Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, October 22, 1886, Image 1

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Vol. XV.
No. II
In the October number of the North American Review
there appears an article on "Arbitration" by Prof. Richard
T. Ely. Prof. Ely is associate professor of political science
at John Hopkins; and is perhaps the most widely informed
student in America on the "labor problem," the subject
which is now uppermost, among subjects of world-wide in.
tcrcst. His treatises on this question arc characterized by a
degree of fairness which is seldom found in the writings of
others of note whom we could mention; indeed we believe
him the least biased writer of the times on all subjects which
have to do with the American phase of this problem. In the
article mentionad he treats of the intrinsic worth of arbitra
tion, and the historical part played by it in the settlement of
wage difficulties. He recognizes the true importance of labor
organizations in the effort to settle the difficulties by arbitra
tion, and laments the fact that such organizations arc not
stronger, and less liable to be overthrown by those of their mem
bers who do not have at heart the best interests of the labor
ing classes. The article is intended to place the method, of
arbitration before the people in its proper light, to give it due
importance, and we think the task admirably performed.
Since the appearance of our last number, the editor of this
column has more than once been taken to task for his remarks
on the future of the republican party, the signification of its
course in the last state convention, and in particular, his well'
intended remark about the predicament into which our friend
the State Jonrnal has been thrown. It has been intimated in
a very confidential and, withal, kind way that we "hadn't
better" say anything about politics in our college paper.
Well now! we do not wish to be accused of rashness, or being
a prohibitionist of the New Republic style, but we do intend
to talk politics when we have anything of interest to talk
about. Moreover we do believe that college students above
all others should be interested and alive to political questions,
and problems of government. Wc believe that all live politi
cal questions should be studied along with the other allied
subjects and sciences. Our universities and colleges are but
citizens' training schools; and upon the character of that train
ing hangs the destinies of nations; in it lies the only hope of
republican governments.
The question of prohibition is then ours to discuss, and if
the State Journal and the Republican party in this state fail
to agree on the question of submission, and we think we have
discovered the Journal to be trying to hold an untenable po.
sition, we will sound the warning call. Wc believe in prohi
bition; and lacking space to discuss it fully, would recom
mend all who wish to know some of our reasons for so believ
ing to read David R. Lock, Petrolum V. Nasby admiralbc
pleafor piohibition, published in the October number of the
North American Review. The closing paragraph we deem
worthy to be republished here, and is as follows : "Prohibi
tion is a certainty in this country, and that within a very few
years. Every civilized nation is looking for some cure for
the greatest evil that affects the earth. The fact that all
countries arc trying to "regulate" it, is an admission 'that it
is an evil, and the centuries prcve that there is no sense what
ever in trying to regulate an evil. Evils are to be killed, not
regulated. The question of today is not whether the individ
ual man shall have the right to poison himself, but whether
an organization shall have the right by means of a poison to
demoralize mankind for profit. It is a question in which
every workingman, every employer, every father and every
mother in the country has a direct, interest. It is a question
whether the law can be made to restrain the criminal maker
as well as the criminal, to prevent the manufacture of panpers,
instead of supporting paupers; in short, whether the com
munity has the right to protect its weaker members against
organized demoralization. That communities have this
right is the assertion of the prohibitionists, and who. shall say
that their position is not impregnable?"
It was generally taken for granted that the counsel for the
the defendants in the trial of the Chicago anarchists would ap
peal from a decision that gave their clients no hope; and it
might reasonably be expected that so severe a verdict would
be reversed and the judgment mitigated. The refusal of a
new trial was, therefore, something of a surprise both to those
who wished it,and to those who did not. Nevertheless, though a
surprise, the almost unanimous opinion appears to be that it
was strictly just. In their defense, and in speeches made be.
fore their sentences, the anarchist leaders sought to excite the
strongest political prejudice of Americans. Few institutions
are regarded with greater jealousy by us than a free press,
and wc can scarcely doubt that, could the anarchists convince
the public that they were convicted for exercising what is
claimed by every American as a sacred right, the force of
public opinion would prevent the execution of their sentence.
The fact that public opinion ratifies the judgment pronounced
shows that pnblic opinion is based on other grounds. It is
not for the reasons assigned by the anarchist plotters that
they suffer, but because they have violated a trust more sacred
than any known to a European. The very fact that the free
dom of the individual is so great renders the responsibility
greater than under a despotic govarnment. For this reason
the American people, while they can well afford to let the
effervescence of socialistic feeling dissipate under the sun of a
healthy public sentiment, (so long as it remains but effer
vesence) must deal out well merited severity to those who
seriously attempt to perpetrate their doctrines on American
society. A sharp distinction must be drawn between the agi
tation of doctrines and the means used to carry on that agi
tation. The propogation of socialistic ideas, while distasteful
to American sentiment, cannot be condemned so long as car
ried on by legal means; in fact a certain species of admiration
may be felt for these efforts of the lower class to elevate them
selves; but when criminal means are used to further such ideas
such means should not share in the toleration given to ths
ideas themselves. So we say the sentence of death, while se
vere, is just, nor should any false sentiment prompt a pardon.
Americans can afford to be lenient to a certain point, but be
yond that point punishment should be sharp and decisive.