Shelby Vision of Fight Fame May Ruin Men Whose Money Backed Dream

Damon Runyon

El Paso Times/June 26, 1923

Damon Runyon Finds in Montana Town Tragedy of “Big Idea That Failed to Grow Up,” as Loyal Villagers Face Heavy Financial Losses

Civic Pride to Put Up Last Dollar for Bout

Citizens Pledge Their All to Guarantee Dempsey-Gibbons Contest, After Early Payments of $224,000 to Ensure July 4th Program

SHELBY. MONT., June 25. Something that strikes the writer as touching on tragedy is going on in this little Montana town, still in the blood raw of municipal life. It is the tragedy of a big idea that failed to grow up. If you ever had an idea that so failed you, that is indeed tragedy. Sitting in a small room in a frame hotel last night, we heard the story from the lips of some of the men who conceived the idea, from the dreamers of the dream of staging a world’s championship fight in this place. And having heard it, we can now understand their motives, We have looked into the mystery that has been puzzling the east the mystery of “why Shelby?” It seems reasonably certain as this is written that the Dempsey-Gibbons fight will take place in Shelby on July 4th, just as scheduled, but present indications are that it may take place at terrific sacrifice to many loyal men. It may leave some of them “broke.”

Financial Fizzle Expected

It may be one of the greatest battles for the heavyweight title in the history of the prize ring. It will have an amazing scenic setting. Yet the present indications are that it will be a financial lizzie, and therein lies the tragedy. As we sat listening last night a cold rain was falling outside. You could hear it pattering softly in the puddles of water in the clay streets, already ankle deep in mud. The men who talked wore heavy boots. They were fine, upstanding men, strong western types. They spoke with great candor. They pretended no sophistication. They admitted that they were babes in the pugilistic woods in the beginning, and that they wandered around until they got lost.

Through an open window we could see the lights of Shelby gleaming vaguely from the doors of restaurants and stores. Solly Harris, the pugilistic promoter who has achieved fame as the occupant of the only room with bath in Shelby, sat at our elbow, corroborating with nods the statements of the talkers.

Shelby’s Growth Amazing

Solly came here five years ago to assist the promoters of the fight. He is now a Shelby pioneer, and can tell amazing tales of the startling growth of the town which rose from 700 to 4,500 inhabitants in a few months. Silent city-wise, brought up on Manhattan, always indigenous to the big town, Harris speaks of the boom of Shelby with pride.

Five weeks of life in a new town, where day one sees houses springing up on barren lots, new businesses blossoming on every hand, where every day there is visual evidence of progress, have tinctured his blase blood with the spirit of the new town, the spirit that makes every man at heart a booster, a boomer.

The Dempsey-Glbbons fight goes back to this spirit.

A small group of men in Shelby wanted to do something big, wanted to attract attention to their little town, which they believe to be one of coming big towns of the west, what every western man with a spark of vitality in him believes of his own town.

They had nothing in particular to sell. Oil has been discovered near Shelby, several paying wells are now flowing, but oil will sell without a ballyhoo. The impression that the advertising of the oil fields was behind the Dempsey-Gibbons fight seems to be entirely erroneous.

What the Shelby men wanted to do more than anything else, as the writer gathers, was to attract attention to their part of the state by putting over an apparently impossible feat, feeling that the world would then say of them, if they could do that, they could do anything.

A Vision of Achievement

Then, although this seems to have been a dream quite in the background, some of them felt that they could eventually put over a $10,000,000 irrigation project, long planned and long discussed, which would make this section of Montana boom like a garden.

This is a dry farming region. For six years they have had no crops. Most of the farmers are broke after putting in some of the best years of their lives here.

This year, few of them bothered to put in crops, mainly for the reason that they could not go to the expense. Ironically enough, rain has been falling off and on for weeks. This is part of the tragedy.

You must not definitely connect the Dempsey-Gibbons fight and the irrigation project which would be the salvation of the farmers, save in that they were all fragments of the general dream of doing something big, something that would bring Shelby up from the dead level of mediocrity among towns. So it all started with a telegram from Sam Sampson, one of the citizens of Shelby, to Jack Kearns, manager of Jack Dempsey. The telegram never reached Kearns, but was opened by Kearns’ New York representative, Dan McKetrick. The writer happened to be in McKetrick’s office when he got the telegram, and remembers Dan’s laugh as he tossed the message over.

Collins Takes Kearns’ Trail

McKetrick didn’t take it seriously, and Kearns didn’t take it seriously when he heard of the matter. They thought it was one of the usual telegrams managers of champions receive from small town “bugs” bidding on big fights. Sampson eventually faded from the proceedings, but other citizens of Shelby took up where he left off and kept wiring Kearns.

Their insistence finally aroused Kearns’ interest, especially when they engaged Mike Collins, former manager of Fred Fulton, now editor of the Boxing Blade, and a well-known boxing promoter of Minneapolis, to dicker with him for them. Collins was in the room last night while the talk was going on, a handsome Irishman, with a serious expression. He will get little out of this thing save thanks.

Loy J. Molumby, one of the state officers of the American Legion, also entered the proceedings and it was Molumby and Collins who finally closed the match after following Kearns to Salt Lake. Through Molumby and Collins the little town of Shelby agreed to terms that everyone In the boxing world thought impossible for anyone except the biggest boxing promoters, part of the terms being the immediate payment of $144,000 to Kearns and Dempsey. It was all easy enough so far, and Shelby went about building a splendid arena and advertising the fight with great confidence.

Prospects Brighten

Then came the date of the second payment of $100,000 to Kearns, and a delay in raising the money. It is said that enough tickets had been sold on the outside to take care of this second payment, but the money is held in escrow and could not be released.

The hitch compelled some of the original promoters of the fight to drop into the background. It was necessary to bring in new financial blood. The delay, and the talk over the delay, undoubtedly hurt the gate receipts. It gave rise to doubt as to the fight coming off. Cancellations of reservations began coming in.

Things have looked brighter the past few days, but the most optimistic doubt if the fight will draw enough money at the gates to “break even.” It seems a great pity. There is nothing humorous to the writer in the potential financial failure. He would like to see it averted. These men of Shelby are fine, courteous men. Even at a time when it does not look any too happy for them they find time and occasion to manifest their hospitality to visitors.

To Pay Final Installment.

They are determined that the fight shall come off if it takes the last dollar In town. They expect to pay over to Kearns and Dempsey the final installment within another 24 hours and thus relieve all suspense in that direction. With a certainty that the fight will take place, who knows but a miracle will occur, and the great arena, now awaiting occupants will fill to the brim, leaving something for the men who have staked so much as a matter of civic pride?

