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Full text of "Philosophy and the social problem"



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PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL 
PROBLEM 



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THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

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PHILOSOPHY 

AND 

THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 



BY 

WILL DURANT, Ph.D. 

INSTEUCTOB IN PHILOSOPHY, EXTENSION TEACHING 
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 



TOV /XfV /3lOV 

7/ <f>vcri<i Z8wk€, To 8c KaXws £rjv r) ri^yrj. 

— Unknown Dramatic Post. 




THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1917 

All rights reserved 



QO-SS 



LIBRARY 
SCRIPTS, | STLIUTIOfi 

OF OC> O'oKAf HY 

UMVE»SI ry OF CALIFORNIA 

LA JOLLA. CALIFORNIA 



Copyright, 1917, 
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Sot up and electrotyped. Published September, 1917. 

1 



NottoooB $reas 

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Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



TO 

ALDEN FREEMAN 






CONTENTS 



Intboduction 



PAGE 

1 



Part I 

HISTORICAL APPROACH 

CHAPTER I 

THE PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF 
THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 



I. 


History as rebarbarization 






5 


II. 


Philosophy as disintegrator 






6 


III. 


Individualism in Athens . 






7 


IV. 


The Sophists .... 






9 


V. 


Intelligence as virtue 






12 


VI. 


The meaning of virtue 






15 


VII. 


"Instinct" and "reason" 






23 


VIII. 


The secularization of morals 






27 


IX. 


"Happiness" and "virtue" 






31 


X. 


The Socratic challenge 






33 




CHAPTER II 


PLATO: PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 


I. 


The man and the artist .... 36 


II. 


How to solve the social problem 




40 


III. 


On making philosopher-kings . 




. 44 


IV. 


Dishonest democracy 






. 52 


V. 


Culture and slavery 






. 55 


VI. 


Plasticity and order 






60 


VII. 


The meaning of justice 






, 62 


VIII. 


The future of Plato 






. 64 



vu 



Vlll 


CONTENTS 










CHAPTER III 


FRANCIS BACON AND THE SOCIAL 




POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 




PAGE 


I. 


From Plato to Bacon .... 67 


II. 


Character ..... 




69 


III. 


The expurgation of the intellect 




70 


IV. 


Knowledge is power 




74 


V. 


The socialization of science 




76 


VI. 


Science and Utopia 




79 


VII. 


Scholasticism in science . 




81 


VIII. 


The Asiatics of Europe . 




85 




CHAPTER IV 


SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 


I. 


Hobbes 90 


II. 


The spirit of Spinoza 






91 


- III. 


Political ethics 






93 


- IV. 


Is man a political animal? 






, 95 


V. 


What the social problem is 






98 


VI. 


Free speech 






. 101 


VII. 


Virtue as power 






. 105 


VIII. 


Freedom and order 






. 108 


IX. 


Democracy and intelligence 






. 112 


X. 


The legacy of Spinoza 






115 




CHAPTER V 




NIETZSCHE 


I. 


From Spinoza to Nietzsche . . .117 


II. 


Biographical 






. 120 


III. 


Exposition 

1. Morality as impotence 

2. Democracy 






126 
. 126 
. 128 





CONTENTS 




IX 

PAGE 




3. Feminism 


• 


131 




4. Socialism and anarchism 


. , 


133 




5. Degeneration 


. , 


138 




6. Nihilism 


. , 


141 




7. The will to power 


. i 


143 




8. The superman 


. 


150 




9. How to make supermen 


. . 


155 




10. On the necessity of exploitation 


159 




11. Aristocracy 


. 


162 




12. Signs of ascent 


. 


165 


IV. 


Criticism .... 


. 


172 


V. 


Nietzsche replies 


. . 


177 


VI. 


Conclusion .... 

Part II 

SUGGESTIONS 

CHAPTER I 
SOLUTIONS AND DISSOL1 


. 4 

JTIONS 


178 


I. 


The problem 




, 185 


II. 


"Solutions" . 




. 190 




1. Feminism 




. 190 




2. Socialism 




. 194 




3. Eugenics 




. 198 




4. Anarchism 




. 200 




5. Individualism 




. 202 




6. Individualism again 




. 202 


III. 


Dissolutions 

CHAPTER II 




. 205 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 
OF PHILOSOPHY 

I. Epistemologs 214 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 

II. Philosophy as control . . .'"' . 218 
III. Philosophy as mediator between science 

and statesmanship . . . 222 

CHAPTER III 
ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 



I. 


The need ..... 


227 


II. 


The organization of intelligence 


230 


III. 


Information as panacea .... 


234 


IV. 


Sex, art, and play in social reconstruction 


240 


V. 


Education 

CHAPTER IV 
THE READER SPEAKS 


246 


I. 


The democratization of aristocracy 


251 


II. 


The professor as Buridan's ass 


255 


III. 


Is information wanted ? . 


257 


IV. 


Finding Maecenas ..... 


261 


. V. 


The chance of philosophy 


264 




268 



PART I 

HISTORICAL APPROACH 



PHILOSOPHY AND THE 
SOCIAL PROBLEM 

INTRODUCTION 

The purpose of this essay is to show : first, 
that the social problem has been the basic con- 
cern of many of the greater philosophers ; second, 
that an approach to the social problem through 
philosophy is the first condition of even a moder- 
ately successful treatment of this problem ; and 
third, that an approach to philosophy through 
the social problem is indispensable to the re- 
vitalization of philosophy. 

By "philosophy" we shall understand a study 
of experience as a whole, or of a portion of ex- 
perience in relation to the whole. 

By the "social problem" we shall understand, 
simply and very broadly, the problem of reducing 
human misery by modifying social institutions. 
It is a problem that, ever reshaping itself, eludes 
sharper definition ; for misery is related to desire, 
and desire is personal and in perpetual flux : 
each of us sees the problem unsteadily in terms 
of his own changing aspirations. It is an un- 

B 1 



2 INTRODUCTION 

comfortably complicated problem, of course ; and 
we must bear in mind that the limit of our in- 
tention here is to consider philosophy as an 
approach to the problem, and the problem itself 
as an approach to philosophy. We are propos- 
ing no solutions. 

Let us, as a wholesome measure of orientation, 
touch some of the mountain-peaks in philosophical 
history, with an eye for the social interest that 
lurks in every metaphysical maze. "Aristotle," 
says Professor Woodbridge, "set treatise-writers 
the fashion of beginning each treatise by review- 
ing previous opinions on their subject, and prov- 
ing them all wrong." 1 The purpose of the next 
five chapters will be rather the opposite : we 
shall see if some supposedly dead philosophies do 
not admit of considerable resuscitation. Instead 
of trying to show that Socrates, Plato, Bacon, 
Spinoza, and Nietzsche were quite mistaken in 
their views on the social problem, we shall try 
to see what there is in these views that can help 
us to understand our own situation to-day. We 
shall not make a collection of systems of social 
philosophy ; we shall not lose ourselves in the 
past in a scholarly effort to relate each philosophy 
to its social and political environment ; we shall 
try to relate these philosophies rather to our 
own environment, to look at our own problems 

1 Class-lectures. As Bacon has it, Aristotle, after the Otto- 
man manner, did not believe that he could rule securely unless 
he first put all his brothers to death. 



INTRODUCTION 3 

successively through the eyes of these philosophers. 
Other interpretations of these men we shall not 
so much contradict as seek to supplement. 

Each of our historical chapters, then, will be 
not so much a review as a preface and a progres- 
sion. The aim will be neither history nor criti- 
cism, but a kind of construction by proxy. It is a 
method that has its defects : it will, for example, 
sacrifice thoroughness of scholarship to present 
applicability, and will necessitate some repetitious 
gathering of the threads when we come later to 
our more personal purpose. But as part requital 
for this, we shall save ourselves from considering 
the past except as it is really present, except as 
it is alive and nourishingly significant to-day. 
And from each study we shall perhaps make 
some advance towards our final endeavor, — the 
mutual elucidation of the social problem and 
philosophy. 



CHAPTER I 

THE PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC 

ETHIC 

I 

History as Rebarbarization 

History is a process of rebarbarization. A 
people made vigorous by arduous physical condi- 
tions of life, and driven' by the increasing exigen- 
cies of survival, leaves its native habitat, moves 
down upon a less vigorous people, conquers, 
displaces, or absorbs it. Habits of resolution 
and activity developed in a less merciful environ- 
ment now rapidly produce an economic surplus; 
and part of the resources so accumulated serve 
as capital in a campaign of imperialist conquest. 
The growing surplus generates a leisure class, 
scornful of physical activity and adept in the 
arts of luxury. Leisure begets speculation; 
speculation dissolves dogma and corrodes cus- 
tom, develops sensitivity of perception and 
destroys decision of action. Thought, adven- 
turing in a labyrinth of analysis, discovers behind 
society the individual; divested of its normal 
social function it turns inward and discovers the 

5 



6 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

self. The sense of common interest, of common- 
wealth, wanes; there are no citizens now, there 
are only individuals. 

From afar another people, struggling against the 
forces of an obdurate environment, sees here the 
cleared forests, the liberating roads, the harvest of 
plenty, the luxury of leisure. It dreams, aspires, 
dares, unites, invades. The rest is as before. 

Rebarbarization is rejuvenation. The great 
problem of any civilization is how to rejuvenate 
itself without rebarbarization. 

II 

Philosophy as Disintegrator 

The rise of philosophy, then, often heralds 
the decay of a civilization. Speculation begins 
with nature and begets naturalism ; it passes 
to man — first as a psychological mystery and 
then as a member of society — and begets indi- 
vidualism. Philosophers do not always desire 
these results ; but they achieve them. They 
feel themselves the unwilling enemies of the state : 
they think of men in terms of personality while 
the state thinks of men in terms of social mechan- 
ism. Some philosophers would gladly hold their 
peace, but there is that in them which will out; 
and when philosophers speak, gods and dynasties 
fall. Most states have had their roots in heaven, 
and have paid the penalty for it : the twilight 
of the gods is the afternoon of states. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 7 

Every civilization comes at last to the point 
where the individual, made by speculation con- 
scious of himself as an end per se, demands of 
the state, as the price of its continuance, that 
it shall henceforth enhance rather than exploit 
his capacities. Philosophers sympathize with 
this demand, the state almost always rejects 
it : therefore civilizations come and civilizations 
go. The history of philosophy is essentially 
an account of the efforts great men have made 
to avert social disintegration by building up 
natural moral sanctions to take the place of the 
supernatural sanctions which they themselves 
have destroyed. To find — without resorting 
to celestial machinery — some way of winning 
for their people social coherence and permanence 
without sacrificing plasticity and individual 
uniqueness to regimentation, — that has been 
the task of philosophers, that is the task of 
philosophers. 

We should be thankful that it is. Who knows 
but that within our own time may come at last 
the forging of an effective natural ethic ? — an 
achievement which might be the most momentous 
event in the history of our world. 

Ill 

Individualism in Athens 

The great ages in the history of European 
thought have been for the most part periods of 



8 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PKOBLEM 

individualistic effervescence : the age of Socrates, 
the age of Caesar and Augustus, the Renais- 
sance, the Enlightenment ; — and shall we add 
the age which is now coming to a close? These 
ages have usually been preceded by periods of 
imperialist expansion : imperialism requires a 
tightening of the bonds whereby individual 
allegiance to the state is made secure ; and this 
tightening, given a satiety of imperialism, in- 
volves an individualistic reaction. And again, 
the dissolution of the political or economic fron- 
tier by conquest or commerce breaks down cul- 
tural barriers between peoples, develops a sense 
of the relativity of customs, and issues in the 
opposition: of individual "reason" to social 
tradition. 

A political treatise attributed to the fourth 
century b.c. reflects the attitude that had de- 
veloped in Athens in the later fifth century. "If 
all men were to gather in a heap the customs 
which they hold to be good and noble, and if 
they were next to select from it the customs 
which they hold to be base and vile, nothing 
would be left over." 1 Once such a view has 
found capable defenders, the custom-basis of 
social organization begins to give way, and insti- 
tutions venerable with age are ruthlessly sub- 
poenaed to appear before the bar of reason. Men 
begin to contrast "Nature" with custom, some- 

1 The Dialexeis; cf. Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, New York, 
1901. vol. i, p. 404. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 9 

what to the disadvantage of the latter. Even 
the most basic of Greek institutions is questioned : 
"The Deity," says a fourth-century Athenian 
Rousseau, "made all men free; Nature has 
enslaved no man." l Botsford speaks of "the 
powerful influence of fourth-century socialism 
on the intellectual class." 2 Euripides and Aris- 
tophanes are full of talk about a movement for 
the emancipation of women. 3 Law and govern- 
ment are examined : Anarcharsis' comparison of 
the law to a spider's web, which catches small flies 
and lets the big ones escape, now finds sympathetic 
comprehension ; and men arise, like Callicles and 
Thrasymachus, who frankly consider government 
as a convenient instrument of mass-exploitation. 

IV 

The Sophists 

The cultural representatives of this individual- 
istic development were the Sophists. These men 
were university professors without a university 
and without the professorial title. They ap- 
peared in response to a demand for higher instruc- 
tion on the part of the young men of the leisure 
class ; and within a generation they became the 
most powerful intellectual force in Greece. There 
had been philosophers, questioners, before them; 

1 Gomperz, vol. i, p. 403. 

2 Botsford and Sihler, Hellenic Civilization, New York, 
1915, p. 430. 3 Ibid., p. 340, etc. 



10 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

but these early philosophers had questioned na- 
ture rather than man or the state. The Sophists 
were the first group of men in Greece to overcome 
the natural tendency to acquiesce in the given 
order of things. They were proud men, — hu- 
mility is a vice that never found root in Greece, — 
and they had a buoyant confidence in the newly 
discovered power of human intelligence. They 
assumed, in harmony with the spirit of all Greek 
achievement, that in the development and exten- 
sion of knowledge lay the road to a sane and sig- 
nificant life, individual and communal ; and in the 
quest for knowledge they were resolved to scruti- 
nize una wed all institutions, prejudices, customs, 
morals. Protagoras professed to respect conven- 
tions, 1 and pronounced conventions and in- 
stitutions the source of man's superiority to the 
beast; but his famous principle, that "man is 
the measure of all things," was a quiet hint that 
morals are a matter of taste, that we call a man 
"good" when his conduct is advantageous to us, 
and "bad" when his conduct threatens to make 
for our own loss. To the Sophists virtue consisted, 
not in obedience to un judged rules and customs, 
but in the efficient performance of whatever one 
set out to do. They would have condemned the 
bungler and let the "sinner" go. That they were 
flippant sceptics, putting no distinction of worth 

1 And sincerely, says Burnet, because he had gone through 
radicalism to scepticism, and felt that one convention was as 
good as another. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 11 

between any belief and its opposite, and willing 
to prove anything for a price, is an old accusation 
which later students of Greek philosophy are al- 
most unanimous in rejecting. 1 

The great discovery of the Sophists was the 
individual; it was an achievement for which 
Plato and his oligarchical friends could not for- 
give them, and because of which they incurred the 
contumely which it is now so hard to dissociate 
from their name. The purpose of laws, said the 
Sophists, was to widen the possibilities of individ- 
ual development ; if laws did not do that, they 
had better be forgotten. There was a higher law 
than the laws of men, — a natural law, engraved 
in every heart, and judge of every other law. 
The conscience of the individual was above the 
dictates of any state. All radicalisms lay com- 
pact in that pronouncement. Plato, prolific of 
innovations though he was, yet shrank from such 
a leap into the new. But the Sophists pressed 
their point, men listened to them, and the 
Greek world changed. When Socrates ap- 
peared, he found that world all out of joint, 
a war of all against all, a stridency of un- 
coordinated personalities rushing into chaos. 
And when he was asked, What should men 
do to be saved, he answered, simply, Let us 
think. 

1 Cf. Henry Jackson, article "Sophists," Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, eleventh edition. 



12 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 



Intelligence as Virtue 

Intelligence as virtue : it was not a new doc- 
trine ; it was merely a new emphasis placed on 
an already important element in the Greek — 
or rather the Athenian — view of life. But it 
was a needed emphasis. The Sophists (not 
Socrates, pace Cicero) had brought philosophy 
down from heaven to earth, but they had left it 
grovelling at the feet of business efficiency and suc- 
cess, a sort of ancilla pecunice, a broker knowing 
where one's soul could be invested at ten per cent. 
Socrates agreed with the Sophists in condemning 
any but a very temporary devotion to metaphysi- 
cal abstractions, — the one and the many, motion 
and rest, the indivisibility of space, the puzzles 
of predication, and so forth ; he joined them in ridi- 
culing the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, 
and in demanding that all thinking should be fo- 
cussed finally on the real concerns of life ; but his 
spirit was as different from theirs as the spirit 
of Spinoza was different from that of a mediaeval 
money-lender. With the Sophists philosophy was 
a profession; they were "lovers of wisdom" — 
for a consideration. With Socrates philosophy 
was a quest of the permanently good, of the last- 
ingly satisfying attitude to life. To find out just 
what are justice, temperance, courage, piety, — 
"that is an inquiry which I shall never be weary 
of pursuing so far as in me lies." It was not an 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 13 

easy quest ; and the results were not startlingly 
definite: "I wander to and fro when I attempt 
these problems, and do not remain consistent with 
myself." His interlocutors went from him ap- 
parently empty; but he had left in them seed 
which developed in the after-calm of thought. 
He could clarify men's notions, he could reveal to 
them their assumptions and prejudices; but he 
could not and would not manufacture opinions 
for them. He left no written philosophy because 
he had only the most general advice to give, and 
knew that no other advice is ever taken. He 
trusted his friends to pass on the good word. 

Now what was the good word? It was, first 
of all, the identity of virtue and wisdom, morals 
and intelligence ; but more than that, it was the 
basic identity, in the light of intelligence, of 
communal and individual interests. Here at the 
Sophist's feet lay the debris of the old morality. 
What was to replace it ? The young Athenians of 
a generation denuded of supernatural belief would 
not listen to counsels of "virtue," of self-sacrifice 
to the community. What was to be done? 
Should social and political pressure be brought 
to bear upon the Sophists to compel them to 
modify the individualistic tenor of their teach- 
ings? Analysis destroys morals. What is the 
moral — destroy analysis ? 

The moral, answered Socrates, is to get better 
morals, to find an ethic immune to the attack of 
the most ruthless sceptic. The Sophists were 



14 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

right, said Socrates; morality means more than 
social obedience. But the Sophists were wrong 
in opposing the good of the individual to that of 
the community ; Socrates proposed to prove that 
if a man were intelligent, he would see that those 
same qualities which make a man a good citizen — 
justice, wisdom, temperance, courage — are also 
the best means to individual advantage and 
development. All these "virtues" ar.e simply 
the supreme and only virtue — wisdom — dif- 
ferentiated by the context of circumstance. No 
action is virtuous unless it is an intelligent adapta- 
tion of means to a criticised end. "Sin" is fail- 
ure to use energy to the best account ; it is an 
unintelligent waste of strength. A man does not 
knowingly pursue anything but the Good ; let 
him but see his advantage, and he will be at- 
tracted towards it irresistibly ; let him pursue it, 
and he will be happy, and the state safe. The 
trouble is that men lack perspective, and cannot 
see their true Good; they need not "virtue" but 
intelligence, not sermons but training in perspec- 
tive. The man who has ivKparaa, who rules 
within, who is strong enough to stop and think, 
the man who has achieved voxfrpoavvq, — the self- 
knowledge that brings self-command, — such a 
man will not be deceived by the tragedy of dis- 
tance, by the apparent smallness of the future 
good alongside of the more easily appreciable good 
that lies invitingly at hand. Hence the moral 
importance of dialectic, of cross-examination, of 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 15 

concept and definition: we must learn "how to 
make our ideas clear" ; we must ask ourselves just 
what it is that we want, just how real this seeming 
good is. Dialectic is the handmaiden of virtue ; 
and all clarification is morality. 

