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erty depends upon law; that law violation is contagious, and therefore that all other classes of society can adopt towards property and the persons who own it the same methods and the same attitude. It would be unreasonable, indeed, for any element of society to attempt to invoke the law for its security and protection which it has held in contempt and sought to break down. This, however, has not been the most immediately harmful effect of the disregard of law by business. Unscrupulous business methods in violation of law, an attitude that the power of wealth lifts its owners above the law so that they can defy it with impunity, arouses a spirit of resentment in society. A prejudice is created not only against immediate acts of law violation, but also against its very existence and lawful operations. In short, the conduct of business in violating law has often produced a reaction in society that has caused restrictions, limitations and the penalties to be placed upon it that are in some instances unsound from an economic, industrial or social point of view.
The attitude at times of big business, that it is above the law, has also stimulated the spirit in the public that lawlessness must be met by lawlessness; that one unlawful act by an element of society must be challenged, and met by another unlawful act. This, of course, breeds a growing disrespect for law. These acts of lawlessness are contagious, so that the law violator all along the line thinks that he is only following the example set for him by those agencies of business that were strong enough and well enough intrenched to violate the law with impunity. The holdup man is the counterpart of the profiteer. The lawlessness of labor is the counterpart of the lawlessness of capital. The lawless employee is always an apt pupil of a lawless employer.
As for labor organizations, many have opposed them in principle, especially the employer class. Whether economically wise or not, it is not material to discuss here. In passing, it may be said, however, that most fair-minded people feel that, in the absence of regulation by government for his protection, the man who toils is at an unfair advantage, dealing as an individual, with his more powerful employer, who often represents large aggregations of wealth. For this reason, society, as a whole, has not opposed these organizations for the protection of labor, the practical fact being that one combination of men have been
brought face to face with another combination of men.
The concern of society is that it has been the innocent victim of the struggle between the employer and the employee.
Happily, there seems now to be a commendable spirit on the part of the employer representing so-called “big-business,” on the one hand, and the employee composing the labor groups, on the other, to bring themselves within the law and to respect the law. This is true not only in their direct relation to law, but is true as the statement of an attitude toward each other. However, the efforts in working out a harmonious understanding between capital and labor so as to avoid injury to the public have not made the progress that the friends of good government have wished. It is of no avail to preach the doctrine that each of these elements when it understands the other will do the right thing. The men who preach this doctrine, whether they be theorists or practical captains of industry or labor leaders, are usually the class of men who themselves are willing to do the right thing. To these men the love of justice is the prime consideration. Unfortunately, they are the exceptions. Since, therefore, the general rule in business is that the employer wants to secure service on the most advantageous terms to himself, and the employee wants to render service on the most advantageous terms to himself, the conflict is ever present. The clash of interests is always a controlling factor.
That the public is a vitally interested party is admitted by all. Yet it has little guaranty from law that its rights will be protected. It has seemed to me, therefore, that there ought to be laws to which either party to the controversy could appeal for the settlement of any dispute that arises between employer and employee, in order that the public, as well as the parties, should not not be subjected to the hardships resulting from controversies between these two factors of industry.
I do not take the position that either the federal or state governments should enact a code of legislation binding and tying the hands of these two factors in settling their disputes. Strikes and lockouts, and similar things, ought to be unknown. These weapons came into existence because a tardy public sentiment did not provide the means to secure justice by those who invoke them. We are now in this situation. In the field of social, economic and
political philosophy that must underlie any law on this subject, it may be said that our statesmen, publicists, economists, educators and thinkers are hopelessly divided. Why? Because in the 25 or 30 years that these questions have been gradually becoming more acute they have not had at hand a trustworthy report of the facts of each case as a basis upon which to work. In any particular controversy the employee diligently sets forth his propaganda, having the advantage of an appeal to the people, whose sympathies are always with flesh and blood as against capital. The employer likewise, by less open but equally effective means, sets forth his propaganda. Each propaganda reaches mainly the class of people previously in sympathy with it. It seems desirable that there should be some agency in government to investigate the facts in each case as it arises, make a finding, and publish it to those concerned. Such publicity, in most cases, will be all sufficient to settle the question without further action. In the past we have had legislative investigations, commissions of inquiry, boards of arbitration, etc. The great weakness with these boards and commissions has been that their main purpose has been to get the parties together in the immediate controversy, instead of making an examination of the facts and reporting a finding in the form of a dicision upon those facts in which the general social, economic and moral principles of justice that should control each case would be set forth. If such a thing were done, these reports would in time acquire a value in furnishing a safe and sane basis for determining relations and crystallizing public sentiment in relation thereto.
