Banking and Currency
WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH US ?
Business is conducted on a plan that makes it difficult for the most of us to secure the time in which to increase our information and enjoy the appropriate recreations and pleasures that are necessary in order to properly develop our intelligence and give us a correct mental and physical balance. It is true, however, that most of us are, and all men should be, capable of filling better positions in life than most of them occupy, but we are still forced to remain in the same condition because we allow a false system to continue in practice rather than bestir ourselves and enforce the institution of a proper system which would enable us to follow a natural order of things and stop receiving under pay for working over time throughout the entire journey of life.
One reads in newspapers, books, and other sources of information the various views and conclusions of persons very much like ourselves. Some of those who write prove to be capable judges, some poor. Some people judge honestly, some look through clouded glasses and come to strange conclusions. Sometimes the writers are honestly mistaken in their conclusions, but many of them are actually dishonest in the views that they apparently would have other men embrace. One cannot adopt any one of these conclusions as his absolute guide ; neither has one the time to read all of them before the necessity arises for him to come to some definite conclusions about present conditions. For that reason I am taking up these studies and inviting all who will to join me. We shall observe at first hand some of the things about which we read. In that way we shall read with our own eyes and by using our own brains be able to understand the daily occurrences that go to make up our lives ; understand why there is so much difference in the conditions of people born so nearly alike ; judge more truly of actual methods and conditions and reach sane conclusions on which to base our further actions.
A few of us are able to travel a little, some extensively, but the most of us are forced to remain at home. Some men do very little work, but the most of us are forced by present conditions to work all of the time. A few men live by their wits at the expense of mankind as a whole. Some have no wits but are supported by others who have, or by inherited wealth, but the majority of us earn more than we receive and work to support others as well as a system that keeps the most of us overworking and living amid poor conditions. Why is that so ? All who will join in making these studies will eventually understand. We shall find evidences of the whole system in every community. We shall recognize them whether our studies extend into distant regions or are confined to our own neighborhood.
If men would candidly consider conditions as they are and as they would be if we were given a square deal, the result would be a united effort to secure a system that would provide the greatest common benefit.
We have three principal thoughts upon which to center our considerations :
First : The actual facts on which the present conditions are based.
Second : The true principles that should have been followed in the formation of our social and industrial systems.
Third : The principles that should now govern in devising and instituting systems that will most successfully promote the general welfare.
The true economic basis is different now from what it would have been if people had, from the beginning, followed a system of social order based on natural conditions. We have been following erroneous practices for generations, and they have finally become a part of our established system. It would not be practical to change immediately to what ought to have been done originally. To do that would bring about such confusion as to defeat the very aims of reform, because there are too many rebels to truth and justice to permit of our going straight to the goal. We would have distress if that were undertaken, such distress that many, perhaps most people, would turn back and defeat reform and become its actual enemies. But there is no reason that can be successfully upheld against our knowing the truth, and after once knowing and understanding it, we should strive to adjust our affairs to what is the true economic basis of our present relations, and seek to reform the present system as rapidly as it can be done without creating social confusion.
I repeat, social confusion. There is something strange about us as peoples of the earth. I might say unaccountable. History proves that the people of all nations take pride in their national existence. That is well. It shows that the patriotism of every true lover of his country is the basis on which national existence depends. If a foreign country discriminates against us or offers an insult to our flag or to American citizenship, it brings forth a united response in the form of a demand for justicesimple justice. These demands are sometimes of trifling significance when compared with the injustice and discrimination practised in our own country between our own citizens, the special interests and the plain people, but we back up a demand on a foreign people with the power of our nation. We go to the extent of raising great armies, sacrificing our lives and the treasures of our land, as well as enduring great hardships and confusions of war, in order to sustain what we believe to be our national dignity. That is not strange. Neither is it unaccountable. But lest we confuse the purpose of national existence, the strange and unaccountable thing is that we tolerate the social conditions resulting from the domination of special interests, and become enraged as a nation about external facts that sometimes are of far less importance.
We are stirred by the glitter of brass buttons, uniforms with gold braid, glistening swords, musketry and parade, and all of these are things which might be compared with the toys that are given to children and have no purpose beyond that of the mere satisfaction of a desire for something with which to arouse enthusiasm and amusement. But what about the plain common things, the necessities of daily life, the things that are required in our homes, the necessity for consistent action in our social institutions and the results that come from the expenditure of our energies ? We ought to be willing to make great sacrifices in order to secure permanent improvements of the most substantial kind in this respect. But even though we do not, we should at least attempt to put into practice a better system and be willing to endure the temporary confusion that the Money Trust could bring about by forcing a panic in order to retain, if possible, all the most valuable results of our work. As for myself, having studied the relations of these things, I would be willing to endure the confusion, but I recognize from observation that the soldier who will willingly go hungry, risk his life on the battlefield, and leave his family suffering and starving at home, will not endure so much as the temporary flurry that the special interests make every time a substantial reform is undertaken, even though that flurry would give to us the fruits of our energies instead of allowing the interests to continue taking them. But notwithstanding this fact, I am forced to recognize that this attitude of the soldier, and the laborer and people generally, is a condition, and I shall not unduly propose remedies that would bring about even a temporary confusion, although that could be speedily overcome and permanent welfare established by the people if they would positively insist upon the justice in their own rights and interests. I am constrained to go along as slowly as the majority of the people do, but we should not remain ignorant of what ought to be done. Our studies will prove how easily we could accomplish much better results and add to the blessings of life if we were willing to endure for a brief period the financial disturbance of business that the Money Trust can force upon us if we exercise those governmental functions which a dignified people should.