Archive from November, 2014
Nov 23, 2014 - Bringing on the War    No Comments

No Risking Profits for Sectional Harmony

It was the tariff issue which had driven South Carolina to nullification thirty years earlier, and ever since it was Southern pressure in Congress that kept the grasping Yankee at bay. With a tariff increase being one of the major planks in the Republican’s Chicago platform, the South was forced to recalculate the true value of political union with the North.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


No Risking Profits for Sectional Harmony

“At the March [1861] meeting of the New York Chamber of Commerce there was one item that hardly anyone noticed except the merchants. They were considering a proposal to repeal the Federal law giving American shippers a monopoly of the coasting trade and to open this lucrative business to the British on a reciprocal basis. Except to these commercial men the final disposition of the matter seemed to be of small importance during the dramatic weeks of the secession crisis.

And yet nothing illustrated more clearly the real essence of sectionalism and the tendency of Northern compromisers either innocently to deceive themselves or deliberately deceive others.

Conservative New York merchants had spent three months passing resolutions, circulating petitions, and visiting Washington to advance the cause of appeasing the secessionists. Repeatedly they had professed their friendship for the South and their eagerness to defend her rights in the Union.

Now they had an opportunity to give tangible proof of their sincerity, not by the sacrifice of some remote territory to slavery but at the cost of risking their own profits for the sake of sectional harmony. For many years Southerners had protested against the monopoly enjoyed by Northern ship owners in the coasting trade and had charged that it was one of the artificial devices by which the [Southern] States were subjected to Yankee exploitation.

The repeal of the law would reduce the freight charges levied upon the planters by exposing Northern traders to foreign competition. It would have removed one source of Southern complaint.

Nevertheless a special committee of the Chamber of Commerce reported against sharing with Britain “our great and rapidly increasing coasting trade.” Rather, the committee believed, “our interests demand we should cherish this trade, and establish our own system, irrespective of this or other nations.” Ultimately the whole subject was indefinitely postponed.

This decision of the New York merchants was no isolated phenomenon. Throughout the secession winter, the Northern compromisers generally showed great enthusiasm for concessions on matters that seemed to have no direct bearing upon their particular interests, but they displayed an unfeeling obduracy toward concessions on subjects that touched them closely.

In Congress nearly every type of sectional legislation came up for debate; and Northerners, whether radical or conservative, Republican or Democrat, refused to surrender any law which brought special benefits to their constituents. Southerners could cry out against discrimination and Northern tyranny, but Yankee congressmen were unmoved.

As a result, when Congress adjourned, the navigation laws which benefited eastern merchants were still on the statute books. So was the grant of Federal bounty to New England fishermen. Even though an Alabama congressman bitterly called the fishing bounty a device by which Northerners were “permitted to fleece” his constituents, a Southern proposal that it be repealed was defeated.”

(And the War Came, the North and the Secession Crisis of 1861, Kenneth M. Stampp, pp. 159-160)

Nov 23, 2014 - Bringing on the War    No Comments

The War to Save the Republican Party

The young Republican party of 1860 was a polyglot of radical Jacobins and abolitionists, ex-Whigs, Free Soilers, Know Nothings, anti-slavery Democrats, protective tariff demanding Eastern manufacturers, free-trade Western farmers, hardened machine politicians of the North, as well as myriad visionary reformers. A war against the South was seen as the only way to save the party from post-election disintegration.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


The War to Save the Republican Party

“Just as politics had helped determine the outcome of the [sectional] compromise struggle it also played its part, openly or covertly, in shaping the final decision to fight for the Union. Sooner or later the Republicans were obliged to recognize that violence was the logical consequence of their rejection of [compromise with the South]. Some faced that fact realistically from the beginning; others tried to dodge it for a time with a course of “masterful inactivity,” or to disguise it with soothing words like “defense” or the “enforcement of the laws.”

But one thing the Republicans knew for certain: The acceptance of peaceful secession would demolish their party as surely as would the betrayal of its platform.

They realized, as one Democrat predicted, that Southern independence would cause the North to “look upon . . . [Republicans] as the destroyers of the Union of our fathers.” That would arouse “an agitation . . . that would know no rest, day or night, until Black Republicanism . . . should be effectually destroyed.” Accordingly, Republicans fully understood that the Union must be saved to make their future secure.

