Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/514

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
510
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

SCHOLARSHIP AND THE STATE
By Professor F. C. BROWN

THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA

FROM time to time articles appear from the press and more frequently still words are passed from person to person, which indicate that a great many citizens of our American states believe that scholarship exists only for the pleasure and profit of those who seek it. It is believed that this attitude arises more from lack of information and thought on the subject than it does from the general bad practises of those who proclaim scholarship. Consequently this paper shall purpose to set forth one simple, and it is believed irrefutable, argument for state support to scholarship.

The state may be regarded as an expression of the continuity of human life, and we may therefore postulate that it is its first duty to perpetuate itself. In spite of the fact that science shows that it is highly improbable that any state can live forever, it is nevertheless generally agreed that if the state so conducts itself as though it intended to live forever, it will live the longest and be the happiest while it does live.

Unfortunately there are many people who seem to think that the only duty of a state is to look after the welfare of the present generation. They somewhat seriously ask, "What has posterity ever done for us?" Perhaps we may compromise with these, for the sake of our discussion, on the basis that neither the present nor the future welfare of the community can exist independent of the other. In general there is a lack of far-sightedness among American citizens. H. G. Wells calls it, "state blindness." He says: "The typical American has no sense of the state." President Vincent, however, believes that the state is coming to stand for a common life which seeks to gain ever higher levels of efficiency, justice, happiness and solidarity. Ambassador Bryce, who seems to know us better than we know ourselves, declares:

The state is not to them (Americans), as to Germans, or Frenchmen, and even some English thinkers, an ideal moral power charged with the duty of forming the characters and guiding the lives of its subjects.

I wish to present in this paper an ideal for the permanent and increasing betterment of the state and to suggest means for carrying out the ideal, for, as Arnold Toynbee once said:

Enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things, first an ideal which takes the imagination by storm and second a definite intelligible plan for carrying the ideal into practise.