"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Obama, Christie and Trump: a study in statesmanship and a lesson for Barron Trump.

 In ancient Greece, the statesman was often contrasted with the tyrant. A statesman ruled for the common good; the tyrant ruled for a private good.[1] The statesman has a valid title to rule; the tyrant lacks such a title or legitimacy.[2] The statesman is a friend to those he governs; the tyrant rules more by coercion than persuasion and is content to view those he dominates as enemies.[3] The statesman seeks justice; the tyrant embodies injustice. The statesman acts moderately as he controls his appetites; the tyrant is marked by extremism with an inability to control his appetites. Beyond these broad themes, there is a specific difference with how these two types of rulers act in a particular situation--who they befriend while in office.
Plato's Gorgias offers an insight into friendship and justice.
In the Gorgias, Plato describes the way rulers seek to avoid injustice by seeking justice whereby the moderate seek to befriend the moderate and avoid the immoderate. Moreover, they seek to encourage the immoderate to be moderate and treat each other, with equality. For democratic politicians, like the president, this is an almost daily task. They meet with their constituents, fellow politicians, or those they want to become their followers. Their constituents are not necessarily their supporters nor are they their opponents. Often, they are people who meet the president on some special occasion or through his official duties. In these small moments, often out of the view of the press but sometimes captured by them, we see how presidents treat those who are not like them. The president often makes friends most easily with those he understands or sees as his equals and treats as his equals. Sometimes, but not always, they may not share his vision, or they simply seek to benefit from him. A president who is comfortable with the public can make friends equally with the powerful as well as the weakest or most vulnerable for he sees no difference between them. For others, though, the strong are to be courted and the weak to be avoided since the former can hurt them and the latter cannot help them. How a president approaches the strong, the weak, and their equals reflects their character and indicates whether they are closer to being statesman or a tyrant.
Plato’s Gorgias tells us more about Trump than we may want to know.
A particular passage in the Gorgias (510c-d)[4] illustrates this point. Plato describes, through an exchange between Socrates and Callicles, how, in contrast to a statesman, the tyrant behaves. In this exchange, we learn some lessons about how Obama ruled and see the potential for how Trump is likely to rule.
Socrates: Then wherever a brutal and uneducated tyrant is the rule, won’t he surely be afraid of anyone in the city who is far better than him, and wont he be quite unable to become a friend to him with all his mind?
Callicles: That’s so.
Socrates: And if someone is far worse than himself, he won’t be a friend either; for the tyrant, will despise him, and never treat him seriously as he would treat a friend.
Callicles: That’s true too.
Socrates: Then the only friend to such a man worth consideration who’s left is whoever has a similar character, blames and praises the same things, and is willing to be ruled by the ruler and to be subject to him. This man will have great power in this city; no one will do injustice against him without being sorry for it. Isn’t it so?
Callicles: Yes.
Socrates: then suppose some young man in this city thought “how might I win great power so that no one does injustice to me?” Apparently, this is the road for him; he must accustom himself from you to enjoy and hate the same things as the tyrant, and manage to be as like the tyrant as possible. Is that the way?
Callicles: Yes
If we consider this exchange and compare it with how Obama, Chris Christie, and Trump interacted, we see a lesson in the difference between statesmanship and tyranny. In the differences, we get an insight into their character and how they rule. Moreover, we see a lesson for Trump’s son Barron.
Obama is Trump’s superior.
The first exchange describes Obama and Trump’s meeting after Trump’s victory. In the videos of the meeting, Trump looked ill at ease. As many commentators noted, Trump had a lot to learn about the presidency.[5] Trump recognized that Obama was his superior[6] and Trump didn’t want to be Obama’s friend. Trump’s failure to intimidate him with his Roy Cohn’s methods, showed Obama’s character.[7] Obama showed what Trump lacks--grace under pressure.[8] Moreover, how Obama treated New Jersey governor Chris Christie shows his ability to treat those in need as his equal.
Christie is Trump’s inferior and Trump humiliates him for it.
The second exchange captures how Trump treated Chris Christie. Trump humiliated him on several occasions.[9] Trump did not see him as an equal. [10] Christie was rival who had lost. Moreover, other Republicans disdained him. As Mike Kelly explained, many Republicans believed that Christie had betrayed his party and his country when he appeared to support Obama. Christie needed Obama’s help after Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey.[11] When Obama’s visited, he treated Christie as an equal. He treated him as a friend in need. In response, Christie’s relief was plain to see.[12] The photos appeared to capture an embrace between the men, for which Christie was seen as a traitor.[13] Republican critics argued he should have put party loyalty and loyalty to Mitt Romney before his people or his country.
Birds of a feather flock together especially when they can settle scores.
The third exchange we see the way that Bannon, Kushner, and Flynn have joined with Trump for they see this as a way to gain power. They are men of a similar character who praise what he praises and blame what he blames. Above all, this role, allows them to indulge the most tyrannical desire—to dominate others. They want to have the power to harm their enemies and help their friends. In their respective roles, they can wield great power for they become an extension of the President. They can use, or usurp, the office’s power and prestige, and the ingrained institutional legitimacy, to pursue their feuds, deals, and schemes. Trump learned these lessons from Roy Cohn who taught him how to be an unjust man and do it legally. Trump remains proud of the way that Cohn would brutalize people on his behalf[14]. If we look closely, we can see a similar approach by Trump’s inner circle although they seek less publicity. Take, for example, Jared Kushner and his relationship with Chris Christie. Once we understand the background, we can see that the Christie humiliations come into sharp relief. Chris Christie was a U. S. Attorney who helped to prosecute Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father.[15] Trump will have humiliated Christie to settle the score for Kushner. The same can be seen with Lt. General, Michael Flynn who is the president’s National Security Advisor. He has scores to settle in Washington.[16] To be sure, politics has always been a way to settle scores without recourse to violence.[17] However, what is different here is that it appears an overriding aim of Trump and his inner circle. Their first concern is with revenge and only secondarily, if at all, to understand the common good or to see justice.
Barron has a chance to save his democratic soul.
In the final section, we see the lesson for Barron. For Trump’s other children, the lesson is impractical as they are already initiated into his life. Their characters are already formed. For Eric and Don Jr, they already believe they have great power so they are less worried someone will try to inflict an injustice on them. In New York, they have grown up within their father’s domain so they already know privilege, power, and the ability to hurt their enemies. They are Roy Cohn’s stepsons for they already know how to wield a certain type of power.[18] The lesson here is for Barron for he still has a chance to develop a democratic soul. If he learns the wrong lessons from his time in the White House, he will want to become politically like his father.
For Barron, the challenge will be to separate his father, as father, from his father as a political man. If he can, then he can develop a democratic soul.[19] To do this, though, he needs to see America as a democratic nation. He needs to see that in America equality creates justice. He needs to escape the political ethos where dominance and subservience define justice.[20] Unlike the other children, he can escape Roy Cohn’s influence.[21] As Thucydides wrote over 2600 years ago, the strong rule the weak and only between equals is there justice.[22] In 1776, America was founded on the belief, hope, experiment, that a people govern themselves as equals. America is founded on the hope that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would ensure justice. America would be a nation where the strong do not rule the weak for all equal before the law. Barron still has time to learn this lesson.[23]

