The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 01, 1918, Page 9, Image 9

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    ' T&fl"!rW,'-
The Commoner
whom there is no higher political authority,
ea,,i: kn0W of but one code of morality for men,
whether acting singly or collectively."
Franklin, whoso learning, wisdom and virtue
mo a nnrt of the priceless legacy bequeathed to
im from the revolutionary days, expressed the
same idea in even stronger language when ho
Sa "Justice i.s strictly duo betAvecn nelglibor na
tion's ns between neighbor citizens. A highway
man is as much a robber when ho plunders in a
can" as when single; and tne nation mat maiccs
an unjust war is only a great gang."
Many may dare to do in crowds what they
would not dare to do as individuals, but the
moral character of an act is not determined by
the number of those who join it. Force can
defend a right, but force has never yet' created
a right. If it was true, as declared in the resolu
tions of intervention, that the Cubans "are and
of right ought to be free and independent"
(language taken from the Declaration of Inde
pendence), it is equally true that the Filipinos
"are and of right ought to be free and inde
pendent." The Right to Freedom.
The right of the Cubans to freedom was not
ba'ed upon their proxmity to the United States,
nor upon the language which they spoke, nor
yet upon the race or races to wliich they be
longed. Congress by practically unanimous vote
declared that the principles enunciated at Phila
delphia in 1776 were still alive and applicable
to the Cubans. Who will draw a lino between
the natural rights of the Cubans and the Fili
pinos? Who will say that the former has. a
right to liberty and that the latter has no rights
which we are bound to respect? And, if the
Filipinos "are and of right ought to be free and
independent," what right have we to force our
government upon thein without their consent?
Before our duty can be ascertained their rights
must be determined, and when their rights are
once determined it is as much our duty to re
spect those rights as it was the duty of Spain
to respect the rights of the people of Cuba or the
duty of England to respect the rights of the
American colonists. Rights never conflict; du
ties never clash. Can it be our duty to usurp
political rights which belong to others? Can
it be our duty to kill those who, following the
example of our forefathers, love liberty well
enough to fight for it?
Some poet has described the terror which
overcame a soldier who in the midst of the bat
tle discovered that he had slain his brother. It
is written "All ye are brethren." Let us hope
for the coming of the day when human life
which when once destroyed cannot be restored
will be so sacred that it will never be taken ex
cept when necessary to punish a crime already
committed, or to prevent a crime about to be
It is said that we have assumed before the
world obligations which make it"necessary for
us to permanently maintain a government in the
Philippine Islands.' I reply first, that' the high
est obligation of this nation is to be true to it
self. No obligation to any particular nations, or
to all the nations combined, can require the
abandonment of our theory of government, and
the substitution of doctrines against which our
whole national life has been a protest. And, sec
ond, that our obligation to the Filipinos, who
inhabit the islands, is greater than any obliga
tion which we can owe to foreigners who have
a temporary residence in the Philippines or de
sire to trade there.
It is argued by some that the Filipinos are
incapable of self-government and that therefore,
Ye owe it to the world to take control of them.
Admiral Dewey, in an official report to the Navy
Department, declared the Filipinos more capable
of self-government than the Cubans and said
that he based his opinion upon a knowledge of
both races. But I will not rest the case upon
the relative advancement of the Filipinos. - Henry
Clay, in defending the right of the people of
south America to self-government, said:
It is the doctrine of thrones that man is too
iRnornnt to govern himself. Their partisans as
sert his incapacity in reference to all nations; if
they cannot command universal assent to the
Imposition, it is then demanded to particular
nations; and our pride and our presumption too
often make converts of us. I contend that it is
jo arraign the disposition of Providence himself
jo suppose that ho has created beings incapable
0 Roveining themselves, and to he trampled on
V Kings. Self-government is the natural gov
ernment of man."
Clay was right. There are degrees of pro
nciency in the art of self-government, but it is
reflection upon the Creator to say that he
denied to any people the capacity for self-gov
ermueui. unco aumit that some people
capable of self-government and that others
capaoie or sen-government and that others are
not and that the capable people have a right to
seize upon and govern the incapable, and you
make force brute force the only foundation of
government and invite the reign of a despot. I
am not willing to believe that an all-wise and an
all-loving God created the Filipinos and than
left them thousands of years helpless until the
islands attracted the attention of European na
tions. Republicans ask, "Shall we haul down the flag
that floats over our dead in the Philippines?"
The same question might have been asked when
the American flag floated over Chapultopec and
waved over the dead who fell there; but the
tourist who visits the City of Mexico finds there
a national cemetery owned by the United States
and cared for by an American citizen.
Our flag still floats over our dead, but when
the treaty with Mexico was signed American au
thority withdrew to the Itio Grande, and I ven
ture the opinion that during tho last fifty years
the people of Mexico have made more progress
under the stimulus of independence and self
government than they would have made under
a carpet-bag government held in place by bay
onets. The United States and Mexico, friendly
republics, arc each stronger and happier than
they would have been had the former been
cursed and the latter crushed by an imperialistic
policy disguised a3 "benevolent assimilation."
Might and Kight.
"Can we not govern colonies?" we are asked.
Tho question is not what wo can do, but what
we ought to do. This nation can do whatever
it desires to do, but it must accept responsibility
for what it does. If the Constitution stands in
the way, the people can amend tho Constitution.
I repeat, the nation can do whatever it desires
to do, but it cannot avoid the natural and legiti
mate results of its own conduct.
