Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/281

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ure shall," etc., but that there is a law in nature, which, however it maybe qualified, can not be essentially changed, that "each creature shall," etc. The distinction is not without importance; as quoted by Dr. Hill, Mr. Spencer seems to be laying down a law in the spirit of a legislator, whereas he is only announcing a law in the tone of a discoverer. Now, if Dr. Hill does not believe there is any such law as Mr. Spencer announces and formulates, let him say so; the controversy will then turn on the interpretation to be given to the history of mankind. But, again, let Mr. Spencer explain himself: "Any arrangements which in a considerable degree prevent superiority from profiting by the rewards of superiority, or shield inferiority from the evils it entails—any arrangements which tend to make it as well to be inferior as to be superior—are arrangements diametrically opposed to the progress of organization and the reaching of a higher life." Is this true or not? Again, is it true, or not true, that "general happiness is to be achieved mainly through the adequate pursuit of their own happiness by individuals; while, reciprocally, the happinesses of individuals are to be achieved in part by their pursuit of the general happiness"? We say it is true; but we do not agree with Dr. Hill, who says that "the center of concern for each one is here his own happiness, with only so much regard for the happiness of others as is likely to reflect happiness." Mr. Spencer is not discussing "the center of concern," but the best conditions for the production of general happiness; and his position can only be traversed by showing that the conditions he asserts to be the best are not the best. Unless this can be done, what is the use of talking about "the center of concern"? It will be observed by the careful reader that what Mr. Spencer postulates in the first half of the above sentence is adequate pursuit of one's own happiness. The word is well and happily chosen, and gives the key, we may say, to the whole thought of the writer on the point involved. The adequate pursuit of one's own happiness is one thing; the inordinate or selfish pursuit of it is quite another.

Dr. Hill quotes a passage from Social Statics, and draws from it the conclusion that Mr. Spencer "shows no concern for those who need our charity because they can not help themselves." The conclusion is not justified, in our opinion, by the text. On the contrary, the whole passage is expressive of sympathy with suffering, and there is nothing in Mr. Spencer's system to check the relief of suffering except where to do so would be to entail greater subsequent suffering. Quoting from Mr. Spencer a passage in which he says, "Without wishing to restrain philanthropic action, but quite contrariwise," etc., Dr. Hill comments on it as follows: "I understand by this that Mr. Spencer has no wish to restrain philanthropy; but he does not claim any wish to promote charity." We certainly do not so understand the words "quite contrariwise"; we think they do imply a desire on Mr. Spencer's part to promote any charity that will be truly philanthropic and not hurtful in its effects. "As he views it," says Dr. Hill, "true philanthropy is best expressed by non-interference." Mr. Spencer has never said anything to justify this remark; but he has said that non-interference is better than a good deal of the interference that calls itself charitable. Dr. Hill tells us in conclusion that he is aware that his words—those referred to by us last month—"can be so interpreted as to represent Mr. Spencer as indifferent to human beings other than himself; but that," he adds, "is not my meaning." If Dr. Hill was aware, when he penned the words in question, that they could be so interpreted, he should in common fairness have guarded against such a misapprehension. If, on the other hand, he has only now become aware that they are open to a wrong interpretation, he should hasten to say