[1] For a good discussion of the idea of statesmanship see Wendell John Coats, Statesmanship: Six Modern Illustrations of a Modified Ancient Ideal Susquehanna University Press,1995.
See also Plato Statesman translated by C. J. Rowe in Plato: Complete works edited by John M. Cooper p.294
“The ‘statesman’—in Greek the politikos, whence the Latinized title Politicus by which the dialogue is alternatively known—is understood from the outset as the possessor of the specialist, expert knowledge of how to rule justly and well—to the citizens’ best interests—in a ‘city’ or polis, directing all its public institutions and affairs.”
[2] See for example, Leo Strauss On Tyranny: Corrected and Expanded Edition, Including the Strauss-Kojève edited by Victor Gourevitch and Michael S. Roth, p.75 fn51.
[4] Plato, Gorgias, Translated with Notes by Terence Irwin, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1979.
[7] Trump’s insistence, despite all verifiable evidence to the contrary, that Obama lacked a valid US birth certificate is but one of the milder techniques that Roy Cohn taught Trump.
[8] In an interesting parallel, Lyndon Johnson who became president after John F Kennedy was assassinated, was often criticized for the same reasons. Johnson was criticized and felt slighted about his standing as president until he won a clear mandate at the next election.
[9] See for example, Trump’s comments here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVSmz1VxYlk
[14] “If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent, you get Roy,” he told Newsweek in 1979.

