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I think we are bound to agree that "the historian of a
century hence will be no more concerned as to which of the
European nations was the technical victor of that contest [the
World War] than is the present historian as to which of the
city states of Greece won in the Peloponnesian War, but he will
be tremendously concerned with the fact that by throwing
Russia back into Asia, it completely changed the balance of
power of the races and the continents, and ushered in the
'end of the white man's world'."

In the recent book by Dr. T. C. Wang on The Youth
Movement in China, in the New Republic series, we have the
story of the beginnings of what now makes the success of the
Nationalist movement in China a foregone conclusion. When
it has succeeded it will have an encouraging influence on India,
which is only a few laps behind anyway.

Distant as they are from one another in both geography and
culture, Japan and Turkey are making common cause against
both coercion and disdain. What the dominant and orderly
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seem universally unable to understand is the equally universal
fact that "we would rather be governed like hell and do it
ourselves than like heaven and have it done for us."

The prospect before us is not so dark as it would be if the
inferiority of the peoples of Asia were as real as has been
taught to the white race. The culture qualities which they
possess in distinctiveness and high degree will now be given to
the rest of the world, and the West need not worry if it finds
the common denominator, which may not be too difficult, but
it will be something different from that which has hitherto
been emphasized. The political and economic trappings of
Christianity will have to yield to the genuinely spiritual which
will enrich rather than conflict with universal spiritual values.

The social process takes place not as we like it always, but
in accordance with its own laws. This book shows some of
the laws working.


THE REVOLT OK ASIA. The End of White Man's World Dominance,
fey Uptvn Close. Putnam. 323 pp. Price $2.50 postpaid of The Survey.

Massachusetts at the Bar

NOT often does an American murder trial occasion attacks
on American legations in Europe and South America,
nor enlist the interest of publicists and lawyers throughout
the world. The Sacco-Vanzetti case not only did that, but
achieved a situation in which Massachusetts justice, personified
by Judge Webster Thayer, has been placed on trial along
with the two Italians accused of robbery and murder at Brain-
tree in 1920. Technical justice for the Braintree murder has
long since been overshadowed by the weightier issue of whether
or not a biased judge, an hysterical public opinion, and a not
over-scrupulous prosecution endeavored to do to death on an
ostensible charge of homicide, men really guilty of radical

Professor Felix Frankfurter of the Harvard Law School,
a former prosecutor for the United States government and a >
skilled student of criminal jurisprudence, has filed a brief for j
the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti or, if you choose, for the i
prosecution against the administration of Massachusetts justice i
in the Sacco-Vanzetti case, in the shape of this little book, i
which deserves wide reading and careful study. With rare j
skill he avoids intruding his own personality, letting the records,
the remarks of the judge, the subsequent confession of the
man who claimed to be really guilty of the Braintree murder,
speak for themselves, resting his own argument on that highest
form of legal skill logical arrangement and selection. Mutatis
mutandis, the book serves the same function as the famous
article, "I Accuse," by which Emile Zola, risking life and
reputation, brought the Dreyfuss case to the attention of
France and of the world.

Zola played a last but a trump card. Where legal machinery
is too weak, or too clumsy, or too corrupt, or too prejudiced,
or too subservient, to reach the real issue, there is place for an
appeal to civilized opinion. Professor Frankfurter and his
friends likewise taking a very real risk, as anyone familiar
with Massachusetts can testify have attempted the same
appeal. Until answered, his book presents a powerful argu-
ment for the theory that the hysteria of 1920 was reflected [
in an attempt, conscious or unconscious, to induce judicial
murder in the case of the two Italian radicals.


THE CASE OF SACCO AND VANZETTI, fc.v Felix Frankfurter. Little,
Brown. 118 pp. Price $1.00 postpaid of The Surrey.


A READING of Soviet vs. Civilization arouses no curi-
osity as to its authorship. The material is of no conse-
quence save by way of reminder that a world-wide struggle is
on between Capitalism and Communism; and the author
prefers to harp on the political and diplomatic strings, with
sundry moralizings, rather than to give any real insight into
the social forces at work. Consequently his treatment, while
factual enough, is trivial and unilluminating.

