THERE are only
so many possible sciences, although each science, in its own department,
may be pursued indefinitely.
The sciences are
capable of being classed on a system, which is not arbitrary.
is a mere process of the intellect whereby the sciences are arranged in a
certain order, according to a principle. The discovery of the sciences is
a historical fact extending over many centuries. We assert that the order
of discovery has been correlative with the order of classification. There
is, therefore, the strongest ground for believing that the future sciences
will be discovered and reduced to ordination in the same order that they
stand in the scheme of classification.
Correlative with the sciences are the arts.
The sciences are knowledge, the arts are
With the discovery
of the sciences, there follows invariably a new and amended order of
action. The word art we use as signifying the systematic products of
human activity. The fine arts are, to a great extent, the gift of the
individual, and consequently are so far independent of science.
The sciences are classed on their complexity.
Let it be remembered
that science is not a reality, but only a form of thought. Science exists
in the mind, and in the mind alone; it is the mind's mode of viewing
The realities are matter and mind.
Reasoning is subsequent
to a propositional knowledge, and is the process whereby a new proposition
is made to evolve from two anterior propositions.
The syllogism is
the complete expression, in language, for reasoning; and both are correlative
with all the active functions of real nature.
Were man incapable
of reasoning, he might apprehend all the realities of nature, and classify
all on the most perfect system of ordination; but never, by any possibility,
could he explain and calculate the functions of realities. Every function
is active, and every action involves an agent (or cause); and were man
not endowed with the intuitive principle of causation, all motions, combinations,
functions, in a word, all changes, would immediately become inexplicable,
and the universe would forever remain a vast enigma.
The actual constitution
of the human intellect is as absolutely necessary to all science, as
is the existence of the realities of which the sciences respectively treat.
This is the necessary order of the mathematical
Logic; which really includes two sciences.
Arithmetic; algebra; geometry; statics.
In this order,
the mathematical sciences must necessarily be classed, and in this order
the mathematical science must necessarily be discovered. Ten thousand men
originating the mathematical sciences by a process of independent investigation,
would necessarily discover them in this order; and were ten thousand worlds
peopled with human beings to go through the process of making anew the mathematical
sciences, every one of those human races would pass through the same
intellectual course, and evolve the abstract sciences exactly in the
same necessary order. The constitution of human reason forbids that it
should be otherwise; one science being impossible until its antecedent
is so well known as to be capable of subjective operation. Thus, unless
the laws of identity are known, there can be no investigation of the laws
of equality; and until the laws of equality are known, there can be no investigation
of the laws of numbers; and until arithmetic is known, there can be no investigation
of the laws of quantity; and until the laws of quantity are known, there
can be no investigation into the relations of spaces; and until geometry
is known, there can be no statics.
Without the mathematical
sciences there can be no physical science—there may be classifications,
facts, propositions innumerable; but science, which involves the syllogism,
there never can be till the abstract sciences are so far advanced as to
be capable of subjective application to the real facts of nature.
Logic is the universal
form of all science. The mathematical sciences are only logic, with numbers,
quantities, spaces, or forces for the terms; and the physical sciences
are only logic, with physical realities for the terms. The form remains
universally the same.
It is evident that
all the physical sciences must be based on the observation of the existence,
condition, and function of the real matter with which man is acquainted.
The physical sciences
may be termed; nature seen by the reason, and not merely by the senses.
Between the syllogism,
the intellectual reason of mankind, and the operations of external nature,
there is the most perfect parallelism; and this parallelism afords a
most undoubted proof of the objective veracity of the subjective convictions
of the human mind.
Were the general
convictions of the human reason (its axioms) not true objectively, as
well as necessarily true subjectively, the prediction of physical phenomena
would be absolutely impossible. And although the philosophic sceptic may
by ingenious ambiguities involve that question in doubts and sophisms,
surely we may rest satisfied that the same hand that made the heavens and
the earth in so wonderful a harmony of order, has not made the human reason
only a mockery and a delusion.
All the phenomena
of nature are operations—things done. Now, science consists of knowledge,
and knowledge exists in the mind. How, then, are we to view the real
operations of nature, considered as external to the mind?
