The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 06, 1905, Page 2, Image 2

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    ' T! ""n1p,T-rt W
Hhbpjh i" 'wwaryiay ? rr''1
'corporations controlling between ton and fifty per
cent of tlio total product.
No corporation can justly complain becauso
it is not allowed to control more than one-half
the supply of any given article. To sell to somo
forty millions of people ought to bo sufficient to
gratify any reasonable commercial ambition. If to
sell to oven a loss proportion jeopardizes the inter
ests of the public, tho licensing board would bo
justified in rofusing permission. Corporations aro
created by law and it must bo presumed that they
aro created for tho public good. There can bo no
justification for any doparturo from the purpose o
their creation.
Tho democrats in congress ought to see to it
that tho licensing of these interstate commerco
corporations does not confer upon such corpora
tions any powers in derogation of tho rights of
tho statos. Tho proposed license should bo an
added restriction upon the corporations, not a
grant of authority or privilege.
Tho law should draw the lino between tho
natural individual and fictitious persons called cor
porations. Natural persons having tho same needs,
tho samo aspirations and being within a reason
able dogreo equal in thoir genoral capabilities, there
is no reason why one state should be permitted to
protect its citizens against the natural persons of
another state, but corporations may vary so greatly
In authority conferred upon them, in restrictions
imposed upon them and in capital stock that a
state is under no moral obligation and ought to bo
under no legal obligation to permit corporations
created in other states to do business within its
'Experience has shown that some states havo
entirely disregarded tho rights of other states and
have for their own pecuniary advantages chartered
corporations, well knowing that the corporations
chartered Intended to forage upon tho rest of tho
Tho purpose of this editorial, however, is to
call attention to tho fact that tho democratic party
was the pathfinder in the matter of effective anti
trust legislation, but tho administration is not only
.welcome to adopt the democratic method but iS'to
be congratulated if it has the courage to do so.
Befogging the Issue
Tho Portland Oregonian, one of the most ultra
of the corporation organs, recognizing that it
can not meet the arguments advanced in support
of democratic reforms, attempts to befog the issue.
It assumes that tho contest is between -"the haves
and the have-nots." It accuses the democratic
party of warring against "property" and appealing
to the discontented. This is the method usually
employed by the champions of plutocracy: they
poso as guardians of "business" and of "property"
and accuse reformers of desiring to overturn so
ciety. Democracy is the friend of every legitimate
enterprise and it aims to protect legitimate busi
ness by separating it from illegitimate business.
The line should be distinctly drawn between those
who as business men are really serving society and
performing a useful part and those who under the
pretense of doing business are really plundering
the public on a gigantic scale.
The farmer is engaged in a very important
work and should be counted among the business
men. The laboring man fills an important placo
and is a business man in every true sense of the
word. These two classes together constitute a
considerable majority of the people. Besides these
there aro small merchants, the teachers and tho
professional classes, ..nearly all of whom suffer
from the abuses which the democratic party is
trying to remedy. If the classes above mentioned
really belonged to the "have nots" that fact alone
would bo a sad reflection on tho republican which
has been a npwer so long. But these people are
not to bo classed with the destitute or with those
if there be such who envy the successful. They
are tho bone and sinew of tho land; they are tho
nation's strength in peace and war. Tho predatory
class is compartively small in numbers but it is
influential because it can control Jt3wspapers (liko
tho Oregonian), corrupt law-makera and supply
campaign funds.
Tho republican party is today the political
representative of predatory wealth. It helps tho
manufacturers to tax the consumers through a high
tariff and It shields tho rich from taxation by op
posing an income tax. It allows tho trusts to ex
tort hundreds of millions from the,, people. It
allows the railroads to water their stock and then
wring from their patrons excessive rates, it allows
the great corporate employers to coerce their
employes with writs' of 1n junction! r It turns tho
treasury department overto, WalLstreet financiers.
The Commoner.
It burdens tho producing masses with an army
larger than wo need and with a constantly grow
" ing navy. It is trampling upon tho doctrine of self
government In order to givo syndicates a chanco
to exploit tho Filipinos. To bo sure, the president
ha3 shown some reform symptoms since tho elec
tion but it is too early to know how far he will go
or whether his party will support him in any effort
ho may make.
The democratic party Is not the enemy of honest
wealth when it seeks to reduce tho tariff, secure
an income tax, harmonize tho difference between
capital and labor, exterminate private monopolies,
restore the treasury department to tho people, rid
the country of imperialism and make the govern
ment, not merely in theory but in fact, "a govern
ment of the people, by the people and for tho
people." Finding that corruption and unfair rates
are unavoidable when municipal franchises aro
turned over to private corporations, democrats gen
erally favor the municipal ownership of water
plants, lighting plants, street car lines, etc. It -is
not hostility to honestly acquired wealth that leads
democrats to favor municipal ownership but hos
tility to boodle, graft and excessive charges. When
democrats favor as many do the government or
state ownership of railroads it is not evidence of
antipathy toward property or property rights but
rather evidence of a desire to enforce respect for
tho property rights of those who are compelled to
patonize the road. In like manner democrats favor
making banks more secure, not because of dislike
for bankors but because depositors have a right to
protection. If It is found that the insurance com
panies are not providing adequate life insurance
at reasonable rates, democrats will for the pro
tection of tho public be forced to favor state in
surance. In other words the democrats believe
that the instrumentalities of government should
be used for tho benefit of the whole people and
the government itself administered according to
the maxim "equal rights to all and special privi
lege to none." The Oregonian can not justify tho
promoters, tho monopolists and tho exploiters who
havo debauched politics and plundered the public,
and therefore it seeks to misrepresent the demo
cratic position but this misrepresentation can not
long succeed. The issue, between plutocracy and
democracy is becoming clearer and clearer and
the Oregonian will soon have to fight in the open.
