Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/366

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matters of skill and exact science. The best kind of water supply, the proper sort of sewage disposal, the best way to handle streets, street-railways, public parks, schools, playgrounds, public health, the housing problem, etc., are no longer matters of fight or ballot in well-ordered communities. There exists always a best way and experts are selected to find and direct it. The modern civilized community is no longer a state, but a School. The body politic has become one vast, complexly organized, research institution. Governments are, in this age of industrialism, instruments for replacing darkness with light, for substituting for the indefinite and approximate, the definite and accurate. This is about all there is to the best public service. The state has become a great thinking, investigating organization, or laboratory, or research institution. There is this distinction between the school and the state: the school researches only, the state researches and acts.

The illumination of great public matters by modern scholarship is best illustrated by what is constantly occurring in the countries of western Europe. There, as every one knows, municipalities are in the hands of experts whose life work is a study, as in a laboratory, of the needs of the community and its individuals. Nothing is left to chance, and little to choice, except when the people can be trusted to choose wisely. The city and state with its utilities, sanitary inspection, land purchase, construction and sale of homes for working men, control of food, care of children, supply of milk, expert advice to mothers, the promotion of all sorts of special schools, museums, galleries, theaters, concert halls, municipal banks, pawnshops, employment bureaus, industrial insurance, old-age pensions, etc., etc., is conducting a laboratory for racial and civic betterment, and is carrying upon the broad shoulders of the state the burden that a democracy would shift to the people themselves. All new or difficult questions receive special study and an honest attempt is made to settle them in the best manner.

The doctrine of the president of the University of Wisconsin that the state university exists for and should serve all of the people of the state is but a recognition in another form of a principle which has been admitted by older civilizations for a generation or more. Whether an American state will be willing to go at present very far on this path is questionable. It is too far a step from the reign of pull and graft to the rule of knowledge. But in the end the state will accept the higher leadership, no matter how many ups and downs may intervene.

Another of the major influences of industrialism has been its destructive power over democratic government. Democracy, the dream of the eighteenth century, became the illusion of the nineteenth. Government of the people, by the people, has not only never been realized, it would probably have been undesirable, if realizable. Whatever name may be given to the modern well-ordered government, it is not democ-