A year later, pressed by a reporter from New York magazine to justify his association with Cohn, he was characteristically blunt: “All I can tell you is he’s been vicious to others in his protection of me.”

He elaborated in an interview in 2005. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told author Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.”
[15] “The motive: Christie as U.S. attorney was involved in the prosecution of Charles Kushner, who was sentenced to prison in 2005 on 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/16/trump-kushner-christie-transition/93992468/
[19] See Republic 572c-573c
[20] On the issue of dominance and submission see https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/dominance-and-humiliation-no-middle-ground This approach also fits the view presented by Callicles throughout Gorgias as well as Alcibiades in the Republic.
[22] See Thucydides The History of the Peloponnesian War 5.89.1.
[23] 1 Corinthians 15:33

Friday, January 20, 2017

From today's inauguration: America First

President Trump's entire inaugural address to the nation and to the world may be found here. This passage is where the language of the address soars into substance:
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
Not everybody is pleased with today's events. (H/t to Instapundit.)

Protestors should keep in mind that tantrums are rarely an effective form of civil persuasion.

Three Podscasts on the Foreign Emoluments Clause, with Seth Barrett Tillman

Marc Johnson, Episode 8: Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8, Many Things Considered (Jan. 18, 2017), http://manythingsconsidered.com/podcast (at 28:15ff) ; 

Andrew Torrez & Thomas Smith, OA36: The Emoluments (w/Seth Barrett Tillman), Part 2, Opening Arguments (Jan. 20, 2017), http://tinyurl.com/hxg9ruk (at 7:30ff) ; and, 

Andrew Torrez & Thomas Smith, OA35: The Emoluments Clause (w/Seth Barrett Tillman), Part 1, Opening Arguments (Jan. 16, 2017), http://tinyurl.com/zsvebop (at 24:40 to 47:00). 

I think the best of the 3 was Opening Arguments, Part 2


My former post: Seth Barrett Tillman, Tillman’s Poetry Corner: Flanders Fields, The New Reform Club (Jan. 16, 2017, 10:54 AM) [here

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Calvin Coolidge's inaugural address from 1925: a statement of confident conservatism

Calvin Coolidge, arguably the most conservative president of the 20th century, set out his political principles in his inaugural address at the start of his full term of office as president. After ascending to office on the death of President Harding in 1923, Coolidge won re-election in 1924, and was inaugurated on March 4, 1925. Nicknamed "Silent Cal" for his taciturn demeanor, Coolidge's inaugural address is an eloquent statement of an outward-looking and confident conservatism.


