The Charlotte News
Saturday, October 26, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Wrong Way" brings to mind a question which often perplexes us: Should we allow freedom of speech to include the professing of use of violence toward anyone, even if stated in terms which do not advocate specific violence toward a specific person? Actually the limits of freedom of speech are circumscribed to exclude that which poses a clear and present danger of or is reasonably likely to cause immediate violence. Does such speech as the hate literature of groups like the Klan and other modern derivatives of them do any less than that?
There was about 1980, in a city in the South, a reasonably cosmopolitan city of the South, a major issue over whether the local library there should permit an "educational exhibit" in its front foyer sponsored by and placed by the Klan. Many citizens expressed shock and dismay while others thought the Klan should be permitted to display their artifacts in the hope that people could see what they stood for and be turned away, while still some others felt the Klan should have the display because they agreed with the notions expressed and felt it was repression of their viewpoint. Eventually, after considerable street protest from citizens, both black and white, the display was removed. At the time, we thought that a wise and a good result, especially as it had followed by only a few months the acquittal in nearby Greensboro, North Carolina of the Klansmen who had been videotaped plainly shotgunning to death, murdering unarmed members of the Communist Workers' Party.
But to this day, we remain perplexed over the subtleties of this issue with regard to the limits on permitted speech. How far can we go in permitting speech without enabling violence to be spawned by particularly incendiary hate-speech? But certainly we agree in a general sense with the spirit indicated in "Wrong Way". The doctrine of limitation on speech by time, place, manner, requiring special permits to engage in certain forms of especially inciteful speech or non-verbal demonstration may be the best approach, but of course that is subject to abuse and overbroad use by municipalities in such ways as to shut out those views which are merely unpopular or with which the ruling functionaries or their political backers disagree.
We remain perplexed.
We Aid Britain and Her Foes All the Same Time
The Washington Merry-Go-Round's story yesterday about the plans of the State Department to give a fat Export-Import Bank credit to Fascist Spain at the very moment it is lining up fully with Hitlerism is so astounding that it would be incredible if it were not for the record of the past.
It doesn't make sense. With one hand we are giving Great Britain aid in her struggle to be overcome Hitlerism, rightly judging that it is in our interest to have Hitlerism defeated. And now with the other we are getting ready to aid Hitler overcome Britain!
The men behind this move seem to be Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long and Merwin K. Hart, a fat cat lawyer of New York City. It has often been charged that Long has definite sympathy for Fascism, and there is no doubt at all about Hart, who has been president of the American Union for Nationalist Spain, which has rendered Franco great services in the past.
With the aid of somebody in the State Department, apparently Long, Hart and his gang succeeded in blocking all efforts to allow the Spanish Loyalists to buy arms in this country during the Italo-Nazi conquest of their land. And, as Merry-Go-Round points out, they succeeded also in blocking the sending of wheat to the Loyalists and in getting wheat given to the Fascists. It was terrifically effective aid for Hitler and his plans.
This sort of thing has been going on too long. And it is time that it was thoroughly investigated. The American people want no persons of Fascist sympathy in the State Department, and if they are there they should be exposed and kicked out.
Even a Klucker Has Right To Distribute His Trash
The number of municipal officers and authorities who seem not to have heard of the Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court's decision in the Hague case goes on merrily increasing.
At Spartanburg some men appeared on the streets of the business district to hand out literature. Jehovah's Witnesses? For once, no. Kluckers, just plain Kluckers, in robes and masks or dark glasses.
But not for long. The cops got them, fifteen of them, and ushered them off to the hoosegow. Just as though they had been Jehovah's Witnesses.
We hate to do it. It is a comforting and a pleasant thing to see concrete evidence that the sentiment of decent people in South Carolina has swung so strongly against the Ku Klux Klan. It is an infamous organization devoted to the propagation of hate, intolerance, and lawless violence. Its story is one of continuous crime against law and society. And now it is busily making up to the Nazi elements in this country, which are its natural congeners.
