Black Bearded Goats
(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld.)
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Yesterday morning's editorial on the munitions question was a step towards the proper realistic point of view, but the whole popular pacifist balloon of ballyhoo needs more pricking than that. The current tendency to make black-bearded goats out of the armament maker appears to have anesthetized the national press; the mouthed righteousness of the political idealists in their scramble to mulct credit from the cause of peace has dangerously perverted a constructive situation into a heydey for the Hearsts. Internationalism may or may not be born to blush unseen in this ugly age: no question but it's a worthwhile goal. Yet to seek it open-mouthed, like a herd of whimpering rabbits that can't see the forest for the dandelions, like the tiger-lilies that wilt away their stamen in anti-war meetings, like the parlor pussies mewing about the third international in the upper rooms of Adams House, to seek peace thusly in the modern saturnalia of all the other more valid causes of war, high tariffs, monetary friction, Father Coughlins, economic nationalism, and so on is nothing more than playing cat's cradle on a railroad crossing.
I refer directly to the move for complete publicity of the international arms trade embodied in the United States Resolution before the League of Nations, which all the other powers are fondling with as much affection as if they had stepped into bed with an aroused porcupine. To be sure, investigate the arms and munitions boys; the industry appears to have more than its share of smut. Control their machinations, muzzle the Zarahoffs.
But there's this to be remembered; nations will have arms in this scrabbled epoch, L. of N. or no. The arms traffic will continue by hook or crook. Publicity is not the weapon, however, with which to control. The very thought of publicity let loose on the normal, necessary arms traffic, a publicity that would souse the greater pulps into war scares as liquor puts a drunkard into the gutter, is a ripe tomato in the face of common sense. Have private registration of arms at Geneva; have careful investigations of their use and shipment; but keep the results for intelligent deliberation by accredited representatives; don't ladle the intoxicant to a world press that's raking its lucre by constipating the unwashed.
Also, important point, publicity as a weapon of control is impossible to apply equably among nations and is, therefore, against the prime principles of international law. An arms-producing state with all the preparedness of its industries as well as its arsenals, will take far less blame from such publicity than the non-producing, concomitantly non-industrial state which must have even more arms than its arms-producing neighbor. Complete publicity of the international arms trade might quite easily be turned into a new imperialism of the producing over the non-producing states. At any rate, the limslight thrown upon it would inevitably spur on present arms races. A realistic view of the situation must be regained. Frank E. Sweetser, Jr. '36.