The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 6, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Supreme Court had upheld by a vote of 7 to 2, in U.S. v. U.M.W., 330 U.S. 258, the contempt citations previously issued in December against John L. Lewis and the UMW for violating the District Court's temporary restraining order to call off the coal strike, which had begun November 21, 1946. The Court, in an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Fred Vinson, held that the Norris-La Guardia anti-injunction law had not been violated because it did not apply to the Government. The Court held, instead, that the 1943 War Labor Disputes Act, known generically and previously cited herein as the "Smith-Connally Act", authorizing the Government to seize essential industries vital to the defense effort in the event of a strike, trumped Norris-La Guardia, and specifically allowed for issuance of an injunction sought by the United States to prevent such a strike, the precise circumstance which had occurred the previous December in the instant case.

The only change from the District Court's decision was reduction in the fine against the union from 3.5 million dollars to $700,000, but placed the Damocles Sword over the head of the union by ordering the remainder of the fine to be re-instituted should the union renew its strike on March 31, the deadline previously set for renewal by John L. Lewis. The decision also ordered Mr. Lewis to withdraw his notice of termination of the contract within five days and that he could not re-issue it until the courts had ruled on whether it was permissible.

Justices Frank Murphy and Wiley Rutledge dissented. Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, while concurring in the result, dissented on the manner in which the Court determined the fines.

Congressional reaction was initially positive, but the call was still for new labor laws.

At Waco, Tex., on his way back from his three-day trip to Mexico, the President called for a reduction of world trade barriers, the failure to do so potentially leading again to war. The President spoke at Baylor during a ceremony to award him an honorary doctorate. He urged approval at Geneva in April of the proposed world trade charter to establish the International Trade Organization. "Isolationism," he stated, "after two world wars, is a confession of mental and moral bankruptcy."

The citation which was read upon the conferral of the doctoral degree was changed at the request of the White House to eliminate a passage which had stated that the President had been raised in "the rich and romantic traditions of the Old South" as evidenced by his mother preferring to sleep on the floor at the White House rather than in the bed where Abraham Lincoln had slept. The citation stated that the President was also born of humble environs, with no silver spoon.

The speech, 23 years later, became the centerpiece of a scholarly debate between Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Noam Chomsky with regard to whether the American foreign policy set on course after World War II, as enunciated in the speech—and, more to the point, in his "Truman Doctrine" speech to Congress the following Wednesday anent the need for additional financial assistance to Greece and Turkey—, had inexorably resulted in the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, as charged by Professor Chomsky in American Power and the New Mandarins, published in 1969.

Our own view of Professor Chomsky's defense to the charge that he inaccurately paraphrased the President from the speech, albeit based on paraphrasing by others which he admits and corrected in footnotes of subsequent editions of his book, is that he successfully defends his own statement, that is the one labeled "A" in his reply, but that his view that the other paraphrased statements, respectively by D. F. Fleming and banker James Warburg, are also properly derived logically from the President's speech, is flawed, at least as to statement "B" of Mr. Fleming. As to "B", the President stated, as quoted at "E", that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are "related" to freedom of enterprise, which suggests a different formulation from being "dependent" on freedom of enterprise, as paraphrase "B" states. Red may be "related" to blue on the American flag, for instance, but, by no means, dependent upon it, save in a purely poetic and symbolic sense developed out of tradition, not in the physical world, save perhaps in the functions of the mammalian circulatory system, demonstrated by the veins in your wrist. The flag could be pink, red, and white, and still be the flag of the United States by tradition, should the Founders have decided on a nice pastel pink instead of royal blue. Or sky-baby blue, even better. Professor Chomsky, in fact, concedes that "dependent" could be interpreted differently from "related".

Parenthetically, we disagree with the President's analysis on the point, as freedom of enterprise, while quaintly reminiscent of the conditions extant which were conducive to it in the pre-industrial age at the Founding, is not within the framework of the Constitution, and thus could not be equated with or even necessarily related to, causally or otherwise, the freedoms of which there are specific Constitutional guarantees, though not exclusive of other non-enumerated freedoms, the former class including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The full statement from the President's speech, as quoted by Professor Chomsky in part at "E", was: "There is one thing that Americans value even more than peace. It is freedom—freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of enterprise. It must be true that the first two of these freedoms are related to the third. For, throughout history, freedom of worship and freedom of speech have been most frequently enjoyed in those societies that have accorded a considerable measure of freedom to individual enterprise. Freedom has flourished where power has been dispersed. It has languished where power has been too highly centralized. So our devotion to freedom of enterprise, in the United States, has deeper roots than a desire to protect the profits of ownership. It is part and parcel of what we call American."

