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CHAPTER 12.: Altruism Versus Egoism - Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics, vol. 1 
The Principles of Ethics, introduction by Tibor R. Machan (Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1978). Vol. 1.
Part of: The Principles of Ethics, 2 vols.
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Altruism Versus Egoism
75. If we define altruism as being all action which, in the norma course of things, benefits others instead of benefiting self, then, from the dawn of life, altruism has been no less essential than egoism. Though primarily it is dependent on egoism, yet secondarily egoism is dependent on it.
Under altruism in this comprehensive sense, I take in the acts by which offspring are preserved and the species maintained. Moreover, among these acts must be included not such only as are accompanied by consciousness, but also such as conduce to the welfare of offspring without mental representation of the welfare–acts of automatic altruism as we may call them. Nor must there be left out those lowest altruistic acts which subserve race maintenance without implying even automatic nervous processes–acts not in the remotest sense psychical, but in a literal sense physical. Whatever action, unconscious or conscious, involves expenditure of individual life to the end of increasing life in other individuals, is unquestionably altruistic in a sense, if not in the usual sense; and it is here needful to understand it in this sense that we may see how conscious altruism grows out of unconscious altruism.
The simplest beings habitually multiply by spontaneous fission. Physical altruism of the lowest kirid, differentiating from physical egoism, may in this case be considered as not yet independent of it. For since the two halves which before fission constituted the individual, do not on dividing disappear, we must say that though the individuality of the parent infusorium or other protozoon is lost in ceasing to be single, yet the old individual continues to exist in each of the new individuals. When, however, as happens generally with these smallest animals, an interval of quiescence ends in the breaking up of the whole body into minute parts, each of which is the germ of a young one, we see the parent entirely sacrificed in forming progeny.
Here might be described how among creatures of higher grades, by fission or gemmation, parents bequeath parts of their bodies, more or less organized, to form offspring at the cost of their own individualities. Numerous examples might also be given of the ways in which the development of ova is carried to the extent of making the parental body little more than a receptacle for them: the implication being that the accumulations of nutriment which parental activities have laid up, are disposed of for the benefit of posterity And then might be dwelt on the multitudinous cases where, as generally throughout the insect world, maturity having been reached and a new generation provided for, life ends: death follows the sacrifices made for progeny
But leaving these lower types in which the altruism is physical only or in which it is physical and automatically–psychical only let us ascend to those in which it is also, to a considerable degree, conscious. Though in birds and mammals such parental activities as are guided by instinct, are accompanied by either no representations or but vague representations of the benefits which the young receive; yet there are also in them actions which we may class as altruistic in the higher sense. The agitation which creatures of these classes show when their young are in danger, joined often with efforts on their behalf, as well as the grief displayed after loss of their young, make it manifest that in them parental altruism has a concomitant of emotion.
Those who understand by altruism only the conscious sacrifice of self to others among human beings, will think it strange, or even absurd, to extend its meaning so widely But the justification for doing this is greater than has thus far appeared. I do not mean merely that in the course of evolution, there has been a progress through infinitesimal gradations from purely physical and unconscious sacrifices of the individual for the welfare of the species, up to sacrifices consciously made. I mean that from first to last the sacrifices are, when reduced to their lowest terms, of the same essential nature: to the last, as at first, there is involved a loss of bodily substance. When a part of the parental body is detached in the shape of gemmule, or egg, or foetus, the material sacrifice is conspicuous; and when the mother yields milk by absorbing which the young one grows, it cannot be questioned that there is also a material sacrifice. But though a material sacrifice is not manifest when the young are benefited by activities on their behalf; yet, as no effort can be made without an equivalent waste of tissue, and as the bodily loss is proportionate to the expenditure that takes place without reimbursement in food consumed, it follows that efforts made in fostering offspring do really represent a part of the parental substance; which is now given indirectly instead of directly.
Self-sacrifice, then, is no less primordial than self-preservation. Being in its simple physical form absolutely necessary for the continuance of life from the beginning; and being extended under its automatic form, as indispensable to maintenance of race in types considerably advanced; and being developed to its semiconscious and conscious forms, along with the continued and complicated attendance by which the offspring of superior creatures are brought to maturity; altruism has been evolving simultaneously with egoism. As was pointed out in an early chapter, the same superiorities which have enabled the individual to preserve itself better, have enabled it better to preserve the individuals derived from it; and each higher species, using its improved faculties primarily for egoistic benefit, has spread in proportion as it has used them secondarily for altruistic benefit.
