Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 84.djvu/200

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ip6 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

is that legislative agents have not contented themselves with presenta- tions of facts. They have brought improper influences to bear upon our legislative and executive officers. Perhaps the extent of such influ- ences is exaggerated. The press is prone to chronicle the evil rather than the good that men do. Exceptional instances of wrongdoing may be mistaken for the rule rather than the exception. Lobbyists are, how- ever, rightly regarded with suspicion. The sugar trust long since earned for itself a notorious reputation. In truly non-partisan fashion, it has helped out the campaign funds of Democrats and Republicans alike and has placed both parties under obligations to look after its interests. Its rebating, custom house frauds and secret tapping of the New York City water supply have added to its notoriety. Not many years ago a street railway magnate was reputed to own the city government of Chicago in much the same sense that a merchant owns his stock of goods. " The only reason we do not have a parcels post is the four express companies," John Wanamaker is said to have remarked, when Postmaster-General. The legislatures of certain states have occasionally been the adjuncts of railway or other corporations. The investigation of the insurance com- panies by the Armstrong committee, whose labors Mr. Hughes so ably directed, disclosed a startling condition of affairs. The venal legislator who introduces "strike bills" has intensified the general sense of sus- picion. The excessive multiplication of briefless lawyers who find it difficult to make a living has doubtless contributed to this condition. Organized labor in common with organized capital has violated the proprieties of life. "When a vote affecting the employees of the Boston Elevated was taken during the last session of the Massachusetts legisla- ture, the employees in their uniforms, present in large numbers, made such a demonstration as to intimidate certain legislators. The insidious control of certain members of the press for sinister purposes has excited popular distrust. The newspaper dependent upon legal advertisements or upon any special interest for support is to that extent compromised as an organ of public opinion.

The indiscreet friends of a cause are frequently its worst foes. This is true of protection. There are arguments of weight which can be advanced in favor of a protective tariff. The young industry argument is entitled to respect. It may be wise to diversify industries even at considerable economic sacrifice. Self-preservation requires a nation to produce at least part of its military supplies. Not least among the advantages of protection have been its political consequences. By cen- tering attention upon Washington, and by rendering the different por- tions of the country industrially interdependent, it has contributed to our unity as a people. Unfortunately, however, such considerations have frequently exercised little influence in the enactment of tariffs. Log- rolling has repeatedly extended protection to industries to which it should never have been accorded. Many industries have claimed pro-

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