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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the construction of a great navy, the organization of a large standing army, and the erection of extensive coast fortifications. But unproductive activity of this kind will make life harder, provoke more discontent, and possibly lead to the same outbursts that have taken place in Italy. Here, as elsewhere, such occurrences will be the opportunity for the military despot, and with him will come the repression that makes further social evolution difficult or impossible.

 


Scientific Literature.

SPECIAL BOOKS.

M. Louis Proal's Political Crime[1] the best volume of the Criminology Series, is a needful contribution to the study of sociology. Few people have any adequate conception of the amount of crime connected with politics. Still fewer appreciate the far reaching and deplorable consequences of that crime. The reason is plain. An idea altogether too prevalent is that in politics a course of conduct may be pursued that would be regarded as highly immoral and reprehensible in other forms of human activity. In the interest of the public welfare it is permissible to practice a code of ethics that differs in no wise from that practiced in war—a code that found its most perfect and odious exposition in Machiavelli's Prince. M. Proal's book is an energetic and scholarly protest against this view. "Craft and violence," he says, "may score ephemeral successes, but they do not assure the greatness and prosperity of a country. The successes achieved by an immoral policy are not lasting; sooner or later nations, like individuals, politicians just as private persons, are punished for the evil or rewarded for the good they do." Again he says; "If a lengthy period be examined, one is struck in a general way by the fact that failure attends an immoral policy. A politician, face to face with a serious difficulty, thinks recourse to an unjust expedient of immediate utility the simplest mode of escape from it, but the future is not slow to teach him the drawbacks of injustice." Never was there a time in our own history when it was more important that such a lesson be learned, not only by politicians but by philanthropists of the socialistic order, and scrupulously observed.

At the outset M. Proal exposes the falsity of the current notion that the philosophy invented to justify this form of crime originated with Machiavelli. "Politics," he says, "did not await the advent of Machiavelli to become shifty, violent, and sanguinary. Statesmen did not need the lessons of the Italian writer to teach them to lie, to proscribe their adversaries, and confiscate their belongings. The desire to rule, the exercise of authority," he adds, explaining the cause of political crime and exposing its kinship with war, "teach fraud and violence." Even so great a philosopher as Plato and so enlightened a statesman as Canning approved Machiavellian principles. "It seems to me," wrote the Greek in his Politics, "that our magistrates will often be obliged to have recourse to lying and deceit in the interest of their fellow-citizens, and we have declared elsewhere that a lie


  1. Political Crime. By Louis Proal. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 335. Price, $1.50.