The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 8, 1941


Site Ed. Note: First, from yesterday, we note three exceptions: an extraneous "be" and "i" in our note, and, we think, an "E" probably for a "K" in the name of Judge Currie. Our apologies.

We were hied at the time to put the thing up by game time, so that our prediction could be seen or not, with sound fore-ordination or not.

Since it did not dread naught, it enjoyed the former alternative, of course, within its major premise of the thusly constructed disjunctive syllogism, as is obvious. Not only did we predict the winner but the rather remarkable overtime which almost became instead a not to be, the eventual winner having been behind by nine with two minutes to go. But then with several points in a row and some turnovers in the interim, our syllogism's first alternative proved itself right all along: 'twas yet the Memphis Blues again out on Beale Street. The final score, 75 to 68 to Kansas Avenue, you may figure for yourself. But we got that precisely right as well, and quite some time ago.

So, that being said, we shall just blow on our fingertips a bit with the pride to which they are due, as they are hot and dogged with tapping, and let you do the rest for this date, including the subject of the piece by Dorothy Thompson, the suicide of Pal Teleky in Hungary, with his back to the wall, having been coerced to sell out his country to the Nazi invader, politically forced to make compromise with sin in fact, not some decision as to whether to allow Sunday amusements. His new bloodsucking pal said, Pal, in return for our gift of Transylvania to thine, you go to Yugo; but instead of selling out his pals with Jane's, Pal blew out his brains.

We shall leave it today with this one thought: a couple of weeks back, we decided on Easter night to watch "Ben Hur", not having seen it for awhile and having seen it for the first time on its tenth anniversary re-release tour, the night before Easter, 1970. Mr. Heston, who just passed away over the weekend, we were reminded, was a fine actor in many roles, even if we disagreed with his position on guns, and even if our Latin teacher in 1969-1970, a wise elder of the village, had expressed consternation over the facts: a) that such an arrogant, blue-eyed, full-grown man had been ever so cast in the rôle of a young Jewish boy; and b) that the Toledo steel on the spiked wheels of the chariots was a complete anachronism as no such steel existed at that time in the Roman Empire.

Thespians are certainly as entitled as anyone else to their beliefs and their voicing of their positions, political, social or otherwise, and whether we agree with them or not; yet, we must also think for ourselves and not be easily swayed either by dramatics displayed by people trained in drama or by the heady atmosphere induced to the mind from the aura of celebrity surrounding them, merely because they are particularly adept at playing out certain roles before a camera, which, by the design of its director and the script writers is supposed to make the thespian shine in his or her best light possible, and whether playing fair or foul the character at issue.

In any event, our recent comment, in some degree of anger in the wake of the news last month off a couple of college campuses about yet other deaths at the bad end of too easily acquired guns, that we might take him up on taking that gun from his cold, dead hand, was not of course meant literally, as an ad hominem attack, or as any touch of evil, but the converse.

We hope that the Supreme Court in its consideration of the present case of the constitutionality of the gun-control legislation in the District of Columbia, for the sake and safety of all of us, including that of the Court which sits there, will determine to do just that, and irrespective of anything, and any celebrity or any pressure group's opinions, but the Constitution's Second Amendment as written: to allow to stand the will of the people's elected representatives to take, by law, the guns out of the hands of those not engaged in the maintenance of militias, before in fact we must wrench it from their cold, dead hands after they have shot up the place, as is routinely the news, and for so long now that it makes our head rattle to think on it. Remember that story about the Hidells and a Bolton bolter of Holland of eight shillings? We do.


He Furnishes Judge Currie With Worthy Opposition

The announcement of Councilman H. H. Baxter of his candidacy for Mayor furnishes Judge Currie with worthy opposition.

Mr. Baxter has been one of the most progressive members of the present Administration, and is probably the most logical man to carry the Douglas flag since the Mayor himself has made up his mind to retire from the post.

We see by the papers that the fight is going to be a bitter one, but we can hardly understand why. The truth is that there are few real issues. The failure of the Douglas regime to rid the city of the evil eminence for murder might be made one. But the fact is probably that a system rather than any individual or group of individuals is responsible for that--a system and a great many other factors which require to be tackled by more than the City Government if they are ever going to be done away with.

In any case, we think Charlotte can count on reasonable good government if either Judge Currie or Mr. Baxter is elected. It is not probable that either is going to succeed in doing all the Good Government forces have, somewhat vaguely, in mind. But either is likely to do all that can be reasonably expected of a good Mayor.

Weak Link

Strong Labor Department Is Obvious Need Of The Times

The House Military Affairs Committee is going to quiz Madam Perkins about the delay in the defense program because of strikes, and about the efforts of the Labor Department to conciliate industry and labor.

But Madam probably knows little that isn't already common knowledge. Why Mr. Roosevelt retains her as Secretary of Labor is one of the great mysteries of his Administration, unless he simply dreads to face the rumpus Madam might raise if she were dismissed.

