America Safe!

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America Safe!  (1917) 
by James W. Gerard
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If any man is afraid of bolshevism in America, I know how to cure him. Let him visit a few schools. Then let him talk to a few farmers. He will quickly discover that good old-fashioned Americanism is not dead. The farmer, in spite of the fact that he does not get a fair return on the product of his labor, is faithful to the principles on which this country was founded. School children are still taught the fundamentals of constitutional democracy. As long as this is so, we are far from danger of revolution.

Our national life is disturbed because of the high cost of living, industrial unrest, and political conflict. These are temporary problems if they are handled intelligently. Anybody has the right to advocate anything whatever, except a forcible change in our government by violent means. I know of no greater safety valve than to let a man talk. The dangerous ones are the ones who don't do any talking, at least in public.

The unrest in this country today is psychic as well as industrial. We are in a fair way to cure the latter problem by creating a practical partnership between capital and labor. Both sides realize that there is greater profit in working together, than in fighting. Labor will always get more than it has in the past, and that is as it should be. Labor unions are here to stay. The right of collective bargaining and the right to strike to enforce demands must in the future be taken for granted. Practically everything which labor has won in the last half century has been secured through unions, which have not been conciliatory, but have fought for what they got. You cannot make men work by threatening them with jail. You cannot govern the country industrially by injunction.

The high cost of living is due to our wasteful system of distribution. Food products pass through too many hands between the farmer and the consumer. Every unnecessary middle-man should be eliminated. No one should be allowed to take a profit, and thereby increase the cost of a product, unless he performs a legitimate service to the consumer.

Another cause for the high cost of living is our present taxation system. The excess profit tax places every businessman under an artificial and illogical restraint. If you have a piece of property which has increased in value and sell it, you are taxed on the profit, with a result that no businessman closes any sale nowadays if he can avoid it. Business ought to be as easy to transact as possible, but the present condition is just the reverse. Why should a man embark on a new enterprise today? If he does so and loses, he loses. If he wins, the government takes nearly all of it away from him, and so he loses anyhow.

In the coming conflict with the Bolsheviki, the Allies need the aid of Germany, who is in a position geographically and otherwise to be a strong bulwark against the Russian hordes. It would be a great mistake to destroy Germany. That she should be punished for inaugurating the war goes without saying, but punishment should not mean annihilation.

The Democratic party in office has been a party of achievement. Victory will be ours in the coming election, if we will firmly uphold our ideals. Let us restore goodwill among the nations of the earth, and advocate freedom for subject people everywhere. Let us stand for freedom of business and for the freedom and happiness of American homes.