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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/617

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POLITICS AS A GORM OF CIVIL WAR.

been from $3,283,000 in 1887 to $23,480,000 in 1897. In other departments the increase has ranged from nineteen per cent in the legislative and twenty-three in the diplomatic and consular to seventy in the Indian, seventy-seven in the post office and river and harbor, and one hundred and thirty-three in the pension. Another manifestation is the pressing demand for the extension of the pension system to civil officials. Already the system has been extended to policemen and firemen. In some States the teachers in the public schools receive pensions, and in others the clamor for this form of taxation is loud and persistent. At the present time a powerful movement is in progress to pension the civil servants of the Government. Still another manifestation is the passage of laws in revival of the old trade and professional corporations. For a long time those in protection of the legal and medical professions have been on the statute-books, if not always in force. But, as always happens, these bad precedents have been used as arguments in favor of the plumbers, barbers, dentists, druggists, and other trades and professions. But the most absurd manifestation is the social classification of Government employees in accordance with the size of their salaries, a form of folly particularly apparent in Washington, and the establishment of patriotic and other societies, like the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Baronial Order of Runnymede, and the Royal Order of the Crown, that create social distinctions based, not upon character and ability, but upon heredity. Could anything be more un-American, to use the current word, or hostile to the spirit of a free democracy?

In the intellectual domain politics works a greater havoc than in the social. Politicians can no more tolerate independence in thought and action than Charles V or Louis XIV or Napoleon I. "I have never had confidence in political movements which pretend to be free from politics," said the Governor of New York at the close of the campaign that restored Tammany Hall to power in the metropolis, showing that the intolerance of this form of warfare does not differ from that of any other. "A creed that is worth maintaining at all," he added, using an argument made familiar by the agents of bigotry everywhere, "is worth maintaining all the time. . . . Do not put your faith in those that hide behind the pretense of nonpartisanship," he continued, striking a deadly blow at all party traitors; "it is a device to trap the thoughtless and unsuspecting." As was shown during the Blaine-Cleveland campaign of 1884, politicians treat dissent as proof of unmistakable moral and intellectual baseness. Only the progress of civilization prevents them from pouncing upon such men as George William Curtis, Carl Schurz, and Wayne McVeagh with the ferocity of the familiars of the Inquisition. As it is, they are