Puslapio vaizdai

of suitable food, and of regular exercise and fresh air, the appeal at once to the proper source if a lump appears in the breast or an ulcer develops on the tongue or lip. Scores of cases of cancer would be saved if men and women would only seek advice early. Much can be said for a method not unknown in the States by which a patient goes to a group of specialists for an overhaul at stated intervals, just as at present many attend the dentist every few months even if nothing requires to be done to their teeth. Still more might be said for the Chinese method of paying your doctor to keep you well. Then there are the mental cases. Only now are we beginning to recognize these cases at a sufficiently early stage for treatment and cure. Much of the preventive medicine is in the hands of the laity-teachers and others. A child with a mental defect or twist if properly handled may often become a useful member of society; whereas, if it is unsympathetically dealt with, the insane asylum is too often the end. Nowadays one does not stop with the child; the babe unborn is subjected to study with a view to preventing possible ill effects. Much can in this way be done by educating women for maternity. The expecting mother is a great field for the apostles of prevention. Some go a stage further and emphasize the importance of heredity and eugenics. They would produce a healthy race by breeding only from healthy stock. There is much in this from the point of view of prevention of maternity in the mentally defective woman, in some cases by sterilization. But any wholesale legal control of marriage from this point of view will be disastrous.

But when all is said and done; Is the world very much healthier than it was, say a generation ago? Is it much the better of all this scientific medicine? Some of us looking back, nearly a generation now, might without much consideration be inclined to say no. No student of the question could make such an answer. In tropical and semi-tropical climates there can be no question whatever that enormous progress has been made. But even in temperate climates we have the statistics of typhoid fever, to take only one example, facing us. One can go further and say without hesitation that, given legislative backing, the medical profession could stamp out altogether

typhoid, diphtheria, smallpox, tuberculosis and the two forms of venereal disease in a very few years. Our failures, the conditions with which we can do little or nothing as yet, such for example as influenza and cancer, are failures because their pathology is not yet understood. When we have further studied the virus of influenza, almost certainly one of the ultra-microscopic group of parasites, and when we discover the cause of cancer, we shall be in a fair position to say that all we want is powers, legal powers, and we can clear the world of all disease except that which is the common lot of humanity-old age.

Pathological Laboratory,

Queen's University.




T is a seeming paradox that young countries, where genuine political conservatism is unknown, should be, in so much else, intolerant. The paradox dissolves at a glance. It is true that under conditions where so many new paths must be explored, so many untried expedients adopted, the political philosophy which regards institutions not as aids to human endeavour, but as altars for worship, can have no place. The political mysticism of a Burke, if imported into a new country, would crumble to dust in the unlading. On the other hand pioneers, self-reliant as they are, and having the novel tasks they have, are all of them confronted with a pretty uniform problem, and the solving of that problem produces in them, if they did not have it before, a uniformity of character. There was considerable mixture of race, rank and tradition among the early American colonists, and the French thinkers expected from them new combinations of thought and original philosophies. But Talleyrand in his enforced stay there found the people 'with thirty-two religions and only one sauce.' Surely it is not severe to say at this date that the religions have increased in numbers faster than the sauces?

Malicious epigrams serve no function, and it may be worth while to point out, once again, why in new countries there must be so much monotony of occupation, and so much narrowness in judgement. The common view is that tolerance is a virtue which is easily secured in a community, and which should flourish under favourable conditions of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tolerance, of the kind inculcated by Christian doctrine, is never found except in madhouses. There it flowers at its tenderest. One poor soul in tatters and bodily torment cries that he is Duke of Brunswick. 'Why', says another, 'it's very true; your name is next to mine on the list and last night I was Brunswick'. The healthy man is brutal to weaklings, the normal man persecutes eccentrics; it is a law of the species. What happens then when there is one grand race to run and there are only giants to compete? The greatest brutes arrive! Fine brutes,

winning the prize they strive for, and deserving the meed of honour humanity never denies to strong effort, but, as they attain their good, coming also to a conviction that for no other men, in no other time, can there be any other goal. Their success and their engrossing belief in their success are reciprocally necessary. Possunt quia posse videntur. They succeed only because it is impossible for them to do, or think of, anything else. From that to the belief that different thought or action on the part of another is madness and a crime is an easy step. It is a very human logic. It is thus that society maintains itself in all crises of its history. At such crises society not only tends in this direction by a physical necessity, but calls in the sanction of religion to further that tendency. It is afraid and it seeks to frighten. Eccentricity is represented as a monstrous crime; fierce as the war may be between the 'thirty-two religions' they make a common head here: it is only the trifles that are fissiparous, and no outsider can tell the thirty-two apart.

Such a condition upon human existence and human progress easily moves the cynics, but is really lamentable not ridiculous; and when a society emerges from the necessities of this stage it is only the student and philanthropist who may help it.

It is often said that the reason for intolerance in religion and morals, and narrowness in the whole outlook of the young countries of the present day, is that their populations are descended from the narrowest-minded of the older populations. The case of New England lends some credence to this view-Puritanism, it was thought, by in-breeding produced for a while a nightmare of itself. But the Australian settlements were not religious in their origin, though there were undoubtedly godly men among the convicts who were sent out thither by the government, and whose offences were frequently merely political. Yet in the eighties of the last century Froude found a most Puritanic temper among the people, and in Oceana he describes the frightful rigidity of Sabbatarianism there. It is well known that so long as the method of life in these new countries was irregular, living was fast. Mining, lumbering, ranching are irregular occupations: they are fol

lowed by, and they produce, rough irregular men. This was seen at certain stages in California, in Australia and elsewhere. It is seen in the Argentine Republic to-day. But once regular trades supervene, a greater strictness in morals is observed; let them become excessively regular, and lacking in variety, and orthodoxy becomes painful. The sequence has been universally observed. It was said in the eighteenth century:

"The vices of levity are always ruinous to the common people, and a single week's thoughtlessness and dissipation is often sufficient to undo a poor workman for ever, and to drive him through despair upon committing the most enormous crimes. The wiser and better sort of the common people, therefore, have always the utmost abhorrence and detestation of such excesses, which their experience tells them are so immediately fatal to people of their conditions. . . . Almost all religious sects have begun among the common people, from whom they have generally drawn their earliest as well as their most numerous proselytes.'

This, it is to be observed, is written in a spirit of thorough commendation, and Adam Smith was not the man to take the tone of superciliousness in commending the common people; he had no private desire to preach a doctrine which would 'keep the rabble in its place.' And yet he evidently would have viewed with trepidation 'the common people' imposing a system of ethics on all society.

But what happens when the whole of a community is made up of common people? Not 'common' in any offensive sense, not even in the meaning of poor people, but in the literal signification of 'usual', 'un-eccentric'. And what happens even when the whole community lifts itself in a few generations to prosperity though nothing happens in the interval to lend diversity to the life of the community?-and nothing can happen in so short an interval.

Several things may happen. The tendency observed by Adam Smith is of course intensified and becomes the marked trait of the whole community. Then, if the prosperity reach

« AnkstesnisTęsti »