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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/331

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THE MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.

the carnivore of the latter sort, than to remove the more prudent member of the race. In the long run this would tell even among the lower animals. But, as we approach the relations of men to men and men to animals, we see more obviously how conduct in which the interests or the wants of others are considered is safer in the long run, more conducive (in hundreds of ways more or less complex) to prolonged existence, than conduct in which those interests and wants are neglected. Hence there will be a tendency, acting slowly but surely, to the evolution of conduct of the former kind. More of those whose conduct is of that character, or approaches that character, will survive in each generation, than of those whose conduct is of an opposite character. The difference may be slight, and therefore the effect in a single generation, or even in several, may also be slight; but in the long run the law must tell. Conduct of the sort least advantageous will tend to die out, because those showing it will have relatively inferior life-chances.

Mr. Spencer seems to me to leave his argument a little incomplete just here. For, though he shows that conduct avoiding harm to others, in all races, must tend to make the totality of life larger, this in reality is insufficient. He is dealing with the evolution of conduct. Now, to take a concrete example, those of the hawk tribe who left little birds alone, except when they had no other way to keep themselves alive but by capturing and killing them, would help to increase the totality of life, by leaving more birds to propagate their kind than would be left if a more wholesale slaughter were carried out. But this of itself would not tend to develop that moderation of hawk character which we have imagined. The creatures helped in the life-struggle would not be the hawks (so far as this particular increase in the totality of life was concerned), but the small birds; and the only kind of moderation or considerateness encouraged would be shown in a lessening of that extreme diffidence, that desire to withdraw themselves wholly from hawk society, which we recognize among small birds. But if it be shown that the more wildly rapacious hawks stand a greater chance of being destroyed than those of a more moderate character, then we see that such moderation and steadiness of character are likely to be developed and finally established as a characteristic of the more enduring races of hawks. And similarly in other such cases.

It is, however, in the development of conduct in the higher races only, that this comparatively elaborate law of evolution is clearly recognized. Among savage races we still see apparent exceptions to the operation of the rule. Individuals and classes and races distinguished by ferocity and utter disregard of the "adjustments" of others, whether of their own race or of different races, seem to thrive well enough, better even than the more moderate and considerate. Forces really are at work tending to eliminate the more violent and