DECEMBER 15, 1948
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Garry Davis, the young man who is in Paris as a citizen of the world, does something every few days that causes amusement among those who know well what little value this type of flash-in-the-pan publicity is.
According to one newspaper, he stopped the traffic on the Place de l'Opera to fling out a sheaf of handbills announcing that he would speak at a mass meeting in one of the theatres in protest against the impotence of the United Nations.
He has succeeded in getting the backing of a few intellectuals and even has received a cablegram from Albert Einstein telling him, from Professor Einstein's point of view, that the United Nations has not yet achieved peace.
The United Nations, of course, is not set up to achieve peace. That the governments are supposed to do among themselves. But it is expected to help preserve peace, and that, I think, it is doing more effectively day by day.
You have only to sit down and listen to the speeches of the various delegates when extremely controversial questions are being discussed to realize that if there were not a place where words can be bandied about then swords and guns might have been used instead.
One of the curious things about these people who want to bring peace to the world is that they usually get themselves into a kind of trouble that leads to a tremendous row. During a plenary session in the General Assembly, this young man tried to make a speech from the balcony on the subject of how incompetent the United Nations is to deal with the questions before it.
How very much better it would be if Mr. Davis would set up his own governmental organization and start then and there a worldwide international government. All who would join him would learn that they have no nationality and, therefore, not being bothered by any special interest in any one country everyone would develop what he believes to be a completely cooperative feeling among all peoples and a willingness to accept any laws passed by this super government.
Those of us who have watched the present trend of thinking in the world as a whole know by experience how difficult it is to stimulate any interest in problems outside our own bailiwick and our own home problems. I am a little skeptical about the lasting value of any super government that might be achieved by the kind of action this young man undertakes from time to time.
Man is still a home-loving animal, and I believe that only through cultivating love of the home and love of one's own country can one learn to care about humanity and perhaps eventually learn to love all the peoples of the world.
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Charles Mack Todd, of Arcadia, Fla., has written a very charming story about a Negro who was born a slave and lived to buy his master's plantation and still made no enemies among his neighbors but bore a reputation for being an honest and kindly man.
In the foreword of the book, called "Echo," the author says: "I have written this story so that I might lend a hand to help the Negro race to a higher rung on the ladder, being well acquainted with the Negro race and knowing many of their virtues and some of their shortcomings."
As a matter of fact, this story might profitably have been written, and might well be read, by any man who has made his way in the world, because of the fine character of Hiram Johnson and his determination to take advantage of everything that came his way and which might help him to improve himself. In so doing he helped his master and himself and succeeded in building a satisfactory life, both materially and spiritually, for himself and his wife and children.
The story happens to be about a Negro, but one would be proud to have it written about one's own son. Hiram Johnson must have been a fine individual, and I closed the book feeling sure there are many more like him struggling through difficulties today in the United States with as fine a spirit as he showed in his struggles during the reconstruction period in the South.