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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/752

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

results in an extensive reading of publications which foster pleasant illusions, rather than of those which insist on hard realities, is beyond question. Says "A Mechanic," writing in the "Pall Mall Gazette" of December 3, 1883:

Improved education instills the desire for culture culture instills the desire for many things as yet quite beyond workingmen's reach; . . . in the furious competition to which the present age is given up they are utterly impossible to the poorer classes; hence they are discontented with things as they are, and the more educated the more discontented. Hence, too, Mr. Kuskin and Mr. Morris are regarded as true prophets by many of us.

And, that the connection of cause and effect here alleged is a real one, we may see clearly enough in the present state of Germany.

Being possessed of electoral power, as are now the mass of those who are thus led to nurture sanguine anticipations of benefits to be obtained by social reorganization, it results that whoever seeks their votes must at least refrain from exposing their mistaken beliefs, even if he does not yield to the temptation to express agreement with them. Every candidate for Parliament is prompted to propose or support some new piece of ad captandum legislation. Nay, even the chiefs of parties, these anxious to retain office and those to wrest it from them, severally aim to get adherents by outbidding one another. Each endeavors to score a trick by trumping his antagonist's good card, as we have lately seen. And then, as divisions in Parliament show us, the traditional loyalty to leaders overrides questions concerning the intrinsic propriety of proposed measures. Representatives are unconscientious enough to vote for bills which they regard as essentially wrong in principle, because party-needs and regard for the next election demand it. And thus a vicious policy is strengthened even by those who see its viciousness.

Meanwhile there goes on out-of-doors an active propaganda to which all these influences are ancillary. Communistic theories, partially indorsed by one act of Parliament after another, and tacitly if not avowedly favored by numerous public men seeking supporters, are being advocated more and more vociferously under one or other form by popular leaders, and urged on by organized societies. There is the movement for land-nationalization which, aiming at a system of land-tenure equitable in the abstract, is, as all the world knows, pressed by Mr. George and his friends with avowed disregard for the just claims of existing owners, and as the basis of a scheme going more than half-way to state-communism. And then there is the thorough-going Democratic Federation of Mr. Hyndman and his adherents. We are told by them that "the handful of marauders who now hold possession [of the land] have and can have no right save brute force against the tens of millions whom they wrong." They exclaim against "the shareholders who have been allowed to lay hands upon (!) our great