Archive for September, 2012

Straw Hat Passes

September 15, 2012

STRAW HAT PASSES

Fashion Decrees Entrance of Other Headgear.

Thursday evening the careful male wrapped his straw kelly in a newspaper and stored it away for the winter. If he challenged fate by wearing it in public the chances are that it looks like a portion of breakfast food this morning, for an arbitrary law of fashion decrees that on September 15 the felt headpiece must be cleared of moth balls and take the place of discarded straw or panama.

Skylarking youths delight in enforcing this edict of fashion and the strong-minded protagonist of personal liberty who proclaims his right to wear a hay hat with a sunrise band until the frosts of autumn turn the rose tints of an alcoholic nose to blue, is apt to have his feeling outraged and his headpiece trampled in the dust of the street.

The passing of the straw lid is a signal for the end of summer flirtations and the retirement of the bathing girl from magazine covers; it pressages football, pumpkin pie, apple butter and the approach of the season of hunting and hunting stories.

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 16, 1921

Among the other trials laid up for us during the coming summer is an advance in the price of straw hats. The war in China is causing a shortage in the importations of straw braid, which comes from Santung, where millions of rolls of the material have been burned and destroyed by the rebels.

Alton Democrat (Alton, Iowa) Jan 13, 1912

They say this is a free country but it is surprising how the straw hats disappear at a certain time each year.

Alton Democrat (Alton, Iowa) Sep 27, 1913

Straw hats are cheaper this year than in 1924, possibly for the reason that the supply of material is greater with no straw votes being taken.

Albuquerque Morning Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Apr 21, 1925

Some time ago we felt the urge to buy a straw hat, but had to use the money to purchase a half a ton of coal. It was a wise purchase, as those who bought straw hats and are now shivering will tell you.

Albuquerque Morning Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Apr 30, 1925

John Dewey Slew the Little Red School House

September 14, 2012

Image from The Center for Dewey Studies

Says Teachers ‘Pale Pink.’

American school teachers, often denominated as politically “red,” average up “pale pink,” according to preliminary conclusion reached in connection with a national poll made by the John Dewey Society for the Study of Education.

The poll, extending to 3,000 teachers in the 48 states, is in charge of Dr. George W. Hartman of Pennsylvania State college. He reports that the average teacher tends to support a number of “incompatible policies” and that the “radical” group of teachers is better informed on social issues and public problems of the day than the conservatives. This latter observation probably is true of citizens generally, since the conservatives is often disposed to take the status quo for granted while the “advanced thinker” has reasons, real or imaginary, on which he justifies his position.

An outstanding contradiction was reported to be the prominence of Socialist convictions and sentiments and the relatively small number intending to vote for Norman Thomas for president. Dr. Hartman found that the “typical teacher approves of many far-reaching reforms but his dissent from the status quo is that of a gradualist rather than that of a revolutionist.” Of those polled, 59 per cent expressed the view that an annual family income of approximately $4,000 could be obtained if the productive equipment of the nation were operated at full capacity.

Under the capitalistic system, with the progressives and radicals acting as a spur in the flanks of the large conservative element, income over the years has shown a pretty consistent increase. While some might consider $4,000 a year a high average goal, it is gratifying to find that the teachers favor working toward it under the doctrine of abundance rather than that of scarcity.

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Jul 23, 1936

*     *     *     *     *

“What school teachers think about public questions is important, because their thinking affects their work and tends to mold the minds of the rising generation,” says an exchange, citing 3,000 replies to a questionnaire sent out by the John Dewey Society for the Study of Education….

More than half believe that several millions of our unemployed will “never again find steady work at good wages in a capitalist society.

Only 15 per cent think teachers have a moral obligation to remain entirely neutral on debatable issues, in class and elsewhere.

Ninety-eight per cent reject the idea that the school “has no business trying to improve society.”

Three-fourths favor a federal department of education.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Aug 12, 1936

Commission Finds Trotsky Innocent

New York, Dec. 13. — Leon Trotsky was informed Monday that an international commission of inquiry had found him innocent of counter-revolutionary activities and had declared the trial of 17 of his sympathizers a “frame-up.”

