Al Qaeda Versus ISIS
The Jihadi Power Struggle in the Taliban’s Afghanistan
WHEN this Administration came into power on March 4, 1933, we knew that more than 40 million acres of land in the United States were producing material which could not be consumed within the country. We knew also that with the American government as it is, it would be impossible for a number of years to reëstablish a large American trade in world markets.
By suddenly changing long-established debtor and creditor relationships the World War stemmed and profoundly altered international currents of trade. In no other country was the shift from a debtor to a creditor position so sudden or of so great significance as in the United States. This country went into the World War owing other nations 200 million dollars annually on interest account and came out with other nations owing it 500 million dollars annually. Moreover, the production of our farms and factories was enormously stimulated during the war. Our financial and political leaders tided over the situation, or glossed it over, by maintaining a false market for our surpluses abroad. To do so, we loaned an average of more than 500 million dollars a year to foreign countries. While this false foreign market for American exports was being maintained, Congress twice raised tariffs. Schedules were raised in 1922 and again in 1930.
From 1926 onward it became increasingly plain that modern technique applied to agriculture and to the production of other raw materials was heaping up a world-wide oversupply. The reduced prices which resulted from these increased stocks had a serious effect on farm purchasing power the world over. Over-production played an important part in the ever-descending spiral which began in 1930. The situation was made worse, of course, by extraordinary nationalistic efforts put forth in nearly all of the food-importing nations of the world to raise as much as possible of their food at home. The import quotas of the British, the exchange quotas of the Germans, and the greatly increased food tariffs of nearly all European countries are well known; and it is also well known that these countries have greatly increased their production of wheat and hogs.
Today it is clearly apparent that there is no effective foreign purchasing power for our customary exportable surplus of cotton, wheat, lard and tobacco at prices high enough to assure social stability in the United States.
Traditionally, the Democratic Party is the party of low tariffs. Actually, Democratic administrations have never made changes in the tariff structure great enough to increase foreign purchasing power to the extent demanded by the present world dilemma. Many of the most influential people in the present government believe wholeheartedly in reciprocal tariffs, and wish to bring about such agreements as rapidly as possible; but enough action to assure a substantial increase of foreign purchasing power for American products cannot be expected for several years.
Plantings of our major crops were on the old blindly expansive basis when the Agricultural Adjustment Administration started work on May 12, 1933. The first big job facing it was what to do about cotton. The American carryover was three times the normal amount; more than 40 million acres of new cotton was growing; and there was every advance indication of an unusually high per-acre yield. Therefore, we put on a great cotton plow-up campaign, an effort that in its sweep and boldness went beyond anything known to history; and the like of which, I hope, we shall never have to resort to again. To destroy a standing crop goes against the soundest instincts of human nature. The right way to adjust farm output is to plant less. But our people had been lured by unreasoning hopes and by their hardy pioneer instinct into continued expansion at any cost.
The thing we had to do was hard, but it was at least an active response to realistic thinking. The Administration offered the cotton farmers certain cash and rental benefits if they would turn their minds around and plow up the part of their cotton which ought not to have been planted in the first place. The money to induce this reversal of thought and practice was raised by means of a cotton processing tax on cotton manufacturers. The campaign was even more successful than we anticipated. Ten and a half million acres -- more than one-fourth of the national cotton acreage -- were plowed under.
Now we are launching our cotton campaign for 1934. The purpose is to cut the number of acres of cotton planted in the south next spring from 41 million, which has been customary in recent years, to 25 million acres. In this way we hope to be able to bring our cotton carryover down to normal proportions within two years. It does not follow that we intend to abandon our world position in cotton. During the next two years we can take care of our customary exports out of our huge carryover. After that, we will probably begin to expand our cotton acreage again. But this time it will be a controlled expansion, organized from the ground up, farm by farm; and not simply another ungoverned competitive outburst of over-production.
