BULLETIN No. 15

MODERN THOUGHT


There are three phases of modern thought, which however they may differ in other respects, all unite in their earnest advocacy of woman suffrage, namely, Progressivism, Socialism and the propaganda of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The modern progressive party, through its public tactics. however it may urge on the side, certain tentative and wholly theoretical economic measures, makes this doctrine a leading one in its claim for public support. Socialism has put it forward as its first demand in every platform which it has issued for the last quarter of a century. The "Industrial Workers of the World" is a comparatively new party, ostensibly devoted to the interests of the working people and the equal rights of all, both men and women. It is in fact Socialism gone to seed; that is Socialism which has reached its last and reproductive stage, the stage wherein talk gives place to action. It is therefore, as might be expected, more pronounced in theory than any of the old parties.

The Chicago Tribune of December 1st, 1912, has an editorial entitled "Emotional Unionism" describing the Industrial Worker whose companionship it is evidently a little ashamed of, in which he and the movement which he represents are set forth in the following terms.

When a national organization, nation-wide in its scope, inscribes the word revolution upon its banner, its leaders, theories and literature become of public interest. The Industrial Workers of the World is such an organization.

The extent to which the activity of the I. W. W. is regulated by emotion, passion and prejudice, rather than by clear thinking, is evinced by its literature. The entire literature of this movement which promises to right all the wrongs of humanity by means of revolution over night, consists of half a dozen pamphlets. Each of these represents the central idea that employers and employes have nothing in common, and the workers should aim to wrest all control of industry from the hands of its present possessors. All the I. W. W. leaders are swayed by emotion rather than reason. They are men of no education or have a smattering of education, which is worse than none at all. They are men who have sprung from the most desperate, the most hopeless strata of the working class. The program of the I. W. W. with its direct means of getting even with society, appeals to these men largely because it offers an opportunity to wreaking vengeance.

There is another important feature about the I. W. W. agitators. The majority of them, in fact almost all of them—are men without family ties. They know of n responsibilities or obligations, which of course includes the repudiation of marriage and the home. The majority of them are absolutely non-moral. This emotional unionism with its recklessness, open appeal to vengeance upon industry, upon their employer, is just the sort of unionism which the great masses of unskilled workers who have real grievances against present industrial conditions, understand most easily. The I. W. W. by devoting itself entirely to these unskilled and exploited masses, bids fair therefore to become the vortex of industrial turmoil in this country.

Thus far the Tribune. The question that we now desire to ask is, Why is it that these three classes, the Progressivists, the Socialists and the I. W. W.'s all base their proposed Social reform upon Woman Suffrage, or to use the most euphemistic language at hand, "equal work, equal pay and equal political privileges for both sexes."

And first let us notice that there are three classes and what they stand for. Progressivism in general regards marriage and the institution of the Home as a mere social incident, founded upon any present whim or desire. It thus opens a wider door for divorce, and attaches little opprobrium to the breaking of the relations between the sexes, whatever may be the consequences to such children as may have been born of the sexual relation. It encourages the labor of woman in fields hitherto regarded as the express heritage of men, mill work, factory work, commercial enterprises and the like, to the robbery of female employments, which call for womanly traits; and instead of curbing these growing inclinations of the day, and encouraging womanly virtues, it scoffs at the home and lures girls more and more into the life of cafes, restaurants, hotels, places which all tend to bring about equality between men and women and the adoption of masculine habits, even in such personal matters as smoking, drinking and the like.

Socialism is quite as publicly advocated, makes even a more scornful jest of marriage and the home and has been for more than fifty years, corrupting the American mind on the matter of those well-known virtues of patience, honesty and upright rule, upon which our government was founded.

The I. W. W. has attracted attention within the past few years, and largely by the importation of such foreign words and ideas as "sabotage," which may be understood as the wooden shoe of the peasant kicking down the institutions reared by intelligence and spiritual aspiration to strengthen and solace the soul of man, or "syndicalism" which we of an earlier time knew by the more easily understood term of governmental communism, making its way to the front of the "advanced" system of modern thought, a growing multitude forging itself into a mass of immoral citizens ready to substitute a bullet for the ballot; and here let us say, that while a person without intelligence may innocently be unintelligent, a person who is "non-moral" must necessarily be immoral, because to be without morals is necessarily an immoral quality.

These advocates of modern thought range in their sphere of action from the highest to the lowest human beings, but each and every class of them founds itself from the beginning to the end upon the one doctrine of Woman Suffrage. And why? For two reasons. In the first place that all human beings, men and women well, may be equal upon the material plane, equal as workmen, equal in opportunities, equal in political privileges. It is an egregious folly and mistake, born of ignorance and low ideals, to imagine that political privileges are withheld from woman because she is not capable of exercising them, however unsuitable they may be to her physiological make-up. They belong to man together with his physical and intellectual strength, because in no other way can he be the equal of that bright and spiritually minded creature whom God made in the beginning to be his help meet and equal,—the mother of the race.

For a second reason, this reversal of Woman's place in Nature, this placing her upon a forced and unnatural equality with man, promises to the unthinking multitude a solution of certain economic difficulties, of which a true observation and reason shows at once the folly and the absurdity. The quieter and more thoughtful of the race see in the elevation of the child through a truer education and mothering, the rising up of a new contingent of both men and women, to whom a better sense of the real objects of Nature from the first, shall come; the work of constantly elevating and purifying the unselfishness of the race, and giving to the world a new sense of the honor and the glory of the spiritual as above the material side of life. And this is a work to be done by woman and woman only. She may, indeed must, have the cordial and unselfish co-operation of the father of the race but he alone can never accomplish without her intuition and direction, the work which it is given her by Heaven to do, and which increases amount and value with each generation and to which the attention of the philanthropist is called in this age as never before. It is a work which joins the two sections of the race a tender and elevating co-operation and gives a new meaning to the old prophecy, "And a little child shall lead them."

Chicago, December, 1912.

 

Issued by the Illinois Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage

1523 Dearborn Avenue, Chicago.


Scanned and transcribed by J. D. Crutchfield

Last updated 25 November 2005