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for his neighbor's claims as for his own, not do without absolute political ethics ;
There exists a division of physical sci- by a great assemblage of vast inductions, enco distinguished as abstract mechanics For what else are the laws and judicial or absolute mechanics—absolute in the systems of all civilized nations, and of all sense that its propositions are unqualified. societies which have risen above savagery
? It is concerned with statics and dynamics What is the meaning of the fact that all in their pure forms—deals with forces and peoples have discovered the need for punmotions considered as free from all inter. ishing murder, usually by death ? How ferences resulting from friction, resistances
is it that where any considerable progress of media, and special properties of matter. has been made, theft is forbidden by law, If it enunciates a law of motion, it recog- and a penalty attached to it? Why along nizes nothing which modifies manifestation with further advance does the enforcing of it. If it formulates the properties of of contracts become general ? And what the lever it treats of this assuming it to be is the reason that among fully. civilized perfectly rigid and without thickness--an peoples frauds, libels, and minor aggresimpossible lever. Its theory of the screw sions of various kinds are repressed in imagines the screw to be frictionless; and more or less rigorous ways? No cause in treating of the wedge, absolute incom- can be assigned save a general uniformity pressibility is supposed. Thus its truths in men's experiences, showing them that are never presented in experience. Even aggressions directly injurious to the indithose movements of the heavenly bodies viduals aggressed upon are indirectly injuwhich are deducible from its propositions rious to society. Generation after generaare always more or less perturbed ; and on tion observations have forced this truth on the Earth the inferences to be drawn from them ; and generation after generation them deviate very considerably from the they have been developing the interdicts results reached by experiment. Never- into greater detail. That is to say, the theless this system of ideal mechanics is above fundamental principle and its corolindispensable for the guidance of real me- laries arrived at d priori are verified in an chanics. The engineer bas to deal with infinity of cases à posteriori. Everywhere its propositions as true in full, before he the tendency bas been to carry further in proceeds to qualify them by taking into practice the dictates of theory—to conaccount the natures of the materials he form systems of law to the requirements
The course which a projectile would of absolute political ethics : if not contake if subject only to the propulsive force sciously, still unconsciously. Nay, indeed, and the attraction of the Earth must be is not this truth manifest in the very name recognized, though no such course is ever used for the end aimed at-equity or pursued : correction for atmospheric re- equalness ? Equalness of what ? No ansistance cannot else be made. That is to swer can be given without a recognitionsay, though, by empirical methods, ap- vague it may be, but still a recognitionplied or relative mechanics may be devel- of the doctrine above set forth. oped to a considerable extent, it cannot Thus, instead of being described as be highly developed without the aid of putting faith in “ long chains of deduction absolute mechanics. So is it here. Rel- from abstract ethical assumptions" I ative political ethics, or that which deals ought to be described as putting faith in with right and wrong in public affairs as simple deductions from abstract ethical partially determined by changing circum- necessities; which deductions are verified stances, cannot progress without taking by infinitely numerous observations and into account right and wrong considered experiences of semi-civilized and civilized apart from changing circumstances-can- mankind in all ages and places. Or rather
I ought to be described as one who, con- tion, or a purified police. And if ethics templating the restraints everywhere put comes into consideration, it is in connecupon the various kinds of transgressions, tion with the morals of parliamentary and seeing in them all a common principle strife or of candidates' professions, or of erery where dictated by the necessitics of electoral corruptions. Yet it needs but to the associated state, proceeds to develop look at the definition of politics (“that the
consequences of this common principle part of ethics which consists in the regulaby deduction, and to justify both the de- tion and government of a nation or state, ductions and the conclusions which legis. for the preservation of its safety, peace, lators have empirically reached by showing and prosperity''), to see that the current that the two correspond. This method of conception fails by omitting the chief deduction verified by induction is the part. It needs but to consider how relamethod of developed science at large. I tively immense a factor in the life of each do not believe that I shall be led to aban- man is constituted by safety of person, don it and change my " way of thinking" security of house and property, and enby any amount of disapproval, however forcement of claims, to see that not only strongly expressed.
