Popular Science Monthly/Volume 9/October 1876/Predatory and Industrial Societies
|←Modern Scientific Geography||Popular Science Monthly Volume 9 October 1876 (1876)
Predatory and Industrial Societies
By Herbert Spencer
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A GLANCE at the respective antecedents of individual organisms and social organisms shows why the last admit of no such definite classification as the first. Through a thousand generations a species of plant or animal leads substantially the same kind of life; and its successive members inherit the acquired adaptations. When changed conditions cause divergences of forms once alike, the accumulating differences arising in descendants only superficially disguise the original identity do not prevent the grouping of the several species into a genus; nor do wider divergences that began earlier prevent the grouping of genera into orders and orders into classes. It is otherwise with societies. Hordes of primitive men, dividing and subdividing, do, indeed, show us successions of small social aggregates leading like lives, inheriting such low structures as had resulted, and repeating those structures. But higher social aggregates propagate their respective types in much less decided ways. Though colonies tend to grow like their parents, yet the parent societies are so comparatively plastic, and the influences of new habitats on the derived societies are so great, that divergences of structure are inevitable. In the absence of definite organizations, established during the similar lives of many societies descending one from another, there cannot be the precise distinctions implied by complete classification.
Two cardinal kinds of differences there are, however, of which we may avail ourselves for grouping societies in a natural manner. Primarily we may arrange them, according to their degrees of composition, as simple, compound, doubly-compound, trebly-compound; and, secondarily, though in a less specific way, we may divide them into the predominantly predatory and the predominantly industrial those in which the organization for offense and defense is most largely developed and those in which the sustaining organization is most largely developed.
We have seen that social evolution begins with small, simple aggregates; that it progresses by the clustering of these into larger aggregates; and that, after consolidating, such clusters are united with others like themselves into still larger aggregates. Our classification, then, must begin with societies of the first or simplest order.
We cannot in all cases say with precision what constitutes a simple society; for, in common with products of evolution generally, societies present transitional stages which negative sharp divisions. As the multiplying members of a group spread and diverge gradually, it is not always easy to decide when the groups into which they fall become distinct. Here the descendants of common ancestors, inhabiting a barren region, have to divide while yet the constituent families are near akin; and there, in a more fertile region, the group may hold together until clusters of families remotely akin are formed—clusters which, diffusing slowly, are held by a common bond that slowly weakens. By-and-by comes the complication arising from the presence of slaves not of the same ancestry, or of an ancestry but distantly allied; and these, though they may not be political units, must be recognized as units sociologically considered. Then there is the kindred complication arising where an invading tribe becomes a dominant class. Our only course is to regard as a simple society one which forms a single working whole, unsubjected to any other, and of which the parts coöperate, with or without a regulating centre, for certain public ends. Here is a table, presenting, with as much definiteness as may be, the chief divisions and subdivisions of such simple societies....
We pass now to the classification based on unlikenesses between the kinds of social activity which predominate, and on the resulting unlikenesses of organization. The two social types thus essentially contrasted are the predatory and the industrial.
It is doubtless true that no definite separation of these can be made. Excluding a few simple groups, such as the Esquimaux, inhabiting places where they are safe from invasion, all societies, simple and compound, are occasionally or habitually in antagonism with other societies; and, as we have seen, tend to evolve structures for carrying on offensive and defensive actions. At the same time sustentation is necessary, and there is always an organization, slight or decided, for achieving it. But while the two systems in social organisms, as in individual organisms, coexist in all but the rudimentary forms, they vary immensely in the ratios they bear to one another. In some cases the structures carrying on external actions are largely developed; the sustaining system exists solely for their benefit, and the activities are militant. In other cases there is predominance of the structures carrying on sustentation; offensive and defensive structures are maintained only to protect them; and the activities are industrial. At the one extreme we have those warlike tribes which, subsisting mainly by the chase, make the appliances for dealing with enemies serve also for procuring food, and have sustaining systems represented only by their women, who are their slave-classes; while at the other extreme we have the type, as yet only partially evolved, in which the agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial organizations form the chief part of the society, and, in the absence of external enemies, the appliances for offense and defense are either rudimentary or absent. Transitional as are nearly all the societies we have to study, we may yet clearly distinguish the constitutional traits of these opposite types, characterized by predominance of the outer and inner systems respectively.
