oppressions to show.
Thus it becomes clear that a nation may be very
capable in many ways and yet neglect the greatest of
tasks, the making of a happy, prosperous life for her
What will the United States gain even if she wins
the commerce of the world, and cannot create just
social conditions at home?
\Vhat glory is it to any nation that one class rises
in wealth and power, while all the other classes are
made to feel an increasing burden of costs and un-
There is plenty of social idealism in the world.
Indeed, sometimes it would appear that that is the
only kind of idealism which exists.
Yet there is a great dearth of practical ideas of
social betterment. There are hosts of theories. In
some parts of the earth those theories are being tried
by earnest believers in them, yet they are not proving
The need of the time is a social idealism which
will also provide ideas by which the ideals may be
worked out ; not only hazy desires for a better world,
but practical plans for the building of a better world
out of the one we now have. The world we now live
in is the world we must transform ; we cannot destroy
it ; we must live with it until we leave it better ; and
practical ideals are our only hope of making it better.
What Is Education Cargo
or Motive Power?
SOME people are proud of their good looks. Others
are proud of their social standing. Still others
are proud of their wealth. Most people are proud of
their ancestry, because it was good and honest. But
it would be very easy to find a large class of people
who are proud of what they know, proud of the knowl-
edge that they have gathered ; and they would not be
confined to the so-called educated classes either.
Knowledge is such a vague term that it is well to
understand just what may be meant by it.
The fact that certain fluids will take stains out of
a tablecloth, is knowledge. If the housewife knows
that, it may come handy to her. But you may search
through thousands of books in the big library and
never find that special part of knowledge mentioned.
The farmer's boy knows at which pool the trout
is to be found, and that is knowledge, but it would
never win him praise from a college.
The weather-beaten land-looker can tell by a glance
at the sky what the weather will be. but he could not
qualify among the scientists who are wise in these
There are many kinds of knowledge, and it de-
pends on what crowd you happen to be in, or how the
fashions of the day happen to run, which kind of
knowledge is most respected at the moment. There
are fashions in knowledge, just as there are in every-
When some of us were lads, knowledge used to be
limited to Bible knowledge. There were certain men
in the neighborhood who knew the Book thoroughly,
and they were looked up to and respected for it.
Biblical knowledge was highly valued then.
But nowadays it is doubtful whether deep ac-
quaintance with the Bible would be sufficient to win
a man a name for learning. Although it must be
said that knowledge of that Book would indicate a
well-stored mind, it would not win much respect
among the wiseacres of the day, because fashions in
knowledge have changed.
Knowledge is something that somebody once knew
and left in a form which enabled anyone else, who
wanted to, to know it.
If a man is born with normal human faculties, if
he is equipped with enough ability to use the tools
which we call "letters" in reading or writing, there
is no knowledge within the possession of the race that
he cannot have if he wants it!
The only reason every man does not know every-
thing that the human mind has ever learned is that no
one has ever yet found it worth while to know that
Men satisfy their minds more by finding out things
for themselves, than by heaping together the things
which somebody else has found out.
You can go out and gather knowledge all your life,
and with all your gathering you will not catch up
even with your own times.
You may fill your head with all the "facts" of all
the ages, and your head may be just an overloaded
fact-box when you get through.
The point is this : Great piles of knowledge in the
head are not the same as mental activity. A man
may be very learned and very useless. Any college
professor will tell you that. And then again, a man
may be unlearned and very useful, very wide-awake
in his mind and any professor of psychology will
tell you that, too.
The object of education is not to fill a man's mind
with facts ; it is to teach him how to use his mind
And it often happens that a man can think better
if he is not hampered by the knowledge of the past.
If Columbus had paid attention to "facts," if he
had held them in reverence, if he had believed that
all knowledge was in the books and there was none
to be had outside the books, he would never have set
WHAT IS EDUCATION CARGO OR MOTIVE POWER?
sail. Columbus did not study geography; he made it.
It is a very human tendency to think that what
mankind does not yet know, no one can learn. And
yet it must be perfectly clear to every one that the
past learning of mankind cannot be allowed to hinder
our future learning. There is almost everything to
learn yet. Mankind has not gone so very far, when
you measure its progress against the knowledge that is
yet to be gained, the secrets that are yet to be learned.
