The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1916, Page 5, Image 5

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    The Commoner
'APRIL, 1916
Athletic fields, and prove their superiority In
every line of business.
If you visit the naval school at Annapolis,
Md., you will find there more than 800 young
men, the pick of the country, selected from ev
ery congressional district in the United States.
They are being trained at government expense
for government service, and Uncle Sam is anx
ious that they shall show the maximum of effi
ciency and capacity. These young men are not
allowed to use alcohol during their stay in col
lego. Why? Because the government believes
that alcohol is harmful. If the opponents of
prohibition think that the use of alcohol is a
benefit, why do they not attack the government's
policy and compel the college authorities to give
alcohol to the students? And if alcohol is in
jurious, why is not every father and every
mother as anxious about the welfare of a son as
Uncle Sam is about the welfare of the boys in
trusted to his care?
Is there any parent in Nebraska who is less
interested in a son than Uncle Sam is in his
wards? On the contrary, every parent must be
more interested. If any of Uncle Sam's boys go
b stray, he can get other boys to take their place,
but if your boys go astray no other boys can
take THEIR place.
Last month I went to Austin, Texas, to speak
to the students of the state university, and as I
approached the city I inquired about the people
whom I had met there. I asked whether it was
true, as I had heard that Mr. , one of the
most distinguished citizens of Austin, was dead.
"Yes," said my companion. And then he told
me of a speech which the man had made juBt
before his death. He had been opposed to pro
hibition and this was his pathetic confession:
"You will remember that I have spoken against
prohibition I am NOW for prohibition. Drink
has ruined my sons, and in my old age I am left
alone." What a punishment for God to visit on
a father who has favored the saloon! Can it
be that any father in Nebraska will wait until
-the demon alcohol invades his own family circle
-before he will understand the evils of the saloon.
Last week a porter stopped me in a sleeper
in this state and aid: "Mr. Bryan, I am just a
humble Pullman porter, but I read your speech
at Lincoln and I want to tell you that the
emancipation of our young people from drink
will mean more than emancipation from
slavery." And then, as if ho had not made it
strong enough, he added: "The man who frees
us from drink will do more for us than Abraham
Lincoln did." If this man, whose ancestors
were in bondage seventy years ago, and three
hundred year3 ago were roaming in the forests
of Africa if he can understand that the saloon
is worse than slavery, what white man or white
woman in this state can be ignorant on this
It is so well known that the use of liquor is
indefensible that the business world is throwing
its influence against even the moderate use of
alcoholic drinks. The man who drinks is the
last one to find a Job when employees are want
ed and the first one to lose his job when employ
ees are being dismissed. This economic pressure
is being brought to bear against alcoholic II
qours 'throughout the industrial world. If any of
you think that drinking is- a business advantage
to any man anywhere, let me suggest a test
which you can apply between now and election
day, and if your vote is governed bv the test you
will vote for prohibition. Here is the
test: Go to the best friend you have and
ask him for a recommendation; tell him to make
it as strong as possible. After he has said all
the good that ho can of you let him write at the
end of the recommendation three words write
them In red Ink, so that thev will be sure to be
Been "And he drinks." Then take the recom
mendation to any man who has money enough
to employ another and watch his face when he
reads the recommendation and then wait for a
job. No brewer, distiller, or saloon keeper ever
added those words to a recommendation given to
a friend find such a recommendation if you can.
Tf the men who make liquor and sell it know its
effect well enough never to put it in a recom
mendation that the man recommended drinks, ,,
why should anybody else think it an advantage
in business? j.
Tf vou think that a saloon helps a town an
swer this question: Did you ever know a"wet"
, town torput the number of saloons onr any sign
board or in any advertising literature ?The num
ber of banks, business houses, factories, col
legos, schools all these are mentioned as at
tractions, but not the number of saloons or tho
amount spent in thorn. Why?
If the uso of alcoholic liquor is an injury and
if this fact is universally known, why is its salo
as a beverage licensod? Tho arguments against
the saloon aro as conclusive ns tho arguments
against alcohol itsolf.
Let mo pass on to you an argument which was
given to mo by a retired farmer in southern Ne
braska. He moved into a vilage to spend tho
latter days of his life and soon after ho had
reached the village was solicited to sign a peti
tion for a man who wanted to open a saloon
there. Ho refused to sign tho petition, and,
when asked for his reason, replied that the town
did not treat tho saloon keeper fairly. Tho ap'
pllcant for a license had heard many other rea
sons, but never having heard that one given be
fore, he asked the man to explain. Tho explan
ation was like this: "You want to start tho sa
loon for tho benefit of the town, don't you?"
"Yes," replied the would-be saloon keeper. "You
think it will bring trade to tho town and im
prove business, don't you?" "Yes," said the man
who wanted the license. "Well," said tho farm
er, "if your saloon will help the town, draw
trade, and improve business they ought to give
you a bounty instead of making you pay a high
price for tho privilege of starting a saloon."
Can you escape this logic? You know that
the saloon is not a legitimate business in the
sense Jn-tvhich you apply that term to other
business enterprises. If a grocer wants to open
n store in your city, you welcome him as you do
the man who wants to start a hardware store,
a bank, a restaurant, a butcher shop, or any
other place of business, except tho saloon. But
if a man wants to start a saloon you meet him
at the city limits and say to him, "You can not
open a saloon in this city unless you pay the city
$1,105 a year, and even then you must submit
to certain restrictions. Tho butcher shop can
open at any hour in the morning, but your sa
loon can not open before a certain hour. The
restaurant can stay open as long as it wants to at
night, but your saloon must close at a certain
hour., Everybody else can sell anything else to
anybody at any time, but if you open a saloon
in this town you must not only comply
with the restrictions named but you must agree
not to sell to anybody under ago or overdrunk."
