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What rainbow-chasers these McKinleys, Wilsons, and J. P. Joneses are! Do they not see this country with its limitless resources? Do they not see the surfeited millionaire, and the hungry laborer with his starving dependents? Do they not see that they must break down the one if they would build up the other? Do not these miserable bunglers see that this noble ship of the fathers is foundering because of her uneven load?
See the imbeciles rushing hither and thither in frantic despair! This, one with his wad of wool to stop a leak that does not exist; that one with his tears and kisses falling on the silver charm that hangs about his neck; this other at the masthead high shouting to foreign Shores for help we do not need.
Never did the black flag of a Caesar or a Napoleon III. bear down on a richer-laden prey than this helpless hulk and its jabbering crew.
Through Confiscation, and Confiscation alone, can we restore the conditions that are necessary to the life of the Republic.
Confiscation is a forbidding word. We associate it with the sheriff's writ, and with the idea of distress in some form, and with bloody war itself, its greatest field of operation. It is one of the few words in the vocabulary of Might. Without Might there would be no such word, and the weak have ever been the prey of both. But it is a plain word. As plain as are the conditions under which we are now living. There is no mistaking its meaning. And having the same momentous work ahead of us - of gaining our freedom, and throwing off the yoke of our latest master - as that which confronted the founders of the Republic, we cannot go to a nursery rhyme for a word to describe that work.
It is the way in which Might is to restore our lost liberties and resources that is of the gravest concern to all, and not the word used to describe the result of what Might shall do.
Justice is due. But how is it to arrive? By way of the ballot, or over the same bloodstained road in use before the ballot was discovered?
If the plundered and starving have lost faith in the ballot, and sheer want has brutalized them until they see no way but the brute's way of saving themselves, then place the horror of it all at the doors of incompetence and grasping greed where it belongs.
It is a plain word. As plain as are the conditions under which we are now living. As plain as is the wide-spread want and hunger that is in this land to-day, while there is more than enough for all.
And those who have gained possession of our resources are responsible for this hunger, and are enemies just as much as if they were invaders. Whatever progress external foes could make in landing on these shores would be only temporary, and not a blow could they strike, or a step make, without our knowing it. Not so the millionaire. His is the work of the thief in the night and we know nothing till his work is done. And then, because we would resort to the same process of recovery that we would in the case of any common enemy, we hold back, forsooth, because that process is called Confiscation.
Those whom we find to be inimical to the life of the republic will look upon an anarchist as a cooing dove compared to the man who would advocate Confiscation. They have nothing to fear from the anarchist, except a stray bomb now and then, for they know full well that the "plain" people will always stand between them and that wild-eyed dreamer of the impractical.
What those favored people think, however, does not interest us. What is of more concern to us, and to all others who have no doubt but what there is something wrong in the present scheme of things, is that the doctrine of Confiscation should be first understood before it is rejected. If it is found to conflict with law and order; if it is found to obstruct in any way the material welfare necessary to any man, woman, or child in the United States; if if takes from any man, woman, or child in these United States a solitary privilege or right that is essential to their well being; if it makes one more tramp, convict, or outcast of the street; if it fills one more pauper's bed or potter's grave, then our Search is not ended, for it is only another delusion, and of them we have more than enough already.
If, on the other hand, it does away with hunger and rags in a land of plenty. Does away with the cause of ignorance, namely poverty. Does away with the cause of eighty-five per cent. of crime, namely, poverty. Does away with the cause of strikes and rioting, namely, poverty. Destroys the power of one man to bribe one or fifty, and with his thumb at his nose defies the law to reach him. Makes robbery of the people by way of the lobby a thing of the past, and makes unnecessary a third house for the investigation of the other two, a stage we have already reached. Does away with the millionaire and his charity - the beggar and his need of it. Gives the conditions which makes individual and national improvement possible, and securing every such national improvement by making all the people its willing defenders, which they are far from being now in their hunger and wretchedness. Makes employment easy to obtain, with just wages in return for the labor done, putting within the reach of all, those comforts and luxuries, which, in this age of the world with its skill for quick and easy production, should be looked upon as a matter of course, but which in fact are unknown to a large part of the working people of the country.
