Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 10.djvu/44
32 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
that each may move forward in the general direction which the whole social process pursues.
This means that, with such conceptions of justice as we now hold, with our present concepts also of human individuals, there can be no tolerable program of life which does not admit practi- cally all persons to the franchise of all the interests represented by any person.
The problem, then, which general sociology reaches at last is this, to put it in the concrete : In the actual present situation of the American people, for instance, zvhat program is necessary, in order to satisfy the conditions of that stage of the process in which we find ourselves? As we have seen, the indicated end of the process is more of the process, i. e., more intensive and exten- sive satisfaction of all the interests ; and the condition which we have just discussed is that all the individuals sharing in the mechanism of the process shall share in the benefits of the process in proportion to their contribution to the process. In other words, normal continuance of the social process requires that each person sharing in the process shall be secure in opportunity to get on, in realization of each of the interests to which the process contributes ; or to make gains toward a more harmonious balance of the desires satisfied.
But we must now turn back upon the track of our argument far enough to recognize that we have jumped over a very wide chasm in our survey of social activities. Before we can have a standard of action appropriate to the actual social situation, we must have a thoroughly adequate analysis of the situation. The most serious and the most astonishing omission thus far in socio- logical theory is the failure to carry out the work of generalizing sociological notions far enough to furnish the schedules neces- sary for working knowledge of the actual situation. The things that are w-orth doing are the things that will promote the social process ; but to know what those things are we must know accu- rately the situation at which the process has arrived.
Perhaps a homely illustration is worth while. Everybody knows in general the science of running a steam engine. There must first be the properly constructed engine itself; it must have