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PAGE 3

Crime And Its Correctives
by [?]

I know men standing high in journalism who today will “expose” and bitterly “denounce” a certain rascality and tomorrow will be hobnobbing with the rascals whom they have named. I know legislators of renown who habitually in “the halls of legislation” raise their voices against the dishonest schemes of some “trust magnate,” and are habitually seen in familiar conversation with him. Indubitably these be hypocrites all. Between the head and the heart of such a man is a wall of adamant, and neither organ knows what the other is doing.

If social recognition were denied to rogues they would be fewer by many. Some would only the more diligently cover their tracks along the devious paths of unrighteousness, but others would do so much violence to their consciences as to renounce the disadvantages of rascality for those of an honest life. An unworthy person dreads nothing so much as the withholding of an honest hand, the slow inevitable stroke of an ignoring eye.

For one having knowledge of Mr. John D. Rockefeller’s social life and connections it would be easy to name a dozen men and women who by a conspiracy of conscription could profoundly affect the plans and profits of the Standard Oil Company. I have been asked: “If John D. Rockefeller were introduced to you by a friend, would you refuse to take his hand?” I certainly should–and if ever thereafter I took the hand of that hardy “friend” it would be after his repentance and promise to reform his ways. We have Rockefellers and Morgans because we have “respectable” persons who are not ashamed to take them by the hand, to be seen with them, to say that they know them. In such it is treachery to censure them; to cry out when robbed by them is to turn State’s evidence.

One may smile upon a rascal (most of us do so many times a day) if one does not know him to be a rascal, and has not said he is; but knowing him to be, or having said he is, to smile upon him is to be a hypocrite–just a plain hypocrite or a sycophantic hypocrite, according to the station in life of the rascal smiled upon. There are more plain hypocrites than sycophantic ones, for there are more rascals of no consequence than rich and distinguished ones, though they get fewer smiles each. The American people will be plundered as long as the American character is what it is; as long as it is tolerant of successful knavery; as long as American ingenuity draws an imaginary distinction between a man’s public character and his private–his commercial and his personal In brief, the American people will be plundered as long as they deserve to be plundered. No human law can stop it, none ought to stop it, for that would abrogate a higher and more salutary law: “As ye sow ye shall reap.”

In a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst is the following: “The story of all our Lord’s dealings with sinners leaves upon the mind the invariable impression, if only the story be read sympathetically and earnestly, that He always felt kindly towards the transgressor, but could have no tenderness of regard toward the transgression. There is no safe and successful dealing with sin of any kind save as that distinction is appreciated and made a continual factor in our feelings and efforts.”

With all due respect for Dr. Parkhurst, that is nonsense. If he will read his New Testament more understandingly he will observe that Christ’s kindly feeling to transgressors was not to be counted on by sinners of every kind, and it was not always in evidence; for example, when he flogged the money-changers out of the temple. Nor is Dr. Parkhurst himself any too amiably disposed toward the children of darkness. It is not by mild words and gentle means that he has hurled the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. Such revolutions as he set afoot are not made with spiritual rose-water; there must be the contagion of a noble indignation fueled with harder wood than abstractions. The people can not be collected and incited to take sides by the spectacle of a man fighting something that does not fight back. It is men that Dr. Parkhurst is trouncing–not their crimes–not Crime. He may fancy himself “dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn,” but in reality he does not hate hate but hates the hateful, and scorns, not scorn, but the scornworthy.