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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/339

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DESTRUCTIVE TENDENCIES OF MODERN LIFE

has not been studied in any comprehensive and thorough manner, unless we may say that the Japanese have done it, since the days of Juvenal who gave us the immortal sentiment 'mens sana in corpore sano.'

If twentieth-century civilization is to make further advance, if our beloved country is to be much longer inhabited by Americans, if in short the present Anglo-Saxon race is not to die out, steps must be taken to study the conditions of existence and ascertain what measures must be adopted to prevent the terrible waste of human life, now going on without let or hindrance. We are wasteful of many things, but of nothing else are we so wasteful as of human life. And most of this waste is entirely preventable. President Mayo said at the last meeting of the American Medical Association that a sufferer from typhoid fever has as good a right to sue the city where he contracted the filthy complaint as though he had hurt himself by a fall on a defective pavement, and yet we read in the newspapers of epidemics of typhoid fever just broken out in Cincinnati, Newark and other places. Were it outbreak of rinderpest or foot-  and mouth-disease, stringent means would be at once taken to stop it and all the forces of the government would be enlisted to save cattle or sheep that have a market value. But human beings may die of typhoid fever, as our soldiers did in Camp Thomas, and no one be called to account; and yet we call ourselves a civilized and a God-fearing nation. Verily our brother's blood shall be required at our hands.

Lyman Abbott said in his baccalaureate sermon at Cambridge that we are entering a period of fraternalism: "There has been autocracy and individualism, but the new life shall be one not of socialism, nor communism, but of fraternalism." We are the keepers of our brother's body, his health, his happiness, his children and his chance to develop and to work out his destiny. We can not escape this responsibility. Knowing its duty, our government must do it and will do it.

Does any one doubt the possible value of government interference in the hygiene of daily life? If so, let him reflect on the diminished death-rate from tuberculosis since the treatment of the disease by fresh air, sunlight and an improved dietary has been so largely inaugurated. The death-rate from this disease in the United States has fallen in twenty years from about 40 per 10,000 of the population annually to about 18 per 10,000, and there is every reason to believe that it can be reduced still lower. The returns furnished in the German tuberculosis congress show a decrease of 38 per cent, in deaths from phthisis in Germany since 1875. The German insurance companies from 1901 to 1905 spent over $9,000,000 in fighting the disease and in establishing thirty-six sanatoria. These sanatoria, together with strict inspection and enforcement of sanitary regulations in that country, are