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FIRST STEPS TOWARD A MILLENNIUM

Here we have, then, a system in which the community is divided into responsible and irresponsible classes. Every duty discharged by the former serves only to lay the basis for a new duty to be imposed; every duty neglected by the latter serves only to lay the basis for a new privilege or exemption to be claimed. In this system nothing at all is done to prevent or lessen the propagation of the social disease, but, on the contrary, everything is done to nurse and develop it by cutting off such direct penalties as would, in the order of nature, be connected with the evil, and would react upon it to restrict it. All the palliatives are applied at the expense of those that have done as much as men ever do to crush and conquer the social disease in themselves and their children. Those, therefore, who would make good parents must delay marriage by as much as they must be prepared for all the extra burdens that the state will lay upon them as soon as they show that they mean to pay their way; and those who would make bad parents are set free to marry the earlier by as much as they are assured that the state will come to their assistance, in one way and another, so soon as they show that they do not mean to pay their way. We are therefore increasing evils and deteriorating our society.

If now we should reverse our policy, two courses would be open to us. We could either limit all our active measures to securing, as far as possible, those who will conform to the rules of right living, against any harm from those who refuse to learn how we must all conduct ourselves in order that we may all prosper, leaving the latter to the stern school of experience; or, we could bring restrictions to bear on marriage and family life. At least it is evident that, if we are going to bring interference to bear, in the hope of dealing with social evils, our