Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/861

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lives by uncontrollable physical forces, but the prolonged misery of human beings through lack of adaptation to their circumstances or through the existence of artificial conditions of purely human production. To our mind the question of the hour presents itself in this shape: Why is there so terrible an amount of maladjustment in social relations today? Why are such multitudes so fatally out of harmony with the conditions of life? The symptoms, as we interpret them, all point to man's tinkering with natural laws in a futile effort to amend them, or with the shameful object of benefiting the few at the cost of the many. We wish briefly to indicate one or two of the ways in which, as it seems to us, social misery is caused.

It is recognized the world over that republican institutions are the definitive form of government for civilized countries; but when our forefathers struggled for liberty they probably bad little idea of the form which popular government would in these latter days assume. They did not foresee the unrest that would be introduced into every section of the country through the desire to share in the emoluments which government has the power to bestow. They did not foresee the creation of a class of professional politicians who, reaping pecuniary rewards themselves for their political services (so called), would be empowered to dangle minor rewards before the eyes of scores of others by way of securing support for themselves. They did not foresee the greedy passions and the aversion to steady employment which all this would arouse, or the numbers of half-employed and unemployed men whom it would throw upon the community to live more or less the life of adventurers. They did not foresee the paralysis that would overtake both law and legislation through the balancing of selfish interests, or the deadness to large views of policy which the constant study of all political questions from a local standpoint would entail. While curbing the power and curtailing the privileges of a territorial aristocracy, they had no prevision of a moneyed class which, allying itself with the dominant party in the state, would wield a power more dangerous to national welfare than any aristocracy had ever done. We, however, see that all these things have come to pass, for we live in the midst of them and feel the burden of them every day. The remedy lies not in any reversion to outworn institutions—though diseased commonwealths have many times taken refuge in tyranny—but in the sedulous cultivation of a higher sense of citizenship. How is that going to be done? some one will ask. Do you believe in it yourself? we rejoin. Do you believe that the average sense of citizenship, or, to express it otherwise, the average sense of duty to the state, is low; and, if so, are you personally willing to set a higher example and courageously and strenuously uphold a higher doctrine? If so, you need not ask how the thing is going to be done, for you see the way yourself. If not, we do not wonder at your skepticism as to that being possible which you are personally unwilling to undertake. There are a hundred ways in which higher views of citizenship might be inculcated. The country is fairly riddled and honeycombed and worm-eaten with secret societies, the object of each being to confer special advantages on its members, the object of none being to raise the political and moral tone of the whole country. Could not some of the leaders of these move in the matter? Then there are schools, public and private, where ample opportunity exists for forming the minds of the young aright on this most important subject. Then there is the pulpit, which might be an enormous engine for good if rightly used.

The question just now, however, is how the dislocations which are causing so much misery have been brought about, rather than what specific meas-