CALL TO ARMS
Whatever the outcome of the election today it will settle no great issue nor will it affirm or deny any political principle. Whether the conduct of the United States government will be measurably altered during the next four years should Governor Roosevelt be elected is in itself doubtful. There is nothing new in this although the present campaign has failed peculiarly to distinguish between the two leading parties. What is important and remains so unaffected by the consequences of today's election is that the working principles of government which are assumed by both democrats and republicans and to some extent by the socialists also are challenged as outworn and inadequate for the necessities of the present day. The challenge in its immediate pressure is economic and political but it carries with it and drawn strength from spiritual dissatisfaction. Neither the Republican party nor the Democratic have shown themselves capable of recognizing the basic problems to say nothing of handling them. The socialist party in this country appears to lose in intellectual vigor as it gains in popular support. The party attempts to reform capitalist society from the inside and the consequent moderation, although it appeals to the progressive, destroys its effectiveness for radical, creative political leadership. Communism, alone of the two radical parties, attacks capitalist society from the outside as it logically has to if it would keep its integrity.
Whether the present challenge can be satisfied by a reformed capitalist society or whether it must turn to communism or to a new principle of government is probably beyond the range of undergraduate experience. College men today, however, have a responsibility correspondent to the magnitude of the political and social crisis.
The depression has outlined the conflict between the individual and collective society, economic nationalism and international cooperation, capitalist and worker, and all the other complications of modern industrial civilization. It has given publicity to the thinkers in every field who challenge the existing order. Although it has barely touched the world the undergraduate lives in, (it may have forced him to modify his way of living but it has not forced him to abandon it) yet it has been sufficient to give reality to the difficulties which confront him.
It is the business of the generation now in college to find a satisfactory solution to these difficulties in an ordered state. If a solution is impossible in so short a time it yet remains the responsibility of the present generation to face the world as it is, not as it wants to believe it to be, and to study that world in an effort to find a basis for constructive action.
College offers four years of security and leisure. It is the responsibility of those who can take advantage of this period of incubation to train themselves in hard thinking, in a knowledge of existing conditions and in the principles of human action. When a man has cast his vote and has attended a party rally he has accomplished little. If he lets it go at that he has failed to distinguish himself from the man in the street who has never had the opportunity of four years in which to think, or to learn to think. The justification for the privilege of education in the confused world of today is in the recognition of its responsibilities and the leadership it entails.