The President was obviously correct, from even a cursory understanding of American history, that the Constitutional freedoms he enumerated are more important to the country than peace, assuming, for the moment, ascription of those lofty ideals to an equation with the will to fight for their preservation against a foreign enemy on foreign or native soil, an assumption perhaps too presumptive in the premises. But there is no Constitutionally guaranteed "freedom of enterprise" and thus the Government can, and has many times, encroached upon it to limit the demonstrated avarice of moneyed interests when the will of the labor class was overborne by capital, leading to depression or extreme recession and want, a class of have-nots predominating amid plenty, with a grossly disparate distribution of material goods in society. Nor has there ever been demonstrated any great will of the country to fight a war over preservation of freedom of enterprise, without more at stake, at least insofar as stated, if not actual, rationale. Indeed, if there were such a thing in the abstract as "freedom of enterprise" enjoyed in America, the Constitution would not prescribe the power to Congress to levy taxes on the people, as it does, necessarily, to insure the proper functioning of government and its various services to the people.

Simply put: the ability to buy something, the ability to earn a given amount of money from a given activity, does not make it systemically ethical or moral to do so. To be socially conscientious, one should not grab for all one can get, to the exclusion of the other person's essential needs. That leads inevitably to a breakdown in society for everyone, as any class of young school children, properly taught, ought realize from a young age. When carried to its extremes, "freedom of enterprise", however, means in the minds of many just that sort of grab for "all that you can be". The President, of course, did not intend it in that sense, rather, as he defined it, meaning freedom to transact internationally by private choice without governments interfering in those transactions. Such should not be confused with domestic trade in interstate commerce, subject to regulation under the Constitution, allowing, for instance, the Government to forbid discrimination contrary to Constitutional rights in access to facilities open generally to the public. Ultimately, the focus of his speech was to advocate establishment of the International Trade Organization to define the limits of free international trade in a reasonably cooperative atmosphere.

That entire argument, however, obtains resolution in a legal forum more than in a practical one. And so we shall not belabor it here, as we have elsewhere herein. Suffice it to say that there is no guarantee of unfettered capitalism, "free enterprise", in the United States and there never has been. Thus, one cannot equate that freedom with the specific freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. And, even in a practical world, as the Depression taught, unfettered free enterprise may lead to economic devastation for so many, including the holders of capital, as to undermine the very economic fabric of society. Free enterprise does not insure free speech or freedom of religion, and the exercise of free speech and religion do not insure free enterprise. They are not, therefore, related in any practical sense of necessary interdependence. Arguably, when free enterprise was at its nadir during the most restrictive times of the New Deal, freedom of speech and the other specifically protected freedoms enjoyed a renascence not seen since, even if wartime restrictions included undue restrictions on freedom of speech. Fear of a foreign enemy, whether justified as in the case of World War II, or unjustified, as were the most extreme parts of the Red Scare afterward, will have that impact.

As to the paraphrased statement of Mr. Warburg, "C", that the President “made it quite clear that he believed that the whole world should adopt the American system ... [which] ... could survive in America only if it became the world system,” we agree with Professor Chomsky that it is consistent with that which the President stated at Baylor.

It should also be noted that Professor Chomsky states that the matter was essentially something of a tempest in a teapot, as he did not stress the Baylor speech in his book and could have cited other statements of the President to support his analysis.

Professor Schlesinger, incidentally, also spoke contemporaneously, in early 1970, on the subject of American imperialism, with some emphasis on the reasons for the country's involvement in Vietnam, implicitly, though not expressly, replying at times to Professor Chomsky's statements on "Firing Line" in 1969, albeit not in a debate or discussion format. Their ultimate views at the time regarding Vietnam and its likely consequence in defeat, based on the course being followed at the time, were quite similar.

Britain was threatened with a new fuel crisis as a two-day blizzard of more ice and snow again snarled the transportation system in the country. Prime Minister Attlee called an emergency meeting of his "Coal Cabinet", with 50 percent of the miners in the Midlands not reporting for work and 33 mines in South Wales being forced to stop for want of rail transport. A major London dairy cut deliveries by 20 percent. It was practically impossible to get from the north to the south of England. Trains and busses were marooned in the snow. Temperatures during daytime were slightly above freezing and a gale blew across Dover Strait.

