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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/753

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railway communications." They condemn "above all, the active capitalist class, the loan-mongers, the farmers, the mine-exploiters, the contractors, the middlemen, the factory-lords—these, the modern slave-drivers "who exact" more and yet more surplus value out of the wage-slaves whom they employ." And they think it "high time" that trade should be "removed from the control of individual greed and individual profit."[1]

It remains to point out that the tendencies thus variously displayed are being strengthened by press-advocacy, daily more pronounced. Journalists, always chary of saying that which is distasteful to their readers, are some of them going with the stream and adding to its force. Legislative meddlings which they would once have condemned they now pass in silence, if they do not advocate them; and they speak of laisser-faire as an exploded doctrine. "People are no longer frightened at the thought of socialism," is the statement which meets us one day. On another day, a town which does not adopt the Free Libraries Act is sneered at as being alarmed by a measure so moderately communistic. And then, along with editorial assertions that this economic evolution is coming and must be accepted, there is prominence given to the contributions of its advocates. Meanwhile those who regard the recent course of legislation as disastrous, and see that its future course is likely to be still more disastrous, are being reduced to silence by the belief that it is useless to reason with people in a state of political intoxication.

See, then, the many concurrent causes which threaten continually to accelerate the transformation now going on. There is that spread of regulation caused by following precedents, which become the more authoritative the further the policy is carried. There is that increasing need for administrative compulsions and restraints which results from the unforeseen evils and short-comings of preceding compulsions and restraints. Moreover, every additional state-interference strengthens the tacit assumption that it is the duty of the state to deal with all evils and secure all benefits. Increasing power of a growing administrative organization is accompanied by decreasing power of the rest of the society to resist its further growth and control. The multiplication of careers opened by a developing bureaucracy tempts members of the classes regulated by it to favor its extension, as adding to the chances of safe and respectable places for their relatives. The people at large, led to look on benefits received through public agencies as gratis benefits, have their hopes continually excited by the prospects of more. A spreading education, furthering the diffusion of pleasing errors rather than of stern truths, renders such hopes both stronger and more general. Worse still, such hopes are ministered to

by candidates for public choice to augment their chances of success;

  1. "Socialism made Plain," Reeves, 185 Fleet Street.