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the reason why a play called “Drifting" relativity, the only practical system at escaped their vigilance. There are no hand is that worked out by Benjamin particularly wicked scenes in “Drift- Franklin. He tells, in his Autobioging,” but the play as a whole is a pæan raphy, how he resolved to achieve moral to badness. It concerns two Americans perfection, and for the purpose dein China—Cassie Cook, known as the veloped a method of bookkeeping. He Queen of Sheba because of her connec made a list of the twelve virtues, the tion with a notorious cabaret in Shang- first being temperance and the last, hai, and “Badlands" McKinney, who chastity. Later, by request of a friend, also has run the gamut of unsavory he added humility. Among the virtues emotions.
present were silence, order, resolution, These two sinners meet in the moun frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, tains of China, during an uprising of moderation, cleanliness, and tranquillity. natives. They pass through weird ad Since it was obviously impossible for ventures, save a missionary's baby from a mere human being to acquire thirteen murder, and, in the process of escaping virtues all at once, he determined to give a carnival of death, fall in love. Cassie, a week's attention to each of the virtues however, believes it her duty to renounce successively. He chose each week one “Badlands," whom she knows only as a virtue on the list, and every night gallant soldier. He, for his part, feels marked his moral rating in that virtue unworthy of Cassie, whose scarlet past in his little ledger. He was able, he said, is unknown to him. The play appears to to go through the course of virtues be moving toward a tragic climax complete in thirteen weeks, and four because of the unequal morality of the courses in a year.” It was well worth lovers, when, lo! it is revealed to both the effort, for he added, “Nothing is so Cassie and “Badlands" that the other likely to make a man's fortune as is not virtuous at all. Thus are all virtue.” But if history and biography barriers swept away.
speak truly, Franklin could have carried Now if Cassie had been good, and his scheme a good deal farther without only “Badlands” bad, or if Cassie had electrifying the Christian Endeavor. been bad, and “Badlands” good, there Perhaps that is why he found it better could have been no happiness for either. to practice one virtue at a time. In that But both, being equally stained by sin way he could light-heartedly forget the and vagabonds of virtue, the curtain other twelve and thus entirely avoid falls upon a blissful ending. But the such a struggle as that of Mrs. Harrigan moral lesson? Of course, everybody when relativity came into opposition goes home feeling glad that both the with established canons. By never hero and heroine were bad, for other- allowing conflicting standards at the wise they could not live happily forever same time and in the same place, relaafter.
tivity becomes successfully unified with Until some one has the courage to the world of fixed law, and thus is prepare the new manual of morals and Einstein vindicated.
Tmeets with some obstacles and fur
BY EDWARD S. MARTIN \HE
not punish it, it is not safe to excite. nishes food for thought to two large There is a sin of blasphemy, which we groups in the community—the people suppose the law will still punish if it is who want it enforced and the people gross enough. It will be agreed that the who occasionally want something to considerate people do not jest about drink. Just at the moment it seems as if sacred things, nor even about things the people who want a drink are some which, though not sacred to themselves, what ahead of the other group in the are sacred to the people they are talking competition; at any rate, the group that to. Well, then, is prohibition one of these wants enforcement seems to think it sacred things we must not talk about? necessary to make extra effort.
Are amendments of the Constitution and Harper's Magazine, as doubtless to hun the Volstead law to rank with the Ten dreds of other periodicals, has come a Commandments and the Sermon on the communication from the Committee for Mount as not being safely subject to Prohibition Enforcement of a much-re- derisive comment? spected and powerful organization of Something like that seems to be in women, which announces that the com the minds of the women whose committee has adopted a program, the items munication we have received, who inof which it communicates. The fifth item clude item six in their program, but is to the effect that all the ministers be if so, their attitude is wrong.
A conurged to preach and teach the necessity stitutional amendment is not sacred, , for respect for and observance of the law. much less a Volstead Act. It is the The sixth item runs, “That every theat- Volstead law that the jokes on prorical manager, movie manager, and hibition are aimed at more than the editor, whether of a daily, weekly, or amendment. If we cannot joke about monthly publication, be requested to see an act of Congress, then indeed things that all jokes ridiculing prohibition and have come to a restricted pass. If a law its enforcement are eliminated from any is bad, one of the ways to beat it is to production, film, or article coming under laugh it out of court. If that is being his jurisdiction, and that the matter be done about the Volstead law, the ladies treated with the seriousness that the sub- who want that law enforced would do ject merits; and that this resolution be well to examine it and see why it is not thrown on the screen and printed in the enforced, rather than try to stop jokers different papers and magazines through- from laughing at it. out the country."
