The Inequality of Man & Other Thoughts – Bill Arp, 11/6/1887

The Inequality of Man & Other Thoughts – Bill Arp, 11/6/1887

Was ruminating about the Chicago Anarchists. I am sorry for them, I am, but I reckon it is because I am
so far off. It does look like the farther off trouble and misfortune is the more sympathy it gets. I’ve known
people to give money liberally to convert the heathen or to help the needy in distant lands but never gave
a dollar to relieve the poor who were all around them. Just so we sympathize with the poor fellow who is
going to the chain-gang for stealing or burglary and are almost willing for him to escape; but let a thief
or burglar steal from us and then our sympathy dries up all of a sudden. Tom Moore, my tenant, is a kind
-hearted man and used to say he never would help to catch an escaped convict. But one dark night a feller
came along and stole the only mule Tom had. He tracked him and followed him for three days and nights
and gave it up, and I never saw a man take on like Tom Moore, for he had nothing to make a crop with and
was too poor to buy. About six months after that a feller who was in jail for horse-stealing got out and the
sheriff was hard after him and run him through a field where Tom was at work. Tom saw the chase and
never moved until the sheriff cried out : “Catch him, Tom! Catch him! He is the feller that stole Jenkins’
mule.” Tom dropped his hoe and made after him like he was running a foot-race and caught him. “Dog
on him,” said Tom, “1 haint got no pity for a feller who will steal a poor man’s mule.” We indulge in a
vast amount of sympathy for prisoners and convicts, but it makes a big difference when a feller steals
our goods or burns our house or injures a member of our family. So I reckon that if I lived in Chicago I
would say, “hang those Anarchists. Our lives and our property must be protected.” Some men were born
robbers and ruffians and raised up that way in dens of infamy, and get no sympathy from mankind-no
more sympathy than they give a hyena or a tiger or a Comanche Indian, but these men deserve still less
for they are intelligent and have had good opportunities, and therefor are all the more dangerous to society.

They go about quoting Thomas Jefferson who said that “all men were born free and equal”-Well, I reckon
they are, but they don’t stay so long, and it never was intended they should. An infant is powerful free and
can squeal and kick around and keep a whole household in confusion, but by the time the little chap begins
to wear breeches he finds out he belongs to somebody, and his freedom is not worth a cent. His inequality
begins sooner than his lack of freedom, for one child Is not as smart as another, nor as pretty nor as healthy,
and can’t get as good food nor as healthy, and can’t get as good food nor as pure air nor as fine clothes. As
the children grow up to manhood the inequality increases, and so there are kings and subjects and princes
and paupers, and the rich and great are mixed up with the hewers of wood and drawers of water. It has always
been so and always will until somebody invents a way to have all the children born alike with the same amount
of brains and the same will and disposition and the same kind of body to sustain them. But human nature is as
far off from than now as it was six thousand years ago. The children of one famiy are very unlike, much more
the children of differen parents. In every litter of pigs there is always a runt, and so in every flock of children there
is one or more that can’t keep up or is affected or goes astray. The human family are not mates or bred for blood
or for stock, and they have all sorts of ancestors from away back, and so there are all sorts of folks from the dirty
scrub to the proud cavalier. We breed horses for speed or for strength or for beauty, but still we can find only one
Maud S in a hundred thousand. There is no equality in any thing. and the same law is true today that was declared
1800 years ago, that some vessels were born to honor and some to dishonor, and nobody need to make a fuss
about it, for they can’t help it. The inequalities of this life are very insignificant compared with those that await us
in the life to come, and there is a power of scripture that intimates that the less we have here the more we will
have over yonder if we behave ourselves. I was thinking about what a poor grumbling man said to me the other
day about the rich men owning all the lands, and there was no chance for a poor man to get a start in this country.

This is the same old story. Two thousand years ago the Romans grumbled and complained so much that Tiberius
passed an agrarian law and took the lands away from the rich and divided them into small farms, and gave every
citizen so many acres, according to quality, and in ten years time one tenth of the citizens owned all the lands and
the others were their tenants. If a young man will start out at eighteen and be industrious and prudent and spend
only what is necessary to keep himself cornfortable, he will be a rich man by the time he is forty. If he marries a
prudent woman who will he a help meet and not a mill-stone, it will be no drawback on his progress. There is no
necessity for the masses of the people, especially the farmers, to suffer in this blessed land. The chronic grumblers
and those who envy the rich are the meanest people we have got, and the laziest. I have ruminated over all traces
and conditions and am satisfied that a farmer who is not rich enough to be proud and not poor enough to steal or
to beg or suffer, has more reason to be happy than any other class. Old Agur’s prayer is the best: “Lord give neither
poverty nor riches.” We read every day about cholera or yellow fever or small pox or suicide or murder or fire or falling
walls or shipwreck, but they are all foreign to me and my folks. They provoke no fear or apprehension we live in the
country on a hill that overlooks the farm, and drink water that has no polly-wogs and is corrupted by no sewers or
cess-pools. We are not rich and not poor, and are always on a strain-a healthy strain that stimulates our industry
and restrains our extravagance, and so we are content to jog along and toll along and be as happy every day as
we can. “Carpe diem,” said Horace. Enjoy this day-enjoy every day and get all the good out of it you can, that is
good sense and good philosophy. I know a good old farmer who always looks on the bright side, and one day when
I told him his oat crop was almost a failure, he smiled and said: “Yes, my oats are low, but then I read about a little
boy whose poor mother covered him with straw one cold, forting night and laid an old door upon the straw to keep
the wind from blowing it away through the cracks of the cabin. The thankful fellow looked at her with a grateful smile
and said: “Mother, it aint every little boy that has a door put over him, is it? There is no anarchy in that.

Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Bill Arp

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