This is the second page of a three-pager from Grandpa to Ced and Dick. This page addresses Ced’s position as a Conscientious Objector and explains Grandpa’s viewpoint.
Page 2 10/26/41
Now to comment on your letters. That questionnaire idea did not work out so badly at all. I got several bits of information I would not have received any other way. Dan was duly appreciative of the way you filled out his copy for him. He blamed it on you, Ced, so if Dick had any part in it, he had better own up.
The one main objection I can see to your taking exception to the regular draft procedure is that in a country as big as this, they have to adopt certain rules and regulations that are applicable to the majority. They can’t make exceptions for every gradation of feeling and circumstance without endless delay and bother. In consequence you have to be classed in with a lot of religious nuts and queer ones and are tarred with the same brush. The government had made provision for these odd ones, I understand, by providing some sort of occupation which will remove their religious scruples, and I imagine they will not receive the benefits and advantages and opportunities for advancement in grade, pay and knowledge that are given to the others. While you don’t belong in this class, such as you, for want of a separate classification, have to be herded with this group. I should say that if your making this personal sacrifice would accomplish your object, it might be justified, but I am afraid the practical effect will be merely to deprive yourself of opportunities that would enable you more truly to accomplish your purpose by classifying you with a lot of religious fanatics. You are old enough to make up your own mind, and one cannot help admire you for the courage of your convictions, but if your appeal is turned down, I should think the best course, without surrendering one least portion of your ideals, would be to go along in the regimentation which seems necessary in times like these, go through with the job, giving and getting out of it the best, and thus be in a far better position to speak with authority afterward from personal knowledge. We actually are in an undeclared war and governments in such cases do not find it expedient to cater to the wishes of the individual. It seems to me to be pretty well proven that Hitler’s ideology is in direct opposition to all the ideals we believe in and things have gone so far now that nothing but force of the rudest kind can stop him. In that sense, you would be fighting for the ideals you believe in even though it might not mean actual physical invasion of U.S. soil. The very fact that so many men believe war so deplorable is just what has given Hitler his big advantage and enabled him to enslave race after race with many young men among them that think just the same as you do. Such thinking has availed nothing to Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians or French. You can’t argue with a cancer on moral grounds. You have to cut it out painfully and with necessary loss of blood. Of course we would rather not have it grow in the first place, but merely sitting passively by and letting it develop and spread because we don’t believe in operations, seems hardly the best road to recovery. The sooner the world goes all out on the operating table and cuts out it’s malignant growth, the sooner plans such as Streit’s will have an opportunity to function. At least, that’s the way I see it and I don’t like to see you make a needless sacrifice for an ideal that, under the present circumstances, has so little chance of succeeding. Just the same, I honor you for your convictions. I’m proud of you even if I don’t see eye to eye.
Tomorrow, I’ll post the last page of this letter filled with bits and pieces of local news.
Thursday and Friday will be another two-page letter from Grandpa to Alaska.
On Saturday and Sunday, more of the story of Mary E Wilson.