Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/126

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

"Social Services"

interest is not in rendering service but in expanding its power over Society. What are called "social services" are merely means for such expansion.

And yet, the idea of "social services" had a sound beginning. As usual, the taproot of the idea is to be found in man's search for a better life. In the days when he was organizing a Society, even as he thought of a Government to keep things on an even keel, so he thought of other devices to make life more livable. Experience had taught him that his accumulations of labor products could be wiped out by the accident of fire. His neighbors were under the same apprehension. The upshot of this common concern was a volunteer fire department; each member of the community subjected himself to the occasional need for his services as a fire fighter because in so doing he served his own interest; in helping to save his neighbor's property he was buying protection for his own. Then there was the matter of roads, building them, keeping them open to use, repairing them. Since without roads there could be no communication between neighbors or between the various specialists offering services, a few days a year devoted to this work was not too high a price to pay for the benefits received. If there were children in the community, their educational needs were taken care of by a volunteer who had some competence for teaching. In short, voluntarism took care of a need that had not yet grown important enough to engage the services of a full-time specialist.

These services have a valid claim on the name "social." They are specializations that favor all the citizenry and yet are not identified with their separate endeavors. Thus, while the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker can the better ply their trades where there are thoroughfares leading to their shops, these thoroughfares are equally conveniences 102