Dyche's study of Bolshevism in American Labor Unions
can not be so dismissed. The book is obviously a
personal document venting the author's pent-up grievance |^___

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against the International Ladies' Garment Workers, of which
he was once an officer. His work as an author is cheap and
maudlin. Nevertheless it can hardly be denied that his weari-
some indictment of the ways of the union and of its socialistic
members and agitators contains a substantial germ of truth
to be carefully weighed. It would hardly seem, however, that
the irresponsibility and blind militancy to which Dyche at-
tributes the diversion of the industry into petty outside shops
could be a sufficient explanation of the demoralization that has
overcome efforts in the direction of a sound factory system
in the making of women's clothing; nor does the seasoned
unionist lightly turn to the schemes of collaboration with the
responsible employer in which Dyche finds the hope of labor.
It would, however, be a useful exercise for leaders and active
members of the garment unions to study painstakingly the
indictment presented and to devise ways of meeting the union
shortcomings that are revealed in spite of the author's personal

Will Irwin has written a sunnier book, and one calculated
to be of more use to the average American. While the ini-
tiated Communist or Socialist or I.W.W. will find errors of
detail, the story as a whole is a creditable analysis of the
present extent of radicalism in America, on the background,
in the case of each of the groups, of a sketchy historical
presentation of the revolutionary annals in America, and to
some degree in Europe. The book is fair, simple, and moderate
and can be recommended to the casual Main Streeter whose
fears about revolution are in proportion to his ignorance of
the subject. Perhaps if Augur read the book he- would be
inclined to substitute America for Britain as the keystone of


SOVIET vs. CIVILIZATION, by Augur. Appleton. 107 pp. Price $1.50
postpaid of The Survey.


Boni & Liveright. 224 pp. Price $2.00 postpaid of The Survey.
HOW RED IS AMERICA? by trill Irwin. Sears. 219 pp Price $1 50

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The Searchlight on Wall Street

A PROPER estimate of Professor Ripley's new book is to
be gained only if one keeps his preface constantly in mind,
for there the purpose of the volume is clearly stated. He is
concerned to make sure that in a democracy property is not
being allowed to degenerate into an instrument of oppression.
The only justification for democracy, he says, is that it shall
contribute to equality of opportunity for all its members. Those
who criticise this best-seller as muckraking or those who find
it deficient as a program for action will be equally at fault
through failure to realize the essentially constructive purpose
of the author.

Technical details apart, the book is a serious and informed,
but charmingly clarified, statement of the relation of the
modern investor to the conduct of the industries in which he
is today putting such tremendous sums. Professor Ripley is
not radical in the sense of being an advocate of the social
ownership of property or the communal assumption of re-
sponsibility for production. He is trying simply to make the
role of the investor, who numerically is becoming a bigger and
bigger minority in the population, a safe and a responsible one.

That Professor Ripley should be subject to such vigorous
attack as he is from the brokerage world is only an indication
of the short-sightedness with which many stock and bond sales-
men view their calling. The president of the Stock Exchange
is nearer the truth when he preaches that everything which
can be done to make the American investor rightly confident
of the integrity of the securities offered him by Wall Street is
in the long-time interest of security dealers.

Whether or not one agrees with all of Professor Ripley's
suggestions, the book's important value is that stock vendors
and buyers alike are sure to become more wary in the light
of its analysis. The aspect of the problem which gives greatest
pause is its astonishing complexity and the evidence here sup-
plied of the need for experiment and inventiveness in trying
to hit upon ways in which responsibility for financial flotations
and financial manipulation can be socially controlled. One
wishes also that the author had considered the relation to his

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problem of the accepted business notion that capitalization
should be on the basis of presumptive earning power. The
view that the earning-power basis for capitalization makes for
public (even if not for accounting) confusion as to the real
profits involved might well have been further emphasized.
Yet it seems to the reviewer that not alone in public utilities,
where the problem is now clearly recognized, but in the rest
of industry the relating of capitalization not only to earning
power but also to prudent investment does have a vital bearing
upon the fundamental economy with which the enterprise is

It is a wholesome sign that this book is a best-seller. The
spirit of inquiry that it will naturally set at work must almost
surely lead as time goes on to the proposal of regulatory
measures regarding industrial corporate financings which are
as necessary as they are inevitable.


MAIN STREET AND WALL STREET, by William Z. Rifley. Little,
Broom. 359 pp. Price JJ.50 postpaid of The Sun-ey.

