The profoundest duty that lies upon any father is to leave his son with a reasonable equipment for the struggle of life and an untarnished name. So the noblest task that confronts us all to-day is to leave this country unspotted in honor, and unexhausted in resources, to our descendants, who will be, not less than we, the children of the Founders of the Republic. I conceive this task to partake of the highest spirit of patriotism.
THE PRESENT BATTLE
Conservation has captured the Nation. Its progress during the last twelve months is amazing. Official opposition to the conservation movement, whatever damage it has done or still threatens to the public interest, has vastly strengthened the grasp of conservation upon the minds and consciences of our people. Efforts to obscure or belittle the issue have only served to make it larger and clearer in the public estimation. The conservation movement cannot be checked by the baseless charge that it will prevent development, or that every man who tells the plain truth is either a muck-raker or a demagogue. It has taken firm hold on our national moral sense, and when an issue does that it has won.
The conservation issue is a moral issue, and the heart of it is this: For whose benefit shall our natural resources be conserved—for the benefit of us all, or for the use and profit of the few? This truth is so obvious and the question itself so simple that the attitude toward conservation of any man in public or private life indicates his stand in the fight for public rights.
All monopoly rests on the unregulated control of natural resources and natural advantages, and such control by the special interests is impossible without the help of politics. The alliance between business and politics is the most dangerous thing in our political life. It is the snake that we must kill. The special interests must get out of politics, or the American people will put them out of business. There is no third course.
Because the special interests are in politics, we as a Nation have lost confidence in Congress. This is a serious statement to make, but it is true. It does not apply, of course, to the men who really represent their constituents and who are making so fine a fight for the conservation of self-government. As soon as these men have won their battle and consolidated their victory, confidence in Congress will return.