Dr. John Dewey, philosopher and author, was introduced to a mass meeting Sunday night as “the Zola of our age,” read the commission’s review of the evidence and concluded:

“We therefore find the Moscow trials to be a frame-up. We therefore find Trotsky and Leon Sedoff (his son) not guilty.”

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Dec 14, 1937

Image from English Russia – Only in Russia!

DR. DEWEY FLAYS STALIN REGIME.

Dr. John Dewey, professor of philosophy at Columbia university and chairman of the committee that “retried” Leon Trotsky on the charge of treason to Soviet Russia, is utterly disgusted with the Soviet as it is now being operated. This noted American philosopher spent a long, long time peering under the surface of the Trotsky case and what he finds is that the effort to make the proletariat supreme has resulted in the most ruthless and dictatorial political regime that is in operation anywhere today.

Not that he cares anything as between the two personalities Stalin and Trotsky, Dr. Dewey says, but he had hoped for much from the Russian experiment. He finds that experiment now deteriorated into a mass of misrepresentation, lies, propaganda and violence. The people of Russia are kept in ignorance of what is going on in the world and even in their own country. His views are published in the Washington Post.

To those who say that the end justifies the means, Dr. Dewey replies with a bit of philosophy, so startlingly true that its significance comes as a shock to the minds of many. That philosophy, the end justifies the means, is so deeply ingrained in the minds of many Communists that the radicals in this country resort to it in their defense of the Stalin regime by justifying the present assassinations in Russia.

But Dr. Dewey says that the means that are employed decide the ends or the consequences which are ultimately attained. Thus, when violence is used to bring about so-called political and economic reforms violence must be employed to keep the new government in power and violence becomes its principal weapon, not only upon those who are opposed but even within the party itself. Thus all idea of democracy is lost. The means have dominated the ends that were sought to be attained.

The venerable American philosopher, who because he expressed the belief that the world could learn much from the Russian experiment, was himself sometimes called a Communist, has given up all his cherished hopes for Russia. He believes that Communist Russia and Nazi Germany are growing very much alike. There is simply the employment of force to maintain a regime, the holding of the people in ignorance through vicious propaganda, misinformation and fear.

Declaring that he cares little more for Trotksy’s ideas than he does for the scheme of things that is carried on by Stalin, Dr. Dewey insists that the Trotsky trials were a “frame-up” of crooked testimony and evidence; that the Russian prosecutor did not follow the legal rules of evidence under Russian law. All of this Dr. Dewey proposes to prove not only to the satisfaction of Americans but to the confusion of the Russians themselves.

Finally he bids American radicals to see the truth. There is a growing tendency among these radicals to conceal the truth regarding Russian affairs in this country. “They can accomplish nothing by hiding the truth,” he said. “Truth, instead of being a bourgeois virtue, is the mainspring of all human progress.”

Montana Standard (Butte, Montana) Jan 2, 1938

*     *     *     *     *

Groups Are Criticized For School Meddling
(Associated Press)

New York, Feb. 24. — Curtailment of Academic freedom by pressure groups which seek to impose their doctrines on the nation’s school children was held by John Dewey society today to be “definitely on the increase.”

Describing it as one of the “most vital issues of the day” the society said in announcing the 1938 year book, teachers have been reprimanded and even dismissed from jobs for teaching accepted facts about history, science and civics which, for one reason or another, were disagreeable to certain groups in their communities.

Progressive as well as conservative organizations which seek to hamstring school teachers with rules and regulations were denounced in the year book as enemies of democracy.

Among them were listed the “ancestor worshipers” with D.A.R., Sons of American Revolution and United Daughters of Confederacy included in the category — military organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and patriotic organizations like the National Civic Federation, the Paul Reveres and Key Men.

