Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XVIII.: the militant type of society. - Political Institutions, being Part V of the Principles of Sociology
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CHAPTER XVIII.: 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.
§ 562. Having nearly always to defend themselves against external enemies, while they have to carry on internally the processes of sustentation, societies, as remarked in the last chapter, habitually present us with mixtures of the structures adapted to these diverse ends. Disentanglement is not easy. According as either structure predominates it ramifies through the other: instance the fact that where the militant type is much developed, the worker, ordinarily a slave, is no more free than the soldier; while, where the industrial type is much developed, the soldier, volunteering on specified terms, acquires in so far the position of a free worker. In the one case the system of status, proper to the fighting part, pervades the working part; while in the other the system of contract, proper to the working part, affects the fighting part. Especially does the organization adapted for war obscure that adapted for industry. While, as we have seen, the militant type as theoretically constructed, is so far displayed in many societies as to leave no doubt about its essential nature, the industrial type has its traits so hidden by those of the still-dominant militant type, that its nature is nowhere more than very partially exemplified. Saying thus much to exclude expectations which cannot be fulfilled, it will be well also to exclude certain probable misconceptions.
In the first place, industrialism must not be confounded with industriousness. Though the members of an industrially-organized society are habitually industrious, and are, indeed, when the society is a developed one, obliged to be so; yet it must not be assumed that the industrially-organized society is one in which, of necessity, much work is done. Where the society is small, and its habitat so favourable that life may be comfortably maintained with but little exertion, the social relations which characterize the industrial type may co-exist with but very moderate productive activities. It is not the diligence of its members which constitutes the society an industrial one in the sense here intended, but the form of cooperation under which their labours, small or great in amount, are carried on. This distinction will be best understood on observing that, conversely, there may be, and often is, great industry in societies framed on the militant type. In ancient Egypt there was an immense labouring population and a large supply of commodities, numerous in their kinds, produced by it. Still more did ancient Peru exhibit a vast community purely militant in its structure, the members of which worked unceasingly. We are here concerned, then, not with the quantity of labour but with the mode of organization of the labourers. A regiment of soldiers can be set to construct earth-works; another to cut down wood; another to bring in water; but they are not thereby reduced for the time being to an industrial society. The united individuals do these several things under command; and having no private claims to the products, are, though industrially occupied, not industrially organized. And the same holds throughout the militant society as a whole, in proportion as the regimentation of it approaches completeness.
The industrial type of society, properly so called, must also be distinguished from a type very likely to be confounded with it—the type, namely, in which the component individuals, while exclusively occupied in production and distribution, are under a regulation such as that advocated by socialists and communists. For this, too, involves in another form the principle of compulsory cooperation. Directly or indirectly, individuals are to be prevented from severally and independently occupying themselves as they please; are to be prevented from competing with one another in supplying goods for money; are to be prevented from hiring themselves out on such terms as they think fit. There can be no artificial system for regulating labour which does not interfere with the natural system. To such extent as men are debarred from making whatever engagements they like, they are to that extent working under dictation. No matter in what way the controlling agency is constituted, it stands towards those controlled in the same relation as does the controlling agency of a militant society. And how truly the régime which those who declaim against competition would establish, is thus characterized, we see both in the fact that communistic forms of organization existed in early societies which were predominantly warlike, and in the fact that at the present time communistic projects chiefly originate among, and are most favoured by, the more warlike societies.
A further preliminary explanation may be needful. The structures proper to the industrial type of society must not be looked for in distinct forms when they first appear. Contrariwise, we must expect them to begin in vague unsettled forms. Arising, as they do, by modification of pre-existing structures, they are necessarily long in losing all trace of these. For example, transition from the state in which the labourer, owned like a beast, is maintained that he may work exclusively for his master’s benefit, to the condition in which he is completely detached from master, soil and locality, and free to work anywhere and for anyone, is through gradations. Again, the change from the arrangement proper to militancy, under which subject-persons receive, in addition to maintenance, occasional presents, to the arrangement under which, in place of both, they received fixed wages, or salaries, or fees, goes on slowly and unobtrusively. Once more it is observable that the process of exchange, originally indefinite, has become definite only where industrialism is considerably developed. Barter began, not with a distinct intention of giving one thing for another thing equivalent in value, but it began by making a present and receiving a present in return; and even now in the East there continue traces of this primitive transaction. In Cairo the purchase of articles from a shopkeeper is preceded by his offer of coffee and cigarettes; and during the negotiation which ends in the engagement of a dahabeah, the dragoman brings gifts and expects to receive them. Add to which that there exists under such conditions none of that definite equivalence which characterizes exchange among ourselves: prices are not fixed, but vary widely with every fresh transaction. So that throughout our interpretations we must keep in view the truth, that the structures and functions proper to the industrial type distinguish themselves but gradually from those proper to the militant type.
Having thus prepared the way, let us now consider what are, à priori, the traits of that social organization which, entirely unfitted for carrying on defence against external enemies, is exclusively fitted for maintaining the life of the society by subserving the lives of its units. As before in treating of the militant type, so here in treating of the industrial type, we will consider first its ideal form.
§ 563. While corporate action is the primary requirement in a society which has to preserve itself in presence of hostile societies, conversely, in the absence of hostile societies, corporate action is no longer the primary requirement.
The continued existence of a society implies, first, that it shall not be destroyed bodily by foreign foes, and implies, second, that it shall not be destroyed in detail by failure of its members to support and propagate themselves. If danger of destruction from the first cause ceases, there remains only danger of destruction from the second cause. Sustentation of the society will now be achieved by the self-sustentation and multiplication of its units. If his own welfare and the welfare of his offspring is fully achieved by each, the welfare of the society is by implication achieved. Comparatively little corporate activity is now required. Each man may maintain himself by labour, may exchange his products for the products of others, may give aid and receive payment, may enter into this or that combination for carrying on an undertaking, small or great, without the direction of the society as a whole. The remaining end to be achieved by public action is to keep private actions within due bounds; and the amount of public action needed for this becomes small in proportion as private actions become duly selfbounded.
So that whereas in the militant type the demand for corporate action is intrinsic, such demand for corporate action as continues in the industrial type is mainly extrinsic—is called for by those aggressive traits of human nature which chronic warfare has fostered, and may gradually diminish as, under enduring peaceful life, these decrease.
§ 564. In a society organized for militant action, the individuality of each member has to be so subordinated in life, liberty, and property, that he is largely, or completely, owned by the State; but in a society industrially organized, no such subordination of the individual is called for. There remain no occasions on which he is required to risk his life while destroying the lives of others; he is not forced to leave his occupation and submit to a commanding officer; and it ceases to be needful that he should surrender for public purposes whatever property is demanded of him.
Under the industrial régime the citizen’s individuality, instead of being sacrificed by the society, has to be defended by the society. Defence of his individuality becomes the society’s essential duty. That after external protection is no longer called for, internal protection must become the cardinal function of the State, and that effectual discharge of this function must be a predominant trait of the industrial type, may be readily shown.
