Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sobel Wiki: The Modern Moses

In recognition of the holiday season, this month's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on the Galloway Speech of December 25, 1922, wherein North American locomobile magnate Owen Galloway outlined his plan for averting civil war in the C.N.A. Galloway's Big Idea was that since the country was divided between two irreconcilable factions, the most sensible thing to do would be to separate the two groups by encouraging the minority faction to emigrate and establish their own society. To that end, Galloway created an endowment that would subsidize emigration within and from the C.N.A.

Initially, Sobel makes it sound as though Galloway's plan represents a triumph of private initiative, saying that "Governor-General Wagner promised cooperation, but none was asked of the government. The entire operation, the bulk of which took seven years, was handled without partisan or political involvement." Later, Sobel admits that the operation did indeed receive considerable assistance from the government: "Although there was no direct connection between the Galloway Trust and the Confederation bureaucracy, government men cooperated whenever possible with the Trust, and did more to aid in relocations than was believed at the time. Minister of Home Affairs Douglas Watson noted that more individuals relocated within the C.N.A. without Trust assistance than did so with its aid, and that only 29.7 percent of those who emigrated received more than N.A. £40 from the Trust, while 31.8 percent asked for no such aid."

Sobel also notes that the administration of Liberal Governor-General Henderson Dewey benefited politically from the Galloway Plan. He quotes from Richard Maltz's Better Than Any of Us? The Ambitious Galloway: "Since most of the emigrants were intellectuals or thought of themselves as such, and since the [[opposition People's]] Coalition was the natural home of intellectuals, Dewey was in fact exporting his political opposition. Those who relocated within the C.N.A. were more often middle-class and professional in background, likely candidates for the Liberal parties in their new homes. Aid from the Home Office oftentimes made a vacillating Coalitionist into a staunch Liberal."

Apparently the consensus within the Sobel Timeline is that Galloway's emigration scheme was the solution to the country's problems that he hoped it would be. Sobel himself states that "The Galloway Plan destroyed much of the basis for the protest movements. Pro-government critics argued that the Galloway Plan would 'shut up the anarchist units for good. Now these weepers will have to accept the Plan or show themselves the cowards they are,' while the more radical reformists welcomed the opportunity to 'denude the nation of its most precious possession, its people. Galloway has done more to destroy this corrupt society than any man in history.' Of course, both sides exaggerated, but neither could restrain their emotional outbursts." Later in the book, Sobel praises the Galloway Plan as "rational, well-considered, and on the whole, led by people with an ability to isolate a problem, find an answer, and organize to achieve results."

You have to wonder, though, whether the Galloway Plan would work as advertised. Suppose in 1968 J. Paul Getty had offered to pay for the emigration of the anti-war protesters of his day to some other country. No doubt some of the draft resisters would have been happy to take him up on his offer, but the larger anti-war protest would have continued, because opposition to the Vietnam War was motivated by larger moral concerns rather than simply being due to military-age men seeking to avoid the draft. There might have been more young men fleeing to Canada, but otherwise the anti-war protests would have continued undiminished, with all the social dislocations and political fallout that they occasioned.

No comments: