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March 25, 1911


Author Affiliations

Dean of the Faculties of Arts, Literature and Science, University of Chicago; President-Elect, University of Minnesota CHICAGO

JAMA. 1911;LVI(12):894-896. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560120034015

"Monarchy," said Fisher Ames, "is like a merchantman; it sails well, but sometimes strikes a rock and goes to the bottom; democracy is like a raft; it never sinks, but your feet are always in the water." Thus with homely piquancy the Revolutionary sage set forth the conflict between the efficient élite and the unspecialized many. These contrasted views persist. In every institution, community, nation, these problems will not down: How shall the knowledge, experience, skill of the few be put at the service of all? If need be, how shall this wisdom be made coercive? How shall richer resources of science and technic be discovered and applied? With the change from country-side to city, from household to factory industry, from infrequent journeys to shuttlelike travel, from local to world markets, the problems of industry, commerce, health and politics become complicated and insistent. The horse-sense of a few decades ago