The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 13, 1901, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner.
tloubt to the corporation, and nowhere expresses
ac much solicitude for the rights of the masses .of
the people as he does for the interests of the great
combinations of capital which in his opinion "will
tako tho lead In the stilfo for commercial suprem
acy among the nations of the world." To em
barrass them would bo, in his opinion, to '"cramp
and fetter the youthful strength of the nation."
The only remedy suggested by him is publicity, .
and in discussing the subject he uses illustrations
-which convince one that he has no objections o
private monopolies. He puts them upon the same
footing as a national bank, and simply insists
that they shall inform tho public as to their busi
ness methods. Ho refers to tho evils of over-capitalization,
but does not suggest any specific rem
edy therefor. We are to have publicity first, and
Investigation afterward. It will take some time to
get the idea into operation, then the constitutional
ity of the law will be attacked and prosecution will
have to be suspended a few years until the case is
reached in tho supreme court, and that will tide
the party over another presidential election. If
the president is in earnest in his desire to shackle
cunning, let him recommend the passage of a bill
which will compel the supreme court to give im
mediate consideration to questions arising under
laws which, like an anti-trust law, affect the en
tire people. The president intimates that a con
stitutional amendment may be necessary to au
thorize congress to take comprehensive action
against tho trusts. It is to be hoped that thla
suggestion will not be made an excuse for delay.
The American people are losing millions of dol
lars every week because of the extortion of trusts,
and there is no time for delay in dealing with this
The fatal mistake made by the presi
dent is that he fails to recognize that a privat?
xnonopoly is always, and under every circumstance,
a menace to the public. There can be no sufficient
or satisfactory regulation of a. private monopoly.
It is essentially and "eWnaJJy wrong. It has a,
-ways been regarded as an. outlaw against society;,
it has never been defended until recently, and it is
lamentable to learn from the president's message
that he has been constrained by the trust mag
nates to withhold his positive and emphatic con
demnation of the monopoly principle. There Is
nothing in his message to indicate that he has
any fear of the effect of a private monopoly. When
he declares "that combination and concentration
should be not prohibited, but supervised, and with
in reasonable limits controlled," he ignores entire
ly tho vicious principle of monopoly. No exten
sion of foreign commerce, no' development of do
mestic industry could for a moment justify a pri
vate monopoly, even though such monopoly could
bo shown to be advantageous in both respects.
On tho subject of imperialism the president,
without attempting to defend tho principles in
volved, shields himself behind the force of cir
cumstances. He assumes the patronizing air of the
advocates of "destiny" and "duty" and Insists
that "our earnest effort is to help these people up
ward along the stony and difficult path that leads
to self-government." And again he says: "Wo
hope to do for them what has never before been
done for any people in the tropics to make them
lit for self-government after tho fashion of tho
really free nations." Ho thinks any attempt to
give them independence now "such a desertion if
duty on our part as would be a crime against hu
manity." He seems to regard a government based
upon force as tho best government for certain
classes, and free government as only possible un
der certain circumstances, for he says "it is no
light task for a nation to achieve tho tempera
mental qualities without which tho institutions of
free government are but empty mockery," and he
adds that "our people are now successfully govern
ing uiemseives because for more than a thousand
years they have been fitting thomsolves, sometimes
consciously, sometimes unconsciously, toward this
end. He declares that largo portions of the Filli
plno race are starting "very far behind the point
which our ancestors had reached even thirty gen
erations ago." The question irresistibly rises In
one's mind, if the Filipinos are a thousand years
behind our people and must be governed by us be
cause of that fact, how can they ever catch up with
us unless they develop more rapidly than we do?
Capacity for self-government is a relative term,
that is to say, some people are capablo of govern
ing themselves better than others. Wo have not
reached perfection in this respect and the Fili
pinos certainly have some capacity. If we are all
making progress it will evidently be necessary for
the Filipinos to improve more rapidly than we do
in order to narrow the gap between us. This doc
trine is a dangerous one, because it justifies the
pretensions of an imperial government wherever
people can bo found rich enough to invito ex
ploitation and weak enough to be conquered,
Conscious that "destiny" and "duty" would
not appeal to the commercial element of the re
publican party, the president proceeds to recom
- mend legislation that will give American citizens a
chance to garner up the undeveloped wealth of
the Philippine Islands. He says: "Of course no
business man will go into the Philippines unless it
is to his interest to do so, and it Is Immensely to
the interest of the islands that he should go in."
That is the argument always made in behalf of
capital. It is assumed that tho "inferior race" is
longing to be developed by foreign speculators, and
it is admitted that the speculator will not go un
less it can be made profitable to him, therefore,
laws must hold out inducements. Congress must
take possession of the resources of the Philippine
islands and offer them as a reward to Americans
who will go there and develop them. The Ameri
can people will furnish on army to hold the Fili
pinos in subjection, while the synd:ites and cor
porations will gather all the wealm in sight. This
is the Philippine question in a nutshell: Hold the
islands; providence gave them to us and we must
make all the money out of them wo can. Show che
taxpayer that it is his duty, to bear the burden, and
you will have no difficulty in showing the exploiter
that it is his duty to reap the reward.
