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THE STATE AND MONOPOLY

ation of groceries, factory ventilation, child labor, and so on, because the moral corruption of bad literature is far more destructive to social interests than the other bad things against which the other regulations guard. There is no case in which the advocates of non-interference rely so entirely on "general" principles, dogmatic abstractions, and a priori assumptions as when they argue in favor of freedom of the press on a general faith that, on the whole, less harm comes from liberty than from restraint. The argument for a commission to regulate "interstate" literature is a thousandfold stronger than the argument for a commission to regulate interstate commerce or telegraphs. On the Russian plan, therefore, a censorship of the press is included.

The argument for a regulation of the natural monopoly enjoyed by newspapers would be stronger still. The need for informing the people about public affairs, and informing them correctly, is most important "in order to maintain our republican institutions," an argument which is put forward as conclusive and final in innumerable other cases. A proposition might also be formulated, on behalf of which a great deal could be said, to the following effect: the state ought to see to it that every social institution which possesses power should be loaded with a corresponding responsibility. If such a rule were adopted, it would at once apply to the newspaper press, for since we have established freedom of the press, the newspapers have become a gigantic power which is capable of perpetrating, and constantly does perpetrate, wrongs against both public and private rights for which there is no remedy. Here again, therefore, we should find moral grounds for state regulation of the press.

Still again: I have spoken so far only of regulation of literature in the interests of public morality and polit-