Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 779–87.

Municipal Finance

William M Ivins




Physics, Education, Statics, Dynamics, Politics, Statistics

    Complains that 'In physics we are taught the laws of statics before we take up those of dynamics, but in politics this is completely reversed, and we talk continually of what may be and what should be, without knowing or caring to know what actually is' (780). Also notes that 'If one were to say that the remedy for such a disease of the public mind [i.e. the electorate's tolerance of extravagant municipal spending] is the study of statistics, he might be roundly laughed at', and yet 'Such a study of the figures robs political questions of their personal, traditional, and contingent character, shows the real tendency of affairs, and gives the stamp of truth or of falsehood to the promises of politicians'. After all, 'the figures are not apt at lying, which is more than can be said for the politicians'. (781)

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