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The Harvard University branch of the Shifters is dying, but the true American spirit of fraternity survives--we now have the Ku Klux Klan. Throughout the University strenuous efforts are being made to secure members. Have you any spite to vent against the Catholics, the Jews, the Negroes, the Socialists, the Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese, or any foreign born? The Klan is looking for you. Have you a secret desire to wear a white hood and be taught to shudder at the reports of Klan spies concerning the machinations of "three groups attempting to gain selfish domination over our country; two of them powerful and strongly organized, the third not so powerful nor so well organized but the most immediately dangerous of the three"? According to the Klan's pamphlet "it is not necessary to name these groups as every man has felt pressure from them all". You think that of course the Klan is referring to the Republican, the Democratic and the Prohibition parties. Oh no! Then possibly it means capital and labor, with the middle class as the imminent danger. But no: closely as these groups answer the description the Ku Klux Klan overlooks them and creeps covertly up behind three great windmills: a Jewish organization (discovered by the Klan) which is supposed to control the wholesale business of the United States; the Knights of Columbus; and a general group consisting of negroes and foreign born residents in this country.
This modern organization of Don Quixotes has discarded armor for pillowcases without losing a whit of real mediaeval spirit. They trudge today in the footsteps of the noble Dou--but all in secret and mystery. In its own words the Ku Klux Klan is "a secret and militant organization". Whenever possible its true name is kept silent in the presence of those unfortunate enough not to be members. In proselyting, both in the University and elsewhere, it is attractively garbed as "an organization of one hundred percent Americans", with the reservation that they be, "native born citizens of the United States, white, Protestant, Gentile" (and, also acceptable--but not required) "intelligent, honest, loyal and fearless".
How college men, supposedly thoughtful, reasoning and broadminded, sufficiently imaginative to see beyond the ends of their noses can succumb to the lure of the Ku Klux Klan, founded as it is no bitterness and opposition, is extraordinary. How a young man can give up his individuality, virtually sell his soul for $10, to an organization so full of hypocrisy, selfishness and the spirit of the Dark Ages, can only be accounted for on the grounds of its appeal to his racial or religious prejudices, or his love of the romantic and mysterious, or possibly his inborn American craving to belong to something.
Even such aims of the Ku Klux Klan that are worthy for instance, "to assist the duly constituted authorities of one nation or state whenever and however they may call upon us" lose all their force because of the underground tactics and above-the-law attitude which the Klan adopts.
If something must be done to preserve America and American ideals, let it be done--and done openly and honorably with exclusion for none and justice for all. Only by clean and upright means Ian any lasting good be accomplished.
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