For it is clear that, other things equal, a society in which life, liberty, and property, are secure, and all interests justly regarded, must prosper more than one in which they are not; and, consequently, among competing industrial societies, there must be a gradual replacing of those in which personal rights are imperfectly maintained, by those in which they are perfectly maintained. So that by survival of the fittest must be produced a social type in which individual claims, considered as sacred, are trenched on by the State no further than is requisite to pay the cost of maintaining them, or rather, of arbitrating among them. For the aggressiveness of nature fostered by militancy having died out, the corporate function becomes that of deciding between those conflicting claims, the equitable adjustment of which is not obvious to the persons concerned.
§ 565. With the absence of need for that corporate action by which the efforts of the whole society may be utilized for war, there goes the absence of need for a despotic controlling agency.
Not only is such an agency unnecessary, but it cannot exist. For since, as we see, it is an essential requirement of the industrial type, that the individuality of each man shall have the fullest play compatible with the like play of other men’s individualities, despotic control, showing itself as it must by otherwise restricting men’s individualities, is necessarily excluded. Indeed, by his mere presence an autocratic ruler is an aggressor on citizens. Actually or potentially exercising power not given by them, he in so far restrains their wills more than they would be restrained by mutual limitation merely.
§ 566. Such control as is required under the industrial type, can be exercised only by an appointed agency for ascertaining and executing the average will; and a representative agency is the one best fitted for doing this.
Unless the activities of all are homogeneous in kind, which they cannot be in a developed society with its elaborate division of labour, there arises a need for conciliation of divergent interests; and to the end of insuring an equitable adjustment, each interest must be enabled duly to express itself. It is, indeed, supposable that the appointed agency should be a single individual. But no such single individual could arbitrate justly among numerous classes variously occupied, without hearing evidence: each would have to send representatives setting forth its claims. Hence the choice would lie between two systems, under one of which the representatives privately and separately stated their cases to an arbitrator on whose single judgment decisions depended; and under the other of which these representatives stated their cases in one another’s presence, while judgments were openly determined by the general consensus. Without insisting on the fact that a fair balancing of class-interests is more likely to be effected by this last form of representation than by the first, it is sufficient to remark that it is more congruous with the nature of the industrial type; since men’s individualities are in the smallest degree trenched upon. Citizens who, appointing a single ruler for a prescribed time, may have a majority of their wills traversed by his during this time, surrender their individualities in a greater degree than do those who, from their local groups, depute a number of rulers; since these, speaking and acting under public inspection and mutually restrained, habitually conform their decisions to the wills of the majority.
§ 567. The corporate life of the society being no longer in danger, and the remaining business of government being that of maintaining the conditions requisite for the highest individual life, there comes the question—What are these conditions?
Already they have been implied as comprehended under the administration of justice; but so vaguely is the meaning of this phrase commonly conceived, that a more specific statement must be made. Justice then, as here to be understood, means preservation of the normal connexions between acts and results—the obtainment by each of as much benefit as his efforts are equivalent to—no more and no less. Living and working within the restraints imposed by one another’s presence, justice requires that individuals shall severally take the consequences of their conduct, neither increased nor decreased. The superior shall have the good of his superiority; and the inferior the evil of his inferiority. A veto is therefore put on all public action which abstracts from some men part of the advantages they have earned, and awards to other men advantages they have not earned.
That from the developed industrial type of society there are excluded all forms of communistic distribution, the inevitable trait of which is that they tend to equalize the lives of good and bad, idle and diligent, is readily proved. For when, the struggle for existence between societies by war having ceased, there remains only the industrial struggle for existence, the final survival and spread must be on the part of those societies which produce the largest number of the best individuals—individuals best adapted for life in the industrial state. Suppose two societies, otherwise equal, in one of which the superior are allowed to retain, for their own benefit and the benefit of their offspring, the entire proceeds of their labour; but in the other of which the superior have taken from them part of these proceeds for the benefit of the inferior and their offspring. Evidently the superior will thrive and multiply more in the first than in the second. A greater number of the best children will be reared in the first; and eventually it will outgrow the second. It must not be inferred that private and voluntary aid to the inferior is negatived, but only public and enforced aid. Whatever effects the sympathies of the better for the worse spontaneously produce, cannot, of course, be interfered with; and will, on the whole, be beneficial. For while, on the average, the better will not carry such efforts so far as to impede their own multiplication, they will carry them far enough to mitigate the ill-fortunes of the worse without helping them to multiply.
§ 568. Otherwise regarded, this system under which the efforts of each bring neither more nor less than their natural returns, is the system of contract.
We have seen that the régime of status is in all ways proper to the militant type. It is the concomitant of that graduated subordination by which the combined action of a fighting body is achieved, and which must pervade the fighting society at large to insure its corporate action. Under this régime, the relation between labour and produce is traversed by authority. As in the army, the food, clothing, &c., received by each soldier are not direct returns for work done, but are arbitrarily apportioned, while duties are arbitrarily enforced; so throughout the rest of the militant society, the superior dictates the labour and assigns such share of the returns as he pleases. But as, with declining militancy and growing industrialism, the power and range of authority decrease while uncontrolled action increases, the relation of contract becomes general; and in the fully-developed industrial type it becomes universal.
Under this universal relation of contract when equitably administered, there arises that adjustment of benefit to effort which the arrangements of the industrial society have to achieve. If each as producer, distributor, manager, adviser, teacher, or aider of other kind, obtains from his fellows such payment for his service as its value, determined by the demand, warrants; then there results that correct apportioning of reward to merit which ensures the prosperity of the superior.
§ 569. Again changing the point of view, we see that whereas public control in the militant type is both positively regulative and negatively regulative, in the industrial type it is negatively regulative only. To the slave, to the soldier, or to other member of a community organized for war, authority says—“Thou shalt do this; thou shalt not do that.” But to the member of the industrial community, authority gives only one of these orders—“Thou shalt not do that.”
For people who, carrying on their private transactions by voluntary cooperation, also voluntarily cooperate to form and support a governmental agency, are, by implication, people who authorize it to impose on their respective activities, only those restraints which they are all interested in maintaining—the restraints which check aggressions. Omitting criminals (who under the assumed conditions must be very few, if not a vanishing quantity), each citizen will wish to preserve uninvaded his sphere of action, while not invading others’ spheres, and to retain whatever benefits are achieved within it. The very motive which prompts all to unite in upholding a public protector of their individualities, will also prompt them to unite in preventing any interference with their individualities beyond that required for this end.
Hence it follows that while, in the militant type, regimentation in the army is paralleled by centralized administration throughout the society at large; in the industrial type, administration, becoming decentralized, is at the same time narrowed in its range. Nearly all public organizations save that for administering justice, necessarily disappear; since they have the common character that they either aggress on the citizen by dictating his actions, or by taking from him more property than is needful for protecting him, or by both. Those who are forced to send their children to this or that school, those who have, directly or indirectly, to help in supporting a State priesthood, those from whom rates are demanded that parish officers may administer public charity, those who are taxed to provide gratis reading for people who will not save money for library subscriptions, those whose businesses are carried on under regulation by inspectors, those who have to pay the costs of State science-and-art-teaching, State emigration, &c., all have their individualities trenched upon, either by compelling them to do what they would not spontaneously do, or by taking away money which else would have furthered their private ends. Coercive arrangements of such kinds, consistent with the militant type, are inconsistent with the industrial type.