The real operations
of nature are to be viewed as arts—as divine arts—and their comprehension
alone can he called science. The universe is God's great workshop, and
man is the rational spectator whose office it is to comprehend the processes
that are there carried on. The motions of the planets do not constitute
science; it is the rational apprehension of those motions in the human
mind that constitutes science. But the principles of mechanics are for more
general than all the facts of astronomy; they apply not only to the real
sun and the real planets, but to all possible suns, and to all possible
matter constituted in a manner similar to the matter with which we are acquainted.
vast as it is, must be viewed only as a real illustration of the principles
of mechanics, as an exemplification of dynamics.
We have said that
the classification of the sciences, and their chronological discovery,
must follow the order of their complexity. After the inorganic sciences,
therefore, come the sciences of organization, of vegetable and animal
physiology, showing a continual increase of complexity until we arrive
at man, the most complex and most highly organized of all the earth's inhabitants.
But still, though
physiology be the highest and most complex of all the physical sciences,
there is something beyond it, something that comes after it in the logical
order of classification. Man himself has his functions; and when we have
considered what man is, we may turn to what man does.
Man is by nature
a social being, made to live in society, and his social acts have their
laws, which when understood give us a new order of knowledge altogether
distinct from the knowledge contained in the previous sciences. And again,
men may trespass on each other—may inflict pain on each other—may do evil
to each other. Men therefore must legislate.
And here an evident
distinction presents itself, which enables us to classify human action.
We may ask, "What means will lead to a certain end?" and "What is the
end that ought to be produced?"
We have here two
social sciences, in each of which there is the same stable truth that
prevails in all the other sciences, if man can only discover it and reduce
it to scientific ordination. It must be within the reach of man, or else
we must admit that all rules of social action are purely arbitrary; that
is, in fact, that there are no rules. Such a supposition, however, is perfectly
absurd, and can never be consistently maintained.
On the above distinction
is grounded the division of social science into non-moral and moral;
the one treating exclusively on the relation of means to an end, and the
other exclusively on the end that ought to be the object of pursuit.
In these new sciences
human action is the element with which we have to reason; and the conditions
of men are the phenomena that result directly from that action.
The first of these
sciences is political economy, which is purely inductive, and treats
of the physical effects of human action so far as those effects are to
be discovered in the condition of societies. The second is politics, the
science of equity, which is purely abstract, and treats of the universal
principles that ought to regulate human action, so far as men can affect
each other by their actions.
noun-substantive of political economy is utility, of which value is the
measure. The fundamental noun-substantive of politics is equity, which,
having its abstract laws in the very constitution of the human mind, gives
us the moral measure of human action.
of this equity are abstract and universal convictions of the reason.
We maintain, then,
First, That the
sciences, classed on their complexity, must be classed in the following
1st, The mathematical
and force sciences.
2nd, The inorganic
physical sciences, beginning with the most general, and terminating with
the most specific.
3rd, The organic physical
sciences, composed of vegetable and animal physiology.
4th, The sciences
that relate exclusively to man, and that treat of human action.
These are (1) nonmoral, political economy, which treats of
the beneficial or prejudicial effects of human action; (2) moral, politics,
which treats of the moral character of human action, whether that action
be the action of a single individual towards another individual, or whether
it be the action of a whole society, or portion of a society. Politics
is, in fact, nothing more than the moral law which ought to regulate the
actions of the individual, extended to the actions of men when associated
as apolitical society, the same moral law being obligatory on multitudes
that is Obligatory on tile individual.
This is the essence
of human welfare,—truth discovered and carried into practical operation.
Let it be remembered
that the progress of mankind in the evolution of civilization, is a progress
from superstition and error towards knowledge. Superstition and error
present themselves under the form of diversity of credence; knowledge
presents itself under the form of unity of credence.
is knowledge, that knowledge is the same in all parts of the earth, and the
same in substance whatever language it may use as the instrument of expression.
The progress of mankind, therefore, is a progress from diversity of credence
to unity of credence. There is but one truth, on scheme of knowledge;
and consequently, wherever knowledge is really attained, diversity of
credence is impossible. Where men differ in credence, they differ because
one or all have not knowledge.
