The Charlotte News
Monday, April 8, 1940
President Said To Have A Favorite Trick In Mind
A report circulating around the Capital in Washington at the last of last week was that the President intended to stick by his recommendation of $985,000,000 for WPA, but that he wanted Congress to relax the law requiring relief expenditures to be allocated over a twelve-month period. If the report turns out to be true and the President proposes what he is said to have in mind, it will be one of the most discreditable dodges of his entire Administration.
Anything under a billion for WPA, as contrasted with last year's billion and a half, will enable him to put forward the claim that he has begun to cut down on expenditures and is a sincere advocate of economy. And so long as he can maintain that pose through the national conventions and the election in November, he will have an answer of sorts to the critics of his spending policies. "We cut down drastically on WPA, didn't we?"
Thereafter, it will be a simple matter for Congress, when it meets after all the hullabaloo is over, quietly to pass a deficiency appropriation and to give WPA however many hundreds of millions it needs to finish out the fiscal year.
Socialists Hold To It As Rigidly As Reds
In contrast to the run of Communists, the run of American Socialists, and the Socialists over the world for that matter, is apt to be of a high order. No man in American public life has exhibited a more absolute integrity than old Norman Thomas. A Presbyterian clergyman of high standing, he so hated war in 1917 that he quietly went to jail rather than keep silent about his views. And that there was no mere exhibition in it is amply demonstrated by the fact that he has never played the martyr about it since.
It is fairly characteristic. Socialists are more often the genuinely tender-minded and idealistic rather than mere disgruntled crackpots. But like all the "isms," they are rigidly incapable of considering whatever conflicts with their dogma--insist that the facts must fit with that dogma and not that the dogma must fit with the facts.
In their convention over the weekend, they militantly demanded that the United States refrain from "any form of aid" to either side in the European war. That, in point of fact, is impossible. Our ban on American ships entering the war zone is inevitably a direct aid to Nazi Germany. And anything we do or don't do is going to have effect one way or the other.
Moreover, there is no doubt at all that it will be tragic for us as well as Europe if England is defeated or the war ends in a stalemate and chaos.
The Socialists, indeed, accept the Marxian theory of history only less absolutely than the Communists, and so regard the destruction of Britain, chaos, perhaps a period of Fascist rule over the Western world at large, as merely inevitably stages in clearing the way for a Socialist order. But there is nothing in history which actually bears out any such view. History really indicates clearly that what is likely to come out of such "stages" is simply a long return to barbarism and the negation of ideals.
They Show Great Difference In Races
Tuberculosis tests among high school students in the city show a wide variation between white and Negro young people. Positive reactions (not necessarily an indication of active tuberculosis) among the white students were in the ratio of one to every ten tests, as against more than one to every three tests among the Negro students.
The same relative unhealthfulness is confirmed by many another statistic. For instance, the maternal mortality rate in North Carolina during the years 1933-37 inclusive was 58 per 1,000 white mothers, 94 for Negro mothers. Half again as many Mecklenburg Negroes as whites die annually of tuberculosis, despite the fact that there are two whites to every Negro in the county.
Figures are not available for venereal disease and the diseases, such as pellagra, which are caused by dietary deficiencies, but they undoubtedly would disclose a shocking condition among the Negroes. And of course there is a further principal cause of death in Mecklenburg County, homicide, which is almost a monopoly of the Negro race and which is allowed to operate unchallenged by our society.
Disease is not confined to the Negroes of Southern regions any more than it is to the lowest class of whites, but everything indicates pretty clearly that the obligation of public health work is more largely due to the Negro population.
Four Out Of Six Are Men Of Violence
Out of six convicts paroled from the State Penitentiary at Raleigh last Friday, four were:
Lonnie Rawlings, Mecklenburg County Negro sentenced in August, 1935, to serve from twelve to fifteen years for second-degree murder.
Rick McCall, Henderson County man sentenced in March, 1938, to five to seven years for manslaughter.
Sammy Dodson, of Wilkes, sentenced in June, 1939, to three years for manslaughter.
Isaac Gore, of Columbus, sent up for nine months in October, 1939, for an assault with a deadly weapon.
It happens that way often. On the parole lists those convicted of crimes of violence almost always outnumber the others.
There is something to be said in defense of this in some cases, obviously. The man, Gore, for instance, would have been free in a few more months anyhow, but turning him loose now the parole office can keep a legal hold over him far longer than would otherwise be possible. Moreover, there are, we know, often mitigating circumstances which enter into the decision to free these men.
And yet--crimes of violence are the crimes which most clearly rise out of fundamental traits of character. The crime raises a very strong presumption that he is an emotionally explosive sort in whom the ordinarily effective inhibitions are not adequately developed. And to turn such men loose in a section of the country in which crimes of violence are the most common crimes is a procedure whose good sense is certainly open to doubt.
Ban On Exporting Tobacco Seed Looks Useless
The irritation of Southern farmers at the British abandonment of the Southern tobacco market has brought up again in Congress the scheme to shut off the sale of seed to foreign growers, despite the President's veto of the bill last year.
This irritation is perhaps natural, but it is not very logical. There are a number of reasons why the British prefer to buy their tobacco elsewhere while the war continues. One of them is that it enables them to form far closer ties with strategically important countries like Turkey and the Balkans, by furnishing them a market for the tobacco they must sell to Germany if they cannot sell it to the Allies.
In any case, the ban on the export of American seed is not calculated to do anybody any good. Such schemes have never worked; and American seed are as certain to get to Europe as rubber plants were certain to get to the East Indies despite Brazil's prohibition--unless we are prepared to string quarantine stations in a solid row across the middle of the Atlantic.
On the other hand, the move is just another addition to the maze of trade barriers which already threatens to smother international commerce. And it is likely at least to add to the mood for retaliation against our commerce. American tobacco planted abroad very quickly loses the character it develops under our own soil and meteorological conditions, in any case. If it is American tobacco the Britishers want, they are going to have to buy it here. If they can do without it, there doesn't seem to be much that we can do about that.
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