The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 15, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Again, we include four omitted editorials from our initial upload in 1998. It is doubtful, by the style, that the first and third pieces are by Cash. The other two are plainly his.

We had thought as well initially that such local topics would have excluded them from Cash's purview, but have since become disabused of this notion as Cash, especially in times of lull on the international scene, would run the gamut of editorial topics, well beyond international politics and the war, his primary focus, including mundane pieces on local tax and bond issues, for instance regarding the library closing in 1938, stories on political corruption, especially of the machine variety, both local and national, crime and punishment, as well as making use of his year in law school by keeping readers abreast of the opinions delivered by the Supreme Court.

The purely parochial stories, while not very satisfying to us initially, have become more interesting as time has worn on and their impact on various matters of broader significance becomes apparent. Some of them, such as the ones following the desired conversion of the Founders' Cemetery to a municipal park, are plainly quite good fun in hindsight. And, regardless of their fun, they are always historically informative, even if sometimes a little dry. Did you know, for instance, that school teachers in the largest city and county in North Carolina in 1937 were paid, top salary, for the school year, as reported below, about $1,350 and $1,000, respectively? Even Cash's low-paying job as associate editor paid him $50 per week, which meant in the same period of time as the school year ran in those days, he would earn between $1,700 and $1,900, depending on whether based on the eight-month term of the county or the soon to be state standardized nine-month period of the city. In short, never knock your benevolent teachers. They do an exceptional job and, still, relatively speaking, for little pay. When we get our priorities straight in society one day, they will be paid what professional athletes now earn and the athletes will receive, top dollar, what teachers used to obtain, with strict admission tests to the teaching profession accomplished in the bargain.

Then, maybe, we won't so easily, on trumped up feelings, go to war anymore over non-existent weapons of mass destruction or threaten a world war over a disbanded nuclear weapons program, moribund for four years. Who knows? Perhaps, we might even learn religious tolerance, that morality is not measured by attendance of a church service or Sunday school class, or which religion one might accept, patriotism, not by whether one salutes or burns the flag, that all lawyers are not devils, all doctors, not mercenaries, all college professors, not useless eggheads; and maybe, we might even start electing leaders rather than salesmen to public office, that is when we learn to go to the polls in higher numbers than 50 to 60% of the qualified electorate. We can imagine the day, anyway.

After all, a hundred years ago, compulsory public education was considered a radical new idea.

What we deplore, however, is extending the school year to longer and longer times, as we think that disserves students. Students grow as much during the summer months as they do in school during a given year, as it affords them time for their minds to digest the previous year's studies, whether they consciously realize it or not, in some cases to travel and see some of the world, etc. Properly, that period ought be three full months or thereabouts, not 60 days or less. We should not be emulating Red China. It has not served them so well, that rigid discipline.

Should we want automatons populating our land, ones who not only cannot think outside the box, but who consider anyone who does as a threat and danger to their little world in the box, that society we are heading headlong toward, apace, then we only need keep up the present idiotic speed and delivery of the punch to rational consideration of matters, preserving the status quo of purely emotive nonsense. A society which loses its ability to think and to think clearly is one doomed, and all the economic wherewithal and competition for which it strives will not save it. We suggest that this society is borderline lunatic. The astronaut a few months back is merely emblematic of a societally broad problem. Too much television, too much stress on quick-sale technique and not enough on structured, disciplined thought. Is he guilty? Is she guilty? What'd they do? Oh, let's watch. Did they kill some people? How many? Did they chop them up into little pieces? Did they eat them? What'd they taste like? Were they mean to their dogs, too?

Put in a good philosophy course curriculum in the public schools as mandatory, at least two courses in same taught on a pre-college level, required for graduation, and we might begin to go places again as a society.

The rest of the page is here. For a little more on Wilbur Glenn Voliva, an apt topic, and his flat-earth society, see "Possibilities", May 5, 1922, from The Old Gold and Black, Wake Forest student newspaper, in which Cash suggests Mr. Voliva's studies on the world and its place in the universe would suit some of his fellow college students just fine. We've met a few people in recent years who probably do not realize how close they have come to accepting the very absurdities on which Mr. Voliva premised his world view.

As to why the Arkansas state legislature in 1837 removed the amiable Speaker Col. Wilson from his chair, merely for a little ultra-violence on one of his fellow members, as he lost his own hand in the process, we haven't the foggiest. We all lose our tempers now and again, don't we? Arguments can become quite heated in these lawmakers' chambers at times. We think a small tap on the bloody stump would have been quite sufficient. After all, even Knights of the Roundtable sometimes get a little carried away, you know. Yesterday alone, in point of fact, we were witness to attacks on at least 257 dogs within a ten block radius of where we write these words. Dogs littered everywhere. Awful spectacle. Hanging from the trees like that. Dismembered. Too bloody even to describe. Revolting. Gutted. Horrible. Sacrilegious, it was. Torn to shards. Doglegs strewn for blocks on end. Shrunken heads, grotesque displays of cruelty beyond the descriptors available to this pen. Whole houses coated in nothing but carcasses of dogs. Even puppies fresh from their weaning, barely able to lift their eyes, before they were snuffed like chocolate pastry full of that jelly-goo in a bakery case full of doughnuts. More later on this awful story, as we are suddenly overcome by a sense of hunger.

