The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 01, 1916, Page 3, Image 3

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The Commoner
Questions Raised by
the President
The President's plan, as announced by the
press, to lay before the voters his reasons for
recommending a large increase in the appropria
tion for the navy, a material addition to the size
of the standing army and the creation of a con
tinental reserve of a half million men is to be
commended. The people are the source of
power in a republic and are entitled to all the
light possible in order that they may intelli
gently advise their public servants. They have
heard from the manufacturers of munitions, to
whom preparedness is a sort of "system of out
door relief"; they have heard from the big cor
porations which want a large army to overawe
their employees; and they have also heard from
the army and navy experts who, magnifying
their calling, plan to meet every imaginable dan
ger instead of those which are within the range
of probability experts who, as Lord Salisbury
once expressed it, "would, if they had their way,
fortify Mars against an invasion from the moon."
Having heard quite fully from these biased
sources, the public will appreciate a statement
from the President setting forth the reasons
which led 'him to urge so radical a departure
from the historic policy of his party and from
the traditions of the nation. If he can convince
the people, he will be entitled to their support;
if his reasons fail to convince, he will have no
excuse for going further with his program.
If he proposes this increased preparedness in
anticipation of war, the people, will be interested
to know what change, if any, has taken place in
the situation since he declared, in his Manhattan
club speech, that we were "not threatened from
any quarter." If he advpcates. increased pre
paredness on the theory of the militarists, name5
y, thatAna$ion,s, ae insured against war in pro
portion's they arcf prepared, how does he explain
the failure of .the most elaborate preparedness
one side being prepared on the land and the
other side on the sea to prevent the present
war? And how does he reconcile the European
doctrine that peace must be supported by bayon
ets, with the Christian doctrine that loye and
the spirit of brotherhopd are the only founda
tion upon which a permanent peace can be built?
The sum which the President asks for the
army and navy would absorb almost the entire
net crop income of all the farmers of the United
States, if their income is estimated at eight. per
cent of the less than six billions received for
their crops last year. The tax-payers, therefore,
will be interested in knowing from what source,
or sources, this enormous sum is to come. But,
as the adoption of the President's program
would work a complete revolution in our na
tional ideals, in our governmental methods and
in the character of the influence which we are to
exert upon the world, there is even more, inter
est in knowing whether the proposed adoption
of old world theories and practices will promise
deeper friendships, brighter days and better
things or arouse international hatreds which
will breed bloodshed and invite barbarism.
The question is not whether we could or would
defend ourselves if attacked. We not only could
and would, but our preparedness is increasing
relatively more rapidly than ever before as the
belligerent nations exhaust themselves. We are
now spending two hundred and fifty millions a
year on preparedness and have back of the gov
ernment unlimited resources and a patriotic
A large part of the democratic party and a
considerable portion of the republican party are
satisfied 'A our nation as 't is, and prefer to
continue the present scale of prepared
ness, with any risks that it may involve, rather
than risk a change to the European plan with
its oppressive taxes and its menace to peace and
to international friendships.
The testimony of General Wood in, favor of a
big standing army sounded like Colonel Roose
velt's views that, remembering their intimate
association together in the Spanish war (and
the general's promotion at the hands of the
colonel) one wonders which caught militaritis'
from the other.
Tho jingo papers are printing in largo typo a
statement made by the President which they, in
their ignorance of tho Scriptures, have accepted
as a new discovery.
The President said in one of his speeches
that he could not guarantee tho future that
he did not know what a day might bring forth.
If the jingoes were as familiar with tho Bible
as they are with the pages of the subsidized
press, they would know what tho President, by
this disclaimer, meant to modestly suggest that
he did not know any more than Solomon.
Twenty-six hundred years ago tho wise man
(you will find it in tho first verso and tho twenty-seventh
chapter of Proverbs) said:
"Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou
knowest not what a day may bring forth."
This was good advice then; it is good advice
now. But instead of stirring tho people to un
necessary preparation for imaginary wars, it
ought to lead tho country to adopt tho same
common sense rule in the matter of prepared
ness that is employed in other matters.
If we tried to prepare for every IMAGINABLE
contingency, wo would accomplish nothing of
value. But by adopting the sane philosophy of
preparing only for PROBABILITIES, the race
has made headway.
W. J. BRYAN. ',
Republican house leader, Congressman Mann,
in his speech pledging support to the President's
preparedness program, said:
"I think, further, that we ought to provide
in some way for the building up and the
strengthening of our homo Industries, so that
if we shall become involved in war we may be
able to live within ourselves. And I think, as
far as possible, that question should be consid
ered entirely apart from former partisan opin
ion, in the hope that in Seme way we may get
together in the interest of our country, if we
should become involved in a struggle with, a
foreign power."
