Baltimore Evening Sun (26 January 1914): 6.
The Hon. H. Cornell Wilson, the Christian Science press agent in New York city, in the New York Tribune:
It is but fair to Christian Scientits to state that they make it a practice to be scrupulous in the observance of health laws, and all regulations pertaining to the segregation of contagious diseases.
On what grounds? Can it be that a Christian Scientist accused of having smallpox, but not actually having it--for no Christian Scientist can have it--can it be that this Christian Scientist is yet able to transmit it to his neighbors? If not, why should he bother about “regulations pertaining to the segregation of contagious diseases”? Let us hear from the Hon. Sweet Williams on this point. And let him tell us, further, whether Christian Scientists carry their “scrupulous” reverence for health laws so far that they submit willingly to vaccination.
A DAILY THOUGHT. Don’t take advantage of a man’s being poor to make him a pauper.--The Hon. Basil Magoon.
What humor could be wilder than that of life itself? Imagine John Millington Synge, in a celluloid collar, writing “Riders to the Sea!” Imagine Schubert, on his deathbed, reading the works of J. Fenimore Cooper!
Colleague Bonaparte on the Hon. Abraham Flexner’s recent report on “Prostitution in Europe”:
Dr. Flexner’s testimony, although very valuable and very welcome, is, after all, cumulative testimony only. * * * For fair-minded and well-informed persons it is now sufficiently clear that, as the way to swim is to swim, the way to suppress vice is to suppress it * * *
Courage, Molière, c’est de bonne comédie! Is it true, as the Hon. Nr. Bonaparte hints, that Dr. Flexner is opposed to regulation? It is. But is it true, as he also hints, that Dr. Flexner is in favor of suppression? It is not. Whole pages of the laborious doctor’s book, in truth, are devoted to proving that snouting, raiding and all the rest of the mountebankery approved by the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte are vicious, disingenuous and useless. He is unutterably opposed, for instance, to a “morals police,” whether male or female. He believes that it is ineffective, that it is tyrannical and that it is almost certain to become corrupt. And in this belief be is admirably supported, though he doesn’t mention it, by the history of the Pentz Society of Baltimore, of which the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte has the honor to be vice-president.
In brief, Dr. Flexner’s report offers very poor consolation to the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte, despite the confident whistling of that ingenious gentleman. The remedy he proposes is one which no Bonaparte or Levering will ever swallow without the use of mechanical appliances. It consists, in its essence, of a frank recognition of the fact that sexual immorality is a vice and not a crime, and that the law therefore has nothing to do with it. He proposes on the one hand that all commercialized incitements to its practice be put down, and on the other hand that the police attempt no interference with the thing in itself. Thus his opposition to open brothels is not a whit more violent then his opposition to the pursuit and persecution of prostitutes. What he actually favors, at bottom, is a sort of compromise between the two systems now known to civilization. He holds, as all other sane men hold, that the police cannot prevent immorality, no matter how hard they try, and that the more they are forced into attempting this impossibility the more likely they will be to fall into concealments, charlatanry and downright corruption.. This is precisely the argument against the whole machinery of snouting and suppression proposed and defended by the Hon. Mr. Bonaparte.
On the Continent of Europe, of course, such organizations as the Pentz Society are strictly supervised by the police, and so their successful operation as private sporting clubs is unimaginable. They are permitted to present their views to the proper authorities, and even to gather evidence, but they never attain to the power revealed by the Pentz Society’s alliance with the local police board and by its astounding plots against police captains unfriendly to it. But in place of such sinister leagues of specialists in snouting, there are, in most of the Continental countries, separate establishments of so-called “morals” police. These “morals” police, as might be expected, are always under suspicion, and often with good cause. Says Dr. Flexner:
The women and the bordell-owners, where bordells exist, prosecute their business on the sufferance of this body. I have pointed out how this situation may lean to corruption of the rank and file. It is openly and responsibly charged that it has led even the higher authorities in some places--notably Paris--to employ their irresponsible power for political and other purposes. It is alleged that prostitutes and bordell-keepers have been utilized for blackmail and espionage. * * * Only a few months ago the city of Maintz was profoundly agitated by the charge that the matron attached to the morals bureau had been utilized illegally by her superiors in this direction.
In view of all this, Dr. Flexner is opposed to the creation of any such police force, whether male or female--the dearest dream of all the American vice crusaders, and especially of the suffragettes. He believes that the police should stop short at the commercial exploitation of vice and violations of public decency. These things they can handle. They can close up all the undisguised brothels, they can break up trading in women, they can jail cadets as vagrants and they can prevent open solicitation on the strects. But further than that they cannot go without involving themselves in hopeless difficulties and temptations. As Dr. Flexner says:
In so far as prostitution is the outcome of ignorance, laws and police are powerless; only knowledge will aid. In so far as prostitution is the outcome of mental or moral defect, laws and police are powerless; only the intelligent guardianship of the State will avail. In so far as prostitution is the outcome of natural impulses denied a legitimate expression, only a rationalized social life will really forestall it. In so far as prostitution is due to alcohol, to illegitimacy, to broken homes, to bad homes, to low wages, to wretched industrial conditions--to any or all of the particular phenomena respecting whIih the modern conscience is becoming sensitive--only a transformation wrought by education, religion, science, sanitation, enlightenment and far-reaching statesmanship can effect a cure.
No; the report of Dr. Flexner gives but cold comfort to the Bonapartes, the Kenneth G. Murrays and the rest of the Boy Snouts. It strikes at their plan of action where it is tenderest--and that is where it is a mere excuse for prowling, for denouncing and for stirring up & stimulating pother.
Boil your drinking water! Vote for the mothers’ pension bill! Dear old Beethoven!–Adv.