It Is nothing to laugh at.

You look at Shelby, and seeing it with the eyes of casual observer, you see only a muddy little town with clapboard houses, and store buildings erected with great haste.

You look at Shelby, straggling along the railroad tracks, and you see just another town like scores of other towns dotting the prairies of the west and you may possibly wonder that anyone could find civic pride in such a place.

You may think possibly that the civic pretensions of such a town futile—foolish. You see the citizens of Shelby in raincoats and boots, bending their heads to the drizzle and you may think of them as dull, prosaic. But if you could look into the hearts of the men at Shelby, and into their minds, you would find there the loyalty, born of honesty of purpose, and the pride of race that has made America.

Firpo Crushes Charley Weinert in Second Round

Damon Runyon

Buffalo Courier/August 14, 1923

Argentinian Floors Opponent Twice – Sponge Tossed In – Jeff Smith Wins

Philadelphia, Aug. 13 – The “Wild Bull of the Pampas” came out of his corner for the second round against Charley Weinert of Newark, fairly snorting tonight. Rigidly upright, his eyes glaring, his black hair tossing, his long hairy arms extended stiffly, he pawed once, twice, and then a third time at the pale Weinert.

His great hands fell against the back of Weinert’s neck with a heavy thud. Weinert went down partly from the effect o the punch, but more from being wore down. He got up weakly as Referee “Pop” O’Brien started to count. Then Firpo rushed him, clubbing with both hands.

Toss in Sponge

A punch back of the ear upset Weinert again. Charley fell on the canvas flat on his back. O’Brien started another count. Weinert got to his hands and knees and then to his feet. Another terrific smash back of the ear dropped him again. Then a dripping sponge flew into the ring from Weinert’s corner.

The Jersey man, who left his pugilistic future in the cabarets of New York and the good looks that once gave him the name of “the Adonis,” lasted one minute and 49 seconds of the second round against the “Wild Bull.”

The 25,000 Philadelphians packed in the National League ballpark, expecting to get a line on Jack Dempsey’s next opponent, did not have much chance to see the real Firpo, because Weinert’s resistance was brief and rather weak.

The Jersey man got through the first round by keeping his left hand busy, but a couple of body blows in that round undoubtedly hurt him. He was strong enough coming out of his corner for the second round, and went right at the “Wild Bull,” appearing with his left and driving Firpo to the ropes. Then Firpo rushed and his tremendous strength quickly overwhelmed Weinert.

Argentinian Wide Open

Firpo’s system of boxing with his right—to some boxers his potential weakness against Dempsey—was again apparent tonight. He was wide open, as usual, and Weinert had no trouble reaching his face with a left.

However, Weinert’s left was a very weak affair, and Firpo rushed right through it, so to speak.

Firpo fought Weinert with great confidence from the first bell, and there was no doubt of the result at any time, although during the first round Weinert’s efforts inspired some of his admirers to wild shrieks of “Knock him out, Charley.”

Physically, Weinert seemed a mere suggestion of his old self.

Jimmy De Forest Absent

For the first time since his arrival in this country, Firpo was not handled by Jimmy De Forest. He had Scotty Montieth and a couple of friends from the Argentine behind him.

Frank Flournoy, matchmaker, represented Tex Rickard at the ringside, and breathed a sigh of relief when Weinert fell in the second round.

The million-dollar-September gate—the Dempsey-Firpo fight—is saved.

The Fight By Rounds

Round one—Charley was short with a left to Luis’ head, and bounced back as Firpo swung a right. They clinched. Weinert jabbed with his left, then rushed Firpo to the ropes. Missing a left uppercut, Weinert hooked that hand to the nose. Firpo smashed a right to the head. They clinched. It was Weinert’s round.

Round two—Firpo slugged Weinert with his right on the head. It was a vicious blow. Both missed rights to the face. Firpo floored Weinert with a right to the head for a count of two. Charley struggled up and was smashed down with the clublike right for a count of seven. As he made his feet again, Firpo swung a terrible right and a strong left, and Weinert went flat and stayed that way.

Jeff Smith Wins

Jeff Smith, Bayonne, N.J. middleweight, outpointed Andy “Kid” Palmer, Philadelphia, in eight rounds.

Nate Goldman, product of the marine corps, outpointed Bobby Barrett, Philadelphia lightweight, in the first eight-round preliminary in the opinion of a majority of newspaper men at the ringside.

Danny Kramer, the lefthanded junior lightweight of San Francisco, was outpointed in the eight round semi-final by Alex Hart of Cleveland, in the opinion of the writers.

Chance Will Have Free Hand with Yanks

Damon Runyon

El Paso Herald/December 20, 1912

NEW YORK. N. Y., Dec 20. During Harry Wolverton’s leadership of the Yankees, Frank Karrell never interfered with the luckless manager in any way; that policy obtained during the time George Stallings was at the head of the club, according to Stallings himself, and Hal Chase was also permitted a free hand on the managerial end.

Frank Chance will have the same full control when he takes charge at the Hilltop, and responsibility for the showing of the club will therefore rest with Chance alone. It has been a popular impression in some quarters that the Yank ownership handicapped every manager by interfering in the playing end of the club, and the declaration of Stallings is especially interesting, in view of the fact that it is wholly gratuitous. “Farrell. or no one else connected with the business office, ever interfered with me in the slightest degree,” said the man who now heads the Boston Pilgrims. “I never had any complaint then or now on that score.” Chance would probably never stand for interference anyhow; but the experience of his predecessors in that respect, at least, should be reassuring to him.

You’ve got to hand it to Charley Ebbets. He spends more money accidentally than any of those other magnates do intentionally. “Manager McGraw will have full control over the players and the playing end,” confides the new management of the Giants. Or else it might have added, there won’t be any manager McGraw.

On the face of the returns, Garry Herrmann has shaded Murphy in the deal which takes Joe Tinker to Cincinnati as manager of the Reds, and brings Frank Chance to the New York Americans. Mike Mitchell is the best ballplayer Murphy gets out of the batch traded to him by Herrmann, and Mike has reached a stage where he will not improve. Phelan, a third baseman, is a promising youngster, but Murphy did not need a third sacker. He may be able to use Phelan in the field. Kinsely would have been turned back to the minor club whence he came by Herrmann, as he was not regarded as worth the amount still due on him. Bert Humphreys, who was formerly with Philadelphia, has never displayed any remarkable form. As for Herrman’s end, he gets a shortstop who, regardless of his ability as a manager, should have at least another year of more baseball value in him than any one of the bunch Garry traded.

