Sweeping Assertions From Particular Instances by Richard King

Story type: Essay

And this mention of the piano-crime among the munition-makers brings me to another fact–how utterly impossible it is for the majority of people to judge any big scheme without having regard to the particular instances which threaten its success. Because some working people are so utterly bestial that they are unfit to live in decent homes–so the majority of poor people are unworthy of better surroundings. You might just as well judge the ruling classes by the few units who advertise their own extravagant tom-fooleries! In all questions of reform you have to work, as it were, up to the vision of an ideal. The real, however disappointing at the outset, will eventually reach the higher plane–of that I am certain. And in no question am I more certain of this than in the question of the working classes. The heart of democracy, as I said before, is absolutely in the right place; only its “head” is as yet undeveloped. Its mental “view” is restricted–and no wonder! Everything that has so far been done has helped to restrict that view. This war has let more “light” into the “soul” of democracy than all the national so-called education which has ever been devised and made compulsory. Confiscation of property and all those other tom-fool cries are but the screams of a handful of silly Bolsheviks. There is no echo in the heart of the real labouring men and women. If they applaud it, it is only that these cranks, at least, seem to be fighting for that human right to an equal share of the common good things of this life which ought to be the possession of all labour, however lowly. Take the education of the masses out of the hands of the for the most part ignorant men and women who nowadays make it their profession to teach it; raise the standard of payment so that this all-important branch of citizenship will encourage educated and refined men and women to take up that duty–and give the working classes decent homes, plenty of air, and the chance of healthful recreation close at hand, and you have solved the most vital labour problems of this old world of ours and laid the foundation stones of the new.

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