The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 3, 1941


Site E. Note: The other two pieces of this day, "In Iraq" and "More Points", were uploaded in March, 2003, not coincidentally just on the eve of the beginning of the United States pre-emptive war in Iraq, based on a pretext of the need to find and seize a supposed vast, hidden cache of weapons of mass destruction, including near nuclear capability. But, as we know, these weapons did not exist and no such arsenal was found, just as the weapons inspectors, who had worked dutifully for a decade to monitor and control the existence of such weapons, had consistently offered as probable assessments based on both their last inspections before being evicted from the country by Saddam Hussein and their monitoring since of any requisite weapons material being introduced to Iraq.

That which we set forth in our note on the history of Iraq and its culture in March, 2003 has not changed in five years, as histories and cultures are wont not to do in such short transit.

After all, the rush to violence as a solution for conflict characteristic of a particularly noisy portion of the South prior to the Civil War, that born of the tendency of feeling to overcome and displace thought, the characteristic among these fanatics of justification for that violence by defense of God's will, the additional prime definer of intransigence in the face of change, glued to the traditions of the past for the sake of those traditions however they may reduce to the absurd superstition which anoints self-fulfilling prophecy, the sum total of which Cash had called in The Mind of the South the "Savage Ideal", were still in very visible array not only among substantial segments of the populace but among their elected officials in parts of the South through at least the 1960's, and in varying and lesser degrees even into the 1990's. Thus, it has taken at least 130 years for the gene pool and progressive, often grudging, change through generations to overcome these worst tendencies of the typical antebellum Southerner. And, even in so doing, the change is one as often as not of displacement of these worst tendencies with that of the Babbitt go-getter who practices with equally dedicated alacrity the same inherent chracteristics, merely supplanting deceit toward and dishonor of one's chosen enemies for the violence, using the while the same complex of religious and moral rationalization, the same steadfastness to tradition for the sake of it. And that is so despite the gloss of media representations to the contrary which present more usually than not the exceptions to the rule of reality in any given context than the reality, and for obvious reasons. Reality is something of which the daily existence of life takes ready note, is boring to the average viewer to watch and hear, and moreover poses a danger to the corporate go-getter who pays for the media presentation.

With that as ready example in our own backyard, we should not expect, within the parameters established by genetics in humanity generally, anything less from the Iraqi, beset by centuries of just such ignorance and reliance on superstition and violence to carry him through the various daily requirements to sustain life, and especially so set as he has been historically in an environment in which largely unregulated violence begets more violence, just as it was in the South traditionally.

The savage ideal may crop up anywhere in any culture and subculture, and still of course is one with which there is a mighty wrestle within segments of the United States, regardless of region. But when we speak of it as a characteristic of a society, the subject is one of the pervasive tendency on the part of large numbers of people acting en masse through time. And anyone with a grain of sense who had looked at the history of Iraq from that viewpoint five years ago ought have come to the same conclusion to which we came, that the invasion of Iraq was foolhardy, without any clear reason or end. That to try to supplant such a longstanding history in short order with a westernized approach to democracy and freedom, while sounding the tocsin for change, was doomed ultimately to fail, just as a similar effort in Vietnam failed and should have visibly taught the lesson systemically to us.

A country must find its own way toward freedom and democracy through time.

This country found its own way, is still struggling in many respects to find its own way, toward that goal. It did not reach it through dependence on Mother Britain or France to guide it along on its path, through the latter's pre-emptive invasion--such as the one by the British in 1812 which resulted in 1814 in the burning of the White House. We soundly booted the imperial royalists out again and hailed as heroes those, such as Andrew Jackson, who were instrumental in doing so.

We daresay that in time, should we not leave voluntarily and soon, the same will transpire in Iraq. We shall be unceremoniously booted out by even bloodier battle than has preceded. It is the nature of the beast, come what may, and irrespective of the technology of machines of war--perfected in their killing power largely at the behest of and in reaction to Adolf Hitler--to quest for independence and freedom individually and within a defined group identity, irrespective of the supposed mentoring guidance of another. That is so in spades when that other comes not with mere advice but with bomber jets and laser-guided missiles first to wreck completely the country which they seek to democratize, to lay it on the wrack of desperation to induce its compliance to rational will, supposing somehow that to have been the model by which the day was won in Europe and Japan. But that was not the model. We resisted events which would compel it, and for as long as possible until directly attacked. Then we declared war on the sovereignty which was the attacker and Germany then declared war on the United States. We were not attacked by Iraq; we were not attacked by a sovereign allied to Iraq, receiving aid and comfort from it. And therein lies the ultimate fallacy of the supposed analogy, or at least the one most promulgated five years ago, including by the Administration, as the ultimate rationale for the pre-emptive war. As we have suggested before, had Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 declared war instead on Russia for its April neutrality pact with Japan, claiming that to have been the white marble which thumped the rest leading on to the attack, in all likelihood he would have been impeached.

Moreover, even if the comparison had a hint of cogency about it, the "post-war" efforts in Iraq, actually efforts at post-war reconstruction amid the dodged reality of continuing guerilla warfare, have not entailed the coordination of the Marshall Plan or been productive of MacArthur's children. Rather, it has effected disaster heaped on disaster, with little if any overall positive impact, the result of incompetence bred from the very myopia which hurled the country peremptorily and insouciantly into such an unwinnable conflict in the first instance.

