Poverty Is The Father Of Vice, Crime And Failure by Arthur Brisbane

Story type: Essay

These are days when men do their hardest work for money, when they scramble and struggle and strike each other down in the effort to reach wealth. And it is not possible to blame them. They are trying to escape from poverty, from a disaster worse than any prairie fire or other physical danger.

Dire poverty is the worst of curses. It combines every kind of suffering, physical, mental, moral, and in the end it means either death or degradation.

The great task of humanity is the abolition of poverty. The great benefactors of humanity are the great industrial organizers of this day, because, in spite of individual selshness,{sic} they are planning production on a scale that will in the end provide for all.

It is worth while to discuss and to realize what real poverty means. If we can realize its meaning every one of us must be more anxious to relieve, as far as we can, the poverty around us, and especially anxious to work for the social betterment that shall one day wipe out poverty forever

Poverty means dirt.

The thoughtless and comfortable have a way of saying: “The poor might at least be clean.” But cleanliness is a LUXURY; it demands leisure and peace of mind, as well as bathtub, soap, hot water and good plumbing. The very poor cannot be clean.

Poverty means ignorance, and it means ignorance handed down from father to son.

Poverty means drunkenness. The pennies of POOR men and POOR women pay for more than half the vile whiskey, gin and other poisons that men buy to help them forget.

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Poverty and its sister, Ignorance, fill the jails and the insane asylums.

Poverty is the mother of disease, and it fills the hospitals.

Tens of thousands of consumptives alone are murdered every year by poverty. They are too poor to do that which is required to save their lives. —-

The great men of the world do not emerge from poverty, from squalor.

They come from very modest homes, from the log cabin, and from the towpath, as advertised. They come from those whose fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers had at least enough to eat, and enough fresh air to give them pure blood and proper nourishment for their brains.

Poverty destroys ambition, inventive power and the capacity to struggle.

A starved body produces a starved brain. The greatest genius that ever lived could not think better than a child of ten if you deprived him of food for ten days.

What can you expect of the inferior minds that have been half fed through a lifetime, or through several generations?

Do you know what made the Revolution and changed conditions in France? It was not poverty. Not a single poor man was a leader in that Revolution. Every one of them was well fed, had a well- nourished brain–Danton, Robespierre, Marat, Desmoulins, Mirabeau–every one a well-fed brain in a vigorous body.

The labor unions and the great strikes, although sometimes unwise and unreasonable, are great blessings to the Nation. They compel the worker to get such pay as will feed himself and his children, giving the Nation well-fed brains. The Union is the enemy of poverty, and for that reason especially it is an agent for good. —-

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As poverty breeds ignorance, so ignorance breeds poverty. The greatest enemy of poverty is the Public School. Work and vote, therefore, for public school betterment.

Miserable women walk the streets by thousands on cold Winter nights–poverty has put them there.

Hundreds of thousands of children are born only to struggle for a few years through a stunted infancy–poverty digs their graves.

For one genius that has fought and conquered in spite of poverty ten thousand have sunk out of sight in the fight against the worst of enemies.

Don’t waste time extolling the blessings of poverty–use your energies to diminish poverty’s curse, and to improve humanity by giving it the full efficiency which freedom from worry alone can give.

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