The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 22, 1911, Page 5, Image 5

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The Commoner
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.White's dissenting opinions in the Trans-Missouri
and Joint Traflio association and Northern
fecurities cases would probably havo novor been
written but for the apparent necessity of point
ing out bow unreasonable and improper it was
to turn aside from "the light of reason" and
establish a hard and fast rule that all contracts
in restraint of trade were forbidden by the law
under consideration, but when he made that
objectionableness apparent ho had by tho same
token made it apparent that precisely that was
what the court had held and intended to hold
and adhere to.
"Inter arma silent leges" and Illustrations
from tho tented field are not often opposite to
the consideration of legal questions, but every
one knows how fatal it is to have a gap In the
line through which a vigilant enemy may march
his forces and overwhelm the lino. Rosccrans
learned that to his sorrow at Chickamauga, and
tho learned chief justice may yet learn to his
sorrow and to the sorrow of the people how
dangerous a" breach he has made. Already the
papers announce that tho vigilant and gifted
attorneys for the meat trust are asking to be
reheard on the validity of the indictments against
them, for the apparent reason that if only con
tracts in "unreasonable" restraint of trade are
made criminal the law Is too wholly "vague,
Indefinite and uncertain" to make a contract
In restraint of trade a crime and that, therefore,
the indictments against them should be quashed.
Oh! the pity of it the pity of it!
The holding and process of reasoning was so
unnecessary and forced, and but for the high
character of the court handing down the
opinion so purely an obiter dictum. In both
the Standard and the tobacco cases, it was held
that each of the contracts or schemes was in un
reasonable and vicious restraint of trade and
forbidden by law. Having so held, it was a
most excellent place to stop, for if contracts
and dealings were open to the objection that they
were in unreasonable restraint of trade it was
wholly unimportant to know what might have
been the rule if they had been otherwise.
It would seem that it was necessary to make
it clearly appear that the associate had become
the chief justice, and that he and his new as
sociate justices were "in the saddle," and had
the power to make tho dissenting the prevailing
opinion, and so without any necessity or proper
legal duty therefor they made use of their
power I must believe to the great detriment
and injury of the rights of the people and the
government and for the assurance and protec
tion of would-be and actual malefactors.
What does It profit the people or the law offi
cers of the government' that corporations are
compelled to hunt new methods of evading or
flanking the law with impunity?
Trusts may be embarrassed, but will never be
destroyed until, instead of being required to
make or find a new method of seeming to com
ply with the law, but having all the benefits of
a "reasonable restraint" of trade, some indi
vidual trust magnate with blood In his veins,
wife and children to be humiliated and social
position to be forfeited, shall find his way be
hind the bars, there to ponder over the whole
some lesson that "the way of the transgressor
is hard."
What Mr. Taft Will Meet on His Western Trip
(With apologies to Rudyard Kipling.)
God of the nations, seeing all
God of the world since time began
You heard the ancient freedom-call
And gave his liberty to man
God of Patience, bear with us yet,
Though we forget, though wo forget!
Our nation's great; how long to last?
Through ages old the mornings stand;
The mighty kingdoms of the past
Today are ruins in tho sand
God of Mercy, to ua b kind,
For we are blind, for we are blind!
The war-cries and the rantlngs cease
The officers and files are gone,
But not for long the reign of peace
Imperialistic swords are drawn
God of Justice, remind us yet
That we forget, that we forget!
Greed-crazed and led by power's sway
We follow close the Roman kings
Like them, with pride for but today.
Nor count the shame tomorrow brings
O, God on High, try save us yet,
For we forget, for wo forget!
Meeker, Colo. Guy M, Stealey.
Referring to Mr. Taft's wcstorn trip tho
Philadelphia North American (rep.) says that
he will meet with stern criticism and adds:
Mr. Taft will havo no right to complain. Ho
sounded his own "koynoto" In his address at
Hamilton, Mass., when ho designated his tariff
record as tho chief issue of tho 1912 presiden
tial campaign.
On the whole we can not count this determi
nation among his blunders. Tho peoplo, for
whose support ho is going to appeal, aro peoplo
who have been very busy reading and thinking
and talking among themselves for two years
and a half about tho man they nominated and
elected president against tho opposition of the
most powerful forces of special privilege.
They know that the Taft arbitration treaties
entail the imperilment of the Monroe doctrine
and tho control of immigration. They know
that the Taft reciprocity Is a trust-serving
cheat imposed upon 30,000,000 Americans
linked with agriculture. They know that Taft
"currency reform" Is the Aldrlch device to put
the credit of every American business man
undor the heel of the masked Wall street cen
tral bank. And they know that tho Taft con
servation is Bailingerism.
They may be "enemies," but they aro not
fools, tho men in tho region where President
Taft Is journeying to snare delegates and essay
the regainment of some measuro of popular
esteem. He is well advised to centor his at
tempt upon the tariff. All those othor four
topics are understood too well to profit him
But what Is President Tagt going to tell those
fairly wise men of tho west about tho tariff?
He will have to explain why ho vetoed the most
scientifically framed protective tariff measure
ever presented to a president a veto that
caused a long-time eulogist of Mr. Taft, the New
York World, to say truly:
"He has made himself personally responsible
for the tax levied by organized greed and sel
fishness on the poor man's coat, the poor wo
man's dress, and their children's bed when it
was in his power to lighten the burdens of those
who labor that they may live."
