Baltimore Evening Sun (27 December 1913): 6.


From an advertisement of the Towel fils in the estimable Pocomoke City Ledger Enterprise:

The Star is different from other Southern papers. It has a quality of its own.

The new movement for honesty in advertising!—carried to the point of open confession!

I do not compose for the galleries.—Ludwig van Beethoven.

Mr. Henry Holt’s new quarterly, the Unpopular Review, is now on the newsstands–a stately book of 226 pages, beautifully printed on good paper, and bound in dark brown, with gilt lettering. I open it at random and find the following plain speaking on page 119:

He is the Dr. Munyon of the diseased body politic.

Who is? The Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, of course. The Unpopular Review, I take it, will devote a good deal of its space to this gifted political mountebank, and to that sweet concourse of lesser Munyons which constitutes his claque. Is there, indeed, a single quack in all North America who is actually opposed to Roosevelt? If so, I have never heard of him—or her. He is the idol alike of Sulzer and of Ben B. Lindsey, of Jonathan Bourne and of Bill Flinn, of Beveridge and Perkins. He is the patron saint of the eugenists and the vice crusaders, the jingoes and the judgehounds, the initiators and the referendors, the forward-lookers and the upyankers. All that is intelligent in Socialism he rejects; all that is windy and nonsensical he favors. When he was President no visiting perunist escaped him: he had a welcome for all of them, from Paster Wagner down. And now that he is in retirement, they still buzz around him. It was not by chance that Sulzer became a Progressive: the thing was as inevitable as the rising of the moon.

The article from which I have quoted is entitled “Two Neglected Virtues,” and is devoted to singing the praises of reticence and tact. The second of the two is possessed by the Hon. Mr. Roosevelt in enormous measure: he is, in truth, one of the most cunning politicians ever bred in the United States. But where the former should be there is a fathomless crater in his psyche, a gigantic vacuum, an aching void. His garrulity is great as a suffragette’s, and as hollow. During his seven years in office he was at it day and night, and yet it would be difficult for the most friendly historian to prove him the father of a single novel or valid idea. All he did was to stir up the animals, aimlessly and uselessly. Even the phrases that he made were mere poll-parrotings, depending wholly for their success upon the ignorance of those they delighted. Even his famous “strenuous life” philosophy was a watered and cheapened borrowing from Nietzsche.

But to return to the Unpopular Review. Its first number shows sharp and effective attacks, not only upon the Hon. Mr. Roosevelt, but also upon the prospering fallacies of Henry George, the imbecilities behind the so-called “Oregon idea,” and the maudlin sociological quackery that has Miss Jane Addams for its chief exponent. An article entitled “The Majority Juggernaut” is especially worthy of notice. It is the most convincing argument against the direct elections nonsense that I have ever seen, and at the same time one of the shortest. The fundamental weakness of the Bryan-Bourne-Roosevelt position is exhibited in a truly masterly manner, and to this forensic skill is added a considerable grace of style.

Another interesting article deals with the alcohol question, and from a new angle. The theory of the anonymous author is that many of the bad effects of drinking in the United States are due to the social degradation of the saloon. It is, in the main, a hoggish place, offering next to nothing in the way of intelligent intercourse, but many temptations to mere animalism. The author contrasts it with the English public house, often a genuine poor man’s club, and finds the chief cause of the difference in the fact that, in England, a woman is behind the bar. Her influence, he argues, is bound to be refining, whatever her cultural limitations personally, for men are on their good behavior in her presence, and so the way is open for rescuing them from mere boozing and bestiality. A curious theory, and one borne out, perhaps, by the influence of German kellnerin. At all events, a very entertaining article.

Many others are in this first number of what promises to be a genuinely independent and plain-speaking review—the only one ever set up in the United States. Some of them, I confess, rub my own fur the wrong way—for example, a long account of recent adventures in psychic research, that sonorous flapdoodle, including extracts from late pronouncements by Prof. Henri Bergson, the fashionable philosopher of the woman’s clubs. One sniff of Bergson and I am full flight. He is a metaphysician wrapped in pink cotton, a geyser of sweet and meaningless words, the philosophical Maeterlinck. But every man to his own poison! Let the Unpopular praise the Munyons of pure reason all it will, so long as it currycombs the Munyons of politics!

Problems respectfully referred to the Hon. MM. D. Bachrach and Charles J. Ogle, serpents of the Single Tax:

  1. Let us imagine that the Single Tax went into effect in Baltimore on January 1, 1895. Let us imagine further that during the summer of that year I built a dwelling house at a cost of $7,493.18. Since then I have paid taxes on the land under the house, but nothing on the house itself. But as a result of the gradual increase in the price of building materials, the house is now worth $10,560.87—i. e., it would cost that sum to build another house substantially like it. There is here an unearned increment of $3,067.69, on which I am not even paying taxes. Who is the goat?
  2. Let us descend from theory to facts. The taxable property that I own in Baltimore may be represented by the ovoid symbol of vacuity. I own no real estate of any sort, and no securities. My sole goods consist of the tools of my trade—viz., a second-hand typewriter, a dictionary, a dress suit, a pair of detachable cuffs and the works of Bulwer-Lytton. In brief, I am one of the proletarians wept by the Hon. Henry George: I barely make a living; my net profits, at the end of the year, are often less than 80 cents. Now, suppose that the Single Tax were to go into effect tomorrow. What would be the advantage to me? How would I gain anything?

A copy of Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song” for any argument, not palpably bilious and dishonest, against the Hon. Dashing Harry’s home rule bill.

Beware of Anderson, gents! How do you know that he is going to stay in New York? Keep a sharp lookout for an ambush!