Corridon’s worth is problematical, but he never impressed many local fans as worth the fuss made over him. Chapman, the Topeka catcher, who goes to the Reds, is said to be an unusually promising youngster, while Grover Loudermilk, the elongated pitcher, may now be ready for big league service. Grover was with Bresnahan at St. Louis for some time, but Roger couldn’t get much out of him. He did well at Louisville, however. Only time can tell which club really benefited by the deal, of course, but at first glance it would seem that the Reds have the best of it.

It is manifestly one of the by-laws of the Baseball Players’ Fraternity that no member shall think in sums of less than five figures during the winter. Speaking of the erstwhile Duke of St. Loo, he will very likely be working for Pittsburg as a private in the ranks, if he works for anybody next season. It is said that Barney Dreyfuss has offered Bresnahan a salary of $10,000, and, if it isn’t the same kind of money that Dreyfuss paid for O’Toole, this is a better offer than any other club in the league could make in comparing himself to George Cohan and Louie Mann, the Marquis of Marquard seriously affronts two old friends, De Wolf Hopper and Willie Collier, both hard working baseball fans who cannot understand why their names were not mentioned by the great south hander. On and after February 29, 1913, yon may address Richard W. Marquard, ballplayer, in care of the Arlington Hotel, Marlin, Tex.

The Passing Show

Ambrose Bierce

San Francisco Examiner/March 13, 1904

IT is not desirable that our Japanophile sympathies blind us to the fact that “the little brown men” are somewhat addicted to the practice of playing the game of war “pretty low down.” They were under no obligation to “declare war” before beginning it; modern nations do rot run to chivalry in these matters and declarations of war are not for belligerents but for neutrals, apprising them of a state of things already existing. Nor is it altogether clear that their use of Russian signals to entrap Russian ships is illegitimate; the worst one can say of it is that it is customary—and that is bad enough to say of almost anything. But in that Chemulpo affair Russia is altogether right in her protestation that it was a distinct violation of what we are pleased to call “the law of nations,” that is to say, the few decent “rules of the game”—which the greater powers have found it expedient to observe when playing against one another. The Japanese Admiral of a powerful fleet outside a neutral port, where nobody knew that war was on, sent in a demand for surrender of two feeble Russian vessels inside, threatening to attack in the harbor if they refused—a harbor crowded with friendly ships! Like a gentleman commanding gentlemen, the Russian captain, rather than imperil all these neutral ships and lives, steamed gallantly out to a hopeless fight to destruction. That was the finest thing that we know to have been done in this war, so far. The next finest was the cheering by which the crews of the neutrals signified their sympathy and admiration, as he passed them with his doomed vessels, flags flying and bands playing. In occasional incidents like that lies much of whatever value war may have. They fire the imagination; they warm the heart; they illuminate life and character with something of the light that fell upon the paths of the Israelites following their pillar of fire. Without war we should have only “the humble heroism of everyday life”—and who really cares for that? We try to care for it, it touches those who happen to witness it; but it is a wine that needs a bush. The heroisms of war carry their own glory, utter their own mandate, dominate us with an imperious authority and make us better men and women. Thank you, Admiral Uriu, for your cowardly breach of international law.

THIS Japanese sailor man, by the way, was educated in his profession at our Annapolis academy. One wonders if it was there that he learned his battle manners. If not, it is to be regretted that international etiquette does not permit the present head of that institution civilly to remind him that he has disgraced his alma mater. It would be well, too (and that is practicable), for the Secretary of the Navy to have a word with the commander of our one warship in the harbor of Chemulpo at the time. That gentleman refused to join with the other commanders of neutral vessels in protesting against the Japanese Admiral’s infraction of law and custom. Possibly he feared to involve us in a controversy with Japan; but fear, I take it, is not what is required of the commander of an American warship—certainly not the fear to do right. I should think with conspicuous advantage to the service this person might come home and till the soil. Barring his aggressive inaction, the Chemulpo affair lacks but little of artistic and moral perfection. Both the belligerent commanders should have met death; the Russian because he merited it, the Japanese because he deserved it.

“THE educational system of this, the greatest State in the Union,” says Professor William Kent of Syracuse University, “is in a condition of chaos. The school system of thirty years ago was better than that of the present day.” That is true, in greater or less degree, of all the older States. Their school systems are worse than those of the newer. The standard of efficiency for both teachers and students is lower; their courses of study are less sane and wholesome. The reason is not far to seek. The older any human institution is the farther it has drifted away from its original purpose and intent, to serve purposes and intents of other kinds, ambitions of a meaner sort. The school systems of the newer States had the incomparable advantage of a definite design. They did not grow up; they were planned. They could start, and in a general sense, did start, unhampered and unburdened with traditions, social, religious, political and other, imposed by conditions that no longer obtain anywhere. Their founders had the whole world from which to choose the best, and as a rule they chose it. Moreover, that headless horseman, the unspeakable “faddist,” has not had time enough allowed him to stable his hobbies in the Western schools, at least, not many of them. Later he will enter, astride his mount, and caracole as bravely there- as here, but at present he is witching the world with noble footmanship outside. After a while, too, the standard of Western universities and colleges will have been so lowered that a graduate of an Eastern high school will have what he has not now—a chance of admittance to some of the least exacting. So matters are not so bad as they look; our educational systems are shooting Niagara, but hope on joyous pinions flies before, and, looking backward, points out the junior systems following after.

TWO highly interesting bits of news have come sputtering along the cables from the Far East. First, it is rumored that the American squadron is going to make a demonstration (of our President’s pugnacity, probably) at the mouth of the Yalu. Second, that General Slammakoff is moving his troops toward Pin Chee. It is difficult to estimate accurately the relative importance of these tidings from the seat of war; probably one is as important as the other, or even more so; but both are indubitably beaten out of the field of public attention by the statement that Manchuria was invaded last Tuesday by the Japanese army, which a week before was at Seoul, three hundred miles away, beyond a mountainous country with no roads.

A CERTAIN man of uncertain mind

   Sat conning a war-map o’er

“I’m looking, ah, looking, in vain to find,

   On this Orient sea or the shore,

   A spot called ‘the Open Door.’

“They say it is somewhere here or here”—

   And his forefinger voyaged free,

With his ever-vigilant eye to steer,

   Down the coast of that Orient sea

   To the southern point of Coree.

“Why seek you the Open Door, good man?

   What have you so to win?”

“I’m told there’s fighting inside—my plan

   Is, by hook or crook or the skin

   Of my teeth, to butt right in!”

“Why, yes, Mr. President, there’s a war,

   And the fight is free, no doubt;

But that is not what you are hired for,

   And it’s easier thereabout

   To get in than it is to get out.”

