and not only an ass but an actual aider and abettor of fraud, seeing that it is just the silly persons who expect to get something for nothing who keep the army of cheats in provender.
This idea of getting something for nothing is indeed the main-stay and support of far the larger part of the fraud that exists in the world; and the first lesson in practical wisdom is to learn that the thing is impossible, and that nobody professes to give something for nothing, or large value in exchange for small value, except for some selfish and dishonest purpose. We have discussed the subject before in these columns, and again we ask, Why could not a special effort be made in our educational institutions, not merely to put the young on their guard against being deceived, but to call forth their contempt for all the dishonest and semi-dishonest devices which now exercise so great an attraction over the masses? "Why should not the lesson be taught with iteration that the best way to get what we want is to give an honest equivalent for it, and that if this principle were more generally recognized everybody would get better value for his money or his labor than is now the case? The promoters of fraudulent enterprises are mere social parasites; they give no value, or at least no decent value, for the money they rake in, and the real workers of society have to tax themselves that these men may flourish. As to the word-making, text-finding, bean-guessing plans and devices which are so freely advertised, they ought to be beneath the contempt of all but the very weakest intellects in the community; yet how many people who can not be placed in that category take more or less interest in such things! "With all thy gettings," said one of old, "get understanding." Doubtless he meant common sense; and, if he spoke at all in the spirit of prophecy, he probably foresaw the time when, under a state-stimulated system of education, the intellectual gettings of people would be greatly increased in number, and yet common sense be very frequently left out.
Social Statics, abridged and revised; together with The Man versus The State. By Herbert Spencer. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 420. Price, $2.
Social Statics was Mr. Spencer's first book. As originally issued, in 1850, it bore the title Social Statics: or, the Conditions essential to Human Happiness specified, and the First of them developed. It was put forth as, in the words of the author, "a system of political ethics—absolute political ethics, or that which ought to be, as distinguished from relative political ethics, or that which is at present the nearest practicable approach to it." Mr. Spencer affirms at the outset that, living as they do in the social state, men can attain the greatest happiness only by seeking it indirectly. He then reasons out as a first principle controlling the pursuit of happiness that "every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man." Applications of this first principle constituted the rest of the original volume. Many of these applications, in a matured and completed form, have been comprised in the division of Mr. Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy dealing with Justice, hence they have been omitted from the new edition of the present work, or presented only briefly. The last eight chapters of the book, however, which treat of the regulation of commerce, education, currency, postal arrangements, and some similar functions commonly performed by governments, remain substantially as first published.
Besides the duplication of a large part of this work in Justice, another reason for revising Social Statics was that, in the years that have passed since it first appeared, Mr. Spencer had relinquished some of the conclusions drawn from its first principle, and had given up also one of the bases upon which he had formerly made that principle to rest. The omission of some parts was accordingly necessary in order to check misrepresentations of the views which he now holds.