§ 570. With the relatively narrow range of public organizations, there goes, in the industrial type, a relatively wide range of private organizations. The spheres left vacant by the one are filled by the other.
Several influences conspire to produce this trait. Those motives which, in the absence of that subordination necessitated by war, make citizens unite in asserting their individualities subject only to mutual limitations, are motives which make them unite in resisting any interference with their freedom to form such private combinations as do not involve aggression. Moreover, beginning with exchanges of goods and services under agreements between individuals, the principle of voluntary cooperation is simply carried out in a larger way by individuals who, incorporating themselves, contract with one another for jointly pursuing this or that business or function. And yet again, there is entire congruity between the representative constitutions of such private combinations, and that representative constitution of the public combination which we see is proper to the industrial type. The same law of organization pervades the society in general and in detail. So that an inevitable trait of the industrial type is the multiplicity and heterogeneity of associations, political, religious, commercial, professional, philanthropic, and social, of all sizes.
§ 571. Two indirectly resulting traits of the industrial type must be added. The first is its relative plasticity.
So long as corporate action is necessitated for national self-preservation—so long as, to effect combined defence or offence, there is maintained that graduated subordination which ties all inferiors to superiors, as the soldier is tied to his officer—so long as there is maintained the relation of status, which tends to fix men in the positions they are severally born to; there is insured a comparative rigidity of social organization. But with the cessation of those needs that initiate and preserve the militant type of structure, and with the establishment of contract as the universal relation under which efforts are combined for mutual advantage, social organization loses its rigidity. No longer determined by the principle of inheritance, places and occupations are now determined by the principle of efficiency; and changes of structure follow when men, not bound to prescribed functions, acquire the functions for which they have proved themselves most fit. Easily modified in its arrangements, the industrial type of society is therefore one which adapts itself with facility to new requirements.
§ 572. The other incidental result to be named is a tendency towards loss of economic autonomy.
While hostile relations with adjacent societies continue, each society has to be productively self-sufficing; but with the establishment of peaceful relations, this need for self-sufficingness ceases. As the local divisions composing one of our great nations, had, while they were at feud, to produce each for itself almost everything it required, but now permanently at peace with one another, have become so far mutually dependent that no one of them can satisfy its wants without aid from the rest; so the great nations themselves, at present forced in large measure to maintain their economic autonomies, will become less forced to do this as war decreases, and will gradually become necessary to one another. While, on the one hand, the facilities possessed by each for certain kinds of production, will render exchange mutually advantageous; on the other hand, the citizens of each will, under the industrial régime, tolerate no such restraints on their individualities as are implied by interdicts on exchange or impediments to exchange.
With the spread of industrialism, therefore, the tendency is towards the breaking down of the divisions between nationalities, and the running through them of a common organization: if not under a single government, then under a federation of governments.
§ 573. Such being the constitution of the industrial type of society to be inferred from its requirements, we have now to inquire what evidence is furnished by actual societies that approach towards this constitution accompanies the progress of industrialism.
As, during the peopling of the Earth, the struggle for existence among societies, from small hordes up to great nations, has been nearly everywhere going on; it is, as before said, not to be expected that we should readily find examples of the social type appropriate to an exclusively industrial life. Ancient records join the journals of the day in proving that thus far no civilized or semi-civilized nation has fallen into circumstances making needless all social structures for resisting aggression; and from every region travellers’ accounts bring evidence that almost universally among the uncivilized, hostilities between tribes are chronic. Still, a few examples exist which show, with tolerable clearness, the outline of the industrial type in its rudimentary form—the form which it assumes where culture has made but little progress. We will consider these first; and then proceed to disentangle the traits distinctive of the industrial type as exhibited by large nations which have become predominantly industrial in their activities.
Among the Indian hills there are many tribes belonging to different races, but alike in their partially-nomadic habits. Mostly agricultural, their common practice is to cultivate a patch of ground while it yields average crops, and when it is exhausted to go elsewhere and repeat the process. They have fled before invading peoples, and have here and there found localities in which they are able to carry on their peaceful occupations unmolested: the absence of molestation being, in somes cases, due to their ability to live in a malarious atmosphere which is fatal to the Aryan races. Already, under other heads, I have referred to the Bodo and to the Dhimáls as wholly unmilitary, as lacking political organization, as being without slaves or social grades, and as aiding one another in their heavier undertakings; to the Todas, who, leading tranquil lives, are “without any of those bonds of union which man in general is induced to form from a sense of danger,” and who settle their disputes by arbitration or by a council of five; to the Mishmies as being unwarlike, as having but nominal chiefs, and as administering justice by an assembly; and I have joined with these the case of a people remote in locality and race—the ancient Pueblos of North America—who, sheltering in their walled villages and fighting only when invaded, similarly united with their habitually industrial life a free form of government: “the governor and his council are [were] annually elected by the people.” Here I may add sundry kindred examples. As described in the Indian Government Report for 1869—70, “the ‘white Karens’ are of a mild and peaceful disposition,. . . their chiefs are regarded as patriarchs, who have little more than a nominal authority;” or, as said of them by Lieut. McMahon, “they possess neither laws nor dominant authority.” Instance, again, the “fascinating” Lepchas; not industrious, but yet industrial in the sense that their social relations are of the non-militant type. Though I find nothing specific said about the system under which they live in their temporary villages; yet the facts told us sufficiently imply its uncoercive character. They have no castes; “family and political feuds are alike unheard of amongst them;” “they are averse to soldiering;” they prefer taking refuge in the jungle and living on wild food “to enduring any injustice or harsh treatment”—traits which negative ordinary political control. Take next the “quiet, unoffensive” Santals, who, while they fight if need be with infatuated bravery to resist aggression, are essentially unaggressive. These people “are industrious cultivators, and enjoy their existence unfettered by caste.” Though, having become tributaries, there habitually exists in each village a head appointed by the Indian Government to be responsible for the tribute, &c.; yet the nature of their indigenous government remains sufficiently clear. While there is a patriarch who is honoured, but who rarely interferes, “every village has its council place,. . . where the committee assemble and discuss the affairs of the village and its inhabitants. All petty disputes, both of a civil and criminal nature, are settled there.” What little is told us of tribes living in the Shervaroy Hills is, so far as it goes, to like effect. Speaking generally of them, Shortt says they “are essentially a timid and harmless people, addicted chiefly to pastoral and agricultural pursuits;” and more specifically describing one division of them, he says “they lead peaceable lives among themselves, and any dispute that may arise is usually settled by arbitration.” Then, to show that these social traits are not peculiar to any one variety of man, but are dependent on conditions, I may recall the before-named instance of the Papuan Arafuras, who, without any divisions of rank or hereditary chieftainships, live in harmony, controlled only by the decisions of their assembled elders. In all which cases we may discern the leading traits above indicated as proper to societies not impelled to corporate action by war. Strong centralized control not being required, such government as exists is exercised by a council, informally approved—a rude representative government; class-distinctions do not exist, or are but faintly indicated—the relation of status is absent; whatever transactions take place between individuals are by agreement; and the function which the ruling body has to perform, becomes substantially limited to protecting private life by settling such disputes as arise, and inflicting mild punishments for small offences.
