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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/152

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

criticisms made, imply that it is requisite only to dissipate errors, and that it is needless to insist on truths. It is forgotten that, along with forms which are bad, there is a large amount of substance which is good. And those to whom there are addressed condemnations of the forms, unaccompanied by the caution that there is a substance to be preserved in higher forms, are left, not only without any coherent system of guiding beliefs, but without any consciousness that one is requisite.

Hence the need, above admitted, for an active defense of that which exists, carried on by men convinced of its entire worth; so that those who attack may not destroy the good along with the bad.


And here let me point out, specifically, the truth already implied, that studying Sociology scientifically leads to fairer appreciations of different parties, political, religious, and other. The conception initiated and developed by Social Science is at the same time radical and conservative—radical to a degree beyond any thing which current radicalism conceives; conservative to a degree beyond any thing conceived by present conservatism. When there has been adequately seized the truth that societies are products of evolution, assuming, in their various times and places, their various modifications of structure and function, there follows the conviction that what, relatively to our thoughts and sentiments, were arrangements of extreme badness, had fitnesses to conditions which made better arrangements impracticable: whence comes a tolerant interpretation of past tyrannies at which even the bitterest Tory of our own days would be indignant. On the other hand, after observing how the processes that have brought things to their present stage are still going on, not with a decreasing rapidity indicating approach to cessation, but with an increasing rapidity that implies long continuance and immense transformations, there follows the conviction that the remote future has in store forms of social life higher than any we have imagined: there comes a faith transcending that of the radical, whose aim is some reorganization admitting of comparison to organizations which exist. And while this conception of societies as naturally evolved, beginning with small and simple types which have their short existences and disappear, advancing to higher types that are larger, more complex, and longer-lived, coming to still higher types like our own, great in size, complexity, and duration, and promising types transcending these in times after existing societies have died away—while this conception of societies implies that in the slow course of things changes almost immeasurable in amount are possible, it also implies that but small amounts of such changes are possible within short periods.

Thus, the theory of progress disclosed by the study of Sociology as science is one which greatly moderates the hopes and the fears of extreme parties. After clearly seeing that the structures and actions throughout a society are determined by the properties of its