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Understanding the principle of Confiscation, it will be easily seen how it must work in every individual case; and, therefore, it is needless to dwell on or elaborate its workings when it is applied to banks, breweries, sugar refineries, water works, gas works, street railways, etc.
It will not destroy capital or business. It may lessen the value of real estate on the principal streets in large cities, and fall in values is not certain even there. It will trouble no one, however, if it does; not the present owner, even, for the value of property in favored localities is so great now that, however much one man can own now, he can own but a fraction of it under the proposed change. The owner of, say, a $400,000 building and lot on such a street as we are now considering may find a shrinkage of $100,000. This will give him two partners instead of three. The shrinkage, therefore, will be to his liking; for, be it known, the aristocrat is a proud bird, and likes to flock by itself. And any designs against these two partners will be so fruitless of results to himself that a word in his ear now and then by his friends and well-wishers, about the public treasury, will end in his cultivating, such a lamblike submission to the new dispensation that his eloquence, born of the new light and an awakened conscience, will make his titled sister over the way give up her bauble when he shows her the cost of its pomp to the struggling poor.
Such will be the effect of the change on a man who now carries the law in his pocket, when he hasn't it under his feet.
Moving the laborer so far away from the centre of the city, and where there is room to build habitable homes, will be a serious objection, it will be urged. They cannot get to their work on time without getting up at all hours. They can just have time to snatch a bite and be away again. And the whole of Sunday must be given to sleep they cannot get at any other time.
They will be strangers in the near-by theatre, and the near-by library will be given up to the spider and his web, and the little garden of flowers that the once half-starved women have made a delight will be unknown to the worn out bread-winner, who will be the same old slave we premised to unshackle. Better clothes surely, and his home shows what it is to be a citizen of a republic that is a republic in fact as well as in name; but he has only time to snatch a bite and be away again.
Will it never occur to those critics that we are here dealing with the greatest creation of the Almighty, and of all time - civilized man; and that we must make the conditions fit him, and not he the the conditions.
Everything he eats, wears, and uses in twelve months can be produced in two. Why, then, should he be compelled to labor twelve months for that which can be produced or made in one-sixth of that time? The reason is plain. When two laborers make an exchange there is wholesale robbery committed by the non-producing and idle parasites, while the fruits of Labor are on the way to those who alone are entitled to the whole. "And I," says the millionaire, "say this robbery must go on, for I am an impossibility without it." That gnawing canker never had any doubts as to where his surfeit comes from. And now that it has become a question of life and death with those he has been plundering, he should be dragged to the bar of justice and compelled to disgorge. And then labor, too, can come in on the eight and nine o'clock train, and be no later for its work than is the banker and the rest of his class that have had Labor under their heels so long.
The capacity of the modern world to produce has entirely outstripped her capacity to consume, and trying to solve the economic problems of the day, by further denial or ignoring of this fact, that should be self-evident, will be to build a structure with only half the foundation laid, and the inevitable collapse is bound to follow.
There will always he plenty of room in the heart of a city for those who must live close to their work.
But the inventor has made night work, except by the parasitical leeches, unnecessary to the masses, a few hours of daylight being more than sufficient to supply all the needs of the country. We are not insisting, be it understood, on a four-hour or eight-hour system of labor. No industry or occupation will be hampered or meddled with by doing justice to the laborer in the way proposed. The railroad employee, printer, baker, factory hand, etc., can work on as now, but they must be compensated with just wages for the labor done. This will enable them to retire before decrepitude comes on, and orders are left for the poorhouse ambulance to call on its way out.
If every city occupied three times the ground they now do, they would be gainers in all ways, and the moral degradation into which large sections of them have sunk would disappear with the conditions that produced them.
The capacity of Europe to feed her people is being crowded, we are told, and then our flag is again run-up, and during the whole exhibition the Chinese system of bunking is quietly fastening itself in every city of consequence in the country. When those sorely pressed people, whose very existence is being threatened by these foreigners of a degraded civilization, awaken to the extremity of their danger, the bunking system and its introducers will find perjury and the habeus corpus mill powerless to save them. Mark this, however. The big capitalist imported the Chinaman, and his powerful influence has defeated all attempts to remove him. It follows, then, that we must break up the big capitalist, if we ever expect to get at the thing behind him.
We are not indifferent to the hardships of the oppressed of other nations, but we cannot get out of our own perplexities by saying that we are more favored in some way than are others. There are rocks ahead of ourselves, and watching others going to pieces and firing congratulatory guns will not help them or save us from, a like fate.
Whatever is in the near future for Europe, we, at least, have nothing to fear as to the capacity of our country to support all her people. And as it is with room for producing, so it is with room in which to live. There is plenty of both, and we should show ourselves worthy of the legacy left us by that handful of brave men who established liberty in our country, and insist on getting plenty of both before the armed hireling appears and it is too late.