Difficulties meet us when, turning to civilized societies, we seek in them for traits of the industrial type. Consolidated and organized as they have all been by wars actively carried on throughout the earlier periods of their existence, and mostly continued down to recent times; and having simultaneously been developing within themselves organizations for producing and distributing commodities, which have little by little become contrasted with those proper to militant activities; the two are everywhere presented so mingled that clear separation of the first from the last is, as said at the outset, scarcely practicable. Radically opposed, however, as is compulsory cooperation, the organizing principle of the militant type, to voluntary cooperation, the organizing principle of the industrial type, we may, by observing the decline of institutions exhibiting the one, recognize, by implication, the growth of institutions exhibiting the other. Hence if, in passing from the first states of civilized nations in which war is the business of life, to states in which hostilities are but occasional, we simultaneously pass to states in which the ownership of the individual by his society is not so constantly and strenously enforced, in which the subjection of rank to rank is mitigated, in which political rule is no longer autocratic, in which the regulation of citizens’ lives is diminished in range and rigour, while the protection of them is increased; we are, by implication, shown the traits of a developing industrial type. Comparisons of several kinds disclose results which unite in verifying this truth.
Take, first, the broad contrast between the early condition of the more civilized European nations at large, and their later condition. Setting out from the dissolution of the Roman empire, we observe that for many centuries during which conflicts were effecting consolidations, and dissolutions, and re-consolidations in endless variety, such energies as were not directly devoted to war were devoted to little else than supporting the organizations which carried on war: the working part of each community did not exist for its own sake, but for the sake of the fighting part. While militancy was thus high and industrialism undeveloped, the reign of superior strength, continually being established by societies one over another, was equally displayed within each society. From slaves and serfs, through vassals of different grades up to dukes and kings, there was an enforced subordination by which the individualities of all were greatly restricted. And at the same time that, to carry on external aggression or resistance, the ruling power in each group sacrificed the personal claims of its members, the function of defending its members from one another was in but small degree discharged by it: they were left to defend themselves. If with these traits of European societies in mediæval times, we compare their traits in modern times, we see the following essential differences. First, with the formation of nations covering large areas, the perpetual wars within each area have ceased; and though the wars between nations which from time to time occur are on larger scales, they are less frequent, and they are no longer the business of all freemen. Second, there has grown up in each country a relatively large population which carries on production and distribution for its own maintenance; so that whereas of old, the working part existed for the benefit of the fighting part, now the fighting part exists mainly for the benefit of the working part—exists ostensibly to protect it in the quiet pursuit of its ends. Third, the system of status, having under some of its forms disappeared and under others become greatly mitigated, has been almost universally replaced by the system of contract. Only among those who, by choice or by conscription, are incorporated in the military organization, does the system of status in its primitive rigour still hold so long as they remain in this organization. Fourth, with this decrease of compulsory cooperation and increase of voluntary cooperation, there have diminished or ceased many minor restraints over individual actions. Men are less tied to their localities than they were; they are not obliged to profess certain religious opinions; they are less debarred from expressing their political views; they no longer have their dresses and modes of living dictated to them; they are comparatively little restrained from forming private combinations and holding meetings for one or other purpose—political, religious, social. Fifth, while the individualities of citizens are less aggressed upon by public agency, they are more protected by public agency against aggression. Instead of a régime under which individuals rectified their private wrongs by force as well as they could, or else bribed the ruler, general or local, to use his power in their behalf, there has come a régime under which, while much less self-protection is required, a chief function of the ruling power and its agents is to administer justice. In all ways, then, we are shown that with this relative decrease of militancy and relative increase of industrialism, there has been a change from a social order in which individuals exist for the benefit of the State, to a social order in which the State exists for the benefit of individuals.
When, instead of contrasting early European communities at large with European communities at large as they now exist, we contrast the one in which industrial development has been less impeded by militancy with those in which it has been more impeded by militancy, parallel results are apparent. Between our own society and continental societies, as for example, France, the differences which have gradually arisen may be cited in illustration. After the conquering Normans had spread over England, there was established here a much greater subordination of local rulers to the general ruler than existed in France; and, as a result, there was not nearly so much internal dissension. Says Hallam, speaking of this period, “we read very little of private wars in England.” Though from time to time, as under Stephen, there were rebellions, and though there were occasional fights between nobles, yet for some hundred and fifty years, up to the time of King John, the subjection maintained secured comparative order. Further, it is to be noted that such general wars as occurred were mostly carried on abroad. Descents on our coasts were few and unimportant, and conflicts with Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, entailed but few intrusions on English soil. Consequently, there was a relatively small hindrance to industrial life and the growth of social forms appropriate to it. Meanwhile, the condition of France was widely different. During this period and long after, besides wars with England (mostly fought out on French soil) and wars with other countries, there were going on everywhere local wars. From the 10th to the 14th century perpetual fights between suzerains and their vassals occurred, as well as fights of vassals with one another. Not until towards the middle of the 14th century did the king begin greatly to predominate over the nobles; and only in the 15th century was there established a supreme ruler strong enough to prevent the quarrels of local rulers. How great was the repression of industrial development caused by internal conflicts, may be inferred from the exaggerated language of an old writer, who says of this period, during which the final struggle of monarchy with feudalism was going on, that “agriculture, traffic, and all the mechanical arts ceased.” Such being the contrast between the small degree in which industrial life was impeded by war in England, and the great degree in which it was impeded by war in France, let us ask—what were the political contrasts which arose. The first fact to be noted is that in the middle of the 13th century there began in England a mitigation of villeinage, by limitation of labour-services and commutation of them for money, and that in the 14th century the transformation of a servile into a free population had in great measure taken place; while in France, as in other continental countries, the old condition survived and became worse. As Mr. Freeman says of this period—“in England villeinage was on the whole dying out, while in many other countries it was getting harder and harder.” Besides this spreading substitution of contract for status, which, taking place first in the industrial centres, the towns, afterwards went on in the rural districts, there was going on an analogous enfranchisement of the noble class. The enforced military obligations of vassals were more and more replaced by money payments or scutages; so that by King John’s time, the fighting services of the upper class had been to a great extent compounded for, like the labour services of the lower class. After diminished restraints over persons, there came diminished invasions of property. By the Charter, arbitrary tallages on towns and non-military king’s tenants were checked; and while the aggressive actions of the State were thus decreased, its protective actions were extended: provisions were made that justice should be neither sold, delayed, nor denied. All which changes were towards those social arrangements which we see characterize the industrial type. Then, in the next place, we have the subsequently-occurring rise of a representative government; which, as shown in a preceding chapter by another line of inquiry, is at once the product of industrial growth and the form proper to the industrial type. But in France none of these changes took place. Villeinage remaining unmitigated continued to comparatively late times; compounding for military obligation of vassal to suzerain was less general; and when there arose tendencies towards the establishment of an assembly expressing the popular will, they proved abortive. Detailed comparisons of subsequent periods and their changes would detain us too long: it must suffice to indicate the leading facts. Beginning with the date at which, under the influences just indicated, parliamentary government was finally established in England, we find that for a century and a half, down to the Wars of the Roses, the internal disturbances were few and unimportant compared with those which took place in France; and at the same time (remembering that the wars between England and France, habitually taking place on French soil, affected the state of France more than that of England) we note that France carried on serious wars with Flanders, Castille and Navarre besides the