The Charlotte News

Friday, February 16, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "Red Freedom", not unlike "Yer Blues", tells us something of the Conqueror Worm, giving greater pique by the fact that we were moved to quote of it recently in regard to violence of an equally despicable sort, that of every day murder, both of other and self, by the gun within the boundaries of the United States.

We offered that quote, incidentally, fitting as it seemed of the moment, not because of its imagery having been culled by "Red Freedom", for we hadn't then read these editorials; rather, it was based on a search to test our memory from the eighth grade, in 1966, as to whether in fact there was, within the œuvre to which we ascribed it, a rough approximation of the quote, apparently originating with Seneca, to which we had made reference a few days earlier, that there is a fine line between genius and madness, thus leading us, umbrally, to the poem.

"By the Rule" points up both the mundane asininity and, from its humble beginnings within the oikoumene inhabited by the eunuchized, the inevitable development to tragedy, by which those who weave their coarsely hollow fabric out of closely stitched threads of order lead on an otherwise reasonably well-structured loose milieu eventually to shredded chaos,--initially by the pertinate stickler-mickler wasting everyone's time merely to perpetuate his own militantly insistent uselessness, finally, after nourishing the idiot's need, unchecked, to cling to the rule regardless of rime or reason in the moment, wasting as well everyone's freedom, freeing everyone then to be much as that stated as the final state of liberation within "Red Freedom"--by the rule, by the numbers, by the gun, or else.

A Tender Spot

Butter 'n' Eggs Cash Register Rings Up An Expense Item

Yesterday was an unlucky day for the proprietors of one of the butter 'n' eggs lotteries. Ten Negroes were brought into City Police Court (by City police, note) on lottery charges and six of them were convicted, fined a total of $285.

To be sure, $285 isn't going to break the bank, not if what they say about the lush trade of the lotteries is even partly true. But on top of that came court costs, which mount up, and of course there's always the mouthpiece's fee. Altogether, we'd guess that the cases in court yesterday cost the bank somewhere between $500 and $1,000. As a frequently recurring charge, that would be a pretty stiff overhead.

The spectacular and climatic way to bring these rackets to heel would be to make out a water-tight case against the big shots and given 'em the works. That, however, seems to be difficult. Like a certain notorious local bootleg king, they never handle Exhibit A.

The only other way to get at them is to harass their agents, to sock them with fines and costs and similar charges until the game begins to be not worth the candle. It would take time, but it would get results.

By The Rule

Bureaucratic Mind Takes Charge Of Our Daily Life

The bureaucratic mind is not confined merely to government. It is rapidly invading every phase of our life.

How it operates in government we found out again a recent afternoon when we had occasion to need a postal money order. Arriving at the post office a few minutes after five o'clock we found the money order window closed. The next window was open, but when we inquired of the clerk, who stood despondently behind it busily doing nothing, if he could sell us a money order, he only repeated monotonously: "The money order window here closes at five o'clock." Probably he was only obeying the rule, the bureaucratic rule which forbids him to do anything but one thing--though he is at the moment doing nothing.

Mr. Joseph Siegel a little while before had found out, briefly, how it works elsewhere. Mr. Siegel, 58, stumbled, groaning, into a cab in New York, directed the driver to speed to Bellevue Hospital (where he himself had been an employee for the last five years), gasped that he was dying. The driver dashed up to the psychopathic ward, rushed to the admission desk. But the nurse in charge was adamant. To get in there you had to be accompanied by a cop. Mr. Siegel continued to die in the cab. The cabman hurried into the street, saw a policeman, hastily explained. But the cop was adamant. He hadn't been assigned to Bellevue, and the rule was that you didn't go to Bellevue unless you had been assigned there. In desperation, the cabman cranked up, sped to the nearest police station, and at last a police lieutenant ordered out a police ambulance--the regular way for admission to the psychopathic ward at Bellevue.

But it no longer mattered. Mr. Siegel, after his brief and illuminating view of how the bureaucratic mind works in other fields than that of government, was dead. His heart had stopped as he waited in front of the police station.


