The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 3, 1941


Site Ed. Note: The letter to the editor of this date condemning Sunday movies and baseball as the door to the road to becoming a sot and thence to hell, some will probably contend, looking at Charlotte today, was prophetic. We think not. As the brief note by the Editors points up the fact, trying too hard to make a whole community come to heel by banning amusement of one sort or another does nothing in the way of "saving souls" but simply fails to recognize a certain core aspect of man which is either recognized or repressed, and if repressed leads to far worse conduct than that sought to be banned or limited. Nor, in our experience has anyone ever been made a "sot" or driven to the slightest drink by movies or baseball or any other attendance of some event. Such things derive exclusively from youthful peer pressure in the main, and a tendency in adulthood then to carry them over, in some few cases by a physiological predisposition to addiction. Sometimes, of course, by the headaches and tension brought on by just the sort of people as the lady letter writer who insist that the whole world must believe and behave as does she presume she does or else be condemned for it, and to the point that such as those who do not agree may not be allowed to live at all within the community of the "saved". As we have suggested before, little separates that sort of thinking from the Nazi.

Moreover, many such people who condemn the loudest are themselves the very ones guilty of some of the worst sins, the destruction of the lives of others by rumor-mongering through lies and half-truths, plotting actively to insure the downfall of those with whom they disagree, if not outright conspiring to murder them in fact.

...As we said, baseball, Cuba, and those who outshot the Giants at the game of brag, including claims to morality.

Rushing Upon The Spears

John Lewis Carries Labor Toward A Fight Which Is Sure To Bring Repressive Legislation. May Bring Ruin

The action of John Lewis in summarily rejecting even the possibility of the Defense Mediation Board intervene in the coal strike and the coming steel strike-his flat refusal even to consider having the CIO men continue at their jobs while the hope of an acceptable settlement is explored-raises questions of the most serious moment for the nation. And for none more serious than for Labor itself.

Any fair evaluation will give John Lewis credit for having rendered great service to the cause of union labor in the past, though sometimes he has also done a grave disservice with his bull-headedness and egotism. But now he is on the verge of doing it the gravest possible bad turn, of more than undoing all that he has done for it.

The facts are plain enough.

On the one hand there is a little group of hardshell manufacturers who hate the Wagner Act and are bent on defying it directly or indirectly, even though it is the law of the land. Part of the blame for the present and growing danger to Aid-to-Britain and the defense of the United States plainly rests squarely on their shoulders. But, as Hugh Johnson has pointed out, the Government already has the power to bring these to heel whenever it desires-largely by the exercise of priorities, which can choke any of them to death at will, and completely by taking over the plants if necessary.

But the primary responsibility in coal and steel rests on the shoulders of CIO. And above all upon those of John L. Lewis in person, who rules with an iron hand and balks the more conciliatory men in CIO ranks, like Philip Murray.

One thing that Lewis has clearly determined upon is to take advantage of the national crisis to organize all the hold-outs. That is his right under the law. But the method he proposes to use is the organization strike. And the organization strike, it happens, halts aid-to-Britain and the national defense, jeopardizes the national safety.

And there is more than a little ground to believe that he also proposes to use these strikes deliberately to frustrate and undo the foreign policy of the United States-to make his own favored policy of isolation and appeasement prevail in spite of the Government and the majority of the people.

That raises the question as to which is the greater, as to which is the real ruling power in this republic-John Lewis or the Government and the majority of the people. There is only one possible answer.

When old Gene Cox of Georgia and Howard Smith of Virginia yell "Red Revolution," John Lewis can afford to ignore them. The nation knows them for professional labor-haters. But when man after man who has fought for labor begins to talk of anti-strike legislation, when the House also votes-as it voted yesterday - with only one dissenting vote, to have two committees investigate and draw up anti-strike legislation, it is time for Lewis, if his egotism has not run him utterly mad, to take a warning.

He says what is flatly not true when he charges that the Defense Mediation Board is set up to break strikes. Labor is asked to surrender none of its rights. On the contrary, the Board is explicitly charged with the defense of Labor's right to organize. The right of Labor to a full share in the profits of roaring business is granted. All that is asked of Labor is that it keep the wheels moving while an acceptable settlement is arranged. It is not even denied the right to strike in the end, if it still finds the settlement unsatisfactory. But if John Lewis continues on his present course, it will be denied the right to strike at all. The American people will use every possible device to see that one man and his misled following do not restrict the will of the nation and give aid and comfort to the enemy.

It may well be that coercive legislation against Labor will fail. It may well be that the attempt will simply end in chaos and ruin for the nation. But if so it will be Labor that suffers first. And the full and terrible responsibility of the catastrophe will rest squarely upon John Lewis.

A Censor

Who Sets Up An Odd Rule For Literary Criticism

Boston has developed the finest reductio ad absurdum of censorship yet seen in America.

In that city, which has long maintained a rigid censorship of literature and drama in defiance of the American Bill of Rights, Cardinal O'Connell is up with a demand that the city authorities ban from sale John Marquand's "H. M. Pulham, Esq." Ground is that it "assails Boston womanhood."

Marquand is in fact one of the mildest of modern novelists, affecting the grand style of earlier Bostonians and being almost finicking in his treatment of subjects that other novelists wade into with whoops of joy.

Sometimes, indeed, he is a little acid, and sometimes he lets it out that little girls are not in this hard world always made of sugar and spice. That's about all.

Apparently it is Cardinal O'Connell's contention that all Boston women must be represented as holy vessels. If so he had better fall to work on Nathaniel Hawthorne and William D. Howells, not to mention Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, et al.

Site Ed. Note: For more on the Textbook Commission's choice of facts and books which contain them, see "Sacred Cow", February 16, 1941.

"Fact" Book

Here's How It Is Going To Save A Board's Face

The uproar about the selection of Jules Warren's history of North Carolina for the fifth grade in the State schools has finally brought about his resignation as secretary of the North Carolina Education Association. But the announcement of the Education Board that his book is to be "revised" is surely not a rational solution to this political scandal.

Nell Battle Lewis, writing in her column in the Raleigh News & Observer, has listed more than fifty errors of fact, grammar, and spelling which she has found in the book, and says that that is only a beginning. Many authorities at the University and elsewhere bear her out.

Samples of the errors that she reported:

The two James Iredells, father and son, are made to be one person.

Edward Moseley is made to be "demanding liberty" 23 years before he was born.

Charles McDowell is made to die in 1775, and also made a hero of King's Mountain, fought in 1780.

Isaac Shelby, who died in 1826, is made to be offered a Cabinet post by President Pearce (sic), who took office in 1853.

The Education Board, made up of Democratic politicoes, ignored the unanimous recommendation of the Textbook Commission in favor of another book, authored by two University professors, for this book of another Democratic politico. Reason given was that the recommended book was full of mere opinions (it did not paint the Democratic Party as immaculate) and that what was wanted was a "book of facts."

And now they propose to save their face by having the book "corrected." Does that mean that Mr. Warren and his publisher are going to buy back all the thousands of books already in the hands of the State? Not at all. It simply means that pages of "Errata" are to be inserted in them, "without additional expense to the State." And what, precisely, do you think the schoolboys and schoolgirls are going to think of "facts" that turn out not to be "facts," after all? Of all this blundering in the text they use?

The whole business smells to high heaven.

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