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has been largely worked out; the quantity has been computed more carefully than before; the amount required for the maintenance of life has been reckoned, and it has been shown that the capacity of the country for population is only half what it would be if the land were more freely watered. It has been emphasized that there is no assimilation, or germination, or tissue growth, or reproduction in the absence of water— indeed it has been shown that these vital processes are apparently but manifestations of properties inhering in water; but, except here and there in arid regions and now and then in its esthetic aspects, water has not yet fully found that place in sentiment which it deserves as the final measure of life on the land, the direct medium between man and earth.

As the movement proceeded it was realized, even before the National Conservation Commission reported, that all the natural resources (as commonly defined) are balanced against that human life in which alone they find use and value; for without men to enjoy them the earth and the fullness thereof were as dead cosmic matter. So human efficiency was recognized as a sort of equation expressing the relations between man and earth, measured by the powers of accomplishment, the prospects of perpetuity, and the general welfare of mankind; and the survey was extended, first by Irving Fisher to the public health, considered with special reference to industrial capacity and viability, and later (through another agency headed by Liberty Hyde Bailey) to that rural living which may and should contribute so largely to national strength and spirit. Thereby the material field and much of the moral purport of conservation were rounded out, and the lesson of science that man is master over lower nature became practical and entered into the daily thought of millions.


Such, in broad outline, has been the course of conservation to date, that earlier course predetermining the present and future trend of the movement. Yet forecast or even current view would be futile without the fullest understanding that, despite the impressive material facts with which conservationists point argument and convince contemporaries, the conservation movement is primarily and fundamentally moral, and is material only in secondary and empirical aspects: the material resources form property, but the moral forces make men who create property at will. It is the quality of human knowledge to advance, not uniformly but per saltum. In the individual a great idea (perhaps the offspring of subconscious cerebration) springs full-armed—like the daughter of Jove— under momentary inspiration, and is gradually adjusted to the general fabric of thought. In the people, a great idea (conceived in some individual) sweeps from one to another swiftly, according to its fitness as a new faith, or doctrine, or cult, or means of life, until enough are inspired to reconstruct the old ideas and customs.

Somehow, men need these inspirations; they are essential to advancement, are indeed the very means of mental growth; and the whole course of human progress is marked by great inspirations. In the unwritten past of our ancestry (though in the observed life of other races) the recognition of paternity came as a luminous idea, and the motherright of savagery was shifted to the paternal kinship of barbarism, while the deific powers were transformed from fearsome to gracious. Within the time of written record, consanguineal tribes gathered into civic groups, yet civilization became effective only under monotheistic faith and the great inspiration going out from Palestine with the injunction, “Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you.” Later, Luther and Loyola fired mankind religiously, and Cromwell politically, through inspirations influencing all Christendom. And then came, through resistance to attempted tyranny over a strong people and unparalleled weighing of human rights, the quickened conviction that all men are equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which inspired enlightment and gave a new form of government already spread afar over the lands of the earth. With each inspiration, the moral impulse quickly rose above material structures and yielded better institutions on the higher plane.

Now the conservation idea has spread and is still spreading as an inspiration for which the national mind was ripe; it crystallizes intuitive feeling as to eternal fitness—the feeling that the riches of the land belong not to the few but in due share to all, both living and yet unborn. So in its essence, conservation is a cult based on deep-lying moral sense; and, just as in the earlier stages of human progress, all material structures must be adjusted, albeit gradually, to the moral foundation. Happily, the new cult is peculiarly adapted to our country, not only by our plentitude of resources and our constructive genius but by historical association. Ever the highest human aspirations have been for liberty, equality, fraternity. Our Revolution was fought for liberty, and our Constitution was framed for equality; and the end of conservation is fraternity—a stricter honesty, richer patriotism, broader charity, and warmer philanthropy ripening in the brotherhood of man.


Since 1776 and 1787, knowledge of the relations between man and earth has multiplied. Then forests were but haunts for game and obstacles to settlement—the waters unreckoned, coal unknown, and iron little used. Then but two elements of national strength were conceived : (1) land as both means and symbol of homes, and (2) the home-making people; and on this balance between lower nature and the higher nature residing in mankind the Nation was founded. In 1908 the several natural resources, waters, forests, lands, minerals, were in large use and were balanced against human efficiency, measured chiefly by public health and viability; yet in the last three years, under the inspiration of conservation, the spirit of citizenship has spread more than in the preceding century, until today it is widely recognized that the earth and all its riches are for all mankind, and the natural resources as a whole may now be balanced against human welfare in the individual, the family, the community, and the state, including commonwealth and Nation.

In this broad view, conservation deals not merely with the sources of welfare found in lower nature, but in still larger degree with the higher powers involved in the relations among men—in human rights and institutions and laws, social, industrial, civil and political. For it is not enough for the free citizens of this new era to conserve the mere materials for national power and perpetuity; the Nation itself, with all that strength of national character which has given us the lead among the nations, must be conserved for ourselves, our children, and our children's children This is the chief duty of the day.

While individual and family and community and state are interdependent, human efficiency begins in the individual. Only in the individual mind, howsoever warmed by association, are ideas conceived; only by individual aptitude, howsoever instructed, are tasks accomplished; only by individual conscience, howsoever quickened, is conduct guided. Individual standards of righteousness are higher than those of crowds of communities or states. In war it is the man behind the gun, and in peace the man with hand on tool or throttle that achieves victory. No state can be powerful unless its constituent individuals are efficient. Now, individual efficiency involves suitable food and clothing and dwelling, with health and sanitary surroundings assuring normal expectation of life. And in even higher degree it involves those inspirations of humanity; especially love of kind and love of country, in which incentive buds and ambition blossom. These things are among the rights of the indi: vidual on which the strength of the state must ever rest—the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, of late expressed in the single term, “Opportunity.”


