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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/397

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SOCIOLOGY IN ETHICAL EDUCATION.

this point, we present to this class of objectors this same subject, which can be so handled, if it is desired, as to slyly insinuate moral lessons into the boys and girls when they are off guard—side-flank them. With this notion we have no sympathy. Moral training must be known as moral training. An importance of its own must be attached to it by placing it on the same level with, or even above, every other branch. On the other hand, sociological studies can be so employed as to openly, frankly, teach matters of right and wrong, and stamp such an importance upon the right as to make a profound impression.

The ways and means of teaching this new science must be discovered by trial. Whatever is said here in reference to this point is purely suggestive and tentative. The present undeveloped condition of the science requires that first effort shall be made with the most mature pupils, hence in the high schools. Later, without doubt, what may be called elementary sociology will be developed and adapted to the other grades. Child sociology is already taught in a practical way in the kindergartens.

The primary aim ought not to be to acquaint high-school pupils with the theory of sociology, desirable as that may be, but to make them as familiar as possible with the multifarious relations of life, before they enter upon them as individuals independent of parental protection and guidance. Perhaps I can indicate most clearly the line of work, as it lies in my own mind at present, by venturing a few thoughts upon the character of a text-book suitable for this work. I would devote the introductory chapters to the establishment upon a philosophic basis of some universally accepted ethical principles, with which human actions are to be compared and adjudged as right or wrong. The best, the simplest, the most easily understood, and the most generally accepted is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In our judgment this is entirely sufficient. Nothing better is known, and I would make a text-book sing the spirit of this beautiful principle of social life on every page. It is the condensed epitome of all the ethical teachings of the great Master of ethics as they are recorded in the New Testament; hence, acceptable to all Christian peoples and institutions. This can be based upon a philosophic induction from social data. This, perhaps, would clothe it with an authority which, because it has been heard so often and so universally ignored, it unfortunately does not now possess.

A similar induction might be made to result in some other general principle, if that is desired, like that of Bentham, which, without philosophic verbiage, is that that is right for this world which aims at the greatest degree of happiness to the largest number of persons. These and other like generally accepted