March 4, 1925

My Countrymen:

No one can contemplate current conditions without finding much thatis satisfying and still more that is encouraging. Our own country is leadingthe world in the general readjustment to the results of the great conflict.Many of its burdens will bear heavily upon us for years, and the secondaryand indirect effects we must expect to experience for some time. But weare beginning to comprehend more definitely what course should be pursued, what remedies ought to be applied, what actions should be taken for our deliverance, and are clearly manifesting a determined will faithfully and conscientiously to adopt these methods of relief. Already we have sufficiently rearranged our domestic affairs so that confidence has returned, business has revived, and we appear to be entering an era of prosperity which is gradually reaching into every part of the Nation. Realizing that we cannot live unto ourselves alone, we have contributed of our resources andour counsel to the relief of the suffering and the settlement of the disputesamong the European nations. Because of what America is and what America has done, a firmer courage, a higher hope, inspires the heart of all humanity.

These results have not occurred by mere chance. They have been secured by a constant and enlightened effort marked by many sacrifices and extending over many generations. We can not continue these brilliant successes inthe future, unless we continue to learn from the past. It is necessary to keep the former experiences of our country both at home and abroad continually before us, if we are to have any science of government. If we wish to erect new structures, we must have a definite knowledge of the old foundations.We must realize that human nature is about the most constant thing in the universe and that the essentials of human relationship do not change. We must frequently take our bearings from these fixed stars of our political firmament if we expect to hold a true course. If we examine carefully what we have done, we can determine the more accurately what we can do.

We stand at the opening of the one hundred and fiftieth year since ournational consciousness first asserted itself by unmistakable action withan array of force. The old sentiment of detached and dependent colonies disappeared in the new sentiment of a united and independent Nation. Menbegan to discard the narrow confines of a local charter for the broaderopportunities of a national constitution. Under the eternal urge of freedomwe became an independent Nation. A little less than 50 years later thatfreedom and independence were reasserted in the face of all the world, and guarded, supported, and secured by the Monroe doctrine. The narrow fringe of States along the Atlantic seaboard advanced its frontiers across the hills and plains of an intervening continent until it passed down the golden slope to the Pacific. We made freedom a birthright. We extended our domain over distant islands in order to safeguard our own interests and accepted the consequent obligation to bestow justice and liberty upon less favored peoples. In the defense of our own ideals and in the general cause of liberty we entered the Great War. When victory had been fully secured, we withdrew to our own shores unrecompensed save in the consciousness of duty done.

Throughout all these experiences we have enlarged our freedom, we havestrengthened our independence. We have been, and propose to be, more andmore American. We believe that we can best serve our own country and mostsuccessfully discharge our obligations to humanity by continuing to beopenly and candidly, in tensely and scrupulously, American. If we haveany heritage, it has been that. If we have any destiny, we have found itin that direction.

But if we wish to continue to be distinctively American, we must continueto make that term comprehensive enough to embrace the legitimate desiresof a civilized and enlightened people determined in all their relationsto pursue a conscientious and religious life. We can not permit ourselvesto be narrowed and dwarfed by slogans and phrases. It is not the adjective,but the substantive, which is of real importance. It is not the name ofthe action, but the result of the action, which is the chief concern. Itwill be well not to be too much disturbed by the thought of either isolationor entanglement of pacifists and militarists. The physical configurationof the earth has separated us from all of the Old World, but the commonbrotherhood of man, the highest law of all our being, has united us byinseparable bonds with all humanity. Our country represents nothing butpeaceful intentions toward all the earth, but it ought not to fail to maintainsuch a military force as comports with the dignity and security of a greatpeople. It ought to be a balanced force, intensely modem, capable of defenseby sea and land, beneath the surface and in the air. But it should be soconducted that all the world may see in it, not a menace, but an instrumentof security and peace.

