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FELLOW OF ALL SOULS COLLEGE, OXFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS WAREHOUSE,
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IT has been truly said that if men would only define the terms which they use in argument, most controversies would end before they begin.
In the following pages I have attempted to define the terms which are commonly used in political argument. These terms are derived from history, from morals, from economic science, and from law. Some elementary knowledge of these sciences is necessary to the practical politician, just as an elementary knowledge of physical science is necessary to the mariner.
This book is not meant to be a compendium of information-nor is it meant to be a summary of orthodox political doctrine. My object is not to satisfy but to stimulate inquiry; not to form my reader's opinions, but to induce him to form opinions of his own.
THE ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.
THE first question we have to ask about society is the question how it was originally formed. Why do men live together in communities, and when did they first begin to do so?
Man is a very gregarious animal. He is easily affected by sympathy and the desire for sympathy. He prefers company to solitude. He admires and imitates others, and he likes to be admired and imitated.
Even if these social impulses were weaker than they are, man would be compelled by necessity to live a social life. No creature is more helpless, or less able to make a living, than a solitary man.
Seeing that society exists by nature and necessity, we are prepared to find that it has existed since men made their first appearance on this planet. Such is, in fact, the testimony of history. Here and there an individual or a family has subsisted apart from the rest of the human race. But the general rule is that men live, and always have lived, in social groups.
Theory of a Social Contract.
The foregoing account of society is directly at variance with a theory which has played a considerable part in European and American politics. In