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is asserted that men were endowed by their Creator or by Nature with certain inalienable rights, the assertion may be difficult to substantiate. There certainly seems to be a difference between the rights which a feudal lord had against his serfs and the right a man has to the product of his own labor; the latter has been frequently regarded as a natural right, but as the term is difficult to define, and as there has been a great controversy upon the subject which is not yet settled, it must be conceded that bere also is a chance for political agnosticism.
If rejecting the theory of the social compact implies rejecting all the political ideas that have been reared upon it as a foundation since it was invented by the author of "Ecclesiastical Polity," then denying the theory amounts to repudiating nearly all our present political beliefs. The social compact was used by Hobbes to support absolute monarchy; it was taken up by Locke to defend individual rights, and to show that there should be a limitation upon the powers of government; still later, Rousseau found in it support for a government as absolute as that advocated by Hobbes, but differing from it in this, that the sovereign body should be the majority of the people instead of a single individual; it is recognized by implication in the Declaration of Independence, to secure certain natural rights governments are instituted; the Constitution of Massachusetts may be said to be founded upon it," We, therefore, . acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity," etc. It is almost impossible to name a political belief that has not been affiliated upon this theory, except, perhaps, "To the victors belong the spoils."
Prof. Huxley served as a type of agnosticism in religion; he may also be taken as a representative of agnosticism in politics. In the series of articles which he lately contributed to the Nineteenth Century, his position is stated very fully. He distinctly repudiates many particular doctrines which have been, and are now, the watchwords of political parties, and states clearly the supreme political question of the day, viz., What part should government play in the affairs of society? It is in the concluding article, "Anarchy or Regimentation," that his political agnosticism is most plainly shown. There are two ideals of society: one in which the amount of government is reduced to a minimum, and, by consequence, the most complete liberty is enjoyed by the individual; the other, in which governmental regulation of affairs is the most complete possible, and consequently, individual liberty is reduced to a minimum. The former state is designated by the word "Anarchy"; for the latter, Prof. Huxley suggests regimentation; socialism has been used to described the second state, but as some kinds of socialism are instances of voluntary cooperation, the word is open to objection.
Neither ideal has ever been completely realized in any large society. The civilized world at present is ordered after a sort of compromise between the two, the progress in most countries being towards regimentation. As far as can be determined from his recent articles, Professor Huxley is not satisfied with either ideal, or with the present state, nor does he know whether the present progress is in the right direction. He himself describes his work as a "destructive criticism of a priori political philosophy; but many of the arguments which he refutes were exploded long ago, and others, it must be said, he is not very successful in attacking. Both anarchy and regimentation have been supported by a priori arguments, but the fact that a theory has been supported in this way does not prove that it is a false theory. If Prof. Huxley should
discover that his own belief as to any general question of biology had been anticipated by some forgotten author, and upheld by a priori reasoning, he would not allow his confidence to be much shaken. The case for political agnosticism is not exactly similar to that for agnosticism in matters of theology. In the latter case no evidence for determining the question is accessible - no evidence, at any rate, which has much cogency for the agnostic. But in the former case there is much evidence at hand. Governments have existed for several thousand years, and records of quite a number have come down to us; in some, as in ancient Peru, for instance, the principle of regimentation has been applied to a great extent; in others, as in this country, a great deal of liberty has been left to the individual. There is hardly any kind of action which governments have not tried over and over again; governmental regulation of production is no new thing; governments now collect one tenth, or more, of all that is produced each year and distribute it according to their own wisdom; is this part distributed in any better way than the other nine tenths? It does not seem altogether impossible to trace the results of different kinds of governmental action with sufficient accuracy to determine what kinds are beneficial, and under what conditions. It seems rather a hopeless suggestion that from now on each case of State action be regarded as an experiment, and that no more attention be paid to the political experiments of the past than the "practical" politician usually pays.
The average man has little knowledge as to what socialism and anarchy really are, but he has a feeling that each is something very terrible and to be avoided. His opinion of both might be modified if he knew that the society in which he lives is socialistic in respect that the State compels him to contribute to the support of schools and send his children to them, and anarchistic in repect that the State does not prescribe the amount
and kind of clothing he shall wear. It is worthy of note that the ideal society which has appealed most strongly and universally for the last two thousand years to the peoples calling themselves civilizedt has been an anarchistic society, a city not made with hands, the inhabitants whereof need not light from the sun and are a law unto themselves. Such a conception implies, to be sure, that the members of the society are perfectly adapted to the social state, and as the members of earthly societies are not yet perfectly adapted, complete anarchy might not work so well here; but one would have thought that men would have tried to make their societies here correspond as nearly as practicable to their ideal, and the way to no government certainly would seem to be through less and less government rather than through more and more - perhaps, though, they wished the joys of the future to be increased by being in striking contrast to the past. Now, however, this ideal seems to be losing its hold upon men; faith in its realization is weakened; and it seems not unlikely to be replaced by the ideal of an earthly society in which the means of production shall be controlled by the State, and in which each man shall have enough to eat, to drink, and to wear, and not be permitted to work more than six or eight hours a day.
