Posts Tagged ‘Regulations’

Darrow the Cynic

June 29, 2012

Image from REA

DARROW THE CYNIC

In many ways Donald R. Richberg and General Johnson came off the victors in their public quarrel with Clarence Darrow. The defenders of NRA proved easily and conclusively the gross inconsistencies of Mr. Darrow’s reasoning, but they did not thereby validate the National Recovery Act and other measures of the Roosevelt recovery program. By exposing the addled thinking of Mr. Darrow, they have gained nothing in constructive defense of the follies of the NRA and its underlying philosophy.

It seems to be fate that the cause of opposition to administration policies falls into the hands of the Wirts and Darrows. They snatch the spotlight and the big headlines, while the calm, well-reasoned criticism of Ogden L. Mills is shunted into the background.

Mr. Darrow’s social philosophy has been shaped by his past experiences as an advocate for the accused, the oppressed, the unfortunate. He has become the champion of the underdog.

In a battle between society and a coupled of murderers, Mr. Darrow indicts society and excuses the criminals. A man of this type of mind would be expected to have a low opinion of the possibilities of human nature.

You might expect him to say, as he did say, “All competition is savage, wolfish and relentless and can be nothing else. One may as well dream of making war lady-like as of making competition fair.”

Mr. Darrow overlooks the fact that all advancement in social justice has consisted in applying workable rules for the enforcement of fair play — not perfect rules, by any means, but workable rules. They are ever being amended in an effort to reach a greater degree of fairness. As wolfish instincts become refined and sublimated better rules are accepted. We still have a long way to go, but we have certainly made a lot of progress in the last three centuries.

The most amazing thing about the Darrow report is that, while he is a professed cynic regarding human nature as applied to rules regulating fair competition, he advocates socialism, or socialized control of industry, which is based on the highest faith in mankind.

Mr. Darrow lacks the faith that business can ever be made to compete on a fair basis; yet he is willing to repose faith in a bureaucratic control over the lives of 120,000,000 persons.

Socialized industry means nothing less than the control of industry in the hands of a few tyrants. If takes a prodigious amount of faith in human nature to approve such a system.

Socialism, or socialized control of industry, to be successful, must presuppose: (1) That the leaders who battle their way to the top (through ruthless competition for leadership) will be not only superman, but also spotless, selfless characters; and (2) that the great mass of individuals will not be spoiled by the multiplicity of government props and aids that will surround them.

A people whose life is ordered for them by a small group of alleged supermen cannot retain the moral fibre of a people who are left to use their own initiative and invention.

A realist would concede that human nature is capable of great things, but in order to bring out the most and the best in him the individual must be left as far as possible a free agent, unhampered by manifold interferences from a paternalistic government. Political freedom means freedom for the individual to develop.

The question the country must settle is, how far, under our modern industrial set-up, must we go in ?? ???? down regulatory laws in order to protect individual liberty? What is the bare minimum of regulation consistent with modern conditions?

We believe that the National Recovery act, the Securities act, the Stock Exchange regulations bill and the other measures go far beyond the necessary minimum of regulation.

President Roosevelt and his advisers think that NRA and present legislation does not go far enough. There the ????  ?? ????ed, and it should be fought out along these lines.

Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) May 22, 1934

A National Game of Blind Man’s Buff

December 12, 2011

WINSOR M’CAY’S LAST PICTURE
By Arthur Brisbane

It Shows a National Game of “Blind Man’s Buff,” American Business Blindfolded

AS HE WORKED at his pictures, not in isolation but in a room with other artists, where young office boys might watch and study his methods, Winsor McCay would look up occasionally to ask with ingenuous sincerity, whoever might be near him: “There, do you think that is PLAIN enough?”

His desire above all was to make his meaning clear, plain. He succeeded in doing so in this as in so many other pictures.

*     *     *

A drawing by Winsor McCay calls for little comment, except that which takes form in the brain of him who studies the picture.

Winsor McCay has certainly made this picture “plain.” Business men will not miss its meaning.

*     *     *

Mr. McCay did not outline this picture in any spirit of criticism or final judgment. He endeavored to show the business intelligence and enterprise that have created this country’s industries, its commerce and prosperity, as they are NOW.

There are various opinions of what we call “American Big Business.” But there cannot be two opinions as to the work that Big Business has done. It has created the factories, the mills, the railroads, the new industrial ideas and methods and [the payrolls] of America. Selfishly, if you like, mistakenly, with unwise methods sometimes, but it has created them.

Business, like a man blindfolded, in the game of “Blind Man’s Buff,” with many little children around him, groping with hands spread out, wondering just where he is and in what direction he is going.

The gnome-like creatures that surround him are all the creation of the New Era, chief among them, little, busy NRA. These little creatures under the direction of college professors, some of whom, perhaps know less about business than those who CREATE the business, have made the rules of this new “Blind Man’s Buff” game that American Business must play, doing the best it can.

The little gnomes have not only written new rules for the game, they have also invented new taxes to pay the expenses of the game, and the big blindfolded individual must simultaneously play the game under the new rules and find the money to pay the new taxes.

It is not an easy game for him, as yet.

*     *     *

The object of the game, as in old-fashioned “Blind Man’s Buff,” is to seize and identify one of the players, giving that player’s name correctly, without removing the bandage on the eyes, or “cheating” by peeking.

American Business and Industry would have no difficulty in identifying the lady that they are seeking, if once she were firmly held, but at present the blinded giant is walking in the wrong direction, that which he seeks behind him.

Perhaps he will turn soon, seize and hold the handsome lady, and make us all happy, while the little gnomes and their professorial papas dance and sing in a ring.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

*     *     *

After sketching in pencil, the picture which Mr. Powers later finished in ink, in a style quite different from that of Mr. McCay, the latter commented, according to his custom, on the work in hand:

“You know how foolish a man feels when his eyes are blindfolded. Even when one of your children steps up, puts both hands over your eyes, and says: ‘Guess who?’ you feel that the world has suddenly changed. The world is what we see and, without sight, nothing is real.

“My business is making pictures, and I don’t pretend to judge the New Era, the professors or the new theories. But I do know that many business men feel as if they have been suddenly blindfolded, that they no longer can control their business direction or their own movements.

“Perhaps they were going too fast in the wrong direction, perhaps they need to be blindfolded for a while. I don’t know.

“But I do know as a maker of pictures that it would be difficult for me to get ahead in my line if somebody fastened a handkerchief around my eyes.

“And I know that some of the ablest business men in the United States today feel as I should feel if blindfolded.”

*     *     *

Many able Americans, trying to comply with all the orders of these little gnomes and at the same time to meet their payrolls, will say “Amen” to Mr. McCay’s words, and agree heartily with the thought expressed in this, his LAST PICTURE.

Hamilton Daily News Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Aug 18, 1934