We have then to
ask, into what branches is knowledge divided? Into the facts of sensational
and psychological observation, rational science, and history.
Next, "In what
chronological order have the various branches been reduced to scientific
ordination?" The chronological order in which the sciences have been discovered,
or reduced to ordination, is correlative with the logical scheme of classification.
One science must precede another in chronological discovery, because it is
requisite to render that other science discoverable. The one is the means
whereby we attain to the other, just as in a single science one problem must
be solved before we can, by any possibility, attain to the solution of another
problem. And the law of this dependence of one science on another is, that
the truths of the antecedent science which are the objects of research when
we study that science, become subjective—that is, means of operation when
we study the consequent science.
It is impossible,
therefore, that the sciences should be discovered in any other than a
certain order; that is, man must acquire knowledge on a scheme which has
laws as fixed and definite as the very laws of the sciences themselves.
We may remark,
however, that, although the sciences are necessarily antecedent and consequent
to each other, they interweave or overlap each other in their chronological
evolution; just as father and son may be alive at the same time, yet the
father is necessarily older than the son. And in the evolution of the sciences,
we may have several generations on foot at a given period; we may have three,
four, five, or six sciences all undergoing the process of evolution, but
all at different stages of progress.
Let us take chemistry
as the most advanced inorganic physical science, and classify the sciences
that follow chemistry in the natural scheme of classification. We have
The new term acquired
in the passage from the inorganic to the organic sciences, is vitality-life.
of animal life is the physical ultimatum of the earth, the last final
function of matter. When we proceed beyond this, we arrive at a region
where the functions are no longer purely physical; for although man in
his political economy may partly be viewed as a higher kind of animal, yet
his functions, even in that region, are essentially distinguished from those
of animals by the introduction of intellectual computation.
we turn to the sustentation of men associated together in society, we
have passed from the region of mere organization, and have entered the
sphere of rational intelligence.
The science that
treats of the production and distribution of food, and the other physical
requirements of man, is termed political economy; and the ultimatum of
that science is, "How may the greatest physical good be procured for the
is not arbitrary, as some would almost have us suppose; it is the necessary
end of the science if that science have any existence. Just as we are necessarily
led to view the surface of the earth in its function of sustaining vegetable
life, and the vegetable kingdom in its function of sustaining animal
life; so are we led by the very laws of our intelligence to posit the
physical benefit of mankind as the ultimatum to which all economical arrangements
should tend, if they do not depart from the very intention which is the
ground and origin of their existence.
But political economy
is a mere computation of antecedences and sequences: it tells what results
follow certain conditions; and, generalizing its facts, it at last arrives
at the laws which regulate the physical condition of man, so far as that
condition is the Consequence of human action. The utmost that it can tell
is, "what means lead to a certain end;" but being based purely on observation,
it can never lay on us a duty, nor deter us from a crime. Even in its
ultimatum, it can only say, that if men do not pursue their advantage,
they act irrationally, but never can it say that they act criminally.
It computes the mechanism of human action, but never can determine the
end of human action. Duty and crime are terms with which it has no concern,
and to which it can attach no meaning. It is merely observational, and
must confine itself as a science to the generalization of facts, while,
when taken as a practical rule of action, its sphere extends no further
than the physical wellbeing of mankind; and the "benefit of the greatest
number" is fixed on, not from any idea of moral duty, but merely because
that ultimatum exhibits the greatest quantity. In no sense is this science
one iota more moral than astronomy, which furnishes the practical rule
of navigation, or geometry, which furnishes the practical rule of mensuration.
To confound it with duty is essentially to destroy its character as an
is the last, the highest, and the most complex of all the physical sciences.
It is the termination of man's intellectual labors, so far as regards
the universe of matter. It is the ultimatum of material manifestation,
the final type of complex arrangement, the summit beyond which we leave
the material world, and enter into a new region of thought. Nor is it merely
a metaphor to say, that "man is the epitome of the world." Every science
that precedes human physiology is necessary to the complete understanding
of the human frame. But granting that human physiology is the last and
most complex of all the physical sciences, has man no further region into
which he may push his inquiries, and extend the field of intellectual research?
Man has his functions—What are their laws?
The most simple
functions of man, and those which naturally fall to be considered first,
are those in which he acts on the external world.
