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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1916)
VOL. 16, NO.-2
Entered at tho Pontonico at Lincoln", NebraHka,
an ftocond-cliiHH mattor.
WILLIAM J. DIIVAN CHARLES W. BRYAN
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Edit. Riiib. and HuhIhcbb Ofllce, Sulto 207 Press Bldff.
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Till! COMMOIVKIt, LINCOLN'. NEI1.
"Tho mills of tho gods grind slowly," but for
evidence that they DO GRIND, see recent su
promo court decision.
Possibly It was tho light of one of the Steel
trust's blast furnaces that blinded the eyes of
Congressman Mann when he was meditating in
So Congressman Mann was in his "garden"
when ho yielded to tho "scarodness" program.
Woll, well, that is whoro the first man was when
Uo listened to the serpent,
In demanding "incomparably the biggest navy
In tho world," tho President has gone "incom
parably" farther than tho wildest recommenda
tions of the Navy experts and the Navy league.
Congressman Mann does not claim that ho was
on tho road to Damascus when tho sudden
chango took place, and his blindness, being of
long standing, would not indicate that he had
seon a bright light very recently.
.Tho Security league endorses every proposed
addition to tho army and navy appropriations
and then some. Of course the business of the
scarodness organizations is to raiso the bid no
matter how much anybody else proposes.
Senator William Alden Smith insists that
Provldonco ontrustod us with tho Philippines,
and that wo should, therefore, keep them. If it
over becomes a crime to acquire information as
to the Lord's plans, William Alden will have no
difficulty in proving an alibi.
If Congressman Mann will read his Bible he
will find that there are two kinds of conversion.
Paul, once a persecutor of the Christians, be
came an apostle of the Prince of Peace; that
was conversion to, righteousness. But Aaron's
case was different. Ho started out a worship
per of the true God, but afterward possibly in
fluenced by the spear-makers of his dayset up
a golden calf.
One of tho "scarddness" organizataions is
sending out a picture showing the hauling of a
torpedo through tho streets, "as an exhibit in the
preparedness campaign." Why stop there? Why
not put a lot of crippled soldiers, sorrowing wid
ows and weeping orphans on a float decorated
with artificial limbs? If they want to bring war
vividly before the imagination they should show
its victims, not merely tho attractive-looking
machinery that causes death.
It would shock the public for a minister to
invoke tho divine blessing upon a prize fight
and yet in a prizo fight tho contestants risk
themselves and divide tho gate receipts. Is it
not a little strange that ministers can convince
themselves that they see tho hand of God in a
war waged for commercial advantages a war
in which each side wants ALL the benefits, and
in which the REAL beneficiaries have OTHERS
do the fighting for them?
By this time the average man has a pretty
clear understanding of the army expert, and a
well settled opinion in regard to him. It may,
however, please the average man to know that
tho ruling passion in. tho military expert is un
derstood by statesmen as well as by tho rank
and fllo of the people. Lord Salisbury, for in
stance, one of tho most distinguished of the latter-day
statesmen of Great Britain, is quoted
as having said to Lord Cromer in Egypt, "Pay
no attention to the military experts, for if they
had their way, they would fortify Mars to pre
vent invasion from the moon."
Lord Salisbury is right. There is nothing too
ridiculous for them to advise. They act upon
tho theory that the nation must be prepared to
resist ANY ATTACK THAT CAN BE
IMAGINED, no matter how improbable it may
be. And there is no limit to the amount of pre
paredness that would become necessary, if the
experts controlled the various governments, be
cause the experts are all alike. Each group
would insist that its country MUST BE BETTER
PREPARED THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY,
and that means that the rivalry in preparedness
must at last absorb all available money a policy
under which each nation would bankrupt itself
in order to keep other nations from bankrupting
According to the theory of our experts, we
must, in the first place, have a navy able to
nrevent any enemy from reaching our shores.
In the second place we must have fortifications
sufficient to prevent an enemy from landing if
it sunk all of our ships. Then we must have an
army sufficient to repel any invasion in case our
navy and fortifications failed to prevent a land
ing. Then wo must have a reserve sufficient to
repel tho invasion in case the regular army was
not able to withstand It. And we must have
all our citizens trained in the use of arms so
that they could be called to the colors imme
diately, if the reserve was not sufficient to sup
port the regular army In Its support of the navy.
Then the boys in school must be trained to be
able to take the place of the adults if the war
lasted long enough to exhaust the trained men
when called to support the reserves, when sum
moned to support the regular army, when re
quired to assist the navy, in repelling an imagin
But even this could hardly be considered
COMPLETE preparedness. The women must
have something to do. They are already being
enlisted, and they must be taken from their or
dinary duties and trained in the making of
bandages for the men who may be wounded if
the imaginary foe vanquishes our navy, defeats
our regular army, cuts its way through our re
serve force, overwhelms our host of trained
citizens, and slaughters our trained schoolboys
The papers sent broadcast throughout the coun
try a few days ago the information that one
woman had agreed to build and equip two hos
pitals in case of an invasion.
