Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/205

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192
ON JUSTICE.
nobody for more than one, 11 might be written under the principle of utility as an explanatory commentary.

Now though Bentham ridicules the taking of justice as our guide, saying that while happiness is an end intelligible to all, justice is a relatively unintelligible end, yet he tacitly asserts that his principle—"everybody to count for one, nobody for more than one" is just; since, otherwise, he would be obliged to admit that it is unjust, and we may not suppose he would do so. Hence the implication of his doctrine is that justice means an equal apportionment of the benefits, material and immaterial, which men's activities bring. There is no recognition of inequalities in men's shares of happiness, consequent on inequalities of their faculties or characters.

This is the theory which Communism would reduce to practice. From one who knows him, I learn that Prince Krapotkin blames the English socialists because they do-not propose to act out the rule popularly worded as "share and share alike." In a recent periodical, M. de Laveleye summed up the communistic principle as being "that the individual works for the profit of the State, to which he hands over the produce of his labor for equal division among all." In the communistic Utopia described in Mr. Bellamy's Looking Backward, it is held that each "shall make the same effort," and that if by the same efforts, bodily or mental, one produces twice as much as another, he is not to be advantaged by the difference. At the same time the intellectually or physically feeble are to be quite as well off as others: the assertion being that the existing régime is one of "robbing the incapable class of their plain right in leaving them unprovided for."

The principle of inequality is thus denied absolutely. It is assumed to be unjust that superiority of nature shall bring superiority of results, or, at any rate, superiority of material results; and as no distinction appears to be made in respect either of physical qualities or intellectual qualities or moral qualities, the implication is not only that strong and weak shall fare alike, but that foolish and wise, worthy and unworthy, mean and noble, shall do the same. For if, according to this conception of justice, defects of nature, physical or intellectual, ought not to count, neither ought moral defects, since they are one and all primarily inherited.

And here, too, we have a deliberate abolition of that cardinal distinction between the ethics of the family and the ethics of the State emphasized at the outset: an abolition which must eventuate in decay and disappearance of the species or variety in which it takes place.

 

After contemplation of these divergent conceptions of justice, in which the ideas of inequality and equality almost or quite ex-