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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

INFLUENCE  OF PHYSICAL AND  SOCIAL CAUSES.     533
no distinct separating lines between classes, fashions, manners
' and usages travel about with the utmost ease through all the
portions of society. A peasant in Normandy retains the
costume of two centuries ago, perhaps, while the newest
fashions from Paris for female dress reach the chamber-maids
in San Francisco in a few weeks. In more important depart-
ments of life, public opinion is almost tyrannical in democra-
cies. New usages, new habits are adopted, not on conviction,
but because others have received them. It is true that par-
ties, sects, sections, have their own especial opinions which
are not shared in by others; but within the enclosures the
opinion is often tyrannical. This is one of the great defects
in democracies, that men are so accustomed to move in
masses, that the control of parties over their members is more
intense than elsewhere ; but with the spread of high and true
refinement this evil may be somewhat abated.
6. There is in polities, according to the width of their liberty,
an increasing degree of kindness between the classes and
members of a community. Pride produces isolation ; a con-
sciousness of belonging to another class separates men ; and
these feelings will prevent kindly intercourse, unless the in-
terval is so great (as between a freeman and a slave, for in-
stance), that men will understand their positions and take
their differences as a matter of course. Where there are
ranks of freemen having a feeling of political equality, men
are most jealous and most kept apart. The spirit of a democ-
racy is such as to reduce differences of claims to their lowest
point, and thus to allow the spread of some sort of fellowship
through the whole of society. I grant that competition being
strongest in .a democracy will make men feel that others are
in their way, and also that a feeling of equality makes some
men ready to invade the individual feelings of others; but
after all, the obstacles in the way of kindness seem to be less
than can be found in other polities. It can be quite consis-
tent with this that persons who are not secure of their .posi-
tion, who have perhaps raised themselves from a condition
of which they are ashamed, should keep aloof from their