Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 9.djvu/808
THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
begets violence and disturbance, which all good citizens deplore and condemn ; but no one ventures to justify the violence and disorder, and, philosophically speaking, the union question is not a question of putting down lawlessness.
But the complaint is that labor is "unreasonable." It makes extravagant demands with regard to wages, hours of toil, the control of the output, the regulation of apprenticeship, the treat- ment of non-union men. Grant all this; but neither political economy nor ethics can draw the line between reason and unrea- son in these things, and legalism admits want of jurisdiction over questions of reasonableness and expediency. Is competition always "reasonable"? Does the law attempt to enforce the dic- tates of reason in the business world? Are the corporations and the trusts reasonable? Are the quasi-public agencies reasonable in their dealings with the consumers?
Passion, prejudice, ignorance, resentment make men unrea- sonable, but psychologists tell us that no rational being is deliberately and consciously unreasonable. Professor G. L. Dupart, in his Morals: A Treatise on the Psycho-Sociological Bases of Ethics, recently translated into English, tells us that "even the most passionate almost always wish to act reasonably and try to understand and to make their action and their choice understood by indicating the why and the wherefore." Man, he continues, "seeks as a rule the reason of his choice in a perfectly human motive, the desire for systematic action, and he recognizes that he is only wrong [wrong only?] when it is proved to him either that his conduct is not coherent or that his choice lacks rationality;" and "reasonable conduct is that which is constituted by a series of well-linked acts, capable of forming a systematic whole"*
Apply these sound statements to the subject under considera- tion. To what "systematic whole" are unions referred by those who complain of their unreasonableness? What principles are commended to their attention? Have their newspaper and legal critics shown them how their conduct is to be made coherent? Certainly there is no hint at any system or philosophy in loose talk about arbitration, profit-sharing, publicity, etc. There is as