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March 04, 1953 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1953-03-04

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City Editor's_

Slashing the Economists' Payroll

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£dleei to the c &diiop

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A FEW WEEKS AGO a handful of men
turned up to try out for the Union.
About the same time The Daily was using
every conceivable front page gimmick to
lure students to the publications building.
Last week, about half a hundred people
-most of them already holding top posi-
tions in campus organizations-occupied
a small fraction of the seats in a large au-
ditorium as SL kicked off its citizenship
Shortly, The Daily will inaugurate a series
of articles in an attempt to search out the
factors accounting for current campus apa-
thy. Spme suggestions have already been of-
fered. One is the growth of the provincial
activities of the dormitory system. Another
is the alleged pursuit of studies as selective
service closes in.
Whatever the sociological explanation, the
fact of indifference toward important stu-
dent-ru enterprises is now squarely facing
campus leaders. It isn't a pleasant sign-post.
And at this point there doesn't seem to be
much that can be done about it. d
Now hear this: next month a score of
people will be elected to the Student Legis-
lature. Thirty-one people on this teeming
campus have so far evidenced the desire
to run for SL posts.
Ten students want to serve on the nine-
member J-Hop committee. Among the other
posts open, the treasurership of the literary
school and the presidency of the engineer-
ing senior class are presently being hotly
contested by one person respectively.
The deadline for handing in petitions is
Friday. If the present trend continues, virtu-
ally everyone who wants to get elected to a
campus position will do so by default. And
yet one of the rewards of campus activities
is to recognize the importance of and learn
the skills of combatting similar and more
malicious situations in political life.
Sometimes words fail us.
FOOTNOTE on the schedule of a suburban
New York bus line: "Children over 43
inches must pay full fare."
A gold mine is 'in the offing for some
enterprising metropolitan reporter. For
example, an on-the-spot report of the
commissioning of a bona fide bus driver.
Following a salute, the number of guns to
be determined by the numeral of the bus,
the lord-of-all-drivers steps forward to
present the panting neophyte with badge,
ticket-puncher and tape measure.
Then there is the class in P.S. 163 devoted
to instructing 43-inch tall youngsters how
to stoop one inch and avoid detection. A shoe
store adjacent to the bus terminal is prob-
ably making a fortune selling thin-soled foot
The midget problem is undoubtedly a
grave one for the hawk-eyed drivers em-
ployed by this firm. Likewise, they must
have nightmares about the first generation
kids who insists on old world scales.
We must believe that an independent
research crew was consulted on the num-
ber 43. No bus executive worth his salt
would have the gall to enter blindly the
field of chronological anatomy. If such
was the case, we have no quarrels with a
block on tbree-foot-seven-inchers squeez-
ing the oxygen in crowded buses for half-
The real danger-signal .is a possible trend
toward self-amputation, fat feet or shaven
heads on the part of growing three-foot-six-
inchers. We can only hope that a Congres-
sional investigating committee will get to
the case before it comes to court.
L'AFFAIRE BACKHAUT, the most fasci-
nating news item of the week, heralds
the arrival of far-reaching political purges
on campus.
As careful readers of The Daily will note,
the defendant has been found guilty of

purporting to represent local GOP senti-
ments in the Letters to the Editor. Last
year, he followed Emerson's "hobgoblin"
axiom to the hilt by firmly standing behind
a slew of candidates, including at one time
or another Sen. Kerr and a Stevenson-Nix-
on slate.
Satisfied with the veep's financial report
and cognizant of the growing and vicious in-
fluence of the ADA in Young Democrats, the
onetime YD ran into the welcome arms of
the YR. Shortly thereafter he began to
wage a single-handed fight against creeping
This week, the YR Committee of Disci-
pline, which apparently functions to fur-
ther party cohesion, recommended strong-
ly that Backhaut be thrown smack into no-
man's land for "conduct unbecoming a
Young Republican."
The burning question remains: is anyone
taking himself seriously?

A TERSELY worded editorial in Monday's
Detroit Free Press displays one of the
more serious drawbacks of mass communica-
tions today. The editorial, concerning econ-
omists in government, contains some broad,
inclusive and questionable statements which
uninformed people might take as the Gospel
A statement by the chairman of the
House Appropriations Committee saying
he intended to cut the number of econo-
mists on the government payroll from
2498 to 200 or less prompted the Free Press
Agreeing with the suggestion, the writer
said: "There probably aren't more than a
dozen economist in the United States worthy
of the name as it used to be used." The writ-
er did not say what economists used to be
like but passes his generality off as truth
to thousands of readers.
Even more startling is his assertion that
true economists are those that know why
people act as they do in the market place.
For those who have had no economics,
this may sound plausible, but any student of
economics, knows economists leave the rea-
sons behind people's actions to psychologists
and sociologists.

