The Charlotte News
Saturday, January 7, 1939
Site Ed. Note: "Cloud in the East" of this date, added previously, is maintained separately.
"A Poor Advocate" summarizes the Cash view of states rights, something which, had he been given the opportunity, would have likely occupied much of his editorial attention during the 1950's and 60's, the era which saw that catch-phrase states rights, or Stets Riiiights, as we prefer to term it, promoted to excuse the evils of racism and segregation as with no time since antebellum days. Always a tension in our system of government, it is promoted to extreme by little Machiavellians, little local and state Bosses of their little semi-royal fiefdoms, and maintained ever in check only by a strong and viable Federal government wielding control over their excesses. Destroy that balance, as many will try, and still do, on the notion that Washington is far away, or on the even more dissociative notion of buying off this or that pol in Washington or buying one up before he ever acquires the power and trappings of Washington, and the fix is in. Goodbye to freedom; welcome to fiefdom. Look around you today anywhere in this land, save perhaps Vermont and a few other such intransigently free states, and you will likely see this phenomenon at work to some degree in your midst.
Beware the local dinner and beware what they may be serving you, especially as aperitif, even more especially as dessert--but most especially who footed the bill for the affaire. It may well be Abra'm-off, alright.
Speaking of which, we add also from this date's page the piece below from Heywood Broun re the vagaries of mixing hors d'oeuvres and politics, that is to say haute cuisine and statecraft can form, before one realizes it, into something akin to a witch's brew, Waldorf salad and all, turning salad days into let us raise in apples what you may o' neighs and whinnies, and voila!--peace with Nazis and other assorted Fascists, being as the fatted hog before the fête--or something like that.
Daniel Among The Toffs
By Heywood Broun
LIBERALS and radicals, particularly the young ones, should be very careful about their dinner dates. More progressive fights have been undermined around the festive board than were ever lost in Congress or the House of Commons.
The British biggies seem to have developed the art of trimming Samson's locks more effectively than any equivalent group in this country, but we may take a patriotic pride in the fact that Nancy Astor, England's most expert borer from within, is American-born. And it is only fair to point out that when she gets to work in serving propaganda with the pudding she knows no barrier of class or nationality.
In fact, she is so consecrated to her task of letting a soufflé speak for the wrongs of the upper classes that even in the humblest visiting journalist is asked around to her house and made to feel like Walter--Lippman or Winchell. No politically-minded lady in the Western World slings a more democratic demitasse.
It has never been my good fortune to see the fair Tory splitting a small notion along with a crumpet. But from word which has come to me from returned journalists and from a few printed pieces I gather that Nancy Astor is no slouch when it comes to rolling the ladyfingers.
Lord Beaverbrook, in his bluff British way, attends to the stag line. And the visiting newspaper man or woman comes back home filled with victuals and a sneaking suspicion that there is much to be said for poor dear Mr. Hitler, after all.
BUT THEY DON'T DO SO BADLY IN WASHINGTON
Some of the game isn't quite cricket. For instance, no sportsman should blaze away at sitting ducks, and the fair play of Old England is not heightened by the fact that Cliveden took Joe Kennedy along with the first bit of pattie on a toasted cracker. It would have been more gallant if they had waited until the finger bowls before they gaffed him.
Once American newspapers made much of the repartee of the noble lady in the House at such times as she engaged in debate with Laborites. Possibly there was something wrong with the transmission, because none of her bon mots showed up very sparkling in print. While Nancy Astor has by no means abandoned public controversy, she seems to get more favorable decisions in her own home grounds. She shows to greater advantage in the gymnasium than in the ring.
I have ventured the opinion that they do these things better in England. Indeed, the decline and fall of Ramsay MacDonald dated almost from the moment he was induced to come to court in short pants. Here we have no regal honor list for purposes of political seduction, but in Washington and New York there are those who work most manfully to get the young progressive politician to come around to dinner and strut his stuff. And the barter of reasonably good souls has been accomplished by such devices.
THE BEST RULE IS TO AVOID TEMPTATION
It isn't the pottage so much as the patter which makes the young hopefuls sell out. Even if he turns the wineglass down he may find himself feeling just a little high and heady when some lovely lady says, "Tell me the story of your life. I mean from the very beginning when you first went into the mills."
And he is flattered if at times he is interrupted by remarks such as "How fascinating!" or "I never saw it in that light before."
It may be that the stranger within the gates makes a convert on occasion and that two parlor pinks grow where there was only one before. But that is not the way to bet.
A good New Year's rule for progressives would be to avoid those parties where they will meet the cupbearer who cheers with insincere agreement. Daniel came out of the lions' den unscathed, but even he was shrewd enough not to make a regular practice of dining in such company.
