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Reflections On Progress
by [?]

This tendency to cooeperate is seen in such splendid features as the Saint Louis Union Station, for instance, where just twenty great railroad companies lay aside envy, prejudice, rivalry and whim, and use one terminal. If competition were really the life of trade, each railroad that enters Saint Louis would have a station of its own, and the public would be put to the worry, trouble, expense and endless delay of finding where it wanted to go and how to get there. As it is now, the entire aim and end of the scheme is to reduce friction, worry and expense, and give the public the greatest accommodation–the best possible service–to make travel easy and life secure. Servants in uniform meet you as you alight, and answer your every question–speeding you courteously and kindly on your way. There are women to take care of women, and nurses to take care of children, and wheel chairs for such as may be infirm or lame. The intent is to serve–not to pull you this way and that, and sell you a ticket over a certain road. You are free to choose your route and you are free to utilize as your own this great institution that cost a million dollars, and that requires the presence of two hundred people to maintain. All is for you. It is for the public and was only made possible by a oneness of aim and desire–that is to say cooeperation. Before cooeperation comes in any line, there is always competition pushed to a point that threatens destruction and promises chaos; then to divert ruin, men devise a better way, a plan that conserves and economizes, and behold, it is found in cooeperation.

Civilization is an evolution.

Civilization is not a thing separate and apart, any more than art is.

Art is the beautiful way of doing things. Civilization is the expeditious way of doing things. And as haste is often waste–the more hurry the less speed–civilization is the best way of doing things.

As mankind multiplies in number, the problem of supplying people what they need is the important question of Earth. And mankind has ever held out offers of reward in fame and money–both being forms of power–to those who would supply it better things.

Teachers are those who educate the people to appreciate the things they need.

The man who studies mankind, and finds out what men really want, and then supplies them this, whether it be an Idea or a Thing, is the man who is crowned with the laurel wreath of honor and clothed with riches.

What people need and what they want may be very different.

To undertake to supply people a thing you think they need but which they do not want, is to have your head elevated on a pike, and your bones buried in Potter’s Field.

But wait, and the world will yet want the thing that it needs, and your bones will then become sacred relics.

This change in desire on the part of mankind is the result of the growth of intellect.

It is Progress, and Progress is Evolution, and Evolution is Progress.

There are men who are continually trying to push Progress along: we call these individuals “Reformers.”

Then there are others who always oppose the Reformer–the mildest name we have for them is “Conservative.”

The Reformer is either a Savior or a Rebel, all depending on whether he succeeds or fails, and your point of view. He is what he is, regardless of what other men think of him. The man who is indicted and executed as a rebel, often afterward has the word “Savior” carved on his tomb; and sometimes men who are hailed as saviors in their day are afterward found to be sham saviors–to wit, charlatans. Conservation is a plan of Nature. To keep the good is to conserve. A Conservative is a man who puts on the brakes when he thinks Progress is going to land Civilization in the ditch and wreck the whole concern.