All Commentary
Tuesday, May 1, 1962

“Let It Cost What It May”


The Reverend Mr. Mahaffy has served since 1945 as a missionary of the Orthodox Presby­terian Church in Eritrea, East Africa.

The bridge was sturdily con­structed and esthetically satisfy­ing. It spanned a deep ravine in the former Italian colony in East Africa. I drove across it recently and my eye caught some words on one of the arches: “Ca Custa Lon Ca Custa.” I asked an Italian friend to translate for me. It was a motto, he said, which might be freely rendered as: “Let It Cost What It May.” I inquired about the bridge and learned that it had been built in the heyday of Italian expansiveness under Mussolini’s fascism. The motto perfectly fitted the imperial mood of Italy in the thirties, and it comes pretty close to capturing the mood which reigns in every country today—although few governments or in­dividuals are so frank when it comes to putting into words their lack of concern for the way they use other people’s money.

Reflect on our space program. No expense is to be spared in the effort to place an American on the moon in this decade. A prominent columnist acclaims the project, even though it may have no mili­tary value, for the sake of pres­tige in the world-wide popularity contest with Russia. It matters not that in the process we may wreck the economy and thus open the gates to the Russification of our society! “Let it cost what it may,” for the money comes from the people, and not the govern­ment.

This cynical motto is an obvious betrayal of American ideals. The sooner we renounce it, privately and politically, the sooner we may commence restoration of our erod­ing freedoms.


  • A graduate of Wheaton College in 1941 and Westminster Theological Seminary in 1944, Mr. Mahaffy served as a missionary to Eritrea for twenty-three years. In 1968, he was appointed Evangelist for the Presbytery of the Midwest and served faithfully in that role, helping to establish Hope OPC, Libertyville, Illinois, Christ OPC, Janesville, Wisconsin, and Trinity OPC, Chicago.