The Charlotte News
Wednesday, February 21, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Says she, he "tries to give the child an unbiased point of view instead of teaching him real Americanism. All the old histories taught 'my country right or wrong.' That's the point of view we want our children to adopt. We can't afford to teach them to be unbiased and let them make up their minds."
Says he: damnable indictment that. "Patriotism, like other virtuous-sounding names, is entitled to respect only when it is respectable."
Says we: The current Administration's Patriots ought read, not only their Acts, but, too, this editorial titled "New Crime" and consider whether 'tis better to suffer the slings of criticism, unfettered by cross-currents and roundly shot to the eye, to make it critically sounder and of stricter acuity, or to live uncritically and uncriticized in an enforced Dystopia where all are protected but by cacotechny--such, it seems, as we are.
We also include the following couple of nine-eyed nine-killer rattling pieces from the page of this day:
The Kat, Belmont Banner
I heard a cute thing the other night about two lovers having a spat and the conversation went like this: "I feel so blue that I believe I'll take poison," said he.
"And I believe I'll take poison too," said she.
Whereupon the operator broke in with the remark: "That'll be 25 cents extra, please."
"Why?" inquired the couple in unison.
"Poison to poison call," explained the operator.
The Compleat Reporter
North Wilkesboro Hustler
Albert Baker of Lewis Fork Township, who drives the steers logging for Jim Day's saw mill, was here Wednesday with a truck load of extract wood. Side roads were impassable for trucks he said except when caught frozen. The timber cutters had killed a rattlesnake in a log having nine rattles. The Maple Springs school reopened last week.
These Republican Claims Are Less Than Constructive
Two of the Republican campaign slogans are already beginning to take shape. One of them is going to run to the effect that we must stay out of war regardless of anything and that the Republicans alone can be trusted to insure that. And the second will have it that Mr. Hull's trade treaties have ruined industry and the farmer and are helping to defer "recovery."
Both will be exercises in demagoguery. However ardently we may desire to stay out of war, the question ultimately depends on the events of the unforeseeable future. Unfortunately, the decision is not entirely ours.
The acts of other countries can easily force us into the position of either having to fight or surrender our interests one by one--of eventually becoming kicking boy to the world. And the extreme isolationist claim that we have no interests save within our own borders and all that we have to do is to dive into our hole and pull it in after us, is not founded on fact. To attempt to convince the country otherwise is a dangerous and reprehensible play with its destiny.
As for the Hull treaties, it is clearly evident that they haven't damaged farmers in general, have helped them, in fact--as by increasing the movement of cotton up until the war broke out. What their effect has been on industry is still to be shown. The result has not really been clearly demonstrated as yet.
For the result of the Hawley-Smoot tariff and its predecessors--the sort of thing the Republicans propose to substitute for the Hull policy--has been demonstrated over and over. There is no reasonable doubt that the Republican high tariff policy played a great part in bringing on the economic disaster of the Thirties.
New Deal Did Not Invent The Present Problems
Tops in disingenuousness, however, is the following passage from the report of the Republican program committee headed by Glenn Frank:
Here are typical items in the balance sheets of results as they stood in the late Summer of 1939, when conditions reflected the effect of the New Deal policies...
(1) More than 10,000,000 Americans unemployed.
(2) A lower standard of living than a decade ago.
(3) The creation of new enterprise virtually at a standstill.
(4) Labor involved in costly and extensive disputes...
(5) Farm prices neither stable nor satisfactory, and the basic problem of agriculture no nearer solution...
The plain implication of all this is that the New Deal policies are directly and solely to blame for it all. And that just happens not to be so.
When did the nation begin to have 10,000,000 or more than 10,000,000 unemployed? It began to have them in the first year of the Hoover Administration. It had them fully (and with a good many more) by 1932, at the end of twelve years of Republican rule.
And is there anybody foolish enough to believe that farm prices were satisfactory in 1932? Or that the standard of living in that year was higher than it is in 1940? Or that the creation of new enterprise was not at a much greater standstill than at present? Or that strikes weren't all over the place? And rioting hunger mobs?
The New Deal may justly be taxed with having spent staggering sums of money without solving these problems, after it had confidently promised to do it. But it certainly did not create the problems. And the effort to make it appear so cynically assumes that the American people are fools without any memory at all.