First, Man may act on the physical world
that surrounds him.
Second, Man may act on man.
involved in man's action on man are included under the term social science
and politics, when those terms are taken in a general signification.
is divided into two embranchments; namely, political economy, the object-noun
of which is social utility; and politics proper, the object-noun of which
The problem of
politics is to discover the laws (principles of the reason) which ought to
preside over human actions in the matter of interference.
In both sciences
human actions are the substantives with which we reason. In endeavoring
to determine the present position of man in his knowledge of political
economy and politics, we must premise that we here approach the region
where superstition and not science prevails.
Knowledge is credence
based on sufficient evidence, and superstition is credence without sufficient
In the very same
order, and to the very same extent, and at the same chronological period
that the sciences have appeared, has superstition gradually retired, and
taken her new stand in those fields of thought where the reason of mankind
had not yet beheld the divine light of truth.
The whole realm
of political science is as yet little better than a superstition.
To observe the
manner in which men legislate (and legislators, be they who they may, are
only men), we should naturally be led to the conclusion, that there was no
truth and no falsehood in political science.
Truth, in fact,
has almost as little to do with legislation as it had with alchemy or
astrology; and this is the case whatever may be the real matter of truth.
Whenever there is no truth to rest upon, there can only be error or superstition.
Every proper science
has an object-noun, and the exclusive end and intention of the science
is to discover and reduce to logical order the relations that exist between
the substantives of the science in that object-noun. Thus, arithmetic
treats of relations in number; geometry, of relations in space (position,
direction, and extent); dynamics, of relations in force, etc.
then treats of relations in social utility, and we ask, "What are the
relations of this, that, and the other action, or system of action, in
social utility?" The answer to this question belongs exclusively to the
science of political economy. The same action may be judged in social
utility, or in equity; in the former case we are engaged with a question
of political economy; in the latter, with a question of politics. Endless
ambiguities and discussions arise from confounding the one science with
2nd. We now ask,
"With what do we reason? what are the substantives of the science?"
We reason with
human actions in social utility. Social utility is the object-noun of the
science, and the forms of human action are the subject-nouns, which are to
be named, classed, and reasoned with.
action is not involved, there is no political economy. Whatever results from
the general action of the laws of the non-human universe, does not belong
to political economy except just in so far as they are effected by human
action. The fertility of the soil produced by human industry, the production
of iron, the cultivation, manufacture, and commerce of cotton, wheat, tea,
sugar, sheep, cattle, wool, etc., etc. —all these enter into political economy,
because they represent certain forms of human action, which have an appreciable
value in social utility.
then, is the science that treats of human function. Where human function
is not involved, we are not engaged with political economy. But then there
is a limitation on the other hand. Political economy is a non-moral science,
and in no case can be allowed to pronounce a moral judgement. All that
it can ever tell us is, whether certain actions or systems of actions
are beneficial, indifferent, or prejudicial; and when the terms right
and wrong, ought, etc., are employed they are used to indicate correctness
or incorrectness in social utility.
Acts of interference,
whether by law, or merely by the individual, belong properly to the science
of politics, but they may also be legitimately judged of through the
medium of political economy. By treating a question of interference by
the rules of equity, we arrive at once at a conclusion; whereas, when
it is treated by the rules of utility, it may require many years, many
observations, and many disputations as to facts, before a conclusion can
be drawn. The equity of the slave trade is a question so simple, that
few intelligent men could fail to settle it satisfactorily in a few minutes;
but the economy of the trade would require, and did require, many years
to settle it, and even now there are not wanting hundreds who, on economical
principles, would defend both the trade and the condition of slavery. Although
perfect knowledge in both sciences would no doubt lead to exactly the same
practical conclusion, the argument of economy is sometimes set up against
the argument of equity. The concise reply to such a mode of proceeding
is this, "If equity have any existence at all, its rules are necessarily
imperative." Deny the imperative nature of equity and you obliterate
Now, where there
is no interference between man and man, no judgement in equity can possibly
be pronounced. Where there is no interference (and nothing that enters
religion) economy gives the canon, she holds the balance, and pronounces
judgement because the question belongs to the jurisdiction of her court.
