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About The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907 | View Entire Issue (July 16, 1903)
JUNE 16, 1905.
The Philosophy of Freedom
An Open Forum for Sisgi Taxeri
Charity bails the boat Single tax
would stop the leak.
DID GOD ORDAIN THE SINGLE ,
We should hope not, if it i3 the
same God that the world has claimed
as its ruler thus far.
Up to the time that Henry George
began to write, no reformer had ever
questioned but what the Christian God
was back of all political movements,
and bestowed His favors where it was
the most pleasing for Him to do so.
Wroro flpsnnt flnrt tvranf. claimed the
1 Divine favor, and all the suffering and
-misery was supposed to be the ab
sence of Divine acknowledgement.
Faith was made to take the place of
reason, and upon that foundation, pa
triotism as well as all forms or re
ligious beliefs was securely built up.
Every country so far in the world's
history has been a form of supersti
tion, in which slavery is a. necessity
to perfect it, or bring it up to the
ideal. So if we look the world over
carefully we must come to the con
clusion that if the God that the world
has claimed in the past as a ruler, is
still to continue the same work, we
must still look for wars, and rumors
of wars, and all-the suffering that is
possible, where faith takes the place
Political economy up to the time
that Henry George wrote his "Progress
and Poverty," was written with the
idea, that the laws of trade and all
laws governing social life, were as
natural as any law of the universe
they might possibly be understood, but
could never be changed. This shows
how firm a hold the superstitious idea
has upon the minds of men even
though they may have their minds
developed by the best learning the
.It seems spmetimes as though, if
we should have a scientific form of
government, that the fancies of man
kind would entirely change. What a
vast amount of poetry, and eloquence
of the highest order has been pro
filed tn exalt, heroes that have been
supposed to manifest a devotion that
was far above the average man. even
equal to the angels, as to Divine ap
proval. The unselfish quality is sup
posed to be the ideal of true manhood,
and so far in the world's history it is
the only thing to be relied upon for
worldly salvation. -
But with a scientific form of govJ
ernment, based upon the single tax,
all this would be changed. Sentiment
would no longer .be needed if science
pointed out the way. The world would
at once become human, and cease to
labor so earnestly to please a God
that delights in suffering, caused by
form- of servitude.
The selfish quality in the human race
can no more be done away with than
that power we call gravity that binds
the universe together.
The unselfish principle seems to be
necessary in order to sustain a sys
tem that depends upon servitude to
perfect its organization., So the great
burden of human teaching has always
been to make man believe that he was
made wrong, and nothing but a mighty
process with Divine aid and power
could ever make him right.. His great
duty was to beittle himself until he
became fully conscious that he was
the meanest of all creatures that the
Maker ever gave existence. One of
the greatest mistakes was the endow
ment of reason.
. The great effort of all human organ
izations has been to do away, or nul
lify as much as possible the human
reason. The church has substituted
faith, and to be a true believer faith
must be above reason. The political
side of life" has claimeu that loyalty
to its institutions was to be the chief
element of human thought; so the
saying "My own country, right or
wrong," has been applauded many
times as a declaration of profound
wisdom. But the single tax takes the
ground that man was made right.
Instead of suppressing his powers,
he is to use them with their greatest
force and vigor. There was no mis
take made when the selfish quality was
given, for we are in a world where if
rightly directed its benefits will be un
bounded. Let every man have a right
to the natural opportunities, and all
his efforts be they selfish or other
wise, will be a benefit to others as
well as himself. The understanding
will then become the endowment it
was intended to be; one tht is to be
used by the individual according to,
his own powers 5f reasoning.
The individual is the only source
through which mankind has ever re
ceived any benefits that has given
what we call the comforts of civiliza
tion. The food we eat, the clothes
we wear is the incarnated thought of
many generations and shows the activ
ity of individual minds. There is not
a bit of wealth in the world that is not
the thought of some individual mind,
clothed with material substances so
as to be appropriated to the satisfac
tion of human wants. So the great
producer of human wealth is the one
that gives the thoughts that can be
clothed so as to satisfy human want
It will be seen by this how neces
sary it is to develop the individual eo
as to call forth all that he is capable
for the benefit of himself and man
kind. It is very easy to see the ben
euts of the individual in the make-up
of history. All inventions that ever
did mankind any good, have come
through individual minds.