One good way to hinder progress is to fill a man's
head with all the learning of the past ; it makes him
feel that because his head is full, there is nothing more
to learn. Why, you could take a thousand men, fill
each man's head full of knowledge so full that he
could learn no more and even then no two of those
men would be learned in the same things. Each would
be calling the other ignorant. Merely gathering knowl-
edge that other men have acquired may become the
most useless work a man can do. The only fair
standard by which accumulated knowledge may be
judged is this: Here is a lot of knowledge. Are you
capable of learning it? If you are capable, you are
an intelligent person. If you are not capable, you
are not. If this or that subject were submitted to you
to be learned, you could learn it. Left to yourself,
perhaps, you would not learn it, not because you
are incapable of learning it, but simply because it is
not the kind of knowledge that your life or genius
Here is a man who knows a great deal about sea-
shells. There is a whole science of sea-shells. This
learned man is so interested in sea-shells, and has
gathered so much knowledge about them, that he has
written large volumes on the subject. But how many
even of our learned men know anything about sea-
shells ? How many want to know ? And yet here is
the point they are capable of knowing, they would
learn mighty quickly if a knowledge of sea-shells were
of any use to them.
All of us learn quickly the things we are inter-
ested in. the things which we need in order to do our
work in the world.
Everybody is a specialist. The baker is a specialist
in doughs and yeasts and ovens. The molder is a
specialist in sands and molds and iron "heats." The
horseshoer is a specialist in hoofs and bellows and
welding compounds. Our mothers used to learn more
from the "feel" of cloth than could be written in
many pages. Everybody is a specialist.
Now, just how much knowledge must be held in
common by everybody, is also a matter of fashion.
It is largely a matter of the class of people you want
to associate with. If you trot in one class you will
discover that you are expected to be able to talk
about art, and music, and poetry and similar subjects.
Thousands of people are chattering about those things
who don't know anything about them at all, but thev
have learned the phrases, and they pass for "educated."
A scholar of wide fame said just a little while ago
"It is now possible in our best society to express
opinions about a book without -having read it, or to
gabble about art without knowing a single fundamental
People do this because it is expected of them and
because it is the fashion. Most of the fads of societv
are intellectual fads, which change like the style of
Of course, if you want to gather knowledge like
pebbles and exhibit it, all right. There is one form of
human vanity. "But to flatter yourself that you are
learned, while the man who does not follow your fad
is unlearned, is to add a vicious flavor to your self-
There is a young fellow, standing before you. His
skin is clear, his eyes are bright, he understands what
he sees, and his mind is awake. He doesn't know
everything. As educational fashions go nowadays
he may "know" comparatively little. That is. his
head may yet be unburdened by a load of facts out of
No, he doesn't know everything. But as you look
at him, as you note his comprehending gaze, as you
mark the cool glance of his eyes, this thought comes
to you : "He doesn't know everything, but there is
nothing he could not know if he wanted to; and
WHAT IS EDUCATION CARGO OR MOTIVE POWER?
when he chooses his work in life, he will learn it
clear through to the end and beyond."
He doesn't have much knowledge, but he has a
lot of brains.
And, listen ! if you are ever given a choice be-
tween brains and knowledge, choose brains.
With brains you can get any form of knowledge
you need. But, better than that with brains you
can use any kind of knowledge that you have. With-
out brains, no amount of gathered knowledge will
ever amount to a straw.
< The best thing a book does for a man is to make
him think. All that a school can do for a man is to
teach him how to think. v
It isn't what you get out of a book, but what a
book pulls out of you, That makes books useful.
A man is like a well. There is a lot in him, if he
can only get it out.^ Sometimes a book, or a conversa-
tion, or a course of instruction, acts on him like prim-
ing on a pump it brings out of him what is in him.
And that is all that Education means.
A man is like wood or stone. Some kinds of
stones you can bring to a high degree of polish. Some
kinds of wood, too. But many indispensable stones
are rough and cannot be brought to a polish. So
with some kinds of wood. All men do not take a pol-
ish. Webster did ; but Lincoln didn't. And it is a
big mistake to say that the polish counts for all. It
is the texture that counts. And the texture of a man
is his vitality, his energy, his character, his courage
and his rock-bottom brain power.
When in Doubt Raise Wages!
THE first step to take in a situation like the pres-
ent is to raise wages where necessary. Simply
raise wages. There may be other steps necessary to
make, there may be other improvements to be insti-
tuted, but this is the thing that ought to be done at
once and widely raise wages. Nothing that anyone
can do in the time at our disposal can meet the situa-
tion so thoroughly, nothing will go so far to restore
confidence and establish a sense of the justice of our
social intention, as just to raise wages.
But this is the one step which the speculative and
profiteering world seems determined not to do.
"Why not do something else?" they say. And
so we begin to see all sorts of substitutes offered for
the simple solution of raising wages.
There can be little or no doubt that many of the
"investigations" which come up like mushrooms in
times of great public complaint, are mere substitutes
for the real and practical remedy, which is the in-
crease of wages.
If investigations had ever proved of practical as-
sistance to the producing class, if they had ever really
corrected the basic abuses, we might view them with
more hopefulness. But what have they ever accom-
plished? Have they ever made any appreciable dif-
ference in the life problem of the working man ?
