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The establishment of a post at Harvard of the Veterans of Future Wars brings the movement to a point where the undergraduate body must recognize its significance as a powerful force of propaganda; a type of propaganda, which, of peculiar nature, is as yet untried. Yet because of that peculiar nature it can be easily side-tracked into a miserable fiasco. Such a failure would bitterly justify the paternal comment that "the kids are just playing the parts of Harlequins".
The inception of the movement at Princeton was received hilariously all over the country as a clever joke relieving the midwinter monotony on Prospect Street. It rapidly expanded to two hundred posts with twenty-two thousand members. Gold Star Mothers and Foreign Correspondents of Future Wars were invented. Buttonholed pedestrians on New York streets jovially contributed quarters. But it was all in the same hilarious spirit, and eagerly backed up by a press that is always ready to play up any college joke.
However, the reactions of angry Congressmen, Legionnaires, and professional patriots have proved the adage that "where the shot hits, there the feathers fly." The potentialities of the movement as an effective satire have been realized. A joke gets known more widely and more rapidly than a philosophy thesis, and as such, the movement has swept the nation's campuses. But it is at this point that the Veterans of Future Wars need a solid foundation under them. That foundation must be utter seriousness, thinly veiled by the humor of the idea, and not vice versa. As an example, a Future War Veteran kept up his front against the ridicule of a Congressman in Washington and asked, in all seriousness, how to go about lobbying.
The movement has cut itself an invaluable niche by becoming nationally known so quickly. Also, in an unexpected way, it has offered the "war-born" generation of the United States their greatest opportunity collectively to influence national policy. Yet with the approaching Patriots' Day demonstrations, it is only their attitude--halfhearted or deadly serious--that will decide whether these Future War Veterans know how to load their own guns, and then fire them.
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