One of the winter's worst snowstorms had hit Moscow, just as foreign visitors began arriving for the Foreign Ministers Council meeting.

The State Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard arguments anent the bill to ban the closed shop in North Carolina.

Testimony was heard before both the State Senate and House regarding the proposed statewide liquor referendum, this time from wet advocates, who told of lower crime rates in the wet communities of the state and improved conditions since establishing ABC stores. One speaker, a judge, stated that the dry advocates had what they wanted, prohibition in 75 counties, and the referendum was only seeking to mandate prohibition for the entire state, denying the right of choice to the 25 wet counties individually.

Federal agents were on the trail of thieves believed responsible for the theft of large amounts of narcotics from drug stores in Monroe, Gastonia, Lincolnton, Pineville, and other communities. County Police had found a large amount of the stolen drugs in a bucket at the Mecklenburg Fairgrounds, though the more potent narcotics had been removed.

Sports page editor Ray Howe was set to begin covering this date in Durham the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament—to be won ultimately on Saturday by N. C. State over North Carolina by two points, 50-48. Mr. Howe had predicted that State would top Duke in the finals, 67-45.

Just why Mr. Howe made that prediction, when UNC had beaten Duke the previous Friday in Durham, 57-47, and had also won 49-28 on February 11 in Chapel Hill, we do not know. It is part and parcel of a long-term problem with the sports journalism community, which persists to this date. Indeed, by the assiduous foresight of the sports prognosticators, North Carolina has beaten Duke perhaps two dozen times in the 94 years they have been playing one another in basketball, and even in those years, Duke had the far superior team and North Carolina achieved a little streak of luck.

But that's okay. We understand. The Duke Royal Blue tends to attract certain sorts of people.

In any event, Duke would be eliminated this date, in the first round of the tournament, 56-54, by South Carolina, a loser the following day to North Carolina, 58-33. State would beat, successively, Maryland, 55-43, and George Washington, 70-47, before topping UNC Saturday night.

On the editorial page, "Politics and the Solicitorship" finds the Gastonia Gazette believing that a conspiratorial effort was afoot in Mecklenburg to separate the judicial district to give Mecklenburg its own Solicitor, separate from that of Gaston County. The actual reason was not to obtain jobs for itself, as the Gazette opined, but rather to ease the tremendous caseload in the combined judicial district.

"The Fine Art of Lobbying" suggests that the fact that the wine merchants had been lobbying legislators on the liquor referendum, while a shock to the dry forces who also had an active lobby, though not so well paid, would have little impact. The legislators were more concerned with grassroots support for the issues.

It offers as example the effort of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra to obtain more than its allocated funding of $12,000 by giving a pleasant concert for the legislators, who liked the Brahms and Beethoven played for them. But the Joint Appropriations Committee nevertheless allocated the Orchestra $12,000.

"Ancient and Dishonorable Relationship" tells of a movement in South Carolina to establish Sunday blue laws on a county-option basis, being promoted by the Charleston delegation with the backing of the Charleston News & Courier. The latter organ had stated that if the law were passed, it would attract trade from Charlotte to Fort Mill, S.C. The piece takes umbrage at the suggestion, noting that Charlotte had done away with its blue laws six years earlier.

It reminds cynically of the mutual trade pact in place between the two states, easy divorces and Sunday entertainment in Charlotte, for quick marriages and liquor in South Carolina. The balance was imperiled by the fact of the proposed liquor referendum in Mecklenburg and the pending law to authorize divorces in South Carolina.

The editorial concludes the erudite exchange of ideas with the advice, "If anything comes of either project we shall try to keep The News & Courier informed, communications permitting."

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Purveyors of Food and Drink", comments on the report of State Representative Harvey Morris that there were 2,600 bootleggers in Mecklenburg County and 250 speakeasies in Charlotte. In Buncombe County, there were 300 food outlets, of which 162 were in Asheville. It suggests that Charlotte had twice as many workers selling illegal drink to Mecklenburgers as there were food workers in Buncombe.

Since Mecklenburg was not twice the size of Buncombe, it appeared that "the Tipsy Queen had as many liquor handlers as it has green grocers."

Drew Pearson explains that the President's trip to Mexico originated months earlier when Mexico's Ambassador, Antonio Spinosa de los Monteros, came to the White House to present his credentials. The Ambassador had been educated at Harvard and was quite familiar with the U.S., was able to impress the President, such that he quickly agreed to the suggestion that he visit Mexico. It was the only political significance to be attached to the three-day trip. The Ambassador had accompanied the President to Mexico aboard the Sacred Cow.

