Some kind of record for inventiveness and daring in advertising must have been set recently, when Paul M. Hollister, '13, vice-president of Macy's, proposed a monster campaign of peace propaganda financed by a levy of one dollar on every U. S. citizen. Mr. Hollister's plan at least shows that there is still a spark of emotional, idealistic neutrality left in America. With effort it may be fanned into a brisk, healthy fire.
Mr. Hollister's first step would surely be to look around him to pick out the forces which are driving America toward war. If he looked closely, he might have good reason for discouragement. He would see a stock market that surges upward under the threat that war may be broadened, a President and an Administration of doubtful neutrality, and above all a people who have not learned that war is more than an unpleasant business of bloody headless corpses, that it is long-range economic suicide. Looking these unpleasant facts in their grimly portentous face, he could easily begin to doubt the possibilities of mere advertising.
The last war didn't make the world safe for democracy, but it did leave America a heritage of hate for war as a messy, gruesome occurrence. That heritage is the difference between 1916 and now. It is the strongest peace argument around. Against it must be reckoned the belief, a belief which the last war failed to destroy in any but the academic mind, that a "war boom" is the answer to the nation's economic ills. Any man with $100,000,000 in his pocket, earmarked "to be spent for peace only," would have to face that belief, and cudgel it out of existence with fact and argument and slogan. His would be the difficult job of convincing farmers, factory workers, and business men that a war boom is self-destroying false prosperity, that the only sound and lasting prosperity lies in expanding peacetime markets, in business built on a mutually profitable exchange of productive goods. Self-evident and obvious though it be, it is a lesson not yet learned. Until it is "put across," neutrality is a very shaky thing indeed.