Friday, October 19, 1928

Shelby, N.C.

C. J. Mabry .. President

J. Nelson Callahan .. Business Manager

W. J. Cash .. Managing Editor

Subscription .. $2.00 Per Year

Women, says the mournful magazine writer, boss the preachers. That's not news. What we want to hear, as one of those unfortunate creatures who used to be Lords of Creation, is that story about the man biting the dog. Or maybe we should say-- the cat.


The Graf Zeppelin is not the only gas container in which the American people are just now greatly interested.


Four Chinese are dead in New York. Tong war, says the cops. Dollars to donuts, it's Al and Herb.


Spanish will lease the big German dirigible. Which, we suppose, is merely another illustration of the Spanish tendency to go up in the air.


Lord Hoover, running on a Republican ticket urges protection in his Boston speech. Well, that, at least, is not to be translated as the much sought case of the murderous John Doe who hit Fido. We're not so sure about Al.



The most contemptible argument which the campaign has produced is that one which attempts to picture Governor Alfred Smith as a somewhat glorified Seventh Avenue lout, to put into his mouth the "doiby and skoit" palois of the old Bowery, to paint his wife as the original soubrette of the old-fashioned burlesque shows.

The young he-men tell you bravely that they will vote for the man because he didn't go to college to have some ridiculous letters after his name. (We'll sell ours for a dollar.) Well, he didn't. But Columbia University has thought enough of his attainments to make a doctor of him. And what of Hoover? Is he a college man? Yes, a Doctorate of a School of Mines in the Leland Stanford. If technical training constitutes a liberal culture, we are Hollanders. Leaders of education, who ought to know better, express amazement at hearing him speak in a well-modulated voice and whoop, "Say you so!" when, in the heat of extemporaneous speaking, he occasionally mauls a sentence, oblivious of the fact that Hoover does exactly the same thing in carefully prepared messages which he reads. Women, and men, who ought to know better, stand up and shout inane nonsense about his not being of "class", never seeing that he is not simple because he long since climbed to a higher class as classes go in this most delightfully classless of all countries.

And here comes Congressman Wood, a wild-eyed solon from the flats of Indiana, barking that all tariff provisions must originate in the House of Representatives and that, ergo, the Governor is an ignoramus when he proposes the framing of a tariff bill by a bi-partisan commission. Of course, the Constitution does specify that the House does have the power of laying tariffs. But it doesn't bar that body from delegating any of its powers to such instruments as it may direct. So we don't know whether Wood is actually a buffoon or a deliberate traducer when he charges that Smith is "grotesque in his misunderstanding of public problems that are not confined to the sidewalks of New York."

We do know that the best answer to it is the fact that this Smith has been Governor of the greatest State for eight years--while the other candidate was busy with a mere bureau--and that his political opponents have almost unanimously praised him as the greatest Governor that State has had. His problems there have emphatically covered more than the "Sidewalks of New York."

* * * * * *

The Graf Zeppelin, after traveling, as Will Rogers says, almost as far South as Old Cape Stiff, finally noses her way into the hanger at Lakehurst. Her commander sees her safe arrival as triumph. The American Navy sees it as a failure since she required almost as much time to make the trip as would the Mauretania, which holds the crown as the fastest ship. Even allowing for the fact that the American Navy is sulking over the fact that the Zeppelin wouldn't answer radio questions, the judgment of failure is probably most nearly correct. That Zeppelins may cross the Atlantic safely had already been demonstrated. The question was one of speed. And, in view of the tremendously increased cost of passage, we don't--in spite of those people who thought planes would be making regular schedules over the Atlantic within six months after Lindbergh-- look for commercial Zeppelin very soon.

* * * * * *

Governor Smith does a service to all the people of the nation when he calls attention to the fact that the Coolidge "Prosperity" is a myth. The fact that the so-called two billion dollar reduction in the cost of Government consists of mere figures juggled expertly against a background of war-time costs has often been established. And, indeed, the Republican Party makes tacit admission of the fact in its handbook when it says that appropriations have been increased year by year. That is not necessarily a thing to be charged against the party. Quite likely, such mounting costs have been inevitable.

