profits, the big fish eating the little ones, this was
approved by ages of use. Almost anyone of these
workmen would get rich out of others' labor if he had
a chance. It was easy not to see the inherent badness
of the system which heaped up wealth for the few to spend, while the many moiled in the narrowness of
In the nineteenth century it was quite the thing for a man to amass great wealth and then give large sums to found colleges or public libraries or in large charities. In this way these men persuaded themselves, and the public as well, that they were benevolent and large hearted. But the wealth thus used did not go back to those men whose hard labor had been the chief thing in its production. Oh, no indeed. It did help to blind the public to the vicious defects of the whole system of ownership, a system that forever leaves the toiler defeated in the struggle for existence. The sociologist might seek to comfort him with the idea that it was nature's law, "the survival of the fittest." But that pitiless law does not mean "the survival of the best." It does mean the triumph and survival of narrow selfishness, of faculties which mark the beast but not the god in man. It means a practical denial of human brotherhood. It means at once a denial and a perversion of the great law of mutual dependence which binds all parts of the social organism together, so that you cannot injure one part without also injuring the other parts; that law of the division of labor which has made civilization itself possible, with all its wealth of resources.
That law of mutual, responsive life, deep-rooted in the geologic ages, will at last assert its full power,