The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 24, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Freedom Means Freedom". Precisely. What almost occurred then in Canada, indeed what some tried to bring about in the United States, and not just in 1938, but forward through at very least August 8, 1974, we venture to say, is going on again. We must always be vigilant, as it is an unfortunate part of a portion of humanity, the desire to manipulate and exert one's will against that of another, whether viciously and brutishly as with Nazis, or more subtly, as with our presently constituted government in Washington.

We counsel voting in November and sending these fascists back where they came from, every single last one of these royal-hearted, brute-headed fascists.

Get them out of office wholesale before it's too late and you lose the right to think, let alone the right to say what it is which is on your mind without the fear of reprisal, a right which has subtly diminished in the land over the last five years until neighbors no longer trust neighbors.

Then, either he will listen to the majority will of the people, or we shall send him packing back to Texas.

But, of course, we must heed the conventional wisdom, yes?

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

Let's go view some more impromptu question and answer sessions between ordinary citizens and our President so that we might understand better how to think properly and act with due respect for the traditions which are America.

By the way, and not unrelated to "Careful, Statesmen!" when re-translated for today's conditions, we should be remiss were we not to point out that today we heard the junior Senator from Virginia say that all the illegal aliens in this country are "flaunting ... the laws of the land". There's your clue. When you see anyone out flinging wildly, gaudily and showily volumes of the United States Code around their heads, you will then know to call immediately the Immigration and Naturalization Service and tell them you caught yourself an illegal alien red-handed, (no matter that it might be in fact just another Senator or Congressman).

Meanwhile, later in the day, we heard one of the news anchors on the channel reserved for commedia dell'arte, himself having received his higher education in Virginia, use the correct term with respect to those louts trying to rout the law, that is not flaunt. No wonder most people today are flouting the major news networks in favor of obtaining much of their news via these news anchors flaunting their education to some beneficial advantage, rather than plaguing us with the latest police chase or border clash in Texas or who killed whom in Oshkosh. Candidly, we don't really need to know all that stuff, properly reserved for the locals of the particular localities, to be properly informed on the broader and more important issues facing all of us on a given day. We'd just as soon laugh a little. For there is, after all, much to be laughed at these days.

Speaking of which, we get a whole new gloss below on the finer meaning of the Domino Theory.

Our Mistake

There are a lot of people around who seem to be laboring under the impression that John L. Lewis took an awful lacing in that primary election in Pennsylvania. Ourselves, we had thought so, seeing that none of Mr. Lewis' candidates were nominated and that all of Mr. Earle's were. But it turns out to have been an egregious error. Mr. Lewis says it is. Defeat? Nonsense! 'Twas a smashing victory! Thus Mr. Lewis. And he goes on.

Eliminating Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from the picture, Kennedy (Mr. Lewis' stooge candidate for Governor) carried the rest of the state.

Well, of course. But when you eliminate Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, you eliminate some 3,000,000 people--or about half the population of Pennsylvania. More than that you eliminate the part of Pennsylvania where industrial labor is most heavily congregated, and so just the part of Pennsylvania in which Mr. Lewis was expected to score most heavily.

Crime Wave in Chinatown

Somehow it embarrassed us to read of the arrest and trial in Recorder's Court of the four Chinamen the cops caught gambling Sunday night. They were sitting around having a friendly little game of what looked like dominoes, with Chinese pieces but with American money changing hands. The stakes couldn't have been very high, since two of the Chinese were only laundry helpers; and they probably weren't making a racket. Then came the pinch.

In court they sat together, a little abashed, perhaps, but displaying that toothy amiability with which Chinese-Americans indicate their desire to be friendly and accommodating, and to conform to the customs of the country. The officers took the stand and told, somewhat shamefacedly, we'd think, what the four Chinamen were run in for. The dominoes were Exhibit A. The Chinese didn't take the stand. They hadn't anything much to say, and besides, they couldn't have said it in English if they had. So they sat smiling broadly and, we choose to think, tolerantly.