Having glanced at the two thus placed in contrast, it will be most convenient to contemplate each by itself.
As before pointed out, the militant type is one in which the army is the nation mobilized, while the nation is the quiescent army, and which, therefore, acquires a structure common to army and nation. We shall most clearly understand its nature by observing in detail this parallelism between the military organization and the social organization at large.
Already we have had ample proof that centralized control is the primary trait acquired by every body of fighting-men, be it horde of savages, group of brigands, or mass of soldiers. And this centralized control, necessitated during war, characterizes the government during peace. Among the uncivilized, there is a marked tendency for the military chief to become also the political head (the medicine-man being his only competitor); and in a conquering race of savages his political headship becomes fixed. Among semi-civilized, the conquering commander and the despotic king are the same; and they remain the same among the civilized down to late times. The connection is well shown where, in the same race, we find a contrast in the habitual activities and in the forms of government. Thus the powers of the patriarchal chiefs of Kaffre tribes are not great; but the Zulus, who have become a conquering division of the Kaffres, are under an absolute monarch. Of advanced savages, the Feejeeans may be named as well showing this relation between habitual war and despotic rule; the persons and property of subjects are entirely at the king's or chief's disposal. We have seen that it is the same in the warlike African states, Dahomey and Ashantee. The ancient Mexicans, again, whose highest profession was that of arms, and whose eligible prince became king only by feats in war, had an autocratic government, which, according to Clavigero, became more stringent as the territory was enlarged by conquest. Similarly, the unmitigated despotism under which the Peruvians lived had been established during the spread of the Inca conquests. And that race is not the cause, we are shown by this recurrence in ancient America of a relation so familiar in ancient states of the Old World.
The, absoluteness of a commander-in-chief goes along with absolute control exercised by his generals over their subordinates, and by their subordinates over the men under them. All are slaves to those above, and despots to those below. This structure repeats itself in the accompanying social arrangements. There are precise gradations of rank in the community, and complete submission of each rank to the ranks above it. We see this in the society already instanced, as showing, among advanced savages, the development of the militant type. In Feejee six classes are enumerated, from king down to slaves, as sharply marked off. Similarly in Madagascar, where despotism has been in late times established by war, there are several grades and castes. Among the Dahomans, given in so great a degree to bloodshed of all kinds, "the army, or, what is nearly synonymous, the nation," says Burton, "is divided, both male and female, into two wings;" and then, of the various ranks enumerated, all are characterized as legally slaves of the king. In Ashantee, too, where his officers are required to die when the king dies, we have a kindred condition. Of old, among the aggressive Persians, grades were strongly marked. So was it in warlike ancient Mexico. Besides three classes of nobility, and besides the mercantile classes, there were three agricultural classes down to the serfs—all in precise subordination. In Peru, also, below the Inca there were grades of nobility—lords over lords. Moreover, according to Garcilasso, in each town the inhabitants were registered in decades under a decurion, five of these under a superior, two such under a higher one, five of these centurions under a head, two of these under one who thus ruled a thousand men, and for every ten thousand there was a governor of Inca race; the political rule being thus completely regimental. Till lately, another illustration was furnished by Japan. That there were kindred, if less elaborate, structures in ancient militant states of the Old World, scarcely needs saying; and that like structures were repeated in mediæval times, when a large nation, like France, had under the monarch several grades of feudal lords, vassals to those above, and suzerains to those below, with serfs under the lowest, again shows us that everywhere the militant type has sharply-marked social gradations, as it has sharply-marked military gradations.