struggle with Burgundy: the result being that while in England popular power as expressed by the House of Commons became settled and increased, such power as the States General had acquired in France, dwindled away. Not forgetting that by the Wars of the Roses, lasting over thirty years, there was initiated a return towards absolutism; let us contemplate the contrasts which subsequently arose. For a century and a half after these civil conflicts ended, there were but few and trivial breaches of internal peace; while such wars as went on with foreign powers, not numerous, took place as usual out of England. During this period the retrograde movement which the Wars of the Roses set up, was reversed, and popular power greatly increased; so that in the words of Mr. Bagehot, “the slavish parliament of Henry VIII. grew into the murmuring parliament of Queen Elizabeth, the mutinous Parliament of James I., and the rebellious parliament of Charles I.” Meanwhile France, during the first third of this period, had been engaged in almost continuous external wars with Italy, Spain, and Austria; while during the remaining two-thirds, it suffered from almost continuous internal wars, religious and political: the accompanying result being that, notwithstanding resistances from time to time made, the monarchy became increasingly despotic. Fully to make manifest the different social types which had been evolved under these different conditions, we have to compare not only the respective political constitutions but also the respective systems of social control. Observe what these were at the time when there commenced that reaction which ended in the French revolution. In harmony with the theory of the militant type, that the individual is in life, liberty, and property, owned by the State, the monarch was by some held to be the universal proprietor. The burdens he imposed upon landowners were so grievous that a part of them preferred abandoning their estates to paying. Then besides the taking of property by the State, there was the taking of labour. One-fourth of the working days in the year went to the corvées, due now to the king and now to the feudal lord. Such liberties as were allowed, had to be paid for and again paid for: the municipal privileges of towns being seven times in twenty-eight years withdrawn and re-sold to them. Military services of nobles and people were imperative to whatever extent the king demanded; and conscripts were drilled under the lash. At the same time that the subjection of the individual to the State was pushed to such an extreme by exactions of money and services that the impoverished people cut the grain while it was green, ate grass, and died of starvation in multitudes, the State did little to guard their persons and homes. Contemporary writers enlarge on the immense numbers of highway robberies, burglaries, assassinations, and torturings of people to discover their hoards. Herds of vagabonds, levying blackmail, roamed about; and when, as a remedy, penalties were imposed, innocent persons denounced as vagabonds were sent to prison without evidence. No personal security could be had either against the ruler or against powerful enemies. In Paris there were some thirty prisons where untried and unsentenced people might be incarcerated; and the “brigandage of justice” annually cost suitors forty to sixty millions of francs. While the State, aggressing on citizens to such extremes, thus failed to protect them against one another, it was active in regulating their private lives and labours. Religion was dictated to the extent that Protestants were imprisoned, sent to the galleys, or whipped, and their ministers hanged. The quantity of salt (on which there was a heavy tax) to be consumed by each person was prescribed; as were also the modes of its use. Industry of every kind was supervised. Certain crops were prohibited; and vines destroyed that were on soils considered unfit. The wheat that might be bought at market was limited to two bushels; and sales took place in presence of dragoons. Manufacturers were regulated in their processes and products to the extent that there was destruction of improved appliances and of goods not made according to law, as well as penalties upon inventors. Regulations succeeded one another so rapidly that amid their multiplicity, government agents found it difficult to carry them out; and with increasing official orders there came increasing swarms of public functionaries. Turning now to England at the same period, we see that along with progress towards the industrial type of political structure, carried to the extent that the House of Commons had become the predominant power, there had gone a progress towards the accompanying social system. Though the subjection of the individual to the State was considerably greater than now, it was far less than in France. His private rights were not sacrificed in the same unscrupulous way; and he was not in danger of a lettre de cachet. Though justice was very imperfectly administered, still it was not administered so wretchedly: there was a fair amount of personal security, and aggressions on property were kept within bounds. The disabilities of Protestant dissenters were diminished early in the century; and, later on, those of Catholics. Considerable freedom of the press was acquired, showing itself in the discussion of political questions, as well as in the publication of parliamentary debates; and, about the same time, there came free speech in public meetings. While thus the State aggressed on the individual less and protected him more, it interfered to a smaller extent with his daily transactions. Though there was much regulation of commerce and industry, yet it was pushed to no such extreme as that which in France subjected agriculturists, manufacturers, and merchants, to an army of officials who directed their acts at every turn. In brief, the contrast between our state and that of France was such as to excite the surprise and admiration of various French writers of the time; from whom Mr. Buckle quotes numerous passages showing this.
Most significant of all, however, are the changes in England itself, first retrogressive and then progressive, that occurred during the war-period which extended from 1775 to 1815, and during the subsequent period of peace. At the end of the last century and the beginning of this, reversion towards ownership of the individual by the society had gone a long way. “To statesmen, the State, as a unit, was all in all, and it is really difficult to find any evidence that the people were thought of at all, except in the relation of obedience.” “The Government regarded the people with little other view than as a taxable and soldier-yielding mass.” While the militant part of the community had greatly developed, the industrial part had approached towards the condition of a permanent commissariat. By conscription and by press-gangs, was carried to a relatively vast extent that sacrifice of the citizen in life and liberty which war entails; and the claims to property were trenched on by merciless taxation, weighing down the middle classes so grievously that they had greatly to lower their rate of living, while the people at large were so distressed (partly no doubt by bad harvests) that “hundreds ate nettles and other weeds.” With these major aggressions upon the individual by the State, went numerous minor aggressions. Irresponsible agents of the executive were empowered to suppress public meetings and seize their leaders: death being the punishment for those who did not disperse when ordered. Libraries and news-rooms could not be opened without licence; and it was penal to lend books without permission. There were “strenuous attempts made to silence the press;” and booksellers dared not publish works by obnoxious authors. “Spies were paid, witnesses were suborned, juries were packed, and the habeas corpus Act being constantly suspended, the Crown had the power of imprisoning without inquiry and without limitation.” While the Government taxed and coerced and restrained the citizen to this extent, its protection of him was inefficient. It is true that the penal code was made more extensive and more severe. The definition of treason was enlarged, and numerous offences were made capital which were not capital before; so that there was “a vast and absurd variety of offences for which men and women were sentenced to death by the score:” there was “a devilish levity in dealing with human life.” But at the same time there was not an increase, but rather a decrease, of security. As says Mr. Pike in his History of Crime in England, “it became apparent that the greater the strain of the conflict the greater is the danger of a reaction towards violence and lawlessness.” Turn now to the opposite picture. After recovery from the prostration which prolonged wars had left, and after the dying away of those social perturbations caused by impoverishment, there began a revival of traits proper to the industrial type. Coercion of the citizen by the State decreased in various ways. Voluntary enlistment replaced compulsory military service; and there disappeared some minor restraints over personal freedom, as instance the repeal of laws which forbade artizans to travel where they pleased, and which interdicted trades-unions. With these manifestations of greater respect for personal freedom, may be joined those shown in the amelioration of the penal code: the public whipping of females being first abolished; then the long list of capital offences being reduced until there finally remained but one; and, eventually, the pillory and imprisonment for debt being abolished. Such penalties on religious independence as remained disappeared; first by removal of those directed against Protestant Dissenters, and then of those which weighed on Catholics, and then of some which told specially against Quakers and Jews. By the Parliamentary Reform Bill and the Municipal Reform Bill, vast numbers were removed from the subject classes to the governing classes. Interferences with the business-transactions of citizens were diminished by allowing free trade in bullion, by permitting joint-stock banks, by abolishing multitudinous restrictions on the importation of commodities—leaving eventually but few which pay duty. Moreover while these and kindred changes, such as the removal of restraining burdens on the press, decreased the impediments to free actions of citizens, the protective action of the State was increased. By a greatly-improved police system, by county courts, and so forth, personal safety and claims to property were better secured.