The real question, of course, is, In which kind of society would men be happiest? Certainly no one would oppose socialistic measures out of devotion to an abstract principle of personal liberty, if it could be clearly proved that the happiness and wellbeing of mankind, both for the present and for the future, would be furthered by their adoption. The strength of the present tendency towards socialism consists largely in the perception that, unless a radical change is made in the methods by which wealth is distributed after it has been produced, the suffering due to lack of the necessaries of life will long continue. Many men who do not think very carefully
or look very far persuade themselves that by the adoption of certain schemes of production and distribution of goods this suffering might be avoided. The only ground for opposition to these schemes is the belief that they would not produce the effect intended, and that they would produce other and evil effects. Prof. Huxley has no faith in the schemes proposed for social amelioration, but he has no faith either in the beneficial action of natural causes."... The natural order of things the order, that is to say, as unmodified by human effort does not tend to bring about what we understand as welfare. On the contrary, the natural order tends to the maintenance, in one shape or another, of the war of each against all, the result of which is not the survival of the morally or even the physically highest, but of that form of humanity the mortality of which is least under the conditions. The pressure of a constant increase of population upon the means of support must keep up the struggle for existence, whatever form of social organization may be adopted."
It must be admitted that man has some desirable qualities, and the evidence goes to show that there was a time in his history when he did not have them. With an agnostic, the hypothesis that they were supernaturally given to him is, of course, not to be thought of. Now is it likely that so and so many thousand years ago man realized his lack of these qualities and the desirability of possessing them, and set to work to cultivate them? Or is it more likely that they were developed by natural causes without the cooperation of human effort? And if natural causes have been sufficient to develop these causes thus far, is it quite certain that they will not be sufficient to to develop them any further? The conclusion seems unavoidable that a certain amount of suffering must be endured by the human race, now and in the future; this amount is probably being increased by socialistic State action, though this action, given socities composed of men with the
present degree of intelligence, probably follows of necessity; but there are reasons for hoping that suffering will not always prevail to its present extent.
The reference to "constant pressure of population" introduces us to a suggestion of a remedy for poverty which Prof. Huxley ventures to hint at. While he has no faith in schemes for controlling production, if only some means could be devised for controlling reproduction. Theoretically, he tells us, the elimination of want is possible if the population of any area could be restricted to the number capable of being supported by the agricultural product of that area. "A polity of this kind might be self-supporting, and there need be no poverty in it, except such as arose from moral delinquencies or unavoidable calamities." Whatever might be possible "theoretically" (a priori?), we have an actual example of such a State as that described, in the United States; here the population has never been sufficient to consume the food product, and yet poverty, and even starvation, have been by no means uncommon here. Of course, State regulation of reproduction is not seriously advocated as a remedy for the evils that afflict society, but even to hint at it is almost enough to make the wildest dreams of Rousseau or Bakounine seem sober and
reasonable by contrast. If this is a specimen of what Prof. Huxley's constructive thought upon political subjects would lead to, we may be grateful that he has confined himself to negative criticism.
CHURCH AND STATE.
A few years ago, the president of Amherst College published an article advocating the establishment of a State religion in this country, and the teaching of it in the public schools. It would not be a very improbable prediction to prophesy that if ever this country has a State religion, that religion will be the Catholic. The Catholics already number almost as many as any other denomination here, and they are leaving
the others far behind in their rate of increase. Our ancestors who founded the Republic had had an experience of union between church and State which resulted in giving them wisdom upon the subject, but there have always been some among us who were eager to disregard the experience. The present agitation concerning parochial versus public schools has brought the question of religious instruction on the part of the State into importance. The objection is brought against the public schools that they are indirectly hostile to religion by ignoring it. The real reason why religion has not been taught in the schools, doubtless, is because the people who live in almost every school district differ in religious beliefs, and it is impossible to devise a course of instruction which would be satisfactory to all. The fairest compromise that could be made, one would naturally suppose, would be not to force any religious instruction at all upon children, but to leave parents to procure teaching on this subject after their own hearts This is the compromise that was actually reached, and a provision embodying it was inserted in most of the State constitutions.