But that finger continues to explore,

   Despite our prayer or scoff,

That Orient sea for the Open Door.

   I hope it won’t Slammakoff

   And Pin Chee the darned thing off.

THE members of the Royal United Service Institution of London town are loud in their wail because they have been fooled with a silver statuette of Nelson, purchased at a price of magnitude and cherished with pride. They thought, poor souls, it was made in the lifetime of the “great Admiral,” and had once belonged to a King, whereas it turns out to be the work of an obscure art student, and is only two years old. It is not denied that it looks a good deal as Nelson might have looked if he had been silver and little and not authentic, but that is not enough by much. A work of art which is not so old as it looks, which purports to have been owned by a King, even such a King as George III, and was not owned by a King, is unworthy of the fine Italian eye of the connoisseur. That is why the United Service Institution is now audible. The statuette is doubtless worth something, even if it has to go to the melting pot to augment the volume of the country’s coinage, but a larger proportion of the investment may be saved. Let it be presented to King Edward, with the understanding that he give it back when it shall have become sufficiently sanctified by infection and absorption of the royal aura. Then sell it to an American.

REPRESENTATIVE BURTON of Ohio is a patriot, a Republican and an excellent man. That he is not a logician is obvious; he knows it himself. Mr. Burton, living on land, is opposed to maintenance of a powerful navy. He says we do not need a great navy unless there is, or is to be, a combination of all the European powers against us, which is unlikely. Well, now, here, Mr. Burton: suppose there were a combination of only two of them, having a great navy each. Why would we not then need a great navy ourselves? Upon what could we rely to prevent them from capturing or destroying the navy that we have? Rhetoric is fairly effective where conditions favor, but European battleships are mostly steel-clad and have no ears. They do not surrender to the men behind the tongues.

THE United States Supreme Court, having decided that a railway company is not liable for injuries to a passenger traveling on a free pass if he has accepted it with that understanding, it might not be an unprofitable notion to load up a train now and then with free-passers and smash them. The cost of the train would be considerable, but in the long run it might be certain that any number of deaths would be deterrent; the passion for dead-heading may be stronger than love of life; it certainly is stronger than self-respect. Perhaps the railway companies may be willing to do something of the kind, even at a loss, to promote the general good.

KING EDWARD of England, the seventh of the name, is said to be ambitious of distinction. He thinks it can possibly be won by dispelling that ancient evil, the London smog, a mechanical mixture of smoke and fog. The latest smog is estimated to have cost London two hundred thousand pound sterling, much of which went for gas and electric light, much for extra wages to signalmen on the railways, some to surgeons, and so forth. Possibly the gas companies, the electric light concerns, the signalmen, the surgeons and other purveyors of comfort and safety would estimate the loss at a smaller sum. Still, if King Edward can chase the smog out of his brumous environment he may reasonably hope that these humble subjects will remember to curse him as long as he lives.

A FEW weeks ago, in these columns, I signified my dissent from the generally accepted explanation of the oceanic tide-wave on the side of the earth opposite the moon. Among the considerable number of letters that have come to me concerning the matter is one from Mr. John R. Waters. It seems to me interesting enough to justify quotation of the passage stating the writer’s view of the matter: “The air surrounds the earth continuously and completely. If the moon pulls up the water on the side of the earth next to her, because water is fluid and easily obeys the pull, how much more fully and completely responsive to this pull must the air be. Does not the consequent atmospheric high tide next to the moon draw away much of the air from the farther side of the earth, and does not the water on that far side, being to this extent relieved of weight, therefore rise and exhibit a flood tide?”

That is admirably clear. Whether it is or is not a true explanation of the phenomenon in question, my small knowledge of the matter does not enable me to say. That the moon’s direct stress makes an atmospheric tide there can be no doubt, but I do not know if the thinner layer of air on the opposite side of the earth exerts a sufficiently less pressure to let the earth’s centrifugal “throw” affect the level of the water. That “throw,” I take it, is all that would make the water lift, even if there were no atmospheric pressure at all. But caeteris paribus, would the barometer show a difference in weight between the air on the side of the earth opposite the moon and the deeper air on the side toward her? Her pull on the former is downward toward the water; on the latter, upward away from the water. On the one side she assists the earth’s pull; on the other, resists it. Perhaps some reader of scientific attainments and compassionate heart, observing us poor infant laymen

crying for the light,

and with no language but a cry,

will have the goodness to beacon our darkness and still our inarticulate clamor.

ASSEMBLYMAN WALLACE, who introduced in the New York Legislature-the bill depriving street railway passengers of all redress for exaction of double fare, is said to be “serving his first term in the Legislature.” It would be easy to name the place where he ought to serve his second.

I BELIEVE Senator Warren of Wyoming has made the statement, certainly he has supplied the proof, that General Leonard Wood has no legal right to the medal of honor that his person adorns. Senator Warren is said to have arrived at this conclusion “by close study of the Acts of Congress.” There was a shorter route to the same conclusion: study of the acts of General Leonard Wood.

CONSUL SKINNER, who recently made a kind of royal progress to the capital of Abyssinia to receive an elephant’s tooth and a brace of young lions for President Roosevelt, and, incidentally, make a market for American goods, gives us an altogether fascinating picture of King Menelik’s army, “arrayed in gorgeous silks and satins, with lion and leopard skin mantles, carrying gold and silver-plated bucklers and lances from which floated the national colors, and mounted on spirited horses.” Now does not that blow the cooling coals of military ardor in every old soldier’s breast? Does it not make him glow with a patriot’s desire to fight Abyssinia, extend the area of American conquest and strip the slain? On to Abyssinia! Liberty or death!

Stock Swindler Living Well

Westbrook Pegler

Richmond Times-Dispatch/January 4, 1937

FOR a long time your correspondent has been vaguely worried about Mr. Al Wiggin, the great New York banker of the Era of Beautiful Nonsense, and wondering whether anything had happened to him, because if anything should happen to Mr. Wiggin your correspondent would be deeply distressed not to hear all about it.

Now comes an acquaintance from Charleston, S.C., however, who reports that nothing has happened to Mr. Wiggin which would justify a national holiday or even mild individual rejoicing by persons whose savings were invested in the stock of his bank at the time that Mr. Wiggin himself was selling short about 60,000 shares for a profit of four and a half million dollars.

Mr. Wiggin has built a home for himself in a colony of economic royalists near Charleston known as the Yeamans Hall Club and, not to put a fair face on the news of him, he looks all right and seems to be his old self. He has plenty of money left from his short sales of the stock of his bank and the unloading of his B.M.T. when his position gave him to know that the subway was going to pass its dividend, and he has had no major vexations except the time the builder proposed to build a wall around his property according to the local custom. Mr, Wiggin objected to the wall, saying the place would look like a jail and, of course, anyone will understand his feeling about that. Who wants to live in a place that looks like a jail?

