Puslapio vaizdai

doing. To support a system, and at the same time make war on those who administer it, is the popular modus operandi of civil-service reform.

The spoils' system is a deadly enemy of the republic. We have no sympathy with those who advocate a compromising policy in dealing with it; who, instead of abolishing it, prefer to employ palliatives and to invent remedies to counteract its evils.

The Socialistic state strikes at the system. By abolishing private wealth it renders political corruption impossible. Eliminate the factor of money in politics, and nothing is left but character or fitness as a passport to public office. Surely this consideration alone would be an immense gain to society.

VIII. Illiteracy removed.

"If this Union was in jeopardy while one part was slave, and one part free, it is also in jeopardy while one part is taught, and another part untaught." - Chicago Advance.

We have called attention to the general dissemination of knowledge as among the causes of Socialism. Popular education throughout the world has made vast strides within two centuries; yet a vast amount of illiteracy remains, and in this country it is on the increase, and occasions serious apprehension.

Socialists of all schools lay special emphasis upon education.

The resolution passed at Eisenach in 1869 by the Social Democratic Workingmen's Party is representative. It demands, "Obligatory instruction in common schools, and gratuitous instruction in all public institutions for polite education."

The existing order is favorable to the higher education of the few, but compels the masses to remain in ignorance. The increase of illiteracy in the most prosperous States of the Union is a menacing fact. According to the census of 1880, there were 832,000 illiterate white voters in the Southern States. Of our 36,761,000 over ten years of age, 5,000,000

cannot read, and 6,239,000 cannot write. In six large States half the people are illiterate.

Compulsory education is helpful, but bears with severity. upon the poor. Parents find it impossible to live without the labor of their children. Mines and factories find it profitable to employ children. Both parties seek to evade the law. It is for the private interest of the rich employer and the poor operative that children should be kept out of school. The competitive system is thus the enemy of education. As long as social forces continue to inflame the passion for riches, so long will labor be regarded only as a commodity; and as long as labor is regarded as only a commodity an article of barterso long will the children of laborers be kept in comparative ignorance. The English report of the Children's Employment Commission of 1866 says, "It is unhappily to a painful degree apparent throughout the whole of the evidence, that against no persons do the children of both sexes so much require protection as against their parents." The Second Annual Report of the New York Labor Bureau says, "The Compulsory Education Law is a dead letter."

There are 100,000 boys and girls under sixteen years of age in the city of New York earning their own living. No one will pretend that they are being educated. There are 100,000 children between ten and fifteen years of age daily roaming the streets of that great city, neither going to school nor engaged in any sort of labor.1 There is here not only food for reflection, but cause for action. We are not surprised that in the year of grace 1890 New York City spent $400,000 less for the public schools than for its police department. No faith in the destiny of the glorious republic, no popular superstition that God is on the side of the United States, can obscure the plain, unvarnished fact that, unless the tide of illiteracy turns, the time will come when one flag will no longer float over these States.

The fact to which we call especial attention, but which capitalism attempts to conceal, is that the capitalistic order is essentially hostile to popular education. This is no new 1" New York Press," September, 1890.

discovery of Socialism. Adam Smith declared it before Socialism was thought of.

"In the progress of the division of labor, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labor, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations; frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employment. . . . His dexterity at his own particular trade seems in this manner to be acquired at the expense of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the laboring poor, that is, the great body of people, must necessarily fall. Notwithstanding the great ability of those few (who have ability and leisure), all the nobler parts of the human character may be, in a great measure, obliterated and extinguished in the great body of the people." 1 Such is the effect of the division of labor under the capitalistic system, according to the clear, cool, unprejudiced judgment of the foremost orthodox political economist. How does Adam Smith propose to avert this dire result? By the Socialistic method of State interference in education. He says, "Let government take some pains to prevent it." Let us clearly understand that the general dissemination of knowledge is vastly more important to the nation and to the race than the higher education of the few. We would not be understood for a moment as concurring with those critics who claim that the Socialistic. state would be unfavorable to higher education, or to those æsthetical and intellectual studies especially adapted to discipline the mind.

We heartily dissent also from the position frequently assumed, that the motives to intellectual effort are inseparably connected with the love of money, and will therefore cease with the abolition of private wealth. The desire of approbation, the innate thirst for knowledge, the satisfaction which talent and genius find in expressing themselves, are motives sufficiently strong for the severest mental exertion.

1 "The Wealth of Nations" (Rogers' Edition), vol. ii., pp. 365–367.

Under the régime of Socialism, no one would have any interest in depriving the young of education, while each individual and society as a whole would be immensely benefited by it. Socialism would, therefore, naturally raise the general standard of education; and as the State would no longer encounter the forces that now oppose educational laws and their enforcement, illiteracy would disappear.

The State could give a longer time for schooling than is now possible, and a more thorough training to those destined for teachers and the professions generally. The hours of leisure, which would come to all when all engaged in labor, would also afford opportunities for literary pursuits. From such considerations we might reasonably suppose that the Socialistic state would secure greater attainment in learning than the world has yet seen. Then society might realize that happy condition wherein, in the words of Bacon, "Learning lights her torch at every man's candle."

It is true that certain learned professions might be eliminated under Socialism. The abolition of private wealth would remove in large measure the temptations to crime, and would do away altogether with private contracts. The legal profession, therefore, would virtually disappear. As society is now constituted it is indispensable; but certainly that social order which introduces a reign of peace, and renders lawyers unnecessary by removing the causes of crime and litigation, would be the fulfilment of the angelic prophecy uttered at the advent of the Saviour of the world, "Peace on earth, good will to men."

It is to be borne in mind that our present school system, of which we are justly proud, is thoroughly Socialistic in principle; but under the working of competition the principle is continually defeated. Socialism would only emphasize and enforce the principle by removing the obstacles to its operation.


IX. Poverty abolished.


Carlyle somewhere says that poverty is the hell of which the modern Englishman is most afraid. . . . You love your wife, you love your children; but would it not be easier to see them die than to see them reduced to the pinch of want in which large classes in every highly civilized community live?" — MR. HENRY GEORGE.

Poverty and riches are relative terms. Poverty in common parlance means not enough, and riches much more than enough, for physical well-being. When want of the necessities of life, or the struggle to get them, necessitates physical suffering, poverty exists. There are those who believe that poverty was ordained of God. They are content to leave the unfortunate to their fate: not that they disapprove of philanthropy or well-regulated charities, but any movement toward the abolition of the evil itself, especially if their own security is thereby threatened, is regarded as chimerical, and its authors as cranks or amiable idiots. Poverty is not ordained of God. Poverty in the midst of plenty is the work of Satan; to hold to the contrary is fatalism. If God and nature have doomed toiling multitudes, and millions yet unborn, to struggle with the horrors of poverty through a brief and miserable existence, and die in its cold, cruel embrace, then the most doleful pessimism is the truest philosophy. It is this sort of teaching that makes infidels and atheists. The church has acquiesced in this false philosophy.

She teaches that poverty is to be endured, rather than to be cured. She quotes the Scripture, "Ye have the poor always with you," as if poverty was a divine institution, sanctioned by, if not founded on, the gospel. She is ready to relieve the distress of poverty, and her charities are magnificent; but she utters no word to prevent poverty. Her alliance with wealth silences the voice that she would otherwise raise against an industrial system founded on economical assumptions that antagonize the whole spirit of the gospel; assumptions that both justify and necessitate poverty and pauperism.

"The tendency of purely economic forces," says Profes

« AnkstesnisTęsti »