top of page

NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 7, No. 3 (Fall 1940)

A brief obituary article in honor of Fritz Lehmann.

[reprinted in 51:1 50th Anniversary Issue] Considering the nature of treachery in contemporary conflict, one must realize that the modern systems of communication, transportation and supply are so organized that it is possible for a relatively small number of men to disrupt order by the seizure of key positions, a situation which increases the effects of coups de main. Today the danger of sabotage cannot be measured by the number of saboteurs. These considerations, however, should not veil the fact that a fifth column, that is, large-scale, organized treason, is primarily a sign of social crisis.

No peace will be a lasting one with the economic problem unresolved. The Nazis probably know this. It is doubtful that they intend to rely, in dealing with the conquered peoples, on Secret Police alone. They will try to keep their slaves at least moderately well fed--Hitler himself has expressed his conviction that the conquered nations will be glad to have exchanged freedom for economic security. It is true that the wellbeing of the dominant race, and not a general and just welfare, is the supreme goal of the National Socialist economic policy. Economic geography will be corrected, industries redistributed, populations resettled, flows of goods redirected, to serve that goal. But Nazi economists seem to hope that their organization of world economics will be efficient enough to support a rich and armed Germany while keeping the workers and farmers of the conquered world in full employment at living standards sufficient to soothe the spirit of revolt.

It is time to revise the standards by which we measure the standard of living. We were entitled to use for this measurement purely economic terms--wealth and income and housing conditions and hours of work and the like--as long as the values of the individual, as long as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, were assured to everyone without question. This is no longer the case. And we must draw the consequences when we speak about standards of living. Otherwise it might easily be contended that the eunuch in the harem of an oriental potentate or the slave of a benevolent, patriarchal master enjoys the highest standard of living because he is provided with the means for all his material and has in addition security in his job. This distinction is what really lies at the root of the choice confronting the small states, insofar as they are at all in a position to give the dictators an answer of their own.

There is, in Hitler's outlook, nothing of peace; for peace he has only scorn and disdain. And there is nothing that allows for any of the intrinsic elements of Europe; these he must destroy if he is to establish his power. Just as he had to destroy the real essence of Germany in order to become her omnipotent ruler. Nevertheless, there are many to whom success as such is a proof, quite apart from the question who and what it is that succeeds. They are inclined from the outset to worship bigness as a value in itself. They do not see that it is exactly this spirit of submissiveness which facilitates the development of conditions to which they too will have to submit.

The Graduate Faculty presents an appreciation of the work of its first Dean. We dare to approach this task because we were his students, friends, colleagues and collaborators for almost thirty years. This personal contact, in many spheres of thought and action, has enabled us to recognize the complexity, the power, and the subtlety of this candid mind. As political analyst, editor, academic teacher and scholar, he disclosed the universality and the integrated strength of his character.

Alfred Bingham and Henry Parkes have, in their two recent books, outlined quite divergent programs for American progressivism. Both of them, however, have used a critique of Marxism as their point of departure and frame of reference, which testifies to the deep impression Marxism and its problems have made on America during the last decade. The two books are also made similar because they are conditioned by the same real forces. Both authors are aware of the same defects in our present system, and both adopt the Keynesian interpretation and therapy for these defects. But this does not make their views coincide.

I am grateful to Dr. Mayer for his critical analysis of some of my contentions and for the unfailingly scientific approach that has made possible a common ground on which to discuss so delicate and important a subject as the question of anti-Judaism. But since the large field that Social Research has to cover leaves only a very limited space in which to debate this subject, I must confine myself to a few brief observations in reply to Dr. Mayer’s comments..."

Review of book by Charles Abrams. New York: Harper. 1939. 320 pp.

Review of book by Henry A. Murray (by the workers at the Harvard Psychological Clinic.) New York: Oxford University Press. 1938. 761 pp.

Review of book by Alfred North Whitehead. New York: Macmillan. 1938. 241 pp.

bottom of page