Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/344

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said, might be supposed to know the best specimens of their class. In society the list of best qualities would include health, energy, ability, manliness and the special aptitudes required by various professions and occupations. Everything in “the scientific breeding of the human race” was to be much as in the breeding of animals; for Galton proposed to leave morals out of the question as involving too many hopeless difficulties. This was the basis of the scheme of qualities from which he proposed to proceed to the improved breeding of society. The proposal furnishes one of the most striking and characteristic examples which have appeared of the deep-seated confusion prevailing in the minds of the early Darwinians between social efficiency and individual efficiency. Even from the few minor examples of society among the lower animals the true sociological criticism of such standards in eugenics might easily be supplied. For at the point at which the social insects, for instance, began their social integration all their standards were in the qualities which gave success in the struggle for existence between individuals. Had they, therefore, understood eugenics only in this light and in Galton's sense, they would have condemned at the first the beginnings of the peculiar social efficiency of the queen bee which now makes her devote her life entirely to egg-laying; still more would they have condemned the habits of the drones, through long persistence in which they have become degenerate as individuals; and in particular they would have condemned the habits of the workers which have led to their present undeveloped bodies and abortive individualistic instincts. But all these things have contributed in the highest degree to the social efficiency of the social insects and have made the type a winning one in evolution. The social integration of the social insects has been comparatively simple and did not, like that of human society, rest ultimately on mind, yet even in this elementary example it was evident what ruin and disaster would result from miscalled scientific breeding of the race if undertaken within the limits of such restricted conceptions of social efficiency. Galton's preoccupation, as in the case of most biological and medical schemes of improvement in the past, was with those individualistic qualities which contribute to the individual's success in the struggle for existence with his fellows. But it has been continuously obvious in history that individuals of the very highest social efficiency, the great organic minds of the race who, often quite unsuccessful in their lives as judged by individualistic standards, and who, often quite unperceived and unappreciated by their contemporaries, have been the authors of ideas, or moral conceptions or works of such organic importance that they have carried the race from one social horizon into another, have been just those individuals who would have entirely failed to pass the kind of prize-animal standards which Galton proposed to set up.

Galton's essay may be said to close that first epoch in the application of biological conceptions to sociology which The Close of the First Stage of Darwinian Theory. opened with Spencer's essay in 1860. With the extending conception of the organic interests of society during the intervening period the idea of social efficiency had altered profoundly. For instance, a supposed standard of efficiency, which like Malthusianism represented to Mill at the opening of the period the last conclusion of science, had become towards the close scarcely more than a standard of “race suicide.” It was not surprising that in these circumstances the representatives of those sciences which rested on a knowledge of the social process in history and philosophy continued to look coldly on the attempt of the first Darwinians to apply Darwinian principles to sociology. True, the development in their own sciences had been almost equally sterile, for they had themselves as yet no reasoned conception of the enormous importance of the Darwinian principle of evolution to these sciences in its capacity to reveal to them the dynamics of the social process. But they had watched the development of institutions in history; they had studied the growth of social types and the integration of great systems of belief; and they had struggled with the capital problems of the human mind in psychology and philosophy as the process had continued. The two armies of workers continued to be organized into isolated camps, each with the most restricted conception of the nature and importance of the work done by the other and of its bearing upon their own conclusions. One of the most remarkable results of such a situation—a result plainly visible in the valuable collection of essays edited by Professor Seward which was issued from the Cambridge University Press in commemoration of the centenary of Darwin's birth—is the extremely limited number of minds in our time of sufficient scope of view to be able to cover the relation of the work of both sets of these workers to sociology.

It remains now to consider the relation to the position in modern sociology of the extended conception that society must Further Extension to Sociology of the Evolutionary Conception. be considered to be organic in some wider sense than the first Darwinians thus imagined it and also in some wider sense than that in which Sidgwick imagined it when he said that sociology was in effect coincident with the science of politics. The present writer has laid it down elsewhere (The Two Principal Laws of Sociology: Bologna) that there is a fundamental principle of sociology which has to be grasped and applied before there can be any real science of sociology. This principle may be briefly stated as follows:—

The social process is primarily evolving in the individual not the qualities which contribute to his own efficiency in conflict with his fellows, but the qualities which contribute to society's efficiency in the conflict through which it is gradually rising towards a more organic type.

This is the first law of evolutionary sociology. It is this principle which controls the integration which is taking place under all forms in human society—in ethical systems, in all political and economic institutions, and in the creeds and beliefs of humanity—in the long, slow, almost invisible struggle in which under a multitude of phases natural selection is discriminating between the standards of nations and types of civilization.

Dealing first with political and economic institutions; the position reached in Spencer's sociology may be said to represent the science of society in a state of transition. It represents it, that is to say, in a stage at which the Greek theory of society has become influenced by the doctrine of evolution applied to modern conceptions, but while as yet no synthesis has been achieved between the conflicting and even mutually exclusive ideas which are involved. The Greek theory of society is represented in Spencer in his practical identification of “the social organism” with the State. The modern idea, however, which carries Spencer far beyond the principles of Greek society—as these principles were summarized, for instance, in the passage already quoted from Bluntschli—is clearly in evidence. It may be observed to be expressed in the recognition of a principle resident in modern society which in some manner projects the individual's rights outside and beyond the whole theory and meaning of the State. In other words, in society as Spencer conceives it, “the welfare of citizens cannot rightly be sacrificed to some supposed benefit of the State”; whereas, according to the Greek theory and the theory of Roman law, the citizen's whole existence depended on and was subject to the State. “The State knew neither moral nor legal limits to its power.” If, however, it be considered that modern society has made progress beyond the Greek, and if it be accepted that the theory of evolution involves the conclusion that society progresses towards increased efficiency in a more organic type, there follows from the foregoing an important inference. This is that it now becomes the task of modern sociology, as a true science, to show that the principle in modern civilization which distinguishes it from society of the Greek period—namely, that principle which Spencer rightly recognized, despite the contradictions in which he became involved, as rendering the life of the individual no longer subservient to the corporate life of the State—is itself a principle identified not with individualism but with the increasing subordination of the individual to a more organic type of society. It must, in short, remain for the evolutionist, working by the