The writer's limited knowledge of econom-
ics, however, is typical of that of the major-
ity of people in the country. As his editorial
was read by Detroiters and thousands in
rural districts, it is conceivable that many
nodded their heads in agreement because-
they are totally ignorant of the work econo-
mists are doing for the government.
Newspapers, like radio, television, mag-
azines and movies, exert tremendous in-
fluence over the thought processes of the
public. How to combat irrational state-
ments is a paradox of our society. We do
not want to curb free expression of thought
but we also do not want irresponsible state-
ments to gain the status of truth through
our means of communications. It is thus
imperative that an editorialist be familiar
with the subject he is writing about.
In the case of The Free Press writer, if
responsible factual studies show that it
would be wise to reduce the number of gov-
ernment economists, then an editorial urg-
ing such action is justified. But it is truckling
to low journalism when a writer ignorant of
a subject, passes on erudite judgment on
that subject to thousands of readers, when
the facts have not yet been ascertained.
--Eric Vetter




At the Orpheum.. .
Pierre Fresnay, in English.
ALTHOUGH the advertisements are re-
markably silent on the point, this film
is a biography of the eminent French ento-
mologist, Henri Fabre, whose contributions
to the study of insect life have been out-
standing in his field. The main role is per-
formed, with distinction, by Pierre Fresnay,
who made "Symphonie Pastorale" a movie
not easily forgotten. Beyond that, however,
and in spite of much documentary footage
of spiders, praying mantises, and the lot,
this rather dull "tribute" material, certainly
not cut above standard Hollywood film bio-
The issue of whether there is ever any
use in filming the lives of famous people
has been discussed previously here; and,
to repeat, it seems to boil down to whether
the "spirit" of the personality can be cap-
tured without undue stress on the au-
dience's tolerance of births, deaths, mar-
riages and other purely personal catastro-
phes to make it worth the trouble. In
general, this cannot be achieved with
living celebrities since flaws in the indi-
vidual being panegyrized must be sicken-
ingly lovable' ones (lest his business man-

ager sue the producer.) As for the dead,
it seems that the evil, rather than the
good, is most oft interred with the bones
-certainly too deep for exhuming seen-
arists who have canonized various jurists,
baseball players, and music hall enter-
tainers. Now, Henri Fabre, entomologist,
has fallen victim too.
Actually, it is doubtful whether Fabre was
good material in the first place. He is rep-
resented as a liberal, somewhat crotchety,
man of peasant stock who lived with a great
deal of energy to a ripe old age. Catching
the "spirit" of such a man (if this indeed
fairly represents him) must have been
doubly difficult since this is the prototype
of the biography hero. The choice conse-
quently was to become freely inventive about
Fabre's life (not too contemptible an idea)
or otherwise make it a vehicle for documen-
tary shots of insect life. The latter decision
has left the film of classroom interest only.
Supporting roles are played by a group of
surprisingly undistinguished players, who
have apparently recommended themselves
by their bilinguality. Fortunately, the one
who could have portrayed President Poin-
caire (in a final scene wholly stolen from
"Magnificent Yankee") never got to appear.
--Bill Wiegand

More from Mr.B-..-.
To the Editor:
Young Republican Club gains
continued momentum with each
passing day.
Czar Reid has now appointed a
disciplinary committee to gather
evidence determining whether the
club should take disciplinary ac-
tion against me. Since Mr. Reid
introduced a constitutional amend-
ment only last week to provide for
expulsion of members, it's quite
clear that the disciplinary ac-
tion to be taken will be expulsion.
In Mr. Reid's haste to take ac-
tion he has unwittingly appointed
the disciplinary committee before
the constitutional amendment
authorizing disciplinary action
against a member was passed. In
other words, Mr. Reid's commit-
tee has instituted proceedings
againstsa particular member be-
fore the authority exists to take
disciplinary action against any
It still remains to be seen wheth-
er continual fumbling and blund-
ering will at all stop the YR ad-
ministration. Probably not. It
seems to have adopted a philoso-
phy prevalent among majorities
since the democratic process first
began, "We ain't got no justice
on our side, boys, but we sure as
Hell done got the votes."
-Bernie Backhaut
* .1 *
BB's Letters ... .
To the Editor:
WHY IS IT that the Daily
seems to be unable to recog-
nize Bernard Backhaut's letters
as the publicity-seeking' garbage
they are? They are the intelligent-
sounding writings of a child whose
mind is brilliantly developed. To
read them is to recognize that they
are carefully composed by one
who wields a forceful pen, which
bases its power on an extensive
Yet, the motive behind these let-
ters is not really apparent until
one knows Mr. Backhaut on more
intimate terms than an editorial
column can provide. He is clever,
ingenious, and has an unusual
power which enables him to fo-
cus attention on himself. Lately,
he has been using this power to
reconstruct his broken-down ego,
which he believes has been demol-
ished by student political organiza-
tions on the campus.
Obviously, Mr. Backhaut has
only himself to blame. Since he
has made a pariah out of himself,
and seems to enjoy attracting at-
tention and sympathy from those
who do not see through him by
means of the Daily's editorial col-
umn, I see no reason why his non-
sense should be carried any fur-
ther by allowing his letters to be
printed. The Daily should not
waste good space which could be
used to print more desirable fea-
tures such as crossword puzzles
or "Pogo."
(I base my rashness on having
lived as Mr. Backhaut's room-
inate for one semester, and a cas-
ual acquaintance thereafter.)
-George Valenta, Jr.
* * *
ISA Affai . . .
To the Editor:
AFTER SO many efforts to set
up a new ISA constitution, to
make it more representative of
foreign students, we find that it
is the same old body in new garbs
with the same old clique control-
ling it. As a member of the con-
stitution - drawing - committee, I
dare say the elections for the
House of Representatives were not
conducted in the spirit or the let-
ter of the constitution. The in-
direct election method followed
by the Election Committee vio-
lates Article 11 section (1) which

says that national groups but not
national associations will elect or
appoint representatives to ISA. By
using the associations as instru-
ments, I do not think proper rep-
resentation would be obtained, as
the national association would op-
erate on its Quorum principle, (It

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"Looks As If Congress May Save Uas Money, Anyhow"


Washington MerryGo-Round

is very .well known the quorum
number is much lower than the
total number of students belong-
ing to that particular national as-
sociation.) Under Article XII sec-
tion (1), only the election com-
mittee can supervise elections and
no such delegation of power is
possible. But which ever method
is suitable for this small clique,
they will adopt what they want for
the simple season that they can
get away with it. They knew very
well that they could get the House
to endorse it as new members, who
are in a majority in the new House,
are at a loss to know the proced-
ures followed. These new members
are not interested in the wrang-
lings nor could they remain unin-
fluenced by the vociferousness of
some. They are oblivious to the
fact that some members can, at
a moment's notice, move a resolu-
tion or talk as if they know Rob-
ert's rules of procedure. From my
past experience in the ISA coun-
cil, I have found this one of its
greatest defects. This was not
remedied in the March 2nd meet-
ing which saw the railroading-
technique of this clique. That was
the first meeting under the new
Therefore, I think members
should take more interest in ISA
and try to replace this clique. By
sending new people they could im-
prove matters and better the or-
ganization. They could remedy dic-
tatorial procedures now in use by
participating in the coming presi-
dential elections more effectively.
* * *
A Modest Pro posal . ..
To the Editor:
Library suffers acutely from
lack of space. I should like to of-
fer a modest proposal for the
splution of this aggravating situ-
Someone-I believe it was Fred
Allen-has remarked that as a
result of watching television fu-
ture generations of Americans will
have eyes the size of canteloupes.
Why not microfilm the entire
contents of the Library? Since to-
morrow's scholars will be physi-
cally equipped and psychological-
ly adjusted to the tiny screen, fu-
ture film-worms should find
themselves completely at ease in
front of the microfilm viewer.
This proposal has the added ad-
vantage of making feasible an
auto de f6 at some future date
when a senatorial investigation
can be treated to a spectacular
burning of the (now totally ex-
pendable) books.
-John H. Lovell