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) Feb 25, 1938

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Mar 5, 1938

LET’S NOT DODGE ISSUE

Dear Editor:

Public schools may not teach “religion,” at least A religion, that is settled; but the general rule in courts of law in this country is that for a witness to qualify as such and testify under oath “he must possess a conscience alive to the accountability to a higher power than human law in case of falsehood.” (American Jurisprudence, 1948 ed. page 96, vol. 58.) This rule is entirely in harmony with the federal constitution, as it was the established common law at the time of the adoption of that constitution and still obtains in states that have not changed it by their own local law.

In Soviet Russia school children are taught that there is no “accountability to a higher power” than the law of Stalin. The prevailing doctrine is found in the teaching of Karl Marx that: “Religion is the sighing of a creature oppressed by misfortune; it is the ‘soul’ of the world that has no heart, as it is the intelligence of an unintelligent epoch. It is the opium for the people.”

Such doctrine is closely akin to that of John Dewey, “who identifies religion with superstition when he says that religion originated in man’s fear and his effort to safeguard himself in every way possible against unknown and uncontrollable forces and changes.” So writes an anti-Communist Russian authority. (Demiashkevich, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, p. 113.) The same writer quotes Dewey as saying that “As a drowning man is said to grasp at a straw” so men who lacked the modern implements and skills snatched at religion as “a source of help in time of trouble.” So, the disciples of John Dewey (whether teachers or others) are naturally against teaching “accountability to a “higher power than human law,” whether you call it “religion,” “ethics,” or merely “good citizenship.”

Accordingly, they now propose to teach ABOUT religions — probably in the same manner that that topic would be treated in the World Almanac or the Book of Facts. Since there is no more mature subject than that of Comparative Religion, which embraces all the sects and philosophies, we may see at once what a synthetic plate of “bolonie” would be served out to the youngsters whose parents are still trying to teach some good old-fashioned ideas of “right” and “wrong.” Such negativistic mush would be a fraud and a fake — certainly a poor antidote against the atheism of the USSR.

If our boys are dying in Korea to save the world from communism and atheism then the public schools ought to find a way to teach these facts; but if, on the other hand, they are bleeding to preserve an adoration of John Dewey’s world of “instruments and skills,” materialistic comfort, and scientific gadgets, let’s not be hypocritical enough to dodge the issue and teach ABOUT religions. Call it “morals,” “citizenship,” or “social science,” but teach that communism, atheism and slavery go hand in hand; that the American tradition requires an “accountability to a higher power than human law.”

ROBERT B. RALLS
186 North Meyer street

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) Apr 16, 1951

Image from Fans in a Flashbulb

These Days . . .

By GEORGE E. SOKOLSKY

Do you know the teachers of your children? They speak of tenure, of academic freedom, of their rights to their jobs. But what have you to say about your children? After all, they are your children and you are responsible for them, for their minds, their bodies, their spirits.

What do the teachers of your children know? What have they been taught? Have they had a broad, humanistic training or are they specialists in methods of pedagogy?
…..

Does your child come home an say, “All fathers are alike,” when your child has repeated to the teacher some criticism you have made of the teacher or textbooks?

For instance, the other day, I heard a child talk about starvation in India. Nothing had been said about sacred cows and sacred monkeys and wild dogs who eat the food of the people and who may not be killed. Could we rescue the people of India if we sent them all our surplus wheat? The fact is that the teacher wants to make the child like the united nations and point four and all that, but the teacher did not say that the peoples of India starve because they do not grow enough food per acre and that a religion which sacrifices living human beings to living animals is partially responsible. The teacher told a half-truth for political purposes.

You need to know what a teacher believes. The teacher says that it is none of your business. The teacher says that the Constitution, under the fifth amendment, protects a citizen in his beliefs. That is absolutely true. A citizen can believe anything he likes: That the moon is made of green cheese, that Karl Marx is as great an historic figure as Moses, Jesus, Aristotle and Plato; that John Dewey was the greatest philosopher of all time. That is a teacher’s private business.

But your child is your business. It is correct that a teacher may be a Republican, a Democrat, a communist, a Catholic, Protestant, Jew or Christian Scientist. He may believe that vitamins will save the world or that vaccination will ruin the world.

