Critics who accuse American universities of indifference to political questions will find fresh material for discontent in the situation of Naples University. Political resentments, always heated, passed the boiling-point recently. Fascists and anti-Fascists clashed, and the violence of disturbances forced the authorities to close the university. If schools are but a stamping ground for political debaters, Italians may well be proud of the high degree of political favor which agitates their younger generation.
But for those who disparage American students' innoculation against public excitement, it need only be said that they overestimate the interest of the mob in political controversy. Aside from a few weeks' bombardment by pamphlets, orators and advertising appeals, the average citizen is not aroused by political questions. The quarreling factions of previous decades have settled down to an equilibrium of mutual toleration. The man in the street is blase over political propaganda: he is not excited even to a mild passion by the most importunate of oratory. If all men accept politics so peaceably, is it reasonable to expect college men to whet their knives for combat?
When cross-word puzzles, income taxes, and divorce dirt drive politics from the mind and conversation of the generality, students are not likely to fall into a fever over budgets or naval appropriations. When the present dissensions of Italy are over, and Fascist and anti-Fascist are merely terms in the back of the history books, some spectre may arise before Naples University, then calmly ruminating its academic its academic and accuse it of "suicidal indifference to politics."