Academic Freedom ,...
To the Editor:
fessor of Geology from Har-
vard University, spoke to students
in the Wesley Lounge of the First
Methodist Church on Sunday eve-
ning, February 22nd. Mr. Ronald
Seavoy in a letter to the Editor
appearing in The Daily of Feb-
ruary 28th made certain comments
concerning Dr. Mather's address
that I feel are incorrect.
Mr. Seavoy stated among other
things that Dr. Mather "construed
academic freedom as the right to
withhold facts from a congres-
sional investigation on the grounds
of poor memory; he construed aca-
demic freedom as the right to con-
ceal from inquiry a person's past
and present political affiliations.
In effect he was defending the
teaching of distorted facts and
In defense of Dr. Mather it
might be said that he ,did give
answers as to what he would do
when confronted by an investigat-
ing committee. He said that if he
were asked questions concerning
specific times, places and events
in the distant past that were hazy
in his recollecton he would answer
that he dd not remember. Only
facts that he could remember
clearly could he report upon. I do
not think it is fair to say that Dr.
Mather either said or implied he
would withhold facts because of
poor memory. Dr. Matlher also
said that when and if he were
asked the question as to whether
he had ever been a member of
the Communist party or if he
knew any members of the Com-
munist party, he would answer
that he was not or never has been
a party member and that since he
knew two Communists he would
give the investigating committee
their names. At no time in his ad-
dress did Dr. Mather state or im-
ply one should conceal a person's
past and present political affilia-
Dr. Mather has been president
of the national council of the
Y.M.C.A. and president of the
American Association for the Ad-
vancement of Science. For over
thirty years he has been respect-
ed as a teacher, scientist, and
champion for human rights. It
would be unfair to say or imply
that Dr. Mather "was defending
the teaching of distorted facts and
-Eugene A. Ransom
Director of the Wesley

Academic Freedom...
To the Editor:
THIS IS in answer to a witch-
hunter of the second echelon,
one Ronald E. Seavoy.'
I. F. Stone, in his Weekly of 21
February 1953, states the issue in
these terms: "Few any longer have
the temerity to say it, but defense
of the rights of Communists to
teach is essential to academic free-
dom in America. This like all oth-
er liberties is indivisible."
And Patrick Malin, in his recent
talk on civil liberties, insisted on
the criterion of specific qualifica-
tion in a given field, as opposed to
more general grounds. Seavoy's
criterion is ,Communism or non-
Communism, which he .justifies in
terms of dogmatism versus open-
Given the latter, it would follow
that all dogmatists are suspect, and
should thus be barred from the
classroom. And it seems clear that
Seavoy has an insignificant grasp
of his subject matter, since con
versely the dictum of "freedom to
seek and teach the truth" can be
construed to exclude no one: Com-
munists, like other dogmatists, be-
lieve that they have found the
Stone, in the issue cited, com-
ments as follows: "The Roman
Catholic Church ... has always
believed that the open mind was
a danger, that revealed truth and
certified dogma were the only
safeguards against error . . . the
Very Rev. Hunter Guthrie, S. J.,
president of Georgetown Unive-
'sity . . . in June, 1950 .. . called
academic freedom 'the soft under-
belly of our American way of life"
This is precisely the attitude of
the Communists, yet nobody
thinks of restricting the freedom
of Father Guthrie.
Given the criterion of specile
qualification, we can immediately
proceed to legitimate results. While
a Roman Catholic might be emi-
nently qualified to teach Baroque
literature, he is likely to be highly
suspect as a historian of mod-
ern fascism. A Communist might
be a superb mathematician, but of
dubious repute in economics.
But these are not absolutes;
what is needed above all is con-
centration on individual merit.
And this is an ideal beyond the
puny limits of contemporary po-
litical hysteria.
--Jack Danielson
Sixty-Third Year
Edited and managed by students of
the University of Michigan under the
authority of the Board in Control of
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
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Barnes Connable............City Editor
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Zander Hollander.....Feature Editor
Sic! Klaus...... Associate City Editor
Harland ,Britr......Associate Editor
Donna Hendleman....Associate Editor
Ed Whipple...............Sports Editor
John Jenks......Associate Sports Editor
Dick Sewell.....Associate Sports Editor
Lorraine Butler.....Women's Editor
Mary Jane Mills, Assoc. Women's editor
Don Campbell .... Chief Photographer
Business Staff
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Judy Loehnberg,......Finance Manager
Harlean Hankin.... Circulation Manager
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WASHINGTON--For forty-six years there
was a member of the La Follette family
In the United States Senate. And for even
longer there has been a La Follette in
In a way there still is. Up in the capitol,
where every state is permitted to place two
of its most cherished heroes, stands the
statue of the elder Bob La Follette. Ac-
tually the elder Bob sits, sits and muses,
and looks out on the stream of tourists
which flock by him in such numbers that
the tip of his bronze shoe is worn shiny
where thousands of admirers touch his
If that statue were able.to think, or if the
elder Bob is able to look down and know
that his eldest son, named for him, took
his own life the other day, he should not
be too harsh on him.
In a way, it was through thinking of his
father that young Bob took his own life.
He felt he had let old Bob down.
Actually he hadn't. Following in the
footsteps of a man as brilliant and met-
eoric as the elder Bob, a man who had
run for President, had come so close to
building up a third party, had held the
state of Wisconsin and much of the north-
west in the hollow of his hand, was a
difficult thing to do.
But in the opinion of his fellow senators,
young Bob had all the courage of the old
man, with more stability.
HE PUT ACROSS the La Follette-Mon-
roney bill for the reorganization of Con-
gress. He bucked the National Association
of Manufacturers in a long expose of civil
liberties infractions, showed how they cov-
ertly spent money to influence the press,
how they even secretly subsidized commen-
tator-columnist George Sokolsky. He ex-
posed the murders of coal operators in
Harlan County, Ky., he was the top pre-
siding officer of the Senate, and he dared
buck FDR on lifting the arms embargo when
he, like his father, feared we would drift
into war.
But having fought big business just
as vigorously as his father, and some-
times more effectively, young Bob accum-
ulated enemies-powerful enemies.
And they concentrated everything they

