Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/722

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determine whether he is doing by those under him as, were he in their position, he would wish, and might reasonably ask, to be done by. This is an age in which luxury runs wild. The capitalist may fairly treat himself liberally; but if he has the true spirit of humanity about him, he will not make of himself a demigod or raise himself to Olympian heights above the people. In saying this we may be as the voice of one crying in the wilderness; but if a message has to be delivered, it is better to cry out in the wilderness than not to cry out at all. Socialism as a system of government tills us with the most profound apprehensions; but, on the other hand, there is a certain socialism of the heart, if we may so express it, which we would gladly do all in our power to encourage—that feeling which leads a man, be his station what it may, to consider that he lives not for himself alone, but for the good of society at large. There is much said about the duties of the rich, but it is doing the rich too much honor to speak and write as if they alone had social duties. The welfare of society depends in the main on the good citizenship of the multitude, and not on anything the rich have it in their power to do. To them also it is given to be good citizens; but the call is not more imperative to them than to those of average or scanty means. It is an old, and ought to be an exploded, fallacy that a single talent is not worth improving. The social millennium will come, if ever, when all the single talents are being improved with a distinct, even if only secondary, aim to the common good.


A recent number of Nature contains an article which begins by lamenting the neglect of the British Government to make any adequate provision for the carrying on of physical and chemical research, and then goes on to state that a wealthy manufacturer of high scientific culture. Dr. Ludwig Mond, had purchased for the Royal Institution a spacious building in which to establish physical and chemical laboratories of the most approved kind, and had undertaken to defray all expenses connected with the equipment and maintenance thereof. Now, it seems to us that Dr. Ludwig Mond's action in this matter is highly commendable, and that the action of the British Government in leaving the establishment of such laboratories to private enterprise and beneficence is also commendable. It should never be forgotten that whatever money the Government spends comes from taxation, and that the taxes are levied in great part from the poor. Whether, then, is it better that the Government should spend the proceeds of taxation on such objects as these, or that intelligent and cultivated men like Dr. Ludwig Mond, who have amassed great wealth by the exercise of their talents, should come forward and undertake the duty? We say without hesitation that the latter is far the better solution of the question. If the Government were to do everything of this kind, one of the noblest uses to which private wealth can be put would be at an end. Not only so, but wealthy men would no longer have any interest in studying the needs of the community, and would be left even more than they are at present to indulgence in luxury as the one means of expressing the fact that they are wealthy. If we want to redeem our rich men from the vanity, inanity, and vulgarity of self-indulgence and ostentation, the way to do it is for public opinion to assign them social tasks suited to their means and opportunities; and this can not be done if the Government is asked to shoulder all such responsibilities. All honor to men like Ludwig Mond, who, without any special urging, see what is required for the public good and do it! In this case high intelligence goes hand in hand with