i:l . r
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, SU [;AY, APRIL 26, 1925
VOL. XXXV. No. 151
Glenn Frank, Editor of Century Magazine, Writes on One Phase of His Topic At Michigan's 1924 Co
Exercises , The Problem of Combining Knowledge With Power is Treated in Article
Quoted from May Century
Extensive Decentralization of Affairs Needed
By Glenn Frank '
Editor's Note: The following article, entitled
"State Universities in State Politics", was written by
Glenn Frank, editor of the Century magazine, who
spoke at the commencement exercises here last year.
The editorial is reprinted from the May, 1925 num-
ber of the Century.)
Last summer, at the University pf Michigan, I dis-
cussed, in all too fugitive a fashion, the sort of rela-.
tion between university, church, and state, that
would, in my judgment, make for the most virile
and veracious national life.
In this paper I want to set down tentatively cer-
tain considerations regarding one angle of this
problem, namely, the relation of our state univer-
sities to our state governments.
In the Michigan address I emphasized the fact
that university and church and state are engaged
in a common enterprise. "I dislike," I said, "to
speak of education, religion, and politics as if they
were three distinct fields. They are, or should be,
an indivisible unit. Isolate any one of them from
the other two, and it is orphaned and ineffec-
tive. . . . The professor, the parson, and the poli-
tician are at work on the same job, not on three
separate jobs. And that job is the achievement of
'the good life' for the citizen and for the nation."
Ihsuggested, in addition that the unity of aim
shared by these three cardinal institutions of so-
ciety cannot be served by the successful attempt of
one of the institutions to rule the roost by imposing
on the other two its particular notions, thus turning
the nation into a vast Shaker village, with a drab
uniformity of outlook and action. "Now and then," I
said, "the professor, the parson, and the politician
can best cooperate by valiantly opposing one an-
other. Times come when only out of a clash be-
tween university and church and state can corrected
vision and creative policy arise. But even in these
hours of necessity opposition, university and church
and state are engaged in a common task."
These hours of necessity opposition come, how-
ever, only intermittently, when society faces crises
in the determination of policy. We need a technic of
cooperation between university and state in those'
long stretches of timewhenrthe life of society runs
on at its normal pace, undisturbed by dramatic
crises of policy. .
The need of sustained cooperation between uni-
versity and state is obvious. Certainly the state
needs it. The present divorce between the theory
and practice of politics must be ended somehow.
It is not safe, as Dean Inge has suggested, to go on
with the theory of government in the hands of
scholars who have knowledge, but no power, and the
practice of government in the hands of politicians
who have power, but no knowledge. After all, the
art of government consists in bringing knowledge
and power into a working partnership. As I said
in these columns last January, the politics of the
future ought to be simply humanity's technic of
bringing the world's knowledge to the service of the
world's life. Politics should be the point at which
knowledge meets life and becomes socially effective.
Only so can we protect ourselves from the assaults
of those catchwords, snap judgments, prejudices,
passions, and special interests which, thief-like, in-
fest the Jerico road of partizan politics. Politics
needs a better underpinning of facts. Plitics needs
more laboratory workers and fewer log-rollers.
Theoretically, at least, a state university should be
the rallying-ground and repository for the knowl-
edge needed for the wise management of the life
of the State. State government is the rallying-
ground and repository for the power needed for the
effective management of the life of the state. Ob-
viously a state must contrive to harness both the
power of the government and the knowledge of the
university if it is to achieve "the good life" for its
cItizens. A state dares not allow the knowledge
of its university. to languish for lack of power, or
permit the power of its government to run amuck
for lack of knowledge.
Then, too, it may well be that the university needs
this sort of cooperation. Learning is most significant
when its roots are set deeply in the soil of current
life. The absentminded professor, walking about as
a sort of human incubator in which great ideas are
brought to life by some sort of spontaneous genera-
tion, is a creation of the jester and the caricaturist.
