The Charlotte News

Sunday, July 17, 1938


Site Ed. Note: We provide all the outer-columnar, per otre vie, items also from the date.

And we note from "Taps for the Junkers" that Hitler and Jefferson had something in common, the belief that primogeniture, and presumably its accompanying brother, entail, should be abolished to prevent the undue accumulation of wealth in certain families, and its benefitting only the eldest son of those families. In Hitler's case, however, the intent as to its ultimate effect was not so subtly quite different.

Unfond Farewell

Nobody ever thinks about the in American Liberty League any more. The 1936 elections, which saw Roosevelt re-elected almost unanimously and the Democratic majority in the Congress increase instead of lessen, broke the Liberty League's back and, for the first time, apparently, convinced it of what everybody else had suspected all along--that every time Jouett Shouse opened his mouth, he made votes for Roosevelt.

Last week, however, a couple of charter Liberty Leaguers, both original members of its National Advisory Council, made news. It was bad news. The Board of Tax Appeals ruled, 13 to 3, that Pierre S. Du Pont and John J. Raskob had sold stocks to each other and repurchased the identical stocks with an intent to evade the payment of income taxes. As a result, the Government will collect some $800,000 additional taxes from Du Pont and a cool million from Raskob.

The Liberty League had nothing to do with this tax evasion, of course; and it seems somewhat pointless now to say that these tax evaders had a lot to do with the Liberty League. But let's say it anyhow, as a sort of final tamping of the sod on the grave of the Liberty League.

Tough Job

Labor's Non-Partisan League, a CIO subsidiary, has marked North Carolina's Bayard Clark for oblivion. He has been given the lowest possible rating largely, it is explained, because he was a member of the House Rules Committee which refused to let the wage-and-hour bill come to the floor.

Labor's League wastes its energy. Mr. Clark is a Representative in Congress from the Seventh North Carolina, a district gerrymandered out of the southeast of the state, extending clear from the South Carolina line near Little River almost to Raleigh, a section which is predominantly agricultural, not industrial. The district is made up of Bladen County (Elizabethtown), Brunswick (Shallotte), Columbus (Whiteville), Cumberland (Fayetteville), Harnett (Dunn), New Hanover (Wilmington), and Robeson (Lumberton), all of which parenthetical places have one feature in common. That is, a hearty mistrust of interference with their ways.

But wait--the best is yet to come. Mr. Clark has already been nominated in the Seventh District without opposition. A swell chance Labor's League has of interrupting this apostolic Democratic succession.

Around the World

We aren't trying to detract from the laurels of Howard Hughes, Wiley Post, and some other people who have flown around the world, but in point of fact none of them has done that in the sense of completely girdling the circumference of this giddy ball to which we cling. What they have really done is to fly around the top of the ball. If you look at a map, (a globe would be better), you'll see that all of Howard Hughes' flight took place well within the 40th parallel of latitude north, that nearly three-fourths of it took place within the 50th, and over half of it within the 60th. If you look it up, too, you'll find that the circumference of the globe at the equator (it is somewhat less by the poles because of the flattening there) is about 24,830. The Hughes flight covered only half that distance.

A conceivable globe-girdling flight which would actually circle the whole circumference would be one which started in New York, a little north of the 40th parallel north, passed diagonally over the extent of Africa, and swoop far down under over Australia to just a little north of the 40th parallel south, returned over the whole vast reach of the Pacific to Hawaii, and over the continental United States to New York again. But as the disastrous experience of Amelia Earhart proved, who, in part, was flying that course, it is hardly feasible yet.

Editorial Prayer

Oh, worry, worry! We do wish that we had some genuine convictions on this monopoly business, instead of being so wishy-washy. When Mr. Roosevelt, for instance, comes along and says,

"The heavy-handed and integrated financial and management control lies upon large and strategic areas of American industry. The small business man is unfortunately being driven into a less independent position in American life. Private enterprise is ceasing to be free enterprise and becoming a cluster of private collectivisms"--

We begin at once to see visions of Main Streets triumphant, the hand of the financial monster loosed from around the Plain People's throat, trade and agriculture--and newspapering--restored to their proper dignity and profit.

But when the Brookings Institute retorts, as it has recorded in an unprejudiced and factual survey, that--

"Competition is quite as keen and much more productive of results when we find industrial giants marshaling their mighty resources to perfect new techniques and new schemes of organization through whose use more and better goods may be put within the reach of the masses"--

We begin to wonder if there isn't some danger in this monopoly hunt of our killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Oh, dear! To be omniscient, just for once!

Taps for the Junkers

The German Junkers, the landed aristocrats, having planted dragon's teeth, have now to deal with the host they have raised up against themselves. Once it lay in their power, under the leadership of old Paul von Hindenburg, to halt the advance of Hitlerism. But they didn't, and they didn't because, like the industrialists before them, they succumbed to the Nazi propaganda that the swastika was a great bulwark for property rights. And they were very jealous of their property rights, these Junkers. On that score, they had refused to yield an inch to the Social Democrats who ruled the German Republic, and who argued that some concessions on their part were absolutely necessary. So, to protect those rights, they swallowed the rule of the little house-painter whom they despised.

And got sold out. The industrialists long ago found that they were bilked, and that under the Nazi regime they have no more real right of property than they would have under Stalin. And now the Nazis have carried the war into the Junkers' citadel itself. On January 1, 1939 the rule of primogeniture, which has kept the great landed estates of these German aristocrats intact and which represents the heart and core of property rights they are so jealous of, will be abolished, and the states themselves will be broken up under the direction of the state...

Presto, There!

It is easy to make things come out right in a speech. As in the speech of Mr. James S. Thomas, economist, president of the Clarkson College of Technology at Potsdam, N. Y., and President of the Chrysler Institute of Engineering at Detroit. Friday Mr. Thomas stood up before an audience of Southern industrial executives at Asheville and delivered himself of as fine a piece of verbal obstacle-surmounting as ever we have seen. Said he:

If, as it is said, people cannot buy all the goods and services we now have, the answer is obvious. They are not good enough, nor cheap enough. Once we make them twice as good and only half as expensive, we need not fear. There will be consumers.

So far as that goes, it is an excellent statement of a problem and a desirable goal. But it is worth observing that before the thing is done, if it can be done at all, there are staggering difficulties of economics and technology which must be met. And that Mr. Thomas, unencumbered by anybody's demand for details, and though he is himself at once economist and technologist, blithely and discreetly availed himself of the speechmaker's privilege and said nothing at all about how they were to be met.

This was almost as absurd as another speech we read recently, in which it was declared that the way for management and labor to adjust deep-seated difficulties was to hold hands.


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