The imperativeness of altruism as thus understood, is, indeed, no less than the imperativeness of egoism was shown to be in the last chapter. For while, on the one hand, a falling short of normal egoistic acts entails enfeeblement or loss of life, and therefore loss of ability to perform altruistic acts; on the other hand, such defect of altruistic acts as causes death of offspring or inadequate development of them, involves disappearance from future generations of the nature that is not altruistic enough–so decreasing the average egoism. In short, every species is continually purifying itself from the unduly egoistic individuals, while there are being lost to it the unduly altruistic individuals.
76. As there has been an advance by degrees from unconscious parental altruism to conscious parental altruism of the highest kind, so has there been an advance by degrees from the altruism of the family to social altruism.
A fact to be first noted is that only where altruistic relations in the domestic group have reached highly developed forms, do there arise conditions making possible full development of altruistic relations in the political group. Thibes in which promiscuity prevails or in which the marital relations are transitory and tribes in which polyandry entails in another way indefinite relationships, are incapable of much organization. Nor do peoples who are habitually polygamous, show themselves able to take on those high forms of social cooperation which demand due subordination of self to others. Only where monogamic marriage has become general and eventually universal~niy where there have consequently been established the closest ties of blood–only where family altruism has been most fostered, has social altruism become conspicuous. It needs but to recall the compound forms of the Aryan family as described by Sir Henry Maine and others, to see that family feeling, first extending itself to the gens and the tribe, and afterwards to the society formed of related tribes, prepared the way for fellow feeling among citizens not of the same stock.
Recognizing this natural transition, we are here chiefly concerned to observe that throughout the latter stages of the progress, as throughout the former, increase of egoistic satisfactions has depended on growth of regard for the satisfactions of others. On contemplating a line of successive parents and offspring, we see that each, enabled while young to live by the sacrifices predecessors make for it, itself makes, when adult, equivalent sacrifices for successors; and that in default of this general balancing of benefits received by benefits given, the line dies out. Similarly it is manifest that in a society each generation of members, indebted for such benefits as social organization yields them to preceding generations, who have by their sacrifices elaborated this organization, are called on to make for succeeding generations such kindred sacrifices as shall at least maintain this organization, if they do not improve it: the alternative being decay and eventual dissolution of the society implying gradual decrease in the egoistic satisfactions of its members.
And now we are prepared to consider the several ways in which, under social conditions, personal welfare depends on due regard for the welfare of others. Already the conclusions to be drawn have been foreshadowed. As in the chapter on the biological view were implied the inferences definitely set forth in the last chapter; so in the chapter on the sociological view were implied the inferences to be definitely set forth here. Sundry of these are trite enough; but they must nevertheless be specified, since the statement would be incomplete without them.
77. First to be dealt with comes that negative altruism implied by such curbing of the egoistic impulses as prevents direct aggression.
As before shown, if men instead of living separately are to unite for defense or for other purposes, they must severally reap more good than evil from the union. On the average, each must lose less from the antagonisms of those with whom he is associated, than he gains by the association. At the outset, therefore, that increase of egoistic satisfactions which the social state brings, can be purchased only by altruism sufficient to cause some recognition of others’ claims: if not a voluntary recognition, still, a compulsory recognition.
While the recognition is but of that lowest kind due to dread of retaliation, or of prescribed punishment, the egoistic gain from association is small; and it becomes considerable only as the recognition becomes voluntary–that is, more altruistic. Where, as among some of the wild Australians, there exists no limit to the right of the strongest, and the men fight to get possession of women while the wives of one man fight among themselves about him, the pursuit of egoistic satisfactions is greatly impeded. Besides the bodily pain occasionally given to each by conflict, and the more or less of subsequent inability to achieve personal ends, there is the waste of energy entailed in maintaining readiness for self-defense, and there is the accompanying occupation of consciousness by emotions that are on the average of cases disagreeable. Moreover, the primary end of safety in presence of external foes is ill-attained in proportion as there are internal animosities; such furtherance of satisfactions as industrial cooperation brings cannot be had; and there is little motive to labor for extra benefits when the products of labor are insecure. And from this early stage to comparatively late stages, we may trace in the wearing of arms, in the carrying on of family feuds, and in the taking of daily precautions for safety. the ways in which the egoistic satisfactions of each are diminished by deficiency of that altruism which checks overt injury of others.
