Government: Anarchy or Regimentation (May 1890)

Collected Essays I

[383] As a problem of political philosophy, Government presents three principal aspects. We may ask in whom is the sovereign authority vested? Or by what machinery should that authority be exercised? Or in respect of what matters is its exercise legitimate?

The first two of these questions have been discussed by philosophers and fought over by factions from the earliest times. Innumerable battles have been waged about the rival claims of kings, nobles and popular leaders to the "right divine to govern wrong;" and for, or against, the excellence of this or that legislative and administrative apparatus. The third question, on the other hand, has come to the front only in comparatively recent times. But its importance has increased and is increasing rapidly; indeed, at present, it completely over[384]shadows the others. The great problem of modern political philosophy is to determine the province of government. Is there, or is there not, any region of human action over which the individual himself alone has jurisdiction and into which other men have no business to intrude?

In the ancient polities of Greece and Rome hardly any part of human life, except a man's family religious practices, was thus sacred from the intrusion of the State. Beyond the limits of this primary social group even religious liberty ceased. The ancient States permitted no acts which manifested want of respect, still less such as savoured of active opposition, to the cults authorised by the community. Any "infidels" who ventured to give open expression to their lack of faith in the gods of the city were quickly taught that they had better keep their opinions to themselves; and no mercy was shown to those foreign religions the practices of which were judged to be inconsistent with the public welfare. But the old pagan religions had no propaganda; and as persecution is usually a correlate of proselytism, they were fairly tolerant in practice, until the progress of Christianity opened the eyes of the Roman authorities to the fact that civil existence, as they understood it, was incompatible with religious existence, as the Christians understood it. Pagan Rome, therefore, systematically persecuted Christianity with the intention of averting a political catas[385]trophe of the gravest character. The Christian Church was the "International" of the emperors of the second and third centuries.

It is commonly supposed that the result of the intermittent, if internecine warfare thus waged was the victory of the Church, and that, in the words of Julian, the Galilean conquered. But those who compare the Christianity of Paul with that of Constantine's prelates may be permitted to doubt whether, as in so many other cases, the vanquished did not in effect subdue the victor; whether there is not much more of Greek philosophy and of Roman organisation and ritual, than of primitive Christianity, in the triumphant Catholicism of the fourth and later centuries. One heritage of old Roman statecraft, at any rate, passed, bodily over to Catholic churchcraft. As soon as the church was strong enough, it began to persecute with a vigour and consistency which the Empire never attained. In the ages of faith, Christian ecclesiasticism raged against freedom of thought, as such, and compelled the State to punish religious dissidence as a criminal offence of the worst description. The ingenuity of pagan persecutors failed to reach the shameful level of that of the Christian inventors of the Holy Office; nor did the civil governors of pagan antiquity ever degrade themselves so far as to play the executioner for a camarilla of priests. The doctrine that the authority of the State extends to men's [386] beliefs as well as to their actions, and, consequently, is conterminous with the whole of human life; and that the power of the State ought to be used for the promotion of orthodoxy and the extermination of heterodoxy is, in fact, a necessary corollary of Romanism, which, however disguised by prudence when the Papacy is weak, is sure to reappear when it is strong enough to dispense with hypocrisy. In the sixteenth century, the theory and practice of a thousand years had so thoroughly incorporated intolerance with Christianity, that even the great reformers held firmly by this precious heirloom of the ages of faith, whatever other shards of ecclesiastical corruption they might cast aside. Happily, the pretensions to infallibility of sects, who differed only in the higher or lower positions of the points at which they held on to the slope between Romanism and Rationalism, were so absurd, that political Gallios have been able to establish a modus vivendi among them. In this country, at any rate, the State is approaching, if it has not quite reached, a position of non-intervention (inclining perhaps to malevolent neutrality) in theological quarrels.

The prolonged intellectual and physical struggles which have thus tended to the more and more complete exclusion of a great group of human interests and activities from the legitimate sphere of governmental interference, have exerted a powerful influence on the general theory of [387] Government. Two centuries have elapsed since this influence, having for some time made itself felt among political philosophers, prompted that systematic inquiry into the proper limits of governmental action in general, which is contained in John Locke's two Treatises on Government," published in 1689.

The Revolution of 1688 marks one of the acute stages of that contest between Liberalism and Absolutism in these islands which began to manifest itself in a remote period of our history. Liberalism, represented by Parliamentary politicians and Protestant theologians, had prevailed over Absolutism, represented by the Stuarts in the political sphere, and by Papistry, open or disguised, in that of religion. The two "Treatises" form an apology for the victors. A theoretical justification for the accomplished fact was much needed; and Locke would have been unworthy of his reputation as a speculative philosopher, if he had failed to discover, or to invent, a theory sufficiently plausible to satisfy those who desired nothing better than to be persuaded of the justice of acts, by which, in any case, they meant to stand. The first essay is ostensibly directed at poor dead and gone Sir Robert Filmer, with his Adamic mythology (which, by the way, Locke treats as if it were serious history); but the controversial shots are intended to pass through their ostensible object and to slay the defenders of divine right, [388] who lay behind the Filmerian outpost. In the second essay, "On Civil Government," which alone has any interest to us at the present day, the theory of State omnipotence propounded by Hobbes (and supposed, though wrongfully, to have been invented in the interests of monarchy) is vigorously assaulted.

Hobbes was a thinker and writer of marvellous power, and, take him altogether, is probably the greatest of English philosophers; but it was given to him, as little as to Locke, to escape from entanglement in the a priori speculations which had come down mainly from the Roman jurists.1 Setting out from the assumption of the [389] natural equality of men, and of a primary "state of nature" in which every man strove for the full exercise of his "natural rights," and which was, therefore, a state of war of each against all; Hobbes further assumed that, in order to obtain the blessings of peace, men entered into a contract with one another, by which each surrendered the whole of his natural rights to the person or persons appointed, by common consent, to exercise supreme dominion, or sovereignty, over each and all of the members of the commonwealth constituted by the contract. The authority of the sovereign (whether one man or many, monarch or people2) to whom this complete surrender of natural rights was made, was thus absolute and unquestionable. From the time of the surrender, the individual member of the Commonwealth–the citizen–possessed no natural rights at all; but, in exchange for them he acquired such civil rights as the sovereign despot thought fit to grant and to guarantee by the exercise of the whole power of the State, if necessary. Civil law, sanctioned by the force of the community, took the place of "natural right," backed only by the force of the individual. It follows that no limit is, or can be, theoretically set to State interference. The citizen of the "Leviathan" is simply a member of a composite organism controlled by the State will; he has no more freedom in religious matters [390] than in any others; but is to perform the practices of the State religion, and to profess the creed of its theology, whether he likes the one and believes the other, or not. The ideal of the State is a sternly disciplined regiment, in which the citizens are privates, the State functionaries officers, and every action in life is regulated and settled by the sovereign's "Regulations and Instructions." Disobedience is worse than mutiny. For those who disobey need not even be tried by court-martial. By the very act of insubordination they revoke the social contract, and, falling back into the state of nature–that is to say, of the war of each against all–they become aliens, who may be dealt with, summarily, as enemies.

