Helen Keller vs. The Robber Barons

The following ideas were shared by Helen Keller at the beginning of the last century, in response to the wealthy industrialists that dominated society at that time…

“We differ, blind and seeing, one from another, not in our senses, but in the use we make of them, in the imagination and courage with which we seek wisdom beyond the senses. 

It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference.

Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though not avowed, autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee…

You ask for votes for women. What good can votes do when ten-elevenths of the land of Great Britain belongs to 200,000 and only one-eleventh to the rest of the 40,000,000? Have your men with their millions of votes freed themselves from this injustice?

The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labour. Surely we must free men and women together before we can free women.

The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands ― the ownership and control of their lives and livelihood― are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights.

The majority of mankind are ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease. How can women hope to help themselves while we and our brothers are helpless against the powerful organizations which modern parties represent and which contrive to rule the people?


They rule the people because they own the means of physical life, land, and tools, and the nourishers of intellectual life, the press, the church, and the school. You say that the conduct of the woman suffragists is being disgracefully misrepresented by the British press. Here in America the leading newspapers misrepresent in every possible way the struggles of toiling men and women who seek relief.

News that reflects ill upon the employers is skillfully concealed ― news of dreadful conditions under which labourers are forced to produce, news of thousands of men maimed in mills and mines and left without compensation, news of famines and strikes, news of thousands of women driven to a life of shame, news of little children compelled to labour before their hands are ready to drop their toys.

Only here and there in a small and as yet uninfluential paper is the truth told about the workman and the fearful burdens under which he staggers.

Self-culture has been loudly and boastfully proclaimed as sufficient for all our ideals of perfection. But if we listen to the best men and women everywhere… they will say that science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all ― the apathy of human beings.

Strike against war, for without it no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings.

I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.”

-Helen Keller-


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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7 Responses to Helen Keller vs. The Robber Barons

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    A brave voice indeed, and of course not much has really changed, the corporatcracy has just gotten more sophisticated — political crime is the real organized crime, and now it has even been legitimized by the courts. Corporate feudalism is the name of the game, alas, and the media is their mouthpiece. As Yogi Berra once exclaimed, “It’s deja vu all over again!” Of course, with the benefit of a broader historical perspective, we can recognize that it has always been this way, just decorated in slightly different wrappings. Will it ever change? Well, that’s up to us, it always has been, but as long as we allow ourselves to be entranced and seduced by the bread & circus puppetry of the oligarchs, we can pretty much reckon that the big sleep will continue.

    • Good observations Bob. I think it can and will change, once enough of us wake up to it. Spirituality has to become a vehicle for addressing these issues. That’s what the life and message of wise beings like Helen, Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama signal to us, imo…

      The illusions dissipate in power when those with open hearts stand up and speak out.

      It just takes a Simple Wisdom.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Indeed, and the true Wisdom is our inseparability from the Macrocosm, so as we change and transform, so too does the Whole Being. On the other hand, if we resist breaking out of the trance, that resistance only contributes to prolonging the illusions of division which the power elite count on to perpetuate their rule.

  2. Angel D says:

    I’ve been reading your blog ALL DAY!! I can’t stop reading! I absolutely love it. Thank you for such inspirational posts:)

  3. Paul says:

    Reblogged this on The Learning Crucible and commented:
    Plus ca change…..

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