Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/204

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nition of equality of positions and claims among members of the same class, yet the regulations respecting community of wives, etc., in the guardian-class, have for their avowed purpose to establish, even within that class, unequal privileges for the benefit of the superior.

But now observe that while in the Greek conception of justice there predominates the idea of inequality, while the idea of equality is inconspicous, the inequality refers, not to the natural achievement of greater rewards by greater merits, but to the artificial apportionment of greater rewards to greater merits. It is an inequality mainly established by authority. The gradations in the civil organization are of the same nature as those in the military organization. Regimentation pervades both, and the idea of justice is everywhere conformed to the traits of the social structure.

And this is the idea of justice proper to the militant type at large, as we are again shown throughout Europe in subsequent ages. It will suffice to point out that along with the different law-established positions and privileges of different ranks, there went gradations in the amounts paid in composition for crimes according to the rank of the injured. And how completely the idea of justice was determined by the idea of rightly-existing inequality, is shown by the condemnation of serfs who escaped into the towns and were said to have "unjustly" withdrawn themselves from the control of their lords.

Thus, as might be expected, we find that while the struggle for existence between societies is going on actively, recognition of the primary factor in justice which is common to life at large, human and sub-human, is very imperfectly qualified by recognition of the secondary factor. That which we may distinguish as the brute element in the conception is but little mitigated by the human element.

 

All movements are rhythmical, and among others social movements, with their accompanying doctrines. After that conception of justice in which the idea of inequality unduly predominates, comes a conception in which the idea of equality unduly predominates.

A recent example of such reactions is furnished by the ethical theory of Bentham. As is shown by the following extract from Mr. Mill's Utilitarianism (p. 91), the idea of inequality here entirely disappears:

The Greatest-Happiness Principle is a mere form of words without rational signification, Unless one person's happiness, supposed equal in degree (with the proper allowance made for kind), is counted for exactly as much as another's. Those conditions being supplied, Bentham's dictum, "everybody to count for one,