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class-rights, and class-privileges, which make, not for peace, but for inevitable conflict. The time has arrived when this great question must receive a far more thorough and consistent study by the American people, not as classes, but as citizens; not as petitioners for special privileges, which the nobles of feudalism surrendered, but as the willing participators in a system of law whose basis is equality, a system which can have no other basis than equality, if democracy is not to perish from the earth.'
But in this 'thorough and consistent study' it will appear, I think, that, crude and in many ways undesirable as this recent class legislation is, it is, after all, the product of a real though somewhat blind striving to reëstablish that real equality before the law, and in the relations between men, which modern industrial development has destroyed. One does not need to be a 'Red' to realize that in actual practice there is little more than a theoretical equality before the law in America today. The accumulation of wealth in the hands of certain individuals and certain small groups has given them a power that has made almost a mockery any talk of equality between all men in any significant sphere of life. The tale of the special advantages that wealth has brought its possessors has been told too often to need repetition here. But it is exactly this disturbance of the even balance of equality by the power of accumulated capital that has led to the whole movement for social legislation of all kinds.
Labor laws, factory laws, the exemption of labor-unions from the operation of the anti-trust laws, minimum-wage legislation all these and the multitude of other attempts to better the conditions of living of the 'have-nots' are fundamentally attempts to restore the balance of equality by putting the
weight of legislation into the scale against the power of capital. All these measures are class legislation, for they give special advantages to one part of the whole group as opposed to some other part. But men have felt that it was necessary to give such advantages, in order to save the large majority from complete domination by a small minority- that is, in order to preserve equality.
There can be no serious denial that the attempt to reëstablish equality by these means has had many unfortunate results, or that certain groups have insisted on special privileges for themselves at the expense of the people as a whole. But the labor organizations, the farmers, the cotton-growers, and the rest, are by no means the only ones guilty on this score. And neither can the claim be seriously advanced that the developments in the capitalistic organization of industry, which are in large measure the cause of this attempt, have been an entirely unmixed blessing. These developments, producing the necessity for large accumulations of capital to carry on industry, and the actual accumulation of capital to meet the need, together with our conception of the rights of private property, have given a disproportionate share of power to a relatively small group in the community, and so have eliminated feal equality, whether before the law, or of opportunity, or in any vital sense.
Whether this attempt by the larger groups, made up of the individually less powerful, to secure equality by insisting upon 'class-rights and class-privileges' will mean 'class-war' and 'inevitable conflict' will depend principally on the vigor of the resistance made to the attempt by those who are favored by the present inequality. Unquestionably, the problem must be faced by 'the American people, not as classes, but as citizens.' But there is real danger in the present situation, not primarily because the large majority of the American people are 'petitioners for special privileges,' but because a small minority, who possess special privileges, are reluctant to give them up.
At present the attack on the citadel of privilege is being made more or less independently by separate groups; and each group, of defenders as well as of attackers, is, naturally enough, more keenly awake to its own immediate interest that of securing for its members full equality with the most favored individuals, or of protecting what privileges they possess than to the interests of other groups. Hence the tendency to stratification into classes. But the fundamental cause of this stratification is not a lack of desire for equality on the part of those who are seeking advantages, but a failure to unite into a single army the different bands fighting in this cause. Men, however, are realizing that this lack of unity delays the final victory - or weakens the defense; for there is a similar lack of unity among the privileged groups. Consequently, we are hearing more and more about the necessity for presenting a united front on both sides, and are witnessing, not only in the United States, but throughout the whole world, the steady growth of the tendency toward a merging of separate classes into the two great groups of the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.'
The fight for equality is not new; but the recent attempts to secure equality have been along a somewhat new line. Instead of taking the negative course of denying special privileges, as our predecessors did, we more and more are positively asserting the rights of special groups.
When men first tried actually to build a society on the principle of equality, the most pressing problem was to clear away the special privileges of certain classes. Magna Carta, for example, represented an attempt on the part of the nobles, not primarily to secure powers for themselves, but rather to take powers away from the king. Similarly, the long history of the development of democratic control, until quite recently, is a record of progressively successful efforts on the part of the representatives of the people to wrest power from the king or the aristocracy. When the rights of the people were positively asserted, it was not so much from lust for power as such, as the rights of the kings and the aristocracy had been asserted against the people, -as from a desire to secure protection from the abuse of power in the hands of the aristocracy. Equality was to be achieved, as it were, by taking away the jewels and rich clothing from the favored few rather than by giving jewels and rich clothing to the many.
Utilitarian individualism and the laissez-faire doctrine were the natural results of this conception of how the equality of men was to be realized. To carry on the figure: business practice and social legislation generally, for a large part of the nineteenth century, were based on the assumption that everyone started out with a full suit of clothes, while, if anyone was clever enough to get another man's coat away from him, or to find jewels to wear, that
was none of society's business. But toward the end of the century, it became obvious that a few people had virtually cornered the supply of clothes and jewels, so that in reality there no longer was even a suit for everyone, except at the pleasure of these few.