Not to elaborate the argument further by adding the case of the United States, which repeats with minor differences the same relations of phenomena, the evidence given adequately supports the proposition laid down. Amid all the complexities and perturbations, comparisons show us with sufficient clearness that in actually-existing societies those attributes which we inferred must distinguish the industrial type, show themselves clearly in proportion as the social activities are predominantly characterized by exchange of services under agreement.
§ 574. As, in the last chapter, we noted the traits of character proper to the members of a society which is habitually at war; so here, we have to note the traits of character proper to the members of a society occupied exclusively in peaceful pursuits. Already in delineating above, the rudiments of the industrial type of social structure as exhibited in certain small groups of unwarlike peoples, some indications of the accompanying personal qualities have been given; but it will be well now to emphasize these and add to them, before observing the kindred personal qualities in more advanced industrial communities.
Absence of a centralized coercive rule, implying as it does feeble political restraints exercised by the society over its units, is accompanied by a strong sense of individual freedom, and a determination to maintain it. The amiable Bodo and Dhimáls, as we have seen, resist “injunctions injudiciously urged with dogged obstinacy.” The peaceful Lepchas “undergo great privations rather than submit to oppression or injustice.” The “simple-minded Santál” has a “strong natural sense of justice, and should any attempt be made to coerce him, he flies the country.” Similarly of a tribe not before mentioned, the Jakuns of the South Malayan Peninsula, who, described as “entirely inoffensive,” personally brave but peaceful, and as under no control but that of popularly-appointed heads who settle their disputes, are also described as “extremely proud:” the so-called pride being exemplified by the statement that their remarkably good qualities “induced several persons to make attempts to domesticate them, but such essays have generally ended in the Jakuns’ disappearance on the slightest coercion.”
With a strong sense of their own claims, these unwarlike men display unusual respect for the claims of others. This is shown in the first place by the rarity of personal collisions among them. Hodgson says that the Bodo and the Dhimáls “are void of all violence towards their own people or towards their neighbours.” Of the peaceful tribes of the Neilgherry Hills, Colonel Ouchterlony writes:—“drunkenness and violence are unknown amongst them.” Campbell remarks of the Lepchas, that “they rarely quarrel among themselves.” The Jakuns, too, “have very seldom quarrels among themselves;” and such disputes as arise are settled by their popularly-chosen heads “without fighting or malice.” In like manner the Arafuras “live in peace and brotherly love with one another.” Further, in the accounts of these peoples we read nothing about the lex talionis. In the absence of hostilities with adjacent groups there does not exist within each group that “sacred duty of blood-revenge” universally recognized in military tribes and nations. Still more significantly, we find evidence of the opposite doctrine and practice. Says Campbell of the Lepchas—“they are singularly forgiving of injuries. . . making mutual amends and concessions.”
Naturally, with respect for others’ individualities thus shown, goes respect for their claims to property. Already in the preliminary chapter I have quoted testimonies to the great honesty of the Bodo and the Dhimáls, the Lepchas, the Santáls, the Todas, and other peoples kindred in their form of social life; and here I may add further ones. Of the Lepchas, Hooker remarks:—“in all my dealings with these people, they proved scrupulously honest.” “Among the pure Santáls,” writes Hunter, “crime and criminal officers are unknown;” while of the Hos, belonging to the same group as the Santáls, Dalton says, “a reflection on a man’s honesty or veracity may be sufficient to send him to self-destruction.” Shortt testifies that “the Todas, as a body, have never been convicted of heinous crimes of any kind;” and concerning other tribes of the Shervaroy Hills, he states that “crime of a serious nature is unknown amongst them.” Again of the Jakuns we read that “they are never known to steal anything, not even the most insignificant trifle.” And so of certain natives of Malacca who “are naturally of a commercial turn,” Jukes writes:—“no part of the world is freer from crime than the district of Malacca;” “a few petty cases of assault, or of disputes about property. . . are all that occur.”
Thus free from the coercive rule which warlike activities necessitate, and without the sentiment which makes the needful subordination possible—thus maintaining their own claims while respecting the like claims of others—thus devoid of the vengeful feelings which aggressions without and within the tribe generate; these peoples, instead of the bloodthirstiness, the cruelty, the selfish trampling upon inferiors, characterizing militant tribes and societies, display, in unusual degrees, the humane sentiments. Insisting on their amiable qualities, Hodgson describes the Bodo and the Dhimáls as being “almost entirely free from such as are unamiable.” Remarking that “while courteous and hospitable he is firm and free from cringing,” Hunter tells us of the Santál that he thinks “uncharitable men” will suffer after death. Saying that the Lepchas are “ever foremost in the forest or on the bleak mountain, and ever ready to help, to carry, to encamp, collect, or cook,” Hooker adds—“they cheer on the traveller by their unostentatious zeal in his service;” and he also adds that, “a present is divided equally amongst many, without a syllable of discontent or grudging look or word.” Of the Jakuns, too, Favre tells us that “they are generally kind, affable, inclined to gratitude and to beneficence:” their tendency being not to ask favours but to confer them. And then of the peaceful Arafuras we learn from Kolff that—
“They have a very excusable ambition to gain the name of rich men, by paying the debts of their poorer villagers. The officer [M. Bik], whom I quoted above, related to me a very striking instance of this. At Affara he was present at the election of the village chiefs, two individuals aspiring to the station of Orang Tua. The people chose the elder of the two, which greatly afflicted the other, but he soon afterwards expressed himself satisfied with the choice the people had made, and said to M. Bik, who had been sent there on a commission, ‘What reason have I to grieve; whether I am Orang Tua or not, I still have it in my power to assist my fellow villagers.’ Several old men agreed to this, apparently to comfort him. Thus the only use they make of their riches is to employ it in settling differences.”
