Baltimore Evening Sun (16 July 1913): 6.


For Senator to Congress: Col. the Hon. Jacobus Hook, K. T. Platform: Take the duty off the poor man’s Havana!

A DAILY THOUGHT. When the laws are most multiplied, then the State is most corrupt.–Tacitus.

The super-science of pedagogy, that fairest flower of the New Thought, has achieved its greatest triumphs in the reclamation of the erring, or, as the old-time schoolmasters had it, the bad. Those old-time schoolmasters knew nothing about scientific pedagogy. They were not experts. When, for example, a boy hooked school they had no remedy for his error save the application of the birch to his pantaloons, and this barbarous remedy they kept on applying, in more and more heroic doses, until he abandoned the practice or graduated into long trousers and a political job. Such was pedagogy in its Gothic days, before it began to mellow and expand. Such were the dark ages before psychotherapy and raffia work.

Today, as everyone knows, the birch is under the ban of all recognized experts, and the inhuman teacher who resurrects it and applies it is promptly burned at the stake. In its place we have the “correctional” or “parental” school, in which original sin is combatted with moral suasion, and the erring are seduced to diligence by the subtle arts of the Chautauqua psychologist. New York city now has such a school “on the cottage plan,” and the hunkerous New York Sun presents an illuminating report thereon. Each of the six cottages, it appears, houses 32 pupils--and each cottage cost the taxpayers $81,500 to build! The cost of maintenance is $5.50 a pupil a week, the which, added to a reasonable interest on the investment, works out to between $8 and $9 net!

Expensive? Maybe it is. But a curse upon that foul and medieval taxpayer who complains! The notion that the vicious should pay their own way, or, at all events, that they should receive no special rewards for their viciousness--this notion is incompatible with the New Thought. The fact that the Unspeakable Weyler made a profit of $1,000 a week upon his felons is all the proof needed to condemn Weyler. No correctional seminary can be virtuous in which the State loses loss than $1 a day on every boarder. It is the first and noblest duty of the taxpayer to pay that loss. Let him comfort himself, as his bank account shrinks, with the thought that he is doing good in the world, that he is helping to make the punishment of the evil more caressing than the reward of the good, that his bankruptcy will be well suffered if it is the means of turning one negro rapist into a politician, or one bad boy into a Sunday-school superintendent.

How prohibition works in Kansas, as revealed by the Kansas City Drovers’ Telegram of July 11:

If Kansas had a choice to vote again on prohibition, would she continue it in force? Statistics show that she consumes a million quarts of liquor each month, and that during the month of July only one county in the State failed to import booze from another State.

The Hon. James H. Preston’s plan for the establishment of a bureau of complaints in the City Hall is one of much sagacity, for the city government has grown so complex that very few citizens know where to go when they have a complaint to make, and on a good many of them content themselves with bawling that the Hall is a nest of tyrants, loafers and ganovim. This is unjust to honest and hardworking men--and most of the jobholders are of that description. The average citizen has a very inaccurate notion of the jobholder. He pictures a fat and sleek fellow, lolling in an easy chair and smoking a 10-cent cigar. The truth is that the typical jobholder is kept going at high pressure and for very little pay. Setting aside the princely emoluments of a few magnificoes, it is probable, indeed, that the average salary in the City Hall is less than the average salary in the average bank, and that the average working hours are at least 10 per cent. longer.

Shirkers, of course, are to be found here and there and as numerous, perhaps, are petty tyrants, each bent upon showing his authority over the common people. But such fellows are not many, and a properly organized bureau of complaints would quickly smoke them out. The trouble with the present system, as I have said, is that the people don’t know where to complain. This explains why so many of them go to their City Councilmen when they have grievances, to the benefit of those eager fixers, and why so many more of them come to the newspapers. The notion that they can’t get justice without influence is widespread. It hasn’t 2 per cent. of truth in it. The citizen with a just complaint gets courteous treatment in the City Hall. The one thing he has fair cause to protest against is red tape. In some of the departments things are done with too much ceremony and too many men are involved in one transaction.

A bureau of complaints, if intelligently conducted by an industrious and diplomatic man, would probably relieve the departments of much ignorant criticism and soothe the wounds of thousands of irate householders. Judging by those which reach The Evening Sun office, fully a half of the complaints commonly made are due to ignorance of the City Code. The vast body of law now on the statute books gives the city departments innumerable arbitrary rights and duties, and whenever they are exercised complaints are sure to arise. The regulations regarding sidewalks afford a striking case in point. Not one citizen in 100 knows the law regarding sidewalks. And when it is made known to him by the City Engineer’s Department, his first impulse is always to bellow that some one is trying to rob him.

It will be worth while for the bureau of complaints, once it is in working order, to issue a brief digest of the more important city ordinances. I mean, of course, those that are still enforced; not those that have been shelved and forgotten. It will take a man of sense, preferably a good lawyer, to write this book so that the vulgar will understand it. The temptation to give the job to some needy Hot Towel reporter is one that must be resisted. No doubt the Hon. S. S. Field will be able to find a competent man in his office. The thing desired is not a law boo, but a simple exposition in words of one syllable. Most persons have respect for what is set down in books. A simple reference to this handy digest might dispose of many complaints.

Give us Billy Sunday! He is the one man who can convert the Hon. William H. Anderson. Let him come among us and rid us of sin.