Thus, there are three fundamental points in Hobbes's theory of a polity: First, the primitive state of nature, conceived as a state of war, or unrestricted struggle for existence, among men. Second, the contract, by the execution of which men entered into commonwealths or polities. Third, the complete surrender of all natural rights to the sovereign, and the conferring of absolute and despotic authority upon him, or them, by that contract.

Now, Locke also assumes a primitive state of nature, though its characters are different; he also assumes the contractual origin of the polity; and thus, on these two points, is in general agreement with Hobbes. But, with respect to the third [391] article, he diametrically opposes Hobbes, and declares that the surrender of natural rights which took place when the social compact was made was not complete, but, on the contrary, most strictly and carefully limited.

The difference is of great importance. It marks the point of separation of two schools of a priori political philosophy, which have continued to be represented, with constantly increasing divergence, down to the present time, when the ultimate stages of their respective series confront one another as Anarchy on the one hand, and Regimentation on the other.

But it is necessary to define these epithets with care, before going further. Anarchy, as a term of political philosophy, must be taken only in its proper sense, which has nothing to do with disorder or with crime; but denotes a state of society, in which the rule of each individual by himself is the only government the legitimacy of which is recognised. In this sense, strict anarchy may be the highest conceivable grade of perfection of social existence; for, if all men spontaneously did justice and loved mercy, it is plain that all swords might be advantageously turned into ploughshares, and that the occupation of judges and police would be gone.3 Anarchy, as [392] thus defined, is the logical outcome of that form of political theory, which for the last half-century and more has been known under the name of Individualism.4

I have, unfortunately, no such long established prescription to offer for the term Regimentation; but I hope it will be accepted until some one discovers a better denomination for the opposite view, the essence of which is the doctrine of State omnipotence. "Socialism," which at first suggests itself, is unfortunately susceptible of being used in widely different senses. As a general rule, no doubt, socialistic political philosophy is eminently regimental. But there is no necessary connection between socialism and regimentation. Persons, who, of their own free will, should think fit to imitate the primitive Christians depicted by the Acts, and to have all things in common, would be Socialists; and yet they might be none the less Individualists, so long as they refused to compel any one to join them. The only true contradictory of Individualism is that more common kind of [393] Socialism which proposes to use the power of the State in order, as the phrase goes, to "organise" society, or some part of it. That is to say, this "regimental" Socialism proposes to interfere with the freedom of the individual to whatever extent the sovereign may dictate, for the purpose of more or less completely neutralising the effects of the innate inequalities of men. It is militarism in a new shape, requiring the implicit obedience of the individual to a governmental commander-in-chief, whose business is to wage war against natural inequality, and to set artificial equality in its place.

I propose now to give an outline of the progress, first of Regimentation and then of Individualism since the seventeenth century.

In France Regimentation was strongly advocated by Morelly and by Mably before Rousseau's essay on the Social Contract made its appearance; and, to my mind, except in point of literary form, the works of the former two writers are much better worth reading. But, while the immense popularity of Rousseau made him the apparent leader of the movement in favour of social regimentation, the comparative vagueness of his demands for equality commended him to practical politicians. His works became the gospel of the political–one might almost say the religious–sect of which Robespierre and St. Just [394] were the chiefs;5 and the famous conspiracy of their would-be continuator, Babœuf, was an attempt to bring about the millennium of eighteenth century socialism by sanguinary violence.

According to Rousseau, the social contract is "the foundation of all rights" (chap. ix.); though the sovereign is not bound by it (chap. vii.), inasmuch as he can enter into no contract with himself. This sovereign is the totality of the citizens. Each, in assenting to the social contract, gives himself and all he possesses to the sovereign (vi.), "lui et toutes ses forces dont les biens qu'il possède font partie" (chap. ix.). He loses his natural liberty, and the State becomes master of him and of his goods (chap. ix.). As nature gives a man absolute power over all his members, the social compact gives the polity an absolute power over its citizens. The State, however, does not really despoil him. He gets back civil liberty (that is, such amount of liberty as the State [395] decrees) and a right of property in that which he possesses (chap. viii.). His previous possession, which was bare usurpation, is thus changed into right. In this way members of the community become mere depositaries of the public property, the private right of ownership being subordinate to the supreme right of the community (chap. ix.). The general will is the source of authority; whoever refuses to obey its behests is to be coerced into obedience by the whole body–"which means nothing more than that he shall be forced to be free" (chap. vii.). As will be seen on turning to the extracts from the "Philosophical Rudiments" given above (p. 388, note), most of this is Hobbism pure and simple. The fundamental principle of the Rousseauite, as of the Hobbist, polity is the omnipotence of the State; its boasted liberty is a grant from the sovereign despot, whose absolutism is sugared over by the suggestion that each man has an infinitesimal share in it. And, if any one of the sovereign people should be as blind to the benefits of this sort of free bondsmanship and coerced brotherly love as the "Needy knifegrinder" was, his "incivism" is to be cured by physical treatment: "On le forcera d'être libre."

The despotism of the "general will" (volonte generale) being thus established, how is the sovereign to make his commands known? This is a point about which it is surely necessary to be very [396] clear. Unfortunately, Rousseau leaves it not a little obscure. He commences the second chapter of his second book by declaring that the general will is that of the body of the people; that, as such, the declaration of it is an act of sovereignty, while the declaration of the will of a part of the people is merely an act of administration. Yet, in a note, we are told that for the "will" to be "general" it need not be unanimous, only all the votes must be taken. How the expression of will which is not unanimous can be other than that of a part of the people, does not appear. But full light is thrown upon Rousseau's real meaning in the second chapter of the fourth book. Following Locke's dictum that nothing can make a man a member of a commonwealth "but his actually entering into it by positive engagement and express promise and compact" ("Civil Government," §122) he tells us that

"the only law which, by its nature, requires unanimous assent, is the social compact: for civil association is the most voluntary of all acts: every man being born free and master of himself, no one, under any pretext whatever, can subject himself without avowal of the act."

Those who do not assent when the social contract is made remain strangers among the citizens; but after the State is constituted, residence within its bounds is to be taken as assent to the contract.

[397] "Outside this primitive contract, the vote of the majority obliges the test; that is a consequence of the contract itself."

In the Rousseauite State, then, sovereignty means neither more nor less than the omnipotence of a bare majority of voices of all the members of the State collected together in general meetings (chaps. xii.–xiv.).

