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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/274

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266 F. G. YOUNG population is not to develop the social abominations that are the curse of the older communities. While all conditions are thus nascent are the features being incorporated into the new rural community that will make for the best uplift in the life of the boy and girl and the woman and the man on the farm? Are the fixed improvements in the towns, their systems of public utility, affecting the health, comfort and enjoyments of all classes, being planned with foresight and with concern for the highest interests dominant? Eastern states and cities are awakening to the fact that as the result of past heedlessness even herculean labors give but faint and long deferred hopes of ever attaining the ideal. It is true that these woeful sacri- fices of the interests of the masses of this and future generations took place there while representative institutions were in vogue. But a like outcome can be avoided here only as constructive and far-seeing policies are devised and supported. Such are the exigencies in the situation in Oregon that confront the sys- tem. A competent performance of his part by the individual voter involves a high calling. It may be that the disposition of the Oregon people with re- gard to the measure of use to be made of the system of direct legislation has been misinterpreted. Possibly the almost ex- clusive recourse to it, and the slight put upon representative government, were due to the necessity of correcting old abuses and adjusting perverted economic relations resulting from the failings of the former system. Suppose, therefore, that a re- newal of confidence in the procedure of representative govern- ment is to be expected and that the machinery of direct legis- lation is to be held in reserve for the occasions when legisla- tures go amiss, yet the necessity is not removed of the need of fine discernment on the part of the private citizen in judging rightly when these occasions arise and in determining what substitute measures will bring greater and more lasting good to all. Moreover, situations are bound to develop when the in- dividual's interest will clash with that of the community as a whole. Verily, the Oregon system applied even most