Yes, we will do almost anything for the poor man, anything but get off his back.
- Leo Tolstoy, "On Rich and Poor"
There are nine million societies, more or less, organized to improve and to ameliorate.
There are preachers, missionaries, evangelists, reformers, exhorters, viewers-with-pride, and pointers-with-alarm without number wrestling with sinners.
All forms of industry are booming these days in the U. S. A., but the uplift business is still several laps ahead.
And yet, when you take time to think right through to the bottom of things, you must come to the conclusion that there is but one real, radical and effective way to help your fellow-men, and that is the way called justice.
Conventional charity drops pennies in the beggar's cup, carries bread to the starving, distributes clothing to the naked. Real charity, which is justice, sets about removing the conditions that make beggary, starvation, and nakedness.
Charity gives quinine in the malarial tropics; justice drains the swamps.
Charity assumes evil institutions and customs to be a part of "Divine Providence," and tearfully works away at taking care of the wreckage; justice regards injustice everywhere, custom-buttressed and respectable or not, as the work of the devil, and vigorously attacks it.
"It is presumed," says Henry Seton Merriman, "that the majority of people are willing enough to seek the happiness of others; which desire leads the individual to interfere with his neighbor's affairs, while it burdens society with a thousand associations for the welfare of mankind or the raising of the masses."
Justice is God's.
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