Friday, April 21, 2017

Today -100: April 21, 1917: Of reasonable censorship and outrageous monarchies

After days of pissing off every newspaper in the country by persisting with provisions in the Espionage Bill so broad and so vague as to put every reporter covering military matters in jeopardy of prosecution, the White House backs off a bit, and the bill is altered so that the president’s regulations must be “reasonable.” And rules against gathering information or asking questions about national defenses are removed. The bill now specifically says public discussion and criticism of government policies won’t be illegal. So that’s good.

H.G. Wells writes to the London Times suggesting it is time to dump the monarchy and establish a republic to set a good example for other countries, He is especially thinking of Greece, joining the chorus of Allies trying to get rid of King Constantine. “A King has always been an outrage upon the ancient Republican traditions of Athens,” Wells says. The Times does not agree with Wells’s support of republicanism in Britain, nor will it publish George Bernard Shaw’s letter noting that “The fundamental case against monarchy is that it rests on a basis of idolatry that can no longer be maintained.”

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