On a speaking tour in the middle and eastern states some time ago I was given the benefit of a line of free advertising from a new and unexpected source. It had all been prearranged and covered practically every point on the trip.
This advertising consisted of a hand-bill, placed on every doorstep the night before my arrival, warning the people against me as in infidel, the friend and defender of Gorky (who was denounced in the same circular as a moral leper), the champion of free love and the enemy of religion, morality and Christian life. In short, I was pictured as a monster going from place to place corrupting the morals of the people, undermining the fabric of society, blaspheming he church, reviling religion, breaking up the home, destroying the family, and sowing the seed of violent and bloody revolution.
This hand-bill was signed, THE KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS. It did not bear the union label.
In some places it was supplemented by a half-page advertisement in a local paper containing substantially the same matter. At several points it was still further supplemented by the priest's warning to the faithful, issued from the pulpit, to beware, as they valued their souls, of the Socialist free-lover and home-destroyer who was about to invade the city.
Of course the effect was exactly opposite that intended. Curiosity to see the monster was aroused and could not be resisted. Instead of empty chairs the house was crowded at every point.
The experiment was abandoned as suddenly as it was undertaken. Never since have my lectures been openly advertised by the Knights of Columbus. I am still the recipient of their knightly religious and moral attention, but covertly and in the dark, and no longer by public advertisement.
On the same trip a workingman who was at the same time a Catholic and a Socialist asked me to account for the venomous hostility of the Knights of Columbus to the Socialist movement. I did not, in answering, attack or denounce the Knights of Columbus. I shall not do so now. I did, however, put a series of questions to my questioner and let him answer them for himself, with the result that he now understands as clearly as do all well-informed socialists, as well as all well-informed Knights of Columbus, just why the Knights of Columbus, ostensibly a social and mutual benefit association, has vaulted into the arena as the special cham-____________________