was the

As a problem of political philosophy, the Christiansunderstood it. Pagan Government presents three principal Rome, therefore, systematically persecuted aspects. We may ask in whom is the Christianity with the intention of averting sovereign authority vested? Or by what a political catastrophe of the gravest charmachinery should that authority be exer- acter. The Christian Church cised ? Or in respect of what matters is “ International” of the emperors of the its exercise legitimate ?

second and third centuries. The first two of these questions have It is commonly supposed that the result been discussed by philosophers and of the intermittent, if internecine, warfare fought over by factions from the earliest thus waged was the victory of the Church, times. Innumerable battles have been and that, in the words of Julian, the Gali. waged about the rival claims of kings, lean conquered. But those who compare nobles and popular leaders to the right the Christianity of Paul with that of Condivine to govern wrong ;'' and for, or stantine's prelates may be permitted to against, the excellence of this or that legis- doubt whether, as in so many other cases, lative and administrative apparatus. The the vanquished did not in effect subdue third question, on the other hand, has come the victor; whether there is not much to the front only in comparatively recent more of Greek philosophy and of Roman

But its inportance has increased organization and ritual, than of primitive and is increasing rapidly ; indeed, at pres- Christianity, in the triumphant Catholicism ent, it completely overshadows the others, of the fourth and later centuries. Que The great problem of modern political heritage of old Roman statecraft, at any philosophy is to determine the province of rate, passed bodily over to Catholic churchgovernment. Is there, or is there not, any craft. As soon as the Church was strong region of human action over which the in- enough, it began to persecute with a vigor dividual himself alone has jurisdiction, and and consistency which the Empire never into which other men have no business to attained. In the ages of faith, Christian intrude?

ecclesiasticisin raged against freedom of In the ancient politics of Greece and thought, as such, and compelled the State Rome hardly any part of human life, ex- to punish religious dissidence as a crimicept a man's family religious practices, nal offence of the worst description. The was thus sacred from the intrusion of the ingenuity of pagan persecutors failed to State. Beyond the limits of this primary reach the shameful level of that of the social group even religious liberty ceased. Christian inventors of the Holy Office : The ancient States permitted no acts which

nor did the civil governors of

pagan antiq. manifested want of respect, still less such uity ever degrade themselves so far as to as savored of active opposition, to the play the executioner for a camarilla of cults authorized by the community. Any priests. The doctrine that the authority "infidels" who ventured to give open ex.

of the State extends to men's beliefs as pression to their lack of faith in the gods well as to their actions, and, consequently, of the city were quickly taught that they is conterminous with the whole of human had better keep their opinions to them- life ; and that the power of the State selves ; and no mercy was shown to those ought to be used for the promotion of foreign religions the practices of which orthodoxy and the extermination of heterowere judged to be inconsistent with the doxy is, in fact, a necessary corollary of public welfare.

But the old pagan relig- Romanism, which, however disguised by ions had no propaganda ; and as persecu- prudence when the Papacy is weak, is sure tion is a correlate of proselytism, they to reappear when it is strong enough to were fairly tolerant in practice, until the dispense with hypocrisy. In the sixteenth progress of Christianity opened the eyes century, the theory and practice of a thouof the Roman authorities to the fact that sand years had so thoroughly incorporated civil existence, as they understood it, was intolerance with Christianity, that even the incompatible with religious existence, as great reformers held firmly by this pre

[ocr errors]

cious heirloom of the ages of faith, wbat. Goverament,' " which alone has


interever other shards of ecclesiastical corrup- est to us at the present day, the theory tion they might cast aside. Happily, the of State omnipotence propounded by Hobpretensions to infallibility of sects, wbo bes (and supposed, though wrongfully, to differed only in the higher or lower posi- have been invented in the interests of tions of the points at which they held on monarchy) is vigorously assaulted. to the slope between Romanism and Ra- Hobbes was a thinker and writer of tionalism, were so absurd, that political marvellous power, and, take him altoGallios have been able to establish a modus gether, is probably the greatest of English vivendi among them. In this country, at philosophers : but it was given to him, any rate, the State is approaching, if it as little as to Locke, to escape from enhas not quite reached, a position of non- tanglement in the a priori speculations intervention (inclining perhaps to malevo- which had come down mainly from the lent neutrality) in theological quarrels. Roman jurists.* Setting out from the

The prolonged intellectual and physical assumption of the natural equality of struggles which have thus tended to the men, and of a primary

