SOCIAL EVOLUTION 81 that primordial faith in the possibilities of life which was born, and generation after generation is re-born, of success in the struggle for existence; which may gather about itself all manner of supplementary beliefs, including a belief in spirits and in gods, but which will persist as the deepest and strongest motive of life after science has stripped away from it all its mystical and theological accretions? I hope to show that such is the fact. So believing, I accept as a positive contri- bution to the theory of human evolution Mr. Kidd's proposition that religion, a thing deeper and more elemental than reason, has been a chief factor in social evolution. The mention of socialism, when referring to the theories of Benja- min Kidd, may serve to remind us of two further contributions to the Darwinian theory of society still to be mentioned. The Marxian social- ist who has taken trouble to read Mr. William Hurrell Matlock's Ameri- can lectures on socialism, 5 will not be disposed to admit that Mr. Mal- lock is a competent student of social phenomena. Before passing judgment, however, he should examine Mr. Mallock's " Aristocracy and Evolution," a suggestive and really important work, published in 1898. In this book Mr. Mallock rises above his habit of literary trifling, and digs somewhat below his prejudices, to examine not only fairly, but also cogently, and with illumination, the phenomenon of personal abil- ity as a factor of social achievement. Distinguishing between a struggle for existence merely, and a struggle for domination, he contends that progress in any legitimate sense of the word is attributable to the struggle for domination. No one, I think, can go far in sociological study without seeing that this is a significant distinction for purposes of historical interpretation. One need not, however, draw the conclusion that democracy is neces- sarily antagonistic to progress, as Mr. Mallock does. He says: The human race progresses because and when the strongest human powers and the highest human faculties lead it; such powers and faculties are embodied in and monopolized by a minority of exceptional men; these men enable the majority to progress, only on condition that the majority submit themselves to their control.* No student of social evolution would be less likely to dispute these propositions than Mr. Francis Galton, who, in fact, in his studies of natural inheritance and hereditary genius, has done more than any other investigator to establish them on a broad inductive basis. And after Mr. Galton, no investigator has made more valuable studies in this field than Mr. Karl Pearson, and no one more unreservedly than he accepts the conclusion that superiority is necessary to social advance and that personal superiority is a fact of heredity. Yet Mr. Pearson con- • Delivered in 1906; published 1907 as "A Critical Examination of Socialism." •"Aristocracy and Evolution," p. 379.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 75.djvu/85
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