Some of Lincoln’s followers evidently believed that a war for the Union promised other political benefits. It appeared to many, in fact, as the only program that could hold their organization together. For what other purpose could the diverse elements of Republicanism cooperate?

[Salmon P.] Chase wrote apprehensively that the most dangerous disunion threat he perceived was “the disunion of the Republican party.” No sooner was the election over than many Democrats waited expectantly for the disintegration of their rivals. [A Stephen Douglas supporter noted that] “It is morally impossible for any man . . . to distribute his patronage and shape the policy of his administration as to gratify and keep together such a heterogenous combination of discordant materials as that of which the “Republican” party is composed.”

Here was a solution to the Republican problem: A stand for the Union would certainly bind all the factions together. More, it would provide an appeal which, properly stated, few in the opposition would be able to resist. With that in mind, one Republican urged his political friends to “drop the slavery question . . . & appeal to the national feeling of the North” so that Democrats would be “swayed to our side.” Republicanism and loyalty were soon to become synonymous.

It is impossible to determine precisely how prominent the political motive was in the calculations of Republican leaders. Simply to prove that the Civil War saved their party from disintegration, as it may well have done, would not be to prove that Republicans deliberately started the war for that purpose. Yet the evidence is conclusive that politics was at least one factor, and often a surprisingly conscious one, which directed some of Lincoln’s friends toward war.”

(And the War Came, the North and the Secession Crisis of 1861, Kenneth M. Stampp, pp. 205-208)

Nov 23, 2014 - From Africa to America    No Comments

The North's Bloody Shirt of Imperialism

A chief advisor to Theodore Roosevelt regarding federal patronage for black Republicans, Booker T. Washington gained great influence with Negro newspapers by guiding placement of white business advertising to them. He and those he ensconced in federal jobs “wrote Republican propaganda and placed Republican (paid of course) advertisements in the Negro press during election campaigns.”

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


The North’s Bloody Shirt of Imperialism

“Washington believed that Negroes belonged on the land rather than in cities, in the South rather than in the North. Now he called upon Negroes to “cast down your bucket where you are.” Southern whites, he said, would find his people “the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has ever seen.” Thus he seemed to endorse the doctrine of “separate but equal.” The next year the Supreme Court endorsed it too.

For three decades the ardor of the North for rights of Negroes had been waning. The Republicans no longer needed Southern Negro votes to win the Presidency.

And imperialist sentiment helped to swing Northerners into the anti-Negro camp. “If the stronger and cleverer race is free to impose its will upon “new-caught, sullen peoples’ on the other side of the globe, why not in South Carolina and Mississippi,” asked the Atlantic Monthly. Of the Northern reaction to Southern disenfranchisement of Negroes, the New York Times commented on 10 May 1900: “The necessity of it under the supreme law of preservation is candidly recognized.”

“No Republican leader, not even Governor Roosevelt,” exulted Senator Ben Tillman, “will now dare to wave the bloody shirt and preach a crusade against the [South] . . . The North has a bloody shirt of its own. Many thousands of them have been made into shrouds for murdered Filipinos, done to death because they were fighting for liberty.”

(Age of Excess, The United States from 1877 to 1914, Ray Ginger, MacMillan and Company, 1965, pp. 236-237)

Nov 23, 2014 - Indians and the West    No Comments

Trading Guaranteed Indian Land for Rations

By 1875 the remaining sovereign Indian tribes were decimated by the relentless hordes of army soldiers; loss of food and shelter, and kept constantly on the move and in fear of surprise attacks, they ultimately preferred the detestable reservation life to cold and hunger. Sherman and Sheridan’s total-war strategy against the American Indian had been validated.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


Trading Guaranteed Indian Land for Rations

“The national stage of the United States in 1877 held a great variety of actors and actions. The values of the Indians opposed the values of white men. The purposes of farmer and banker, of factory worker and industrialist, of railroad president and merchant, often clashed. [This era saw] industrial bureaucracies such as Standard Oil [clash with] the hunting cultures of some Indians.

