The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 01, 1915, Page 14, Image 14

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The Commoner
VOL. 15, NO. 3
A .
a. i
Citizens of other states may read with profit
that portion of the annual message of Governor
George M. Alexander, of Idaho, relating to the
duties, powers and abuses of county govern
"merts. .In reference to this subject, Governor
Alexander said:
"There is a habit throughout the state in the
various counties that runs to extravagance.
County governments have become so burden
some, in the way of costs and expense, that the
people demand relief at your hands. Counties
should bo graded into first, second and third
class counties. A limitation should be placed
upon their power to levy taxes. Counties should
also be compelled by law to go on a cash basis
and be prohibited from issuing warrants in any
sum beyond the amount levied for that one year.
"For the year 1913 there was levied by the
various counties in this state for the county war
rant redemption fund $2G6,320.00. This is
simply an item of extravagance that has grown
up in the state and that should be prohibited.
"Boards of county commissioners often the first
year of their official life levy insufficient taxes to
make a showing, and the next year following, be
fore they go out of office, they pay old indebt
edness, make unnecessary improvements, issue
warrants in excess of the levy for that year, or
else leave a huge indebtedness to be provided
for by future tax levies. I would advise you to
prohibit the issuing of warrants on any fund in
excess of the levy for that year; that the board
of pQunty commissioners issuing the same, and.
thoPA voting for said issue, should bo guilty of
a n!demeanor and should be ousted from office
and bo held responsible-'for the amount of the
warrants upon their official bond, and further
by a' judgment against their property. The
'stronger this law can be made the better it will
sei o its purpose." ,
Up to tho time of the passage of the federal
trade commission bill there had been no admin
istrative agency of the government directing its
exclusive attention to the procuring of the facts
that would be a guide to future legislation. The
possibilities of this new act, in connection with
tariff legislation, are discussed by the St. Louis
Republic, as follows:
"Tariffs were formerly made by calling in pros
pective beneficiaries and learning from them about
how much protection they thought they ought to
have. Then, when tho tariffs thus made were
questioned at election time the men for whom "
they were mado financed the defense and sup
plied the facts and arguments most largely used
by tariff defenders. The man with a personal
interest was there all the while looking out for
himself. If tho people at large wished to know
how the tariff was working or how truthful were
the grounds upon which tariffs were demanded
they had no such access to original sources of
Information as was available on the other side.
The new trade commission wjll have among its
other duties the duty of supplying the, public
with facts about how the tariff is working. The
members will approach this task with their
minds open to the truth. They will have no pri
vate interest to serve, but will have the right to
go to tho bottom of any complaint or demand
and to ascertain all the facts needed in making
up an unbiased judgment. In future discussions
of the tariff the commission will, therefore, be
able to contribute materially to intelligent un
derstanding of the subject in its capacity as a
source of unvarniBhed truth and, indirectly, it
should have an oven more important function as
a discourager of tariff mendacity from those who
' seek tariff benefits."
Th city of Lincoln, Nebraska, has a public
service club which holds meetings for tho dis
cussion of public utility subjects, with occasional
digressions into broader fields of political prob
lems. Tho scope of its work includes investiga
tions, by committees and discussion by members
In proper legislative fashion. The work of this
Wl, f,
club suggests that such organizations could be
made a source of profit to communities in other
states. In commenting on the need and useful
ness of such clubs, the Nebraska State Journal
"We desire to call the attention of the world
more particularly to the Lincoln public service
club. This organization is setting an example
which people in all parts of the state might with
profit emulate. ' Would that Nebraska
had a thousand such organizations. We do not
take enough interest in public questions. The
average man would be astonished at the small
ness of the number of letters and telegrams
which a legislator receives 'from home.' That
is because the people are not keeping track as
they should. The average man has no idea, we
suspect, of the number of crimes and cynics and
misanthropes that proceed from ingrown ideas.
Such calamities could have been saved by a
chance .to air their views. Contrary to the gen
eral view and teaching, men do not talk enough.
The tongue is for the elimination of ideas, is
as necessary to mental health as are the exhal
ings of the lungs and skin to bodily safety. Wo
provo it by Shakespeare:
" 'Thoughts shut up want air,
And spoil like bales unopened to the sun.'
"The Lincoln public service club has doubtless
saved many a human boiler explosion and will
save more. We need more such clubs. The
newspapers, for want of space, may be unable
to broadcast them all, but no matter. The good
will have been undiminished by that."