Those which the world has re
tained have been improved from time
to time by thoughtful additions; but
in every case the result has been
caused by individual action. Every
reformation in the world's history has
been the result of individual effort, it
matters not whether the movement
was religious or political. So it is
upon the individual that the" fate of
mankind rests. Society has never pro
duced anything. It is organized upon
a fixed basis, and does not wish for
anything more than, what it already
ha?. The church has all the truth that
man will ever need, in its own, esti
mation; and all it wants of the indi
vidual is to come under its dominion
and be 'guided by the truth it already
Political organizations have the
same tendency. No new ideas are ever
wanted, and the ideal statesman, and
the wonderful work of the organiza
tion is always in the past That great
endowment called'reason is of no use,
so the ordinary m? might as well be
without the endowment. Such is the
state of human organization that we
call society. It never gave the world
any material benefit and it might be
questioned whether the mental and
spiritual qualities have been ben
efited by being suppressed or kept in
a state of slavery. But the strangest
part of the matter is, the pretences
and boasts that have always been put
forth by human organizations. They
have claimed they were organized and
sanctioned by God, and receive their
power and. wisdom from Him.
Such a pretence of course depends
upon the minds of the people for its
support, and for that reason it is quite
easy to see how ready we are to be
guided by others. But the God that
society has claimed has not been much
of a benefactor to the human race.
There is nothing in the world that has
teen given directly by God, and noth
ing that human society haa.ever pro
duced, but had better been kept out
of the world. The, best record be
longs to the individual and the God
that has endowed him with under
standing, is the God we would recog
nize in the future.
The single tax is the result of in
dividual thought applied to the pres
ent system that has been supposed for
ages to be under the care and provi
dence of God. It is the first time that
human reason has been applied to that
human organization called govern
ment, And as the light is turned on
the darker the picture grows. Like all
leform methods the single tax is a
reverting back to the Individual; but
with the application of science we hope
to retain the benefits of individual
freedom. Society may exist, but not
as an overseer or ruler; the individ
ual must always have the chance to
contribute his thought and effort, for
the good of all.
There is another thing the single
tax proposes; and that is that the liv
ing shall rule, and conduct the af
fairs of mankind. So far the world
hag been conducted according to the
will of the dead. We' sometimes hear
the complaint that the rule of absent
landlords is a species of tyranny that
ought not be tolerated. But what shall
we say in regard to the rule of those
that have entirely passed from the
things of time and sense? If we look
over the valuable property of the
world we shall find a large amount of
tribute that is paid to satisfy the will
of some party that has long since been
silent In death. Many churches are
made wealthy, and will continue to
accumulate wealth as long as they
follow the course marked out by the
drad hand. The universities of learn
ing also receive a large share of at
tention from those that pass into the
unknown side of human expeiience.
Why this Is so is very hard to decide;
ou nouocnoia Articles, uenxo.
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but most of the endowments are con
ditional, and for that reason the per-
petuation of a fixed condition seems to
be the animating desire. Memorial
libraries are also numerous, and -such
institutions are supposed to have a
great , fashioning power over the hu
man mind. Does it not seem wrong
to give the dead such privileges of
governing and fashioning human life?
If there is such a thing as a fitness of
things, can we expect that a church
ruled by dead men can give much life
to the world? Can we expect an in
stitution of learning to develop new
forms of life, when the course has been
marked out by the dead? We think
not; the rule of dead men has proved
a failure in the past, and we have no
reason to suppose anything better in
the future. Let the living rule the
world, and develop as far as possible
all its hidden mysteries. To travel in
the ruts marked out by the dead does
not seem to be a rational method. It
is founded no doubt upon the super
stitions of the past, and cannot exist
when science is applied to the affairs
ROBERT H, DEBECK.
TO SOLVE THE RACE PROBLEM
When Henry George had completed
his great work, Progress and Poverty,
he wrote this dedication: "To those
who seeing the vice and misery that
spring from the unequal distribution
of wealth and privilege, feel the pos
sibility of a higher social state, and
would strive for its attainment."
Unlike most reformers'"Mr. George
first pointed out an evil and in the
same connection showed us the rem
edy. The evil is the unjust appropria
tion of land, by the few. The remedy
is its restoration to the real owners
not the few, but all!
When this is done as it surely will
be done, most of the evils which vex
&nd hinder real progress will grad
We of the south are confronted by a
race problem, not easy of adjustment,
yet we realize that the adoption into
practice of the single tax idea would
go far in the direction of settlement
of this and much else that needs dras
Once rid of the apparent need for
"protective tariffs", we should find
much that is now a frictional cause
of war between civilized or partially
civilized peoples removed. Free trade
would make us better acquainted and
more disposed to rade than to fight.
School houses are better than battle
ships, and cheaper.
Everything is possible to a people
wise enough to take the first step, to
act justly to restore that which is
not justly possessed.
