Senator Sherman Takes Aim at the Supposed Radicalism of Administration(Note: Full Headline Title is not entirely visible)
The Oklahoma Leader (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Vol. 5, No. 14, Ed. 1 Thursday, September 26, 1918
Incidentally He Says Taking Over Industries Was Political, Not Governmental Control, But Concludes With Hidden Plea to Leave Packers Unmolested to Combine Activities and Profits.
THE LEADER'S WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - Poor old Senator Sherman of Illinois has broken out again in an attack on the supposedly liberal elements in the Wilson administration. Sherman has in the past year given a good deal of his attention to these verbal barrages in defense of the Chicago packers and other profiteers, and as Congressman Madden of Chicago beat him to the spotlight last week with a direct denunciation of the federal trade commission for its expose of the Swifts and Armours and other industrial porkers, Sherman was obliged to look about for another object of fire. But it is all to the same end - to extort from the administration a few more concessions to the American junkers.
EXPOSES SUPPOSED PLAN.
Denunciation of radicalism, and proscription of men on the ground that they have radical tendencies, has become a favorite political device during this war. Sherman used it in his senate speech the other day. He proscribed Col. House as a Socialistic incendiary. He ridiculed President Wilson as a puppet of House. He exclaimed savage against the supposed plan of these two men to get their grip on the private property interests of the United States, during the war, and make all property the plaything of personal politics.
"What of those," he asked, "who, while the American people are centering thought and effort on our tremendous task, use the war to betray republican government to its undoing? Under the specious pretext of war necessity they are now substituting their obsessions and follies for the institutional liberty that is the birthright of both soldier and civilian. When these men return to victory they will face in civil life a Socialistic state. Vast bureaucracies and centralized departments will have seized the principal occupations of private life. I believe it part of my duty to save for the man at the front the domestic institutions of his country at home while he is making the world safe for democracy abroad.
AUTOCRACY NEVER RESTS.
"Autocratic power never rests. One demand granted becomes the lever to lift its impudent claims to further heights of usurpation. The great climactic of civil government will come with the end of the war. We must then decide whether the American republic remains a government of regulated individualism or be transformed into a civilian autocracy of interrelated boards, bureaus and departments operating the chief instruments of production, distribution, and communication of thought,including the printing press. The newspaper is as much within this subtle and malign power as the telegraph or the bank. The recent order curtailing news columns under the guise of conserving paper stock is an invasion of the right of a privately owned, free press, designed to control the avenues of information.
Not one undertaking seized as a war measure is intended ever to be returned to their owners by the Burlesons, the Bakers, and the Gompers. They know as we do that the war is a handy pretense to embark the government on their fantastic adventure. Physical properties are seized. They are used to exploit payrolls dedicated to the alleged sacred cause of labor. At the very mention of them a complaisant congress falls prostrate. Not a government enterprise but will be a recruiting station to mold votes to continue such a government. It is political, not government, control. It is not government ownership, but political ownership."
YEP, SOCIALISTS OBJECT.
"The sincere Socialist is aghast at the rapidity of the advance. The thinkers among them deplore the speed of the movement. They fear a reaction. Government control is a mere name. It deceives some. It misleads many. No such vast delusion ever went so long unchallenged. Government control as now exercised by this administration is the threshold of permanent political ownership and operation.
On all questions directly or indirectly related to labor Gompers is practically president of the United STates. Burleson controls the physical agencies for the communication of thought, and McAdoo the railways and the country's finances. The three can reduce the industrial world to servile obedience or wearied disgust when they will acquiesce in a surrender of their property as a relief. The payrolls will be unionized and the service and voters used to maintain and perpetuate the political party that subscribes to the original prostitution of government and its subsequent usurpations. Strip off the mask of alleged government ownership and see behind it the revealed political ownership and control of Gompers, Burleson and McAdoo for partisan purposes, to be used relentlessly to elect party candidates now, and in 1920 a president. A mediaeval class government by a few who control the political party, is what it is - call it by any name you please"
SEVERAL POINTS OVERLOOKED.
Thus far Sherman had merely stirred up a dust against the administration form of control of railroads and the wires. Knowing that the issue before congress in the next few months will be the taking over of the stock yards and the means of collecting live stock and shipping and distributing meat, he carefully refrains from touching on the food profiteers. Knowing that Burleson has left the telegraphs and telephones securely in the hands of their profiteering private owners, except in one or two minor details which affect neither the profits nor improves service, he pretends that Burleson has established real public operation of the wires. And with full knowledge that McAdoo has merely changed the control of operation of the railroads from one set of railroad men to another set of railroad company men - so that today the "Santa Fe crowd" is pretty nearly the whole railroad administration - Sherman grimaces over the downfall of the railroad officials. He refuses also to admit that Gompers gets little from the administration for the workers, and that the payrolls are very far from being unionized. What the workers are getting they get through union agitation in the industries, and not through political confabs in Washington.
You can see the packers' fears of commandeering in this sentence of the speech: "It must be remembered that it is on the rights of private property that arbitrary governments usually begin their attack; that outpost taken, the great primary rights of persons can be more readily disintegrated and destroyed."
REVIEWS HOUSE BOOK.
Coming to Col. House, the Illinois junker discovers that House once wrote an anonymous novel, Phillip Dru, Administrator, setting forth House's ideal of effective government in this country. It is the story of a successful revolution against reactionary government in the United states, with Dru the dictator of a new order of social and industrial justice.
"He indulges in a few remarks," says Sherman, reviewing the book. "Rebellion is justified. The government was defective in machinery, defective in constitution and law. Laws caused all the difference between the few and the many. The constitution and laws are grotesque, obsolete, oppressive, arbitrary, and the source of injustice. The whole federal government is a negation. It restricts efficiency. It is a fair question whether this whole allegory of alleged inefficiency and oppression does not violate the espionage act every time a copy of the book is sold. I believe it does.
The fictitious hero frames a universal code of laws himself. Everybody is given an equal opportunity. Everybody gets justice. Avarice is eliminated. The sting of poverty is removed. Envy, selfishness, extravagance are banished by a few wholesome laws conceived in horse sense and conferred by the colonel on a long-suffering people who are become incapable of self-government.
THINK! COURTS ABOLISHED.
Then he goes into detail as to the social changes which House, as a novelist, proposes. Two-thirds of the courts are abolished, social insurance, old-age pensions, woman suffrage, reclamation of the waste lands, reduction of the hours of labor, elimination of gang politics - all of these things are accomplished, along with many more. The book was published in 1912.
Sherman draws a new alarm from every page of House's book, and it inspires him to ridicule House, and the president's devotion to House, for an hour. He tells how House first picked Mayor Gaynor of New York as his political protege to be led up to the white house; how Gaynor kicked over the traces; how House then picked the New Jersey man, and how Woodrow Wilson acted just as House wanted him to act; how they discovered that they thought alike on all important matters, and finally how the president
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