The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 27, 1940



Site Ed. Note: The fallacious principle, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, indeed. Such is the rationalization for pinning blame, big and small, individually and societally, and usually on the handiest repository for blame, all too often, especially when megalomaniacs are at work. Such it was with Hitler himself, finding his handy repository in fixing fault on the Jews for all of the evils besetting Germany after World War I. It is always easy to point, much harder to find a creative solution to the problems for which blame is conveniently fixed.

All of which reminds us of some things we have been seeing in the news of late... Just the other day, for instance, we were listening to the F-Word Network, you know, the Fair And Balanced one. On it, we saw the Eye of the Witches' Incantations, "Double, double, toil and trouble". Well, Eye said that he believes the current incumbent living in the White House will win in the fall by 58% to 42%, once it becomes known just how Liberal those horrible Democratic rivals really are. (Oh, my goodness, they will no doubt take away your right to do obeisance everyday to the F-Word Network and the Eye.) We don't know for sure whether the Eye has gone completely crazy from being out of power for so long, being thus unable to wield his sceptre and shut down the government at will, or whether he just cannot read, but, last we heard, all the polls, with the prominent exception of the F-Word poll, has the Democratic Liberal challengers up by 2-7 points, much as it has been for the last five months. In fact, it is the first time since they have been doing those polls that the challenger has been ahead of an incumbent as early as spring of the election year. (Had they polled back in 1880, we suspect the result might have a precedent.) What the Eye in his omniscient wisdom did not tell us, however, is that try as the F-Word Network will to dispute the obvious, the facts are that the incumbent has taken the longest peacetime prosperity in the country's history and turned it into one of the longest Terror recession recoveries in our history, taken a surplus in the annual budget and turned it to a record deficit, and then sought to use every excuse in the world to explain it, even seeking to blame the other guy in perfect post hoc, ergo propter hoc fashion for all which has transpired since January 20, 2001.

In fact, we are led to believe by the F-Worders that all of the blame for September 11, 2001 is of course the result of lack of properly passed intelligence from the agency headed by the last guy's appointee and the failure of the last guy to catch the perp. A pluperfect application of the aforementioned and post-mentioned tenet. And, likewise, it is the case that we flunked that exam long ago because our classmate failed to get last year's crib sheet from the frat house, in combination with the fact that the professor was a lazy good for nothing who didn't teach us nothing, and if we receive no intelligence, how the F-Word are we supposed to have any? Like, you know?

We have also heard other things on both the F-Word Network and the Microscopically Soft Network, though the latter is certainly more fair and balanced than the Fair And Balanced Network, (Fair And Balanced the most latter is only if you happen also to believe in such quaint conventions as Trial by Ordeal whereby if you sink you are human and thus innocent of wrong, though you may drown in the process).

For instance, among that which we hear tell from hearsay, we have heard that the election, scheduled for Election Day, may be postponed because the Terror (of diminishing poll numbers of the incumbent) may attack us again between now and then.

We have a solution to that. We suggest a radio program, "War of the F-Words", to be aired on Halloween, two days before election day. In it, the incumbent vice-president will battle the Senator from Vermont in a Fair And Balanced presentation whereby the Senator will ask questions about just how blind the blind trusts of the vice-president are which accept contract profits on behalf of the vice-president's once (and probably future) company in order to rebuild infrastructure and upgrade and repair oil delivery services in Iraq, and the vice-president will have five minutes to rebut with as many F-Words as he, with full intelligence in play, can squeeze into it. The winner will be the one who can say in summation, "How many F-Words did the F-Worder pick when the F-Worder did pick F -Words?" a peck of times in succession without Faltering and using additional F-Words. The loser is deemed to be in a peck of trouble and must sneeze a peck of times to exonerate himself, cu-shew, cu-shew, cu-shew, etc. Thus, we decide the Election in advance of Election Day.

And the Terror will no doubt thus be dissolved and then we can re-count votes in Florida once again, adding Tennessee and North Carolina probably also to the Thanksgiving festivities this time, until the contest has to be submitted once again to the Supreme Court where we will have to hope there will be time to change at least one vote to enable the count to be done completely before the timeclock runs out five days afore December 18. The Terrors will be so amused that they will leave us alone amid our utter "Chaos"--just as Time labeled the last such excursion, until the Court resolved all of that horrible chaos for us forthwith and we have all obviously lived happily everafter.

