The Jottings Column from the December 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Hon. William Jennings Bryan has been having a fling at the scientists in the Pentecostal Herald (Louisville, Ky.). He falls foul of Darwinism and the doctrine of evolution in general. He flatly refuses to believe that evolution has taken place by the processes described and proved by the scientists, and asks : "Isn't it strange that they can teach this tommy-rot to students and look serious about it? "
The strange thing to-day is how people can believe the tommy-rot that Bryan and his friends teach, in view of the fact that there is enough evidence on every hand not only to discredit it, but to pulverize it.
Unfortunately, the scientists themselves are not straightforward in these matters. When persons of the standing of Bryan get up, there are very few scientists courageous enough to get up in turn and put the quietus on the dope dispensers. Either they remain silent, or, if they do reply, they hasten to say that science in no way clashes with the Bible. This in spite of the incontrovertible facts they have established. Why is this? Are they afraid of these people? Only recently a serial publication was issued claiming in its prospectus that its sole aim and purpose was to provide a clear and concise view of the essentials of present-day science, in the interests of the general public, yet finished up by saying :
"Matter, as now viewed by science, is something as little materialistic in the old sense as could be well imagined . . .
"True science does not seek to deprive man of his soul, or to drive the Creator from His Universe."
Can you beat it? Either this is cowardice or fear—or both. Why? We may hazard a guess. It may be that if the scientists of to-day were too assiduous in the spreading of accurate knowledge of the facts of life within reach of the working class, they would find their support, financial and otherwise, withdrawn and, like Othello, their occupation gone. We know that under a capitalist system those who pay the piper call the tune.
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A shocking state of affairs has been disclosed by a Capt. Bagley in the Sunday Times, arising out of the policing of white people by coloured troops in the occupied regions of Germany.
Readers are now contributing their impressions of what they have seen in this area, and are asking what the British people intend to do about it.
We can tell them what they are likely to do about it—Nothing.
"There are men who often stand forth in questions, of morality; one heard their voices when German atrocities were to the fore. Why are these men's voices silent now?" Why, because it is now "up another street." When they concerned themselves before it was part of a policy "to win the war." It was all claptrap, of course, but it served its purpose.
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Blatchford's patriotic sentiments have been hurt by an article of Bernard Shaw's, in the Nation, in which the latter states his reasons for not attending the Washington Conference. Shaw states that the Conference will fail because nobody is really sincere.
". . . though the Conference may stage one or two public meetings within earshot of the Press, nothing real will be done or told there. . . . In Washington the delegates who really matter will confer; but they will not confer in public." This is exactly what did happen, so that Blatchford's sloppy adulation of our ruling class receives a bit of a set-back. ''We shall learn nothing about this Conference from the Conference itself. Its business is now avowedly not disarmament, but the old task of arranging a balance of power that will be satisfactory to all parties." (Shaw.) Blatchford won't have this ; but can anyone imagine the capitalists of the world disarming—even partly—and living in complete concord? The idea is absurd. To call it a step in the direction of total disarmament, as Blatchford does, is simply nonsense. Their interests will not permit it. What would they do in cases of wholesale working class repression? Surely they will not relinquish quietly the most effective method—Force !
However, they are not thinking of doing this. A little item in the Observer (20.11.'21) goes to show that Shaw was nearer the mark than Blatchford— "The War Office is making its plans for the organisation of twenty-three general hospitals, to be located in large towns near Universities and civil hospitals, and capable of dealing with from 25,000 to 35,000 casualties. It appeals for the valuable co-operation of the Universities and civil hospitals."
No; war will not be "outlawed" so long as our masters have something to start a fight over, fools to do the fighting, and prominent men to encourage them. When Blatchford (Sunday Herald, 20.11.'21) says : "There is no Power represented at the Conference that wants war, that does not hate war," we—well, we simply smile.
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The "Great Silence" dope was pulled off all right. Except for the howling of sirens, the blowing of whistles, the hooting of horns, the banging of guns, and the noise of running engines in standing motor cars, you could have heard a pin drop. Like most swindles, it has caught on, and there is talk of making it a permanent institution—that is, until some selfish employer one day discovers that the slowing down, preparatory to the two minutes, and the gradual starting up again interferes with production, and consequently profits.
Thousands of troops and ex-service men (chiefly unemployed through the Big War) dutifully lined up and paid their tribute to that section of the working class known as the "Glorious Dead."
One man, according to the Manchester City News (12.11.'21), who either forgot the solemnity of the occasion or chose to ignore it, was forcibly stopped in one of the main streets of Manchester by an Army officer and compelled to stand. At the expiration of the two minutes an ex-service man walked up to him and bashed him in the face.
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Some of the beer now being consumed by the public is alleged to contain injurious chemicals. It has been noticed lately that the beer spilled on the counters in bars is having a burning action on the wood. — Daily Mail (1.11.'21).
That, taken in conjunction with what G. H. Roberts, M.P., said at the Brewers' Exhibition luncheon recently, explains a good deal.
He told them that when he was Food Controller during the war, the Government caused the beer to be diverted to places where industral unrest was most acute, in order to induce the workers to maintain their output.
Although some members of the Government were staunch teetotallers, they were obliged to face the fact that if they had not had that beer at their disposal, our gallant men in various theatres of the war might have been hampered in their great task.— Observer (30.10.'21).
So we can be told now that it was a mentality induced by bad beer that won the war ! And a Labour man takes the credit for it ! This is a point worth noting.
There is no doubt about it that the mass of the workers to-day are both mentally and physically poisoned. What with religion and labour faking, cinemas and bad beer— is it any wonder? Probably this will account to some extent for their indifference to the slammings they keep getting. The amount of mental damage inflicted by various forms of dope is appalling.
Will readers assist us in providing the necessary antidote by a small donation to our Thousand Pound Fund?