Crazy Horse was a great war chief of the Ogala Sioux. About 35 years old in 1877, he had been the leader of the war party in Wyoming in 1866 that left behind the corpses of Captain William Fetterman and 80 other soldiers. Through the next decade he fought white troops, down to that glorious day in June 1876 when he helped to wipe out the entire detachment of Colonel Custer.

Most of the Sioux were already in government agencies, but not Crazy Horse. After the Battle of the Little Big Horn he and his lodges went to the Black Hills, sacred to the Sioux. Then to the Tongue River, where several couriers from the government came to urge them to lay down their arms. At noon on 5 May 1877 Crazy Horse rode into the Red Cloud agency in Nebraska with 1,100 former hostiles, including 300 warriors. They had only 117 guns.

Even the agency Indians were wary of the army. The Federal government had recently decreed that no more rations would be given to them until they agreed to surrender much of their land including the Black Hills region, even though it had been guaranteed to them in perpetuity by a treaty of 1868. They also had been given the choice of removing to the Missouri River or of going to the strange Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

Crazy Horse brooded. Rumors held that he planned to flee with his warriors. Spies were set on him. His words were distorted in translation. On 4 September a large military force and some agency chiefs started from nearby Fort Robinson [and taken there after capture]. Entering a guardroom there the next day with some other chiefs, he drew a knife from his clothing [and] Crazy Horse was bayoneted in the stomach [and] died that night in the camp hospital.

Another chief, his hand on the breast of Crazy Horse, said: “It is good; he has looked for death.”

An era had died. With the suppression of the Nez Perce, the last of the great Indian wars had been fought. Instead of hostile Indians streaming across the plains, grasshoppers came, across Dakota Territory, Kansas, Nebraska, south to Texas, eastward to Missouri, north to Minnesota. In 1874, and 1875, and 1876, and 1877, when the crops were half grown. The cumulative weight of hordes of grasshoppers broke the limbs form trees [and] they ate everything [and] mowed crops to the ground. Against them there was no defense.”

(Age of Excess, The United States from 1877 to 1914, Ray Ginger, MacMillan and Company, 1965, pp. 3-5)

Nov 22, 2014 - American Marxism    No Comments

American Reformers and Communists

New England reformers intent upon abolishing sin in all its forms were for the most part responsible for driving the South to seek independence. Despite their dislike for foreigners they needed immigrants for factory labor, western settlers, and to become dependable Republican voters.  With those immigrants came revolutionary European socialism, future labor strife and a sea-change in American political traditions.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


American Reformers and Communists:

“From the colonists hoping to establish a Biblical commonwealth in New England, to nineteenth century reformers planning the abolition of sin, the Americans have always exhibited a strain of millennial thinking. During the [First] World War, dreamers who were busy reconstructing the social and economic order and the architecture of the Versailles Treaty aspired to inaugurate a “permanent and just peace.”

But during the decade that followed the Armistice the torch of idealism that had kindled the revolt of the American conscience at the dawn of our own century seemed to have pretty well burned itself. The returning soldiers were disillusioned about the crusade they had been sent off on.

The newly-formed American Legion became one of the chief exponents of the identification of patriotism with opposition to social, political, or economic reform of any kind. In some cases its members were even used against [labor] strikers. Foreigners began to seem a dubious lot anyhow; those from east and southeastern Europe were almost completely barred in 1924; American enthusiasm for the League of Nations petered out.

In the United States, there was neither a revolutionary movement nor a political party representing labor. The Socialist party, whose influence had been growing for years, notwithstanding the fact that it seemed foreign to the nature of Americans, suffered considerable defections when it decided not to support the war. The split with the Communists further weakened it. Eugene V. Debs, who was re-nominated for the presidency in 1912, gathered a vote of 897,000 and found himself jailed.

In 1919 the first serious strike in many years was launched to organize labor in the steel industry, which was traditionally anti-union….the [American Federation of Labor, the AFL] was poorly prepared [financially] to challenge this industrial giant whose treasury was filled to overflowing from far war contracts.

In order to cope with this situation, the Federation’s convention in 1918 passed a resolution introduced by William Z. Foster to form a steel workers organizing committee…One of the central body’s potent influences, [Foster], then posing as a regular trade unionist….went ahead with his plans [for a strike and] effectively shutting down the steel districts.

