With plenty of good, old-fashioned fireworks. General Dawes has heralded the forming of "The Minute Men of the Constitution" to "show these damned politicians and reformers that everyone in this neck of the woods isn't wishy-washy enough to fall in line with their dictation." The chief significance of this remark lies, of course, in his reference; to Chicago as "this neck of the woods." The spirit of the new outfit is most commendable. "We're going to out some stards into the backbone of the individual, and take a whack at the dictatorship of its political blue-noses." There's the general's gauntlet, and "fifty serious-minded men with yeast in their systems" back up his challenge.
Behind the general's characteristic picturesqueness of language lies a grim purpose. He plans to build up respect for the law and the Constitution, to combat all influences which breed class or religious discrimination, and to restore the individualism which once marked the American, but which has been so largely swallowed up by unions, vast industries, and "collective bargaining." Again General Dawes has tackled a man-sized job.
Everyone who regrets the original independence and pioneer spirit will encourage this effort. Unfortunately it is a counter-movement, a reaction, directly contrary to the present trend. A curious combination of economic dependence with political and social dissatisfaction has given rise to a most difficult situation, which such forces as the Ku Klux have only made more acute. At first glance "The Minute Men" are directed against the Klan, but essentially their object is much the same. Both societies seek a return to conditions once considered normal,--which may never be normal again. Influences which even General Dawes is powerless to control are forcing America as well as Europe to gradual changes of external policy, to revisions of government, to paternalism rather than individualism. "Hell and Maria" has put his back against a steam roller; but he will have plenty of assistants. The surviving individualists are preparing for a finish-fight, and if their methods are sometimes quaint, their cause is no less worthy of support.