Our method would, however, be better, judged from the standpoint of any denomination, namely, that the tenets of that one denomination should be taught. The Catholics have become very strong in some localities, and of considerable strength through the nation at large. They cannot hope to induce the States to teach their dogmas exclusively for some time yet, but they hope to secure something better than the compromise of no religious teaching at all on the part of the State. The public schools have therefore been discovered to be very godless and irreligious places, to which they cannot conscientiously send their children. Parochial schools have been established at the private expense of Catholics, and in these the children of many of them are educated. This gives them a grievance against the public-school system, or rather brings into clear relief
the injustice to which the system is tolerably certain to give rise. For a man to be forced to contribute from his means of livelihood to the support of schools whose character he disapproves is certainly a hardship; and if his disapproval of these schools is so strong that, rather than send his children to them, he is willing to incur the additional expense of establishing other schools, the injustice becomes glaring.
The solution of the difficulty which is proposed is, not that the State shall cease collecting the money, but that, after the money has been collected, part of it shall be given back to the Catholics to expend as they choose. Certain constitutional objections have been supposed to lie against this plan, but a piece of casuistry on the subject has been invented by Archbishop Ireland, of Minnesota, which is really worthy of a place beside the most noted examples of this kind of reasoning. He asserts that this plan would not be at variance with the Constitution, because under it the State would not be teaching religion the sects would be teaching it with their own money which they had first contributed to the State. That he is not influenced by the general question of personal liberty is shown by the fact that he advocates making at least a common-school education compulsory.
In the same address the archbishop asserted that public schools of any country should be "permeated with the religion of the majority of the children of the land," whatever that religion might be. It is perfectly certain that he says this only because he is well aware that, though the majority of the people in this country are Protestants, yet Protestantism is not a single religion which can be taught in schools. He would certainly not be better satisfied, not even so well satisfied, if every public school were permeated with the religion of the majority of the people in the district Methodism, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism, or what not.
There is really no reason against the State's teaching religion which is not equally conclusive against its teaching other things. If the object of State education is, as alleged, to prepare children to become good citizens, proper religious feelings would unquestionably contribute more to this result than the knowledge of English grammar and American history, which is now regarded as indispensable. But the people of this country have in the persons of their ancestors had experience of the evils of State interference in matters of religion, while they have not yet had sufficient experience of the evils caused by State interference with education. They are therefore able to perceive the tyranny of compelling a man to help support religious teaching which he thinks is untrue, while they cannot see the tyranny of compelling him to support other teaching which he deems unwise.
There is a group of persons - or perhaps I should say there are several groups in the country who take great pride in calling themselves tariff reformers. For instance, here in New England, there are "reformers" who are thoroughly convinced of the iniquity of a protective tariff on what they are pleased to call "raw material.' They talk very glibly of raw material, as though this were some well-defined entity with which they were in the habit of enjoying daily intercourse. I have never had the advantage of meeting with raw material myself, so of course cannot speak so knowingly on the subject. I see some tailor's raw material every now and then, but this particular variety of raw material is not that contemplated with equanimity by the New England manufacturer. He tells us that wool is a raw material that should not be "protected"; but th sheep grazers of Ohio will never come into harmony with this conception. They probably regard breeding rams as raw material, and they
have persuaded the Congressional Committee to take this view; but just how many hundred years men have spent in producing this gift of nature is doubtful.
It might be supposed that the ores from which the useful and precious metals are extracted are so much raw material; but the mine owners have evidently persuaded the Congressional Committee that the ore is raw only so long as it is hidden away in the retiring veins that traverse the bowels of the earth. This is the only ore Congress proposes to leave "unprotected," — that which has not yet been dug up. Foreign ores, so long as they lie quietly in the earth, may be regarded as harmless by Americans, however refractory they may seem to the owners and workers. This seems to be the orthodox view of the nature and essence of raw material: so long as it remains at home, undug in the mines of Chili, for example, But ores are raw material. when the cargo arrives at our custom-house, it immediately becomes a finished product, and therefore a dangerous adversary of American ores. For once, strange as it may appear, the orthodox political view is also the true view.
In other words, there is no such commodity as a raw material. Some potential commodities are more or less appropriately called raw (ores); when labor has been performed on the material—as when ore is brought to the surface-the material has become a finished product. And how many of the materials that are offered for sale in our markets have had no labor performed on them I should like to know? Whortleberries, perhaps. What is the baker's raw material? what the miller's? what the farmer's? Ah! there, surely, we have at last a raw material. Ask the seedsman, and the man who cleared the ground.
This tariff-reform campaign that is being carried on under the flag of free raw material is a more patently dishonest agitation than the protection" campaign itself. The stuff that takes the place of argument in the "protective" programme is adapted