The Charlotte News

Friday, March 8, 1940


Site Ed. Note: What America's youth needs is to master ONE THING, says Curly--that is, Jake.

As to the egg with the clock face on it, it reminds us to remind you not to forget to turn your sundials forward tonight, that is forward, provided you are seeing it from within the shadow. Goo-goo, goo-joob.

For more on the low accident rate in Providence, thanks to rotaries and slow speed limits, see "Without Comment", December 13, 1938.

Candidly, we're in a bad mood. When will you jackasses with guns stop shooting people? Man, don't you know you look like a real idiot with that thing? Some kind of wild west show in which you're the star--only the bad guys are unarmed college students in your show. The average four-year old has more guts than you, you sick little wimp.

Incidentally, we think what Mr. Hume meant in the passage we quoted yesterday with regard to his use of the word object was simply an abstraction, synonymous with objectify or objectification. In other words, he was saying, we think, that morals are, by their nature, subjective, not pre-existing objects external to the mind. He was not, however, using object to mean the "wilful murder", as we read it explained at a webpage. The "wilful murder" is expressly the action, in his example, not the object. And the action and object are plainly not the same thing. Nor, we believe, is he intending to convey value judgments; rather explaining simply the nature of reality, by way of examples: that morals may not be objectified, as a matter of scientific inquiry, (the letter writer's opinion on the page this date to the contrary notwithstanding); whether, for instance, a person runs faster, relative to the sun and other galactic bodies external to the earth, when the runner is running in the direction of the rotation of the earth on its axis, than when traveling in the opposing direction, is something determinable by scientific inquiry, objectification external to one's self and perceptions. So, when a car registers 70 miles per hour on the speedometer, is it not actually traveling about 1,110 miles per hour, when traveling with the rotation, and, by contrast, actually moving backwards in time and space, when traveling against it? The answers may be ascertained objectively, external to one's self and perceptions.

But whether it is right or wrong for the car to travel with the rotation of the earth or against it, is a value consideration, in the nature of a moral judgment, which may not be subjected to empirical inquiry to determine an answer. That depends entirely on your subjective perception of the moral rectitude or not of the course of the direction. One might factor in other vicissitudes, such as weather reports, and the quality of roads, the number of mountains to cross, etc., and come to some conclusion as to the route to take which, practically, affords the more expedient way to your intended journey's end. But whether it is right or wrong, in a moral sense, must be determined only subjectively, without reference to external objects.

And yet, that is of course not to say that there is not a moral code which has practicality to it via mutual recognition and understanding and acceptance, though not per se an object, by which actions ought be governed in order to enable reasonable cooperation in society to avoid a perpetual jungle state in which all would need be fearful from each other, to the point where nothing constructive could be accomplished and no regular survival could take place for long by any. That is not the matter under inquiry by Hume, however, at this point in his analysis. That is more in the nature of a sociological inquiry as opposed, strictly speaking, to a philosophical inquiry.

He is merely defining more closely the difference between object and subject, the latter being determinable only by perception. Referring to his comment about colors, for instance, we really do not know that the color which you see as red and call red by label, is the same one we see, even if we can point to a "red" object simultaneously and call it "red". It may appear to you in fact blue, and blue as red; yet we would call these colors by like names at all times, never understanding that one or the other of us, or both, may be misperceiving the color red, in its objective state, assuming it has one. Of course, Hume goes further, indicating that the color is not in the object but in the mind of the perceiver, according to "modern philosophy" of the eighteenth century.

But, that some material fact is present objectively in the object to render a certain spectral wavelength when light hits that object to cause us to see a color, regardless of what we may label it or how we may perceive it, whether red as red or red as blue, does exist independently of ourselves, for that may be ascertained by scientific inquiry--unless we may be dreaming. But, assuming wakefulness, what about when the lights are off and it is pitch black? Is the "color" still there? Is the object, until you feel it? Of course, in a rational world, they are; for no matter how many times you try to trick the object with turning on and off the light at irregular intervals, the object will not be fooled and either not appear or alter its color as you orignally perceived it, albeit altering shades to a degree in varying intervals because of transitional adjustment of your perceptions within your physiology to the light of a given moment, the adjustment of your iris to allow in more or less light through your pupil; but the basic result on each attempted trick to the object is the same, in terms of its invariance as to color and existence, unless your own perceptions are altered in some manner in the interim.

