Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/20

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
12
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

race for industrial and commercial supremacy. In the work of philanthropy no people has done as much as they. The volume of their personal effort and pecuniary contributions to ameliorate the condition of the poor and unfortunate are without parallel in the annals of charity. Yet Professor Ely, echoing the opinion of Charles Booth and other misguided philanthropists, has the assurance to tell us that "individualism has broken down." It is the social philosophy that they are trying to thrust upon the world again that stands hopelessly condemned before the remorseless tribunal of universal experience.

In the light thus obtained from science and history, the duty of the American people toward the current social and political philosophy and all the quack measures it proposes for the amelioration of the condition of the unfortunate becomes clear and urgent. It is to pursue without equivocation or deviation the policy of larger and larger freedom for the individual that has given the Anglo-Saxon his superiority and present dominance in the world. To this end they should oppose with all possible vigor every proposed extension of the duty of the state that does not look to the preservation of order and the enforcement of justice. Regarding it as an onslaught of the forces of barbarism, they should make no compromise with it; they should fight it until freedom has triumphed. The next duty is to conquer the freedom they still lack. Here the battle must be for the suppression of the system of protective tariffs, for the transfer to private enterprise and beneficence, the duties of the post office, the public schools, and all public charities, for the repeal of all laws in regulation of trade and industry as well as those in regulation of habits and morals. As an inspiration it should be remembered that the struggle is not only for freedom but for honesty. For the truth can not be too loudly or too often proclaimed that every law taking a dollar from a man without his consent, or regulating his conduct not in accordance with his own notions, but in accordance with those of his neighbors, contributes to the education of a people in idleness and crime. The next duty is to encourage on every hand an appeal to voluntary effort to accomplish all tasks too great for the strength of the individual. Whether those tasks be moral, industrial, or educational, voluntary co-operation alone should assume them and carry them to a successful issue. The government should have no more to do with them than it has to do with the cultivation of wheat or the management of Sunday schools or the suppression of backbiting. The last and final duty should be to cheapen and, as fast as possible, to establish gratuitous justice. With the great diminution of crime that would result from the observance of the