But none of that solves the problem of your own responsibility for your own children. No child need be sent to a school whose teachers offend a parent’s beliefs. The child must have a certain amount of “education,” according to the law. That may require the parents to pay for the upkeep of two schools. Many do.

The various organizations of teachers object to this attitude. They wish to make a fetish of the public school system and put it above and beyond criticism. In a country like ours, nothing, but absolutely nothing, should be above and beyond criticism.

(Copyright, 1951, King Features Syndicate, Inc.)

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Dec 18, 1951

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Haney Conducts Question And Answer Column Today

BY LEWIS HANEY

Professor of Economics, New York University

Highland Park, Ill., asks: “I was surprised to learn that Mr. Goslin is on the advisory staff of the National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools. What do you know of this organization? What do you think of a man in the U.S. Office of Education rebuking an Indianapolis school teacher for criticizing  British socialism?

Answer: The two facts you mention tie together. The U.S. Office of Education is in harmony with the ideas of the Nat’l Citizens Commission. Goslin is an advisor. All three agree. A,D. Morse in a magazine article on the schools links them. The fact that a representative of the U.S. Office doesn’t want socialism criticized is typical of the whole set-up. The list of members of the commission shows that it is closely interlocked with the so-called Public Education Ass’n, the CIO, and the Committee of Econ. Develoop. The Pubic Ed. Ass’n is an outfit which joins the Nat’l Education Ass’n trust in propaganda for molding “the whole child” and viciously attacking those who criticize progressive education.

I would say that they are all tarred with the same stick — progressive education slanted toward collectivism. I can find among their leaders no critics of socialism or progressive education. The Nat’l Citizens Committee (with its typical “workshop” conferences) may well have been set up in 1949 as a cover for N.E.A. propaganda, particularly designed to bring in public relations talent and newspaper and magazine publicity.

Peekskill, N.Y., writes: “Please tell me in language that a non-legal mind can understand the exact difference between a Republic and a Democracy.”

Answer: The only difficulty is with the word, democracy, which has been so abused by politicians and Communists that you can’t tell what it means, any more than you can tell what it means to be a Democrat. A republic is a state that has representative government. It is governed by representatives elected by, and responsible to, the people who have voting power. This country has always been a republic.

Originally the meaning of “a democracy” was plain: It meant direct government by all the people. In a pure and complete democracy, all the people would vote directly on all government issues. This country has never been a democracy.

But now the term, democracy, is widely used in two other ways:

(1) Some use it to mean socialism. For example, in a yearbook of the John Dewey Society (which is closely tied in with the Nat’l Education Ass’n) the following statement appears: democracy is “above all a society of and by the common working people.” According to this notion a democracy would be a socialistic society run by the labor class.

(2) Some, however, use the word, democracy, loosely to mean any society in which people are free to discuss affairs and have a vote. This definition, of course, would include republics such as ours; as it would consider a republic as a kind of indirect democracy in which control of government might be through representatives.

In view of the confusion and propaganda surrounding “democracy” you should avoid using the term, and require those who do use it to tell exactly what they mean….

News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) Feb 19, 1952

Bob Ruark’s Roundup

NEW YORK — The old man, I guess you would call him the grandest old man, quit trying and died the other day, 92. This was John Dewey, one of the few great thinkers of the long time we call past and present, and you might say he sowed more whirlwinds than anybody else.

Dr. Dewey made one mistake. He presumed in innocent arrogance that the majority of his fellow citizens were partially as intelligent as he, and there he made his mistake. They weren’t. And aren’t. And doubtless won’t be.

John Dewey was the father of what is loosely termed “progressive education.” This is to say that he slew the little red school-house, assassinated Santa Claus, and placed an added burden of maladjustment on a civilization that had been reasonably happy with the three R’s, the little red hen, and McGuffey’s Reader. He introduced unfettered thought into the public domain, and he gods, how it got mishandled!

The old man was a fine old man, and a brilliant thinker he was, too, and a find philosopher, and a good practical psychologist, and a great educator, and, withal, he made more trouble for us than Karl Marx. Because, principally, John Dewey made a vogue of early self-determinism, and the lip readers seized on his doctrines with glad, incoherent cries.