During the sittings of this sovereign multitude, which are to take place at fixed intervals,

"the jurisdiction of the government ceases, the executive power is suspended, and the person of the lowliest citizen is as sacred and inviolable as that of the highest magistrate; for where the represented is present the representative ceases to exist."

In fact, in each of these periodical meetings, the polity potentially returns to the state of nature, and its members, if they please, may dissolve the social contract altogether: if they do not so please, they reappoint office-bearers to do the work assigned to them, whatever that may be (iii. chap. xvii.), until the next assembly. Society is thus a sort of joint-stock company, whose officers vacate their posts at every general meeting, and whose shareholders can wind up the concern, or go on, as the assembly may resolve, with such articles of association as a bare majority of the shareholders may determine shall be binding until the next meeting. An industrial company organised in this way would probably soon resign sove[398]reignty to a liquidator. But then the members of industrial associations certainly do not undergo that transfiguration which, according to Rousseau, is worked by entrance into the social contract. "The general will," says he, "is always upright and always tends towards the general good" (1iv. ii. chap. iii.); "the people are never corrupted" (ibid.); "all constantly desire the happiness of each" (1iv. ii. chap. iv.).

Unfortunately, the intellect and the information of the sovereign are not always quite up to the standard of his morality:–

"The general will is always just; but the judgment which guides it is not always enlightened (1iv ii chap vi.)."

It would seem that flattery of the sovereign is not peculiar to monarchies. Notoriously, kings can do no wrong, and always spend their lives in sighing for the welfare of their subjects. If they seem to err, it is only because they are misled and misinformed. That has been the great make-believe of apologists for despotism from all time.

A properly enlightened sovereign people, with its incorruptible altruism, can never lose sight of the true end of legislation, the greatest good of all; and if we seek to know what that is, Rousseau tells us that it embraces two things, Liberty and Equality (1iv. ii. chap. xi.). Liberty, he says, is "obedience to the law which one has laid down for oneself" (1iv. i. chap. viii.); a well-sounding [399] definition. But to my mind it is somewhat hard to reconcile with the obligation to submit to laws laid down by other people who happen to be in a majority. Unless, indeed, this "law which one has laid down for oneself" simply inculcates obedience to the majority. But, if that be liberty, then liberty is no less possessed by the man who makes it a law to himself to obey any master; and liberty is as fully possessed by the slave who makes up his mind to be a slave, as by the freest of free men.

With respect to the other aim of government, the maintenance of equality, Rousseau makes an instructive statement in answering the objection that the attempt is chimerical.

"It is precisely because the nature of things (force des choses) continually tends to the destruction of equality, that the power of legislation ought always to tend to maintain it."6

[400] Absolute equality of power and wealth is not required, but neither opulence nor beggary is to be permitted; and it is to depend upon the legislators' view of the circumstances whether the community shall devote itself to agriculture or to manufactures and commerce (1iv. ii. chap. xi.). Thus the State is to control distribution no less than production. Moreover, the sovereign people is to settle the articles of a. State religion, not exactly as religious dogmas, but as "sentiments of sociability without which a man can neither be a good citizen nor a faithful subject":–

"Without being able to oblige any one to believe them, he may banish from the State whoever does not believe them; he may banish them, not for impiety, but for unsociability–as persons incapable of sincerely loving the laws or justice, and of sacrificing themselves to duty if needful.... If any one, after having acknowledged these same dogmas, conducts himself as if he did not believe them, let him be punished with death: he has committed the greatest of crimes, he has lied before the law (1iv. iv. chap. viii.)."

The articles of the State creed are: the existence of a powerful, intelligent, beneficent, foreseeing and provident Deity; the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the [401] wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and of the laws. These are the positive doctrines of the Rousseauite creed. Of negative dogmas there is only one, and the reader may be surprised to learn that it enjoins the repression of intolerance. Having banished unbelievers in the State creed and put to death lapsed believers, Rousseau thanks God that he is not as those publicans, the devotees of "les cultes que nous avons exclus"–intolerant. Does he not proclaim that all religions which tolerate others should themselves be tolerated? Yet the qualificatory provision, "so far as their dogmas are in no way contrary to the duties of the citizen," would seem to effect a considerable reduction in the State toleration of the tolerators; since, as we have just seen, it is obligatory on the citizen to profess the State creed.

Whether Rousseau used the works of Morelly and of Mably, as he did those of Hobbes and Locke, and whether his reputation for political originality is not of that cheap and easy sort which is won by sedulously ignoring those who have been unmannerly enough to anticipate us, need not be discussed. At any rate, important works of both these authors, in which the principles to be found in the essay on the "Social Contract" are made the foundation of complete schemes of regimental socialism with community of goods, were published earlier than that essay. Robespierre and St. Just went as far as Rousseau in the direction of enforc[402]ing equality, but they left it to Babœuf to try to go as far as Mably. In their methods of endeavouring (by the help of the guillotine) to "force men to be free," they supplied the works naturally brought forth by the Rousseauite faith. And still more were they obedient to the master in insisting on a State religion, and in certifying the existence of God by a governmental decree.

The regimental Socialists of our own time appear to believe that, in their hands, political regimentation has taken a new departure, and substantially differs from that of the older apostles of their creed. Certainly they diverge from the views of Owen or of Fourier; but I can find nothing of importance in the serious writings of the modern school, nor even in their romances, which may not be discovered in the works of Morelly and of Mably, whose advocacy of the doctrines that several ownership is the root of all the evils of society; that the golden age would return if only the State directed production and regulated consumption; and that the love of approbation affords a stimulus to industry, sufficient to replace all those furnished by the love of power, of wealth and of sensual gratification, in our present imperfect state, is as powerful as that of any later writers.

We may now turn to the other line of development of political philosophy based upon a priori [403] arguments, which is represented by individualism in various shades of intensity. I have already said that the founder and father of political individualism, as it is held by its more moderate adherents at the present day, is John Locke; and that his primary assumptions–the state of nature and the contractual basis of society–are the same as those of his predecessor Hobbes, and of his successors Rousseau and Mably. But I have also remarked that the condition of men in the state of nature, imagined by Locke, is different from that assumed by either Hobbes or Rousseau. For these last philosophers, primitive man was a savage; lawless and ferocious according to the older, good and stupid, according to the younger, theorist. Locke's fancy picture of primitive men, on the other hand, represents them under the guise of highly intelligent and respectable persons, "living together according to reason, without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them" ("Civil Government," § 19).

The Law of Nature7 is, in fact, the law dictated by reason, which "teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, [404] liberty, or possessions." Elsewhere (§ 4), the state of nature is defined as a state of "perfect freedom," in which men "dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit"; and further as a state of equality,

"wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature,8 and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection."