Ironically enough, management regarded the Federation as dangerously radical, along with the Communists and the “Wobblies” who were closely akin to the Russian Bolsheviks. They associated all unionism with collectivism. The object of all three, the Communists, the International Workers of the World, and the American Federation of Labor, was the over-turn of free enterprise. They believed the unions had no business in their plants.

As for William Z. Foster, he emerged shortly as a militant Communist leader, whose ultimate revolutionary objective tended to undermine the American labor movement as well as to discredit its leaders.

The steel and coal strikes….frayed the nerves of the industrial leaders, to whom the spectacle of the Bolshevist overturn of capitalism in Russia was frightening. Lenin and his fellow revolutionists were a far distance from American shores, but the basic theory of Marxism was one of world revolution and already there were stirrings of unrest on labor on this continent.

While communist Russia was relatively weak in 1919 and offered no threat to the United States, it succeeded in establishing a Fifth Column in the American trade unions and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters was not wholly immune from it.”

(Portrait of an American Labor Leader, William L. Hutcheson, Maxwell C. Raddock, American Institute of Social Science, 1955, pp. 118-123)

Nov 21, 2014 - Prescient Warnings    No Comments

Patrick Henry Fears an American King

Patrick Henry opposed the adoption of the Constitution as he feared the consolidating purpose of it.  He foretold that the growing power of the federal agent would oppress the States  and “use a standing army to execute the execrable commands of tyranny”; he warned of leaving the agricultural States of the South at the mercy of the trading and manufacturing States of the North through treaty and protective tariff bills, as well as “an army of Federal officers” sent forth to harass the people and interfering in their elections.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


Patrick Henry Fears an American King:

“The great danger to the country lies in the temptation to the political party controlling Congress to so manipulate the elections as to perpetuate its powers. Another danger in Federal elections, foreseen by Mr. Henry, was the improper use of money. He predicted that rich men would carry the elections and constitute an aristocracy of wealth. Bribery in elections has become open and shameless, and the most conspicuous corruptors of the people, instead of being relegated to infamy, are too often rewarded by high official positions.

The conduct of the Northern members of the Congress, especially in the matter of the Mississippi, induced Mr. Henry to predict, that under a government that subjected the South to the will of a Northern majority, that majority having different interests, would never consent to Southern aggrandizement. The history of the country may be appealed to for the fulfillment of this prophesy, and the justifications of the fears he expressed.

Mr. Henry’s declaration that the Federal Government “squints toward monarchy,” is now, after a century of trial, admitted to be true by writers on the subject. Professor Hare . . . after stating that in England the prime minister is the responsible executive officer, and that he is controlled by the House of Commons, adds:

“Our system, on the contrary, intrusts the executive department of the government to a chief magistrate, who, during his term of office, and so far as his power extends, is virtually a king . . . When President Polk precipitated hostilities with Mexico by marching an army into the disputed territory, Congress had no choice but to declare war which he had provoked, and which they had no power to terminate . . . A chief magistrate who wields the whole military, and no inconsiderable share of the civil power, of the State, who can incline the scale to war and forbid the return of peace, whose veto will stay the course of legislation, who is the source of enormous patronage which is the main lever in the politics of the United States, exercise functions more truly regal than those of an English monarch . . . every inch a king.”

(Patrick Henry, Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, Volume I, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891, pp. 404-406)


Funding the French in Indochina

It is said that the United States fought the Japanese in World War II to protect English and French colonial interests in the Far East, and the United Nations was viewed as a safeguard to future wars. Few Americans in 1950 knew how much of their money was going to prop up the French colonial regime in Indochina saved from the Japanese, never imagining that over 55,000 Americans would later die in Vietnam for a still-elusive object.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


Funding the French in Indochina:

“Whatever the formula for peace, the French Government recognized that it was no longer entirely a free agent in Viet Nam. Even in 1953, at the time of the Viet Minh invasion of Laos which occasioned so much alarm abroad, when certain members of the French Cabinet were reported to favor a request to the United Nations for help, they were overruled – partly to avoid foreign discussion and intervention in the affairs, not only of Indochina, but of the French Union generally; and partly out of fear that the United Nations intervention would precipitate Chinese intervention on the side of the Viet Minh, creating a situation similar to that which had prevailed in Korea.

