Palmer Criticizes U. S. Political Apathy; Urges Unions to Provide Adult Education
Ohioan Gives Course On National Politics
American democracy is becoming a wingless glittering generality as a fact of the pervasive ignorance of the majority of the American people in matters of their government's operation," stated Visiting Lecturer in Government, A. Palmer yesterday. Palmer, professor of Political Science at Kenyon College, near Columbus, Ohio, cited the recent Gallup poll showing that only a third of United States citizens know their senators are, and advocated scale adult political education by unions.
"There is a failure in our educational system," asserted Palmer. "When only 59 percent of the students at an institution like Harvard know who their senators are, it shows an alarming political apathy among even supposedly wideawake citizens. And it is not only the responsibility of the public schools and universities to correct it; labor unions and political parties can do a lion's share of the job on extensive adult education programs."
Lectured for Labor Unions
In 1937, under the auspices of the CIO and AFL, Palmer offered lectures for a short time in Rockford, Illinois, on the "American Constitutional System." "I have no doubt that this sort of program could be successfully carried out all over the country," he asserted. "We need a politically-educated electorate or our democracy means little."
Professor Palmer is an earnest Mainebred Bowdoin graduate who earned his Ph.D. at Harvard and served as instructor in Government here in 1933-34 before going to Kenyon. During his present visit to Harvard he is teaching Government 7a, "National Government of the United States."
Palmer says that the main issue of the presidential campaign this fall is foreign policy, and that therefore, "despite the fact that Dowey would make a capable administrator, I think it is important to maintain the present administration. Not because Roosevelt and Hull are 'indispensable', but because I believe they have a decidedly more genuine internationalistic policy. I feel quite certain that the recent espousals of international cooperation by Dewey and Bricker are nothing more than political opportunism, nor do I think that either are profoundly attached to the principle of a cooperative world organization."
Palmer was visiting professor at Stanford in 1941-42. During the remainder of his three-term stay here, he will continue work on a forthcoming book on governmental institutions and political theory in the United States