Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Mind of C.E.S. Wood

As Americans once again embark on our election rituals, here are a few thoughts of one of Oregon's most effective writers, Charles Erskine Scott Wood (1852-1944), a pioneer lawyer, poet, writer and political activist.

"Of all the stupid solemnities of courts I think the stupidest is, 'Liberty cannot be permitted to pass into License.' If any power can say what is Liberty and what is License, then there is no Liberty.  Liberty means the right to peaceably say all things and peaceably do all things; being answerable for the consequences.  All our constitutions say this, but what is the value of a constitution in a graveyard?"

"The Better American Federation, having no experience with ideas, suppresses everyone found carrying an idea concealed about him without a permit."

"Naturally, our morals are cared for by God's special bodyguard.  Where you find a raid on freedom because of immorals, indecency and obscenity, there you will find the obscenity is all in the immoral minds of some moral Christians.  There are, I believe, more than four hundred stripes and shades of Protestants.  How they dipped their various quarrels out of the small pool of the Gospels I do not understand.  That is their business.  It shows great ingenuity and and an earnest Christian endeavor to send souls to hell.  The only real authority we have says that God made man in his own image, and let it go at that.  He himself does not ever to have been ashamed of His image or His handiwork."

Selections from Too Much Government, 1931.