This Nation believes thoroughly in an honorable peace under which the rights of its citizens are to be everywhere protected. It has never foundthat the necessary enjoyment of such a peace could be maintained only by a great and threatening array of arms. In common with other nations, it is now more determined than ever to promote peace through friendliness and good will, through mutual understandings and mutual forbearance. We have never practiced the policy of competitive armaments. We have recently committed ourselves by covenants with the other great nations to a limitation of our sea power. As one result of this, our Navy ranks larger, in comparison, than it ever did before. Removing the burden of expense and jealousy, which must always accrue from a keen rivalry, is one of the most effective methodsof diminishing that unreasonable hysteria and misunderstanding which are the most potent means of fomenting war. This policy represents a new departure in the world. It is a thought, an ideal, which has led to an entirely newline of action. It will not be easy to maintain. Some never moved fromtheir old positions, some are constantly slipping back to the old ways of thought and the old action of seizing a musket and relying on force. America has taken the lead in this new direction, and that lead America must continue to hold. If we expect others to rely on our fairness andjustice we must show that we rely on their fairness and justice.

If we are to judge by past experience, there is much to be hoped for in international relations from frequent conferences and consultations.We have before us the beneficial results of the Washington conference and the various consultations recently held upon European affairs, some ofwhich were in response to our suggestions and in some of which we wereactive participants. Even the failures can not but be accounted useful and an immeasurable advance over threatened or actual warfare. I am strongly in favor of continuation of this policy, whenever conditions are such that there is even a promise that practical and favorable results might be secured.

In conformity with the principle that a display of reason rather than a threat of force should be the determining factor in the intercourse among nations, we have long advocated the peaceful settlement of disputes bymethods of arbitration and have negotiated many treaties to secure thatresult. The same considerations should lead to our adherence to the Permanent Court of International Justice. Where great principles are involved, wheregreat movements are under way which promise much for the welfare of humanity by reason of the very fact that many other nations have given such movements their actual support, we ought not to withhold our own sanction becauseof any small and inessential difference, but only upon the ground of themost important and compelling fundamental reasons. We can not barter away our independence or our sovereignty, but we ought to engage in no refinements of logic, no sophistries, and no subterfuges, to argue away the undoubted duty of this country by reason of the might of its numbers, the power of its resources, and its position of leadership in the world, actively and comprehensively to signify its approval and to bear its full share of the responsibility of a candid and disinterested attempt at the establishment of a tribunal for the administration of even-handed justice between nation and nation. The weight of our enormous influence must be cast upon the side of a reign not of force but of law and trial, not by battle but by reason.

We have never any wish to interfere in the political conditions of anyother countries. Especially are we determined not to become implicated in the political controversies of the Old World. With a great deal of hesitation,we have responded to appeals for help to maintain order, protect life and property, and establish responsible government in some of the small countries of the Western Hemisphere. Our private citizens have advanced large sums of money to assist in the necessary financing and relief of the Old World. We have not failed, nor shall we fail to respond, whenever necessary to mitigate human suffering and assist in the rehabilitation of distressednations. These, too, are requirements which must be met by reason of ourvast powers and the place we hold in the world.

Some of the best thought of mankind has long been seeking for a formulafor permanent peace. Undoubtedly the clarification of the principles of international law would be helpful, and the efforts of scholars to prepare such a work for adoption by the various nations should have our sympathy and support. Much may be hoped for from the earnest studies of those who advocate the outlawing of aggressive war. But all these plans and preparations, these treaties and covenants, will not of themselves be adequate. One of the greatest dangers to peace lies in the economic pressure to which people find themselves subjected. One of the most practical things to be done in the world is to seek arrangements under which such pressure may be removed, so that opportunity may be renewed and hope may be revived. There must be some assurance that effort and endeavor will be followed by successand prosperity. In the making and financing of such adjustments there is not only an opportunity, but a real duty, for America to respond with her counsel and her resources. Conditions must be provided under which people can make a living and work out of their difficulties. But there is another element, more important than all, without which there can not be the slightest hope of a permanent peace. That element lies in the heart of humanity. Unless the desire for peace be cherished there, unless this fundamental and only natural source of brotherly love be cultivated to its highest degree, all artificial efforts will be in vain. Peace will come when thereis realization that only under a reign of law, based on righteousness and supported by the religious conviction of the brotherhood of man, can therebe any hope of a complete and satisfying life. Parchment will fail, the sword will fail, it is only the spiritual nature of man that can be triumphant.