But where there is interference we can have a judgement in equity; and where
we can have a judgement in equity, no economical considerations whatever
can ever relieve man from the imperative obligation. The moment it was admitted
that economical considerations should outweigh the judgement in equity,
that moment is man's moral nature obliterated, and he becomes an animal
a little superior to the ourang-outang.
We now return to the mode in which political
economy is usually presented.
According to some
writers, we should imagine that utility was measured according to the
wealth produced. Value, labor, capital, wages, profit, rent, etc., are
the substantives of their science; and the production of wealth appears
to be the end, the sum and substance, the object of their desires.
We deny, from beginning
to end, this view of political economy. It has some truth in it—the beginnings
of truth; but such, in the general, is no more the end of political economy
than the determination of the chances in gambling was the end of the
calculation of probabilities.
We assert—and we
have no doubt whatever that this view will ultimately obtain the suffrages
of all—that the welfare of man is the end of political economy.
To this it may
be replied, that the production of wealth is the means; and that all economics
intend to include the welfare of man as a matter of course.
We deny the whole
theory from beginning to end.
We assert that
the production of man, and man in a continually higher condition, is the
object, the end, the ultimatum of the science.
Let us suppose
that one thousand families were employed in the cultivation of one hundred
thousand acres of land; that they lived, maintained themselves in decent
plenty, reared their families in health, industry, honesty, and those manly
qualities which, among the agricultural population of Great Britain, have
assumed a higher character than in any other portion of the earth's inhabitants.
Suppose that this population produce only as much as suffices for the plentiful
support of all the individuals. Good. There is not, on the average of twenty
years, any superabundance that can be called accumulated profit.
according to some political economists, would be a most unproductive,
most useless portion of society.
We deny the fact.
This population has reared and produced men.
the great body of this population should be set to spin cotton, smelt
iron, grind cutlery, and weave stockings. That at these occupations, by
incessant toil, they should produce not only as much as support them,
but one-half more. According to political economists, these occupations
would be incomparably more profitable than the agricultural occupations,
and consequently much better for society.
We deny the fact,
and scout the inference. The production of man, and of man in his best
condition, is the physical ultimatum of the earth; and any system whatever
that sacrifices the workman to the work—the man who produces the wealth
to the wealth produced—is a monstrous system of misdirected intention,
based on a blasphemy against man's spiritual nature.
The whole system
of modern manufacture, with its factory slavery; its gaunt and sallow
faces; its halfclad hunger; its female degradation; its abortions and
rickety children; its dens of pestilence and abomination; its ignorance,
brutality, and drunkenness; its vice, in all the hideous forms of infidelity,
hopeless poverty, and mad despair,—these, and, if it were possible, worse
than these, are the sure fruits of making man the workman of mammon, instead
of making wealth the servant of humanity for the relief of man's estate.
The day is not
far distant when the Labor of England will hold her court of justice; let
those who may await the sentence of the tribunal.
That system of
political economy which makes wealth and not man, the ultimatum, is based
on a monstrous fallacy—on a fallacy so slavish and so detestable, that the
wonder is how accomplished and personally amiable men can be found as its
The fallacy is,
in taking the rents of the landlords, and the profits of the capitalists,
as the measures of good and evil, instead of taking the condition of
the cultivators, and the condition of the laborers (the many), as the
sure index of the character of a system.
to debase man, to make him physically, intellectually, or morally a lower
being, is bad, however much or however little the wealth produced may be.2
The wealth is not the stable element; it is an
accidental, and by no means the most important adjunct. Man is the stable
element. His condition is the standard; his improvement is a good; his
deterioration is an evil. And this, independently of all other considerations.
All other considerations are secondary, dependent, subsidiary to the great
intention. Man is not useful as he produces wealth, but wealth is useful
as it sustains man, ameliorates his condition, improves his capacities,
gives opportunities for his further cultivation, and aids his progress
in the great scheme of human regeneration.
