Direct and Indirect Action [excerpt]
But so is Roosevelt active. Where
is there a more active man? And I rather think he would call himself
direct! In one breath he inveighs against the malefactors of great
wealth, and in another breath he inveighs against the malefactors
of no wealth, calling them “undesirable citizens.” Such remarks
contribute nothing to social progress. They are highly indirect.
They merely skim the surface of things without touching the foundation.
They are a commentary upon effects without reference to causes.
The methods of Mr. Roosevelt are very much like the methods of Csolgosz.
He no doubt thought he was a “direct actionist” when he shot McKinley.
With crazed, exaggerated ego, the idea possessed him that he could
improve the lot of mankind—surely not of himself—not by talking
to the people and showing them where they were doing wrong, but,
single-handed, trying to undo the work the people had done, by shooting
the man the people had chosen to be at the head of the political
organization. He succeeded in bringing about a sudden change in
rulers, and I am prepared to argue that the change was rather for
the worse than the better, but he did not aid one jot or tittle
in bringing about a change in the character of the rule. He did
not make a single contribution of value to a people distressed with
economic ills of great magnitude.