"Half of the people capable of producing in our country are not doing so. This is the fundamental problem facing us today. Our political alignments should hinge around this problem," stated Governor Philip R. LaFollette of Wisconsin in his hotel room yesterday.
The forceful head of the newly-formed National Progressives of America proposed to meet this problem by a policy of "collective individualism" which would harness the profit motive for social ends. He denied any similarity between his system and that of the "collective capitalism" defined as Fascism by William Y. Elliott, professor of Government.
Production Increase Necessary
"The 13,000,000 unemployed must be put to work. The products of their labor will increase the national income. It is a defiance of all natural laws to attempt to bring prosperity, however, by measures like the A. A. A. which seek to raise prices by reducing output."
He warned that this idle population constitutes a much more dangerous threat to our democratic ideals than all the Fascist propoganda extant in this country. The unemployed tend to form a dissatisfied group which welcomes such propaganda.
"We are not offering blueprints of the administrative details of our policies," La Follette said. "We make no predictions. But we do offer a definite set of principles and a record of successful administration of those principles where they have been applied in Wisconsin."
Work for Principles
He remarked that the most important thing is to work toward the realization of the fundamental principle and cope with the details as they appeared. He cited the unemployment compensation plan of Wisconsin as an example of where worries ever details were not allowed to discourage action on the question.
As to whether the third party would split the liberal movement, La Follette declared that the liberals would split of themselves unless united behind a platform embodying their fundamental aims. If the Democrats or Republicans offer such platforms, the National Progressives would withdraw. There is no indication of such political reversal, however.
Defending his policy of isolation, he observed that the greatest periods of United States prosperity have been when its citizens have busied themselves with their domestic problems rather than being "sentimental liberals who worry about the freedom of the Afghans."
Check an Executive Power
In reference to the recently defeated government reorganization bill drawn up largely by Harvard professors, he agreed that the executive head should have no more power, but that a special legislative committee should have the final say upon his important decisions. This is the basis of the Wisconsin reorganization plan now in effect.
The Governor welcomed the possibility of a National Progressives chapter at Harvard next fall, and promised to speak at that time here under its auspices.