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CHAPTER XXXI.: summary. - Herbert Spencer, Social Statics 
Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed, (London: John Chapman, 1851).
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By bringing within narrow compass the evidences that have been adduced in support of the Theory of Equity now before him, the reader will be aided in coming to a final judgment upon it.
At the head of these evidences stands the fact that, from whatever side we commence the investigation, our paths alike converge towards the principle of which this theory is a development. If we start with an à priori inquiry into the conditions under which alone the Divine Idea—greatest happiness—can be realized, we find that conformity to the law of equal freedom is the first of them (Chap. III.). If, turning to man’s constitution, we consider the means provided for achieving greatest happiness, we quickly reason our way back to this same condition; seeing that these means cannot work out their end, unless the law of equal freedom is submitted to (Chap. IV.). If, pursuing the analysis a step further, we examine how subordination to the law of equal freedom is secured, we discover certain faculties by which that law is responded to (Chap. V.). If, again, we contemplate the phenomena of civilization, we perceive that the process of adaptation under which they may be generalized, can never cease until men have become instinctively obedient to this same law of equal freedom (Chap. II.). To all which positive proofs may also be added the negative one, that to deny this law of equal freedom is to assert divers absurdities (Chap. VI.).
Further confirmation may be found in the circumstance that pre-existing theories, which are untenable as they stand, are yet absorbed, and the portion of truth contained in them assimilated, by the theory now proposed. Thus the production of the greatest happiness, though inapplicable as an immediate guide for men, is nevertheless the true end of morality, regarded from the Divine point of view; and as such, forms part of the present system (Chap. III.). The moral-sense principle, also, whilst misapplied by its propounders, is still based on fact; and, as was shown, harmonizes, when rightly interpreted, with what seem conflicting beliefs, and unites with them to produce a complete whole. Add to this, that the philosophy now contended for, includes, and affords a wider application to, Adam Smith’s doctrine of sympathy (p. 97); and lastly, that it gives the finishing development to Coleridge’s “Idea of Life” (p. 436).
The power which the proposed theory possesses of reducing the leading precepts of current morality to a scientific form, and of comprehending them, in company with sundry less acknowledged precepts, under one generalization, may also be quoted as additional evidence in its favour. Not as heretofore by considering whether, on the whole, manslaughter is productive of unhappiness, or otherwise—not by inquiring if theft is, or is not, expedient—not by asking in the case of slavery what are its effects on the common weal—not by any such complex and inexact processes, neither by the disputable decisions of unaided moral sense, are we here guided; but by undeniable inferences from a proved first principle. Nor are only the chief rules of right conduct and the just ordering of the connubial and parental relationships thus determined for us; this same first principle indirectly gives distinct answers respecting the proper constitution of governments, their duties, and the limits to their action. Out of an endless labyrinth of confused debate concerning the policy of these or those public measures, it opens short and easily-discerned ways; and the conclusions it leads to are enforced, both generally, by an abundant experience of the fallacy of expediency decisions, and specially, by numerous arguments bearing on each successive question. Underlying, therefore, as this first principle does, so wide a range of duty, and applied as it is by a process of mental admeasurement nearly related to the geometrical—namely, by ascertaining the equality or inequality of moral quantities (p. 110)—we may consider that a system of ethics synthetically developed from it, partakes of the character of an exact science; and as doing this possesses additional claims to our confidence.