Such views, then,
of political economy as make wealth the ultimatum (and this wealth, be
it always remembered, is the wealth of the land-owner, the mill-owner,
the iron-master, etc., and not the wealth of the multitude of human laborers),
are merely, the beginnings of the science of political economy. This science,
like every other, must pass through its stages; it must have its errors,
its superstitions, its partial truths, its truths misunderstood, before
it comes forth as a system over which man has no power of control, but which
he must contemplate as a system of truth designed by the Creator of the
world for the instruction of his intellect, and the improvement of his
Political economy is now struggling to assume
a position among the sciences. It is daily growing, daily assuming a
more definite form, and daily shaking off those questions that do not
belong to it.
We must also remark,
that the natural science of political economy has labored under the immense
disadvantage of collecting facts which were not the result of nature's
operations, but which were, in a great measure, the result of human legislation,
which varied from time to time, and from country to country.
There is the greatest
possible difference between taking advantage of the laws of nature, and
originating laws. It is not man's office to originate laws. God has made
the laws, and given man an intellect to discover and apply them. As well
may man make laws in the physical sciences, or in theology, as in political
economy. It is true he may make laws, and enforce them; but what he never
can do is, to make the operation of those laws beneficial to the world.
This is beyond his power; and, though the laws may be for the pecuniary
advantage of the privileged classes of a country, they are necessarily followed
by a concomitant series of evils, which bear on the masses of the population.
The great truth
which political economy will ultimately teach is this, "That God has
constituted nature aright; that it is man's interest to take advantage
of the arrangements of nature according to the laws which God has established
in the world; that all human laws originating in man are prejudicial arrangements,
which interfere with the course of nature; that all such laws ought universally
to be abolished, so that man may have free scope to extract the maximum
of benefit from the earth." Social arrangements for the benefit of all
are not laws—they are adaptations of the laws of nature. These are requisite
for society; and to these arrangements, legislation, in its economical aspect,
ought to be exclusively confined.
When men make lighthouses
for the protection of maritime commerce—public harbors for the safety
of ships, seamen, and cargoes—when they make a police to watch—when they
pave, light, and clean towns—when they make roads and arrangements for
communications—when they support such national defences as are judged
requisite at any given time—when they support judges and other officers
to administer the laws of justice—when they do these, and many other similar
acts, at the common expense, and enforce the payment, they do not make laws.
They make only such arrangements, based on the laws of nature or equity,
as are deemed fitting at a given period; they take advantage of the world,
such as they find it, and endeavor to evolve from it a greater amount of
good than they could do, individually were there no such social arrangements.
Men may make laws if they will; but what they cannot do is, to make good
to follow them.
economy we turn to politics. Before doing so, however, we must remark that
no science of politics, whatever be its form, or whatever be its matter,
can hope to meet with impartial investigation. Whatever may be the real system
of truth (and a truth there must be somewhere), that system cannot fail to
controvert the opinion of multitudes and to be favorable or unfavorable to
the pecuniary interests of multitudes.
Admit the fact
of human progression, however (nor can it reasonably be denied), and all
the objections, and all the difficulties connected with the habitual credence
of a present generation, vanish into air. Let political truth be what
it may, it cannot receive general adoption at any period. It must grow;
it must be suggested, misunderstood, denied, discussed, adopted in part,
rejected in part, re-discussed, further adopted, and so on.
denials, and diversity of opinion, therefore, are of little importance.
They are natural; they must come. They are the modes in which man expresses
his ignorance, and frequently the means he uses to acquire knowledge and
determine truth. Where there is diversity of opinion, there must be ignorance
on one side or on both; and bold would be the man who, in politics, should
assert that he had so completely mastered all truth, that all other men
ought to come over to his side. And yet there must be a truth somewhere;
and, as knowledge does not admit of diversity of opinion, if ever man can
have a system of politics other than empirical, other than superstitious,
diversity of opinion must disappear from politics, just as it has disappeared
from the sciences which man has already mastered.
Politics has to
do exclusively with the relations between men, and to determine the principles
that should regulate their actions towards each other. Where interference
is not concerned, there is no question in politics. This, then, is the
anterior limitation of the science.
