Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XVII.: the militant type of society. - Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology
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CHAPTER XVII.: the militant type of society. - Herbert Spencer, Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology 
Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology (The Concluding Portion of Vol. II) (London: Williams and Norgate, 1882).
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the militant type of society.
§ 547. Preceding chapters have prepared the way for framing conceptions of the two fundamentally-unlike kinds of political organization, proper to the militant life and the industrial life, respectively. It will be instructive here to arrange in coherent order, those traits of the militant type already incidentally marked, and to join with them various dependent traits; and in the next chapter to deal in like manner with the traits of the industrial type.
During social evolution there has habitually been a mingling of the two. But we shall find that, alike in theory and in fact, it is possible to trace with due clearness those opposite characters which distinguish them in their respective complete developments. Especially is the nature of the organization which accompanies chronic militancy, capable of being inferred à priori and proved à posteriori to exist in numerous cases. While the nature of the organization accompanying pure industrialism, of which at present we have little experience, will be made clear by contrast; and such illustrations as exist of progress towards it will become recognizable.
Two liabilities to error must be guarded against. We have to deal with societies compounded and re-compounded in various degrees; and we have to deal with societies which, differing in their stages of culture, have their structures elaborated to different extents. We shall be misled, therefore, unless our comparisons are such as take account of unlikenesses in size and in civilization. Clearly, characteristics of the militant type which admit of being displayed by a vast nation, may not admit of being displayed by a horde of savages, though this is equally militant. Moreover, as institutions take long to acquire their finished forms, it is not to be expected that all militant societies will display the organization appropriate to them in its completeness. Rather may we expect that in most cases it will be incompletely displayed.
In face of these difficulties the best course will be to consider, first, what are the several traits which of necessity militancy tends to produce; and then to observe how far these traits are conjointly shown in past and present nations distinguished by militancy. Having contemplated the society ideally organized for war, we shall be prepared to recognize in real societies the characters which war has brought about.
§ 548. For preserving its corporate life, a society is impelled to corporate action; and the preservation of its corporate life is the more probable in proportion as its corporate action is the more complete. For purposes of offence and defence, the forces of individuals have to be combined; and where every individual contributes his force, the probability of success is greatest. Numbers, natures, and circumstances being equal, it is clear that of two tribes or two larger societies, one of which unites the actions of all its capable members while the other does not, the first will ordinarily be the victor. There must be an habitual survival of communities in which militant cooperation is universal.
This proposition is almost a truism. But it is needful here, as a preliminary, consciously to recognize the truth that the social structure evolved by chronic militancy, is one in which all men fit for fighting act in concert against other societies. Such further actions as they carry on they can carry on separately; but this action they must carry on jointly.
§ 549. A society’s power of self-preservation will be great in proportion as, besides the direct aid of all who can fight, there is given the indirect aid of all who cannot fight. Supposing them otherwise similar, those communities will survive in which the efforts of combatants are in the greatest degree seconded by those of non-combatants. In a purely militant society, therefore, individuals who do not bear arms have to spend their lives in furthering the maintenance of those who do. Whether, as happens at first, the non-combatants are exclusively the women; or whether, as happens later still, it includes serfs; the implication is the same. For if, of two societies equal in other respects, the first wholly subordinates its workers in this way, while the workers in the second are allowed to retain for themselves the produce of their labour, or more of it than is needful for maintaining them; then, in the second, the warriors, not otherwise supported, or supported less fully than they might else be, will have partially to support themselves, and will be so much the less available for war purposes. Hence in the struggle for existence between such societies, it must usually happen that the first will vanquish the second. The social type produced by survival of the fittest, will be one in which the fighting part includes all who can bear arms and be trusted with arms, while the remaining part serves simply as a permanent commissariat.
An obvious implication, of a significance to be hereafter pointed out, is that the non-combatant part, occupied in supporting the combatant part, cannot with advantage to the self-preserving power of the society increase beyond the limit at which it efficiently fulfils its purpose. For, otherwise, some who might be fighters are superfluous workers; and the fighting power of the society is made less than it might be. Hence, in the militant type, the tendency is for the body of warriors to bear the largest practicable ratio to the body of workers.
§ 550. Given two societies of which the members are all either warriors or those who supply the needs of warriors, and, other things equal, supremacy will be gained by that in which the efforts of all are most effectually combined. In open warfare joint action triumphs over individual action. Military history is a history of the successes of men trained to move and fight in concert.
Not only must there be in the fighting part a combination such that the powers of its units may be concentrated, but there must be a combination of the subservient part with it. If the two are so separated that they can act independently, the needs of the fighting part will not be adequately met. If to be cut off from a temporary base of operations is dangerous, still more dangerous is it to be cut off from the permanent base of operations; namely, that constituted by the body of non-combatants. This has to be so connected with the body of combatants that its services may be fully available. Evidently, therefore, development of the militant type involves a close binding of the society into a whole. As the loose group of savages yields to the solid phalanx, so, other things equal, must the society of which the parts are but feebly held together, yield to one in which they are held together by strong bonds.
§ 551. But in proportion as men are compelled to cooperate, their self-prompted actions are restrained. By as much as the unit becomes merged in the mass, by so much does he lose his individuality as a unit. And this leads us to note the several ways in which evolution of the militant type entails subordination of the citizen.
His life is not his own, but is at the disposal of his society. So long as he remains capable of bearing arms he has no alternative but to fight when called on; and, where militancy is extreme, he cannot return as a vanquished man under penalty of death.
Of course, with this there goes possession of such liberty only as military obligations allow. He is free to pursue his private ends only when the tribe or nation has no need of him; and when it has need of him, his actions from hour to hour must conform, not to his own will but to the public will.
So, too, with his property. Whether, as in many cases, what he holds as private he so holds by permission only, or whether private ownership is recognized, it remains true that in the last resort he is obliged to surrender whatever is demanded for the community’s use.
Briefly, then, under the militant type the individual is owned by the State. While preservation of the society is the primary end, preservation of each member is a secondary end—an end cared for chiefly as subserving the primary end.
§ 552. Fulfilment of these requirements, that there shall be complete corporate action, that to this end the non-combatant part shall be occupied in providing for the combatant part, that the entire aggregate shall be strongly bound together, and that the units composing it must have their individualities in life, liberty, and property, thereby subordinated, presupposes a coercive instrumentality. No such union for corporate action can be achieved without a powerful controlling agency. On remembering the fatal results caused by division of counsels in war, or by separation into factions in face of an enemy, we see that chronic militancy tends to develop a despotism; since, other things equal, those societies will habitually survive in which, by its aid, the corporate action is made complete.
And this involves a system of centralization. The trait made familiar to us by an army, in which, under a commander-in-chief there are secondary commanders over large masses, and under these tertiary ones over smaller masses, and so on down to the ultimate divisions, must characterize the social organization at large. A militant society requires a regulative structure of this kind, since, otherwise, its corporate action cannot be made most effectual. Without such grades of governing centres diffused throughout the noncombatant part as well as the combatant part, the entire forces of the aggregate cannot be promptly put forth. Unless the workers are under a control akin to that which the fighters are under, their indirect aid cannot be insured in full amount and with due quickness.
And this is the form of a society characterized by status—a society, the members of which stand one towards another in successive grades of subordination. From the despot down to the slave, all are masters of those below and subjects of those above. The relation of the child to the father, of the father to some superior, and so on up to the absolute head, is one in which the individual of lower status is at the mercy of one of higher status.
§ 553. Otherwise described, the process of militant organization is a process of regimentation, which, primarily taking place in the army, secondarily affects the whole community.
The first indication of this we trace in the fact everywhere visible, that the military head grows into a civil head—usually at once, and, in exceptional cases, at last, if militancy continues. Beginning as leader in war he becomes ruler in peace; and such regulative policy as he pursues in the one sphere, he pursues, so far as conditions permit, in the other. Being, as the non-combatant part is, a permanent commissariat, the principle of graduated subordination is extended to it. Its members come to be directed in a way like that in which the warriors are directed—not literally, since by dispersion of the one and concentration of the other exact parallelism is prevented; but, nevertheless, similarly in principle. Labour is carried on under coercion; and supervision spreads everywhere.
To suppose that a despotic military head, daily maintaining regimental control in conformity with inherited traditions, will not impose on the producing classes a kindred control, is to suppose in him sentiments and ideas entirely foreign to his circumstances.
§ 554. The nature of the militant form of government will be further elucidated on observing that it is both positively regulative and negatively regulative. It does not simply restrain; it also enforces. Besides telling the individual what he shall not do, it tells him what he shall do.
That the government of an army is thus characterised needs no showing. Indeed, commands of the positive kind given to the soldier are more important than those of the negative kind: fighting is done under the one, while order is maintained under the other. But here it chiefly concerns us to note that not only the control of military life but also the control of civil life, is, under the militant type of government, thus characterized. There are two ways in which the ruling power may deal with the private individual. It may simply limit his activities to those which he can carry on without aggression, direct or indirect, upon others; in which case its action is negatively regulative. Or, besides doing this, it may prescribe the how, and the where, and the when, of his activities—may force him to do things which he would not spontaneously do—may direct in greater or less detail his mode of living; in which case its action is positively regulative. Under the militant type this positively regulative action is widespread and peremptory. The civilian is in a condition as much like that of the soldier as difference of occupation permits.
And this is another way of expressing the truth that the fundamental principle of the militant type is compulsory cooperation. While this is obviously the principle on which the members of the combatant body act, it no less certainly must be the principle acted on throughout the non-combatant body, if military efficiency is to be great; since, otherwise, the aid which the non-combatant body has to furnish cannot be insured.
§ 555. That binding together by which the units of a militant society are made into an efficient fighting structure, tends to fix the position of each in rank, in occupation, and in locality.
In a graduated regulative organization there is resistance to change from a lower to a higher grade. Such change is made difficult by lack of the possessions needed for filling superior positions; and it is made difficult by the opposition of those who already fill them, and can hold inferiors down. Preventing intrusion from below, these transmit their respective places and ranks to their descendants; and as the principle of inheritance becomes settled, the rigidity of the social structure becomes decided. Only where an “egalitarian despotism” reduces all subjects to the same political status—a condition of decay rather than of development—does the converse state arise.
The principle of inheritance, becoming established in respect of the classes which militancy originates, and fixing the general functions of their members from generation to generation, tends eventually to fix also their special functions. Not only do men of the slave-classes and the artizan-classes succeed to their respective ranks, but they succeed to the particular occupations carried on in them. This, which is a result of the tendency towards regimentation, is ascribable primarily to the fact that a superior, requiring from each kind of worker his particular product, has an interest in replacing him at death by a capable successor; while the worker, prompted to get aid in executing his tasks, has an interest in bringing up a son to his own occupation: the will of the son being powerless against these conspiring interests. Under the system of compulsory cooperation, therefore, the principle of inheritance, spreading through the producing organization, causes a relative rigidity in this also.
A kindred effect is shown in the entailed restraints on movement from place to place. In proportion as the individual is subordinated in life, liberty, and property, to his society, it is needful that his whereabouts shall be constantly known. Obviously the relation of the soldier to his officer, and of this officer to his superior, is such that each must be ever at hand; and where the militant type is fully developed the like holds throughout the society. The slave cannot leave his appointed abode; the serf is tied to his allotment; the master is not allowed to absent himself from his locality without leave.
So that the corporate action, the combination, the cohesion, the regimentation, which efficient militancy necessitates, imply a structure which strongly resists change.
§ 556. A further trait of the militant type, naturally accompanying the last, is that organizations other than those forming parts of the State-organization, are wholly or partially repressed. The public combination occupying all fields, excludes private combinations.
For the achievement of complete corporate action there must, as we have seen, be a centralized administration, not only throughout the combatant part but throughout the non-combatant part; and if there exist unions of citizens which act independently, they in so far diminish the range of this centralized administration. Any structures which are not portions of the State-structure, serve more or less as limitations to it, and stand in the way of the required unlimited subordination. If private combinations are allowed to exist, it will be on condition of submitting to an official regulation such as greatly restrains independent action; and since private combinations officially regulated are inevitably hindered from doing things not conforming to established routine, and are thus debarred from improvement, they cannot habitually thrive and grow. Obviously, indeed, such combinations, based on the principle of voluntary cooperation, are incongruous with social arrangements based on the principle of compulsory cooperation. Hence the militant type is characterized by the absence, or comparative rarity, of bodies of citizens associated for commercial purposes, for propagating special religious views, for achieving philanthropic ends, &c.
Private combinations of one kind, however, are congruous with the militant type—the combinations, namely, which are formed for minor defensive or offensive purposes. We have, as examples, those which constitute factions, very general in militant societies; those which belong to the same class as primitive guilds, serving for mutual protection; and those which take the shape of secret societies. Of such bodies it may be noted that they fulfil on a small scale ends like those which the whole society fulfils on a large scale—the ends of self-preservation, or aggression, or both. And it may be further noted that these small included societies are organized on the same principle as the large including society—the principle of compulsory cooperation. Their governments are coercive: in some cases even to the extent of killing those of their members who are disobedient.
