Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/59

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49
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

It is thus with the conceptions the working-classes frame of those by whom they are immediately employed, and of those who fill the higher social positions. Feeling keenly what they have to bear, and tracing sundry real grievances to men who buy their labor, and men who are most influential in making the laws, artisans and rustics conclude that, considered individually and in combination, those above them are personally bad—selfish, or tyrannical, in special degrees. It never occurs to them that the evils they complain of result from the average human nature of our age. And yet, were it not for the class-bias, they would see, in their dealings with one another, plenty of proofs that the injustices they suffer are certainly not greater, and possibly less, than they would be were the higher social functions discharged by individuals taken from among themselves. The simple fact, notorious enough, that working-men, who save money and become masters, are not more considerate than usual toward those they employ, but often the contrary, might alone convince them of this. On all sides there is ample evidence having kindred meaning. Let them inquire about the life in every kitchen where there are several servants, and they will find quarrels about supremacy, tyrannies over juniors who are made to do more than their proper work, throwings of blame from one to another, and the many forms of misconduct caused by want of right feeling; and very often the evils growing up in one of these small groups are greater than the evils pervading society at large. The doings in workshops, too, illustrate in various ways the ill-treatment of artisans by one another. Hiding the tools and spoiling the work of those who do not conform to their unreasonable customs, prove how little individual freedom is respected among them. And still more conspicuously is this proved by the internal governments of their trade-combinations. Not to dwell on the occasional killing of men among them, who assert their rights to sell their labor as they please, or on the frequent acts of violence and intimidation committed by those on strike against those who undertake the work they have refused, it suffices to cite the despotism exercised by trades-union officers. The daily acts of these make it manifest that the ruling organizations formed by working-men inflict on them grievances as great as, if not greater than, those which the organization of society at large inflicts. When the heads of a combination he has joined forbid a collier to work more than three days in a week—when he is limited to a certain "get" in that space of time—when he dares not accept from his employer an increasing bonus for every extra day he works—when, as a reason for declining, he says that he should be made miserable by his comrades, and that even his wife would not be spoken to; it becomes clear that he and the rest have made for themselves a tyranny worse than the tyrannies complained of. Did he look at the facts, apart from class-bias, the skilful artisan, who in a given time can do more than his fellows, but who dares not do it be-