Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/197

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185
ON JUSTICE.

it long continues restless. Generalizing these instances we see that in proportion as the restraints on actions by which life is maintained are extreme, the resistances to them are great. Conversely, the eagerness with which a bird seizes the opportunity for taking flight, and the joy of a dog when liberated, show how strong is the love of unfettered movement.

Displaying like feelings in like ways, man displays them in other and wider ways. He is irritated by invisible restraints as well as by visible ones; and as his evolution becomes higher, he is affected by circumstances and actions which in more remote ways aid or hinder the pursuit of ends. A parallel will elucidate this truth. Primitively the sentiment of property is gratified only by possession of food and shelter, and, presently, of clothing; but afterward it is gratified by possession of the weapons and tools which aid in obtaining these, then by possession of the raw materials serving for making weapons and tools and for other purposes, then by possession of the coin which purchases them as well as things at large, then by possession of promises to pay exchangeable for the coin, then by a lien on a banker, registered in a pass-book. That is, there comes to be pleasure in an ownership more and more abstract and remote from material satisfactions. Similarly with the sentiment of justice. Beginning with the joy felt in ability to use the bodily powers and gain the resulting benefits, accompanied by irritation at direct interferences, this gradually responds to wider relations: being excited now by the incidents of personal bondage, now by those of political bondage, now by those of class privilege, and now by small political changes. Eventually, this sentiment, sometimes so little developed in the negro that he jeers at a liberated companion because he has no master to take care of him, becomes so much developed in the Englishman that the slightest infraction of some mode of formal procedure at a public meeting or in Parliament which can not intrinsically concern him, is vehemently opposed because in some distant and indirect way it may help to give possible powers to unnamed authorities who may perhaps impose unforeseen burdens or restrictions.

Clearly, then, the egoistic sentiment of justice is a subjective attribute which answers to that objective requirement constituting justice—the requirement that each adult shall receive the good and evil effects of his own nature. For unless the faculties of all kinds have free play, these results can not be gained or suffered, and unless there exists a sentiment which prompts maintenance of the sphere for this free play, it will be trenched upon and the free play impeded.

While we may thus understand how the egoistic sentiment of justice is developed, it is much less easy to understand how there