Not Even Tooth Trouble

“Do you mean to say Mr. Wiggin is well and happy?” your correspondent asked.

“Just fine,” said the gentleman from Charleston. “He doesn’t seem to have a thing on his conscience.”

“His what?”

“Conscience,” said the gentleman. “You know, the thing that tells you that you have done a dirty trick and makes you feel like a heel. He doesn’t seem to think he ever played the heel in all his life.”

“Hasn’t he even had trouble with his teeth?”

“No” said the gentleman from Charleston. “You want the truth and I am giving it to you. Al Wiggin looks just dandy and he doesn’t seem to have a worry in the world. If you can’t take it why do you bring up the subject?”

“What about friends?”

“Oh, I don’t know whether they are friends or not,” said the gentleman. “But people speak to him just the same as to anybody else. You can’t really tell who is a friend in this world. A lot of people thought Mr. Wiggin was their friend when he was selling short while bolstering the price of the stock with the bank’s own money in those pools as Ferd. Pecora showed that time in Washington. But friends or not, people speak to him and he can get a game of golf just like anybody else. After all, you must remember that Mr. Wiggin is a very rich man who never did anything unlawful. Whether he did anything wrong is another question, but he wasn’t even indicted much less convicted and the only comfort I can give you is to refer you to the record of the Senate investigation, where you can refresh your memory and decide for yourself whether he ever did anything wrong. And you can recall that they grabbed back the bank pension of $100,000 a year that he awarded himself, if that is any pleasure.”

“What about the people of Charleston? Aren’t they supposed to be very aloof, socially?”

“Well,” said the gentleman, “there isn’t much money around there these days and these economic royalists in their little colony are big spenders. One day they ordered the caterer to get several dozen lobsters for dinner the next night and he telephoned Bar Harbor and had them flown down in a special plane. All along the coast economic royalists are settling down in mansions and clubs on ground so poor that even the poorest people finally were starved out. That kind of money makes for tolerance.”

“Is this an exclusive club, this Yeamans Hall?”

“Well what would you say?” said the gentleman from South Carolina. “Al Wiggln belongs.”

The Irritations of Wealth

Westbrook Pegler

Richmond Times-Dispatch/January 5, 1937

WITHIN the last week there have been three spectacular demonstrations along the coast of a kind likely to arouse dangerous unrest among the lower classes and promote the spirit of Communism.

It is improbable that the authors of these occasions are in secret sympathy with Moscow yet the situation is one which seems to invite the patriotic intervention of the American Legion, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the churches.

In Philadelphia Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. B. Widener 2nd gave a debut for Mrs. Widener’s daughter Joan Peabody—cost $50,000. In New York, for the second time this year, Miss Barbara Field, the daughter of Marshall Field, was introduced to society with 1,000 guests on hand—cost $50,000.

Miss Field was first introduced to society by her father at a $50,000 party but either she or society didn’t catch the name, so the presentation was repeated at the Ritz under the auspices of her mother, who gets alimony of $1,000,000 a year from Mr. Field, who gets it from the department store in Chicago.

It is to be hoped that Miss Field and society both listen carefully this time so that they will recognize one another hereafter.

Run Into Important Money

Not only do these introductions run into money but more important, they tend to irritate the lower classes who do not have the intelligence to reason things out calmly and perceive the nobility of such spending, but only mutter “$50,000 for one party! Why, the louses.”

There is no use arguing that this spending gives employment to waiters and florists and the peasant girls of France who tread the grapes, because the lower classes can see only contrasts and these make them sore.

The third party was given on New Year’s eve by Mrs. Evelyn Walsh McLean—cost $50,000.

To be sure these are all very rich people and their money is theirs to spend as they please after they have met the inquisition of the income tax department. Yet there are other ways of arousing the ignorant annoyance of the unemployed and the underpaid than by howling at them from a soap box or stepladder in a foreign accent redolent of garlic and this is one.

Indeed these three hosts, sturdy Americans of honest American background, by their garish extravagance widely publicized in the papers, reached a far greater audience than all the soap-box and stepladder agitators in the Communist Party and in much more realistic fashion.

Cries Up for Americanism

The case is one which cries for the robust Americanism of the chiefs of police of Terre Haute Ind; Atlanta, Ga.; and Tampa, Fla., who know how to deal with Communist disturbers coming into their midst to stir up unrest and strife by exhorting the lower classes to strike for something called their rights.

Comrade Earl Brower of Kansas, who ran for President on the Communist ticket, was resolutely suppressed during the late campaign although he could not possibly have dramatized the proposition as effectively as it was presented in these three demonstrations within the last week.

Perhaps it would involve a slight invasion of the constitutional rights of the hosts in such cases if the local chief of police, the Legion, and the DAR should intervene each according to established custom.

The chief could turn out the strong-arm squad to rip down the decorations, beat up the musicians and the guests, and confiscate the champagne.

The Legion might picket the premises and the DAR, of course, would pass resolutions denouncing the festivities as provocative of social unrest and a boost for Communism.

A Case for a Good Dictator

I AM inclined to measures a little more robust, feeling that anything which breeds discontent among the lower classes prepares the way for Communism with its godlessness and intolerance for sacred things. My way would be to call on Mussolini and Hitler for bombing planes to blast these $50,000 parties without mercy in the name of God instead of waiting until the lower classes are driven to vulgar extremes as in Spain and then bombing the people themselves.

Of course I may miscalculate the feeling of the poor on reading that Miss Field, for example, has been introduced again at a further cost of $50,000 to a lot of boys and girls whom she has known all her life and to a lot of others whom she will never see again if her luck is with her.

Possibly they are pleased in their simple way to hear about this and the mother’s annual alimony of $1,000,000 from the father who gets it from the store.

But there are almost certain to be some employees who will entertain a selfish wish that the money had been spread around in wages for the clerks.

Collective Bargaining and the Power Question

Dorothy Thompson

Great Falls Tribune/February 2, 1937

Is it not curious that the president, while rebuking Mr. Sloan for refusing to bargain collectively with representatives of the automobile union, and while his secretary of labor seeks increased government powers to enforce a conference, should himself arbitrarily assault the principle of collective bargaining in another field?

I am referring, of course, to the power fight. There is a curious parallel between the attitude of the president and the attitude of Mr. Sloan. Mr. Sloan says he won’t confer as long as the strikers are illegally occupying company territory. The president interrupted negotiations with the utility companies because the utility companies affected in the TVA area will not withdraw injunction suits, although these same suits have been pending since last May, and, although the president called his power conference last September in the full consciousness that the suits were pending and the full knowledge that they would be withdrawn only if the government, on its part, suspended further building of transmission lines until an agreement was reached.