None of our production schedules for export crops will be adjusted to a strictly domestic basis. Our foreign trade in these crops has dwindled, speaking generally, to a mere trickle, but we still have foreign customers for cotton, tobacco and certain foodstuffs. We want to keep that trade if possible and get more foreign trade if we can. Our immediate effort is to organize American agriculture to reduce its output to domestic needs, plus that amount which we can export with profit. This adjustment program must in its very nature be kept elastic. "The fluidity of events in society," Rexford G. Tugwell has written, "will always be the despair of theorists." If or when world trade revives, we still can use to excellent advantage our new social machinery for crop control. We can find out how much of our crops they really want in other countries, and at what prices; then we can take off the brakes and step on the gas a little at a time, deliberately, not with the reckless disdain for world traffic signals that we exhibited in years past.
It will be impossible, of course, to create social machinery that will function with absolute precision from the first. In all advance computations of harvest we must allow some margin for turns in the weather and for the as yet imperfectly coöperative spirit of man. In widespread operations, however, isolated vagaries tend to cancel out; and this is particularly true if the expected harvest is computed from past averages over a term of years. Personally, I am wary of attempts to stabilize markets by impounding a product. The Farm Board's efforts in that direction demonstrated perfectly what is almost certain to happen when stabilization manœuvers are resorted to alone. The momentary withholding of the product hoists the price; the hoisted price induces a greater sowing; the greater sowing wrecks the price and disorganizes the whole market structure of that particular crop, perhaps for years to come. But this applies, perhaps, more particularly to stabilization operations conducted as if they were a cure-all. If under our entire farm structure of farm prices we can put a solid basis of controlled seeding, then stabilization, and perhaps induced exports, within the limits of well-defined world agreements, become defensible and somewhat more promising means of meeting temporary emergencies. It is possible that in the future we shall employ stabilization and induce shipments as auxiliary devices to level off regional and national crop excesses and deficiencies from year to year. But for the long pull, I think such devices should not be relied upon except as temporary levellers in programs of calculated harvests, socially controlled.
America has such an obvious natural advantage in cotton production that it would seem to be sensible to have a surplus of American cotton to exchange for rubber, silk and coffee. Of all our exports, cotton should probably be the last permanently to go. The people who urge that our cotton limitation program is encouraging the foreign growth of cotton are mistaken. At this writing the gold price of cotton in world markets is as low as it was last March. Foreign growths of cotton have been declining in recent years and for the time being our policy is doing nothing to encourage foreign growths. This situation will of course have to be reëxamined about two years hence when our huge carryover has been reduced to normal. By that time, it is to be hoped, the American people will have become willing to accept sufficient goods from abroad so that the foreign countries will have adequate purchasing power with which to buy a normal supply of cotton at a fair price.
The case of wheat is very different from that of cotton. We normally export less than one-fifth of our wheat; our normal export of cotton exceeds one-half the crop. Moreover, the world wheat situation is much more unfavorable to wheat exports from the United States than is the case with cotton. The world is glutted with wheat. In France, I am told, the War Ministry has built great concrete warehouses to store the excess. In South America, grain ships lie at the mouth of the Platte, waiting for a market which does not appear. In Canada and in the American northwest, wheat in huge piles moulders in the open field. In Australia, warehouses bulge and people suffer. In the great lakeshore cities of the United States, towering elevators are filled almost to the bursting point, and in the very shadow of those grain elevators hungry, homeless men and women are on the relief rolls. In China there have been famines, and in parts of Russia conditions have at times been almost as bad. Six hundred and forty million bushels of excess wheat is a terrific and ironic sequel to the Malthusian prediction of a devastating scarcity.
What has happened in the 130 years since Malthus prophesied, to compel so striking a reversal of thought and method as the London agreement indicates? Why must the wheat farmers of the world now arrange together to sow and ship wheat, on a diminished production schedule, in order that want, famine and international ill-will may abate?
