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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/624

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ficient to restrain the average possessor of personal property from forcing other men to pay the taxes for which he is justly liable, by methods unquestionably immoral, if not absolutely criminal." Further evidence of the same startling and deplorable fact, one recalling the cruel indifference of the privileged classes of the ancient régime to the sufferings of the people that bore the burdens that they ought to have shared, is to be found in the universal tendency of people to get public improvements at the expense of others, such as free baths, normal schools, interoceanic canals, etc., and the shocking prevalence of crimes of violence in every part of the country. To be sure, there are coupled with this alarming decadence extraordinary religious, philanthropic, and pedagogic efforts to rescue society from the depths of degradation to which it is sinking. But, as is shown by the history of the unparalleled moral enthusiasm of thousands of ascetics and teachers of the highest character during the decadence of Rome and the disorders of the middle ages, they will be absolutely ineffective as long as the conditions prevail that engender envy, hatred, deception, plunder, and murder, destroying not only morality, but every vestige of fellow-feeling and patriotism. "There is a nation," says Mr. Bodley in his new book on France, bringing out this profound and important truth, "to the members of which Frenchmen are more revengeful than to the Germans, more irascible than to the Italians, more unjust than to the English. It is to the French that Frenchmen display animosity more savage, more incessant, and more inequitable than to any other race." Precisely the same effect is to be noticed in the United States—the inevitable effect of every form of aggression, even though it have the most benevolent object in view.

Yet the conclusion is not that people should abstain from politics. That would involve greater evils than those that now prevail. It would be submission to aggression—freedom to predatory politicians to continue their pillage. The thing to be done is to take up arms against them, and to wage relentless war on them. But the object of the struggle must not be the substitution of one set of politicians for another, but to reduce to the smallest possible limits the sphere of all political activity. Until this is done there can be no release from so important a duty to self and to the community.

 


 
Sir W. Martin Conway, with his two Swiss guides, Antoine Maquiguez and Louis Pellissier, on September 9, 1898, reached the top of Yllimani, Bolivian Andes, near La Paz. The party were five days reaching the summit, 22,500 feet above the sea, from the highest point of cultivation. The guides were the same who ascended Mount St. Elias in 1897 with Prince Luigi of Savoy.