JULY 20, 1950
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I have an amusing letter in the mail from a gentleman who quotes from my column: "The public should be free to judge for itself the value of a book" and then laments at length about his book in which he lampoons publishers, editors and reviewers because it is being suppressed in New York. He tells me that it is neither obscene, nor written by an unknown author and still "these people" will not let it be published:
I am astonished that he should be surprised because, no matter how much sense of humor we have about other people it is pretty difficult for us to have it about ourselves, and if he makes fun of the people who would have to handle his book, it hardly seems odd that they do not want to handle it. In one sentence he says: "We are forever galloping around the world trying to make other people behave; yet, it seems to me that our own behavior at home is just about as appalling as any to be found anywhere else in the world." Yes, sir, I agree with you, but that is because we are all human beings and we all react in very much the same way, so you shouldn't be surprised at the publishers, editors and reviewers. And, somehow or other, you must manage to sugar-coat your criticisms if you are going to get the cooperation.
At the present time I think a good many people find themselves with a deep sense of depression. So many of us had hoped that nowhere in the world would there be people stupid enough to start another war, and with some differences to be sure, but still with enough similarity to make one shudder, a pattern seems to be unfolding similar to the Hitler pattern before World War II. This gives us a sense of futility and shakes our faith in humanity, and because of this feeling that so many of us have, I was interested in a letter written by a woman who lives on a farm in Missouri, in particular, the paragraph I am going to quote to you.
Since her husband's death a few months ago she has been very lonely. A married daughter and three children are living in Manila, and that seems very far away. But she can still say:
"If ever a man is tempted in a low mood to give up hope about humanity, let him think upon the courage which human life on every side of him exhibits, the quiet, constant sustained heroic courage in obscure and forgotten places where nobody sees."
She does not know who wrote that, but she feels that the words are an inspiration to all of us who have to try to attain some kind of calmness and courage to face the daily anxieties of life. No one today can be without anxiety because every one is faced with a world that is filled with uncertainty. What will happen tomorrow is shrouded in mystery. We are sure only of today, therefore we must make every minute count, live it to the full and enjoy it as much as we can. What comes tomorrow is in the hands of Almighty God.