In the one case General Motors refuses to negotiate. In the other, the government refuses.

There is an issue involved of profound importance for the American people. It is, in the estimation of this column, the issue. We are, like all the rest of the world, going through a period of profound social readjustment. And the question is not only what readjustments must be made but it is also: In what spirit and by what method shall we approach a solution of our problems? Are we to seek solution by fundamental democratic methods of investigation, reasonability and knowledge, seeking everywhere the greatest possible measure of consent, or are we to engage in naked contests of power, with the decisions determined by force and maintained by coercion?

The whole philosophical basis of democracy rests on a belief in human reason and the possibility of obtaining collaboration for specific ends between divergent groups. If that basis is abandoned, democracy is lost.

The president’s Portland speech, one of the finest of his campaign, indicated that he intended to approach the power question in the spirit of liberalism and democracy, concentrating on the attainment of objective ends. Those ends were “assurance of good service and low rates to the population” . . . the establishment of “the undeniable right” of any community “to set up its own governmentally owned and operated service”; the conservation of private utility operation and investment wherever fair rates are charged and only reasonable profits made.

“When state-owned or federal-owned power sites are so developed private capital should be given the first opportunity to transmit and distribute power on the basis of the best service and the lowest rates to give reasonable profit only.”

The calling of the power conference to discuss a pool; the appointment of a power policy committee to work out a solution between private and public interests, were all along the line of a liberal approach.

The power policy committee contained representatives of the interested parties—TVA and the private utilities in the field—Mr. Ickes, representatives of the federal power commission, Mr. Cooke of rural electrification, two representatives from the SEC and some of the most enlightened industrialists and technical advisers on finance of this country: Russell Leffingwell, one of the few men amongst bankers or bankers’ advisers who have defended the major parts of the president’s financial program; Alexander Sachs, who has spent years studying the power question and co-ordinations which have been made elsewhere in the world; and Louis Brandeis Wehle, a nephew of the Supreme Court justice, as another independent adviser.

It was a sympathetic committee, and if any group of men in the country was capable of working out a program along the lines of the Portland speech and bringing to it the prestige of knowledge, this group was.

It was charged on Oct. 1 to work out plans for realizing an administration program, outlined on broad lines, and it was approaching a reasonable compromise when it was wrecked by the extremists of the TVA and the senate. The wreckage was accompanied by extremely misleading public statements and the sort of headlines Mr. Roosevelt deplored, when, in another case, they were used by John Lewis.

Senator Norris, on Jan. 14, stated that the utilities have not in good faith lived up to their agreement at the White House conference; that at that conference there was an agreement to extend until February the contract between the TVA and the Commonwealth & Southern Corp., and that in violation of the terms of that extension and as soon as the extension was made, the utilities got out an injunction hamstringing the TVA in everything.

Wendell Willkie was able to produce evidence in the form of a correspondence with the president that Senator Norris’ statement was not in harmony with the facts and in this he was publicly supported by Mr. Wehle. And the true state of mind back of the extremists was expressed in Senator Norris’s other statement that “public and private power can no more mix than oil and water.”

That is a statement of opinion, rather than fact, and the opinion has little to support it. In all the democratic countries, public and private enterprise in the utility field is very happily mixed—in Great Britain and in Sweden, for instance, and obviously it was to find a way of mixing them that the president called a conference in the first place.

The reaction of a large part of the liberal press indicates that it has forgotten the essence of liberalism and prefers to join the fanatics, who are accustomed to redouble their efforts when they lose sight of their aim. Jay Franklin, for instance, joined the ranks of the demonologists when he attacked Dr. Arthur Morgan’s public statement on TVA policy. For Mr. Franklin’s whole attack on Dr. Morgan was centered around the argument that Dr. Morgan agreed with Mr. Willkie.

“For a concededly honest man.” he said, “Dr. Morgan could have done little more for the private utilities had he been on the payroll of the Commonwealth & Southern.” It seems utterly out of the question to Mr. Franklin that Dr. Morgan and Mr. Willkie actually might come to agreement honestly at any point. For Mr. Franklin, and for Senator Norris, and Mr. Lillenthal this is plainly not a question of finding the best method for giving the people cheap power and protecting their interests but is a fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Such a fight, being completely subjective, is never compromisable.

One might answer the devil chasers in Washington with another statement of Dr. Morgan’s, which has nothing to do with the power issue but is a statement of faith. I quote from the notes of Antioch College:

“The foundation of civilized society is reliance on intelligent and sympathetic fairness and reasonableness rather than on arbitrary power. Only to the extent that men have confidence that issues will be decided by efforts to reach the most reasonable conclusions can men disarm, physically, economically and socially.”

That is a liberal statement and whether the liberal spirit will prevail in the next four years will determine whether we are to move forward into new social and economic forms with a maximum of unity and consent or settle down to bitter warfare. And war—the liberals have always said—never really settles anything but merely sows the seeds for new wars.

Grouse for Breakfast

Dorothy Thompson

Decatur Daily Review/February 5, 1937

In Which Dorothy Thompson Looks At Chancellor Hitler’s Recent Address

“I strongly advise you against reading the papers this morning,” said the grouse. “They are full of conditions and situations, of floods, menaces, tax programs, strikes, and, I regret, of your perpetual King Charles’ head.”

“My King Charles’ head? Whoever are you talking about?”

“Wilhelm the Third, King and Emperor. And prophet. Christened Adolph. Surname Hitler. He hath spoken. Occasion is four years of his rule, and the beginning of four years more.”

“Oh, give me the papers. What did he say?”

“Confine yourself to the grapefruit. I dislike women reading newspapers at breakfast. No woman can read a paper like a gentleman. Folded perpendicularly and elegantly held in one hand. Like all women, you get it into the coffee.”

“Well, then, what did he say?”

“He said he was for him. He said Heil, Hitler. He said he had known need and sorrow and now was bent with care and asked for four more years of it. The Reichstag stood up. The Reichstag sat down. The Reichstag cheered. The Reichstag left. Germany regenerated. Bloodless revolution. Four more years ‘Mein Volk! Heil!’”

“Why do you call him Wilhelm III? He would prefer to be likened to Bismarck.”

“There are differences between the Kaiser and the prophet. For instance, the moustache. Both, you observe, wear them, and in both the moustache is the center of attention in the countenance. But the Kaiser’s moustache is aggressive. The incumbent’s is cuddled under the nose like a wee, sweet mousy.

