Our Common Country: Mutual Good Will in America

By Warren G. Harding; Warren G. Harding III | Go to book overview

III

THE INSPIRATION OF LABOR
A Message for Those Who Toil

Life is labor, or labor is life, whichever is preferred. Men speak of the labor issue as paramount or imperious or critical—it is always the big thing because it is the process of all progress and attainment, and has been since the world began. The advocate of excessively-reduced periods of labor simply proposes to slow down human attainment, because labor is the agency of all attainment. If by some miracle of agreement we could reduce the hours of labor to four per day—I speak of labor now in the sense of that which is employed for pay—the live, progressive, civilization- creating, progressive labor would have to go on working twice or thrice that time, because labor is the ferment of human development. No one will challenge these general truths, but we do have a conflict of opinion as to how labor shall be employed and the measure of its compensation.

I wish it distinctly noted that I shall say nothing to one group of fellow citizens which I could not as cordially utter to another. It was my good fortune to have a call from a committee representing several American farm organizations, and I told them frankly I preferred to greet them as fellow-Americans rather than farmers, because our big thought must be of American

-22-

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