Items of Interest

A recent writer on economics has said that in times of so-called depression mankind resorts to all sorts of schemes for supply; that is, men look to their government to donate sums, large in the aggregate, although these funds must be raised by taxes and levies; they adopt questionable means of raising revenue, such as lotteries, betting, and other methods that have, through bitter experience and sorry awakening, been proved demoralizing. Recently some misguided persons, and others, "just for fun," have participated in the so-called chain letters. The Government of the United States is now moving in regard to them. To the recipient of such a letter, five or ten cents does not seem "much to put in," and if superstition guides him he doesn't want to "break the chain" of that which he fails to recognize as evil—something that should be broken.

And there are still more subtle and costly schemes of mortal mind, foisted on the unaware and trusting, often in the name of good to humanity. In one, perhaps, you must take an oath not to disclose the "wonderful information" about a plan that will save the world, and particularly yourself, if you participate. You are told, "You're right on the doorstep to plenty and happiness." Perhaps you take the oath; you attend the talk or lecture; you get carried away with the mesmerism; you pay your nickel a day even though it pinches, you don't know where it goes but you think you do, you think it is prompted by courage and generosity. Perhaps the Better Business organization of the town takes a hand and gives warning. Then you are told by the sponsors of the "prosperity scheme" in which you are interested that any who are opposed are "misguided and just wrong." One day the nickels and the organizer may vanish and you may soberly think of the money you might have used and the time and effort you have lost. But possibly you don't think of the wrong thought you may have helped spread in the community, or the belief in wrong itself that may have darkened your own thought.

June 8, 1935

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