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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/109

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barest subsistence, while another large proportion are forced into more or less uncongenial marriages as the only means of securing some amount of personal independence or physical well-being? Let any one consider, on the one hand, the lives of the wealthy as portrayed in the society newspapers and even in the advertisements of such papers as The Field and The Queen, with their endless round of pleasure and luxury, their almost inconceivable wastefulness and extravagance, indicated by the cost of female dress and such facts as the expenditure of a thousand pounds on the flowers for a single entertainment; and, on the other hand, the terrible condition of millions of workers—men, women, and children—as detailed in the Report of the Lords Commission on Sweating, on absolutely incontestable evidence, and the still more awful condition of those who seek work of any kind in vain, and, seeing their children slowly dying of starvation, are driven in utter helplessness and despair to murder and suicide. Can any thoughtful person admit for a moment that, in a society so constituted that these overwhelming contrasts of luxury and privation are looked upon as necessities, and are treated by the Legislature as matters with which it has practically nothing to do, there is the smallest probability that we can deal successfully with such tremendous social problems as those which involve the marriage tie and the family relation as a means of promoting the physical and moral advancement of the race? What a mockery to still further whiten the sepulchre of modern society, in which is hidden "all manner of corruption," with schemes for the moral and physical advancement of the race!

It is my firm conviction, for reasons which I shall state presently, that when we have cleansed the Augean stable of our existing social organization, and have made such arrangements that all shall contribute their share of either physical or mental labor, and that all workers shall reap the full reward of their work, the future of the race will be insured by those laws of human development that have led to the slow but continuous advance in the higher qualities of human nature. When men and women are alike free to follow their best impulses; when idleness and vicious or useless luxury on the one hand, oppressive labor and starvation on the other, are alike unknown; when all receive the best and most thorough education that the state of civilization and knowledge at the time will admit; when the standard of public opinion is set by the wisest and the best, and that standard is systematically inculcated on the young; then we shall find that a system of selection will come spontaneously into action which will steadily tend to eliminate the lower and more degraded types of man, and thus continuously raise the average standard of the race. I therefore strongly protest against any attempt to deal with this great