Investigations have, as a rule, been substitutes for
the direct cure. When public impatience approaches
the breaking point, then someone seeks to allay it with
an "investigation." The result usually is that the
point of the investigation is changed, and before the
work is over it has been cleverly maneuvered into a
political boom for or against somebody. It develops
a "hero" or a "goat," and the real problem is left just
where it was before.
There is just now a "food investigation" gathering
force in all parts of the country. No one can say
WHEN IN DOUBT RAISE WAGES !
aught against it. It is high time we knew all the
details of profiteering in food. It is high time some-
one discovered and exposed the faults in our system
which permit even the people's bread to be put at the
mercy of gamblers.
But, does anyone honestly expect that the investi-
gation will have more than a nominal and temporary
effect? Does anyone believe that prices will ever
again be what they were ten years ago? No.
We have been on the upgrade on food prices for
ten years. If memories were not so short, if there
were some sort of accounting in the household, it
would be shown that food began to advance a decade
ago and that we were in the pinch o'f high prices even
before the European war began. Did anybody offer
to investigate then? No. We saw to it that certain
wage advances were made to meet the rising costs.
Then, fortunately for the speculators, the war
came on and proved a handy alibi for the next four
years. But two months after the war had ended, the
price of food in the United States had advanced 25
per cent over war prices.
The country began to murmur, then to protest,
then to threaten. There was but one obvious thing
to do raise wages. When a man is overboard, he
needs a life preserver. You can investigate the acci-
dent afterward. When a nation is actually in dis-
tress over the food problem, when a people have to
omit the other requirements of life in order to con-
centrate their attention upon the matter of getting
food, the first need is to relieve that situation, relieve
it immediately. You can investigate afterward.
Any difficulty with the food supply of a people,
especially where the difficulty is a money difficulty, is
equal to an emergency a war emergency, if you will
and should be met by provisions for the people's
safety. "Public safety" includes a safe margin of
food obtainable without dangerous anxiety on the
part of the people.
The concealed logic of most "food investigations"
would run somewhat on this line: "We must do
something. If we raise wages, that will enable the
people to buy food, but it will reduce our profits. If
we force a reduction of prices, that will hit our profits,
too. The best way to do is to have an "investigation"
and this will educate the people as to the reasons for
high prices; if skillfully conducted it will frighten
out the little profiteers, and the big profiteers will be
whitewashed and, in effect, licensed to continue."
Now, it makes all the difference in the world from
whose standpoint you view the matter. The only
safe point of view for any lover of the security and
prosperity of his country to take is the point of view
of the consumer, of the workman's wife who goes
to the store with a greatly shrunken dollar, of the
workman himself who finds that his utmost labor
will scarcely provide a living. These, in the last an-
alysis, constitute the food problem and it must be
investigated from their standpoint and relieved in a
way that will relieve them.
Obviously the man with a family is not going to
worry about potatoes being $2.50 a bushel, if he has
the $2.50. Obviously he is not going to be anxious
about the high cost of living if, after paying for his
living, he has the same proportionate amount of
money left over to put aside against a rainy day.
To come down to the human side of the question
as it affects our producers, the problem never has
been the high cost of living but the inadequate rate of
wages. They pay willingly if they have it. But they
don't have it. Wages have not kept pace with cost
increases. The result is very serious in our most
vital interests. You cannot pinch the American home
without injuring the heart and efficiency of the nation.
Raise the wages first so that the people may live
without anxiety during the period of your investiga-
tion, and then proceed with your examination of the
whole food system. But do not, as you value your
country's security and happiness do not substitute
an "investigation" for definite first aid.
Everybody knows what the result of an investiga-
tion will be. There will be, first, a great uproar con-
cerning hoarded food. This will not touch the great
hoards of the chief food makers, but only the local
stocks. Already there have been seizures in some
of the large cities of the country, and the figures
WHEN IN DOUBT RAISE WAGES !
that have been given out look very imposing in the
newspapers, but they shrink to triviality when divided
by the population of the city in which the stocks were
found. The discovery of a million dozens of eggs
in a city of 1,200,000 population simply means that
that city is one dozen eggs ahead per person a week's
Then it will be discovered that the little local re-
tailers have profiteered a cent or two on trust products,
and they will be severely criticised for it, although it
will never be published that the little local retailers
are making less under the high price regime than be-
fore. That is a curious fact: the fortunes and div-
idends of the big profiteers show upward curves of
increase ; the little fellows are barely scraping along.
But punish the little fellows !
And then it will be discovered that the cost of
producing, preparing and marketing food has really
increased. It will be possible to show that the farmer
has received a well-merited, though not extravagant,
share of the increase, and that certain material costs
help to account for part of it; but there will still be
the fact that at the top an increased profit arises, and
that no one engaged in the food business has really
Everybody "got theirs," as the expression is, but
they have gotten it from the man whose family eats
the food. And that man too commonly has not kept
even within economizing distance of the rise in food
The figures make it clear. Wages have increased
in this country about 50 per cent. This increase is
practically eaten up by the increase in rents alone, not
to mention clothing, medical attendance and fuel. But
when you measure a food increase running all the way
from 75 to 200 per cent, it becomes apparent whether
wages have kept pace or not.