The second additional piece of this day, "Pipe Dream", on the Office of Production Management, responsible for converting civilian to defense production under the direction of William Knudsen, chairman at the time of General Motors and former production manager at Ford during World War I, calls to mind that it was the closely aligned agency created April 11, the Office of Price Administration, where Richard Nixon wound up awaiting his call to duty for his stint in the Navy in World War II, in his case assigned to the rationing of tires.

Eventually, in April, 1942, OPA made orders freezing at March, 1942 rates prices on most commodities, and on rents on fifteen and a half million dwelling units in prime defense areas. Eventually, 90% of all food items were covered by price controls. Rationing not only of tires, the first to be rationed on January 5, 1942, but of automobiles, gas, fuel oil, sugar, coffee, typewriters, bicycles, shoes, rubber footware, heating and cooking stoves, processed foods, fats, and meats was also undertaken and regulated through OPA. The problem was enforcement, as prices continued on inflationary trends despite the controls; OPA's concerted efforts at compliance, however, tended through time to maintain overall prices at significantly reduced rates of increase during the war. At its functional apogee, OPA had over 60,000 employees and 235,000 volunteer assistants. OPA was abolished in 1947.

During the Korean War, from 1951 to 1953, President Truman set up the Office of Price Stabilization to curb inflation. No further price controls were instituted until August, 1971 when President Nixon implemented the first "peacetime" (by his definition, anyway) program which lasted until 1973.

Dorothy Thompson's piece this date, to which "More Points" relates, provides some insight into the peace tenders being promoted by both the Japanese and Hitler. The temptation might arise, in reading through it, to see in the abstract, under a post-war view of matters, some of the twelve points being sought by the Axis as reasonable--the demands that India and South Africa, for instance, be given their independence from Great Britain, that Australia be opened to Japanese immigration. But, as the pieces of both Cash and Thompson also suggest, given the rapacity of the track record of the Nazi in Europe and the Japanese in China and Indochina, the likelihood that in such event those countries for whom "independence" was sought would have remained for long truly independent, rather than soon becoming the newest victims of military aggression and puppetry orchestrated from Berlin or Tokyo, that the sought free immigration would have endued passive assimilation rather than determined Fifth Column emasculation of the native culture, could only be foreseen with clarity within the conjurings of an idiot hypnotized by the wheel, sustained by the rice, one who would make Pollyanna appear as Cassandra, one who might likewise see Roosevelt as a warmonger, or paint Cash as a racist.

Cash, of course, set forth the cathartic solution to the world's dilemma in "More Points"--simply surrender to the inevitable will of Aryan superiority, that of the German and Japanese, give it all up, save a few states south of New Amsterdam and New England, east of the midwest and the Purchase de Louisian, south of the Great Lakes, and north of New Spain, that is Florida--thus leaving the secured and peaceful interests of about 80% of the Confederacy, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to fend off Greater Germania & Japania, Inc., replete with its combined navies now at instant parity with that of the aforementioned. It might have seemed to leave us an island a bit isolated but, as Bob Reynolds had indicated once on the Senate floor, North Carolinians could hit a squirrel's eye at a hundred yards. And since, under the Cash Plan, with High Rock Lake as the safe harbour for the Navy, North Carolina would have been part of the U.S. Concordant Preserve, the result was manifestly determined without necessity for further argument or the wasted effort of increased aid or insuring its safe passage by convoy to Britain, and all the pain of war likely commensurate with it. They should have listened. There would have been peace to the extent accommodating none but the dead in the valley.

The Test*

Can Citizens Group Muster Strength Twice in a Row?

With the Mayor's race out of the way, Tuesday's election is likely to be an anti-climax to the excitement and enigma of the primary. The principal question has been answered, which was: will the unorganized voters turn out in sufficient numbers to overcome the machines? They did, handily.

But that show of strength will go for nothing unless it is followed up. The trouble with citizens' tickets is that they lack a binder to hold them together. On rare occasions they may succeed in working up the people, after which they subside and organizations take over again.

If Tuesday's vote should be a repetition of last Monday's and if thereby it is shown that the Citizens Group is something more than a flash in the pan, an encouraging prospect will have been opened up, a potent instrument devised.

What a movement like this could do in a general election with County and district offices at stake--well, it would be something to see.

Pipe Dream

This Group Wants To Have Its Cake and Eat It, Too

The resolutions of the United States Chamber of Commerce, adopted in its session at Washington Thursday, are quite as astounding in their way as John Lewis' demands at Harrisburg.

To recapitulate the news reports, they were:

1--No reduction of non-defense production to speed defense production.

2--The reduction of new taxes proposed by the Treasury from $3,500,000,000 to $2,000,000,000. Income taxes to pay only one billion of this, the rest to come out of the general public in sales and excise taxes.

3--Not only no reduction but an increase in production of non-defense goods to keep pace with consumer demand, to "head off inflation" (sic).

That is not, you will observe, the "business as usual" policy which destroyed France and has come within an inch of destroying England. It is a policy of "business a dang sight better than usual," with profits roaring in and somebody else paying most of the taxes.

The idea flies straight in the face of what responsible men like Knudsen have already pointed out.

And coming from precisely the group which whooped loudest in the first two Roosevelt Administrations for a balanced budget and "pay as you go," it is astounding. Sales taxes are probably in the offing, but not to let off the fat brackets. With the vast defense spending, every available source of revenue is going to have to be tapped to the limit.

After such proposals the Chamber's "pledge of co-operation" with the Government and OPM is perfectly meaningless. And so is its talk about the "necessity of everybody's sacrificing." Everybody but its members, the boys seem to mean.

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