Why do you make this distinction between the
men engaged in other businesses and the man
running a saloon? Because you recognize that
the saloon is an injury, and, therefore, you sub
ject it to different treatment from that accorded
people in other business.
How absurd it is to license a man to make
men drunk and then fine men for getting drunk.
I heard this illustrated many years ago, and I
know of no better illustration of the inconsist
ency of the policy, A man said that it was like
licensing a person to spread the itch through a
town and then fining people for scratching.
Suppose a man applied for a license to spread
hog cholera throughout this country, would you
give him a license? No. He could not bring
enough money into the country to purchase a
license to spread disease among the hogs. Why,
then, will you license a man to spread disease
among human beings disease that destroys the
body, robs the mind of its energy, and under
mines the morals of men?
What excuse do tho representatives of the
brewery, distillery, and saloon give for opposing
prohibition? They formerly insisted that any
interference with the sale of alcoholic liquor
was an a'ttack upon individual rights, but that
argument has been so completely answered that
we do not hear much of the personal-liberty
plea now. No man can assert as a right that
which interferes with the equal rights of others,
neither can any man insist that respect for his
rights requires the toleration of a system that
invades the more sacred rights of others. No
man can claim that his rierht to drink intoxicat
ing liquor requires the licensing of a saloon
which pollutes the locality in which it is situ
ated, and brings want and misery and violence
into.-the homes around it.
And I call you to witness that the brewer and
the distiller understand the saloon; they are not
willing to have a saloon located near them. As
a rule,, they live in the fashionable part of the
cityand.would not. sign a petition for the loca
tion oft. a. saloon near- where their families re
' side. They know it" would reduce the value of
tholr property and subject their children to an
objectionable environment. No; they will not
havo a saloon near them, but they will locate
their saloons among tho poor, knowing full well
whou they do so that tholr saloons will absorb
tho monoy that their patrons ought to spend on
wife and children. They not only Impoverish
tho poor and multiply their sufferings, but they
lncreaso tho death rato among tho children. Who
will defoud them before tho bar of God when
they aro confronted with tho violation of tho
commandment "Thou shall not kill"?
But have you considered this: that no saloon
can bo located in any town unless a majority of
tho people of tho town aro willing to share moral
responsibility for what the saloon does? If th
voters of a town had to ontor Into a written
agreomont to bo Jointly liable with tho saloon's
owner for any damages done by it, how many
saloons do you think wo would have? Aro we
less concerned about our MORAL responsibility
than wo aro about our legal liability?
At next November's election wo are to decide
whether saloons shall bo licensed In the state;
after that election no saloons can bo licensed
unless at the November election a majority of
the voters assume responsibility for them. I do
not know what position you will take, but my
course Is decided upon. I shall not shnro re
sponsibility for tho saloon by voting for it. If,
after next Noverabor, any saloon is evor licensed
in Nebraska, it will bo in spite of all that I can
do to prevent it. If any of these young men,
who should be tho glory of the state, are ever
again led Into temptation by the opon saloon, it
will not bo my fault.
Tho opponents of prohibition having been
driven from every other position havo fallen
back upon their final stand, namely, that pro
hlbltlon does not prohibit. They toll us that tho
law can not bo enforced; that liquor will be sold
anyhow. They aro tho only element of socloty
that announces in advance that it will not obey
tho law; It is the only element that boasts of
lawlessness, but even hero the facts aro a com
plete answer. Statistics show that In tho state
of Ohio there Is more illicit selling in wot coun
ties than in dry counties. Only a few months
ago the saloon keepers of Cleveland sent a dele
gation to the governor to complain of tho selling
of liquor without licenso. Those who paid the
license protested against those who wore selling
without sharing tho burden of tho tax.
But the very language which tho advocates of
tho saloon uso in describing Illicit sales shows
that they understand tho nature of tholr busi
ness. When they speak of the place whoro li
quor is sold without liconse, what name do they
use? Do they call the place a blind sheep or a
blind goat? No! They call It a "blind tiger.''
They name it after an animal which Is ferocious
by nature they know tho nature of tho saloon.
Well, if a tiger was after my boy, I would ra
ther havo it a blind tiger than ono which could
see. Wouldn't you? If a tiger is blind, you
must look it up; if it cau see, it can look you
up, The man who sells without a license must
dodge around and keep himself concealed, but
tho licensed saloon plants itself in tho most con
spicuous place and sends out its invitation to all.
One of the men imported into Ohio to defend
the saloon went even further than those who
talk of blind tigers. He asks, "Would you
not rather keep a rattlesnake in a glass case
than allow it to run loose in the alley?" But
why keep a rattlesnake at all? Why notlcill It?
How many families would bo willing to keep a
rattlesnake in the house, even in a glass case?
It must have something to eat. and thoso who
feed it are always In danger of being bitten. But
to liken the saloon to a rattlesnake what a
confession! And what an apt illustration it is.
It must have been by Inadvertence that the
speaker selected man's earliest enemy on earth,
for was It not theserpent that deceived the first
pair In the garden? And has it not lived ever
since under the curse then pronounced upon it?
Is there not additional reason today why the
seed of the woman should bruise this serpent's
head? Is not woman today the greatest enemy
of the saloon? All praise to th good women
of this country whose love for their children
and Inters in their country make them an in
creasing influence on the side of temperance and
in support of all legislation wh'ch has for its
object the protection of society from the effects
of alcoholic liquor.
Statistics show that prohibition can be- and
is enforced in other states. But, if we do our
'..6 rt-t