*Written for the National Republic.
WE OWE our national existence to a struggle for independence and frequently, since that initial struggle, have we been called upon to maintain our sovereignty by the same means. As a people, we have been remarkably successful in vanquishing the foe who would destroy it and, as intended, this nation continues to be the mecca of the world’s oppressed peoples and the goal of those who seek both happiness and prosperity. But, today, with a world upset and the ashes of a universal conflagration still smoldering, the Republic is confronted with the most serious menace to her sovereignty she has yet encountered and of which the danger is scarcely realized.
I refer to a rapidly increasing enemy from within, already allied with alien forces and spreading its sinister influence to school, forum, and church, in every hamlet, town, and city of the nation.
On all sides there is growing criticism of our fundamental national institutions; disregard of civic duties; demands for complete disarmament; repudiation of obligation; and everywhere, preachings of perpetual peace and of the spread of the brotherhood of man.
What does all this mean? Is it the natural reaction of a highly favored nation recently emerged triumphantly from a war in which it helped to stamp out the ambitions of a lustful monarch who marked America also for destruction? Naturally not.
Let us inquire elsewhere, recalling that a nation is made up of groups of individuals of the same or assimilated blood. These groups have certain interests. They form a government in order to safeguard these interests to all concerned. A nation that thus governs itself exercises its sovereignty. There are many such groups on the earth’s surface today possessing dissimilar characteristics, and, as these groups grow, they make contacts with other groups and the interests often overlap and are in conflict. Every properly constituted government has an instrument wherewith it transacts these external affairs by means of conference, treaty, or arbitration. With us, it is called the Department of State, an executive department under the Chief Executive. When this department, through failure of its efforts, is unable to maintain the national will and the nation is suddenly plunged into hostilities and war is declared; then, and not until then, other executive branches of the government are called into play—the Army and Navy. The flames are extinguished, order is restored out of chaos, and the nation’s sovereignty is again placed out of jeopardy.
Here are the agencies on the side of sovereignty and it is to the honor of our citizens that these agencies have ever been able to maintain them and their rightful goods in security. Moreover, the President of the United States has recently said that he wants the armed forces of America to be considered by all peoples “as the contribution which is made by this country for the maintenance and security of the world.” A dignified mission, and certainly worthy of all acceptance.
Now, what of the forces allied against our national solidarity?
To the careful observer these forces are not hidden as was that new and dreadful agent of destruction, the German submarine, destroying warship and innocent merchant ship, alike, with incredible ruthlessness. The foe now arrayed against us leaves a distinct trace of its operations in the propaganda which invests every walk of life. The ranks of this army are composed of professionals: its files are amateurs. The leaders are pacifists, socialists, communists, and humbugs. They are organized into various societies masquerading under high sounding titles and interlocking in apparently high ethical and humane endeavor. In every case it is necessary to look for an ulterior motive. Inevitably there is such a motive which varies from a mere moneymaking scheme—an ethical swindle—to the deliberate misguidance of honest citizens for the purpose of producing disaffection and thus undermining our institutions. The consummation of such an object is anarchy and the consequent destruction of all national resources. Invariably, also, no matter what the variation in type of those engaged in these activities, or the character of the motives, getting other people’s money is always a feature of the job. It is required in great quantities in order to spread these influences just as much as it is required to effect nefarious ends in corrupt politics. Americans are idealists: they are easily touched.
The term “pacifist” has been brought into disrepute, as all good citizens are real pacifists; that is, they abhor war. They are really concerned with perpetuating peace which is “war’s only legitimate object.” The personnel of the Army and Navy are outstanding examples of real pacifists for it has first-hand information of the horrors of war and the life work of the armed forces of our country is in the undivided interest of peace. Churchmen and scholars are pacifists. It is these, so often sentimentalists, who are being influenced by the masquerading pacifists in most alluring and successful appeal, and with what result?
