Political Action: A Naturalistic Interpretation of the Labor Movement in Relation to the State

Political Action: A Naturalistic Interpretation of the Labor Movement in Relation to the State

Political Action: A Naturalistic Interpretation of the Labor Movement in Relation to the State

Political Action: A Naturalistic Interpretation of the Labor Movement in Relation to the State

Excerpt

The appearance of this volume in the present series is an evidence that here at least freedom of discussion is not suppressed. The book presents a careful and analytic statement of the obstacles that oppose the success of democracy. The editor takes a more hopeful view than the author expresses of the degree to which these obstacles may be overcome by legal and educational methods.

The hundred and fifty years not quite completed since the experiment of democracy on a great scale has been tried is but a brief period as history counts time; and the changes which that period has witnessed warn us effectually against thinking that the end of progressive change in social organization is in sight. When we recall the days when in the most advanced nations instead of holding an election it was the custom to decapitate the leaders of the opposition in some tower or dungeon or castle yard, or to have them hung, drawn and quartered, how again and again even in orderly England towns were laid in ashes and men, women and children butchered to punish the insubordination of some aspirant, how long and to how great a degree rational judicial procedure proved impossible in case of the wealthy and the strong, when we recall the almost forgotten and largely unimaginable horrors of Europe's not distant past, and the seemingly impregnable prestige of a traditionalism now outgrown, definite conclusions, based on the immutability of human instincts or the weight of tradition, and setting limits to the possibility of further progress, are largely robbed of their terrors. But such arguments are eminently worth while if they lay bare the specific obstacles that impede . . .

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