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is a source of great harm to the nation; a ignorant or prejudiced critics are themsel cated men, their attitude does real harı the class to which they belong.
The tone of a portion of the press of the toward public men, and especially towari! opponents, is degrading, all forms of ci noisy slander being apparently considerei 1. weapons to employ against men of the party or faction. Unfortunately, not a ir journals that pride themselves upon beri pendent in politics, and the organs of (" men, betray the same characteristics in a l
.. but quite as noxious form. All these ji great harm by accustoming good citiza their public men, good and bad, assaila criminately as scoundrels. The effect is the citizen learning, on the one hand, t any statement he sees in any newspaper, attacks on evil lose their edge; and on my gradually acquiring a deep-rooted belief that public men are more or less bad. his political instinct becomes hopelessly Durres he grows unable to tell the good represei. the bad. The worst offence that can be coil against the Republic is the offence of this who betrays his trust; but second only to it.com the offence of the man who tries to persuade oth that an honest
Gicient public man is disaan. or unworthy
ng that can be co mitted in a
at ways. Dowina
I ever taken an active
studied politics in the il to study surgery and : it a thought; but very cause they were misdiere wholly ignorant that
y about a problem beion. The English, or
ory of parliamentary ; incompatible with our
10ns. It could not be , by absolutely sweeping istitution. Incidentally, the last degree undesir
But this is not the point 1; the point is that it was it it into operation, and - this kind of government
ligent. The people who * time, whereas they could antage had they seriously Id sought to devise prac
ils of increasing and centy--for all thinking men loubted need for a change
is a source of great harm to the nation; and where ignorant or prejudiced critics are themselves educated men, their attitude does real harm also to the class to which they belong.
The tone of a portion of the press of the country toward public men, and especially toward political opponents, is degrading, all forms of coarse and noisy slander being apparently considered legitimate weapons to employ against men of the opposite party or faction. Unfortunately, not a few of the journals that pride themselves upon being independent in politics, and the organs of cultivated men, betray the same characteristics in a less coarse but quite as noxious form. All these journals do great harm by accustoming good citizens to see their public men, good and bad, assailed indiscriminately as scoundrels. The effect is twofold: the citizen learning, on the one hand, to disbelieve any statement he sees in any newspaper, so that the attacks on evil lose their edge; and on the other, gradually acquiring a deep-rooted belief that all public men are more or less bad. In consequence, his political instinct becomes hopelessly blurred, and he grows unable to tell the good representative from the bad. The worst offence that can be committed against the Republic is the offence of the public man who betrays his trust; but second only to it comes the offence of the man who tries to persuade others that an honest and efficient public man is dishonest or unworthy. This is a wrong that can be committed in a great many different ways. Downright foul abuse may be, after all, less dangerous than incessant misstatements, sneers, and those half-truths that are the meanest lies.
For educated men of weak fibre, there lies a real danger in that species of literary work which appeals to their cultivated senses because of its scholarly and pleasant tone, but which enjoins as the proper attitude to assume in public life one of mere criticism and negation; which teaches the adoption toward public men and public affairs of that sneering tone which so surely denotes a mean and small mind. If a man does not have belief and enthusiasm, the chances are small indeed that he will ever do a man's work in the world, and the paper or the college which, by its general course, tends to eradicate this power of belief and enthusiasm, this desire for work, has rendered to the young men under its influence the worst service it could possibly render. Good can often be done by criticising sharply and severely the wrong; but excessive indulgence in criticism is never anything but bad, and no amount of criticism can in any way take the place of active and zealous warfare for the right.
Again, there is a certain tendency in college life, a tendency encouraged by some of the very papers referred to, to make educated men shrink from contact with the rough people who do the world's work, and associate only with one another and with those who think as they do. This is a most dangerous tendency. It is very agreeable to deceive one's self into the belief that one is performing the whole duty of man by sitting at home in ease, doing nothing wrong, and confining one's participation in politics to conversations and meetings with men who have had the same training and look at things in the same way. It is always a temptation to do this, because those who do nothing else often speak as if in some way they deserved credit for their attitude, and as if they stood above their brethren who plow the rough fields. Moreover, many people whose political work is done more or less after this fashion are very noble and very sincere in their aims and aspirations, and are striving for what is best and most decent in public life.
Nevertheless, this is a snare round which it behooves every young man to walk carefully. Let him beware of associating only with the people of his own caste and of his own little ways of political thought. Let him learn that he must deal with the mass of men; that he must go out and stand shoulder to shoulder with his friends of every rank, and face to face with his foes of every rank, and must bear himself well in the hurly-burly. He must not be frightened by the many unpleasant features of the contest, and he must not expect to have it all his own way, or to accomplish too much. He will meet with checks and will make many mistakes; but if he perseveres, he will achieve a measure of success and will do a measure of good such as is never possible to the refined, cultivated, intellectual men who shrink aside from the actual fray.
Yet again, college men must learn to be as prac