. A Rebellious Republican
Ex-Governor Van Zant of Minnesota is the
latest republican to show signs of rebellion. In a
recent speech he is quoted as saying;
A freight rate is a tax on everything which
entera into tho life and commerce of the coun
try. Unreasonable rates are charged and dis
criminations are common. These evils exist
and should be remedied. To admit that we
are helpless is to declare that constitutional
government is a failure. I am ready to join
hands with any man or any body of men to
carry on tho contests. Beforo joining battle
you would better take time for reflection. Do
you know the power of corporate wealth? Do
you fully realize the vast influence it wield3?
Do you know how mercilessly it punishes s
those who stand in its way and oppose its will?
I do. I enter the fight with the full knowledge
of these facts.
Good for Van Zant. He seems to have joined
the LaFollette group of republicans. Next! Maybe
Cummins will bo encouraged to be a little more
independent. And how about Deneen? Some of
his friend3 expect to see him blossom out into a
Afraid of Democracy
In an editorial under the head "Less Voting,
More Thinking," the Chicago Tribune attempts to
answer the arguments in favor of tho election of
postmasters by the people, saying that the people
are too busy to look a .ar the election of so many
officers. The argument that the citizen can never
become sufficiently intelligent or interested to do
ml8 ?7n votins is tho argument of monarchies.
The king relieves the people of the irksome duty of
thinking or acting for themselves. There is among
what are called "successful business men" quite
a strong sentiment in favor of lengthening tho
term of office of tho president. One business man
announced at a banquet a few years ago that tho
president's salary ought to be increased and his
term made to last during good behavior, so that
business would not be disturbed by frequent elec
tions.' This! suggestion was made at a banquet
held at Atlanta, Georgia, Now comes tho Tribune
a representative republican paper of a northern
city, and it complains that the peoplo do too much
voting, that they cannot give enough attention
to politics to know anything about the candidates
nominated. Because the Tribune thinks the peo
plo not especially interested in a coroner it is op
posed to giving the peoplo a chance to elect a post
master. The postmaster occupies a position only
second in importance to the mayor and his busi
ness comes into even closer contact with the peo
ple than tho mayor's work, and yet we are ser
iously advised that tho postmaster should be ap
pointed because the people haven't the time or tho
interest to vote on such questions. Tho Tribune
will have to find some better argument if it ex
pects sto prevent the growth of sentiment in favor
of the election of postmasters. If the ballot is
cumbersome it should be made more simple. That
is tho natural democratic remedy. To advise a
lessening of the number of elective officers is re
trogression, not progress.
A Pleasant Prospect
Mr. Bryan has received the following resolu
tions passed at the Wetmore & McCann Hunting
Lodge, Dec. 16th, and he is looking forward with
pleasant anticipations to tho time when he shall
-bo able to accept tho invitation and secure for
his home the Elk's head. Having visited the Wet
more & McCann Hunting Lodge on two former
occasions Mr. Bryan is acquainted with the su
periority of the Elk kept at the lodgo and he can
also testify to the splendid hospitality extended
by Col. Wetmore and Major McCann to their
guests. The resolution reads:
"Wetmore & McCann Hunting, Lodge, Mo.,
December 16, 1904. Gue3ts assembled in main
hall of lodge at 3 p. m. this day. Major George
H McCann, president of association, in the chair.
Following resolution was offered by Col. D. J.
Dean of Kansas City, seconded by Capt. J. W. Shea
of Philadelphia, Penn., that
"Whereas, Tho absence of W. J. Bryan is
greatly regretted and
"Whereas, There are many fine elk with
splendid antlers, tho head of any one of which
would be a splendid ornament to. his library, it is
resolved that tho said Hon. W. J. Bryan be re
quested at his earliest convenience, to come to tho
lodgo and make his own selection of elk, and, af
ter making said elk the victim of his unerring aim,
with rifle, to transport the body to a competent
taxidermist and havo It mounted, at the expense
of Wetmore & McCann Gamo Preservo association,
and tho Hon. W. J Bryan bo requested to publish
these resolutions in the columns of Tho Com
moner. W. C. Wetmore, Secretary pro tern."
The Southern Attitude
The Commercial Appeal is discussing tho
Southern attitude and in so doing it makes a griev
ous mistake. It assumes that the overwhelming
defeat visited upon the democratic party in the
north was duo to the.fact that the southern lead
ers took a prominent part in the S't. Louis conven
tion. The Appeal says that they "entirely over
shadowed the western democrats, or indeed those
of any other section." It claims that the "South
erners by reason of their intellectual pre-eminence
were predominant in the affairs of the party, and
the possible election of Judge Parker was criti
cised as a southern victory."
The Appeal is very much mistaken if It as
sumes that the result in the north was an ex
pression of sentimert against the south or due to
fear of southern prominence in national affairs.
If the editor of the Appeal will examine the elec
tion returns he will find, first, that The falling off
in tho democratic vote was not off-set by a cor
responding gain in the republican vote. In fact,
the gain in tho republican vote was only about
half as great as the democratic decrease, Sec
ond, the editor of the Appeal will also find that
there was a large falling off in the democratic vote
in tho south, which could not have been accounted
for by the reasons which he suggests Third, he
will also notice that the socialist party the most
radical of the parties on economic questions was
tho party that made the largest relative gain.
This indicates that democratic dissatisfaction was
duo to tho failure of tho democratic party to tako
as strong a stand as it should have taken on eco
nomic questions. The enormous plurality recorded
against the democratic party was a rebuke to tho
democratic plan of campaign not to tho southern
democrats, except insofar as tho southern demo
crats endorsed that plan of campaign. In other
? jJBit b