The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 01, 1915, Page 2, Image 2

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    The Commoner
VOL. 15, No. 9
The Arabic Case
Interview given by Mr. Bryan to the press,
'August 23d.
; I have read the editorial opinions concerning
the sinking of the Arabic, as those opinions
were reproduced in the daily papers, but they
seem to me to avoid the most important ques
tion. The real question Js not whether Amer
ican citizens have, under international law,
& right to travel through the danger zone on
the ships of belligerent nations; that is admit
ted. The question just now is whether an
American citizen should put his convenience, or
even his rights, above his. nation's welfare. If
American citizens refuse to consider their own
safety or the safety of the nation, then, a sec
ond question arises, namely, whether the govern
ment should permit a few persons to drag this
country into this unparalleled war. Our gov
ernment has made its protest, and there is no
doubt that the position taken is abundantly sup
ported by precedent, but that does not necessar
ily mean that we are going to war. Diplomacy
has not concluded its work and even if diplo
matic efforts fail, we have recourse to the treaty
plan whicb MUST be resorted to in case of dis
putes with Great Britain, France, Italy and
Russia, and SHOULD be resorted to before go
ing to war with any other belligerent nation.
If the treaty plan fails, we still have a choice.
between entering this war and the postponement
of final settlement until peace is restored. In
the meantime, it will be well to think of the
thousands, or possibly hundreds of thousands,
who would be sacrificed If we entered this war;
these brave men are entitled to consideration
as well as the few who, by deliberately incur
ring unnecessary risks, bring harm upon them
selves and danger to their country. It is time
for the unneutral portion of the press of the
United States to lay aside its bias and unite in
helping the president to keep the country ouof
war. The pro-ally, papers are insisting upon
war with Germany for the benefit of the allies,
and the pro-German papers are insisting upon
an embargo on arms and ammunition for the
benefit of Germany. If these two groups of pa
pers would join together, and urge measures
restraining American citizens from going into
the danger zone on belligerent ships, and pro
hibiting American passenger ships from carry
ing arms and ammunition if they would do this
they would aid in preventing war and in pre
serving for our nation the priceless opportunity
to act as peace-maker when the time for peace
On another page will be found the resolutions
adopted at Chicago by the i'riends of Peace.
They present a powerful indictment against the
brutal, barbarous doctrine that might makes
It will be noticed that the convention did not
declare for an embargo on arm and ammunition.
The leaders are to be congratulated upon ignor
ing this subject. The advocacy of an embargo
has impaired the influence of those who took
that position and at this time the Friends of
Peaco need all their energy for the support of
the cause of peace and for the opposing of fren
zied preparedness. '
' The plank opposing the manufacture of arms
and ,"- ammunition for profit raises a new issue,
tfut' it is a domestic issue and can be discussed
unoh its merits without invading the realm. of
International politics. If the world adopts the
policy of, making the manufacture of arjms and
ammunition a government monopoly, it may give
aorne encouragement to those who urge that each
country should prepare in advance for every
possible contingency this is, in fact, a strong
objection to the policy -but the matter can be
considered as a domestic question. The Friends
of Peace disappointed the jingoes ami' strength
ened the movement toward peace. .
The next time ex-Presidenl Taft presides over
religious -gathering ho should reserve the
"Amen Corner" for his special, friends, the brew
erg, distillers and salo'pn keepers, who, accord
ing to his Saturday Evening Post article, can bo
entrusted with the ballot more safely than the
, women who find inspiration and moral strength
: in church services,
A minister who is nearing the crose of a long
and highly useful life, writing to Mr. Bryan in
commendation of his resignation, said: "You
are right Yon stand on solid rock. Tho laws
of God are older and greater than national or
international law."
Mr. Bryan greatly appreciates the encourage
ment which he has received from ministers
throughout the United States. As his position
is based upon Bible authority ha expected the
support of the clergy of all denominations, but
the fact that it was expected makes it nono the
less appreciated. If the readers of The Com
moner have followed what Mr. Bryan has said
in his statements and speeches they will know
how fully he has relied upon the aumorlty of
the Book of books. Those who be
lieve that threats of force are more
potent than that persuasion which is
prompted by a spirit of friendship will have diffi
culty in reconciling their beliefs with Holy Writ.
The excuse which they nsually give is that the
world is not ready for Bible remedies. The fal
lacy of this reasoning is first: That they can
never test a remedy until they havo faith enough
to try it; and, second: They overlook the fact
that this remedy is the only one that has proven
successful in individual relations- If the moral
principles that apply to individual units are not
to be applied to international groups then there
is no accepted code of morals for nations. Even
the most servile worshipers of Mars do no't at
tempt to formulate a theory which -will explain
the preference they give to force; they simply
ignore the plain teaching of the moral law and
take counsel of their courage instead of their
consciences. Christ's rebuke "Oh ye of little
faith" may well be administered today to
those Christians who profess to believe in the
gospel of the Prince of Peace, and yet are afraid
to put it into practice.
