Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/136

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
124
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

calls "the intellectual proletariat" in France. The facts and figures he furnishes in regard to the moral and economic condition of a large proportion of the educated class are not at all encouraging. "Our poverty-stricken mandarins" he says, "are starving in their tracks" He remarks that the evil of an intellectual proletariat has not yet manifested itself in America; hut some of us who have a closer view of the facts would not be quite prepared to indorse the statement.

The moral and intellectual progress of a people, it can not be too often repeated, depends largely upon its ideals; and there is reason to fear that universal education, or rather the attempt at universal education made by modern states, tends to lower rather than elevate popular ideals. The one great false thing the system teaches—not advisedly and intentionally, no doubt, but all the same most effectually—is that education is mainly to be desired as a qualification for money-making. That idea alone is enough to poison the popular consciousness. Education means nothing if it does not mean the improvement of the intellectual and moral nature of the person educated; but to what extent can it be shown that the state agencies in operation are really working toward such a result? We do not, therefore, regard Professor Peck, in spite of his audacious and seemingly paradoxical expressions, as an enemy of the people. We believe, on the contrary, that he means right and has at heart, as fully as the intensest democrat of us all, the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

 

 

REALIZATION OF A PROPHECY OF MR. SPENCER.

"Are we to become the China of the West?" shouted a United States Senator, indignant because the American people would not fly to arms at his bidding and put an end to the savage struggle between the Spaniards and the Cuban insurgents. The implication was that, unless they did so, they would fall a prey, just as is threatened in the case of China, to the attack of some militant power. Only by cultivating the war spirit, which the Chinese hold in such detestation, could they maintain, to use the glowing language of Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, "our proper position among the nations of the earth, and . . . do the work to which our destiny points"

Since the opinion appears to be general that the sudden assault of the European powers upon China and her apparent impotency to resist them are due to her devotion to pacific pursuits, and that the aggressive policy of her assailants is something that the American people ought to imitate in order to save them from the same fate, it seems needful to call attention to a prophecy that Mr. Spencer makes in the last volume of his Principles of Sociology. It has a very instructive bearing upon the astonishing political phenomena now witnessed in the far East. It makes perfectly clear the absurdity of the interpretation that the Senator in question put upon them. It shows that China is not a victim of her devotion to pacific pursuits, but to militant pursuits, and that her assailants are following in precisely the footsteps that have brought her to her present position of impotency. The conclusion to be reached is that only in imitating them is there the slightest danger of the United States becoming the China of the West."

In forecasting the future of the peoples that seek social regeneration through the adoption of certain institutions, which are simply the institutions of aggression, Mr. Spencer says that they may hold their place