Upton Sinclair, b. 1878, socialist author of The Jungle, a novel about the meat-packing industry that resulted in passage of The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) and The Meat Inspection Act (1906)).
Upton Sinclair, letter of resignation from the Socialist Party (September, 1917)
I have lived in Germany and know its language and literature, and the spirit and ideals of its rulers. Having given many years to a study of American capitalism. I am not blind to the defects of my own country; but, in spite of these defects, I assert that the difference between the ruling class of Germany and that of America is the difference between the seventeenth century and the twentieth.
No question can be settled by force, my pacifist friends all say. And this in a country in which a civil war was fought and the question of slavery and secession settled! I can speak with especial certainty of this question, because all my ancestors were Southerners and fought on the rebel side; I myself am living testimony to the fact that force can and does settle questions – when it is used with intelligence.
In the same way I say if Germany be allowed to win this war – then we in America shall have to drop every other activity and devote the next twenty or thirty years to preparing for a last-ditch defence of the democratic principle.
I wonder what Sinclair would say about the war in Iraq were he alive today? Also, just out of curiousity, did anyone else become a vegetarian for a week or two after reading The Jungle in high school? I would strongly suggest that you NOT read Sinclair’s muckraking classic if you are squeamish or if you wish to remain comfortable in your meat-eating habits. Then again, if you want cheap motivation for a healthier diet . . .