But the story that the Republican Party is responsible for Prosperity is a dangerous myth. It is calculated to set up a one-party Government, to allow Big Business a free hand in the public treasury on the carefully nurtured theory that such piracies must be winked at in order to preserve precious Prosperity. That myth ought to be destroyed. The Governor's speech is calculated to begin the good work.

A little study of historians' opinions of his work established the fact that the "full dinner pail" is so much hooey. Modern historians are almost unanimous in placing blame for the panic which struck in the early months of Cleveland's second administration at the door of conditions which dated far back into the administration of his Republican predecessor. Such political blame as there may have been properly belongs to the Republican Party.

As a matter-of-fact, though it is doubtful if either party rightly deserve the blame, who is President, what Party rules has little enough to do with economic conditions, but direct action on the part of Government such as the silver buying of Hayes and Garfield, such as the proposed farm relief bills, too often merely hastens disaster. Supply and demand remain the arbiters. We find the most prosperous period in American history during the Wilson Administration, immediately before and after the war. But the vast demand created by war largely explain them. So with Coolidge prosperity. We are a prosperous people. But every sane economist in the country is pointing to the fact that it is essentially unsound, based as it is on the mortgaging of two year's income for one year's production. And all of Mr. Lord's efforts to make a god out of the nonentity from Massachusetts can't explain away idle factories and the millions of unemployed. Still Dr. Coolidge isn't to blame. An unsound economic system is.

The tariff is nothing more than a palliative. Often enough it defeats itself. Certainly it should be applied only when conditions call for it. It becomes nothing more than robbery of the American people when it exceeds the level necessary to make foreign goods sell for what American-made ones must bring to insure a fair return. But at the worst or the best, tariffs do not make or unmake prosperity. Neither does Dr. Coolidge or Lord Hoover or the Hon. Al.

* * * * * *

Mrs. Edwin Gregory, of Salisbury, is very angry with Garrison Villard for his article "The Blue Menace"--dealing with the D.A.R. blacklist--in Harper's for October. But her epithet of "negrophile", hurled at the Nation's editor, seems to us to beg the question. She might do better by turning her guns on that person who compiled the blacklist and so brought down reproach on the society--Mrs. Alfred J. Brosseau.

No one, as Mrs. Gregory correctly observes, has a right to force the D.A.R. to hear speakers whose ideas do not agree with its own. But neither has the society the right to attempt to determine--as we believe it has in some cases--what others shall hear. And Frank Graham, of the faculty of the University of North Carolina, is just as correct as Mrs. Gregory when he declares that the society has no ground to protest the name "The Daughters of the American Revolution"--if it justifies it. And when the society which claims spiritual descent at least from the Jeffersons, the Adams, the Willie Jones, and the Paynes, attempts to take certain precious ideas and crawl into a shell, it certainly would [not] seem to justify it. One can no more imagine Tom Jefferson or John Adams refusing to hear speakers because they didn't agree with him than he can imagine liberality on the part of Mrs. Brosseau.

New ideas ought to be welcomed and examined, not blindly rejected. Yet, when one reads through the blacklist, he is completely puzzled to find every outstanding man of any liberality in the land listed as dangerous. Principal offenders seem to be those honest souls who believe that war is a blot on civilization and who would therefore end it. That ought not to offend D.A.R. mothers.

The status quo cannot be preserved. Change is the price of life. One may artificially "fix" the top of the mountain for a little while, but the fires burn and smolder more furiously below for all their cramps. And presently there is the top blown off of the seething volcano. "Apres moi de deluge," is the most dangerous of philosophies


"We are no more than a moving row
of fantastic shapes that come and go."