A letter writer to a newspaper says, The demand for protection from jokes “If it is true that a community gets the is often made and always implies that kind of government it deserves, it is there is something that needs to be equally true that a law gets the kind of joked about. There is a sin called “sacri- obedience it deserves.'
obedience it deserves." His assertion lege.” If we joke about things that are may be disputed, but still, if the Volsacred to enough people, it gives a kind stead law is not being respected, is it
VOL. CXLIV.-No. 863.-86
certain that it deserves respect? It is a law of gravitation. Nobody goes around law in the process of being tried out. If begging you not to ridicule it. It takes it is good we want it enforced. If it is care of itself, and if you flout it you pay bad we want it amended, but we do not the consequences. The Ten Commandwant to be choked off from discussing ments have a sanction of long experiit or testing it. There is no power in ence. Some of them are obsolete, but the Congress to say what is right or wrong. others are respected, and, though they The most that Congress can do is to say are not directly enforced by the courts, what is lawful or unlawful. The distinc laws based on them are so enforced. tion is important. The practical judge Public opinion hereabouts rests very of whether a law is right or wrong is the considerably on the Ten Commandgeneral community to which the law ments. They have shaped the habits of applies. If that community will not back thought and deportment of many milup the enforcement of the law, it will lions of people, including most of those not be enforced. It is yet to be demon now living in this country. strated how far the Volstead law, as it The trouble with the present enforcestands, is enforceable. If its fruits do ment of prohibition is that it has not yet not please a majority of the people who got moral sanction enough to make it live under it, it may have to be modified effective. Public opinion will back up so that it will stand for something that the law in closing the saloons and reis near enough to the popular judgment stricting and regulating the sale of inof what is right to win popular support. toxicants, but it does not follow it, for There is a great deal of good in the pres one thing, in defining a beverage with an ent prohibition movement. It put the alcoholic content of one half of one per saloons out of business. It checked the cent as intoxicating. When it comes to brewers and distillers in their over that, public opinion laughs, because that strenuous efforts to sell their products. is contrary to its experience. FurtherIt accomplished benefits which probably more, public opinion shows as yet no could not have been accomplished ex particular fervor about achieving a total cept by the kind of clean sweep that the stoppage of alcoholic supplies from those amendment was. But it was necessarily who want them. No serious stigma a rough joban experiment to be tried attaches to violations of the Volstead out in practice. If its rules need modifi law by private buyers. Fines and like cation, they may get it or they may not, embarrassments may result, but not disbut if not, they may be practically repute. A good many fairly decent peomodified in enforcement.
pie seem to buy what they want, and Who is boss in this country? Is it the do not conceal it. The people who President, the Senate, the House, the thought before the law was adopted that Supreme Court, the state authorities, it was wicked or inexpedient to drink the newspapers, the lawyers, the min- intoxicants, still think so.
The people isters, the doctors, or possibly the who thought otherwise continue to think women?
otherwise. Many people drink less than None of them! Public opinion is the before the law began to operate, but a boss. In the long run, what public opin- good many other people drink more, and ion demands it gets. Laws to be of any buy much worse beverages at much worth have to have sanction. That is, higher prices. To some extent prohibithere must be something to make people tion seems to have made drinking popuwho violate them feel that they are doing lar by diminishing the individual diswrong. The laws of nature have abun- couragement of it and putting the redant sanction. If you fool with the law sponsibility for the maintenance of temof gravitation, you get bumped. There is perance on a law and the officers who no trouble about the enforcement of the enforce it. That may be only a tempo
rary effect, but if it turns out that the what propaganda has accomplished Volstead law, as it is, cannot be en and slowly and deliberately considers forced at the present time, there may whether it is good, and if it concludes possibly be an effort to tinker it—to put that it is not good it ceases to back it it into such shape that public opinion and then there has to be something will stand back of it and give it a sanc different, something that looks like imtion. The alternative would be to wait provement. and see what effect time will have on Who are the people who finally make men and habits. There is nobody to tell public opinion in the United States? us that we shall be damned if we disobey They are the great mass of people who the Volstead law, and so long as juries furnish the population and do the work refuse to convict persons who violate it, of the country—the farmers, the other it stands modified in practice. Neverthe- working people, from the bankers and less, drinks are very dear, and apt to be lawyers and ministers and doctors to the poisonous. It has accomplished that. miners and ironworkers and railroad
men and factory hands and plumbers. Since public opinion is so potent in Out of that great mass of people, spread this country, it is worth while to inquire across the continent and furnishing it what it is and who makes it. It is the with human life, slowly emerges public voice of whatever civilization produces opinion. It will be sound and liberal and it. It is made by schools, by churches, wise, or foolish and intolerant, according by newspapers, by organizations of all