Once, just a few years ago, we deliberately stayed awake and fasted for five straight days; we then went to sleep. After a few hours, we awakened to find our right arm was, indeed, gone. We could not see it in the moonlight coming through the windows of the room; we could not feel it. We could see all other things, including our left arm, but not our right. We were not dreaming but very wide awake. We, hesitantly, reached our left hand over to where our right arm ought to be. We then had the magnificent sensation of touching our right arm, right where it ought to be, very happy indeed to find its presence, though still quite invisible to our perception, though we could plainly see in the moonlight our left arm touching an invisible space. We lifted it, this invisible thing where our right arm ought to be, as something completely external to our body, still having no sense of feeling in the space, only the sense of touch communicated via our left arm, as if holding someone else's arm. We then shook it, this thing, ever so vigorously, and fast, too. As we did so, to our delight, the feeling slowly returned, and as it did so, so, too, did our visual impression of our right arm. What was not there moments before, had returned to its visible state in our perceptions. We understood that, physiologically, we had cut off circulation of blood to our right arm by sleeping on it, having undoubtedly lapsed into an abnormally deep sleep to make up for the loss of normal rapid-eye-movement sleep for five days, and that our normal mental response system was insufficiently responsive to cause us during sleep to roll over off our right arm, too asleep to sense the alarum in the physical body, as we would normally do at intervals without waking. And, our mind had, by the same token, cut off visual perception of our right arm, likely in order to prevent our going into shock by seeing the condition and color into which we had caused our right arm to become subsistent, somewhere beneath the realm of sensation of sight and feeling, an abnormal state. Our mind had compensated for the physiological state into which we had placed our body by refusing it sleep for five days. We do not recommend this experiment in altered states of perception, for, believe us, when you, even for an instant, believe that your right arm has died, your next thought is that you have or are in the process of dying as a whole being becoming slowly less than whole, and it is rather an unpleasant sensation; but the episode was nevertheless instructive, philosophically, and so we preserve it, along with our right arm.

The Hume analysis is merely indicating that one may not objectify a moral code as a priori matter, but rather that it is the result of subjective sentiments adjusted through time, individually and collectively. A person of normal affect finds the act of murder repulsive because of the realization that the other person who is murdered had sensations and feelings similar or even identical to your own, based on similar stimuli, as well as the understanding that pain to others affected by the personal loss of the victim is similar to that of your own when you have felt the pain of personal loss of the kind. This sympathetic pain is that which we term compassion and tends more greatly the more one is in physical or emotional proximity to the victim's sphere of affect while alive, as well the more one can understand some respect of commonality with that person. Added to these basic sentiments may be others, the realization of the rational proscription against the act of murder for the collective survival of all and each, an understanding of the primitive, primal nature of the instinct to murder, extant in all humans left from hunter-gatherer days; and the consequent need to restrain it, not merely to escape punishment, but for the very act of self-preservation, etc.

But to understand finally that all humans experience that same pain, both physical and emotional, and that, to survive, each must honor the proscription against murder, is then to understand compassion in its fullest measure, not merely a rule written in a book of religion or law which proscribes murder, but to fathom a deeper and fuller understanding of why murder is deemed wrong under the moral code.

Again, however, these latter notions are not the subject of Hume's inquiry of the moment. His is relative to a different plane of thought, simply distinguishing the object from the subject, so as to sort out the rational basis for thinking through such issues, to better orient and ground our thinking, ultimately with the practical consequence of avoiding the prospect of idiots who have never thought in these organized and rational terms, who would then stand up and proclaim themselves god almighty, either in the public square or on the pulpit, and thus wind up murdering somebody because they have divined the other's wages of sin.

Anyway, Mr. Murderer or Mr. Plotter, if you are out there, you best determine whether you are traveling with or against the rotation of the earth; for the earth will soon catch up to you, regardless of your direction or your speed. You probably need find yourself a good used submarine and live at the bottom of the ocean with the fishes.

For whatever reason today, we keep hearing the word tympani. We don't know why, but we thought we would pass that on.


But Mr. Gannett Fails To Give Us Some Details

Mr. Frank Gannett, Rochester, N. Y., publisher who is an earnest candidate for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States, is out with his complete program.

The way to fix things up, we discover from perusing the Associated Press's report on that program is, in part, to--

1--Solve the unemployment problem and give every willing worker a job at a fair wage.

2--Restore to the farmer his normal income so that he can buy products of industry.

3--Provide for those on relief a higher standard of living without additional cost to the government...

17--As soon as possible, without restricting recovery by higher taxes or by arbitrary curtailment of relief, balance the budget.

So. And what he proposes to accomplish is highly desirable. The only mystery about it is, how?

Site Ed. Note: Mr. Gannett once responded personally, on April 14, 1938, to a Cash by-lined piece, "Getting Mr. Gannett", March 30, 1938.


Pedestrians Have To Be Infallible To Avoid Death

We have no reason to doubt that the coroner's jury turned in a correct verdict yesterday when it decided that Marcus F. Beck, killed by a taxicab on South Tryon Street last Saturday evening, came to his death primarily as a result of his own act of stepping into the path of the cab from behind a parked automobile. All the evidence indicated that such was the case.

Nevertheless, the case is germane to a point which should be made. The taxi driver said that he was driving at 25 miles an hour. That may be true. But in general taxi drivers and a whole host of other people certainly do not customarily drive at 25 miles an hour along South Tryon Street in the stretch between Third Street and Morehead. Forty-five miles or more is the customary speed, and many of the drivers exceed that by a wide margin. Moreover, few of them slacken for street intersections, in their desperate hurry to beat the lights.

