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407
CIVILIZATION

men. In savagery the family expanded into the tribe; in barbarism the tribe developed into the nation. The epoch of civilization proper is aptly named, because it has been a time in which citizenship, in the narrower national significance, has probably been developed to its apogee. Throughout this period, in every land, the highest virtue has been considered to be patriotism,—by which must be understood an instinctive willingness on the part of every individual to defend even with his life the interests of the nation into which he chances to be born, regardless of whether the national cause in which he struggles be in any given case good or bad, right or wrong. The communal judgment of this epoch pronounces any man a traitor who will not uphold his own nation even in a wrong cause—and the word “traitor” marks the utmost brand of ignominy.

But while the idea of nationality has thus been accentuated, there has been a never-ending struggle within the bounds of the nation itself to adjust the relations of one citizen to another. The ideas that might makes right, that the strong man must dominate the weak, that leadership Nationality and cosmopol-
itanism.
in the community properly belongs to the man who is physically most competent to lead—these ideas were a perfectly natural, and indeed an inevitable, outgrowth of the conditions under which man fought his way up through savagery and barbarism. Man in the first period of civilization inherited these ideas, along with the conditions of society that were their concomitants. So throughout the periods when the oriental civilizations of Egypt and Babylonia and Assyria and Persia were dominant, a despotic form of government was accepted as the natural order of things. It does not appear that any other form was even considered as a practicality. A despot might indeed be overthrown, but only to make way for the coronation of another despot. A little later the Greeks and Romans modified the conception of a heaven-sent individual monarch; but they went no further than to substitute a heaven-favoured community, with specially favoured groups (Patricii) within the community. With this, national egoism reached its climax; for each people regarded its own citizens as the only exemplars of civilization, openly branding all the rest of the world as “barbarians,” fit subjects for the exaction of tribute or for the imposition of the bonds of actual slavery. During the middle ages there was a reaction towards individualism as opposed to nationalism: but the entire system of feudalism, with its clearly recognized conditions of over-lordship and of vassaldom, gave expression, no less clearly than oriental despotism and classical “democracy” had done, to the idea of individual inequality; of divergence of moral and legal status based on natural inheritance. Thus this idea, a reminiscence of barbarism, maintained its dominance throughout the first period of civilization.

But gunpowder, marking the transition to the second period of civilization, came as a great levelling influence. With its aid the weakest peasant might prove more than a match for the most powerful knight. Before its assaults the castle of the lord ceased to be an impregnable fortress. And while gunpowder thus levelled down the power of the mighty, the printing-press levelled up the intelligence, and hence the power and influence of the lowly. Meantime the mariner’s compass opened up new territories beyond the seas, and in due course men of lowly origin were seen to attain to wealth and power through commercial pursuits, thus tending to break in upon the established social order. In the colonial territories themselves all men were subjected more or less to the same perils and dependent upon their own efforts. Success and prominence in the community came not as a birthright, but as the result of demonstrated fitness. The great lesson that the interests of all members of a community are, in the last analysis, mutual could be more clearly distinguished in these small colonies than in larger and older bodies politic. Through various channels, therefore, in the successive generations of this middle period of civilization, the idea gained ground that intelligence and moral worth, rather than physical prowess, should be the test of greatness; that it is incumbent on the strong in the interests of the body politic to protect the weak; and that, in the long run, the best interests of the community are conserved if all its members, without exception, are given moral equality before the law. This idea of equal rights and privileges for all members of the community—for each individual “the greatest amount of liberty consistent with a like liberty of every other individual”—first found expression as a philosophical doctrine towards the close of the 18th century; at which time also tentative efforts were made to put it into practice. It may be said therefore to represent the culminating sociological doctrine of the middle period of civilization,—the ideal towards which all the influences of the period had tended to impel the race.

It will be observed, however, that this ideal of individual equality within the body politic in no direct wise influences the status of the body politic itself as the centre of a localized civilization that may be regarded as in a sense antagonistic to all other similarly localized civilizations. If there were any such influence, it would rather operate in the direction of accentuating the patriotism of the member of a democratical community, as against that of the subject of a despot, through the sense of personal responsibility developed in the former. The developments of the middle period of civilization cannot be considered, therefore, to have tended to decrease the spirit of nationality, with its concomitant penalty of what is sometimes called provincialism. The history of this entire period, as commonly presented, is largely made up of the records of international rivalries and jealousies, perennially culminating in bitterly contested wars. It was only towards the close of the epoch that the desirability of free commercial intercourse among nations began to find expression as a philosophical creed through the efforts of Quesnay and his followers; and the doctrine that both parties to an international commercial transaction are gainers thereby found its first clear expression in the year 1776 in the pages of Condillac and of Adam Smith.

But the discoveries that ushered in the third period of civilization were destined to work powerfully from the outset for the breaking down of international barriers, though, of course, their effects would not be at once manifest. Thus the substitution of steam power for water power, besides giving a tremendous impetus to manufacturing in general, mapped out new industrial centres in regions that nature had supplied with coal but not always with other raw materials. To note a single result, England became the manufacturing centre of the world, drawing its raw materials from every corner of the globe; but in so doing it ceased to be self-supporting as regards the production of food-supplies. While growing in national wealth, as a result of the new inventions, England has therefore lost immeasurably in national self-sufficiency and independence; having become in large measure dependent upon other countries both for the raw materials without which her industries must perish and for the foods to maintain the very life of her people.

What is true of England in this regard is of course true in greater or less measure of all other countries. Everywhere, thanks to the new mechanisms that increase industrial efficiency, there has been an increasing tendency to specialization; and since the manufacturer must often find his raw materials in one part of the world and his markets in another, this implies an ever-increasing intercommunication and interdependence between the nations. This spirit is obviously fostered by the new means of transportation by locomotive and steamship, and by the electric communication that enables the Londoner, for example, to transact business in New York or in Tokio with scarcely an hour’s delay; and that puts every one in touch at to-day’s breakfast table with the happenings of the entire world. Thanks to the new mechanisms, national isolation is no longer possible; globe-trotting has become a habit with thousands of individuals of many nations; and Orient and Occident, representing civilizations that for thousands of years were almost absolutely severed and mutually oblivious of each other, have been brought again into close touch for mutual education and betterment. The Western mind has learned with amazement that the aforetime Terra Incognita of the far East has nurtured a gigantic civilization having ideals in many ways far different from our own. The Eastern mind has proved itself capable, in