Lady Thinks Patriotism And Lack Of Bias Won't Mix
A Mrs. Ellwood J. Turner, who is corresponding secretary of the Daughters of Colonial Wars, is out with the crusade to persuade parents of Philadelphia high school students to demand the squelching of a social science textbook used in the schools and written by Dr. Howard Rugg, a Columbia University professor. That book, says La Turner, is "very, very Unamerican."
But it is her reason for saying that which is interesting. She does not charge that the author is a Red or a Pinko or a Nazi or a Fascist or anything of the sort. For all she says, he may be a member of the Union League Club. No, the charge against the Doctor is simply that he "tries to give the child an unbiased point of view instead of teaching him real Americanism. All the old histories taught 'my country right or wrong.' That's the point of view we want our children to adopt. We can't afford to teach them to be unbiased and let them make up their minds."
Which, to say the least, is a little startling even from a professional patrioteer. When a country is at war, it may be justified in demanding unquestioning support of its policy from all its people. Even then, it does not serve itself well by attempting to deny the right of criticism. But in time of peace, the "right or wrong" philosophy is an utterly damnable line. It is the thing which breeds the kind of blind chauvinistic nationalism which today threatens to wreck the world. Nazi Germany is the Utopia in which La Turner's philosophy has been worked out to its perfection.
Patriotism, like other virtuous-sounding names, is entitled to respect only when it is respectable. And the first requirement of a decent patriotism is surely the capacity to serve our own national interest and vanity dispassionately, and the will to demand that the country always carefully examine its position and make sure that it is right before going ahead.
Site Ed. Note: Cash here seems to be forming some thoughts which might have gone to make the embroidery for his theme on the Longs, had Knopf accepted his October, 1940 proposal for writing a biography on Huey. Someone else was writing that book, however, said Al to the slothful Cash--eventually published 1960. So it was that the idea of the novel, maybe a trilogy in the making, on a cotton mill barony, and its generational actions and reactions within the South, was born.
Seems 'twas safer perhaps to write of the Longs.
But The Long Gang Still Points An Old Lesson
As this is written, it looks as though the infamous Long machine in Louisiana has at length come to Waterloo. If so, they are going to need a lot of new penitentiaries in the state, for it is the history of such outfits that the rats desert the ship as it does [sic] down and begin to squeal loudly on the big shots. And that the courts suddenly develop a great zest for laying into them.
It is also going to be more or less embarrassing to the national Administration. For that Administration in 1936 completely called off the prosecution of members of the gang for crimes against the Federal law in return for the support of the Long-dominated delegation at the national convention. And has been making up to it again recently, by postponing the trial of members of the gang until after the election. The new rulers of the state are not likely to appreciate that.
What kind of man the new Governor-elect, Sam Houston Jones, is we don't know. But if he is wise there is one thing he will keep in mind. The Long gang was no accident, but the direct outcome of the neglect of the common people in Louisiana by the old established democratic hierarchy. And particularly in the rural regions.
Huey Long came to power first by appealing to their resentment. And, though he framed the laws to his purpose and used bribery, skullduggery, and intimidation, he kept himself in power primarily by convincing these people that he was doing great things for them. As a matter of fact he soaked them mercilessly (though indirectly) and spent the greater part of the swag for quite other purposes than their benefit. But he did build roads and bridges which opened up great areas of the state which had hitherto been blocked away from profitable markets, and made it possible for many thousands of them to make a better living by truck farming, etc.
He did extend the school facilities in a state which had been very backward about the education of its poor. And so on and so on. Which is undoubtedly why it was so hard to break the hold of the gang.
The demagogue is never an accident, but the equal and opposite reaction to the Bourbon in politics. It was so in Athens 2,300 years ago, as Plato, the convinced aristocrat, was reluctantly forced to confess. The rise of Cleon--an early Huey Long--and his sort was the inevitable answer to the excesses of the aristocratic party and the reaction of the Thirty Tyrants, and it was the rise of these demagogues which eventually destroyed Athens. It has been so everywhere ever since, it will be so in Louisiana again if the fact is forgotten.
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