The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 7, 1938


An "Honorable" Default


When Adolf Hitler took over Austria, and with it the Austrian assets and liabilities, there was in Austria about $7 in gold for each of her 6,760,000 persons. Back in Berlin, by contrast, Herr Hitler's coffers contained only enough gold to average out at about 45 cents for each of Germany's 66,000,000 persons. Austria, plainly, was far better heeled, which was one reason that its schilling would buy nearly its par in American exchange, whereas German-marks, nominally quoted at par or even a little better, are "blocked" within the country. That is, Germany is holding tight to what she has.

And now, it develops, she is holding tight to what Austria had, to which the Reich has taken title. Semi-annual interest on two issues of Austrian bonds, marketed in this country and payable in dollars, has not been forthcoming. Nor has any word, but there is good reason to expect that Herr Hitler will keep the cash and let the creditors go. That might be considered a little on the crooked side in personal transactions but as between Germany and her debtors, it is thoroughly in accord with the national honor as revised by the Nazis.

Playing With Fire


One of the most interesting things about the organization of the Veteran's Front for the Support of Mayor Hague's Suppression of Free Speech in Haguetown Thursday night is that the Mister Charles Brophy who promised to call out a private army of 800 of "his" men armed with rubber hoses to keep two Congressmen of the United States from speaking, is-- vice-commander of the Catholic Veterans.

Whether the leaders of the Catholic Church in this country have anything to do with his stand we don't know, but in view of their intense pro-fascist propaganda in the last year, it hardly seems unfair to suspect it. In any case, here are men organized with specific reference to their religion engaged, as a body, in an attempt to destroy the most fundamental of American liberties.

There are many things we might say about that. But we content ourselves with saying, first, that The News speaks without any bias against Catholics as such, and that it despises all forms of anti-Catholic activities. And then--that Catholics in this country should weigh well the fact that they are a minority and that they have plenty of enemies who'd be glad to do to them just about what is being done to the Jews in Germany. And that their best bulwark against that is precisely the liberties which the Catholics in this case are trying to destroy.

*Third Party Barrier


The biggest bar to formation of a third party, a coalition party or any other sort of party is patronage; rather, the lack of it. Elections, except in great indignant upheavals of the electorate are won by politicians. Politicians fight for patronage; that is the base of all their machines. From the big men to the smallest, from the whales and, sharks in the political pool down to; the minnows in the muddy precinct pool, the bait is patronage.

A new party hasn't any. It has nothing to promise to the sharks, for the sharks to promise to the small-fry. The new party might have purity in great masses, might have tons of high natives, carloads of high ideals, but the fish will not swim for that. The generals, the colonels, the sergeants and the corporals who make vote-getting a specialty will not work for that.

Wisconsin's Governor Phil La Follette, leading the new third party, talks well, may have an argument, and writes a fine statement but he has no jobs to hand out over the United States. How does he expect to win without 'em?

*Free Speech--Limited  

Whether "Rural Progress," the magazine edited by Dr. Glenn Frank, chairman of the new Republican Party policy committee, and published in Chicago by a man named Maurice V. Reynolds, is an organ of anti-New Deal propaganda, we don't know.

But suppose it is propaganda, what then? Suppose, that as Senator Minton the successor of Hugo Black as Grand Inquisitor of the Lobby Committee, charges, it has"unjustly criticized" President Roosevelt and the New Deal. Suppose that were an absolute and objective fact and not merely what the Senator thinks or professes to think. Suppose even that it were a demonstrable fact that the magazine exists for the deliberate and sole purpose of lying about President Roosevelt and the New Deal. Is that proper ground for doing as Grand Inquisitor. Minton has done, and, under penalty of jail for contempt of the Senate, forcing Publisher Reynolds to travel a thousand miles to appear before the Lobby Committee, to be bullied at will by the lawyers who make it up, to be publicly pilloried? Is it justification for the bill which the Grand Inquisitor has introduced into the Congress--a bill that would make it a crime for a man to publish what he did not know to be true, though it were not libelous?

To suppose it is to suppose that free speech and a free press can be something less than free, which is nonsense. The right to"criticize unfairly," to say and publish what is not "true" about public officials and their policies, even to say what the sayer knows darn well to be untrue, absolutely without penalty, is the very essence of free speech and a free press. The whole theory of these rights is that the only rational answer to a lie is not jail or bullying but the assertion of the truth. And if the doctrine is once set up thata critic must be "just" and "tell the truth"--why, then, who is to judge whether or no he has been just and told the truth? Obviously in the very public officials at whom he thrusts! Adolf Hitler himself does not object criticism he holds to be "fair" and "true".

Dr. Frank is right. Grand Inquisitor Minton is a very definite menace to the Bill of Rights.

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