I am not much in favor of new nostrums and panaceas to cure the ills of the body politic, but I venture to make the following suggestions:
First: It is an undisputed fact that the public have a right to know what the quarrel is about in every actual or threatened strike or lockout, and similar controversies.
Second: There should be some definite agencies in government for ascertaining these facts fully, and making an impartial finding by those specially qualified both by temperament and training to do this particular kind of work; and such finding should be reported so that it will be a reliable source of knowledge to which students and publicists and statesmen can resort.
Third: Compulsory jurisdiction over these two factors to com. pel them to submit to an inquiry of this sort is not only desirable
Fourth: At present our study of this question has not been sufficiently thorough to warrant legislation compelling the acceptance of such findings by the parties thereto. Therefore, the jurisdiction of the proper agency should be obligatory upon the parties to submit to the investigation; the acceptance of the finding by the parties should be voluntary.
Fifth: The experience of the past shows that in most cases full, accurate, reliable publicity has been sufficient to compel an adjustment of these cases. Public sentiment is a controlling factor, and it is important, in justice to both of the parties, that it should depend upon something more accurate than successful propaganda.
Sixth: In the course of time knowledge of the nature and causes of these controversies derived in this way may crystallize public sentiment to the extent that laws can be enacted making such controversies impossible.
Society is vitally interested in the proper solution of this question. When some such plans as I have suggested shall have been put in operation, then we will have a more intelligent basis upon which to enact compulsory legislation upon this subject.
I have been discussing acts and conduct as a basis for disrespect for law. I now turn to a consideration of several subjects that tend to create disrespect for law not by specific acts merely, but by attempts to justify those acts by certain theories of political philosophy. And, of these, the first is the doctrine of the socalled political offenses.
Political offenses is a term, as you know, of international law used to denote certain classes of offenses which are expected from the operation of treaties of extradition between states. The offenses comprehended under this term for which extradition will not be granted are usually those involving matters pertaining to civil, religious or political liberty. The state in which the fugitive has found asylum frequently reserves to itself the right to refuse to surrender such fugitive on the ground that it is one of the excepted cases under the extradition treaty. The principle at the basis of this doctrine is that two sovereign states do not necessarily have the same civil, religious or political standards of liberty; that one nation may abridge liberty and prescribe penalties for doing certain forbidden acts, which abridgement is utterly opposed to the fundamental political philosophy upon which such other nation exists. Therefore, such other nation reserves to itself the right not to surrender fugitives to a country whose standards upon the subject matter of the crimes are entirely different from the standards of the country granting the right of asylum to such fugitives. From this it will be seen that it is distinctly a doctrine of international rather than of domestic law of a state.
In this country there is now being disseminated an extensive propaganda to dignify the crimes committed by many persons who' are now in prison for disloyal conduct or for obstructing or hindering the government in prosecuting the war with Germany, and, by means of such propaganda, to create a public sentiment not only to have such criminals freed, but to have this general doctrine of political offenses recognized as a part of our domestic law, the purpose being, when the doctrine is once recognized, to enable criminals and those in sympathy with them to continue such opposition to law and order with impunity. From the history of the origin of the doctrine of political offenses, it will be seen that there can be no recognition of that doctrine in the municipal law of this country. Why? Because when the sovereign will of the state expresses itself through duly enacted law it is repugnant to every notion of the supremacy of the law and its uniform application to recognize the doctrine of political offenses. Again, the reason for this doctrine is not present under municipal law-that is, the domestic law of a state. It has been seen that under international law the reason for the doctrine was the different standards of two or more sovereignties as to civil, political or religious concepts. That reason does not exist under the municipal law of a political state or sovereignty in this country.
There might have been some excuse, or even justification, for the recognition of such a doctrine in the controversies, rebellions, revolts and revolutions of the old world, whose history has been in some states one continuous struggle between the arbitrary exercise of tyrannical power on the one hand, and the just fight for