Again (§ 7), since the law of nature "willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind," every man has a "right to punish the transgressors of [405] that law "; that is to say, those who invade the rights of others. Moreover, truth and the keeping of faith are commands of the Law of Nature, and belong "to men as men," and not as members of society (§ 14). Locke uses the term Law of Nature, therefore, in the sense in which it was often (perhaps generally) employed by the jurists, to denote a system of equity based on purely rational considerations.

There is no connection between this law of nature and "natural rights," properly so called. The state of nature imagined by Locke is, in fact, the individualistic golden age of philosophical anarchy, in which all men voluntarily rendering suum cuique, there is no need of any agency for the enforcement of justice. While Hobbes supposes that, in the state of nature, the Law of Nature was silent, Locke seems to imagine that it spoke loudly enough, but that men grew deaf to it. It was only in consequence of the failure of some of them to maintain the original standard of ethical elevation that those inconveniences arose which drove the rest to combine into commonwealths; to choose rulers; and to endow them, as delegates of all, with the sum of the right to punish transgressors inherent in each.

In taking this important step, however, our forefathers exhibited that caution and prudence which might be expected from persons who dwelt upon the ethical heights which they had reached [406] in the state of nature. Instead of making a complete surrender of all the rights and powers which they possessed in that state, to the Sovereign, and thus creating State omnipotence by the social contract, as Hobbes wrongfully declared them to have done, they gave up only just so much of them as was absolutely necessary for the purposes of an executive with strictly limited powers. With the Stuarts recognised by France, and hosts of Jacobite pamphleteers on the look-out for every coign of vantage, it would never do to admit the Hobbesian doctrine of complete surrender. So Locke is careful to assert that when men entered into commonwealths they must have stipulated (and, therefore, on approved a priori principles, did stipulate) that the power of the Sovereign was strictly limited to the performance of acts needful "to secure every one's property."

"§131. But though men, when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society to be so far disposed of by the legislative, as the good of society shall require; yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property; (for no rational creature can be supposed to change his condition with an intention to be worse), the power of the society, or legislative constituted by them, can never be supposed to extend farther, than the common good; but is obliged to secure every one's property by providing against those three defects above mentioned, that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy."9

[407] To listen to Locke, one would imagine that a general meeting of men living in the state of nature having been called to consider the "defects" of their condition, and somebody being voted to the tree (in the presumable absence of chairs), this earliest example of a constituent assembly resolved to form a governmental company, with strictly limited liability, for the purpose of defending liberty and property; and that they elected a director or body of directors, to be known as the Sovereign, for the purpose of carrying on that business and no other whatsoever. Thus we are a long way from the absolute Sovereign of Hobbes. Here is the point, in fact, at which Locke diverged from the older philosopher; and at which Rousseau and Mably, after profiting as much as they could by Locke's "Essay," left him and laid the theoretical foundations of regimental socialism.

The physiocrats of the eighteenth century, struggling against the effects of that "fureur de gouverner," which one of their leaders, the elder Mirabeau, called the worst malady of modern states, and which had nearly succeeded in strang[408]ling every branch of French industry and starving the French people, necessarily welcomed and adopted Locke's individualistic formula. Their favourite maxim of "Laissez faire" was a corollary of the application of that formula in the sphere of economy; and it was a great thing for them to be able to add to the arguments based on practical expediency, which could be properly appreciated only by those who took pains to learn something about the facts of the case, the authority of a deduction from one of those a priori truths, the just appreciation of which is supposed to come by nature to all men. The axiom of absolute ethics in question has been stated in many ways. It is laid down that every man has a right to do as he pleases, so long as he does no harm to others; or that he is free to do anything he pleases, so long as he does not interfere with the same freedom in others. Daire, in the introduction to his "Physiocrates" (p. 16), goes so far as to call the rule thus enunciated a "law of nature."

"La loi naturelle qui permet à chacun de faire tout ce qui lui est avantageux sous la seule condition de ne pas nuire à autrui."10

[409] The physiocrats accepted the dogma of human equality, and they further agreed with Locke in considering that the restriction of the functions of the Government to the protection of liberty and property was in nowise inconsistent with furtherance of education by the State. On the contrary they considered education to be an essential condition of the only equality which is consistent with liberty. Moreover, they laid great stress on the proposition that justice is inseparably connected with property and liberty. Nothing can be stronger than the words of Quesnay on this point:–

"Là où les lois et la puissante tutelaire n'assurent point la propriété et la liberté, il n'y a ni gouvernement ni société profitables; il n'y a que domination et anarchie sous les apparences d'un gouvernement; les lois positives et la domination y protégent et assurent les usurpations des forts, et anéantissent la propriété et la liberté des faibles."11

That is to say, the absolute political ethics of the individualist leave as little doubt in his mind that private property and the right to deal freely with it are essential to the protection of the weak against the strong, as the absolute political ethics [410] of the regimental socialist assure him that private property and freedom of contract involve the tyranny of the strong over the weak.

Through the widespread influence of the "Wealth of Nations," individualism became a potent factor in practical politics. Wherever the principles of free-trade prevailed and were followed by industrial prosperity, individualism acquired a solid fulcrum from which to move the political world. Liberalism tended to the adoption of Locke's definition of the limits of State action, and to consider persistence in letting alone as a definition of the whole duty of the statesman. But in the hands of even the most liberal governments, these limits proved pretty elastic; and, however objectionable State interference might be, it was found hard to set bounds to it, if indirect as well as direct interference were permissible. So long ago as the end of the eighteenth century, the distinguished scholar and statesman Wilhelm von Humboldt12 attempted to meet this difficulty. He wrote a special treatise, which remained unpublished till sixty years later, for the purpose of showing that the legitimate functions of the State [411] are negative; and that governments have no right to take any positive steps for the promotion of the welfare of the governed. Von Humboldt does not encumber himself with Locke's "limited contract," but starts an a priori axiom of his own, namely:–

"That reason cannot desire for any man any other condition than that in which each individual not only enjoys the most absolute freedom of developing himself by his own energies in his perfect individuality, but in which external nature even is left unfashioned by any human agency, but only receives the impress given to it by each individual by himself and his own free will, according to the measure of his wants and instincts, and restricted only by the limits of his powers and rights." (p. 18).

From this very considerable assumption (which I must say does not appear to me to possess the quality of intuitive certainty) the conclusion is deduced that

"the State is to abstain from all solicitude for the positive welfare of the citizens and not to proceed a step farther than is necessary for their mutual security and protection against foreign enemies; for with no other object should it impose restrictions on freedom."

This conclusion differs but little from that of Locke, verbally. Nevertheless in its practical application, Von Humboldt excludes not only all and every matter of religion, of morals, and of education, but the relations of the sexes, and all private actions not injurious to other citizens, from [412] the interference of the State. However, he permits governmental regulation of the power of testamentary devolution; and (though somewhat unwillingly) interference with acts which are not immediately hurtful to one's neighbours, yet the obvious tendencies of which are to damage them or to restrict their liberties.