The Judge was sympathetic. There wasn't anything else to do but to find them guilty, but the Judge knew that the laws against gambling are asinine laws if they are enforced to the letter, and can be used merely to harass people who aren't doing themselves or their neighbors any harm. So the Judge said, "One-half the costs each," which was a skimption, and returned their dominoes to Messrs. Jung Wah, Ben Chong, Shakie Jung and C. Jose. In fact, we can almost swear we heard the Judge say to himself, "Go thou and play some more."

Site Ed. Note: For more on Chinatown and Chinese laundries and, not incidentally, instances of unconstitutional discrimination on trumped-up premises aimed at a certain class of people, against waves of immigrants to the country who have helped to build our various public works and what-not, see Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356 (1886).

Incidentally, should you puzzle over how the Supreme Court could apply this doctrine so judiciously in Yick Wo and yet come out so utterly bass-ackwards in Plessy v. Ferguson, citing Yick Wo, just ten years later, the answer probably lies in the fact that Yick Wo did not lay down any strict analysis of how it reached its conclusion, something later Courts would do, leaving much room for contemporary courts to waffle on the application of the principle, whether a given statute or ordinance is applied arbitrarily as between distinguishable groups of persons of distinct racial, ethnic or other "immutable characteristics" so as to be "invidiously discriminatory" in its result in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause. The answer also probably lay in the fact that the Court personnel had turned over considerably in the interim ten years between the cases, only Justice Field of California, a Lincoln appointee to the Court who nevertheless was conservative and pro-business, Justice Gray, an Arthur appointee, and Justice Harlan of a formerly slave-holding family in Kentucky, appointed by Hayes, to his everlasting greatness the lone dissent in Plessy, were still on the Court in 1896, common to the Court deciding Yick Wo. And California, unlike the South, had not suffered directly the ravages of the Civil War, was admitted to the Union in 1850 as a free state, and in some ways may be seen as the Great Western Experiment, still to this day, in democratic freedom manifested more democratically and freely, as an example to the rest of the land (at least when we are not concentrating so much for a true picture of California proper on Hollywood which is not, we intrigue you, representative at all of California in large, rather more broadly, a reflection of the melting pot tastes of the nation in general--another day). California was not imprisoned by the long past haunting the South--slavery and all its concomitant machinations, pscychologically both as to slave and slaveholder, guilt over the institution vis á vis the entrenched strain of Calvinist Puritanism, and all the other inconsistencies the system breathed into its customers until they were ultimately living--having to deny on Sunday that on which they earned their bread the rest of the week--in some fantasy Oz, walled off somewhere in the half-haze of Cuckooville. The South, therefore, undoubtedly, just thirty years post the Civil War, was not deemed ready for integration between the newly freedmen and the only recently freed slaveholders, for fear that the results would be re-explosive of all which followed in the recalcitrant night-rides during the period of Reconstruction--reinforced, no doubt, by the fact that Edward White, a former Confederate and Klansman, to be appointed by President Taft as Chief Justice in 1910, was an eight-year veteran of the Court by 1896 and hailed from Louisiana from which Plessy originated.

Make of it what you will, the country, with all its hoppy-hop singing ups and downs, do progress over time, do-dah, even if, sometimes, we as individuals and collectives of individuals are at times recalcitrantly resistant to allow it its natural progress through birth and re-birth. Generational interchange, however, and the open willingeness in some families anyway, even if at times grudgingly given, to partake of that interchange, has tended to take care of most of the worst of the stultified perceptions at least over the past hundred years or so.

Freedom Means Freedom

A frankly fascist party is taking form in Canada and bidding for popular support on anti-Jewish, anti-Communist grounds, with a co-operative state as their ultimate goal. It has been coming along for some time, especially in Quebec. The Legislature of that province last Sping made it illegal for an owner of a building to let it be used by Communists, and prohibited the printing of Communist "propaganda" in any form. Later, Quebec authorities padlocked a French leftist newspaper in Montreal and a rooming house in which the editor of the paper lived.

These were flagrant breaches of the civil liberties which are the essence of democracy and whose repeal is a standard preliminary to a totalitarian government. Freedom of opinion carries with it the right to opinion which may be utterly repugnant to the best thought and the best circles, a truism which most people have difficulty in getting through their heads. But when governments begin to abridge this freedom, with the consent and the approval of their constituents, those constituents often wake up to find that they have jeopardized their own liberties and sacrificed their right to any opinion except that which is cooked up for them in some government office.

