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Source: The Menace of Privilege
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Physical, Mental and Moral Deterioration” [chapter 2]
Author(s): George, Henry, Jr.
Publisher: Macmillan Company
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1906
Part/Section: 3
Pagination: 121-40 (excerpt below includes only pages 138-40)

George, Henry, Jr. “Physical, Mental and Moral Deterioration” [chapter 2]. The Menace of Privilege. New York: Macmillan, 1906: sect. 3, pp. 121-40.
excerpt of chapter
society (criticism); society (impact on Czolgosz); economic system (impact on Czolgosz).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Thomas Jefferson; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Samuel Sidney McClure [in footnote]; John Stuart Mill; Edward A. Spitzka.
This portion of the chapter (below) includes the following three footnotes. Page numbers for the footnotes appear in brackets following each footnote. Click on the superscripted number preceding each footnote to navigate to the respective location in the text.

1 Mr. McClure says that, taking the census for 1900 as a basis, from only one country sending us emigrants—Russia, which sent us only 1/23 part of all that came that year—was there a higher murder and homicide rate than in the United States. And even in Russia the rate but slightly exceeded ours. The remaining 22/23 of the immigrants came from countries no one of which has half as many murders and homicides per million population as we have. See McClure’s Magazine, December, 1904. [138]

2 “Principles of Political Economy,” Bk. II, Chap. XIII. [139]

3 Meeting at Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 1904. [140]

From title page: The Menace of Privilege: A Study of the Dangers to the Republic from the Existence of a Favored Class.


Physical, Mental and Moral Deterioration [excerpt]

     Not a few are ready to charge any disadvantageous developments among us to immigration—to the “foreigner.” But this would imply that murders and homicides are more frequent in foreign countries than here, which is not the case.¹
     What John Stuart Mill wrote years ago has singular applicability to us in this country now:— [138][139]

     If the bulk of the human race are always to remain as at present, slaves to toil in which they have no interest, and therefore feel no interest—drudging from early morning till late at night for bare necessities and with all the intellectual and moral deficiencies which that implies—without resources either in mind or feeling—untaught, for they cannot be better taught than fed; selfish, for all their thoughts are required for themselves; without interests or sentiments as citizens and members of society, and with a sense of injustice rankling in their minds, equally for what they have not and what others have; I know not what there is which should make a person of any capacity of reason concern himself about the destinies of the human race.²

     Does not this suggest why the President of the United States is now attended by more or less of a body-guard? Behind the fear is something more real than a phantom. Four years ago a President was killed by a young man who called him a despot. The assassin, Leon F. Czolgosz, was twenty-eight years old, and a native-born citizen, his birthplace being the Western city of Detroit. He had attended the public schools at Alpine, Michigan, and had received a fair instruction in the common branches. He worked in various cities of the country. He was the son of an honest, hard-working father and an earnest mother, and the brother of a United States soldier in the Spanish War. But for all this he had seen trusts and monopolies and combinations rise and exalt some to great power, while the masses of the people were reduced to an intensifying competition among themselves for a living. He became what the Socialists call “class-conscious.” He confusedly said to himself that the working masses are getting so little of the fruits of production because another class is “exploiting” them. And he became so far “class-conscious” that he forfeited his life to strike a death-bllow at the Chief Executive of this Nation. The Chief Executive, he believed, was not really the servant of all the people, but the creature of some.
     I do not understand that this confirms those of the Lom- [139][140] broso school who assert that a criminal “type” has been established in this country, and that that “type,” by mere generation, is reproducing and multiplying itself. To my understanding it rather upholds the view brilliantly set forth before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, by Dr. Edward A. Spitzka of New York,³ that there are now social conditions in the United States that engender most of the crimes. For there are hordes of American men, women and children, who, like Longfellow’s outcast in “The Legend Beautiful,” gaze

With that terror in the eye
That is only seen in those
Who amid their wants and woes
Hear the sound of doors that close,
And of feet that pass them by;
Grown familiar with disfavor,
Grown familiar with the savor
Of the bread by which men die.

Man is made up of a threefold nature, mental, physical and moral. If the physical man starves, the mental and moral man must die.
     When employment is made artificially scarce, as the existence of privilege is making it, some of our people must suffer poverty. They must deteriorate physically, mentally and morally. Then ignorant, unthinking, vicious, volatile mobs must supplant the body of intelligent, upright, self-respecting, patriotic American citizenship; and “mobs in great cities,” observed Jefferson, “add just as much to pure government as sores do to the health of the human body.” As Privilege extends its control, the forces of deterioration must extend, until the whole community will directly or indirectly become infected.



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