We can only say, in conclusion, that the pain in Spain, near Gibraltar, falls mainly on the bull runs, and, you know it's not easy, you know it sticks like the bane, the way things are going, it's like singing in the Guernica rain.

They Prove Too Much*

Considerable criticism, as our readers know, has developed of the City Council's action in raising the salary of City Manager Marshall $2,000 to make it $10,000 a year. But it leaves us pretty well unconvinced.

Is the man efficient enough to be worth $10,000 a year? The record, which shows that on a single item of engineering he has saved the City $130,000, would seem to indicate that he unquestionably is. Nor is the argument that the tax rate has been raised any sound one against that conclusion. The tax rate had to be raised for the carrying out of municipal projects made imperatively necessary by the growth of the City.

But they tell us that, after all, Mr. Marshall was glad enough to go to work for $6,500 a few years ago, that he had already had big raises, that nobody else was bidding for his services, and a single raise of $2,000 is entirely too much. This argument, however, it seems to us, proves too much. It comes from people who are sympathetic toward labor and the white-collar man of small salary. Here, in a single lump, they say, Mr. Marshall has been handed a salary increase which is more than the total annual salary of most laborers and white-collared men. But are they really prepared to back up the proposition, which inheres in their argument, that, given superior efficiency, a man ought never to be raised, ought not to be paid what he is actually worth, unless the employer is forced to do so by competition for his services?

No Help There

Senator Bailey paid his respects to the Senate's farm control bill yesterday in pretty positive tones. He had no idea the bill, if passed, would be found constitutional. Individual farmers would be permitted to sell only so much of the commodities covered as the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through local committees, allowed them to sell, and on any excess there would be imposed a confiscatory tax. "I think," said Senator Bailey, "the members who drew this bill disregarded every opinion of the Supreme Court."

This is too true to be funny--or pardoned. The court, save for Justice Black, is a known quantity; and the liberalism of Justices Brandeis, Cardozo and Stone is precisely not the sort of liberalism that would permit the liberal end of farm relief to be purchased by the destruction of rights--"even if for the moment this may seem advantageous to the public."

The foregoing quotation is from the minority opinion of Justices Brandeis, Cardozo and Stone in the New York milk law case. The rest that follows is from the same opinion, except that we have taken the liberty of substituting, in italics, words which apply to crop control rather than milk prices:

Not only does the statute interfere arbitrarily with the rights of the farmer to conduct his business according to standards long accepted--complete destruction may follow; but it takes away the liberty of consumers to buy a necessity of life in an open market. The Congress cannot lawfully destroy guaranteed rights of one man with the prime purpose of enriching another... And the adoption of any "concept of jurisprudence" which permits facile disregard of the Constitution as long interpreted and respected will inevitably lead to its destruction.

Paradox of Two School Systems*

Some figures in the December issue of the monthly bulletin of the State Department of Public Instruction we find mystifying. According to it, teachers are rated on the basis of 100 points for each year of training after graduation from grammar school. Thus, a teacher with four full years of college training rates 800 points, which is tops. Well, and by that yardstick, we find that the whole body of white teachers in the schools of the City of Charlotte average 790 points, whereas those in the schools of Mecklenburg County average 799!

Now, however did that happen? Mecklenburg County pays no supplements. Its teachers with four full college years and eight years of experience get only the maximum State salary of $990 for eight months' work. But the City of Charlotte does pay supplements. Teachers trained as above get $1,342.80 for nine months' work. Yet, speaking both relatively and absolutely, Charlotte has fewer teachers of the highest grade than the County.

But this measure of 800 may have nothing whatever to do with the actual efficiency of the teachers? We are perfectly willing to believe it. We are perfectly willing to believe, indeed, that a teacher who had never been inside a college might conceivably be a better one than another with a doctorate. All the same, the standard, as we understand it, is the one used--and rigidly used--by the State school system in fixing the salaries of the school teachers and the rating of the individual school. By the pedagogues' own standard, the County is getting better school teachers than the City even though it pays them much less.

Concerning Some Omissions

His Holiness, Pope Pius, this week delivered himself of some viewing-with-alarm concerning international affairs. Great damages had been suffered by "Christian communities" in the Far East, and greater ones seemed in prospect. "Impious and atrocious things" were transpiring in Russia and Germany. "The people of Christ in Spain who are most dear to us are still agitated by...harrowing events, although one begins to see hope of better times."

The Holy Father neglected, however, to mention certain other things. For instance, that the "great damages" in the Far East have been perpetrated by the Japanese, who a few months ago he tacitly instructed his priests in China to aid in their "crusade against communism."

Or again--not a word about Mussolini. Not a word about the difficulty of reconciling the new Roman Empire's morality of wars of conquest and civilian murders for glory with the ethics of the Jesus who died at the hands of another Roman Empire. And whose vicar on earth the Pope is.

And not a word, either, in elucidation of precisely how the victory of General Franco--which is apparently what the Pope had in mind--is going to bring "better times" to the "people of Christ in Spain," who presumably share the Christian view of murder. General Franco who, on the face of the record, is one of the greatest butcherers of civilian populations who has figured in the story of Western man since the Dark Ages.

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