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anduly exalted conception of State-authority (which is natural and in large measure necessary) fosters a multiplicity of unjust State-actions; there remains, from an ethical point of view, no more to be said. But it will be desirable here to devote some space to the proofs that these actions which are unjust in theory are also impolitic in practice.

The subject is a vast one, and cannot of course be fully dealt with in the space available. It will not be practicable to do more than present in outline the various divisions of the argument, with such few illustrations as are needful to indicate their bearings.

We will first deal with the State considered generally as an instrumentality, in contrast with other instrumentalities. We will examine next the assumption that it has a nature fitting it to remedy other evils than those entailed by aggression, external or internal. We will then consider the validity of the reasons for ascribing to it the duty and the power of achieving positive benefits. And we will end by inquiring whether the ultimate purpose—a higher development of human nature-is likely to be aided or hindered by its extended activities.

NOTE. Respecting the conclusions set forth in the following three chapters, it seems proper to say that their validity must not be measured solely by the evidence given, and the arguments used, in support of them. For the full vindication of these conclusions, and for the multitudinous facts which justify them, the reader is referred to various essays from time to time published, and now re-published in the library edition of my Essays. The titles of them are :-“ Over-Legislation;" Representative Government - What is it Good for ?” “State-Tamperings with Money

and Banks ;

« The Collective Wisdom; - Political Fetishism ;” and “Specialized Administration.” ” To these may be added sundry chapters forming the latter part of Social Statics, at present withdrawn from circulation, but selected portions of which I hope presently to re-publish.



§ 123. We saw (in Chap. XXIII.) that at a later stage of evolution a society may acquire a nature fundamentally unlike the nature it had at an earler stage; and we drew the corollary that a theory of State-duties appropriate when it had one nature must be inappropriate when it has the other nature. Here we have to draw a further corollary. The implied change of nature absolves the State from various functions for which it was at first the best agent; and generates for these functions other and better agents.

While war was the business of life, while militant organization was imperative, and while coercive rule was needful for disciplining improvident men and curbing their anti-social natures, agencies of a non-governmental kind could not develop. Citizens had neither the means, nor the experience, nor the characters, nor the ideas, needed for privately co-operating in extensive ways. Hence all large purposes devolved on the State. If roads had to be made, if canals had to be cut, if aqueducts had to be built, the only instrumentality was governmental power exercised over slaves.

But with decline of militancy and rise of industrialism -the decay of the system of status and growth of the system of contract—there have gradually become possible, and have gradually arisen, multitudinous voluntary associations among citizens for discharging numerous kinds of functions. This result has been consequent on modifications of habits, dispositions, and modes of thought, which have been, generation after generation, produced by the daily exchange of services under agreement, in place of the daily enforcing of services. One result is that there can now bo achieved without governmental power, various ends which in early days governmental power alone could achieve.

In discussing the sphere of State-action we must take into account this profoundly significant fact. More than this: we must take into account a manifest inference. The changes above indicated are far from being ended; and we are justified in concluding that with further progress of them there may rightly go further relinquishment of functions which the State once discharged.

§ 124. That such relinquishment of functions by the State, and assumption of them by other agencies, constitutes a progress, should be manifest to all who know anything about the laws of organization; though, unhappily, this truth seems no more appreciated by them than by those who began their school-days with making nonsense-verses and pass their mature years in pushing forward ad captandum legislation. For concerning individual organisms and social organisms, nothing is more certain than that advance from lower to higher, is marked by increasing heterogeneity of structures and increasing subdivision of functions. In both cases there is mutual dependence of parts, which becomes greater as the type becomes higher; and while this implies a progressing limitation of one function to one part, it implies also a progressing fitness of such part for such function.

When, some fifty years ago, Milne Edwards gave to this principle of development in animals the name “physiological division of labour,” he recognized the parallelism between vital economy and social economy; and this parallelism has been since growing ever clearer. But though among the cultured few, there is now some vague recognition of it; and though more especially the increasing division of labour which the industrial part of the social organism displays, has been made familiar by political economists, and the advantages of it duly insisted upon; there is little or no perception of the truth that the principle holds also within the controlling part, and throughout its relations to the other parts. Even without the facts which illustrate it, we might be certain that specialization, with consequent limitation, normally takes place in the regulative structures of a society as in all its other structures; that advantage is achieved by such specialization and limitation; and that any reverse change constitutes a retrogression.

The implication is therefore the same as before. Allembracing State-functions characterize a low social type ; and progress to a higher social type is marked by relinquishments of functions.

$ 125. Most readers will feel little faith in these general conclusions. It will be needful to enforce them by argu

. ments more readily appreciated.

In $ 5 I named the fact that the welfare of any living body depends on the due proportioning of its several parts to their several duties; and that the needful balance of power among the parts is effected by a constant competition for nutriment, and the flowing to each of a quantity corresponding to its work. That competition throughout the industrial parts of a society achieves a kindred balance in a kindred way, needs no proof; and that social needs at large are best subserved by carrying out, wherever possible, this relation between effort and benefit, is manifest.

Now in all those non-governmental co-operations constituting the greater part of modern social life, this balancing is spontaneously effected. I need not dwell on the principle of supply and demand as displayed throughout our industrial organization; and I need not do more than hint that this


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