§ 557. A remaining fact to be set down is that a society of the militant type tends to evolve a self-sufficient sustaining organization. With its political autonomy there goes what we may call an economic autonomy. Evidently if it carries on frequent wars against surrounding societies, its commercial intercourse with them must be hindered or prevented: exchange of commodities can go on to but a small extent between those who are continually fighting. A militant society must, therefore, to the greatest degree practicable, provide internally the supplies of all articles needful for carrying on the lives of its members. Such an economic state as that which existed during early feudal times, when, as in France, “the castles made almost all the articles used in them,” is a state evidently entailed on groups, small or large, which are in constant antagonism with surrounding groups. If there does not already exist within any group so circumstanced, an agency for producing some necessary article, inability to obtain it from without will lead to the establishment of an agency for obtaining it within.
Whence it follows that the desire “not to be dependent on foreigners” is one appropriate to the militant type of society. So long as there is constant danger that the supplies of needful things derived from other countries will be cut off by the breaking out of hostilities, it is imperative that there shall be maintained a power of producing these supplies at home, and that to this end the required structures shall be maintained. Hence there is a manifest direct relation between militant activities and a protectionist policy.
§ 558. And now having observed the traits which may be expected to establish themselves by survival of the fittest during the struggle for existence among societies, let us observe how these traits are displayed in actual societies, similar in respect of their militancy but otherwise dissimilar.
Of course in small primitive groups, however warlike they may be, we must not look for more than rude outlines of the structure proper to the militant type. Being loosely aggregated, definite arrangement of their parts can be carried but to a small extent. Still, so far as it goes, the evidence is to the point. The fact that habitually the fighting body is co-extensive with the adult male population, is so familiar that no illustrations are needed. An equally familiar fact is that the women, occupying a servile position, do all the unskilled labour and bear the burdens; with which may be joined the fact that not unfrequently during war they carry the supplies, as in Asia among the Bhils and Khonds, as in Polynesia among the New Caledonians and Sandwich Islanders, as in America among the Comanches, Mundrucus, Patagonians: their office as forming the permanent commissariat being thus clearly shown. We see, too, that where the enslaving of captives has arisen, these also serve to support and aid the combatant class; acting during peace as producers and during war joining the women in attendance on the army, as among the New Zealanders, or, as among the Malagasy, being then exclusively the carriers of provisions, &c. Again, in these first stages, as in later stages, we are shown that private claims are, in the militant type, over-ridden by public claims. The life of each man is held subject to the needs of the group; and, by implication, his freedom of action is similarly held. So, too, with his goods; as instance the remark made of the Brazilian Indians, that personal property, recognized but to a limited extent during peace, is scarcely at all recognized during war; and as instance Hearne’s statement concerning certain hyperborean tribes of North America when about to make war, that “property of every kind that could be of general use now ceased to be private.” To which add the cardinal truth, once more to be repeated, that where no political subordination exists war initiates it. Tacitly or overtly a chief is temporarily acknowledged; and he gains permanent power if war continues. From these beginnings of the militant type which small groups show us, let us pass to its developed forms as shown in larger groups.
“The army, or what is nearly synonymous, the nation of Dahome,” to quote Burton’s words, furnishes us with a good example: the excessive militancy being indicated by the fact that the royal bedroom is paved with skulls of enemies. Here the king is absolute, and is regarded as supernatural in character—he is the “spirit;” and of course he is the religious head—he ordains the priests. He absorbs in himself all powers and all rights: “by the state-law of Dahome. . . all men are slaves to the king.” He “is heir to all his subjects;” and he takes from living subjects whatever he likes. When we add that there is a frequent killing of victims to carry messages to the other world, as well as occasions on which numbers are sacrificed to supply deceased kings with attendants, we are shown that life, liberty, and property, are at the entire disposal of the State as represented by its head. In both the civil and military organizations, the centres and subcentres of control are numerous. Names, very generally given by the king and replacing surnames, change “with every rank of the holder;” and so detailed is the regimentation that “the dignities seem interminable.” There are numerous sumptuary laws; and, according to Waitz, no one wears any other clothing or weapons than what the king gives him or allows him. Under penalty of slavery or death, “no man must alter the construction of his house, sit upon a chair, or be carried on a hammock, or drink out of a glass,” without permission of the king.
The ancient Peruvian empire, gradually established by the conquering Yncas, may next be instanced. Here the ruler, divinely descended, sacred, absolute, was the centre of a system which minutely controlled all life. His headship was at once military, political, ecclesiastical, judicial; and the entire nation was composed of those who, in the capacity of soldiers, labourers, and officials, were slaves to him and his deified ancestors. Military service was obligatory on all taxable Indians who were capable; and those of them who had served their prescribed terms, formed into reserves, had then to work under State-superintendence. The army having heads over groups of ten, fifty, a hundred, five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, had, besides these, its superior commanders of Ynca blood. The community at large was subject to a parallel regimentation: the inhabitants registered in groups, being under the control of officers over tens, fifties, hundreds, and so on. And through these successive grades of centres, reports ascended to the Ynca-governors of great divisions, passing on from them to the Ynca; while his orders descended “from rank to rank till they reached the lowest.” There was an ecclesiastical organization similarly elaborate, having, for example, five classes of diviners; and there was an organization of spies to examine and report upon the doings of the other officers. Everything was under public inspection. There were village-officers who overlooked the ploughing, sowing, and harvesting. When there was a deficiency of rain, measured quantities of water were supplied by the State. All who travelled without authority were punished as vagabonds; but for those who were authorized to travel for public purposes, there were establishments supplying lodging and necessaries. “It was the duty of the decurions to see that the people were clothed;” and the kinds of cloth, decorations, badges, &c., to be worn by the different ranks were prescribed. Besides this regulation of external life there was regulation of domestic life. The people were required to “dine and sup with open doors, that the judges might be able to enter freely;” and these judges had to see that the house, clothes, furniture, &c., were kept clean and in order, and the children properly disciplined: those who mismanaged their houses being flogged. Subject to this minute control, the people laboured to support this elaborate State-organization. The political, religious, and military classes were exempt from tribute; while the labouring classes when not serving in the army, had to yield up all produce beyond that required for their bare sustenance. Of the whole empire, one-third was allotted for supporting the State, one-third for supporting the priesthood who ministered to the manes of ancestors, and the remaining third had to support the workers. Besides giving tribute by tilling the lands of the Sun and the King, the workers had to till the lands of the soldiers on duty, as well as those of incapables. And they also had to pay tribute of clothes, shoes, and arms. Of the lands on which the people maintained themselves, a tract was apportioned to each man according to the size of his family. Similarly with the produce of the flocks. Such moiety of this in each district as was not required for supplying public needs, was periodically shorn, and the wool divided by officials. These arrangements were in pursuance of the principle that “the private property of each man was held by favour of the Ynca, and according to their laws he had no other title to it.” Thus the people, completely possessed by the State in person, property, and labour, transplanted to this or that locality as the Ynca directed, and, when not serving as soldiers, living unde a discipline like that within the army, were units in a centralized regimented machine, moved throughout life to the greatest practicable extent by the Ynca’s will, and to the least practicable extent by their own wills. And, naturally, along with militant organization thus carried to its ideal limit, there went an almost entire absence of any other organization. They had no money; “they neither sold clothes, nor houses, nor estates;” and trade was represented among them by scarcely anything more than some bartering of articles of food.
