Page:Earth-Hunger and Other Essays.djvu/68

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then, that this is the great significance of the discovery of America, and that we have as yet barely come to the point where we can see its significance? It is only later that the colonization of Australia has become important, and it is only at this moment that the colonization of Africa is beginning to intensify the same effect. What is that effect? It is that when the pressure of population on land in western Europe was becoming great, the later improvements in the arts—above all the use of steam and the opening of the outlying continents—have, in two ways at the same time, relieved that pressure. This combination has produced an industrial revolution, which is bringing in its train revolutions in philosophy, ethics, religion, politics, and all other relations of human society; for whenever you touch economic and industrial causes, you touch those which underlie all the others and whose consequences will inevitably ramify through all the others. The philosophers and all the resolution-makers of every grade come running together and shouting pæans of victory to the rising power and the coming glory; and, therefore, they claim that they have made it all. It is totally false. They are themselves but the product of the forces, and all their philosophies and resolutions are as idle as the waving of banners on the breezes. Democracy itself, the pet superstition of the age, is only a phase of the all-compelling movement. If you have abundance of land and few men to share it, the men will all be equal. Each landholder will be his own tenant and his own laborer. Social classes disappear. Wages are high. The mass of men, apart from laziness, folly, and vice, are well off. No philosophy of politics or ethics makes them prosperous. Their prosperity makes their political philosophy and all their other creeds. It also makes all their vices, and imposes on them a set of fallacies produced