The Charlotte News

Monday, August 1, 1938


Site Ed. Note: We are definitely in most hardy-hearty acquiescence with whomever it was that put forth their hand in favor of the use of that fund of the late Justice Holmes to be dispersed for the improvement and maintenance of the proper use of the English language among lawyers; they are a most atrocious and unerudite group of men and ladies, they who prance about with their ostentatious fixtures of erudition and accomplishment whilst maintaining a most unholy alliance with the language of the commoner, untrue to the probative nature of their calling, ab initio. They are, as everyone knows, supposed to be monastic scribes with perfect diction, free of any crass inference whatsoever susceptible of being applied thereto, as hitherto displayed throughout--such as that which was the hallmark and epitome, in our estimation, of that estimable calling on display consistently, whether publicly or privately, in the late 37th President of the United States. We shall support this motion by whomever with every obiterdictum at our disposal. Disperse immediately.

And, we find below that Mr. Padway was hopping mad over the NLRB's decision to allow the majority union bargaining rights with Serrick. It don't matter; Serrick conspired to lie all along and so it got blowed up anyhow, just like the rest of the Fascists and their fancy schemes to circumvent the law and lie.

Here we have the other legumes of the day.

We recommend to Mr. Corl, incidentally: Just say, "No."

And to the suggestion on the uses of electricity, we strongly advise that you not use your oxymuriatic acid (nor your sulfuric, nor carbolic neither) too much on your Caesar salad seeds. The practice, after 'while, while no doubt providing wonderfully expedited watercress, legumes, carrots, and what-not, might also cause, once consumed enough, your battery to burn up.

Its Own Petard

"The American worker," he asserted, "is not yet prepared to submit to enslavement by bureaucratic decree."

It sounds like old Tom Girdler, or at least Mr. Ford, doesn't it? But in fact it was Mr. Joseph Padway, general counsel for the American Federation of Labor. And Mr. Padway was hopping mad at the National Labor Relations Board, which had just decided (Friday) that the AFL's closed shop agreement with the Serrick Corporation of Muncie, Ind., was invalid and that the company must bargain with the CIO's United Workers Union. For the NLRB Mr. Padway had words and phrases like "bias" and "sophistry" and "denial of fundamental rights," and went on to announce that hereafter the AFL would ignore the orders of the board.

All of which is very interesting and not a little ironic. For the NLRB was set up under the provisions of the Wagner Act. And Senator Bob Wagner wrote that act in direct collaboration with AFL leaders. Its provisions, including the provision that the majority union shall have exclusive bargaining rights--the provision on which the Muncie decision was based--represent exactly what Bill Green & Co. wanted and had to have. But, ah, comrades, that was all done in the days before John Lewis and his rebellion got so important, and was intended to stack the cards for the AFL against all rivals. And when it doesn't work out that way--well, truly, it must be painful to find one's self blown up by one's own petard.

That Fitting Tribute

The late great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes left $250,000 to the United States in his will, to be disposed of as Congress might see fit. And the lawyers of the American Bar Association have been disputing as to what should be done with it. One crowd wants to spend the money in assembling works on jurisprudence for the law library of Congress. Another wants to use it to provide annual fellowships for Government employees in the field of public law and administration. And still a third, remembering that the justice was famous for his admirable command of English, wants to employ the money for fellowships calculated to make lawyers more adept in the language.

But all these schemes seem to miss the point. Ourselves, we have no doubt as to what ought to be done with the money. It ought to be set up as applied to pay for the defense of signal civil liberties cases. The late great justice was primarily famous for dissenting opinions. And practically all those dissenting opinions were delivered in favor of the complete right of free speech, free assembly, etc. A mere $250,000 won't begin to earn enough to defend the causes of those who every year in the United States are dragged into court on charges that should never be made if the Constitution were respected. But it will help. And that help, however small, will be the most fitting tribute to the manes of the great dead man.

Notes on Pensions*

There were many interesting items in that "Reporter On Assignment" about Federal pensions to war veterans in North Carolina. For one thing, the amount disbursed last year was $5,307,020, spread all the way between six living veterans of the Mexican War to 6,886 living veterans of the World War. Living in North Carolina were 28 veterans (North) of the Civil War, while the beneficiaries of deceased Yankee soldiers were 342. These latter get, incidentally, an average of $460.48 a year, which is about a third as much again as North Carolina pays its living Confederate veterans themselves.

