Imágenes de páginas

fees out of the fines that they assessed. This practice gave to every justice an interest in convicting the accused. Last March the United States Supreme Court declared this practice unconstitutional. Then the Legislature passed a bill to change the practice, but left the maximum salary of a justice dependent upon the collection of fines. It is true that it provided that the fee should be paid by the defendant upon conviction or by the State upon acquittal; but the law was widely regarded as a bad one. Motorists objected to it on the ground that it would still encourage speed traps. Opposition to it was led by drys. The Anti-Saloon League tried to make the issue a referendum on prohibition, and was beaten. The defeat of the bill showed that the hold of the Anti-Saloon League in Ohio was weakening; but it did not show anything about opinion on the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act.

In Detroit the candidate who scouted the idea of adequate enforcement of prohibition was beaten; but it is not at all clear that he was beaten because of his stand on prohibition. His opponent, John C. Lodge, took no part in the campaign. And when finally he was elected he simply said that "wet and dry" was "no issue in the campaign," but that he was sure that the people who knew him knew that "the laws would be enforced in a decent and orderly manner."

American voters have in these two elections shown their independence of the self-constituted censor and the demagogue alike.

Governor Smith and the Vote in New York

F Governor Alfred E. Smith, of New York, were not the most prominent candidate for the Democratic nomination, the vote in New York State this year would not have been of interest to the Nation. But Governor Smith took an active part in the campaign to secure the defeat of one of the proposed amendments to the State Constitution and the passage of other amendments. And the outcome has been considered as a measure, if not a very accurate one, of Governor Smith's political strength in his own State. The amendment he opposed was defeated by a big majority and the amendments that he favored were passed.

The impression that the result in New York has made has been deepened by

the action of his opponents. The Republican majority in the Legislature seemed to challenge the Governor by insisting on submitting to the voters the proposal that an election of Governor should come every four years simultaneously with the election of a President. Governor Smith opposed this proposal on principle because he believes that putting the election of Governor and President simultaneously would tend to confuse the minds of voters and to enable politicians to nominate weak candidates for Governor to be swept in with successful Presidential candidates. Governor Smith did not make this a party issue. If it was a party issue, it was made such by his opponents. As a matter of fact, however, a great many Republicans were as opposed to this proposal as Governor Smith himself. The defeat of it leaves the term of the Governor as at present, two years, but it has tended to emphasize the fact that in his State Governor Smith's voice is the one to which the people of the State are most ready to listen. Whether he could command their votes for President in anything like the same proportion, however, is very doubtful.

In the same election the Republican hold on the Legislature was strengthened.

National politics and State politics do not always mix.

Soviets, Italian Style


USSOLINI has finally put through a Soviet system under Fascist control in Italy.

Most Americans confuse the idea of Soviets with Bolshevism-not knowing that the Russian word "soviet" merely means "council." It happened that the system of running a nation by handpicked councils instead of representative parliaments began in Russia during the Communist revolt, and so became identified with the Bolsheviks. But the monarchists, if they had had enough force to overthrow Kerensky and the Provisional Government, might equally have set up a Soviet system. In fact, the Czar's Council of Ministers was called "Soviet." Any one can operate a Soviet plan who starts first-as the Italian dictator is proving.

The Fascist Grand Council-which is Mussolini's supreme organ of political rule has decided that after next year only members of the thirteen Fascist guilds and certain other selected groups

may vote for members of the Chamber of Deputies. Thus the only semblance of political rights remaining to Italians is limited to adherents of the Black Shirt party. And they, naturally, are to cast ballots only for Fascist candidates.

The system is even more copperriveted than the Bolshevik plan in Russia, where some "non-partisans” manage to elect spokesmen in the Soviet Congresses. In Italy the Fascist guilds are to present their nominees for the Chamber, whose membership is to be reduced from 560 to 400. The Grand Council will then go over the lists and revise them. The voters may then take this single ticket-or just not vote at all.

Since Mussolini names the members of the Fascist Grand Council, all that will be really necessary is a motion that the Chairman cast one ballot for the Chamber of Deputies.

Fascism may be the new political efficiency, but it will make Americans look forward with new appreciation to next year's party conventions and Presidential campaign.

Who Shall Guard the Guardians?


USTICE SIDDONS, trial judge in the Fall-Sinclair case, has ordered an investigation to determine whether in connection with that trial there has been committed criminal contempt of court.

