Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/424

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beneficial. Does any one suppose that the public gets full value for the enormous expenditure incurred for the salaries of officials? If any one does, we venture to say that he is seriously in error. Neither the intelligence nor the zeal of public employees in general comes up to the standard that might be realized if our politics were dominated by higher principles; and not only is a vast burden thus laid on the industry of the country, but many advantages which might be secured to the public are lost. Let us make the most of any encouragement we have received; but let us not draw the lesson, either that the people at large are very wise and good, or that the forces of evil have been permanently discouraged. The people at large are good enough to do a great deal better than they generally do; that is about as much as can be said on that point. The forces of evil are hard to discourage and very hard to destroy. They watch their opportunity, and are as assiduous as the spider in repairing the party webs which an outraged public sentiment may have torn. Public opinion is something that should be invoked at all times against every form of evil, and every possible means should be used to keep it alive and active and watchful. The adulation so frequently bestowed upon "the people" is a moral narcotic rather than a stimulant, as it suggests that everything must go well in a country where there are such vast reservoirs of wisdom and virtue. The true note to strike is that of responsibility. An honest man does not require to be told he is honest; and a dishonest man is not made better by it. The message to each and all is, that we have public duties and responsibilities commensurate with the great advantages we derive from our membership in a civilized state, and that we can not neglect these without dishonor and loss.




It is greatly to the credit of the United States and Great Britain that they should now on several occasions have submitted disputes which might otherwise have given rise to war, to the decision of a court of arbitration, or, as in the case of the San Juan question, to that of an individual arbitrator. One conclusion that may be drawn from this course of procedure is that, as between these two countries at least, war is a discredited and obsolete method of settling disputes. The question now is why it should not soon become the same for all civilized nations. The burden of military taxation in Europe is becoming well-nigh intolerable. One or two countries, notably Italy, are now on the very verge of national bankruptcy, and all because the wit of man, at the close of the nineteenth century of what has been called the "Christian" era, can not devise any adequate means save war on a huge and most destructive scale for the adjustment of conflicting international claims. It seems impossible that the sin and shame of this should not before long become intolerable to all well-disposed men; and on the continent of Europe, not less than in England and the United States, the great majority of men may come under that designation. The time has arrived, we think, for a serious demonstration in favor of arbitration as a substitute for the barbarous method of the sword; and the duty of initiating such a movement would seem clearly to lie with the two nations who have themselves set the example of a successful and happy use of arbitration. The project of persuading the nations to turn their back on war is indeed a vast one, but that is no reason why it should not be taken in hand—why, in the first place, a rough sketch, as it were, of the conditions necessary for the realization of the object in view should not be made and taken into consideration. Of