Idaho Free Press it Caldwell News-Tribune, Wednesday, June 14,1967 Al We Have Reached the Stomach-Turning Point T * HIS, ladies and-gentlemen, is to be a jeremiad. I am about to Inflict upon you Â»n unrelieved, copper-bottomed, six-ply, all- wool, 25-minute howl of calamity about the present moral climate of America. And I am going to talk about our responsibilities therefor as the temporary custodians o! America's press. You may dismiss such fogey ism with a tolerant laugh, But the pathway of history is littered with the bones of dead ctates and fallen empires. Most of them rotted out before they were overwhelmed. And they were not, in most cases, promptly replaced by something better. Nearly 1,000 years elapsed between the fall of Western Rome and the rise of the Renaissance, and in between we had the Dark Ages In which nearly all of man's institutions were inferior to those which had gone before. I don't want my children's children to pass through a couple ol centuries of dialectic materialism before the sun comes up again. | IT IS sad to watch the beginnings of de, cay. It was sad to see an age of Pericles ! .replaced by the drunken riots of Alcibi- ; : ades. There was, indeed,'just cause for i gloom when the Roman mobs, flabby with I free bread and bemused by free circuses, Â·"cheered for the unspeakable Nero and the crazy Caligula. : Alaric's Goths finally poured over the i 'walls of Rome. But it was not that the vails were low. It was that Rome, itself, was low. The sensual life of Pompeii, the. orgies on Lake Trasimene, the gradually weakened fibre of a once self-disciplined people--all these brought Rome down. She went down too early: She had much to teach the world. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I look upon our own country and much that I see disturbs me. But we are a great people. We have a noble tradition. We have much to teach the world, and if America should go down soon it would be too early. One thing is certain. We shall be given no centuries for a leisurely and comfortable decay. We have an enemy now-remorseless, crude, brutal and cocky. However much the leaders of the Communist conspiracy may lie to their subjects about our motives, about our conditions of prosperity, our policies and aims, one thing they believe themselves implicitly-and that is that we are In an advanced state of moral decline. It is'a dogma of current Communist faith that America is Sodom and Gomorrah, ready 3 for the kill. ;"! LxO YOU know what scares me about the Communists? It's not their political system, which is primitive and savage. It's not their economic system which works so badly that progress in a few directions is purchased at the price of progress in all the rest. It is their purltanism. It does no good to comfort ourselves Â·with the reflection that these are the products of endless brainwashings, of incessant propaganda, of deprivation by censorship and jamming of counter-information and contrary arguments. The confidence that they are morally superior is there. You can't get very far Into Russia before the naive questions of your Intourist guide reveal that she thinks she is talking to Â» soft fop who is ripe for the tumbrill and the guillotine. In "the schoolyard the children rush up .to show you, not their yo- yos, but their scholarship medals. And when you offer them new Lincoln pennies as souvenirs they rip off their liltle Young Pioneer buttons and hand them to you, proud that they are not taking gifts, but are making a fair exchange. The Russian stage is as auslcre as the Victorian stage. Russian literature may be corny, but it's clean, and it glorifies the Russian people and exudes optimism and promise. Russian art is stiffly representational, but the paintings and the sculpture strive to depict beauty and heroism--Russian beauty, of course, and Russian heroism. what of us? Well, ladies and gentlemen, let's take them one at a time: . / E ARE now at the end of the third decade of the national insanity known cs "progressive education." This is the education where everybody passes, where the report cards are non-committal lest the failure be faced with the fact of his failure, where all move at a snail pace like a trans- Atlantic convoy so that the slowest need not be left behind, and all proceed toward adulthood in the lockstep of "togetherness." With what results? At an agÂ« when European kids are studying the human capillary system and discussing the binomial theorem our youngsters are raising pollywogs on the classroom windowsill nnd pretending to keep store, This is what is known as "learning by doing. 1 ' We have produced tens of thousands of high school graduates who move their lips as they read and cannot write a coherent paragraph. While our Russian contemporaries, who were supposed to be dedicated to the mass man, have been busy constructing an elite we have been engaged in the wholesale production 01 mediocrity. What a switch! i WISH you could have read all the letters I have received in the past few months from disgusted teachers who have tried to reintroduce principles of hard work and integrity in their classrooms over the opposition of the school hi r rarchies. It is high time that these Ph.D.'d pooh-bahs of John Deweyism stepped forward and permitted themselves to be graded. But no. You recall that not long ago the school board of the little township of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, dissatisfied with modern primers, announced that it was introducing reprints of 80-year-old McGuffey Readers. Maybe it was making a bad mistake. Maybe the new books and new teaching methods are far superior. Here was a fine chance to find out. But did the Wisconsin State Board of Education offer a sporting challenge--a one-year test, for example, to see which was the belter approach, theirs or McGuffey's? Not a bit of