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This month's "Progressive" continues its excellent custom of featuring a pair of articles on opposite sides of a controversial subject. In the last issue, Granville Hicks discussed Progressives and the War, with a reply by the editors. This time the subject is work camps and the pros are presented by Spencer Klaw, while Yandall Harper reviews the cons.
Klaw's article is a fully and colorfully documented study of the William James experiment at Sharon, Vt. He might have done better to take a more representative sector of the movement, where he would have found many of his criticisms inapplicable, but as it is he comes out with a favorable reaction. Harper, on the other hand, sces, in the work camp philosophy, as expounded by William James, dangerous fascist and war-mongering tendencies. The arguments he presents against even voluntary camps are pretty much those of the Student Union, but, as in last month's Hicks controversy, the "Progressive's" sponsors seem to come out on the bottom. To claim that a philosophy which proposes work service as an outlet for the martial spirit is a war-mongering philosophy seems hardly logical, and to insist that the whole voluntary work camp movement is part of a huge conspiracy to foist compulsory labor camps on American youth seems hardly sensible.
The conspiracy theory is carried further in Nieman Fellow Arthur Eggleston's otherwise excellent exposition of the situation on the labor front in America. Eggleston presents a very real and terrifying picture of the dangers facing organized labor, but he insists that the war is the source of all of labor's troubles, and he omits any mention of labor's recent gains. The defense program appears to him only as an excuse for labor-baiting. His analysis of jurisdictional strikes is, however, sufficient by itself to make the article worth reading.
Bart Bok's "A. Scientist's Faith" is a refreshing, if somewhat naive addition to the magazine's series of Harvard credos. Professor Bok has led a very full and active life, absorbed in his work as an astronomer, a teacher, and a citizen. This life is reflected in his writing. But when he discusses the world at war and his attitude towards it, his explanation seems so much oversimplified as to be untenable, and his faith in progress by cooperation seems a little out of touch with harsh realities.
A full page appeal for a last stand to prevent American intervention strikes the dominant editorial note, while other editorials applaud the Corporation's position on the Naval Academy incident, support National Anti-Poll Tax Week, and condemn civilian defense preparations as unnecessary and conducive to war hysteria.
This month's issue of Harvard's most lively magazine is adequate, if not brilliant. But whether you like it or not should depend even more than usual on whether or not you agree with its general point of view.
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