as that great company is more intellisorts, good and bad, by politicians, by gent or less. Its intelligence will be tested banks and business interests, but the partly by the ability to think things out best of it is a product of life and comes and trace effects to right causes, and out of the minds and reflects the experi- partly by instinctive acceptance of good ence and influence of individual people. leadership instead of bad. Men are very
The organizations, political, commer unequal in their abilities to think things cial, religious, that seek to shape public out, but in their instinctive actions they opinion all use propaganda. We all are more alike. The recognition of truth know what that means because we have is a good deal instinctive, and it is to that all had such a surfeit of it. During the that leaders who know the truth and war we were flooded with it and every- speak it have to appeal. In that great one learned what it was and how to use mass of the population there must be it. It is put out by speakers, on the people whose heads are far enough above movie screens, and in print wherever the heads of the group to see farther possible. Organization secured prohi- than the group sees, and whose experibition, but organization is not public ence of life is broad enough to make opinion and may for a time override it. them liberal. People are prone to think Organization works on the run with that what is strange to them is necesnoise and big headlines and meetings sarily sinful, or, if not sinful, at least and even with threats. Public opinion hostile, but if there are people in sight slowly takes form in the minds of indi whose characters they respect, though viduals. There comes in Lincoln's say their habits of life are different from ing about the impossibility of fooling all their own, it helps to get them out of the people all the time. Propaganda that notion. Democracy must have may overwhelm private judgment for a leaders, but it must produce them. It time, but private judgment keeps on need not go out of itself to find them. working after propaganda ceases. It They must and will be the fruit of its digests what has been offered to it. own body. If the body is good the The common facts of life continue to fruit will be good. appeal to it and impress it. It views The great service to democracy is to
keep its body sound. If that can be done The family that we have seems to accord it will never lack leaders. And how better with the service that is required about the body of our democracy? Is of us. ' To train and educate that great its quality, its soundness, improving or family in the way it should go, so that decreasing? There are races in the earth the public opinion that comes out of it that have slowly developed a capacity shall be sound and wise and helpfulfor democratic government and can that is the task to be done, not only for make it go. There are other races that ourselves, but for all the world. have shown only a limited capacity for The biologists are strong for purity of it. Our democracy was founded by men race and, of course, there is something who came from a country whose people in that. They point out how horses and had worked steadily for centuries toward other animals are bred, how the thordemocratic government. They and their oughbred stock justifies itself, and how descendants have kept a school here in the greatest improvement in animals is which the principles of democracy have won by judicious inbreeding. They been taught to all comers. It has been a would produce supermen by the same successful school, but how is it keeping methods that produce successful race up?
horses, but they know they cannot do It is immensely important that there that, and are content to emphasize the States should continue to be a sound necessity of keeping the strong and valschool of democracy—that they should uable breeds of men as clear as possible not undertake the training of more from intermixture with weaker stocks, pupils than they can handle, or be and races not weak but too different to swamped by too great a deluge of new blend with to advantage. comers. An appreciation of that impor That is good sense, and doubtless tance prompts Congress to check immi- accords with the purposes and practice gration, and, though that is an unwel of nature, but it is something very difficome expedient, it may be time that it cult of accomplishment by law or reguwas pressed. Two results should be lation, and it is not enough. Given helped by cutting down immigration- luxury enough and circumstances fafor a while fewer new pupils would come vorable to demoralization, and even the into the country, and the native-born best races will eventually drive after citizenship would get more encourage material things and go to pot. Animals ment to provide, themselves, the popula- do not do that. They cannot accumution of the country. If there had been late property or power and use it to no immigration to speak of since 1850, buy ease and luxury. Once they are but only the natural increase of the domesticated they are under direction. population of the country at that time, But man is much more complex than the there would still have been plenty of animals and is his own master and people in this country. There are those responsible for his own course. The who regret that such a result did not important influences to keep him movhappen, but that is probably a mistaken ing upward are spiritual. The main regret. The destiny of the United States factor in improving him is religion. seems to be to perform a service to all First by instinct and presently by obserraces, a service in the direction of which vation and reflection he recognizes the most races are represented.
existence of an invisible life to which he have all Europe represented here in con is related and out of which seem to come siderable force, and Asia and Africa suf the ideals which he struggles to realize. ficiently. If the United States had been Biology is important. It is the science of populated by the families that were here a process, but religion is much more than in 1850 that would not have been true. that, it is the greatest factor in progress.