The Report brought out clearly, too, that the well-to-do of the pension rolls are those the Veterans Bureau calls Retired Emergency Officers. They get an average of $1,623.42 a year--provided they don't work for the Government at a salary of more than $3,000 a year. Emergency officers, as distinguished from regular officers, who served in the World War and suffered permanent injury or other physical disability in line of duty to the extent of not less than 30 per cent, as the Government rates disability, are eligible for retirement pay at three-fourths of their army salary.

Spotting a Mongrel

In an Associated Press report we find it said:

In Rome the Fascist newspaper Il Tevere today applied the Fascist race doctrine to Mayor La Guardia in New York by saying he had no right to belong to "our race."

And, thinking it over, we don't know but what the stooge journal is right. The Little Flower can be disqualified as a Jew, certainly, for most of his blood is Italian--which is to say, a hodgepodge of all the bloodstrains from Scandinavia to Mesopotamia and the Caspian, and from Britain to the Sudan. And there isn't, by the very token of that last, really any such thing as an "Italian race." But if there were, and its character were to be decided, its virtues and values fixed, by the theories of Fascism, why, then, certainly, the Little Flower would be sadly handicapped.

For among the virtues and values of that race the chief would be these: (1) the abrogation of personality on the part of the individual in favor of the tribe and the personality of the chieftain, precisely as is done in savage societies; (2) the willingness or the capacity to have any ideas save the ideas he was told to have; (3) the willingness to speak what he was told and to keep his mouth closed when he was told; (4) the capacity to respect a lie more than truth; (5) the belief that the end of human endeavor in this world is not human happiness but mystical glory for the state and its chieftain.

And under that code the Little Flower would have no more "right" to pass as a member of the "Italian race" than he would have to pass as a sheep in the fields of Kentucky--or than the men of the Renaissance who made the name of Italy great in the annals of civilization.

Professional Causists

One of the characteristics of "Militant Mecklenburg" is to be militant. If you want your head knocked off, just champion something. It doesn't matter what. Once you are in the arena with your proposition, a militant group opposed to it comes out and starts shooting. That's not so bad. That is democracy working. At times there is too much leavening in our democracy, rising yeastily as the blows fall. But in the end peace descends--until tomorrow.

Yet another characteristic, not so praiseworthy, is to drop a cause before it gets anywhere and start on a new one. We seem to take more joy in the fighting than in the long pull, the hard work, necessary to put the cause over. For example, not long ago the city was stirred over the proposal to establish a unit of the ROTC in Central High School. Peace advocates protested bitterly, and for a time it looked as though there might be war.

What happened? The Hilker-Howard controversy arose. The rest station in a cemetery arose. The hospital plan arose. The question of the City Manager's salary arose. The Militants came to bat with their old cudgels, weighted with new lead in the end, and began afresh to fight over these.

And the old, dear causes seem dead. Besides the ROTC, there are other dear, dead causes, such as Robert Taylor, sin, the traffic lights at Morehead and McDowell Streets, the safety campaigns, signs on the sides of busses, what to do with watermelon rinds, and, of course, liquor.

Brothers! Militants! We give up too easily. We spoil for a fight, fight and then rest on our wounds.

The Manna Crop*

Farmers who expect to borrow from the Farm Security Administration for 1939 should begin making their farm plans now, the Federals announced last week.

That means, we take it, after consulting our Almanack and looking over our broad acres, seeding for Winter cover crops, Winter legumes and Fall grains, clearing the scrub from the back 40, and wiring up those holes in the chicken pen. That, including the annual wrangle with the tenant about how he et too much fatback and didn't grow enough cotton, is something like a Winter farm program.

Or was. That's what we would have been doing with one-gall used efficiency, back in the Good Old Days.

But farming is different now. While he sows a crop of legumes, today's farmer also plants a hopeful crop of benefit checks. What spare time he has between trips to the county agent's office, he looks after the cover crops and the chicken crops. Then he sits on the fence and plans how much cotton he won't grow next season.

If he performs all these chores successfully, he can get a loan from the FSA. The loan crop will be good in 1939, according to early election forecasts. It seems rather inefficient to bother with growing foodstuffs that won't sell at a profit with this bountiful new crop that has a constant market.


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