“ state of nature': more and more complete exclusion of a in which every man strove for the full exgreat group of human interests and activi. ercise of his natural rights,” and which ties from the legitimate sphere of govern. was, therefore, a state of war of each mental interference, have exerted a power- against all ; Hobbes further assumed that, ful influence on the general theory of Gov. in order to obtain the blessings of peace, ernment. Two centuries have elapsed men entered into a contract with one ansince this influence, having for some time other, by which each surrendered the made itself felt among political pbiloso. whole of his natural rights to the person phers, prompted that systematic inquiry or persons appointed, by common coninto the proper limits of governmental ac- sent, to exercise supreme dominion, or tion in general, which is contained in John sovereignty, over each and all of the Locke's two “ Treatises on Government, members of the commonwealth constituted published in 1689.

by the contract. The authority of the The Revolution of 1688 marks one of sovereign (whether one man or many, the acute stages of that contest between Liberalism and Absolutism in these islands * Hobbes's conception of the State may be which began to manifest itself in a remote

sufficiently gathered from the following pas

sages extracted from the Philosophical Rudiperiod of our history. Liberalism, repre- ments Concerning Government and Society (1651): sented by Parliamentary politicians and “All men, therefore, among themselves are Protestant theologians, had prevailed over by nature equal ; the inequality, we now disAbsolutisın, represented by the Stuarts in

cern hath its spring from the civil law”' (chap.

i. 3). “ Nature hath given to every one a right the political sphere, and by Papistry, open

to all”':(ibid. 10). “ The natural state of men or disguised, in that of religion. The two

before they entered into society was Treatises”' form an apology for the vic- war of all men against all men” (ibid. 12). In tors. A theoretical justification for the whatever man or body of men dominion or accomplished fact was much needed ; and governmental authority is vested, “ each citi.

zen has conveyed all his strength and power Locke would have been unworthy of his

to that man or council" (chap. v. 11). The reputation as a speculative philosopher, if supreme power is absolute (chap. vi. 13), and he had failed to discover, or to invent, a comparable to the soul of the city as its will theory sufficiently plausible to satisfy those all things comprehended in the will of the

The will of every citizen is in who desired nothing better than to be per- city, and the city is not tied to the civil laws,” suaded of the justice of acts, by whicb, and the will of the depository of dominion is in any case, they meant to stand. The the will of the city (chap. vi. 14). Judging of first essay is ostensibly directed at poor good and evil does not belong to private citidead and gone Sir Robert Filmer, with

zens (chap. xii. 1), nor do they possess any his Adamic mythology (which, by the grants. All power, temporal and spirit ereign way, Locke treats as if it were serious united (under Christ) in the sovereign author. history) ; but the controversial shots are ity of a Christian city, and absolute obedience intended to pass through their ostensible is due to it. When the sovereign is not Chrisobject and to slay the defenders of divine tian, and his commands are contrary to those

[ocr errors]

of the Church, the subject must, disobeying right, who lay behind the Filmerian out

but not resisting, go to Christ by martyrpost. In the second essay,

“ On Civil dom" (chap, xviii. 13).


monarch or people*) to whom this com- article, he diametrically opposes Hobbes, plete surrender of natural rigbts was made, and declares that the surrender of natural was thus absolute and unquestionable. rights which took place when the social From the time of the surrender, the in- compact was made was not complete, but, dividual member of the Commonwealth on the contrary, most strictly and carefully the citizen-possessed no natural rights at limited. all : but, in exchange for them, he ac- The difference is of great importance. quired such civil rights as the sovereign It marks the point of separation of two despot thought fit to grant and to guaran- schools of a priori political philosophy, tee by the exercise of the wholo power of which have continued to be represented, the State, if necessary.

Civil law, sanc- with constantly increasing divergence, tioned by the force of the community, down to the present time, when the ultitook the place of “natural right,” backed inate stages of their respective series con. only by the force of the individual. It front one another as Anarchy on the one follows that no limit is, or can be, theo- hand, and Regimentation on the other. retically set to State interference. The But it is necessary to define these epi. citizen of the Leviathan is simply a mem- thets with care, before going further. Anber of a composite organism controlled by archy, as a term of political philosophy, the State will ; he has no more freedom in must be taken only in its proper sense, religious matters than in any others ; but which has nothing to do with disorder or is to perform the practices of the State re- with crime ; but denotes a state of sociligion, and to profess the creed of its ety, in which the rule of each individual theology, whether he likes the one and by himself is the only government the believes the other, or not. The ideal of legitimacy of which is recognized. In the State is a sternly disciplined regiment, this sense, strict anarchy may be the highin which the citizens are privates, the est conceivable grade of perfection of so. State functionaries officers, and every ac- cial existence ; for, if all men spontation in life is regulated and settled by the ncously did justice and loved mercy, it is sovereign's Regulations and Instruc- plain that all swords might be advanta