His idea was basically, if an idea is ever basic, that the young mind should be freed to develop the richness of the moment, rather than to equip the fledgling with the standard spare parts of education for a problematical future. He was of middle age  when he first propounded the idea that modern education should be fitted to individual needs and capacities instead of being assembly-lined along the simple precepts of his fathers.

In very short, he pierced the first large loophole for mass irresponsibility and laziness of educational discipline by the adult of the immature. It is not to lessen the majesty of the man, Dewey, to say that his breadth of thought has contributed as highly to divorce rates, to suicide rates, to psychopathic incidence — and always innocently — as if he had plotted viciously against the welfare of his fellows.

Because his teachings, being fairly intricate and dependent on responsibilities, naturally got abused and soiled from handling by the inept. The story is ancient about his abrupt meeting with a nursery school brawl involving his young son and another moppet. Professort Dewey was shocked at the infantile mayhem, and was informed that this was “progressive education.” Unbridled freeing of the coarser impulses was not what he had in mind.

It is my purely private idea that the dean regarded mankind as essentially noble and simultaneously susceptible to nobility of handling at a very early age. I do not think that in his academic purity he considered a high incidence of lazy parents, spoiled brats, and incompetent candidates for self-determination.

Be all as it may, we have shown small progress in the half-century of popularity for John Dewey’s credo of education. His advanced (then) theories of literally making the child his own master do not seem to have tamed the dreary statistics of delinquency, of adult aberration, of social maladjustment, or rape, murder, dope addition, irresponsibility and general unhappiness.

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tuscon, Arizona) Jun 9, 1952

Image from Genconnection – John Dewey

From John Dewey’s book, My Pedagogic Creed, linked below:

I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends.

….

ARTICLE V. THE SCHOOL AND SOCIAL PROGRESS.

I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.

I believe that all reforms which rest simply upon the enactment of law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile.

I believe that education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.

I believe that this conception has due regard for both the individualistic and socialistic ideals. It is duly individual because it recognizes the formation of a certain character as the only genuine basis of right living. It is socialistic because it recognizes that this right character is not to be formed by merely individual precept, example, or exhortation, but rather by the influence of a certain form of institutional or community life upon the individual, and that the social organism through the school, as its organ, may determine ethical results.

Title: My Pedagogic Creed
Author: John Dewey
Published: 1897
page 7 and pages 16-17

Forward! with your Racial Hatred

September 14, 2012

 

Repost: Racial Hatred

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Sep 3, 1929

Campaign Slogan: FORWARD!

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) Jan 15, 1940

 

 

“… you are inviting revolution.”

September 13, 2012

Image from the Federal Reserve

Detroit Priest Criticizes Federal Reserve System
[excerpt]

He called upon congress to “recover” its constitutional powers to regulate the value and coinage of money, and added that:

“Unless you do that, you are inviting revolution.”

The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) Jan 16, 1935


Lake Park News (Lake Park, Iowa) Sep 20, 1934

Image from the Federal Reserve

ABOLITION OF FEDERAL RESERVE IS ADVOCATED

Editor of The Bee — Sir: If the isolationists wish to give direction to the government policies of the United States they should induce congress to dismantle and abolish the Federal Reserve Bank in toto and restore the United  States Treasury to the prestige it enjoyed prior to 1907.

At that time Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany ordered his bankers to get their money out of the United States and home to Germany. With that order, hell started on a rampage and where it will end is a moot question. We are not inclined to predict.

However, when a conflagration is raging, people who can are justified in taking preliminary steps at self preservation and one of these precautionary measures is to bring unresponsible agencies under disciplinary control.

The Federal Reserve Bank with its sanctions and its sanctions in reverse can do a lot of mischief. The efforts of the national administration to restore normalcy to commerce and industry are futile so long as an unauthorized agency can flout moral standards and carry on as it pleases, we use the term “unauthorized” advisedly, for when the war ended and the writ of habeas corpus was restored to the nation, Woodrow Wilson’s war time emergency acts ceased to have authority to continue their functions.

