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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/650

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

hill-pasture where a young goat-herd lay stretched out at full length under a tree still dripping from the showers of a recent thunder-storm.

"Hallo, Billy!" called out my companion. "What are you doing in that puddle of rain? Don't you know there is a law against bathing on Sunday?"

"That's a fact," laughed Billy. "If a stretch in the wet grass could do a fellow any good, I have no doubt there would be a law against it."

That reply exactly defines the popular verdict on a code of laws founded upon a system whose corner-stone is indeed the dogma that "whatever is natural is wrong." Sabbatarian despotism has succeeded in connecting the popular notion of a moralist with the idea of a kill-joy, and made religion a synonym of a system for the infliction of the greatest possible misery on the greatest possible number.

"Why, but is there not an offset in the leisure gained for the perusal of moral and instructive pamphlets?" asks the agent of the Free Tract Society.

Our pious friends can, indeed, not be accused of underrating the value of those tracts if they expect them to compensate the waste of opportunities for life-brightening recreations, the loss of good humor, the loss of patriotism, the loss of faith in the benefits of laws and creeds, the loss of content, and the often irretrievable loss of health and vital energy.

 

THE ETHICAL VIEW OF PROTECTION:
A WORD TO THE WAYFARING MAN.
By HUNTINGTON SMITH.

WHENEVER any great question comes up for settlement, there are always people ready with arguments on both sides. These arguments are all supported by what we call facts. Facts in great numbers are accumulated to prove diametrically opposite things; for there is no question, it matters not how absurd it may be, that facts in abundance can not be found in its favor. Now the simple truth is, that facts mean nothing till we know the relation which they bear to other facts. A mass of facts Is like a heap of bricks; and just as you can construct any sort of a building out of a given heap of bricks, so out of a sufficient number of facts you can, by picking your material and fitting it together in accordance with some plan you have already determined upon, build up any sort of an argument. There is a common saying that figures will not lie. It is true that figures do not