Corresponding to this natural government, there is a like form of supernatural government. I do not mean merely that, in the ideal other-worlds of militant societies, the ranks and powers are conceived as like those of the real world around, though this also is to be noted; but I refer to the militant character of the religion. Ever in antagonism with other societies, the life is a life of enmity, and the religion a them. In Dahomey, where the militant type is so far developed that women are warriors, men are almost daily sacrificed by the monarch to please his dead father; and the ghosts of old kings are invoked for aid in war by blood sprinkled on their tombs. The war-god of the Mexicans (originally a conqueror), the most revered of their gods, had his idol fed with human flesh; wars being undertaken to supply him with victims. And similarly in Peru, where there were habitual human sacrifices, men taken captive were immolated to the father of the Incas, the sun. How militant societies of old in the East similarly evolved deities, who were similarly propitiated by bloody rites, needs merely indicating. Habitually their mythologies represent gods as conquerors; habitually their gods are named "the strong one," "the destroyer," "the avenger," "god of battles," "lord of hosts," "man of war," and so forth. As we read in Assyrian inscriptions, wars were commenced by their alleged will; and, as we read elsewhere, peoples were massacred wholesale in professed obedience to them. How its theological government, like its political government, is essentially military, we see even in late and qualified forms of the predatory type; for, down to the present time, absolute subordination, like that of soldier to commander, is the supreme virtue, and disobedience the crime for which eternal torture is threatened.of enmity. The duty of blood-revenge, most sacred of all with the savage, continues to be the dominant duty as the militant type of society evolves. The chief, balked of his vengeance, dies enjoining his successors to avenge him; his ghost is propitiated by fulfillment of his commands; the slaying of his enemies becomes the highest action; trophies are brought to his grave in token of fulfillment; and, as tradition grows, he becomes the god worshiped with bloody sacrifices. Everywhere we find evidence. The Feejeeans offer the bodies of their victims killed in war to the gods before cooking
Similarly with the accompanying ecclesiastical organization. Very generally, where the militant type is highly developed, the political head and ecclesiastical head are identical—the king, chief descendant of his ancestor, who has become a god, is also chief propitiator of him. It was so in ancient Peru; and in Tezcuco and Tlacopan (Mexico) the high-priest was the king's second son. The Egyptian wall-paintings show us kings performing sacrifices; as do also the Assyrian. Babylonian records harmonize with Hebrew traditions in telling us of priest-kings. In Lydia it was the same; Crœsus was king and priest. In Sparta, too, the kings, while military chiefs, were also high-priests; and a trace of the like original relation existed in Rome. A system of subordination, essentially akin to the military, has habitually characterized the accompanying priesthoods. The Feejeeans have an hereditary priesthood, forming a hierarchy. In Tahiti, where the high-priest was royal, there were grades of hereditary priests belonging to each social rank. In ancient Mexico the priesthoods of different gods had different ranks, and there were three ranks within each priesthood; and in ancient Peru, besides the royal chief priest, there were priests of the conquering race set over various classes of inferior priests. A like type of structure, with subjection of rank to rank, has characterized priesthoods in the ancient and modern belligerent societies of the Old World. The like mode of government is traceable throughout the sustaining organization also, so long as the social type remains predominantly militant. Beginning with simple societies, in which the slave-class furnishes the warrior-class with necessaries of life, we have already seen that, during the subsequent stages of evolution, the industrial part of the society continues to be essentially a permanent commissariat, existing solely to supply the needs of the governmental-military structures, and having left over for itself only enough for bare maintenance. Hence, the development of political regulation over its activities has been in fact the extension throughout it of that military rule which, as a permanent commissariat, it naturally had. An extreme instance is furnished us by the ancient Peruvians, whose political and industrial governments were identical—whose kinds and quantities of labor, for every class in every locality, were prescribed by laws enforced by state officers—who had work legally dictated even for their young children, their blind, and their lame, and who were publicly chastised for idleness; regimental discipline being applied to industry just as our modern advocate of strong government would have it now. The late Japanese system, completely military in origin and nature, similarly permeated industry; great and small things—houses, ships, down even to mats—were prescribed in their structures. In the warlike monarchy of Madagascar, the artisan classes are all in the employ of government, and no man can change his occupation or locality, under pain of death. Without multiplication of cases, these typical ones, reminding the reader of the extent to which, even in modern fighting states, industrial activities are officially regulated, will sufficiently show the principle.
