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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/18

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explanation. A man dependent upon himself is forced by the struggle for existence to exercise every faculty he possesses or can possibly develop to save himself and his progeny from extinction. Under such pitiless and irresistible pressure he acquires the highest physical and intellectual strength. Thus equipped with weapons absolutely indispensable in any state of society, whether civilized or uncivilized, he is prepared for the conquest of the world. He gains also the physical and moral courage needful to cope with the difficulties that terrify and paralyze the people that have not been subjected to the same rigid discipline. Energetic and self-reliant, he assails them with no thought of failure. If, however, he meets with reverses, he renews the attack, and repeats it until success finally comes to reward his efforts. Such prolonged struggles give steadiness and solidity to his character that do not permit him to abandon himself to trifles or to yield easily, if at all, to excitement and panic. He never falls a victim to Reigns of Terror. The more trying the times, the more self-possessed, clear-headed, and capable of grappling with the situation he becomes, and soon rises superior to it. With every triumph over difficulties there never fails to come the joy that more than balances the pain and suffering endured. But the pain and suffering are as precious as the joy of triumph. Indelibly registered in the nervous system, they enable their victim to feel as others feel passing through the same experience, and this fellow-feeling prompts him to render them the assistance they may need. .In this way be becomes a philanthropist. Possessed, of the abundant means that the success of his enterprises has placed in his hands, he is in a position to help them to a degree not within the reach nor the desires of the member of the society organized upon the socialistic basis.

In the briefest appeal to history may be found the amplest support for these deductions from the principles of social science. Wherever the individual has been given the largest freedom to do whatever he pleases, as long as he does not trench upon the equal freedom of others, there we witness all those achievements and discover all those traits that indicate an advanced state of social progress. The people are the most energetic, the most resourceful, the most prosperous, the most considerate and humane, the most anxious, and the most competent to care for their less fortunate fellows. On the other hand, wherever the individual has been most repressed, deterred by custom or legislation from making the most of himself in every way, there are to be observed social immobility or retrogression and all the hateful traits that belong to barbarians. The people are inert, slavish, cruel, and superstitious. In the ancient world one type of society is represented by the Egyptians