Since the great communist scare of 1919. "treat 'em rough" has been the apparent policy of the United States in dealing with the so-called "Red" element of the population. Aside from characteristic protest from such liberal journals as the Nation no one has become very much excited over a situation which places the government in the position of an avowed suppressor of political minorities to whom the constitution guarantees freedom. Anarchist outrages like the Wall Street bombing identified the communist party in the public mind as an outlawed enemy of society to whom no treatment was just save that of extermination.
If it be admitted that radical activity in the United States does offer a threat to domestic tranquillity which requires careful attention, it does not follow that any price, no matter how high, should be paid to remove this danger. Political freedom is no empty trinket to exchange for peace of mind over the Bolshevik bogey. The tactics of the New York City police in recent handling of the communist problem indicate no inclination to stop short of thorough supression and persecution. When New York industrialists apply to the police for information to enable them to throw communist employees out of work the scene takes on the aspect of the old regime in Russia. And that is what happened this week. Protests against this curbing of the individual's thought and opinion came to the Police Commission almost immediately from members of the law faculty of Columbia University.
Such weapons brought into attack against the "Reds" are not only illegal in spirit, as the Columbia professors point out, but are sharpened on both sides. Nothing would better please the agitator than to supply him with such graphic examples of "capitalistic oppression". Let Mr. Whalen beware lest he throw Brother Rabbit right into the briar patch where he can shout taunts in earnest at the blue-coated cossacks.