Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/545

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has a bandage over its eyes. Now, reparative justice should endeavor to re-establish the normal conditions of human association, of the "social contract." These normal conditions require that the contracting parties or associates be really free and major. Society, then, ought to see that all minority, all servitude, all excess of inequality that may be produced by the fatal effect of the laws of nature or of the social laws, is suppressed or alleviated as much as possible. That is the general rule which should first be laid down. We pass now to its principal applications.

In the first place, what are the best means which philanthropy, or rather justice, has at its disposal in regard to the disinherited of life? In our view, they are education and work, not the traditional alms. Education can not be anything but useful; it tends to the development of intelligence, and is an aid that raises up, not an aid that depresses. By education, instead of favoring the propagation of imbeciles, we prepare more and more intelligent and capable generations. The bearing of education extends to all kinds of servitude and want, but principally to intellectual servitude and want, which are the origin of all the other kinds. Ignorance of the things most essential to social life, and even to private life, is the worst state of minority. It exists by nature in all children; it is kept up by the lack of instruction among poor children, and persists in the grown-up man. The effort of the state should be brought to bear especially upon this point, for it is the point at which all kinds of justice, defensive, preservative, and reparative, as well as real fraternity or philanthropy, converge and agree. Instruction is a matter of duty and right as of all toward all, and from all points of view; but, to speak only of the duty of reparation, in what way can it be exercised to better advantage, more pacifically, more conformably to the true interests and real rights of all classes, than by distributing knowledge widely among all? Instruction is the universal instrument of labor, useful for all professions, adapting itself flexibly to the most varied employments, an instrument which in virtue of this very fact helps us to find new resources when the usual ones fail. This general instrument of labor ought to be gratuitous; it ought to constitute a kind of moral capital distributed by all to every one. Furthermore, instruction is the only public assistance, or, if that is better, the only indemnity, the only public reparation, in applying which we do not risk sacrificing the interest and health of future generations to those of existing ones. The second means at the service of an enlightened philanthropy is work, which of itself can not be anything but useful: labor elevates the character as instruction elevates the mind; by compelling those to work who are capable, by giving to the less well-endowed tasks proportioned to their capacity, we may be doing something to raise the moral level.

To whom ought the benefactions of philanthropy to be addressed, and within what limits ought they to be restricted? In the first place,