It is becoming fashionable to state that war is simply unthinkable; that it can be outlawed by decree and thus avoided. What need, we are asked, of any defense? Who can attack? Why not disarm so that others may surely follow? This sounds fine. Such reasoning has been drilled into our people by forces working quietly and incisively who well know that the history of the world bears out none of this reasoning; that human nature has been but little changed in the many centuries known to mankind; that greed and avarice and thievery still abound; that differences in many viewpoints can never be reconciled; and that until moral forces are strong enough among humankind to counteract all these very human frailties, little change can be expected in the conduct of nations which are themselves individuals. All this is well known but cleverly concealed in the appeal. The object of the promoter—in addition to the incident of making a livelihood—is really to sell us out. This was brazenly patent in one of the recent national (save the mark!) political platforms. We will outlaw war. How? By avoiding war. How? By rendering our armed forces impotent. Disarmament again, and why always harping on the United States? Very simple, for we are the great creditor nation. Without might in this very human world today, what would right do toward effecting the return of billions of our people’s money most unsparingly poured into their government’s hands—to give away? What would become of every commercial treaty with other nations wherewith the products of the hand of our people are marketed to all the world? What would become of the precious instrument of government which has made so much possible to its people? The answer is that ungovernment would replace it and our treasure would be divided up among the hoboes of the earth.
Here is what eventually becomes of the simple little thing put forth by the learned and well-meaning teacher of our children. Nothing more nor less than communism, all of it emanating from alien sources beneath the contempt of the sovereign government of the United States.
There are no less than 200,000 of this one type actively engaged within our borders and bountifully supplied with gold—hard earned, good American gold at that. Pretty work!
Now consider for a moment a clear example of the inconsistency of the amateur responding to this stuff which of itself is a really saving grace.
Among the founders of the Republic—those who had struggled, remember—were many who had been driven out of Europe through religious persecution. These saw to it that the Constitution stressed religious liberty. There was thus made possible the development of great protestant bodies as unquestioned forces for spiritual welfare. Shortly after the Great War, one of these denominations, in convention assembled, demanded an instant disbandment of our armed forces on land and sea. The very next year this same organization just as strongly demanded the chastisement of a nation, with whom we were at peace, for its treatment of Armenians. “War with Turkey” was the cry that year. Last year, this same great spiritual host was on the verge of threatening the United States with refusal to serve the nation if called up in its extremity—the country, remember, that had made this church possible.
The Navy Department at Washington is bombarded with written demands from church congregations, east and west, to stop the maneuvers of our fleet in our own waters—the only way to produce efficiency—in order not to provoke Oriental powers. In the same mail, similar organizations demand most anxiously the protection of their missionaries in the Orient. Heart and reason are at variance and the heart is certainly improperly stimulated and reason stultified.
Then, too, these insinuating agencies that cause this state of affairs reach into other fields in propagating the tenets they represent. The fields, however, adjoin. For instance, the notable communist nation is atheistic. God is decried in this form of government. It is to the interest of such a nation, in furthering this degree, to enter into all religious disputes no matter where. Scientists and intellectuals are made interested and their services used. Lecturers are sent broadcast under a glowing banner with illuminating subject thereon. Unknown to many of those engaged, the organization they represent is controlled by an outlawed association—I mean an association whose very meetings are broken up by police. At present such a league in America is supporting the so-called Modernist Cause and the lecturers are establishing branches throughout the country. Little do many of them suspect that these branches are naturally nuclei of communistic councils whose ulterior object is to disrupt all the churches of the United States in their struggle for universal class supremacy.
The Dayton episode is a side issue. Even that is believed to have the backing, financial and otherwise, of these apparently benevolent aggregations. On the plea of intolerance, as evidenced by the Tennessee statute, an uncommonly well financed outfit, whose outstanding cry is for civil liberty (and, naturally, we all believe in civil liberty) is conducting an educational campaign through civic, professional, religious, and (never fail) womens’ organizations. Now, while this campaign is on, another affiliated organization suggests in an open forum that the time is opportune also for stirring up industrial strife and this organization decided to import paid organizers into desired locations in order to create dissension among the workers. Here we have both the intelligentia and the proletariat being appealed to for the same purpose.
Along with all this, the straight-forward communistic groups are organizing the youth for athletics and physical culture likewise in the interest of class struggle and for revolutionary purposes and so state—avowedly, to make the working class well disciplined and efficient as a fighting force. You see, a fighting force again.
