Soldiers have always received large fees. Leaders took the land, but the cities were given to the soldiers to loot - it was their pay for services rendered the home community. If the army received no loot, it simply looted villages on the way back, and even the home towns. Soldiers have always been the highest paid officers in the land, because they were high themselves, the rulers of the non-fighters. People stand aghast at the "enormous" pension bill now "saddled" on us, though it is the cheapest pay soldiers ever got. They might have divided up the South as our ancestors divided up England, but instead they took pay for services in the way of pensions. The men who stayed at home to make money are fools to think that other men will do the fighting, take all the risks, and the stay-at-homes reap the benefit. That is not paying for service according to its value and cannot be tolerated. It is already discussed in England as to whether the stay-at-homes and those whose property was saved in Africa should not be taxed to give a life pension or a big lump sum to every one who served in the army. The billions of wealth protected and saved by soldiers in our next war must pay salvage of hundreds of millions in the way of service pensions. This is far cheaper than the old style of handing over everything to the soldier in payment for services. That was like giving a lawyer the whole estate for saving it. On the other hand it is a notorious fact that many of our prominent families whose wealth was vastly increased by the civil war, did not have a single representative in public service. Such fattening on the blood of others cannot be tolerated again, and the fortunes will be taken away in time.
When our soldiers entered a Filipino city they found it deserted, and yet they protected it from destruction, brought back the owners of the houses who had been frightfully overtaxed by the insurrecto government, yet we claimed no salvage and later we calmly paid these same owners most exorbitant rents. Our Civil War cost $6,000,000,000, and saved untold billions to the nation by preventing disruption of the union. Nevertheless, only $3,333,333,000 have been paid in pensions. The rich stay-at-homes have profited by the blood of soldiers as never before in history. Lord Kitchener was given an enormous fee for his work in South Africa, but we cast ignominy on the soldiers who are developing our national prosperity in the Philippines.
Hence, we see that services to any democracy are high priced and demand specialists. The sooner we recognize these two facts the sooner will the unnatural conditions in our cities be rectified. Charles Fourier prophesied 100 years ago that "vast joint-stock companies, destined to monopolize and control all branches of industry, commerce and finance, would establish an industrial or commercial feudalism that would control society by the power of capital, as did the old baronial or military feudalism by the power of the sword." Perhaps it is now time to stop this tendency and employ agents intelligent enough for the purpose. If it is true, as many thinkers assert, that the trusts are merely the first stage of an evolution whereby they become government organs, then the matter of pay will rectify itself. The officials will become officers and the present high salaries will be continued as a matter of necessity, and the rule will be extended to all other organizing and executive offices.
It has been objected that as we do not employ the best brains for public office, they do not render as great service as they claim and are, therefore, not entitled to high pay. In a certain sense that is true, but it is also true that they are in a position where stealing is easy. It is a rule to increase wages according to responsibilities, yet even that does not entirely prevent occasional peculation. It is placing a very low estimate on humanity to say that every man has his price, for there must be many whose figure is so high as to be beyond price. When police protection ends, cities are looted, for stealing is still a normal, natural human trait - sorrowfully as we must confess it - but it is one result of the survival of the fittest in an awful struggle for existence. Ancient methods are too crude and brutal nowadays, so we resort to all kinds of refined subterfuges by which we keep within the law. High wages for those we trust with our public funds and public affairs are therefore in the nature of safeguards against our natural tendencies, but the basic reason for high wages for public officers is the fact that they are comparatively few able to do this great work of life saving, and we must pay high for the privilege of living.