By far the best and fullest exposition known to me of the individualism which, in principle, goes no further than Locke's formula, is Dunoyer's "Liberte du Travail" of which the first volume was published in 1825, and the whole work in 1845. One great merit of the author is the resolute casting aside all the a priori figments of his predecessors; and another lies in his careful and elaborate discussion of the historical growth of Individualism, which goes a long way towards the establishment of the conclusion, that advance in civilisation and restriction of the sphere of Government interference have gone hand in hand. J. S. Mill has referred to Dunoyer's work; but later expositors of Individualism ignore him completely, although they have produced nothing comparable to the weighty case for the restriction of the sphere of government, presented with a force which is not weakened by fanaticism, in the seventh chapter of the ninth book of Dunoyer's work.

The year 1845 is further marked in the annals of Individualism by the appearance of Stirner's [413] "The Individual and his Property,13 "in which the author, going back to first principles, after a ruthless criticism of both limited Individualism and regimental Socialism, declares himself for unlimited Individualism; that is to say, Anarchy. Stirner justly points out that "natural right" is nothing but natural might. Man, in the state of nature, could know of no reason why he should not freely use his powers to satisfy his desires. When men entered into society they were impelled by self-interest. Each thought he could procure some good for himself by that proceeding; and his natural right to make the most out of the situation remained intact. The theory of an express contract, with either complete or incomplete surrender of natural rights, is an empty figment, nor was there any understanding, except perhaps that each would grasp as much as he could reasonably expect to keep. According to this development of Individualism, therefore, the state of nature is not really put an end to by the formation of a polity; the struggle for existence is as severe as ever though its conditions are somewhat different. It is a state of war; but instead of the methods of the savage, who sticks at no treachery, and revels in wanton destruction, we have those of modern warfare, with its Red Cross ambulances, flags of truce strictly respected, and extermination con[414]ducted with all the delicate courtesies of chivalry. The rules of this refined militancy are called laws, and prudence dictates respect for them because, as it is to the advantage of the majority that they should be observed, the many have agreed to fall upon any one who breaks them; and the many are stronger than the one. Thus the sole sanction of law being the will of the majority, which is a mere name for a draft upon physical force, certain to be honoured in case of necessity; and "absolute political ethics" teaching us that force can confer no rights; it is plain that state-compulsion involves the citizen in slavery, as completely as if any other master were the compeller. Wherever and whenever the individual man is forced to submit to any rules, except those which he himself spontaneously recognises to be worthy of observance, there liberty is absent. And thus we arrive at the position of the great apostle of anarchy, Bakounine, according to whom the liberty of man consists solely in this: that "he pays obedience to natural laws, because he himself admits them to be such, and not because they have been imposed upon him from without by any other will, whether divine or human, collective or individual."14 Hence it follows that the "sovereign people" worshipped by the great champions of liberty and equality, when it dares to impose the "general will" upon the individual, even if that [415] person be in a minority of one, is as brutal a usurper as ever exercised monarchical tyranny; and, whether a man shall so much as recognise the right of another to the freedom which he himself exercises, is to be left to his private judgment. As all property is robbery, so is all government from without, tyranny.

In this country, where the influence of the pedantry of the Absolute is so much trammelled by common sense and more or less experience of the difference between the nature of things and a priori assumptions, Individualism has, usually, stopped short of the conclusions of Stirner and of Bakounine, beyond which, so far as I can see, the a priori method can hardly carry its most hardened practitioner. Nevertheless, the "party of Individual Liberty," of which Mr. Auberon Herbert is the spokesman, must, I think, be classified as Anarchist;15 though the definition of their conception of the relations of the individual to government looks, at first sight, as if it meant no more than limited Individualism.

"Each man and woman are to be free to direct their faculties and their energies according to their own sense of what is right [416] and wise, in every direction except one. They are not to use their faculties for the purpose of forcibly restraining their neighbour from the same free use of his faculties."16

And as to Governments–

"They must simply defend the person and property of all persons by whomsoever they are assailed."17

This, it will be observed, is the dictum of Locke and nothing more.

But, in the application of the theory to practice, Mr. Herbert goes a good deal further than even Humboldt or Dunoyer. He would do away with all enforced taxation and levying of duties, and trust to voluntary payments for the revenue of the State. The relations of the sexes and the disposition of property by will are to be quite free; traffic of all kinds is to be released from restrictions; state inspection is to be abolished, no less than all hygienic regulations; state education goes, as a matter of course, and with it all state-aided museums, libraries, galleries of art, parks, and pleasure grounds. In fact, the functions of government within the State are rigidly restricted to the administration of civil and criminal justice.

But this is not all. Mr. Herbert oversteps the bounds of limited Individualism and enters the region of Anarchy, when he says he is not quite sure that even this pittance of administrative power is strictly justifiable.

[417] "I do not think that it is possible to find a perfect moral foundation for the authority of any Government, be it the Government of an emperor or a Republic. They are all of the nature of an usurpation, though I think, when confined within certain exact limits, of a justifiable usurpation."18

A "justifiable usurpation" is something which I can no more conceive than I can imagine a round square; it being the nature of usurpation, as I imagine, to be unjustifiable. But I presume that what is meant is, that, though government has no moral authority, it is practically expedient that it should be permitted to exist, if confined within very narrow limits. Absolute ethics, in Mr. Herbert's opinion, refuses to acknowledge the right of any government except the government of the individual by himself. Therefore I am unable to discern any logical boundary between Mr. Herbert's position and that of Bakounine.

The fact that Individualism, pushed to its logical extreme, must end in philosophical anarchy, has not escaped that acute thinker and vigorous writer, Mr. Donisthorpe, whose work on "Individualism"19 is at once piquant, learned, and thoroughgoing–qualities in which the writings of speculative philosophers do not always abound. I commend Mr. Donisthorpe's eighth chapter, entitled "A Word for Anarchy," to those who [418] desire to understand whither the Individualist principle, stripped bare of a priori fogs and formulas, and followed out to its consequences, lands its supporters.

Starting from assumptions about the equality of men, their natural rights and the social contract, common to so many political philosophers of the a priori school, we have been offered the choice of two alternative routes. Taking that indicated by Hobbes, Rousseau, Mably, and their successors, we have found ourselves committed to the further a priori assumption that, when men entered into society, they surrendered all their natural rights; and, acknowledging the omnipotence of the general will, received back such legal and moral obligations and permissions as the Sovereign might be pleased to sanction, Absolute political ethics thus arrived, by a plausible logical process, at Regimentation; that is, a quasi-military organisation of society, for the purpose of conquering the general welfare by means of that enforced apparent equality which brings about the hugest of real inequalities.