It has already been revealed, not only that operatives of the Burns Detective Agency trailed jurors in that case and reported upon their habits and even their financial condition, but also that one of these operatives made an affidavit, which the subscribing operative has declared to be false, to support the allegation that a Government agent, an As sistant Attorney-General, had tampered with one of the jurors. It appears that McMullin, the Burns Detective Agency's operative, who subscribed to the affidavit, had first gone to the Government counsel in the case on the advice of Governor Pinchot, to whom he had told his story, and had revealed the plans in which he had become involved, and that he went on with his work, carrying out the instructions of the agency under full knowledge of Government counsel.

William J. Burns's statement that his agency had done nothing which it was not perfectly lawful for it to do and the allegations which have been made about the actions of this agency in this case cannot very well be reconciled. It is for

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

mutuel system of betting; and as this is the only method legally allowable in the State, his stand repelled all race-track advocates. As a result of a bitter fight in which, it is stated, the Negro vote was surprisingly large, the Democratic candidate was beaten by a small majority for Judge Sampson, Republican, who was at least not ardently dry nor ardently in favor of race-track legislation. The tendency in the North has been to regard the victory jocosely. "The hoss is still king," says one editorial writer. In fact, there were several complications of a local political kind.

If this is political Kentucky in 1927, what may be its uncertainties in 1928?

A Dancer of Blues


LITTLE colored girl, eight years old, came to the Harlem district of New York about twenty years ago. Even then she was on the stage singing and dancing in child rôles. When she was buried the other day, Florence Mills was mourned by all Harlem and by many thousands outside her own race and place of residence. Men and women on the stage and off the stage sent tributes and sympathy. Many thousands of people passed before her coffin. She was a favorite of the theater public, not because she was a Negress on the stage, but because she gave them pleasure and had in her nature spontaneous gayety.

There was nothing tremendous or distinguished about this little stage girl. She was not a great comedian; she did not stir the heart deeply; but in her own way she was inimitable-quaint, grotesque; just a singer and dancer in musical comedy, she was the center of attraction in an all-colored troupe of which she was the popular "Blackbird." Yet the papers say that there is a movement to build a memorial mausoleum and a life-size statue at a cost of $20,000. There is something pathetic about Florence's short, vivid life, her early death, her unique appeal.

Perhaps the reason is expressed by a critic of her work who first praised her spontaneity and quality of seeming to enjoy making things up on the spot, but concluded by saying that she had what some call personality and the poet calls a soul.

To put all of one's self in work or in art makes for something more than success.

What Is the Best Defense

of the Truth?


XCEPTIONAL interest has been aroused by Edna St. Vincent Millay's article in The Outlook for November 9, entitled "Fear." Evidently in the minds of many readers have arisen with regard to it two questions:

First, why did The Outlook print it? Briefly, because any such view held by many people of intelligence and expressed with such beauty and force should be made known to thoughtful and discerning people.

Second, does The Outlook agree with that view? Briefly: Yes, in so far as Miss Millay holds that no man should be convicted of crime because of prejudice as to his social theories; No, in so far as she takes for granted, assumes that it is a generally accepted fact calling for no proof, that in the case under discussion the men were convicted of crime because of prejudice as to their social theories.

Among the letters elicited by Miss Millay's article, some of which are printed elsewhere in this issue, was a personal letter addressed to the Editor-in-Chief of The Outlook. Though evidently not intended for publication, it expresses so well an impression which that article must have made upon many readers that we take the liberty of printing it without the writer's name and of printing with it Mr. Abbott's reply:

November 9, 1927.

My dear Mr. Abbott:

The Outlook has always stood for the highest ideals, and I have often turned to its pages to get the correct point of view on difficult questions. I fail, however, to get any enlightenment from the article entitled "Fear" or your editorial comment as contained in the November 9 issue.

The article itself is fit only for a most rabid Socialistic magazine. It states that "Christianity is already so spotted and defaced by the crimes of the Church that this stain does not show very dark." It ridicules duty, honor, courage, purity, sacrifice, as "pretty concepts" and "fragile dolls." It questions our motives for entering the war. It takes for granted that Sacco and Vanzetti were sentenced solely because they were Anarchists and that "Justice is a woman of stone above a court-house door." It finally accuses man as acting solely through fear and that "not one out of ten thousand has a spark of true courage in his heart."

