The Charlotte News
MONDAY, APRIL 4, 1938
A Sensible Veto
Governor Lehman has vetoed the law passed by the New York Legislature, which would have banned "Reds" from employment in the civil service or the public schools. And has, we think, done exceedingly well.
Ourselves, we have no sympathy for Communists--think them prize idiots and usually disgruntled idiots at that. But while an individual certainly has the right to refuse to hire them because of their opinions, the state plainly hasn't. For it is to place a penalty upon them for the exercise of the freedom of opinion and the freedom of speech. And if the state can place a penalty upon a Communist because of his opinions and words, then it can also place it on anybody else whom the people in power don't happen to like--upon Democrats or Republicans or Jews or Baptists or Catholics or Masons or Single Taxers or Townsendites or Economic Royalists.
The main effect of the bill, indeed, would not have been to keep the Reds out--for the Red philosophy logically encourages lying and most of them are adepts in the art of protective coloration--, but simply to place a new weapon in the hands of professional "patriots" for the harrying of people they dislike, most of whom are not radicals at all. Nor has the measure any shadow of justification in a Red Menace. The Reds haven't the remotest chance of getting control of this country. They may, indeed, and do, stir up a rumpus now and then. But it is far better to endure that than to destroy our own liberties in the attempt to stop it.
*Mr. Gannett Objects
Mr. Frank Gannett, chain newspaper publisher who apparently proceeds on the theory that nothing good can possibly come out of Franklin Roosevelt, denounces the compromises in the reorganization bill agreed to by the latter. They would still, says Mr. Gannett, "vest the President's appointee with one-man power over the civil service . . . (and) leave the executive unconstitutional power to remodel the Government, regardless of majority opposition, so long as he controls one-third of either house . . ."
So-far as that last goes, it is plainly not true, if the Associated Press report of Saturday was accurate. For one of the things it specified was that the President had agreed "that Congress be permitted to set aside by a simple majority any of his reorganization orders under authority of the bill." And as to the "one-man" power, it merely replaces a "three - man power;" and--this "President's appointee" holds office for 15 years. It is quite true that he will have more power than the present three man commission, but what does that new power consist of? Why, simply the right to place under the civil service any minor employee of the Government not now under it. Is it the power to "remodel the Government?" Certainly--by eliminating the spoils system!
Site ed. note:
It is doubtful that the following short piece
was written by Cash, but the piece is nevertheless interesting
for the noting that some things seem always with us, though
editorialization on these particular issues by most newspapers
(and perhaps not without wisdom for the change) seems vastly
different today than in 1938.
*Claims And Facts
At recurrent intervals there land in our office pieces of propaganda put out by the WCTU or other dry organizations which, among others, make these two statements:
1--That up to 75% of all deaths in automobile accidents happen in connection with drunken driving.
2--That crime in the United States has increased steadily since the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.
We intend one of these days to check thoroughly through the figures for the whole period. But meantime we offer these.
1--According to the police reports collected by the Travelers' Insurance Company (an agency unlikely to want anything but accurate facts, since to make a mistake is calculated to cost it cold cash) for 1936, only 7.3% of drivers involved in fatal accidents had really been drinking. That's something less than a tenth of what the drys claim.
2--According to the Uniform Crime Report (1937) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the total number of crimes of the major types committed in the United States during 1935 was 1,445,581, but the number for 1936 fell to 1,333,526. It came back to 1,415,816 in 1937, but it is to be observed that that figure is still below the 1935 level. More, in a study extending from January 1, 1931, to December 31, 1937, of the eight most serious crimes--murder, negligent manslaughter, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, and auto theft--in 73 cities, with a total population of 20,912,712, the FBI found that in only two crimes was the number of offenses in 1937 as great as, or greater than, in 1933, the year prohibition was repealed.
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