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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/174

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to devise schemes for remedying what they do not like. In their eagerness to recommend the less fortunate classes to pity and consideration, they forget all about the rights of other classes; they gloss over all the faults of the classes in question, and they exaggerate their misfortunes and their virtues. They invent new theories of property, distorting rights and perpetrating injustice, as any one is sure to do who sets about the readjustment of social relations with the interests of one group distinctly before his mind and the interests of all other groups thrown into the background. When I have read certain of these discussions, I have thought that it must be quite disreputable to be respectable, quite dishonest to own property, quite unjust to go one's own way and earn one's own living, and that the only really admirable person was the good-for-nothing. The man who by his own effort raises himself above poverty appears, in these discussions, to be of no account. The man who has done nothing to raise himself above poverty finds that the social doctors flock about him, bringing the capital which they have collected from the other class, and promising him the aid of the state to give him what the other had to work for. . . . On the theories of the social philosophers to whom I have referred, we should get a new maxim of judicious living: 'Poverty is the best policy. If you get wealth, you will have to support other people; if you do not get wealth, it will be the duty of other people to support you.'"

In his second chapter, the author dilates upon the proposition that "A Free Man is a Sovereign, but that a Sovereign can not take 'Tips.'" He discourses as follows: "A free man, a free country, liberty and equality, are terms in constant use among us. They are employed as watchwords as soon as any social question comes into discussion. It is right that they should be so used. They ought to contain the broadest convictions, and most positive faiths of the nation, and so they ought to be available for the consideration of questions of detail. . . . Probably the popular notion is, that liberty means doing as one has a mind to, and that it is a metaphysical or sentimental good. A little observation shows that there is no such thing in this world as doing as one has a mind to. There is no man, from the tramp up to the President, the Pope, or the Czar, who can do as he has a mind to. Moreover, liberty is not a metaphysical or sentimental thing at all. It is positive, practical, and actual. It is produced and maintained by law and institutions, and is therefore concrete and historical. Sometimes we speak distinctly of civil liberty; but if there be any liberty other than civil liberty that is, liberty under law—it is a mere fiction of the school-men which they may be left to discus. . . . The notions of civil liberty which we have inherited is that of a status created for the individually laws and institutions, the effect of which is that each man is guaranteed the use of all his own powers exclusively for his own welfare. It is not at all a matter of elections, or universal suffrage, or