A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil.

That steadily increasing function of the state by which it seeks to protect its workers from their own weakness and degradation, and insists that the livelihood of the manual laborer shall not be beaten down below the level of efficient citizenship, assumes new forms almost daily.  From the human as well as the economic standpoint there is an obligation resting upon the state to discover how many victims of the white slave traffic are the result of social neglect, remedial incapacity, and the lack of industrial safeguards, and how far discontinuous employment and non-employment are factors in the breeding of discouragement and despair.

Is it because our modern industrialism is so new that we have been slow to connect it with the poverty and vice all about us?  The socialists talk constantly of the relation of economic law to destitution and point out the connection between industrial maladjustment and individual wrongdoing, but certainly the study of social conditions, the obligation to eradicate vice, cannot belong to one political party or to one economic school.  It must be recognized as a solemn obligation of existing governments, and society must realize that economic conditions can only be made more righteous and more human by the unceasing devotion of generations of men.



No great wrong has ever arisen more clearly to the social consciousness of a generation than has that of commercialized vice in the consciousness of ours, and that we are so slow to act is simply another evidence that human nature has a curious power of callous indifference towards evils which have been so entrenched that they seem part of that which has always been.  Educators of course share this attitude; at moments they seem to intensify it, although at last an educational movement in the direction of sex hygiene is beginning in the schools and colleges.  Primary schools strive to satisfy the child’s first questionings regarding the beginnings of human life and approach the subject through simple biological instruction which at least places this knowledge on a par with other natural facts.  Such teaching is an enormous advance for the children whose curiosity would otherwise have been satisfied from poisonous sources and who would have learned of simple physiological matters from such secret undercurrents of corrupt knowledge as to have forever perverted their minds.  Yet this first direct step towards an adequate educational approach to this subject has been surprisingly difficult owing to the self-consciousness of grown-up people; for while the children receive the teaching quite simply, their parents often take alarm.  Doubtless co-operation with parents will be necessary before the subject can fall into its proper place in the schools.  In Chicago, the largest women’s club in the city has established normal courses in sex hygiene attended

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A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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