Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

588                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.

tration. They do not spread over a whole country, but are
confined to cities, and to a few fervid minds in cities, which
claim the right of changing the political institutions by force,
whether they be few or many ; for it is the doctrine of some
political fanatics, that a revolution needs, in order to be
legitimate, the concurrence neither of the majority, nor even
of the thinking part of a nation ; but, as the theory is right
and they arc willing to take their lives into their hands in
supporting the outbreak, it seems to have a sufficient sanction
from its own nature and their disinterestedness.

Thus, there has been in a number of modern revolutions a
want of practical wisdom which is truly astonishing, an in-
capacity to build up, a fanaticism more fierce than ordinary
religious fanaticism. The hot-heads miscalculate success,
and are regardless of the opinion of the nation. If they can
conquer, the state is theirs. If, meanwhile, the mass of the
industrial classes is passive and motionless, absorbed in daily
toils, with no public thoughts, it may be easy to alter a con-
stitution. But it will be easy also to undo what such a revo-
lution has wrought, and difficult to build up again what it has
undone, to restore public confidence in the stability of the
state. There is great truth in Pindar's words (Pyth., iv.,
272-274), that " it is easy even for a weaker sort of men to
shake a state ; but to seat it in its place again proves to be
difficult enough, unless a God, of a sudden, becomes a pilot to
its leaders/' If only a chronic tendency towards revolution
and a chronic fear of it are left, the result is bad enough, and
does not help on true freedom. The revolution of 1848 in
France was due to the communists mainly, and the fears of
the middle class were a great support to Louis Napoleon :
when thus a revolution belongs to a sect or junto, there is
every probability that it will be transitory,

Most modern revolutions have differed from similar events
Ancient and mod- in the ancient city-states in the greater preva-

crn revolutions com-   .                                                            .                               ,

leiice of a moral conviction that the cause was

right, of a political faith founded on ethical principles, and
not only not inconsistent with religion, but defended on reli-