What year WAS that?
Our flash into the past this issue is
an excerpt from an essay found in a Horned Frog yearbook. We'll
let you to guess what year first, then turn the page upside down to find
out if you were right.
The Age of
If one were
asked to characterize in a phrase the time in which we live, no more fitting
could be given than that of the age of commercialism. With a wonderful
increase in material comforts, a like advance in the mechanical comforts
and intellectual sciences, and a marvelous activity in religion, the world
finds itself confronted to-day with a problem whose wrong solution means
the decay of comfort, the decline of art, and the death of devotion.
of commercialism is everywhere manifest. Our country, the world's model
of self-government, has in its business life and ideals followed the unworthy
example of its Old World neighbors. We speak with pride of our advanced
civilization and free institutions, but is it not true, were we only honest
enough to admit it, that a power and a spirit of deadly menace are dominating
the real character of our national life?
Is it not
a lamentable fact that our national principles are losing their prestige,
and the sovereignty of government is being supplanted by a specter of
silver and gold wielded by the tyrannical hand of commercialism? "Eternal
vigilance is the price of liberty."
our forefathers have given us a priceless heritage, and the smiles of
a benign Providence have ever attended the newest and grandest of nations,
are we to assume that these blessings will exist perpetually, whether
or not we nurture and protect them? We as a nation are destined yet to
struggle, for there is an enemy already within our borders whose love
of conquest exceeds that of Alexander or Napoleon. That enemy is the preserve,
distorted spirit, commercialism.
Can we deny
that the conflict is now on? Look around us, and we see everywhere signs
of its ravage and desolation. This spirit of commercialism, darker than
a demon from the bottomless pit, delights in waste and revelry. It roams
the streets of our cities, seeking whom it may destroy. It takes the last
penny from the pauper, casts it into the vault where billions are hoarded,
and sends its victims on, destitute and starving. It takes man's body
and enslaves it; his mind and shatters it. It takes his soul and leaves
him a human machine without the possibility of development or desire for
a hereafter. It has crazed the American citizen till he rushes headlong
and fearless into the woes in which this spirit revels like a tiger with
the first taste of human blood. Yea! It has made our people money-made.
is a problem before the American people that demands the best efforts
of men, it is that of commercialism.We
need men, and need them at once, fearless, brave, strong, bold men, country-loving,
humanity-serving, self-sacrificing, "God smitten men," who will place
their bodies on the alter that from their sacrifices incense may arise
to God to invoke His blessing and deliverance.
We need young
men in our colleges with the highest and most noble purposes in life,
who are "pursuing the higher branches with one hand upon the printed page
and the other upon the other upon the great throbbing pulse of the world,
with one ear turned to the instructor's voice and the other bent to hear
the cry of humanity."
is at hand. The destiny of America is the issue of our action. We must
intelligently and courageously face the situation and curl hurl our gage
of battle into the ranks of our foe. If we prove false, our country will
take its place in the unchangeable past, where generations to come will
uncover the ruins of our once splendid heritage and read the mournful
story of our disgraceful end, wrought by the greed of gain in an age when
the spirit of commercialism palsied the hand of integrity and silenced
forever the voice of our national honor.
in the 1906 Horned Frog, this piece was written by W.O. Dallas,
who won second place in the Sate Oratorical Contest on April 20, 1906.