The private interests of the individual are on the average better subserved, not only in proportion as he himself refrains from direct aggression, but also, on the average, in proportion as he succeeds in diminishing the aggression of his fellows on one another. The prevalence of antagonisms among those around, impedes the activities carried on by each in pursuit of satisfactions; and by causing disorder makes the beneficial results of activities more doubtful. Hence, each profits egoistically from the growth of an altruism which leads each to aid in preventing or diminishing others’ violence.
The like holds when we pass to that altruism which restrains the undue egoism displayed in breaches of contract. General acceptance of the maxim that honesty is the best policy implies general experience that gratification of the self-regarding feelings is eventually furthered by such checking of them as maintains equitable dealings. And here, as before, each is personally interested in securing good treatment of his fellows by one another. For in countless ways evils are entailed on each by the prevalence of fraudulent transactions. As everyone knows, the larger the number of a shopkeeper’s bills left unpaid by some customers, the higher must be the prices which other customers pay. The more manufacturers lose by defective raw materials or by carelessness of workmen, the more must they charge for their fabrics to buyers. The less trustworthy people are, the higher rises the rate of interest, the larger becomes the amount of capital hoarded, the greater are the impediments to industry. The further traders and people in general go beyond their means, and hypothecate the property of others in speculation, the more serious are those commercial panics which bring disasters on multitudes and injuriously affect all.
This introduces us to yet a third way in which such personal welfare as results from the proportioning of benefits gained to labors given, depends on the making of certain sacrifices for social welfare. The man who, expending his energies wholly on private affairs refuses to take trouble about public affairs, pluming himself on his wisdom in minding his own business, is blind to the fact that his own business is made possible only by maintenance of a healthy social state, and that he loses all round by defective governmental arrangements. Where there are many like-minded with himself–where, as a consequence, offices come to be filled by political adventurers and opinion is swayed by demagogues–where bribery vitiates the administration of the law and makes fraudulent state-transactions habitual; heavy penalties fall on the community at large, and, among others, on those who have thus done everything for self and nothing for society. Their investments are insecure; recovery of their debts is difficult; and even their lives are less safe than they would otherwise have been.
So that on such altruistic actions as are implied, first in being just, second in seeing justice done between others, and third in upholding and improving the agencies by which justice is administered, depend, in large measure, the egoistic satisfactions of each.
78. But the identification of personal advantage with the advantage of fellow citizens is much wider than this. In various other ways the well-being of each rises and falls with the well-being of all.
A weak man left to provide for his own wants, suffers by getting smaller amounts of food and other necessaries than he might get were he stronger. In a community formed by weak men, who divide their labors and exchange the products, all suffer evils from the weakness of their fellows. The quantity of each kind of product is made deficient by the deficiency of laboring power; and the share each gets for such share of his own product as he can afford to give, is relatively small. Just as the maintenance of paupers, hospital patients, inmates of asylums, and others who consume but do not produce, leaves to be divided among producers a smaller stock of commodities than would exist were there no incapables; so must there be left a smaller stock of commodities to be divided, the greater the number of inefficient producers, or the greater the average deficiency of producing power. Hence, whatever decreases the strength of men in general restricts the gratifications of each by making the means to them dearer.
More directly and more obviously does the bodily well-being of his fellows concern him; for their bodily ill-being, when it takes certain shapes, is apt to bring similar bodily ill-being on him. If he is not himself attacked by cholera, or smallpox or typhus, when it invades his neighborhood, he often suffers a penalty through his belongings. Under conditions spreading it, his wife catches diphtheria, or his servant is laid up with scarlet fever, or his children take now this and now that infectious disorder. Add together the immediate and remote evils brought on him year after year by epidemics, and it becomes manifest that his egoistic satisfactions are greatly furthered by such altruistic activities as render disease less prevalent.
