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Herbert Spencer argued that in a militant type of society the state would become more centralised and administrative, as compulsory education clearly showed (1882)

Central to Spencer’s sociology of the state was the distinction between what he called militant types of society and industrial types of society. In the latter type of society he observed that administration by the state is either non-existent or extremely decentralized, as the following quote shows:

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.

§ 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.

About this Quotation:

Herbert Spencer continues his discussion of the differences between the “militant” and “industrial” types of societies. In this passage he details some of the activities of the state in a “militant” type of society, namely compulsory state education, an established church, pervasive state regulation of industry, and so on. The sad thing about Spencer is that he aged, he seemed to become more radical in his liberalism whilst the society around became more statist and interventionist.

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