MARCH 14, 1951
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Reading the newspapers these days is not exactly pleasant.
First you read what is being uncovered about gambling in the country and all the things that go with it. Then you read of the RFC loans that have been granted because certain persons in government positions introduced the individuals seeking the loans. This is something that must be stopped if we are to have honesty in government.
There is no reason in the world why any of us should not seek government aid for ourselves or our children or our friends and acquaintances. But we should be sure that it will be granted only if the government agency in question is convinced that the action requested is entirely proper and in the interest of government.
Where it is a question of investing or lending government money, care should be taken to ascertain whether the business is legitimate and whether the people running it are capable and honest. The best business brains should be devoted to these evaluations.
So-called influence by introductions should go no further than the calling of attention to an individual or to a situation. The responsibility for what is done should lie with the government officials who have undertaken that responsibility. I am shocked to find that frequently members of Congress have used questionable methods to get decisions they wished, and I imagine the administrative branch of the government has done the same, though there are some things it could not do as effectively as members of Congress.
Now, for a minute, let us turn to this whole gambling scandal. People frequently say that it is human nature to want to gamble and, therefore, you cannot prevent it. It seems to me there are ways of satisfying this enjoyment in gambling without encouraging widespread crime organizations. Much of what we read about could not possibly go on without the connivance of government officials in cities and states and even at the Federal level.
We are back again to the question of honesty and ethics. How can we bring home to our young people the real values that make life worth living, and remove from them the idea that material things, even dishonestly acquired, bring happiness?
I heard someone say the other day that the most fortunate family today was the family that could have the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, education, health and amusement, but which could not squander or waste or be idle. This is, of course, the type of family that predominated in the early days of our country—or of any country for that matter. It is only as countries grow richer that the sins that go with too great affluence begin the decadent period of their history.
Religion, the home, the school bear the greatest responsibility for preventing the results which we now see emblazoned across the pages of our newspapers. We had better stop, think and act to prevent a continuance of this trend.