Muddle Fails To Take Into Account Some Plain Facts

Mr. Winston Churchill tells the British Parliament that of course the Government could not know beforehand that the Nazis would attack defenseless British fishing vessels and machine-gun their crews in violation of all international agreements.

But that is only an example of the curious obtuseness of the Tory Government, which has for years apparently been under the impression that in the Nazis it was confronted only with a team of gentlemanly cricketeers.

If there was anything obvious before this year began, it was that the Nazis were out to win at any cost and had no scruples about the means employed. Hadn't the British Government ever heard of Guernica, the unfortified mountain village of no military importance, where on a day in 1937 German [indiscernible word] bombers busied themselves for an hour with dropping bombs on the helpless women, children, and old men who made up most of its inhabitants, with swooping down and spraying them with machine-gun bullets, until 700 of them had been murdered in cold blood? Or had it forgotten the last war, when the Germans adopted a submarine policy which was not precisely in the spirit of Eton's playing fields?

Moreover, given the Nazi's invariable preference for brutality, could one doubt that the logic of Germany's position made inevitable such moves as the attack on the fishing fleet? Germany, would be making her last stand--could hope only for a third-rate status if she lost--would be fighting for her life. And in logic, the fishing fleet was not wholly entitled to immunity, for was it not common knowledge that it served as "the eyes of England's navy"?

St. George and good old muddle for England, we reckon.

Hot Potato

Mr. Grady Drags Out An Embarrassing Question

Candidate Paul Grady is probably going to be about as popular as smallpox with his fellow aspirants for the Governorship and the Democratic politicians of the state in general. That skeleton of reapportionment of representation had been safely locked up in the closet by gentleman's agreement. But it is difficult to know what answer they are going to think up.

So far as the western politicoes are concerned, not a few of them would be willing enough to back up the idea of reapportionment of representation in the North Carolina General Assembly, if only they could be sure about having it stop at that. For it would mean a considerably increased representation for the West as against the East. And there is no doubt at all that the present condition constitutes a flat violation of the State Constitution, Article II, Sections 4, 5, and 6--works an injustice on the West since industry has made it the more populous half of the state. There is no doubt at all, indeed, that common fairness to the West calls for this reapportionment.

But, of course, the East admits no such thing, is determined to hold on to its undue power regardless.

And for the Western politicoes the thing has its terrifying aspects also. For when you start talking about reapportionment, you inevitably bring up that question of the old established custom of gerrymandering Congressional districts to insure the election of Democrats in all of them and deny the large Republican population of the state any representation in Washington. The logic is inescapable that, under any democratic rationale, the Republicans in North Carolina are entitled to at least two Representatives.

But, ah, masters, the Republicans are mainly concentrated in the Western half of the state, and it would be the Democratic politicoes of the West who would suffer the loss of these two choice plums, if the thing were ever done.

That heavy buzzing, Mr. Grady, would be the boys ganging up.

Red Freedom

How The Tender Soviets Liberate Human Beings

From one of Walter Duranty's dispatches from Moscow we extract the following:

Foreigners may talk nastily about "Red imperialism," but the Russians say this is nonsense and a contradiction in terms, that it is their ultimate mission to free humanity from the chains of capitalism. With that motive...Stalin acts today. A Red threat of courage, of conviction and self-sacrifice, is woven into all patterns of Soviet policy and into the minds of the Soviet leaders and people.

Nor are we inclined to dispute with Mr. Duranty, despite the fact that he is a little prone to apologize for his Red friends. For there can be no reasonable doubt that the Reds are great hands at freeing men from the chains of capitalism and, indeed, everything else.

The available evidence, for instance, seems to indicate that several years ago they freed some 3,000,000 Russian peasants, not only from the chains of capitalism but even from the chains of the commissars of Mr. Stalin's regime. And there can be no doubt that with the passing of each day in Finland they are freeing literally thousands of both Finns and Russians.

Freeing them--from the heaviness of life, from all chains altogether, into the large liberty and great calm of death, where the only taskmaster left is the Conqueror Worm and he one to be speedily appeased.

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