If it were planned to produce a peasant class here
in America, if there were a conspiracy among the
money-kings to force the American people down from
the standard of living to which they have lifted them-
selves and create a race inured to poverty and dep-
rivation, it could not be better attempted than just
WHEN IN DOUBT RAISE WAGES 1
the way we are going now. No wonder the preachers
of discontent and violence are seizing upon the oc-
casion to say that now that the war is over, the Amer-
ican people are being beaten down to the level of the
lower-class British workman or the French and Ger-
The emergency remedy regardless of what the
ultimate cure may be is just this : some profits must
be turned into wages. We are learning that it is no
longer possible for one man to keep the profits. A
profit-making business is the creation of profit-mak-
ing men, and the only way the obligation of the busi-
ness to the men can be recognized and met is by a
scheme of profit-sharing. Whatever form this may
take, it means higher wages.
There is food here. There are people needing it.
There is money enough to transfer the food from those
who have it to those who need it. We shall have to
see that the money reaches the points which this food
transaction has stinted.
Having done this, you may then investigate with
all the thoroughness possible, without the suspicion
of making it a substitute for the right and needful
Humanity Is Our Basic Wealth
THE principal interest in this country is not busi-
ness, markets nor profits; it is not agriculture,
manufacturing nor transportation ; it is not science,
education nor any form of material progress : the com-
modity of principal importance in this country is just
People. Without people the other interests would
have no meaning. Without people they would not
exist. It ought, therefore, to be plain to any mind
that in relative importance People come first, and
these others second.
We pause here for a moment to permit the wise-
acres to cry, "Platitude !" Any truth that is incon-
veniently plain, too plain to be relished and yet too
true to be ignored, is shelved by the cry of "plati-
tude." But somehow it doesn't stay shelved.
People sometimes say, "Yes, yes, we know all
about that. Don't keep repeating it. Everyone agrees,
but don't make the truth a nuisance by insisting upon
But does everyone know, and does everyone agree ?
Certainly there is little evidence of it in the situation
which confronts us today.
Here we are faced by a condition of affairs which
may hold for the world greater danger than even the
war held; we are at a time when the mistaken policy
of greedy economic powers may set loose tendencies
from which humanity might never recover start
lesions in the social organism that could never be
healed. And yet do we ever hear that the place to
begin our cure of the illness is with the People?
No, we hear plenty of wise talk about protecting
the market, protecting the expectations of those who
bought low to sell high (how remarkably tender this
country has become of the gambling game of the
speculative profiteer!), protecting this or that bad
business condition due to mistaken theories that ought
to be destroyed so thoroughly that they shall never
deceive the business world again we hear anything
and everything except what can and should be done
for the relief and protection of the People!
Our wise men seem to believe that the People are
like the earth, a foundation that cannot be moved, a
platform on which any kind of business or market
program may be safely staged. But, the constant
danger of surprise is just here the people are not
a stable mass on which anything whatever can be
built ; they are not the unchangeable quantity that the
soil of the earth is; they are subject to change, to
Decrease of confidence is worse than decrease of
And worse even than the lowering of the climax
of business records is the lowering of the morale of
We can recover from almost any deterioration in
this country except a deterioration of the People.
Why, look at it a minute. What have we been
doing the past 10 years? We have been trying to
get a better class of people. American business saw
very clearly a few years ago that its success depended
on the elevation of the human standard in every in-
dustry. We started educational and Americanization
work. We supplied higher living standards. We en-
couraged an increase of intelligence and self-respect,
and a higher level of material needs. And we sup-
plied the increased wages necessary to maintain these
desirable human qualities.
What has happened to that clear vision? Surely
something has happened to it. In the present condi-
tion of national affairs we have scarcely thought of
the People at all. We have thought of Things, Things,
Things. We can afford to make a big sacrifice in
Things if that will prevent a deterioration of the
American standard of human values.
Take the housing condition, for example. Isn't it
true that we hear more of the need of the landlords
to charge more rent than we do of the need of the
people to be housed? The financial element is dis-
cussed to the almost entire exclusion of the human
HUMANITY IS OUR BASIC WEALTH
There is a very, very serious lack of housing fa-
cilities in all our industrial centers and it is working
social deterioration to an observable degree. There
is too much crowding for health and morals. There
are too many "come downs" from decent living quar-
ters to unbearable ones quite too many for the self-
respect of thousands of families who were just be-
ginning to taste the delights of clean, roomy, modern,
wholesome living conditions. There is too much
crowding among unmarried work-people, thus doing