May I ask what good object is to be gained by advertising and publishing in headlines all these falsehoods? If it is that both sides of the question should be heard, then you should come out with a strong editorial to set the reader straight. I fail, however, to find any criticism of the author's statements in your editorial. You simply leave it open to the public to decide if she is right or wrong in her views.

The inclosed pamphlet entitled "The Red Peril," by Frank A. Goodwin, contains facts which are worth reading, and the wide publication of which would do far more good, in my opinion, than the author's article "Fear."

I am very sure what I have written is the view-point of

those who wish to see religion and the laws of our land upheld, and to encourage an ever increasing love and confidence. in each other. Yours very truly,

November 11, 1927.

Dear Mr.


You read in Edna St. Vincent Millay's article a meaning that I do not find there. You think she ridicules duty, honor, purity, courage. I think she is holding up to scorn what she regards as false concepts of them. You think she makes game of justice as a graven idol. I think she is pleading for a justice that she regards as real instead of a mere formal image of it. You think that she regards all mankind as actuated solely by fear. I think she is addressing those groups, often dominant in industry and politics, who, though not aware of it themselves, are controlled, not by their faith in their fellowmen, but by their fears. What I think she was trying to do. and believed she succeeded in doing, was to show the evil and danger of allowing ourselves to be ruled by fear rather than by, as you express it, "love and confidence in each other." And when she sees evidence, as she thinks she sees it, of fear enthroned, of people being punished for the doctrines they hold and teach, however false, in short, for being Reds, she denounces the sham and cries aloud for real duty, honor, purity, and courage.

Please read the article again and see if I am right or not. The Outlook, which is as far from being either Anarchist or Socialist as you are, printed this article because it believes that this point of view, which is that of many intelligent, thoughtful, honest, and patriotic people, ought to be known to its readers.

Where I differ from Miss Millay is not in the principle which I think she was upholding but in the application of it. She takes for granted as a fact that Sacco and Vanzetti were tried and condemned because those in authority were afraid of their doctrines. I think that that is entirely too much to be taken for granted. I believe that the only thing that can be justly assumed is that they were tried because those in authority believed there was credible evidence that those men were guilty of murder. The pamphlet on the "Red Peril" which you send me tends, I am sorry to admit, to support Miss Millay's assumption. In that pamphlet Mr. Goodwin attacks the condemned men, not because they are murderers primarily, but because they are Reds. He, it seems to me, does not give any evidence of being actuated by "love and confidence," but does give evidence, in what he says, of being actuated by fear-fear of the Red peril-and lumps with these two men all Socialists and pacifists, and even such people as Felix Frankfurter and Miss Whitney. In spite of that pamphlet and in spite of Miss Millay, who thinks that such people as Mr. Goodwin are in control of our courts, I believe that the majority of our citizens are brave and fair and can draw a distinction between murderers and Socialists and do not wish to see people put to death because they are Anarchists. If I thought that the majority of Americans were controlled by fear of what even Anarchists teach I would despair of the country. There are those who, however, so believe that the majority are ruled by fear, and I think that they have the right to express their opinion and to warn their fellow-citizens of the consequences.

The Outlook has always exercised the liberty of printing articles with which it disagreed in part or even wholly. It exercises that liberty when it has the chance to publish an

article expressing the point of view of numerous people whose intelligence and honesty entitle them to a hearing. The very fact that it has an established character of stability and common sense should, I think, enable its readers to understand the reason for printing articles that express opinions that differ from its own.

Even if we thought that Miss Millay was wrong in the principle she upholds, as we think she was wrong in the appliIcation of it, we should still feel free to print it. This is in accord with the well-considered and well-established policy of The Outlook. Six years ago-within two years of his death -my father wrote an editorial in The Outlook from which I quote the following sentences:

"The Outlook believes that the best defense of the truth is an absolutely free field for discussion between truth and error. ... I have faith in truth and faith in my fellow-men and a lifelong faith that the best way to conduct men to the truth is to let them know all that can be said against it. And I have no faith in my capacity or the capacity of any man or set of men to determine what opinions may be excluded from the discussion. . . . Most Americans will agree that the standard of spiritual intelligence is higher in America, where error has been free, than in Spain, where few wise men have decided what the common people may read.