But the limit has not yet been reached in get
ting ready. One of our jingo business men pro
posed that the manufacturing plants be so or
ganized as to be able to turn out an inexhaust
ible number of motor trucks for use in case of
an invasion. And why not organize an auto
mobile corps made up of the owners of all the
automobiles in the country? Ought they not
to bo ready at a moment's notice to carry the
soldiers to the point needed, to meet the attack
of this imaginary foe?
Another thoughtful expert has suggested that
preparedness, to be adequate, must also provide
an ample supply of artificial limbs for at least "
two hundred and fifty thousand cripples why
should the nation be so slothful and unpatriotic
as to wait until these imaginary soldiers have
already lost their limbs in this imaginary war'
Tho country would be driven mad, or to nerv
ous prostration, by the dreadful predictions of
these professional soldiers but for the fact that
their conduct furnishes a sort of soothing pow-
2?,w!T!!?yareto be found in undiminished
numbers at the afternoon teas this ought to be
sufficient proof that the enemy is not within
sight. As long as these experts continue to
adorn social functions and enliven dinner par
ties with their presence, the country can rest
assured that the enemy is far away so far away
that wo are justified in postponing for tho pres
ent any INCREASE in the appropriations for the
army and navy.
W. J. BRYAN. -
THE PROPOSED TARIFF COMMISSION
The President has announced himself in favor
of a tariff commission, and it is likely to receive
the endorsement of congress. The republicans
have been asking for a tariff commission for a
good many years, and the democrats have op
posed it, on the ground that such a commission
is practically useless, for two reasons: First, be
cause the report would follow the bias of tlie
members of the commission, and second, con
gress would not pay any attention to a report
that was contrary to the wishes of the majority
of the members; For instance, a democratic
tariff commission would have no influence with
a republican congress, and vice versa.
The commission was also opposed by the dem
ocrats on the ground that it was merely an ef
fort to prevent immediate tariff reduction. Now
that the reduction has been made, the democrats
would be more likely to favor the commission as
an excuse for not dealing with the tariff ques
tion for the present. As a motion for a contin
uance, it may serve a useful purpose. There is
no use, however, of ignoring the fact that the
findings of the commission will have very little
weight in congress. A republican will favor a
high tariff, no matter what reductions a demo
cratic commission might recommend, and a dem
ocratic congress would in like manner ignore the
recommendations of a republican commission.
W. J. BRYAN.
Congressman Mann, republican leader, made
a very interesting speech, which has been con
strued by -the jingo press as a patriotic, non
partisan pledge of support to the President's
program on preparedness. The speech, when
stripped of its rhetoric, means that the country
needs preparedness and that the chief feature
of preparedness is industrial independence. The
conclusion UNSTATED, but in his mind was
that a return to a protective tariff would give,
both industrial independence and the money for"
ships and soldiers that is, the republicans will
support the President's plan if the democrats
will accept the republican plan of raising the.
" - -,inri4)Xtt
THE PEOPLE VS. PRESIDENT iftSP EX-4
PRESIDENT ' " 'uVHti1
' r r
Here are the three positions: Ex-President
Roosevelt wants this nation to go to war with
Germany NOW. The President, if we may judge
by his recent speeches in the west, wants a' big
army and navy with a view to going to war with
both sides. The plain, tax-paying, peace-loving'
people are opposed to going to war they do not
believe that we have, or are likely to have, a
cause of war against Germany or against the
Allies. It is better to postpone final settlement
until after the war, if necessary, than to enter'
this unprecedented conflict.
A CALL TO CHRISTIANS
In another part of this irsue will be -found
an appeal to the Christian citizenship of the
nation by Rev. Dr. Martin D. Hardin, of the
Third Presbyterian church of Chicago. Read it,
have your neighbor read it. Be sure to bring it
to the attention of the preachers and priests,
Iwl n Th are Prominent in the various
churches. It is an unanswerable argument, and
can not fall to touch the conscience of those
2f n?wledse anegience to Christ and hope
for the triumph of his teachings.
Did you ever authorize an architect to pre
pare plans for a house, without first telling him
what you wanted it to cost? You consult the
architect about HOW to spend the amount YOU
STJJhS fPfnd not a,s to HOW much to spend.
So with the army and navy experts. It is their
Sfwifnf11? Hie government HOW to spend
wisely what the taxpayers want to spend on
preparedness not HOW MUCH OUGHT to be
spent. And yet the experts seem to feel offend
ed if they are not allowed to decide for the peo
ple the amount to be expended.
THE "NEW PATRIOTISM"
The- new patriotism which the jingoes are try
ing to introduce in the country insists in de
nouncing the government of the United States
as cowardly, and belittling its ability to protect
The American Defense society announces that
it will establish branches in Latin America
Certainly. If the United States' gets vlZly
against imaginary foes in Europe, why should
not our neighbors get ready to res st us?
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