Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/575

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régime things will not always be done rightly, but neither would they always be done rightly under any system of tyranny, socialistic or other, that could be invented. Laissez-faire was probably never carried further in the history of the world than in the early history of the several colonial communities which afterward combined to form these United States; and the principles of paternalism and protection in government were probably never carried further than in the management during the same period of the French colonies to the north and east of us. And what was the result in either case? The neglected colonies of England, with their very loose system of local government, grew strong and vigorous and wealthy, while the overprotected colonies of France seemed smitten with industrial and commercial paralysis. In war the latter were for the most part efficient and formidable, because then they acted in complete submission to leaders accustomed to command; but in peace they languished and withered. The English colonies, the New England ones in particular, might be compared to vigorous youngsters full of animal spirits, and meeting with many a disaster through their recklessness and impatience of control. The French ones, on the other hand, resembled puny and exacting nurslings always crying out for maternal help and succor. Laissez-faire has its drawbacks, but it means, on the whole, wealth, vigor, resource, and capacity for recuperation. It does not mean dynamite; the latter, as Mr. Auberon Herbert has well shown, being the natural concomitant of over-government.


Social Evolution, By Benjamin Kidd. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 348. Price, $2.50.

This is a work marked to a more than usual extent by independence and originality of thought, and one which will set a great many persons thinking on new lines. After a careful perusal of it, however, we are led to doubt whether the author's own conclusions are very well matured. He has caught sight, as he believes, of some important principles hitherto unrecognized, or but imperfectly recognized, in the field of social philosophy, and with the eagerness natural to a discoverer he has communicated them to the world without waiting to determine their exact scope and application. The result is more or less of incoherence and not a little of apparent self-contradiction in what nevertheless is from first to last an interesting and impressive dissertation upon a most important subject.

Mr. Kidd's first chapter deals with The Outlook. He believes the world to be on the eve of great changes. "Social forces,", he says, "new, strange, and altogether immeasurable, have been released among us. . . . The old bonds of society have been loosened; old forces are becoming extinct. . . . The air is full of new battle cries, of the sound of the gathering and marshaling of new forces and the reorganization of old ones." What is the meaning of it all? Science herself, Mr. Kidd tells us, "has obviously no clear perception of the nature of the social evolution we are undergoing." Well, then, who has? If Mr. Kidd, who claims above all things to be pursuing rigorously scientific methods, why should he deny science any share in his work? It seems to us that if Mr. Kidd, as a scientific man, can forecast the future of society, it would be only using words in their usual acceptation to say that "science" has, in a certain measure, solved the problem. Of course, if Mr. Kidd claimed to have a revelation from heaven, that would be a different thing; he claims, on the contrary, to be an out-and-out evolutionist, a Darwinian of the Darwinians, and a Weismannian to boot. He tells us a little further on that "the definition of the laws which have shaped, and are still shaping, the course of progress in human society is the work of Science, no less than it has been her work to discover the laws which have controlled the course of evolution throughout life in all the lower stages." So we have always thought; and we have felt sure that Science, as soon as she gathered and sifted a sufficiency of facts, would dem-