The Charlotte News
Friday, May 10, 1940
Site Ed. Note: The case to which Cash refers in "Too Far", a case actually decided in 1880, isKilbourn v. Thompson, 103 US 168. What a pity that Senator Joseph McCarthy and others before him and since never paid heed to its principle; in brief, "Whether the power of punishment in either House by fine or imprisonment goes beyond this or not, we are sure that no person can be punished for contumacy as a witness before either House, unless his testimony is required in a matter into which that House has jurisdiction to inquire, and we feel equally sure that neither of these bodies possesses the general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen." Of course, all of that hinges then on the breadth of embrace of "private affairs", and proponents of witch hunts would claim that membership in this or that organization which organization has as its announced motive the overthrow of the Government, no longer implies purely private affairs; yet, as we now know, the same argument can be applied to everything including the bedroom mau-rals of the President. And any argument which, when taken to its logical conclusion, can be used to justify anything on earth, is by its nature corrupt and the product of sophistry. In short, Cash was right; we should debarr, (sp?), such inquisitions by the thrust of so great a public outcry against them that no one would dare apply to it a-gain. To put it another way, "Honi soit qui mal y pense."
See also "Italian Fight", a rare by-lined piece from the same date.
Congress Should Be Kept Well Inside Its Function
The legal proceedings against Dies Committee agents in Washington and Philadelphia, on the ground of the violation of the Bill of Rights, immediately concern Communists or those accused of Communism. And so many people will wish that the courts may find with Dies.
However, it seems to us that it is a very short-sighted view. For upon the outcome of these cases may well hinge the question of whether or not we are to have an American Inquisition, with no citizens safe from being pilloried by Congress. It is no small matter and no question of fondness for Communists when a large number of the leading lawyers, clergymen, and educators of Pennsylvania, headed by William Draper Lewis, director of the American Law Institute, rise up to denounce the Dies methods at Philadelphia.
Congress is a legislative body, and under our system is barred from any judicial function or any other function which is not directly concerned with its business of making laws. And it has no right at all to inquire into what is not germane to its proper function. So the Supreme Court itself decided in 1876 when a man was jailed for 40 days for "contumacy" for failure to answer questions asked him by a Congressional Committee--with the result that he recovered $30,000 in damages.
The Dies Committee has brought cases against a number of Communists, because they refused to hand over membership lists of the Party, searched Communist headquarters in Philadelphia, without a warrant, in an effort to lay hands on such lists. But the membership lists of the Communist Party cannot be germane to the Congressional function of making laws, since it is forbidden to Congress to make laws as against specified persons.
Getting a few Reds is simply not worth the price of giving Congress powers it has no business with.
The Allies May Have Planned It This Way
It now appears that the Allied caution in Norway had its reason. The German wild hog has come grunting and slashing out of the Hercynian forest upon the lowlands again, as he has been coming for 2,500 years now. And the Norwegian enterprise was obviously a mere preliminary by way of clearing his right flank.
Are the French Army, the British Navy, ready now? Heaven alone knows. But it may well be that we are witnessing the success of Allied grand strategy. It seemed strange enough all along that a good portion of the British battle fleet should suddenly have lifted anchor, abandon Norway, and steam to the Mediterranean. And the evidence has increased that what was in the making was a sudden move by Mussolini in conjunction with the Nazis to take over the mountains.
That was the last thing the Allies could have wanted. To fight in such distant fields put them at a great disadvantage. Bulgaria stood in their way if they attempted to pass overland. They were faced with a threat of a flanking attack from Russia if they attempted to move over the Black Sea and land in the mouth of the Danube. Albania stood in their way to Yugoslavia. They might and probably could save Greece, but not even that was certain so long as their fleet strength in the Mediterranean was as light as it was.
If they had to fight, they preferred to fight in the West.
On the other hand, once the fleet was reinforced, once the French Army turned its attention in part to Italy, once the Turk Army was got ready, and once the Allied force in Syria began to move up to the Dardanelles, it was no longer a safe gamble for Hitler, Mussolini & Co. to attempt what they had perhaps planned. The British stood to smash the Italian fleet, drawn up opposite Greece, at the first clash. If they did that, the Adriatic would be opened, Italy could be cut off from Yugoslavia, Allied troops landed there. The Allies could well hope to flank Hitler's march through the Yugoslavian valleys on his way to Rumania. Worse, the French Army stood a good chance of being in Milan in a few days by a blitzkrieg of its own, the Italian industrial districts taken over, Italy whipped to her knees in a few weeks, the prestige of Nazi-Fascist power dealt a terrible blow.
All this may very well be what has brought about the decision to invade Holland and Belgium. If so, the Allies have ordered the fighting on their own terms.
But can their tactics match their strategy? We shall see. Surely, if the plan has been drawn in this fashion, the French Army should be already pouring into Belgium and Holland, and the German wild hog should at length begin to find that he is not now against Poland and Norway.
Let us hope so at least. And let us hope that the Allies win and that this war shall not end in the sniveling which spoiled the victory the last time and made this possible again. Carthage, thundered old Cato truly in the Roman Senate, must be destroyed if Roman civilization was to live. It must be plain to all civilized men now that Germany must be destroyed if Western civilization is to live.
For 2,500 years the wild hog has turned Western Europe into a constant shambles. It is time he had a dose of his own medicine, to the hilt. Charlemagne converted him to ostensible Christianity by fire and the sword. It seems that the only way to convert him to ostensible civilization.
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