it. The State Board merely moved to deprive Twin Lakes of state aid, to the thunderous applause, I'm sorry to say, of the so-called "liberals." When was the last time you, as taxpayers and parents, examined the curricula of your local schools? Are your students given the standardized Iowa and Stanford tests, and, if so, how did your schools rank compared to the national average? Do your kids bring home meaningful report cards, or are parents just getting a lot of gobbledegook about adjustments and attitudes? lAVING generally neglected disciplines in education it was quite logical that we Americans should neglect disciplines in art. The great painters and sculptors of the past studied anatomy so diligently that many of them snatched bodies. And today, after many centuries, we stare at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or at the walli of the Reichsmusee and marvel at their works. But this self-discipline is of little concern to the modern non-objective painter. All he needs is pigment and press agent. He can stick bits of glass, old rags and quids of used chewing tobacco on a board and he is a social critic. He can drive a car back and forth in pools of paint and Life magazine will write him up. Â· Talent is i for squares.. .What you need.is , vast, effrontery. This is the kind" of art that a painter--w ith~-no ability.'can paint, and a teacher with no ability can teach. No wonder it's popular at the factory end. But the tiny minority of youngsters who might have the spark of a Titian or a Rembrandt within them stay unencour- aged and unrecognized. And our museums are filled with splashes, cubes and blots being stared at by confused citizens who haven't the guts to admit they are confused. B UT fakery in art is a light cross we bear. Much more serious is our collapse of moral standards and the blunting of our capacity for righteous indignation. Our Puritan ancestors were preoccupied with sin. They were too preoccupied with it. They were hag-ridden and guilt- ridden and theirs was a repressed and neurotic society. But they had horsepower. They wrested livings from the rocky land, built our earliest colleges, started our literature, caused our industrial revolution, and found time in between to fight the Indians, the French and the British, to bawl for abolition, woman suffrage and prison reform, and to experiment with graham crackers and bloomers. They were a tremendous people. And for all their exaggerated attention to sin, their philosophy rested on a great granite rock. Man was the master of his soul. You didn't have to be bad. You could and should be better. And if you wanted to e?cape the eternal fires, you'd damned well better be. IN" RECENT years all tliis has changed in America. \\'e have decided that sin is largely imaginary. We are bemused with behaviorisl psychology which holds that abstract things like insight, will and spirit are figments of the imagination. Man. savs the behaviorist, is either a product of a happy combination of genes and chromosomes or an unhappy combination. He moves in an environment that will tend '.o make him good or that will tend to make him evil. He is just a chip tossed helplessly by lorces bc-yond his control, and ilic-re/ore not responsible. Well, the theory that misbehavior can be cured by pulling clown tenements and erecting iii their places elaborate public housing is not holding water. The crime vales continue to rise along with our outlays ^or social services. We are fsr gone in fancy euphemy. There are no lazy bums any more--only "i'.i.'pilvcd persons." It is impolite to speak of thugs. They are "underprivileged." By JF.NKIN LLOYD JONES Editor of The Tulta Tribune Yet the swaggering, duck-tailed young men who boldly flaunt their gang symbols on their motorcycle jackets are far more blessed in creature comforts, opportunities for advancement, and freedom from drudgery than 90 per cent of the children of the world. We have sown the dragon's teeth of pseudo-scientific sentimentality, and out of the ground has sprung the legion bearing switch-blade knives and bicycle chains. Clearly something is missing. Could it be what the rest of the world's children have been given--the doctrine of individual responsibility? BELIEF is gradually becoming Â»n honorable career, in America. It is a pretty fair life, if you have neither conscience nor pride. An angry old judge in Muskogee County Oklahoma, upon his retirement recently, asserted that in his last docket 37 baslardy cases were filed for no other purpose than to qualify for the relief rolls, and that in most cases both the plaintiff and the defendant continued living together while awaiting the next arrival. Any effort to stop this racket brings an immediate threat that federal aid funds will be withdrawn. The state will give a mother a bonus for her illegitimate children, and if she neglects them sufficiently she can save enough out of her ADC payments to keep herself and her boy friends in wine and gin. Nothing is your fault. And when the city fathers of Newburgh suggest that able-bodied welfare clients might sweep the streets the "liberal" editorialists arise as one man and denounce them for their mediaeval cruelty. I don't know how long America can stand this erosion of principle. But if we .wish to survive maybe we had better do something about the elaborate pretense that there is no difference between the genuinely-unfortunate and the mobs of reliefers who gather to throw bottles every time the cops try to make a legitimate arrest. The welfare state that taxes away the rewards for responsible behavior so that it can remove the age-old penalties for irresponsible behavior is building on a foundation of jelly. r INALLY, there is the status of our entertainment and our literature. Can anyone deny that movies are dirtier than ever? But they don't call it dirt. They