With the mental, as well as with the bodily states of fellow citizens, his enjoyments are in multitudinous ways bound up. Stupidity like weakness raises the cost of commodities. Where farming is unimproved, the prices of food are higher than they would else be; where antiquated routine maintains itself in trade, the needless expense of distribution weighs on all; where there is no inventiveness, everyone loses the benefits which improved appliances diffuse. Other than economic evils come from the average unintelligence–periodically through the manias and panics that arise because traders rush in herds all to buy or all to sell; and habitually through the maladministration of justice, which people and rulers alike disregard while pursuing this or that legislative will-o’-the-wisp. Closer and clearer is the dependence of his personal satisfactions on others’ mental states, which each experiences in his household. Unpunctuality and want of system are perpetual sources of annoyance. The unskillfulness of the cook causes frequent vexation and occasional indigestion. Lack of forethought in the housemaid leads to a fall over a bucket in a dark passage. And inattention to a message or forgetfulness in delivering it, entails failure in an important engagement. Each, therefore, benefits egoistically by such altruism as aids in raising the average intelligence. I do not mean such altruism as taxes ratepayers that children’s minds may be filled with dates, and names, and gossip about kings, and narratives of battles, and other useless information, no amount of which will make them capable workers or good citizens; but I mean such altruism as helps to spread a knowledge of the nature of things and to cultivate the power of applying that knowledge.
Yet again, each has a private interest in public morals and profits by improving them. Not in large ways only by aggressions and breaches of contract, by adulterations and short measures, does each suffer from the general unconscientiousness; but in more numerous small ways. Now it is through the untruthfulness of one who gives a good character to a bad servant; now it is by the recklessness of a laundress who, using bleaching agents to save trouble in washing, destroys his linen; now it is by the acted falsehood of railway passengers who, by dispersed coats, make him believe that all the seats in a compartment are taken when they are not. Yesterday the illness of his child due to foul gases, led to the discovery of a drain that had become choked because it was ill-made by a dishonest builder under supervision of a careless or bribed surveyor. Today workmen employed to rectify it bring on him cost and inconvenience by dawdling; and their low standard of work, determined by the unionist principle that the better workers must not discredit the worse by exceeding them in efficiency, he may trace to the immoral belief that the unworthy should fare as well as the worthy. Tomorrow it turns out that business for the plumber has been provided by damage which the bricklayers have done.
Thus the improvement of others, physically, intellectually and morally personally concerns each; since their imperfections tell in raising the cost of all the commodities he buys, in increasing the taxes and rates he pays, and in the losses of time, trouble, and money daily brought on him by others’ carelessness, stupidity. or unconscientiousness.
79. Very obvious are certain more immediate connections between personal welfare and ministration to the welfare of those around. The evils suffered by those whose behavior is unsympathetic, and the benefits to self which unselfish conduct brings, show these.
That anyone should have formulated his experience by saying that the conditions to success are a hard heart and a sound digestion, is marvellous considering the many proofs that success, even of a material kind, greatly depending as it does on the good offices of others, is furthered by whatever creates goodwill in others. The contrast between the prosperity of those who to but moderate abilities join natures which beget friendships by their kindliness, and the adversity of those who, though possessed of superior faculties and greater acquirements, arouse dislikes by their hardness or indifference, should force upon all the truth that egoistic enjoyments are aided by altruistic actions.
This increase of personal benefit achieved by benefiting others, is but partially achieved where a selfish motive prompts the seemingly unselfish act: it is fully achieved only where the act is really unselfish. Though services rendered with the view of some time profiting by reciprocated services, answer to a certain extent; yet, ordinarily they answer only to the extent of bringing equivalents of reciprocated services. Those which bring more than equivalents are those not prompted by any thoughts of equivalents. For obviously it is the spontaneous outflow of good nature, not in the larger acts of life only but in all its details, which generates in those around the attachments prompting unstinted benevolence.
Besides furthering prosperity, other-regarding actions conduce to self-regarding gratifications by generating a genial environment. With the sympathetic being everyone feels more sympathy than with others. All conduct themselves with more than usual amiability to a person who hourly discloses a lovable nature. Such a one is practically surrounded by a world of better people than one who is less attractive. If we contrast the state of a man possessing all the material means to happiness, but isolated by his absolute egoism, with the state of an altruistic man relatively poor in means but rich in friends, we may see that various gratifications not to be purchased by money, come in abundance to the last and are inaccessible to the first.