VI 

The Meaning of Virtue 

This is frank intellectualism, of course ; and the 
best-refuted doctrine in philosophy. It is amusing 
to observe the ease with which critics and histo- 
rians despatch the Socratic ethic. It is "an ex- 
travagant paradox," says Sidgwick, 1 "incompat- 
ible with moral freedom." "Nothing is easier," 
says Gomperz, 2 " than to detect the one-sided- 
ness of this point of view." "This doctrine," 
says Grote, 3 "omits to notice, what is not less 
essential, the proper conditions of the emotions, 
desires, etc." "It tended to make all conduct a 
matter of the intellect and not of the character, 
and so in a sense to destroy moral responsibility," 
says Hobhouse. 4 "Himself blessed with a will 
so powerful that it moved almost without friction," 
says Henry Jackson, 5 "Socrates fell into the error 
of ignoring its operations, and was thus led to 

1 History of Ethics, London, 1892, p. 24. 

2 Op. cit., vol. ii, 1905, p. 67. 

* History of Greece, vol. viii, p. 134. 

* Morals in Evolution, New York, 1915, p. 556. 

6 Henry Jackson, article "Socrates," Encyclopaedia Bri- 
tannica, eleventh edition. 



16 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

regard knowledge as the sole condition of well- 
doing." "Socrates was a misunderstanding," 
says Nietzsche ; l "reason at any price, life made 
clear, cold, cautious, conscious, without instincts, 
opposed to the instincts, was in itself only a dis- 
ease, . . . and by no means a return to ' virtue, ' 
to 'health,' and to happiness." And the worn- 
out dictum about seeing the better and approving 
it, yet following the worse, is quoted as the deliv- 
erance of a profound psychologist, whose verdict 
should be accepted as a final solution of the prob- 
lem. 

Before refuting a doctrine it is useful to try to 
understand it. What could Socrates have meant 
by saying that all real virtue is intelligence? 
What is virtue ? 

A civilization may be characterized in terms of 
its conception of virtue. There is hardly any- 
thing more distinctive of the Greek attitude, as 
compared with our own, than the Greek notion of 

1 Twilight of the Idols, London, 1915, p. 15. For Nietzsche's 
answer to Nietzsche, cf. ibid., p. 57: "To accustom the eye 
to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to 
it ; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching 
and grasping an individual case from all sides, — this is the 
first preparatory schooling of intellectuality," this is one of 
"the three objects for which we need educators. . . . One 
must not respond immediately to a stimulus ; one must ac- 
quire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts. 
To learn to see, as I understand this matter, amounts almost 
to that which in popular language is called ' strength of will ' : 
its essential feature is precisely ... to be able to postpone 
one's decision. . . . All lack of intellectuality, all vulgarity, 
arises out of the inability to resist a stimulus." 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 17 

virtue as intelligence. Consider the present con- 
notations of the word virtue: men shrink at hav- 
ing the term applied to them; and "nothing 
makes one so vain," says Oscar Wilde, "as being 
told that one is a sinner." During the Middle 
Ages the official conception of virtue was couched 
in terms of womanly excellence ; and the sternly 
masculine God of the Hebrews suffered consider- 
ably from the inroads of Mariolatry. Protes- 
tantism was in part a rebellion of the ethically 
subjugated male ; in Luther the man emerges 
riotously from the monk. But as people cling to 
the ethical implications of a creed long after the 
creed itself has been abandoned, so our modern 
notion of virtue is still essentially medieval and 
feminine. Virginity, chastity, conjugal fidelity, 
gentility, obedience, loyalty, kindness, self-sacri- 
fice, are the stock-in-trade of all respectable moral- 
ists ; to be "good" is to be harmless, to be not 
"bad, " to be a sort of sterilized citizen, guaranteed 
not to injure. This sheepish innocuousness comes 
easily to the natively uninitiative, to those who are 
readily amenable to fear and prohibitions. It is 
a static virtue ; it contracts rather than expands 
the soul ; it offers no handle for development, 
no incentive to social stimulation and productiv- 
ity. It is time we stopped calling this insipidly 
negative attitude by the once mighty name of 
virtue. Virtue must be defined in terms of that 
which is vitally significant in our lives. 

And therefore, too, virtue cannot be defined in 



4 5-3P 



18 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

terms of individual subordination to the group. 
The vitally significant thing in a man's life is not 
the community, but himself. To ask him to con- 
sider the interests of the community above his 
own is again to put up for his worship an external, 
transcendent god ; and the trouble with a tran- 
scendent god is that he is sure to be dethroned. To 
call "immoral" the refusal of the individual to 
meet such demands is the depth of indecency ; it 
is itself immoral, — that is, it is nonsense. The 
notion of "duty" as involving self-sacrifice, as 
essentially duty to others, is a soul-cramping, 
funereal notion, and deserves all that Ibsen and his 
progeny have said of it. 1 Ask the individual to 
sacrifice himself to the community, and it will 
not be long before he sacrifices the community to 
himself. Granted that, in the language of Heracli- 
tus, there is always a majority of fools, and that 
self-sacrifice can be procured by the simple hyp- 
notic suggestion of post-mortem remuneration : 
sooner or later come doubt and disillusionment, 
and the society whose permanence was so easily 
secured becomes driftwood on the tides of time. 
History means that if it means anything. 

No ; the intelligent individual will give alle- 
giance to the group of which he happens to find 
himself a member, only so far as the policies of 
the group accord with his own criticised desires. 

1 "Why art thou sad? Assuredly thou hast performed 
some sacred duty?" — Bazarov in Turgenev's Fathers and 
Children, 1903, p. 185. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 19 

Whatever allegiance he offers will be to those 
forces, wherever they may be, which in his judg- 
ment move in the line of these desires. Even 
for such forces he will not sacrifice himself, — 
though there may be times when martyrdom is a 
luxury for which life itself is not too great a price. 
Since these forces have been defined in terms of 
his own judgment and desire, conflict between 
them and himself can come only when his behavior 
diverges from the purposes defined and resumed in 
times of conscious thought, — i.e., only when he 
ceases to adapt means to his ends, ceases, that is, 
to be intelligent. The prime moral conflict is 
not between the individual and his group, but be- 
tween the partial self of fragmentary impulse and 
the coordinated self of conscious purpose. There 
is a group within each man as well as without : 
a group of partial selves is the reality behind the 
figment of the unitary self. Every individual is 
a society, every person is a crowd. And the trage- 
dies of the moral life lie not in the war of each 
against all, but in the restless interplay of these 
partial selves behind the stage of action. As a 
man's intelligence grows this conflict diminishes, 
for both means and ends, both behavior and pur- 
poses, are being continually revised and redirected 
in accordance with intelligence, and therefore in 
convergence towards it. Progressively the in- 
dividual achieves unity, and through unity, per- 
sonality. Faith in himself has made him whole. 
The ethical problem, so far as it is the purely 



20 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

individual problem of attaining to coordinated 
personality, is solved. 

Moral responsibility, then, — whatever social 
responsibility may be, — is the responsibility of 
the individual to himself. The social is not nec- 
essarily the moral — let the sociological fact be 
what it will. The unthinking conformity of the 
"normal social life" is, just because it is unthink- 
ing, below the level of morality : let us call it 
sociality, and make morality the prerogative of 
the really thinking animal. In any society so con- 
stituted as to give to the individual an increase 
in powers as recompense for the pruning of his 
liberties, the unsocial will be immoral, — that is, 
self-destructively unreasonable and unintelligent ; 
but even in such a society the moral would over- 
flow the margins of the social, and would take 
definition ultimately from the congruity of the 
action with the criticised purposes of the individ- 
ual self. This does not mean that all ethics lies 
compact in the shibboleth, "Be yourself." Those 
who make the least sparing use of this phrase are 
too apt to consider it an excuse for lives that reek 
with the heat of passion and smack of insufficient 
evolution. These people need to be reminded — 
all the more forcibly since the most palatable and 
up-to-date philosophies exalt instinct and deride 
thought — that one cannot be thoroughly one's 
self except by deliberation and intelligence. To 
act indeliberately is not to be, but in great part to 
cancel, one's self. For example, the vast play of 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 21 

direct emotional expression is almost entirely in- 
deliberate : if you are greatly surprised, your lips 
part, your eyes open a trifle wider, your pulse 
quickens, your respiration is affected ; and if I 
am surprised, though you be as different from me 
as Hyperion from a satyr, my respiration will 
be affected, my pulse will quicken, my eyes will 
open a trifle wider, and my lips will part ; — my 
direct reaction will be essentially the same as 
yours. The direct expression of surprise is prac- 
tically the same in all the higher animals. Dar- 
win's classical description of the expression of 
fear is another example ; it holds for every normal 
human being, not to speak of lower species. So 
with egotism, jealousy, anger, and a thousand 
other instinctive reaction-complexes ; they are 
common to the species, and when we so react, we 
are expressing not our individual selves so much 
as the species to which we happen to belong. 
When you hit a man because he has "insulted" 
you, when you swagger a little after delivering a 
successful speech, when you push aside women 
and children in order to take their place in the 
rescue boat, when you do any one of a million 
indeliberate things like these, it is not you that 
act, it is your species, it is your ancestors, acting 
through you ; your acquired individual differ- 
ence is lost in the whirlwind of inherited impulse. 
Your act, as the Scholastics phrased it, is not a 
"human" act ; you yourself are not really acting 
in any full measure of yourself, you are but play- 



22 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

ing slave and mouth-piece to the dead. But sub- 
ject the inherited tendencies to the scrutiny of 
your individual experience, think, and your action 
will then express yourself, not in any abbreviated 
sense, but up to the hilt. There is no merit, no 
"virtue," no development in playing the game of 
fragmentary impulses, in living up to the past ; 
to be moral, to grow, is to be not part but all of 
one's self, to call into operation the acquired as 
well as the inherited elements of one's character, 
to be whole. So many of us invite ruin by actions 
which do not really express us, but are the voice 
of the merest fragment of ourselves, — the re- 
mainder of us being meanwhile asleep. 1 To be 
whole, to be your deliberate self, to do what you 
please but only after considering what you really 
please, to follow your own ideals (but to follow 
them !), to choose your own means and not to have 
them forced upon you by your ancestors, to act 
consciously, to see the part sub specie totius, to 
see the present act in its relation to your vital 
purposes, to think, to be intelligent, — all these 
are definitions of virtue and morality. 

There is, then, in the old sense of the word, no 
such thing as morality, there is only intelligence 
or stupidity. Yes, virtue is calculus, horrible as 
that may sound to long and timid ears : to calcu- 

1 " Morality is the effort to throw off sleep. ... I have 
never yet met a man who was wide awake. How could I 
have looked him in the face?" — Thoreau, Walden, New 
York, 1899, p. 92. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 23 

late properly just what you must do to attain 
your real ends, to see just what and where your 
good is, and to make for it, — that is all that can 
without indecency be asked of any man, that is 
all that is ever vouchsafed by any man who is 
intelligent. 

Perhaps you think it is an easy virtue, — this 
cleaving to intelligence, — easier than being harm- 
less. Try it. 

VII 

" Instinct " and " Reason " 

And now to go back to the refutations. 

The strongest objection to the Socratic doctrine 
is that intelligence is not a creator, but only a 
servant, of ends. What we shall consider to be 
our good appears to be determined not by reason, 
but by desire. Reason itself seems but the valet 
of desire, ready to do for it every manner of menial 
service. Desire is an adept at marshalling before 
intelligence such facts as favor the wish, and 
turns the mind's eye resolutely away from other 
truth, as a magician distracts the attention of his 
audience while his hands perform their wonders. 
If morality is entirely a matter of intelligence, it is 
entirely a question of means, it is excluded ir- 
revocably from the realm of ends. 

The conclusion may be allowed in substance, 
though it passes beyond the warrant of the facts. 
It is true that basic ends are never suggested by 
intelligence, reason, knowledge ; but it is also true 



24 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

that many ends suggested by desire are vetoed 
by intelligence. Why are the desires of a man 
more modest than those of a boy or a child, if not 
because the blows of repeated failure have dulled 
the edge of desire ? Desires lapse, or lose in stat- 
ure, as knowledge grows and man takes lessons 
from reality. There is an adaptation of ends to 
means as well as of means to ends ; and desire 
comes at last to take counsel of its slave. 

Be it granted, none the less, that ends are dic- 
tated by desire, and that if morality is intelligence, 
there can be no question of the morality of any 
end per se. That, strangely, is not a refutation 
of the Socratic ethic so much as an essential ele- 
ment of it and its starting-point. Every desire 
has its own initial right ; morality means not the 
suppression of desires, but their coordination. 
What that implies for society we shall see pres- 
ently ; for the individual it implies that he is 
immoral, not when he seeks his own advantage, 
but when he does not really behave for his own 
advantage, when some narrow temporary pur- 
pose upsets perspective and overrides a larger 
end. 1 What we call "self-control" is the perma- 

1 What happens when I "see the better and approve it, 
but follow the worse," is that an end later approved as "bet- 
ter" — i.e., better for me — is at the time obscured by the 
persistent or recurrent suggestion of an end temporarily more 
satisfying, but eventually disappointing. Most self-reproach 
is the use of knowledge won post factum to criticise a self that 
had to adventure into action unarmed with this hindsight 
wisdom. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 25 

nent predominance of the larger end ; what we 
call weakness of will is instability of perspective. 
Self-control means an intelligent judgment of 
values, an intelligent coordination of motives, 
an intelligent forecasting of effects. It is far- 
sight, :.far-hearing, an enlargement of the sense ; 
it hears the weakened voice of the admonishing 
past, it sees results far down the vista of the 
future ; it annihilates space and time for the sake 
of light. Self-control is coordinated energy, — 
which is the first and last word in ethics and poli- 
tics, and perhaps in logic and metaphysics too. 
Weak will means that desires fall out of focus, 
and taking advantage of the dark steal into 
action : it is a derangement of the light, a fail- 
ure of intelligence. In this sense a "good will" 
means coordination of desires by the ultimate 
desire, end, ideal ; it means health and wholeness 
of will ; it means, literally, integrity. In the old 
sense "good will" meant, too often, mere fear 
either of the prohibitions of present law or of the 
prohibitions stored up in conscience. Such con- 
science, we all know, is a purely negative and 
static thing, a convenient substitute for police- 
men, a degenerate descendant of that conscientia, 
or knowing-together, which meant to the Romans 
a discriminating awareness in action, — discrimi- 
nating awareness of the whole that lurks round 
the corner of every part. This is one instance of 
a sort of pathology of words, — words coming to 
function in a sense alien to their normal intent. 



26 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Right and wrong, for example, once carried no ethi- 
cal connotation, but merely denoted a direct or 
tortuous route to a goal ; and significantly the 
Hebrew word for sin meant, in the days of its 
health, an arrow that had missed its mark. 

But, it is urged, there is no such thing as intelli- 
gence in the sense of a control of passion by reason, 
desire by thought. Granted ; it is so much easier 
to admit objections than to refute them ! Let in- 
telligence be interpreted as you will, so be it you 
recognize in it a delayed response, a moment of 
reprieve before execution, giving time for the ap- 
pearance of new impulses, motives, tendencies, 
and allowing each element in the situation to fall 
into its place in a coordinated whole. Let intelli- 
gence be a struggle of impulses, a survival of the 
fittest desire ; let us contrast not reason with pas- 
sion, but response delayed by the rich interplay 
of motive forces, with response immediately fol- 
lowing upon the first-appearing impulse. Let im- 
pulse mean for us fruit that falls unripe from the 
tree, because too weak to hang till it is mature. 
Let us understand intelligence as not a faculty 
superadded to impulse, but rather that coordina- 
tion of impulses which is wrought out by the blows 
of hard experience. The Socratic ethic fits quite 
comfortably into this scheme ; intelligence is de- 
layed response, and morality means, Take your 
time. 

It is charged that the Socratic view involves 
determinism ; and this charge, too, is best met with 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 27 

open-armed admission. We need not raise the 
question of the pragmatic value of the problem. 
But to suppose that determinism destroys moral 
responsibility is to betray the mid-Victorian origin 
of one's philosophy. Men of insight like Socrates, 
Plato, and Spinoza, saw without the necessity of 
argument that moral responsibility is not a matter 
of freedom of will, but a relation of means to ends, 
a responsibility of the agent to himself, an intelli- 
gent coordination of impulses by one's ultimate 
purposes. Any other morality, whatever pretty 
name it may display, is the emasculated morality 
of slaves. 

VIII 

The Secularization of Morals 

The great problem involved in the Socratic 
ethic lies, apparently, in the bearings of the doc- 
trine on social unity and stability. Apparently ; 
for it is wholesome to remember that social organ- 
ization, like the Sabbath, was made for man, and 
not the other way about. If social organization 
demands of the individual more sacrifices than its 
advantages are worth to him, then the stability of 
that organization is not a problem, it is a misfor- 
tune. But if the state does not demand such 
sacrifices, the advantage of the individual will be 
in social behavior ; and the question whether he 
will behave socially becomes a question of how 
much intelligence he has, how clear-eyed he is 
in ferreting out his own advantage. In a state 



28 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

that does not ask more from its members than it 
gives, morality and intelligence and social behavior 
will not quarrel. The social problem appears here 
as the twofold problem of, first, making men in- 
telligent, and, second, making social organization 
so great an advantage to the individual as to in- 
sure social behavior in all intelligent men. 

Which has the better chance of survival : — a 
society of "good" men or a society of intelligent 
men ? So far as a man is " good ' ' he merely obeys, 
he does not initiate. A society of "good" men is 
necessarily stagnant ; for in such a society the vir- 
tue most in demand, as Emerson puts it, is con- 
formity. If great men emerge through the icy 
crust of this conformity, they are called criminals 
and sinners ; the lives of great men all remind us 
that we cannot make our lives sublime and yet 
be "good." But intelligence as an ethical ideal 
is a progressive norm ; for it implies the progres- 
sive coordination of one's life in reference to one's 
ultimate ideals. The god of the "good" man is 
the status quo; the intelligent man obeys rather 
the call of the status ad quern. 

Observe how the problem of man versus the 
group is clarified by thus relating the individual 
to a larger whole determined not by geographical 
frontiers, but by purposes born of his own needs 
and moulded by his own intelligence. For as the 
individual's intelligence grows, his purposes are 
brought more and more within the limits of per- 
sonal capacity and social possibility : he is ever less 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 29 

inclined to make unreasonable demands upon him- 
self, or men in general, or the group in which he 
lives. His ever broadening vision makes appar- 
ent the inherent self-destructiveness of anti-social 
aims ; and though he chooses his ends without 
reference to any external moral code, those ends 
are increasingly social. Enlightenment saves his 
social dispositions from grovelling conformity, and 
his " self -regarding sentiments" from suicidal nar- 
rowness. And now the conflict between himself 
and his group continues for the most part only in 
so far as the group makes unreasonable demands 
upon him. But this, too, diminishes as the indi- 
viduals constituting or dominating the group be- 
come themselves more intelligent, more keenly 
cognizant of the limits within which the demands 
of the group upon its members must be restricted 
if individual allegiance is to be retained. Since 
the reduction of the conflict between the individ- 
ual and the community without detriment to the 
interests of either is the central problem of polit- 
ical ethics, it is obvious that the practical task 
of ethics is not to formulate a specific moral code, 
but to bring about a spread of intelligence. And 
since the reduction of this conflict brings with it 
a better coordination of the members of the group, 
through their greater ability to perceive the ad- 
vantages of communal action in an intelligently 
administered group, the problem of social cohe- 
rence and permanence itself falls into the same 
larger problem of intellectual development. 



