MARCH 28, 1936
NEW YORK, March 27—This has been a purely frivolous day. An effort to order what hats and summer clothes I need, to go to the dentist, to lunch with a friend and to get off on an afternoon train for the country, all has been accomplished.
I came across a most interesting little magazine for children yesterday called the Junior Natural History, which is sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History of New York, and sold to school children for five cents a copy. It comes out once a month, and I can imagine no more interesting thing for youngsters who are interested in animals. I think that it would lead to a very real interest in natural history and in the intelligent use of zoos and museums all over the country.
There was an interesting statement in Dorothy Thompson's article the other day, and I have pondered over it ever since, wondering how many people today realize its truth. Here is what she says:
"When private property ceases to make free men, its only spiritual justification goes. Democracy and the widespread distribution of private property go together. James Madison knew that; Thomas Jefferson knew it. Not all our conservatives today realize it, nor all our liberals.
"They think the abundant life is more ice-boxes and automobiles for every one. Those who care for democracy should be more concerned with ending land tenancy in this country; reviving local government and merchandising; protecting the small industrialist, who is often more efficient than the large one, and welcoming a vigorous, responsible trade unionism."
She has said something which I think needed to be said. It may lead us into long arguments, but they will be fruitful arguments.
We have come to accept bigger and bigger things as meaning greater and greater efficiency, more and more prosperity and more and more freedom. The two do not go together of necessity, and I firmly believe that instead of reiterating, "we must return to the rugged individualism of the past", we should take as a slogan more recognition of the individual today, not only because of self-interest but because of each individual's responsibility for every other individual.
The whole is made up of individuals, and only as they recognize their rights as individuals and their necessity for cooperation and consideration of each other, will we be successful in coping with our varied and complicated problems.