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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/176

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from duties, endowed with claims. This is the inevitable result of combining democratic political theories with humanitarian social theories.

Chapter III. "That it is not wicked to be rich; nay, even that it is not wicked to be richer than one's Neighbor." "We all agree that he is a good member of society who works his way up from poverty to wealth, but, as soon as he has worked his way up, we begin to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous member of society. A newspaper starts the silly fallacy that 'the rich are rich because the poor are industrious,' and it is copied from one end of the country to the other, as if it were a brilliant apothegm. 'Capital' is denounced by writers and speakers who have never taken the trouble to find out what capital is. . . . The great gains of a great capitalist in a modern state must be put under the head of wages of superintendence. Any one who believes that any great enterprise of an industrial character can be started without labor must have little experience of life. . . . Especially in a new country, where many tasks are waiting, where resources are strained to the utmost all the time, the judgment, courage, and perseverance required to organize new enterprises and carry them to success are sometimes heroic. Persons who possess the necessary qualifications obtain great reward. They ought to do so; . . . the ability to organize and conduct industrial, commercial, or financial enterprises is rare; the great captains of industry are as rare as great generals. . . . The aggregation of large fortunes is not at all a thing to be regretted. On the contrary, it is a necessary condition of many forms of social advance. If we should set a limit to the accumulation of wealth, we should say to our most valuable producers, 'We do not want you to do us the services which you best understand how to perform, beyond a certain point.' It would be like killing off our generals in war. . . . Human society lives at a constant strain forward and upward, and those who have most interest that this strain be successfully kept up, that the social organization be perfected, and that capital be increased, are those at the bottom. . . . Those who to-day enjoy the most complete emancipation from the hardships of human life, and the greatest command over the conditions of existence, simply show us the best that man has yet been able to do. Can we all reach that standard by wishing for it? Can we all vote it to each other? If we pull down those who are most fortunate and successful, shall we not by that very act defeat our own object? Those who are trying to reason out any issue from this tangle of false notions of society and of history are only involving themselves in hopeless absurdities and contradictions. If any man is not in the first rank who might get there, let him put forth new energy and take his place. If any man is not in the front rank, although he has done his best, how can he be advanced at all? Certainly in no way save by pushing down any one else who is forced to contribute to his advancement."