30 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

"How to make our ideas clear"; — what if 
that be the social problem? What a wealth of 
import in that little phrase of Socrates, — to tl; 

— " what is it ? " What is my good, my interest ? 
What do I really want ? — To find the answer to 
that, said Robert Louis Stevenson, is to achieve 
wisdom and old age. What is my country? 
What is patriotism? "If you wish to converse 
with me," said Voltaire, "you must define your 
terms." If you wish to be moral, you must define 
your terms. If our civilization is to keep its head 
above the flux of time, we must define our terms. 

For these are the critical days of the seculari- 
zation of moral sanctions ; the theological navel- 
string binding men to "good behavior" has 
snapped. What are the leaders of men going to 
do about it? Will they try again the old gospel 
of self-sacrifice? But a world fed on self-sacrifice 
is a world of lies, a world choking with the stench 
of hypocrisy. To preach self-sacrifice is not to 
solve, it is precisely to shirk, the problem of ethics, 

— the problem of eliminating individual self-sac- 
rifice while preserving social stability : the prob- 
lem of reconciling the individual as such with the 
individual as citizen. Or will our leaders try to 
replace superstition with an extended physical 
compulsion, making the policeman and the prison 
do all the work of social coordination? But 
surely compulsion is a last resort ; not because it 
is "wrong," but because it is inexpedient, because 
it rather cuts than unties the knot, because it pro- 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 31 

duces too much friction to allow of movement. 
Compulsion is warranted when there is question 
of preventing the interference of one individual or 
group with another ; but it is a poor instrument 
for the establishment or maintenance of ideals. 
Suppose we stop moralizing, suppose we reduce 
regimentation, suppose we begin to define our 
terms. Suppose we let people know quite simply 
(and not in Academese) that moral codes are born 
not in heaven but in social needs ; and suppose we 
set about finding a way of spreading intelligence 
so that individual treachery to real communal 
interest, and communal exploitation of individual 
allegiance, may both appear on the surface, as 
they are at bottom, unintelligently suicidal. Is 
that too much to hope for? Perhaps. But then 
again, it may be, the worth and meaning of life 
lie precisely in this, that there is still a possibility 
of organizing that experiment. 

IX 

" Happiness " and " Virtue " 

A word now about the last part of the Socratic 
formula : intelligence = virtue = happiness . And 
this a word of warning : remember that the " vir- 
tue" here spoken of is not the mediaeval virtue 
taught in Sunday schools. Surely our children 
must wonder are we fools or liars when we tell 
them, "Be good and you will be happy." Better 
forget "virtue" and read simply: intelligence = 



32 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

happiness. That appears more closely akin to 
the rough realities of life : intelligence means abil- 
ity to adapt means to ends, and happiness means 
success in adapting means to ends ; happiness, 
then, varies with ability. Happiness is intelli- 
gence on the move ; a pervasive physiological 
tonus accompanying the forward movement of 
achievement. It is not the consciousness of vir- 
tue : that is not happiness, but snobbery. And 
similarly, remorse is, in the intelligent man, not 
the consciousness of "sin," but the consciousness 
of a past stupidity. So far as you fail to win 
your real ends you are unhappy, — and have 
proved unintelligent. But the Preacher says, "He 
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." 
True enough if the increment of knowledge is the 
correction of a past error ; the sorrow is a penalty 
paid for the error, not for the increase of knowledge. 
True, too, that intelligence does not consistently 
lessen conflicts, and that it discloses a new want 
for every want it helps to meet. But the joy of 
life lies not so much in the disappearance of diffi- 
culties as in the overcoming of them ; not so much 
in the diminution of conflict as in the growth of 
achievement. Surely it is time we had an ethic 
that stressed achievement rather than quiescence. 
And further, intelligence must not be thought of 
as the resignation of disillusionment, the con- 
sciousness of impotence ; intelligence is to be con- 
ceived of in terms of adaptive activity, of 
movement towards an end, of coordinated self- 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 33 

expression and behavior. Finally, it is but fair to 
interpret the formula as making happiness and in- 
telligence coincide only so far as the individual's 
happiness depends on his own conduct. The 
causes of unhappiness may be an inherited de- 
formity, or an accident not admitting of provision ; 
such cases do not so much contradict as lie out- 
side the formula. So far as your happiness de- 
pends on your activities, it will vary with the de- 
gree of intelligence you show. Act intelligently, 
and you will not know regret ; feel that you are 
moving on toward your larger ends, and you will 
be happy. 

X 

The Socratic Challenge 

But if individual and social health and happi- 
ness depend on intelligence rather than on "vir- 
tue," and if the exaltation of intelligence was a 
cardinal element in the Athenian view of life, 
why did the Socratic ethic fail to save Athens 
from decay? And why did the supposedly in- 
telligent Athenians hail this generous old Dr. 
Johnson of philosophy into court and sentence 
him to death ? 

The answer is, Because the Athenians refused 
to make the Socratic experiment. They were in- 
telligent, but not intelligent enough. They could 
diagnose the social malady, could trace it to the 
decay of supernatural moral norms ; but they 



34 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

could not find a cure, they had not the vision to 
see that salvation lay not in the compulsory 
retention of old norms, but in the forging of new 
and better ones, capable of withstanding the shock 
of questioning and trial. What they saw was 
chaos ; and like most statesmen they longed above 
all things for order. They were not impressed 
by Socrates' allegiance to law, his cordial admis- 
sion of the individual's obligations to the commu- 
nity for the advantages of social organization. 
They listened to the disciples : to Antisthenes, 
who laughed at patriotism ; to Aristippus, who 
denounced all government ; to Plato, scorner of 
democracy ; and they attacked the master because 
(not to speak of pettier political reasons) it was he, 
they thought, who was the root of the evil. They 
could not see that this man was their ally and not 
their foe ; that rescue for Athens lay in helping 
him rather than in sentencing him to die. And 
how well they could have helped him ! For to 
preach intelligence is not enough ; there remains 
to provide for every one the instrumentalities 
of intelligence. What men needed, what Athe- 
nian statesmanship might have provided, was an 
organization of intelligence for intelligence, an 
organization of all the forces of intelligence in the 
state in a persistent intellectual campaign. If that 
could not save Athens, Athens could not be saved. 
But the myopic leaders of the Athenian state could 
not see salvation in intelligence, they could only 
see it in hemlock. And Socrates had to die. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOCRATIC ETHIC 35 

It will take a wise courage to accept the Socratic 
challenge, — such courage as battle-fields and 
senate-chambers are not wont to show. But un- 
less that wise courage comes to us our civilization 
will go as other civilizations have come and gone, 
"kindled and put out like a flame in the night." 

Note. — From a book whose interesting defence of 
the Socratic ethic from the standpoint of psychoanalysis 
was brought to the writer's attention after the comple- 
tion of the foregoing essay: "The Freudian ethics is 
a literal and concrete justification of the Socratic teach- 
ing. Truth is the sole moral sanction, and discrimina- 
tion of hitherto unrealized facts is the one way out of 
every moral dilemma. . . . Virtue is wisdom." Prac- 
tical morality is "the establishment, through discrimi- 
nation, of consistent, and not contradictory (mutually 
suppressive), courses of action toward phenomena. 
The moral sanction lies always in facts presented by the 
phenomena ; morality in the discrimination of those 
facts." Moral development is "the progressive, life- 
long integration of experience." — The Freudian Wish 
and Its Place in Ethics, by Edwin B. Holt, New York, 
1915, pp. 141, 145, 148. 



CHAPTER II 

PLATO I PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 

I 

The Man and the Artist 

Why do we love Plato ? Perhaps because Plato 
himself was a lover : lover of comrades, lover 
of the sweet intoxication of dialectical revelry, 
full of passion for the elusive reality behind 
thoughts and things. We love him for his un- 
stinted energy, for the wildly nomadic play of 
his fancy, for the joy which he found in life in all 
its unredeemed and adventurous complexity. 
We love him because he was alive every minute 
of his life, and never ceased to grow ; such a man 
can be loved even for the errors he has made. 
But above all we love him because of his high 
passion for social reconstruction through intel- 
ligent control ; because he retained throughout 
his eighty years that zeal for human improvement 
which is for most of us the passing luxury of 
youth ; because he conceived philosophy as an 
instrument not merely for the interpretation, but 
for the remoulding, of the world. He speaks of 
himself, through Socrates, as " almost the only 

36 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 37 

Athenian living who sets his hand to the true art 
of pohtics ; I am the only politician of my time." ! 
Philosophy was for him a study of human possi- 
bilities in the light of human realities and limita- 
tions ; his daily food consisted of the problems 
of human relations and endeavors : problems of 
liberty versus order; of sex relations and the 
family; of ideals of character and citizenship, 
and the educational approaches to those ideals ; 
problems of the control of population, of heredity 
and environment, of art and morals. With all 
his liking for the poetry of mysticism, philosophy 
none the less was to him preeminently an adven- 
ture in this world ; and unlike ourselves, who 
follow one or another of his many leads, he sailed 
virginal seas. Every reader in every age has 
called him modern; but what age can there be 
to which Plato will not still be modern? 

Plato was twenty-eight when Socrates died ; 2 
and though he was not present at the drinking 
of the hemlock, yet the passing of the master 
must have been a tragic blow to him. It brought 
him face to face with death, the mother of meta- 
physics. Proudest of all philosophers, he did not 
hide his sense of debt to Socrates : "I thank the 
gods," he said, "that I was born freeman, not 
slave ; Greek, not barbarian ; man, not woman ; 
but above all that I was born in the time of 
Socrates." The old philosopher gone, Athens be- 

1 Gorgias, p. 521. 
* 399 B.C. 



38 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

came for a time intolerable to Plato (some say, 
Plato to Athens) ; and the young philosopher 
sailed off to see foreign shores and take nourish- 
ment of other cultures. He liked the peaceful 
orderliness and aged dignity with which a long 
dominant priesthood had invested Egypt ; be- 
side this mellow civilization, he was willing to 
be told, the culture of his native Athens was but 
a precarious ethnological sport. He liked the 
Pythagoreans of southern Italy, with their aristo- 
cratic approach to the problem of social construc- 
tion and their communal devotion to plain living 
and high thinking ; above all he liked their em- 
phasis on harmony as the fundamental pervasive 
relation of all things and as the ideal in which our 
human discords might be made to resolve them- 
selves had men artistry enough. Other lands he 
saw and learnt from : stories tell how he risked 
his handsome head to build an ideal state in 
Syracuse; how he was sold into slavery and re- 
deemed by a friend ; and how he passed down 
through Palestine even to India, absorbing the 
culture of their peoples with a kind of osmotic 
genius. And at last, after twelve years of wan- 
dering, he heard again the call of Athens, and 
went home, stored with experience and ripe with 
thought. 

Arrived now at the mid-point of his life, he 
turned to the task of self-expression. Should he 
join one of the political parties and try to make the 
government of Athens a picture of his thought? 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 39 

Perhaps he felt that his thought was not yet 
definite enough for that ; politics requires answers 
in Yes or No, and philosophy deals only in Yes- 
and-No. He hesitated to join a party or pledge 
himself to a dogma; and was prepared to be 
hated by all parties alike for this hesitation. 1 
Aristocracy was in his blood, and he would not 
stoop to conquer by a plebiscite. He thought 
of turning to the stage, as Euripides had done, 
and teaching through the mask ; in his youth he 
had written plays, and smiled now to think how 
he had hoped to rival Aristophanes. But there 
were too many limitations here, of religious sub- 
ject and dramatic form ; Plato's philosophy was 
a thing of ever broadening borders, and could not 
be cramped into a ceremony. But neither was 
his philosophy an arid academic affair, to be 
written down as one places in order the bones of 
a skeleton ; it was vibrantly alive, it was itself a 
drama and a religion. Why should there not be 
a drama of idea as well as of action ? — Had not 
the play of thought its tragedies and comedies? 
— Was not philosophy, after all, a matter of life 
and death? 

In such a juncture of desires came that fusion 
of drama and philosophy which we know as Plato's 
dialogues, — assuredly the finest production in 
all the history of philosophy. Here was just the 
instrument for a man whose thought had not 
congealed into dogmas and a system. All genius 

1 Epistles, viii, 325. 



40 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

is heterogeneous ; a great man is a sum of many 
men ; — let the soul give its selves a voice, and it 
will speak in dialogue. 1 Just instrument, too, for 
a man who wished to play with the varied possi- 
bilities of speculation, who cared to clarify his 
own mind rather than to give forth finalities where 
life itself was so blind and inconclusive. A con- 
clusion is too often but the point at which thought 
has lost its wind ; being not so much a solution 
of the problem as a dissolution of thought. Hence 
the riotous play of the imagination in Plato; 
lively game of trial and error, merry-go-round 
of thought ; here is imagery squandered with 
lordly abandon ; here is humor such as one misses 
in our ponderous modern philosophers ; here is 
no system but all systems ; 2 here is one abounding 
fountain-head of European thought ; here is prose 
strong and beautiful as the great temples where 
Greek joy disported itself in marble ; here literary 
prose is born, — and born adult. 

II 

How to Solve the Social Problem 

To understand Plato one must remember the 
Pythagorean motif: harmony is the heart of 

1 "When the soul does not speak in dialogue it is not in 
difficulty." — Professor Woodbridge, in class. 

2 "If we look for a system of philosophy in Plato, we shall 
probably not find it ; but if we look for none we may find 
most of the philosophies ever written." — Professor Wood- 
bridge. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 41 

Plato's metaphysics, of his psychological and edu- 
cational theory, of his ethics and his politics. To 
feel such harmony as there is, and to make such 
harmony as may be, — that to Plato is the mean- 
ing of philosophy. 

We observe this at the outset in the more- 
mystified-than mystifying theory of ideas. 
Obviously, the theory of ideas belongs to Soc- 
rates ; the Platonic element is a theory not of 
ideas so much as of ideals. Socrates wants truth, 
but Plato wants beauty, harmony. Socrates is 
bent on argument, and points you to a concept ; 
Plato is a poet with a vision, and points you to the 
picture that he sees. Understanding, says Plato, 
is of the earth earthly ; but poetic vision is divine. 1 
Hence the maze of quibbling in the dialogues ; it 
is Plato and not Socrates who is culprit here. 
Reasoning was an alien art to Plato ; try as he 
might to become a mathematician he remained 
always a poet, — and perhaps most so when he 
dealt with numbers. Dialectic was in Plato's 
day a recent invention ; he plays with it like a 
youth in the breakers, letting it now raise him to 
heights of ecstatic vision and now bury him in 
the deadliest logic-chopping. But — let us not 
doubt it — he knows when he is logic-chopping ; 
he goes on, partly that he may paint his picture, 
partly for the mere joy of parrying pros and cons ; 
this new game, he feels, is a sport for the gods. 

Let us smile at the heavy seriousness of those 

« Phcedrua, 244. 



42 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

who suppose that this man meant everything he 
said. No one does, but least of all men Plato, 
who hardly taught except in parables. What is 
the "heaven" of the ideas but a poet's way of 
saying that the constancies observable in the re- 
lations among things are not identical with the 
things themselves, but have a reality and per- 
manence of their own? So we phrase it in our 
own distinguished verbiage ; but Plato prefers, 
as ever, to draw a picture. And notice, in this 
picture, the ever present reference to social needs. 
What is a concept, after all, but a scheme for the 
conservation of mental resources, an instrument 
of prediction, a method of control ? Without the 
power to form concepts we could never turn ex- 
perience to use, it would slip between our ringers ; 
we should be like the maidens condemned to carry 
water in a sieve. The idea of anything is the 
sum of its observed constancies of behavior; 
hence the medium of our adaptation and control. 
To have ideas of things is to know the map or 
plan of things ; it is to see tendencies, directions, 
and results ; it is to know how to use things. 
That is why knowledge is power ; every idea is a 
tool with which to bend the world to serve our 
will. And that too is why the Ideas are real : 
they have power, and " anything which possesses 
any sort of power is real." 1 

All this, as was said, is but an embellishment of 
the Socratic doctrine that salvation lies in brains. 

1 Sophist, 247. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 43 

But Plato rushes on. Not only may everything 
be brought under a concept, an Idea, but it may 
be brought under a perfect Form, an Ideal. 
Things are not what they might be. Men are 
not such as men might be, states are often sorry 
states, beds might be more ideal beds, even dirt 
could be more perfectly dirt. To all things that 
are, there correspond perfect Ideals of what they 
might be, in a thoroughly harmonious world. 
To say that these Ideals are real, that they exist, 
is only to claim for them that they are operative, 
and get results. Whether his supernaturalism 
was only part of his political theory, others may 
dispute ; let it suffice us at present that Plato 
believed that the Ideals could and did operate 
through human agency. The distinctive thing 
about man is that perceiving the thing that 
is, he can conceive the thing that might be. He 
is the forward-looking, ideal-making animal ; 
through him, if he but will it, proceeds creation. 
The brute may be a thinker, but man may be 
also an artist. Out of the abundance of the sexual 
instinct (as Plato implies in the Symposium) 
emerges this ideal-seeking and -making quality; 
from which come art and ethics and religion. 
William Morris looks at a slum and conceives 
Utopia ; and forthwith begins to make for Utopia 
even though the road lead him through a jail. 
Is it that William Morris loves "humanity"? 
Not at all ; he loves beauty and his dream ; he 
is uncomfortable with all this dirt and despair 



44 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

before him ; it is his fortune or misfortune that 
he cannot see these slums without falling thrall 
to a vision of better things. So with most of us 
"reformers": we wish to change things, not 
because we love our fellows much more than 
"conservatives" do, nor because we believe that 
happiness varies with income ; but because we 
hear the call of the beautiful, and see in the 
mind's eye another form wherein the world 
might come more pleasingly to sight. 

What we have to do, says Plato, is to make 
people conceive a better world, so that they may 
see this world as ugly, and may strive to reshape 
it. We must conceive the perfect Forms of 
things, and batter this poor world till it re-form 
itself and take these perfect shapes. To learn to 
see — and seeing learn to make — these perfect 
Forms : that is the task of philosophers. To 
make philosophers : that is the social problem. 

Ill 

On Making Philosopher-Kings 

It is simple, isn't it ? Give us enough philoso- 
phers, and the beautiful city will walk out of the 
picture into the fact. But how make philoso- 
phers? And perhaps there is a perfect Form for 
philosophers, too? How shall we "see — and 
seeing learn to make" — the perfect philosopher? 

Let us not worry about this little matter of 
dialectics, says Plato ; we know quite well some 




PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 45 

of the things we must do in order that we may- 
have more and greater philosophers. It is quite 
clear that one thing we must do is to give our 
best brains to education. 

