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"In fact," continued Amory, "he'd be worse. The lower classes are
narrower, less pleasant and personally more selfish--certainly more
stupid. But all that has nothing to do with the question."
"Just exactly what is the question?"
Here Amory had to pause to consider exactly what the question was.
AMORY COINS A PHRASE
"When life gets hold of a brainy man of fair education," began Amory
slowly, "that is, when he marries he becomes, nine times out of ten, a
conservative as far as existing social conditions are concerned. He may
be unselfish, kind-hearted, even just in his own way, but his first job
is to provide and to hold fast. His wife shoos him on, from ten thousand
a year to twenty thousand a year, on and on, in an enclosed treadmill
that hasn't any windows. He's done! Life's got him! He's no help! He's a
spiritually married man."
Amory paused and decided that it wasn't such a bad phrase.
"Some men," he continued, "escape the grip. Maybe their wives have no
social ambitions; maybe they've hit a sentence or two in a 'dangerous
book' that pleased them; maybe they started on the treadmill as I did
and were knocked off. Anyway, they're the congressmen you can't
bribe, the Presidents who aren't politicians, the writers, speakers,
scientists, statesmen who aren't just popular grab-bags for a half-dozen
women and children."
"He's the natural radical?"
"Yes," said Amory. "He may vary from the disillusioned critic like old
Thornton Hancock, all the way to Trotsky. Now this spiritually unmarried
man hasn't direct power, for unfortunately the spiritually married man,
as a by-product of his money chase, has garnered in the great newspaper,
the popular magazine, the influential weekly--so that Mrs. Newspaper,
Mrs. Magazine, Mrs. Weekly can have a better limousine than those oil
people across the street or those cement people 'round the corner."
"It makes wealthy men the keepers of the world's intellectual conscience
and, of course, a man who has money under one set of social institutions
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