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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/691

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THE BROOKLYN ETHICAL ASSOCIATION.

form a wonderfully united little community. The sense of their common affliction seems to draw them very close together, while the knowledge of their own dependence teaches them to be ever ready to give a helping hand—to give it, too, gently, tenderly. Epileptics have a terrible cross to bear at the best; but in Bethel it is lighter than elsewhere. In the world such people are burdens on the labor of others, pariahs whom all men shun; in their own colony, however, they are respected citizens doing good work in the world, and living upon terms of equality and sympathy with their fellows.—The Contemporary Review.

 

THE BROOKLYN ETHICAL ASSOCIATION.
By LEWIS G. JANES, M. D.

THE philosophical evolutionist looks for the regeneration of society and the advancement of civilization by means of the voluntary action of individuals, rather than by the multiplication of state agencies. Society, to him, is not an artificial mechanism, held together by legal compulsion, but an organic growth, depending for its strength and utility upon the intelligent volition of its constituent units. To effect results, however, the units must not illustrate an individualism which is antagonistic and repellent, but an individualism inspired by the social sentiment—the desire and purpose to co-operate voluntarily in all wise efforts for the common good.

As the coercive functions of the state decline, and the divorce of church and government becomes more complete, efforts for the moral and social improvement of the people are relegated more and more to the control of voluntary organizations. This is especially true as the importance and indeed the necessity of applying the method of science to the solution of the great social and political problems of the day is recognized by the public mind. It is not surprising, therefore, in a country where the government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people," to note that the education of the people in religious matters has already passed out of the control of the state, while in social and political concerns voluntary associations are rapidly taking the place of the state in the instruction of the people, and even in the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice. The Citizens' Association, the Society for the Prevention of Crime, the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and to Animals, labor organizations and arbitration committees, the Prison Reform Association, and the Social Science Association are factors in the training of our people for good citizenship, and in the administration of