The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 15, 1939


Site Ed. Note: While on a somewhat, though not altogether, disparate topic to that which we mean, a statement in "Textile Wage Argument" again points up how Cash would have likely reacted to those who cloaked themselves in the banner of States Rights in the 1950's and 60's regarding integration:

"States' Rights is a slogan that needs to be examined most critically whenever it is raised, for more often than not in the past it has been a banner behind which abuses sought to hide."

The prophecy, as well as the perfect historical hindsight, of that statement was summed in years of blood in the streets of the South, and elsewhere in the country. Indeed, a persuasive argument can be framed along its lines as to the underlying reasons for the Civil War, not just slavery as an economic system, but moreover, to coin a modern re-working of the same greasy-palmed axiom at work, "our way or the highway".

Hand in hand, of course, of a piece of the same naughty stock, is the corruption, local, state, and Federal, which "The Great Clean-Up" seeks to insufflate with fresh air and sunshine. Good for us, for those days of old when corruption in politics reigned supreme are long resigned to the dust encrusted history shelves, as all the pols, as we well know, are polished now with fine straw and come out therefore these days quite as right as rain and suffusedly clean as a hound's tooth. Yessir.

And for more on that ever incipient, yet ever inchoate, spiritual revival of which the editorial makes incidental mention, see "Holy Muff a Chance", from The American Mercury of January, 1934.

Does "Point and Counterpoint" suggest that we have become in these sixty-plus years since the Good Neighbor Policy was in play, retarded and disarighted with respect to demonstration of a face which treats the smaller nations, whether in Latin America or elsewhere, as equals rather than inferiors? Between the present mess of Iraq and the hysterical lectors on Capitol Hill flailing madly about for "solution" to the mass of annual immigration from the south, we think so. Wouldn't it be nice if we could leave the Iraqis to govern themselves for good or ill, prepared, ever prepared, to quarantine it again should that land become too unruly, (as it has been inevitably since at least the days the Ottomans ruled it 90 years ago, as any land with such divisive and devout fundamentalism emanating from three contrariant religious orders at work on an undereducated and under-modernized population, as with the early days of this country, is wont to be), and, rather than talking of shutting our borders, work, with Mr. Fox and the companies, many U.S., who do cheap business down in Mexico, strenuously and cooperatively to ameliorate the heart of the issue--stemming the 40% unemployment rate in that and other like-situated Latin American countries, plus inclining toward a decent wage, competitive with the U.S., for the 60% of those employed? A family has to eat. A nation has to grow. Leaders, both political and in business, need to lead and stop worrying about getting fat for the time when pols are returned to the private sector, when business tycoons are retired to pasture.

But, alas, on the latter score, that might mean less profit to those companies removed to Latin America to build cheaper goods to supply the U.S. a continued stream of accustomed cheap consumerism, meanwhile removing factory jobs from the American worker in the process. So let's keep the Mexican worker in his place in poverty down there, don't admit him to a better life here or there, so that he will persist, for the sake of securing his sustenance and that of his family, in the need for that paltry wage to build our cheap consumer goods, to insure that more American manufacturers will remove to that haven for cheap labor supply such that the cheap labor supply may continue to insure fewer factory jobs in this country, insuring that the resultant reduced relative wages of the American worker will not result in a reduced standard of living, as we continue to have that stream of cheap consumer goods made by those underpaid hands kept in the manufacturing jobs removed down see.

We also add this piece from the page of this date on the utility, at times, in some instances, of militaristically insistent contrariness, and its positive impact on the economy of coded command instructions when time is of the essence in matters of the field of primordial battle.

A Dog Turns Out To Be Less Than Nutsy After All

Chapel Hill Weekly

When Miss Virginia Simpkins, University co-ed from Pinehurst, went home for the Spring holidays last week her father said, "I want to show you our new dog."

Mr. Simpkins has been a breeder of fine pointers and setters for many years, and Virginia has been surrounded by bird dogs and has been a bird dog enthusiast ever since she was old enough to talk. She had got used to every new dog's being a bird dog, and she was surprised when her father took her out to the kennels and showed her a specimen of a breed unfamiliar to her.

When she asked what kind it was, her father said, "We'll take him out in the field and watch him work, and maybe you can guess what he is."

