Dornblaser on the role of government, September, 1922


Is It Not Said “Ye Shall Know the Truth, the Truth Shall Set You Free”

O.F. Dornblaser (Uncle Dorn) of Iowa discusses the problem of government from a co-operative standpoint. Government should be for all, not the few.

The best form of government is the most perfect form of cooperation.

A government approaches perfection as it offers to each subject conditions which enable him to exercise to the best advantage all his power and ability to cooperate in securing the highest degree of prosperity for the nation.

The prosperity of a nation is measured by the prosperity of the individuals that compose the nation, not by the increase in wealth.

The citizen can best cooperate to secure the prosperity of the nation by doing those things which contribute to his own prosperity, provided his prosperity is not secured by appropriating or infringing upon the prosperity of some other subject that is cooperating to secure the same end.

If the prosperity of one citizen is secured by appropriating the prosperity of some other citizen, it does not add to the prosperity of the nation because the good is counterbalanced by the bad. If the prosperity of one is secured by appropriating the prosperity of more than one other citizen, it detracts from the prosperity of the nation just in proportion to the number of those whose prosperity has been appropriated or destroyed. When a government appropriates more of the wealth of the individual than is necessary for an economic administration of governmental affairs, it is tyranny and oppression; but when a government grants a franchise to a citizen or an association of citizens which enables them to lay tribute upon the balance of its subjects, it becomes a party to a crime.

A good government should represent upon terms of equality and justice the whole people. It can not do so when it takes a portion of the people into partnership to assist in conducting the business of government. It does take them into such partnership every time it grants a franchise to exercise any of the attributes of sovereignty.

From all these truisms, self-evident facts that are unanswerable, the conclusion if reached that it is the duty of good and just governments to protect man in the enjoyment of the fruits of his labor and his inalienable rights, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” that a government fails to perform this duty when it grants franchises, or establishes laws or customs which enable a portion of its citizens to prosper at the expense of any or all other portions. When a government so fails to perform it’s whole duty, and the prosperous portion is small in number as compared to the number of those who are robbed by their appropriations and exactions, it indicates a degree of national decadence which must speedily be fatal to any but a government of force.

A government of force is one in which the wealthy are interested in government by the cession of profitable franchise which induce them to contribute enough to the support of the administration of affairs to enable the government to employ for pay a sufficient number of the people as soldiers, to control the masses by force.

A glance at the condition of this country today in the light of these facts and considerations should alarm every patriotic citizen, because of the rapid strides made in the last 40 years toward a government of force. The question may well be asked, “is there no way to prevent it; no way to stop the use of the powers of the government by the few to enrich themselves. Stop this headlong stride towards the destruction of true democracy and the substitution of a government of force?”

Yes, there is one, and only one way. No help can be had from those who profit by the evil. Even the lowly Jesus while upon the earth advocating reform in words of ultimate truth, in the capacity of both God and man found deaf ears upon the officials and those who profited by the then conditions, etc. He was forced to turn to those “whose cup of happiness was not running over”. It has been the same from that day to this.

Relief must come from those who have paid tribute in this country to enrich a comparative few; far beyond the most sanguine dreams of ancient kings. They are the industrious honest, frugal producers who labor in the field, mine, shop, factory and everywhere that honest effort can wring a reward from the forces of nature.

These are they which have cut down the forests, opened the road and paved the way for the spread of civilization into the wilderness.

These are they which have dotted the nation with schools, churches and factories and have filled them.

These are they which in times of war march boldly to the front and save the country from the foe without and within and avert all impending dangers both in times of peace and war and feed a clothe the world and pay the debt.

There are they whom God looks upon in compassion and love and whom the government, since they are its main-stay and support, both in times of war and peace, should guarantee equal rights and equal chances before the laws.

These are they that have been robbed by a contraction of the volume of money while they were in debt, because the reduction in the price of their products has made it take several times as much labor to pay the old debts.

There are they that have been robbed every year by the contraction of the currency at the crop handling season, which forced a great decline in the price of products at the time in which they were compelled to sell, and which, taken as an average for fifty years has been a discrimination against them of over fifty percent.

These are they that have to dig deep and often to raise money enough to meet taxes and pay the $300,000,000,000 debt now hanging over our government and pay toll to the 20,000 new millionaires that were created by the war.

Yes you good, conservatives, who love order and hate disorder that I am appealing to, yes to intelligent men and women who are of good will. I hold that order can be restored and firmly established throughout the nation and the world.

I have no appeal to make to the rabble, to the unthinking, unreasoning mob, which I hold and have always held, in pity.

Today, everywhere, disorder exists, which, unless intelligently checked, will grow beyond control and inevitably lead to disaster.

I belong to that people who once started right, go on and on, to success.

Once a Farmers Union Member, always one. Let’s go. Truly yours,
O.F. Dornblaser

From the archives of Tom Giessel, Larned, Kansas

Note: Mr. Dornblaser was an original Farmers Union member. He lived until 94 years of age and was still attending Farmers Union meetings and recruiting new members at 92.

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