"The spread of wheat production during the past century across the virgin and fertile prairies of the United States, Canada, Argentina and Australia, Russia and Siberia, is a romantic and fascinating story, but its profound significance has not been apprehended," writes Dr. O. E. Baker, of the United States Department of Agriculture. "Hundreds of ponderous tomes have been written about the Industrial Revolution in western Europe and eastern North America, which ushered in our modern civilization, and has been considered its basis; but scarcely a volume has described the Agricultural Revolution in eastern Europe and western North America, which transformed the grass lands into grain lands and supplied the food and fibers that made the Industrial Revolution possible. In the time of Malthus, only a very small portion of southern and southeastern Russia had been broken for wheat. The Hungarian plain was still mostly pastureland, with large estates and baronial cattle kings. Our American prairies and dryland plains had yet to be crossed by white men. The pampas of Argentina was an unmapped wilderness; and only a fringe of land along the coast of Australia had been explored."
The march of wheat from lands originally forested to the steppes and prairies, and an attendant passage from a pastoral to a commercialized, mechanized and inter-dependent agriculture, provided food for the rapidly increasing industrial populations of western Europe and eastern North America. The increase of population in these industrial areas has until fairly recently been even greater than in the vastly more extensive agricultural regions of the white man's world. The rapid increase in urban population during the century induced the attitude that over-production of wheat or any other farm product was not permanent, for the surplus would soon be needed by the cities. Such a belief has been based on sound reason in the past; but looking to the future the reason seems unsound, for the population in northwestern Europe, where most of the wheat exports have gone, as well as in the United States, is rapidly becoming stationary, and this stationary population is likely to be followed by a decline. In 1932 the urban population of the United States apparently decreased, for the first time in the nation's history. Although this was owing partly to migration back to the land, the birth rate has now become so low in the cities that unless a heavy migration from the farms to the cities is resumed soon, many cities will soon begin to decline. A stationary national population may be expected within ten or fifteen years.
As our American west opened up, the little eastern farmer, growing wheat in rotation on patches, was up against what amounted to a great new mine of western land that gave forth wheat enormously. But the rapidly increasing population of that time, plus export outlets, absorbed the product. Our wheat production per capita rose from 5 bushels in 1840 to 8 bushels in 1880. Consumption per capita increased slightly. Exports increased about as rapidly as our population from 1880 to 1905, then decreased to about one-half by 1913. That decrease reflected a reaction to vastly increased plantings elsewhere. The production of wheat over the world as a whole increased 40 percent in the twenty years between 1891 and 1911.
In the years immediately before the war, agricultural production in the United States was tending toward adjustment on a domestic basis. We were sowing, customarily, between 45 and 50 million acres of wheat a year; and the world as a whole was sowing from 250 to around 275 million acres a year. But in 1919, when the war ended, the world acreage had increased little if at all; and the United States had stepped up its plantings to 73 million acres.
We should have seen the handwriting on the wall, and started then and there to retire our wartime emergency acreage of wheat; but we did not. We kept on going it blind, full steam ahead, for something more than ten years. By the end of that time Europe was back in stride agriculturally, and growing a remarkable amount of wheat. Here are some comparisons between pre-war (1909-13) wheat production in European countries, and present wheat crops: Czechoslovakia, on territories which grew 38 million bushels before the war, will grow 66 million bushels this year. France was back to its pre-war harvest of 325 million bushels by 1921; this year she will harvest 338 million bushels. Italy has increased her harvest from 184 million to 272 million bushels; Sweden, from 8 million to 29 million bushels; Germany, from 131 to 192 million bushels; and so on.
Wheat is peculiarly a symbol of basic sustenance. As nations adopt meaty diets and more complex, expensive standards of living, bread becomes less important in their life, but hardly less important in their hearts and minds. "Give us this day our daily bread" has to the most civilized of people, especially in time of threat or hardship, a profound emotional significance. In the United States we probably eat about 100 pounds less of the cereals per capita than we did a century ago. But when we get into a war we cry "Wheat Will Win the War!" And when we get into a terrible economic jam afterwards, we speak of the lines of men to be fed at the expense of the community as "bread-lines."
