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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/455

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451
THE WHITER PITTSBURGH

ago the fighting citizens seized a political opportunity; and Pittsburgh has in Mayor George W. Guthrie an executive of whom it is justly proud. Not even by his bitter political opponents is he charged with any wish or motive that is foreign to the highest interest of the city. From a machine-ridden, ring-encircled municipality, the revolutionizing and purging have been so thorough that political corruption is now virtually non-existent. It is no longer "a city ashamed"; it is joyful and proud.

Anxious critics have inquired whether Pittsburgh's sudden and untoward opulence is a menace—a menace to itself, and to humanity. The city has been adding a chapter or two to the history of sociology. It has turned out (promoted is perhaps more accurate) a new and curious variety of plutocrat; and still worse, has produced a new leisure class. The latter was born out of the loins of toiling industry; has sprung upon an amazed world within a decade; and the funny twins have made an unwelcome commotion. It is seriously asked whether these do not furnish a gauge by which the future manhood of Pittsburgh is to be determined: whether they are not the prolific seeds of complete degeneracy.

The answer is to be found in the fact that Pittsburgh was raised up by the brain and brawn, the self-respecting moral qualities of its Scotch-Irish founders. They were, and are yet, a forceful race—fighters and workers, natural leaders, men with a high sense of duty, who do their own thinking. Do the critics see no signs of the vital undercurrent which is to be the determining factor of the future? Do they not see in Pittsburgh's intellectual activity a guaranty of the more wonderful reputation which is to be achieved hereafter, when the present spendthrift perversions and pranks have been long forgotten? Just as it has been in the past, so now the vicious idler is made to feel uncomfortable. His father toiled for his winnings, is toiling yet, if he lives, and the son who lives only to spend money and invent new and outrageous forms of diversion is a virtual outcast. And yet he is an almost inevitable outgrowth of the marvelous period. He is not confined to Pittsburgh; but has merely been somewhat disproportionately advertised. And doubtless, too, his number is small as compared with what it might have been had the principles of his progenitors been less firmly anchored. He will not increase. Pittsburgh has even a confident hope that he and his tribe may become extinct.