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On The Rack


The newsstands have lately been enriched by the appearance of a new weekly, Polity, similar to the Forum in format, reminiscent of the Nation in editorial policy, and emanating from Chicago. At present, in its seventh issue, Polity can boast of no more than sixteen pages, but it is distinguished by an alert point of view and a tincture of intelligent cynicism which should go far toward tempting success.

During its brief career, Polity has presented a study of tariffs and world economics by Professor W. Y. Elliott, and a discussion by John Farnham on the government measure forming cooperative and self-help associations for the barter of goods and services. The late unpleasantness involving Mr. Morgan has been capably treated by Ernest McDougall, and C. W. Eliot, 2d, reviewed with grateful incision the current thought on national planning. From these examples it may be inferred that Polity does not lack its quota of arresting names, and, more important, that its interests are both diverse and contemporary.

But a weekly with so few concessions to the popular taste must face a rather discouraging financial future. The Nation, although it has been fortified by the purse and picturesqueness of Oswald Garrison Villard, exists precariously, and even so challenging a publication as the New Republic must rely largely upon endowment for its support. Polity is less sensational, farther removed from the meretricious mens Americans which finds its nourishment in such journals as the successful Time and leaves the American Mercury to slide into the quiet tenor of bankruptcy. Perhaps Polity can afford the limitation on popularity which its mild and legal tone must impose. It has, at any rate, begun bravely, and were its book reviews to be elevated to the high level of its featured articles, it would have earned an even clearer title to merit in the rather private field its editors have chosen.

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