Page:Garden Cities.djvu/14

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
5
GARDEN CITIES

has in his ignorance disregarded to a great extent, the laws of health in the pursuit of his business, his ambitions and his appetites. His habits of life with regard to his dwellings, his food, and his drink have been formed without reference to their effect upon his physique, and much evil and suffering has resulted. Now if having violated Nature's laws he had left her to avenge herself, perhaps not so much harm would have been done. Nature would in her straightforward and ruthless fashion have thrust out and exterminated the victims of unhealthy habits and reckless living. But man though he cannot with impunity defy the laws of nature, can and does habitually modify their operation, and thus having by misapplication of our intelligence rendered a large proportion of the community unfit we proceed by further application of our intelligence to ensure that the unfit shall have as good a chance of survival as the fit. Thus the attitude of mankind towards natural law has hitherto been very unfortunate for himself. He has first got himself into trouble by ignoring it, and then stood between nature and the remedy she would have applied. The latter indeed he was bound to do because, as I have already reminded you, he is a moral being and from his point of view nature's remedies are immoral. It is this last consideration which renders the study of Sociology so necessary. We cannot allow nature to remedy in her ruthless way the result of the errors into which we fall by neglect of her laws. We must therefore strive to establish our civilisation upon a basis which will not involve the manufacture of victims of ill living and their subsequent rescue at the cost of the general welfare. Now this is precisely what we have been doing in the past and still continue to do. But that which in the past was a blunder, has in the light of our present knowledge become a crime.

The task which is imposed upon us by the moral