More and more education is finding its point of de-
parture not in the past, but in the present. There
are enough things in the day-to-day life of our
Missouris, our Wisconsins, and our Michigans, things
in which the students of these state universities are
of necessity interested, things they can see and
toich and handle. to serve as vivid points of de-
a. working arrangement under which the experts of
the university will be called upon to provide the
politicians of the government with the knowledge
they need in order to form realistic judgments upon
the problems of state government. This, we may
say, will put a fact basis under our politics and save
our scholars from the subtle dampness of the
cloister that has mildewed so many otherwise first-
But because a need is obvious, it does not fol-
low that meeting it is an easy enterprise.
At the outset we are faced with a difficulty that
is, perhaps, inherent in a democratic society. There
is nothing to be gained by scouting the fact that the
scholar is not the idol of democracy. The scholar
finds the road to service to the state blocked by two
things that have, at least up to date, characterized
modern democracies. These two things are the
jealousy of the majority and the tyranny of the
In the democracy, the majority is, and probably
always will be, jealous of its superior men. It
rarely elects its superior men to office save by acci-
dent, or when a superior man succeeds in masking
his essential superiority of mind by the slouch of
his hat, the mountebankery of his manner, and a
vernacular raciness of speech. Democracies appar-
ently are not out looking for representatives who
jority. The crowd hates the expert, and we may
as well acknowledge that fact.
In any democracy, the majority tends, and prob-
ably always will tend, to exercise a tyranny over
minority opinion. And the scholar who has greater
reverence for a fact than for the past is pretty sure
to turn up a minority opinion now and then. This,
again, works against the scholar in politics. As I
have said before, desipte the fact that the majority
has never taken an advance step on its own initia-
tive, despite the fact that the majority has always
had to be prodded into progress by a minority, the
majority still insists upon using the device of ma-
jority rule for silencing controversy as well as for
settling contests. The majority hates the man who
thinks differently from it, and seeks to standardize
thought, and we may as well asknowledge that fact.
The scholar in politics starts with this dual
handicap which lies in the mental habits of the
electorate. And he faces still another handicap when
he attempts to work side by side with thS politicians
in a state government. For here he faces an inevit-
able conflict between the scientific mind and the
political mind. The scientific mind thinks from
facts to policy; the political mind thinks from policy
to facts. The scientific mind is sublimely indifferent
to such catchwords and labels as "conservation" or
"liberalism" or "radicalism." The political mind
Glenn Frank, editor of the Century magazine,
Michigan's 1924 commencement speaker, and author
of this article.
know more than the majority; they are looking for
delegates who are nearly as possible like the ma-
The C sJonbin an Inkwell
Despite all rumors to the effect that no one on the
campus ever more than perfunctorily glances at The
Daily, communications continue to pour into the
Press Building addressed to the editor of the paper
for publication in the Camp lu' Opinion column.
Dozens of letters a day are received, and as many
as possible are published. There is nothing more
gratifying to a newspaper office than to receive
from readers criticism of methods and materials
employed in the publication of their sheet. News-
papers are for the public-not for the journalistic
profession-and when readers will express their
opinions, they make possible a more thorough pub-
lic service on the part of the paper.
It is the policy of The Daily to publish as many
of the communications as space will permit, the se-
lection being made with a view to which letters will
prove of the greatest benefit to the campus as a
whole. Some writers are bitterly grieved when they
find that their work has not been printed, while
others are frankly pleased with the oimission. Two
letters, extracts fro mwhich follow, show the ex-
tremes of the two types.
"To the Editor:
"You are more a friend to me than you realized
when you handed my rabid communication to the
janitor. . : . I never tried such a stunt before, and
I childishly thought myself witty and sarcastic to
say what I did. . ...'
And so on, the letter proceeded to explain the
reason for the earlier (now destroyed) manuscript.
At the other extreme is a note which quite explains
"To the Editor:
"I am 'wondering on what ground you rejected
my letter for publication. I did not understand that
you printing (thus, accurately, the letter) only those
that suited your exact taste.