So far as accounts of it show, ancient Egypt presented phenomena allied in their general, if not in their special, characters. Its predominant militancy during remote unrecorded times, is sufficiently implied by the vast population of slaves who toiled to build the pyramids; and its subsequent continued militancy we are shown alike by the boasting records of its kings, and the delineations of their triumphs on its temple-walls. Along with this form of activity we have, as before, the god-descended ruler, limited in his powers only by the usages transmitted from his divine ancestors, who was at once political head, high-priest, and commander-in-chief. Under him was a centralized organization, of which the civil part was arranged in classes and sub-classes as definite as were those of the militant part. Of the four great social divisions—priests, soldiers, traders, and common people, beneath whom came the slaves—the first contained more than a score different orders; the second, some half-dozen beyond those constituted by military grades; the third, nearly a dozen; and the fourth, a still greater number. Though within the ruling classes the castes were not so rigorously defined as to prevent change of function in successive generations, yet Herodotus and Diodorus state that industrial occupations descended from father to son: “every particular trade and manufacture was carried on by its own craftsmen, and none changed from one trade to another.” How elaborate was the regimentation may be judged from the detailed account of the staff of officers and workers engaged in one of their vast quarries: the numbers and kinds of functionaries paralleling those of an army. To support this highly-developed regulative organization, civil, military, and sacerdotal (an organization which held exclusive possession of the land) the lower classes laboured. “Overseers were set over the wretched people, who were urged to hard work more by the punishment of the stick than words of warning.” And whether or not official oversight included domiciliary visits, it at any rate went to the extent of taking note of each family. “Every man was required under pain of death to give an account to the magistrate of how he earned his livelihood.”
Take, now, another ancient society, which, strongly contrasted in sundry respects, shows us, along with habitual militancy, the assumption of structural traits allied in their fundamental characters to those thus far observed. I refer to Sparta. That warfare did not among the Spartans evolve a single despotic head, while in part due to causes which, as before shown favour the development of compound political heads, was largely due to the accident of their double kingship: the presence of two divinely-descended chiefs prevented the concentration of power. But though from this cause there continued an imperfectly centralized government, the relation of this government to members of the community was substantially like that of militant governments in general. Notwithstanding the serfdom, and in towns the slavery, of the Helots, and notwithstanding the political subordination of the Periœki, they all, in common with the Spartans proper, were under obligation to military service: the working function of the first, and the trading function, so far as it existed, which was carried on by the second, were subordinate to the militant function, with which the third was exclusively occupied. And the civil divisions thus marked re-appeared in the military divisions: “at the battle of Platæa every Spartan hoplite had seven Helots, and every Periœki hoplite one Helot to attend him.” The extent to which, by the daily military discipline, prescribed military mess, and fixed contributions of food, the individual life of the Spartan was subordinated to public demands, from seven years upwards, needs mention only to show the rigidity of the restraints which here, as elsewhere, the militant type imposes—restraints which were further shown in the prescribed age for marriage, the prevention of domestic life, the forbidding of industry or any money-seeking occupation, the interdict on going abroad without leave, and the authorized censorship under which his days and nights were passed. There was fully carried out in Sparta the Greek theory of society, that “the citizen belongs neither to himself nor to his family, but to his city.” So that though in this exceptional case, chronic militancy was prevented from developing a supreme head, owning the individual citizen in body and estate, yet it developed an essentially identical relation between the community as a whole and its units. The community, exercising its power through a compound head instead of through a simple head, completely enslaved the individual. While the lives and labours of the Helots were devoted exclusively to the support of those who formed the military organization, the lives and labours of those who formed the military organization were exclusively devoted to the service of the State: they were slaves with a difference.
Of modern illustrations, that furnished by Russia will suffice. Here, again, with the wars which effected conquests and consolidations, came the development of the victorious commander into the absolute ruler, who, if not divine by alleged origin, yet acquired something like divine prestige. “All men are equal before God, and the Russians’ God is the Emperor,” says De Custine: “the supreme governor is so raised above earth, that he sees no difference between the serf and the lord.” Under the stress of Peter the Great’s wars, which, as the nobles complained, took them away from their homes, “not, as formerly, for a single campaign, but for long years,” they became “servants of the State, without privileges, without dignity, subjected to corporal punishment, and burdened with onerous duties from which there was no escape.” “Any noble who refused to serve [‘the State in the Army, the Fleet, or the Civil Administration, from boyhood to old age,‘] was not only deprived of his estate, as in the old times, but was declared to be a traitor, and might be condemned to capital punishment.” “Under Peter,” says Wallace, “all offices, civil and military,” were “arranged in fourteen classes or ranks;” and he “defined the obligations of each with microscopic minuteness. After his death the work was carried on in the same spirit, and the tendency reached its climax in the reign of Nicholas.” In the words of De Custine, “the tchinn [the name for this organization] is a nation formed into a regiment; it is the military system applied to all classes of society, even to those who never go to war.” With this universal regimentation in structure went a regimental discipline. The conduct of life was dictated to the citizens at large in the same way as to soldiers. In the reign of Peter and his successors, domestic entertainments were appointed and regulated; the people were compelled to change their costumes; the clergy to cut off their beards; and even the harnessing of horses was according to pattern. Occupations were controlled to the extent that “no boyard could enter any profession, or forsake it when embraced, or retire from public to private life, or dispose of his property, or travel into any foreign country, without the permission of the Czar.” This omnipresent rule is well expressed in the close of certain rhymes, for which a military officer was sent to Siberia:—
“Tout se fait par ukase ici; C‘est par ukase que l‘on voyage, C‘est par ukase que l‘on rit.”
