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"The human stomach--" he began; but the big man interrupted rather
"I'm letting you talk, you know," he said, "but please avoid stomachs.
I've been feeling mine all day. Anyway, I don't agree with one-half
you've said. Government ownership is the basis of your whole argument,
and it's invariably a beehive of corruption. Men won't work for blue
ribbons, that's all rot."
When he ceased the little man spoke up with a determined nod, as if
resolved this time to have his say out.
"There are certain things which are human nature," he asserted with an
owl-like look, "which always have been and always will be, which can't
Amory looked from the small man to the big man helplessly.
"Listen to that! _That's_ what makes me discouraged with progress.
_Listen_ to that! I can name offhand over one hundred natural phenomena
that have been changed by the will of man--a hundred instincts in man
that have been wiped out or are now held in check by civilization. What
this man here just said has been for thousands of years the last refuge
of the associated mutton-heads of the world. It negates the efforts of
every scientist, statesman, moralist, reformer, doctor, and philosopher
that ever gave his life to humanity's service. It's a flat impeachment
of all that's worth while in human nature. Every person over twenty-five
years old who makes that statement in cold blood ought to be deprived of
The little man leaned back against the seat, his face purple with rage.
Amory continued, addressing his remarks to the big man.
"These quarter-educated, stale-minded men such as your friend here, who
_think_ they think, every question that comes up, you'll find his
type in the usual ghastly muddle. One minute it's 'the brutality and
inhumanity of these Prussians'--the next it's 'we ought to exterminate
the whole German people.' They always believe that 'things are in a bad
way now,' but they 'haven't any faith in these idealists.' One minute
they call Wilson 'just a dreamer, not practical'--a year later they rail
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