At the same time, however, the French Government sought and received aid from its allies (from the signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1952 and from the British and American Governments on various occasions and at Bermuda in 1953) an endorsement of its war effort as vital to the defense of the free world. And it also sought and received substantial military and economic aid, mostly from the United States.

Certain highly-placed French officials were once reported as fearful of allowing American aid to reach fifty percent of the total French military effort in Indochina, on the theory that the United States would then be in “the zone of political demands.”

By 1954, the American Government was paying about eighty percent of the total French military expenditures in the Associated States. American aid, which began in 1950, had averaged $500 million annually and included ammunition, vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels, small arms and automatic weapons, hospital supplies and technical equipment, which were delivered directly to the French Union forces under the supervision of an American Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG).

In 1953, on the basis of military plans drawn up by General Navarre and a French pledge “to intensify prosecution of the war” and make “every effort to break up and destroy regular enemy forces in Indochina,” the United States promised France an extra $385 million.”

(The Struggle For Indochina, Ellen J. Hammer, Stanford University Press, 1954, pp. 313-314)

Nov 20, 2014 - Equality    No Comments

Equality Ends at Birth

The old Soviet Constitution provided the “Equality of rights of citizens of the USSR irrespective of their nationality or race; in all spheres of economic, government, cultural, political and other public activity”; the Constitution of the United States mentions nothing of the kind, and no evidence exists that any delegates to the 1787 convention believed in a doctrine of human equality.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


Equality Ends at Birth

“[The] “basis and foundation” of the first free government in America [Virginia] was equality of freedom and independence, while the [Thomas] Jefferson perversion was equality at creation. The Declaration of Independence does not say that all men are equal. It says that they were created equal. There equality ends.

All America thought alike on the subject in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, a few days after the Declaration was promulgated, helped to write a Declaration of Rights for the State of Pennsylvania. He copied [George] Mason’s original Virginia Declaration of Rights almost verbatim. His first paragraph was:

“That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending Life and Liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

So the basis and foundation of Franklin’s government was the same as that of Mason’s Virginia. It was equality of freedom and independence.

The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights contains the phrase “All men are born free and equal . . .” The Writings of John Adams (Volume 4, page 220) reveal that the original draft prepared by the Committee of which John Adams was chairman, in 1779, exactly copied George Mason’s original with the words “That all men are born equally free and independent.”

Before the Massachusetts Declaration was officially adopted John Adams embarked for France and on the twenty-ninth day of September, 1779, the Convention struck out the word “equally” and the word “independent” and substituted for the word “independent” the word “equal” making the clause read as it now reads: “All men are born free and equal.” John Adams was embittered by the change and, as we shall later see, had he been present it would not have occurred.

No other State adopted a human equality clause of any character until after 1835.  New Hampshire and North Carolina also copied Mason’s original while not one of the thirteen copied from the Declaration of Independence.

When the United States Constitution was under discussion at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787 not one delegate from any of the twelve States represented suggested that “all men are equal” either at creation or in life. On June 26, 1787, on the floor of the convention Alexander Hamilton, the patron saint of the Republican Party, said:

“Inequality will exist as long as liberty exists. It unavoidably results from that very liberty itself.”

Apparently every mind in the Convention assented, because not a word may be found in all the Notes of Debates to indicate that any delegate believed in the doctrine of human equality in 1787.

So far as we have found, the doctrine of human equality was not suggested by anyone in the battle that raged over ratification and a bill of rights. In the South Carolina Ratifying Convention of 1788, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a member of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, explained that one of the reasons why no bill of rights was adopted in Philadelphia which “. . . weighed particularly, with the members from this state” was that “such bills generally begin by declaring that all men are by nature born free.

Now, we should make the declaration with a very bad grace, when a large part of our property consists in men who are actually born slaves.” If “born free” was rejected in Philadelphia, what chance would one expect for “created equal”?

The Constitution proclaims in its preamble that it was established “to . . . insure domestic tranquility . . . and secure the blessings of liberty.” Nowhere does it hint a purpose to insure or impose equality of men or things. The due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which render liberty and property immune from attack except by the orderly processes fixed by law, insures that American governments may not impose equality.”

