Mr. Dooley on The Crusade Against Vice

“Vice,” said Mr. Dooley, “is a creature of such heejous mien, as Hogan says, that th’ more ye see it th’ betther ye like it. I’d be afraid to enther upon a crusade again vice f’r fear I might prefer it to th’ varchous life iv a rayspictable liqour dealer. But annyhow th’ crusade has started, an’ befure manny months I’ll be lookin’ undher th’ table whin I set down to a peaceful game iv solytaire to see if a polisman in citizens’ clothes ain’t concealed there.

“Th’ city iv Noo York, Hinnissy, sets th’ fashion iv vice an’ starts th’ crusade again it. Thin ivrybody else takes it up. They ’se crusades an’ crusaders in ivry hamlet in th’ land an’ places that is cursed with nawthin’ worse thin pitchin’ horseshoes sinds to th’ neighborin’ big city f’r a case iv vice to suppress, We’re in th’ mist iv a crusade now, an’ there is n’t a polisman in town who is n’t thremblin’ f’r his job.

“As a people, Hinnissy, we’re th’ greatest crusaders that iver was — f’r a short distance. On a quarther mile thrack we can crusade at a rate that wud make Hogan’s frind, Godfrey th’ Bullion look like a crab. But th’ throuble is th’ crusade don’t last afther th’ first sprint. Th’ crusaders drops out iv th’ procission to take a dhrink or put a little money on th’ ace an’ be th’ time th’ end iv th’ line iv march is reached th’ boss crusader is alone in th’ job an’ his former followers is hurlin’ bricks at him fr’m th’ windows iv policy shops. Th’ boss crusader always gets th’ double cross. If I wanted to sind me good name down to th’ ginerations with Cap. Kidd an’ Jesse James I’d lead a movement f’r th’ suppression iv vice. I wud so.

“Ye see, Hinnissy, ’tis this way: th’ la-ads ilicted to office an’ put on th’ polis foorce is in need iv a little loose change, an’ th’ on’y way they can get it is to be negotyatin’ with vice. Tammany can’t raise anny money on th’ churches; it won’t do f’r thim to raid a gints’ furnishin’ sthore f’r keepin’ disorderly neckties in th’ window. They’ve got to get th’ money where it’s comin’ to thim an’ ’tis on’y comin’ to thim where th’ law an’ vile human nature has a sthrangle holt on each other. A polisman goes afther vice as an officer iv th’ law an’ comes away as a philosopher. Th’ theery iv mesilf, Hogan, Croker, an’ other larned men is that vice whin it’s broke is a crime an’ whin it’s got a bank account is a necessity an’ a luxury.

“Well, th’ la-ads goes on usin’ th’ revised statues as a sandbag an’ by an’ by th’ captain iv th’ polis station gets to a pint where his steam yacht bumps into a canoe iv th’ prisidint iv th’ Standard Ile Comp’ny an’ thin there’s th’ divvle to pay. It’s been a dull summer annyhow an’ people ar-re lookin’ f’r a change an’ a little divarsion, an’ somebody who doesn’t raymimber what happened to th’ last man that led a crusade again vice, gets up an’, says he: ‘This here city is a verytable Sodom an’ it must be cleaned out,’ an’ ivrybody takes a broom at it. Th’ churches appints comities an’ so does th’ Stock Exchange an’ th’ Brewers’ Society an’ afther awhile other organizations jumps into th’ fray, as Hogan says. Witnesses is summoned befure th’ comity iv th’ Amalgamated Union iv Shell Wurrukers, th’ S’ciety f’r th’ Privintion iv Good Money, th’ Ancient Ordher iv Send Men, th’ Knights iv th’ Round Table with th’ slit in th’ centhre; an’ Spike McGlue th’ burglar examines thim on vice they have met an’ what ought to be done tow’rd keepin’ th’ polis in nights. Thin th’ man that objects to canary bur-rds in windows, sthreet-music, vivysection, profanity, expensive fun’rals, open sthreet cars an’ other vices, takes a hand an’ ye can hear him as well as th’ others. Vice is th’ on’y thing talked iv at th’ church socyables an’ th’ mothers’ meetin’s; ’tis raysolved be th’ Insomnya Club that now’s th’ time to make a flyin’ wedge again th’ divvlish hurdy gurdy an’ meetin’s are called to burn th’ polis in ile f’r not arrestin’ th’ criminals who sell vigitables at th’ top iv their lungs. Some wan invints an anti-vice cocktail. Lectures is delivered to small bodies iv preachers on how to detect vice so that no wan can palm off countherfeit vice on thim an’ make thim think ’tis good. Th’ polis becomes active an’ whin th’ polis is active ’tis a good time f’r dacint men to wear marredge certy-ficates outside iv their coats. Hanyous monsthers is nailed in th’ act iv histin’ in a shell iv beer in a German Garden; husbands waits in th’ polis station to be r-ready to bail out their wives whin they ’re arrested f’r shoppin’ afther four o’clock; an’ there’s more joy over wan sinner rayturned to th’ station thin f’r ninety an’ nine that’ve rayformed.