If Confiscation, then, can do all this, why should it not be made to supersede all other policies that have been tried, and all those that are now courting public favor, but which, like the rest are based upon unrepublican economic laws, and must end, therefore, like the rest, in failure and disappointment?
With our resources restored to the people, which can be done only through Confiscation, prosperity would diffuse itself throughout the country as easily as the sun scatters its light.
We will now outline, as briefly as we may, what will be the effects of Confiscation, and what Confiscation means. It means the limiting of every individual fortune in the United States to $100,000.
And the excess of every fortune now exceeding that amount to be confiscated and turned into the public treasury. No exceptions to be made as to persons or the thing owned. Money, land, buildings, bonds, stocks, everything - wherever an excess is found, confiscate.
The anarchist! It is justice and the intelligence of the people that these new tyrants dread. The equity of this reform should be evident to every one who knows that this government was originally established for the good of all. And the time has now come when the work commenced in 1776 should be again resumed, and our latest masters got rid of some way or other.
But, it will be asked, will not a fifty times millionaire give employment to as many men as will 500 men with $100,000 each. No. Not even if madam and himself are at home from toadying up and down through Europe in search of a princeling. (Stop this fad of the spoiled darlings of fortune and you stop a leak through which over $1,000,000,000 of American money has already disappeared. We will sustain this with facts in its proper place.) One million dollars divided among ten men will do ten times more good than if owned by one man. One million dollars owned by one man is like one million acres owned by one man. He will certainly make some kind of use of his acres, but the very best he can do will be as nothing compared to the use a thousand men or more can make of them. It is the same with a million of money. And an enterprise calling for one million dollars of capital can be carried on just as well if that capital is owned by fifty men, as it could if it is owned by one man. We will have more to say on this point before we are done.
The American millionaire has also the power to squander outside of our own territory that which is much needed in his country. And the thousands in money which he sends to Europe for something to hang on his walls would pay for a much needed improvement in some city or town in the country where the money was made.
The American millionaire is a detriment to his own country any way you take him, although a great many people are thoughtless enough to say that we cannot get along without the millionaire. The capital which he controls will be still here after he is legislated out of office, just as it is when Father Time gathers him in.
He not only injures our country by taking its capital away, but he checks development by tying up the resources which he has got title to. He incloses thousands of acres for a few deer or some such to browse in when the whole should be thrown open, and those in need of homes allowed to settle it. There can be no doubt but what this is a great waste of land when we remember how rapidly those reservations were settled when they were thrown open within the last few years. Those large inclosures may or may not contain land suitable for those in need of homes, but a look through the foothills and mountains of California will show that homes can be made among the rocks and canyons even - when people are forced to it. And it is this power of millionaire to compel us to takes his refuse that we have to do with here, and not with the quality of the land in his game preserves. Strip him of this power and you make the "decoration for his wall." the "deer park," and the "princeling" impossible, and the people will once more have come into their own. Let him retain it and he will soon drive us to beat the bush for game that he himself will bag, as he has already bagged the wealth we produced. Let him retain it, and his sixty miles of fencing may or may not inclose worthless land, but it will not be the land, but the idea represented by the deer inside, that will set us to thinking of the aristocratic parasite and of the pauperism and slavery that is a part of his belongings where-ever he is found. Let him retain it a little while longer, and the soldier, who is steadily working his way on to the scene, will be here, and then the power to help ourselves will be gone, for the grip will be at our throats.
Those who are watching the mighty drama that is slowly unfolding itself on the world's stage of to-day, saw during the strike of last summer with what astounding ease a great people can be subjugated by a few disciplined men. And we no longer labor under the mistake of thinking that because they are our own people they will not shoot to kill. Put your brother - aye, your son - into a uniform, and he needs but the word to snuff you out as quick as he would a red handed Apache. He has been drilled to believe that he himself would be snuffed out if he disobeyed. And this result of disobedience is ever present with the man in uniform, and has been engraved into his very soul, for his only God is the drum-head court-martial. This is the creature that has made the aristocratic parasite a fixture in Europe, and he is all that is needed to make the same curse a fixture in our own country, and every attempt to increase his number should be resisted with all the means in our power, until the plunder he is wanted to guard shall have found its way back to its rightful owners.