The way people used to talk before P.C. and lawyers killed free speech

While looking around for more information about the early Steel business, I wound up at Google Books looking at the January 1, 1905 edition of the Bulletin of the Iron and Steel Association...     some interesting items…

Immigration problems

Everyone at all familiar with the subject realizes that the present method of preventing criminals from entering this country is farcical in its ineffectiveness.  Incoming aliens are simply asked certain questions to discover whether they have a criminal record.  It is not on record that any one of them ever answered in the affirmative.   Immigration commissioners have noted that the character of the newcomers of the last two years has been lower than previously.   From certain sections of Europe we are getting now only the very dregs of the people.  Italian fugitives from justice have come here to terrorize their fellow countrymen, steal and become a menace to the community in which they live.  They introduce “such hideous fruits of oppression” as the mafia, the vendetta, “black hand”, and anarchists societies.  In large cities, they are the most dangerous and troublesome of the criminal classes.  Congress should have the courage to check this great evil now.

England’s Treatment of China

An examination of the question and of the circumstances under which the opium traffic was forced upon China will show that more than half a century ago the Chinese Government tried to curb the opium vice, and therefore prohibited the importation of the drug.  The English had a very profitable trade in opium.  [Is Lyndon LaRouche a nut for saying the Queen of England is involved in drug trafficking?].  It was profitable to grow in India; the handling and shipment were lucrative; the Government revenues from the traffic were great.  Great Britain said, in effect, that the Chinamen were slant-eyed hypocrites who did not wish to stop the evils of the traffic but were plotting to protect the home industry of opium growing and to shut out the English product.  The English made war on the Chinese and compelled them to sign a treaty permitting the English to sell opium to the Chinese, who were, from the British point of view, plainly created for the express purpose of buying that baleful drug from Englishmen.  The Chinese were speedily drubbed and the treaty was signed.  China now buys annually nearly $25,000,000 worth of opium from India.  The Indian Government which supervises the traffic, receives an annual revenue of about $20,000,000.  So much for the opium trade and the opium habit, which has been fastened upon the Flowery Kingdom as its national curse.  England’s infamy has been admitted; enlightened English statesmen to not now fedfend the the transaction; the world condemns it.

The Trend to State Socialism

State socialism, twice checked by the defeat of its Presidential candidate, has taken a fresh impetus since the last election.  It is finding expression in a multitude of propositions for Government control of railroads and transportation and of business activities in general.   Senator Newlands of Nevada, has introduced a bill which looks to a consolidation of all the railroads in the country under the direction of a single executive commission.  Senator Heyburn, of Idaho, has a bill which creates a board with jurisdiction over all corporations of whatever kind, with authority to determine whether they shall be allowed to carry on business.  There are but two of many measures already brought forward by Senators from the Far West, all pointing in direction – the absorption of private enterprise in th the Federal Government.

The advent of these centralizing measures do not always recognize their logical and necesary result.  They commonly only of supervision and restraint, the correction of abuses.  But supervision, such as they have in mind, can be of little value without the power of practical control, and when the control of the consolidated railroad system of the country shall pass into the hands of the Federal Executive the impulse to private initiative will be gone, and we shall have that extension of governmal functions which is the dream of State Socialists, the paternal system of Prussia [ed.  Germany] applied upon a scale hitherto unapproached.

Senator Newlands and Senator Heyburn may be accepted as rpresnetatives of the paternal theories which at one time were minfested in Grangerism and Populism, and later were summarized under the comprehensive term of Bryanism.  When they apparently gained possession of a great political organization they were repudiated by the country.   Since they were repubidated by the Democratic party their adovcates prefer to call themselves Republicans, but their theories remain the same.  It will be the turn of the Republican party now to repudiate them – or accept them.

No observer of contemporary politics can fail to recognize that, by the very extent of the recent Republican success, the issue between oppoiste theories of government, the theory of much government or of little has now been transferred to the majority party.  The old-fashioned constitutional Democrarcy, though it may hold its onvictions unshaken, has been shown too feeble to exewert any power in legislation.   It is a Congress overwhelmingly Republican that will be called on to fact the broad questions involved in the populist trend.  They may be put off for a time, or may be met for a time by compromise, but compromise can but defer the fundamental issue.  Either we are tending to one strong, centralized, all-embracing authority, directing every actviity of life, or those who still hold the older traditions of the Republic will combine and assert themselves to defeat this tendency.  It is the old issue in a new form, and here appears the next inevitable line of cleavage in American politics.


You might be inclined to ask what any of this has to do with making Iron and Steel 🙂

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2 Responses to The way people used to talk before P.C. and lawyers killed free speech

  1. Art Stone says:

    Some context for the third item. The date is January 1905. Teddy Roosevelt had just been elected to his second term.,_1904

    It’s hard to miss that Republican Roosevelt won all of the Union States, and Alton Parker, the Democrat won all the former Confederate states. Alton Parker’s VP candidate was William Randolph Hearst. [Say Rosebud]

    Bryanism is a reference to Wiliam Jennings Bryan, who was a populist and had run for President in 1896 and 1900 against William McKinley and lost.

    William Jennings Bryan supported Prohibition, and would ultimately go to work for Woodrow Wilson, and be Secretary of State, urging the breaking up of the 1% super rich robber barons who ruled the country. He was the lawyer who led the case in Tennessee to prosecute John Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution, which was against the law in Tenneessee.

    “Senator Newlands of Nevada” is Francis G Newlands, who had sponsored the bill to “annex” Hawaaii. he would go on to run for president in 1912 on the platform of taking away the vote from blacks and limiting immigration to only white people. He co-founded Chevy Chase Maryland, which had rules incorporated into the city’s laws to not allow blacks and Jews to own property in the city.

    His views are a piece of work

    Senator Heyburn of Idaho was Weldon B Heyburn. He was a Republican Senator – this was prior to the 17th amendment – where US Senators were elected by the State legislatures, not an election of the people.

    The Interstate Commerce Commission was relatively young, and Teddy Roosevelt wanted to regulate railroad freight rates. The Elkin Act had been passed in 1903, which outlawed railroads giving special discounts to certain customers. In 1906, the Hepburn Act would be passed to further tighen the screws on the railroads.

    I remember learning at some point (I think in college when I was living in the South), that what was going on was Pittsburgh was using the Federal Government to prevent competition from the steel mills in Birmingham, Alabama. Freight rates for steel products were set at “What it would cost to ship the steel from Pittsburgh”, meaning that if a customer in Georgia bought steel from the mill in Alabama, the ICC forced the railroad to charge a rate as if the steel was made in Pittsburgh and shipped to Georgia….

    Interesting how politics has turned on its head in 100 years…

  2. redpoll says:

    Thanks for publishing this, Art. It’s interesting how the same themes are still around 120 years later. It doesn’t sound like politics has turned on its head, though – it seems more like politics is stuck in a time loop, with the same conversations repeated generation after generation. And if we’re going to extend that juvenile metaphor, we know how the loop reset itself with the NCC 1701-D. God help us. And have a happy new year.

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