While, then, there is one kind of other-regarding action, furthering the prosperity of fellow citizens at large, which admits of being deliberately pursued from motives that are remotely self-regarding–the conviction being that personal well-being depends in large measure on the well-being of society–there is an additional kind of other-regarding action having in it no element of conscious self-regard, which nevertheless conduces greatly to egoistic satisfactions.
80. Yet other modes exist in which egoism unqualified by altruism habitually fails. It diminishes the totality of egoistic pleasure by diminishing in several directions the capacity for pleasure.
Self-gratifications, considered separately or in the aggregate, lose their intensities by that too great persistence in them which results if they are made the exclusive objects of pursuit. The law that function entails waste, and that faculties yielding pleasure by their action cannot act incessantly without exhaustion and accompanying satiety has the implication that intervals during which altruistic activities absorb the energies, are intervals during which the capacity for egoistic pleasure is recovering its full degree. The sensitiveness to purely personal enjoyments is maintained at a higher pitch by those who minister to the enjoyment of others, than it is by those who devote themselves wholly to personal enjoyments.
This which is manifest even while the tide of life is high, becomes still more manifest as life ebbs. It is in maturity and old age that we especially see how as egoistic pleasures grow faint, altruistic actions come in to revive them in new forms. The contrast between the child’s delight in the novelties daily revealed, and the indifference which comes as the world around grows familiar, until in adult life there remain comparatively few things that are greatly enjoyed, draws from all the reflection that as years go by pleasures pall. And to those who think, it becomes clear that only through sympathy can pleasures be indirectly gained from things that have ceased to yield pleasures directly. In the gratifications derived by parents from the gratifications of their offspring, this is conspicuously shown. Trite as is the remark that men live afresh in their children, it is needful here to set it down as reminding us of the way in which, as the egoistic satisfactions in life fade, altruism renews them while it transfigures them.
We are thus introduced to a more general consideration–the egoistic aspect of altruistic pleasure. Not, indeed, that this is the place for discussing the question whether the egoistic element can be excluded from altruism; nor is it the place for distinguishing between the altruism which is pursued with a foresight of the pleasurable feeling to be achieved through it, and the altruism which, though it achieves this pleasurable feeling, does not make pursuit of it a motive. Here we are concerned with the fact that, whether knowingly or unknowingly gained, the state of mind accompanying altruistic action, being a pleasurable state, is to be counted in the sum of pleasures which the individual can receive; and in this sense cannot be other than egoistic. That we must so regard it is proved on observing that this pleasure, like pleasures in general, conduces to the physical prosperity of the ego. As every other agreeable emotion raises the tide of life, so does the agreeable emotion which accompanies a benevolent deed. As it cannot be denied that the pain caused by the sight of suffering, depresses the vital functions–sometimes even to the extent of arresting the heart’s action, as in one who faints on seeing a surgical operation; so neither can it be denied that the joy felt in witnessing others’ joy exalts the vital functions. Hence, however much we may hesitate to class altruistic pleasure as a higher kind of egoistic pleasure, we are obliged to recognize the fact that its immediate effects in augmenting life and so furthering personal well-being, are like those of pleasures that are directly egoistic. And the corollary drawn must be that pure egoism is, even in its immediate results, less successfully egoistic than is the egoism duly qualified by altruism which, besides achieving additional pleasures, achieves also, through raised vitality a greater capacity for pleasures in general.
That the range of aesthetic gratifications is wider for the altruistic nature than for the egoistic nature, is also a truth not to be overlooked. The joys and sorrows of human beings form a chief element in the subject matter of art; and evidently the pleasures which art gives increase as the fellow feeling with these joys and sorrows strengthens. If we contrast early poetry occupied mainly with war and gratifying the savage instincts by descriptions of bloody victories, with the poetry of modern times, in which the sanguinary forms but a small part while a large part, dealing with the gentler affections, enlists the feelings of readers on behalf of the weak; we are shown that with the development of a more altruistic nature, there has been opened a sphere of enjoyment inaccessible to the callous egoism of barbarous times. So, too, between the fiction of the past and the fiction of the present, there is the difference that while the one was almost exclusively occupied with the doings of the ruling classes, and found its plots in their antagonisms and deeds of violence, the other, chiefly taking stories of peaceful life for its subjects, and to a considerable extent the life of the humbler classes, discloses a new world of interest in the everyday pleasures and pains of ordinary people. A like contrast exists between early and late forms of plastic art. When not representing acts of worship, the wall sculptures and wall paintings of the Assyrians and Egyptians, or the decorations of temples among the Greeks, represented deeds of conquest; whereas in modern times, while the works which glorify destructive activities are less numerous, there are an increasing number of works gratifying to the kindlier sentiments of spectators. To see that those who care nothing about the feelings of other beings are, by implication, shut out from a wide range of aesthetic pleasures, it needs but to ask whether men who delight in dogfights may be expected to appreciate Beethoven’s Adelaida, or whether Tennyson’s In Memoriam would greatly move a gang of convicts.
