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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 1, 1915)
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LET THE JINGOES DIE FIRST
The southern congressman who suggested that
, . nu aru 10 ucciare it, should bo voted BY
What a frightful waste of time there is, and ?e pePle themselves and not voted UPON them,
in how many ways. Just now millions of pre-"'tl'ruck a Popular chord. If there is any question
cious moments are being wasted in the discus- ;? , ,usht to be referred to a referendum vote
sion or immaterial passes oi ine awful war
which is devastating Europe time that might
better bo spent in building up a sentiment
against our participation in the war, and in dis
cussing means of assisting the warring nations
to bring the war to a close.
It is a waste of time to discuBS who is to blame
for STARTING the war; the practical question is
not who STARTED it but "WHY DOES IT CON
TINUE? It Is a waste of time to compare cruel
ties and to weigh inhumanities; it is not for us
to encourage inhumanities on either side by ex
pressing a preference or by giving judgment in
favor of them. It is our duty as neutrals to dis
courage both sides by refusing to commend cru
elties even relatively. It is a waste of time to
discuss hypothetical questions or to try to de
cide whether our nation would be aided or in
jured by tho triumph of this nation or that. We
can not tear away the veil that conceals the fu
ture; we cannot say with any certainty that, for
the good of our nation, either side should be vic
torious; but if-we have read history to advant
age we know that no peace compelled by force
and preserved by fear can be permanent, and we
should, therefore, use our influence to encourage
the belligerent nations to substitute co-operation
It is not only a waste of time to attempt the
impossible task of finding out how our country
can be benefited by the triumph of either side,
but it is dangerous to neutrality for us, to form
a fixed opinion on this subject. As soon as an
American citizen becomes firmly convinced that
the welfare of his country will be best served by
the victory of any nation or group of nations,
he becomes prejudiced in favor of that side and
his judgment as to what this nation ought to do
will bo colored, by his desire to aid the side
which he favors. We see this constantly illus
trated by. that portion of the press which has
taken sides.. If our nation is to remain neutral
it must be .indifferent as to the results of the
war and content itself with the protectionof the
rights of its own people and with the guarding of
the welfare of this nation.
Now is the time when the hours should be
wisely used,' and they can best be used in the
consideration of the questions upon which we
must act. By observing not only the letter but
the spirit of neutrality we can remain the sin
cere friend of ALL THE BELLIGERENTS, and
thus become not only mediator but their accept
ed advisor, in layingr the foundation of a peace
that shall endure. " -
W. J. BRYAN.
it is tho question that determines peace or war
for the nation, and the suggestion was made still
more attractive when he added that, to securo
deliberation in tho voting, it ought to be under
stood that THOSE WHO VOTED FOR WAR
WOULD ENLIST FIRST. This is capital, and
of course no jingo could complain because It
would be a reflection upon his courage to assume
that he would vote for war if he had any inten
tion of shirking the responsibility himself and
throwing tho burden and risks of the war upon
By all means let us have a referendum before
war is wished on the public, and let the vote bo
cast with tho understanding that no one will voto
for war unless she is ready to enlist.
And, as a further protection to the public,
would it not be well to give the jingoes the priv
ilege of fighting in the front line so that they
would have the glory of dying before any other
lives were sacrificed? They might stop fanning
the flame that kindles war if they knew that they
would have to take some of the risk themselves.
Mr. Dooley never said a wiser thing then when,
In 1898, he replied to Mr. Hennessey's question
that he would go down to see the soldiers off
"whenever those who get up the war enlist."
W. J. BRYAN.
A referendum taken by a number of big Wash
ington republicans is declared to have resulted
in thefchofBe of Elihu Root as the republican
candidate for 1916. The voters were party
leaders in various states. Fishing will be a pop
ular pastime with democratic campaign man
agers if Root is made the republican nominee.
There will be nothing else to do.
Those who talk war present it as a duty, but
to whom? We owe no such duty to the belliger
ents on either side. They are fighting over ques
tions which do not affect our welfare or destiny.
They entered into the war without consulting us;
they are conducting it without any regard for
pur wishes or our rights. AnAmerican must
havfi more interest in one of the belligerents
than he has in the United States ifhe desires to
see us dragged into the contest as the ally or the
opponent of either side.
Duty to our own people requires that we keep
out., The duelist put a sham "sense of honor"
above his duty to his wife, his children and his
country. According to his code in case of insult,
real or supposed, somebne had to be killed, re
gardless of the injustice done to those depend
ent upon him and regardless also of the needs of
society. But the day of the duelist's code is
past. Duty requires us to considor the welfare
of ALL the people not merely the whims or in
terests of a few; duty requires us to consider the
welfare of the neutrals who look to us as their
leaders; and duty also requires us to consider
the future interests of tho belligerents. Wo are
the friends of all and-, must remain in a position
to mediate and to advise;
.. W. J. BRYAN.
.CHRISTIANITY VS. MILITARISM
Rev. J. W. Shenk of Los Angeles, Cal., quotes
tho following indictment against militarism: -
"Militarism is the absolute negation of Chris
tianity. The one exhibits a mailed fist, iho other
shows a hand that is pierced. The one carries a
big stick, the other carries a cross on which the
Prince of Glory died. Tho ono declares that
might makes right; tho other affirms that right
makes might. The ono says that tho founda
tion of all things is force; the other says that
the foundation of all things Is love. Militarism
is materialism in its deadliest manifestation; it
is atheism in its most brutal and blatant incar
nation; it is the enemy of God and
man. It must bo overthrown. Every
nation which becomes its devotee is doomed.