(Equality Versus Liberty, The Eternal Conflict, R. Carter Pittman, American Bar Association Journal, August 1960)

Nov 20, 2014 - Equality    No Comments

The Naive Argument of Socialists

The United States Constitution guarantees the right of all men to equal justice under law, but propagandists have carried the doctrine beyond equality of rights to equality of things, and “men are heard to proclaim human equality who would revolt at the suggestion that all birds, all fish, all cattle, all dogs or all race horses are equal.” All men are not created equal any more than animals. And even if they are created equal, that creation ends when life begins.

Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865


The Naïve Argument of Socialists

“Surely it is plain that to vest the legal title of residual ownership in the community has no necessary connection with the beneficial use of the property by the whole community. If it did, there would be no such thing as militarism in armies, as bureaucracy in governing departments, as profiteering by corporate officials and controlling minorities, as favoritism and patronage in the public services, as legalized raids on the public treasuries.

It is because soldiers, who do not own the army, develop special interests of their own that we have the phenomenon of militarism. It is because officials use the government service as a vested interest, though they do not own it, that we have a phenomenon of bureaucracy. It is because corporate officials and financiers and minorities use corporate property for their own benefit, though the residual owners are shareholders, that we have the phenomenon of corporate mismanagement.

None of these evils is presented by the fact that the beneficiaries do not possess the title deeds. The legal title does not even indicate how the property is to be administered for the beneficial advantage of the residual owners. Yet the whole promise of socialism rests on the assumption that property held in trust for others will be administered faithfully and wisely in their highest interest.

Though it is evident from all experience that there is no warrant for this assumption –though it is evident that property held in trust is not necessarily administered in the highest interest of the residual owner — the socialist naively argues that if all property were held in trust for all the people, all property would as a matter of course be administered in the highest interest.

And what is the communist conception of how collective propaganda should be administered? There is a “socialist” formula, declared in the present Russian constitution, which is “from each according to his ability, to each — according to his toil.” But this is regarded officially as a transitional formula to the true communist principle: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” But how are “needs” to be determined?

Since inequality has, on the Marxian premise, provoked all class struggles, the answer must be that the “classless” state will be one in which there is nothing to struggle for. The communists are driven to the notion that only if worldly possessions were “equally” distributed would men cease to struggle for more than their allotted share.

The whole premise of communism — that it can end class war, imperialism, national war, personal aquisitiveness and possessiveness — rests upon two suppositions: that equality of reward can be calculated and administered, and that it will be acceptable. So the correct way to state the communist theory is not that it means to abolish the private ownership of productive capital — that is merely a means to the end — but that it promises to administer productive capital according to the principle of “equal” rewards.

The fulfillment of this promise is of course dependent upon the ability of the rulers of a communist state to define equality in actual practice, to administer the economy by offering equal rewards, and to discourage, suppress, re-educate and if necessary, exterminate those who demand more than an equal reward.

Now it is no easy problem to deduce from the general principle of equal rewards the criteria by which they can be determined. I use the term “rewards” because it is evident the hypothesis could not be satisfied if all incomes derived from useful labor were equal in terms of money. Identical money wages would merely enhance the desirable advantages of inequality in other things.

In an army all private soldiers are paid the same wage, but it makes a vast difference to the soldier whether he is paid for service in the front line trenches or for being the chauffeur for the minister of war. It must be obvious, particularly to the communists who pride themselves on having a realistic appraisal of human selfishness, that only total and absolute equality of reward could, according to their theory, end the struggle for privilege.

The total satisfactions, the real income, measured not only in money, not only in goods, but also in place, power, repute, safety, adventure, interest, relief from monotony, would have to be equally divided that no one would wish to have any other job than the one that is open to him.

But though the communist diagnosis demands it, equality in this sense cannot be defined in theory or arranged in practice. The reason is that equality of reward has only a subjective meaning, whereas wage schedules, occupational requirements, the recruitment of labor, and the selection of managers and officials are objective decisions. The two cannot be reduced to a common denominator.

