Page:War Prisoners (Darrow).djvu/16

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16
WAR PRISONERS.

I have said to you that I believed in this war from the beginning. I know there were a good many people who did not, some of them as honest as I, possibly some of them as intelligent; I would not say about that, but anyway, as honest. You never can find any question that everybody agrees on. They may say they agree, but they do not. There is always bound to be a difference of opinion among men on any subject; that comes from the different sized hats they wear and the different nervous systems they got from their great, great, great grandmother. This country had a large German element; it had a large Irish element, hostile to England, and a large Jewish element, hostile to Russia; it had people here from every country on earth who were bound to be influenced more or less by their likes and dislikes of the various European countries at war. Then, we had people who did not believe in war in any way; who thought they were pacifists, but who still like to see their side win, although they would not admit it; there were people who honestly thought that the United States should not be in this war. Not strange; not at all strange. It would be strange if there were not tens of thousands of people in America who honestly hold these opinions. And I know of no way to tell whose opinion is right and whose opinion is wrong. The only way I have of knowing whether your opinion is right is by comparing it with mine. That is the only way anybody ever has of doing. I am willing to admit that among the thousands of opinions I hold there is very likely somewhere, some one of them twisted, but if you ask me about each opinion separately I can defend every one of them and be sure they are right. And that is very reasonable because if I could not defend them I would change so I could not be wrong from my own standpoint.

We had all kinds of people in this country, with all kinds of views. Every other country had the same, but perhaps to a smaller degree than we because most of the other countries are more homogeneous in their populations. Men and women were not permitted to make an argument or speech against the war. Of course, I am making no complaint, I had perfect freedom of speech during the war. I do not see why anybody else should complain; I did not have any trouble! You could discuss the war perfectly freely, so long as you were for it! Now, I am not quarreling with that. I think I like the British method better. They let you discuss it. If it got too hot, they would mob you. That is much better because it does not leave a law on the statute books to do mischief after it is over, know perfectly well that there are limits that must be placed