Benjamin Gitlow, Communist candidate for the Vice-Presidency, goes West to speak in Phoenix, Arizona. In the town he is met by a self-appointed delegation of Ku Kluckers and American Legionaires and told to be on his way. Possessing courage, at least, he stays in the town anyhow. Now he has disappeared and it is said that he has been kidnapped and carried into Mexico. Foul play is feared. And no doubt these worthies of the Klan and the Legion are swaggering about Phoenix and preening themselves on being chivalrous patriots.

I have nothing for Communism. Even allowing for all the preposterous lies that have been told, it remains quite clear that the philosophy of Karl Marx and Prince Krapotkin is not working very well in Russia. That is not surprising. These academic gentlemen overlook the natural cussedness of humanity. They expect peasants--intense individualists--to be interested in the common good. Machiavelli shows a much more thorough comprehension of his fellow man. And, personally, I should be of the mind of the peasants. But only the most colossal stupidity and ignorance can spawn such half-wit exhibitions as this gagging of a candidate. That is not surprising in the Klan. We wish we could say that it is more surprising in the Legion than it actually is.

The Constitution is very explicit. It says that free speech, free assembly, shall not be abridged and notes no exceptions--no not Communists or Nihilists or Bishops. The last-named gentry may bellow their heads off for a Theocracy. And, by the same token, a Communist may bawl of the glories of uniformity and mediocrity till Doomsday.

It is quite useless to squawk about it, to shout that the Communist preaches a doctrine that is subversive of American tradition and aims at a complete revolution in Government. So does the Bishop. And so do you. For, unless you believe in and practice the doctrine of free speech to its ultimate limits, you aren't in fact a friend of the form of Government you are getting smoked up about. What you actually want is something else, a Government that will allow your ideas and your beliefs and your hopes and your dreams full liberty while denying the same thing to the Communist--or the fellow who prefers Flo Ziegfield and Fords to George White and Chevrolets.

And if you are a little horrified and are inclined to the belief that I need a spanking, what are you going to do with that incorrigible, Mr. Jefferson, who harbored the gaudy notion that a revolution every quarter of a century was about the only way to preserve our hard-won liberties? Or with Abe Lincoln who declared that the American people not only have the right to change the Government but to destroy it if they wanted to? Of course, they have that right, since they created it by Revolution.


And there is considerable danger that some of the various quacks now practicing among us may actually stampede people into such a revolution--direct or indirect. The Bishops might, for instance, succeed in foisting their Theocracy on us if we do not become more jealous of our liberties. But the Fire-breathing Bolshevik is about as great a menace in America as the nude cults are in Siberia. The atmosphere doesn't promote that sort of experiment. And the Americano is congenitally the world's best conservative. It is quite true that there are three million unemployed in this country. It is quite true that the fault is not theirs, that the blame rests on an imperfect economic system--and any system which provides schools at Lausanne for daughter and seven Hispanos and poodles for Mama at the top while those at the bottom starve is imperfect. For all that the Ford and the radio flourish right merrily in the land. The mass of the people are employed under at least decent conditions. It is quite impossible to interest a stenographer in Class War when she is busily high-hatting the office boy who in turn is ritzing a janitor who in turn is--but enough.

There is one real danger for those souls who fear the end of this comfortable state of affairs. It is themselves. The mess in Phoenix is calculated to breed fully 5,000 Bolsheviks in the United States. Hungry folk pretty quickly see when their liberties have been violated and gnawing bellies do not need perspective. Oh, yes, we can drive all these Communistic evidences under cover. And there they will gain a thousand converts for every one the soap-box might have won. Free discussion never yet harmed that which was reasonable, never yet aided the unreasonable. And if the people of the United States actually decided that they wanted Communism, I don't know anything that could be done about it. England with all her denseness is not bothered with such stupid creatures as those who performed in Phoenix. And because of that she has safely weathered conditions that might quite possibly have resulted in bloody revolution. We might learn from her.

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