It seems altogether probable that we can contribute most to these important objects by maintaining our position of political detachment and independence. We are not identified with any Old World interests. This position should be made more and more clear in our relations with all foreign countries. We are at peace with all of them. Our program is never to oppress, but always to assist. But while we do justice to others, we must require that justice be done to us. With us a treaty of peace means peace, and a treaty of amity means amity. We have made great contributions to the settlement of contentious differences in both Europe and Asia. But there is a very definite point beyond which we can not go. We can only help those who help themselves. Mindful of these limitations, the one great duty that stands out requires us to use our enormous powers to trim the balance of the world. 

While we can look with a great deal of pleasure upon what we have done abroad, we must remember that our continued success in that direction depends upon what we do at home. Since its very outset, it has been found necessary to conduct our Government by means of political parties. That system would not have survived from generation to generation if it had not been fundamentally sound and provided the best instrumentalities for the most complete expression of the popular will. It is not necessary to claim that it has always worked perfectly. It is enough to know that nothing better has been devised. No one would deny that there should be full and free expression and an opportunity for independence of action within the party. There is no salvation in a narrow and bigoted partisanship. But if there is to be responsible party government, the party label must be something more than a mere device for securing office. Unless those who are elected under the same party designation are willing to assume sufficient responsibility and exhibit sufficient loyalty and coherence, so that they can cooperate with each other in the support of the broad general principles, of the party platform, the electionis merely a mockery, no decision is made at the polls, and there is no representation of the popular will. Common honesty and good faith with the people who support a party at the polls require that party, when it enters office, to assume the control of that portion of the Government to which it has been elected. Any other course is bad faith and a violation of the party pledges.

When the country has bestowed its confidence upon a party by making it a majority in the Congress, it has a right to expect such unity of actionas will make the party majority an effective instrument of government. This Administration has come into power with a very clear and definite mandate from the people. The expression of the popular will in favor of maintaining our constitutional guarantees was overwhelming and decisive. There was a manifestation of such faith in the integrity of the courts that we can consider that issue rejected for some time to come. Likewise, the policy of public ownership of railroads and certain electric utilities met with unmistakable defeat. The people declared that they wanted their rights to have not a political but a judicial determination, and their independence and freedom continued and supported by having the ownership and control of their property, not in the Government, but in their own hands. As they always do when they have a fair chance, the people demonstrated that they are sound and are determined to have a sound government.

When we turn from what was rejected to inquire what was accepted, the policy that stands out with the greatest clearness is that of economy in public expenditure with reduction and reform of taxation. The principle involved in this effort is that of conservation. The resources of this country are almost beyond computation. No mind can comprehend them. But the cost of our combined governments is likewise almost beyond definition. Not only those who are now making their tax returns, but those who meet the enhanced cost of existence in their monthly bills, know by hard experience what this great burden is and what it does. No matter what others may want, these people want a drastic economy. They are opposed to waste. They know that extravagance lengthens the hours and diminishes the rewards of their labor. I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager.Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.

If extravagance were not reflected in taxation, and through taxation both directly and indirectly injuriously affecting the people, it would not be of so much consequence. The wisest and soundest method of solving our tax problem is through economy. Fortunately, of all the great nations this country is best in a position to adopt that simple remedy. We do not any longer need wartime revenues. The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. Under this republic the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them. The only constitutional tax is the tax which ministers to public necessity. The property of the country belongs to the people of the country. Their title is absolute. They do not support any privileged class; they do not need to maintain great military forces; they ought not to be burdened with a great array of public employees. They are not required to make any contribution to Government expenditures except that which they voluntarily assess upon themselves through the action of their own representatives. Whenever taxes become burdensome a remedy can be applied by the people; but if they do not act for themselves, no one can be very successful in acting for them.

