. And this might be largely the cause of the confusion we are in today.
"I, personally, do not know any daily newspapers, excepting those associated with Freedom Newspapers, that throw their columns open to anyone to challenge any opinion expressed by the editor of the paper, provided the challenger, himself, will answer questions without evasion. The reason the editors of Freedom Newspapers take this position is that it is the only way they know of improving their understanding of natural and moral law.
"There were more crusading newspapers in years gone by than there are today. Today too many newspapers are afraid of offending somebody and losing a dollar by taking an unpopular position. The result is that they cease to develop, cease to be of much use in their community, as far as getting people to better understand human relations that will promote goodwill, peace and prosperity.
"A newspaper should be a place where local, state and national and international questions can be thoroughly discussed. They are not thoroughly discussed in colleges, or churches or by radio commentators or by those holding or seeking office. A newspaper that carries controversial editorials and will permit its readers to challenge its policies not only benefits the editor and the publisher, but it benefits those who do the challenging. It whets their mental faculties. It tends to cause them to reason closely. It tends to eliminate their contradictions. It also helps the readers gain understanding.
"If more and more people could be persuaded that they should not trust or have much confidence in any individual who will not permit his statements to be questioned and challenged by anyone, we could turn the trend away from state socialism to believing in the blessings that come from protecting human initiative. In other words to the blessings of private competitive ownership of private property.
"I believe it was Ben Franklin who said he always wanted something in his newspaper that was useful to his readers or entertaining. And it is hard to think of anything more useful to the readers than to get them to be able to recognize a contradiction and think in harmony with eternal principles.
"The kind of newspaper a man takes has a lot to do with the kind of man he becomes."
An inside look at R.C. Hoiles by one of his staff writers R.C. Hoiles is a small, irascible bundle of pure energy, a hard-talking soft touch. He has a deadly hobby which he calls "close reasoning." Sitting around with R.C., just talking about this and that, is about as comfortable as tight underwear. If he didn't offend so many people, he'd have been written up in most of the major magazines by now. But whenever anyone comes around to interview him, he winds up interviewing the reporter and making him sore. Polite effusions are not in him.
R.C. is a zealot, and zealots are never easy to be around. Their enthusiasm begins where the average fellow's leaves off. R.C.'s zealotry is with liberty, in all its many aspects and facets. Briefly, he's for it. Oh, Lord, how he's for it!
Never in modern times has a man thumbed his nose at so many conventions and commonly accepted practices as R.C. Hoiles. And with such whopping financial success. Speaking up against all that the political majority holds dear and sacred – e.g. tax-supported schools – is supposed to get you clamped in the looney bin or carted off to the poor house.
But R.C. Hoiles is a millionaire several times over; and it has seemed to establish that the American people do not embrace conformity as completely as advertised.
He says out loud things that all of us, in the still small voice, have said to ourselves. He fights dragons of any size, bareknuckled and no-holds-barred. It never occurs to him whether he's offending the biggest merchant in town. In fact one of the many legends about this improbable man is about the time he invited one of his leading advertisers to take his custom elsewhere if he persisted in thinking he could influence the editorial policy of the newspaper.
He has expressed his irritation with such untouchables as the Red Cross, the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, the National Education Association, the National Council of Churches and even some of the sacrosanct societies of the grand and infallible order of newspaper publishers.
Someday there will be editors of Hoiles newspapers who have never known R.C. They will hear about him and what he said and did and what he was like. They will have missed a tremendous experience.
Raymond Cyrus Hoilesb Born: November 24, 1878, rambling farm house in Alliance, Ohio Father: Samuel Harrison Hoiles, a prosperous farmer. Mother, Ann Ladd Hoiles, an extensive reader. Education: Mt. Union College, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Wife: Myrtle Crumb Hoiles, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, secretary (February 1905) Children: Clarence Harrison Hoiles, Raymond Crumb Hoiles, Harry Howard Hoiles and Mary Jane Hoiles. Employment record: newspaper subscription salesman, printer's devil, newspaper bookkeeper, part-owner of newspaper with his brother, part-owner of another newspaper with his brother, broke partnership with his brother and became independent publisher of two newspapers, began buying newspapers that led to what New York Times said was a "hinterland journalistic empire" of 20 newspapers.
Continued to come to work until the week of his death at age 91.
*Hall of Fame inductees are selected annually by a committee appointed by the California Press Foundation. They recognize career achievements of weekly and daily publishers in California who were important and influential in their era, as judged by their peers in the association. The write-ups are a historical and journalistic snapshot in time and not official biographies.*