Disobedience is worse than mu- geously turned into ploughshares, and that tiny. For those who disobey need not the occupation of judges and police would even be tried by court martial. By the be gone.* Anarchy, as thus defined, is very act of insubordination they revoke the the logical outcome of that form of politsocial contract, and, falling back into the ical theory, which for the last half-century state of nature—that is to say, of the war and more has been known under the name of each against all they become aliens, of Individualism. f who may be dealt with, summarily, as ene- I have, unfortunately, no such long-esmies.

tablished prescription to offer for the term Thus, there are three fundamental points Regimentation ; but I hope it will be acin Hobbes's theory of a polity : First, the cepted until some one discovers a better primitive state of nature, conceived as a denomination for the opposite view, the state of war, or unrestricted struggle for essence of which is the doctrine of State existence, among men. Second, the contract, by the execution of which men en- *" For if men could rule themselves, every tered into commonwealths or polities. man by his own command, that is to say, could Third, the complete surrender of all natu- they live according to the laws of nature, there

would be no need at all of a city, nor of a ral rights to the sovereign, and the confer

common_coercive power."--Hobbes, Philoring of absolute and despotic authority sophical Elements, chap. vi. 13 note. upon him, or them, by that contract.

| It is employed as an already familiar apNow, Locke also assumes a primitive pellative by Louis Blanc in the first volume

of his Histoire de la Révolution Française, pubstate of nature, though its characters are

lished in 1847, which contains a very interestdifferent; he also assumes the contractual

iog attempt to trace tbe influence of the princiorigin of the polity ; and thus, on these ples of authority, of individualism and of fra two points, is in general agreement with ternity through French history. The first Hobbes. But, with respect to the third volume of the elaborate work of Marlo

(Winkelblech), Organization der Arbeit, publish

ed in 1850, gives a very complete exposition * See Philosophical Rudiments, chapters vi. of the theory of Individualism under the name and vii.

of Liberalismus.




omnipotence. “Socialism," which at spiracy of their would-be continuator, Bafirst suggests itself, is unfortunately sus- bæuf, was an attempt to bring about the ceptible of being used in widely different millennium of eighteenth century socialism

As a general rule, no doubt, so. by sanguinary violence. cialistic political philosophy is eminently According to Rousseau, the social con. regimental. But there is no necessary tract is “the foundation of all rights” connection between socialism and regi- (chap. ix.); though the sovereign is not mentation. Persons who, of their own bound by it (cbap. vii.), inasmuch as he free will, should think fit to imitate the can enter into no contract with himself. primitive Cbristians depicted by the Acts, This sovereign is the totality of the citiand to have all things in common, would Each, in assenting to the social be Socialists ; and yet they might be noue contract, gives himself and all be possesses the less Individualists, so long as they re- to the sovereign (vi.), “ lui et toutes ses fused to compel any one to join them. forces dont les biens qu'il possède font The only true contradictory of Individual. partie" (chap. ix.). He loses his natural ism is that more common kind of Social- liberty, and the State becomes master of ism, which proposes to use the power of him and of his goods (chap. ix.). As na. the State in order, as the phrase goes, to ture gives a man absolute power over all

organize” society, or some part of it. his members, the social compact gives the That is to say, this “ regimentaļ” Social- polity an absolute power over its citizens. ism proposes to interfere with the freedom The State, however, does not really deof the individual to wbatever extent the spoil him. He gets back civil liberty (that sovereign may dictate, for the purpose of is, such amount of liberty as the State demore or less completely neutralizing the crees) and a right of property in that effects of the innate inequalities of men. which he possesses (chap. viii.). His preIt is militarism in a new shape, requiring vious possession, which was bare usurpathe implicit obedience of the individual tion, is thus changed into right. In this to a governmental commander-in-chief, way members of the community become whose business is to wage war against nat- mere depositaries of the public property, ural inequality, and to set artificial equal- the private right of ownership being subity in its place.

ordinate to the supreme right of the comI propose now to give an outline of the munity (chap. ix.). The general will is progress, first of Regimentation and then the source of authority ; whoever refuses of Individualisin since the seventeenth to obey its behests is to be coerced into century.

obedience by the whole body—" which

means nothing more than that he shall be In France Regimentation was strongly forced to be free” (chap. vii.). As will advocated by Morelly and by Mably be- be seen on turning to the extracts from fore Rousseau's essay on the Social Con- the Philosophical Rudiments given above tract made its appearance ; and, to my (p. 845, note), most of this is Hobbism mind, except in point of literary form, the pure and simple. The fundamental princi. . works of the former two writers are much ple of the Rousseauite, as of the Hobbist, better worth reading. But, while the im- polity is the omnipotence of the State ; its mense popularity of Rousseau made himn boasted liberty is a grant from the soverthe apparent leader of the movement in eign despot, whose absolutism is sugared favor of social regiunentation, the compara- over by the suggestion that each man has tive vagueness of his demands for equality an infinitesimal share in it. And, if any commended hiin to practical politicians. one of the sovereign people should be as His works became the gospel of the politi. cal—one might almost say the religious – of a religious belief, and the Bible of their sect of which Robespierre and St. Just creed was the Contrat Social of Rousseau" were the chiefs ;* and the famous con