Thus if money incomes are equal, how shall the pleasure and pain of the effort expended be equalized? How many hours in a coal mine are equal to how many hours in a commissar’s office?”

(The Good Society: An Inquiry Into The Principles of, Walter Lippman, Little, Brown and Company, 1937, pp. 74-77)

Nov 18, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Democracy Comes to the Philippines

Democracy and equal opportunity were unknown in America’s new conquest, and in 1912 William Howard Taft warned his countrymen “that only 3 percent of the Filipinos voted and only 5 percent read the public press; to confer democracy on such a society was to subject the great mass to the dominance of an oligarchical and exploiting minority.”

Bernhard Thuersam, Circ1865


Democracy Comes to the Philippines

“On July 4, 1901, William Howard Taft took the oath of office as the first Governor-General of the Philippines, and control of the islands passed from the military arm of the government. Not all the problems [of converting the islands] had been solved.

Philippine society remained ill suited to the concept of representative democratic government, primarily because it is not one culture, but several. An election in Zamboanga was decided by which Filipino shot the other candidates first.

The Filipinos in the northern islands were Tagalog Christians, those in the south were Moro’s (meaning “Mohammedan”) who had long resisted Tagalog encroachment. A tribal people, they were fiercely jealous of their semi-savage freedom. Wisely, the Spaniards had left them to their own devices; but the Americans wanted to clean up and educate everybody.

So the [American] army established a garrison at Balangiga, on Samar, in he south where Magellan had sighted the Philippines and where he was to die at the hands of natives. On September 1, 1901, the natives from the surrounding hills of Balangiga fell on the American garrison, and in a devastating surprise littered the street with the heads, brains and intestines of the soldiery.

This was the beginning of a religious war with the Moros, one that took longer to settle than the war against Aguinaldo’s insurrectos. The fight became a struggle to win the minds and hearts of the villagers, who supplied the guerrilla bands and offered them bases and sanctuaries.

What was called for [to control the Moros], Pershing decided, was to disarm the entire Moro Province, to confiscate or buy every rifle, pistol, campilan, bolo and krise on the islands. It was not an original idea.

General Leonard Wood, who left the Philippines in 1910 to become Chief of Staff advised Perching: “You cannot disarm the people. It means they will bury their best arms and turn in a few poor ones, especially some who want to make a show of obedience.”

Moros who surrendered their arms were victimized by those who had not . . . it is as hard to disarm a people as it is to make them give up a religious belief.

In a letter to Avery D. Andrews, (General) Pershing put succinctly the apostolic creed to which he himself subscribed:

“It has been urged by some people at home that the Filipinos should be given their independence. Such a thing would result in anarchy. To whom should we over the government? Tagalog, Viscayan, Igorrote, Macabebe or Moro? No one can answer that any of these tribes represents the people in any sense, any more than the Sioux represents all the Indians in America. There is no national spirit, and except for the few agitators, these people do not want to try independence. They will have to be educated up to it and to self government as we understand it, and their education will take some time and patience. It is a grand work cut out for us from which there should be no shirking.”

The Americans stayed on, Pershing said, because “the American people being obsessed with the idea of maintaining their new position as a world power, insisted on keeping the flag flying over a territory once it was in our possession.

In the long run, the only advantage the United States or the Philippines realized from the occupation was the military mission. The archipelago was never destined to become a great way station to exploit trade with the Orient. America and the world economy were finding uses for Philippine products, especially hemp, sugar, timber and minerals. But as the world was discovering these products, the Filipinos were discovering corruption.

By 1920, Wall Street learned that the directors of the [Wall Street-capitalized Philippine National] bank had dealt out so many unsecured loans that $24 million had simply evaporated. The bank’s reserves, which should have been retained in New York, had also vanished in alarming fashion. Similarly, American rail industries had capitalized the Manila Railroad Company, which piled up astronomical losses in only eight years.

By 1921, the islands were insolvent.

“The idea that public office is a public trust,” Taft said, “has not been planted in the Filipino mind by experience and the conception that an officer who fails in his duty by embezzlement and otherwise is violating an obligation is difficult to grasp.”

(Pipe Clay and Drill; John J. Pershing, Richard Goldhurst, Readers Digest Press, 1977, excerpts, pp 100-153)