Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/729

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709
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

a higher life, seemed from a national point of view entirely evil. Admitting the truth so easily perceived in these cases, we must admit that only in proportion as we emancipate ourselves from the bias of patriotism, and consider our own society as one among many, having their histories and their futures, and some of them, perhaps, having better claims than we have to the inheritance of the earth—only in proportion as we do this, shall we recognize those sociological truths which have nothing to do with particular nations or particular races.

So to emancipate ourselves is extremely difficult. It is with patriotism as we lately saw it to be with the sentiment that causes political subordination: the very existence of a society implies predominance of it. The two sentiments join in producing that social cohesion without which there cannot be coöperation and organization. A nationality is made possible only by the feeling which the units have for the whole they form. Indeed, we may say that the feeling has been gradually increased by the continual destroying of types of men whose attachments to their societies were relatively small; and who were, therefore, incapable of making adequate sacrifices on behalf of their societies. Here, again, we are reminded that the citizen, by his incorporation in a body politic, is in a great degree coerced into such sentiments and beliefs as further its preservation: unless this is the average result, the body politic will not be preserved. Hence another obstacle in the way of Social Science. We have to allow for the aberrations of judgment caused by the sentiment of patriotism.

Patriotism is nationally that which egoism is individually—has, in fact, the same root; and along with kindred benefits brings kindred evils. Estimation of one's society is a reflex of self-estimation; and assertion of one's society's claims is an indirect assertion of one's own claims as a part of it. The pride a citizen feels in a national achievement, is the pride belonging to a nation capable of that achievement: the belonging to such a nation having the tacit implication that in in himself there exists the superiority of nature displayed. And the anger aroused in him by an aggression on his nation is an anger against something which threatens to injure him by injuring his nation.

As, lately, we saw that a duly-adjusted egoism is essential; so now, we may see that a duly-adjusted patriotism is essential. Self-regard in excess produces two classes of evils: by prompting undue assertion of personal claims it breeds aggression and antagonism; and by creating undue estimation of personal powers it excites futile efforts that end in catastrophes. Deficient self-regard produces two opposite classes of evils: by not asserting personal claims, it invites aggression, so fostering selfishness in others; and by not adequately valuing personal powers it causes a falling short of attainable benefits. Similarly with patriotism. From too much, there result national aggressiveness and