Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/499

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491
IS THIS A DEGENERATE AGE?.

so many wait in dread, is likely to remain a nightmare. Great Britain needs Russia's grain; Russia needs the manufactures of Britain and Germany. Germans control Russia's trade even in far-off Siberia, and Germans are teaching Russians how to develop their resources. The rabble in each country may rave as they pleaseā€”a power mightier than they makes for peace.

The same influence is exerted for maintenance of friendly relations within the commercial nations themselves. Compulsory arbitration of labor disputes has been established in some portions of the British empire and several of our own states have taken the initial step by appointing arbitration commissions to serve when called upon. The trend of public opinion among us was shown during the recent steel strike, when arbitration was urged not only by journals defending the strikers but also by those which denounced the strike as wholly unjustifiable. Individual differences, settled in olden time by combat, are settled now by arbitration before judge or jury in open court; the day is not far distant when differences between organizations, large and small, will be settled in the same way. Here, too, our vast commercial organizations make for peace, since their gigantic interests are so interwoven with the equally gigantic interests of labor that serious interruption of friendly relations threatens destruction to both.

Improvement in politics is not very distinct to those living in our great cities, for the present degradation is of comparatively recent origin and due largely to foreign immigration. Cities, like sieves, permit most of the good to pass through and the worthless to remain, while universal suffrage enables this residuum to convert them into sinks, which receive partial cleansing only when rogues disagree and the 'outs' seek revenge by temporary combination with decent people. Leaving the cities out of consideration as temporary anomalies, one finds that men holding positions of honor and trust are expected to perform their duties faithfully. Charges of corruption are not bandied about freely by reputable journals as they were sixty years ago; in Great Britain and the United States, errors in policy are not charged to venality, but to lack of common sense. Fair dealing is so ingrained in commercial life that we are coming to expect it naturally in political life. 'Senator Sorghum,' the creation of a jester, belongs so much to the past that his utterances afford only amusement. Commercial Britain has the best city governments in the world; its civil and diplomatic service shows a sense of honor as high as that of the American army; within the United States, civil service reform has gone far toward removing the evils of patronage which degraded our politics even less than thirty years ago. It is true that politics here and in Great Britain are far removed from millennial conditions, but another