To drop the figure: with the accumulation of capital in the hands of a few, the emphasis in democratic legislation shifted. Such legislation sought less and less to take privileges from a small group and more and more to assert them for larger groups. The difference between the Sherman and the Clayton Anti-Trust acts is a case in point. The first specifically denies the right to form certain kinds of combinations- which affected, as was intended, a group numerically small but financially powerful. The latter specifically asserts the right of other groups the laborers, the farmers, and so forth to form combinations of a sort which, in certain respects, would otherwise be in violation of the Sherman Act.
As I have suggested, from the older point of view the exemptions in the Clayton Act are clearly contrary to the doctrine of equality before the law. Yet, as will be generally admitted, the Clayton Act gives special advantages to labor organizations for the definite purpose of helping the workers to secure real equality in their relations with their employers — an equality that had been destroyed by the power which the employers possessed through their control of capital. In reality, therefore, this act is the product of an attempt to make actual this theoretical equality, rather than to destroy a real equality.
This newer tendency, through legislation, to give special advantages in
order to maintain a balance of equality has had some unfortunate results. But the solution of the problem of classconflict will not come through returning to the older attitude, even if that were possible. A continuation of the laissezfaire individualism of the nineteenth century would have resulted in the creation of a new aristocracy based on wealth rather than on birth, — in the beginning, at least, which, if unrestrained, would have developed all the objectionable features of feudalism. A return to this older attitude, the reincorporation into our legal and political practice of the older interpretation of equality before the law, would mean, not the saving of democracy, but its destruction.
Democracy will be saved, real equality, not only before the law, but in all men's relations, will be secured, by making sure, through legislation or otherwise, that a balance is maintained, in spite of the weight on one side that comes through the possession of capital. Clearly, the balance is not even now. Equally clearly, we should not overweight it on the other side. But neither should we forget that we must take active steps to achieve a balance. Negative effort toward taking away advantages from the few will no longer suffice. Such efforts cleared the ground for the growth of the present inequalities; and men will always find means to circumvent merely negative prohibitions. Our task therefore is, with due consideration for the interests and rights of all, to go forward along the positive line of giving advantages to the many, so that they may achieve a real equality with those who have secured special advantages for themselves.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
BY CHRISTOPHER MORLEY
DOWN-SLIPPING Time, sweet, swift, and shallow stream, Here, like a boulder, lies this afternoon
Across your eager flow. So you shall stay,
Deepened and dammed, to let me breathe and be.
Your troubled fluency, your running gleam
Shall pause, and circle idly, still and clear:
Eddy and rise and brim. And I will see
Now, for one conscious vacancy of sense,
The mind can dip, and cleanse itself with rest,
It cannot be. The runnel slips away:
The clear smooth downward sluice begins again,
I visited Mrs. Haverfield's orphanage at Uzice. She said,
"The peasants of the surrounding villages are most helpful to me, especially Marko. He is beyond description.'
'But who is Marko?' I asked, remembering a dreadful emergency in my life.
'Don't you know Marko? He is a man of perfect service to everybody. You will see him to-morrow.'
We were sitting at the open fire and listening to Marko. He is nothing more than an ordinary Serbian peasant.
'Everybody must have learned a lesson in the war. Mine is a strange one, and yet the most valuable for the rest of my days.'
Then he became reluctant. But we insisted and he continued:
'My sin against our General Mwas the cause of the lesson. We were ten privates under the same tent. Our duty was to attend the general and his staff. We did our duty half-heartedly, and the officers often complained. One day the general called all of us and said,
WHY IS HE A GENERAL?
BY NICHOLAI VELIMIROVIC
The circumstances under which this brief parable was written deserve to be told. When Bishop Nicholai, of Serbia, was in this country, pleading for funds for Serbian children, a friend presented him with a copy of Elbert Hubbard's 'Message to Garcia,' the point of which, as readers will commonly remember, was the absolute importance of giving genuine service for wages or for contract. A few days later the Bishop wrote his friend: 'After I read your "Message to Garcia" I remembered a happening (which occurred during the tragic retreat of the Serbians), which I have tried to describe in this brief paper. The moral of it is similar to that of the "Message."-THE EDITOR.
NIGHT and rain. Three of us were riding in a coach, ten miles away from our destination. One of the horses collapsed and fell down. Stop. No star in the sky, no counselor to comfort. What to do?
A man appeared, as a nightmare — as if he came out of the rocks on which we were leaning.
'My name is Marko,' he said. 'Don't worry. In a few minutes everything will be all right.'
And he disappeared. But soon after, we found that our second horse had disappeared, too.
He had stolen it; all of us thought so, smiling ironically at the unfair game of fate.
Yet, in a few minutes, Marko returned, riding on the horse, and leading another horse by the string.
We asked questions: Who was he? where did he find a horse? and so forth. He murmured something, and kept busy about the horses and the coach.
'Ready!' he said. 'Good-night to you.' And the darkness of night swallowed him up.
"Thank God, there are still Christian men in this world, we thought,' and started.
'Brothers, you are called to do service to me and to my officers. Do it perfectly and joyfully!"