Similarly, as Europe in extremity and fear turned after the war to nationalistic huddling, the thought of bread at home, in case of further attacks and disasters, has exercised a powerful influence. In Italy, Mussolini called for a "Battle of the Wheat." France publicly decorated the most faithful and productive of her peasants. Great Britain paid bonuses to farmers who extended their wheat sowings. All through Europe high wheat prices, sustained artificially behind high tariff barriers, served even more powerfully than words and decorations to keep each nation's wheat crop piling upward. In some countries there was also the thought that peasants well paid for wheat would be a good deal less likely to join with radical enemies of a capitalistic order.
All these developments made themselves keenly felt in the United States. Barriers or not, the civilized world is an inter-dependent community nowadays. Economic warfare must be paid for everywhere, in the long run, just as armed warfare must be paid for everywhere. Possibly, as I have said, we might have pulled out of the wheat race earlier, and saved ourselves some of the grief; but we weren't smart enough. So we kept right along with all the rest, glutting the world with wheat. Germany, France and Italy increased their tariffs to $1 a bushel or more. Our own prohibitive Fordney tariff at 42 cents a bushel served as both sting and precedent to these restrictions.
During the ten years that we sent money overseas to pay for the wheat that we also sent, our wheat carryover, despite continued overplantings, kept fairly close to the 100 million bushel mark, in other words reasonably normal. In 1929 our carryover stocks rose to around 150 million bushels; in 1930 they almost touched 200 million bushels; in 1931 they broke that record; and in 1932 piled up to the crushing total of 360 million bushels. Last winter, the United States had the largest wheat surplus and the longest bread-lines in its history.
I cannot describe here in detail the steps that the United States has initiated to correct this fantastic situation. The idea of an induced coöperative adjustment of crop acreages was first suggested by Dr. W. J. Spillman, of the United States Department of Agriculture, in 1927. It came to be known as the voluntary domestic allotment plan. In working the plan over and simplifying it somewhat, M. L. Wilson of Montana, Dr. John Black and others, drew it up particularly in terms of wheat. The plan was originally presented to Congress in July 1932, in the Hope-Norbeck bill. The bill failed of hearing, but evoked wide interest, within our borders and without. To those who were working for it word came which indicated that other great countries were getting tired of paying their farmers artificial prices to produce too much; and that they felt the American plan of paying for balance held better possibilities. As early as the spring of 1932, Professor Wilson, now our Director of Wheat Production, and Dr. Mordecai Ezekiel were communicating informally with Canadian officials along this line. The London Wheat Agreement grew out of those conversations. The plan that we are applying to the control of wheat production in this country, and the plans we shall follow also as to cotton, corn and hogs this year, are essentially the voluntary domestic allotment plan. In essence, it is a program of governmental adjustment payments to coöperating farmers, rewarding an orderly coöperative adjustment of acreage pro-rata, farm by farm. In the administration of this and of auxiliary or fortifying measures the Farm Act of May 10, 1933, gives us wide permissive powers.
One million, two hundred thousand American farmers grow wheat. We have just closed our first year's wheat adjustment campaign, a campaign of reason quietly conducted by 6,000 agricultural extension workers and 30,000 volunteer helpers. The purpose was to get American farmers to look beyond their line fences at the world wheat situation, and to sow their wheat together on a sensible, prearranged production schedule, geared to world demand.
This year's wheat plan, arranged with world accord, calls for each American farmer to sow for next year's harvest 15 percent less wheat than he has in the past. Complete reports from the field are not yet at hand, but it looks as though nearly 600,000 farmers have agreed to coöperate. The 600,000 farmers in question control about four-fifths of our commercial wheat acreage. That should mean a considerable change in our wheat map next year -- around 8 million fewer American acres in wheat, and at least a hundred million bushel bite into our wheat surplus.
