May 1, 1928, Page 1
Norman Thomas Speaks to Social Science Club
The forgiving faculty of the members of the Social Science Club was well rewarded when Norman Thomas spoke to the club on Wednesday. Mr. Thomas is no newcomer to Hunter. Consequently well before the scheduled time he was to speak, Room 84 was packed to capacity even with the necessity for "S.R.O."
Mr. Thomas began his talk by announcing his subject and the outline he would follow. The subject was "Dollars in American Politics," and the highlights he stressed were corruption and graft. The United States, he thinks, is the most corrupted country, political speaking, in comparison with other governments of a similar structure, and he also feels that even with so much of this corruption present, it is almost a miracle that there is not more. Why? The answer is composed of the three cardinal points which Mr. Thomas tried to emphasize. In the first place, both the government of the United States as well as that of New York State are a mass of machinery which is sadly lacking in efficiency. Secondly, the American attitude toward politics is charged with the Babbitism which prompts the voter to read the sporting pages first and the editorial page some time later. Thirdly, the ideology of the American public is of the sort which applauds success regardless of how it is attained.
An example of the principles he outlined, Mr. Thomas cited the situation in Chicago, the inefficiency of the city government, the faulty borough system and the Queens sewer inquiry the inferior grade of local office holders, the recent results of the oil scandals, the justice of an inheritance tax, that is to say, the unfairness of a system in which a millionaire is able to establish an economic dynasty after his death, the Nicaragua situation, the coal dilemma, and other phases of grade and corruption in both recent and past administrations.
Norman Thomas is a brilliant speaker, not only because he has a fine factual knowledge, but also because he can put his ideas and his knowledge across. As a final remark, Mr. Thomas stated that it is to be expected that there be money mixed with politics. The question is not entirely dollars, but whose dollars and how controlled.