Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/771

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

in proportion as its corporate action is the more complete. For purposes of offense and defense, the forces of individuals have to be combined; and, where every individual contributes his force, the probability of success is greatest. Numbers, natures, and circumstances being equal, it is clear that of two tribes or two larger societies, one of which unites the actions of all its capable members while the other does not, the first will ordinarily be the victor. There must be an habitual survival of communities in which militant coöperation is universal.

This proposition approaches very nearly to a truism. But it is needful here, as a preliminary, clearly to recognize the truth that the social structure evolved by chronic militancy is one in which all men fit for fighting act in concert against other societies. Such further actions as they carry on they can carry on separately; but this action they must carry on jointly.


A society's power of self-preservation will be great in proportion as, besides the direct aid of all who can fight, there is given the indirect aid of all who can not fight. Supposing them otherwise similar, those communities will survive in which the efforts of combatants are in the greatest degree seconded by those of non-combatants. In a purely militant society, therefore, individuals who do not bear arms have to spend their lives in furthering the maintenance of those who do. Whether, as happens at first, the non-combatants are exclusively the women; or whether, as happens later, the class includes enslaved captives; or whether, as happens later still, it includes serfs, the implication is the same. For, if, of two societies equal in other respects, the first wholly subordinates its workers in this way, while the workers in the second are allowed to retain for themselves the produce of their labor, or more of it than is needful for maintaining them, then, in the second, the warriors, not otherwise supported or supported less fully than they might else be, will have partially to support themselves, and will be so much the less available for war purposes. Hence, in the struggle for existence between such societies, it must usually happen that the first will vanquish the second. The type of society produced by survival of the fittest will be one in which the fighting part includes all who can bear arms and be trusted with arms, while the remaining part serves simply as a parmanent commissariat.

An obvious implication, of a significance to be hereafter pointed out, is that the non-combatant part, occupied in supporting the combatant part, can not with advantage to the self-preserving power of the society increase beyond the limit at which it efficiently fulfills its purpose. For, otherwise, some who might be fighters are superfluous workers; and the fighting power of the society is made less than it might be. Hence, in the militant type, the tendency is for the body of warriors to bear the largest practicable ratio to the body of workers.