Taking thus the existing barbarous society of Dahomey, formed of negroes, the extinct semi-civilized empire of the Yncas, whose subjects were remote in blood from these, the ancient Egyptian empire peopled by yet other races, the community of the Spartans, again unlike in the type of its men, and the existing Russian nation made up of Slavs and Tatars, we have before us cases in which such similarities of social structure as exist, cannot be ascribed to inheritance of a common character by the social units. The immense contrasts between the populations of these several societies, too, varying from millions at the one extreme to thousands at the other, negative the supposition that their common structural traits are consequent on size. Nor can it be supposed that likenesses of conditions in respect of climate, surface, soil, flora, fauna, or likenesses of habits caused by such conditions, can have had anything to do with the likenesses of organization in these societies; for their respective habitats present numerous marked unlikenesses. Such traits as they one and all exhibit, not ascribable to any other cause, must thus be ascribed to the habitual militancy characteristic of them all. The results of induction alone would go far to warrant this ascription; and it is fully warranted by their correspondence with the results of deduction, as set forth above.
§ 559. Any remaining doubts must disappear on observing how continued militancy is followed by further development of the militant organization. Three illustrations will suffice.
When, during Roman conquests, the tendency for the successful general to become despot, repeatedly displayed, finally took effect—when the title imperator, military in its primary meaning, became the title for the civil ruler, showing us on a higher platform that genesis of political headship out of military headship visible from the beginning—when, as usually happens, an increasingly divine character was acquired by the civil ruler, as shown in the assumption of the sacred name Augustus, as well as in the growth of an actual worship of him; there simultaneously became more pronounced those further traits which characterize the militant type in its developed form. Practically, if not nominally, the other powers of the State were absorbed by him. In the words of Duruy, he had—
“The right of proposing, that is, of making laws; of receiving and trying appeals, i.e. the supreme jurisdiction; of arresting by the tribunitian veto every measure and every sentence, i.e. of putting his will in opposition to the laws and magistrates; of summoning the senate or the people and presiding over it, i.e. of directing the electoral assemblies as he thought fit. And these prerogatives he will have not for a single year but for life; not in Rome only. . . but throughout the empire; not shared with ten colleagues, but exercised by himself alone; lastly, without any account to render, since he never resigns his office.”
Along with these changes went an increase in the number and definiteness of social divisions. The Emperor—
“Placed between himself and the masses a multitude of people regularly classed by categories, and piled one above the other in such a way that this hierarchy, pressing with all its weight upon the masses underneath, held the people and factious individuals powerless. What remained of the old patrician nobility had the foremost rank in the city;. . . below it came the senatorial nobility, half hereditary; below that the moneyed nobility or equestrian order—three aristocracies superposed.… The sons of senators formed a class intermediate between the senatorial and the equestrian order.… In the 2nd century the senatorial families formed an hereditary nobility with privileges.”
At the same time the administrative organization was greatly extended and complicated.
“Augustus created a large number of new offices, as the superintendence of public works, roads, aqueducts, the Tiber-bed, distribution of corn to the people.. . . He also created numerous offices of procurators for the financial administration of the empire, and in Rome there were 1,060 municipal officers.”
The structural character proper to an army spread in a double way: military officers acquired civil functions and functionaries of a civil kind became partially military. The magistrates appointed by the Emperor, tending to replace those appointed by the people, had, along with their civil authority, military authority; and while “under Augustus the prefects of the pretorium were only military chiefs,. . . they gradually possessed themselves of the whole civil authority, and finally became, after the Emperor, the first personages in the empire.” Moreover, the governmental structures grew by incorporating bodies of functionaries who were before independent. “In his ardour to organize everything, he aimed at regimenting the law itself, and made an official magistracy of that which had always been a free profession.” To enforce the rule of this extended administration, the army was made permanent, and subjected to severe discipline. With the continued growth of the regulating and coercing organization, the drafts on producers increased; and, as shown by extracts in a previous chapter concerning the Roman régime in Egypt and in Gaul, the working part of the community was reduced more and more to the form of a permanent commissariat. In Italy the condition eventually arrived at was one in which vast tracts were “intrusted to freedmen, whose only consideration was. . . how to extract from their labourers the greatest amount of work with the smallest quantity of food.”
An example under our immediate observation may next be taken—that of the German Empire. Such traits of the militant type in Germany as were before manifest, have, since the late war, become still more manifest. The army, active and passive, including officers and attached functionaries, has been increased by about 100,000 men; and changes in 1875 and 1880, making certain reserves more available, have practically caused a further increase of like amount. Moreover, the smaller German States, having in great part surrendered the administration of their several contingents, the German army has become more consolidated; and even the armies of Saxony, Würtemberg, and Bavaria, being subject to Imperial supervision, have in so far ceased to be independent. Instead of each year granting military supplies, as had been the practice in Prussia before the formation of the North German Confederation, the Parliament of the Empire was, in 1871, induced to vote the required annual sum for three years thereafter; in 1874 it did the like for the succeeding seven years; and again in 1880 the greatly increased amount for the augmented army was authorized for the seven years then following: steps obviously surrendering popular checks on Imperial power. Simultaneously, military officialism has been in two ways replacing civil officialism. Subaltern officers are rewarded for long services by appointments to civil posts—local communes being forced to give them the preference to civilians; and not a few members of the higher civil service, and of the universities, as well as teachers in the public schools, having served as “volunteers of one year,” become commissioned officers of the Landwehr. During the struggles of the so-called Kulturkampf, the ecclesiastical organization became more subordinated by the political. Priests suspended by bishops were maintained in their offices; it was made penal for a clergyman publicly to take part against the government; a recalcitrant bishop had his salary stopped; the curriculum for ecclesiastics was prescribed by the State, and examination by State-officials required; church discipline was subjected to State-approval; and a power of expelling rebellious clergy from the country was established. Passing to the industrial activities we may note, first, that through sundry steps, from 1873 onwards, there has been a progressive transfer of railways into the hands of the State; so that, partly by original construction (mainly of lines for military purposes), and partly by purchase, three-fourths of all Prussian railways have been made government property; and the same percentage holds in the other German States: the aim being eventually to make them all Imperial. Trade interferences have been extended in various ways—by protectionist tariffs, by revival of the usury laws, by restrictions on Sunday labour. Through its postal service the State has assumed industrial functions—presents acceptances, receives money on bills of exchange that are due, as also on ordinary bills, which it gets receipted; and until stopped by shopkeepers’ protests, undertook to procure books from publishers. Lastly there come the measures for extending, directly and indirectly, the control over popular life. On the one hand there are the laws under which, up to the middle of last year, 224 socialist societies have been closed, 180 periodicals suppressed, 317 books, &c., forbidden; and under which sundry places have been reduced to a partial state of siege. On the other hand may be named Prince Bismarck’s scheme for re-establishing guilds (bodies which by their regulations coerce their members), and his scheme of State-insurance, by the help of which the artizan would, in a considerable degree, have his hands tied. Though these measures have not been carried in the forms proposed, yet the proposal of them sufficiently shows the general tendency. In all which changes we see progress towards a more integrated structure, towards increase of the militant part as compared with the industrial part, towards the replacing of civil organization by military organization, towards the strengthening of restraints over the individual and regulation of his life in greater detail.1.