“Th’ boss crusader is havin’ th’ time iv his life all th’ while. His pitcher is in th’ papers ivry mornin’ an’ his sermons is a directhry iv places iv amusement. He says to himsilf ‘I am improvin’ th’ wurruld an’ me name will go down to th’ ginerations as th’ greatest vice buster iv th’ cinchry. Whin I get through they won’t be enough crime left in this city to amuse a sthranger fr’m Hannybal Missoury f’r twinty minyits,’ he says. That’s where he’s wrong. Afther awhile people gets tired iv th’ pastime. They want somewhere to go nights. Most people ain’t vicious, Hinnissy, an’ it takes vice to hunt vice. That accounts f’r polismen. Besides th’ horse show or th’ football games or something else excitin’ divarts their attintion an’ wan day th’ boss crusader finds that he’s alone in Sodom. ‘Vice ain’t so bad afther all. I notice business was betther whin ’t was rampant,’ says wan la-ad. ‘Sure ye’re right,’ says another. ‘I haven’t sold a single pink shirt since that man Markers closed th’ faro games,’ says he. ‘Th’ theaytre business ain’t what it was whin they was more vice,’ says another. ‘This ain’t no Connecticut village,’ he says. ‘An’ ’tis no use thryin’ to inthrajooce soomchury ligislation in this impeeryal American city,’ he says, ‘where people come pursooed be th’ sheriff fr’m ivry corner iv th’ wurruld,’ he says. ‘Ye can’t make laws f’r this community that wud suit a New England village,’ he says, ‘where,’ he says, ‘th’ people ar-re too uncivilized to be immoral,’ he says. ‘Vice,’ he says, ‘goes a long way tow’rd makin’ life bearable,’ he says. ‘A little vice now an’ thin is relished be th’ best iv men,’ he says. ‘Who’s this Parkers, annyhow, intherferin’ with th’ liberty iv th’ individooal, an’,’ he says, ‘makin’ it hard to rent houses on th’ side sthreets,’ he says. ‘I bet ye if ye invistigate ye’ll find that he’s no betther thin he shud be himsilf,’ he says. An’ th’ best Parkers gets out iv it is to be able to escape fr’m town in a wig an’ false whiskers. Thin th’ captain iv th’ polis that’s been a spindin’ his vacation in th’ disthrict where a man has to be a Rocky Mountain sheep to be a polisman, returns to his old place, puts up his hat on th’ rack an’ says, ‘Garrity, if annybody calls ye can tell him to put it in an anvelope an’ leave it in me box. An’ if ye’ve got a good man handy I wisht ye’d sind him over an’ have him punch th’ bishop’s head. His grace is gettin’ too gay.’

“An’ there ye ar-re, Hinnissy. Th’ crusade is over an’ Vice is rampant again. I’m afraid, me la-ad, that th’ frinds iv vice is too sthrong in this wurruld iv sin f’r th’ frinds iv varchue. Th’ good man, th’ crusader, on’y wurruks at th’ crusade wanst in five years, an’ on’y whin he has time to spare fr’m his other jooties. ‘Tis a pastime f’r him. But th’ definse iv vice is a business with th’ other la-ad an’ he nails away at it, week days an’ Sundays, holy days an’ fish days, mornin’, noon an’ night.”

“They ought to hang some iv thim pollyticians,” said Mr. Hennessy angrily.

“Well,” said Mr. Dooley, “I don’t know. I don’t expict to gather calla lillies in Hogan’s turnip patch. Why shud I expict to pick bunches iv spotless statesmen fr’m th’ gradooation class iv th’ house iv correction.”

(Mr. Dooley’s Opinions)