The Pittsburgh Press (May 9, 1944)
I DARE SAY —
It isn’t brotherly love
By Florence Fisher Parry
The other night on the radio, I heard one of the most depressing prophecies I ever heard uttered in regard to post-war Europe. The commentator offered the horrifying speculation that Hitler and his gang realize that their only hope lies in the complete and utter demoralization of Germany and that the only way they can hope to survive is to bring about complete collapse of the German people. That is why they are prepared to fight until they are indeed destroyed.
They see that the German people must be reduced to such a state of abject despair, hopelessness and demoralization that in their desperation they will be willing to turn again to another false prophet, to another diabolical Hitler. Thus do they hope to perpetuate their evil power; for they know that when human beings are desperate enough, they will turn to anything.
Cynical and sinister as is this theory, it is a reasonable possibility. The iconoclasts in history always fed and fattened upon the failure of beaten men. The beaten man, bereft of strength and sanity, no longer able to discriminate between the spurious and the gentle, invariably turns to a false prophet for his redemption.
These false prophets invariably have adopted the same sinister plan by which to conquer and enthrall. They have immediately set about innovating a system of petty authorities giving into the hands of their disciples some semblance of power, setting them up over each other in an intricate system of policing, giving them rank and title and office; and thereby investing them with a sense of importance so that each man sees himself lording it over someone else still lower on the scale of human importance.
It would be well, I think, for us to examine some of the measures we are ourselves now employing, lest this war, too, prove a boomerang, and we find ourselves at its end imprisoned within another immortal nightmare.
For in our own country the shadow of this same sinister philosophy has been working under the guise of a benign largesse. The same dangerous exploitation of man’s defeat and despair has been subtly encouraged. The same artful system of erecting myriad petty authorities has been taking covert root. The same system of elaborate bureaucracies with their petty appointments and abnormal authorities has become woven into the fabric of our government.
A vast paternalism has extended its all-enveloping warm blanket of benefits over the failure segment of our population, until today our own federal government, outside its frank handouts, has a payroll of $522 million a month. For every three men now in our Armed Forces, there is one employed by the government in a federal job.
Never in the history of any one nation has there been such a wasting and hoarding of manpower specifically for the business of running the government. The number of bureaus now sapping the manpower strength of our nation is practically uncountable.
It is more than overstaffing. It is overstuffing. And by the report of our Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who headed the inquiry into non-essential federal expenses, at least one-third of the civilian personnel of the federal government could be dismissed and absorbed immediately into the war or essential industry.
Assumption of power
The OPA is typical. When it began in April 1941, it had a staff of 84. A year ago, it had 90,000. I have not at hand the figures on its expansion in the last momentous year.
You will say that this is a far cry from the methods used by other tyrannies who increase their powers and perpetuate themselves by setting up arbitrary bureaus authorized to rule by executive order. Examine, then, The Congressional Record, which will reveal to him who chooses to investigate, that almost one-half of our federal laws today are being created by the administrative and not the legislative branch of the federal government.
Those who originate executive orders are not elected by the people. They are appointed by the administration. They do not represent anybody. They stand for their own personal, peculiar ideas. They are free to promote their own philosophies and enhance their own powers.
The assumption of such administrative power is a snowball which gathers momentum, size and destructive menace as it rolls down the slopes of history. It always starts with a snowflake – a soft, white, gentle snowflake. A snowflake of brotherly love.
This is to help you, brother. This is to lift you up from slavery.
That’s how tyranny begins, with a snowflake.
But as history has proved and will until the end of time – it isn’t, it isn’t, brotherly love.