The remaining example to be named is that furnished by our own society since the revival of military activity—a revival which has of late been so marked that our illustrated papers are, week after week, occupied with little else than scenes of warfare. Already in the first volume of The Principles of Sociology, I have pointed out many ways in which the system of compulsory cooperation characterizing the militant type, has been trenching on the system of voluntary cooperation characterizing the industrial type; and since those passages appeared (July, 1876), other changes in the same direction have taken place. Within the military organization itself, we may note the increasing assimilation of the volunteer forces to the regular army, now going to the extent of proposing to make them available abroad, so that instead of defensive action for which they were created, they can be used for offensive action; and we may also note that the tendency shown in the army during the past generation to sink the military character whenever possible, by putting on civilian dresses, is now checked by an order to officers in garrison towns to wear their uniforms when off duty, as they do in more militant countries. Whether, since the date named, usurpations of civil functions by military men (which had in 1873–4 gone to the extent that there were 97 colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants employed from time to time as inspectors of science and art classes) have gone further, I cannot say; but there has been a manifest extension of the militant spirit and discipline among the police, who, wearing helmet-shaped hats, beginning to carry revolvers, and looking upon themselves as half soldiers, have come to speak of the people as “civilians.” To an increasing extent the executive has been over-riding the other governmental agencies; as in the Cyprus business, and as in the doings of the Indian Viceroy under secret instructions from home. In various minor ways are shown endeavours to free officialism from popular checks; as in the desire expressed in the House of Lords that the hanging of convicts in prisons, entrusted entirely to the authorities, should have no other witnesses; and as in the advice given by the late Home Secretary (on 11th May, 1878) to the Derby Town Council, that it should not interfere with the chief constable (a military man) in his government of the force under him—a step towards centralizing local police control in the Home Office. Simultaneously we see various actual or prospective extensions of public agency, replacing or restraining private agency. There is the “endowment of research,” which, already partially carried out by a government fund, many wish to carry further; there is the proposed act for establishing a registration of authorized teachers; there is the bill which provides central inspection for local public libraries; there is the scheme for compulsory insurance—a scheme showing us in an instructive manner the way in which the regulating policy extends itself: compulsory charity having generated improvidence, there comes compulsory insurance as a remedy for the improvidence. Other proclivities towards institutions belonging to the militant type, are seen in the increasing demand for some form of protection, and in the lamentations uttered by the “society papers” that duelling has gone out. Nay, even through the party which by position and function is antagonistic to militancy, we see that militant discipline is spreading; for the caucus-system, established for the better organization of liberalism, is one which necessarily, in a greater or less degree, centralizes authority and controls individual action.
Besides seeing, then, that the traits to be inferred à priori as characterizing the militant type, constantly exist in societies which are permanently militant in high degrees, we also see that in other societies increase of militant activity is followed by development of such traits.
§ 560. In some places I have stated, and in other places implied, that a necessary relation exists between the structure of a society and the natures of its citizens. Here it will be well to observe in detail the characters proper to, and habitually exemplified by, the members of a typically militant society.
Other things equal, a society will be successful in war in proportion as its members are endowed with bodily vigour and courage. And, on the average, among conflicting societies there will be a survival and spread of those in which the physical and mental powers called for in battle, are not only most marked but also most honoured. Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures and inscriptions, show us that prowess was the thing above all others thought most worthy of record. Of the words good, just, &c., as used by the ancient Greeks, Grote remarks that they “signify the man of birth, wealth, influence and daring, whose arm is strong to destroy or to protect, whatever may be the turn of his moral sentiments; while the opposite epithet, bad, designates the poor, lowly, and weak, from whose dispositions, be they ever so virtuous, society has little to hope or to fear.” In the identification of virtue with bravery among the Romans, we have a like implication. During early turbulent times throughout Europe, the knightly character, which was the honourable character, primarily included fearlessness: lacking this, good qualities were of no account; but with this, sins of many kinds, great though they might be, were condoned.
If, among antagonist groups of primitive men, some tolerated more than others the killing of their members—if, while some always retaliated others did not; those which did not retaliate, continually aggressed on with impunity, would either gradually disappear or have to take refuge in undesirable habitats. Hence there is a survival of the unforgiving. Further, the lex talionis, primarily arising between antagonist groups, becomes the law within the group; and chronic feùds between component families and clans, everywhere proceed upon the general principle of life for life. Under the militant régime revenge becomes a virtue, and failure to revenge a disgrace. Among the Fijians, who foster anger in their children, it is not infrequent for a man to commit suicide rather than live under an insult; and in other cases the dying Fijian bequeathes the duty of inflicting vengeance to his children. This sentiment and the resulting practices we trace among peoples otherwise wholly alien, who are, or have been, actively militant. In the remote East may be instanced the Japanese. They are taught that “with the slayer of his father a man may not live under the same heaven; against the slayer of his brother a man must never have to go home to fetch a weapon; with the slayer of his friend a man may not live in the same State.” And in the West may be instanced France during feudal days, when the relations of one killed or injured were required by custom to retaliate on any relations of the offender—even those living at a distance and knowing nothing of the matter. Down to the time of the Abbé Brantôme, the spirit was such that that ecclesiastic, enjoining on his nephews by his will to avenge any unredressed wrongs done to him in his old age, says of himself—“I may boast, and I thank God for it, that I never received an injury without being revenged on the author of it.” That where militancy is active, revenge, private as well as public, becomes a duty, is well shown at the present time among the Montenegrins—a people who have been at war with the Turks for centuries. “Dans le Montenegro,” says Boué, “on dira d‘un homme d‘une natrie [clan] ayant tué un individu d‘une autre: Cette natrie nous doit une tête, et il faut que cette dette soit acquittée, car qui ne se venge pas ne se sancitie pas.”