On the last Flag Day, in June, a daily communist paper published in Chicago and widely distributed, called upon its readers to denounce any participation in boosting for “the flag that never protected interests of workers” and this paper proclaimed what it called a “Red Week” with instructions to “Agitate.” This week culminated on July Fourth, the anniversary of an occasion that brought into being the very lives of those who prate of a “Red Week” in America and behind which is an actual Red Army, well drilled and well armed—in Europe.
Perhaps these are not really Americans thus engaged. At a recent meeting of a society, the first word in whose name is “American,” of more than 500 persons, eighteen per cent stated that they were born in the United States. When asked who were born in Europe, the remainder of those present rose in a body.
The bond between these plainly anti-government masses and the seemingly innocent and peace loving bands of brothers and sisters is beautifully interlocked. All have contacts at the seat of our National Capital. In fact, the literature of many protests received from various agencies on almost any movement this country sees fit to make in transacting its own rightful business is traceable to the activities of a single executive secretary of one of these organizations whose headquarters is in sight of all of the executive offices of the government of the United States, and Washington is acknowledged to be a fruitful place for conventions of all sorts. The president of a most influential college recently declared in an open conference in Washington, called to find a cure for war, that everybody had joined (something or other) “except the United States and a few other trifling nations.” This conference talked for a week without result. General Miles, a faithful servant just called to his reward, in an interview of twelve words, gave the real solution: “The only cure for war is to eradicate sin from the world.”
The great associations for the well-being of our youth, church clubs, Bible leagues, temperance unions, all appear on the letter heads of many clearly propagandist organizations. They have been led into camp—nothing more, nothing less. They do not realize it and may not until it is too late to prevent the desecration of our hearth stones. Can anything be more illustrative of existing conditions than the Pageant of Lexington, written in connection with the Boston celebration of the Bunker Hill Anniversary this year? The text was lauded by a revered Boston paper, which said that through it ran “a purposeful motif translating Lexington’s Day into the usage of today and tomorrow in American life.” Here is a part of the appeal of this poem to Americans:
Stand up for your rights!
To hell with your duties!
Do you want Freedom?
Well, then, organize!
Wealth is labor!
Property is labor!
Capital is labor!
The same author wrote, less than a year before: “I cannot today imagine the circumstances under which I would again fight for this or any other country.”
These are the words of the recognized spokesman of the patriots of Lexington, so said a member of the American Defense Society, patriots whose forbears first voiced American Independence by declaring that “if they mean to have war let it begin here!” A grave danger is that all of these radical organizations are merging. It is an easy matter to disintegrate small bodies when exposed to the searching rays of the sun. But, truly, in union there is strength. If our real citizenry, made up of the basic fabrics of the nation, comes to realize that it is being duped, the danger will be avoided. This requires just as much education as the propagandist uses and he is using it well. He has a grand argument and it is penetrating. It has won many converts. The talk of universal peace is soothing in the extreme.
A peace-loving gentleman and a splendid sailor, formerly in command of our country’s fleet and now soon to retire to life in quietude among his friends, said:
“I beg of you not to be deceived by a dream of eternal peace. The same passions, prejudices, and selfishness exist today as have always existed, and will have similar results. This nation of ours achieved its independence, preserved its integrity, and extended its borders by force. If we are to enjoy the fruits of the labors of our fathers, we must be prepared to use the same instrument.”
There is no need here to make a plea for the forces which keep us a nation. The United States goes the ultimate limit in its efforts for peace. She welcomes every step looking toward peace. The whole world owes her a debt of gratitude. She maintains an armed force in defense of her lawful rights when, despite all these efforts, they are encroached upon. She renders her good offices to weaker nations whenever they are imposed upon. In time of peace her flag covers her people who are doing their share of the world’s work no matter where they may be. That flag extends her humanitarianism to every nation under the sun. We seek no one’s territory. Our very altruism is often our weakness. We cannot see the forces arrayed against us unless they face our guns.
One glance about the world today will show how much there is to be done before real peace comes and how great is our share of it. Even then, when the world is entirely recovered from the last devastation, how can universally perfected morality be insured? It is international morality alone that can prevent strife among nations.
The great Washington in a message to the Congress wrote: “The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that, contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds.”
Americans only at their peril can ignore the precepts of their First President.