In the field the dog stayed at their heels until Mr. Simpkins gave the command, "Come in!," and then he dashed ahead and began to quarter the stubble. This astonished Virginia, since to all other dogs her father had trained "Come in!" had meant to come to heel. She was further astonished when her father shouted "Go out!," and the dog immediately suspended activities and came to heel. She had never seen anything like this before.

Mr. Simpkins, who was enjoying himself hugely, said to Virginia, "Now, watch this," and to the dog he said, "Up!" The dog dropped in its tracks. Mr. Simpkins said "Down!," and the dog jumped to its feet.

This was too much for Virginia. Here was a dog which blithely disobeyed the four fundamental commands in the canine decalogue, and yet her father seemed proud of him.

"Father," she said, "I won't go a step farther until you tell me what on earth is the matter with that dog. Has he gone crazy?"

"On the contrary," Mr. Simpkins said, "he knows his business as well as any dog I've ever handled. He's a retriever, and he's been trained to work with bird dogs. It's his job to stay at heel till the game is shot and the pointer or setter is being called in. The command 'Come in!' means to the bird dog just what it says, but to this dog it means, 'Go out and find that dead bird.' And when it's time for the bird dog to go out, it's time for this dog to come in. When it's time for the bird dog to drop, it's time for this dog to get up, and when it's time for the bird dog to get up, it's time for this dog to drop. He's been trained accordingly, and he has learned his lessons well. He's a very smart dog."

The Great Clean-Up

It's too early to say whether political corruption is on the run or merely getting so bold that The Law can no longer overlook the most flagrant examples of it. In any case, scarcely a day passes that somewhere some high-placed person or some ring isn't turned up for plain or fancy crookedness.

It has frequently been said, from the pulpit and elsewhere, that this country stands in need of a spiritual revival: and to be sure it does. A logical preliminary to that, however, would seem to be a revival of simple honesty. And a logical place to begin with it is in government, government of all kinds. For government has become more and more an instrument of service and human salvation, and it is of the greatest importance that the instrument be sterile, lest it infect the body politic.

And in that light, the indictment of eighteen persons in Champaign, Illinois, including the chief of police, four city commissioners and the state's attorney, on charges of malfeasance in office growing out of gambling rackets and vice, actually constitutes a public service of the first water. Indeed, in New York City, Brooklyn, Kansas City and in a couple of instances involving the Federal bench itself, corrupt politicians may be at last about to get what has been coming to them, lo these many years.

The Crisis Peeper

Over in England they have got themselves a new term. It is "crisis peeper," and refers to the people who gather in Downing Street and Whitehall to have a look at Mr. Bumble, his Cabinet, the ministers who visit them, and the generals, et al., who are presently preparing for war--to have a look at all these and speculate on what fateful decisions they may have or are about to make. That kind of slang hath a ring that is somehow foreign to us on this side, and moreover it seems to contain an idea that would be just as foreign.

We aren't positive, but we bet you a nickel that this term was invented by The London Times. What it plainly means to convey is that the people who do these things are more than a little akin to old Peeping Tom himself. It really isn't, you know, quite decently English to behave like that. You'd think the blighters were American. The English way is different--business as usual. Keep your chin up. Talk about "football" or cricket while the ships steam away and Grey leans out of his window and knows that war has come to London. Remember the primroses in Blighty and that time in dear old Harrow while you stand in the muddy trenches and watch your wristwatch tick away the last seconds toward zero hour. England expects every man to do his duty--but don't be so damned eager about it. And don't go poking your nose into the Prime Minister's business. It is jolly well embarrassing, you know.

Point and Counterpoint

When the German newspapers yell back at President Roosevelt that the United States itself has violated the rights of other nations, meaning Latin-American, they make a telling point. The United States has never hogged any of them up--unless you count Texas, and that, as is often forgotten, resulted from the efforts of the Mexican Government to hog it over American immigrants in a territory which had been nearly vacant. But such instances as the occupation of Nicaragua and Haiti are blots on our record, for which we continue to pay in cynicism for our good neighbor policies and loss of trade and good will.

