In Bill Kauffman’s sermon “World Citizens on Main Street” (March 1997), he decries the purchase of a local Batavia, New York, tractor factory by a German firm as an example of foreign “Teutonic overlords . . . tied to Batavia only by the flimsy cord of the almighty dollar.” Using such epithets as “executioners” and “the Germans goose-stepped out of town,” he attempts to build a case against “internationalization—the imposition of alien practices and cultural forms on native populations,” admittedly a deplorable trend. Mr. Kauffman then describes the “puckish humor and gentle mercy” of the new owners of the factory who “one week before Christmas . . . without repercussion” fire all salaried employees “within a few years of a full pension,” and then a couple years later “goose-step out of town, leaving an empty factory and devastated lives in their wake.” Mr. Kauffman has fallen prey to post hoc reasoning, not to mention a bit of race baiting.

First, what would Mr. Kauffman say if the new owners had been Californians of German ancestry (or Iowans of Swedish ancestry or Arizonans of Italian ancestry) but had done the same thing? Would he conclude that if an American had purchased the firm the latter would have been able to keep everyone on the payroll up to full pension and make the factory profitable? Second, it takes two parties to consummate a business sale. Didn’t the family that had once owned the factory sell it when the “salaried employees . . . were within a few years of a full pension”? Why are they totally blameless in Mr. Kauffman’s moralistic framework? Is it merely because they were not “tied to Batavia only by the flimsy cord of the almighty dollar”? Perhaps only longstanding residents of Batavia should be allowed to buy Batavian businesses. Perhaps only a Batavian could have saved the factory.

Through a system of profit and loss, the market economy decides which firms survive by rewarding those firms who respond to customer wants and penalizing those who do not. If the factory was profitable someone could and would have stepped forward to rebuild it. Its demise had nothing to do with German owners, and to try to rectify the situation by restricting ownership would do nothing to save the locality from “internationalization.”

Instead, if we are to stop the despicable trend of “internationalization” and “new world orderism,” we must insist that our representatives and judges honor the Constitution rather than trash it. We must insist on extricating the United States from the United Nations, a body which seeks to destroy our Constitution and our local way of life.

        —Dan Winterrowd
Pilot Hill, CA