Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/595

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MARCH, 1885.


THE most noteworthy feature of our modern civilization, and the one which distinguishes it from all the civilizations of the past, is its growing dependence upon scientific methods. This is manifested in every department of life, and in every line of thought; it is evident in all arts and industries; and in a multitude of ways it affects government. As modes of living change, the statutory regulation of affairs changes also; as the public thought broadens, methods of administration become broader; as science multiplies the resources of mankind, and brings the nations closer together, legislation recognizes the new condition of the world, and enters upon fields undreamed of a century ago. To-day, every civilized government invokes the aid of science to protect it from enemies, to increase public wealth, and to solve great economic problems; and both science and the state necessarily react upon each other.

The moment we examine closely our own national administration, we find an amazing development in certain lines of scientific industry. Nearly every executive department either has scientific experts regularly connected with it, or employs such experts occasionally for the conduct of important investigations. The work they do is not only "practical," as seen from the most utilitarian point of view, it is also broadly scientific in the highest sense of the term; and it represents in the clearest way the growth of the national intelligence. Some of the investigations relate to the perfecting of national defenses; some to obtaining a better knowledge of the national domain; some to the protection of men and animals against pestilence; and others to the prevention or exposure of certain kinds of fraud. A bare list of the