And as a matter of fact, there was a considerable protest in the United States, arising not solely out of the political minority, at our interference in the domestic affairs of these picayune states and our high-handed extension of American commercialism. There was considerable relief all around when the Roosevelt Administration put a stop to it, and when history comes to appraise that Administration, an everlasting mark to its credit will be its dealing with smaller nations as equals and not inferiors.

And so what? And so this country was discovered to its mistake and that arighted. Its forbearance toward Mexico, despite just grievances, demonstrates the completeness of its cure. It has profited by its mistakes, and only hopes that Germany may do likewise before it is too late.

The Mystery of Those Hats

Here's a howdy-do. Even the saleswomen in stores, yes, even the manufacturers, think these hats are funny. That, except for the dear wearers themselves, who are plainly sheepish but not yet rebellious, makes it unanimous.

The hike in skirts on top of the last hike may be explained, roundaboutly, on the theory that the country's prosperity has at times showed a remarkable disposition to follow skirt lengths. Draw a line representing business activity and another indicating the distance from floor to hem, and they will be found to coincide astoundingly. But there is no rational explanation of those hats. They aren't even good for business.

Hear this manufacturer: "Sales gone up? I should say not!"

Hear the retailers: "Salesgirls open a box of those hats and bust out laughing. Just try selling them in small towns in Illinois, Missouri or Kansas!"

Hear this store-customer: "Received your box of hats. The darnedest hats I ever saw... Send me a dozen nice matronly hats in black and navy. Something a grandmother can wear without looking like Cleopatra." Or feeling, he might have added, like a perfect sap.

Textile Wage Argument

Some Of The Millowner's Claims Are Weak But Three Things Ought Plainly To Be Considered

We take little stock in the argument (that the President is trying to be a dictator, and that there is a plot to destroy the states) advanced by J. H. Cheatham, president of the American Cotton Manufacturers' Association. Nor do we believe that such alarmist views are calculated to prompt confidence and prosperity in the country. Many of the President's methods are themselves manifestly calculated to injure confidence and prosperity. And some of them show too little regard for the rights of the states. For all that, however, we are in no danger of a dictatorship, and the existence of the states is not seriously threatened. States' Rights is a slogan that needs to be examined most critically whenever it is raised, for more often than not in the past it has been a banner behind which abuses sought to hide.

Nevertheless, the textile boys have a case when they protest the order of Wage and Hour Administrator Andrews abolishing differentials between North and South. Two of the claims made, indeed, do not seem to stand up. One of them is that the new wage schedule will run marginal manufacturers out of business and thus lower employment. That it will run some of them out of business seems likely enough. But B. B. Gossett yesterday told the association that the trouble with the industry is that same over-capacity for production. That being so, it may reasonably be suspected that the elimination of the shoestringers will simply tend to get rid of that over-capacity and leave actual employment much as it is. And wholly apart from the merits of the Labor Act as such, it is hard to understand the claim that it works against the Southern manufacturer more than against the Northern--unless we assume the die-hard position that the South must not be unionized.

Three things, however, do remain. The first concerns the freight rate differential, which amounts to an internal tariff on Southern goods. And it is plain as day that to require Southern textile manufacturers to pay the same wages as the Yankees and then lay a tariff on them in favor of the Yankee goods is grossly unfair.

Just as plain is the fact that, under a competitive system, the Southern manufacturer is rightly entitled to whatever advantage in living costs the section affords. That the Southern worker can and does actually live for less than the Northern worker is indisputable. What is not entirely clear is how much that represents a natural differential in living costs and how much a lower standard of living. That there is a genuine differential in costs seems exceedingly probable. But no one really knows how much. Obviously needed is an extensive and disinterested survey, which ought to be repeated at intervals.

And finally, the Southern manufacturer is certainly entitled to have taken into consideration the fact that Southern labor in general (in all industries, that is) is less productive than Northern labor. Howard Odum has pointed out that the average Northern worker adds $3,600 annually to the value of the products he works, whereas the Southerner adds only $2,000. That, in part, is the fault of the kind of industry the South specializes in. In part also, the failure of the manufacturers themselves to train men and women to high skill. But it also may well be partly the fault of the fact pointed by Ellsworth Huntington--that most of the South lies in a climate belt where energy is lowest for the United States. In any case, it is plain that so long as it exists, it is totally unreasonable not to take it into account in fixing wage scales.


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