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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/777

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THE MILITANT TYPE OF SOCIETY.

And now having noted the traits which may be expected to establish themselves by survival of the fittest during the struggle for existence among societies, let us observe how these traits are displayed in actual societies, similar in respect of their militancy but otherwise dissimilar.

Of course in small primitive groups, however warlike they may be, we must not look for more than rude outlines of the structure proper to the militant type. Being loosely aggregated, definite arrangement of their parts can be carried but to a small extent. Still, so far as it goes, the evidence is to the point. The fact that habitually the fighting body is coextensive with the adult male population is so familiar that no illustrations are needed. An equally familiar fact is that the women, occupying a servile position, do all the unskilled labor and bear the burdens; with which may be joined the fact that not unfrequently during war they carry the supplies, as in Asia among the Bhils and Khonds, as in Polynesia among the New Caledonians and Sandwich-Islanders, as in America among the Comanches, Mundrucus, Patagonians: their office as forming the permanent commissariat being thus clearly shown. We see, too, that, where the enslaving of captives has arisen, these also serve to support and aid the combatant class; acting during peace as producers and during war joining the women in attendance on the army, as among the New-Zealanders, or, as among the Malagasy, being then exclusively the carriers of provisions, etc. Again, in these first stages, as in later stages, we are shown that private claims are, in the militant type, overridden by public claims. The life of each man is held subject to the needs of the group; and, by implication, his freedom of action is similarly held. So, too, with his goods; as instance the remark made of the Brazilian Indians, that personal property, recognized but to a limited extent during peace, is scarcely at all recognized during war; and as instance Hearne's statement concerning certain hyperborean tribes of North America when about to make war, that "property of every kind that could be of general use now ceased to be private." To which add the cardinal truth, once more to be repeated, that where no political subordination exists war initiates it. Tacitly or overtly a chief is temporarily acknowledged; and he gains permanent power if war continues. From these beginnings of the militant type which small groups show us, let us pass to its developed forms as shown in larger groups.

"The army, or, what is nearly synonymous, the nation of Dahomey," to quote Burton's words, furnishes us with a good example: the excessive militancy being indicated by the fact that the royal bedroom is paved with skulls of enemies. Here the king is absolute, and is regarded as supernatural in character—he is "the spirit"; and of course he is the religious head—he ordains the priests. He absorbs in himself all powers and all rights: "by the state law of Dahomey. . . all men are slaves to the king." He "is heir to all his subjects"; and