The Charlotte News
Monday, September 18, 1939
Corruption A Greater Threat To Democracy Than Invasion
The rudeness with which war has shoved all other events into the background was illustrated in the Louisiana mail fraud trial, the first of many varied actions yet to come against the relic of the Huey Long machine. It was front page news everywhere a couple of months ago when Seymour Weiss, No. 1 Longster, was indicted. But it was on inside pages this last day or so that he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Sentenced with him were Dr. James Monroe Smith, former president of L.S.U., and three lesser lights.
And without disputing or even questioning the judgment of news editors in subordinating this domestic incident to the cataclysmic events taking place elsewhere, it may be said--tentatively--at any rate--that Seymour Weiss and Doc Smith and their kind are greater menaces to U.S. democracy than A. Hitler, B. Mussolini, J. Stalin and their kind.
For against the last we are warned and alert and united and prepared to fight to the last ditch. But to political corruption and the abuse of trust and the duping of the electorate we are cynically resigned and indifferent.
Barney Baruch Suggests This Nation's Course
Bernard M. Baruch, the South Carolina boy who made good in the mercantile business in Charlotte, N.C., and went on to show the New York Stock Exchange a trick or two, expresses the sentiments of a great many American people when he says that this nation should keep out of war no matter what happens in Europe--or in Asia, for that matter. A very decided opinion against becoming involved, if opinion crystallizes that way, will do more than anything else to keep us out, but meanwhile we've got to formulate a policy for doing business somewhat at usual.
The policy Mr. Baruch advises is, in a word, to let belligerents have all our goods that they can pay for and carry away, without restriction as to the kind of goods. And to use the distraction in Europe for the purpose of cultivating South American trade, with the frank intention of having a monopoly on it when Europe ceases fighting and looks around for commerce.
It isn't, of course, so easy as it sounds. Trade is a two-way arrangement. To sell in any quantity to a nation, you have to buy in return. South America hasn't much that we want. Furthermore, to sell in South America, prices must be low enough to move goods and keep out competition, such as Germany's barter. Our high-price economy works to the disadvantage of export trade.
But it is worth trying and worth readjusting for, this hemisphere commerce. Meanwhile, Mr. Baruch would build another navy to guard the Atlantic from any hostility that might develop, and he would begin to organize land and air defenses against any possible combination of powers. In that too he expresses a considerable public sentiment, and it is not unlikely that he anticipates what the President will tell Congress when it meets Thursday.
Red Is Red Again
Communism Sets Itself Back 15 Years In U. S. Opinion
There is at least one good effect to be derived from the unholy deals which Russia has made with its arch ideological enemies; a clarification, at any rate.
Ten, twelve, fifteen years ago the goblin that walked America and frightened the people almost to death was Communism. The Red scare was on, and the heroic leagues and societies that mushroomed into being to defend us against foreign isms were mostly anti-Communistic.
Not even the advent of Mussolini and the world premiere of Fascism in Italy--the which, being directed primarily against Socialism with a side purpose of making the trains run on time, was not altogether to our disliking--caused any change in the ranking of specters. Soviet Russia was still the chief enemy to democracy.
With Hitler and his carryings-on and his individual formation of the Rome-Berlin Axis, however, Communism went down in U.S. hatred and the Nazi movement took its place. Public opinion crystallized all over again, and the inevitable leagues and societies sprang into being. This time Fascism was their nightmare and so heavily did it weigh upon them that by contrast Communism became almost respectable. At least it had some faint resemblance to democracy, and its intentions toward the balance of power appeared to be friendly.
But now? Well, it is still too early to determine what the ultimate alignment in Europe and Asia may be but even at the moment people are saying that they knew those danged Russians were never to be trusted. That is something. For, indeed, they never were, and are not now, as both the embattled Japanese and embattled Germans know all too well for their peace of mind.
War By Threat
These Alliances Look Toward Peace By Terror
The whole astonishing business being engineered from Berlin is undoubtedly simply a part of Adolf Hitler's planned localized war, to jockey himself into the position of getting Poland without having to fight in the West. It is probable that he is quite truthful when he says he wants no such war. His policy is to divide and paralyze his victims, then eat them by piecemeal. And he himself has laid down the axiom that once a nation has shamefully yielded, it is not likely ever again to feel that any particular demand made upon it is worth fighting over. It did not quite work after the shameful yielding at Munich. But it has half worked, for the French and British people are clearly already semi-paralyzed, are going about this war with an appalling lack of energy and spirit. And if only Adolf can cajole and terrify them into yielding again, all in the name of sweet reason, then he may safely hope to obtain the mastery of the Western world without a fight.
To this end, Adolf goes out and rigs up his strange treaties of alliance. To the end of facing the people of England and France--and always the United States--with what he shrewdly calculates will be taken as overwhelming force.
As a matter of fact, it may well be doubted that any German-Russian-Japanese-Italian-Turkish alliance is actually overwhelming force, even as against Britain and France. Such an alliance is one of pasteboard if not of tissue paper. Cutthroat Hitler does not dare trust Cutthroat Stalin, and Cutthroat Stalin does not dare trust Cutthroat Hitler. Do you think Hitler really dares to pull his legions away from Poland now? Or that he really dares to bring great hordes of Red soldiers into Germany to fight on the Western Front? We hear a great deal from the radio, indeed, to the effect that Russia is going to strike England elsewhere. But it would be illuminating if the boys would look at their maps and tell us precisely where. Through the Pamirs? Moreover, Russia is far from being the inexhaustible storehouse of supplies she is painted as being. Potentially perhaps, but in actuality she produces little more than she herself needs, is going to have her productive capacity sharply curtailed by mobilization.
As for Japan, she has her hands full in China. She may take the relatively unimportant British concessions in that land, but if she attempts to move against England elsewhere, she has Singapore to reckon with. And even as regards French Indo-China--the American battle fleet still lies at Pearl Harbor, an enigma which the little brown man will not forget to consider.
And as for Cutthroat Mussolini, he is playing with his own destruction. For the Catholic Church, to which nearly all Italians adhere, is against an alliance with the Reds.
Turkey is the most dangerous of all, for it can close the Dardanelles. But even that is not irreparable, as witness the last war.
But it is not to the fact that Mr. Hitler has appealed, not even to governments. His moves are all addressed to mass hysteria, to the problem of utterly demoralizing the people of the nations opposed to him, to reducing them into the hopeless conviction that they are up against the impossible and had better grant him what terms they can.
More, it is just possible that it may work. For already the English Government is plainly playing with the idea of ducking out of its obligation to Poland. These English statesmen, say the reports, "wonder if aggression is possible against a nation which has ceased to exist." Of course, the treaty was precisely a promise never to admit that Poland has ceased to exist, to fight until she was liberated and restored. But England has welshed before. She may welsh again.
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