Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/463

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THE ANARCHY OF MODERN POLITICS.

not be reproduced in the numerous countries to which English institutions are sought to he applied. This "essentially loyal régime" he further says, is approaching its end even in the country to which it is native; and English authorities, as I may have occasion to show before I close, are not wanting who share the same opinion. The polity to which the future belongs is one that will not set order against progress and progress against order, but that will make equal provision for both, and make each contribute to the other; so that order shall facilitate progress, and progress strengthen order. This is the positivist ideal.

On this continent political parties can not be said to be constituted on the lines here marked out. Owing to the absence of political privilege and the comparative uniformity of social conditions, we do not as yet see any party, of sufficient importance to be taken into account, to which the term revolutionary could be applied. For the same reasons we have no distinctly reactionary party. At the same time, taking a wider view of things, and looking rather at the constitution of opinion than at the structure of parties, we shall probably see that the two opposite schools mentioned by Comte are sufficiently well developed, and that the third or "stationary" school comprises a very large section of the entire population. The forces are at work, though, as the politicians say, they may not yet be "in politics." All three concur in creating and continually intensifying the confusion, skepticism, and apathy which are such marked characteristics of the political thought and action of our time. What now remains is to study the results of these general conditions in a little more detail.

By reason of their greater complexity,[1] and also on account of their closer contact with the whole range of human passions, social questions ought to be reserved more scrupulously than any others for intelligences, necessarily few in number, that by a severe preliminary training have been gradually prepared to work them out to satisfactory results. That this is the normal state of things we have abundant historical evidence to prove; and when, in an epoch of revolution, the situation is changed, we can only regard the case as pathological; though, possibly, as already explained, provisionally inevitable and indispensable. What, then, must have been the ravages of this social malady in a time when all individuals, however inferior their intelligence, however destitute of all suitable preparation, were summoned indiscriminately and by the most energetic modes of appeal to decide day by day, with the most deplorable levity, and without guidance or check of any kind, the most fundamental questions of politics! Instead of being surprised at the alarming divergence of

  1. From this point onward I shall, for the most part, be giving what at the outset I proposed to give, namely, a paraphrase rather than a translation of what Comte has written on this subject. (See "Philosophie Positive," first edition, vol. iv, p. 118 et seq.)