Old Mountain Customs
The State Board of Elections analysis of absentee balloting in the last election brings out several peculiarities. One is, that the list of counties in the number of absentee ballots cast--
--is almost wholly confined to far Western North Carolina. They are in the main small counties, only Catawba, Davidson and Burke having more than 25,000 population. They are, excusing Davidson, which got into the unselect company largely because it had unusual circumstances to deal with in the election--divided among the ninth, tenth and eleventh Congressional districts.
But the most peculiar thing of all, except one, is that in five of these counties the Democratic majorities were less than the respective number of absentee ballots cast, and in three others uncomfortably close. The most peculiar exception of all is little Graham, nuzzling against Tennessee, which went Republican by 27 votes in spite of, or because of, the 833 absentee ballots that were cast.
The Hog is Fattened
The unhappiest country in Europe today is Poland--the country which stands very much in the position of the hog which is being fattened for the kill.
Long ago, in the eighteenth century, Poland got exactly the same dose which was handed out to Czechoslovakia at Munich. The "rights of minorities" hadn't been invented then, and so Frederick the Great excused the first partition on the ground that it was necessary to keep the cattle plague out of Prussia. But the practical result was the same, and at the end of the three partitions, Russia, Germany and Austria, had gobbled up Poland altogether. Nor did she ever really come back again in the status of a sovereign power until the four old men sat down at Versailles in 1919.
But now again trouble is upon her. In a way she seems to deserve it, in view of the hoggish dealings with Lithuania and Czechoslovakia, and her servility toward Hitler during the Munich crisis. But for the last she at least had the excuse that France, driven by Britain, meant to betray Czechoslovakia in any case. And, whatever her crimes, her punishment promises to be appalling. Until the last few days she has persisted in regarding herself as still fully sovereign, and, in the exercise of that sovereignty has just completed some trade pacts with Russia. But now Mr. Beck has been called to Berlin to "explain" to Adolf about those treaties. And it may safely be set down that she will not trade with Russia. Trade in eastern and central Europe belongs to Adolf, and woe to him who is so foolish as to doubt it.
But that is only the beginning. She is going to be treated well, oh yes. They say that Adolf plans to give her the whole Ukraine. But at a price--the price of surrendering all pretenses to any real sovereignty and becoming merely another stooge state like Czechoslovakia, thoroughly Nazified and taking orders from Berlin. The hog and the kill, you see.
A Poor Advocate
The trumpeting of the Hon. Happy Chandler in behalf of states rights before the North Carolina Legislature yesterday, does not warm us as much as it might.
Not that we do not think there is much in what he says. Thomas Jefferson believed that in general that government was best which provided for most local control of local affairs, and that, in a country so far-flung and diverse as this one was destined to be, it was imperatively necessary to have such a government. That principle largely ruled in the founding of our Federal system. Nor do we suppose that, so far as it is applicable at all, it is not still a sound doctrine. Conditions have changed vastly, of course, and more Federal control than was formally the case is inevitable. But the growth of top-heavy bureaucracy is not a phenomenon to be regarded with easy complacency.
Unfortunately for the doctrine of states rights, however, it has too often been used merely as a cloak for abuses. Its most famous appearance in our history was in connection with the defense of slavery. Afterward the railroads and other monopolies used it for entirely selfish purposes. And we have our doubts that the championship of the Hon. Happy Chandler is going greatly to add to its lustre.
What ails the Hon. Happy, as everyone knows, is that he was defeated in his fight for Senator Barkley's seat through the Administration's use of the huge WPA machine in Kentucky. But all the observers are also agreed that the WPA machine only just about balanced out Happy's own use of his own huge machine, made up of State employees.
And so long as states rights means merely the right of the state politician to build up and use a machine of State employees for his own personal advancement, we can't work up much enthusiasm for it.
Ten Years Too Soon
It has been about a year since the gates of that antique penitentiary in Raleigh closed on Fred Erwin Beall. At the time of Beall's surrender, after evading an indifferent authority for nine years, it was generally understood that he would hardly be compelled to serve out his full term of 17-20 years, or any substantial portion of it: and now Parole Commissioner Gill says that his case and conduct will be examined just as though he were any ordinary prisoner.
It was in 1929 that Beall was convicted of conspiracy to murder Chief Aderholt of Gastonia. Beall's defenders always insisted that there was no conspiracy and that he was the victim of prejudice against labor agitators and Communists. This, of course, should not concern Commissioner Gill, but it is unlikely all the same that he can keep it from influencing his appraisal of Beall; and in that connection it is interesting to observe how mild were Beall's strike methods in contrast to those now in vogue.
He didn't, for example, organize flying squadrons as did the strikers in 1934 in the industry-wide agitation led by Francis Gorman. He didn't try, probably never thought of trying the sit-down method. He didn't pull any "quickies" or bethink himself of asking for the chaperonage of the National Labor Relations Board.
Indeed, by present strike methods, Beall appears to have been a rank amateur both as an agitator and a Red. Why, in many states they are electing people like Beall to their Legislatures!
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