On the other hand, when we took the path pointed out by Locke and followed by Liberalism, we made an a priori assumption of a diametrically opposite character. We said that men entering into the social contract reserved all their natural rights, except such as it was absolutely necessary [419] to yield to government, in order that it should exercise its only legitimate function, the defence of the liberty and property of the individual. According to this limited individualist view, the business of government (except in relation to external enemies) is negative; it is to interfere only for the purpose of preventing any one citizen from using his liberty in such a way as to interfere with the equal liberty of another citizen. According to the regimentalist view, on the contrary, the business of government is not only negative, but also and eminently positive. It is the duty of the State to interfere for the purpose of promoting the welfare of society (of which equality is supposed to be a necessary condition), however much such interference may restrict individual liberty. The final outcome of Regimentation is seen in those extreme forms of regimental Socialism which undertake to regulate not only production and consumption, but every detail of human life; that of Individualism is Anarchy, which abolishes collective government and trusts to the struggle for existence, modified by such ethical and intellectual considerations as may be freely recognised by the individual, for the establishment of a social modus vivendi, in which freedom remains intact, except so far as it may be voluntarily limited,

Granting the premisses, I am unable to see that one of these lines of argument is any better than [420] the other; and they are mutually destructive. But suppose that, not being blinded by any a priori cataracts, we use our eyes upon these premisses–what utter shams and delusions they show themselves to be! I hope that no more need be said about natural rights and the equality of men. But there is just as little foundation in fact for the social contract and either the limited, or the unlimited, devolution of rights and powers which is supposed to have been effected by it. We have sadly little definite knowledge of the manner in which polities arose, but, if anything is certain, it is that the notion of a contract, whether expressed or implied, is by no means an adequate expression of the process.

The most archaic polities of which we have any definite record are either families, or federations of families; and the most doctrinaire of political philosophers will hardly be prepared to maintain that the family polity was based upon contract between the paterfamilias and his wife and children, and arose out of the expressed desire of the latter to have their liberty and property protected by their governor; or that even any tacit understanding on that subject influenced the formation of the family group. In truth, the more primitive the condition of a polity, the less is there of a contract, either expressed or implied, between its members–the more common is it to find that neither wife nor child possessed either [421] liberty, or property, worth speaking of. The paterfamilias of the Aryan stock, at any rate, could say "L'etat c'est moi" with more truth than any later monarch. So far from the preservation of liberty and property and the securing of equal rights being the chief and most conspicuous objects aimed at by the archaic polities of which we know anything, it would be a good deal nearer the truth to say that they were federated absolute monarchies, the chief purpose of which was the maintenance of an established Church for the worship of the family ancestors.

Philosophers, proud of living according to reason, are too apt to forget that people who do not profess themselves to be more than ordinary men mostly live according to unreason; or what seems such to the philosophers. Moderns, who make to themselves metaphysical teraphim out of the Absolute, the Unknowable, the Unconscious, and the other verbal abstractions whose apotheosis is indicated by initial capitals, may find it difficult to imagine that it seemed good to ancient men to perform the same theurgic operation upon their very concrete but deceased forefathers; and to believe that, unless the Manes were regularly propitiated with a supply of such commodities as ghosts can enjoy, they would not only withdraw their benevolent protection, but would make things very unpleasant for their descendants and their fellow countrymen. Yet there can be little question [422] that this theory lies at the foundation of the ancient polity; and that the dominant purpose of its organisation was not the preservation of liberty or property, by taking order that no man used his freedom in a way to interfere with others' freedom, but the performance of those religious obligations by which the good will of the ancestral gods might be secured. Archaic society aims, not at the freest possible exercise of rights, but at the exactest possible discharge of duties. The most marked inequalities and seeming iniquities of ancient law, such as succession in the male line, the acknowledgment of agnate blood relationship only, adoption, divorce for barrenness, are direct consequences of the religious foundation of ancient society. Thus the whole fabric of a priori political speculation which we have had under consideration is built upon the quicksand of fictitious history. So far as this method of establishing their claims is concerned, Regimentation and Individualism–enforced Socialism and Anarchy–are alike out of court.

The comments upon the preceding essays which have come under my notice, lead me to suspect that my purpose in writing them has been somewhat misunderstood.

They appear to have been regarded by the regimental socialists as an onslaught specially directed against their position; and as an attempt [423] to justify those who, content with the present, are opposed to all endeavours to bring about any fundamental change in our social arrangements.

Those who have had the patience to follow me to the end will, I trust, have become aware that my aim has been altogether different. Even the best of modern civilisations appears to me to exhibit a condition of mankind which neither embodies any worthy ideal nor even possesses the merit of stability. I do not hesitate to express the opinion, that, if there is no hope of a large improvement of the condition of the greater part of the human family; if it is true that the increase of knowledge, the winning of a greater dominion over Nature which is its consequence, and the wealth which follows upon that dominion, are to make no difference in the extent and the intensity of Want, with its concomitant physical and moral degradation, among the masses of the people, I should hail the advent of some kindly comet, which would sweep the whole affair away, as a desirable consummation. What profits it to the human Prometheus that he has stolen the fire of heaven to be his servant, and that the spirits of the earth and of the air obey him, if the vulture of pauperism is eternally to tear his very vitals and keep him on the brink of destruction?

Assuredly, if I believed that any of the schemes hitherto proposed for bringing about social amelio[424]ration were likely to attain their end, I should think what remains to me of life well spent in furthering it. But my interest in these questions did not begin the day before yesterday; and, whether right or wrong, it is no hasty conclusion of mine that we have small chance of doing wisely in this matter (or indeed in any other), unless we think rightly. Further, that we shall never think rightly in politics until we have cleared our minds of delusions; and, more especially, of the philosophical delusions which, as I have endeavoured to show, have infested political thought for centuries. My main purpose has been to contribute my mite towards this essential preliminary operation. Ground must be cleared and levelled before a building can be properly commenced; the labour of the navvy is as necessary as that of the architect, however much less honoured; and it has been my humble endeavour to grub up those old stumps of the a priori, which stand in the way of the very foundations of a sane political philosophy. To those who think that questions of the kind I have been discussing have merely an academic interest, let me suggest, once more, that a century ago Robespierre and St. Just proved that the way of answering them may have extremely practical consequences.

The task which I set before myself, then, was simply a destructive criticism of a priori political philosophy, whether regimental or individualistic. [425] But I am aware that the modesty of the purely critical attitude is not appreciated as it ought to be. There is a prevalent idea that the constructive genius is in itself something grander than the critical, even though the former turns out to have merely made a symmetrical rubbish heap in the middle of the road of science, which the latter has to clear away before anybody can get forward. The critic is told: It is all very well to show that this, that, or the other is wrong; what we want to know is, what is right?