Where activity in destroying enemies is chronic, destruction will become a source of pleasure; where success in subduing fellow-men is above all things honoured, there will arise delight in the forcible exercise of mastery; and with pride in spoiling the vanquished, will go disregard for the rights of property at large. As it is incredible that men should be courageous in face of foes and cowardly in face of friends, so it is incredible that the other feelings fostered by perpetual conflicts abroad should not come into play at home. We have just seen that with the pursuit of vengeance outside the society, there goes the pursuit of vengeance inside the society; and whatever other habits of thought and action constant war necessitates, must show their effects on the social life at large. Facts from various places and times prove that in militant communities the claims to life, liberty, and property, are little regarded. The Dahomans, warlike to the extent that both sexes are warriors, and by whom slave-hunting invasions are, or were, annually undertaken “to furnish funds for the royal exchequer,” show their bloodthirstiness by their annual “customs,” at which multitudinous victims are publicly slaughtered for the popular gratification. The Fijians, again, highly militant in their activities and type of organization, who display their recklessness of life not only by killing their own people for cannibal feasts, but by destroying immense numbers of their infants and by sacrificing victims on such trivial occasions as launching a new canoe, so much applaud ferocity that to commit a murder is a glory. Early records of Asiatics and Europeans show us the like relation. What accounts there are of the primitive Mongols, who, when united, massacred western peoples wholesale, show us a chronic reign of violence, both within and without their tribes; while domestic assassinations, which from the beginning have characterized the militant Turks, continue to characterize them down to our own day. In proof that it was so with the Greek and Latin races it suffices to instance the slaughter of the two thousand helots by the Spartans, whose brutality was habitual, and the murder of large numbers of suspected citizens by jealous Roman emperors, who also, like their subjects, manifested their love of bloodshed in their arenas. That where life is little regarded there can be but little regard for liberty, follows necessarily. Those who do not hesitate to end another’s activities by killing him, will still less hesitate to restrain his activities by holding him in bondage. Militant savages, whose captives, when not eaten, are enslaved, habitually show us this absence of regard for fellow-men’s freedom, which characterizes the members of militant societies in general. How little, under the régime of war, more or less markedly displayed in all early historic societies, there was any sentiment against depriving men of their liberties, is sufficiently shown by the fact that even in the teachings of primitive Christianity there was no express condemnation of slavery. Naturally the like holds with the right of property. Where mastery established by force is honourable, claims to possession by the weaker are likely to be little respected by the stronger. In Fiji it is considered chief-like to seize a subject’s goods; and theft is virtuous if undiscovered. Among the Spartans “the ingenious and successful pilferer gained applause with his booty.” In mediæval Europe, with perpetual robberies of one society by another there went perpetual robberies within each society. Under the Merovingians “the murders and crimes it [The Ecclesiastical History of the Franks] relates, have almost all for their object the possession of the treasure of the murdered persons.” And under Charlemagne plunder by officials was chronic: the moment his back was turned, “the provosts of the king appropriated the funds intended to furnish food and clothing for the artisans.”
Where warfare is habitual, and the required qualities most needful and therefore most honoured, those whose lives do not display them are treated with contempt, and their occupations regarded as dishonourable. In early stages labour is the business of women and of slaves—conquered men and the dcscendants of conquered men; and trade of every kind, carried on by subject classes, long continues to be identified with lowness of origin and nature. In Dahomey, “agriculture is despised because slaves are employed in it.” “The Japanese nobles and placemen, even of secondary rank, entertain a sovereign contempt for traffic.” Of the ancient Egyptians Wilkinson says, “their prejudices against mechanical employments, as far as regarded the soldier, were equally strong as in the rigid Sparta.” “For trade and commerce the [ancient] Persians were wont to express extreme contempt,” writes Rawlinson. That progress of class-differentiation which accompanied the conquering wars of the Romans, was furthered by establishment of the rule that it was disgraceful to take money for work, as also by the law forbidding senators and senators’ sons from engaging in speculation. And how great has been the scorn expressed by the militant classes for the trading classes throughout Europe, down to quite recent times, needs no showing.
That there may be willingness to risk life for the benefit of the society, there must be much of the feeling called patriotism. Though the belief that it is glorious to die for one’s country cannot be regarded as essential, since mercenaries fight without it; yet it is obvious that such a belief conduces greatly to success in war; and that entire absence of it is so unfavourable to offensive and defensive action that failure and subjugation will, other things equal, be likely to result. Hence the sentiment of patriotism is habitually established by the survival of societies the members of which are most characterized by it.
With this has to be united the sentiment of obedience. The possibility of that united action by which, other things equal, war is made successful, depends on the readiness of individuals to subordinate their wills to the will of a commander or ruler. Loyalty is essential. In early stages the manifestation of it is but temporary; as among the Araucanians who, ordinarily showing themselves “repugnant to all subordination, are then [when war is impending] prompt to obey, and submissive to the will of their military sovereign” appointed for the occasion. And with development of the militant type this sentiment becomes permanent. Erskine tells us that the Fijians are intensely loyal: men buried alive in the foundations of a king’s house, considered themselves honoured by being so sacrificed; and the people of a slave district “said it was their duty to become food and sacrifice for the chiefs.” So in Dahomey, there is felt for the king “a mixture of love and fear, little short of adoration.” In ancient Egypt again, where “blind obedience was the oil which caused the harmonious working of the machinery” of social life, the monuments on every side show with wearisome iteration the daily acts of subordination—of slaves and others to the dead man, of captives to the king, of the king to the gods. Though for reasons already pointed out, chronic war did not generate in Sparta a supreme political head, to whom there could be shown implicit obedience, yet the obedience shown to the political agency which grew up was profound: individual wills were in all things subordinate to the public will expressed by the established authorities. Primitive Rome, too, though without a divinely-descended king to whom submission could be shown, displayed great submission to an appointed king, qualified only by expressions of opinion on special occasions; and the principle of absolute obedience, slightly mitigated in the relations of the community as a whole to its ruling agency, was unmitigated within its component groups. That throughout European history, alike on small and on large scales, we see the sentiment of loyalty dominant where the militant type of structure is pronounced, is a truth that will be admitted without detailed proof.
From these conspicuous traits of nature, let us turn to certain consequent traits which are less conspicuous, and which have results of less manifest kinds. Along with loyalty naturally goes faith—the two being, indeed, scarcely separable. Readiness to obey the commander in war, implies belief in his military abilities; and readiness to obey him during peace, implies belief that his abilities extend to civil affairs also. Imposing on men’s imaginations, each new conquest augments his authority. There come more frequent and more decided evidences of his regulative action over men’s lives; and these generate the idea that his power is boundless. Unlimited confidence in governmental agency is fostered. Generations brought up under a system which controls all affairs, private and public, tacitly assume that affairs can only thus be controlled. Those who have experience of no other régime are unable to imagine any other régime. In such societies as that of ancient Peru, for example, where, as we have seen, regimental rule was universal, there were no materials for framing the thought of an industrial life spontaneously carried on and spontaneously regulated.