"Of course I know it is your privilege to reject
or receive letters in this way but I thought you used
some moral standard as a test. Certain I do not
think it just to deny a public answer to your
One man, having written a particularly stinging
rebuke which was published and replied to, followed
his first letter with another from which the following
paragraph is drawn:
"I did not intend my original communication to
The Daily for publication, or I would have request-
ed that only my initials be used; I had no intention
of "broadcasting libellous material"; I sought to
reach no other ears or eyes than those of the men
responsible for the policy of The Daily. I do not
wish to pose as the avatar of some Quixotic course
of conduct; I do not wish to be held up to view as
the champion against whom The Daily may send its
editorial shafts. So if any additional attention is to
be given the matter, I wish to have my name and
personality left out of it as much as possible.", , , ,
Criticisms of Daily style, grammar and proof-
reading are continually pouring in, supplemented by
a quantity of destructive comment which,*lacking in
any element of recommended improvement, are of
little purpose or use. The first of the following
quotations (published, by the way, in the Campus
"Your unwarranted publicity and stand concern-
ing the question of women ,moking made the paper
resemble in humor a comic sheet.... .Your effort
for Christian unity would be welcomed if it had in
it a single new idea -. .
It is only a question of time before the
Garg. quits and gives The Daily full sway as the
campus humor publication. . . . .
"If it were not for the daily bulletin we would
have little excuse for buying The Daily except in
order to get a good laugh."
Referring to a story on the University power
plant, one writer sent in these remarks which proved
of benefit to the paper and to the reporter who
wrote the original article.
"Such ignorance would be ludicrous if it were
not so pitiful. Of course the current in the Univer-
sity line varies. . . . .But so does it in. the Edison
line and every other one supplying general load. . . .
"The movement of the clock depends upon the
frequency of the system. Please tell me how the
engineer can "speed up his power?" . .-. -
" . . I am not sure whether the writer of that
article attended any of the meetings of the conven-
tion. I am inclined to think that he did not, and
it is very evident that he holds several peculiar ideas.
"In the first place the University of Michigan had
nothing to do with the convention. . . . The fact
that Ann Arbor is in the same place geographically
as the University of Michigan is only an unfortunate
". .. . If you can offer anything really construc-
tive in the way of criticism we would be very grate-
ful. but please don't start razzing us until you find
out what it's all about. . . . .'
In lighter vein, but none the less beneficial for
its lightness, comes this brief but pointed conmuni-
cation which is reprinted in full.
"I see by the papers:
"What's a little thing like accuracy in the life of
a newspaper man? What's the difference whose
picture it is as long ag it's a picture, or whose
name appears as long as it's a situation? I have
surmised that the school publications set the stand-
ard for accuracy but alas, I behold, in Tuesday's
Daily the naive mistake of mixing the pictures of the
retired minister of Zagloul Pasha and the new
premier Ziwar Pasha. Who but a newspaper man
would fail to recognize the features of our friend
Zagloul? Such mistakes are not perpetrated on the
innocent public by The Michigan Daily alone. In the
Denver Times I note the picture of Benny Friedman,
with the following inscription below it: New star
looms on the horizon of the great Michigan Aggies."
From a man with an idea to sell comes this sug-
". . .I have a suggestion to make to you as
editor of The Daily. It is that you start a Crftlcs'
Column called "The Daily's daily errors in English"
(or some other equally appropriate name). I am
fully convinced that, if you can find a student with a
thorough grounding in English and a vein of humor
that he could use for the most part in headings, such
a column would be a great success. Any reader
would be eligible to send in criticisms, but they
would have to be up to date, not more than two or
three days old at most.
. . . . If you publish this communication, please
be sure that the proof-reading is accurate, so that
I may not be the first victim of my own sugges-
And now to enter the field of criticizing the
critics of music, drama, and literature. A flat-footed
accusation comes first:
"Anyone reading the criticism of the play "Simon
Called Peter" in the Music and Drama column of
this morning's Daily might well think that The Daily
is a supplement of Mr. Henry Ford's notorious
"Dearborn Independent," or has at least been sub-
sidized by it. . . . ."