Is that trite? Not at all. Do we give our 
best brains to education? Do we offer more to 
our ministers or commissioners of education than 
to our presidents, or governors, or mayors, or 
bank presidents, or pugilists ? Or do we honor 
them more ? When Plato says that the office of ~ . 
minister of education is "of all the great offices 
of state the greatest," and that the citizens should 
elect their very best man to this office, 1 he is not 
pronouncing a platitude, he is making a radical, 
a revolutionary proposition. It has never been 
done, and it will not soon be done ; for men, 
naturally enough, are (more interested in making /--* 

money than in making philosophers.) And yet, 
says Plato, gently but resolutely, we may as well 
understand that until we give our best brains to 
the problem of making philosophers our much-ado 
about social ills will amount to noise and wind, 
and nothing more. " How charming people are I" 
he writes, drawing an analogy between the in- 
dividual and the body politic ; "they are always 
doctoring — and thereby increasing and compli- 
cating — their disorders, fancying they will be 
cured by some nostrum which somebody advises 
them to try, — never getting better but always 
growing worse. . . . Are they not as good as a 

i Laws, 765-6. 









46 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PEOBLEM 

play, trying their hand at legislation, and imagin- 
ing that by reforms they will make an end to the 
dishonesties and rascalities of mankind, not know- 
ing that they are in reality cutting away at the 
heads of a hydra?" l 

Notice that the aim of the educational process 
is, for Plato, not so much the general spread of 
intelligence as the discovery and development of 
the superior man. (This conception of the task 
of the educator appears again and again in later 
thought : we hear it in the nineteenth century, 
for example, in Carlyle's "hero," Schopenhauer's 
"genius," and Nietzsche's "superman.") It is 
very naive, thinks Plato, to look to the masses as 
the source and hope of social improvement ; the 
proper function of the masses is to toil as cheer- 
fully as may be for the development and support 
of the genius who will make them happy — so far 
as they are capable of happiness. To aim directly 
at the elevation of all is to open the door to 
mediocrity and futility ; to find and nurse the 
potential genius, — that is an end worthy the 
educator's subtle art. 

Now if you are going to discover genius in the 
bud you must above all things handle your ma- 
terial, at the outset at least, with tender care. 
You must not overflow with prohibitions, or in- 
dulge yourself too much in the luxury of punish- 
ments. "Mother and father and nurse and tutor 
set to quarrelling about the improvement of the 

i Republic, 425. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 47 

child as soon as ever he is able to understand 
them : he cannot say or do anything without their 
setting forth to him that this is just and that un- 
just, this honorable and that dishonorable, this 
holy and that unholy, do this and don't do that. 
And if he obeys, well and good ; if not he is 
straightened by threats and blows, like a piece of 
warped wood." 1 Suppress here, and you get ex- 
pression there ; — often enough, abnormal expres- 
sion. Better have no hard mould of uniformity 
and conformity wherein to crush and deform each 
differently aspiring soul. Think twice before forc- 
ing your 'isms and 'ologies upon the child ; his 
own desires will be your best curriculum. "The 
elements of instruction," writes Plato, in a too- 
little-noticed passage, "should be presented to the 
mind in childhood, but without any notion of 
forcing them. For a freeman ought to be a free- 
man in the acquisition of knowledge. Bodily 
exercise, when compulsory, does no harm ; but 
knowledge which is acquired under compulsion 
has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use 
compulsion, but let early education be a sort of 
amusement ; that will better enable you to find 
out the natural bent." 2 There is a stroke of 
Plato's genius here : it is a point which we lag- 
gards are coming to after some two thousand 
three hundred years. "To find out the natural 
bent," to catch the spark of divine fire before con- 

1 Protagoras, 325. 
1 Republic, 536. 



48 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

formity can put it out ; that is the beginning 
and yet the summit of the educator's task, — the 
initium dimidium facti. 

In this search for genius all souls shall be tried. 
Education must be universal and compulsory; 
children belong not to parents but to the state 
and to the future. 1 And education cannot begin 
too early. Cleinias, asking whether education 
should begin at birth, is astonished to be answered, 
"No, before" ; and if Plato could have his way, 
no doubt there would be a realization of Dr. 
Holmes' suggestion that a man's education 
should begin two thousand years before he is 
born. The chief concern at the outset will be to 
develop the body, and not to fill the soul with 
letters ; let the child be taught his letters at ten, 
but not before. 2 Music will share with gymnas- 
tics the task of rounded development. The boy 
who tells his teacher that the athletic field is as 
important and necessary a part of education as 
the lecture-room is right. "How shall we find a 
gentle nature which has also great courage?" 3 
Music mixed with athletics will do it. "I am 
quite aware that your mere athlete becomes too 
much of a savage, and that the musician is melted 
and softened beyond what is good for him." 4 
There is a determination here that even the genius 
shall be healthy ; Plato will not tolerate the 
notion that to be a genius one needs to be sick : 

1 Laws, 804. * Republic, 375. 

2 Ibid., 810. * Ibid., 410. 



PLATO ! PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 49 

let the genius have his say, but let him, too, be 
reminded that he is no disembodied spirit. And 
let art take care lest its vaunted purgation be a 
purgation of our strength and manhood ; poetry 
and soft music may make men slaves. No 
man shall bother with music after the age of 
sixteen. 1 

At twenty a general test will weed out those 
who give indication that further educative labor 
will be wasted on them ; the others will go on 
for another decade, and a second test will elimi- 
nate those who will in the meantime have reached 
the limit of their capacities for development. 
The final survivors will then — and not before — 
be introduced to philosophy. "They must not 
be allowed to taste the dear delight too early ; 
that is a thing especially to be avoided ; for 
young men, as you may have observed, when they 
first get the taste in their mouths, argue for 
amusement, and are always contradicting and re- 
futing, like puppy-dogs that delight to tear and 
pull at all who come near them. . . . And when 
they have made many conquests and received 
defeats at the hands of many, they violently and 
speedily get into a way of not believing anything 
that they believed before, and hence not only they, 
but philosophy generally, have a bad name with 
the rest of the world." 2 

Five happy years are given to the study of 

i Laws, 810. 

» Republic, 539. 



50 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

philosophy. Gradually, the student learns to 
see the universal behind the particular, to judge 
the part by relating it to the whole ; the fragments 
of his experience fall into a harmonious philosophy 
of life. The sciences which he has learned are 
now united as a consistent application of intelli- 
gence to life ; indeed, the faculty of uniting the 
sciences and focussing them on the central prob- 
lems of life, is precisely the criterion of the true 
philosopher. 1 But involved in this is a certain 
practical quality, a sense for realities and limita- 
tions. One must study books — and men ; one 
should read much, but live more. So Plato legis- 
lates that his new philosophers shall spend the 
years from thirty-five to fifty in the busy din of 
practical life ; they must, in his immortal image, 
go back into the cave. The purpose of higher 
education is to detach us for a time from the life 
of action, but only so that we may later return 
to it with a better perspective. To be put for a 
goodly time upon one's own resources, to butter 
one's own bread for a while, — that is an almost 
indispensable prerequisite to greatness. Out of 
such a test men come with the scars of many 
wounds ; but to those who are not fools every 
scar is the mark of a lesson learned. 

And now here are our philosophers, ripe and 
fifty, hardened by the tests of learning and of life. 
What shall we do with them? Put them away 
in a lecture-room and pay no further attention 

1 Republic, 537. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 51 

to them? Give them, as their life-work, the 
problem of finding how Spinoza deduces, or fails 
to deduce, the Many from the One ? Have them 
fill learned esoteric journals with unintelligible 
jargon about the finite and the infinite, or space 
and time, or the immateriality of roast beef ? No, 
says Plato ; let them govern the state. 

Did Plato mean it ? Was he so enraged at the 
state-murder of the most beloved of philosophers 
that he forearmed himself against such a contre- 
temps in his Utopia by making the philosophers 
supreme? — Was it only his magnificent journal- 
istic revenge ? Was it merely his reaction to the 
observed cramping and mediocritization of su- 
perior intellects in a democracy? Was it but 
Plato's dramatic way of emphasizing the Socratic 
plea for intelligence as the basis of morals and 
social life ? Perhaps all this ; but much more. 
It was his sober judgment ; it was the influence 
of the Egyptian priesthood and the Pythagorean 
brotherhood coming to the surface in him ; it was 
the long-accumulated deposit of the stream of his 
personal experience. 

We have to remember here that by philosopher 
Plato does not mean Immanuel Kant. He means 
a living being, a man like Seneca or Francis Bacon, 
a man in whom knowledge is fused with action, 
and keen perception joins with steady hand ; a 
man who has had not only the teaching of books 
but the discipline of hard experience ; a man who 
has learned with equal readiness to obey and to 



52 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PKOBLEM 

command ; a man whose thought is coordinated 
by application to the vital problems of human 
society. "Inasmuch as philosophers alone are 
able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and 
those who wander in the region of the many and 
variable are not philosophers, I must ask you 
which of the two kinds should be rulers of our 
state?" l Well, then, "Until philosophers are 
kings, or the kings and princes of this world have 
the spirit and power of philosophy, . . . cities 
will never cease from ill, nor the human 
race." 2 
That, of course, is the heart and soul of Plato. 



IV 

Dishonest Democracy 

Let us get back to the circumference and ap- 
proach this same point by another route. 

I grant you, says Plato, that to have rulers at 
all is very disagreeable. And indeed we should 
not need to have them were it not for a regrettable 
but real porcine element in us. My own Utopia 
is not an aristocracy nor a democracy, nor any 
kind of an 'ocracy; it is what some of you would 
call an anarchist communism. I have described 
it very clearly in the second book of my Republic, 
but nobody cares to notice it, except to repeat 

» Republic, 184. 
* Ibid., 473. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 53 

my brother's gibe about it. 1 But instead of this 
Utopia of mine being a "City of Pigs," it is just 
because we are pigs that I had to give up paint- 
ing this picture and turn to describing "not only 
a state, but a luxurious state." I am still "of 
opinion that the true state, which may be said 
to be a healthy constitution, is the one which I 
have described," and not the "inflamed constitu- 
tion" to which I devoted the rest of my book, 
and which in my opinion is much more a "City 
of Pigs" than the other. It is because people 
want "to lie on sofas, and dine off tables, and have 

'The passage, abbreviated, follows: "First, then, let us 
consider what will be their way of life, now that we have thus 
established them. Will they not produce corn, and wine > 
and clothes, and shoes, and build houses for themselves? 
And when they are housed, they will work in summer com- 
monly stripped and barefoot, but in winter substantially 
clothed and shod. They will feed on barley and wheat, 
baking the wheat and kneading the flour, making noble pud- 
dings and loaves ; these they will serve up on a mat of reeds 
or clean leaves, themselves reclining the while upon beds of 
yew or myrtle boughs. And they and their children will 
feast, drinkiDg of the wine which they have made, wearing 
garlands on their heads, and having the praises of the gods on 
their lips, living in sweet society, and having a care that their 
families do not exceed their means ; for they will have an eye 
to poverty or war. ... Of course they will have a relish, — 
salt, and olives, and cheese, and onions, and cabbages or 
other country herbs which are fit for boiling ; and we shall 
give them a dessert of figs, and pulse, and beans, and myrtle- 
berries, and beech-nuts, which they will roast at the fire, 
drinking in moderation. And with such a diet they may be 
expected to live in peace to a good old age, and bequeath a 
similar life to their children after them." — Republic, 372. 
Cf. The Rousseauian anthropology of Laws, 679. 



54 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

dainties and dessert in the modern fashion, . . . 
and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and 
cakes, and gold, and ivory, . . . hunters and 
actors, . . . musicians, players, dancers, . . . 
tutors, . . . servants . . . nurses wet and dry, 
. . . barbers, confectioners and cooks, . . . and 
hosts of animals (if people are to eat animals), 
. . . and physicians ; . . . then a slice of neigh- 
bor's land . . . and then war," 1 — in short, it is 
because people are pigs that you must have sol- 
diers and rulers and laws. 

But if you must have them, why not train your 
best men for the work, just as you train some to 
be doctors, and others to be lawyers, and others 
to be engineers? Think of taking a man's pills 
just because he can show a count of noses in his 
favor ! Think of letting a man build the world's 
greatest bridge because he is popular! You ac- 
cuse me of plagiarizing from Pythagoras, but in 
truth, you who believe in democracy are the 
Pythagoreans of politics, — you believe in num- 
ber as your god. Your equality is the equality of 
the unequal, and is all a matter of words and never 
of reality ; your liberty is anarchy, it is the con- 
genital sickness wherein your democracy was con- 
ceived and delivered, and whereof it inevitably 
dies ; your freedom of speech is a license to lie ; 
your elections are a contest in flattery and pre- 
varication. Your democracy is a theatrocracy ; 
and woe to the genius who falls into your hands. 

i Republic, 372-3. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 55 

Perhaps you like democracy because you are like 
democracy : all your desires are on a level ; that 
you should respect some of them and discipline 
others is an idea that never enters your heads. 
It has never occurred to you that it takes more 
time and training to make a statesman than it 
does to make a bootblack. But statesmanship is 
something that can never be conferred by plebis- 
cite ; it must be pursued through the years, and 
must find the privilege of office without submitting 
to a vote. Wisdom is too subtle a thing to be 
felt by the coarsened senses of the mob. Your 
industry is wonderful because it is shot through 
with specialization and training ; but because you 
reject specialization and training in rilling the 
offices of your government the word politics has 
become dishonored in your mouths. And just 
because you will let any one be your leader no real 
man ever submits himself to your choice. 



Culture and Slavery 

There is much exaggeration here, of course, as 
might be expected of one whose material and so- 
cial concerns were bound up with the oligarchical 
party at Athens, whose friends and relatives had 
died in battle against the armies of the democracy ; 
whose early years had seen the democratic mis- 
management of the Peloponnesian war and the 
growth of a disorderly individualism in Athens. 



56 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

But there are also lessons here for those who are 
strong enough to learn even from their enemies. 1 
To press home these lessons at this point would 
take us too far afield ; our plan for the moment is 
to follow Plato's guidance until he has led us 
out into a clear view of his position. 

We sh^ll suppose such a scheme of education 
as Plato desires ; we shall suppose that a moderate 
number of those who entered the lists at birth 
have survived test after test, have "tasted the 
clear delight" of philosophy for five years, and 
have passed safely through the ordeal of practical 
affairs ; these men (and women, as we shall see) 
now automatically become the rulers of the Pla- 
tonic state : let us observe them in their work 
and in their lives. 

To the guardians it is a matter of first principles 
that the function of the state — and therefore 
their function — is a positive function ; they are 
to lead the people, and not merely to serve as an 
umpire of disputes. They are the protagonists 
of a social evolution that has at last become 
conscious ; they are resolved that henceforth 
social organization shall be a far-seeing plan and 
not a haphazard flux of expediencies of control. 
They know that they are asked to be experts in 
foresight and coordination ; they will legislate 

1 Much of modern criticism of democracy finds its inspira- 
tion in Plato. Cf. Bernard Shaw: "The democratic politi- 
cian remains exactly as Plato described him." Cf. also the 
Modern Utopia and Research Magnificent of H. G. Wells. 
Nietzsche's debt to Plato will appear in a later chapter. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 57 

accordingly, and will no more think of asking the 
people what laws should be passed than a physi- 
cian would ask the people what measures should 
be taken to preserve the public health. 

And first of all they will control population ; 
they will consider this to be the indispensable 
prerequisite to a planned development. The 
state must not be larger than is consistent with 
unity and with the efficacy of central control. 
People may mate as they will, — that is their 
own concern ; but they must understand quite 
clearly that procreation is an affair of the state. 
Children must be born not of love but of science ; 
marriage will be a temporary relation, allowing 
frequent remating for the sake of beautiful off- 
spring. Men shall not have children before thirty, 
nor after forty. Deformed or incurably diseased 
children will be exposed to die. Children must 
leave their mothers at birth, and be brought up 
by the state. Women must be freed from bond- 
age to their children, if women are to be real 
citizens, interested in the public weal, and loving 
not a narrow family but the great community. 

For women are to be citizens ; it would be 
foolish to let half the people be withdrawn from 
interest in and service to the state. Women will 
receive all the educational advantages offered to 
men ; they will even wrestle with them, naked, 
in the games. If any of them — and surely some 
of them will — pass all the tests, they shall be 
guardians, too. People are to be divided, for 



58 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

political purposes, not by difference of sex, but 
by difference of capacity. Some women may be 
fit not for housekeeping but for ruling, — let 
them rule ; some men may be fit not for ruling 
but for housekeeping, — let them keep house. 

Without family, and without clearly ascertain- 
able relationship between any man and any child, 
there can be no individual inheritance of property ; 
the guardians will have all things in common, 
and without Tertullian's exception. 1 Shut off 
from the possibility of personal bequests or of 
"founding a family," the guardians will have no 
stimulus to laying up a hoard of material goods ; 
nay, they will not be moved to such hoarding by 
fear of the morrow, for a modest but sufficient 
maintenance will be supplied them by the work- 
ing classes. There will be no money in use among 
them ; they will live a hard simple life, devoted 
to the problems of communal defence and develop- 
ment. Freed from family ties, from private 
property and luxury, from violence and litigation, 
and all distinctions of Mine and Thine, they will 
have no reason to oppress the workers in order 
to lay up stores for themselves ; they will be 
happy in the exercise of their high responsibilities 
and powers. They will not be tempted to legis- 
late for the good of their own class rather than 
for the good of the community ; their joy will lie 
in the creation of a prosperous and harmonious 
state. 

1 "Omnia communia inter nos habemus, praeter mulieres." 



PLATO I PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 59 

Under their direction will be the soldiers, also 
specially selected and trained, and supported by 
the workers. But these workers ? 

They will be those who have been eliminated 
in the tests. The demands of specialization will 
have condemned them to labor for those who 
have the gift of guidance. They shall have no 
voice in the direction of the state ; that, as said, 
is a reward for demonstrated capacity, and not a 
"natural right." 1 Frankly, there are some 
people who are not fit to be other than slaves ; 
and to varnish that fact with oratory about "the 
dignity of labor" is merely to give an instance of 
the indignities to which a democratic politician 
will descend. These workers are incapable of a 
subtler happiness than that of knowing that they 
are doing what they are fit to do, and are con- 
tributing to the maintenance of communal pros- 
perity. Such as they are, these workers, like the 
other members of the state, will find their highest 
possibilities of development in such an organized 
society. And to make sure that they will not 
rebel, they will have been taught by "royal lies" 
that their position and function in the state have 
been ordained by the gods. There is no sense in 
shivering at this quite judicious juggling with 
the facts ; there are times when truth is a barrier 

1 Let us remember that a property-qualification for the 
vote remained in our own political system till the time of 
Jefferson, and has in our own day been resuscitated in some of 
the Southern states. 



60 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

to content, and must be set aside. Physicians 
have been known to cure ailments with a timely 
lie. Labor stimulated by such deception may be 
slavery, if you wish to call it so ; but it is the in- 
evitable condition of order, and order is the 
inevitable condition of culture and communal 
success. 