Not industry only, but life at large, is, in militant societies, subject to kindred discipline. Before its recent collapse, the government of Japan enforced sumptuary laws on each class, mercantile and other, up to the provincial governors, who must rise, dine, go out, give audience, and retire to rest at prescribed hours; and the native literature specifies regulations of a scarcely credible minuteness. In ancient Peru, officers "minutely inspected the houses, to see that the man, as well as his wife, kept the household in proper order, and preserved a due state of discipline among their children;" and householders were rewarded or chastised accordingly. Among the Egyptians each person had, at fixed intervals, to report to a local officer his name, abode, and mode of living. Sparta, too, yields an example of a society specially organized for offense and defense, in which the private conduct of citizens, in all its details, was under public control enforced by spies and censors. Though regulations so stringent have not characterized the militant type in more recent ages, yet we need but recall the laws regulating food and dress, the restraints on locomotion, the prohibitions of some games and dictation of others, to indicate the parallelism of principle. Even now, where the military organization has been kept in vigor by military activities, as in France, we are shown, by the peremptory control of journals and suppression of meetings, by the regimental uniformity of education, by the official administration of the fine arts, the way in which its characteristic regulating system ramifies everywhere.
And then, lastly, is to be noted the theory concerning the relation between the state and the individual, with its accompanying sentiment. This structure, which adapts a society for combined action against other societies, is associated with the belief that its members exist for the benefit of the whole, and not the whole for the benefit of its members. As in an army the liberty of the soldier is denied, and only his duty as a member of the mass insisted on; as in a permanently encamped army, like the Spartan nation, the laws recognized no personal interests, but patriotic ones only; so in the militant type throughout the claims of the unit are nothing, and the claims of the aggregate everything. Absolute subjection to authority is the supreme virtue, and resistance to it a crime. Other offenses may be condoned, but disloyalty is an unpardonable offense. If we take the sentiments of the sanguinary Feejeeans, among whom loyalty is so intense that a man stands unbound to be knocked on the head, himself saying that what the king wills must be done; or those of the Dahomans, among whom the highest officials are the king's slaves, and on his decease his women sacrifice one another that they may all follow him; or those of the ancient Peruvians, among whom with a dead Inca, or great curaca, were buried alive his favorite attendants and wives that they might go to serve him in the other world; or those of the ancient Persians, among whom a father, seeing his innocent son shot by the king in pure wantonness, "felicitated" the king "on the excellence of his archery," and among whom bastinadoed subjects "declared themselves delighted because his majesty had condescended to recollect them"—we are sufficiently shown that, in this social type, the sentiment which prompts the assertion of personal rights, in opposition to the ruling power, scarcely exists.
Thus the trait characterizing the militant structure throughout is that its units are coerced into their various combined actions. As the soldier's will is so suspended that he becomes in everything the agent of his officer's will, so is the will of the citizen in all transactions, private and public, overruled by that of the government. The coöperation by which the life of the militant society is maintained, is a compulsory coöperation. The social structure adapted for dealing with surrounding hostile societies is under a centralized regulating system, to which all the parts are completely subject; just as in the individual organism the outer organs are completely subject to the chief nervous centre.
The traits of the industrial type have to be generalized from inadequate and entangled data. Antagonism, more or less constant with other societies, having been almost everywhere and always the condition of each society, a social structure fitted for offense and defense exists in nearly all cases, and disguises the structure which social sustentation alone otherwise originates. Such conception as may be formed of it Las to be formed from what we find in the few simple societies that have been habitually peaceful, and in the advanced compound societies which, though once habitually militant, have become gradually less so.
Already I have referred to the chiefless Arafuras, living in "peace and brotherly love with one another," of whom we are told that "they recognize the rights of property in the fullest sense of the word, without there being any authority among them than the decisions of their elders, according to the customs of their forefathers;" that is, there has grown up a recognition of mutual claims and personal rights, with voluntary submission to a tacitly-elected representative government, formed of the most experienced. Among the Todas, who "lead a peaceful, tranquil life," disputes are "settled either by arbitration" or by "a council of five." The amiable Bodo and Dhimals, said to be wholly unmilitary, display an essentially free social form. They have nothing but powerless head-men, and are without slaves or servants; but they give mutual assistance in clearing ground and house-building. There is voluntary exchange of services—giving of equivalents of labor. The Mishmis, again, described as quiet, inoffensive, not warlike, and only occasionally uniting in self-defense, have scarcely any political organization. Their village communities, under merely nominal chiefs, acknowledge no common chief of the tribe, and the rule is democratic. Crimes are judged by an assembly.
