Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

420                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
in order to set forth, by a striking example, the difficulties
which attend the subject, and the vastness of the evils of a
bad system of public charity. The English law has shaped
ours in some of the older states, where town-aid and settle-
ment are received principles of the poor laws, and where help
at home is afforded to the able-bodied more or less in the
cities. We may be sure that the problem will become more
serious as the country grows in density of population and ia
its number of manufacturing towns. There is also more dan-
ger here than in England that indiscriminate charity in the
large towns will .creep in, and work the same evils as there,
In the country towns the evil is far less ; the poor are known
to the inhabitants, taxation is under more rigid inspection
than in the cities, and the system of letting out the relief of
the poor to the lowest bidder is not an inviting one to the
tenants of the poor-house. There arc, indeed, few of the mis-
chiefs of pauperism felt outside of the large towns, but we de-
sire to call attention to one or two possible evils in the future,
and to some of the best means of administering relief.
I. It ought ever to be insisted on that humanity and state
order are the reasons for relieving the poor, and not justice.
The poor have a right to work when they can find work, but
have no right to demand either work or charity from the state.
If the other theory should be adopted, into which men are
apt to fall, it will have far-reaching consequences. First, it
will give the state a right to control the citizen, or, at least,
the poor citizen. It may then say, "If you have a right to
charity or to have work found for you, then I have a right of
self-preservation against the increase of a class that cannot
support itself. I have a right to prohibit marriage until you
can support a family, as well as a right to see to it that you
labor afterwards, so that you shall not become chargeable on
my resources." Again, the state would, if thus bound injus-
tice, rightfully demand that a part of the wages of men enti-
tled thus to support should be paid over and laid up for the
future. And still further, if a man wastes his property in
drink or by an idle life, he ought to be treated differently from