Next year it is likely that our acreage of all harvested crops will be at least 30 million acres (perhaps nearer 35 million acres) under the total of recent years, as a result of our emergency adjustment plans. The crops we are acting upon are all key crops. To alter the proportionate seeding of any one of them over all of the 1906 million acres of the United States requires us to consider the whole of our land in a new way. One move compels another. If you take wheat from this square, you cannot for long let that space be idle, choked with weeds, or washing in the rains. You must, as a stopgap, sow that land to some non-competing, soil-protecting crop, probably a grass. That move in turn compels a whole series of others. For when you increase the acreage in grass you inaugurate in that locality a tendency toward livestock farming, and this tendency, unless governed and balanced, will tend to dislocate the present set-up of livestock production throughout the country. In changing our pattern of basic crop production, we have set out upon a process which is bound to alter our entire agricultural structure; and I think it may go beyond that and lead in time to a rational resettlement of America.
The ramifications of an experiment like this are frightening to many people; it is so much easier to do nothing, or at least to do only those things which will not be disturbing to the timid, even if this does involve repeating the same old mistakes. In many quarters the point was made that once you get started on a thing of this sort there is no end to it. That is perfectly true, but the same argument might be made against getting up in the morning -- there is no end to the problems the day may put up to you. Some of our forefathers may have grumbled about it, but they did not in the end refuse to make the change from ox-sleds to buggy-riding, a change which presented some new problems involving wheels and harness and spirited horses. In our generation we have had very little hesitation in diving headlong into the immensely complex problems of auto-mechanics and aerodynamics.
The task of devising social and economic machinery is far more difficult, and the results will always be harder to appraise, but I have a great faith in the dauntlessness and persistence of the human spirit when the goal is as universally desirable as our present one. Though the first machinery we design may be as crude, as hopeless-looking, and as much the butt of ridicule as was the first automobile, I shall not therefore throw up my hands in despair.
In saying all of this, I do not claim that the actions taken under the Agricultural Adjustment Act, or the National Recovery Act, or any other of the emergency acts, helpful as they may have been temporarily, constitute a fundamental plan for American agriculture. What we have done has been frankly experimental and emergency in nature, but we are working toward something which is going to be permanent. We are temporizing with the situation until the American people are ready to face facts. The bare, distasteful facts, I mean, involved in such matters of policy as exports, imports, tariffs, international currency exchange, export quotas, import quotas, and international debts. These are the weapons of economic warfare which are more deadly than artillery. These economic weapons are so subtle that they have a nasty way of bouncing back on you with redoubled force when you think you are using them against the enemy. Fundamentally, these weapons are spiritual in nature, although this is not recognized by business men and by very few statesmen.
For fifteen years the United States has blundered along refusing to decide whether it would use its creditor position in world affairs to assume a position of world economic leadership, or whether it would toss overboard the debts owed from abroad and follow a policy of strict nationalism, or whether it would adopt some combination of the two. The prompt solution of this problem, and a steadfast adherence to that solution, are more important to farmers than to any other large class of our population. The failure to adopt a sound course in our foreign relationships has cost the farmers of the United States many billions of dollars. The plan we followed was essentially to close all the safety valves of the international boiler and then to increase the pressure beyond endurance by demanding payment of debts from abroad with one hand while with the other hand we made sufficient payments impossible by our tariff policy. The explosion was bound to come.
During the war and in the years afterwards certain things happened which make it certain that we will never go back completely to the old happy individual sort of thing that marked the era of our expansion as a nation. We are fated to make very great adjustments. There is no chance to turn back. Much as we all dislike them, the new types of control that we have now in operation are here to stay, and to grow. We have got to go on doing all these things which we do not want to do. The farmer dislikes production control instinctively. He does not like to see land idle and people hungry. The carriers dislike production control because it cuts down loadings. The processors dislike it because of the processing tax. The consumer dislikes it because it adds to the price of food. Practically the entire population dislikes our basic program of controlling farm production, and they will do away with it unless we can reach their intelligence. We must show the need of continuing it in order to save in some part the institutions which we prize.