Naturally, few, if any, cases occur in which societies of this type have evolved into larger societies without passing into the predatory type; for, as we have seen, the consolidation of simple aggregates into a compound aggregate habitually results from war, defensive or offensive, which, if continued, evolves a centralized authority with its coercive institutions. The Pueblos, however, industrious and peaceful agriculturists, who, building their unique villages, or compound houses, containing 2,000 people, in such ways as to "wall out black barbarism," fight only when invaded, show us a democratic form of government. "The governor and his council are elected annually by the people." The case of Samoa, too, may be named as showing, to some extent, how, in one of these compound communities, where the warlike activity is now not considerable, decline in the rigidity of political control has gone along with some evolution of the industrial type. Chiefs and minor heads, partly hereditary and partly elective, are held responsible for the conduct of affairs; there are village parliaments and district parliaments. Along with this we find a considerably-developed sustaining organization separate from the political—masters, who have apprentices, employ journeymen, and pay wages; and, when payment for work is inadequate, there are even strikes, upheld by a tacit trades-unionism.
Passing to more evolved societies, it must be observed, first, that the distinctive traits of the industrial type do not become marked, even where the industrial activity is considerable, so long as the industrial government remains identified with the political. In Phœnicia, for example, "the foreign wholesale trade seems to have belonged mostly to the state, the kings, and the nobles. . . . Ezekiel describes the King of Tyrus as a prudent commercial prince, who finds out the precious metals in their hidden seats, enriches himself by getting them, and increases these riches by further traffic." Clearly, where the political and military heads have thus themselves become the heads of the industrial organization, the traits distinctive of it are prevented from showing themselves. Of ancient societies, to be named in connection with the relation between industrial activities and free institutions, Athens will be at once thought of; and, by contrast with other Greek states, it showed this relation as clearly as can be expected. Up to the time of Solon, all these communities were under either oligarchs or despots. The rest of them, in which war continued to be the honored occupation, while industry was despised, retained this political type; but in Athens, where industry was regarded with comparative respect, where it was encouraged by Solon, and where immigrant artisans found a home, there commenced an industrial organization, which, gradually growing, distinguished the Athenian society from adjacent societies, as it was distinguished from them by those democratic institutions that simultaneously developed.
Turning to later times, the relation between a social régime predominantly industrial and a less coercive form of rule, is shown us by the Hanse Towns, by the towns of the Low Countries, out of which the Dutch Republic rose, and in high degrees by ourselves, by the United States, and by our colonies. Along with wars less frequent, and these carried on at a distance; and along with an accompanying growth of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, beyond that of Continental states more military in habit—there has gone in England a development of free institutions. As further implying that the two are related, as cause and consequence, there may be noted the fact that the regions whence changes toward greater political liberty have come are the leading industrial regions; and that rural districts, less characterized by constant trading transactions, have retained longer the earlier type, with its appropriate sentiments and ideas. In the form of ecclesiastical government we see parallel changes. Where the industrial activities and structures evolve, this branch of the regulating system, no longer, as in the predatory type, a rigid hierarchy, little by little loses strength, while there grows up one of a different kind; sentiments and institutions both relaxing. Right of private judgment in religious matters gradually establishes itself along with establishment of political rights. In place of a uniform belief imperatively enforced, there come multiform beliefs voluntarily accepted; and the ever-multiplying bodies espousing these beliefs, instead of being governed despotically, govern themselves after a manner more or less representative. Military conformity, coercively maintained, gives place to a varied non-conformity maintained by willing union.
The industrial organization itself, which thus, as it becomes predominant, affects all the rest, of course shows us in an especial degree this change of structure. From the primitive predatory condition, under which the master maintains slaves to work for him, there is a transition through stages of increasing freedom to a condition like our own, in which all who work and employ, buy and sell, are entirely independent; and in which there is an unchecked power of forming associations that rule themselves on democratic principles. Combinations of workmen, and counter-combinations of employers, no less than political societies and leagues for carrying on this or that agitation, show us the representative mode of government; which characterizes also every joint-stock company for mining, banking, railway-making, or other commercial enterprise. Further, we see that, as in the predatory type the military mode of regulation ramifies into all minor departments of social activity, so here does the industrial mode of regulation. Multitudinous objects are achieved by spontaneously-evolved combinations of citizens governed representatively. The tendency to this kind of organization is so ingrained that, for every proposed end, the proposed means is a society ruled by an elected committee headed by an elected chairman—philanthropic associations of multitudinous kinds, literary institutions, libraries, clubs, bodies for fostering the various sciences and arts, etc., etc.
