Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/370

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Such are the lessons of war. The history of peaceful industrial effort tells the same story. No nation is truly prosperous until every man has become not merely a consumer but a producer. As Emerson most truly said: A man fails to make his place good in the world, unless he not only pays his debt, but also adds something to the common wealth. Efficient universal education that makes men producers as well as consumers is the surest guarantee of progress in the arts of peace—is the mother of national prosperity.

'But' exclaims an objector. 'this is gross materialism.' Not so. The history of the world shows that a nation improves morally and intellectually only as its physical condition is strengthened. The futility of religious missionary effort, when unaccompanied by physical betterment, is of itself sufficient to prove the thesis. Better shelter, better food, better clothing, are the necessary antecedents and accompaniments of higher thinking, greater self-respect and more resolute independence.

True, material prosperity too often brings with it a train of evils all its own; sensual indulgence or slothful ease, it may be; or the grasping at monopoly and 'man's inhumanity to man'; or a feverish pursuit of material things to the neglect of the. spiritual. True, enormous wealth is often accompanied, particularly in crowded centers of population, by extreme poverty. These, however, are but temporary reversions to barbarism—the price we must pay for progress. The best correctives of the evils generated by the accumulation of wealth are not anti-trust laws or other repressive legislation, but a system of schools which provides a training for all that is equal to the best which money can buy; which discovers and reveals genius born in low estate and enables it to fructify for the common good; and which guarantees to every child the full development of all his powers. The trained man will demand and will, in the long run, receive his due share. Education is a chief cause of wealth and the most certain corrective of its abuse. In a community in which every man was trained to his highest efficiency, monopoly and poverty would be alike impossible.

In the light of these historic truths you will permit me, as a prelude to the addresses that are to be delivered before the meetings, general and departmental, of this convention, to state very briefly—I do not venture to say, discuss—a few of the burning educational questions of the day.

The first of these questions is: What does education for efficiency mean? It does not mean that every man should be trained to be a soldier. True, the man who is well trained for the duties of peace is, in these days of scientific instruments of destruction, well prepared for war; but military prowess can never become the ideal of education among a great industrial people. It does not mean merely that each citizen should be able to read the newspapers and magazines so that