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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/652

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

arrest each, other's action entirely or in part, reaction follows in the form of irritation, passion, and vengeance, to which the French Revolution and other popular outbursts bear ample testimony; and these excitations of the inner man are exactly equal to the social forces in antagonistic equilibrium, and it is this form of energy which now gives rise to the warring tendencies and bitterness of classes.

But look at our legislation. Its presumed object is to move the whole social body upon higher planes of progress; yet it essays to urge forward this vast and intricate structure by the impact of quickening laws, by the concentration of social forces into certain lines; and to these ill-considered attempts can we attribute the present incoherent social state. The social organism fails to advance as a whole because power is converted into speed, and thus applied it has torn the social body into several parts. Capitalists and laborers, millionaires and paupers, moralists and criminals, are being urged upon separate lines with varying momentum, the acceleration of speed at the expense of power finally resulting in urging one tenth part of the population ten paces in advance of the masses, when, but for this transmutation of power into speed, the whole body of the people would have advanced one step together. If the few continue this heedless progress at the expense of the many, the separation will be more and more pronounced; and the wider the gap thus made, the more severe and disastrous will be the concussion in the day of readjustment.

Through the laws of force we learn that, when individuals or social groups pull together, the resultant is equal to the sum of their separate effects; but if they pull in opposition to each other, the resultant is found in the difference of their separate effects, and, should they be equal in power, equilibrium would ensue and no work could be accomplished.

Yet in spite of this unvarying law of nature, relentless war is being waged between the classes, causing social unrest and industrial turmoil; and, having been taught that in the ballot resides the remedy for all real and fancied evils, each class clamors for legislation, not to conserve the ends of justice, but to increase their own power or decrease that of the opposition, and thereby secure the object of their strife. Politicians discerning this incoherency of the body politic, are quick to take advantage of it by appealing to every selfish interest, hoping thereby to gain the honor and emoluments of place. In the mass of State and national laws daily enacted it would appear as if the American citizen, or society at large, is utterly disregarded. Of laws we have a surfeit, but they are aimed at voting groups and fail to comprehend the good of all: pension bills for soldiers, river and harbor bills for river and coast constituencies, protective tariff laws for