racy has never yet been tried enough to know what it will do, but with Jacobinism, communism, and social democracy lying in wait for it on one side, and plutocracy on the other, its promise is not greater than that of the old forms. It remains to be proved that democracy possesses any stability and that it can guarantee rights.
We think that justice is a simple idea, comprehensible by the light of nature, when justice is really one of the most refined and delicate notions which we have to use, and one which requires the most perfect training for its comprehension. We think that it is a thing which we need only demand of our political institutions, in order to get it, when in fact the best institutions ever yet invented owe their greatest glory to the fact that they have succeeded in but remotely approximating to it.
We think that liberty and freedom are matters of metaphysics, and are to be obtained by resolutions about what is true. We are impatient of historical growth and steady improvement. We are irritated because our ideals fail, and we propose to throw away all our birth-right of civil liberty, because a man, even in a free country, cannot have everything that he wants. We are inheritors of civil institutions which it has cost generations of toil and pain to build up, and we are invited to throw them away because they do not fit the social dogmas of some of our prophets.
We think that, if this world does not suit us, it ought to be corrected to our satisfaction, and that, if we see any social phenomenon which does not suit our notions, there should be a remedy found at once. A collection of these complaints and criticisms, however, assembled from the literature of the day, would show the most heterogeneous, contradictory, and fantastic notions.