Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/434

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by what they help others to do. Greatness, however, is not in all cases equally beneficial, but the influence of some great men is more advantageous than that of others. Progress, therefore, involves a struggle through which the fittest great men shall secure influence over others and destroy the influence of the less fit. The discussion, turns to the office of the great man in wealth production and his power in politics, to the parts contributed to a joint product by the few and the many, to the dependence of exceptional action on the attainability of exceptional reward, and to the motives of the exceptional wealth-producer. Under the last head the justification of income from capital is shown to rest on the fact that the power of capital to yield income is what mainly makes men anxious to produce it, and that it must be transmissible and heritable, else those social results would not be produced which make it valuable. While the majority may and do acquire a share of the increment produced by the great man, it can never be such as to make social conditions equal, for opportunities can not be made equal. Educational help may do much indeed to increase the supply of exceptional though not great talent, but when applied to those whose exceptional gifts are ill balanced or whose intellects are not sound, it results in mischief, stimulating talents that will be ill applied and developing tastes that can not be satisfied, breeding agitators and causing discontent. "The average man should be taught to aim at embellishing his position, not at escaping from it." The unequal distribution of wealth has no natural tendency to cause unhappiness, for men's desires vary. Equality of desires exists only for the necessaries of life, for this desire rests on men's physical natures, which are similar, while the desire for superfluities depends on their mental powers, which vary, and the special appeal of luxury is mainly to the mind and the imagination. The desire for wealth is speculative, and implies no pain caused by the want of it, and is, in fact, in proportion to each man's belief that wealth is attainable by him. Finally, the socialistic teaching of to-day creates a spurious desire for wealth by its doctrines of impossible rights to it, and its theories merely cause a barren and artificial discontent that interferes with that harmonious progress on which the welfare of the many depends. They make enemies of classes who would otherwise be allies, to the incalculable injury of the cause of true social reform. Mr. Mallock's purpose in this work is to show the fallacy of these theories, and to demonstrate the dependence of the many upon the co-operation of the few.


We have already, in our sketch of James Croll (Popular Science Monthly, August, 1897), given a picture, however inadequate, of the heroic struggles of that student who, to use the words of Lord Kelvin, "presented in his life a rare case of inborn passion for philosophy and science conquering all obstacles and attaining to the object of lifelong devotion in scientific research and philosophic speculation"; and can hardly have failed to convey some idea of the incidents which his life developed, and which are set forth more in detail and consecutively in the autobiographical sketch and memoir of his life and work prepared by his friend James Campbell Irons[1] to which we were most largely indebted for the material for our sketch. It is only necessary here to call attention to this book for the information of all persons who would like to know more of Dr. Croll's life and work, as well as of those

  1. Autobiographical Sketch of James Croll, LL. D., F. R. S., etc. By James Campbell Irons. London: Edward Stanford. Pp. 553.