The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 11, 1941


Site Ed. Note: Charles Kettering, the subject of "Sub Catcher", not only invented in 1911 the electric starter for automobiles, but also the electric refrigerator, a Delco battery system to afford cheap electricity for farms, rural schools and remote hospitals, and, during World War I, along with Elmer Sperry, the inventor of the gyroscope, the first guided missiles, actually a pilotless airplane, capable of carrying 200 pounds of explosive material 200 miles--the ground floor for that which led to the development by German engineers of the V-1's. In association with Dupont, he developed also the first quick-drying auto paints which reduced the time for a spray job from 17 days to a few hours. He introduced ethyl to gasoline to prevent knocking in automobile engines, after having invented the first high compression engines. He established in 1930 a laboratory at Antioch College to discover the secret of photosynthesis which led to the ability to tap solar energy.

So, when next you grab a cold drink from the refrigerator, start your engine, listen to the silent hum of the four-banger which nevertheless delivers a wallop of power without the horses, get your old dilapidated jalope painted at Earl Scheib, or decide to scrap all that, disconnect from the grid, in exchange for a combination solar-powered, Delco-powered farm life, then, bored with that, opt finally to launch your guided missile, you may alternately bless or cuss Mr. Kettering.

Installment 9 of Out of the Night is here. Superman is back, still ponderously considering what to do to save Lois.

And, Nell Russell of Clement Avenue continues to hold it a fait accompli that Hitler had won the war, that it was a futilitarian notion to try to wage any fight against his resistless power, except by the fatalistically perfidious constancy to "lay on our guns from this time forward", waging an interminable fight only from within our borders. Obviously a very sensible idea gleaned from the isolationist propaganda she regularly disseminated, probably, judging by her periodic resort to elipses, taken in virtual wholecloth from the information sheets she received out of New York--which eventually got us into the war, and but for which, had instead, without the obstructionist-isolationist tactics thwarting more direct action by the President and Congress, the country sent soldiers to Europe in spring, 1940 at the invasion of France, might well have then and there supplied the requisite additional force to avoid the debacle at Dunquerque and the consequent four-year struggle to come in both Europe and the Pacific.

For had Hitler been vanquished at that early point in the war with the aid of a new American Expeditionary Force, the Japanese would never have been so emboldened as to strike Pearl Harbor, not only aware that America was prepared to fight back, but also with precognition that it would be forced to fight only a single-ocean, and therefore imminently winnable, war. In all likelihood, too, in that event, there would never have been a Cold War, as Stalin would not have garnered the postwar bargaining chips he had for acquisition of territory in Eastern Europe through his indispensable aid to the Allies in defeating the Pan-Nazism which by 1941 had spread throughout central Europe. So, we may thank Ms. Russell and her xenophobic friends for all of their erudite wisdom, which led to many things.

But we remind again as to those latter day equivalents to them, their mirror image at the other extreme, the pre-emptive, insurgent, go-get-'em-before-they've-chance-to-get-us crowd, this is not World War II, neither now in 2008 nor when it began in 2003. For such paranoid frenzy comprised precisely a substantial part of the motivation, or at least rationalization, which led Hitler to embark on his various conquests. It is a sinistrally pessimistic view of the world which presumes the other's inhumanity rather than humanity.

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