81. From the dawn of life, then, egoism has been dependent upon altruism as altruism has been dependent upon egoism; and in the course of evolution the reciprocal services of the two have been increasing.
The physical and unconscious self-sacrifice of parents to form offspring, which the lowest living things display from hour to hour, shows us in its primitive form the altruism which makes possible the egoism of individual life and growth. As we ascend to higher grades of creatures, this parental altruism becomes a direct yielding up of only part of the body, joined with an increasing contribution from the remainder in the shape of tissue wasted in efforts made on behalf of progeny This indirect sacrifice of substance, replacing more and more the direct sacrifice as parental altruism becomes higher, continues to the last to represent also altruism which is other than parental; since this, too, implies loss of substance in making efforts that do not bring their return in personal aggrandizement.
After noting how among mankind parental altruism and family altruism pass into social altruism, we observed that a society, like a species, survives only on condition that each generation of its members shall yield to the next, benefits equivalent to those it has received from the last. And this implies that care for the family must be supplemented by care for the society
Fullness of egoistic satisfactions in the associated state, depending primarily on maintenance of the normal relation between efforts expended and benefits obtained, which underlies all life, implies an altruism which both prompts equitable conduct and prompts the enforcing of equity. The well-being of each is involved with the well-being of all in sundry other ways. Whatever conduces to their vigor concerns him; for it diminishes the cost of everything he buys. Whatever conduces to their freedom from disease concerns him; for it diminishes his own liability to disease. Whatever raises their intelligence concerns him; for inconveniences are daily entailed on him by others’ ignorance or folly. Whatever raises their moral characters concerns him; for at every turn he suffers from the average unconscientiousness.
Much more directly do his egoistic satisfactions depend on those altruistic activities which enlist the sympathies of others. By alienating those around, selfishness loses the unbought aid they can render; shuts out a wide range of social enjoyments; and fails to receive those exaltations of pleasure and mitigations of pain, which come from men’s fellow feeling with those they like.
Lastly undue egoism defeats itself by bringing on an incapacity for happiness. Purely egoistic gratifications are rendered less keen by satiety, even in the earlier part of life, and almost disappear in the later; the less satiating gratifications of altruism are missed throughout life, and especially in that latter part when they largely replace egoistic gratifications; and there is a lack of susceptibility to aesthetic pleasures of the higher orders.
An indication must be added of the truth, scarcely at all recognized, that this dependence of egoism upon altruism ranges beyond the limits of each society and tends ever towards universality. That within each society it becomes greater as social evolution, implying increase of mutual dependence, progresses, needs not be shown; and it is a corollary that as fast as the dependence of societies on one another is increased by commercial intercourse, the internal welfare of each becomes a matter of concern to the others. That the impoverishment of any country diminishing both its producing and consuming powers, tells detrimentally on the people of countries trading with it, is a commonplace of political economy. Moreover, we have had of late years, abundant experience of the industrial derangements through which distress is brought on nations not immediately concerned, by wars between other nations. And if each community has the egoistic satisfactions of its members diminished by aggressions of neighboring communities on one another, still more does it have them diminished by its own aggressions. One who marks how in various parts of the world, the unscrupulous greed of conquest cloaked by pretenses of spreading the blessings of British rule and British religion, is now reacting to the immense detriment of the industrial classes at home, alike by increasing expenditure and paralyzing trade, may see that these industrial classes, absorbed in questions about capital and labor, and thinking themselves unconcerned in our doings abroad, are suffering from lack of that wide-reaching altruism which should insist on just dealings with other peoples, civilized or savage. And he may also see that beyond these immediate evils, they will for a generation to come suffer the evils that must flow from resuscitating the type of social organization which aggressive activities produce, and from the lowered moral tone which is its accompaniment.