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About The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902 | View Entire Issue (May 10, 1900)
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privilege of continuing their defective
Truly the question is "worthy of
observation , " and of earnest considera
tion by every man and woman. The
universal practice of civilised mankind
at present seems to be based on a theory
that the undesirable must be carefully
fostered at no matter what cost , while
those classes in whom is some hope for
the future of the world are thus loft to
bear a double burden.
Very different is our action in the case
of our field and garden. There the
harmful or useless vegetable is carefully
destroyed before it hns time to shed its
seed , that the good plant may not only
escape harm from it , but may also enjoy
the further room which it occupied.
Why , then , do wo hesitate before a
course which we know to be good for
humbler creatures , when it concerns the
highest being whose care is in our
hands ; namely , man himself ?
"Thou shalt not kill. " What is this ?
A general precept , by no means to betaken
taken literally. At all events , a com
mandment riddled with exceptions.
Read on but a little further in that
strange compilation of laws , and see for
how many offences it is changed into
"thou shalt kill. " "Ye shall stone them
with stones that they die. " And with
what end in view ; prevention of further
wrong-doing by the individual ? Moral
effect on the community ? No ; re
"Deliver him into the hand of the
avenger of blood , that he may die. "
"Thine eye shall not pity ; life shall gofer
for life , eye for eye , tooth for tooth. "
It is much more in accordance with
God's latest revelations to mankind , to
read the divine will thus : "Kill , wisely ,
but kill ; or if not , withhold your hand
at least from interference with my
natural agencies , lest in breeding an
artificial race of monsters , ye kill their
betters , even your own children. "
It was said to a certain king of Franco ,
who had expressed horror when the
murderer of a score of persons was
brought before him : "this man has
killed one , no more ; you killed the other
nineteen yourself , in that you permitted
him to live. "
1UVALKY IN WEAKNESS.
Mr. Cleveland warned his party , in
his letter to the Brooklyn democratic
club , not to base a hope for success upon
"the shortcomings of our adversaries. "
But that is precisely what both parties
are now doing. What is the greatest
argument for the reelection of President
McKinley ? The control of the demo
cratic party by W. J. Bryan. What
alone gives the democrats a chance of
winning with Bryan ? The renomination
of McKiniey. Thus each party finds its
strength in the weakness of the other.
Each appeals to the voters , not to elect
its candidate , but to prevent the calam
ity of the election of the candidate of
the other. The competition is one in
feebleness. McKiuley may not bo all
wo could wish but look at Bryan I
Bryan is not exactly the ideal of a
president but think of four years more
of McKiniey , Haiiua & Oo. !
All the preliminary talk about "run
ning mates" for the two predestined
candidates ; about taking little dodges
in the platforms for either , and about
electoral probabilities , amounts to a
confession that either nomination , taken
by itself , is a weak one. Why should
the republican managers bo so anxiously
looking about for a vice-presidential nom
inee who would bo "a tower of strength"
to the ticket ? We had thought Mr. Mc
Kiniey was tower , buttress , and bastion ,
all in one. Can there bo a possible
qualm about his running like wild-lire
over the prairies ? Any given candidate
has always before been certified in ad
vance to be just the man to run iu that
way ; why should doubt now arise in
Mr. MoKinloy's case ? For the .same
reason that makes Mr. Bryan's friends
desirous of getting a "hero" on the
ticket with him a feeling , namely , that
the idol has feet of clay.
Can Talk Without Slopping to Think.
The exceedingly subdued prediction
of victory in the electoral college made
by the president's next friend , Congress
man Grosveuor , is an admission that
Mr. McKiuley will be a much weaker
candidate than he was hi 1896. A mar
gin of only 80 votes , and New York
( with 80) ) reckoned in as surely repub
lican ! A miserable comforter is such a
prophet. What he makes absolutely
clear is that , if the democratic party
were in such a position , under such
leadership , as it bad in 1884 or 1892 ,
McKiuley would never be thought of as
the republican candidate , or else his
candidacy would be considered hopeless
from the start. On the other hand , Mr.
Bryan would not be thought of after his
great defeat of four years ago , aud the
disappearance of the one issue that made
him , unless the weakness of Mr. Mc
Kiuley encouraged the desperate venture
of his second nomination.
So we have the strange spectacle of
two great parties each counting less
upon its own merits than upon the
shortcomings of its adversary. Mr. Mc-
Kinley's reelection is in doubt , but
Bryan will effect it if the thing can
possibly bo done. Mr. Bryan's candi
dacy looks like a counsel of despair , but ,
weak as he is , his opponent may prove
weaker. Thus the rival managers are
like two generals , admitting that their
plan of campaign against each other is
rash and unmilitary , and ought not to
succeedyet maintaining that the other is
such a fool that anything may be tried
with so feeble an antagonist. On one
side we are to have a candidate whose
principal recommendation is that , aa
Lowell said , he can talk for two hours
and a half without once stopping to
think. On the other wo are to have re-
nominated a president whoso weakness
in office has become a standard theme
for the newspaper satirists even of his
own party. The "man on horseback , "
Rome excited people have pictured him.
Rather , ho is the man on two horses ,
going opposite ways.
WcnkiiPBH AgaltiHt Weakness.
This rivalry of feeble men , each look
ing to popular dislike of the other to
elect himself , threatens danger to the
republican pnrty. We say this , because
there are certain principles of human
nature involved which make the peril of
the disagreeable dilemma greater to the
republicans than to the democrats.
Disgust , for example , is a stronger
motive than vague dread. Men do , in
spite of sago advice , fly from the ills
they have to evils that they know not
of. Thousands of independent aud re
publican voters are , beyond all ques
tion , disgusted with President MeKiuloy ,
for one reason or another. Now , it will
not do to rely upon their distrust of Mr.
Bryan to prevent them from voting
against Mr. MeKiuloy. We hear , for
example , of a New England college
whose faculty , almost unanimously for
McKinley in 1890 , will be almost unani
mously for Bryan this year. The reason
assigned by these professors is that Mc
Kiniey has betrayed them. They will
not be the fool of the Spanish proverb
and break a leg twice over the same
stone. They consider their first duty to
be to punish a great offender , and to
meet the public risks involved in his
punishment as best they may.
Then there is that touching readiness
of the American people to believe any
man a hero until he has been tried and
found wanting. Why , there were
many people four years ago who insisted
that Mr. McKiuley was a great man ?
The magic of a nomination for the
presidency had transformed him in their
eyes. They are undeceived now , but
the same process of canonization , no
longer possible in his case , is at present
being applied to Mr. Bryan. Why con
demn a man before ho has been tried ?
Don't you know that the responsibility
of office sobers an agitator ? Was it not
Mirabeau who said that a Jacobin who
became Minister was never a Jacobin
Minister ? All these forms of flattering
unction are available now to Mr. Bryan.
The argument from the unknown future ,
instead of the known past , which made
out Mr. McKiniey a great man in 1890 ,
is Mr. Bryan's sole property now. Thus
in the mere pitting of weakness against
weakness , and trusting to the blunders
of their opponents , the republican
managers may find that they stand to
lose more than the other side ; and that
it is better to rely upon a strong man
and a good cause of their own than upon
the weak candidate and bad platform , of
the rival party.
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