Linus S. Webb.
In the Appeal to Reason (published at Garnett, Kas.), the following "appeals to reason" appear under tho title, "Up-to-Date Definitions:"
1. Law.--A rule of Inhuman action prescribed by the supreme selfishness of ruling classes in a state, proscribing what is right and perpetuating what is wrong.
2. Civil Law.--A rule of un-civil conduct.
3. Ancient Common Law. --A law based on immemorial injustice and ignorance from a time whereof the befogged mind of man runneth not to the contrary.
These so-called "appeals to reason" are simply appeals to passion and prejudice. Instead of having the effect of conmmanding the attention and respect of reasoning men, these "up-to-date" definitions elicit nothing but contempt and aversion for the socialists who give them, and for the doctrines of modern socialism. The socialists advocate some measures and reforms which meet the approval of men generally, but the sweeping denunciation of all law and existing institutions, arouses the indignation of men who see and know that there is much good in our system of government as it is, even admitting that there are evils which should be remedied.
Our forefathers builded according to their light in their day and generation. The Declaration of Independence was a protest against the injustice of the crown. The constitution was designed to guarantee the people of the United States freedom from tyranny and oppression. The compromises with slavery were abolished by and as a result of the war of the rebellion. The fugitive slave law was wiped out, and the republic had a new birth of freedom. Civil and religious liberty was guaranteed; the right to bear arms established, and also the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of their grievances; freedom of the speech and of the press, and the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, were also guaranteed by the constitution which was ordained by the people. These and other inalienable rights were made secure, so far as the law can secure the rights of the people, by the Federal constitution, under which, in the course of a hundred years, a mighty republic arose to astonish the world by its example of self-government, its Intelligence, its power, and its political and moral grandeur.
Must we shut our eyes to all the good that has been accomplished since the landing of the pilgrim fathers? Shall we admit that there Is nothing good in our political and social system as it now exists? Shall we shut our eyes and blindly strike at existing order, before we have evolved and agreed upon some new system whereby greater good may come to our countrymen? The Appeal to Reason asks "why do people oppose a theory they know nothing about? A fit answer to that question is in another, Why should people support a theory they know nothing about? Besides, a mere theory, unproved by practical tests, is open to debate. You cannot force your theory upon the minds of thinking men by abusing them, and by attacking all political and social theories and institutions to which the people have become accustomed through many years of practice. You must, in fact, appeal to their reason, and not to their prejudice and passion.
No one objects to educational processes along the lines of progress. We all believe in progress, and In reforms which we know to be for the betterment of society. But when our passions are appealed to, and our prejudices attacked, wo are liable to resist and resent the appeal and the attack. While most men admit that there are existing Inequalities and wrongs under the present system of law and government, yet they cannot admit that everything Is wrong, that our laws are all designed to favor the rich and oppress the poor; that all men are dishonest, all officers corrupt, and the social body so diseased that it cannot be cured by some remedy known to the law and the law-givers of our day. It Is the part of wisdom to preserve that which is good, and the man who neither sees nor acknowledges that which is good and just under existing law and custom is unfit to be a teacher of men, and his counsels are to be considered and received with the utmost caution.
- The Advocate and News, Devoted to the Best Interests of the Home, the Shop and the Farm, Tenth Year, No. 23.. Official State Paper. Topeka, Kansas, June 08, 1898, Every Wednesday. Price Five Cents. Pgs. 9-13