It is highly gratifying to every believer in a better future for the earth’s toiling millions, to observe the rapidity with which true ideas of human rights and human destiny, are spreading in community. Indications of the existence of higher and more ennobling views of man and of the purpose of his existence on this planet, are particularly evident in the higher class of newspapers and magazines. They begin to talk of the dignity of labor and of the rights and wrongs of the laborer.
Hundreds of papers all over the land now dare to utter boldly and distinctly, their convictions that the relations between capital and labor are false; that the producer gets too little, and the non-producer too much; that every man by virtue of being a man has right to a home on the earth, to education and to social position according to real worth, and so forth.
We have spoken of these things before, and shall speak of them again. As often as we observe any particularly striking indications of social progress we shall note them down for the benefit of our readers. We commence with the following extracts from the Vindicator, a Catholic paper, published in this city. We are rejoiced to find such views inculcated in a journal having so wide an influence.
Seriously, we have in the following paragraphs simply a sober common sense statement of facts, together with some rational deductions there from. But here are the extracts. The writer has been speaking of the complaints made and the dissatisfaction manifested all around us, and of the grounds really existing for such complains and dissatisfaction manifested all around us and of the grounds really existing for such complains and dissatisfaction. He proceeds:
These complaints are heard constantly, not only from the employed, but frequently and justly from those who have no other interest in the matter than a proper sense of what is due to every individual in the community. Consequently it is proof conclusive that in the system of labor there is something wrong, something rotten, and something radically subversive of right of judgment, in the hands which govern its development. It moreover shows that independently of the remunerative view of the matter, the man who is thus engaged and thus abused, is in the eye of his task-master and his satellites and sympathizers entitled in neither respect, consequences nor position in society, and that his services are devoid of that relative value, which under salutary laws and sound social circumstances should crown and make them appreciable and attractive.
The italics in the above are our own. We quote entire the closing part of the article from which the above was taken. We trust that its length will not prevent any person from reading it. We care not where such sentiments are found. We heartily respond Amen to them:
Now is it to be imagined that because a man works for his daily subsistence he has no claims to privilege or standing in the world – must he even be debarred his relative social rights! How then will he be able to realize any aim or object he may have in life? How can he secure himself even the working man’s reputability and position, if he has a double obstacle thrown in his way – if he is denied the facilities to attain it both from the impossibilities of getting the compensation due to his toil, of rationally employing the fruits of his industry and the associations connected with his position in life? Has the working man no ambition – no aspirations – no desire to elevate himself in the walks of life? If he has not, have not his children? Must they kept not only in poverty, but also in social bondage?
Must their early sensibilities be blunted, their budding intellects cramped, their youthful aspirations crushed, merely because their father was an operative; and on that account, necessarily, and from the false organization of society, poor, neglected and despised? Not so, the operative must live, those dependent on him must be supported, he has his relations in life to sustain and dignity, he has respectability to ensure his family, his children to educate, in order to qualify them for any position which wealth and influence would endeavor to make exclusive, and which the rich man’s son foolishly imagines that he alone is capable of enabling and monopolizing.
The working man must live; now what is understood by a living, when applied to him? Is it that the mere gratification of his physical wants – such as food, to appease the cravings of hunger, raiment to over his body, or a roof to shelter him, are all that he requires? By no means; none but a grovelling, dastardly mind would put such an injunction upon him; none but meanness personified would thus restrict him. No, a living when applied to a rational being, who bears the impress of his Maker as his patent of nobility as a man, and feels his superiority as such means something more – it means an education adapted to the other circumstances of the individual, and a means of obtaining those relations, without which both the mind and the body become incapacitated by debility for a sound and effectual exercise of their various functions.
Hence it is that the operative should be well paid for his labor, if not industry at once becomes degrading; every one will loathe it and shun its pursuits, from the dread they will naturally have of the results it produces on their social welfare; and justly so when it is evidence that the rich employer instead of compensating his workman, of giving him a fair opportunity of gaining the respect of the community, and by his liberality of purse and mind, of encouraging industrial occupations, is the very first to visit their frowns upon those who engage in them, and to cause so many others to do likewise.
The wealthy are too apt to take advantage of the poor man’s dependence, and consequently the honest laborer must suffer. It is time that this antagonism between labor and capital which prevails throughout our country to so alarming and disgraceful an extent should be crushed: and the only method of doing so is for the working classes to throw themselves upon their own rights, to rally under the standard of fair wages and to force their oppressive and tyrannical employer to do them, the community and himself what the voice of justice so emphatically demands of them.
With these extracts we must close, though we have at our side several equally interesting articles, from various sources, from which we intended to make quotations in proof of the progress of correct views of man and of society among our contemporaries of the press. We will reserve them for future use.