Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/197

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

need better discipline in science, at least in social science. There is a great luxuriance in the production of "views" and notions in this field; and the greatest need is of a set of guarantees and criteria by which this exuberance could be trimmed down. There is one set of persons whose liberty would certainly gain by the production of such tests and guarantees, viz., those who are now likely to have to pay the expense of all the social speculation which is on foot, if any of it should be put to experiment. We need more discipline in public affairs. Our freedom would lose nothing if it were more sober, and if a great many abuses which the law cannot reach were more under the ban of public opinion.

Thus liberty in a free state, and for intelligent men, is limited, first by responsibility, and second by discipline.

Liberty and Property

M. de Laveleye says: "Property is the essential complement of liberty. Without property man is not truly free." It will be worth while, taking this dictum as a text, to unravel it and distinguish its elements of truth and falsehood; for it is as pretty a specimen as could well be found of the sort of social philosophy in which confusion of terms and unclearness of thinking set apothegms in circulation which easily pass as the profoundest wisdom, when they are really null, or, still worse, are true or false just as you take them.

The specimen before us may mean either of two things. It may mean that every man has a right to be, and expects to be, a free man, that to be such he must have some property, and that, therefore, the authority which is responsible for securing him his freedom is bound to see to it that he gets some property; or, it may mean