Enormously difficult adjustments confront us, whatever path we take. There are at least three paths: internationalism; nationalism; and a planned combination of the two. We cannot take the path of internationalism unless we stand ready to import about a billion dollars' worth more goods than we did in 1929. What tariffs should we lower? What goods should we import? And how much of these goods? Tariff adjustments involve planning just as certainly as internal adjustments do. Even foreign loans might involve a certain amount of planning. When we embarked upon that terrific expansion of foreign loans in 1921 we did not plan. We did not then, in our boisterous youth, have the same view that England had after the Napoleonic Wars. Rather consciously she placed her loans having in view a long-time program of imports and an exchange of goods. Our own adventure was solely with short-time profits in view. Few Americans realize even now that it takes just as much planning to follow a plan of internationalism as it does the path of nationalism. The planning is of a different sort and is not as apparent to the people. England, because of the fact that she has had an extraordinarily well educated upper class which was able to think in terms of decades instead of in terms of weeks, and which also commanded the confidence of the rank and file of the people, has been one of the few nations able to engage successfully in plans of internationalism. If we in the United States are to follow the path of internationalism, we must have both political and financial leaders in whom we have confidence. The people themselves must understand the plan. They must be willing to stay by it not for four years only, but for at least ten or fifteen years. A plan of this sort in the United States means that certain industries which are either inefficient or have used the tariff to enjoy what essentially is a monopoly profit, will be harmed by the necessary lowering of the tariff. This means that if the majority of the people of the United States decide on internationalism as a long-time policy, they must be prepared to stand up against the political pressure coming from the minority groups.
In examining the path of nationalism, we find ourselves confronted with difficulties fully as great as the international course which I have just described. Under the theory of economic nationalism we must be prepared to make permanent the retirement of our 50 million surplus acres of crop land. If the bulk of the people of the United States finally decide for nationalism, they must be prepared to resist firmly those special groups which try to get farmers to produce for a foreign market which no longer exists.
Today there are millions of people in the United States, Democrats and Republicans alike, who want to play the same old game all over again. They want to see us loan fresh hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign nations so that they can buy goods from us while at the same time we increase our tariffs another notch. I feel keenly about this because it is the very issue which caused me to leave the Republican Party. I do not want to see the Democrats, just to get over the difficulties of the moment, follow that foreign economic policy of Harding and Coolidge which wreaked such vengeance on Hoover.
Foreign loans are all right provided at the time we make them we know that we are certain to have a tariff policy which permits their repayment. This means a totally different kind of tariff policy than we have ever had in the past. It means a complete change in the psychology of the American people. Ideally, it means that when we make a loan anywhere outside of the United States we shall know approximately the quantities of the different kinds of goods which we are going to accept from that nation in repayment. It means that we play the game in an even more definitely conscious way than England has played it with Argentina. England loaned money to Argentina to build railroads and furnished the railroad equipment to her. In return England received from Argentina her wheat and cattle. With us the necessity for definite planning in our loans and our tariffs is much greater than with England because our tariffs are so much higher. It is easy for foreign trade experts to talk about triangular and polyangular trade and thus avoid the necessity of forming clear-cut trade deals with a given country. But if we are going to follow the path of internationalism, it seems to me that the only safe way to handle it is to conclude both loans and trade deals with foreign countries as nearly as possible on a bilateral basis and not get involved in the confusing complexities of triangular and polyangular trade which the economists like to use to mess up our minds.