the largest part but the part which is vital Are we then to understand that by this is left out. Hence the absurdity does not imposing title, “ Absolute Political Eth- exist in the conception of an absolute poics,” nothing more is meant than a theory litical ethics, but it exists in the ignoring of the needful restraints which law imposes of its subject matter. Unless it be conon the actions of citizens—an ethical war- sidered absurd to regard as absolute the rant for systems of law? Well, supposing interdicts against murder, burglary, fraud even that I had to answer “Yes” to this and all other aggressions, it cannot be question (which I do not), there would considered absurd to regard as absolute still be an ample justification for the title. the ethical system which embodies these Having for its subject matter all that is interdicts. comprehended under the word “Justice, It remains to add that beyond the dealike as formulated in law and administered ductions which, as we have seen, are hy legal instrumentalities, the title has a verified by vast assemblages of inductions, sufficiently large area to
This there may be drawn other deductions not would scarcely need saying were it not for thus verified-deductions drawn from the a curions defect of thought which we are same data, but which have no relevant exeverywhere led into by babit.
periences to say yes or no to them. Such Just as, when talking of knowledge, we deductions may be valid or invalid ; and ignore entirely that familiar knowledge of I believe that in my first work, written surrounding things, animate and inani- forty years ago and long since withdrawn mate, acquired in childhood, in the absence from circulation, there are some invalid of which death would quickly result, and deductions. But to reject a principle and think only of that far less essential knowl- a method because of some invalid deducedge gained at school and college or from tions is about as proper as it would be to books and conversation-just as, when pooh-pooh arithmetic because of blunders thinking of mathematics, we include under in certain arithmetical calculations. the name only its higher groups of truths and drop out that simpler group constitut- I turn now to a question above puting arithmetic, tbough for the carrying on whether, by absolute political ethics, noth: of life this is more important than all the ing more is meant than an ethical warrant rest put together ; so, when politics and for systems of law—a question to which, political ethics are discussed, there is no by implication, I answered No. thought of those parts of them which in- I have to answer that it extends over a clude whatever is fundamental and long further field equally wide if less important. settled. The word political raises ideas of For beyond the relations among citizens party-contests, ministerial changes, pro- taken individually, there are the relations spective elections, or else of the Home- between the incorporated body of citizens Rule question, the Land-Purchase scheme, and each citizen. · And on these relations Local Option, or the Eight-Hours move- between the State and the man, absolute ment. Rarely does the word suggest political ethics gives judgments as well as Jaw-reform, or a better judicial organiza- on the relations between man and man.
Its judgments on the relations between for that subordination of the individuals man and man are corollaries from its pri- which is necessitated by consolidating them mary truth, that the activities of each in into a fighting machine, and for that furpursuing the objects of life inay be rightly ther subordination entailed by supplying restricted only by the like activities of this fighting machine with the necessaries others : such others being like-natured of life ; and as fast as this change goes on, (for the principle does not contemplate the warrant for State-coercion which relslave-societies or societies in which one ative political ethics furnishes becomes race dominates over another); and its less and less. judgments on the relations between the Obviously it is ont of the question here man and the State are corollaries from the to enter upon the complex questions raised. allied truth, that the activities of each It must suffice to indicate them as above. citizen may be rightly limited by the in- Should I be able to complete Part IV. of corporated body of citizens only as far as the Principles of Ethics treating of “ Jusis needful for securing to him the remain- tice," of which the first chapters only are der. This further limitation is a necessary at present written, I hope to deal adequateaccompaniment of the militant state ; and ly with these relations between the ethics must continue so long as, besides the of the progressive condition and the ethics criminalities of individual aggression, there of that condition which is the goal of prog. continue the criminalities of international ress—a goal ever to be recognized, though aggression. It is clear that the preserva. it cannot be actually reached. tion of the society is an end which must take precedence of the preservation of its The grave misrepresentations dealt with individuals taken singly ; since the pres- in the foregoing sections, I have been able ervation of each individual and mainte- to rectify by an exposition that is mainly nance of his ability to pursue the objects impersonal : allusions, only, having been of life, depend on the preservation of the made to the personal bearings of the argusociety. Such restrictions upon his ac- ment. But there remain other grave mistions as are imposed by the necessities of representations which I cannot dispose of war, and of preparedness for war when it in the same way. Life sometimes preis probable, are therefore ethically defen- sents alteruatives both of which are disasible.