The Outlook has always acted on the principle that the practice of stifling opinions or feelings engendered by opinions on public matters is dangerous and that the best way to get at the truth is to let differing opinions and consequent feelings be ventilated. On that principle we shall continue Very sincerely yours,

to act.



with Commander Kenworthy in predicting that the European Powers will combine in war against the United States.

Our relations with Great Britain are more important than our relations with any other nation. All around the world, wherever a cardinal policy or an interest of the United States is concerned, we come in contact with the British Empire. If, as some people say, war between the two nations is "unthinkable," it is of the unthinkable that some other people are plainly thinking. Yet there is no point at issue so vital as to justify, or even of itself to threaten, war. The useful thing is to face frankly the fact that there are differences and disputes, and to examine and dispose of them one by one before they can lead to difficulty. Two broad arbitration treaties between Great Britain and the United States are to come up in the course of next year for review. A reassuring and wise step will be the renewal and extension of these agreements as a means of keeping the British and Americans friends.

On our side, Representative Britten of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, has pointed to the British building program as a reason for providing more naval protection for American commerce. And Thomas A. Edison has lined up

[blocks in formation]

War Talk

HE best way to bring on a war is to talk about its probability and do nothing about the conflicts of interest that might cause it.

Yet by the literal interpretation of one of the rules accepted by Harvard, Yale, and Princeton one of the most sportsmanlike of Yale athletes has been debarred from the football field. For three years he has played on Yale's team, and then some one discovered that for a few moments he had played on a freshman team at Brown University. There was nothing of the star athlete about Bruce Caldwell at Brown. He was not lured away from Brown to Yale. He is as true a Yalensian as any other man on the team; but a literal interpretation of the rule has debarred him. Both Princeton and Harvard athletic authorities urged the Yale authorities to let him play; but the very principle of sportsmanship which led them to urge Yale to relent led Yale to observe the rule as it stood.

Talk of this kind has been surprisingly prevalent of late about possible war between Great Britain and the United States. It dates from the failure of the Geneva Naval Conference, which disturbed thoughtul people in both countries. Apparently there are more troubled minds in England than here. Two prominent British publicists visiting America, Wickham Steed and J. A. Spender, have voiced friendly warnings about the danger of naval rivalry. LieutenantCommander Kenworthy, a leading younger member of Parliament, and formerly a member of the Admiralty Staff, in his book "Peace or War," foresees England standing at the head of a European federation of distrust of America and Japan and Great Britain-with Canada neutral-fighting a sea struggle with the United States. And Viscount Grey, the former Foreign Secretary, said in an Armistice Day address: "Soon, even if they are not doing it already, the two matute a code of petty regulations for that mutual loyalty which tions will be building fleets against each other, not so much is the essence of the sportsmanlike spirit. for the requirements of their own countries as for the sake of prestige."

Mr. Bingham, director of athletics at Harvard, stated the consequences tersely: "The Harvard Athletic Committee feels that by adhering to a technicality both institutions are doing a gross injustice to one of Yale's finest sportsmen

Legalism, developed to cure evils in athletics, has itself become an evil. It tithes mint, anise, and cummin, and forgets the weightier matters of the law. If retained, it will substi

In this respect, as in others, athletics have a lesson to teach America. Legalism clogs our courts; legalism blurs our judgments; legalism promotes the spirit of trying to "get by;" and yet legalism can penalize the guiltless. In the laboratory of athletics we can see how it works, and we ought to profit by what the laboratory teaches.

Among rules adopted by leading colleges are those designed to get rid of the so-called "tramp athlete"-the wandering star lured from college to college, owing each college in turn nothing but temporary athletic allegiance. Naturally, the feeling has grown up that true sportsmanship requires the observance and enforcement of these rules against the tramp athlete to the letter.


Our Prejudices

Discussed in the Light of Psychology



HE OUTLOOK has placed befor me some twoscore letters' of its readers provoked to expression by the arresting article of Miss Millay on the juridical execution of two "nameless" men, whose trial and fate (citing Mr. Bellamy's introductory statement) "has brought to light in one way or another the deep-seated prejudices and antipathies of the present day." For therein precisely lies the enduring significance of this cause célèbre. The states of mind disclosed by a "poet's cry of disillusionment" and its aftermath are of interest; presumably, they reflect a representative range of opinion. Naturally, the few who are moved to write feel more strongly or may be more deeply concerned either for the rectitude of public opinion or of their private convictions than the many who reflect in silence.

