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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

524                              POLITICAL  SCIENCE.
is of course less powerful. Public opinion can only pronounce
a hesitating judgment. Sometimes the opinion of the public
may contradict itself; more frequently it docs not, and lets
things pass." . . . " In aristocratic countries the same notions
of honor are always entertained by only a few persons.
They apply its rules therefore with all the warmth of personal
interest, and they feel (if I may use the expression) a passion
for complying with its dictates.1'
I have here nothing to do with the United States in par-
ticular, except as an example ; and will only say on that
point that the delicate attention to the female sex, the outward
expressions of respect which individuals show to one another,
the tender humanity which marks the most cultivated parts
of the land, show at least a susceptibility to honor and other
refined sentiments. As for the rest if, as De Tocqueville says,
the same notions of honor are entertained by only a few per-
sons, of what great use are they in a nation whose character
and general life they are thus unable to pervade. And if, as
happened both in France and in England, under Louis XIV.
and his successor, and under Charles II., the highest class
was the basest, what stability or self-recovering power is
there in a sentiment or a standard of character which has
gone out of fashion. The better opinion, as it seems to me,
is that the true sense of honor rests on immutable moral sen-
timents, that it decays with public morality in an ill-governed
community, that it revives with an elevated philosophy and
with a return to the standard of a high Christian life, and
that then it acts on life through literature and example as
the baser notions of honor had acted through a base literature
and with a low moral standard before. A democratic country
must be confessed to be less favorable to the sentiment of
loyalty, perhaps to courage, and certainly to reverence, than
an aristocratic one ; but it has this advantage that whatever
is there received as true and manly, the impression spreads
fast and wide, just as the fashions do ; that there are no tor-
pid Boeotian classes from which influences bound back, and
that while the causes that act on life and sentiment do begin