.."When a man takes a position on a public
question, you naturally inquire the reason. Ex
President Taft advocates a 60-per cent increase1
in the appropriations for.tfie army,and navy, and
suggests that a part of this increase might be
raised from a tax oh sugar.
When it is remembered that Mr. Taft, rhen
president, favored a tax on sugar, but did not
favor any such preparedness as he now urges,
the question arises, Does he favor a tax on sugar
as a means of preparing, or does he favor pre
paredness as an excuse for taxing sugar?
"There's a reason" why protectionists favor ex
travagant appropriations they want an excuse
for increasing the tax on imports.
Taft's Disgraceful
In a recent article written for the Saturdav
Evening Post, ex-President Taft says:
"It is said that women will vote for prohibl
tion, and that, therefore, if they are given X
vqje we shall be rid of the saloon evil. To tbW
of us who do not think that the saloon evil can
be abolished by general prohibition, either na
tional or statewide, in states with large citie
and that the result of the effort would be worse
than present conditions, this argument does not
appeal. . The lack of experience in affairs, and
the excess of emotion on the part of women in
reaching their political decisions upon questions
of this kind, are what would lower the average
practical sense of self-restraint of the electorate
in case they were admitted to it now."
This is, so far as I know, the first time that
any man with any claim to standing or public
respect has given as a reason for opposing
woman's suffrage his fear that they would vote
against the saloon. It is known that this is the
reason that leads the -brewers, distillers and sa
loon keepers to flght woman's suffrage so bitter
ly, 'but 'they have 'their, money invested in tho
business they fatten upon the ruining of homes
and the debauching of society, and it is no great
surprise that their pecuniary interests sear
their consciences. But n ex-president, who has
received from the people the highest office with
in their gift is it not amazing that he should
become so subservient to the liquor interests
as to give this as a reason for opposing the ex
tension of suffrage to women?
It is known that Mr. Taft had the support of
the liquor interests in 1908, and that he paid
the debt by .vetoing the Webb bill, which, for
tunately, " was passed? over his veto. But even
this pandering to a degrading and debasing ele
ment was not us disgraceful as his recent con
fession of abject servitude, to the saloon. Hi?
statement will not only arouse the womanhood
of the nation, but it will disgust the men to see
such an unblushing bid for he support of the
most sordid and shameless element that ever at
tempted to control American politics.
The National Defense league is demanding the
resignation of Congressman Hay as chairman of
tho military affairs committee because he does
not accept the league's program. The animal
is already showing its trunk and ears the
whole body of the elephant will be-visible soon,
and then the country will understand the con
nection between the Defense league and the re
publican party.
Haye you noticed how the country has accept
ed the currency law, and is adjusting itself to
it? It Is a valuable law, and reflects g?eat credit
sible forT PreSident and COngrej wl
If the inhabitants of belligerent onnntriA
prefer to hold American eeonriuS thS than
exchange them for the war loans of their own"
governments, why should the American ' neSnla
pre er European war loans to American secur-
Nations mnv nrofn . -u.. ' ' " .
tic abroad rittethan SXrtto '"&
every possible emergency but rw ?! i VQP
not apply to financeTnaUon shou l? ook?o
its own people for the money to carr?, t0
rnlZn ?ht that Preparedness would PRn
VOKE war just think where we would be NO$L
if wo had in the White house a ii?? ,
jingo with a scent for blood hair-trigger
"There are many races nmi . -
mon, but tho sobs of IfW g'!es of
0 ono language." mtliers speak but
The president of the Swiss republic is quoted
as expressing himself as follows on the injury
which the war is causing to neutrals:
"Past wars affected only belligerents, but
nowadays owing to growth, the change in ideas,
habits and wealth, there is a community among
peoples. The rupture of this community by war
between certain states affects all the rest.
"The will of neutrals is less respected in time
of war." It is not, then sufficient that they await
the end of the conflict. For them passiveness
has ceased to be a duty and energy has become
the proper policy. They have a right to raise
their voice against war because they are its vic
tims. It is legitimate for them to unite their
Influences because they are injured in common,
but the hour has- not come for that effort.
Words, .like, spent bullets, would glance off the
armor of belligerents without penetrating it, but
armor finally becomes heavy even for the strong
est arms.
"The first sign of that fatigue will not find
Switzerland inattentive or hesitant. he will act
in concert with other neutral .governments, con
vinced as she is that the cause of peace is the
cause of all. Necessary peace is not one which
will be . glorious, for it can not be glorious for
all, but equitable justice alone is lasting in ef
fects." .
President Motta is right the neutrals are
suffering, and will continue to suffer until the
war ends. The neutrals are not only suffering
but they are in constant danger of being drawn
into the war by their efforts to protect the rights
of their citizens.' The nations at peace have a
right to ask from the nations at war a plain
statement of the terms on which peace is pos
sible in other words, they have a right to know
for what each nation is fighting. While the Vat
ican is moving toward peace for humanitarian
reasons all the neutrals have ah additional rea
son in that their welfare demands the restore
tion of peace. W. J. BRYAN.
v JgSj.
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