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Since the days when the American Youth Congress blasted fascist-imperialist aggression it has undertaken a thorough revision of its code of international morality. Like the American Student Union, it has suddenly discovered its acute sense of objectivity and refused to recognize the existence of a "moral cause" in the fight of a small republic for independence. That the American Youth Congress adjusts its attitude toward aggression to its feelings for the aggressor, is proof of its insincerity; that it favors the Soviet Union in a time in which--rightly or wrongly--the vast majority of the American people sympathizes with the Finnish cause, is proof of its unrepresentativeness.
The American Youth Congress is reported to have set a splendid example of Kremlin democracy by "ejecting" those of its members who dared to introduce resolutions not in strict conformity with the party line. It has been boycotted by Catholic and Republican youth organizations; a formidable rival group claiming almost two million members has sprung up; and further secession movements seem to be well under way. The Arctic war has frozen out the ruling minority and has crystallized the different currents of opinion which had lost themselves in a swamp of lethargic submissiveness to an "aggressive" leadership.
Mr. Roosevelt paternally advises American youth to shut up unless it knows exactly what it is talking about. Mrs. Roosevelt, at odds with her husband, tells the Youth Congress that it need not "adopt resolutions on anything it does not believe." In other words, she upholds the right of a minority to speak for a group whom it claims to represent--and for whose silence it has made all necessary provisions. The President and his First Lady may be reconciled by the thought that they are both wrong. American youth should vent its views however "immature" they may be; this is not only its right but its duty. On the other hand, it should not interpret its freedom of speech as the right to "eject" the irksome opponent--and to talk on behalf of the gagged.
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