classes in England have been and are much higher under free trade than they ever were under "protection." Facts are unquestionably worthy of attention, but no general law can possibly be established by any such collection of isolated cases as that commonly made by the "protectionist." The same fallacious reasoning is accountable for most of the sophisms that at present becloud the minds of the disciples of this school.
Another cause of very much of the difference of opinion that exists among economic writers and reformers lies in the indefiniteness of the terms employed. If we compare the definitions of the writers of different schools, we shall see what a hopeless confusion reigns. Land, wealth, capital, labor, wages, interest, rent, and profit all mean something different to different schools. And yet we are told by each school that it is founded upon science, that it has a scientific basis. I know of nothing more unscientific than a confusion of terms. "Land is wealth," says one. "Land is capital," says another. "Land has no value," says a third; and so on, until you begin to wonder what sort of a thing land really is. Until an agreement on terms is reached, there can be little hope of harmony in teaching, or a discovery of truth. This discord, however, shows us how difficult a problem these gentlemen are attempting to solve, they "who rush in where angels fear to tread." To my mind, it will be a long time before political economy arrives at that point where it can be dignified by the name of science—to that "great and final object of all science, predicting events," as Buckle calls it. At present we have much a priori speculation and little else. Every reformer thinks he knows exactly what his scheme will bring forth—how it will operate—"how sorrow and sighing will flee away, and tears be wiped away from all eyes." But one can not help inquiring how these gentlemen know that such and such results must follow the adoption of their plans. History is strewn with the wrecks of numerous enterprises founded on similar reforms, conceived, planned, and superintended by exceedingly intelligent men, such as Fourier and Robert Owen, John Ruskin, and others.
The fact is, that what we call society is such a marvelously complex machine, or animal, that its scientific treatment—analysis, synthesis, etc.—is at present utterly impossible. In fact, our treatment of society as a whole, as a huge machine, is both misleading and irrational. Society is not so much one machine as a multitude of small machines, each acted on by various forces, the resultant of which is an unknown and indeterminate quantity. These forces propel the machines in various directions—some an-
- I have already dealt at length with this fallacious mode of reasoning in The Popular Science Monthly for November, 1890, entitled Logic of Free Trade and Protection.