Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/281

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267
EDITOR'S TABLE.

may be perfect as a human being. A man or woman who has been truly educated according to this ideal is not dependent for bis or her enjoyment of life on coarse pleasures or childish excitements. There are sources of happiness in the awakened intellectual and moral powers and the well-trained physical organism that are not exhausted even with advancing years. The question which educationists have to consider is whether it is not possible, without sacrificing in any degree whatever the just claims of practical life, still to uphold and make manifest that higher conception of education which existed in past times, and which is still cherished wherever liberal views of life prevail. If arithmetic, geography, grammar, the sciences, and languages are consciously used with a view to intellectual and moral results, that surely will not interfere with a subsequent "practical" use of the knowledge gained by the pursuit of those studies. If we are not mistaken, we see indications of a growing feeling that education in the higher sense to which we refer is not democratic. That is a point on which we are not prepared to pronounce an opinion; but certainly the education we should desire for any one in whom we felt an interest would not be one which left his whole higher nature out of the account.


PARENTAL NEGLECT AS A CAUSE OF HOODLUMISM.

It may be doubted if ever in the history of this country complaints of lawlessness, particularly of that kind known as hoodlumism, were so bitter and so universal. The evil is not confined to the South, where the ravages of the civil war left a deep mark of demoralization, nor to the far West, where the rudeness of frontier life is no stimulant to virtue. Even in the East, in New England, the home of Puritan order and virtue suffers from it. So serious and widespread has it become in towns still inhabited by the descendants of the stern men and women that fled from the vice and intolerance of the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of England that Prof. Charles Eliot Norton, at the dinner given to fellow-professors at Ash field, Mass., a few weeks ago, was moved to sound the alarm, taking as his text the shocking murder of a woman at Shelburne Falls by a village ruffian of New England birth.

The address, startling but not sensational, has evoked very general discussion. It has stimulated the production of theories to account for this flood of lawlessness. One is the absence of proper police surveillance to restrain the disorderly instincts of the ruffian. Another is the absence of the civic virtue that compels people to take part in public affairs, and to see to it that life and property are protected. While both are doubtless worthy of consideration, neither of them goes to the root of the matter. We are still in the dark as to the reason of the absence of civic virtue and the presence of criminal instincts. Why, after all our elaborate legislative efforts to make people walk in the straight and narrow path, and to provide them with all the educational advantages that money can buy, is it true, in the bitter words of Alphonse Karr, that "plus ça change, plus c‘est la même chose"? In other words, why have all our efforts to promote civilization resulted only in the revival of barbarism?

We believe that the chief of the Massachusetts police has hit upon one of the most potent causes of this deplorable state of affairs. "The root of the trouble," he said, when asked his opinion of Professor Norton's address, "lies in the fact that so many parents are lax in bringing up