“The Kaiser looks like somebody about to do something. Hitler looks as if he had just been caught doing something. Also, I believe, the Kaiser was accustomed to commune with God, whereas the prophet comes down from the mountains having communed with himself.

“Oh, yes, there are great differences. But there are greater similarities. The Kaiser broke with Russia, while deploring the danger of the Yellow Peril from Japan. The prophet breaks with Russia while glad-eyeing the Japs whom he has discovered to be Aryans along with the Arabic Moors.

“Have you been able to figure out why an African soldier on the Rhine is a pollution of the Nordic race, and is its savior in Spain? Both found themselves encircled by enemies; both admired England while deploring the English. Mr. Hitler, for instance, finds that the so-English Mr. Eden is doing his country a grave wrong by being so very un-English as to think like an Englishman. Like the Kaiser. Mr. Hitler thinks the English should think like Germans. A grave error, made once before in history.

“But the greatest similarity is in the cosmic mysticism of their dreams. And that is why they are alike, and neither of them in the least like Bismarck. Bismarck believed in blood and iron and German unity. But Bismarck knew precisely what he wanted. He also knew how to get it.

“He knew that he could not have both Russia and Britain as enemies. He made one his ally and he kept the other neutral. And when he got what he wanted, he stopped, and thereafter behaved like a good European. Bismarck will go down in history as the German statesman who knew when to stop.”

“Your historical remarks are interesting, but how about the speech?”

“In addition to congratulating the German people upon four years of himself, he was expected, you remember, to answer a speech by M. Blum. He did not, of course, do so, since the Germans have no dealings at present with sub-humans, to which category M. Blum, by reason of his racial extraction, belongs by German definition.

“M. Blum was so sub-human as recently to suggest that now that Germany has equality, but lacks raw materials, foreign trade, international currency, and colonies, it might be well to amicably consider ways and means of getting them for Germany.

“He also was so sub-human as to suggest that the normal interchange of goods in the world is greatly facilitated by a peaceful atmosphere: that an international armaments race, in which every country spends the bulk of its national income on guns, is not the best accompaniment for a restoration of prosperity. M. Blum suggested that since all wars eventually end in peace conferences, it might spare a lot of wear and tear to have the peace conference first.”


“You can readily see that such an idea is the product of a degenerate mind, of a people gone soft, and could only occur to a Blum or an Anthony Eden or a Cordell Hull. It has the supreme dismerit in this period of history of being reasonable. Mr. Hitler proudly ignored it.

“He said he had offered a disarmament pact three times; it has been refused, and now that there was a man in power in France who might accept it, he would be hanged if he would offer it a fourth time. Or words to that effect.

“Besides. Mr. Hitler along with Japan is engaged in a crusade. He will not be able to rest until he has saved all of us.”

“From what?”

“From regimentation. Planned economy, rigged trials, state control over the productive machinery, concentration camps, enforced exile, five-year plans, party dictatorship, suppression of religion, mass demonstrations, drilled youth, labor camps, a sub-servient press and education, mass propaganda, and the obsequious worship of one man.”

“Saved us, from those?”

“I am telling you about the speech. Lest you become confused Mr. Hitler wishes to save us all from communism. There is, apparently, a great issue in the world. It is whether you and I shall eventually say ‘Heil, Hitler!’ or whether we shall say ‘Heil, Stalin!’”

“But suppose we won’t say either?”’

“Your naive remark is democratic liberal idiocy. France says she won’t say either, but she is buying cannon. Britain says she won’t say either, but she is equipping every man, woman and child with gas masks, and plugging the chimneys so they won’t suck in gas while letting out smoke. Spain said she wouldn’t say either, but look at her now.”

“Oh, what a nice, comfortable, cozy thing a flood is!”

When Our Dictator Shows Up

Dorothy Thompson

Escanaba Daily Press/February 19, 1937

“There is one certain remedy for a headache,” said the Grouse crankily. “It is cheap, instantaneous, and guaranteed. That remedy is decapitation.”

“I fail, as usual, to follow you.”

“I refer to the President’s way with that bothersome old lady, the Supreme Court. He says the Supreme Court has, and is, a headache. He proposes to cure it. But he is a busy man. It’s a long way upstairs to get the aspirin, and the doctors disagree anyhow as to just what’s wrong with Auntie. So he has jumped into the kitchen for a cleaver, and the sure and lasting cure. Nice fellow, the President. Can’t bear the sight of long drawn out pain.”

“Your metaphor is fantastic.”

“I mean it to be. This is a fantastic world. Social ministrations with the hatchet, real or figurative, are becoming an international habit. In Moscow political inconveniences are sometimes bumped off, but oftener retired on full pay. Or put under protective arrest. The President proposes to put the nine old men under protective arrest, watched by six young huskies, unless they will retire on full pay. All the same methods. Hatchet. Decapitation. Humane or otherwise.”

“I take it that you object.”

“I am positively startled by the vigor of my objections. Hence the attempt to express myself fantastically. For along about now the American people, who are seldom interested in anything for more than two weeks, will begin to say, ‘Oh, let the President do what he likes. He’s a good guy.’

“Also, they really feel that the Supreme Court is a nuisance. Why, they think, should they bother to nurse her along?”

“Well, and why should they? You tell me.”

“Government by decapitation becomes a habit. The removal of obstacles by crying ‘Off with their heads!’ was employed by the Queen in Alice’s crazy dream. It has now become entirely too general for my taste. Besides, there is another cure for Auntie’s headache. It has been used eighteen times before. The only objection to it is that it takes time and patient treatment.”

“But they say that a constitutional amendment would take years to pass.”

“They also say that the people overwhelmingly want the things which a constitutional amendment might give them, don’t they? You can’t have it both ways. The Prohibition amendment, which a majority of the people never wanted, passed in a few months. If the New Deal hasn’t as competent a machine as the Anti-Saloon League, I am astonished. If all the farmers, all the working men, and all the unemployed, really want what we are told they do want, nothing could stop such an amendment.”

“Wouldn’t an amendment really amount to the same thing as the President’s proposal?”

“It would not. The method of legitimate constitutional government is to say: “If you don’t like the law, change it. If you don’t like the powers of the Supreme Court, limit them. If the meaning of the law is doubtful, clarify it.’ That is exactly the opposite of saying, ‘The law means what I and the current majority in Congress say it does, and we shall fix it so that the judges and we see eye to eye.’ That method can only have one result—after a while there isn’t any law. The main difference between democracy and dictatorship is that in a democracy the judicial system is there to protect the citizen and in a dictatorship it is there to protect the state.

