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(The Crimson invites all men in the University to submit signed communications of timely interest. It assumes no responsibility, however, for sentiments expressed under this head and reserves the right to exclude any whose publication would be palpably inappropriate.)
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
The whole political situation at the present time can be summed up in the words of the editorial recently reprinted from the Chicago Tribune, stating that "after the smoke and gas" (how well those words were chosen--the smoke that hides the real issues and the gas that stupofles us) "of political battle have lifted, the United States will become part of A league of nations. It will not be Mr. Wilson's league', nor Mr. Harding's league, nor any other private league." It continues: "That little matter settled in your mind, you may consider this: In a democracy in which elections are frequent and fixed (meaning regular), it is nearly always safe to vote for the party out of power. For the best that we can hope for is a rotation of good intentions."
Just there is the key to the whole situation: "The best that we can hope for is a rotation of good intentions"--so far as the Republican and Democratic Parties are concerned. But while the Democratic and Republican parties have been sending out their "smoke" to blind us and their "gas" to stupefy us, the Socialist party (and the Farmer-Labor party, too) has been facing our social and economic problems with a definite, constructive program of social reforms.
The whole "issue" of the Leagues of Nations is conclusive evidence of the cheapness of this political "smoke and gas." Apparently, it never occurs to the average supporter of Harding or Cox that the league is not the paramount issue of the day. He knows that the possibility of war is what makes a league--some kind of a league--necessary but does the question ever rise in his mind as to what causes war? Does anybody with sense suppose that the phrase "a war to end war" was anything but mob psychology practically applied? Is "democracy" as "safe" in the world today, with nations drunk with militarism and bloated in their national self-aggrandizement, as it was before the war? My friends there are certain economic and social conditions that maintain this monstrous institution called war, and until America does her part in striking a death blow at those conditions some kind of a league will always be necessary.
Then again, it ought to be obvious that the United States will join some form of a league after the election no matter who is elected. Never before have the American people displayed such ignorance and gullibility; they don't realize that at least one, if not both of the great contending platforms were drawn up by some of the shrewdest legal minds in the country and that they were so worded that one could read into it (or out of it) anything he wished. The platforms were drafted on the idea that "the people will believe what they want to believe." Such is the plane of morality from which the Republican and Democratic parties (particularly the former) are speaking, in the same breath, to the altruistic motives of the people! Of course, they know that if they can focus the people's minds on the league and keep them in idle debate over this "Issue" that they won't concern themselves with the genuine international problems, with the abolition of the conditions that maintain the institution of war as well as the national problems of the high cost of living, the problems of capital and labor, the degradation of representative government in Albany, the infamous rule of Attorney General Palmer and so on almost indefinitely.
Shall we learn nothing from experience? Can there be any doubt in our minds but that "the best we can hope for (from the Republican and Democratic parties) is a rotation of good intentions"? Most of them never carried out. It seems obvious that if we have any spark of knowledge of actual conditions. If we want to see Christian brotherhood brought about by a just economic and social order, which it not possible unler the present system if we want to see Justice, Liberty and Christian Brotherhood realized in our international, as in our personal relations, there is but one course left, to vote and work for a party (either Socialist or Farmer-Labor) that has a definite, constructive program for economic and social progress. NORMAN E. HINKS UNC.
October 16, 1920.
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