I am an incurable idealist and a chronic optimist, but I am not able to shut my eyes to what I see going on around me I don't believe in looking always on the "bright side" of things and refusing to examine the darker side. In the human garden there flourish some mighty foul weeds, most of them cunningly disguised, that need to be looked at and destroyed
Ours is a system of pig-ethics. I do not mean by this merely our love of wallowing, but include also our selfishness, our game of grab and stab. Modern business of all kinds is just such a game, cleverly disguised, though it often is, under a pretense of philanthropy, service and idealism. At the root of business, and supplying its motive power, is a sordid commercialism that does not hesitate to trample the most sacred things of life, even life, itself, in the mud and mire to attain its selfish ends. Idealism can make little or no headway in our world until these pig-ethics are destroyed. For our pig-ethics employs idealism, not as a working principle, nor yet as a way of life, but as a cloak to mask the ulterior motives of the fraud and the cheat.
Some years ago a large drugless sanitarium, located in Battle Creek, offered stock for sale. The heads let it be known that they expected to pay dividends amounting to returns of twenty per cent. upon the investment. Think of this! A professedly humanitarian institution run on the same basis as a steel mill, or a public utilities corporation! Besides providing a fat living for the actual workers in the institution, they could pay large dividends to absentee owners. Does it not look as if the sick with one foot in the grave, were going to keep the healthy on easy street.
This shameless exploitation of the sick and dying is carried on by every so-called school of healing on earth. Then, when a patient dies, the undertaker comes, with the same commercial motives, the same pig-ethics, and while the grief-stricken wife or husband, mother or son feels that there is nothing that he or she would not do for the beloved deceased, takes a mean advantage of this emotional states and holds them up on a fashionable burial.
In more recent years the shameless exploiters of human life and health, not content with the profits they were deriving from their abuses of the actually sick, have found ways and means to exploit the non-sick as well. As of old, this new from of exploitation hides behind a smoke-screen of altruism, the exploiters are doing it all for the good of humanity, for the public health, for the protection of our children, etc.
Few of us ever stop to consider the power of slogans in their effect upon, the mob mind. "To Hell with Autocracy," "Down with the Kaiser," "Berlin or Bust," "Make the World safe for Democracy," "Work or fight," "Bonds or Bums," or "Bonds or Bread Lines," "Republicans and Prosperity," "Democrats and Disaster," "Save the Children," "Buy a Tag," "There's a reason," "A Baby in every bottle,' etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam, are only a few of the soul stirring slogans that have helped to make this republic what it now is.
We are misled by these cheap slogans and have come to "think" in slogans and act in slogans. The man or woman who has a sincere and intense feeling towards humanity, a feeling that constitutes a religion in itself, and which is too broad and deep to exist in the narrow confines of any creed and too strong to be devoured by the greeds of the time, must look on this spectacle with hatred and disgust.
Huge sums of money are collected to feed and clothe and care for the suffering and needy in foreign lands. What for?
So that big business can sell its goods to these needy ones. It is a game of you pay for my goods and I'll ship them to the hungry in China. Organized charity is a cold, soulless business; a system of exploitation as much as any of our departments of big business.
Religion, whether called by one name or another, whether labeled theism or atheism, is profitably exploited by those who want to keep their hands soft and white. The exploiters in all fields prattle their idiotic platitudes about brotherhood and service, while going through the mechanical motions of their pet religion (?), where they curiously find sanction for it all, while shutting their eyes and ears to the solemn truth that they have humanity nailed to the cross.
I am not as much interested in the adults on this cross as I am the children. If the adult population of this world allow themselves to be bullied and beaten, deceived and cheated, maimed and killed by the exploiters, they have no one to blame but themselves. They have but to rise in their collective might and these exploiters will desert their positions like rats leaving a sinking ship.
Neither are the exploiters as much interested in the adult; except as the one who pays the bills, as they are in the children. We have just about turned our children over to them, body, mind and soul.