Page:The future of democracy.djvu/17

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opportunity of developing what is in them. Now, that is the second step I have come to in my line of reason.

I want to take you on by some further steps. If this is to be done then the State has two things which it must accomplish. It must positively build up and take care that the child is educated and taken care of in body as well as mind. And it must do other things than that. It must take care of the individual by building him up, and by besides maintaining him, also by restraining other people who are very clever from pushing their special advantages to such an extreme point that for their own ends they unduly drag down the level of others. That might very easily happen. You must take care there is no merely selfish exploitation in the future; and the State, therefore, has the double function of maintaining and restraining.

Bearing that double function in mind, let us see what it is necessary for the State to do in order to accomplish this ideal of equal opportunity that I have been indicating to you. First of all, the State must see not only that every child is educated and nurtured—in other words, taken care of by its parents—but the State must see that the men and women of this country live under conditions in which equality of opportunity will not be a mere farce. And for that purpose there are certain minima that the State must insist upon. The State cannot interfere and say one man has got to have £2 a day and another £10 a day. It cannot regulate all these things, but it may see that nobody is employed on terms that give less than that on which he can live decently, and that conditions of employment must not be such that they drag down below this minimum. That is not a new principle, not wholly new, at least. But it is new in the sense that the war has given it a reality it never had before.

The first principle, then, is that you must have a living wage, and the second principle is that you must have a