The land belongs to the people.
Who shall gainsay it?
WILLIAM RILEY BOYD.
CANNOT BE SHIFTED
One of the commonest objections to
the single tax is that it can be shifted.
It is well known that a tax levied on
imports is added to the cost and final
ly paid by th6 consumer. The same is
true of all taxes on labor products. It
is therefore only natural that those
who have not considered the matter
deeply should jump at the conclusion
that a tax on land values would have
the same effect; the land owner pay
ing the single tax and simply adding
it to the price of rent of his land. If
this were true the single tax would
prove a failure.
But it is not true. All standard
writers on political economy agree
that a tax levied on land values can
not be shifted; that it must fall on the
owner of the land. And the reason is
simple. Land is a fixed quantity. We
cannot increase or diminish the sup
ply one iota. The owners of the
earth have a monopoly and they al
ways charge a monopoly price all
the "traffic will bear." The single
tax would take from owners a part
of the rent they receive from others
without giving them any power to in
crease that rent. On the contrary, the
increased taxation of land values
would make land speculation less
nrofitable and all vacant land now
held for a rise would be thrown on
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CO., Dept. 6, Milford, Neb.
the market at whatever price It would
bring, and this would have a sympa
thetic effect on all land. So instead
of enabling landlords to charge more
on account of the tax they would be
compelled to charge less or lose ten
ants. The reason a tax on tobacco, for in
stance, increases the price of tobacco
is because the manufacturer must
make his profit or he goes out of the
business. If he does this he lessens
competition and other manufacturers
are enabled thereby to increase the
price to include the amount of the
tax. But land is not being manufac
tured, like tobacco.- It is already,
made, and the supply cannot be af
fected by taxation. ,,
The price .of an article is governed
by supply, and .demand. If an in
creased tax curtails the supply the
price goC3 up. Taxation of labor prod
ucts therefore must . increase their
cost. But taxation of land values, the
supply being necessarily limited, can'-
only result in making land cheaper.
' The single tax would eat out all
the profit , of land speculation and no
one would desire land except for use.
This would open up opportunities for
all and be equivalent to the discovery
of another continent. What effect this
would have on wages we will leave
for the reader himself to decide.
P. W. SCHWANDER,
Co-operative Land Buying
Land speculators have long since
learned that they can buy land for less
dollars per acre when taken in large
bodies; farmers and home-seekers are
just beginning to find this out. In the
last few weeks several parties of land
buyers from Iowa have gone together,
and bought large tracts along the Re
publican river; when a contract was ,
made for the purchase of the land,
they divided it up to suit themselves
and had deeds made accordingly. . "
The following tracts offer an excel
lent opportunity for several home-'
seekers to go together and buy either
of these tracts, or all of them. It will
enable them to get some good land
The first is a tract of 2,115 acres,
nearly all fenced; 1,050 acres under
high state of cultivation, 1,100 acres of
very best alfalfa land; some timber;
the Republican river runs through thi3
land; 4 wells and wind mills, tanks,
cisterns, etc. Three sets of improve
ments; two miles from McCook. Much
of this is good hay land. Price, $18
per acre. This piece is known as
Another track of 1750 acres deeded
land and 640 acres of schoo1. land
leased; 1,400 acres of alfalfa land
some now growing; 400 acres in cul
tivation ;w nearly all fenced; good im
provements; 600 acres of good hay
land, now ready to mow. This ranch
is in the Republican valley, 15 miles
from McCook a-.dv between two rail
road stations. Price complete $19,000.
This is No. 1027.
Also an 800-acre tract, nearly all
fenced; 700 acres alfalfa anj sugar,
beet land; 200 acres cultivated: nice
grove, plenty of hay land. This would
make two or more splendid farms;
two sets of improvements; two and a
half miles from town. Price, $9,500.
This is No. 1028.
It should be remembered that the
sugar beet factories at Grand Island:
Ames and Norfolk last year made
thorough tests of that soil for sugar
beet raising, which proved successful.
There is a large acreage -of sugar
beets in Red Willow county tlii; year
and the prospects are bright for a su
gar beet factory at McCook in the
near future. This together with the
alfalfa industry insures a bright fu
ture for Red Willow and surrounding
counties; and values are sure to dou
ble in a few years.
For full information regarding the
above land or any other land along
the Republican river write to Weber
& Farris, Lincoln, Neb.
Send an order to the Farmers' Gro
cery Co. for one of their combination
orders of groceries. Hundreds of our
readers have found their combination
bargains exactly as represented and -entirely
satisfactory. Mention The
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