The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 06, 1905, Page 2, Image 2
' T! ""n1p,T-rt W Hhbpjh i" 'wwaryiay ? rr''1 I MP' f '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 borders. '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 country. 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. JJJ 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. JJJ . 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 reformer. JJJ 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 VOLUME 4, NUMBER 51 . 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. JJJ 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." JJJ 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 s y j' ? jJBit b tmtt-jjf tfMPlUafeM!