Quoted from the author's "Preface."
"This is an essay — not a treatise — on the most important of all matters of human concern.
Although it has cost its author a great deal more thought and labor than will be apparent, it falls, in his estimation, far below the demands of its implacably urgent theme. Each page could readily be expanded into a volume. It suggests but the beginning of the beginning now being made to raise men's thinking onto a plain which may perhaps enable them to fend off or reduce some of the dangers which lurk on every hand."
Quoted from the author's first chapter:
"If some magical transformation could be produced in men's ways of looking at themselves and their fellows, no inconsiderable part of the evils which now afflict society would vanish away or remedy themselves automatically. If the majority of influential persons held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do, there would, for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of "labor and capital" would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political
corruption, and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point. As an old
Stoic proverb has it, men are tormented by the opinions they have of things, rather than
by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems to-day. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer
world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently
availing ourselves of them. The object of this book is to substantiate this proposition, to exhibit with entire frankness the tremendous difficulties that stand in the way of such a beneficent change of mind, and to point out as clearly as may be some of the measures
to be taken in order to overcome them."
This is, of course, the beginning of the literature of so called "social justice." But this conception of so called "social justice" is, for those who know, entirely unjust. And the author is unaware that this so-called "social justice" is really unjust for he refers to it in his "The Human Comedy." After criticising the Industrial Revolution for leaving "the mass of workers whose lives are passed in factories in almost a worse plight than that of the
Greek and Roman slaves," (p. 75) he writes "As an offset, promising speedy betterment, we have a growing sense of social justice, a higher appreciation of economic and social expediency, and an enthusiasm for democratic education."