With these superiorities of the social relations in permanently peaceful tribes, go superiorities of the domestic relations. As I have before pointed out (§ 327), while the status of women is habitually very low in tribes given to war and in more advanced militant societies, it is habitually very high in these primitive peaceful societies. The Bodo and the Dhimáls, the Kocch, the Santáls, the Lepchas, are monogamic, as were also the Pueblos; and along with their monogamy habitually goes a superior sexual morality. Of the Lepchas Hooker says—“the females are generally chaste, and the marriage tie is strictly kept.” Among the Santáls “unchastity is almost unknown,” and “divorce is rare.” By the Bodo and the Dhimáls, “polygamy, concubinage and adultery are not tolerated;” “chastity is prized in man and woman, married and unmarried.” Further it is to be noted that the behaviour to women is extremely good. “The Santál treats the female members of his family with respect;” the Bodo and the Dhimáls “treat their wives and daughters with confidence and kindness; they are free from all out-door work whatever.” And even among the Todas, low as are the forms of their sexual relations, “the wives are treated by their husbands with marked respect and attention.” Moreover, we are told concerning sundry of these unwarlike peoples that the status of children is also high; and there is none of that distinction of treatment between boys and girls which characterizes militant peoples.
Of course on turning to the civilized to observe the form of individual character which accompanies the industrial form of society, we encounter the difficulty that the personal traits proper to industrialism, are, like the social traits, mingled with those proper to militancy. It is manifestly thus with ourselves. A nation which, besides its occasional serious wars, is continually carrying on small wars with uncivilized tribes—a nation which is mainly ruled in Parliament and through the press by men whose school-discipline led them during six days in the week to take Achilles for their hero, and on the seventh to admire Christ—a nation which, at its public dinners, habitually toasts its army and navy before toasting its legislative bodies; has not so far emerged out of militancy that we can expect either the institutions or the characteristics proper to industrialism to be shown with clearness. In independence, in honesty, in truthfulness, in humanity, its citizens are not likely to be the equals of the uncultured but peaceful peoples above described. All we may anticipate is an approach to those moral qualities appropriate to a state undisturbed by international hostilities; and this we find.
In the first place, with progress of the régime of contract has come growth of independence. Daily exchange of services under agreement, involving at once the maintenance of personal claims and respect for the claims of others, has fostered a normal self-assertion and consequent resistance to unauthorized power. The facts that the word “independence,” in its modern sense, was not in use among us before the middle of the last century, and that on the continent independence is less markedly displayed, suggest the connexion between this trait and a developing industrialism. The trait is shown in the multitudinousness of religious sects, in the divisions of political parties, and, in minor ways, by the absence of those “schools” in art, philosophy, &c., which, among continental peoples, are formed by the submission of disciples to an adopted master. That Englishmen show, more than their neighbours, a jealousy of dictation, and a determination to act as they think fit, will not, I think, be disputed.
The diminished subordination to authority, which is the obverse of this independence, of course implies decrease of loyalty. Worship of the monarch, at no time with us reaching the height it did in France early in the last century, or in Russia down to recent times, has now changed into a respect depending very much on the monarch’s personal character. Our days witness no such extreme servilities of expression as were used by ecclesiastics in the dedication of the Bible to King James, nor any such exaggerated adulations as those addressed to George III. by the House of Lords. The doctrine of divine right has long since died away; belief in an indwelling supernatural power (implied by the touching for king’s evil, &c.) is named as a curiosity of the past; and the monarchical institution has come to be defended on grounds of expediency. So great has been the decrease of this sentiment which, under the militant régime, attaches subject to ruler, that now-a-days the conviction commonly expressed is that, should the throne be occupied by a Charles II. or a George IV., there would probably result a republic. And this change of feeling is shown in the attitude towards the Government as a whole. For not only are there many who dispute the authority of the State in respect of sundry matters besides religious beliefs, but there are some who passively resist what they consider unjust exercises of its authority, and pay fines or go to prison rather than submit.
As this last fact implies, along with decrease of loyalty has gone decrease of faith, not in monarchs only but in governments. Such belief in royal omnipotence as existed in ancient Egypt, where the power of the ruler was supposed to extend to the other world, as it is even now supposed to do in China, has had no parallel in the West; but still, among European peoples in past times, that confidence in the soldierking essential to the militant type, displayed itself among other ways in exaggerated conceptions of his ability to rectify mischiefs, achieve benefits, and arrange things as he willed. If we compare present opinion among ourselves with opinion in early days, we find a decline in these credulous expectations. Though, during the late retrograde movement towards militancy, State-power has been invoked for various ends, and faith in it has increased; yet, up to the commencement of this reaction, a great change had taken place in the other direction. After the repudiation of a State-enforced creed, there came a denial of the State’s capacity for determining religious truth, and a growing movement to relieve it from the function of religious teaching; held to be alike needless and injurious. Long ago it had ceased to be thought that Government could do any good by regulating people’s food, clothing, and domestic habits; and over the multitudinous processes carried on by producers and distributors, constituting immensely the larger part of our social activities, we no longer believe that legislative dictation is beneficial. Moreover, every newspaper by its criticisms on the acts of ministers and the conduct of the House of Commons, betrays the diminished faith of citizens in their rulers. Nor is it only by contrasts between past and present among ourselves that we are shown this trait of a more developed industrial state. It is shown by kindred contrasts between opinion here and opinion abroad. The speculations of social reformers in France and in Germany, prove that the hope for benefits to be achieved by State-agency is far higher with them than with us.
Along with decrease of loyalty and concomitant decrease of faith in the powers of governments, has gone decrease of patriotism—patriotism, that is under its original form. To fight “for king and country” is an ambition which now-a-days occupies but a small space in men’s minds; and though there is among us a majority whose sentiment is represented by the exclamation—“Our country, right or wrong!” yet there are large numbers whose desire for human welfare at large, so far overrides their desire for national prestige, that they object to sacrificing the first to the last. The spirit of self-criticism, which in sundry respects leads us to make unfavourable comparisons between ourselves and our continental neighbours, leads us more than heretofore to blame ourselves for wrong conduct to weaker peoples. The many and strong reprobations of our dealings with the Afghans, the Zulus, and the Boers, show that there is a large amount of the feeling reprobated by the “Jingo”-class as unpatriotic.
That adaptation of individual nature to social needs, which, in the militant state, makes men glory in war and despise peaceful pursuits, has partially brought about among us a converse adjustment of the sentiments. The occupation of the soldier has ceased to be so much honoured, and that of the civilian is more honoured. During the forty years’ peace, the popular sentiment became such that “soldiering” was spoken of contemptuously; and those who enlisted, habitually the idle and the dissolute, were commonly regarded as having completed their disgrace. Similarly in America before the late civil war, such small military gatherings and exercises as from time to time occurred, excited general ridicule. Mean-while we see that labours, bodily and mental, useful to self and others, have come to be not only honourable but in a considerable degree imperative. In America the adverse comments on a man who does nothing, almost force him into some active pursuit; and among ourselves the respect for industrial life has become such that men of high rank put their sons into business.
