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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

do these things become property. If food were provided in the same way, or if land, as a means of getting food, were provided in the same way, there would be no social question, no classes, no property, no monopoly, no difference between industrial virtues and industrial services, and no inequality. When, therefore, it is argued that there is, or was, or ought to be, a banquet of life, open to all, and that the fact that there is no such thing now proves that some few must have monopolized it, it is plain that the whole notion is at war with facts, and that its parts are at war with each other.

The notion that there is such a thing as a boon of nature, or a banquet of life, shows that social science is still in the stage that chemistry was in when people believed in a philosopher's stone, or medicine, when they believed in a panacea, or physiology, when they believed in a fountain of youth, or an elixir of life. Many of the phenomena of the present seem to indicate that this group of facts is just coming under the dominion of science. The discord and confusion which we perceive are natural under the circumstances. Men never cling to their dreams with such tenacity as at the moment when they are losing faith in them, and know it, but do not yet dare to confess it to themselves.

If there was such a thing as a banquet of life, open to all comers, to which each person was entitled to have access just because he was born, and if this right could be enforced against the giver of the banquet, that is, against nature, then we should have exactly what we want to make this earth an ideal place of residence. We should have first of all a satisfaction which costs no effort, which is the first desideratum of human happiness, and which we have not hitherto ever seen realized at all except in the narrow domain of luck. Secondly,