Along with all which traits there go sentiments and ideas concerning the relation between the citizen and the state, opposite to those accompanying the predatory type. In place of the doctrine that the duty of obedience to the governing agent is unqualified, there arises the doctrine that the will of the citizens is supreme, and the governing agent exists merely to carry out their will. Thus subordinated in authority, the regulating power is also restricted in range. Instead of having an authority extending over actions of all kinds, it is shut out from large classes of actions. Its control over ways of living in respect to food, clothing, amusements, is repudiated; it is not allowed to dictate modes of production, nor to regulate trade. Nor is this all. It becomes a duty to resist irresponsible government, and also to resist the excesses of responsible government. There arises a tendency in minorities to disobey even the legislature deputed by the majority, when it interferes in certain ways; and their oppositions to laws they condemn as inequitable from time to time cause abolition of them. With which changes of political theory and accompanying-sentiment is joined a belief, implied or avowed, that the combined actions of the social aggregate have for their end to maintain the conditions under which individual lives may be satisfactorily carried on; in place of the old belief that individual lives have for their end the maintenance of this aggregate's combined actions.
These pervading traits, in which the industrial type differs so widely from the predatory type, originate in those relations of individuals implied by industrial activities, which are wholly unlike those implied by predatory activities. All trading transactions, whether between masters and workmen, buyers and sellers of commodities, or professional men and those they aid, are effected by free exchange. For some benefit which A's occupation enables him to give, B willingly yields up an equivalent benefit; if not in the form of something he has produced, then in the form of money gained by his occupation. This relation, in which the mutual rendering of services is unforced and neither individual subordinated, becomes the predominant relation throughout society, in proportion as the industrial activities predominate. Daily determining the thoughts and sentiments, daily disciplining all in asserting their own claims, while forcing them to recognize the correlative claims of others, it produces social units whose mental structures and habits mould social arrangements into corresponding forms. There results this type characterized throughout by that same individual freedom which every commercial transaction implies. The coöperation by which the multiform activities of the societies are carried on, becomes a voluntary cooperation. And while the developed sustaining system, which gives to a social organism the industrial type, acquires for itself, like the developed sustaining system of an animal, a regulating apparatus of a diffused or uncentralized kind, it tends also to decentralize the primary regulating apparatus, by making it derive from more numerous classes its deputed powers.
Necessarily the essential traits of these two social types are in most cases obscured, both by the antecedents and by the coexisting circumstances. Every society has been, at each past period, and is at present, conditioned in a way more or less unlike the ways in which others have been and are conditioned. Hence, the production of structures, characterizing one or other of these opposed types, is, in every instance, furthered, or hindered, or modified, in a special manner. Observe the several kinds of causes.
There is, first, the deeply-organized character of the particular race, coming down from those prehistoric times during which the diffusion of mankind, and differentiation of the varieties of man, took place. Very difficult to change, this must in every case qualify differently the tendency toward assumption of either type.
There is, next, the effect due to the immediately preceding mode of life and social type. Nearly always the society we have to study contains decayed institutions and habits belonging to an ancestral society otherwise circumstanced; and these pervert, more or less, the effects of circumstances then existing.
Again, there are the peculiarities of the habitat in respect of contour, soil, climate, flora, fauna, severally affecting in one mode or other the activities, whether predatory or industrial; and severally hindering or aiding, in some special way, the development of either type.
Yet further, there are the complications caused by the particular organizations and practices of surrounding societies. For, supposing the amount of offensive or defensive action to be the same, the nature of it depends in each case on the nature of* the antagonist action; and hence its reactive effects on structure vary with the character of the antagonist. Add to this that direct imitation of adjacent societies is a factor of some moment.
