Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/619

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
615
A PROGRAM OF RADICAL DEMOCRACY

But we have by no means gone far enough. Abram H. Hewitt estimated that a single scientific advance—the Bessemer steel process—produces two billion dollars a year for the world. So much has not been spent on research in its whole history; but so much should be spent annually, as soon as men can be found or bred to do the work. Science has given us democracy by providing resources adequate to give each his share of education and of opportunity. Plato had to provide an aristocracy and slaves for his republic. Science by reducing to one fourth the manual work that each must do and by doubling the length of life has made democracy possible and has given us so much of it as we have. For the security and extension of political and social democracy, the advancement of science should be one of the principal concerns of a democratic government and of a democratic people.

19. Equality of advantages to the young; equality of opportunity to all; no special privileges; individual liberty, except when this interferes with the liberty or welfare of others; so far as may he, to each all that he needs, from each all that he can give. These are the ends which this program is intended to forward. They are the presuppositions of radical democracy and do not require argument or defense.

20. The ends here stated to be reached only by gradual evolution and forwarded by conservative methods. In a democracy certain individuals may be prophets or leaders, but we can not advance beyond or apart from the sentiments of the people. They as a whole are more likely to react correctly to the existing situation than any individual. It is proper and desirable that proposals shall be made and urged, however radical and revolutionary; it is equally desirable that laws shall be enacted only when they answer the demands of public opinion. A narrow majority should never enforce radical changes or unduly coerce a minority. Laws, measures and policies should as nearly as may be represent the average opinion after individuals have been counted and weighed. Revolutions are likely to keep on revolving and to be turned by cranks. There are occasions when a saturated solution may be crystallized by a shake; but we should trust to the slow processes of evolution, letting our leaders and our laws follow the moral and intellectual development of a democratic people. A government of laws is better than a government by men; but better than either is freedom, controlled by public opinion and common sense, by precedent and good will.