Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/288

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to secure the satisfaction to which he conceives himself to be entitled.

Now when the question of title is raised, he is quite likely to be reminded that his occupation is a rather pleasant one and possesses many features very delightful to a man of scholarly tastes. We need not deny this. In fact, if the college professor is not to lose an important part of his case, it would be well to remember that his demands are not for bread alone. But the beauties of the professorial life are such for the academic man; for the average business man the life would be intolerably dreary. And in this respect, that there is a certain correspondence between work and tastes, the occupation is singularly like many others, and it is not to be seen why the profession of teaching should be specially penalized. It is all very well to talk about "plain living and high thinking." I admit that it is not for the college professor to aim at the pace set by fashionable society. But I can see no virtue in plain living just for itself. Its only value for the scholar is to leave the mind free for high thinking. And if living is too plain, the result may be easily the reverse. Such, in fact, is the present situation. Few college men would be "living high" at twice their present salary. Indeed there are rather few cases where this would constitute more than a properly liberal allowance for the best "performance of function."

But the question as I am endeavoring to state it is not primarily one of abstract justice or social function. It is the more direct question, addressed to the college professor, namely. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to make your claims good? As the question is often put, it takes the form of a dilemma: on the one hand, the dignities and privileges of a learned profession, if you will accept a life of poverty; on the other hand, a better chance of a comfortable living, but no opportunity for the things that are specially dear to you. Choose and remain silent, for you may not have both. But most dis-junctions are fallacious, and valid only for the stupid. If the college professor is as intelligent as he claims to be he may refuse to accept the choice of alternatives and assert his intention of securing for himself both a liberal living and the opportunity for an intellectual life. And he will do so, as I have suggested, by applying to his own case the principle of organized self-assertion which is illustrated in the trade-union.

The mere suggestion is too much. Imagine, if you please, a strike of the college faculty for an eight-hour week, a cordon of police about the university, the professor of education, as walking-delegate, puffing a black cigar into the president's face, while "scab" instructors, supporting a family on a thousand a year, are teaching depleted classes in fear of their lives! Yes, but why imagine all this? I am speaking presumably of the self-assertion of intelligent men, of men, indeed, who claim to embody the highest intelligence of the community. And