The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, May 15, 1892, Page 3, Image 3

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Let the mind ol a people be enslaved by ignorance and
superstition, by selfish interest and desire, and Thor and
Jupiter, the divine right ol kings, the inquisition, human
slavery and the Czar of Russia arc possible. When once the
mind is free nothing can withstand it; before it temples and
sceptres, arbitrarily enslaving man, false creeds and dogmas
fettering him are powerless. This spirit, progressive and invin
cible, forced magna chartu and cr alod the house of commons.
It guided the course of the Mayflower. It stimulated hoar's
with heroic fortitude to endure those terrible winters at Ply
mouth Rock and Valley Forge. It inspired the splendid
charges of the national army in '64 and '65, and amid the
awful carnage of war, the principle of freedom stood sublime.
Aye, name it what you will, there is a marvelous power which
exists co-ordinate with human life, a silent force which year
by year is bringing the race nearer the goal of freedom, a
spirit, before which monarchial tryanny, class privilege and
blinded bigotry, must flee befarc the avenging angel of
Almighty God.
Freedom must be realized by man in society in relation
to his fellowmen. In the very constitution of society there
arc present two forct-s the one and the many, the individual
and the state. Human nature forms the basis of society.
Were human nature perfect, did each man recognize the
rights of his lellowman, individual action would need no
restraint. Hut, hemmed in by selfish interests, shackled by
ignorance, each member "of society seeks his own advance
ment regardless or the welfare of his fellows. Hence the
necessity for government. Hence legislatures, prisons, and
standing aimies. Hence that conflict in society which will
continue so long as human beings arc actuated by motives of
avarice and hate.
Present in evtry period of history, determining theories
of government, directing social and political movements, bal
ancing and counter balancing each otlier are these two con
flicting elements the individual and the state. The spirit
01 individual libei ly forces its way resistlessly onward until
stayed by the power of the state. The state, becoming arro
Rant and arbitiary is forced to give way before the the
demands of the individual for justice and equality. The
unlimited assertion of either principle has invariably been fol
lowed by national disaster. Excess of individual privilege,
lack of power in the state destroyed the Grecian republics.
Not at the heart of Civsar was the dagger of Prutus aimed,
but at the principle of absolute power in the state. In the
feudal system with its pelty lords and barons, and in the
absolute monarchy of Louis XIV, these opposing principles
again found realization. From absolute despotism, the pen
dulum swung back to the absolute anarchy of the French
revolution to the reign of Terror, to the sovereignty of the
Guillotine, to the domination of Danton, Marat and Robes
pierre. Napoleon Honaparte cannonading the mob from the
steps of St. Roche, announced the return of law, the restora
tion of the state. In American political history these same
forces have been at work. Setting forth diverging policies
of government, they gave rise to the principles of national
supremacy and state sovereignty. Hamilton, Webster, and
finally the entire north on one side, Jefferson, Calhoun, and
the south on the other.
Not only to the distribution of political power, but also to
the control of industry does the conflict between these pri
mary social forces extend. The tendency toward the concen
tration of capital in the hands ol the few, .struggles perpet
ually with the tendency for its diffusion among the many.
Man seeks to actualize his potential freedom. To accom,
plish this purpose, industrial organization forms the great
means; men combine with men, corporations are formed,
factories arc set in motion, labor divided. Note the change
this system has effected during the nineteenth century. Com
mercial and industrial development has been accomplished
as if by magic. Resulting from this feverish growth, there
has come the exaggeration of property power in the individ
ual. Contracts have been made, regardless of their effect
upon the general welfare, corporations with unlimited power
have been formed, illegal trusts and combines violating the
sanctity of contract have organized, entire industries have
been monopolized, private enterprise destroyed, rates estab
lished, money have been extorted for the necessities of life,
the masses have been robbed, and the spoiler goes unques
tioned. Landlords, otl kings, and railroad princes, Wall
.street, board of trade, and stock exchange are the marks of
modern industrial tyranny.
Reform is the demand of the hour. From mine and
forge, from mill and factory, thousands of dissatisfied men
and woman, poorly clad, and illiterate children clamor for
and demand reform. Put how is reform to come? In the
midst of a conflict whose i:sues arc human liberty, human
happiness, human life itself, in which the existence of gov
ernment, the preservation of social order, the continuance of
civilization is at stake, from what source are relief and peace
to come?
Reaction against individual power over property has
given rise to the current theories that government control of
industry is the souicc from which industrial freedom is to
come. From exaggeration of the power of the individual,
modern reformers go to the exaggeration of the power of the
state. Theorists and abstract philosophers, disregarding
human nature, ignorant of the constitution ol society, forget
ful of the province of government, have incited otherwise
contented laborers until now they are wild with fancied
wrongs. Meeting in organized forms all over the country
these laborers are violating the same law of individual lib
erty, trampling upon the same right of private ownership and
sanctity of contract, as are the corporations against which the
vials of their wrath are poured. They propose that govern
ment shall create by its own will, without regard to inher
ent worth or natural value, an unlimited supply of money
based wholly upon credit. They would sweep away the
national banking system, establish government warehouses,
government subtieasurees, and devise a scheme by which
the government itself is to lend money to individuals. They
would place the lailroad and the telegraph in the hands of
the government, beside and equal 'ie coinage ol money
and the levying of taxes. They wouu ght the wrongs of
labor by acts of government, remove inequalities in wealth
and condition by the mandate of the state and abolish the
laws of nature and the decrees of an omnipotent power by
legislative enactment.
The policy of these modern reformers, carried to its log
ical effects, would sweep away all motive to act or work, all
human ambition, all human progress. With all power vested
in government, without competition, institutions become
stationary, thought becomes fixed. It is by individual effort
stimulated by the hope of success, that every step forward in
civilization has been taken. It invented the steam engine
and the printing press. It braved the dangers of an untried
sea and opened to mankind a new continent. It wielded the av
of the backwoodsman and kindled the camp-fires of the early
settlers on the frontier. It has girded continents with steel
and encircled the globe with lightning. It is the moving
spirit ol American prosperity, the vital spirit of American
freedom, the essence of modern civilization. Vain all
attempts to undermine the very existence of government by
interfering with the fiee activity of its members. Vain all