While, as we saw, the compulsory cooperation proper to militancy, forbids, or greatly discourages, individual initiative, the voluntary cooperation which distinguishes industrialism, gives free scope to individual initiative, and develops it by letting enterprise bring its normal advantages. Those who are successfully original in idea and act, prospering and multiplying in a greater degree than others, produce, in course of time, a general type of nature ready to undertake new things. The speculative tendencies of English and American capitalists, and the extent to which large undertakings, both at home and abroad, are carried out by them, sufficiently indicate this trait of character. Though, along with considerable qualifications of militancy by industrialism on the continent, there has occurred there, too, an extension of private enterprise; yet the fact that while many towns in France and Germany have been supplied with gas and water by English companies, there is in England but little of kindred achievement by foreign companies, shows that among the more industrially-modified English, individual initiative is more decided.
There is evidence that the decline of international hostilities, associated as it is with the decline of hostilities between families and between individuals, is followed by a weakening of revengeful sentiments. This is implied by the fact that in our own country the more serious of these private wars early ceased, leaving only the less serious in the form of duels, which also have at length ceased: their cessation coinciding with the recent great development of industrial life—a fact with which may be joined the fact that in the more militant societies, France and Germany, they have not ceased. So much among ourselves has the authority of the lex talionis waned, that a man whose actions are known to be prompted by the wish for vengeance on one who has injured him, is reprobated rather than applauded.
With decrease of the aggressiveness shown in acts of violence and consequent acts of retaliation, has gone decrease of the aggressiveness shown in criminal acts at large. That this change has been a concomitant of the change from a more militant to a more industrial state, cannot be doubted by one who studies the history of crime in England. Says Mr. Pike in his work on that subject, “the close connexion between the military spirit and those actions which are now legally defined to be crimes, has been pointed out, again and again, in the course of this history.” If we compare a past age in which the effects of hostile activities had been less qualified by the effects of peaceful activities than they are in our own age, we see a marked contrast in respect of the numbers and kinds of offences against person and property. We have no longer any English buccaneers; wreckers have ceased to be heard of; and travellers do not now prepare themselves to meet highwaymen. Moreover, that flagitiousness of the governing agencies themselves, which was shown by the venality of ministers and members of Parliament, and by the corrupt administration of justice, has disappeared. With decreasing amount of crime has come increasing reprobation of crime. Biographies of pirate captains, suffused with admiration of their courage, no longer find a place in our literature; and the sneaking kindness for “gentlemen of the road,” is, in our days, but rarely displayed. Many as are the transgressions which our journals report, they have greatly diminished; and though in trading transactions there is much dishonesty (chiefly of the indirect sort) it needs but to read Defoe’s English Tradesman, to see how marked has been the improvement since his time. Nor must we forget that the change of character which has brought a decrease of unjust actions, has brought an increase of beneficent actions; as seen in paying for slave-emancipation, in nursing the wounded soldiers of our fighting neighbours, in philanthropic efforts of countless kinds.
§ 575. As with the militant type then, so with the industrial type, three lines of evidence converge to show us its essential nature. Let us set down briefly the several results, that we may observe the correspondences among them.
On considering what must be the traits of a society organized exclusively for carrying on internal activities, so as most efficiently to subserve the lives of citizens, we find them to be these. A corporate action subordinating individual actions by uniting them in joint effort, is no longer requisite. Contrariwise, such corporate action as remains has for its end to guard individual actions against all interferences not necessarily entailed by mutual limitation: the type of society in which this function is best discharged, being that which must survive, since it is that of which the members will most prosper. Excluding, as the requirements of the industrial type do, a despotic controlling agency, they imply, as the only congruous agency for achieving such corporate action as is needed, one formed of representatives who serve to express the aggregate will. The function of this controlling agency, generally defined as that of administering justice, is more specially defined as that of seeing that each citizen gains neither more nor less of benefit than his activities normally bring; and there is thus excluded all public action involving any artificial distribution of benefits. The régime of status proper to militancy having disappeared, the régime of contract which replaces it has to be universally enforced; and this negatives interferences between efforts and results by arbitrary apportionment. Otherwise regarded, the industrial type is distinguished from the militant type as being not both positively regulative and negatively regulative, but as being negatively regulative only. With this restricted sphere for corporate action comes an increased sphere for individual action; and from that voluntary cooperation which is the fundamental principle of the type, arise multitudinous private combinations, akin in their structures to the public combination of the society which includes them. Indirectly it results that a society of the industrial type is distinguished by plasticity; and also that it tends to lose its economic autonomy, and to coalesce with adjacent societies.
The question next considered was, whether these traits of the industrial type as arrived at by deduction are inductively verified; and we found that in actual societies they are visible more or less clearly in proportion as industrialism is more or less developed. Glancing at those small groups of uncultured people who, wholly unwarlike, display the industrial type in its rudimentary form, we went on to compare the structures of European nations at large in early days of chronic militancy, with their structures in modern days characterized by progressing industrialism; and we saw the differences to be of the kind implied. We next compared two of these societies, France and England, which were once in kindred states, but of which the one has had its industrial life much more repressed by its militant life than the other; and it became manifest that the contrasts which, age after age, arose between their institutions, were such as answer to the hypothesis. Lastly, limiting ourselves to England itself, and first noting how recession from such traits of the industrial type as had shown themselves, occurred during a long war-period, we observed how, during the subsequent long period of peace beginning in 1815, there were numerous and decided approaches to that social structure which we concluded must accompany developed industrialism.
We then inquired what type of individual nature accompanies the industrial type of society; with the view of seeing whether, from the character of the unit as well as from the character of the aggregate, confirmation is to be derived. Certain uncultured peoples whose lives are passed in peaceful occupations, proved to be distinguished by independence, resistance to coercion, honesty, truthfulness, forgivingness, kindness. On contrasting the characters of our ancestors during more warlike periods with our own characters, we see that, with an increasing ratio of industrialism to militancy, have come a growing independence, a less-marked loyalty, a smaller faith in governments, and a more qualified patriotism; and while, by enterprising action, by diminished faith in authority, by resistance to irresponsible power, there has been shown a strengthening assertion of individuality, there has accompanied it a growing respect for the individualities of others, as is implied by the diminution of aggressions upon them and the multiplication of efforts for their welfare.
To prevent misapprehension it seems needful, before closing, to explain that these traits are to be regarded less as the immediate results of industrialism than as the remote results of non-militancy. It is not so much that a social life passed in peaceful occupations is positively moralizing, as that a social life passed in war is positively demoralizing. Sacrifice of others to self is in the one incidental only; while in the other it is necessary. Such aggressive egoism as accompanies the industrial life is extrinsic; whereas the aggressive egoism of the militant life is intrinsic. Though generally unsympathetic, the exchange of services under agreement is now, to a considerable extent, and may be wholly, carried on with a due regard to the claims of others—may be constantly accompanied by a sense of benefit given as well as benefit received; but the slaying of antagonists, the burning of their houses, the appropriation of their territory, cannot but be accompanied by vivid consciousness of injury done them, and a consequent brutalizing effect on the feelings—an effect wrought, not on soldiers only, but on those who employ them and contemplate their deeds with pleasure. The last form of social life, therefore, inevitably deadens the sympathies and generates a state of mind which prompts crimes of trespass; while the first form, allowing the sympathies free play if it does not directly exercise them, favours the growth of altruistic sentiments and the resulting virtues.