Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 87.djvu/266

This page has been validated.
262
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Not that he does not feel the need of a unified world, but he deprecates a unity with half the world left out. The unity which he seeks must embrace it all. If existent he can not see it. If not existent, it may yet be achieved through his and others' labors.

So also it is with democracy. It holds itself ready to give due justice to hitherto neglected interests. For this reason it does not have the stability so advantageous to interests already recognized and established. If one wishes stable government, he can find it in monarchies better than in democracies. Until within the last short while the Chinese citizen knew far more definitely upon what to depend in the way of future wealth or public office than did the citizen of Ohio. The lineage of his parents and their wealth, and the inescapable doom of sex, prejudiced his whole future within very narrow and definite limitations. For four hundred years the firm grip of Manchurian power, abetted by a religion which emphasized the virtue of tradition and the established order, gave China a government which for stability has seldom been equaled. During the same period the more democratic western peoples have seen turbulence, transition, and constant shift and change of policies.

Nor is the democratic state always the most efficient state. Let the German emperor conceive that the future German Empire is dependent upon particular forms of education and particular humanitarian movements, and he can by virtue of his concentrated power effect the necessary changes in a brief time. The single man can move more swiftly to the achievement of a clearly conceived end than can a whole people be brought up in response to the prophet's vision. It is because of this that Germany in a generation has accomplished industrial, educational, and social changes which would have required much longer if they had been the work of the whole population of the German Empire.

But whatever sacrifice of stability and efficiency must be made the democrat is willing to make in the interest of a larger end. That end is the possibility of forcing to the front interests which the existing government does not recognize. If he wishes to add to his governmental machinery a new instrument, such as preferential primaries, the income tax or universal suffrage, he does not want the way too effectually blocked. Just as men in the sphere of thought refuse to construct a closed system, so do they in the field of government refuse to make their laws and constitutions too rigid, or their public officers too secure in their positions. They want their government fluid and responsive to change, for the moral issues of life are as surely in a process of development as are the intellectual ones. To fix a government on the basis of the moral ideas of 1789 is as repugnant to the man who thinks as to write a natural history in the year 1913 with the theory of evolution left out. Just as certainly as the century has widened our vision of the