As long ago as the first sit-down strikes it was clear that the Labor Department was no place for a woman, especially one of Madam Perkin's [sic] unfortunate capacity to rub people the wrong way. And now with the country at least halfway into war, it is doubly clear that what the Labor Department needs is a hard-boiled male (somebody like Ed McGrady) who talks the language of the men at the head of the unions and of industry, none of them precisely gentle violets.

The President has so far got around Madam's obvious unfitness for the job of dealing with tough boys by systematically stripping the department of its powers, so that conciliation in labor disputes is now almost entirely out of her hands. But the result of that is to create a lot of sprawling and unco-ordinated machinery, with the Labor Department standing by and failing to discharge its proper function.

A strong Labor Department is obviously one of the chief requirements for national defense. But the President continues to show not the slightest intention of getting rid of Madam Perkins and setting up such a Department.

Bad News

The Fall of Derna To Nazis Is Ominous for British

The fact that the Nazis have reached the Aegean seacoast does not perhaps mean much. The Thracian plain is not easily defended and the Greeks long ago laid their plans to abandon this territory in case of attack. The Nazi claim that the move splits Greece off from possible aid from Turkey is nonsense. Actually, it places the Germans in a position where they can be easily crushed between Turkish and Greek forces.

What is more disturbing is the news from Yugoslavia, where the Nazis have apparently succeeded in doing much damage to communications and where the retreat of the Slav army seems, temporarily at least, to have left the Greeks exposed to flanking attack.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the news that Derna, in Libya, has been taken by the Nazis, aided by the remnants of the Italian army in that country. It begins to look now as though the British had either dangerously weakened their Libyan forces or that the Nazis have got a really strong force into Africa. In any case, the Nazi force seems to be well supplied or it could not move ahead so rapidly now that it is hundreds of miles of from the base at Tripoli.

But if the British add the control of the Mediterranean they say they have, it is difficult to know how any such German force could have landed or how it could be supplied, unless through the French possessions. Pétain denied that yesterday, but the Vichy Government is so slippery that it cannot be assumed that he was speaking the truth.

Dense Deeds

Some Englanders Need a Whisper--Or More

There is an obtuse streak in many Englishmen, and in some of them it seems to dominate.

Take Lord Halifax, the Ambassador to the United States. We don't ourselves mind that fox-hunting costume in which he has been repeatedly photographed. Nor do we object to scenes of his lounging about with the horsey social set in Washington. A man has to have his relaxation--and if he likes that sort of thing, all right.

But somebody ought to take him aside and explain to him the facts of life--which, include the fact that many Americans (who like to fancy themselves as he-men) see red when they see that sort of costume, and that many of them are people who are already inclined to grumble about the hardships involved in aid to Britain. The late Philip Kerr would never have forgotten that.

But if Halifax is a little dense about his photographs, what are we going to say about Grey, the editor of Jane's series of handbooks on the sea and air power of nations? In his latest on aircraft, he captions a photograph of a Lockheed bomber with the observation that America is preparing to back the war "to the last Englishman."

He may have his ground for argument, but, despite the fact that the London newspapers indignantly repudiate his statement and the Government sets out to suppress the book, the act will do England incalculable damage.

The London newspapers suggest that Grey has always been a Nazi admirer. But Nazi or not, somebody would do well to take him quietly apart and push him in the Thames.

The only comforting thing about it is that it makes the belief of a lot of credulous people in the supernatural skill of the British at propaganda as ridiculous as it really is.

An Organ

Which Is Devoted To Appeasement Propaganda

On our desk lies a copy of the new Scribner's (sic) Commentator.

Let it be said at once that it has nothing to do with the old publishing house called Scribner's. It is instead an organ of the so-called America First Committee and is devoted to the preaching of isolationism and appeasement. It contains many startling names as contributors--including those of John T. Flynn and Robert M. Hutchins. Its general tone and argument is remarkable like that of the bulletins of the German Library of Information, official Nazi propaganda agency in New York.

That is not to charge that it is directly and knowingly a Nazi agency. So much has been charged. It has not been proved. That many Nazis and Fascists have smuggled into the fold of America First is certain. But many of the members, like Flynn and Hutchins, are undoubtedly honest isolationists.

But the tone of the thing may be judged from an article by Mr. Albert Jay Nock. Mr. Nock is a noted and facile writer who used to call himself a Jeffersonian and Liberal and who wrote many little pieces admiring France. Lately, he has turned to warmly defending Germany.

Says he:

"It is clear now that to insure settled peace in Europe after 1918... the victors had only one choice, either to exterminate the Germans or understand them. They chose to do neither: they chose instead to reduce them to servitude as labor-motors..."

It is not really hard to understand the Germans as Mr. Nock suggests. A long line of their philosophers from Hegel to Adolf Hitler have told us precisely how to understand them. All they require of us is that we hand over to them the hegemony of the earth and agree to be reduced "to servitude as labor-motors" for them.

Mr. Nock does not say precisely that he favors that formula for understanding them. The reader may, therefore, draw his own conclusions.

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