Excerpt from Practical Co-Operation: A Series of Essays Looking to the Amelioration of the Workingman's Industrial and Social Condition
Numerous volumes have been and are being written with the hope and object in view of ameliorating the unsatisfactory industrial and social c... onditions of the masses of the people. The workers, that is, the men and the women who produce by mental or physical means the major part of the wealth, as also the increase in population, are reminded by many that today they fare better than did kings in remote times; yet those who must work to live, under the present regime, are not satisfied. The question might be asked, what manner of life would meet the wishes of this working class of citizens? It must be conceded that for a people, in any day, to simply endure an unsatisfactory condition because they happen to participate therein, is wrong.
Men are, in a great degree, the agents of their own suc cess, as also of their failures in life. The industrial misfor tunes today of those who must work to exist are too often the fault of themselves. If the masses were really true to them selves, they would read the writing on the social wall, become optimists, and profit by the industrial and commercial example set them by the successful few. They commit a grievous error to themselves, and their faces even spell failure, while talking of the faith in a hope that a better industrial and social con dition is to come to them, if only they wait a little longer. Waiting should be supplanted by action. The superior man helps the distressed, as well as himself, and does not aim merely to be one to add to the wealth of the rich.
There cannot always be brotherhood between commanders and subordinates. A nation cannot last as a money-making mob. Tolstoi says, Men have grown so accustomed to the organization of life founded on violence that they cannot imagine a common life without governmental favor, and have even become so inured to it that they actually endeavor to realize the very ideals of rational, free, fraternal life through governmental favor, i. E., through coercion.
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