VI 

Plasticity and Order 

But is it just? — some one asks. Perhaps 
there are other things than order to be considered. 
Perhaps this hunger for order is a disease, like 
the monistic hunger for unity ; perhaps it is a 
corollary to the a priori type of mind ; perhaps 
it is part of the philosopher's general inability to 
face a possibly irrational reality. Here for order's 
sake the greater part of the people must work in 
silence : they shall not utter their desires. Here 
for order's sake are sacrificed that communal 
plasticity, that freedom of variety, that happy 
looseness and changeability of structure, in which 
lie all the suggestion and potency of social recon- 
struction. If there is any lesson which shines 
out through all the kaleidoscope of history, it 
is that a political system is doomed to early 
death if its charter offer no provision and facility 
for its own reform. Plasticity is king. Human 
ideals change, and leave nations, institutions, 
even gods, in their wake. "Law and order in a 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 61 

state are" not "the cause of every good" ; x they 
are the security of goods attained, but they may 
be also the hindrance of goods conceived. A 
state without freedom of criticism and variation 
is like a sail-boat in a calm ; it stands but it can- 
not move. Such a state is a geometrical diagram, 
a perfect syllogism evolved out of impossible 
premises ; and its own perfection is its refutation. 
In such a state there could be no Plato, with a 
penchant for conceiving Utopias ; much less a 
Socrates, holding that a life uncriticised is un- 
worthy of a man. It would be a state not for 
philosophers but for priests : very truly its basis 
would not be dialectical clarity but royal lies. 
Here is the supreme pessimism, the ultimate 
atheism, of the aristocrat, that he does not believe 
in the final wholesomeness of truth. And surely 
something can be said for democracy. Granted 
that democracy is not a problem solved but a 
problem added ; it is at least a problem that 
time may help to clarify. Granted that men used 
to slavery cannot turn and wisely rule themselves ; 
what is better than that they should, by xnevit- 
able trial and error, learn? Errando discimus. 
Granted that physicians do not consult us in their 
prescriptions; but neither do they come to us 
before they are chosen and called. "That the 
guardian should require another guardian to 
guard him is ridiculous indeed." 2 But he would ! 

i Laws, 783. 
2 Republic, 403. 



62 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Power corrupts unless it is shared 03^ all. "Cities 
cannot exist, if a few only share in the virtues, as 
in the arts." * To build your culture on the backs 
of slaves is to found your city on Vesuvius. Men 
will not be lied to forever, — at least with the 
same lies ! And to end with such a Utopia, — 
what is it but to yield to Thrasymachus, to 
arrange all things at last in the interest of the 
stronger? Is it just? 

VII 

The Meaning of Justice 

But what is justice? — asks Plato. Don't you 
see that our notion of justice is the very crux of 
the whole business? Is justice merely a matter 
of telling the truth? Nonsense; it may be well 
to have our children believe that ; but those who 
are not children know that if a lie is a better in- 
strument of achievement than the truth in some 
given juncture of events, then a lie is justified. 
Truth is a social value, and has its justification 
only in that ; if untruth prove here and there of 
social value, then untruth is just. 2 The confusion 
of j ustice with some absolute eternal law comes of 
a separation of ethics from politics, and an attempt 
to arrive at a definition of justice from the study 

1 Protagoras, 322. 

2 Plato, says Cleanthes, "cursed as impious him who first 
sundered the just from the useful." — Gomperz, ii, 73. Cf. 
Republic, 331. 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 63 

of individuals. But morals grow out of politics ; 
justice is essentially a political relation. And 
taking the state as a whole, it is clear that noth- 
ing is "good" unless it works; that it would be 
absurd to say that justice demands of a state that 
it should be ordered in such a way as to make 
for its own decay. Social organization must be 
effective ; and lies and class-divisions are justified 
if they make for the effectiveness of a political 
order. Surely social effectiveness forbids that 
men fit to legislate should live out their lives as 
cobblers, or that men should rule whose natural 
aptitude is for digging ditches. Justice means, 
for politics at least, that each member of society 
is minding his natural business, is doing that for 
which he is fitted by his own natural capacity. 
Injustice is the encroachment of one part on an- 
other; justice is the efficient functioning of each 
part. Justice, then, is social coordination and 
harmony. It is not " the interest of the stronger," 
it is the harmony of the whole. So in the indi- 
vidual, justice is the harmonious operation of a 
unified personality ; each element in one's nature 
doing that which it is fitted to do ; again it is 
not mere strength or forcefulness, but harmonious, 
organized strength ; it is effective order. And 
effective order demands a class division. You 
may mouth as you please the delusive delicacies 
of democracy ; but classes you will have, for men 
will always be some of gold and some of silver 
and some of brass. And the brass must not pass 



64 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

itself off as silver, nor the silver as gold. Give 
the brass all the time and opportunity in the 
world, and it will still be brass. Of course brass 
will not believe that it is brass, but we had better 
make it understand once for all that it is so, even 
if we have to tell a thousand lies to get the truth 
believed. 

And as for variation and plasticity, remember 
that these too are valueless except as they make 
for a better society. They assuredly make for 
change ; but change is not betterment. History 
is a chaos of variations ; without some organ for 
their control they cancel one another and termi- 
nate inevitably in futility. Our problem is not 
how to change, but how to set our best brains to 
controlling change for the sake of a finer life. 

VIII 

The Future of Plato 

There are apergus here, and a bewildering 
wealth of suggestions, which one is tempted to 
pursue to their ultimate present significance. But 
to do that would be to encroach too much on 
the subjects of later chapters. The vital thing 
here is not to accept or refute any special element 
in Plato's political philosophy; it is rather to 
see how inextricably politics and philosophy were 
bound together in his mind as two sides of funda- 
mentally one endeavor. Here is the passion to 
remould things; here is the seeing of perfection 



PLATO : PHILOSOPHY AS POLITICS 65 

and the will to make perfection ; here speaks out 
for the first time in European history the courage 
of the intellect that not only will perceive but 
will remake. Here is a man ; no dead academic 
cobweb-weaver, but a masterful, kingly soul, 
mixed up in warm intimacy with the complex 
flow of the life about him. He paints Utopia; 
but at the same time he takes his own counsel 
anent the importance of an educational approach 
to the social problem, and founds the most famous 
and influential university the world has ever seen. 
Picture him in the gardens and lecture-halls of 
his Academy, arranging and supervising and co- 
ordinating, and turning out men to whom nations 
looked — and not in vain — for statesmen. Not 
merely to lift men up to the beatific vision of uni- 
ties and perfections, but to teach them the art of 
creation, to fire them with the ardor of a new 
artistry; this he aimed to do, and did. "The 
greatest works grow in importance, as trees do 
after the death of the mortal men who planted 
them." 1 So grew the Republic, and the Academy. 
To catch in a chapter the deep yet subtle spirit 
and meaning of this "finest product of antiq- 
uity," 2 — it is not easy. In Plato's Utopia 
there would no doubt have been a law against 
writing so briefly on so vast a phenomenon, — 
with, in this case, the inevitably consequent de- 
rangement of the Platonic perspective, and the 

1 Edmund Gosse, Life of Henrik Ibsen, p. 100, note. 
* Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, pref. 
F 



66 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

impossibility, within such compass, of focussing 
Plato in the political and philosophical meaning 
of his time. One's feeling here is of having dese- 
crated with small talk the Parthenon of philos- 
ophy. Perhaps as we go on we shall be able to 
see more clearly the still-living value of Plato's 
thought : in almost everything that we shall 
hereinafter discuss his voice will be heard, even 
though unnamed. To-day, at last, he comes 
again into his own — as in Renaissance days — 
after centuries dominated by the influence of his 
first misinterpreter ; and generations bred on the 
throned lukewarmness of the Nicomachean Ethics 
yield to a generation that is learning to feel the 
hot constructive passion of the Republic. Dead 
these two thousand and some hundred years, 
Plato belongs to the future. 



CHAPTER III 

FRANCIS BACON AND THE SOCIAL POSSIBILITIES 

OF SCIENCE 



From Plato to Bacon 

"As I read Plato," writes Professor Dewey, 
"philosophy began with some sense of its essen- 
tially political basis and mission — a recognition 
that its problems were those of the organization 
of a just social order. But it soon got lost in 
dreams of another world." ! Plato and Aristotle 
are the crura cerebri of Europe. But in Aristotle, 
along with a wealth of acute observation of men 
and institutions, we find a diminishing interest in 
reconstruction ; the Stagirite spent too much of 
his time in card-cataloguing Plato, and allowed 
his imagination to become suffocated with logic. 
With the Stoics and Epicureans begin that alien- 
ation of ethics from politics, and that subordi- 
nation of philosophy to religious needs, which it 
is part of the task of present thinking to undo. 
Alexander had conquered the Orient, only to have 

1 Influence of Darwin on Philosophy, New York, 1910, 
p. 21. 

67 



68 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Orientalism conquer Greece. Under Scholasti- 
cism it was the fate of great minds to retrace worn 
paths in the cage of a system of conclusions deter- 
mined by external authority; and the obligation 
to uphold the established precluded any practi- 
cal recognition of the reconstructive function of 
thought. With the Renaissance — that Indian 
summer of Greek culture — the dream of a re- 
moulded world found voice again. Campanella, 
through the darkness of his prison cell, achieved 
the vision of a communist utopia ; and other stu- 
dents of the rediscovered Plato painted similar 
pictures. Indeed this reawakening of Plato's in- 
fluence gave to the men of the Renaissance an 
inspiriting sense of the wonders that lay potential 
in organized intelligence. Again men faced the 
task of replacing with a natural ethic the falling 
authoritarian sanctions of supernatural reli- 
gion ; and for a time one might have hoped that 
the thought of Socrates was to find at last its due 
fruition. But again men lost themselves in the 
notion of a cultured class moving leisurely over 
the backs of slaves ; and perhaps it was well that 
the whole movement was halted by the more 
Puritan but also more democratic outburst of the 
Reformation. What the world needed was a 
method which offered hope for the redemption 
not of a class, but of all. Galileo and Roger Bacon 
opened the way to meeting this need by their 
emphasis on the value of hypothesis and experi- 
ment, and the necessity of combining induction 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 69 

with deduction ; it remained for Francis Bacon 
to lay out the road for the organized employment 
of these new methods, and to inspire all Europe 
with his warm vision of their social possibilities. 



II 

Character 

If you would understand Bacon, you must see 
him as not so much a philosopher as an adminis- 
trator. You find him a man of great practical 
ability : he remoulds philosophy with one hand 
and rules part of England with the other ; not to 
speak of writing Shakespeare's plays between 
times ! He rises brilliantly from youthful penury 
to the political pinnacle ; and meanwhile he runs 
over the whole realm of human knowledge, scatter- 
ing praise and censure with lordly hand. Did we 
not know the fact as part of the history of Eng- 
land we should never suspect that the detailed 
and varied learning of this man was the incidental 
accomplishment of a life busied with political in- 
trigue. Bene vixit qui bene latuit: surely here is 
a man who has lived widely, and in no merely 
physical sense has made the world his home. 
Life is no "brief candle" to him, nor men "such 
stuff as dreams are made of"; life is a glorious 
gift, big with blessing for him who will but assist 
at the delivery. There is nothing of the timid 
ascetic about him; like Socrates, he knows that 



70 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

there is a sort of cowardice in shunning pleasure ; x 
best of all, there is so much work to be done, so 
many opportunities for the man of unnarrowed 
soul. He feels the exhilaration of one who has 
burst free from the shackles of intellectual au- 
thority : he sees before him an uncharted future, 
raw material for hands that dare to mould it; 
and he dares. All his life long he is mixed up 
with the heart of things ; every day is an adven- 
ture. Exiled from politics he plunges gladly into 
the field of scientific reconstruction ; he does not 
forget that he is an administrator, any more than 
Plato could forget that he was a dramatist; he 
finds the world of thought a chaos, and bequeaths 
it a planful process for the coordination of human 
life; all Europe responds to his call for the "en- 
larging of the bounds of human empire." He 
works joyfully and buoyantly to the very last, and 
dies as he has wished, "in an earnest pursuit, 
which is like one that is wounded in hot blood, 
who, for the time, scarce feels the hurt." 

Ill 

The Expurgation of the Intellect 

Consider the reaction of an experienced states- 
man who leaves the service of a king to enter the 
service of truth. He has left a field wherein all 
workers moved in subordination to one head and 
one focal purpose ; he enters a field in which each 

1 Cf. De Augmentis, bk. viii, ch. 2. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 71 

worker is working by himself, with no division of 
labor, no organization of endeavor, no correla- 
tion of ends. There he has found administration, 
here he finds a nai've laissez-faire; there order, 
here anarchy ; there some sense of common end 
and effort, here none. He understands at once the 
low repute of philosophy among men of affairs. 
"For the people are very apt to contemn truth, 
upon account of the controversies raised about it ; 
and so think those all in a wrong way, who never 
meet." x He understands at once why it is that 
the world has been so little changed by specula- 
tion and research. He is a man whose conscious- 
ness of pervasive human misery is too sharp for 
comfort ; 2 and he sees no hope of remedy for 
this in isolated guerilla attacks waged upon the 
merest outposts of truth, each attack with its 
jealously peculiar strategy, its own dislocated, 
almost irrelevant end. And yet if there is no 
remedy for men's ills in this nascent science and 
renascent philosophy, in what other quarter, then, 
shall men look for hope and cure? 

There is no other, Bacon feels ; unless victory 
is first won in the laboratory and the study it 
will never be won in political assemblies ; no 
plebiscite or royal edict, but only truth, can make 
men free. Man's hope lies in the reorganization 
of the processes of discovery and interpretation. 

1 Advancement of Learning, Boston, 1863, bk. i. 
1 Philosophical Works, ed. J. M. Robertson, London, 
1805, p. 33. 



72 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Unless philosophy and science be born again of 
social aims and social needs they cannot have life 
in them. A new spirit must enter. 

But first old spirits must be exorcised. Specu- 
lation and research must bring out a declaration 
of independence against theology. "The corrup- 
tion of philosophy by superstition and an admix- 
ture of theology is . . . widely spread, and does 
the greatest harm." l The search for final causes, 
for design in nature, must be left to theologians ; 
the function of science is not to interpret the pur- 
poses of nature, but to discover the connections 
of cause and effect in nature. Dogma must be 
set aside: "if a man will begin with certainties 
he shall end in doubts ; but if he will be content 
to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties." 2 
Dogma must be set aside, too, because it necessi- 
tates deduction as a basic method ; and deduc- 
tion as a basic method is disastrous. 

But that is not all ; there is much more in the 
way of preliminaries : there must be a general 
"expurgation of the intellect." The mind is full 
(some would say made up) of prejudices, wild 
fancies, "idols," or imaginings of things that are 
not so : if you are to think correctly, usefully, 
all these must go. Try, then, to get as little of 
yourself as possible in the way of the thing you 
wish to see. Beware of the very general tendency 
to put order and regularity in the world and then 

1 Novum Organum, i, 65. 

3 Advancement of Learning, p. 133. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 73 

to suppose that they are native to the structure 
of things ; or to force all facts into the unyielding 
mould of a preconceived opinion, carefully neglect- 
ing all contrary instances ; or to give too credu- 
lous an ear to that which flatters the wish. Look 
into yourself and see the forest of prejudices that 
has grown up within you : through your tem- 
peramental attitudes ; through your education ; 
through your friends (friendship is so often an 
agreement in prejudices) ; through your favorite 
authors and authorities. If you find yourself 
seizing and dwelling on anything with particular 
satisfaction, hold it in suspicion. Beware of 
words, for they are imposed according to the ap- 
prehension of the crowd ; make sure that you do 
not take abstractions for things. And remind 
yourself occasionally that you are not the measure 
of all things, but their distorting mirror. 

So much by way of clearing the forest. Comes 
then induction as the fount and origin of all 
truth : patient induction, obedient to the call of 
fact, and with watchful eye for, above all things, 
the little unwelcome instance that contradicts. 
Not that induction is everything; it includes 
experiment, of course, and is punctuated by hy- 
pothesis. 1 (More, it is clearly but the servant of 
deduction, since the aim of all science is to pre- 
dict by deduction from generalizations formed by 
induction ; but just as clear is it that the efficacy 
of the whole business lies grounded in the faith- 

i Called by Bacon the "first vintage." 



74 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

fulness of the induction : induction is servant, 
but it has all men at its mercy.) And to formu- 
late methods of induction, to surround the process 
by mechanical guards, to protect it from the pre- 
mature flights of young generalizations, — that is 
a matter of life and death to science. 

IV 

Knowledge is Power 

And now, armed with these methods of pro- 
cedure, we stand face to face with nature. What 
shall we ask her? Prudens questio dimidium 
scientice: to know what to ask is half of every 
science. 

You must ask for laws, — or, to use a Platonic 
term, forms. In every process there is matter and 
there is form : the matter being the seat of the 
process or operation, and the form its method or 
law. "Though in nature nothing really exists 
besides individual bodies, performing pure indi- 
vidual acts, according to a fixed law, yet in philoso- 
phy the very law, and the investigation, discovery, 
and explanation of it, is the foundation as well of 
knowledge as of operation. And it is this law, 
with its clauses, that I mean when I speak of 
Forms." r Not so much what a "thing" is, but 
how it behaves ; — that is the question. And 
what is more, if you will examine your concep- 
tion of a "thing," you will see that it is really a 

1 Novum Organum, ii, 2. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 75 

conception of how the "thing" behaves; every 
What is at last a How. Every "thing" is a ma- 
chine, whose essence or meaning is to be found 
not by a mere description of its parts, but by an 
account of how it operates. " How does it work ? " 
asks the boy before a machine ; see to it that you 
ask the same question of nature. 

For observe, if you know how a thing works, 
you are on the way to managing and controlling 
it. Indeed, a Form can be defined as those ele- 
ments in a process which must be known before 
the process can be controlled. Here we see the 
meaning of science ; it is an effort to discover the 
laws which must be known in order "that the 
mind may exercise her power over the nature of 
things." 1 Science is the formulation of control ; 
knowledge is power. The object of science is not 
merely to know, but to rebuild ; every science 
longs to be an art. The quest for knowledge, 
then, is not a matter of curiosity, it is a fight for 
power. We "put nature on the rack and compel 
her to bear witness" against herself. Where this 
conception reigns, logic-chopping is out of court. 
"The end of our new logic is to find not arguments 
but arts; . . . not probable reasons but plans 
and designs of works ; ... to overcome not an 
adversary in argument but nature in action." 2 

But there is logic-chopping in other things than 
logic. All strife of men with men, of group with 

1 Preface to Magna Instauratio. 
* Novum Organum, pref. 



76 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

group, if it leaves no result beyond the victory 
and passing supremacy of the individual or group, 
is logic-chopping. Such victories pass from side 
to side, and cancel themselves into final nullity. 
Real achievement is victory, not over other men 
but with them. "It will not be amiss to distin- 
guish the three kinds, and as it were grades, of 
ambition in mankind. The first is of those who 
desire to extend their own power in their native 
country; which kind is vulgar and degenerate. 
The second is of those who labor to extend the 
power of their country and its dominion among 
men. This certainly has more dignity, though 
not less covetousness. But if a man endeavor to 
establish and extend the power and dominion of 
the human race over the universe, his ambition 
is without doubt both a more wholesome thing 
and a more noble than the other two. The empire 
of man over things depends wholly on the arts 
and sciences. For we cannot command nature 
except by obeying her." x 

V 

The Socialization of Science 

Natura non vincitur nisi parendo. "I accept 
the universe," says Margaret Fuller. "Gad! 
you'd better!" says Carlyle. I accept it, says 
Bacon, but only as raw material. We will 
listen to nature, but only that we may learn 

1 Novum Organum, i, 129. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 77 

what language she understands. We stoop to 
conquer. 

There is nothing impossible but thinking makes 
it so. "By far the greatest obstacle to the pro- 
gress of science and the undertaking of new 
tasks ... is found in this, that men despair and 
think things impossible. ... If therefore any 
one believes or promises more, they think this 
comes of an ungoverned and unripened mind." 1 
There is nothing that we may not do, if we will, 
but we must will ; and must will the means as 
well as the end. Would we have an empire of 
man over nature ? Very well : organize the arts 
and sciences. 

