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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/692

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and in which children growing up, better educated than father or mother, will know that they have to thank the state for schooling and protection and are little indebted to their parents, who have simply taken advantage of their tender years to confiscate the proceeds of their industry. In these halcyon days there will be a state créche, a state school and state medical institution, supplemented by state meals, and the child when well drilled in the state gymnasium will pass from the state school into a state workshop, and finally on to the state crematorium. The result of all this will be that as marriage becomes legalized concubinage the obligation of family duties will attenuate; as children understand that it is to the state they have been indebted for maintenance the old feelings of gratitude and affection which bound them to their parents will dwindle away; and as parents lose their proprietary and administrative rights over children they will more and more shift the responsibility for them on to the state. The family with all its sacred traditions and precious training will decline, and man—like the cuckoo—will be constantly seeking to foist on others the maintenance of his offspring. Mr. Pearson's prognostications, however, are, I venture to think, of an unnecessarily gloomy description. They are founded on the assumption that society is destined to become more and more secular; they betray ignorance of human nature, for surely the love of children for parents is not founded solely on a sordid calculation of what they owe them; and they involve the error that the volume of feeling must always be the same and that its expansion in one direction, so as to embrace the sphere of state action, implies its contraction in another direction, so as to exclude family ties and claims. But there is no reason to doubt that reverence for the state may grow without supplanting reverence for the family; nay, there is reason to hope that parental and filial affection will become stronger and more tenacious as time goes on. The restrictions placed by the state, as the exponent of enlightened opinion and sentiment, on the autocratic powers which the head of the family at one time possessed the very existence of which provoked antagonism and the arbitrary exercise of which corrupted—may be expected to soften and cement the family relationship and make it more complete and lasting than it has hitherto been. Then it is to be remembered that the period of dependence of offspring on parents steadily increases as evolution advances. The higher the animal the longer the duration of this period of dependence. It is more protracted in civilized than in savage races and now than it has been heretofore. And this protraction of intimate intercourse and reciprocal relations between the members of a family certainly means a deepening of the sense of kinship. We may flatter ourselves