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The Crimson Bookshelf

AMERICA: ITS HISTORY AND PEOPLE. Harold Underwood Faulkner and Tyler Kepner. Harper and Brothers. 1934. 840 pp. $3.50.


ADDING to the ever growing wave of criticism against the encumbent administration, Mr. Neilson, writing from the viewpoint of a Single Taxer, scores the theories advanced by Tugwell, Chase, and Soule. He writes straightforwardly and at times amusingly. It is difficult to agree with his main thesis but many of his observations are keen and his attacks spirited.

Deploring the lack of debate on questions of fundamental policy he says, "It is well-nigh farcical when members of an administration can, month after month, use phrases so old, tawdry, so vague, ill-considered, and meaningless, that I doubt whether a village meeting in a Tory stronghold in England would tolerate such political fustian." After dwelling on the necessity of debate, Mr. Neilson discusses problems such as restoring confidence, planning for others, the economic fog, the protection of the foolish, and the fourteenth amendment.

"Man has been in the social welfare business for thousands of years, and he has not yet made a success of it; and there is no reason to think, from the evidence we have before us today, that our politicians are different in intelligence from those who destroyed former civilizations." Thus does Mr. Neilson point out the futility of entrusting our social welfare to politicians instead of training experts. "One of the strangest things to me," he says again, "is how we bow down before the dicta of physicists and close our mind to the findings of fundamental economists." But how different, Mr. Neilson, is the predictability of matter and the behavior of the complex organism called man. How comparatively easy to test the validity of a physical law and how extremely difficult to test a law in which the human element plays so large a part:

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