Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/Taking Up the Liquor Problem
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Taking Up the Liquor Problem
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TAKING UP THE LIQUOR PROBLEM
WE'RE thinking of taking up the Liquor Problem—our little group, you know,—in quite a serious way.
The Working Classes would be so much better off without liquor. And we who are the leaders in thought should set them an example.
So a number of us have decided to set our faces very sternly against drinking in public.
Of course, a cocktail or two and an occasional stinger, is something no one can well avoid taking, if one is dining out or having supper after the theater with one's own particular crowd.
But all the members of my own particular little group have entered into a solemn agreement not to take even so much as a cocktail or a glass of wine if any of the working classes happen to be about where they can see us and become corrupted by our example.
The Best People owe these sacrifices to the Masses, don't you think?
Of course, the waiters, and people like that, really belong to the working classes too, I suppose.
But, as Fothergil Finch says, very often one wouldn't know it. And who could expect a waiter to be influenced one way or another by anything? And it's the home life of the working classes that counts, anyhow.
When we took up Sociology—we gave several evenings to Sociological Discussion, you know, be sides doing a lot of practical Welfare Work—it was impressed upon me very strongly that if one is to do anything at all for the Masses one must first sweeten their Home Life.
Though Papa made me stop poking around into the horrid places where they live for fear I might catch some dreadful disease.
And the people we visited weren't at all grateful. So very often the Masses are not.
One dreadful woman, you know, claimed that she couldn't keep her rooms—she had two rooms, and she cooked and washed and slept and sewed in them and there were five in the family—claimed that she couldn't keep her rooms in any better shape because they were so out of repair and the plumbing was bad and the windows leaked and all that sort of thing, you know, and one of the rooms was entirely dark.
I preached the doctrine of fresh air and sun shine and cleanliness to her, you know, and the impudent thing told me Papa owned the building and it wasn't true at all—Papa only belonged to the company that owned the building. One can't do much for people who will not be truthful with one, can one?
Besides, it is the Silent Influence that counts more than arguments and visiting.
If one makes one's life what it should be Good will Radiate.
Vibrations from one's Ego will permeate all classes of society.
And that is the way we intend to make ourselves felt with regard to the Liquor Problem. We will inculcate abstemiousness by example.
Abstemiousness, Fothy Finch says, should be our motto, rather than Abstinence. We shall be quite careful not to identify ourselves with the more vulgar aspects of the propaganda.
And of course at social functions in our private homes total abstinence is quite out of the question.
The working classes wouldn't get any example from our homes, anyhow; for of course we never come into contact with them there.
But the working classes must be saved from themselves, even if all the employers of labor have to write out a list of just what they shall eat and drink and make them buy only those things. They simply must be saved.
Not that they'll appreciate it. They never do. If I were not an incorrigible idealist I would be inclined to give them up.
But someone must give up his life to leading them onward and upward. And who is there to do it if not we leaders of Modern Thought?