There remains to be named an element of complication more potent perhaps than any of these—one which of itself often goes far to determine the type as predatory, and which in every case profoundly modifies the social arrangements. I refer to the mixture of races, caused by conquest or otherwise. We may properly treat of it separately under the head of social constitution—not, of course, constitution politically understood, but constitution understood as referring to the relative homogeneity or heterogeneity of the units constituting the social aggregate.
Inevitably as the nature of the aggregate, partially determined by environing conditions, is in other respects determined by the natures of its units, where its units are of diverse natures, the degrees of contrast between the two or more kinds of them, and the degrees of union between them, must greatly affect the results. Are they of unallied races, or of races near akin? and do they remain separate, or do they mix?
If units of two kinds are joined in the same society, their respective tendencies to evolve structures more or less unlike in character must modify the product. And the special modification will in every case further or hinder the evolution of one or the other social type. Clearly, where it has happened that a conquering race, continuing to govern a subject race, has developed the predatory regulating system throughout the whole social structure, and for ages habituated its units to compulsory coöperation—where it has also happened that the correlative ecclesiastical system, with its appropriate cult, has given to absolute subordination the religious sanction—and especially where, as in China, each individual is moulded by the governing power and stamped with the appropriate ideas of duty which it is heresy to question, it becomes impossible for any considerable change to be wrought in the social structure by other influences. It is the law of all organization that as it becomes complete it becomes rigid. Only where incompleteness implies a remaining plasticity is it possible for the type to develop from the original predatory form to the form which industrial activity generates.
Especially where the two races, contrasted in their natures, do not mix, social coöperation implies a compulsory regulating system; the military form of structure, which the dominant impose, ramifies throughout. Ancient Peru furnished an extreme case; and the Ottoman Empire may be instanced. Social constitutions of this kind, in which aptitudes for forming unlike structures coexist, are manifestly in states of unstable equilibrium. Any considerable shock dissolves the organization; and, in the absence of unity of tendency, reestablishment of it is difficult, if not impossible. In cases where the conquering and conquered, though widely unlike, intermarry extensively, a kindred effect is produced in another way. The conflicting tendencies toward different social types, instead of existing in separate individuals, now exist in the same individual. The half-caste, inheriting from one line of ancestry proclivities adapted to one set of institutions, and from the other line of ancestry proclivities adapted to another set of institutions, is not fitted for either. He is a unit whose nature has not been moulded by any social type, and therefore cannot, with others like himself, evolve any social type. Modern Mexico and the South American republics, with their perpetual revolutions, show us the result.
It is observable, too, that, where races of strongly-contrasted natures have mixed more or less, or, remaining but little mixed, occupy adjacent areas subject to the same government, the equilibrium maintained so long as that government keeps up the coercive form shows itself to be unstable when the coercion relaxes. Spain, with its diverse peoples, Basque, Celtic, Gothic, Moorish, Jewish, partially mingled and partially localized, shows us this result.
Small differences, however, seem advantageous. Sundry instances point to the conclusion that a society formed from nearly-allied peoples, of which the conquering eventually mingles with the conquered, is relatively well fitted for progress. From their fusion results a community which, determined in its leading traits by the character common to the two, is prevented by their differences of character from being determined in its minor traits—is left capable of taking on new arrangements determined by new influences: medium plasticity allows those changes of structure constituting advance in heterogeneity. One example is furnished us by the Hebrews, who, notwithstanding their boasted purity of blood, resulted from a mixing of many Semitic varieties in the country east of the Nile, and who, both in their wanderings and after the conquest of Palestine, went on amalgamating kindred tribes. Another is supplied by the Athenians, whose progress had for antecedent the mingling of numerous immigrants from other Greek states with the Greeks of the locality. The fusion by conquest of the Romans with other Aryan tribes, Sabini, Sabelli, and Samnites, preceded the first ascending stage of the Roman civilization. And our own country, peopled by different divisions of the Aryan race, and mainly by varieties of Scandinavians, again illustrates this effect produced by the mixture of units sufficiently alike to coöperate in the same social system, but sufficiently unlike to prevent that social system from becoming forthwith definite in structure.