When the Democratic Party in 1932 gave the people an opportunity to vote on the socalled amendment, they voted it out. It had become nothing but a racket for the late Andrew Mellon’s personal benefit.

W.J.S.
Modesto, January 16, 1940.

Modesto Bee and Herald-News (Modesto, California) Jan 17, 1940

Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) Mar 7, 1935

Coxey Considers Another March To Washington

CHICAGO, Sept. 19. — (INS) — “Coxey’s Army” may march again.

That was the admonition today of “Gen.” Jacob S. Coxey who led the march of unemployed from Massillon, O., to Washington, in 1894.

The 91-year-old “General” told a meeting of 16, the Mothers of America, Inc., that he is prepared to encamp in Washington until someone introduces his bill to abolish the Federal Reserve system.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Sep 19, 1945

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Jul 14, 1956

Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) May 10, 1974

Apple Stealing

September 13, 2012

APPLE STEALING.

This is the season when the farmer turns loose his dog for the purpose of scaring the young miscreants who come out from the city to steal his apples.

The farmer does not have any objection to the boys getting a few apples, but he objects to having his trees broken down by the young rascals. There are so few apples this year that every one counts and the less that are stolen the more the farmer will have to fill up the barrels that must be fewer than usual on account of those pests, the caterpillars.

Of course, the small boy is the same throughout the broad land, but there are so many more of them near the cities that they make the life of the farmer anything but pleasant, who lives in the suburbs.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Sep 13, 1899

The Right Answer

September 12, 2012

The Right Answer

Teacher: Harold, in the sentence, “I saw the girl climb the fence,” how many i’s would you use?

Our Young Hero: Bofe of ’em, teacher.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Feb 27, 1927

Time to Butcher

September 12, 2012

The Crooked Union Boss

Times Record (Troy, New York) Apr 10, 1957

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Sentiments and Philosophy

September 11, 2012

 

PERSONAL AND LITERARY.

Ralph Waldo Emerson makes almost as much from his apple orchard as he does from his books.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Sep 20, 1876

 

Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) Apr 2, 1935

 

Daily Messenger (Canandaiqua, New York) Jan 18, 1960

RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

The Philosopher at a Tavern — A Bar-Keeper’s Estimate of the Right Drink for Him.

Henry Wilson used to tell a good story about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s attempt to “live like other folks.”
Stopping while this fit was on him at a country tavern where he was to lecture, instead of retiring to meditate and freeze in his own cold and cheerless room, he manfully sat in the barroom like the rest of mankind.

He endured the tobacco smoke as well as he could, and watched, no doubt with a curiosity as lively as M. du Chariliu’s on his first visit to a cannibal fest among the Fans, the actions of the men who “sat around.” He saw one after another walk up to the bar and demand and swallow a glass of whiskey; and, true to his determination to be for once like other men, the great philosopher — so the tale goes on — at last rose, and no doubt with a certain degree of diffidence, but no doubt also with a sufficiency of courage in his port and countenance, advanced to the bar, and in a voice modulated as nearly as he could after those he had just heard, demanded a “whiskey skin.”

The barkeeper, a man of high principle, looked into the philosopher’s face for a moment and then said: “You do not want whiskey, you want ginger-pop;” and accordingly administered that mild and harmless stimulant.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 22, 1888

 

Times Record (Troy, New York) Apr 10, 1957

 

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Apr 29, 1901

Sentiments in 1863.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more;
Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.

Think ye I made this ball
A field of havoc and war,
Where tyrants great and tyrants small
Might harry the weak and poor?
I will have never a noble,
No lineage counted great;
Fishers and choppers and plowmen
Shall constituted a state.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Jun 7, 1915

 

The philosophy of the man in the street is “get it and hold it,” in the belief of Benjamin de Casseres, poet and ironic philosopher, who says that after all this may be the most workable system for those to whom abstract theories are no more than the “Einstein theory to a gnat on a derby.” The article is one of a series on “what’s going on in the world today.”

