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Column, March 1, 1935, Page 2

What We Think


            "One of the serious defects of a democracy throughout history has been its failure to produce strong defense against internal enemies as radicalism, block action and group pressure."

            "We at the present time in the United State, are witnessing the mushroom growth of external enemies which threaten the principles of our government:'

            This statement of Secretary of Commerce Roper is reported in the New York Times of February 23. It does not require very keen insight to infer that Mr. Roper is very much in favor of a democracy. He even proposes a remedy for the distressing situation we findx ourselves, namely, the creation of a "citizen civil service reserve corps," in which he expects students to take an active part.

            One of the most important planks in the proposed organization is the stamping out of subversive movements, a suggestion quite in keeping with the "red-baiting" of Mr. William Randolph Hearst, and one which will doubtless be supported by a grand campaign of ballyhoo.

.             Secretary Roper's suggestion, upon closer scrutiny, seems to be a nation wide application of the Nunan Bill now pending in our state 1egislature. It is much more to the point, however. There is no hedging about the purpose of the proposed legislation. Its intentions intentions are made quite clear, and will very likely receive further elucidation in these very pointed, none too subtle, cartoons of the New York American Journal and Daily News.

            Is it not strange that the people who are anxious to suppress radical and even liberal student opinion do not dare to conduct a fair campaign by answering the charges made against them concretely?

* * *

            One of the great and important acts of our present federal administration was the setting up of about fifteen hundred Civilian Conservation Camp Camps, in April 1935. Here about three hundred thousand men, mostly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, have been working and maintaining themselves.

            Kenneth Holland, the educational advisor of the 11th corps area of the C.C.C.C. in extolling the camp project, says there have been some achievements in education. He does point out, however, that this progress has been impeded to a very great extent because of a lack of equipment. There are "practically no textbooks, and only barracks or mess hall, for a classroom."

            Such a condition prevails, yet General Douglas MacArthur, Army Chief of Staff, recently drafted a bill which would provide for the enlistment of a reserve force of more than a hundred thousand practically trained men, to be recruited from C.C.C.C. Camps (World Telegram, Feb. 7,1935). The force is to be organized so that in case of an emergency the boys would be availalie to fill the ranks of the military quickly. These youths are to spend two months per year in intensive military training.

            General MacArthur estimates that the of this undertaking will be $7,000,000. This money could be put to much better use, were it spent for the educational equipment so sadly needed. We might then be able to realize in part, at least, the plans laid out by Kenneth Holland, for vocational and industrial instead of military training.

            Such a change of emphasis, however, might entail the necessity of taking the Administration of the C. C. C. Camps out of the hands of the War Department, where it now resides, and putting its control under the Labor or Educational Department. This should be done at once!


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May 20, 2004