Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/24

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The Lawyer Recent disclosures convince that men and corporations controlling important special interests have contributed large sums of money to aid candidates for high office in state and nation, and the suspicion is general that such contribu tions were not prompted by disinterested patriotism. These and other considerations have caused widespread discontent affording opportunity to pseudo friends and open enemies to interpose timeworn obstacles and objections to government and law. The overthrow of our whole system of government is openly advocated, the adherents of this doctrine becoming stronger numerically day by day. Those who believe that unbridled license con stitutes liberty, and hence advocate elimination of municipal law altogether, are not idle and are preaching and spreading their infamous propaganda openly. The demagogue, ever the friend of the class having the greatest voting strength, the pretended ally of every faction promising aid to his ambition, rants in denunciation of those vieing with him for place and power, and promises .panacea for existing ills in something to gratify individual selfish ness, age-old enemy of human law. Not infrequently we hear clamorous demand for radical departure from our system of government, conceit and ambi tion combining in advocacy of innova tions and changes, seductive when viewed superficially, but extremely dan gerous when studied and analyzed. Men and principles long revered, traditions and laws long respected, have suddenly become victims of vehement denuncia tion. This clamorous cry for sweeping change, unfortunate results of which echo through the ages from Rome, Athens, Carthage, to the latest of sudden revolutions, is almost invariably heard from the lips of those least to be trusted if


change in our system is necessary or desirable. Amid all this din and confusion, the calm voice of law calls the American law yer t to full, unselfish, courageous per formance of duty to his country and its institutions, the cornerstone and super structure of which are cemented and sanctified by sacrificial blood and tears. Neither seductive blandishment, spe cious plea, nor arrogant selfishness, on the one hand, nor the rant of the dema gogue, the alluring promise of a new propaganda, nor the denunciation of the anarchist on the Other, should confuse, beguile, or intimidate him. Keeping steadily in mind the prime purpose of law, his eyes on the beacon light of human experience, his courage intensi fied by the example of many great law yers, who either stemmed a dangerous human tide or fell victim to its thought less fury, his voice should be heard above all clamor demanding that there be neither subversion, evasion, misapplica tion, nor destruction of law. Recogniz ing that changing conditions necessitate changes, he should aid in the just and proper amendment of law, but his high est duty is to resist and foil the efforts of selfish men to make law an instru ment promoting and protecting selfish advantage, rather than a shield and sword protecting the conserving human rights and human happiness. The latter task will require constant vigilance and exercise of all the power and concentration of the best intellects. The opposition will be tireless and aided by the keenest minds, willing to prosti tute their talents, and endanger all that sacrifice has wrought for reward, which selfishness is always able and ready to offer. It will require moral courage of no mean order to purge our profession of hypocritical, sycophantic, oath-break ing, treason-baiting men, who stand