If the republican in the senato and house at
tempt to cairy out the president's recommenda
tions on ttie Philippine question, the opposition
will have a splendid opportunity to manufacture
mai trial fo.' the next campaign.
An Honest Imperialist.
, Imperialism would be more easily overthrown
if all of its advocates would 'express themselves
with the honest frankness that characterizes au
aiticle which recently appeared in a Texas paper.
Mr. Scudday Richardson describes himself as one
whose people are democrats, but it is evident from
his article that he has wandered away from his
early training; The following extract from his
article is reproduced that the readers of The Com
moner may sea the imperialistic idea as it really is
when its possessors have the courage to make
their innermost thoughts known:
A student who has communed deeply with
the muse of history and been enlightened as to
the constant mutations of human Institutions
particularly those of a political nature, may
readily observe, from a contemplation of all
the nations of the present day, a decided move
ment away from the ideals which have per
vaded the world more or less since the days
of the French revolution. The dream that a
number of men may govern is passing away
gradually it is becoming apparent, even to tho
people at large, that it is a contradiction to
suppose that government means anything but
somebody in control and little by little tho
illusionary idea of the consent of tho governed
-is dying from the earth. Not a long while ago
this was tested in the United States. Our
new imperialistic policy was overwhelmingly
upheld, despite the protestations and affrighted
cries of journals whose editors became almost
hysterical in their warnings.
Edward of England has taken a- dominant
attitude. Everyone remembers what was said
shortly before Queen Victoria died that Ed
ward would never be allowed to come to the
throne by the English people, because the
people presumably had drunk too deeply of
liberty. As a matter of fact, it is not surpris
ing that the perogative of the crown should
have decayed under the sway of a woman. In- j
stead of manifesting her power, nho was ruled '
by her ministers. r
Germany has never been stronger -than
under the empire, and while a good deal of
foolish stuff is written about military fc rule, I
yet that rule is necessary to a nation sur- 1
rounded by enemies. In this world, despite j
the vaporings of theorists, neither a nation, .
nor an individual, retains anything long un- i
less the ability to protect is present. It is not i
from any beneficient lenity or moderation that (
we do not force our young men to undergo f
a military service, nor keep so powerful an
army as the European nations. It is because
we do not yet require such systems. In timo
of necessity, we force men into the army just
the same as is done by other nations.
Imperialism means an abandonment of our
ideas of government; it means apostacy from the
doctrines that have controlled the nation in the
past. Mr. Richardson is in error in pointing to
the last election as an evidence that our people
are overwhelmingly imperialistic. The fact is
that the republicans denied their imperialistic ten
dencies until after the campaign was over, an.l
ever since the election congress has refused, to de
clare itself in favor of imperialism. What it has
done can only be construed as imperialism, but
it is difficult to persuade republicans that their
party really means anything antagonistic to our.
ideas of government. It is only a question of tiuva
when the real intent of the republican leaders will
be made known. Then and not until then will the
people sit in judgment upon that issue. In tho
meantime, there is an occasional republican wlio
admits his conversion to the European ideas c.
government. When one departs from government
by the consent of the governed he must advocate
a government based upon forco, for all
forms of government except free government .de
rive their authority from superior. force.
Imperialism is the polite termaised to .describe
wholesale killing and grand larceny. The people
who advocate it would not think of applying its
principles to every-day life. They think, if they
stop to think at all, that theft is purged of its
immoral character if islands instead of pocket
books are taken, and they see less criminality in
the killing of thousands of people who desire self
government than they do in a single homicide.
Strange that any human mind can be deluded into
countenancing imperialism; strange that any hu
man heart can consider without horror the results
of imperialism and the means employed.
Scaring the Republicans.
Now that the republicans are about to have an
opportunity to do something on the trust question,
it is only fair that they should be warned against
reading those papers that are likely to deter them
from an effective effort against the trusts. Th9
Commoner, therefore, suggests that republican
leaders should boycott the. New York Sun until
after they have entirely annihilated the trusts, for
the Sun is not only in favor of the trusts, but it is.
perfectly certain that any interference with them
would bring, upon the country a terrible calamity.
Not many weeks ago it referred to a demand for
"the suppression of trusts," and said:
There is a monstrous proposition. Were
there any way of carrying it into effect indus
trial disaster more widespread and ruinous
than has ever fallen upon the country would bo
the result. There would be a commercial
cataclysm. The amount of capital and of labor
dependent upon these combinations is so vast
that to crush them would be to bring on un
parallelled economic calamity compared with
which the free coinage of silver would have
been a fly bite.
The republican, of course, do n6t want to
bring on a "commercial cataclysm;" they do not
want to become responsible for an "economic
calamity, compared with which the free coinage of
silver would have been a ily bite." If the republi-
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