The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 19, 1909, Image 1

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The Commoner.
VOL. 9, NO. 45
Lincoln, Nebraska, November 19, 1909
Whole Number 461
"Personal Liberty '
Tho liquor dealers, recognizing that their very
obvious pecuniary interest would lessen tho
weight of any argument which they might pub
licly advance, are making their fight under cover
of organizations purporting to represent those
who use liquor. Many well-meaning men have
been misled into believing that every attempt
to lessen the evils of intemperance is a "fanati
cal attack" on "personal liberty."
It is time tho phrase "personal liberty" were
What is meant by "personal liberty?"
Does it mean that a person has a right to
drink in any quantity, at any time, and .in any
place, no matter what injury ho may inflict
upon others? If not, with whom rests the right
to fix limitations?
A drunken man is a menace to the lives and
property of those about him; have his neighbors
no right to protect themselves?
A drunkard robs his wife and children, and .
lie may finally make his family and himself a
charge upon society; has society no right to
protect itself?
Tho saloon is next-of-kin to the brothel and
the gambling hall; it is a rendezvous for tho
criminal element and the willing tool of tho
corrupt politician; has not the body politic a
right to r protect Itself from tho demoralization,,
which the saloon "works? .
The right to drink does not necessarily in7
elude the right to demand the establishment of
a saloon. Tho right to drink is sufficiently pro
tected by any arrangement that permits the rea
sonable use of liquor under reasonable condi
tions; and it must be remembered that the right
to drink, like any other right, can be forfeited.
Nothing is more sacred than the right to life,
and yet one may forfeit his right to life if he
uses it in such a way as to threaten the life
of ahother. So, the man who drinks to excess
may forfeit the right to drink; even the moder
ate drinker may forfeit the right to drink in
moderation if, not content with reasonable reg
ulation, he insists that liquor shall be sold
under conditions that constitute a menace to
the home and the state.
The man who desires to drink moderately
ought to join with those who seek to reduce
the evils of drink to the' lowest possible point,
Instead of allying himself with those who- ignore
the evils of intemperance and resist every effort
put forth for the protection of society.
"No platform can ever porsuado me to
commit a crime against tho interest of
the people of Texas." Senator Bailey at
Pilot Point, August 12, 1909.
"I simply desire to say, Mr. Speaker,
in response to what has been said about
my votes in tho Fifty-second and Fifty-
third congresses I was not hero to lis-
ten to this statement, but I was informed
of it that when I cast those votes tho
raw material doctrine was tho indorsed
policy of my party, and as a loyal mem-
bor of that party I subordinated my
individual judgment to its platform."
Senator Bailey in the house of ropresent-
atives, July 19, 1897, first session, Fifty-
fifth congress.
. We may be permitted to say that these
remarks, of an exculpatory nature, wero
made during the consideration of tho
Dingley bill in response to Benton Mc-
Millan of Tennessee, who had called on
the then Representative Bailey to explain
why, when tho Wilson bill was being
made, Mr. Bailey had voted for free coal,
. free iron ore, free barbed wire, free
sugar and free wool. .
Tho last preceding national platform
declaration on the subject was that of
1892, when it indorsed "tho efforts made
by democrats of the present congress to
modify its (tho McKlnley bill's) most
oppressive features in tho diroction of
free raw materials. "
That was twelve years ago.
. , WohpaftvWeJmR3Hallo'v'i8H:i)-ob
serve that perhaps .Senator Bailey re
,jgards loyalty to party as one of tho
follies of youth. For it appears, from a
casual reference to the records, that
Senator Bailey was, aforetime, loyal to
the principles enunciated by his party in
national convention assembled. He then
, .declared himself so, unequivocally. What
' fc ny have served to change his views as
to' what the representative owes to tho
' party can be left only to surmise. Dallas
( Texas) News.
Some republican editors are so simple as to
wonder as to which side of tho Aldrlch-Cum-mlns
controversy President Taft takes. Have
they fprgotten that in his Boston speech Presi
dent Taft paid a high tribute to Senator Aldrlch
and announcing that the Rhode Island senator
would make the trip ho Is now making in
order to set tho people right added: "Mr.
