Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/336

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all men, that it should laugh down all inflated theories of itself; might be so hard-headed as to treat all political mysticism with contempt; might be so practical that it would know better than to try to do too much, or to busy itself with schemes of universal happiness.

The first condition of its fulfilling any such hope is that it shall renounce. It is the strongest system that has ever existed when it is achieving peace, order, and security; it is the weakest system that ever existed when it attempts to turn its force to industrial or social objects, and it forfeits strength in the former field by all its attempts in the latter. The state is the greatest monopoly of all; it can brook no rival or colleague in its domain; it is necessarily sole and supreme. If the state is purely a civil organization this monopoly character of it is beneficial; if, however, the state enters as an agent into the industrial or social relations of its own subjects, it becomes the greatest and worst of all monopolies, the one best worth having under one's control, the best prize of base struggles, and the most powerful engine by which some men may exploit others.

The most notable product of democracy, especially of American democracy, up to this time, is the maxim of the separation of church and state. There have been strong efforts at times in this country to formulate a maxim of the separation of the state and the market. It is to that policy that democracy ought to come, if it can command the wisdom and the will to attain to it; it would thereby cut the ground from under plutocracy. Plutocracy, as we have seen, consists in the political power of capital. If capital were excluded from all interest in state action, and thrown upon the laws of the market, there would remain only that power of capital which is rooted in the industrial and social order,