The Charlotte News

Monday, February 10, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Time had come today in history to publish The Mind of the South, and so it was, though lost and put aside, though crushed by a tumbling tide, Mr. Cash nevertheless finally in you, the reader, did confide.

"There exists among us by ordinary--both North and South--a profound conviction that the South is another land, sharply differentiated from the rest of the American nation, and exhibiting within itself a remarkable homogeneity…

…In the coming days, and probably soon, it is likely to have to prove its capacity for adjustment far beyond what has been true in the past. And in that time I shall hope, as its loyal son, that its virtues will tower over and conquer its faults and have the making of the Southern world to come. But of the future I shall venture no definite prophecies. It would be a brave man who would venture them in any case. It would be a madman who would venture them in face of the forces sweeping over the world in the fateful year of 1940."

Interestingly enough, though probably true at the time, as put forth by Cash with a raised middle-aged, world-wise eyebrow in "An Omission" that the callow opinion of a twenty-one year old on the likelihood of invasion was little more worthwhile than Groucho or Gracie, Kingman Brewster would later become president of Yale from 1963 to 1977, a vocal opponent to the war in Vietnam and well-known for handling campus student demonstrations in a peaceful manner. He became Ambassador to Great Britain during the Carter Administration.

In this instance, Groucho might have said, "Go and break through the lines, and remember, while you're out there risking life and limb, through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are."

And remember, everyone knows there ain't no sanity clause...

Mr. Brewster also bravely served as a Navy fighter pilot in the World War, Part II, (a.k.a., Napoleonic War, Part IV, and Caesarean Complex-Conflict, ad nauseam).

…So under the window is the slow lap-lap of the Ancient Sea.

Timely Motto

First Law of Freedom Is The First Law of Nature

American Boy Scouts are celebrating this week, all over the land, the 31st anniversary of the founding of their organization. Literature sent out from headquarters informs us that the Scouts have taken in connection with their celebration a heroic oath to be "united with all lovers of freedom, whatever their tongue or origin; to keep our nation strong in valor and confident in freedom, so the government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

That, if we may be pardoned for saying so, is too big a mouthful for twelve-to sixteen-year-old boys to swallow. It suggests some grown man's enthusiasm for rhetorical composition carrying him up toward the rafters. The most timely thing for the Boy Scouts to pitch their week on is the same old tried simple maxim that serves, week in and week out, as their motto.

Be Prepared!

There are a good many countries in the world which could wish now that they had orated less about the sweetness of freedom and their right and hereditary entitlement to greater and greater liberty, and had instead set about securing through preparedness their primary right to be.

There is a natural, inevitable order to follow in preserving freedom. The first and enduring requisite, as many countries have learned to their sorrow, is an eternal vigilance. The motto democracies and free peoples everywhere could well have been borrowed from the Boy Scouts, and the fact that "Be Prepared" is their motto rather serves to establish, it seems to us, the great usefulness of the Boy Scout work as a kindergarten for liberty-loving men.

An Omission

We Begin To Feel Strongly About These Ignored Experts

The last expert to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Mr. Kingman Brewster Jr., senior at Yale and editor of the Yale Daily News. Mr. Brewster, who has attained the great age of 21, testified as an expert on dictators and on the silliness of supposing that this country can be invaded.

But if Mr. Brewster, why not all the other college editors in the country? And if all the other college editors, why not at least representatives of the college students in general? At Chapel Hill, for instance, the editor of the Daily Tar Heel, Mr. Don Bishop, is a militant isolationist and no-aid-to-Britain man, like Mr. Brewster. But we understand that a poll conducted by the same Daily Tar Heel showed a very great majority of the students strongly in favor of all-out aid for Britain, regardless.

Anyhow--recently we proposed half in jest that if McCormick was going to be called as an expert, then Harpo and Groucho Marx and Gracie Allen ought also to be called as such. Today we no longer jest about it. The Marx boys and Gracie have certainly seen as much of the world as young Mr. Brewster and are quite as well qualified to pass expert opinion on the probable political consequences of the Lease-Lend Bill and on the possibility of the United States being invaded. By all means, and though for all we know they may be isolationists, too, let us hear from the Messrs. Marx and La Belle Allen.

Already Tested

Prohibitionists Still Urge A Method That Failed

The memory of prohibitionists for inconvenient facts is not very long.

One of the arguments they trotted out in the field day yesterday was the old one that the bootlegger can be got rid of by stiff penalties. Dr. Henry Louis Smith, for example, suggested that he should be dealt with as a man who wrecks a car and kills somebody.

But this overlooks the fact that this method has already been tested by experience. In the Hoover Administration Congress passed a law (the so-called Jones Act) which provided a penalty of five years, not only for bootlegging but even for possessing more than half a pint of the stuff. And North Carolina, of course, had its Turlington Act, which in some respects was even sterner than the Federal law.

And what happened? Here and there some unfortunate got the full dose, but in general the courts simply declined to apply these laws strictly, and in many cases ignored them (or at least the Federal law) wholly and unblinkingly.

It all comes back to the fact that laws are not made, as the prohibitionists believe, by mere formal declarations in words, but must have the will of the people behind them if they are to be effective. Supplying what 70 per cent of the adult population is determined to have does not strike the public as the kind of crime which merits cruel punishment.

That may be lamentable, but is nonetheless a stubborn fact which no amount of wish-thinking can do away with.

The Price

Italians Begin To Learn What Nazis Must Be Taught

Last Fall the Italians boasted that their planes were helping to destroy London. Now we shall probably hear from them that the British have been guilty of dreadful barbarity in hurling 600,000 pounds of high explosive shells into Genoa. Moreover, it is likely that the Burton Wheelers will at once start yelling that the British are as bad as, or worse than, the Germans.

But all this is as it should be. The great mistake made in the last war was failing to make Germany appreciate that she had lost the war. General Pershing stormed angrily for the right to march to Berlin, to the point that he almost broke with Woodrow Wilson over the matter.

For that the general was denounced by all the sentimentalists in sight as a wicked fellow who wanted to murder American boys and be unkind to the dear old Germans who had only been misled by the bad old Kaiser.

But the General was right. It would have cost some lives to march to Berlin, but it is not likely that the whole world would be suffering the present horrors if it had been done. Say what you will about Sherman, the South has shown no desire to try to secede from the union again since his famous and terrific march.

As it was the Germans did not learn what it is like to have their country invaded and to have the iron heel of the conqueror in their faces. They told themselves the lie that the Jews had betrayed them from within and believed it, deliberately conspired for seven years--as a whole nation--to renew the war and conquer the earth.

The shelling of Genoa is a step in the right direction. It will help to teach the Italians the price of following Mussolini's dream of a new Roman Empire.


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