March 19, 1935
Anti-War Meeting Said to be ‘Rah Rah.’
To the Editor of the Tripod:
The impulsiveness of youth was quite evident in the communication entitled Anti-War Demonstration which appeared in last week’s issue of the Tripod.
C. B. R. is to be complimented for his endeavor to end terrible war, but why does he follow the mob? By calling his anti-war meeting at an hour when the majority of the students at Trinity will be in cl-asses and very likely, because the Easter vacation follows shortly after April 5, busy with mid-term quizzes he defeats his purpose. Then too, in planning for a turn-out of the influential people on the campus, one should consider the fact that the professors might wish to be present yet feel unable to cut their classes in order to attend the meeting of the pacifists.
Mr. Roberts stated. in his announcement of the rally that “By leaving our classes we can show that we really mean our protest… “ Would the movement not receive far more support and much greater publicity if a march were made to Capitol Hill with a band leading, blaring the strains of the “Internationale”? Upon arriving at the steps of the Capitol Building the soap box orators (preferably youthful men such as are seen daily in New York’s Union Square) could denounce, amid printed banners bearing various anti-war slogans, the militarists and “the dirty capitalists.”
This method, I believe, would be much more in keeping with the good old “Rah Rah” spirit of college days.
-O. D. Carberry, ’36.
Says Peace Should Be Taught in Schools, Not at Rallies.
To the Editor of the Tripod:
The communication in the last issue of the Tripod concerning the antiwar demonstration to be held April 5 interested me very much. However, I do not think that a meeting pf this kind can ever accomplish anything. Mr. Roberts says that by walking out of our classes April fifth we shall show that we earnestly mean our protest against war. I fail to see how walking out of classes has anything to do with the firmness of our convictions. Mr. Roberts is quite right in saying that “there is no intelligent man in Trinity who thinks that war is a good or an excusable thing.” No one disputes this statement. He goes on to say that “we have only a few chances to show that we cannot be deceived by propaganda into thinking that it is based on any but the most mercenary motives.” Smarter men than we have been deceived by propaganda. I do not wish to be cynical, but how do we know that the whole pacifist peace movement is not propaganda being put out by certain groups who to be for peace and order, but who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, trying to demoralize the citizens and eventually to bring about in this country the overthrow of the government? I do not doubt Mr. Roberts’ sincerity, but perhaps he and a hundred thousand other students are being hoaxed by propaganda. “This cannot be,” they might say. “We have all kinds of responsible men endorsing our peace movement– statesmen, churchmen, educators.”
One needs only to hark back to World War days to see the folly of such statements. Were not there plenty of sincere unselfish statesmen, churchmen, and educators who were sure that they were helping in the “war to end wars”?
A Lord Northcliffe or a William Randolph Hearst can do more damage with one edition of their papers than all the demonstrations in the world can rectify. It is not only the “unthinking masses” who swallow this stuff; all men alike are susceptible to the whims of the crowd mind. Mr. Roberts takes advantage of his knowledge of the psychology of the crowd and decides to organize a mass demonstration.
“But,” he might say, “we are intelligent. We can think. We can distinguish between good and bad propaganda.”
Reason is not always trustworthy. Norman Angell in his “Public Mind” states that the “upper classes” are as much subject to the characteristic follies of the public mind as the mob itself. Such well-known men as Dr. Cadman, Dr. Charles E. Jefferson, and Rabbi Wise, all near-pacifists before the World War, were converted by the stories of the crucified soldier, the cruel tortures, and other atrocities said to have been committed by the “Huns” against the Belgians
Harry Emerson Fosdick and Douglas Mackenzie, both leaders in the peace movement, have written books exposing the errors of pacifism as we know it today and as a hundred thousand students are going to demonstrate it.
Let’s not participate in any movement that relies solely upon the spectacular for its effectiveness. Any follows gained in this manner would be the first to desert the cause the more spectacular propaganda machines start grinding out their products of hate.
Christ, the Prince of Peace, did not depend upon the spectacular when He was laying the foundations of Christianity. Today, the Quakers and similar religious sects do not make more firm their convictions against war by spectacular demonstrations. The only way we can ever hope to make a peace-loving nation is to start at the bottom and teach peace in our schools, not outside on the front lawn or in a neighboring auditorium.
-Arthur B. Ward, ’35.