Tho young man upon reaching his mnjorlty
can do what he pleases. He can disregard tho
teachings of his parents; lie can trample upon all
that he has been taught to consider sacred; he
can disobey the laws of the State, the laws of
society and the laws of God. He can stamp fail
ure upon his life and make his very existence a
curse to his fellow men, and ho can bring his
father and mother in sorrow to tho grave; but
he cannot annul the sentence, "Tho wages of
sin is death."
And so with tho nation. It is of age and it
can do what it pleases; it can spurn the tradi
tions of the past; it can repudiate tho principles
upon which the nation rests; it can employ force
instead of reason; it can substitute might for
richt: it can conquer weaker people; it can ex
ploit their lands, appropriate their property and
kill their people; but it cannot repeal the moral
law or escape the punishment decreed for tho
violation of human rights.
"Would we tread in the paths of tyranny,
Nor reckon the tyrant's cost?
Who taketh another's liberty
His freedom is also lost.
Would we win as the strong have ever won,
Make ready to pay the debt,
For the God who reigned over Babylon
Is the God who is reigning yet.
We Dare Not Educate the Filipinos.
qome argue that American rule in the Philip-
Tto "ducated FmpmosSaro now in revolt against
b and the most ignorant ones Have made the
fhImnno voTce in terminfng the taxes which
Zr&. 7tf-taonaof Se'nt
25 ff(M5S5t- States and
mock us for our inconsistency.
ism are: iMMnvfl the nresent op-
porter hee 'work power and enter
ESSES? "toxoid r ifiands perman
""S'.vrtThat the spread of the Christian re-
prf-MSf . Pochct-boo,.
The third Is Intended for tho church mombr
and tho fourth for the partisan.
Out Place in World Politics.
It Is BUfllcient answor to tho first nrgument
to say that for moro than a century this nation,
has been a world power. For ten decades it hafl
buen the most potent influence in the world. Not
only has it been a world power, but it has done
more to affect the politics of tho human raco
than all the other nations of tho world com
bined. Because our Declaration of Independ
ence was promulgated others have been promul
gated. Because the patriots of 177 G fought for
liberty others have fought for it. Because our
Constitution was adopted othor constitutions
havo been adopted.
The growth of the principle of self-government,
planted on American soil, has been (he
overshadowing political fact of the nineteenth
century. It has made this nation conspicuous
among the nations and given it a place in his
tory such as no other nation has ever enjoyed.
Nothing lias been able (o check the onward
march of this idea. I am not willing that this
nation shall cast aside tho omnipotent weapon of
truth to seize again tho weapons of physical war
fare. I would not exchange the glory of this
Republic for tho glory of all the empires that
havo risen and fallen since time began.
Tho permanent chairman of the last Republi
can National Convention presented thb pecun
iary argument in all its baldness when ho said:
"Wo ii&ke no hypocritical pretense of being
Interested In the Philippines solely on account
of others. While wo regard tho welfare of those
people as a sacred trust, we regard the welfare
of the American people first. Wo see our duty
to ourselves as well as to others. We believe
in trade expansion. By every legitimate means
within tho province of government and consti
tution we mean to stimulate the expansion of
our trade and open new markets."
This Is the commercial argument. It Is based
upon the theory that war can be rightly waged
for pecuniary advantage, and that It Is profitable
ot purchase trade by force and violence. Frank
lin denied both of these propositions. When
Lord Howe asserted that the acts of Parliamont
which brought on the Revolution were necessary
to prevent American trade from passing Into for
eign channels, Franklin replied:
Franklin on Bartering Blood for Trade.
"To mo it seems that neither (ho obtaining
nor retaining of any trade, howsoever valuable,
is an object for which men may Justly spill each
other's blood; that (lie true and sure means of
extending and securing commerce are the fjood
ness and cheapness of commodities, and that tho
profits of no trade can ever lie equal to the ex
pense of compelling It and holding it by fleets
x and armies. I consider this war against us,
therefore, as both unjust and unwise."
I place the philosophy of Franklin against the
sordid doctrine of those who would put a price
upon the head of an American soldier and jus
tify a war of conquest upon tho ground that It
will pay. Tho Democratic party Is In favor of
the expansion of trade. It would extend our
trade by every legitimate and peaceful means;
but it is not willing to make merchandise of
human blood.
But a war of conquest is as unwise as it is
unrighteous. A harbor and coaling station in
the Philippines would answer every trade and
military necessity and such a concession could
have been secured at any time without difficulty.
It Is not necessary to own people in order to
trade with them. We carry on trade today with
every part of the world, and our commerce has
expanded more rapidly than tho commerce of
any European empire. We do not own Japan or
China, but we trade with their people. We have
ohcnrhni the renublics of Central and South
America, but we trade with them. It has not
been necessary to have any political connection
with Canada or the nations of Europe in order
to trade with them. Trade cannot bo perman
ently profitable unless it is voluntary.
When trade Is secured by force, the cost or
securing it and retaining It must be taken out
of the profits, and the profits are never large
enough to cover tho expense. Such a system
would never be defended but for the fact that
the expense is borne by all the people, while the
profits are enjoyed by a few.
Imperialism would be profitable to tho arm.v
contractors; It would ho profitable to tho sldp
owners, who would carry live soldiers to the
Philippines and bring dead soldiers back; it
would be profitable to those who would seize
upon the franchises, and it would be profitable
to the officials whose salaries would be fixed here
and paid over there; but to the farmer, to th
. '
'S. .
"iLr& &&&:.'.