Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Government in War Time

Governments use different tactics to harass the people during different "national emergencies." Most people fall in line and believe the government harassment is necessary. Hopefully, in a future era, Americans will be able to look at the absurd groping by TSA officials to "protect us against terrorism" in disbelief, just like it is now difficult to fathom this report by H. L. Mencken from Diary of H. L. Mencken:

O March 29,[1942] Palm Sunday, there were 22 inches of snow in Baltimore. The Sun of yesterday, of course, has to mention the storm, but it did not give the snowfall-something that every reader was speculating about. I complained at the office today that this was an absurd excess of compliance with the war-time order against giving weather  information that could be of use to the public enemy. I argued that if there were actually any rule against giving snowfalls or rainfalls it ought to be resisted as senseless. So far as I could make out, no such rule has been issued: the omission of the snowfall was a mere effort to bend backward. This seems to be a ridiculous and even a dangerous attitude for a newspaper to take.
Then, there was the impact of war-time price controls, which resulted in shortages and government rationing:
At the office today Schmick showed Harry Black and me the petition he is sending to the [government] coordinators in Washington for an extra allowance of paper for the Sunpapers, on the ground that the growth of the war industry in the Baltimore region has greatly increased their natural circulation. Under the rules lately promulgated every daily paper is limited in 1943 to the amount of paper it used for its actual paid circlation in 1941, plus 3% for wastage, Schmick is asking for an extra allowance of 15% and believes that he will get 10%. He is making plans to reduce the office consumption of newsprint by various devices. The maximum allowances for returns is already cut by 2 1/2%, all save a few of the rural delivery routes have been abolished and the street vending-boxes in the city and suburbs have been abandoned[...]In the end, he believes, he may have to stop street sales altogether.

No comments:

Post a Comment