He next tells of the slow erosion of the housing program for veterans set up a year earlier, with real estate developers leading the charge against it. Even the American Legion had wound up siding with the real estate lobby. The Republican chairman of the House Banking Committee, Jesse Wolcott of Michigan, had announced the previous week an intent to try to repeal the Patman Act which had established the program. The current Housing Expediter, Frank Creedon, had stated that he was not going to wage a fight to save it.

Mr. Pearson notes that controls on concrete soil pipe were to be removed during this week.

The column follows up a previous story on Admiral C. M. Cooke, Jr., having sent his car via military transport to Shanghai to be sold at a high price. The Navy admitted the truth of the story, but when Admiral Cooke was summoned to Washington to explain his actions, Admiral Nimitz gave him a pass, saying that officers had the right to ship their personal belongings from one station to another. But Admiral Cooke, Mr. Pearson notes, was headed to Tsingtao, not Shanghai.

Marquis Childs comments on the big stall present in Washington because of a divided Government, a redundant history whenever that situation proved itself by the electoral results. The people, he offers, suffered.

One example was the present controversy regarding the confirmation of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Ignoring the personal animus exhibited by Senator Kenneth McKellar, the remainder of the opposition was almost completely political, intended to embarrass the President.

It was not a function of the wickedness of one of the two parties. The same situation had occurred in 1931 and 1932 after the Democrats had captured the House with Herbert Hoover in the Executive Mansion. The Democrats exploited Mr. Hoover's political weakness in that situation. The President had relied on laissez-faire to straighten out the mess, with virtually no Government intervention, save by the creation of the RFC.

But Americans were more astute fifteen years later and the Republicans, should they continue their obstruction, would lose in 1948. It was not inconceivable, he asserts, that Mr. Truman could be re-elected, though seeming quite impossible just four months earlier on election day.

The cause of this recurring stalemate was in the rigidity of the American electoral process, standing to become more so with the amendment pending to limit the term of the President. Mr. Childs favors a Government overhaul to bring it into the 20th Century. As things were, the men driving the train got the blame.

He leaves off without providing any particulars to be included in such an overhaul.

But we could think of one right away: get rid of the electoral college, clearly an apparatus meant for the horse-and-buggy age of communication, and fouling up our electoral process every single time out, whether in the manner of campaigning and hence the concentration of money in the most populous states during the course of an election cycle, or in the actual tabulation of the votes, sometimes causing fraud at the polls to manipulate by a few hundred votes a decisive number of electoral votes in large states. Greater incentive would exist also for fuller participation in the electoral process, as foregone conclusions in certain states would no longer serve as disincentive for the minority party supporters to turn out in full strength to add to the national total. It is an outrage and testimony to the short attention span of the American public that this antiquated thing still persists in the Constitution after the debacle of 2000.

Harold Ickes criticizes the Buffalo school teachers for having struck for higher pay, a strike which had been resolved after a week with moderate pay boosts. He asserts that the teachers, as public employees, had no more right to strike than firemen and policemen, and had, on top of that violation of public responsibility, violated their contracts as well.

He believes, however, that teachers ought receive better pay and pensions. The total expenditure nationwide for teacher salaries was estimated at 1.8 billion dollars, compared to expenditures of 2.16 billion in 1944 for toilet and cosmetic articles and three billion in 1945 for tobacco, 7.77 billion for alcohol.

Mr. Ickes is careful to note that he was not plumping against either cosmetics, liquor, or tobacco products, but merely pointing out the need for increased priority for educational development.

Senator Robert Taft had introduced a bill to provide Federal aid to education to the tune of 150 million dollars in 1948, going to 250 million by 1950. It would guarantee a minimum expenditure in each state of $40 per pupil, without regard to race or color. It would not equalize educational opportunity across the nation but would boost the available resources, especially in rural districts.

A letter from the Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission suggests that the greatest public need in Charlotte was recreation, the present facilities only serving about five percent of the population. It argues for an amendment to the State Constitution to allow the people to vote for bond issues for such purposes on the basis of a simple majority of voters voting, rather than the system presently in place, requring a majority of those registered to vote. The majority of those voting had overwhelmingly approved a recreation bond measure in the previous election, but it had failed to pass because of the need for the extraordinary majority.

In the meantime, it urges the City to provide the Commission with funds from non-tax receipts to build additional facilities.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.