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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/653

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635
LAW AS A DISTURBER OF SOCIAL ORDER.

manufacturers, labor legislation for workingmen, land grants for railroads, interstate commerce bills for shippers, subsidies for ship-builders, and oleomargarine bills for farmers—and yet the conflict rages, cries are raised against the arrogance and grinding avarice of monopolies, while bitter complaints are made of the domineering independence and unsteadiness of labor. Is it not evident that, if these selfish elements continue to repel forces which should be mutually attracted, the continued and increasing strain must result in violent and acrimonious rupture?

Most writers upon social science fail to grasp the fundamental principles underlying social growth. They seize upon half truths only, and according to their impressions they attach more or less importance to the egoistic or individual forces of character or to the tribal or social forces, as the case may be. Thus Mr. Leslie, in his introduction to De Lavelaye's "Primitive Property," claims to see nothing but strife and contention in the universal desire for individual property, and he urges with much spirit that it is not strange that all should desire to possess; but, says he, "what needs to be explained is that such warring elements, each desiring the same objects, should permit peaceful possession by others." Mr. Leslie fails to realize that such contentious forces must find some common base of action to escape from internecine strife; this is true not only of man, but of all gregarious animals. Even Mr. Clifford, in his "Scientific Basis of Morality," is disposed to view the social or tribal characteristics of man as the more essential to survival; but carried to its extreme, this submission to the wills of others results in the inaction of physical torpor, even as the extreme development of the individual traits of aggression result in the inaction of equal forces in conflict. Hence the two forces are correlated, and if they are separated by friction this civilization will perish, as its predecessors have done.

An analysis clearly shows that in the absence of extraneous interferences the reactive effect of individual aggression is resistance and social union, for which we find many forms of expression. Individual force is made manifest in the declaration of "I will do," "I will not do," while the reactive or social form finds expression in "I will or will not permit to be done," In the individual traits are found those activities which reside in purpose or in free will; in the social group we mark the modifications of environment sometimes called destiny or foreordination. Thus each individual is at the same time acting upon others and being acted upon by others, and, as action and reaction are equal and opposite, the aggressive force of all individuals is just equal to the resisting force of society in the aggregate. When these two forces develop in the same individual, we find law-abiding, just, and energetic characters; but when separated by friction, there