Miltaristic nations are broken to pieces like pot
ter's vessels. So did the Almighty break Nin
eveh and Babylon, Persia, and Greece, and
Rome, and unless they repent He will break in
pieces the so-called great powers of Europe."
The following poem by J. M. Lewis, in tho
Houston Post, emphasizes in a very impresslvo
way the causelessness and futility of this war,
which no one not even its promoters is will
ing to take the blame for. Pathfinder.
The brooding horror of dead men
Enwraps the world. They rise again,
With pale, set features, from tho deep,
From gore-mucked meadows, where they sleep,
Shroudless and cofllnless, with eyes
Which seem to quest beyond the skies
And ask God "Why?" From trench and shore
They come. Past barred and sentried door,
Down guarded halls their millions throng,
Men dead, who yesterday were strong,
Some with dead sons held by the hand,
To brightly "lighted rooms and stand
Wet with sea slime, and red with gore
From pale-lipped wounds which bleed no more
In throngs, more than a million deep, -By
beds where monarchs pray for sleep;
And breathless lip, and sightless eye,
And gaping wound all question, "Why?"
They come! The women come that- mourn!
They hold the bodies, starved and torn,
Of their wee babes, that died for bread
Babes misdirected shots laid dead
Their little children that were slain.
In city street and country lane,
And tortured daughters, fair and sweet,
Pursued by war's glare through the street
And, shrieking, dragged forth by the hair,
By jeering fiends, to street and square,
j ..- ,r0,r fnrfiirprl till thev died!
Theis" supplicating arms stretched wide
They stand beside your bed and mine
When the day's light has ceased to shine,
And "Why?" "Why?" "Why?" comes like the
Of8 blood, slow-dripping from x wound!
Till waking to that soundless cry,
Sleep-robbed, the outraged world asks, "Why?"
A press dispatch from Liverpool dated August
tho 7th says that new and drastic orders have
been issued In that city for the regulation of the
sale of liquor in saloons. One of the provisions
of the new order prohibits treating; another
prohibits the giving of credit for liquor, and the
third limits the sale of liquor to five and one
half hours per day. Thus tin causo of temper
ance marches on; ovcry limitation, every reduc
tion of tho hours durinj which liquor can be
sold Is a step In advance; it U ono way of meas
uring tho strength of the opposition to alcohol.
The prohibition of sales or credit Is nlso to b
commended. After a man has taken enough li
quor to stuplfy him ho is not In a condition to
contract a debt; he doesn't know what ho is do
ing. A drunken man is In no condition to de
fend himself against any bill that is presented.
But the prohibition against treating will be
even more effective because much of the drinking
is the outcome of treating. In fact It is no un
usual thing for a saloon keeper to do the treat
ing, If necessary, until the patron gets to the
point where ho will spend his money freely.
And why should we not havo treating prohib
ited in this country? It Is within the power of
c6ngrcBS to fix tho conditions under which li
quor shall be sold by those who obtain a govern
ment, license or, not to offend against the
niceties of language, those who pay tho Internal
revenue tax levied against the liquor dealers.
There are some state laws against treating, but
the trouble is that they put the penalty on the
man who treats Instead of putting It on the sa
loon keeper who permits it in his establishment.
It Is the saloon keeper who profits most ho Is
really tho only ono who does profit.
If congress desires to do something that will
have immediate results of good, let It provide
for the forfeiture of tho license of any holder
of a government receipt who permits treating In
his place of business.
And while congress is legislating It might just
as well make selling on credit a cause for for
feiture of license..
Congress should, nlso requlro publication in
advance of notice of application for government
license; that would shut off the issue of licenses
in dry territory.
And why not compel a monthly, or at least
quarterly, report of all license holders. It would
be instructive to know at stated intervals, first,
how much liquor Is sold; second tho price col
lected for liquor sold; third, the kind of liquor
sold; and fourth, the alcoholic content of the
liquor sold. It would be no hardship upon the
holder of the license to make such reports, and
the information would be vastly helpful In the
consideration of the liquor question. National
prohibition is impossible until three-fourths of
the states are ready to ratify a constitutional
amendment, but It only requires a majority of
the two houses and the concurrence of the pres
ident to legislate on the subject, and the sug
gestions above made outline only a few of the
many things that may be done to lessen the evils
of the traffic in alcoholic drinks.
W. J. BRYAN.
The fidelity of a public man to conscience
not to party is rewarded with the sincerest
popular love and confidence. No man
can take a pre-eminent and effective part in con
tentions that shake nations, or in the discussion
of great national policies, of foreign relations,
of domestic economy and finance, without keen
reproach and fierce misconception. "But death,"
says Bacon, "bringeth good fam." Then, If
moral Integrity remain unsoiled, tho purpose
pure, blameless the life, and patriotism as shin
ing as the sun, conflicting views and differing
counsels disappear, and flrmly fixed upon char
acter and actual achievement, good fame rests
securely.-George William Curtis.
Newspaper defenders assert that the muni
tions manufacturers have no occasion to inter
est themselves in movements to Increase the na-
tional armament because they are too busy now
filling contracts for European belligerents.
These editorial advocates do not credit the guns
and powder makers with any foresight. They
are seeking a market that will be partly closed
to them when the war is over and their greatly
enlarged plants will be in ueed of orders.