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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

more discontent in one house in the United States or in England than in the whole Russian Empire. Discontent exists, then, where there are opportunities, and it is a stimulus to take advantage of opportunities. In that case it is an agency which produces achievement and drives on what we call progress. In other cases discontent is a result of conviction that opportunities have been lost and that it is too late to recover them. Then again, discontent is the twin sister of envy, when it is seen that others have profited better by opportunities. In no case does discontent, as a naked fact, prove anything, and when the details are known it never is proof of a grievance.

Our social philosophers, however, as I have said, assume that discontent is a legitimate and imperative demand for a remedy. They treat it as a social phenomenon, and the remedies which they propose are societal, that is, they are in the nature of devices and regulations which call for the action of the agencies of society. So far as these social philosophers get their way, we find that it is legislation which is set at work, and this legislation imposes tasks on functionaries and institutions. The net final and certain result is new burdens on taxpayers. Discontent is not diminished; it is generally increased. If you get a report of the operation of any of these devices which have already been adopted you will find it full of criticism, perhaps of derision, of the device. It is pointed out how crude the notion was; how ignorant of the conditions; how irrelevant to the purpose in view.

I will not now, however, dwell upon this aspect of social measures to cure discontent; what I am now more interested in is the education exerted by all this philosophy and all these devices on the people on whom