Again, the injunctions of the moral law, as now interpreted, coincide with and anticipate those of political economy. Political economy teaches that restrictions upon commerce are detrimental: the moral law denounces them as wrong (Chap. XXIII.). Political economy tells us that loss is entailed by a forced trade with colonies: the moral law will not permit such a trade to be established (Chap. XXVII.). Political economy says it is good that speculators should be allowed to operate on the food-markets as they see well: the law of equal freedom (contrary to the current notion) holds them justified in doing this, and condemns all interference with them as inequitable. Penalties upon usury are proved by political economy to be injurious: by the law of equal freedom they are prohibited as involving an infringement of rights. According to political economy, machinery is beneficial to the people, rather than hurtful to them: in unison with this the law of equal freedom forbids all attempts to restrict its use. One of the settled conclusions of political economy is, that wages and prices cannot be artificially regulated: meanwhile it is an obvious inference from the law of equal freedom that no artificial regulation of them is morally permissible. We are taught by political economy that to be least injurious taxation must be direct: coincidently we find that direct taxation is the only kind of taxation against which the law of equal freedom does not unconditionally protest (p. 208). On sundry other questions, such as the hurtfulness of tamperings with currency, the futility of endeavours to permanently benefit one occupation at the expense of others, the impropriety of legislative interference with manufacturing processes, &c., the conclusions of political economy are similarly at one with the dictates of this law. And thus the laboured arguments of Adam Smith and his successors are forestalled, and for practical purposes made needless, by the simplest deductions of fundamental morality: a fact which, perhaps, will not be duly realized until it is seen that the inferences of political economy are true, only because they are discoveries by a roundabout process of what the moral law commands.
Moreover, the proposed theory includes a philosophy of civilization. Whilst in its ethical aspect it ignores evil, yet in its psychological aspect it shows how evil disappears. Whilst, as an abstract statement of what conduct should be, it assumes human perfection—is, in fact, the law of that perfection—yet, as a rationale of moral phenomena, it explains why conduct is becoming what it should be, and why the process through which humanity has passed was necessary.
Thus we saw that the possession by the aboriginal man of a constitution enabling him to appreciate and act up to the principles of pure rectitude would have been detrimental, and indeed fatal (p. 410). We saw that in accordance with the law of adaptation, the faculties responding to those principles began to unfold as soon as the conditions of existence called for them. From time to time it has been shown that the leading incidents of progress indicate the continued development of these faculties. That supremacy of them must precede the realization of the perfect state, has been implied in numerous places. And the influence by which their ultimate supremacy is ensured has been pointed out (Chap. II.).
So that though one side of the proposed theory, in exhibiting the conditions under which alone the Divine Idea may be realized, overlooks the existing defects of mankind; the other side, in exhibiting the mental properties requisite for fulfilling these conditions, shows what civilization essentially is; why it was needful; and explains for us its leading traits.
Finally, there is the fact lately alluded to, that moral truth, as now interpreted, proves to be a development of physiological truth; for the so-called moral law is in reality the law of complete life. As more than once pointed out, a total cessation in the exercise of faculties is death; whatever partially prevents their exercise, produces pain or partial death; and only when activity is permitted to all of them, does life become perfect. Liberty to exercise the faculties being thus the first condition of life, and the extension of that liberty to the furthest point possible being the condition of the highest life possible, it follows that the liberty of each, limited only by the like liberty of all, is the condition of complete life as applied to mankind at large.
Nor is this true of mankind in their individual capacities only: it is equally true of them in their corporate capacity; seeing that the vitality which a community exhibits is high or low according as this condition is or is not fulfilled. For, as the reader no doubt observed in the course of our late analysis, those superior types of social organization, characterized by the mutual dependence of their respective parts, are possible only in as far as their respective parts can confide in each other; that is, only in as far as men behave justly to their fellows; that is, only in as far as they obey the law of equal freedom.
Hence, broadly generalizing, as it does, the prerequisites of existence, both personal and social—being on the one hand the law under which each citizen may attain complete life, and on the other hand being, not figuratively, but literally, the vital law of the social organism—being the law under which perfect individuation, both of man and of society, is achieved—being, therefore, the law of that state towards which creation tends—the law of equal freedom may properly be considered as a law of nature.
Having now briefly reviewed the arguments—having called to mind that our first principle is arrived at by several independent methods of inquiry—that it unfolds into a system, uniting in one consistent whole, theories, some of which seem conflicting, and others unrelated—that it not only gives a scientific derivation to the leading precepts of morality, but includes them along with the laws of state-duty under one generalization—that it utters injunctions coinciding with those of political economy—that civilization is explicable as the evolution of a being capable of conforming to it—that, as the law of complete life, it is linked with those physical laws of which life is the highest product—and lastly, that it possesses such multiplied relationships, because it underlies the manifestations of life—having called to mind these things, the reader will perhaps find the rays of evidence thus brought to a focus, sufficient to dissipate the doubts that may hitherto have lingered with him.