The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1916, Page 28, Image 30

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    The Commoner
VOL. 16, NO. 4
to -J '
X '
w ' .
Shall Preparedness be Paid by
It has boon proponed to moot tlio
cost of "proparednosB" by taxes on
sugar, on guBollno and by other di
rect taxes that bear heavily upon la
bor. It 1b also proposed to continue
the. present indirect taxes on the
things pcoplo use, which yield $620,
000,000 a year. It is proposed to
burden the workor and farmer by
taxes on the things they consume,
und spend the proceeds on arma
ment, with colossal profits" to tho
armament ring, for an army and
navy to protect principally the things
that privilogo owiib.
Why tax labor when, according to
tho report of tho commission on in
dustrial relations, from between one
third and one-fourth of the male
workers 18 years of age and over in
factories and mines earn less than
$10 per weok, while from two-thirds
to three-fourths earn loss than $15
por week; when 2 per cent of the
peoplo own GO per cent of tho wealth,
and G5 por cent own only 5 per cent
of tho wealth.
Why not compol 2 por cent of tho
peoplo to pay GO por cent of tho
taxes instead of making the great
mass of tho peoplo, who own 5 per
cent, pay 95 per cont of tho taxes?
Why tax labor when war-munition
stocks havo increased in value in one
yoar by $806,000,000?
Why tax incomes in America but
$80,000,000 when incomes in Great
Britain, even bofore tho war, paid
$236,245,000? England contains
loss than one-half our population and
All told, England taxes wealth, in
comes and inheritances to tho extent
of $380,115,000, and collected 45
per cont of her total revenues from
these sources. Democratic America
collected 9 per cent of its revenues
from wealth, incomes and inherit
ances. Why tax labor on its necessities,
on tho things it needs to merely live,
when inheritances have not as yet
been taxed a ; niny by the federal
Great Britain taxes incomes up to
33 por cent for war purposes, Ger
many levies taxes for imperial pur
poses, for stato purposes, and for
municipal purposes as well; the com
bined rate running often to 15 per
cent or 20 por cent. Democratic
America taxes incomes from 1 to 7
per cent, tho maximum up to $100,
000 being but 4 per cent.
A tax of $10 to tho wage earner
means giving up clothes, food from
his table, possible the doctor for his
children. A tax o" $10,000 to a man
with an income of $100,000 or $100,
000 to a man enjoying an income of
$500,000 means no sacrifice what
ever. Preparations for war should call
for equal sacr""cc. Defense should
not mean sacrifice for the millions,
and only profits for the few. Prep
arations for war mean profits to the
railroadj, to mine owners, munition
factories, banks; it means specula
tive values for the stock brokers and
speculators. It means that the
bended backs of labor will carry the
army and navy, which, if the emer
gency arises, will be used against la
bor at home and for the protection
of over-seas investments abroad.
No Munitions of War
Made in this Factory
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From the Florida Times-Union.
In theory, war means that the
soldier is to set himself the task of
slaying soldiers in theory, private
property is to be respected in the
ory, women and children are safe
while armies march over them. But
sensible people look for the practice
behind the theory. Mr. Root learn
edly asserts that Germans should not
havo invaded Belgium, and it was
the duty of this government to pro
test "with firmness" against such an
outrage! In theory, neutrals should
continue to transact business with
each other and with the belligerents,
reserving only the restrictions im
posed on contraband goods and by
blockades. We are all Christians,
and all admit obligations to the law
and the conventions; of course the
European belligerents are guilty, and
Mr. Root assumes that in our inno
cence we may stand before thrones
and principalities!
When a protest from Washington
could be read in Berlin, two million
Germans would be marching through
Belgium to reach France. Belgium
had "prepared," at great cost against
such an invasion what good did it
do her? Would the armies have
stopped when our protest stood in
the way? Has the conduct of these
parties justified Mr. Root's assump
tion that our written word of pro
test would have stopped armies In
mid career? Others protested, but
what good was done?
How did the invasion of Belgium
by Germany differ from the invasion
of Virginia by a federal army? How
did the conduct of German generals
in Belgium differ from tlie conduct of
federal generals in the valley of Vir
ginia? Let us note one difference
Germany demanded huge sums from
conquered cities under penalty of
disappearance from the map; Ger
many collected hostages to be shot
whenever attacks were made on
uerman soldiers by other than reg
ular soldiers!
