Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/534

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514
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

thereby would be nothing to the tremendous injury to the whole people that would ensue? Can we increase the prosperity and well-being of a community by putting a penalty on success? Can a people advance under laws that check enterprise, that put a fine on sagacity, that repress energy, that destroy the liberty of the individual? There are possibly some evils that arise from private ownership of land, but the blessings that arise from it are simply incalculable. It is absurd to call it a monopoly; it is that only in name, in this country at least, where the land is really held by the people, and is always attainable by the people. We are peculiarly a landed democracy. Our farmers, for the most part, cultivate their own acres, and on every hill-side in the country stand innumerable cottages owned by their occupants and earned by labor and self-denial. The ownership of land is one of the greatest stimulants to right-doing that exists: it excites ambition; it promotes industry; it induces thrift and abstemious habits; it is the hope of youth and the pride of age. It is the very essence of wisdom to encourage it. Anarchy is impossible among a people wedded to the land. What if a few persons in the great cities become rich by the increase of the value of land—what is this to the welfare of the millions that have secured small footholds on the earth, and built their roof-trees? "I tell you what," says a French author, "those old fellows that invented marriage knew what they were about." So also, we may say, did those old fellows that invented private ownership of land.

 

FETICHISM OR ANTHROPOMORPHISM.
By GEORGE PELLEW.

IN the recent controversy between Mr. Spencer and Mr. Harrison on the subject of the relation between science and religion, the question of the historical priority of fetichism over spiritism or anthropomorphism was discussed at some length, and was somewhat dogmatically determined in the negative, by Mr. Spencer. Mr, Spencer, in his last contribution to the general controversy, cited a large number of authorities to support the position that all instances of fetichism are to be explained as the results of animism, namely, that a stone or a tree never has become an object of religious worship except as associated in some way with the notion of a ghost or a dream-spirit. The discussion was closed with this statement, and has not since been reopened. It may be, however, of interest to suggest some considerations which tend to show that Mr. Spencer's conclusion on this point was perhaps hasty and subject to revision, and that Mr, Harrison was possibly correct in asserting that the attitude of primitive men toward the universe must be supposed to have been fetichistic rather than anthropomorphic.

In attempting to ascertain the probable nature of primitive religion,