The clearest right and most needful opportunity is for work, that exercise wherein men rise above lower nature, especially productive labor in which visible results incite the mind and invigorate the hand. Despite current clap-trap, there is no “inalienable right not to work”; none have the right to idleness, and the country owes no man a living unearned, for it is no less true now than of old that “they who work not, neither shall they eat”; and neither community nor state can conserve its strength without opening wide the door of opportunity to its constituent individuals.

Within any generation, efficiency is attained by individual workthat exercise which combines with heredity to shape human progress. Yet it is only through the run of generations that heredity acts and that individuals, like communities and states, are perpetuated. Indeed, the essential human unit is neither the individual nor the social assemblage, but the procreative family. So the ultimate strength of any nation, and the progress of mankind in controlling lower nature, hinge on maintenance of the family triad with its vital angles of mother and child.

Herein moderns may learn something from the ancients and lower races. When mankind commenced conquest over lower nature, motherright prevailed; the mothers were priestesses and law-givers for their clans, and they and their daughters were esteemed as the bearers of the line of life. Under the patriarchial condition, the child-bearers were seen to measure tribal strength, and were set apart and supported, and often multiplied, through warfare and polygyny, though sometimes degraded into slaves and chattels. Under the militant motives of early civilization, when the strength of cities and principalities was measured by the fighting men, as shown by Fustel de Coulanges in “The Ancient City,” and Sir Henry Maine in “Ancient Law,” wives and mothers were debarred from councils and virtually disfranchised. Although “When Knighthood Was in Flower” and romance in its heyday, the prolific sex was often both cause and guerdon of strife; and it is only under enlightenment, with its broad view of general welfare, that the pendulum is swinging toward that equitable division of rights and duties and responsibilities between the sexes and ages of mankind inhering in the family. In the light of accumulated experience, it is to the interest of community and state to vouchsafe mother and child exceptional rights; the prospective mother has a right to family protection and to freedom of choice in mating, and the bearing mother to both material sustenance and the spiritual support of affection during her fruitful period. The child has a right to be conceived in the inspiration of love (the most potent force in humanity) and born to a welcome—and then to both material sustenance and moral sympathy during infancy and early adolescence. These rights may burden individuals and communities, yet the burden is essential to the richness of heredity and the fullness of humanity. Now the rights of the generation arise in the family. Conservation came up with the new concept of continuity, added to that of present power. It was first felt that each future generation is entitled equally with the present one to a due share of the natural resources. Yet already the moral light has shown that each generation in its turn is no less entitled to the benefits of happy birth and good breeding, to normally increasing numerical strength, and to the fittest laws and institutions within reach of the parents, for each child and each generation naturally inherit not merely parental traits but their share in the community and state. Already conservation and eugenics and righteous decrial of racesuicide are awakening a new sense of generational responsibility; and it grows clearer every day that our present power and prestige were of little worth unless assurd of perpetuity by due regard for generations coming up and yet to come.


Under gregarious instinct and desire for strength in union, mankind is grouped in multifarious communities overlapping and combining in such wise as measurably to control the action of each individual and family, and shape the character and career of the state. It is the essence of the community that each surrenders some share of individuality for the common good; and the benefits usually vary with the nearness of the constituents in person and in interest. While endlessly protean, communities may be classed by purpose as (1) for public benefit, (2) for class benefit, and (3) for private benefit—of which the first and some of the second merge in the state. Now, the community may be likened to a miller's bolt, in that it grades individuals according to characteristics, and in the overlapping communities of the country each individual falls more or less fairly into fit place according to the judgment of contemporaries. Yet the customary flexibility of the community allows the less designing and more generous constituents to lose position and permits the designing and selfish to gain undue power—and partly for this reason the communities for private and class benefit tend to multiply, while communities for public benefit tend to become subverted to the ends of shrewd and self-seeking leaders. Despite primary dependence on individuals and families, the power and continuity of the state are measured largely by the strength and sagacity of its communities, especially those designed for public benefit. Yet grave dangers lurk in that multiplication and subversion of communities tending to subordinate public good to private greed. Two current tendencies may be signalized as especially ominous: (1) through an insidious legal fiction certain communities for private benefit (e. g., corporations for profit) have come to be viewed as possessing the property rights of individuals, whereby their constituents (partners, stockholders, et al.) enjoy dual privileges as actual persons and in the pseudo-personalities of their corporations. So that privileged classes are arising among us, despite a republican constitution under which all are equal. (2) Through a development not sanctioned by the constitution, and most solemnly denounced by that steady balance-wheel of the constitutional convention, afterward First President, the form of community known as “political party” grew up, and, though first designed for public benefit, became subverted through self-seeking leadership into the machine organziation, diverting attention of citizens from the public welfare and promoting graft and bribery and worse evils, especially in cities—where the party “machine" is commonly a cover for corruption. These two unrepublican forces have not unnaturally drawn together, and often combine, interests in private behalf and against the public welfare; and in them lies the chief menace to the Republic. Clearly, maintenance of the integrity and power of the state demands due regulation of these and other community forces. Largely through the conservation movement, the public conscience and the spirit of citizenship have been awakened as never before. Citi

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