by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
An editorial in the Statesman addresses how nationalism and jingoism have begun to infect public opinion:
London has boycotted German music, along with Muenchner beer and Rhine wine. Germany retaliates by banning Scotch whiskey and English drama. As Wagner, Back and Beethoven are kicked out of London concert halls, Leipzig burns a British exhibit of rare Shakespeare editions.
It hardly looks fair, at this distance, to bring Shakespeare, Wagner, et. al. into the war. Authors, composers, painters and such folk have always been regarded as non-combatants, particularly if they have been dead a long time. Undoubtedly William Shakespeare, if he could be reached by the correspondents, would explain that he is thoroughly neutral, and that any natural pro-English sentiment he might have was balanced by the knowledge that Germany had kept his masterpieces alive through enthusiastic admiration and performance of them when England’s dramatic taste had sunk to cheap farces.
Somehow when nations that are contending for civilization and human rights invade the realm of art, they are not convincing.
On the economic impact of the war, the editor notes in “The Farmer’s Opportunity:”
Agriculture has come into honor and profit again, and seems destined to hold the proud place it now occupies.
The American farmer’s upward curve of prosperity has culminated in this year’s big crops marketable at war prices. And the indications are that the farmer is “king” not merely for a season. The war may be long and the outlook promises no abatement of high rates. Even if the millions of soldiers return to their customary work next spring, foreign crops will be curtailed by lack of horses, cattle, farming equipment, seed and capital. It may be hers before the European grain fields yield their normal production. The laborers, too, will be fewer, because of the killed and crippled, and the peasants drafted into industrial occupations to repair the vast waste of manufactured products wrought by war.
“. . .