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1940_02_17_18-91-Roses Are Red

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 91 LIFE INSURANCE IS AS AMERICAN AS FREE SPEECH AND APPLE PIE PRESIDENT THE Penn JOHN A. STEVENSON has been collecting them for a mere fifteen years, and he doesn't yet consider himself really stricken by the fever. Besides, there are his older collections to augment: Postal errors, for instance, and souvenir handkerchiefs from American expositions. And an idea for a new collection bobs up every month or so. Last autumn one of his scouts sent him a song published in 1865, dedicated to Lincoln. Its title was Farewell, Father, Friend and Guardian! Immediately Mr. Seidman began wondering how many presidential songs had been written. His portfolio already includes Mc- Kinley, Hobart and Liberty; Goodby, Teddy Roosevelt; Taft's Grand March and Two-Step; We Take Our Hats Off to You, Mr. Wilson and— a very recent acquisition—Mr. Roosevelt, Won't You Please Run Again? His collection of mechanical banks is one of his proudest, but he can't afford to make it complete. Walter Chrysler ruined the market. A few years ago, you could pick up an Uncle Sam bank (put a coin in his hand and press the plunger; his satchel opens, the coin falls in, and his beard wags in thrifty glee), or Patty and the Pig, or I EUGENE LYONS' article, It Was 1 Smart to be Red, which appeared in the Post of December 9, 1939, the following statement appeared concerning Archibald MacLeish, now Librarian of Congress, chairman of the 1937 National Congress of American Writers: "The beauties of Loyalist Spain under the Russian Cheka were expounded by Archibald MacLeish. . . . Mr. MacLeish has since broken with the Stalinists and is now on the Union Square black list. . . ." Mr. MacLeish objects to this description of his remarks to the National Congress and directs our attention to his speech as published in The New Masses of June 22, 1937. In fairness to Mr. MacLeish and at his request, we print the following abstract of his remarks: THE WAR IS OURS. The spread of Fascism is a matter of principal concern to writers in America. Certain writers and publicists who disagree with this conclusion present two arguments against taking sides. The first argument is that concern with the spread of Fascism, and the making of a common defensive front against it, amount in effect to the fomenting of war, another war horribly like the last war, another war to make the world safe for democracy. The second argument is that the Fascist issue is in actual fact nothing but a private squabble between Fascism and Communism. This latter is the familiar argument advanced by the hypocrites and the cynical and the frivolous who do not wish to understand what is happening in Spain— who desire to remain indifferent—or, worse, who desire to hide their approval of Spanish Fascism under this flimsy and ridiculous pretext. What alone gives it importance is the use its proponents make of it. They use it to attack the intelligence, if not actually the integrity, of those who, not themselves Communists, stand as the Communists stand, in active opposition to the Fascist attack. They imply that those who find themselves in this position Independence Hall, or even the Clown and Dog, at a top of three dollars and fifty cents, but when word got around that Chrysler had started collecting mechanical banks, prices multiplied tenfold. With the semi-exception of valentines, fans are Mr. Seidman's only enthusiasm that isn't peculiarly American. He collects them because they, too, are vanishing. Air-conditioning is more to blame than fashion, he thinks; but whatever the cause, a few years from now the fan will have joined in limbo the hammock and the rocking chair, the chatelaine watch and the rainy-daisy skirt. Against that day Mr. Seidman has laid in a stock of seventy-odd specimens; it is almost with tenderness that he opens a tiny banjo box and spreads a delicate arrangement of sequins and cherrycolored feathers. That card that originally accompanied it is still there: "To my dear wife, on our wedding day, 1860." Mr. Seidman's own wife does not share his zeal. She insists that he keep his collections at the office and never let them overflow into their home. Does she object to the time and money he spends on them? Says Mr. Seidman resignedly, "All wives do." are being "used," and that they are dupes and stooges. One would have thought that issues of freedom and truth were more important to the liberal mind than being seen in the right company. One would have thought that liberals would more naturally think of themselves as the users, as the leaders in this fight, as the responsible men. There was, after all, a time in this country when the liberals were capable of leading, when they were not merely capable of terror lest they should be led. To my mind, there is something unpleasantly squeamish and virginal about this fear of being used, this phobia of being maneuvered—something almost indecently coy. The danger of rape has always existed, but only the tenderest spirits let it keep them in at night. The man who refuses to defend his convictions for fear he may defend them in the wrong company has no convictions. The other argument is that making common defense against Fascism will foment war on a large scale. The answer is that it is not we who are the makers of this war—the war is already made. The Spanish War is not a preliminary bout which can be kept from spreading to the continent of Europe, but is itself the actual war; the war between the Fascist powers and the things they would destroy. And in that war, the Spanish War on Spanish earth, we writers who contend for freedom are ourselves, and whether we so wish or not, engaged. A Fascist success in the Spanish War would mean a tremendous increase in Fascist prestige and aq almost certain end of democratic institutions in Europe. The victory of the Spanish government before Madrid was a victory having definite consequences for haters of Fascism and foreseeable consequences for us. The Fascist theory of warfare is a theory of quick wars and overwhelming successes— a theory of conquest by sudden and unannounced attacks upon civilian populations. Since Madrid, it is known that war cannot be won against a courageous population in this way, and the dictators are sullen and afraid. It is the people of Spain who have won already one of the great victories against Fascism. How then can we refuse our help to those who are now fighting our battles in Spain? "Among the things frequently commented on by visitors to our shores are the typical American institutions of free speech, life insurance, and apple pie. "That, I believe, is because of our tradition of good food, personal liberty, and self-reliance. In fact, the typical American is probably the most independent soul on earth. He chafes at being under obligation to any one. "This national passion for personal freedom is reflected in our entire history. It brought the Mayflower across the Atlantic. It gave birth to our Republic. It is directly responsible for the fact that America outstrips all other countries in developing and utilizing life insurance. "Life insurance appeals powerfully to the typical American for the good and sufficient reason that it enables him to do many of the things he most wants to do. He uses it to build an estate for his family. He uses it to give his children a better opportunity than he himself had. And he uses it to bring nearer the day when he can close his desk, put on his hat and live on his self-earned income. "I believe that there is nothing about life insurance more typically American than the plan under which it is sold by agents. Of course, life insurance can be bought "over the counter" anywhere in America. But this method has one inherent weakness. It does not give the buyer the benefit of a most valuable element in the American agency system—the broad experience of life insurance men and women in determining actual individual needs, and in fitting the functions of different types of life insurance to thoie needs." Mutual LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY FOUNDED AT PHILADELPHIA IN 1897 WHAT it o MgcLEEME OZED


1940_02_17_18-91-Roses Are Red
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