The Charlotte News

Monday, September 19, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "A Start Toward A Start" would be followed by the actuality of the Federal housing project, the loan for which would be approved in May, 1939, the credit for the impetus to it going to Cam Shipp and his News series on the slums of Charlotte in February, 1937, as praised in "A Wise Father", May 5, 1939. Cash had also pitched for the project earlier in "It Isn't Like Us", March 22, 1938.

And Two Hours For Lunch?

These are fast-moving days, comrades; so fast that we hardly have time to become accustomed to new ways and new institutions before they have been succeeded by newer. Today's streamlining is tomorrow's Model T, so to speak.

The last Congress, after considerable and anxious hesitancy, finally took the bull by the horns and passed a wage-and-hour bill. Forty hours was the maximum work week specified, but as an inducement to the more conservative members, this schedule was to be put into effect gradually over a period of seven years or fewer.

One might think that after such a basic and far-reaching reform, which isn't even operative yet, the country can settle down and see how things turn out. Not this country. Mr. William Green, president of the AFL has called for the 30-hour week.

If this keeps up, we shan't be able to collect our $30 except every other Thursday. We'll be off the rest of the time.

A Start Toward A Start

"It won't cost anything to look," is the attitude of Mayor Douglas in deciding to appoint a nine-member committee to appraise a low-cost housing project for Charlotte. And he is quite right. It won't cost anything to look and, better still, it won't cost much to buy. FHA low-cost housing loans are the Federal Government's "loss leader." That is, they are such incredible bargains that alongside them PWA's 45-per cent grants look positively stingy.

And besides the attractiveness of price and terms, low-cost housing is worth examining on its merits. The hypothesis is that the slums are the first cause in Charlotte of disease, immorality and crime. The puny tax revenues derived from these miserable properties are nowhere near sufficient to cover the cost of the public health work they make necessary, to say nothing of the cost of policing, or of not policing, these benighted areas. A single project won't, to be sure, relieve these conditions perceptibly, but a start toward slum-clearance will have been made.

Epigrams by a Communist

Sometime ago, we are informed, Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party in America and its 1936 candidate for President, was asked, "What is a Fascist?" That, he replied, was an easy one. "A Fascist is anybody who is not a Communist."

That is an excellent contemporary definition and should be considered a candidate for axiom status. We don't know of a better except that in the facetious Editorial Writer's Dictionary:

Fascism--Something you denounce in one column and advocate, under another name, in the next.

But Comrade Browder's has more obvious pertinence and a broader application. For example, what is a reactionary, Mr. Bones? Why, a reactionary is anybody who is not a liberal. And what is a liberal? Why, a liberal is anybody who... There is no middle ground anymore, you see, no moderation. Either you must accept this doctrine or this political party or this man in toto, crediting them with all the virtues and the wisdom under the sun, or you will be promptly read out in meeting for having rejected them in toto and gone over to the enemy.

Incidentally, this is not the first epigram by Comrade Browder that has struck us as remarkably keen. He's the chap who's credited with having said that a liberal was any politician who had raised doubt and pretension to the level of a principle. The more you think about that, the more you think about a lot of things.

Victory by Bumble

Mr. Bumble of Downing Street seems to have got his way and to have forced the French--who had no real choice in the matter--into agreeing to sell Czechoslovakia out. There is the possibility still that the Deladier government may fall as the result of the attempt. And also that the Czechs may choose to be blown out of existence rather than submit. But at the moment it looks as though Lord Hitler will shortly take over the country precisely as he took over Austria.

But, anyhow, Bumble will save the peace of the world. And as against war, the destruction of Czechoslovakia and the placing of seven-million Czechs under the heel of their most ancient and most hated enemy is the lesser evil--to Bumble. So far as that goes, it might be, if only there were the slightest ground for believing that it will save the peace, though to suppose it you have to put aside a number of platitudes from the copybook which used to be drilled into the heads of civilized men.

As a matter of fact, however, there is not the slightest reason to believe that the deal now making will save Europe from war. The evidence all runs the other way. We know precisely what Adolf Hitler plans, for he himself has told us quite clearly in "Mein Kampf." And that he was not romancing in the book is amply proved by the fact that he has already done many of the things he said he meant to do. And what, then, does he plan? First, the control of all Eastern Europe. Secondly, having got that, to come back and deal with "the real enemy of Germany," France, and to force Britain to hand back the colonies lost at the end of the last war.

And to give him Czechoslovakia is to serve him Eastern Europe on a platter. For once he has the Sudetes Mountains, nothing can keep him from taking the wheat fields of Rumania when he pleases. And with the wheat fields of Rumania, he will be in position to fight indefinitely--something that at present he can't do.

Moreover, this deal is perfectly certain to leave him far more swollen with megalomania than he already is, to convince him that he is in fact resistless, that the democracies are as decadent and as contemptible as he says they are, and may be safely defied at will.

And in return for that, what does Bumble get? He gets another "agreement"--under which Germany will engage him never to attempt to change the boundaries of what will be left of the Czech state. So far as that goes, Adolf won't need to use force to change the Czech boundaries if the deal goes through. For under his terms, control of its economy is to be given him. And with that in hand, he can make it agree to anything he wishes.

But suppose he wanted to use force? Is there anybody in the world, including even Mr. Bumble, who actually believes that the word of Adolf Hitler is worth the paper on which it will be written?

The deal promises nothing but the postponement of war, and places Hitler in a far stronger position to wage it when it comes. So far from having saving the lives of millions, Bumble, as he goes back triumphantly to deliver his capitulation to his master in Berlin, will quite probably be signing the death warrant of many millions more than would have died in war had it come now.

One for the Historians

When the historians come to write up this Czech-German crisis and to place the onus for it where it belongs, let them not overlook the incident that happened Saturday. Czechoslovakia had decreed a state of emergency abolishing constitutional rights and subjecting its internal enemies to seizure without warrant and confinement without charge. This undoubtedly it had the right and insufferable provocation to do.

But in Prague the charge d'affairs of Germany, a nation with which the Czechs were still not only at peace, told Premier Hodza that for every Sudeten German taken into custody the Reich would arrest a Czech resident of Germany, and the unconfirmed report was that he had threatened that for every Sudeten executed a Czech would have his head chopped off.

Put it this way: that for every treasonable, lawless Sudeten taken into custody, Germany would counter by holding hostage a Czech innocent of any wrongdoing. The plain intent of this was to force Czechoslovakia to let its Sudeten traitors run riot, or suffer the abuse of its people so unfortunate as to reside in a neighboring state.


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