Aldrlch is the leader of the senate and cer
tainly one of tho ablest statesmen in financial
matters in either house. I believe it to be his
earnest desire to aid the people and to crown
his political career by tho preparation and pas
sage of a bill which shall give us a sound and
safe monetary and banking system. It would
be a long step toward removing tho political
obstacles to a proper solution of tho-question."
The Washington correspondent for the Chi
cago Record-Herald says that some of Speaker
Cannon's lieutenants are claiming that it is the
purpose of Roosevelt's friends to aid in tho
election of a democratic house in 1910 for tho
purpose of developing a demand for Roosevelt
In 1912. Can it bo possible that republican
leaders are getting scared?
In his speech at Chicago Senator Aldrlch made
slighting reference to Andrew Jackson. It is
just as appropriate that the Rhode Island sen
ator entertain Nick Biddlo views of "Old
Hickory" as that he should advocate tho Nick
Biddlo banking system.
Free Speech
Tho affirmation of tho Judgment of tho lower
court In tho caso against Gompors, Mitchell and
Morrison, brings forcibly to tho attention of tho
public tho consideration of tho subject of tho
freedom of tho press. It may bo difficult to
securo an impartial weighing of tho subject,
sinco projudico against or partiality toward tho
accused will afreet tho minds of many. But
this Is a subject which ought to bo considered
on Its merits, for it Is likely to exort a far
reaching influenco If tho highest court In tho
land sustains tho courts below, and punishment
is finally Inflicted upon tho defendants. It will
establish a new precedent, tho Influenco of which
can hardly bo estimated. There was a tlmo In
our nation's history when oncroachmoiit upon
tho freedom of speech would liavo aroused im
mediate and unanimous protest, but tho con
flicts which wore necessary to establish tho right
are long past, and those who took part in thoso
contests are dead. The present generation camo
into theso rights by inheritance, and seem to bo
as indifferent to tho real value of tho inherit
ance as tho rich man's son 1b to tho value of
money which ho received without having to put
forth any labor to cam it.
In a speech at Chicago a year ago, Mr. Gom
pers advanced a thought which ought not to
bo overlooked. Ho said that freedom apeocn
asguflanted51notnn"at tho- citizen jhight?say
things pleasing toWthdM tftr'ctiChtfJtylriffttiMW?
ho might any things displeasing:, Tho clllzon
always had tho right to'oay pleasing things; In
fact ho had every inducement to say ngreeablo
things. Tho guarantees of freo speech aro of
no value if they go no farther than to permit
tho saying of tho things that aro pleasant.
The right of freo speech includes tho right
to criticise every department of government and
every public official, whether that official bo ap
pointed or elected, and whether ho serves for a
term of years or for life. The judgo is no ex
ception to the rule. Ho is no less a servant
of tho people than the legislator or tho execu
tive officer, and his official conduct is as much
subject to scrutiny as tho conduct of tho
humblest public servant.
In matters of doubt tho doubt should bo re
solved upon tho sldo of freedom in speech, not
against it. In exercising tho right to criticlso
tho business methods of a corporation tho labor
ing man is as much within tho sphero of his
rights as Is tho stockholder of a corporation
when ho is speaking to other stockholders In
regard to the conduct of employes. Tho officials
of a corporation and tho stockholders of a cor
poration do not hesitate to co-oporato against
employes in any controversy between tho em
ployes and the corporation they do not hesitate
to prescribe terms upon which they will employ
workmen. Why should tho workmen bo re
strained from discussing tho conditions upon
which they will accept employment? Tho only
line that rests upon reason and can bo justified
by argument is the lino separating persuasion
from violence. As long as tho laboring man
reasons with his co-laborer or presents an argu
ment he Is within his rights, and tho one to
whom tho argument is addressed has a right to
hear. Tho business methods of a corporation
are proper subjects of discussion by employes
as well as by customers, and a decreo which de
prives tho laboring man of this right Is a step
toward industrial bondage. The dangers in
volved in tho court's decision aro so great that
tho laboring man ought not to be left to combat
them alone. Every citizen interested in tho
preserving of our institutions ought to feel a
personal concern in maintaining inviolate tho
right to think, and tho right to speak. Not
only free government but civilization itself de
pends upon freo speech as much as upon any
other ono thing for its very existence.
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