Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/367

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

racy. The duties of the state have become too complicated, too much continuity of service and scholarship is required of its experts, to permit that direct dependency upon the electors that democracy presupposes. About as well select a university faculty by popular vote, as to get together the administrative body of a great state by choice of the people. Those governments which are most democratic in form have not always been most democratic in fact. In America we have had rule by those who could profit most by ruling. Again, American democracy has been minimized by the courts of law, a new sort of autocracy but little dreamed of by the makers of our government—a form of autocracy that would long ago have proved intolerable were it not for the scholarship and patriotism of our higher courts. The popular preachers of democracy, such as Roosevelt and La Follette, contradict their own doctrine of the cure of democracy by more democracy, by many of the policies they advocate. The short ballot, the numerous commissions and many other planks of their platform have little to do with government of the people, by the people. What is left is government for the people. There is daily less and less in government that can be left to chance and less that should be left to choice. The public welfare has become complex, controlled by the intricate forms of modern organized society. Its proper guidance is a subject of skill and knowledge and special training, rather than a matter of votes.

The last of the major influences of industrialism that I shall consider is the effect upon Christianity. A startling phenomenon of the nineteenth century was the panicky alarm shown for a time by the church as science rather suddenly took its place among the older forces of civilization. The churchmen became especially agitated at Darwinism and the laying bare of the facts at the basis of the genesis of species. The good Bishop of Oxford, in his now famous attack on Darwinism at the British Association meeting of 1860, was as little prepared for the celerity with which his position would become obsolete among his own clergy as he was unready for the swiftness and completeness of Huxley's reply. For a time there was conflict and controversy. Then there followed peace. The clergy soon realized that to be priests of darkness was not to be priests at all. The church discovered that there could be no enemy in science and scholarship. Even to the present time, however, the world has not fully awakened to the fact that science is not only not an enemy, but that it is the most potent ally that Christianity has yet found. During the twenty centuries of its history Christianity has not struggled alone. War, poetry, art, music, have diligently served it. But it has required the slow treading of centuries to find that war has no place in such a list. It seems unbelievable, sometimes, that the progress of great ideas should be so incredibly slow among our race. The patience of Providence is boundless, for al-