“But, if I were you I would not talk too much about dictatorship. For we have always had in this country the dictatorship of one oligarchy or another. And that lies in the nature of the State, which few since Thomas Jefferson have realized is by its nature a predatory instrument. The State is a means by which one set of fellows legally despoil the others. For a long time business controlled this instrument, and with it despoiled those who were not business men, and the Supreme Court still represents their mentality.

“Now, the Congress and the Administration represent the groups from the bottom who have got on to the fact that the State is a means by which they can get something for nothing. And the Supreme Court, since it still represents the other, just ousted bandits, stands in their way. This is just another fight, and this time a fight for control of the means of oppression, which the State is. The chief objection to everything that has happened in the last four years is that the State, which, by and large, is no earthly good to any hard working, honest and decent human being, and only interests those who want something for nothing, is getting so strong that soon we shall all give up the struggle and let it run everything. And when it does all history shows that it will run everything into the ground. For the State never consists of people who write memoranda about doing things. And when it gets strong enough it finally represents only one predatory group—that of its own members. It takes about a third of the national income now, and before everything is finished it will probably take all of it. Anything which retards this inevitable process is highly desirable.

“Also, and apropos of dictatorship: No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument for expressing the incorporated National Will. When Americans think of dictators they always think of some foreign model. If anyone turned up here in a fur hat, boots, and a grim look he would be recognized and shunned. Likewise anyone resembling six Roman Emperors, or someone you must greet with a stiff arm and a Heil. But when our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. Since the great American tradition is freedom and democracy you can bet that our dictator, God help us! will be a great democrat, through whose leadership alone democracy can be realized. And nobody will ever say ‘Heil’ to him or ‘Ave Caesar,’ nor will they call him ‘Fuehrer’ or ‘Duce.’ But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike blat of ‘O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!”

Will America Ever Speak Out?

Dorothy Thompson

Chattanooga News/February 26, 1937

Dorothy Thompson Bemoans Isolationism While the World Prepares for the Greatest of Great Wars –Once Before America Cast the Deciding Vote, and Cast It Too Late, After the Catastrophe Had Arrived

The announcement that England is about to spend $7,500,000,000 for rearmament purposes, hardly less, according to Neville Chamberlain, and possibly more; the estimate of “The London Banker” that Germany’s military expenditures in the past four years have been 31,000,000,000 marks—$12,000,000,000; the course of steel, copper, lead, zinc, and other such stocks on the American stock market; the revelation that our government is concerned with whether it can get steel from our own industries under the Walsh-Healey Act—all these are only straws indicating the outstanding and most important fact in the world today, namely that an armaments race is on which has no parallel in history, and, very importantly, that the whole process of industrial recovery is bound up in this race.

Two facts: First, the nations indulging in this orgy of armaments have not yet paid for the last war; second, the effort comes at a time when the nations are slowly recovering from the most violent depression of modern times, and when there is enormous pressure upon them for large expenditures for social services.

Modern armies are the most expensive in history. They are mechanized. This means huge capital outlays for trucks, tractors and tanks. The air arm is all important. Airplanes have an especially high rate of obsolesence, because of hard use, crack-ups, and changes in design. Not only must there be tremendous numbers of planes on hand, but also factories capable of turning out thousands of machines during war. Military experts agree that the first line air personnel and machines are likely to be annihilated at the very outset of hostilities.

Modern expenditure for war has taken a new turn in that all the nations are storing gigantic reserves of food and essential raw materials. In so doing, some of the countries, such as England, are vitally influenced by America’s neutrality policy. They fear that in war-time they could not buy from us. Other countries, such as Germany, remembering the experience of the Great War, when the blockade cut off their overseas supplies, are taking no chances, and also laying in huge supplies. Vast amounts of capital and goods, therefore, are being frozen.

In London recently as a direct result of England’s vast rearmament program government bonds have fallen sharply in price, and armament shares have risen proportionately. Holders of bonds have sold them in order to buy shares in companies that will benefit from the arms program. Because of the pressure on the money market, arising from governmental needs, private industry will have to pay higher rates of interest, and higher rates for raw materials. This will tend to handicap the export industries of England and thereby retard all recovery based on normal business activities. Moreover, London is the money market of the world. Borrowers find it increasingly difficult to obtain money there, because the money will be needed at home. They cannot obtain it in New York because the Johnson Act prohibits our lending to nations in default to us, and that includes most of the Great Powers.

The point that I am trying to make is that the armaments race is disrupting all normal business activities, and concentrating an enormous proportion of the entire wealth of the world into a single channel. Our naval policy is to build up to England, and the British have just announced that they will spend $3,000,000,000 on their navy, build twenty-five new battleships and put a squadron into the Pacific. The Japanese in turn have announced that they will try, at least, to build up to each of us. Under these conditions, it is impossible to see how one can bring about a balanced economy in any country, with or without complete dictatorial control over it. Furthermore, this kind of race is impossible to stop once it gets well under way. So vast a number of workmen, such prodigious amounts of basic materials and industries will eventually be involved in it, that its sudden liquidation, even in universal disarmament, would bring about a general economic collapse.

It is at such a moment that the United States, in its foreign policy, is carrying water on both shoulders. The policy of Mr. Cordell Hull, backed by the President and the Congress, is economic internationalism. The policy of a large body in Congress is political isolationism. The two are incompatible. The translation of political isolationism into economic isolationism would mean economic dictatorship. If the people of America want that, they ought to get it perfectly clear in their minds that that is what they are heading for. The translation of economic internationalism into political internationalism would mean that we would have to take a stand in the world. For if the present situation drifts, war or world economic collapse are the only two alternatives, and we shall certainly share in the latter, whether or not we share in the former.

The armaments race was started by Germany, Italy and Japan. Japan has seized China, and threatens the English, Dutch and French possessions in the Pacific; Italy has seized Ethiopia and has forced British rearmament by her policy in the Mediterranean. Hitler has put all of Germany upon a war basis, with the avowed intention of expansion, exactly where and exactly how not being indicated, England and France have repeatedly offered Germany and Italy to negotiate economic readjustments in return for a halt in armaments, and the offers have been ignored or refused. The rearmament of the democratic countries follows because of those refusals, and because it has become quite clear that negotiations will only be possible at all if the democratic countries stand with swords in their hands. These are the unhappy international realities. If within the next few months the nations prepare to seek their aims by negotiation, with the inexorable realization that the alternative will be war, catastrophe may be averted. That is the only hope. And that hope is forlorn as long as the United States, the greatest single power in the world, clings to a totally unreal theory of isolationism.

Once before in history we cast the deciding vote. And cast it too late, after the catastrophe was upon us.