And such practices are totally unjustifiable under any humane view. To justify it, you have to suppose that pedestrians are gifted with more than human caution and fallibility, or that time is so precious to motorists that it is necessary to kill pedestrians who don't display that infallible caution.

Speed, it becomes increasingly plain, is the main cause of motor accidents. It has been demonstrated over and over on the highways. And Providence, R. I., has amply demonstrated it in the case of city streets. By reducing the speed limit to 25 miles an hour and enforcing it, it has cut down the traffic death toll by more than 50 per cent. Moreover, it is worth observing, it found that the traffic moved, not slower but faster, as an incidental result.

In Czechland

Nazis Carry Out Same Policy As In Poland

It is not only in Poland that the Nazis have set out to destroy the people as a national group, to break up or exterminate the natural leaders and enslave the masses. In Czechoslovakia the same process is going on.

The Chamber of Commerce of Prague announces that all Czech shops on the city's main square, the Vacladake Nanenti, have been ordered to vacate their premises within six months and make way for German firms.

Another step, which goes into effect April 1, is the formation of a customs union between the Reich and the "protectorates" of Bohemia and Moravia. It means, and is undoubtedly intended to mean, the destruction of their export trade, which constitutes one-third of all their commerce, for it will raise price levels about 22 per cent to conform with those of the Reich. That means the impoverishment of thousands of Czechs and the loss of employment to many thousands more. But it serves the Nazi purpose of making the country wholly dependent on the Reich, of enabling the latter to dictate what terms it pleases, to displace Czech leaders with German leaders, and prepare the way for the complete absorption of the two provinces.

Still another thing is that Vlakja, a group of Czech Communists, which until the signing of the treaty between Hitler and Stalin was the most active opponent of the Nazis in Czechoslovakia, is now being encouraged, since it has turned violently pro-German and is yammering for the murder of all dissenters and the control of everything by Germans. Police have been instructed to treat it as a branch of the Gestapo, newspapers are forbidden to criticize it, and every opportunity is given it to preach the doctrine that the Allied proposals to restore Czechoslovakia represent a capitalist plot to enslave the Czech people.


Concerning A Curious Vote In The Senate

Prize story of the week was that Robert Rice Reynolds voted to save the Hatch Act, while Josiah William Bailey and South Carolina's Byrnes, in the company of Cotton Ed Smith, cast their ballots for taking the teeth out of the law by making it perfectly legal for Federal employees to indulge in all the political activities in sight--leaving only the provision against intimidation, which is nearly always impossible to prove.

Robert Rice, who passes his days seeking to rouse the rabble with phoney claims about an Alien Menace, Robert Rice, the frank pork grabber, goes down the line for Clean Government. Bailey, the great apostle of Purity in Politics, the man who lambasted the President for attempting to use the Federal jobholders to "purge" George & Co., plumps for the good old system with no holds barred.

But there is little mystery about it, we suspect. The year 1942, when Bailey must stand for re-election, is already in sight over the hill. Robert Rice has until 1944, and can afford to wait awhile. More, Bailey enjoys the support of the established Democratic organization in the state, with its good old highway department, etc. And that Hatch Bill is getting dangerous for established state organizations.

They are even proposing to make it illegal for any state employee who is just partly paid by the Federal Government to engage in politics, and that includes the employees of state highway departments, etc. Better stop it before it gets too hefty, that law. With 1942 in sight over the hill.

Robert Rice, on the other hand--yes. Robert has some pet Federal jobholders of his own. But he doesn't, emphatically, enjoy the support of the established Democratic organization in the state. He can take a poke at that organization, get himself set down as a great champion of the pure, the beautiful and the true, with plenty of time still left to fix things up before Armageddon.

In that fashion, masters, are we governed.

Small Potato

But Mighty Italian Editor Neglects A Few Points

The Italian newspaper, Il Piccolo, seems in line for the annual award for wishfulest thinking.

It informs Italy and the world that what explains the British decision to halt German coal bound for Italy is that the British are nervous. "The truth is that the great business of war is not going well for England." Britain, it appears, expected the world to come rushing to her rescue. But it hasn't happened, and "England has beside her no one but France."

No one but France. Just little old negligible France, which of course doesn't really count. For, you see, all that this France has is:

The finest army in the world.

The fourth best navy in the world, which happens to be considerably larger, insofar as the record goes, a good deal more efficient than the Italian Navy, greatly larger if not more efficient, than the Germany Navy.

A record for having been decisively whipped by Germans only once in 200 years--and then only when she was betrayed from within--, and of having whipped the Germans ragged a dozen times in the same period.

A record of never having been whipped by Italians since the Roman Empire collapsed, but of having marched over Italy chasing Italian armies every time the mood struck her, which was pretty often.

Just little old no-account France.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.