Picture of a Fanatic

THIS is the life of a fanatic, done by young moderns. But
it is neither foolish nor bitter; it is fair, kindly, frank,
humorous, and rooted in research not rumor. Every page is
interesting because here is an honest picture of a man, a
veritable rough-hewn human being, though also a first-class
fighting fanatic, willing to endure obloquy and even bloody
wounds for his cause. Crusades are full of drama, and the
authors have got the drama of Comstock into many a good
fight, legal or fistic, and many a funny tale of the yo's and 8o's.
Comstock was a fanatic who became a symbol of Puritanic
rigors against sex. The temptation to his biographers was to
be fanatic in turn. That dilemma is admirably avoided. The
old fighter with his "gamboge whiskers" is treated with respect
and even a sneaking partiality.

In the round, then, Comstock stands forth as honest,
courageous, incorruptible, and sincere. He becomes human
with his devotion to a pallid, inconsequential wife ten years
his senior, his gentle love for children that made him adopt an
ill-tempered unlovable child into his own house. He made no
money out of the power given him. If he was wrong (and
these authors think he was) he was whole-heartedly and mag-
nificently wrong, not even regretting the fifteen suicides laid
at his door. If he was void of humor or compassion for the
transgressors, it was because he held his mission above the
minor accommodations of life. If in his later years he did
foolish things because he was without esthetic sense and knew
nothing of art or beauty, he did them for duty's sake and not
for publicity.

Before his death in 1915 he had become a symbol and a
whipping-post the Puritan busybody with a nose into all art
and passion to suppress and sterilize. He gave (with Bernard
Shaw's invention) his name to the whole school of prudes,
"Comstockery." Says Broun: "He tried to set his heavy
shoulders in the way of much truth and most beauty," but "In
strict justice it must be said that his interference with books,
plays, and paintings of sincere intent was slight. The scope
of his censorship has grown vastly in the telling." Yet he may
have helped the realists by making them struggle and defend
themselves. "In making the arts dangerous, he made them
glamorous. Those who hated him were no less shaped by his
career than the many who respected his principles."

His real job was to get rid of smutty books and pictures that
he thought were ruining the young. By 1913 he said he had
convicted enough people to fill a sixty-one coach train, and
destroyed one hundred and sixty tons of obscene literature.
Broun thinks that though he made pornography seem more im-
portant than it is, he was perhaps defending the folkways of
his people, and acting as a brake on the new freedom until the
next generation was ready. The things he suppressed were not
to any real extent works of art. So to attack Comstock's mam
work you must be ready to say that it is wrong or at least
useless to keep dirty books and cards away from young boys and
ijirls. Even the new radicalism does not defend such things: it
says only that they make no difference. Now frankness and
' even nakedness are doubtless good astringent things; but what

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ideal of the body, art, passion, or sex is helped by smutty post-
cards? The true modern theory is that such matters are too
important to entrust enlightenment thereon to bootleggers of
smut. Comstock may have been sex-ridden, but it was because
he thought sex great, not trivial. Will anybody claim his crusade
caused our present skepticism of marriage, our wild divorce rate,
careless promiscuity, disintegrated family?

Comstock can be used as a text for three studies: one as an
individual whose sex life manifested itself in this odd preoccu-
pation; two, as the exponent of the censor-method in handling
sex as a social force; three, as the representative of an age and
a spirit. The book makes some slight obeisance to the possible
Freudian explanation of Comstock's activity. But lack of data
or timorousness debarred any real analysis of the man's own
sex life, or use of this to explain his career. The sturdy life
of the hero does not encourage guessing. His private character
remains unscathed, and certainly his enemies would have
searched him out. On the second point, the events of Comstock's
life plus a sensible essay on Censorship by Broun as an appendix
provide both matter and a way of thought on the uses or
futilities of censorship.

But Comstock as a symptom and symbol of his generation
and of the Puritan vision of life these authors seem to miss
entirely. He was not alone. Many sensible and respectable
business men and philanthropists supported him. He expressed
the moral view of his time. He was not a freak but an
epitome. What seems missing here as in most of the criticisms
of the Puritan spirit is any apprehension of the reality to these
older Americans of both God and conscience. The way they
starved sex was something heroic and transcendental, implying
some iron force within, some force that is respectable because
of its power. It is too easy to say this preoccupation with the
pursuit and punishment of smut is a compensation for youthful
auto-eroticism carried over as a morbid sense of guilt. Why
did they feel guilty? They were trying to mold life in what
they conceived the image of God. This book does not seem to
grasp the force of this ascetic faith, or its usefulness. Nor on

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 41 of 130)