Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/718

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requirements, or in measure inadequate to requirements. Control exercised for evil is tyranny, and should, wherever possible, be rested; control exercised for good is government in the best sense and deserves loyal acquiescence and support. Control in excess of requirements again is tyranny, even though exercised not by a monarch but by a majority of the citizens; control in due proportion to requirements is government in a good sense; control inadequate to requirements means a greater or less degree of anarchy. It should not be difficult to interest the minds of the young in deciding or trying to decide for themselves certain practical questions to which these definitions would naturally give rise. Take the government of a given country at a given time: was it tyrannical or was it reasonable government? Did it deserve resistance or support? Such and such laws, are they in excess of requirements, or are they such as circumstances demand? What are we to understand by "requirements"? Requirements for what? Here is the opportunity for pointing out how purely meddlesome and intrusive a great deal of legislation is—the mere mandates of majorities who want to have their way in everything, and are not content to win others over by persuasion, but insist on forcing them into conformity by legal measures. The "requirements" it can be shown, beyond which political control should not go, are the requirements of national cohesion. Whatever tends to enforce uniformity of practice or habit or opinion beyond the demands of national unity partakes of the nature of tyranny, whether the authority that imposes it has one head or a million heads. The necessity for government in the true sense can be made evident to the weakest understanding, and from this will obviously flow the duty of every citizen to aid in the maintenance of law and order. What kind of a society, it may bo asked, would that be the sole foundations of which were force and fraud? What would become of human industry if the laborer could not depend on receiving his honest wages, or any worker on protection in carrying on his employment? Law, it will be seen, is no restraint upon the good, but is their shield against the aggressions of the evil; to the latter alone is it a terror, and they alone can have any interest in weakening its authority. Yet even they would suffer were there no law, and consequently the ideal condition of things for a bad man would be one in which others obeyed the law while he succeeded in evading it. The habitual criminal is thus no better than a beast of prey or a parasite.

Teaching of this nature addressed to a class in which some kind of public opinion was capable of being evoked would, we are persuaded, do much to create in the minds of the young a sense of the interest they have in upholding the institutions of the country, both national and municipal. We incline to the opinion that this interest should first be awakened by means of general considerations upon government before detailed instruction is given in the national Constitution. When the time has come for the latter, the different purposes which each power in the State is intended to serve should be carefully explained, and the pupils should be invited to exercise their own independent judgment upon the Constitution as a whole and upon its several parts. They might be freely asked whether they could suggest B anything better, and the whole subject should be commended to them as one in which they have an interest that can not safely be neglected. It should be impressed upon them that, if honest people do not take an interest in politics, dishonest people are sure to do so, and that the only way to nullify the influence of the bad is for the good—those who have the welfare of their country at heart—to occupy the field in overwhelming numbers themselves.