The time is arriving when we can have further tax reduction, when, unless we wish to hamper the people in their right to earn a living, we must have tax reform. The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transaction of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong. We can not finance the country, we can not improve social conditions, through any system of injustice, even if we attempt to inflict it upon the rich. Those who suffer the most harm will be the poor. This country believes in prosperity. It is absurd to suppose that it is envious of those who are already prosperous. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful.The verdict of the country has been given on this question. That verdict stands. We shall do well to heed it.

These questions involve moral issues. We need not concern ourselves much about the rights of property if we will faithfully observe the rights of persons. Under our institutions their rights are supreme. It is not property but the right to hold property, both great and small, which our Constitution guarantees. All owners of property are charged with a service.These rights and duties have been revealed, through the conscience of society, to have a divine sanction. The very stability of our society rests upon production and conservation. For individuals or for governments to waste and squander their resources is to deny these rights and disregard these obligations. The result of economic dissipation to a nation is always moral decay.

These policies of better international understandings, greater economy, and lower taxes have contributed largely to peaceful and prosperous industrial relations. Under the helpful influences of restrictive immigration and a protective tariff, employment is plentiful, the rate of pay is high, and wage earners are in a state of contentment seldom before seen. Our transportation systems have been gradually recovering and have been able to meet all the requirements of the service. Agriculture has been very slow in reviving, but the price of cereals at last indicates that the day of its deliverance is at hand.

We are not without our problems, but our most important problem is not to secure new advantages but to maintain those which we already possess. Our system of government made up of three separate and independent departments, our divided sovereignty composed of Nation and State, the matchless wisdom that is enshrined in our Constitution, all these need constant effort and tireless vigilance for their protection and support.

In a republic the first rule for the guidance of the citizen is obedience to law. Under a despotism the law may be imposed upon the subject. He has no voice in its making, no influence in its administration, it does not represent him. Under a free government the citizen makes his own laws, chooses his own administrators, which do represent him. Those who want their rights respected under the Constitution and the law ought to set the example themselves of observing the Constitution and the law. While there may be those of high intelligence who violate the law at times, the barbarian and the defective always violate it. Those who disregard the rules of society are not exhibiting a superior intelligence, are not promoting freedom and independence, are not following the path of civilization, but are displaying the traits of ignorance, of servitude, of savagery, and treading the way that leads back to the jungle.

The essence of a republic is representative government. Our Congress represents the people and the States. In all legislative affairs it is the natural collaborator with the President. In spite of all the criticism which often falls to its lot, I do not hesitate to say that there is no more independent and effective legislative body in the world. It is, and should be, jealous of its prerogative. I welcome its cooperation, and expect to share with it not only the responsibility, but the credit, for our common effort to secure beneficial legislation.

These are some of the principles which America represents. We have not by any means put them fully into practice, but we have strongly signified our belief in them. The encouraging feature of our country is not that it has reached its destination, but that it has overwhelmingly expressed its determination to proceed in the right direction. It is true that we could, with profit, be less sectional and more national in our thought.It would be well if we could replace much that is only a false and ignorant prejudice with a true and enlightened pride of race. But the last election showed that appeals to class and nationality had little effect. We were all found loyal to a common citizenship. The fundamental precept of liberty is toleration. We can not permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free.

It is in such contemplations, my fellow countrymen, which are not exhaustive but only representative, that I find ample warrant for satisfaction and encouragement. We should not let the much that is to do obscure the much which has been done. The past and present show faith and hope and courage fully justified. Here stands our country, an example of tranquillity at home, a patron of tranquillity abroad. Here stands its Government, aware of its might but obedient to its conscience. Here it will continue to stand, seeking peace and prosperity, solicitous for the welfare of the wage earner, promoting enterprise, developing waterways and natural resources, attentive to the intuitive counsel of womanhood, encouraging education, desiring the advancement of religion, supporting the cause of justice and honor among the nations. America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force. No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions. The legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross. The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of divine origin. She cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God.