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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/310

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

also solidaire with each, other. A criticism of Rodbertus is a task which I reserve for another occasion, but, as germane to my present subject, I ask attention to the following proposition, as illustrating the sort of dogma which shows the need of re-analyzing liberty: "Moral freedom is conditioned on historical necessity." Some of our contemporaries take that sort of proposition as the profoundest wisdom. To me it is oracular in more senses than one.[1]

2. From a large collection of similar cases I select the following: "Life appears to the Manchester party to run its course under the form of a parliamentary debate, and not otherwise. An assertion is followed by an objection, this by a rejoinder, and so on. The decision of the majority is final." The view here stigmatized is held by all those who believe in government by deliberation. "The great affair in this world is, not to convince a man's intelligence, or to increase his knowledge, but it is at least equally important to lead his will and to conquer it."[2] The writer goes on to argue that, if men are allowed to act freely, they will not act by deliberation, but selfishly. There he leaves the matter, appparently believing that he has routed the "Manchester Schule," and established something of philosophical or practical importance. He must, of course, assume that himself and his friends are to decide when others and their friends are acting selfishly, and ought to have their wills conquered.

3. To take another citation from a popular writer: "Not one liberal principle but is admirable in the abstract; yet not one liberal measure that has not worked terrible mischief in our time. The liberty of thought, for instance; who dare gainsay it? Yet it has proved destructive of the principle of religion, without which there is less cohesion among men than among a herd of swine. The liberty of settlement and circulation has given rise to the pestilence of large towns, in which men congregate and live together on terms worse than a pack of wolves. The liberty of industry has reduced four fifths of the population to a state of serfdom more cruel than negro slavery, while more than half of the remaining population is engaged in a perpetual struggle, more savage than the intermittent warfare of cannibals. Free trade among nations has ruined, first individually, then industrially, then financially, and finally-politically, prosperous countries, such as Turkey, while in England it has destroyed, not only agriculture, but all those sterling qualities which formerly characterized British industry and trade. . . . Parallel to the deception experienced by the modern world through the progress of industry, aided by discovery and invention, have come down on this genera-

  1. 8 Hildebrand's "Jahrbücher," 420, note.
  2. Von Eichen in "Preuss. Jahrbücher," 1878, p. 382.