from America in the War
Restitution and Reparation
by Ellis Parker Butler
It is with good reason the Prussian covers the thick bone of his head with a helmet, for into it ideas of right and justice can only be battered with a club. The tough, club-resisting helmet is the arch-symbol of Prussianism. From its earliest days Prussia has taught its neighbors the Prussian theory of right and justice by means of a club. When the Prussian wishes to educate his neighbors to an appreciation of Prussian ethics he puts on his helmet, picks up a club and slugs the neighbor on the head.
The Prussian theory of right and justice is this: "What is mine is mine. What is yours is also mine if I want it."
This idea is deep buried beneath the thick bone of the Prussian head. He holds it with stolid stupidity and deep, prehistoric crudity, like a pig or an idiot. He cannot understand that there are any rights higher than Prussian greed. "If I want it, it is mine because I want it." It is the logic of the primitive human animal, the cave-man.
Cornered and accused of his thefts he clings to his loot like the pig that has stolen a carrot. When asked to disgorge he is shocked by the suggestion. "But they are mine! I wanted them, so they are mine!" he says. Right and Justice answer, "They are not yours; you stole them." "Maybe so!" says the Prussian. "But just the same they are mine--I stole them a long time ago."
The logic of the Prussian fills ten thousand volumes. It is written in hundred-line paragraphs and six-inch words. It can be condensed into two short words--piggish greed: piggish because it knows neither right or justice, greed because it is greed.