In fact, we are so happy that we no longer need distinguish between alien and non-alien Terrors, but equally lock up all of them in Guantanamo or the functional equivalent. (Perhaps, Adlai Stevenson's idea in 1962 of giving up, in addition to the Jupiters in Turkey--as we eventually did, (as they were shortly superceded by the icy rings of ICBM Saturns--which in their caves no doubt increase the incidence of cancer by polluting slowly our ground water)--, the leased base at Guantanamo, as we didn't, wasn't such an appeasing stand after all. (And speaking of Guantanamo, we are glad that the government's position in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld was not sustained, for, judging by the oral arguments anyway, the government's position of denying Due Process rights to all of the "enemy combatants" locked up there hinged on the notion that as the U.S. status in Guantanamo is that of a mere tenant to the sovereign government of Cuba, based on the treaty from the Spanish-American War, the habeas corpus statute, which applies only to sovereigns of the U.S., would not be applicable to anyone in Guantanamo, not subject to U.S. sovereignty but rather only to that of Cuba. But had this position been sustained, we no doubt would have heard from the current sovereign in Cuba, presumptive landlord to Gitmo, that he had therefore routine inspection rights to our navy base there, as do all landlords under common law, a problematic state of affairs to be sure. We might have resurrected the Cuban missile crisis all over again, in fact. No wonder the Solicitor General, who successfully argued Bush v. Gore before becoming Solicitor General, has now retired.))

Oh well, too many F-Word Networks abounding and not enough solution to the F-Wording crisis, we conclude.

One more thought--Is Scarborough Faire? Well, Parsley Sage, Rosemary Woods, and Time. U-Her? What a Trippe. "I am you"? ...As you are me and we are altogether, no doubt. Black, white, green red...

Altogether now.

Post hoc, propter ergo hoc.

We're all confused, dazed, drunk, lacking intelligence, and/or on drugs, prescription or otherwise, and since you preceded me in the spelling bee, the fault must therefore inevitably rest with...

Wait, is Phraud an F-Word?


Nothing To It

Officer Timmons Comes Clear But a Moral Has To Be Drawn

By unanimous and spontaneous agreement, the Civil Service Commission yesterday broke into the Officer Timmons-Imp slot machine hearing and called it a dud. What testimony had been heard showed that Timmons had broken no rules of the Police Department and that if anybody was at fault it wasn't the man on whose case the commission was sitting.

So it was thrown out, all's well that ends well. Timmons is a good officer, his superiors say, and is known generally as a man of integrity.

Still, it's hard to keep an editorial writer from moralizing, and there is certainly a moral to be drawn from this affair, even though it was magnified to several times its real importance because of its origin in the Littlejohn case.

And the moral is that confiscated property, whether wet goods or dry, is nobody's to dispose of. In itself the turning over to Officer Timmons of this Imp slot machine was innocuous. Neither he nor anybody profited from it and no harm was done.

But it was bad policy, the same kind of thing as handing out a quart or so of liquor from the police vault. Eh?


In Reserve

Hitler Defers Bulgarian Case To Work on Turkey

The Bulgarians, the Associated Press reports, are thinking that Hitler's failure to turn the full heat on them in an attempt to force their country to line up with the Axis means that the danger of his invading Turkey and Greece by way of Bulgaria is past for this Winter. But the persons quoted are probably talking with their tongues in their cheeks or are very naive.

Bulgaria has good reason to stay out of the war if she can. She bet on the wrong horse last time, suffered painful consequences that she has not forgotten, and undoubtedly is observing the fate of the Italian invaders in Greece with a great deal of thoughtfulness. Moreover, the masses of her people are old Pan-Slavs and hate Germany.

But the fact remains that if Adolf Hitler wants to bring Bulgaria into the Axis, he can. Her rulers are all intensely pro-German. But there is no use in bringing Bulgaria into the Axis now. Indeed, to do so might deprive Hitler of the advantage of surprise which he likes to use.