"Consider what may be expected from men 
abounding in leisure, and from association of 
labors, and from successions of ages ; the rather 
because it is not a way over which only one man 
can pass at a time (as is the case with that of 
reasoning), but within which the labors and in- 
dustries of men (especially as regards the collecting 
of experience) may with the best effort be distrib- 
uted and then combined. For then only will men 
begin to know their strength when instead of 
great numbers doing all the same things, one 
shall take charge of one thing and another of an- 
other." 2 There should be more cooperation, less 
chaotic rivalry, in research. And the cooperation 
should be international ; the various universities 

« Ibid., i, 92. 
" Ibid., i, 113. 



78 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

of the world, so far as they engage in research, 
should be like the different buildings of a great 
manufacturing plant, each with its own particular 
specialty and quest. Is it not remarkable how 
"little sympathy and correspondence exists be- 
tween colleges and universities, as well through- 
out Europe as in the same state and kingdom?" 1 
Why cannot all the research in the world be co- 
ordinated into one unified advance? Perhaps 
the truth-seekers would be unwilling ; but has 
that been shown? And is the number of willing 
cooperators too small to warrant further effort? 
How can we know without the trial ? Grant that 
the genius would balk at some external central 
direction ; but research after all is seldom a matter 
of genius. "The course I propose ... is such 
as leaves but little to the acuteness and strength 
of wits, but places all wits and understandings 
nearly on the level." 2 Let scope and freedom 
be amply provided for the genius ; it is the work 
of following up the apergus of genius that most 
sorely needs coordination. Organization of re- 
search means really the liberation of genius : 
liberation from the halting necessities of mechani- 
cal repetition in experiment. Nor is coordination 
regimentation ; let each man follow his hobby to 
whatever university has been assigned to the in- 
vestigation of that particular item. Liberty is 
futility unless it is organized. 

1 Advancement of Learning, bk. ii, ch. 1. 

2 Novum Organum, i, 61. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 79 

It is a plan, you see, for the socialization of 
science. It is a large and royal vision ; to make 
it real involves "indeed opera basilica," it is the 
business of a king, "towards which the endeavors 
of one man can be but as the sign on a cross-road, 
which points out the way but cannot tread it." 1 
It will need such legislative appropriations as are 
now granted only to the business of competitive 
destruction on land and sea. "As the secretaries 
and spies of princes and states bring in bills for 
intelligence, so you must allow the spies and 
intelligencers of nature to bring in their bills if 
you would not be ignorant of many things worthy 
to be known. And if Alexander placed so large 
a treasure at Aristotle's command for the support 
of hunters, fowlers, fishers and the like, in much 
more need do they stand of this beneficence who 
unfold the labyrinths of nature." 2 

VI 

Science and Utopia 

Such an organization of science is Bacon's 
notion of Utopia. He gives us in The New 
Atlantis, in plain strong prose, a picture of a 
state in which this organization has reached the 
national stage. It is a state nominally ruled by a 
king (Bacon never forgets that he is a loyal sub- 
ject and counsellor of James I) ; but " preeminent 

1 Advancement of Learning, bk. i, ch. 1. 
*Ibid., bk. ii, ch. 1. 



80 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

amongst the excellent acts of the king . . . was 
the erection and institution of an Order or Society 
which we call Solomon's House ; the noblest 
foundation, as we think, that ever was upon the 
earth, and the lantern of this kingdom. It is dedi- 
cated to the study of the nature of all things." 1 
Every twelve years this Order sends out to all 
parts of the world "merchants of light"; men 
who remain abroad for twelve years, gather in- 
formation and suggestions in every field of art 
and science, and then (the next expedition having 
brought men to replace them) return home laden 
with books, instruments, inventions, and ideas. 
"Thus, you see, we maintain a trade not for gold, 
silver or jewels ; nor for silk ; nor for spices ; nor 
for any other commodity or matter; but only 
for God's first creation, which was Light." 2 
Meanwhile at home there is a busy army filling 
many laboratories, experimenting in zoology, 
medicine, dietetics, chemistry, botany, physics, 
and other fields; there are, in addition to these 
men, "three that collect the experiments in all 
the books ; . . . three that try new experiments " ; 
three that tabulate the results of the experiment- 
ers; "three that look into the experiments of 
their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of 
them things of use ... for man's life ; . . . three 
that direct new experiments " ; three that from 
the results draw up "observations, axioms, and 

1 New Atlantis, Cambridge University Press, 1900, p. 22. 

2 Ibid., p. 24. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 81 

aphorisms." 1 "We imitate also the flights of 
birds ; we have some degree of flying in the air ; 
we have ships and boats for going under water." 2 
And the purpose of it all, he says, with fine Ba- 
conian ring, is "the enlarging of the bounds of 
human empire, to the effecting of all things 
possible." 3 

VII 

Scholasticism in Science 

This is the voice of the Renaissance, speaking 
with some method to its music. It is the voice 
of Erasmus rather than that of Luther ; but it is 
the voice of a larger and less class-bound vision 
than that which moved the polite encomiast of 
folly. Such minds as were not lost in the religious 
turmoil of the time responded to Bacon's call for 
a new beginning; a "sense of liberation, ... of 
new destinies, pulsates in that generation at 
Bacon's touch." 4 Bacon says, and with justice, 
that he "rang the bell which called the wits to- 
gether." B When, in 1660, a group of London 
savants formed the Royal Society, it was from 
Bacon that they took their inspiration, and from 
the "House of Solomon" part of their plan of 

» Pp. 44, 45. 
5 P. 43. 
» P. 34. 

4 J. M. Robertson, preface to Philosophical Works. 
•Robert Adamson, article "Bacon," Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica. 

a 



82 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

organization. Diderot and D'Alembert acknowl- 
edged the impetus given by their reading of Bacon 
to the adventurous enterprise which completed 
and distributed the Encyclopedic despite the pro- 
hibition of the king. To-day, after two hundred 
years of Cartesian futility about mind and body 
and the problem of knowledge, the Baconian 
emphasis on the socially-reconstructive func- 
tion of thought renews its power and appeal. 
The world returns to Socrates, to Plato, and 
to Bacon. 

But with some measure of wholesome disillu- 
sionment. These last two centuries have told us 
that science, unaided, cannot solve our social 
problem. We have invented, invented, invented, 
invented ; and with what result ? The gap be- 
tween class and class has so widened during these 
inventive years that there are now not classes 
but castes. Social harmony is a matter of brief 
interludes in a drama more violent than any ever 
mimicked on the stage. Men trained and ac- 
complished in science, like Prince Kropotkin, 
abandon it on the score that it has turned its 
back on the purpose that gave it vitality and 
worth. 1 

What is the purpose of science? What do 
scientists consider to be the purpose of science? 
The laboratories are crowded with men who have 
no inkling of any other than a purely material 
reconstruction as the function of their growing 

1 Cf . preface to Memoirs of a Revolutionist. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 83 

knowledge. Specialization has so divided science 
that hardly any sense of the whole survives. The 
ghosts of scholasticism — of a pursuit of knowl- 
edge divorced from its social end — hover about 
the microscopes and test-tubes of the scientific 
world ; and the upshot of it all is that to them 
who have, more is given. Let Bacon speak here : 
"There is another great and powerful cause why 
the sciences have made but little progress, which 
is this. It is not possible to run a course aright, 
when the goal itself has not been rightly placed." l 
Sciences with obvious social functions have lan- 
guished through lapse of all sense of direction, all 
feeling of focus; psychology, for example, is but 
now reviving under the stimulus of men who 
dared to "stir the earth a little about the roots 
of this science," 2 because they had perceived its 
purpose and meaning in the drama of reconstruc- 
tion. The blunt truth is that unless a scientist 
is also a philosopher, with some capacity to see 
things sub specie totius, — unless he can come 
out of his hole into the open, — he is not fit to 
direct his own research. " As no perfect discovery 
can be made upon a flat or level, neither is it 
possible to discover the more remote and deeper 
parts of any science, if you stand but upon the 
level of the same science, and ascend not to a 
higher science." 3 Before it can be of real ser- 

1 Novum Organum, i, 81. 

* Advancement of Learning, p. 297. 

» Ibid., p. 131. 



84 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

vice to life, science must be enlightened by 
some discrimination of values, some considera- 
tion and fitting together of human ends : with- 
out philosophy as its eye piece, science is but 
the traditional child who has taken apart the 
traditional watch, with none but the traditional 
results. 

There is more to this indictment. Science has 
been organized, though very imperfectly, for re- 
search ; it has been organized hardly at all for 
social application and control. The notion that 
science can be used in conserving the vital ele- 
ments of order and at the same time facilitating 
experimental and progressive change, is but be- 
ginning to walk about. Indeed, the employment 
and direction of scientific ability in the business of 
government is still looked upon as a doubtful pro- 
cedure ; to say that the administration of muni- 
cipal affairs, for example, is to be given over to 
men trained in the social sciences rather than to 
men artful in trapping votes with oratorical 
molasses, is still a venture into the loneliness of 
heresy. Again let Bacon speak, who was admin- 
istrator and philosopher in one. "It is wrong to 
trust the natural body to empirics who commonly 
have a few receipts whereon they rely, but who 
know neither the causes of the disease, nor the 
constitution of patients, nor the danger of acci- 
dents, nor the true methods of cure. And so it 
must needs be dangerous to have the civil body 
of states managed by empirical statesmen, unless 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 85 

well mixed with others who are grounded in learn- 
ing. On the contrary it is almost without in- 
stance that any government was unprosperous 
under learned governors." l 

Plato over again, you say. Yes; just as 
"Greek philosophy is the dough with which 
modern philosophers have baked their bread, 
kneading it over and over again," 2 so this vital 
doctrine of the application of the best available 
intelligence to the problem of social order and 
development must be restated in every genera- 
tion until at last the world may see its truth and 
merit exemption from its repetition. 

VIII 

The Asiatics of Europe 

But the place of Bacon in the continuum of 
history is hardly stated by connecting him with 
Plato. Conceive of him rather as a new pro- 
tagonist in the long epic of intelligence ; another 
blow struck in the seemingly endless war between 
magic and science, between supernaturalism and 
naturalism, between the spirit of worship and the 
spirit of control. Primitive man — and he lives 
everywhere under the name of legion — looks out 
upon nature as something to be feared and obeyed, 
something to be cajoled by ritual and sacrifice and 
prayer. In ages of great social disorder, such as 

1 Advancement of Learning., bk. i. 

J Professor Woodbridge, class-lectures. 



86 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

the millennium inaugurated in Western Europe 
by the barbarian invasions, the primitive ele- 
ments in the mental make-up of men emerge 
through the falling cultural surface; and cults 
rich in ritual and steeped in emotional luxury- 
grow in rank abundance. It is in the character 
of man to worship power : if he feels the power 
without him more intensely than the power 
within, he worships nature with a humble fear, 
and leans on magic and supernatural rewards; 
if he feels the power within him more intensely 
than the power without, he sees divinity in him- 
self and other centres of remoulding activity, and 
thinks not of worshipping and obeying nature, 
but of controlling and commanding her. The 
second attitude comes, of course, with knowledge, 
and action that expresses knowledge ; it is quite 
human that nature should not be worshipped 
once she has been known. A man is primitive, 
then, when he worships nature and makes no 
effort to control her ; he is mature when he stops 
worshipping and begins to control, — when he 
understands that "Nature is not a temple but a 
workshop," * not a barrier to divinity, but the 
raw material of Utopia. 

Now the essence of Bacon is not the replace- 
ment of deduction by induction, but the change 
of emphasis from worship to control. This em- 
phasis, once vivid in Plato but soon obscured by 
Oriental influence, is one of the two dominant 

1 Turgenev, in Fathers and Children. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 87 

elements in modern thought (the other being the 
puzzling over an artificial problem of knowledge) ; 
and unless the Baconian element finally subordi- 
nates the Cartesian, the word modern must 
no longer arrogate to itself a eulogistic connota- 
tion. Hence Bacon, and not Descartes, is the 
initiator of modern philosophy ; part initiator, at 
least, of that current of thought which finds 
rebellious expression in the enlightenment of the 
eighteenth century, and comes to supremacy in 
the scientific victories of the nineteenth. The 
vital sequence in modern philosophy is not Des- 
cartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, and Bergson 
(for these are the Asiatics of Europe), but 
Bacon, Hobbes, Condorcet, Comte, Darwin, and 
James. 1 

The hope of the world is in this resolute spirit 
of control, — control of the material without us, 
and of the passions within. Bit by bit, one is 
not afraid to say, we shall make for ourselves a 
better world. Shall we not find a way to elim- 
inate disease, to control the increase of popu- 
lation, to find in plastic organization a substitute 
for revolution? Shall we perhaps even succeed 
in transmuting the lust for power over man into 
ambition to conquer the forces that impede man ? 
Shall we make men understand that there is more 

1 This division into saints and sinners must be taken with 
reservations, of course. In many respects Descartes belongs 
to the second group, and in some respects James and Comt© 
belong to the first. But the dichotomy clarifies, if only by 
exaggeration. 



88 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

potency of joy in the sense of having contributed 
to the power of men over nature than in any per- 
sonal triumph of one over another man ? — more 
glory in a conquest of bacteria than in all the 
martial victories that have ever spilled human 
blood ? Here is the beginning of real civilization, 
and the mark of man. "The environment trans- 
forms the animal; man transforms the environ- 
ment." * "Looking at the history of the world 
as a whole, the tendency has been in Europe to 
subordinate nature to man; out of Europe, to 
subordinate man to nature. Formerly the richest 
countries were those in which nature was most 
bountiful ; now the richest countries are those in 
which man is most active." 2 Control is the sign 
of maturity, the achievement of Europe, the future 
of America. It is, one argues again, the drama 
of history, this war between Asia and Europe, 
between nature and man, between worship and 
control. Fundamentally it is the upward struggle 
of intelligence : Plato is its voice, Zeno its passing 
exhaustion, Bacon its resurrection. It was not 
an unopposed rebirth : there is still no telling 
whether East or West will win. Surrounded by 
the backwash of Oriental currents everywhere, 
the lover of the Baconian spirit needs constantly 
to refresh himself at the fount of Bacon's inex- 
haustible inspiration and confidence. "I stake 
all," he says, "on the victory of art over nature 

1 L. Ward, Pure Sociology, p. 16. 

5 Buckle, History of Civilization, i, 138. 



THE POSSIBILITIES OF SCIENCE 89 

in the race." And one needs to hold ever before 
oneself Bacon's favorite device : A ship passing 
through the Pillars of Hercules out into the un- 
known sea, and over it the words, Plus ultra. 
More beyond ! 



CHAPTER IV 

SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM l 

I 

Hobbes 

Passing from Bacon to Spinoza we meet with 
Thomas Hobbes, a man from whom Spinoza drew 
many of his ideas, though very little of his inspi- 
ration. The social incidence of the greater part 
of Hobbes's thinking has long been recognized ; 
he is not a figure over whom the biographer of 
social thought finds much cause to quarrel. He 
is at once the materialist par excellence of modern 
philosophy, and the most uncompromising protag- 
onist of the absolutist theory of the state. The 
individual, all compact of pugnacity, was to 
Hobbes the bogey which the state, voracious of 
all liberties, became two centuries later to Herbert 
Spencer. He had in acute degree the philoso- 
pher's natural appetite for order ; and trembled 
at the thought of initiatives not foreseen by his 
political geometry. He lived in the midst of 

1 Special acknowledgment for some of the material of this 
chapter is due to R. A. Duff, Spinoza's Political and Ethical 
Philosophy, Glasgow, 1903. 

90 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 91 

alarms : war stepped on the heels of war in what 
was very nearly a real helium omnium contra 
omnes. He lived in the midst of political reaction : 
men were weary of Renaissance exuberance and 
Reformation strife, and sank gladly into the open 
arms of the past. There could be no end, thought 
Hobbes, to this turmoil of conflicting egos, indi- 
vidual and national, until all groups and individ- 
uals knelt in absolute obedience to one sovereign 
power. 

But all this has been said before ; we need but 
remind ourselves of it here so that we may the 
better appreciate the vibrant sympathy for the 
individual man, the generous defence of popular 
liberties, that fill with the glow of subdued passion 
the pages of the gentle Spinoza. 

II 

The Spirit of Spinoza 

Yet Spinoza was not wanting in that timidity 
and that fear of unbridled instinct which stood 
dictator over the social philosophy of Hobbes. 
He knew as well as Hobbes the dangers of a 
democracy that could not discipline itself. "Those 
who have had experience of how changeful the 
temper of the people is, are almost in despair. For 
the populace is governed not by reason but by 
emotion ; it is headlong in everything, and easily 
corrupted by avarice and luxury." l And even 

1 Tractalus Theologico-polilicue, ch. 17. 



92 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

more than Hobbes he withdrew from the affairs 
of men and sought in the protection of a suburban 
attic the peace and solitude which were the vital 
medium of his thought. He found that some- 
times at least, "truth hath a quiet breast." "Se 
tu sarai solo," wrote Leonardo, "tu sarai tutto 
tuo." And surely Goethe thought of Spinoza 
when he said: "No one can produce anything 
important unless he isolate himself." 

But this dread of the crowd was only a part of 
Spinoza's nature, and not the dominant part. 
His fear of men was lost in his boundless capacity 
for affection ; he tried so hard to understand men 
that he could not help but love them. "I have 
labored carefully not to mock, lament, or exe- 
crate, but to understand, human actions ; and to 
this end I have looked upon passions . . . not 
as vices of human nature, but as properties just 
as pertinent to it as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, 
and the like to the nature of the atmosphere." l 
Even the accidents of time and space were sinless to 
his view, and all the world found room in the abun- 
dance of his heart. "Spinoza deified the All in 
order to find peace in the face of it," says Nietz- 
sche : 2 but perhaps, too, because all love is deifi- 
cation. 

All in all, history shows no man more honest and 
independent ; and the history of philosophy shows 
no man so sincere, so far above quibbling and 

1 Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 1. 
1 Will to Power, vol. i, § 95. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 93 

dispute and the picking of petty flaws, so eager 
to receive the truth even when brought by the 
enemy, so ready to forgive even persecution in the 
depth and breadth of his tolerance. No man who 
suffered so much injustice made so few com- 
plaints. He became great because he could merge 
his own suffering in the suffering of all, — a mark 
of all deep men. "They who have not suffered," 
says Ibsen, — and, one might add, suffered with 
those they saw suffer, — "never create; they 
only write books." 

Spinoza did not write much ; the long-suffering 
are seldom long-winded. A fragment On the Im- 
provement of the Understanding ; a brief volume on 
religion and the state ; the Ethics ; and as he be- 
gan to write the chapter on democracy in the 
Political Treatise consumption conquered him. 
Bacteria take no bribes. 

Ill 

Political Ethics 

Had he lived longer it would have dawned per- 
haps even on the German historians that Spinoza's 
basic interest was not in metaphysics so much as 
in political ethics. The Ethics, because it is the 
most sustained flight of reasoning in philosophy, 
has gathered round it all the associations that 
throng about the name of Spinoza, so that one is 
apt to think of him in terms of a mystical "pan- 
theism" rather than of coordinative intelligence, 



94 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

democracy, and free thought. 1 Hoffding considers 
it a defect in Spinoza's philosophy that it takes 
so little notice of epistemology : but should we not 
be grateful for that? Here are men suffering, 
said Spinoza, here are men enslaved by passions 
and prelates and kings ; surely till these things 
are dealt with we have no time for epistemological 
delicacies. Instead of increasing the world's 
store of learned ignorance by writing tomes on the 
possibility of a subject knowing an object, Spinoza 
thought it better to give himself to the task of 
helping to keep alive in an age of tyrannical re- 
action the Renaissance doctrine of popular sover- 
eignty. Instead of puzzling himself and others 
about epistemology he pondered the problem of 
stimulating the growth of intelligence and evolv- 
ing a rational ethic. He thought that philosophy 
was something more than a chess-game for pro- 
fessors. 

