Baltimore Evening Sun (30 March 1914): 6.


My spies bring me news of a recent case of curious interest before the plupious Liquor License Board. An East Baltimore kaif-keeper, applying for a renewal of his license, was opposed vigorously by the Boy Snouts of the Bonaparte-Levering Society, the plea being that his kaif was a menace to the morals of the vicinage. Then came the evidence for the defense. First a round sergeant went upon the stand and testified that the applicant had conducted an orderly place for no less than 16 years. And then the applicant himself went on the stand, and testified that he had reared a large and law-abiding family in the house, and that two of his daughters had married clergymen!

There isn’t a publisher in this country big enough to rise above the vulgar and cowardly notions of his most depraved reader.—Theodore Dreiser.

The Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday, of course, won’t last quite so long as the Hon. William H. Anderson, but there is hope that he will be even hotter stuff while he lasts.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Hare, successor to the lamented Anderson, went to Annapolis with a hopeless case, and was easily disposed of by the fabulous liquor-vice ring. The vote of 57 to 42 against the prohibition amendment in the House of Delegates by no means revealed the whole strength of the opposition. A number of country Delegates, ready and willing to vote “No” in case of necessity, were permitted to vote “Aye” in order to spike Dr. Hare’s guns in the next campaign. And in the Senate there was a safe majority against the amendment, though not a few statesmen breathed a sigh of relief when the House made it unnecessary for them to vote.

But what of 1916? Ay, there’s the rub! My snouters are all optimistic, but not one of them is optimistic enough to believe that the Rum Demon will have another walkover then. On the contrary, they opine that the Rev. Dr. Hare will do great execution during the legislative campaign of 1915, and that he will probably go to Annapolis in the January following with a safe majority for prohibition, and in all probability, the constitutional three-fifths. If he does, then prohibition will come before the voters at the autumn election in 1916—and already the betting is even that Dr. Hare will jam it through.

The following additional conclusions are the result of 42 years of unremitting investigation and reflection, helped out by repeated conferences with eminent serpents of sagacity:

  1. A man who has never faced the hazards of war is in exactly the same position as a woman who has never faced the hazards of maternity. That is to say, he has missed the supreme experience of his sex, and is hence an incomplete being. There is something in all of us which makes us crave these natural hazards–some impulse toward danger and courage—and when they are not experienced we are prone to invent imaginary substitutes. Thus it is that the men of a nation long at peace become old maidish: they torture themselves with artificial austerities and hobgoblins—for example, prohibition and the Rum Demon. The remedy for such vapors is war, just as the remedy for hypochondria is a knock in the head.
  2. Whatever may be the demerits of Dr. Sigmund Freud’s scheme of psychoanalysis, there is at least sound support for his theory that the thing we hate most is the thing most dangerous to us—that a man’s prejudices afford an index to his weaknesses. The most cruel and vindictive judge is the one who is most a criminal at heart. The loudest whooper for prohibition is the man who is most tempted every time he passes a saloon. But perhaps the best proof of Freud’s theory is to be found in those strange fanatics who specialize in denouncing nude pictures and statuary. The argument of these gentlemen is that such pictures and statues incite the beholder to lewd thougthts. This is a faulty generalization from their personal experience. Their error lies in the assumption that all men, or even any considerable number of men, are as dirty-minded as they are themselves. Wasn’t it Arnold Bennett who said that a novelist must always get his psychology from himself? The same thing is true of a moralist.
  3. The prosperity of such bogus healing schemes as osteopathy and Christian Science is largely based upon the fact that they offer simple and intelligible theores as to the causation of disease. In this department scientific medicine has made but little progress. It can tell us clearly what nephritis is, but it cannot tell us why it is. Even when it ventures to answer–as in the case of typhoid fever–it really begs the question. The bacillus typhosus, in itself, cannot cause typhoid: there must be a preliminary state of receptivity in the body. What that state of receptivity is and how it is produced are questions that scientific medicine has yet failed to answer in simple terms. The answers given by osteopathy and Christian Science, of course, are not true, but they are at least simple, and to the popular mind they thus become plausible. Even an anti-vivisectionist is intelligent enough to understand the theory that typhoid is caused by the pressure of hard bone upon soft nervous tissue. But only a few persons can understand the warring hypotheses of immunity, and even these are left in doubt and darkness.
  4. I have spoken above (in paragraph 5) of the impuse to danger and courage that is inherent in all of us. Its psychological roots are to be found in the wille zur macht, the will to power—a thing differing considerably from Schopenhauer’s will to live, despite many elements in common. The impulse to do something daring is simply an impulse to give an exhibition of efficiency–in particular, of the sort of efficiency that few other men possess. And added to this psychical impulse (and no doubt underlying it) is the purely physical impulse to function: in brief, the life force. That the life force, working thus through the medium of the impulse to daring enterprise, may produce its own destruction–i. e., may produce death–is not an objection of any importance. We all know that nature is an ass. She is constantly failing, through what may be called excess of zeal, to accomplish her own purposes. She is extraordinarily inept, clumsy and wasteful. Even when her purposes seem to be clear (which is not often) her means of accomplishing them are commonly fatuous to the point of unintelligibility. Nature’s plans are magnificent, but her workmanship is almost always bad. An optician who made a microscope as defective as the human eye would be taken out into the alley and shot.

Such, at least, are my honest views, the result of 42 years of incessant reflection. If I am wrong, I shall be very glad to apologize.

The estimable Democratic Telegram, of which the Hon. S. M Wood is editor, has suddenly flopped to the uplift, and its current issue is full of hot editorials against the nefarious State ring. But curiously enough, not a word is said against the city ring. This, however, is not surprising: a great public journal can combat but one ring at a time. Even the Sunpaper is so limited. Specializing in the city ring, it has to let the State ring go.

Costumes to hire for the Rev. Dr. Sunday’s meeting “for ladies only!” The Hon Ed. Hirsch is going as Carrie Nation.

Boil your drinking water! Get ready for the Rev. Dr. Sunday! Swat the fly!