In about the ratio of five to one, the exhibit records a warm, more usually a hot, protest against author and editor. The feeling ranges from mild consternation to shocked outrage. "Will the editor tell a perplexed reader what has happened?" writes a naval officer. Why, ask others, should The Outlook suddenly resort to "yellow" journalism in printer's ink and editorial methods? Several old and constant readers are amazed; others cry out "in anger and disgust." "Never has such a vicious, false, and wicked article" appeared in a first-class magazine. The effusion is "an insult to thousands of readers" accustomed to look to The Outlook for "fairness and sanity." The publication is "absolutely inexcusable." Nor does the well-known fact that The Outlook disagrees with Miss Millay's conclusions protect the editor from such confidential advice as: "Next time you are tempted into any more of that Millay stuff save yoursen and us by taking a sleeping-powder... You are dippy on the subject."

The article is set down as an emotional outburst which "any high-strung sentimental creature could produce;" "a weak sob-sisterly effusion." It bristles

1 Representative letters of these twoscore are printed on another page-THE EDITORS.

with untruth, ignores facts, is one-sided in its sympathies, "a ludicrous piece of nonsense," "so far from the truth as to be absurd." By what right does Miss Millay pose as a super-jury overriding the judgment of jurors, judges, competent tribunals, and a lay commission? Others deplore that the agitation should be resurrected.

The minority who approve congratulate writer and editor upon their courage and sense of tolerance; they regard the article as notable. Yet one who agrees that the judgment in the SaccoVanzetti case was wrong regrets that The Outlook gave space to "so stupid an expression" of this opinion.

IT is desirable to review this collection

of statements as a sample exhibit of states of mind, leaving untouched (so far as that is possible) the guilt of the accused of the specific crime charged, and the fairness, legal or otherwise, of the trial. But there is one circumstance that I cannot omit, since, as I see it, it is the largest fact or factor in the reaction to the verdict by a most responsible and calmly reflective portion of the public, though it is hinted at (not stated) by but one correspondent-namely, the open gap between the evidence and the verdict. I estimate as very large the numbers of those who followed the proceedings or the competent digests and reviews with no sympathy for the defendants and with pronounced opposition to their Anarchistic views, yet who were puzzled to explain how the two men could have been convicted upon such unconvincing evidence. Consequently their attitude is one of dazed or neutral uncertainty; they cannot attain a belief one way or the other. All that they assert with complete conviction is that tegarding themselves as members of a jury or dad of review, they could not bring them.vesy vote if vote to they must for convictech evidence; and this applies equaltoni who think it more likely that the cused were guilty or guiltily involved than that they were innocent.

fundamental consideration; for here is the "nub" (as William James would have said) of the suspicion of prejudice in both directions. I may be showing my own prejudice in favor of a rationalistic attitude in holding that where the connection of premise and conclusion is so imperfect one should expect as the most general reaction that of suspended judgment. But the psychologist knows as well as any one else the strength of the tendency to take sides. Men are by nature partisans; and only the few by training and self-control approach the judicial, even the tolerant attitude. One need not go beyond quite familiar psychology to suspect that there is some other force than logic or proof at work that sends the balance of judgment to the one conviction or the other, and usually with fervor and tenacity; and that is the measure of prejudice that is here concerned. For prejudice is not, as commonly conceived, a crude, insensitive blindness or stubborn determination to reach, or even to jump, to conclusions that are personally, which means emotionally, acceptable. Prejudice is formed of subtler stuff; it intrudes as a slight, subdued, often subconscious deviation of the logical eyesight that incapacitates it to see rightly. We are all prejudiced, though some far more so than others, and differ still more significantly in the control that we exercise and are eager to exercise over our prejudicial inclinations. The dangerously prejudiced man is he who gives in to his inclinations not only with unrestraint but with exultation. In the attempt to buttress or protect our prejudices by reasons with choice of fact and argument alike and so pacify our logical conscience, we are fairly alike, differing only in the skill and frankness with which we practice this dubious art.


MAY be permitted to record that I was in Boston during July and August, when excitement and agitation rahigh and the fate of Sacco and Vandoza ihscaled. The opinion as I en

ountered it was in agreement with The Outlooks set of replies. At least five to one of the Bostonians whose judgments

« AnteriorContinuar »