Nevertheless, there is a right way to combat it and a wrong one, and illegal suppression of its activities is the wrong one. It has an absolute right to distribute its literature without being molested, and even though that literature preaches hate, intolerance, violence, and thinly disguised disloyalty. The answer to all these things, under the American system, is not suppression of the propagation of the truth. Such was the fate of the fathers when they wrote the Bill of Rights into the Constitution. And if we deny it now, we merely assert that democracy has failed.
Hornet's Nest Is Proper Home for Pursuit Planes
Perhaps it was in recognition of the fitness of things that the Army Air Corps assigned pursuit airplanes to the base being established in Charlotte, known since Revolutionary War days as "the Hornets' Nest." This community is promised that within 90 days scores of the tiny, tremendously fast hornets of the Air Corps will be buzzing about over Charlotte.
Official information about the War Department's long-term intentions with respect to the base here is sketchy as yet. But the Army officers say construction will be of the permanent type. The Army has embarked upon a policy of aerial armament which even now may be regarded as fixed and enduring. Naturally, it follows that the planes will require some place to go and even the war birds who man the planes must eat and sleep.
Economically, the air base development will be an influential factor for stimulating various phases of this community's business. As a military establishment it will be one in which the city rightly may feel pride. Strategically, this base will provide support for defenses along the coast from Washington and Norfolk to Charleston and Parris Island.
And, with the coming of the Air Corps the Charlotte Municipal Airport will pass into history. In time, the Army will give this base a name. Meantime, Charlotteans may consider the change in fighting forces in the past quarter-century, remembering that once at Camp Greene, in this city suburbs, 65,000 officers and men of two famous divisions had nary an airplane.
Even in a Bad, Mad World Things Could Be Worse
Okay. Okay. Okay. Go ahead and fling your mantle of doom smoke across your shoulder and stalk the stage, proclaiming in sepulchral tones. Let John L. Lewis shake his grizzly locks until the earth shakes under his union-made shoes. Let London shatter and Berlin bust, and let the Iscariots of the world's capitals meet in furtive conspiracies to shackle slavery on free men.
Yea, let a new, streamlined set of Dark Ages come. Let all our shining gadgets tarnish and go to ruin in Civilization's truth heaps, for the headaches of a new crop of archeologists. Let smoke and thunder and screams mingle with the birth of a new anarchy, and let the gnashing of teeth ring the earth like the sound of some new goshawful machine. Aye--have it so and ye will.
But--1940 persimmons are ripe. The frost is upon them, and their faces are wrinkled as though suckling upon their own sweetness. Could be, seems like, as long as 'simmons keep on getting ripe, things can still be a mite worst, maybe.
The Dead Stir
Small Signs of Rebellion Arise in France, Norway
In the little town of Belley, France, 30 butchers revolt against the Vichy Government's meat order, which in true Nazi style deprived butchers of any profit by staggering taxes and reduces meat rations to twice a week, and go to jail rather than open their shops. The Vichy (which is rapidly getting to be a synonym for Vicious) assures the citizens that the Army butchers will supply them twice a week. The citizens, however, generally decide to boycott the Army butchers.
In Norway students riot through the streets of cities protesting the closing of the Norwegian universities by the Nazis, who have as part of their program the reduction of the subject populations to bestial ignorance in order to better enslave them; tear down anti-semitic signs from restaurants and shops; yell for the rope for Traitor Quisling, who heads the Nazi stooge government. And here and there Nazis who risk the unhealthy thing of wandering a little too widely in the Norwegian night are picked up as corpses.
Mere straws in the wind, almost certainly. And we should be rash to take them as indicating that wholesale revolt is imminent. Almost certainly it isn't. The immediate effect in France of this sort of thing may be only to move the Nazis to take over the whole country. And all these revolters stand to be cruelly repressed. Nevertheless, it probably does indicate that the initial paralysis does begin to pass, that the Nazi dream of making these proud peoples into willing slaves has no foundation in fact, that the spirit of Norway and France are not dead, and that the news that the Nazis are not after all irresistible has begun to seep in and stir hope again. The flame is fitful as yet, but it burns.
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