(Hislory of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol, v. P. 345). I have not undertaken a criti.

cism of Rousseau's various and not unfre* As Mr. Lecky justly says : “ That which quently inconsistent political opinions, as a distinguishes the French Revolution from whole. It was not needful for my purpose to other political movements is, that it was di- do so ; and, if it had been, I could not have rected by men who had adopted certain specu- improved upon the comprehensive and imparlative a priori conceptions of political right, tial judgment of our historian of the eigh. with the fanaticism and proselytizing fervor teenth century.


blind to the benefits of this sort of free of the lowliest citizen is as sacred and invio. bondsmanship and coerced brotherly love as

lable as that of the highest magistrate ; for the “Needy knifegrinder" was, his "in

where the represented is present the represent

ative ceases to exist. civism” is to be cured by physical treatment : On le forcera d'être libre." In fact, in each of these periodical meet

The despotism of the “ general will” ings, the polity potentially returns to the (volonté générale) being thus established, state of nature, and its meinbers, if they how is the sovereign to make his com- please, may dissolve the social contract almands known ? This is a point about together : if they do not so please, they which it is surely necessary to be very reappoint office-bearers to do the work asclear. Unfortunately, Rousseau leaves it signed to them, whatever that may be (iii. not a little obscure. He commences the chap. xvii.), until the next assein bly. So. second chapter of his second book by de- ciety is thus a sort of joint-stock company, claring that the general will is that of the whose officers vacate their posts at every body of the poeple ; that, as such, the general meeting, and whose shareholders declaration of it is an act of sovereignty,

can wind up the concern, or go on, as the while the declaration of the will of a part assembly, may resolve, with such articles of the people is merely an act of adminis- of association as a bare majority of the tration. Yet, in a note, we are told that shareholders may determine shall be bindfor the will” to be general” it need ing until the next meeting. An industrial not be unanimous, only all the votes must company organized in this way would probbe taken. How the expression of wil! ably soon resign sovereignty to a liqui. which is not unanimous can be other than

dator. But then the members of industrial that of a part of the people, does not ap

associations certainly do not undergo that pear. But full light is thrown upon Rons- transfiguration which, according to Rousseau's real meaning in the second chapter seau, is worked by entrance into the social

contract. of the fourth book. Following Locke's

“The general will,” says he, dictum that nothing can make a man a

“ is always upright and always tends towmember of a commonwealth“ but his act- ard the general good” (liv. ii. chap. iii.); ually entering into it by positive engage.

“the people are never corrupted” (ibid.); ment and express promise and compact":

“all constantly desire the happiness of (Civil Government, 's 122) he tells us that each" (liv. ii. chap. iv.).

Unfortunately, the intellect and the inthe only law which, by its nature, requires formation of the sovereign are not always unanimous assent, is the social compact : for civil association is the most voluntary of all quite up to the standard of his morality : acts : every man being born free and master

The general will is always just ; but the of himself, no one, under any pretext what- judgment which guides it is not always en. over, can subject himself without avowal of lightened (liv. ii. chap. vi.). the act. Those who do not assent when the social ereign is not peculiar to monarchies.

It would seem that flattery of the sov

No. contract is made remain strangers among toriously, kings can do no wrong, and althe citizens ; but after the State is constituted, residence within its bounds is to be

ways spend their lives in sighing for the

welfare of their subjects. If they seem to taken as assent to the contract.

err, it is only because they are misled and Outside this primitive contract, the vote of misinformed. That has been the great the majority obliges the rest ; that is a conse- make-believe of apologists for despotism quence of the contract itself.

from all tiine. In the Rousseauite State, then, sover- A properly enlightened sovereign peoeignty means neither more nor less than ple, with its incorruptible altruism, can the omnipotence of a bare majority of never lose sight of the true end of legislavoices of all the members of the State col- tion, the greatest good of all ; and if we lected together in general meetings (chaps. seek to know what that is, Rousseau tells xii.--xiv.).

us that it embraces two things, Liberty and During the sittings of this sovereign mul- Equality (liv, ii. chap. xi.). Liberty, he titude, which are to take place at fixed says, is " obedience to the law which one intervals,

has laid down for one's self” (liv. i. chap.

But to the jurisdiction of the government ceases, the viii.); a well-sounding definition. executive power is suspended, and the person my mind it is somewhat hard to reconcile

« VorigeDoorgaan »