Condensed from an address by Virgil D. Jordan, president, National Industrial Conference Board, before the annual convention of the Investment Bankers Association in Hollywood, Florida, December 10, 1940.
Before we can understand any of the needs of industry for national defense, we must first try to comprehend what this thing we call our “defense program” really means. We have not yet been willing to look the phrase squarely in the face. We vaguely recognize that it has something to do with the world war raging in Europe, Africa, and Asia, the depressing news of which we read in our morning paper, but I am afraid that most of us still have only the dimmest idea about the relation of our defense program to this planetary struggle.
When it began in September, 1939, we could not be blamed for feeling that we did not know enough of the facts about this war to be sure of the part we should play in it. Since then we have learned more, but not much, and even today few people, if any, know the truth about conditions in any country involved in it, or even in our own; and if anyone does, no one is telling it. In peace time it is the accepted custom and normal manners of modern government to conceal all important facts from the public, or to lie about them, in war it is a political vice which becomes a public necessity. People in every country, including our own, have more or less reconciled themselves to being pushed around by their public employees and treated as though they were helpless wards or incompetent inmates of some vast institution for the indigent and feeble-minded. It is much in this spirit and atmosphere that the chatter and prattle about our national defense program proceeds in this country today. Continue reading