We have, now, to
determine the posterior boundary—that which separates it from any science
that might lie beyond it.
limit is likely—from the prevalence of socialist and communist doctrines—to
become the great desideratum of political theory. Those doctrines, whatever
may be the contempt heaped on them in England, are far more generally diffused
than most Englishmen are aware of. They are now revolutionizing Europe;
and no one can predict the extent of the changes that must follow them,
if once they gain the complete mastery of the public mind. Instead of railing
at them, however, it is much more profitable to endeavor to understand
them, and to seize the fallacy on which they are based.
It is true that
men are brethren, the children of one Father; it is true that universal
benevolence is a virtue; it is true that man ought not to seek his own
advantage at the expense of his fellow; it is true that in the present
system of society there are stupendous abuses which cannot be justified.
And it is also true that socialism and communism are based on fallacies,
although the above truths are ostensibly at the bottom of those systems;
no dogmas that have ever been uttered are more communist than some precepts
of the New Testament.
All that we have
here to do with communism, is to point out the fallacy on which it rests,
when advanced, as it is, into the region of politics. This fallacy will
be found the moment we can determine the posterior limitation of the science
of politics. We cannot turn the torrent of credence that has set in;
but it may be possible to give it a right direction.
are not relations of fraternity. Love, charity, benevolence, and generosity
have nothing whatever to do with politics. These substantives, and the
principles of action to which they give rise, lie beyond the region of
politics. This they do necessarily, just as necessarily as light and sound,
optics and acoustics, lie necessarily beyond the region of geometry. Unless
this truth is fairly apprehended, and unless the line of demarcation between
politics and the regions that lie beyond it is logically determined and clearly
perceived, there is a continual danger of sliding imperceptibly into socialism.
Whatever may be true, or whatever may be false, in socialism (using. that
term in the most unobjectionable sense—Christian socialism, for instance),
the principles of equity must first be taken into consideration before
we can, by any possibility, proceed to the consideration of those higher
principles of action which may come into play, when once the principles
of justice are acknowledged and carried into general operation.
This question is
perhaps, practically, the most important in modern politics. Insurged
millions let loose on the world, with vague ideas of fraternity in their
heads, with the courage of enthusiasm in their hearts, and with bayonets
in their hands, are, at all events, formidable expositors of doctrine.
Their energy is exactly what the continent of Europe has so long required;
but their ignorance may transform what would otherwise have been a most
useful reformation, into a terrible hurricane of vengeance, and a blind
exercise of destructive power. Now that the theorist and the orator can
raise armed millions, the game of politics has assumed a new character.
Theories are no longer barren speculations, nor is oratory mere declamation.
It is, therefore, of the first importance that the most cheerful, impartial,
and honest endeavor should be made to perfect the theory of politics—to
base first on the immutable foundations of justice—to satisfy the reason
before setting the passions in a flame to evolve principles which can be
calmly and soberly maintained by the intellect, before they are given as
rules of action to enthusiastic populations, ready to march in any direction
that is plausibly pointed out as the right one.
We have no intention,
however, to attempt the correction of wrong theories. Wrong theories
may be supplanted, but it is questionable whether they are ever corrected.
The development of the right theory is the great object. It will do the
work if once it can be finally cleared of all logical objection. Men want
political truth, and they are making desperate efforts to obtain it; and
obtain it they will ultimately, there can be no possible doubt.
so far from being relations of fraternity, or of love, or of any of those
sentiments that teach us to bear or to forbear, to give or to forgive,
are relations of equity. They are relations of justice, which gives nothing,
and forgives nothing. They are jural relations, and political society
is a jural society.
The moment this
truth is forgotten, the door is opened for the wildest and most impracticable
schemes. We have, in fact, broken down the barriers of reason, and admitted
a flood of wild imagination. We must carefully deny admission to any
propositions whatever which cannot show a rational foundation, because
they pretend to derive from the higher and more expansive sentiments of
the heart. Nothing can be more delusive, nothing more certainly dangerous.
Justice is stable, permanent, and strictly regulative. Its rules must
determine the form of society, a form which may at all times be enforced.
And if, as is the case in all known countries, that form shall have been
departed from, then force may be legitimately used for its restoration.
The moment, however,
that we attempt to substitute the relations of benevolence for those
of justice, both the scales and the sword fall from the hands of the image.
Benevolence can regulate nothing, and enforce nothing. First let me know
what is mine, and then inculcate the duties and the pleasures of benevolence.