Hitler's chances to go to the Near East largely depend on an acquiescent Turkey. The roads and railroads of Rumania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia make it impossible for him to attack Thrace with a large army. Moreover his mechanical equipment would be of little use in the wild and barren mountain country in which the fight would be staged. And many and many a celebrated army has come to grief, as it issued from those mountains at Adrianople, since the Goths gave Rome its worst defeat and slew the Emperor Valens there.

Hitler is well aware of all that, and is marking time about Bulgaria while he moves heaven and earth to bring Turkey into his orbit by diplomatic means.


Generous Man

He Might Recall, However, Where Charity Begins

It is with a great show of sweet reasonableness that Admiral Nomura, the new Japanese Ambassador to Washington, shoves off to his post from Tokyo. There is really, he opines, no reason at all for the United States and Japan to fight.

More than that, the thought of the United States getting into war at all makes his heart bleed. The fate of the world probably depends upon the United States now. And if the United States goes to war civilization will go up in flames. And then he warns that all nations must live together side by side.

Which is all very nice of the Admiral, but leaves us wondering a little why he didn't reserve some of his concern for civilization for use in his own country. For three and a half years now, that country has been busily supplying the torch to civilization in China. And a little while ago it joined forces with Nazism and Fascism, the monstrous powers which are now applying it to civilization in Europe as it has not been applied since Attila reeled back from Chalons.

And there is no doubt that the Admiral's country, like its partners in the Axis, are highly enthusiastic about living with all nations. Trouble is they want to live with them as a master lives with his slaves. The Admiral will not find the United States enthusiastic about that approach to the "preservation of civilization."



A Tale Which Calls Up Memories of 1917-18

In South Carolina the War Department has run into a stumbling block in its plans for the location of a large replacement camp in Spartanburg and Union Counties. And that stumbling block is unpleasantly reminiscent of the hijacking and resulting inflation of the last war.

Somehow it happened that the proposed location of the camp was prematurely announced over a radio station. And certain property owners, mainly in Union County (S.C.), promptly refused to sell their lands until they could get the fancy prices they suddenly began to want.

The War Department has its ways of dealing with that and announces that it will probably reduce the camp from the proposed 40,000 acres to 25,000 and locate it entirely in Spartanburg County, thus leaving the Union hold-up boys with their land once more turned into plain old cotton-pore or scrub-pine field.

But if the War Department actually needed that camp at the original size, then the defense program is hindered. However, it is far from certain that it was needed. The Hon. Jimmy Byrnes comes from Spartanburg, it is well to recall.

In any event, the case does serve to emphasize again that the power granted the War Department by Congress in regard to factories should be extended to other forms of property. The power, that is, to exercise the right of eminent domain for immediate possession, instead of waiting until the courts have decided on the fairness of the price fixed upon. The power does not interfere with the right of the property owner to appeal the price to the courts, and is certainly more than fair to people who are trying to line their pockets at the expense of the national welfare in these times.


Large Order

"After This, and So Because of This," Has Drawbacks

Maybe Bishop Ralph S. Cushman, president of the Anti-Saloon League of America, proves a little too much. Denouncing repeal as a terrible failure, he goes on to say:

"Beyond dispute, the first decade of prohibition was the most prosperous in history."

Those are the years, you will remember, from 1920 to 1929. And the Bishop might be a little hard put to it to find any economist to back up that position. All the sober ones now describe that era in our history as its maddest, characterize it as one of speculation as wild as the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles, which made the Great Depression inevitable, and in which coldly selfish economic and political policies were preparing the ground for the present dreadful world debacle.

The Bishop might have some trouble, too, in finding a logician to back up his logic, which is a shining example of post hoc, ergo propter hoc. But having used it, he will have to accept all its consequences. If prohibition caused that "prosperity," it naturally must have caused everything else in that decade.

For instance, everybody now agrees that it was the era of the greatest cynicism in the history of the American people, the era in which the old moral values of the United States went most completely by the board and in which millions of Americans learned not to believe in anything. We are now engaged in a desperate effort to undo all that.

And the Bishop, of course, speaks as a moralist. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is nearly always dangerous logic. It usually ends by proving what you don't want to prove.


Framed Edition
[Go to Links-Page by Subject][Go to Links-Page by Date][Go to News Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.