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Dearborn independent. [volume] (Dearborn, Mich.) 1901-1927, March 06, 1920, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2013218776/1920-03-06/ed-1/seq-3/

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Mr. Ford's Page
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W -d M l I I ' II P' li Uli I II ill I
Y which has o.nu over the prophets WmJK
since t hi- end ot the war Thev beean bv as- v5MiaHB
OU cannot bavc tailed to notice the change
which has COmc over the prophets
since the end of the war. They began by as
suring u that wt were on the eve of one of the mofll
magnificent development! of good will and prosperity which
tin world had ever seen. Everybody was scanning the hrrizon
to sec the sunrise of the Good Time Coming. But gradually the
tone of forecast chained. Disappointment and disillusionment
leiied upon all the people. A poisonous unrest crept in everywhere
It seemed that actual disintegration was about to take apart all
that mankind had built up, until, at the present time, the tone of
tin prophet! is distinctly one of glo my foreboding.
Clfl we interpret all this? Can we find its meaning? Can we
.ist off our dependence on the prophets and see the signs of the
timet for ourselves?
We may dismiss the prophets very easily. In fact, they were
not prophets at all. They were merely reporters of the mood of
the hoar in which thev spoke. They did not really foresee what
waJ about to come, they merely saw what the mood of the hour
was and they saw to what high achievements it would lead if it were
made continuous and productive. In their rosy outlooks at the end
of the war they were right this far what they foresaw could have
taken place if the people had wished it.
All the good things foretold might hare
been realised it the people had known
their opportunity and grasped it. The new
time was not impossible; it was right on
the threshold waiting to come in; but we
did not open the door to it. What the
prophets saw was there undoubtedly, but
we did not take it.
And why? Well, we were not big
enough nor civilized enough. We have
just the kind of world we are big enough
to have, and it is quite possible that some
additional discipline is necessary to en
large our minds and our inner natures to
the dimensions which shall be ample
enough to let a new era come in.
Is it not amazing, when you stop to
think ot it. that at the height of the war
when the energies ot the world were har
nessed to the task of killing, the people
i this and every nation, and the nations
themselves, were more united than they
w are in time of peace?
Is it not a serious indictment of hu-
m nature in the mass that we can be
imalgamated for works of violence, and
ft cannot be held together tor works of
construction, prosperity and peace? Is it
not .strange, when you consider it stead
ily, that you could get millions of men
to tight, where hardly hundreds would
enlist in the equally patriotic work of
building up again what was destroyed?
Yet so it is. and it would be out of
ill harmony with the laws of cause and effect if a world which
. rejected M great an opportunity should not be required to pay
for it in some fashion.
THERE are nun who tell us that we may expect hard times
within a comparatively few months. They say that a panic
is surely coming. The Jeremiahs have completely ousted the Isaiahs
m the prophetic leat
nd what are we to think of these foretellings of doom? Kx
tlj what we think about the former prophecies of a good time
coming: it we want the panic, we can have it; just as we might
ive had the new era far on its way by this time, if the people had
I then their opportunity.
let this he very clear in your mind: nothing will come, either
OOd Of had. unless we want it. We have to make the conditions
I they do not come, they are created,
The onl i.i. tint one can see in these prophecies of gloom is
,,;tt they might stir up the people to a sense of their economic
esponstbility, People who would not make the sacrifices and the
""M'tomises necessary for the opening up of the new era, may
'haps f)t induced t. take the precautions which shall prevent the
coming of economic distress. One need not say that distress is
coming; one must, however, say that chamjes are coming of whose
A RE we going to have hard
m times? Some prophets say
we are. Not long ago the proph
ets told us we were going to
have a better world after the
war. It is not a better world,
but it might have been. The
prophets saw what could have
transpired if the people had
wanted it. And the same is
true of their vision of bad times
we can have them if we want
them; we are not compelled to
have economic distress unless
we want it. The United States
can hardly suffer need if it will
produce what it needs to live on.
nature we are not wholly aware And whether
these changes are to weigh down upon us heavily,
or are to be a side-path toward a better condition, is
absolutely for ourselves to determine. We can have it
either way we wish. If the people could o.dy root out of
their minds the superstition that governments regulate these
matters, if they could only rid themselves of the false idea that
some new and magical ideas are necessary, we should then have a
clear ground for action. Governments are only the legislative clerks
of the people, and as far as miraculous ideas are concerned, the
only sound ideas are those which have existed since the beginning
of society, and which are as plain as A B C o plain, in fact, that
the people have overlooked their supreme importance.
If you knew that famine was coming, what would you do?
You would work hard so that you would have enough food to tid
yourself and family over the period of want. You would advise
everyone to produce the things that were needed to live. You would
seek to make up in advance the lacks which the needy time would
And what would be the result? Why. when the lean year came,
it would be a lean year in name only, because man's foresight and
industry had discounted its worst qualities. That is exactly what m
are to do now. New laws will not do it.
Xew governments will not do it. Nothing
but old-fashioned work and thrift WtU do
it. If changes are coming, we ought to
be ready for them. If we have the neces
sities of life on hand in abundance, we can
pass safely through every change. Those
who have enough for themselves should
produce for others. The common stock
must be made ample, and then we can
survive without acute distress whatever
may come.
WHY is it that men will disregard
these simple, true and sure ways
of protecting themselves, and seek new
and fantastic ways which look better in
oratory than they do in operation ? What
is this obstinate quality in human nature
which blinds it to its best good?
The value of this course is that it we
enter upon it earnestly, the changes we
foresee will be robbed of their sting and
will turn into beneficient changes. It is
the distress, the destruction they can
cause that makes changes good or bad.
When they cannot cause distress, they
turn out usually to be good changes.
The world has lost one opportunity to
remake itself; let it not lose the present
opportunity to save itself greater con
fusion than the war brought. Xo doubt
one day in the future we shall regain
our lost opportunity to make the world
a league of peace and mutual help, but
before that we shall probably have to pass through an intermediate
time of testing, the results of which will rest solely on our willing
ness to work and be thrifty.
There is not any distinct willingness to work now; there is not
any general tendency to thrift. We are caught in eddies of side
issues, none of which will feed us or sustain us if a slump should
hit the world. There is no excuse whatever for the United States
suffering. It cannot overproduce in a world that needs all it can
make: if it suffers at all, it will be from under-production, and this
can mean only idleness and luxurious living.
Some men say, "If we produce, it is only for the capitalists!"
Wholly wrong. If we produce now, and times become dark, what
we have produced will constitute a common stock. If we have no
stock in the country, what will it matter that the "capitalists" have
none, if the workers have none either?
Any way you look at it, our duty is to keep on working at the
production of useful things food and all that goes to the work
of raising food, as well as all that goes to the sustenance of lite,
and those things which make for human happiness.
It isn't a duty for this or that large aggregation it is the duty of
every individual. Kvery man in his place- every man on his job
every man producing for today's necessities, and a little extra
; a. t
against tomorrow s possiDie need.

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