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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/15

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THE REAL PROBLEMS OF DEMOCRACY.

as a kind of heresy to be properly introduced. They admit all sorts of men to their conversation, and are not in the least scandalized at the most improper proposals being made to them." To see how ecclesiastics themselves fall a prey to the ethics of militant activities, becoming as heartless and debauched as any other class, take a page from Italian history at the time of Pope Alexander VI. "Crimes grosser than Scythian," says a pious Catholic who visited Rome, "acts of treachery worse than Carthaginian, are committed without disguise in the Vatican itself under the eyes of the Pope. There are rapines, murders, incests, debaucheries, cruelties exceeding those of the Neros and Caligulas." Similar pages from the history of every other country in Europe given up to war, including Protestant England, might be quoted.

But what is true of ecclesiastical effort in the presence of militant activities is true of pedagogic effort in the presence of political activities. For more than half a century the public-school system in its existing form has been in full and energetic operation. The money devoted to it every year now reaches the enormous total of one hundred and eighty million dollars. Simultaneously an unprecedented extension of secondary education has occurred. Since the war, colleges and universities, supported in whole or in part at the public expense, have been established in more than half of the States and Territories of the Union. To these must be added the phenomenal growth of normal schools, high schools, and academies, and of the equipment of the educational institutions already in existence. Yet, as a result, are the American people more moral than they were half a century ago? Have American institutions—that is, the institutions based upon the freedom of the individual—been made more secure? I venture to answer both questions with an emphatic negative. The construction and operation of the greatest machine of pedagogy recorded in history has been absolutely impotent to stem the rising tide of political corruption and social degeneration. If there are skeptics that doubt the truth of this indictment let them study the criminal history of the day that records the annual commission of more than six thousand suicides and more than ten thousand homicides, and the embezzlement of more than eleven million dollars. Let them study the lying pleas of the commercial interests of the country that demand protection against "the pauper labor of Europe," and thus commit a shameless aggression upon the pauper labor of America. Let them study the records of the deeds of intolerance and violence committed upon workingmen that refuse to exchange their personal liberty for membership of a despotic labor organization. Let them study the columns of the newspapers, crowded with records of crime,