Now, I submit that it is unjust to require a crossing sweeper in Piccadilly to tell you the road to Highgate; he has earned his copper if he has done all he professes to do and cleaned up your immediate path. So I do not think any one has a claim upon me to make any positive suggestions, still less to commit myself to any ambitious schemes of social regeneration such as are now as common as blackberries. Reading and experience have led me to believe that the results of political changes are hardly ever those which their friends hope or their foes fear; and, if I were offered a free hand by Almighty power, I should, like Hamlet, shudderingly object to the responsibility of attempting to set right a world out of joint. But I may perhaps, without presumption, set forth some reflections, germane to the subject, which have now and again crossed my mind.

About this question of government, for example; [426] perhaps it is the prejudice of scientific habit, which leads me to think that it might be as well to proceed from the known to the unknown. Most of us, I hope, have tried their hands at self-government; and those who have met with any measure of success in that difficult art will, I believe, agree with me that safety lies neither in the regimentation of asceticism nor in the anarchy of reckless self-seeking, but in a middle course. Surely there is a time to submit to guidance and a time to take one's own way at all hazards.

A good many of us, again, have had practical experience of the government of that elementary polity, a family. In this business, the people who fail utterly are, on the one hand, the martinet regimentalists and, on the other, the parents whose theory of education appears to be that expounded by the elder Mr. Weller, when, if I remember rightly, he enlarged upon the advantages which Sam had enjoyed by being allowed to roam at will about Covent Garden Market, from babyhood upwards. Individualism, pushed to anarchy, in the family is as ill-founded theoretically and as mischievous practically as it is in the State; while extreme regimentation is a certain means of either destroying self-reliance or of maddening to rebellion.

When we turn from the family to the aggregation of families which constitutes the State, I do not see that the case is substantially altered. The [427] problem of government may be stated to be, What ought to be done and what to be left undone by society, as a whole, in order to bring about as much welfare of its members as is compatible with the natural order of things? and I do not think men will ever solve this problem unless they clear their minds, not merely of the notion that it can be solved a priori; but unless they face the fact that the natural order of things–the order, that is to say, as unmodified by human effort–does not tend to bring about what we understand as welfare. On the contrary, the natural order tends to the maintenance, in one shape or another, of the war of each against all, the result of which is not the survival of the morally or even the physically highest, but of that form of humanity, the mortality of which is least under the conditions. The pressure of a constant increase of population upon the means of support must keep up the struggle for existence, whatever form of social organisation may be adopted. In fact, it is hard to say whether the state of anarchy or that of extreme regimentation would be the more rapidly effective in bringing any society which multiplies without limit to a crisis.

The cardinal defect of all socialistic schemes appears to me to be, that they either ignore this difficulty or try to evade it by nonsensical suppositions about increasing the production of vital [428] capital20 ad libitum. Individualism, on the other hand, admitting the inevitability of the struggle, is too apt to try to persuade us that it is all for our good, as an essential condition of progress to higher things. But that is not necessarily true; the creature that survives a free-fight only demonstrates his superior fitness for coping with free-fighters–not any other kind of superiority.

The political problem of problems is how to deal with over-population, and it faces us on all sides. I have heard a great deal about the tyranny of capital. No doubt it is true that labour is dependent on capital. No doubt if, out of a thousand men, one holds and can keep all the capital,21 the rest are bound to serve him or die. But if, on this ground, labour may be said to be the slave of capital, it would be equally just to say that capital is the slave of labour. A naked millionaire, with a chest full of specie, might be set down in the middle of the best agricultural estate in England; but unless somebody would work for him, he would probably soon perish from cold and hunger, having previously lost everything for lack of protection. The state of things attributed to the tyranny of the capitalist might be far more properly ascribed to the self-enslavement [429] of the wage earners. It is their competition with one another which makes his strength.

Over-population has two sources: one internal by generation, one external by immigration. Theoretically, the elimination of Want is possible by the arrest of both, in such a manner as to restrict the population of any area to the number capable of being fed by the agricultural produce of that area; the manufacturing and professional population being kept down to a number equal to the difference between the necessary agricultural and the total permissible population. A polity of this kind might be self-supporting, and there need be no poverty in it, except such as arose from moral delinquencies or unavoidable calamities.

This is, substantially, the plan of the "Closed Industrial State"22 set forth by Fichte; and, so far as I can see, there is no other social arrangement by which Want can be permanently eliminated. For if either unrestricted generation or unrestricted immigration is permitted; or if any considerable proportion of the industrial population is allowed to depend for its food upon foreign sources, pauperism becomes imminent–in the first case, by the competition of the native and the imported workers with one another; in the second case, by the competition in the market of foreign industries of the same nature.

I offer no opinion whether Fichte's Utopia [429] is practically realisable or not. That about which I have a very strong opinion is, that political speculators who, while ignoring these conditions, promise a millennium of equality and fraternity, are reckoning sadly without their host, or rather hostess, Dame Nature.

1 Hobbes's conception of the State may be sufficiently gathered from the following passages extracted from the Philosophical Rudiments concerning Government and Society (1651): "All men, therefore, among themselves are by nature equal; the inequality we now discern hath its spring from the civil law" (chap. i. 3). "Nature hath given to every one a light to all" (ibid. 10). "The natural state of men before they entered into society was .... a war of all men against all men" (ibid. 12). In whatever man or body of men dominion or governmental authority is vested," each citizen has conveyed all his strength and power to that man or council" (chap. v. 11). The supreme power is absolute (chap. vi. 13), and comparable to the soul of the city as its will (ibid. 19). "The will of every citizen is in all things comprehended in the will of the city, and the city is not tied to the civil laws," and the will of the depository of dominion is the will of the city (chap. vi. 14). Judging of good and evil does not belong to private citizens (chap. xii. 1), nor do they possess any rights or liberties except such as the sovereign grants. All power, temporal and spiritual, is united (under Christ) in the sovereign authority of a Christian city, and absolute obedience is due to it. When the sovereign is not Christian, and his commands are contrary to those of the Church, the subject must, disobeying but not resisting, "go to Christ by martyrdom" (chap. xviii. 13).

2 See Philosophical Rudiments, chapters vi. and vii.

3 "For if men could rule themselves, every man by his own command, that is to say, could they live according to the laws of nature, there would be no need at all of a city, nor of a common coercive power."–Hobbes, Philosophical Elements, chap. vi. 13, note.

4 It is employed as an already familiar appellative by Louis Blanc in the first volume of his Histoire de la Revolution Francaise, published in 1847, which contains a very interesting attempt to trace the influence of the principles of authority, of individualism, and of fraternity, through French history. The first volume of the elaborate work of Marlo (Winkelblech), Organization der Arbeit, published in 1850, gives a very complete exposition of the theory of Individualism under the name of Liberalismus.