call it "realism." Why do we let them fool us? Why do we nod owlishly when they tell us that filth is merely a daring art form, that licentiousness is really social comment? "Isn't it plain that the '.financially rharassed movie industry'.ii putting gobs of sex in the darkened drive- ins in an effort to lure curious teen-agers away from their tv sets? In the past few years the movie production code has developed rubber teeth. Prostitution is amusing, if not cute. Bare male torsos Â· and counterpane courtships are the mode. Movie stars flaunt their extra-marital adventures in the eyes of the world. We have had Ingrid and Roberto, Liz and Eddie, Liz and Richard, Linda and the bullfighters ad nauseam. The wages of sin is tremendous publicity, mobs of autograph-seekers, and a lark on the sands of the Riviera. Is it any wonder that our youngsters are confused? i.ND the stage: Bawdiness has put on a dinner jacket. The old burlesque skits that you used to be able to see at the Old Howard and the Gayety for six bits are now on display in the most lavish Broadway revues at $8.80 a seat. The 1963 Critics Prize went to a play in which a husband and wife stand toe-to- toe for two hours shouting obscenities at each other while a drunken woman gutst wobbles offstage periodically to vomit in the toilet. Do you want to know who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? I am. Not of her but of it--of its utter bankruptcy of inspiration and decency, of its sickness and self-pity. But perhaps we should be glad to settle for good old heterosexual dirt. Dr. L. John Adkins, a New York psychotherapist, stated not long ago t.hat in his opinion at least 25 per cent of the persons presently connected with t(-e American theater are confirmed homosexuals. Even the normally strong-stomached drama critics are beginning to get mad. Howard Taubman, in a lead article in the drama section of The New York Times, recently wrote DS follows: "II Is time lo speak openly and candidly of Ihe increasing incidence and influence of homo* stxualily on Ihe New York slage. It is noticeable when a male designer dresses tht girls IB a musical to make Ihcm unappealing and disrobes the boys so that more male skin h visible (tun art or illusion requires. It Is apparent In a vagrant bi! of nasty dialog thrown Into a show, or in a redundant touch like tno mannish females walking across a stage without * reason or Â» word of comment." r\ COUPLE of years aeo an American touring company presented one of Tennessee Williams' ripc-r offerings to an audience i:i Rio d j Janeiro. The audience hooted tnd walked out And where did it walk to? Right across the street where a. Russian ballet company was putting on a beautiful performance for the glory of Russia! How stupid can we get? In Phoenix I attended a try out of t new play by William Inge. It takes place in the Chicago apartment of a never-married woman whose son by a bellhop has just been released from reform school, and whose current boy friend is .being seduced by the nymphomaniac across the hall whose husband is a drunk I wonder if this show is going on the road around the world. We are drowning our youngsters In violence, cynicism and sadism piped into the. living room and even the nursery. In a recent issue of Variety, Ted Post, director of the "Peyton Place" television serial, said he was determined to use his medium for sex education, promising to see that it was done with what he called "depth and frankness." Well, this is very lofty. But it may have been in an even franker vein when Variety commented, "The sexials are the hottest sponsor commodity around today, with a pre-guarantee of full rate card 52-week non-cancellable support." So much for the matter of uplift. Last fall a congressional committee, after hearing testimony from distinguished psychiatrists, concluded that the prevalence of violence, bloodshed and steadily- more-explicit rapes on commercial TV was directly responsible for much juvenile crime. The grandchildren of the kids who used to weep because The Little Match Girl froze to death now feel cheated if she isn't slugged, outraged, and thrown into a Bessemer converter. /\ND THERE'S our literature. Have you read "Candy"? You'll find it in most drug store paperback racks, most supermarkets, most waiting rooms, and just about everywhere your children are. The cover makes two boasts: 1. That it was banned in France, and 2. That it is America's No. 1 best-seller. Read it. Read it word-for-word. You'll never understand muck until you go wading. "Candy" shows how far we've gone. The fast buck boys have succeeded in convincing our bumfuzzled judges that there is no difference between a peep show and a moral lecture. The old eye-poppers which tourists used to smuggle back from Paris under their dirty shirts are now clothed in judicial blessing. A Chicago judge has: recently issued a blanket injunction against,any one who might try to prevent the -sale, of Tropic of Cancer to children. Lady Chalterley's Lover and Ulysses are on the paperback shelves right next to the comic books. They can close the bookstalls on the Seine. It's all over at your corner drugstore where the kids hang out. Don Maxwell of The Chicago Tribune asked his book department to quit advertising scatological literature by including it in the list of best sellers. The critics Mid the book publishers have denounced him for tampering with the facts. I would like to raise a somewhat larger question: w. HO is tampering with the soul of America? For nations do have souls. They have collective personalities. People who think well of themselves collectively exhibit elan and enthusiasm and morale. Where they low-rate themselves as individuals they will not long remain the citizens of great nations. Dr. Cclia Deschin, specialist in medical sociology at Adelphi college, in a recent article