greeable, and acceptance of either of which And here we enter upon the many and is damaging. A choice between two such involved questions with which relative po- I now find myself compelled to make. litical ethics has to deal. When original- Professor Huxley, referring to me, speaks ly indicating the contrast, I spoke of “ ab. of “the gulf fixed between his way of solute political ethics, or that which ought thinking and mine :" the implication beto be, as distinguished from relative po- ing that as he regards his own" way of litical ethics, or that which is at present thinking” as the right one, my way of the nearest practicable approach to it;" thinking, separated from it by a golf, must and had any attention been paid to this be extremely wrong. As this tacit condistinction, no controversy need have demnation of my way of thinking” arisen. Here I have to add that the touches not only the question at issue but qualifications which relative political ethics also many other questions, and as it comes sets forth vary with the type of the socie- not from an anonymous critic, but from ty, which is primarily determined by the one whose statements will be taken as extent to which defence against other so- trustworthy, I am placed in the dilemma cieties is needful. Where international of either passively allowing his injurious enmity is great and the social organization characterization, or else of showing that it has to be adapted to warlike activities, the is untrue, which I cannot do without decoercion of individuals by the State is such scribing or illustrating my as almost to destroy their freedom of ac- ing.” This is, of course, an unpleasant tion and make them slaves of the State ; undertaking, and one which self-respect and where this results from the necessities would ordinarily negative. But unpleasant of defensive war (not offensive war, how- as it is, I feel obliged to enter upon it. ever), relative political ethics furnishes a Years ago Professor Huxley criticised
Conversely, as militancy de- the political doctrine held by me, and encreases, there is a diminished need both titled his article Administrative Nihil
way of think,
ism.'' As this doctrine includes advocacy there arises this curious question :
:-How of governmental action for the repression have I used for deductive purposes more not only of crimes but of many minor facts than have been used by any other offences, I pointed out that if it is to be writer on Sociology for inductive purcalled administrative nihilism,”? then poses ? “This is irrelevant,”' will perstill more must the eight prohibitory haps be the rejoinder—“The question clauses of the decalogue be called ethical concerns not the method pursued in dealnihilism. Professor Huxley nevertheless ing with Sociology at large, but the meththought his title a fit one ; and has con- od pursued in dealing with governmental tinued to use it in the last edition of his actions at the present time." Merely reCritiques and Addresses. This political marking that it would be strange bad I doctrine held by me remains unchanged, pursued one method in treating the subbut the view taken of it by Professor ject at large and an opposite method in Huxley appears to have been reversed. In treating a small division of it, I go on to an emphatic manner he has recently reply that I have not pursued the opposite warned me against "undertaking to pre- niethod but the same method. The views serve the health and heal the diseases of an I hold respecting the sphere of governorganism vastly more complicated than the mental action are everywhere supported human body," having for my guides by inductions,
The essay on long chains of deduction from abstract legislation," dating back to 1853, is almost ethical assumptions." So that wbile rep- wholly inductive. Inductive reasoning in resented as one who would have no ad. support of the same views occupies the ministration at all, I am represented as greater part of the essay on Represenadvocating dangerous administrative meth- tative Government,” much of the essay ods of healing diseases of the body politic. on “ Parliamentary Reform : the Dangers My policy is characterized now as a policy and the Safeguards,'' and half of the essay of no action, and now as a policy of rash on“ Specialized Administration.' In the action. These two characterizations are Study of Sociology, again, several masses applied to the same set of beliefs, and they of facts are brought in support of the same stand in direct contradiction. Necessarily views (pp. 3-4, 161-69, and 270-73) ; there must be extreme error in one or and once more in The Man versus The both ; and the latter alternative is the true State (pp. 48–60 and 62–64) a like course one : both are wrong.
is pursued. I count, in different places, way of thinking" which Profes- eight inductivo arguments, not in defence sor Huxley indicates as separated by a of proposals for curing the discases of the gulf from his own, and which he implies body politic, but in reprobation of propois exclusively pursued by me, is that of sals for doing this. * But do not the reaching conclusions by long chains of books and essays named contain deductive deduction from abstract ethical assump- arguments ?") it may be asked. Certainly tions, hardly any link of which can be they do ; and I should be ashamed of tested experimentally.” On the other them if they did not. But everywhere hand the course he advocates is that of there has been pursued what I have above seeking guidance from " inductions based said is the method of developed scienceon careful observation and experience”- deduction verified by induction. I shall a course which he implies is not pursued think it time to reconsider the deductions by me, either in the political sphere or when I find the masses of facts which supelsewhere : certainly not in the political port them met by larger masses of facts sphere. Now let us ask what is implied which do the reverse. " Careful obserby the evidence. Up to the end of the vation and experience" have not yet furdivision treating of Ecclesiastical Institu- nished these. tions, where it has stood still for these To make clear the use of an ideal for four years, the Principles of Sociology guidance in dealing with the real, I had contains more than five thousand facts, recourse to the familiar comparison begathered from accounts of more than two tween the individual body and the body hundred societies, savage and civilized, politic. I remarked that “ before there ancient and modern. If, then, I am can be rational treatment of a disordered rightly described as pursuing the deductive state of the bodily functions, there must method (exclusively, as it would appear), be a conception of what constitutes their NEW SERIES, VOL. LI., No. 3.