There is no need to spend time and space here 
on what for Spinoza, as for Socrates and Plato, was 
the problem of problems, — how human reason 
could be developed to a point where it might re- 
place supernatural sanctions for social conduct and 

1 Cf . Duff, op. cit., pref. : "It can be shown that Spinoza 
had no interest in metaphysics for its own sake, while he was 
passionately interested in moral and political problems. 
He was a metaphysician at all only in the sense that he was 
resolute in thinking out the ideas, principles, and categories 
which are interwoven with all our practical endeavor, and 
the proper understanding of which is the condition of human 
welfare." 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 95 

provide the medium of social reconstruction. 
One point, however, may be profitably empha- 
sized. 

A careless reading of the Ethics may lead to the 
belief that Spinoza bases his philosophy on a 
nai've opposition of reason to passion. It is not 
so. "A desire cannot be restrained or removed," 
says Spinoza, "except by an opposite and stronger 
desire." 1 Reason is not dictator to desire, it is 
a relation among desires, — that relation which 
arises when experience has hammered impulses 
into coordination. An impulse, passion or emo- 
tion is by itself "a confused idea," a blurred pic- 
ture of the thing that is indeed desired. Thought 
and impulse are not two kinds of mental process : 
thought is impulse clarified by experience, impulse 
is thought in chaos. 

IV 

Is Man a Political Animal? 

Why is there a social problem? Is it because 
men are "bad"? Nonsense, answers Spinoza: 
the terms "good" and "bad," as conveying moral 
approval and disapproval, are philosophically 
out of court ; they mean nothing except that 
"each of us wishes all men to live according to 
his desire," and consoles himself for their non- 
complaisance by making moral phrases. There 
is a social problem, says Spinoza, because men are 

1 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 7. 



96 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

not naturally social. This does not mean that 
there are no social tendencies in the native human 
constitution ; it does mean that these tendencies 
are but a sorry fraction of man's original nature, 
and do not avail to chain the "ape and tiger" 
hiding under his extremely civilized shirt. Man 
is a "political animal" ; but he is also an animal. 
We must approach the social problem through a 
very respectful consideration of the ape and tiger ; 
we must follow Hobbes and inquire into "the 
natural condition of man." 

"In the state of nature every man lives as he 
wishes," l — he is not pestered with police regula- 
tions and aldermanic ordinances. He "may do 
whatever he can : his rights extend to the utmost 
limits of his powers." 2 He may fight, hate, 
deceive, exploit, to his heart's desire ; and he 
does. We moderns smile at the "natural man" 
as a myth, and think our forbears were social ab 
initio. But be it remembered that by "social" 
Spinoza implies no mere preference of society to 
solitude, but a subordination of individual caprice 
to more or less tacit communal regulation. And 
Spinoza considers it useful, if we are going to talk 
about "human nature in politics," to ask whether 
man naturally submits to regulation or naturally 
rebels against it. When he wrote of a primitive 
non-social human condition he wrote as a psychol- 
ogist inferring the past rather than as an historian 

1 Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, v, 2. 

2 Ibid., ch. 16. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 97 

revealing it. He observed man, kindly yet 
keenly; he saw that "everyone desires to keep 
down his fellow-men by all possible means, and 
when he prevails, boasts more of the injuries he 
has done to others than of the advantage he has 
won for himself" ; ' and he concluded that if we 
could trace human history to its sources we should 
find a creature — call him human or pre-human — 
willing, perhaps glad, to have the company of his 
like, but still unattracted and unhampered by 
social organization. 

We like to laugh at the simple anthropology 
of Spinoza and Rousseau ; but the laugh should 
be turned upon us when we suppose that the 
historical motif played any but a very minor part 
in the discussion of the natural state of man. 
History was not the point at all : these men were 
not interested in the past so much as in the pos- 
sibilities of the future. That is why the eigh- 
teenth century was so largely their creation. 
When a man is interested in the past he writes 
history ; when he is interested in the future he 
makes it. 

The point to be borne in mind, Spinoza urges, 
is that we are still essentially unsocialized ; the 
instinct to acquire possession and power, if 
necessary by oppression and exploitation, is still 
stronger than the disposition to share, to be toler- 
ant of disagreement, and to work in mutual aid. 
The "natural man" is not a myth, he is the solid 

1 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 58, schol. 

H 



98 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

reality that struts about dressed in a little brief 
civilization. "Religion teaches that each man 
should love his neighbor as himself, and defend 
the rights of others as earnestly as he would his 
own. Yet this conviction has very little influence 
over man's emotions. It is no doubt of some ac- 
count in the hour of death, for then disease has 
weakened the emotions, and the man lies helpless. 
And the principle is assented to in church, for 
there men have no dealings with one another. 
But in the mart or the court it has little or no 
effect, though that is just where the need for it is 
greatest." 1 He still " does everything for the sake 
of his own profit" ; 2 nor will even the unlimited 
future change him in that, for it is his very es- 
sence. His happiness is in the pursuit of his 
profit, his supreme joy is in the increase of his 
power. And a social order built upon any other 
basis than this exuberant egoism of man will be 
as lasting, in the eye of history, as a name that is 
writ in water. 

V 

What the Social Problem Is 

But what if it is a good basis? What if "the 
foundation of virtue is the endeavor to preserve 
one's own being" to the uttermost? 8 What if 

1 Tractatus Theohgico-politicus, i, 5. 

1 Ethics, bk. i, appendix. 

8 Ibid., bk. iv, prop. 18, schol. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 99 

there is a way in which, without any hypocritical 
mystification, this self-seeking, while still remain- 
ing self-seeking, may become cooperation? 

Spinoza's answer is not startling : it is the 
Socratic answer, issuing from a profound psycho- 
logical analysis. Given the liberation and de- 
velopment of intelligence, and the discordant strife 
of egos will yield undreamed-of harmonies. Men 
are so made, they are so compact of passion and 
obscurity, that they will not let one another be 
free ; how can that be changed ? Deception has 
been tried, and has succeeded only temporarily 
if at all. Compulsion has been tried ; but com- 
pulsion is a negative force, it makes for inhibition 
rather than inspiration. It is a necessary evil ; 
but hardly the last word of constructive social 
thinking. There is something more in a man than 
his capacity for fear, there is some other way 
of appealing to him than the way of threats ; 
there is his hunger and thirst to know and under- 
stand and develop. Think of the untouched 
resources of this human desire for mental enlarge- 
ment ; think of the millions who almost starve 
that they may learn. Is that the force that is 
to build the future and fashion the city of our 
dreams ? Here are men torn with impulses, shaken 
by mutual interference ; is it conceivable that they 
would be so deeply torn and shaken if that hunger 
of theirs for knowledge — knowledge of them- 
selves, too, — were met with generous oppor- 
tunity ? Men long to be reasonable ; they know, 



100 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

even the least of them, that under the tyranny of 
impulse there is no ultimately fruitful life ; what 
is there that they would not give for the power to 
seee things clearly and be captains of their souls ? 
Here if anywhere is an opportunity for such states- 
manship as does not often grace the courts of em- 
perors and kings ! 

How we can come to know ourselves, our in- 
most nature, how we can through this knowledge 
achieve coordination and our real desires, — that 
is for Spinoza the heart of the social problem. 
The source of man's strength is that he can know 
his weakness. If he can but find himself out, 
then he can change himself. "A passion ceases 
to be a passion as soon as we form a clear and 
distinct idea of it." x When a passion is tracked 
to its lair and confronted with its futile partiality, 
its sting is drawn, it can hurt us no more ; it may 
cooperate but it may no longer rule. It is seen 
to be " inadequate," to express but a fragment of 
us, and so seen it sinks into its place in the hier- 
archy of desires. "And in proportion as we know 
our emotions better, the more are they susceptible 
to control." 2 Passion is passivity; control is 
power. Knowledge brings control, and control 
brings freedom ; freedom is not a gift, it is a vic- 
tory. Knowledge, control, freedom, power, vir- 
tue : these are all one thing. Before the "em- 
pire of man over nature" must come the empire 

1 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 3. 
8 Ibid., cor. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 101 

of man over himself, must come coordination. 
Achievement is born of clear vision and unified 
intent, not of actions that are but bubbles on the 
muddy rapids of desire. 

VI 

Free Speech 

"Before all things, a means must be devised for 
improving and clarifying the understanding." ' 
"Since there is no single thing we know which is 
more excellent than a man who is guided by 
reason, it follows that there is nothing by which 
a person can better show how much skill and talent 
he possesses than by so educating men that at 
last they will live under the direct authority of 
reason." 2 But how? 

First of all, says Spinoza, thought must be ab- 
solutely free : we must have the possible profit 
of even the most dangerous heresies. If that 
proposition appear a trifle trite, let it be remem- 
bered that Spinoza wrote at a time when Galileo's 
broken-hearted retraction was still fresh in men's 
memories, and when Descartes was modifying 
his philosophy to soothe the Jesuits. The chapter 
on freedom of thought is really the pivotal point 
and raison d'etre of the Tractatus Theologico- 
politicus; and it is still rich in encouragement 
and inspiration. Perhaps there is nothing else 

1 De Inlellectus Emendatione. 
' Ethics, bk. iv, appendix, § 9. 



102 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

in Spinoza's writings that is so typical at once of 
his gentleness and of his strength. 

Free speech should be granted, Spinoza argues, 
because it must be granted. Men may conceal 
real beliefs, but these same beliefs will inevitably 
influence their behavior ; a belief is not that which 
is spoken, it is that which is done. A law against 
free speech is subversive of law itself, for it invites 
derision from the conscientious. "All laws which 
can be broken without any injury to another 
are counted but a laughing-stock." x It is useless 
for the state to command "such things as are 
abhorrent to human nature." "Men in general 
are so constituted that there is nothing they will 
endure with so little patience as that views which 
they believe to be true should be counted crimes 
against the law. . . . Under such circumstances 
men do not think it disgraceful, but most honor- 
able, to hold the laws in abhorrence, and to re- 
frain from no action against the government." 2 
Where men are not permitted to criticise their 
rulers in public, they will plot against them in 
private. There is no religious enthusiasm stronger 
than that with which laws are broken by those 
whose liberty has been suppressed. 

Spinoza goes further. Thought must be lib- 
erated not only from legal restrictions but from 
indirect and even unintentional compulsion as 
well. Spinoza feels very strongly the danger to 

1 Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 10. 
*Ibid., eh. 19. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 103 

freedom, that is involved in the organization of 
education by the state. "Academies that are 
founded at the public expense are instituted not 
so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to 
restrain them. But in a free commonwealth arts 
and sciences will be best cultivated to the full if 
everyone that asks leave is allowed to teach in 
public, at his own cost and risk." 1 He would have 
preferred such "free lances" as the Sophists to the 
state universities of the American Middle West. 
He did not suggest means of avoiding the apparent 
alternative of universities subsidized by the rich. 
It is a problem that has still to be solved. 

In demanding absolute freedom of speech Spi- 
noza touches the bases of state organization. 
Nothing is so dangerous and yet so necessary; 
for ignorance is the mother of authority. The de- 
fenders of free speech have never yet met the con- 
tention of such men as Hobbes, that freedom of 
thought is subversive of established government. 
The reason is only this, that the contention is 
probably true, so far as most established govern- 
ments go. Absolute liberty of speech is assuredly 
destructive of despotism, no matter how constitu- 
tional the despotism may be ; and those who have 
at heart the interests of any such government 
may be forgiven for hesitating to applaud Spinoza. 
Freedom of speech makes for social vitality, cer- 
tainly ; without it, indeed, the avenues of mental 
and social development would be blocked, and 

» Ibid., ch. 8. 



104 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

life hardly worth living. But freedom of speech 
cannot be said to make for social stability and 
permanence, unless the social organization in ques- 
tion invites criticism and includes some mechanism 
for profiting by it. Where democracy is real, 
or is on the way to becoming real, free speech 
will help, not harm, the state ; for there is no man 
so loyal as the man who knows that he may criti- 
cise his government freely and to some account. 
But where there is the autocracy of a person or a 
class, freedom of speech makes for dissolution, — 
dissolution, however, not of the society so much 
as of the government. The Bourbons are gone, 
but France remains. Nay, if the Bourbons had 
remained, France might be gone. 

But to argue to-day for freedom of speech is to 
invite the charge of emphasizing the obvious. 
It may be wholesome to remind ourselves, by a 
few examples, that however universal the theory 
of free speech may be, the practice is still rather 
sporadic. An American professor is dismissed 
because he thinks there is a plethora of unearned 
income in his country; an English publicist is 
reported to have been refused "permission" to 
fill lecture engagements in America because he 
had not been sufficiently patriotic ; and one of the 
most prominent of living philosophers loses his 
chair because he supposes that conscience has 
rights against cabinets. But indeed our governing 
bodies are harmless offenders here in comparison 
with the people themselves. The last lesson which 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 105 

men and women will learn is the lesson of free 
thought and free speech. The most famous of 
living dramatists finds himself unsafe in London 
streets, because he has dared to criticise his govern- 
ment; the most able of living novelists finds it 
convenient to leave Paris because there are still 
some Germans whom he does not hate; and an 
American community full of constitutional lawyers 
shows its love of "law and order" by stoning a 
group of boys bent on expounding the desirability 
of syndicalism. 

Perhaps the world has need of many Spinozas 
still. 

VII 

Virtue as Power 

Freedom of expression is the corner-stone of 
Spinoza's politics ; the postulate without which he 
refuses to proceed. But Spinoza does not have 
to be told that this question of free speech precipi- 
tates him into the larger problems of "the indi- 
vidual vs. the state" ; he knows that that problem 
is the very raison d'itre of political philosophy; 
he knows that indeed the problem goes to the core 
of philosophy, and finds its source and crux in the 
complex socio-egoistical make-up of the individual 
man. 

The "God-intoxicated" Spinoza is quite sober 
and disillusioned about the social possibilities of 
altruism. "It is a universal law of human nature 



106 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

that no one ever neglects anything which he 
judges to be good, except with the hope of gaining 
a greater good." l "This is as necessarily true as 
that the whole is greater than its part." 2 This 
confident reduction of human conduct to self- 
reference does not for Spinoza involve any con- 
demnation : "reason, since it asks for nothing 
that is opposed to nature, demands that every 
person should . . . seek his own profit." 3 Ob- 
serve, reason demands this ; this same self-seeking 
is the most valuable and necessary item in the 
composition of man. Spinoza, as said, goes so 
far as to identify this self-seeking with virtue : 
"to act absolutely in conformity with virtue is, 
in us, nothing but to act, live, and preserve our 
being (these three have the same meaning) as 
reason directs, from the ground of seeking our 
own profit." 4 This is a brave rejection of self- 
renunciation and asceticism by one whose nature, 
so far as we can judge it now, inclined him very 
strongly in the direction of these "virtues." 
What we have to do, says Spinoza, is not to deny 
the self, but to broaden it ; here again, of course, 
intelligence is the mother of morals. Progress lies 
not in self -reduction but in self-expansion. Prog- 
ress is increase in virtue, but "by virtue and 
power I understand the same thing"; 5 progress 

1 Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 16. 

2 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 18, schol. 

3 Ibid. 

4 Ibid., bk. iv, prop. 24. 
« Bk. iv, def. 8. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 107 

is an increase in the ability of men to achieve their 
ends. It is part of our mental confectionery to 
define progress in terms of our own ends ; a nation 
is "backward" or "forward" according as it moves 
towards or away from our own ideals. But that, 
says Spinoza, is naive nonsense ; a nation is pro- 
gressive or backward according as its citizens 
are or are not developing greater power to realize 
their own purposes. That is a doctrine that may 
have "dangerous" implications, but intelligence 
will face the implications and the facts, ready not 
to suppress them but to turn them to account. 

It was the passion for power that led to the first 
social groupings and developed the social instincts. 
Our varied sympathies, our parental and filial 
impulses, our heroisms and generosities, all go 
back to social habits born of individual needs. 
"Since fear of solitude exists in all men, because 
no one in solitude is strong enough to defend him- 
self and procure the necessaries of life, it follows 
that men by nature tend towards social organiza- 
tion." l "Let satirists scoff at human affairs as 
much as they please, let theologians denounce 
them, and let the melancholy, despising men and 
admiring brutes, praise as much as they can a life 
rude and without refinement, — men will never- 
theless find out that by mutual help they can 
much more easily procure the things they need, 
and that it is only by their united strength that 
they can avoid the dangers which everywhere 

1 Tractates Theologico-politicus, ch. 6, § 1. 



108 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

threaten them." l Nihil homine homini utilius. 
Men discover that they are useful to one another, 
and that mutual profit from social organization 
increases as intelligence grows. In a "state of 
nature " — that is, before social organization — 
each man has a "natural right" to do all that he 
is strong enough to do ; in society he yields part 
of this sovereignty to the communal organization, 
because he finds that this concession, universalized, 
increases his strength. The fear of solitude, and 
not any positive love of fellowship, is the prime 
force in the origin of society. Man does not join 
in social organization because he has social in- 
stincts; he develops such instincts as the result 
of joining in such organization. 

VIII 

Freedom and Order 

Even to-day the social instincts are not strong 
enough to prevent unsocial behavior. "Men are 
not born fit for citizenship, but must be made 
so." 2 Hence custom and law. Each man, in 
his sober moments, desires such social arrange- 
ments as will protect him from aggression and 
interference. "There is no one who does not 
wish to live, so far as possible, in security and with- 
out fear ; and this cannot possibly happen so long 
as each man is allowed to do as he pleases." 3 

1 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 35, schol. 

* Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 5, § 2. 

• Ibid., ch. 16. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 109 

"That men who are necessarily subject to pas- 
sions, and are inconstant and changeable, may be 
able to live together in security, and to trust one 
another's fidelity," — that is the purpose of law. 1 
Ideally, the state is to the individual what reason 
is to passion. 2 Law protects a man not only from 
the passions of others, but from his own ; it is a 
help to delayed response. How to frame laws so 
that the greatest possible number of men may find 
their own security and fulfilment in allegiance to 
the law, — that is the problem of the statesman. 
Law implies force, but so does life, so does nature ; 
indeed, the punishments decreed by "man-made" 
states are usually milder than those which in a 
"state of nature" would be the natural conse- 
quents of most interferences ; not seldom the 
law — as when it prevents lynching — protects 
an aggressor from the natural results of his act. 
Force is the essence of law; hence international 
law will not really be law until nations are coor- 
dinated into a larger group possessed of the in- 
strumentalities of compulsion. 3 

It is clear that Spinoza has the philosophic love 
of order. "Whatever conduces to human har- 
mony and fellowship is good ; whatever brings 
discord into the state is evil." 4 But discord, one 
must repeat, is often the prelude to a greater 

1 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 37, schol. 2. 

1 Contrast Plato : the state (i.e., the governing classes) 
is to the lower classes as reason is to passion. 
' Tractalus Theologico-politicus, ch. 3, § 14. 
* Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 40. 