But if nothing is mine, then is there not only no justice, but no possibility
of benevolence. The moment property is abolished that moment is the practice
of benevolence (such, at all events, as involves the objects of property)
abolished also. The foundation, therefore, of political society on benevolence
is suicidal; the only possibility of benevolence being the admission that
something is mine (service or property) which I may lawfully give, lawfully
withhold, but which I may choose to give if I please, when actuated by
charity, fraternity, therefore, cannot enter a system of politics. No
human society could be founded on them that attempts to regulate the distribution
of natural property, and the allocation of that increased value which
is created by the labor of individuals. Love may, to a certain extent,
reign in a family; but in a state composed of a multitude of independent
(although social) individuals, each producing according to his skill, energy,
perseverance, and accidental opportunities, justice must be the regulative
principle, without which the society falls either under the hand of tyranny,
or falls into the equally destructive condition of anarchy and confusion.
We posit, therefore,
that political society is a society whose essence, end, and intention
is to exhibit, in realization, the principles of equity or justice.
benevolence has nothing to do with politics, it has much to do with man.
And as it does lie beyond politics, its laws, whatever they are, or wherever
they may be derived from, will fall to be considered at some period or
other. Towards them the world is progressing, and after a reign of justice
there will fall, in necessary order, a reign of benevolence.
But if politics
be the science of justice, and justice does not admit the idea of benevolence,
that idea being necessarily posterior to justice, what is the radical
distinction between justice and benevolence, and where is the line of
demarcation that separates them?
That line of demarcation
is found in the distinction between the negative and the positive.
A very simple consideration
will place in a clear enough light the difference between the negative
character of justice, and the positive character of benevolence.
If all men were
socially passive, and did not in anywise interfere with each other, there
would be the perfection of justice, while there might be the total absence
No rule of justice
can ever originate an interference. All interference based on justice
is consequential; that is, the consequence of a prior act of interference,
which requires to be corrected. All primary interference, contrary to the
will of the person interfered with (he being of sound mind, sober, etc.),
is an injustice. The essential character of injustice consists in the forcible
interference of one man with another; nor is any man justified, in constraining
another to receive even a benefit (or what nine hundred and ninety men out
of a thousand would pronounce a benefit) against his will. The essential
character of injustice is, the overbearing of one man's will by another man's
force or fraud. And no rule or principle of equity can ever originate such
The whole scheme
of justice, therefore, is essentially and radically restrictive, and
all its positive rules, or rules which justify 'or command interference,
will be found to consist of those which justify the restoration of things
to that condition in which they would have been had there been no interference.
That is, whenever the negative state of non-interference has been departed
from, and the equilibrium of equity destroyed, justice furnishes rules
for positive interference, whereby the negative state may be restored,
and the equilibrium of equity re-established. But this in nowise affects
the assertion, that the principles of justice, and the scheme of the science,
are entirely restrictive; because, let all society be in the negative
state of non-interference, and it would remain so forever were the rules
of justice attended to.
the contrary, supposes that men shall be socially active; not that they
shall interfere with each other without consent, but that they shall take
a constant interest in each other's welfare, and be ready to offer the
helping hand of sympathy when sorrows fall upon their brethren. Benevolence
cannot infringe justice, it only superadds more than justice could require.
Such a condition
of society, then, as would be compatible with the perfection of justice,
might exclude benevolence altogether. Consequently, justice and benevolence
are radically distinguished from each other; and politics, which is the
science of justice, is independent of benevolence.
Here, then, we learn the posterior limit
of the science of politics.
Where there is
no question of interference between man and man, there is no question of
politics. This is the anterior limit, that which separates it from all that
comes before it; from political economy, the physical sciences, and the mathematical
And the posterior
limit is found in the fact, that the science is confined exclusively
to the exhibition of the laws relating to such interference as is consequent
on a departure from the state of non-interference, and to the exhibition
of the laws (intuitions of the reason) which prohibit all primary interference.
[The latter, of course, come logically first in the exposition of the
Having, then, determined
the limits of the science of politics, we affirm (from the preceding
data) that its position is immediately after the science of political
economy, and that it is followed by the laws of benevolence, wherever
these may be derived from.