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LATEST "PROGRESSIVE" DEALS CHIEFLY WITH U. S. DEFENSE

Marx's Articles Oppose Military Conscription

By Allan D. Ecker

Harvard's only self-styled magazine with a bias the Student Union's "Progressive" in out today, oozing well-written bias from every page.

If you read the whole thing through at a stretch, you get the impression toward the end of "having heard this before." Nevertheless, individually and collectively, the articles are forthright, readable, and well-informed. Moreover they are devoid of the bull-headedness which unsympathetic persons have been went to associate with the words "Student Union."

Calm and reasoned argument, replete with facts and figures, seasons the pages of opinions and accordingly the views expressed will obtain a much more favorable hearing than had they been clad in the devil-angel garb which not infrequently characterizes "magazines with a bias."

War Main Theme

Naturally the war in the principal theme, no less than four out of seven articles treating this theme directly, and all of them indirectly. Leo Marx '41 authors two: "Conscription. First Step Toward War," and "The Myth of Invasion." His thesis is unequivocal:

He, too, wants to defend America; he, too, definitely thinks there are things worth fighting for; but "neither the British Empire not American industry's foreign markets," but only the actual defense of the United States, is among these things.

Conscription Net Needed

Accordingly he considers the problem of defense--not sparing statistics, strategy, and quoted expert opinions--and concludes that "a well-trained army of from 400,000 to 600,000 men would be adequate for national defense." Since, "without conscription, we will soon have armed forces totalling 900,000 men, conscription is unnecessary."

There are two essential gaps, it seems to me, in Marx reasoning. When he states quite correctly that "enrollments in the U.S. Army are greater than every before in peacetime," Marx forgets that it has been the impending passage of the conscription bill--and now the actual passage--which has been a major cause of the skyrocket in volunteering. That is, many of the recruits have joined up in order to "boat the draft" and get into the unit of service they prefer while they still have a free choice.

In the second place, Marx vacillates in his definition of "national defense." At times he appears to accept this as meaning more defense of continental United States proper, and at times he seems to include defense of this hemisphere. He himself in apparently committed to the former view, but many of the authorities he cities to support his stand are advocates of hemispheric defense (e.g. the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs report.) This is evidence of either confusion or dishonesty on Marx' part and I am quite sure it is only the former.

So far as his criticisms of conscription as a "base on balls for our own fascists" is concerned, I find myself in substantial agreement. But where Marx seeks to repeal the base on balls, I think it is more practical to try to hold the "undemocrats" scoreless from this point on. That is, I would concentrate our efforts on the issues of administration of the conscription act, industrial control, civil liberties, social reform through taxation, and so forth. The Prohibition experience would indicate that you cannot repeal a law immediately after its passage, but only after it has proved a failure. Liberal energies are so slight that they must be conserved for the other battles on which there is still a chance of success.

Professor F. O. Matthiessen offers the best possible answer to Bob Strange '41, whose "Daiquiris and Dilettantes" is an echo of the ancient cry of "indifference." This is a label Stange pins on the students and blames on both the faculty and the general mental climate in the "cultural Island" that is Harvard.

Stange's thesis is increasingly untrue, as the very inspiring Credo by the President of the Teacher's Union demonstrates. The day of the ivory tower is in its last hour-both because of the recognition by more and more faculty members (with Professor Matthiessen) that "there is no good thinking divorced the loss happy fact of war and its impact on scholarly "objectivity." In any other year Stange's article would have only a gram of truth; in this year it has not a particle.

"Mexico's Decisive Summer" proves, among other things, that Rufus Mathewson '41 has a first-hand acquaintance with that country and her politics. David Hennett '42 adds another to the long series of post-mortems on Franco currently in evidence. John Holabird's dynamic drawings are notably absent, but promised for next issue

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