Canada hasn't yet had the experience, probably won't. Its fascists are comparatively few and unimportant. But their appearance strongly suggests the wisdom of restoring democratic principles in there entirety, no matter how hotly the Canadians may detest the freedom that they would give to the Communists.

A Gallant Stand

The Czechs this last weekend lived magnificently up to the high reputation they enjoy among the family of peoples. Acting with both determination and circumspection, they demonstrated plainly that they mean to rule at home, where they are the overwhelming majority, and that, while they want desperately to avoid trouble abroad, they are prepared to resist to the last ditch foreign encroachment on their sovereignty. It was unfortunate that the two German subjects of the country were killed at the border, but incidents are inevitable in such cases, these men most certainly had it coming to them, and the government cannot fairly be blamed.

They did something else, these Czechs. They demonstrated that fascism can be stopped by genuine exhibition of the will to stop it, backed by some reasonable force. Mr. Hitler isn't through with Czechoslovakia yet, by a lot. And the prospects that war can be eventually avoided are probably not too good. Nevertheless he has suffered the first check of his career. Neville Chamberlain stood up in the House of Commons yesterday, and, grinning like a Cheshire cat, tacitly took credit for that check. But that was a particularly shabby piece of political dupery. The whole record shows that he has been trying to force the Czechs to give in. And what they really did was to defy him along with the Germans. It may be true that his warning to Hitler that England would back France had some bearing in the case. But it didn't have much. Hitler knew already that England must back France, and so did the Czechs. And it is these last who really deserve most of the credit for first daring to call Adolf Hitler's hand.

Careful, Statesmen!

The wage-and-hour bill looks to be headed for passage in the House--without a Southern differential. It has already been passed by the Senate--with a Southern differential. And Southern members of the House are represented as hoping that a differential be restored in conference between the two bodies.

As to the wisdom of wage-and-hour bills in general, we have our grave doubts. It is all too plain that when government assumes the power to fix minimum wages and maximum hours, it is only one more short step to the assumption of the power to fix all wages and hours at whatever level the party in power may choose.

But in any case, we incline to believe, as it is said the President himself believes, that the Southern differential should be restored. Whether there is any natural reason why wages in the South should be lower than wages in the North we don't certainly know, but that the ability to pay wages is lower in the South we know all too well. The New Englanders, at least, appear to believe that there is fundamental reason for a differential, for they are reported as frankly supporting the bill on the ground that identical wages in the two sections will give their own manufactures a decisive advantage. And it seems fair to feed them out of their own spoon.

But in any case, there is certainly good social reason why the differential should continue--why it should be abolished piecemeal and very slowly, anyhow. We mean the fact that there are many thousands of laborers--most of them Negroes--in the South who hold jobs which may be described as marginal. They are such jobs, that is, as may easily be combined with others or done away with entirely. They exist only because they can be filled cheaply. And if wages are raised to the point contemplated by the present House bill, many of them will no longer pay the employer and will certainly be abolished. It happened exactly so under NRA. And to throw thousands out of employment in order to raise the pay of some others does not seem to us to be a favor to Labor or anybody else.

Site Ed. Note: And for further understanding of how law and society progress together through time, such as with wage and hour limitations, see for society's earlier stance Lochner v. N.Y., 198 US 45 (1905), in which the majority of the Supreme Court held an hours limitation unconstitutional, stating, "Under such circumstances the freedom of master and employee to contract with each other in relation to their employment, and in defining the same, cannot be prohibited or interfered with, without violating the Federal Constitution." In that case, however, indicative of how things to come would change it all of necessity as the industrial age became more and more reductive of the individual to an automaton, a slave to a master sure enough, leading to the advent of the age of unions and limitations by Federal law ultimately on wages and hours, achieved constitutionally through Congress's power to regulate matters affecting interstate commerce, the South again dragging its iron weight behind itself for decades in the rear echelon, there was an active dissent on the part of Justices Harlan, Holmes, White and Day in this case. There you have it. Go figure...

Site Ed. Note: ...And the rest of the page.

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