as TVA administrator, but finally ended up
practicing law. He was on the board of
directors of Sears, Roebuck, and he repre-
sented the United Fruit Company. But it
was pretty humdrum stuff compared with
the days when he was battling things out
in the Senate.
Young Bob used to get a little depressed
about it. He used to come and lunch in
the Mayflower Hotel, all by himself, just
sitting and thinking-thinking how he'd
let his father down.
Especially he used to think of the days
when his father had helped make Wiscon-
sin one of the great forward-looking, pro-
gressive states of the union, and how today
the man who represented it in the Senate
had started a reign of terror and witch-
hunting that might lead to Fascism.
Attending the 25th wedding anniversary
of his old friend, Sen. Lister Hill of Ala-
bama, young Bob spoke sadly of this,
told how he never should have let Mc-
Carthy beat him, how he had let his,
father down.
And, troubled with a severe heart condi-
tion, he went up to the capitol building where
his father once made the longest speech
in history, where he himself had served as
a page boy, where he had presided over many
a session of the august, sometimes unruly
Senate. And taking one last look at the
statue of his father, the image which so
many visitors had reverently touched, young
Bob went home, phoned his wife, and joined
his father.
CONGRESSMAN Pat Sutton has been whis-
pering around Tennessee that he will
try to unseat Senator Kefauver next year.
Sutton seems to think the voters have for-
gotten how he pulled wires to fix a famous
tax fraud involving his father-in-law .. .
The Communist Daily Worker has quietly
purged its veteran Washington correspond-
ent, Rob Hall. He's been replaced by a new
party-liner, named Harry Raymond . . .
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is
investigating the bad propaganda effect on
certain Hollywood movies. Worst example is
"The Desert Rat," which glorified Nazi Field
Marshal Rommel. However, the State De-
partment has surveyed all its embassies and



by Dick BibIr


(Continued from Page 2)
Coming Events
Roger Williams Guild. Yoke Fellow-
ship, Thurs., 7 a.m. Meet in the Prayer
noom of the First Baptist Church. We
have a fine breakfast and are through
by 8 a.m.
Beacon. Come and see the color films
on New Zealand in West Quad dining
hall No. 1 at 8 p.m., on Thurs., Mar. 5.
Everybody welcome.
La Petite Causette will meet tomor-
row from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the North
Cafeteria of the Michigan Union. All
interested students are invited.
Mnirn Pnotrv Cliuh. Meeting Thurs.

and present members of the society and
their dates invited.
International Center Weekly Tea for
foreign students and American friends,
Thurs., Mar. 5, from 4-6 p.m..
Kappa Phi. Buffet supper at the Meth-
odist Church Thursday at 5:15. All mem-
bers, pledges, and possible prospective
members are invited to attend.
The French Club will meet tomorrow
at 8 p.m. in the Rumpus Room of the
Michigan League. There will be a talk
by Mrs. Dieudonne, of Nice, on the
"University Life in France." A brief
skit and dancing and refreshments will
Christian Science Organization. Tes-.
timonial meeting Thurs., Mar. 5, 7:30,
Pireside Room. Lane Hall.

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