How do England's restrictions on
our commerce differ from the claims
made by the United States under like
circumstances? If is true that we
are trying to establish such differ
ences, but protests are continually
met by English citations'to our prac
ticesto decisions of our courts and
ueumrauons or our diplomats. At
present we are succeeding as badly
with our protests against barbarity
on land as with our claims for the
right to do business at sea; we are
permitted to feed those Germany
doomed to starvation, and wo are in
vited to wait for the decisions of
English courts!
What did the pirates of other davs?
They levied contributions on cities
and imposed blackmail on commerce
and sank the ciews of ships that re
sisted these unlawful demands.
Hereafter pirates may claim law and
precedent for such crimes because
they can find precedents to justify
TolyZ the acts of governments
VL stian Powers! What did the
robbers? They broke into bans
and exacted tribute from towns and
butchered women nnri MitiM... "l
.J5! a,ths 0f g0d men an true all
.coc iiuiurs win remain to redden
forever the history of Belgium. How
were such crimes made possible
Moreover such crimes are the logical
and inevitable results of prepared
ness-the setting-nations topfSw
for war while they should beP work!
ing in the ways of peace! Then to
mark our horror ofneonditions againsl
which we should have, protested
are advised to set uppprepareTneSs
this side as a preliminary to like aot
under the impulse of the same law nt
cause and affect! l
Modern warfare recognizes thn
duty of the non-combatant as well as
of the soldier labor must continue
to produce that the soldier may be
fed and armed. Then labor must pav
the cost, and he is pledged to the
performance of this duty in the act
of mortgaging his future to the can
ital that waxes fat on war! The
peace income of England is now
eaten up by the interest on her war
debt; other countries have mort
gaged their future to support the
war! We are asked to enter upon
the same business and to enter the
field is to find ourselves compelled
to continue to the end! How shall
the soldier spare the non-combatant
more than the brother in front? The
now practice is logical-, and who cares
for a theory that will not work to
ward victory?
"Blessed are the peace makers for
they shall be called the children of
These words of Jesus of Nazareth
are as well known as any ever spoken
on earui. tuis nation calls itself
Christian and boasts that its civili
zation is founded on the teachings
of Christ. And yet so empty is the
pretense that today "pacifist" is the
term of greatest reproach. The
newspapers of the country, the pub
lic speakers are sneering at the
"Pacifists" and writing them down
as only cowards. Some men find it
utterly impossible to conceive that
others have principles.
The "pacifists" do not keep pace
with the Prince of Peace, who taught
that men should not resist should
never return evil for evil. We know
of no newspaper and no man urging
non-resistance to - attack. But there
are a few newspapers and many men
who do not wtelTtb see this' country
put on tho airs of a swaggering
bully. They are willing to fight in
defense of their country as- willing
as the militarists to die if necessarv
in defense of their country, and yet
they are denounced as unpatriotic
and cowardly.
All this makes Hm fiKforoTmo tn
the men who have principles and
stick to them. Thev can consider the
source of tho insults that are hear
on them and find it contemptible in
quality if not in numbers. The "pa
cifists" are not bullips but they are
just as ready to fight if necessary as
the militarists are.
Some of the old men among us to
day remember a time when many
men were loudly clamoring for war
and others were protesting against
it, and they know that when war
came the loudest shouters for it
fought no better than- those who
were reluctant to see it com.
Among this number was Robert E.
Lee. but. he fought very well.
The "pacifists" want this countrv
prepared for self-defense but not for
aggression, and the founders of our
Government forbade aggression whn
they announced the principle: All
governments depend for their just
powers on the consent of. the gov
erned. For more than a century our
nat'on lived up to this hich level,
afraid of no one, no matter how
strong, and a danger to no one no
waiter how weak. Florida Times
Union. v
It woulft bo essentially th posi
tion .of so great a champion of dem
ocracy and the humanities ns Fran
cis Neilson to oppose preparedness.
Tho democratic member of the Eng
lish parliament ban a keenly appre
ciative idea of what, "preparedness"
means. He knows it to be only a
euplionism for extreme militarism.
K'Mr "NTonartTi . j-i-f it..
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