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This is claiming far more for legislation than the most sanguine socialist would admit. It may be justly argued, is, in fact, abundantly proved in practice, that a thorough system of public instruction exerts an immense influence upon the character of a people. It may also be regarded as proved that the social effect of protection in new countries with undeveloped resources is civilizing and elevating in diversifying industry and creating centers of population and culture. But these instrumentalities and all others that tend indirectly to modify character, are condemned by Mr. Spencer; yet he seems to think that a race may be morally transformed by government in merely preventing the individual members from cheating and assaulting one another. Such faith far exceeds that of the firmest believer in "the great political superstition."

Along with the growing impatience at the supposed wayward course of mankind, there is also perceptible, in comparing Spencer's earlier with his later writings, a gradual dying out of his warmer and more sympathetic impulses, which at the beginning of his career, made him the friend of all who suffered from the effects of an imperfect social state. This is especially noticeable in his attitude toward the working classes, often forced out of employment by the agencies above enumerated. Latterly we find him making the common assumption of unthinking optimists that poverty, idleness, etc., are the necessary results of personal defects, and characterizing the unemployed as "simply good-fornothings."+ Trades unions are said to "carry on a kind of industrial war in defence of workers' interests versus employers' interests," and to embrace "a permanent body of tramps, who ramble from union to union." His idea of "worth" never rises above the mere animal attribute of fitness to survive, and he defends the law of equal freedom on * Compare "Social Statics, Abridged and Revised," p. 97 ff. "The Man versus the State," p. 303.

Ibid., p. 328.

Ibid., p. 304.

the ground that "there is maintained the vital principle of social progress; inasmuch as, under such conditions, the individuals of most worth will prosper and multiply more than those of less worth.''* His growing aristocratic leanings are further revealed in allusions to "the not-verywise representatives of electors who are mostly ignorant,"† and to the rule being exercised "not so much by the collective wisdom as by the collective folly," and when he says not only that these unguided judgments are very likely to be wrong, but also that there must exist some guidance by which correct judgments may be reached,''§ it becomes clear that the "guidance" referred to can be none other than the political ethics of Herbert Spencer.

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Notwithstanding the vulnerable character of so large a part of Mr. Spencer's reasoning, he argues with such an air of confidence that only critical readers are likely to suspect the ex parte nature of his statements. The following example reminds one strongly of the oracular responses from Delphi, and may be commended to him as quite as likely to apply to his own opinions as to the opinions of others:

"Men of the past quite misunderstood the institutions they lived under. They pertinaciously adhered to the most vicious principles, and were bitter in their opposition to right ones, at the dictates of their attachments and antipathies. So difficult is it for man to emancipate himself from the invisible fetters which habit and education cast over his intellect; and so palpable is the consequent incompetency of a people to judge rightly of itself and its deeds or opinions, that the fact has been embodied in the aphorism—'No age can write its own history.' If we act wisely, we shall assume that the reasonings of modern society are subject to the like disturbing influences. We shall conclude that, even now, as in times gone by, opinion is but the counterpart of condition. We shall suspect that many of those convictions which seem the results of dispassionate thinking, have been nurtured in us by circumstances. We shall confess that, as heretofore, fanatical opposition to this doctrine and bigoted adhesion to that, have been no

* Ibid., p. 409.
+"Justice," p. 257.

1 Ibid., p. 217.
Ibid., p. 238.

tests of the truth or falsity of the said doctrines; so neither is the strength of attachment nor dislike which a nation now exhibits toward certain principles, any proof of their correctness or their fallacy."*

Upon the whole, it may be considered as in the highest degree unfortunate and discouraging that almost the first prominent system of sociology, as distinct from political economy, should proceed from so low and so narrow a standpoint as virtually to constitute a protest against all attempts to deal scientifically with the subject. It is simply a wet blanket on the enthusiasm of all who would follow. social science. It throws over it the dismal pall that fell on political economy, and it stamps it with the words: No future! If this is all that Herbert Spencer can make of it, what can lesser lights hope to accomplish?

It is simply astonishing that the great exponent of the law of evolution in all other departments should so signally fail to grasp that law in this highest department. And it furnishes a curious parallel that, just as he failed to perceive the fundamental difference between cosmic and organic evolution, and the coöperation in the latter of the radiant with the gravitant forces † in the production of the phenomena of life, so he has likewise failed to perceive the equally fundamental difference between vital and psychic evolution, in the latter of which the power of feeling under the direction of thought has furnished to the evolutionary process an entirely new dispensation. In seeking to bring all the products of evolution— worlds, plants, animals, man, society-under one uniform law, adequate only to the lowest, and ignoring the new and powerful principles that came forward at the several successive cosmical epochs, he has dwarfed the later of these into relative insignificance, and instead of carrying his system up symmetrically and crowning it with the science of man, he has tapered it off and flattened it out at the summit, degrading that noblest department to the level of political controversy

"Social Statics Abridged and Revised," pp. 80-81.

† Popular Science Monthly, vol. xi., October, 1877.

and wholesale personal censure. The name of "administrative nihilism," by which Professor Huxley long ago so happily characterized this, is likely to abide, and the extreme noli tangere individualism with which the entire social philosophy of Herbert Spencer is permeated, must, in spite of all disclaimers, impart to it the character of a gospel of inaction. LESTER F. WARD.


"The Man versus the State," p. 418.



The editors of the ANNALS have asked me to indicate the cause of the division that took place seven years ago in the school founded by Le Play. I willingly respond to this request, not that I may have opportunity to rehearse the painful incidents connected with the history of the case, but that I may give to the American public, interested in social studies, a clear and exact idea of the way in which we are continuing in the Science Sociale the task which was undertaken by Le Play. I shall put aside, then, all personal questions, and confine myself to the grounds of the division which took place, to the underlying causes which determined it, and not to the circumstances which occasioned it.

The school founded by Le Play has always had two classes of adherents. One class adhered to the truths advanced by the master and zealously used all the means in their power to spread the doctrine. The others, struck by the results to which Le Play had been led by the method of scientific observation which he employed, were, above all, attracted by this method: they wished to master it, to advance it, if possible, to perfect it.

The first regarded Le Play as a deliverer. After the disasters of 1870 every Frenchman looked for a man who should indicate the line of policy which, followed out, would uplift France. Le Play was one of these deliverers; and many at that time grouped themselves about him under the standard of the Réform Sociale.

The second looked upon Le Play as a scholar, capable not only of recognizing great general truths through scientific observation, but also of discovering by the same means those contingent truths which are necessary to any given society;

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