in This Week magazine, says it's time for a new kind of Kinsey Report. She asserts that the lato Doctor Kinsey produced a report that was heavily loaded by exhibitionists and that did immense damage to America by peddling the impression that sexual self-discipline neither exists in this country nor is it desirable. Generally, she says, those parents who are afraid to lay down the law have the most miserable children. Children, she points out, want honest direction and a set of sensible rules to live by. Where these are denied them on the fantastic theory that it's no longer scientific to say No, the kids often develop subconscious anxiety. Much juvenile delinquency springs from a deep hunger for rules. It is a masochistic effort to seek punishment. The child, says Doctor Deschin, abhors a world where everything goes. Or, as my tough-minded old grandmother put it, "The youngster who doesn't know that there's a Lord in Israel bounces around in a limbo where there is no force of gravity. It you think he's happy you're crazy." wages without work. It's tin*TM f* mad about payoli. We shoud ask thi Lord's forgiveness for our inflated expens. accounts, and quit pretending that goonery is a human right LADIES and gentlemen: do not let me overdraw the picture. This is still a great, powerful, vibrant, able, optimistic nation. Americans-our readers-do believe in themselves and in their country. But there is rot, and there is blight, and there is cutting out and filling to be done if we, as the leaders o free men, are to survive the hammer blows wnicn quite plainly are In store for us all. We have reached the stomach-turning point. We have reached the point where we should re-examine the debilitating philosophy of permissiveness. Let this not be confused with the philosophy of liberty. The school system that permits- our children to develop a quarter of their natural talents is not a champion of our liberties. The healthy man who chooses to loaf on unemployment compensation is not a defender of human freedom. The playwright who would degrade us, the author who would profit from pandering to the worst that's in us, are no friends of ours. It's time we hit the sawdust trail. It's time we revived the idea that there is such a thing as sin--just plain old willful sin. It is time we brought self-discipline back into style. And who has a greater responsibility at this hour than we--the gentlemen of the press. _ HE time has come to dust off the rule look. The game is unplayable if you're allowed two strikes or six, if you can use a bat or a cannon, and if some days you can have three me\ on third and other days there isn't any third base at all. We have to stop trying to make up our own rules. Ami that goes for all of us. It's time to quit seeking learning without effort and )0 I suggest: L ET'S look at our educational institutions at the local level, and if Johnny can't read by the time he's ready to get married let's find out why. LET"S look at the distribution of public ' largesse, and if, far from alleviating human misery, it is producing the sloth and irresponsibility that intensifies it, let's get it fixed. L .ET'S quit being bulldozed and bedazzled by self-appointed long-hairs. Let's have the guts to $ay that a book is dirt if that's what we think of it, or that a painting may be a daub if the judges unwittingly hang it upside down. And if some beatnik, welds together a collection of rusty cogwheels and old corset stays and claims it's a greater sculpture'than Michelangelo's "David" let's have the courage to say that, it looks like j u n k and may well be. L lET'S blow the whistle on 'plays that would bring blushes to an American Legion stag party. Let's not be awed by movie characters with barnyard morals even if some of them have been photographed climbing aboard the Presidential yacht. Let us pay more attention in our news columns to the decent people everywhere who are trying to do something for the good of others. IN short, let's cover up the cesspool and start planting some flowers. ELL, that's the jeremiad. I never dreamed I'd go around sounding like an advance man for Carry Nation. On some people I still think bikinis look fine. But I am fed up to here with the educationists and pseudo-social scientists who have underrated our potential as a people. I am fed up to here with the medicine men who try to pass off pretense for art and prurience for literature. I am tired of seeing America debased in the eyes of foreigners. And I am genuinely disturbed, that to idealistic youth in many countries the fraud of Communism appears synonymous with morality, while we, the chief repository of real freedom, are regarded as being in the last stages 01 decay. W, E can learn a lesson from history. Twice before our British cousins appeared to be heading into a collapse of principle, and twice they drew themselves back. The British court reached an advanced stage of corruption under the Stuarts. But the people rebelled. And in the wild days of George IV and William IV it looked as though Britain were rotting out again. But the people banged through the reform laws, and under Victoria went on to the peak of their power. In this hour of misbehavior, self-indulgence and self-doubt let this be the story of America. Unless I misread the signs a great number of our people are ready. Let there be a fresh breeze, a breeze of new pride, new idealism, new integrity. Here's where you come in. How about railing; hell? This is the text of a speech given several years ago by Jertkin Lloyd Jones, Tulsa Tribune publisher, to U.S. editors and publishers. This newspaper believes Jones' observations are especially appropriate for consideration on Flag Day, Presented as a Public Service by: "A n Independent Daily Newspaper Dedicated to Community Progress"
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