Recent newspaper dispatches contained ac
counts of a prolonged fast of a California man
who abstained from food for a period of fifty
nine days. Commenting on the futility of fol
lowing promiscuous advice on health matters,
the San Francisco Star says:
"Louis Roth, the Palo Alto tailor who fasted
two months in order to cure himself of 'chronic
Indigestion,' is dead. He will no longer be trou
bled by the failure of his digestive organs to do
their work. Some time ago he read a book, 'Vi
tality, Fasting and Nutrition,' written by Here
ward Carington, and determined to try the vir
tues of a prolonged fast. When urged. to take
food, on the ground that he was endangering his
life, Itfe refused, saying that he would eat when
his appetite returned. Of course, his appetite
did not return.
"Professor Swain, of Stanford university, who
watched Roth during the long fast, says that
death was not unexpected; that 'the insidious
sophistry of the book he had read had wormed
itself into his imagination and that the book
is dangerous. It must be said that Professor
Swain's language is very temperate. It is still
true that the lawyer who takes his own case
generally has a fool for a client, and that the
man who undertakes to repair his internal ma
chinery has a fool for a patient. That is espe
cially true of a person who goes into a long fast
with the idea that it will be time enough to eat
when his appetite returns."
The evils of school militarism were set forth
by N. C. Shaoffer, state superintendent of public
schools of Pennsylvania, in a discussion before
the department of superintendence of the Na
tional Educational association, at its recent
moeting in Cincinnati. Professor Shaeffer said
"The introduction of militarism into the pub
ic schools of the United State3 would be organ
ized insanity. When the demand is mado that
militarism forms an integral part of vocational
training, the teachers distraction reaches a clim
ax. If she should succeed in fulfilling this latest
requirement the public schools would develop a
race of amazons more fierce than the militant
"Militarism does not develop the sense of duty
such as the Sunday school inculcates, but justi
fies spying, lying, forging letters, telegrams and
signals to mislead the enemy. Having been
taught thaMt is right to suspend the decalogue
for his country's sake the pupil afterward re
peals the ten commandments for his own sake
whenever any advantage can thereby be gained
in the political or financial world.
"The great powers of Europe have come to
judgment and are grinding one another to dust
and ashes. Their fate should be a warning to
the American people not to introduce and foster
militarism in the public schools."
There is a growing sentiment towards the un
dertaking of enterprises that will help to make
our state penal institutions not only self-supporting
but that will, at the same time, accomplish
the physical, mental and moral upbuilding of
the state's charges. An editorial in the San An
tonio Express gives an idea of the work being
done along this line by the state of Arkansas. It
"Arkansas boasts a penal institutional system
superior to that of most of the other states by
reason of the fact that crime is as nearly ade
quately punished as elsewhere without the tax
payers being overburdened by the cost.
"The state farm, which is worked by convicts,
not only s self-supporting, but the profits aris
ing from its operation are sufficient to maintain
the state penitentiary and the state reform
school, so that the legislature is not called upon
to make annual appropriations for the conduct
ing of these institutions.
"Since the change in the disposition and care
of state prisoners and the abolishment of the
convict lease system, with its many repulsive
features, there has been wholesome difference in
penal conditions, says the Little Rock Democrat.
Health problems have been Bolved and unjust
and inhumane punishments for minor infractions
of rules have been supplanted by model, humane
methods. Prisoners on the state farm are, to a
greater or less extent, upon their honor, and
conduct determines whether one who has been
kept under guard becomes a 'trusty.'
"The health of the prisoners on the farm is
maintained by plenty of exercise, fresh air and
wholesome food, and there is such appreciation
of the confidence reposed in them by the state
that the prisoners give the authorities compar
atively little trouble and the cost of providing
guards is reduced to a minimum. The system is
not altogether experimental, having been in op
eration for several years, and, according to re
port, it is proving its effectiveness more and
more each year."
The part played by the pioneer in the develop
ment of this nation was set forth in a recent ad
dress by Dr. George E. Vincent, president of the
University of Minnesota, before the City club of
Milwaukee. Dr. Vincent said:
"The philosophy which has been dominating
the American people for the last 100 years is the
philosophy of the frontier. It is the philosophy
of a people who go out into tho wilderness to
subdue it, to make homes .in a wild country, and
bring nature under the control of men.
"We call this philosophy individualism, and
it is the only philosophy which a people living
under frontier conditions can evolve. Individ
ualism holds that every man works out his own
destiny. There are no complicated problems to
bo considered.
"An individualist is one who grapples with na
ture in his daily life. When he succeeds he is
to be praised for his success, because upon him
self alone depends the outcome of his work.. If
failure comes tohim he is to blame, for no one
has been associated with him, and no one can be
accredited for the failure.
"On the frontier we must be everything.
Frontier life makes a man a jack of all trades.
Is it any wonder then, that the Americans of to
day are self-sufficient? When a man is able to
do many things, and do them all well, he is af
fronted at the appearance of a man who says
. that he is an expert and that he knows how to
do Just one thing, and do it thoroughly.
'Self-sufficiency of the American people, fos
tered by their frontier experience is seen every-
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