Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/485

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469
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

remote in the obscure background of his consciousness as to be practically non-existent. In all he says about what a legislature should do, or forbid, or require, he tacitly assumes that any regulation may be enacted, and when enacted must be obeyed. And then, along with this authority not to be gainsaid, he believes in a capacity not to be doubted. Whatever the governing body decides to do can be done, is the postulate which lies hidden in the schemes of the most revolutionary reformers. Analyze the programmes of the Communalists, observe what is hoped for by the adherents of the Social and Democratic Republic, or study the ideas of legislative action which our own Trades-Unionists entertain, and you find the implied belief to be that a Government, organized after an approved pattern, will be able to remedy all the evils complained of, and to secure each proposed benefit.

Thus, the emotion excited by embodied power is one which sways, and indeed mainly determines, the beliefs, not only of those classed as the most subordinate, but even those classed as the most insubordinate. It has a deeper origin than any political creed, and more or less distorts the conceptions of all parties respecting governmental action.

This sentiment of loyalty, making it almost impossible to study the natures and actions of governing agencies with perfect calmness, greatly hinders sociological science, and must long continue to hinder it. For the sentiment is all-essential. Throughout the past, societies have been mainly held together by it. It is still an indispensable aid to social cohesion and the maintenance of order. And it will be long before social discipline has so far modified human character that reverence for law, as rooted in the moral order of things, will serve in place of reverence for the power which enforces law.

Accounts of existing uncivilized races, as well as histories of the civilized races, show us a posteriori what we might infer with certainty a priori, that, in proportion as the members of a society are aggressive in their natures, they can be held together only by a proportionately strong feeling of unreasoning reverence for a leader or a ruler. Some of the lowest types of men, who show but little of this feeling, show scarcely any social cohesion, and make no progress—instance the Australians. Where appreciable social development has taken place, we find subordination to chiefs; and, as the society enlarges, to a king. If we need an illustration that, where there is great savageness, social union can be maintained only by great loyalty, we have it among those ferocious cannibals the Fijians. Here, where the barbarism is so extreme that a late king registered by a row of many hundred stones the number of human victims he had devoured, the loyalty is so extreme that a man stands unbound to be knocked on the head if the king wills it: himself saying that the king's will must be done. And if, with this case in mind, we glance back over the past, and note the fealty that went along with brutality in feudal