Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/366

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the main span ranges between two feet three inches and two feet nine inches; and before the suspenders were attached to the cable it actually revolved on its own axis through an arc of thirty degrees, when exposed to the sun shining upon it on one side. You do not perceive this motion, and you would know nothing about it unless you watched the gauges which record its movement.

Now, if our political system were guided by organized intelligence, it would not seek to repress the free play of human interests and emotions, of human hopes and fears, but would make provision for their development and exercise, in accordance with the higher law of liberty and morality. A large portion of our vices and crimes are created either by law or its maladministration. These laws exist because organized ignorance, like a highwayman with a club, is permitted to stand in the way of wise legislation and honest administration, and to demand satisfaction from the spoils of office and the profits of contracts. Of this state of affairs we complain, and on great occasions the community arises in its wrath and visits summary punishment on the offenders of the hour, and then relapses into chronic grumbling until grievances sufficiently accumulate to stir it again to action.

What is the remedy for this state of affairs? Shall there be no more political parties, and shall we shatter the political machinery which, bad as it is, is far better than no machinery at all? Shall we embrace nihilism as our creed, because we have practical communism forced upon us as the consequence of jobbery and the imposition of unjust taxes?

No, let us rather learn the lesson of the bridge. Instead of attempting to restrict suffrage, let us try to educate the voters; instead of disbanding parties, let each citizen within the party always vote, but never for a man who is unfit to hold office. Thus parties, as well as voters, will be organized on the basis of intelligence.

But what man is fit to hold office? Only he who regards political office as a public trust, and not as a private perquisite to be used for the pecuniary advantage of himself, or his family, or even his party. Is there intelligence enough in these cities, if thus organized within the parties, to produce the result which we desire? Why, the overthrow of the Tweed ring was conclusive evidence of the preponderance of public virtue in the city of New York. In no other country in the world, and in no other political system than one which provides for and secures universal suffrage, would such a sudden and peaceful revolution have been possible. The demonstration of this fact was richly worth the twenty-five or thirty millions of dollars which the thieves had stolen. Thereafter and thenceforth there was no doubt whether our city population, heterogeneous as it is, contains within itself sufficient virtue for its own preservation. Let it never be forgotten that the remedy is complete, that it is ever present, that no man ought to be deprived of the opportunity of its exercise, and that,