Will Mr. Mann please explain just what ho
means by "strengthening home industries." The
only way he has ever proposed the "strengthen
ing of home industries" was by turning over
the taxing power to the beneficiaries of protec
tion. Are we now to be asked to allow the
tariff barons to collect funds for the munition
Tho clergy of Louisville have set the country
an excellent example by their co-operation
against commercialized vice in that city. Four
hundred representative citizens assembled at a
banquet as a testimonial to the mayor and vice
commission which has commanded the immedi
ate suppression and tho ultimate annihilation
of commercialized vice in Louisville.
Addresses were made by Protestant, Catholic
and Jewish clergymen. This is as it should be.
All of the churches ought to stand for morality
as against immorality, and church lines ought
not to divide those who have a common purpose;
they should by co-operation multiply the effec
tiveness of their attacks upon wrong-doing and
Hasten the day when this union of the moral
forces of the country may be possible everywhere.
The advocates of preparedness are in the
habit of pointing to the "unpreparedness" of
Great Britain as a warning to the United
States. But was Great Britain unprepared? On
the WATER her preparation was much greater
than Germany's twice as great, in fact, while
on LAND Germany was better prepared.
To illustrate it, suppose two men fight a duel ;
and suppose one is an 'expert with the sword
and the other with a pistol. It all depends up
on who has the choice of the weapons. One is
prepared if swords are chosen the other if
pistols are chosen. So Great Britain was pre
pared on sea and Germany on land. Both were
prepared and their preparedness led them to rely
on force each felt confident of its strength.
The President has made no mistake in tho
appointment of Louis Brandies to the supreme
bench. The fact that Wall street is against him Is
in itself proof that he is a good man for,, the
place. A knock from Wall street is a boost.
Secretary Garrison's
A Washington Associated Press dispatch,
dated Feb. 11, says: When Mr. Garrison decided
that resignation from the cabinet was his only
course ho wrote:
"February 10, 191G.
"My dear Mr. President: I am just In receipt
of yours of February 10 in reply to mine of Feb
ruary 9. It is evident that we hopelessly dis
agree on what I believe to bo fundamental prin
ciples. This makes manifest the Impropriety of
my longer remaining your seeming representa
tive with respect to these matters.
"I hereby tondor my resignation as secretary
of , war, to take effect at your convenience.
"Sincoroly yours,
Tho President replied:
"February 10, 1916.
"My dear Mr. Secretary: I must confess to
feeling a very great surprise at'your letter of
today offering your resignation as secretary of
war. There has been no definlto action taken
yet in either of the matters to which your letter
of yesterday referred. The whole matter is un
der debate and all the Influences that work for
clarity and judgment ought to be available at
this time.
"But since you have felt obliged to take this
action and since it Is evident that your feeling
in tho matter is very great indeed, I feel that It
would bo only imposing a burden upon you
should I urge you to retain the secretaryship of
war while I am endeavoring to find a successor.
I ought to relievo you at once and do hereby
accept your resignation because it is so evident
ly your desire that I should do so.
"I can not take this important stop, however,
without'expressing to you my very warm appre
ciation of the distinguished service you have
rendered as secretary of war, and I am sure that
In expressing this appreciation I am only putting
into words the judgment of our fellow citizens
far and wide.
"With sincere regret at tho action you have
felt constrained to-take.
"Sincerely yours, "
Mr. Bryan gave out tho following interview
in regard to Secretary Garrison's resignation:
"I am very fond of Secretary Garrison. He
is a high-minded, conscientious man, and has
the courage to fpllow his convictions.
"I think, however, that the President is right
In his desire to co-operate with congress In
legislative matters. Congress shares the respon
sibility with the President, and -must be con
sulted. I do not agree with either the President
or Mr. Garrison in their opposition to the state
militia. I favor the state militia as against the
continental army plan. It Is, I believe, more
"W. J. BRYAN."
The Baltimore Sun is very much disgusted be
cause tho democrats of the house allowed Con
gressman Mann to defend the President's pro
gram against democratic attack. This is not the
first time the Sun has been humiliated by dem
ocratic action; in fact, it been in the valley
of humiliation most of the time for 20 years. Its
sadness is only relieved by psalms of praise of
republicans who come much nearer than dem
ocrats to giving expression to what the Sun
thinks and feels.
Perhaps some day someone may be able to come
forward and explain why it is deemed necessary
and desirable for eyery candidate to declare him
self, on all vital Issues with the exception of
where he stands upon prohibition.
No jingo will suggest that it was unpatriotic
of Secretary Garrison to resign at such a time
as this. It was quite different when.JMr. Bryan
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