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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/610

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ish disposition than the conception of government as a power designed to prevent aggression at home and abroad. Such a conception has been contemptuously called "the police conception." "Who would ever fight or die for a policeman?" cried an opponent of it, trying to reduce an adversary to ignominious silence. It was not sufficient to reply with the counter question, "Who would not die for justice?" and thus expose the fallacy of the crushing interrogation. "No one," came the retort, "could care for a country that only protected him against swindlers, robbers, and murderers. To merit his allegiance and to fire his devotion, she must do more than that; she must help to make his life easier, pleasanter, and nobler." Accordingly, the Government undertakes for him a thousand duties that it has no business with. It builds schools and asylums for him; it protects him against disease, and, if needful, furnishes him with physicians and medicines; it sees that he has good beef and pork, pure milk, and sound fruit; it refuses to permit him to drink what he pleases, though it be only the cheaper grades of tea, nor to eat chemical substitutes for butter and cheese, except they bear authorized marks; it transports his mails, supplies him with garden seeds, instructs him in the care of fowls, cattle, and horses, shows him how to build roads, and tells him what the weather will be; it insures him not only against incompetent plumbers, barbers, undertakers, horseshoers, accountants, and physicians, but also against the competition of the pauper labor of foreign countries; it creates innumerable offices and commissions to look after the management of his affairs, particularly to stand between him and the "rapacity" of the corporations organized to supply the necessaries of life at the lowest cost; it builds fleets of cruisers and vast coast fortifications to frighten away enemies that never think of assailing him, and to inspire them with the same respect for "the flag" that he is supposed to feel. Indeed, there is hardly a thing, except simple justice, cheap and speedy, that it does not provide to fill him with a love of his country, and to make him ready to immolate himself upon her altars.

But I can not repeat with too much emphasis that every expenditure beyond that required to maintain order and to enforce justice, and every limitation of freedom beyond that needful to preserve equal freedom, is an aggression. In no wise except in method does it differ from the aggressions of war. In war the property of an enemy is taken or destroyed without his consent. In case of his capture his conduct is shaped in disregard of his wishes. The seizure of a citizen's property in the form of taxes for a purpose that he does not approve, and the regulation of any part of his conduct not violative of the rights of his neighbors, are precisely the same. If he is forbidden to carry the mails and thus earn a living, his freedom