The modern Woman Movement, like the modern Labour Movement, may
be said to have begun in the Eighteenth century. The Labour movement arose out of
the Industrial Revolution with its resultant tendency to over-population, to unrestricted
competition, to social misery and disorder. The Woman movement appeared as an at
first neglected by-product of the French Revolution with its impulses of general
human expansion, of freedom and of equality.
Since then, as we know, these two movements have each had a great
and vigorous career which is still far from completed. On the whole they have moved
independently along separate lines, and have at times seemed indeed almost hostile
to each other. That has ceased to be the case. Of recent years it has been seen
not only that these two movements are not hostile, but that they may work together
harmoniously for similar ends.
One final step remained to be taken ; had to be realised not only
that the Labour movement could give the secret of success to the woman movement
by its method and organization, but that on the other hand, woman held the secret
without which labour is impotent to reach its ends. Woman, by virtue of motherhood
is the regulator of the birthrate, the sacred disposer of human production. It is
in the deliberate restraint and measurement of human production that the fundamental
problems of the family, the nation, the whole brotherhood of mankind find their
solution. The health and longevity of the individual, the economic welfare of the
workers, the general level of culture of the community, the possibility of abolishing
from the world the desolating scourge of war; all these like great human needs,
depend, primarily and fundamentally, on the wise limitation of the human output.
It does not certainly make them inevitable, but it renders them possible of accomplishment;
without it they have been clearly and repeatedly proved to be impossible.
These facts have long been known to the few who view the world
realistically. But it is not the few who rule the world. It is the masses; the ignorant,
emotional, volatile, superstitious masses; who rule the world. It is they who choose
the few supreme persons who manage or mismanage the world's affairs. Even the most
stupid of us must be able to see how it is done now, for during recent years the
whole process has been displayed before us on the very largest scale.
The lesson has not been altogether in vain. It is furnishing a
new stimulus to those who are working for the increase of knowledge, and of practical
action based on knowledge, among the masses, the masses who alone possess the power
to change the force of the world for good or for evil, and by growth in wisdom to
raise the human race on to a higher level.
That is why the little book by Margaret Sanger, whose right to
speak with authority on these matters we all recognize, cannot be too widely read.
To the few who think, though they may here and there differ on points of detail,
it is all as familiar as A. B. C. But to the millions who rule the world it is not
familiar, and still less to the handful of superior persons whom the masses elect
to supreme positions. Therefore, let this book be read; let it be read by every
man and woman who can read. And the sooner it is not only read but acted on, the
better for the world.
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