Politics and Business
A common objection to political agitation is that it disturbs business, and either diminishes or renders uncertain the incomes of the laboring and property-owning classes. As an argument against agitation that is purely destructive, this objection is undoubtedly sound. To unsettle business without the prospect or possibility of sooner or later bettering working and living conditions is to render the existing situation worse and is therefore unjustifiable. But as an argument against agitation that is constructive the objection is footless. To urge people to submit tamely to things as they are is to argue that existing conditions are either as they ought to be or that they are incapable of being righted. Neither of these positions can be accepted. Moreover, to inculcate a fatalistic spirit would in the long run be bad for business itself. For the element in human nature that protests against injustice and contrives ways and means to overcome it is closely allied to the element that discovers defects in and improves the technique of industry. The fact that our age is not only highly inventive but also much given to social amelioration is more than a mere coincidence. Whatever lessens the latter is apt to deaden the former.