Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER IV: JUSTICE AND CHARITY - The Comedy of Protection
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CHAPTER IV: JUSTICE AND CHARITY - Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection 
The Comedy of Protection, trans. M.A. Hamilton (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).
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JUSTICE AND CHARITY
Many agrarians put down their names for subscriptions to distress funds, distributed bread tickets, organised charity balls and bazaars, took tickets in the tuberculosis lottery. The members representing them in Parliament multiplied laws and relief works, and heartily applauded their own generous sentiments. They were the tender-hearted as opposed to the rigid school of political economists—their policy was that of the open hand and not the closed fist. All the same they refused to their countrymen the right to cheap bread and meat. This introduction of charity falsified economic relations. It lowered the rate of wages by exposing the workman who had to live on his wages to competition with workmen assisted by the State, and laid upon the whole community the cost of supporting certain privileged industries. As a form of subvention it tended not to progress but to depression.
M. Victor Modeste made an investigation into the registers of public relief, and finding there the same families again and again, one generation after another, he drew the conclusion, “The poor are becoming poorer, the rich richer.” The true conclusion is that people in receipt of relief, accustomed to live upon it with the minimum of effort, make no attempt on their own behalf, or on that of their descendants, to become independent. Considering themselves as annuitants, they come to think that their submission and importunity gives them a claim to permanent relief. Cheap and showy sentimentalism, as incoherent as it is inconsistent, may well be answered in the courageous words spoken by Madame Ashurst Venturi at the Neuchâtel Conference for the Abolition of Recognised Prostitution, held in 1878. She said, “No doubt the charity whose aim is to succour the unfortunate is worthy of praise, but it must be left to the weak, to those tender and pious creatures whose task is to lift up the wounded from the battlefield where the brave and strong must fight. The work of our Federation is a work not of charity, but of justice. Justice is the highest charity, for its aim is to substitute certainty for the chance operation of pity and of philanthropy. More is done for humanity by the abolition of a bad law or a vicious system than by succouring its victims, for if such help assuages individual misery it yet leaves intact, if it does not actually help to support, the state of things which has caused that misery.”
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