It was not surprising to receive a torrent of invective from high Legion officials, Boston politicians, and blind boosters of Americana in response to the CRIMSON'S editorial comment on the degeneracy of carnival spirit displayed at the recent convention. Men of selfish motives or blind patriotic impulse have a way of attacking sincere criticism of vicious conditions rather than vice itself.
Not only the so-called "sons of Harvard slackers" have been aroused to a denunciation of the convention, and also to the hypocritical, jingoistic, and selfish denial of the scenes that took place during the stay of the Legionnaires in Boston. The communication of Past Commander Erickson of the Legion indicates that even within the ranks of that organization the Boston revels were looked upon with disgust. The courageous and admirably truthful attitude here brought to light brings the remarks of the Boston politicians into an even more unattractive light.
It is estimated that over $5,000,000 was spent in Boston during the convention. That business should therefore wink at the truth is-natural. But it is a peculiar twist of public morality which leads the mayors of Boston and Cambridge to hasten to express indignation at honest and justified criticism, when their criticism could have been so much more effective had it been directed against the conditions surrounding the Legion Convention itself. A little intellectual honesty and straight thinking in public would be distinct assets to nearly all of our officials.
Certain over-zealous patriots are the unfortunate dupes of the situation. They fail to realize that the truth of the occurrences on every evening of the convention has been hidden by politician and press alike. The fact remains that the newspaper reports written at the time of the convention differ widely from the soft-pedaled versions which denied the same facts afterwards. And no newspaper had either the courage or freedom enough to speak the truth editorially.
But the facts cannot be changed, no matter how much they are repressed or glossed over. The Legion Convention in Boston was marked by the utter prostration of civic and business leaders, for either political or actual capital, before a large class of Legionnaires who indulged in scenes of vice and orgiastic revelry beyond the comprehension of any but eye-witnesses. No war record is any excuse for such depravity. The total suspense of law brought about a state of anarchy which invited the worst among the Legionnaires, and there were many of this class, to join with the scum of the city in presenting a bestial display.
The attitude of the CRIMSON is a sincere protest against both the rottenness of the convention and the cowardly hypocrisy with which it was countenanced, and has been since reported to an essentially moral public. Certainly there is no political or financial gain for the CRIMSON in such a stand, except the added respect of the small minority who know and are ashamed at the truth, both among the citizens of Boston and among the Legionnaires.