Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/365

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359
INDUSTRIALISM

still be well when the soil is in the ocean, and iron is rust and the last lump of coal is on the hearth. It is science that has created the new faith that makes of conservation a real and a difficult problem. But if science has created the problem of conservation and has spread a faith as an obstacle to its solution, it is still true that science alone can furnish the remedy. It is but poetic justice that science and the leaders in science must now point the way and carry much of the burden. Science must now give, and it is giving, the solution of the problem it itself has created.

What is true of the problem of conservatism is true of all of the difficulties and evils brought to us by science, whether directly or through industrialism. Science brings its own remedies and removes the evils it itself creates. If it were otherwise, science would not be science.

A second influence of industrialism that is rarely credited to it is the changed view held by the prosperous classes as to their obligation to society in general. Public opinion no longer supports the man whose life brings no form of high service to his fellow men. The very fact that business and industry are organized on so large a scale soon convinces us that the personal independence of the proprietor no longer exists. Scores of new dependencies and checks hem him about. He sees that his life must be one of social purpose and not pleasure. As obscurely as this truth is often seen, and as glaringly as it is contradicted by the sporty spirit and the society itchings of the new-rich, we must hold it as one of the characteristics of our era that social purpose and not play is dignified by industrialism. Riding to hounds as a vocation no longer gives the complete social satisfaction that it once did.

Let us now turn from these, which are, after all, minor influences of industrialism, to a consideration of some of the major tendencies. Perhaps the greatest mission of science and industrialism to our era is the removal of controversy from human progress. This is indeed a great service to mankind—to narrow the field of strife, to remove obstacles, to settle great public matters by bringing to bear accurate data, adequate analysis of cause and effect, and expert judgment—so that contention, or partisanship or politics, is eliminated, and things are settled on their merits. This phase of the industrial age is fast developing. The numerous expert commissions appointed by the states and government to investigate and determine important questions upon the basis of exact knowledge is a pertinent illustration. The Wisconsin Commission is settling all matters concerning the public utilities solely after adequate investigation and skilled tests. These same matters can never again become the football of partisanship or political manipulation. Likewise the commission form of municipal government is removing from the field of politics, and local contention, questions which are really largely