By BENJAMINE DE CASSERES.
(Copyright 1931, by the Associated Press.)

NEW YORK, July 3. (AP) — Philosophy — which is, literally, the love of wisdom but which is in reality the art or science of explaining the how and why of things — has never had much of a vogue in America. Today less so than ever for the American  cares very little about the how and why of things. His one question is: Will it work out?

He doesn’t philosophize on the current depression of his jobless condition or the contraction in stock values. He is not concerned, if he is a wet, how prohibition came on us. Nor will he take any steps, either personally or thru his legislative representatives, to prevent future moves of a like nature. He philosophizes thus: Here it is. Let’s dodge it if we can’t get out of it.

Philosophy In Way.

This attitude is, I suppose, a philosophy in a way — a lazy, do-nothing, good natured philosophy founded on the ineradicable and inherent optimism of the expansive soul who calls the state in which he happens to be born “God’s own country” and who believes “everything always comes out right in the end.”

That’s the philosophy, anyhow, of the man in the street. Of abstract thot he has not a glimmer. Theories of the universe, psychological problems and philosophical aphorisms and rules are no more to him than the Einstein theory to a gnat on a derby. His “wisdom” is “get it and hold it.” And I’m not sure that it isn’t the profoundest, the only and most workable system of philosophy so long as the world is peopled by practical, down-to-the-ground beings.

Boast Two Men.

In the regions of pure philosophical thot we boast of two men who have profoundly affected thot in Europe — Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James and one political philosopher whose influence has been universal, Thomas Jefferson.

Emerson and Jefferson, both advocates of extreme and aggressive individualism, and, theoretically at least, idealist — anarchists, are as dead in the country of their birth, so far as the public go, as prohibition in Hoboken. We move toward the standardization and destruction of all individual rights into pure capitalistic bolshevism, in which moloch-state becomes the absorber and keeper of all personal values.

Fits America.

William James, who gave us the philosophy of pragmatism — or what have you? — comes nearer to the ideal American philosopher, fits more neatly into the American character, than either Emerson or Jefferson.

Pragmatism is really a great and universal individual philosophy which makes the workableness — or “cash-down value,” as James calls it — of a thing the criterion of its truthfulness. He is, in a manner, the enemy of abstract thot. His antithesis is Remy de Gourmont, who said, “thots are to be thot, not acted.”

Does Not Exist.

Philosophy in the grand sense in American does not exist today. There is no love of thot for the pure gymnastic of cerebration. No one cares a hen’s molar about why anything happened or whether it will happen again.

All I can see ahead in America is Karl Marx, who was neither a philosopher nor a thinker, but a sensational utopist with a diabolical scheme for extinguishing the individual.

After all, what is wisdom? I think it is just to stand aside and watch the show. I, who am a philosopher, get a great kick out of it.

Mason City Globe Gazette (Mason City, Iowa) Jul 3, 1931

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Aug 24, 1901

 

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Jun 8, 1915

 

Daily Mail (Hagerstown, Maryland) Sep 27, 1932

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) Feb 18, 1920

The Emerson quote below was used at the bottom of several Lucky Strike advertisements, including the one above.

Star-News (Pasadena, California) Jan 3, 1957

When a Local Mandate Becomes Everybody’s Business

September 11, 2012

Racial Hatred

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Sep 3, 1929

Modern Youth

September 10, 2012

MODERN YOUTH

LITTLE BERTRAM, seven years of age, approached his father somewhat apprehensively.

“Say, pop,” he requested, “will you sign my report card?”

His father took the report card, and his face grew stern. A series of D’s and E’s were all over the card. He looked up.

“Young man,” he asserted angrily, “you have failed in every subject. I see, too, that you are to be left back in your class. Have you any legitimate excuse for all this?”

Little Bertram fidgeted uncomfortably.

“Well,” persisted his father, “answer me!”

The kid shrugged hopelessly.

“I’ve tried to keep my head above water,” he alibied. “But what can one person do against a nationwide recession!”

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Mar 5, 1938