ordered state.' The guidance contem- Is it not possible, then-is it not even probplated as derivable from such knowledge điate action, which is put in as an excuse for
able, that this supposed necessity for imme. consists in exclusion of what is wrong to
drawing quick conclusions from few data, is be done, not in directions concerning what the concomitant of deficient knowledge ? Is is right to be done. This is clearly shown it not probable that as in Biology so in Sociolby the context. There is an imaginaryogy, the accumulation of more facts, the more warning against the excesses of a supposed critical comparison of them, and the drawing
of conclusions on scientific methods, will be empiric as being at variance with phy, accompanied by increasing doubt about the siological principles ;' that is, negatived benefits to be secured, and increasing fear of by them or forbidden by them. There is the mischiefs which may be worked ? Is it not no trace whatever of any proposed treat- probable that what in the individual organism ment conforming to physiological princi- vis medicatriæ naturæ, may be found to have its ples, but merely an interdict against a analogue in the social organism ? and will there treatment. Yet on the strength of these not very likely come along with the recogni. passages, Professor Huxley ascribes to me tion of this, the consciousness that in both the monstrous belief that the practitioner conditions under which the natural actions
cases the one thing needful is to maintain the should treat his patients by deduction have fair play ?—The Study of Sociology, pp. from physiological principles !” Similar- 15-21. ly with the body-politic. While I have
Manifestly if, instead of saying that I alleged that a system of limits and re
proposed to treat the diseases of this comstraints on conduct" may be deduced plex social organism by the aid of deducfrom the primary conditions of social co
tions from “ abstract ethical assumptions," operation, Professor Huxley represents me Professor Huxley had, contrari wise, said as proposing to seek guidance in healing that I am so overcautious that I dare not “the diseases of an organism vastly more treat them at all, save by maintaining the complicated than the human body’’ by conditions to health, he would have had “ deduction from abstract ethical assump- ground for his statement. As early as tions !" While in both cases the guiding 1853 ("* Over-Legislation,” pp. 62, 63) I inferences indicated by me all come under dwelt on the involved structure of a sothe blank form —"Thou shalt not do this,” ciety and the consequent difficulty and they are represented as coming under the danger of dealing with it. Since then I blank form-" Thou shalt do that."
have more than once insisted on these How utterly at variance is the view thus
facts. And now that which I have been ascribed to me with the view I have my teaching for a generation is put before me self expressed, will be seen in the follow.
as a lesson to be learned ! ing passage
Replies will, I suppose, be made to some How, indeed, can any man, and how more of the things said in the foregoing pages. especially can any man of scientific culture, think that special results of special political Always there are collateral questions on acts can be calculated, when he contemplates which debates may be raised. I see, for the incalculable complexity of the influences instance, that one of my remarks may under which each individual, and à fortiori have given to it a meaning quite different each society, develops, lives and decays ?
to that which I intended. After the asAs fast as crude conceptions of diseases and remedial measures grow up into Pathology and cription to me of the belief that treatment Therapeutics, we find increasing caution, along of diseases should be dictated by physiowith increasing proof that evil is often done logical principles, rightly enough regarded instead of good. This contrast is traceable by Professor lluxley as absurd, there came not only as we pass from popular ignorance to
from me the remark that, according to professional knowledge, but as we pass from the smaller professional knowledge of early him, " the principles of physiology, as at times to the greater professional knowledge of present known, are of no uso whatever for
The question with the modern phy- guidance in practice”-a remark which sician is not as with the ancient-shall the
may be interpreted as a tacit endorsement treatment be blood-letting ? shall cathartics, or shall diaphoretics be given? or "shall mer
of the ascription ; whereas it referred to curials be administered But there rises the the fact that he had recognized for the previous question-shall there be any treat- present (though not for the future) no ment beyond a wholesome . regimen? And guidance whatever beyond that of empirieven among existing physicians it happens cism. Doubtless there may be other sidethat, in proportion as the judgment is most cultivated, there is the least yielding to the issues which I do not perceive. But uo must-do-something" impulse.
number of such can change the verdicts on