By implication there results repression of individual initiative, and consequent lack of private enterprise. In proportion as an army becomes organized, it is reduced to a state in which the independent action of its members is forbidden. And in proportion as regimentation pervades the society at large, each member of it, directed or restrained at every turn, has little or no power of conducting his business otherwise than by established routine. Slaves can do only what they are told by their masters; their masters cannot do anything that is unusual without official permission; and no permission is to be obtained from the local authority until superior authorities through their ascending grades have been consulted. Hence the mental state generated is that of passive acceptance and expectancy. Where the militant type is fully developed, everything must be done by public agencies; not only for the reason that these occupy all spheres, but for the further reason that did they not occupy them, there would arise no other agencies: the prompting ideas and sentiments having been obliterated.
There must be added a concomitant influence on the intelectual nature, which cooperates with the moral influences just named. Personal causation is alone recognized, and the conception of impersonal causation is prevented from developing. The primitive man has no idea of cause in the modern sense. The only agents included in his theory of things are living persons and the ghosts of dead persons. All unusual occurrences, together with those usual ones liable to variation, he ascribes to supernatural beings. And this system of interpretation survives through early stages of civilization; as we see, for example, among the Homeric Greeks, by whom wounds, deaths, and escapes in battle, were ascribed to the enmity or the aid of the gods, and by whom good and bad acts were held to be divinely prompted. Continuance and development of militant forms and activities maintain this way of thinking. In the first place, it indirectly hinders the discovery of causal relations. The sciences grow out of the arts—begin as generalizations of truths which practice of the arts makes manifest. In proportion as processes of production multiply in their kinds and increase in their complexities, more numerous uniformities come to be recognized; and the ideas of necessary relation and physical cause arise and develop. Consequently, by discouraging industrial progress, militancy checks the replacing of ideas of personal agency by ideas of impersonal agency. In the second place, it does the like by direct repression of intellectual culture. Naturally a life occupied in acquiring knowledge, like a life occupied in industry, is regarded with contempt by a people devoted to arms. The Spartans clearly exemplified this relation in ancient times; and it was again exemplified during feudal ages in Europe, when learning was scorned as proper only for clerks and the children of mean people. And obviously, in proportion as warlike activities are antagonistic to study and the spread of knowledge, they further retard that emancipation from primitive ideas which ends in recognition of natural uniformities. In the third place, and chiefly, the effect in question is produced by the conspicuous and perpetual experience of personal agency which the militant régime yields. In the army, from the commander-in-chief down to the private undergoing drill, every movement is directed by a superior; and throughout the society, in proportion as its regimentation is elaborate, things are hourly seen to go thus or thus according to the regulating wills of the ruler and his subordinates. In the interpretation of social affairs, personal causation is consequently alone recognized. History comes to be made up of the doings of remarkable men; and it is tacitly assumed that societies have been formed by them. Wholly foreign to the habit of mind as is the thought of impersonal causation, the course of social evolution is unperceived. The natural genesis of social structures and functions is an utterly alien conception, and appears absurd when alleged. The notion of a self-regulating social process is unintelligible. So that militancy moulds the citizen into a form not only morally adapted but intellectually adapted—a form which cannot think away from the entailed system.
§ 561. In three ways, then, we are shown the character of the militant type of social organization. Observe the congruities which comparison of results discloses.
Certain conditions, manifest à priori, have to be fulfilled by a society fitted for preserving itself in presence of antagonist societies. To be in the highest degree efficient, the corporate action needed for preserving the corporate life must be joined in by every one. Other things equal, the fighting power will be greatest where those who cannot fight, labour exclusively to support and help those who can: an evident implication being that the working part shall be no larger than is required for these ends. The efforts of all being utilized directly or indirectly for war, will be most effectual when they are most combined; and, besides union among the combatants, there must be such union of the non-combatants with them as renders the aid of these fully and promptly available. To satisfy these requirements, the life, the actions, and the possessions, of each individual must be held at the service of the society. This universal service, this combination, and this merging of individual claims, pre-suppose a despotic controlling agency. That the will of the soldier-chief may be operative when the aggregate is large, there must be sub-centres and sub-sub-centres in descending grades, through whom orders may be conveyed and enforced, both throughout the combatant part and the non-combatant part. As the commander tells the soldier both what he shall not do and what he shall do; so, throughout the militant community at large, the rule is both negatively regulative and positively regulative: it not only restrains, but it directs: the citizen as well as the soldier lives under a system of compulsory cooperation. Development of the militant type involves increasing rigidity, since the cohesion, the combination, the subordination, and the regulation, to which the units of a society are subjected by it, inevitably decrease their ability to change their social positions, their occupations, their localities.
On inspecting sundry societies, past and present, large and small, which are, or have been, characterized in high degrees by militancy, we are shown, à posteriori, that amid the differences due to race, to circumstances, and to degrees of development, there are fundamental similarities of the kinds above inferred à priori. Modern Dahomey and Russia, as well as ancient Peru, Egypt, and Sparta, exemplify that owning of the individual by the State in life, liberty, and goods, which is proper to a social system adapted for war. And that with changes further fitting a society for warlike activities, there spread throughout it an officialism, a dictation, and a superintendence, akin to those under which soldiers live, we are shown by imperial Rome, by imperial Germany, and by England since its late aggressive activities.
Lastly comes the evidence furnished by the adapted characters of the men who compose militant societies. Making success in war the highest glory, they are led to identify goodness with bravery and strength. Revenge becomes a sacred duty with them; and acting at home on the law of retaliation which they act on abroad, they similarly, at home as abroad, are ready to sacrifice others to self: their sympathies, continually deadened during war, cannot be active during peace. They must have a patriotism which regards the triumph of their society as the supreme end of action; they must possess the loyalty whence flows obedience to authority; and that they may be obedient they must have abundant faith. With faith in authority and consequent readiness to be directed, naturally goes relatively little power of initiation. The habit of seeing everything officially controlled fosters the belief that official control is everywhere needful; while a course of life which makes personal causation familiar and negatives experience of impersonal causation, produces an inability to conceive of any social processes as carried on under self-regulating arrangements. And these traits of individual nature, needful concomitants as we see of the militant type, are those which we observe in the members of actual militant societies.
This chapter was originally published in the Contemporary Review for Sept., 1881. Since that date a further movement of German society in the same general direction has been shown by the pronounced absolutism of the imperial rescript of Jan., 1882, endorsing Prince Bismarck’s scheme of State-socialism.