Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/425

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413
LITERARY NOTICES.

course, if any one nation is cherishing schemes that are in their nature inconsistent with peace with its neighbors, that nation could not be counted on for any sincere co-operation; and therefore the first thing to do would be to invite from each nation as frank and full a statement as possible of its views and aspirations, in order that the extent to which these came into conflict with those of other nations might be determined. We can not resist the belief that, if the matter were taken in hand seriously, the British Government, as being more directly interested in the peace of Europe, taking the lead, and the Government of this country lending it all the moral support possible, a hopeful beginning might be made. The thing could not be done in a day; but, unless we have faith enough to believe in the possibility of its being done, how is it going to be done at all or at any time? War has lasted through nineteen centuries of the Christian era, and still exists as a horrible fact and still more dread possibility in the era of science. It has lasted too long. Christianity and science should unite their forces to crush it.




LITERARY NOTICES.

The Psychic Factors of Civilization. By Lester F. Ward. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 369. Price, $2.

In this book Dr. Ward elaborates and reenforces the main plea of his Dynamic Sociology, published ten years ago. His central thought is that civilization owes its chief impulse to man's conscious effort to better his lot — an effort in which, so far from imitating the operations of Nature, man has modified or even reversed them. In this view, civilization for its further advance must look more and more to a control in the highest sense artificial, which shall aim solely at the public good, restraining all self-regarding activities in conflict therewith. The chapters before us embody the observations of an accomplished naturalist, and add original and brilliant illustrations to an argument somewhat familiar. Every skillfully drawn picture such as this, which limns the felicity awaiting mankind when self-love and social shall be the same, kindles the moral imagination, and in so far has distinct value. But whether the practical orchestration of human wills and motives, which Dr. Ward holds to be eminently feasible, is feasible, or even possible, may well be questioned. As time goes on, and the problems of life, political and social, grow in complexity, the task of bringing self-interest and the public weal into accord does not become easier, as multiplied failures abundantly attest. One of the reasons is that the democratic spirit which justly maintains the equality of rights is apt unjustly to ignore or resent the inequalities of talent and character which difference man from man. And only a hearty acknowledgment of these inequalities can yield the assured leadership and the loyal adhesion upon which social progress largely depends. Dr. Ward holds that with better social conditions character would be reformed. True. But how can there be that in the mass which is not in the atom? Our author is of the school which would have reform begin at the outermost circle of human life, the political, and thence pass to the core and center, the individual heart. In this kind of project there is an oblique and subtle flattery in that blame for individual woes and privations is laid solely at the door of "society," of institutions, of somebody or something outside the sufferer himself. Never by any chance do the painters of social Utopias show how wide is the home acre for improvement, how much neglected it is, albeit that its plow awaits no sanction from the lawmaker, and how the despised field for tilth which surrounds every man's door is just the place for him to gain the skill, the discipline, needful in planning and carrying out the large transformations which gild the dreams of socialistic prophecy. Dr. Ward enlarges, and without exaggeration, on the wastes and burdens of industrial competition. Experience in Great Britain amply proves that many of these wastes and burdens disappear on the simple organization of the co-operative store — an establishment in this country as rare as an observatory. Cooperation requires forbearance, steadfast-