The Charlotte News
Wednesday, March 5, 1941
A Preacher and a Sunday School Teacher Oppose Drys
Nobody had a good word for the Demon Rum at the hearing before the House Committee on Propositions and Grievances at Raleigh yesterday. But a minister and Baptist Bible class teacher had hard words for prohibition--which is an encouraging sign that the evidence piled up by experience is not always lost on the enemies of liquor.
Said the Rev. T. A. Cheatam, rector of the Pinehurst village chapel:
"While I do not believe that liquor is good even as medicine... no State or Federal law can stop this traffic because there are enough people determined to use liquor to make prohibition unenforceable... Poisonous concoctions would again beset our people without liquor control... When we go back to prohibition our troubles have just begun again."
As for George M. Fountain Jr., who teaches a Bible class in the Tarboro Baptist Church, he was "proud that I do not know what a drink of liquor tastes like." But he said candidly that the ABC stores had been a boon it to law and order in Edgecombe County.
These men are in danger of being classified by the drys as the creatures of the liquor interests. But it is a pity that more of the enemies of liquor have not the clear sight and candor to distinguish between awareness of the liquor evil and the belief that prohibition is a sure cure for it.
Delaware Finds Out How To Be Rid of Blue Laws
In Delaware the blue law people blocked the repeal of a law, passed in 1740, closing up everything on Sunday.
Over and over again the people of the state had tried to repeal this outrageous statute, which has no more relation to modern conditions than it has to the planet Mars. But always the Blue Law advocates had exerted such influence on timorous legislators as to make it impossible.
And then the attorney general of the state got tired of it and ordered the statute strictly enforced--as, of course, it hadn't been. Streetcars were stopped. Gasoline could not be sold. Newspapers and milk could not be bought. Five hundred people were arrested in Wilmington alone.
The case simply serves to illustrate, of course, the absurdity of such laws in general. In North Carolina the people who favor blue laws do not want to forbid the sale of gasoline or milk or--in general--even Coca-Cola or cigarettes. Many of them have automobiles and like to ride out into the country and enjoy themselves on Sunday afternoons.
What they want to do is simple. They want to forbid the people who are not so fortunate as to be able to afford automobiles to enjoy themselves quietly at a movie or noisily and healthily at a baseball game. But they do not want for one second to deprive themselves of their chosen amusements.
The attorney general of Delaware has gone the right way about to rid that state of the incubus. The blue law advocates are already setting up a dreadful howl against the application to themselves of their own rule.
Auhagen Has Plenty of Company Over Here
In Ottawa, Ill., the Government has arrested Dr. Friedrich Ernst Auhagen, German propagandist. The Herr Doktor, according to the charges, has been circulating his Nazi propaganda without bothering to comply with the law which requires him to register as an alien propagandist.
But if the Government is going after this man for that, then it is going to have to go after a great many more. It is no secret that the German and Italian embassies in this country have staffs which are big beyond all reason--and that these staffs are busily engaged in propagandizing the isolationists and appeasers among us.
And then there is the man in Ottawa who served as host to the visiting Auhagen and probably put up the $5,000 bond for his release--one Carus, who operates a chemical plant in the town. Obviously, he is just as guilty as Auhagen. Carus has inevitably made the latter's activities possible.
As the law stands at present, such men perhaps can not be got at. But the law can be changed--not so as to allow the harassing of innocent persons at the whim of irresponsibles, but still so as to lay hands on these people who are serving the enemy. The guarantees of the Constitution surely do not mean that we have to let those who would destroy those guarantees operate with impunity in time of peril.
Japan Has To Eat Her Big Boasts About Indo-China
The funniest thing which has happened in the war so far is the way the French in Indo-China have pulled the nose of Japan.
Apparently it is the French in Indo-China rather than the Vichy Government which, as in the past, have been willing enough to yield at every step.
What the Japs have been up to is grabbing off the whole province of Indo-China and particularly the securing of the base at Saigon for future operations against the British base at Singapore. And like the other Axis powers, they had tried to go about the realization of their aims by piecemeal and by methods designed to raise the least possible alarm in the democracies.
Thus they set out to get Indo-China by pretending to "mediate" between France and Thailand, which Japan had urged into attacking Indo-China in the first place.
But Indo-China bucked--refused to hand over the best of her territory to Thailand (i.e., Japan). Then Tokyo acted up. Either, it said last Friday, Indo-China must accept the proposed terms within 24 hours or Japan would act.
Meantime, however the British had landed Australian troops at Singapore and Mr. Churchill had grown grim toward Japan. And so even Vichy mustered enough courage to ignore the ultimatum.
Japan has not marched--apparently is not going to. Instead her ambassador to London is busily explaining to Mr. Churchill that Japan never had the slightest idea of challenging British in the Pacific. Vichy, indeed, is still trying to yield and probably will in the end. But at least one bluff by the Axis has been temporarily called.
President Ought Not To Pretend About This
The Administration's alleged willingness to accept amendments to the Lend-Lease Bill under which use of the army and navy abroad would be forbidden is an example of the uncandid spirit which has sometimes worried even Mr. Roosevelt's admirers.
The simple fact, of course, is that Congress has absolutely no authority to forbid the use of the army and navy anywhere on earth. The Constitution explicitly makes the President Commander-in-Chief of the services. And the commander-in-chief either has absolute authority to dispose of the forces under his command or he is not in fact commander-in-chief.
Congress can refuse to provide appropriations for the land and sea forces of the United States, and so in the end controls them. But the disposal of forces already in existence is, both legally and by precedent, completely up to the President. That does not make him absolute as a dictator is absolute, for the reason that Congress can always impeach him if he grossly betrays the interest of the country.
But all these attempts to limit the power which is legally the President's have a highly unfortunate influence on the psychology of the enemy nations. They seem to intimate that the United States is determined to emulate the other democracies which have fallen to Hitler's barbarian hordes and write its epitaph in "too little and too late."
In point of fact, we do not believe that the nation will so behave in the showdown. But the fact remains that it still leaves the Germans, Italians and Japanese to hope so. The Administration has no business encouraging that psychology merely to expedite the passage of the bill.
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