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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/651

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THE ETHICAL VIEW OF PROTECTION.

of themselves lie, any more than a heap of bricks will lie; but they can be made to lie, just as a heap of bricks may be used for the construction of a sham building. We may compare the discussion over a great question to the terminal moraine of a glacier. The word moraine means a heap of rubbish. When a glacier is formed and begins to push its way down a valley, a vast mass of rubbish gathers and conceals its approach from view. If you did not look carefully at one of these terminal moraines, you never would know that there was any glacier; and after you discovered the glacier you never would know, except by careful observation, that it moved. Yet it does move, slowly but surely, in spite of the rubbish that seems to block its way. The rubbish is pushed on little by little, and in due time the glacier gets to the sea. Every one realizes then that the important thing was not the moraine but the glacier. The moraine has been ground out of sight or is spattered along the path; but the glacier remains.

So it is with every great truth that is making its way in the world. It stirs up a vast amount of talk. Some people approve of the truth, and bring their little store of facts to show what a fine thing it will be; others disapprove of it, and bring the same little facts, arranged in a different way, to show that if this principle is adopted it will inflict immense damage upon the welfare of society. Many remember how it was when the great question of the abolition of slavery came up in this country. Some men argued against it, ingeniously devising plausible arguments, full of statistics and Bible texts, and assertions that slavery was Indorsed by Christianity; and others argued in its favor, with more statistics, and other Bible texts, and the assertion that Christianity and slavery were totally incompatible; and meanwhile the principle of human freedom went on working, and in time the slaves were set free.

How did the man of upright mind and noble heart decide the question of slavery or abolition in the days when that question was before the country? Did he weigh argument against argument, statistics against statistics, this Bible text against that Bible text? No. He simply sat down in the quietude of his own chamber and said to himself: "The slaves are men like me. Would I be willing to be a slave? Will it, in the long run, be profitable to humanity if a portion of the human race remains in bondage?" And it did not take him long to answer the question. His own reason told him what the answer was. He declared then and there that slavery was wrong, and henceforth he was on the side of freedom.

Now, a man who takes such a course as that, it matters not how learned or how ignorant he may be in the science of facts, is a philosopher. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom, and it is pos-