Today's Debs

You may think you are very comfortable. You may not agree with me. I don’t expect you to and don’t ask you to. I am going to ask you to remember what I say this afternoon and perhaps before I am elected president of the United States you will know it is true. Now there are those of you who are fairly comfortable under the present standard. Isn’t it amazing to you how little the average man is satisfied with? You go out here to the edge of town and you will find a small farmer who has a cabin with just room enough to keep himself and wife and two or three children, which has a mortgage on it, and he works early and late and gets just enough in net returns, to keep him in working order, and he will enthuse about the wonderful prosperity of the country.

He is satisfied, and that is his calamity.

Now the majority of you would say that is his good fortune. “It is a blessing that he is satisfied.” As a matter of fact it is a curse to him and to society that he is satisfied.

If it had not been for the discontent of the few fellows who have not been satisfied with their condition you would still be living in caves. You never would have emerged from the jungle. Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.

Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation. I have taken my choice.

-from “The Issue”