The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, April 05, 1900, Page 10, Image 10

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10 'Cbe Conservative *
which allows alcoholism to weigh thorn
down with criminals and "poverty-
struck victims , " is in no condition to
call itself a civilized nation.
Tlio Declaration of Independence.
It remains to bo shown that the doc
trine of individual liberty and the licens
ing of the liquor business on the basis of
that doctrine is contrary to the Declara
tion of Independence , and the Consti
tution of the United States. That it is
against the natural law of self-protec
tion for everyone but the liquor dealer
who does not drink , and even for him as
a part of the community , has been suf
ficiently demonstrated The Declara
tion of that "the
Independence says cre
ator has endowed all men with certain
inalienable rights , among these are life ,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "
It requires no argument to show that
the over-consumption of liquor is not
consistent with the life of the consumer
his personal liberty , or happiness , or the
best life , liberty , and happiness of the
Man civil is a part of the community.
In primitive days he made himself so.
In these days he is born into communal
institutions made such by his fathers.
A queer , mad , unethical idea possesses
the community. It is that because we
happen to bo born into these institutions
that we owe them something more than
the mere obligations of a self-constituted
co-partnership. The apotheosis of the
state , nation , humanity , is on a par with
the now gods so often raised by the an
cient Athenians. The enacting clause
of the constitution may be fitly compar
ed to the articles of agreement of any
business co-partnership. The union was
formed by each member to the compact
to give him a still better opportunity
than had before existed to use his abilit
ies for himself. It was not formed that
each member should live for the benefit
of any other member. On the contrary
each member to the union agreed with
every other member to uphold certain
general conditions the maintenance of
which were and are vitally essential to
the well-being of each individual and to
his using faculties to his best ability for
himself. The enacting clause of the
constitution is really the tie that binds ,
and while the articles provide for the
government , its machinery and regula
tion , the enacting clause states what the
government is to do and the compass by
which the government and citizens must
steer. While everyone should know
how it reads , the majority do not. Still
fewer realize its nature and import. It
is well to consider that.
The CoiiHtltuiion.
"We , the people of the United States , in
order to form a more perfect union , estab
lish justice , insure domestic tranquillity ,
provide for the common defense , pro
mote the general welfare , and secure
the blessings of liberty to ourselves and
our posterity , do ordain and establish
this constitution for the United States
of America. "
The wonderful thing in the constitu-
tian is that it is such an exact state
ment of the individual law of self-pre
servation under social conditions. Read
as it is writ , there is not one word which
can bo construed into "living for the
general good" save as one's individual
good is dependent on the stability of the
conditions detailed in the constitution.
The frarners of the constitution were
wiser than their posterity appears to be.
They made no apotheosis of "general
good" . They knew better than to fall
down and worship themselves. They
knew that "general good" consisted only
of the prosperity of themselves individ
ually. They knew that "general good"
was at its best , when every man in the
union was strong enough , intelligent
enough , and "good enough" to be self-
supportiugly useful to some one else and
not interfere with any one else being
self-supporting. Another thing the pos
terity seem not to know is , that no per
son in the United States has any rights
under the constitutionthat means to citi
zenship , who is not able to and does not
contribute to the maintenance of all its
conditions. "Women , imbeciles and pau
pers" are barred. Even that is not car
ried out. Paupers , in the poor houses ,
can and do vote in many states. There
seems to be no provision for loss of citi
zenship on a person becoming unfit to
fulfill the conditions of citizenship. An
amendment in this direction is much
needed. Criminals do not lose their cit
izenship by being such. They simply
lose the privilege of voting while im
prisoned. There can be no question
that according to the broad and yet
strict reading of the constitution the
liquor business and the licensing the
same , under the idea of a public neces
sity , is unconstitutional. The statistics
have been published that no one can
doubt that the recognition of this "pub
lic necessity" is the cause of more
crime , more poverty , more mis
ery than any other civilized ( ? ) in
stitution. The weakness of men for
liquor rendering them unfit to form
sound judgments or to maintain them
selves , renders such unfit to fulfill the
duties of citizenship according to the
constitution. The man who cannot sup
port himself , cannot pay taxes. The
man who cannot support himself from
his weakness for liquor cannot support
his family. Who does then ? Those
who support themselves and pay taxes
for the maintenance of the government
and upholding the Union. Again , the
liquor dealer supports himself and his
family , and does his part as a citizen.
Where then is he so immoral as to be
held up to derision ?
If the liquor business is constitutional
then it must be shown that it is "estab
lishing justice" to license a business
whereby hundreds make of themselves
paupers and fail to maintain their fami
lies , both becoming a burden to the pub
lic. True it is but just that these who
license the business should pay the bills.
Still it is not very high justice that per
mits a man's bad habits to make paup
ers of devoted wife and innocent babes.
Does the liquor business "insure the do
mestic tranquillity ? " The records of
the police court , the disturbances of our
streets , the robberies and murders that
find their origin in the liquor habit show
how opposed the whole business is to
the constitution. Does the liquor business
" for the de
ness help "provide common
fense" ? Yes , in so far and no farther
as that very moral gentleman , the liq
uor dealer , who pays his taxes and does
not drink , contributes to the general
fund and no farther. As a given civil
ization is to be judged by the proportion
of self-supporting citizens it has in com
parison with the number of criminals ,
paupers and imbeciles , in and out of
public institutions , so no state is defen
sively stronger than its percentage of
able-bodied , intelligently strong men , in
comparison to another state. As liquor
does more to make criminals , paupers
and imbeciles , than any other factor it
certainly is a menace to the common de
fense and the business cannot be consti
tutional. The same can be said as to its
promoting the general welfare. As
every man who becomes a victim of the
liquor habit is self-evidently a slave to
his own weakness , it is evident that ho
is not securing the "blessing of liberty"
to himself nor to the family which he
makes the slave of poverty , nor to the pub
lic that pays to maintain both him and
his family. Is it not evident that the
liquor business is unconstitutional ?
There is nothing either iu natural law ,
the Declaration of Independence , or the
Constitution , which justifies the "indi
vidual right" of a citizen to weaken his
self-maintaining power through liquor ;
or that he shall impoverish others , or
make himself and those legally depend
ent on him by his own act a burden on
others. The ethical law of self-preserv
ation should force every intelligent ,
self-maintaining citizen to look on the
liquor business as a personal enemy ,
therefore a common enemy , against
which he and all who maintain the gov
ernment should unite in "common de
fense. "
The LicuiiHU Question.
Certainly , no further proof is neces
sary. One point alone remains to be dis
cussed. Why license the saloon ? Why
penalize the saloon keeper by such ex
traordinary license fees ? It has been
shown that when he drinks not of his
poison that he is an ethical and moral
man in so far as his business is concern
ed , when it supports him. If licensing
the saloon finds its only justification in
the individual right of a man to weaken
his powers of -maintenance , then no