Wo refer, of course, to tho La Folletto bill
revising the "indefensible" wool schedule, pre
pared by disinterested experts in consultation
and based upon the tremendous gathering of
the scientific truths of half a' century that cost
'the nation tho life of Dolllver.
Is Mr. Taft going into tho west to repeat his
declaration at Hamilton? This Is what he said
"We of the republican party aro under an
obligation as soon as opportunity comes to
advocate and carry through a revision of tho
tariff which shall meet the present popular de
mand, and to which we aro really pledged.
Therefore, when tho tariff board shall make Its
report in December on wool and cotton, I expect
to submit to congress recommendations based
on their report for a revision of both schedules.
"I have already expressed my opinion that
the woolen schedule is too high, that it has pro
vailed for so many years that it ought to be re
vised, and is the subject of complaint not only
to consumers, . but also by those who are en
gaged in the industries affected. So far as I
can help it, however, no such revision will take
place unless it is made with a full knowledge of
the facts as found by an Impartial investigation."
There are some free, honest, unkept news
papers in that "enemy's country," and we doubt
not that already some of them have called the
people's attention to the striking similarity of
this presidential utterance to one put forth
thirty-one years ago and cited by the Wor
cester Post in a highly illuminating chronology
of the "indefensible" schedule K.
Tho parallel was the petition of the National
Association of Wool manufacturers, as follows:
"That the present tariff (schedule K) should
continue until special and minute Information
from experts shall indicate the changes that
can safely be made; that the best method of
obtaining the required Information is through
the Eaton tariff commission."
Mr. Taft is going out among people who
share the belief of every disinterested and com
petent student of economic world conditions,
that the wisest way to handle the tariff problem
is through the work of a commission of non
partisan and disinterested experts, properly
paid and endowed with semi-judicial powers to
compel the giving of testimony, not to fix the
rates, but to gather all tho facts, with regard
to cost of material and production, both here
and abroad, and from evory posolblo vlowpolnt,
so that whatover party may bo In powor can
legislate intelligently.
But ho Is going among pooplo who know that
his present tariff board has no logal standing,
no legal powers, Is exactly In tho position tho
lntorstato commerce commission was In when
it had no powor to enforco Its docislono and no
ono paid tho slightest attontlon to what it did
or said, is simply a group of mon who do not
command tho respect of any ono, hnvo no fixed
terms of office, and aro simply lnlonded to bo
subordinate clorks, with no othor authority than
tli at tho president confers upon them, with no
right to summon witnesses or to pursuo material
Will Prestdont Tnft vonturo to repeat his
denunciation of tho progrcsslvo republicans in
his Hamilton speech for inconsistency In hav
ing declarod themselves In favor of a non
partisan tariff commission and then treating
with contumoly the present tariff board, which
tho president insists is to all intonts and pur
poses tho sarao thing?
If so, wo think that theso historical citations
will promptly bo brought to tho attention of his
"August 20, 1910 President Taft, in a let
ter to Congressman WllUuin B. McKinloy, states
" 'The precise difference Jn the cost of pro
duction sought for is not capable of doflnito
ascertainment' and 'all even tho most
scientific person can do is to exorcise his best
judgment in reaching a conclusion.'
"Octobor 17, 1910 William Whitman, presi
dent of tho National Association of Wool Manu
facturers, spends four hours with the tariff board
at Washington, and then Issues tho following
" 'I opposed tho tariff commission very
strongly, but tho tariff board Is a very different
thing. I want to do what I can to show my
appreciation of President Taft. I bollovo ho
means well and Is doing well, and I am ready
to meet him half way.'
"December 8, 1910 Banquet of tho Ameri
can Association of Woolen and Worsted Manu
facturers at Now York. Chairman Emory, of
the tariff boaTd, present. On this occasion Chair
man Emery said:
" 'There aro certain things that aro very diffi
cult to get, and one thing, that according to tho
platform of tho republican party and inciden
tally, that does not mean anything to mo, ex
cept that I have been given tho job according,
to that platform, is to try to get tho cost of
production. I thank you all, gentlemen, that
you did not laugh. (Laughter.)
I frankly say right hero that this Idea of
settling things on cost alone by any mathe
matical or algebraical or geometric ratio or
problem or theory, is all nonsense. You
must not think I am joking about this
thing, but there is a joko about it, and
the joko Is this: I have no powers what
soever. Tho tariff board has no powers. There
is really no such thing as a tariff board. Tho
law says that for certain purposes tho president
may employ such persons as he sees fit. I am
ono of such persons. That is all." (Laughter
and applause.)' "
Twenty-seven months ago the North Ameri
can made what it then considered fit comment
upon tho self-Identification of President Taft
with tho Payne-Aldrlch tariff bill and tho forces
back of it. Wo repeat that comment, which was
written as a forecast as the only fit forecast
of tho outcome of the presidential candidate's
present tour:
"What the political effect of this flouting of
pledges and perfidy to tho people will be wo
do not know. Our disgust is such that wo do
not greatly care. But far greater than our con
cern about tho party complexion of tho next
congress is our fear that the real, honest, equit
able, prosperity-breeding and industry-fostering
principle of protection will bo endangered
by the tyrannical and dishonorable course of
the present republican leadership.
"The country will make answer at the polls.
That answer may bo delayed. The plight of
the democratic opposition is so pitiable, and its
congressional course so impotent, inconsistent
and contemptible that national rebuke in all
likelihood will have to bo administered to in
dividuals rather than to a party.
"But whether through a regeneration of the
democracy, or more probably through an align
ment of the progressive elements of the exist
ing parties, there will come a day of reckon-