WE don't do things for reasons; we do
things for the ghosts of dead reasons.
We don't act according to our intelligence; we act according
to the way somebody else acted before.
We are creatures of imitation, not of reason.
We are not automobiles, steered by hand,
eye, and brain ; we are locomotives, running on a track.
The very law of our land is built on
precedent. Our morals are the customs of preceding generations.
We live in ruts, do business in ruts, think
in ruts, feel in ruts, talk in ruts.
Just now we are raising a hullabaloo
about starvation. Europe is starving. Pretty soon, the experts say, we
will be starving. There aren't enough foodstuffs being raised.
Now, exercise your intelligence a
little, if any. Strip the whole problem of its complications. Reduce it
to its simplest form.
Don't ask what we have been doing, nor what the law will let
us do, nor what has been our traditional method of procedure since time
Just lay out the factors of the problem thus:
We need food. All food comes from land.
We have plenty of land and plenty of folks to work it.
What's the answer?
Foolish question number ninety-six!
Plainly, the answer is: Go to it. Till the land. Raise the
Why don't you do it?
Answer: It is illegal. The law will not
permit the men who want to work to use the land, because it belongs to
other men who don't want to work and don't have to.
Wouldn't simple, every-day, United States
horse-sense dictate that if a man won't use his land it ought to be
taken from him and given to the man who will work it?
There are 200,000,000 acres of idle land in
this country-enough to feed the world, enough for a farm of ten acres
for every American family.
"I own 2,000 acres of Texas land," says
Dr. C. C. Higgins of San Antonio. "It is good land. If it were put in
cultivation it would furnish employment for 100 men. It would feed
2,000 soldiers. The nation needs my land.
"It would cost $10 an acre to put my land
in cultivation. I haven't $20,000. If I had it I wouldn't spend it in
improving my land. I would lend it at eight per cent. I would thus get
rich. And the nation would still need my land.
"The truth is," he concludes, "that I have
no moral right to own land I do not use. I am a dog in the manger."
Now, wouldn't the obvious thing to do be to
take the 200,000,000 idle acres in the United States away from the
owners and give them to any persons who would make them productive?
But that is confiscation!
Granted. But all taxation is
confiscation; it is a government's act of taking away a man's property,
or part of it, by force.
Also, we are confiscating men, taking human
lives to throw into the trenches and the sea to save our country.
Haven't we the right to take land?
If we need the fodder, why not get
the dog out of the manger?
420 29th Street
McKeesport, PA 15132