On The Rack


Scribners for June is a good collection: mostly the roughage or bran of the intellectual diet. There is a series of strong arguments supporting the American Congress by F. H. LaGuardia. That self-conscious body is now getting on without his official help. There is an excellent article by A. A. Berle, Jr., member of the "brain-trust," titled, "The High Road for Business," which asks of American business leaders something obviously beyond their power, social responsibility, and this for the purpose of business salvation.

Mr. Berle shows that business men, as a class have had this noble ability and initiative in the past; that there has been a day when a bank director who enriched himself while serving with a bank was looked on by the depositors with the contempt with which the intelligent public now regards a mayor who has reaped similar benefits in office. America should obviously have some prize in its patronage kit, wholly non-political in its nature, to give to a business leader who leads in business, not in income-tax returns. A college degree to such a noble fellow is paltry and weak; a peerage appears to be the most practical prize.

The most interesting article in the magazine is "The Betrayal in American Education," by H. M. Jones. It is not necessary to read many lines of this gloomy piece to discover the ghost writer of its dogmas. For a less violent but less concise statement of the snares and delusions of American utilitarian education--political, religious, and social, as well as academic, one should browse in the books of Professor Babbitt. Almost to a phrase the attacks on utilitarianism, immediacy, cheapness, indolence, and shying from moral and mental effort, emanate, seemingly, from the twilight of Sever 11. In American education, to quote from the humanistic code, there is an "elementary confusion of standards," and the blame lies on the self-styled and meddling educational 'experts.'" In the interests of palatability American children are being fed knowledge by countless "plans," by our Teachers' Colleges, and are doing no learning for themselves.

Like Professor Babbitt, Mr. Jones offers no plan for reconstruction. He is sick of plans, and all the pictures of graph-mad and system-ridden normal school experimenters which they connote. He merely desires a healthy clearing of the underbrush of American education, and an unplanned but carefully nurtured reforestation of sound principles.