Admitting that the evidence where so many causes are in operation cannot be satisfactorily disentangled, and claiming only probability for these inductions respecting social constitutions, it remains to point out their analogy to certain inductions respecting the constitutions of individual living things. Between organisms widely unlike in kind, no progeny can arise: the physiological units contributed by them respectively to form a fertilized germ cannot work together so as to produce a new organism. Evidently as, while multiplying, the two classes of units tend to build themselves into two different structures, their conflict prevents the formation of any structure. If the two organisms are less unlike in kind—belonging, say, to the same genus though to different species—the two structures which their two groups of physiological units tend to build up being tolerably similar, they can, and do, coöperate in making an organism that is intermediate. But this, though it will work, is imperfect in its latest-evolved parts: there results a mule incapable of propagating. If, instead of different species, remote varieties are united, the intermediate organism is not infertile; but many facts suggest the conclusion that infertility results in subsequent generations: the incongruous working of the united structures, though longer in showing itself, comes out ultimately. And then, finally, if, instead of remote varieties, varieties nearly allied are united, a permanently-fertile breed results; and, while the slight differences of the two kinds of physiological units are not such as to prevent harmonious coöperation, they are such as conduce to plasticity and unusually vigorous growth.
Here, then, seems a parallel to the conclusion indicated above, that hybrid societies are imperfectly organizable—cannot grow into forms completely stable; while societies that have been evolved from mixtures of nearly-allied varieties of man can assume stable structures, and have an advantageous modifiability.
We class societies, then, in two ways; both having to be kept in mind when interpreting social phenomena:
First, they have to be arranged in the order of their integration, as simple, compound, doubly-compound, trebly-compound. And, along with the increasing degrees of evolution implied by these ascending stages of composition, we have to recognize the increasing degrees of evolution implied by growing heterogeneity, general and local.
Much less definite is the division to be made among societies according as one or other of their great systems of organs is supreme. Omitting those lowest types which show no differentiations at all, we have but few exceptions to the rule that each society has structures for carrying on conflict with other societies and structures for carrying on sustentation; and the ratios between these admitting of all gradations, it results that no specific classification can be based on their relative developments. Nevertheless, as the predatory type, characterized by predominance of the one, is framed on the principle of compulsory coöperation, while the industrial type, characterized by predominance of the other, is framed on the principle of voluntary cooperation, the two types, when severally evolved to their extreme forms, are diametrically opposed; and the contrasts between their traits are among the most important with which sociology has to deal.
Were this the fit place, some pages might be added respecting a possible future social type, differing as much from the industrial as this does from the predatory—a type which, having a sustaining system more fully developed than any we know at present, will use the products of industry neither for maintaining a predatory organization nor exclusively for material aggrandizement; but will devote them to the carrying on of higher activities. As the contrast between the predatory and the industrial types is indicated by inverting the belief that individuals exist for the benefit of the state into the belief that the state exists for the benefit of individuals, so the contrast between the industrial type and the type likely to be evolved from it is indicated by the inversion of the belief that life is for work into the belief that work is for life. But we are here concerned with inductions derived from societies that have been and are, and cannot enter upon speculations respecting societies that may be. Merely naming as a sign the multiplication of institutions and appliances for intellectual and aesthetic culture, and for kindred activities not of a directly life-sustaining kind, but of a kind having gratification for their immediate purpose, I can here say no more.
Returning from this parenthetical suggestion, there remains the remark that to the complications caused by the crossings of these two classifications have to be added the complications caused by the unions of races widely unlike or little unlike; which here mix not at all, there partially, and in other cases wholly. Respecting these kinds of constitutions, we have considerable warrant for concluding that the hybrid kind, essentially unstable, admits of being organized only on the principle of compulsory cooperation; since units much opposed in their natures cannot work together spontaneously. While, conversely, the kind characterized by likeness in its units is relatively stable; and under fit conditions may evolve into the industrial type, especially if the likeness is qualified by slight differences.
- Abridged from advance-sheets of the "Principles of Sociology," Part II., "The Induction of Sociology," Chapter X., "Social Types and Constitutions."
- Three elaborate tables are here given in the text of Spencer's work, classifying the social aggregates of mankind into "Simple Societies," "Compound Societies," and "Doubly-Compound Societies." We are compelled to omit them and the accompanying text for want of space.