The compromise path between economic internationalism and nationalism is the path we seem to have taken now, though not irrevocably. We need not go the whole way with an international program involving a billion dollars extra a year in imports. It is possible to plan for a half-billion dollar increase in imports, and for 20 million instead of 40 million fewer acres in production. There are intermediate points between internationalism and nationalism; it is not a question of going two ways at once, but of following a planned course consistently.
My own bias is international. It is an inborn attitude with me. Call it semi-religious, if you will; but I have very deeply the feeling that nations should be naturally friendly to each other and express that friendship in international trade. At the same time we must recognize the reality that the world at the moment is ablaze with nationalistic feeling, and that in view of our own tariff impediments it is highly unlikely that we shall move in an international direction very fast. Therefore, we must push with the greatest vigor possible this retreat from surplus acres; and seek to arouse in our people the intellectual stamina necessary to meet and triumph over unpopular facts.
As we wrestle with all these infinite complexities we are tempted at times to give in to easy hopes and easy ways of thinking. But we cannot afford to dream again until we have faced facts like men and set the fundamentals of our national structure to rights. Modern life has become complex beyond expression. The way out of the crisis lies through controlling its complexities; wishful thinking will not help us, nor will a conscious retreat toward the past. Much that we have attempted so far is hasty patchwork, necessarily. But through all the stress and strain of this age one great contribution to our country's future order and stability begins to emerge. I refer to the steps we have taken toward a permanent land policy. There is a tremendous job to be done in returning to the national domain hundreds of thousands of acres on which the people now trying to make a living are bucking an impossible situation. Anyone at all familiar with the American continent will know the kind of land I mean, and the all too frequent result: generation after generation of rural slums. That kind of thing must not be.
We have enough resources and enough intelligence in the United States to provide for twice our present standard of living at least. Equally well we know that there are certain emotional and intellectual handicaps which we have inherited out of our past. Those handicaps are hard to overcome. But we have at least formed an urgent, pushing desire to do so. It may be that we shall have to unlearn many things that we learned at our mother's knee. It may be that we shall have to change our minds and hearts. I sometimes like to think that we are on the threshold of a new economics -- not the hard, hopeless economics of Adam Smith and that crowd, rooted in the past, but an Economics of Potentialities, of things as they might be, not as they have been in the past.
Only those really close to science can know the abundance that could be ours if there were even-handed distribution and justice between groups. The grinding effort to subsist would drop out of sight if we could achieve justice and balance. Oh! how the world has been under the weight of that need to subsist, to keep body and soul together, in the past few years! We can throw off that miserable burden. We can stand like free men in the sun. And human minds and hearts, and human will, are saying, "It will be done!"
But these as yet are vague, chaotic stirrings here and there. Unless we can give them common voice, and win a general understanding of our purposes; unless we can fan the isolated sparks of enlightenment to a point where the people as a whole can see them and be willing to stand a certain amount of physical and psychological discomfort for the sake of far ends, then the people may rise up and throw our whole program overboard. That might easily happen. Yet I do not feel that it will. After all, we are not trying to change human nature; we are only trying to unchain it from concepts which have made our common life intolerable. Men want to be wise, generous, and in the world sense neighborly, if they can only be shown how, with the world as it is, they can manage to do so and survive.
I have the feeling that a changed attitude toward world trade in this country, when and if it comes, will come much more quickly than anyone now anticipates. That the tide of public opinion may change abruptly is evidenced by our sudden abandonment of the Prohibition Amendment. A reversal in tariff policies may come as quickly. It is interesting to recall that after the Napoleonic Wars sentiment in England was strongly high-tariff. The first Parliament prior to England's sweeping adoption of a free-trade policy was powerfully protectionist. Then something happened. The facts of the situation went home to the general intelligence; some sort of a resistance point was reached; and the thing changed. That may happen to us. But in saying this I must emphasize that I am speaking hopefully, and with feeling, not on the basis of discernible facts, for actual signs of an impending swing of enlightenment are at the moment lacking.