Unto this last (the title is taken from St. Matthew, xx. 14) is the most famous of all his writings on political economy. For long after he wrote it, it was mocked at as the beautiful vapouring of an unpractical idealist. But much that he proposed in the Creed given in the Preface, for instance, is now accomplished fact or forms part of the programme of one of the great political parties. Even his attitude to machinery is now seen to be largely justified; and, though few to-day advocate the abolition of machinery, it is increasingly recognised that machine-minding tends to dehumanise men and that means must be sought to make man the master and not the servant of the machine. Unto This Last John Ruskin appeals for this honesty of thought and labour. He attacks the orthodox political economy, because it ignores the “social affections” and treats man as a non-moral machine. His method was always trenchant, his language often violent; but a prophet inspired by indignation and pity does not speak “comfortable words.”
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