The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 14, 1939



Cannot Be Cured By Making More Laws To Be Ignored

The idea in the letter which appears on this page today, and which was endorsed by police Chief Pittman in a story in The News yesterday, seems to us to be in itself a sound one. Certainly something needs to be done about noise in the town. As things stand, Chicago's Loop may have a little on us--but not much. And automobile horns are the chief offenders. The owners of most of them obviously use them as a means of showing off their egos, which presumably have no other claim to notice. On no other hypothesis can such practices in sounding off all along the line while waiting for the traffic lights be made to make sense. And as for those people who use their horns to wake up their fares in the morning--who said laziness was a hanging crime?

Candidly, however, we have our doubts that another law by itself would aid much. It might help to clarify things. But there is a law already against the unnecessary sounding of horns. And such practices as we have referred to obviously come under that heading. But when the cops have once in a great while tried to do something about it, the courts have refused to convict and sock the culprits. And so long as that continues to be the case, the proposed regulation would simply be another law not to be enforced.

Site Ed. Note: The letter to the editor to which Cash referred, on this always sore topic with him, was:

A Suggestion On How To Cure Sore Ears

Dear Sir:

While I was very much impressed with the anti-noise campaign you carried on a year or so ago, it seems the public was not. You may let your ears verify this by standing on the street corner or, better still, near a large apartment or suburban drugstore.

Most of this, as you well know, is absolutely of no use. Blowing a horn or any signal that is not necessary is against the State and City laws. But there are times when a well-sounded horn may save a life, and it is therefore hard to draw a dividing line.

It has occurred to the writer that an ordinance forbidding the blowing of any horn or signal while the automobile is not in motion would cover most of the ills without affecting the safety of operation. I suggest that this be brought to the attention of the City Council, as they seem to be trying to iron out some of the traffic troubles.



[Note: Through an editorial mix-up, this letter, referred to in a story yesterday, was not published as scheduled. --Editors, The News.]


Harrington Brilliantly Analyzes The Things That Make Reds

In addition to being an able administrator, Colonel Harrington, WPA boss, seems to be an excellent psychologist. Yesterday before the House Committee he admitted calmly that he knew there were Communists among WPA workers and proceeded to observe that it would be wonderful if it were not so. The Workers' Alliance, Dave Lasser's WPA union, he said, naturally recruited its membership from among:

"Project workers who had been pretty severely buffeted by fate, who had been taking an economic licking, and whose normal tendency would be to align themselves with a political party which promised a Utopia in which everyone would be happy and prosperous."

That sums up the facts admirably. There are in all countries a small percentage of men--and women who are incurable malcontents. Most of them, according to the Freudian psychologists, are in fact the victims of criminal impulses which they dare not obey. And so they seek relief for their frustrations by being against whatever is, in toto--in countries like this they turn either Communist or Fascist. But if they lived under the one, they would certainly be for the other. Or for a newer and screwier Utopia still--or perhaps for the return of capitalism and democracy!

These, however, are always too few to be dangerous. The danger comes from precisely the source Colonel Harrington describes--from the fact that men who would not normally be Communists or Fascists turn to these or other crackpot parties when the drive of circumstances becomes intolerable. And, given the circumstances which have prevailed in the country since 1929 the wonder, as he suggests, is not that we have so many Communists but that we have so few. It is an admirable illustration of how fundamentally unsusceptible to such notions the average American workman is.

The rational man these days is not concerned with schemes for suppressing the Reds by laws which strike down the Bill of Rights or by mob violence--all the experience of history shows that you can't suppress them. Instead, he is concerned with the problem of how to prevent the making of more of them, how to wean away some of those already made, by getting the economic system to working again and getting them into jobs which pay them a decent living and gives them some hope to work for. Normal men, in circumstance like that, are utterly immune to both Communism and Fascism.


That Short Yardstick Grows Longer Under This Bill

The Tennessee Valley Authority, like all other Governmental agencies--like all human agencies for that matter--is anxious always to extend its power. That is about the only excuse for its bitter fight yesterday against the bill which the House finally adopted--a bill to cut down its funds to some reasonable figure, to restrict its operations to the specified area, and to stop it from reimbursing states, towns and counties for tax revenue lost as a result of its purchase of privately-owned power facilities.

Ostensibly at least, TVA was never intended to be a vast operating utility, gradually extending its hold over the nation. On the contrary, it was intended (1) to promote the navigation of the Tennessee River, (2) to establish flood control on that river, and (3) to serve as a national yardstick as to what electric power rates ought reasonably to be. In that last respect, it has rendered good yeoman service. Electric rates everywhere have been greatly readjusted since it began. But from the first, it has shown a tendency to go much further than this--for one thing to use a yardstick which actually measured about 27 inches. That is, it charged off a disproportionate extent of part of its expenditures to flood control and navigation, and ignored the loss of revenue to towns, counties and states in its purchase of private utilities. Lately, it has been trying to reverse that by paying these revenues out of its own pocket. But the last case is obviously worse than the first.

Moreover, under the pretense of the necessities of flood control, it has been trying to bring the whole utility system of the Mid-South under its control. It was time that was stopped. The agency can be a useful one when confined to its original stated purpose. But at present it is simply serving as a means of putting the Government into the power industry on a wholesale scale.

Too Weak

Britain Confesses As Much In Handing Over Her Prisoners

The action of Great Britain in turning over the four Chinese at Tientsin is a cynical admission of how thoroughly her policy is fixed by power considerations alone. She has maintained all along that there is no good evidence of the guilt of these men on the charges of terrorist assassinations of Chinese who played stooge for Japan. The claim that new and convincing evidence has suddenly been offered is not very persuasive. And she knows well that Japan doesn't at all care whether they are guilty or not, that they are mere scapegoats to be used as examples by way of frightening the terrorists, who object to the Japanese tyrant overrunning their country. They will die, these men, horribly, after being tortured by the most fiendish means. If you want a picture of the fate that Britain has handed them over to, look sometime into the pages of Andre Malraux's "Man's Fate" (La Condition Humaine).

On the other hand, it is a terrible admission of Britain's weakness. She has not yielded these men willingly--even from the viewpoint of pure power considerations. For she knows just how important "face" is to the safety of her empire in the East--to India and the Malay States. And that by yielding to the use of Japanese force in this case, she has lost more of it than she can recover in a decade--if ever. The explanation is simply that she understands that if she becomes involved in war with Japan, Hitler and his satellite will begin to demand everything in sight in Europe and the West, will make war to get it if they are not given it out of hand. And she confesses that she simply does not dare face war in the two hemispheres at once. All she can do is wait and continue to maneuver for position.

[Note: This editorial was based on a dispatch which was received about 9:30 o'clock this morning to the effect that "informed sources" had announced that Britain would yield. Later dispatches seem to cast doubt on that. --Editors, The News.]


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