Conflicting opinions arose over the review of
"The Dover Road." Exerpts from two of the com-
munications will serve to demonstrate two common
causes of criticism concerning Daily reciews and
". . . . By what process of reasoning the authors
of these criticisms can justify such undiplomatic
frankness I am at loss to conjecture.
"Can it be that these writers are so captivated
lives in terror of these labels. The scientific mind,
it has been suggested regards the unborn as belong-
ing to its constituency even if the unborn exert little
influence at the polls. Obviously all this means far
from smooth sailing for the professor when he leaves
his class-room and journeys to the state capital to
serve the state government.
One thing is clear, I think, as we face these facts.
There is little danger that our state universities
will run away with our state governments. The
age-old conflict between majority opinion and min-
ority opinion, between the scientific mind and the
political mind, will see to that. It is clear also, I
think, that we cannot afford to let our state govern-
ments run away with our state universities. A too
intimately political domination of our state univer-
sities will, in time, produce in America a "reptile
university" to serve current political ends as Bis-
mark's "reptile press" served the political ends of
the German Empire.
Is there, then, any workable cooperation between
state and university possible?
Here and there and now and then very effective
cooperation has been and will be possible. A really
great governor or a really great university president
can, in any given state, go far towards driving the
knowledge of the university and the power of the
state abreast. The research technic of the university
can, through such agencies as legislative reference
departments and through the part-time service of
professors on various state commissions, be used to
supplement the good will of honest legislators and to
obstruct the anti-social will of dishonest legislators.
But such service is sickeningly sporadic. We see it
in full swing in one state, while fifty miles away
across the state line a neighbor-state allows the in-
tellectual resources of its university to go to waste
politically while the politics of its state capitol
degenerate into a mere log-rolling between private
interests. Aside from the occasional emergence of
a great governor or a great university president, how
much can we hope for in the way of cooperation
between state universities and state governments?
Frankly, I doubt that we shall see the full and
intimate cooperation that a rational view of politics
suggests as long as we insist upon centralizing so
many of our interests in politics. As long as we put
our major trust in politics, the state will be supreme,
and in any attempted cooperation. between university
and state, the state will sooner or later dominate
the situation and bend the university to its will.
And this defeats the very purpose of the cooperation,
which is to biring into politics the impartiality of the
scientific mind that is more interested in the results
of a test tube than in the results of a ballot-box.
The real hope of putting the knowledge of the
university at the service of the .life of the state is,
I thik, dependent upon an extensive decentraliza-
tion of public affairs. I do not mean by this the
sort of decentralization that the defenders of states'
rights are talking about so much now. Last month
I tried to suggest the hollow unreality of the argu-
ment that social progress can be served by taking
things away from the National Government and giv-
ing them back to the state government. As I said
then, the real decentralization that we need is 'not
from a big political unit to small political units,
but a decentralization from politics back to the
functional groups that are doing the work of the
world and determining the tone and temper of life
by the way they do it. If ballot-box democracy is, at
heart, a sort of conspiracy against the leadership of
its superior men, then the hope of democracies lies
in the development through the right kind of educa-
tion of unofficial statesmen who shall manage the
businesses, the industries, and the professions of the
nation with such socially minded vision and technic
that we can afford to restrict political government
more and more to the policing of life goes outside
the halls of legislatures and' cabinet rooms. Here,
I think, is the-real political function of our uni-
versities; the training of a race of unofficial- states-
men we can trust to manage the life of society when
society has passed out of the age 'of politics. But
this will involve a more intimate relating of state
universities to the life of the states. The statesman-
ship of our university presidents, in the future, must
be expressed not so much in wire-pulling at state
capitols as in the development of a more realistic
and statesmanlike education that shall enhance and
enrich the common life of the state as well as edu-
cate the individual students.
The second of the two communications on the
"Dover Road" review is somewhat in the form of an
answer to the first.
. . . . The writer of Thursday's review, we
find, was quite fair in his criticism of the play and
its embellishments. The certain individual he de-
nounces was, in plain English, perfectly rotten..