5 As Mr. Lecky justly says: "That which distinguishes the French Revolution from other political movements is, that it was directed by men who had adopted certain speculative a priori conceptions of political right, with the fanaticism and proselytising fervour of a religious belief, and the Bible of their creed was the Contrat Social of Rousseau" (History of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. v. p. 345). I have not undertaken a criticism of Rousseau's various and not unfrequently inconsistent political opinions, as a whole. It was not needful for my purpose to do so; and, if it had been, I could not have improved upon the comprehensive and impartial judgment of our historian of the eighteenth century.

6 In spite of all his sentimentalism, Rousseau occasionally sees straight into the realities of things. .A prendre le terme dans la rigueur de l'acception, il n'a jamais existé de véritable démocratie, et il n'en existera jamais. Il est contre l'ordre naturel que le grand nombre gouverne, et que le petit soit gouverne. .... S'il y avait un peuple de dieux il se gouvernerait démocratiquement. . . . . .Un gouvernement si parfait ne convient pas à des hommes (1iv. iii. chap. iv.). "A second Daniel come to judgment!" For it would not be far from the truth to say that the only form of government which has ever permanently existed is oligarchy. A very strong despot, or a furious multitude, may for a brief space work their single or collective will; but the power of an absolute monarch is, as a rule, as much in the hands of a ring of ministers, mistresses, and priests, as that of Demos is, in reality, wielded by a ring of orators and wire-pullers. As Hobbes has pithily put the case, "A democracy in effect is no more than an aristocracy of orators, interrupted sometimes with the temporary monarchy of one orator" (De Corpora Politico, chap. ii. 5). The alternative of dominion does not lie between an aristarchy and a demarchy, that is to say, between an aristocratic and a democratic oligarchy. The chief business of the aristarchy is to persuade the king, emperor, or czar, that he wants to go the way they wish him to go; that of the demarchy is to do the like with the mob.

7 This view of the law of nature comes from the jurists. Hobbes defines it in the same way, but he says that, in the state of nature, the Law of Nature is silent. In speaking of Locke as the founder and father of individualism, I do not forget that Hooker (to whom Locke often refers), and still earlier writers, have expressed individualistic opinions. Nevertheless, I believe that modern Individualism is essentially Locke's work.

8 Yet Locke, of course, knows well enough that children are not born equal and that adults are extremely unequal. All that he really means is that men have an "equal right to natural freedom," and that is a mere a priori dictum (§54-87). The sceptics as to the reality of the state of nature are treated with some contempt (§ 14). "It is often asked as a weighty objection, Where are, or ever were there, any such men in a state of nature? To which it may suffice as an answer at present, that since all princes and rulers of independent governments, all through the world, are in a state of nature, it is plain that the world never was, or ever will be, without numbers of men in that state. I have named all governors of independent communities, whether they are or are not in league with others, for it is not every compact that puts an end to the state of nature between men, but only this one of agreeing together mutually to enter into one community and make one body politic; other promises and compacts men may make with one another, and yet still be in the state of nature. The promises and bargains for truck, &c., between the two men in the desert island mentioned by Garcilasso de la Vega, in his History of Peru, or between a Swiss and an Indian, in the woods of America, are binding to them though they are perfectly in a state of nature, in reference to one another: for truth and keeping of faith belongs to men as men, and not as members of society."

9 The following passages complete the expression of Locke's meaning: "Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently of all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community in the execution of such laws and in the defence of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good," (§ 3). "Government has no other end than the preservation of property" (§ 94). "The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths and putting themselves under government is the preservation of their property" (§ 124).

10 The oldest recorded form of the rule, and that which has the most positive character, is contained in the command of the Jewish law, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," (Leviticus xix. 18), (neighbour including "stranger that dwelleth with you," v. 34), which stands in the same relation to the individualistic maxim as Fraternity to Equity. The strength of Judaism as a social organisation has resided in its unflinching advocacy of freedom, within the law; equality, before the law; and fraternity, outside the law. I am not sure that, from the purely philosophical point of view, the form in which that great Jew, Spinoza, has stated the rule is not the best: "Desire nothing for yourself which you do not desire for others," (nihi sibi appetere quod reliquis hominibus non cupiant). (Ethics, iv. xviii.)

11 Droit Naturel, chap. 5.

12 Von Humboldt's essay was written in 1791; but views so little likely to be relished by the German governments of that day needed cautious enunciation, and only fragments appeared (under the auspices of Schiller) until 1852, when the treatise formed part of the posthumous edition of Von Humboldt's works. A translation, under the title of The Sphere and Duties of Government was published in 1854, by Dr. Chapman (then as now, the editor of the Westminster Review), and became very well known in this country.

13 Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum, by Max Stirner. I follow the account of the contents of the book given by Meyer, Der Emancipationskampf des vierten Standes (Ed. 2, 1882, pp. 36-44).

14 Dieu et l'Etat, 1881.

15 Let me remind the reader that I use "anarchy" in its philosophical sense. Heaven forbid that I should be supposed to suggest that Mr. Herbert and his friends have the remotest connection with those too "absolute" political philosophers who desire to add the force of dynamite to that of persuasion. It would be as reasonable to connect Monarchists with murder, on the strength of the proceedings of a Philip the Second, or a Lewis the Fourteenth.

16 The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, 1885.

17 Ibid. p. 33.

18 The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, 1885, p. 22.

19 Individualism: a System of Politics, 1889.

20 The term "vital capital" is defined in an essay on "Capital and Labour" published in The Nineteenth Century (1890), which could not conveniently be included in this volume.

21 Using the term in its more restricted sense.

22 Der geschlossene Handelsstaat, 1899.

Preface and Table of Contents to Volume I, Results and Methods, of Huxley's Collected Essays.

Previous article:Natural Rights and Political Rights [1890], pages 336-382.

Preface and Table of Contents to the next volume, Volume II of Huxley's Collected Essays.



1.   THH Publications
2.   Victorian Commentary
3.   20th Century Commentary

1.   Letter Index
2.   Illustration Index

Gratitude and Permissions

C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University

§ 1. THH: His Mark
§ 2. Voyage of the Rattlesnake
§ 3. A Sort of Firm
§ 4. Darwin's Bulldog
§ 5. Hidden Bond: Evolution
§ 6. Frankensteinosaurus
§ 7. Bobbing Angels: Human Evolution
§ 8. Matter of Life: Protoplasm
§ 9. Medusa
§ 10. Liberal Education
§ 11. Scientific Education
§ 12. Unity in Diversity
§ 13. Agnosticism
§ 14. New Reformation
§ 15. Verbal Delusions: The Bible
§ 16. Miltonic Hypothesis: Genesis
§ 17. Extremely Wonderful Events: Resurrection and Demons
§ 18. Emancipation: Gender and Race
§ 19. Aryans et al.: Ethnology
§ 20. The Good of Mankind
§ 21.  Jungle Versus Garden