Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/356

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

customers pay him as much as he can, when circumstances give him the power of demanding unusual prices. An elevation in social morality would make conduct of this kind less common than it is, and would inevitably have some influence in restraining the greed of great monopolies. In America, with its limited past, wealth has an excessive social power, its pursuit is the business of nearly all the strongest intellects, and its marvelous growth in the country at large from year to year constantly tends to make it a more and more decided object of ambition. The ideal of a vast number of the people is wealth, and scarcely any price is thought too great to pay for it. If any improvement of this ideal is possible, it lies with teachers of morality and right thinking to effect it. Whether on the school-rostrum or the platform, in the pulpit or the editorial chair, or, above all, in the home, the aim of life should be taught to lie rather in the development of heart and conscience than in the accumulation of vast estates—more in the growth of honor and manliness than in the growth of those arts which gather wealth but stunt and paralyze the faculties of true enjoyment. The low idea of the subordination of life to the means of living is at the root of most of the problems of property. One of the chief impulses in the pursuit of wealth is the desire of obtaining public admiration and applause; if these are intelligently awarded much will be done to curb the unscrupulousness of those who gather together a great deal more than they can enjoy, in some cases heaping up sums far outbulking the accumulations of any previous age. And much will be done toward making efficient, in the prevention or punishment of the abuses of great properties, such legislation as may be applicable.


SINCE many writers opposed to the practice of experiments on animals have based their objections entirely on moral grounds, and thus made the question of vivisection an ethical one, I have been anxious to know what laws they have discovered for our guidance on this vexed subject. They discourse on cruelty, on immorality, and on the rights of animals; but these expressions are so vague that they fail to afford any basis for legal or public action, or, if there be any attempt at definition, it is with the object of making these terms conform to a foregone conclusion on the very point under discussion. Thus it is constantly asserted that physiologists feel at liberty to torture animals at their pleasure, without regard to the "higher dictates of humanity" or to the "laws of morality." It is thus implied that there exists among the public some principle of conduct toward the