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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/658

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tial ingredient. Without him the reservoir would contain nothing. And every worker of the series required to swell this reservoir of wealth has an interest in the end to be attained, and in every contribution to that end. The workmen embrace nearly every member of the national family. The interdependence is complete; and the obligation felt is not the kind to be avoided, but ought to be agreeable, mutual, and brotherly. However, a little inquiry will satisfy any one that the laborer feels that the world owes him quite as much as he owes the world. This argument, drawn from dependence and obligation, has no application in the family or in the nation. Analogies in nature are everywhere at hand. If any part of its articulated order fails, the whole is affected:

"In Nature's chain, whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten-thousandth, breaks the chain alike."

So with the related order of society rising from native savagery to its highest artificial conditions.

A tax for education, considered from another point of view, might be properly regarded as a police regulation; and governmental action, state or national, rigorously and systematically applying it to the reduction of ignorance, that worst foe to a free people, viewed as a vital step toward securing the public safety.

Uniformity.—But uniformity is objected to, by Mr. Herbert, as an evil in the English system; and, if so, it would be the same in any other country. Such a system, he believes, is not sufficiently elastic, and does not yield readily enough to improved methods of instruction. Teachers and pupils and trustees go alike into the groove of established routine, and there remain, to the injury of the mental growth of all, and thus become a positive hindrance to progress. "Changes," he says, if ever made by great exertions, "would be only spasmodic; they would not be the natural outcome of the system, and therefore could not last."

It can be replied to this objection, that uniformity is but the precursor of variety, and without intelligent uniformity there can be no sure foundation for progress. We, indeed, expect the greatest variety from the most perfect uniformity and regularity in the systems we are investigating. Were there no laws of uniform operation in nature, we should have no foundation for science, physical or psychological; and the most perfect uniformity is yet so prolific in variety that the fields of human investigation are infinite.

But we have only space for one practical illustration of this principle of uniformity. We have, in America, a system of schools, either permitted by license from the State, or required by State enactments, which is quite as uniform a system as exists in England, and perhaps far more so. And the uniformity of the American system of graded free schools, for the forty years of their operation, has not as yet