110 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

harmony ; development implies variation, and all 
variation is a discord except to ears that hear 
the future. The social sanction of liberty lies of 
course in the potential value of variations ; with- 
out that vision of new social possibilities which is 
suggested by variations from the norm a people 
perishes. Spinoza does not see this ; but there is 
a fine passage in the Tractatus Politicus 1 which 
shows him responsive to the ideal of liberty as well 
as to that of order : "The last end of the state is 
not to dominate men, nor to restrain them by fear ; 
rather it is so to free each man from fear that he 
may live and act with full security and without 
injury to himself or his neighbor. The end of the 
state is, I repeat, not to make rational beings into 
brute beasts or machines. It is to enable their 
bodies and their minds to function safely. It is 
to lead men to live by, and to exercise, a free reason, 
that they may not waste their strength in hatred, 
anger, and guile, not act unfairly toward one 
another. Thus the end of the state is really 
liberty." 

So it is that Spinoza takes sharp issue with 
Hobbes and exalts freedom, decentralization, and 
democracy, where Hobbes, starting with almost 
identical premises, concludes to a centralized des- 
potism of body and soul. This does not mean 
that Spinoza had no eye for the defects of democ- 
racy. "Experience is supposed to teach that it 
makes for peace and concord when all authority 

i Ch. 20. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 111 

is conferred upon one man. For no political 
order has stood so long without notable change as 
that of the Turks, while none have been so short- 
lived, nay, so vexed by seditions, as popular or 
democratic states. But if slavery, barbarism, and 
desolation are to be called peace, then peace is 
the worst misfortune that can befall a state. 
It is true that quarrels are wont to be sharper 
and more frequent between parents and children 
than between masters and slaves ; yet it advances 
not the art of home life to change a father's right 
into a right of property, and count his children as 
only his slaves. Slavery, then, and not peace, 
comes from the giving of all power to one man. 
For peace consists not in the absence of war, 
but in a union and harmony of men's souls." * 

No ; better the insecurity of freedom than the 
security of bondage. Better the dangers that 
come of the ignorance of majorities than those that 
flow from the concentration of power in the hands 
of an inevitably self-seeking minority. Even 
secret diplomacy is worse than the risks of public- 
ity. "It has been the one song of those who thirst 
after absolute power that the interest of the state 
requires that its affairs be conducted in secret. 
. . . But the more such arguments disguise them- 
selves under the mask of public welfare the more 
oppressive is the slavery to which they will lead. 
. . . Better that right counsels be known to 
enemies, than that the evil secrets of tyrants 

1 Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 6, § 4. 



112 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

should be concealed from the citizens. They who 
can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it 
absolutely under their authority; and as they 
plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they 
against the citizens in time of peace. ... It is 
folly to choose to avoid a small loss by means of 
the greatest of evils." l 

This is but one of many passages in Spinoza that 
startle the reader with their present applicabil- 
ity and value. There is in the same treatise a 
plan for an unpaid citizen soldiery, much like the 
scheme adopted in Switzerland ; there is a plea 
against centralization and for the development of 
municipal pride by home rule and responsibility; 
there is a warning against the danger to democ- 
racy involved in the territorial expansion of states ; 
and there is a plan for the state ownership of all 
land, the rental from this to supply all revenue 
in time of peace. But let us pass to a more char- 
acteristic feature of Spinoza's political theory, and 
consider with him the function of intelligence in 
the state. 

IX 

Democracy and Intelligence 

" There is no single thing in nature which is more 
profitable to man than a man who lives accord- 
ing to the guidance of reason." 2 Such a man, to 

1 Tractatus Theologico-politicus, ch. 6, § 4, ch. 7, J 29. 

2 Ethics, bk. iv, prop. 35, cor. 1. 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 113 

begin with, has made his peace with the inevitable, 
and accepts with good cheer the necessary limi- 
tations of social life. He has a genial sense of 
human imperfections, and does not cushion him- 
self upon Utopia. He pursues his own ends but 
with some perspective of their social bearings ; and 
he is confident that "when each man seeks that 
which is [really] profitable to himself, then are 
men most profitable to one another." * He knows 
that the ends of other men will often conflict with 
his ; but he will not for that cause make moral 
phrases at them. He feels the tragedy of isolated 
purposes, and knows the worth of cooperation. 
As he comes to understand the intricate bonds 
between himself and his fellows he finds ever more 
satisfaction in purposes that overflow the narrow 
margins of his own material advantage; until 
at last he learns to desire nothing for himself 
without desiring an equivalent for others. 2 

Given such men, democracy follows ; such de- 
mocracy, too, as will be a fulfilment and not a 
snare. Given such men, penal codes will interest 
only the antiquarian. Given such men, a society 
will know the full measure of civic allegiance 
and communal stability and development. How 
make such men? By revivals? By the gentle 
anaesthesia of heaven and the cheap penology of 

1 Ibid., cor. 2. 

1 Ibid., prop. 18, schol. ; also prop. 37. Cf. Whitman: 
"By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their 
counterpart of on the same terms." 

I 



114 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

hell? By memorizing catechisms and command- 
ments? By appealing like Comte, to the heart, 
and trusting to the eternal feminine to lead us 
ever onward ? (Onward whither ?) Or by spread- 
ing the means of intelligence? 

It is at this point that the social philosophy of 
Spinoza, like that of Socrates, betrays its weaker 
side. How is intelligence to be spread ? Perhaps 
it is too much to ask the philosopher this question ; 
he may feel that he has done enough if he has made 
clear what it is which will most help us to achieve 
our ends. Spinoza, after all, was not the kind 
of man who could be expected to enter into prac- 
tical problems ; his soul was filled with the vision 
of the eternal laws and had no room for the passing 
expediencies of action. His devotional geometry 
was a typical Jewish performance ; there is some- 
thing in the emotional make-up of the Jew which 
makes him slide very easily into the attitude of 
worship, as contrasted with the Grseco-Roman 
emphasis on intellect and control. All pantheism 
tends to quietism ; to see things sub specie eterni- 
tatis may very well pass from the attitude of the 
scientist to the attitude of the mystic who has no 
interest in temporal affairs. It is the task of phi- 
losophy to study the eternal and universal not for 
its own sake but for its worth in directing us 
through the maze of temporal particulars; the 
philosopher must be like the mariner who guides 
himself through space and time by gazing at the 
everlasting stars. It is wholesome that the his- 



SPINOZA ON THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 115 

tory of philosophy should begin with Thales ; so 
that all who come to the history of philosophy 
may learn, at the door of their subject, that 
though stars are beautiful, wells are deep. 

X 

The Legacy of Spinoza 

But to leave the matter thus would be to lose 
a part of the truth in the glare of one's brilliance. 
We have to recognize that though Spinoza stopped 
short (or rather was cut short) at merely a state- 
ment of the prime need of all democracies, — 
intelligence, — he was nevertheless the inspira- 
tion of men who carried his beginning more nearly 
to a practical issue. To Spinoza, through Vol- 
taire and the English deists, one may trace not a 
few of the thought-currents which carried away 
the foundations of ecclesiastical power, civil and 
intellectual, in eighteenth-century France, and left 
the middle class conscience-free to engineer a 
revolution. It was from Spinoza chiefly that 
Rousseau derived his ideas of popular sovereignty, 
of the general will, of the right of revolution, of 
the legitimacy of the force that makes men free, 
and of the ideal state as that in which all the citi- 
zens form an assembly with final power. 1 The 

1 Not that these ideas were original with Spinoza ; they 
were the general legacy of Renaissance political thought. 
But it was through the writings of Spinoza that this legacy 
was transmitted to Rousseau. Cf. Duff, p. 319. 



116 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

French Declaration of Rights and the American 
Declaration of Independence go back in part to 
the forgotten treatises of the quiet philosopher of 
Amsterdam. To have initiated or accelerated 
such currents of thought — theoretical in their 
origin but extremely practical in their issue — is 
thereby once for all to have put one's self above the 
reach of mere fault-finding. One wonders again, 
as so many have wondered, what would have been 
the extent of this man's achievement had he not 
died at the age of forty-four. When Spinoza's 
pious landlady returned from church on the morn- 
ing of February 21, 1677, and found her gentle 
philosopher dead, she stood in the presence of 
one of the great silent tragedies of human history. 



CHAPTER V 

NIETZSCHE 

I 
From Spinoza to Nietzsche 

Let us dare to compress within a page or two the 
social aspect of philosophical thought from Spi- 
noza to Nietzsche. Without forgetting that our 
purpose is to show the social problem as the 
dominant interest of only many, not all, of the 
greater philosophers, we may yet risk the asser- 
tion that the majority of the men who formed the 
epistemological tradition from Descartes to Kant 
were at heart concerned less with the problem 
of knowledge than with that of social relations. 
Descartes slips through this generalization ; he 
is a man of leisure lost in the maze of a puzzle 
which he has not discovered so much as he has 
unconsciously constructed it. In Locke's hands 
the puzzle is distorted into the question of "in- 
nate ideas," in order that under cover of an inno- 
cent epistemological excursion a blow may be 
struck at hereditary prejudices and authoritarian 
teaching, and the way made straight for the ad- 
vance of popular sovereignty (as against the ab- 

117 



118 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

solutism of Hobbes), free speech, reasonable reli- 
gion, and social amelioration. The dominance 
of the social interest is not so easily shown in the 
case of Leibniz ; but let it be remembered none 
the less that epistemology was but an aside in the 
varied drama of Leibniz' life, and that his head 
was dizzy with schemes for the betterment of this 
"best of all possible worlds." Bishop Berkeley 
begins with esse est percipi and ends with tar- 
water as the solution of all problems. David 
Hume, in the midst of a life busied with politics 
and the discussion of social, political, and eco- 
nomic problems, spares a year or two for episte- 
mology, only to use it as a handle whereby to deal 
a blow to dogma ; he "was more damaging to reli- 
gion than Voltaire, but was ingenious enough not 
to get the credit for it." 1 The social incidence of 
philosophy in eighteenth-century France was so 
decided that one might describe that philosophy 
as part of the explosive with which the middle class 
undermined the status quo. This social emphasis 
continues in Comte, who cannot forget that he was 
once the secretary of St. Simon, and will not let 
us forget that the function of the philosopher is 
to coordinate experience with a view to the re- 
moulding of human life. John Stuart Mill is 
radical first and logician afterward ; and the more 
lasting as well as the more interesting element 
in Spencer is the sociological, educational, and 
political theory. In Kant the basic social interest 

1 Professor Woodbridge : class-lectures. 



NIETZSCHE 119 

is buried under epistemological cobwebs ; yet not 
so choked but that it finds very resolute voice 
at last. The essence of the matter here is the 
return of the prodigal, the relapse of a once ad- 
venturous soul into the comfort of religious and 
'political absolutes, categorical — and Potsdam — 
imperatives. Here is "dogmatic slumber" over- 
come only to yield to the torpor and abetisement of 
"practical reason" ; here is no "Copernican revo- 
lution" but a stealthy attempt to recover an 
anthropocentricism lost in the glare of the Enlight- 
enment. It dawns on us that the importance of 
German philosophy is not metaphysical, nor 
epistemological, but political ; the vital remnant 
of Kant to-day is to be found not in our over- 
flowing Mississippi of Kantiana, but in the Ger- 
man notion of obedience. 1 Fichte reenforces this 
notion of unquestioning obedience with the doc- 
trine of state socialism : he begins by tending 
geese, and ends by writing philosophy for them. 
So with Hegel : he starts out buoyantly with the 
proposition that revolution is the heart of history, 
and ends by discovering that the King of Prussia 
is God in disguise. In Schopenhauer the bubble 
bursts; a millennium of self-deception ends at 
last in exhaustion and despair. Every Hilde- 
brand has his Voltaire, and every Voltaire his 
Schopenhauer. 

1 Cf. Professor Dewey's German Philosophy and Politics, 
New York, 1915. 



120 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

II 

Biographical 

"In future," Nietzsche once wrote, "let no one 
concern himself about me, but only about the 
things for which I lived." We must make this 
biographical note brief. 

Nietzsche was born in Rocken, Germany, 1844, 
the son of a "noble young parson." He was 
brought up in strict piety, and prepared himself to 
enter the ministry ; even at boarding-school he 
was called "the little minister," and made people 
cry by his recitations from the Bible. We have 
pictures of him which show him in all his boyish 
seriousness ; it is evident that he is of a deeply 
religious nature, and therefore doomed to heresy. 
At eighteen he discovers that he has begun to 
doubt the traditional creed. "When I examine 
my own thoughts," he writes, "and hearken into 
my own soul, I often feel as if I heard the buzzing 
and roaring of wild-contending parties." x At 
twenty-one, while studying in the University of 
Leipzig, he discovers the philosophy of Schopen- 
hauer ; he reads all hungrily, feeling here a kin- 
dred youth; "the need of knowing myself, even 
of gnawing at myself, forcibly seized upon me." 2 
He is ripe for pessimism, having both religion 
and a bad stomach. Because of his defective 

1 Forster-Nietzsche, The Young Nietzsche, London, 1912, 
p. 98. 

2 Ibid., p. 152. 



NIETZSCHE 121 

eyesight he is barred from military service ; in 
1870 he burns with patriotic fever, and at last is 
allowed to join the army as a nurse ; but he is 
almost overcome at sight of the sick and wounded, 
and himself falls ill with dysentery and dyspepsia. 
In this same year he sees a troop of cavalry pass 
through a town in stately gallop and array ; his 
weakened frame thrills with the sight of this 
strength : "I felt for the first time that the strong- 
est and highest Will to Life does not find expression 
in a miserable struggle for existence, but in a Will 
to War, a Will to Power, a Will to Overpower !" x 
Nevertheless, he settles down to a quietly ascetic 
life as professor of philology at the University of 
Basle. But there is adventure in him ; and in 
his first book 2 he slips from the prose of philology 
into an almost lyrical philosophy. Illness finds 
voice here in the eulogy of health ; weakness in 
the deification of strength ; melancholy in the 
praise of "Dionysian joy " ; loneliness in the exal- 
tation of friendship. He has a friend — Wagner 
— the once romantic rebel of revolution's barri- 
cades ; but this friend too is taken from him, with 
slowly painful breaking of bond after bond. For 
Wagner, the strong, the overbearing, the ruthless, 
is coming to a philosophy of Christian sympathy 
and gentleness ; qualities that cannot seem divine 
to Nietzsche, because they are long-familiar ele- 
ments in his own character. "What I am not," 
he says, most truthfully, "that for me is God and 
> Ibid., p. 235. 2 The Birth of Tragedy, 1872. 



122 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

virtue." l And so he stands at last alone, borne 
up solely by the exhilaration of creative thought. 
He has acquaintances, but he puts up with them 
"simply, like a patient animal"; "not one has 
the faintest inkling of my task." And he suffers 
terribly "through this absence of sympathy and 
understanding." 2 

He leaves even these acquaintances, and aban- 
dons his work at Basle ; broken in health he finds 
his way hopefully to the kindlier climate of Italy. 
Doctor after doctor prescribes for him, one pre- 
scription reading, "a nice Italian sweetheart." 
He longs for the comradeship, but dreads the 
friction, of marriage. "It seems to me absurd," 
he writes, "that one who has chosen for his 
sphere . . . the assessment of existence as a 
whole, should burden himself with the cares of a 
family, with winning bread, security, and social 
position for wife and children." He does not 
hesitate to conclude that "where the highest phil- 
osophical thinking is concerned all married men 
are suspect." 3 Nevertheless he wanders humanly 
into something very like a love-affair; he is al- 
most shattered with rapid disillusionment, and 
takes refuge in philosophy. "Every misunder- 
standing," he tells himself, "has made me freer. 
I want less and less from humanity, and can give 

1 Thus Spake Zarathustra, p. 129. 

2 Forster-Nietzsche, The Lonely Nietzsche, London, 1915, 
pp. 291, 212, 77. 

3 Ibid., p. 313. 



NIETZSCHE 123 

it more and more. The severance of every indi- 
vidual tie is hard to bear ; but in each case a wing 
grows in its place." x And yet the need of com- 
radeship is still there, like a gnawing hunger : 
many years later he catches a passing smile from 
a beautiful young woman, whom he has never seen 
before; and "suddenly my lonely philosopher's 
heart grew warm within me." 2 But she walks off 
without seeing him, and they never meet again. 

The simple Italians who rent him his attic 
room in Genoa understand him better perhaps 
than he can be understood by more pretentious 
folk. They know his greatness, though they can- 
not classify it. The children of his landlady call 
him "II Santo"; and the market-women keep 
their choicest grapes for the bent philosopher who, 
it is whispered, writes bitterly about women and 
"the superfluous." But what they know for cer- 
tain is that he is a man of exceeding gentleness and 
purity, that he is the very soul of chivalry ; 
" stories are still told of his politeness towards 
women to whom no one else showed any kind- 
ness." 3 Let him write what he pleases, so long 
as he is what he is. 

He lives simply, almost in poverty. "His little 
room," writes a visitor, "is bare and cheerless. 
It has evidently been selected for cheapness rather 
than for comfort. No carpet, not even a stove. I 
found it fearfully cold." 4 His publisher has 

1 Ibid., p. 181. *Ibid., p. 424. 

« Ibid., p. 297. * Ibid., p. 195. 



124 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

made no profit on his books ; they are too sharply- 
opposed to the "spirit of the age " ; hence the title 
he gives to two of his volumes : Unzeitgemdsse 
Betrachtungen, — Thoughts Out of Season. There 
is no money, he is now informed, in such untimely 
volumes ; hereafter he must publish his books at 
his own cost. He does, stinting himself severely 
to meet the new expense ; his greatest books see 
the light in this way. 1 

He works hard, knowing that his shaken frame 
has but short lease of life ; and he comes to love 
his painful solitude as a gift. " I can't help seeing 
an enemy in any one who breaks in upon my work- 
ing summer. . . . The idea that any person 
should intrude upon the web of thought which I 
am spinning around me, is simply appalling. I 
have no more time to lose — unless I am stingy 
with my precious half-hours I shall have a bad 
conscience." 2 Half -hours ; his eyes will not work 
for more than thirty minutes at a time. He 
feels that only to him to whom time is holy does 
time bring reward. "He is fully convinced," an 
acquaintance writes of him, "about his mission 

1 Chronology of Nietzsche's chief works, with initials 
used in subsequent references : Thoughts Out of Season 
("T. 0. S.") (1873-6); Human All Too Human ("H. H.") 
(1876-80) ; Dawn of Day (" D. £>.") (1881) ; Joyful Wisdom 
("J. W.") (1882) ; Thus Spake Zarathustra ("Z.") (1883-4) ; 
Beyond Good and Evil ("B. G. E.") (1886); Genealogy of 
Morals ("<7. M.") (1887); Twilight of the Idols ('T.I.") 
(1888); Antichrist (" Antich.") ; Ecce Homo ("E. H."), and 
Will to Power (" W. P.") (1889). 

* Lonely N., p. 104. 



NIETZSCHE 125 

and his permanent importance. In this belief 
he is strong and great ; it elevates him above 
all misfortune." i He speaks of his Thus Spake 
Zarathustra in terms of almost conscious exaggera- 
tion : "It is a book," he says, "that stands alone. 
Do not let us mention the poets in the same 
breath ; nothing perhaps has ever been produced 
out of such a superabundance of strength." 2 
He does not know that it is his illness and his 
hunger for appreciation that have demanded this 
self-laudation as restorative and nourishment. 
He predicts, rightly enough, that he will not be- 
gin to get his due meed of appreciation till vl901. 3 
His "unmasking of Christian morality," he says, 
"is an event unequalled in history." 4 

All this man's energy is in his brain ; he oozes 
ideas at every pore. He crowds into a sentence 
the material of a chapter ; and every aphorism is 
a mountain-peak. He dares to say that which 
others dare only to think : and we call him witty 
because truth tabooed is the soul of wit. Every 
page bears the imprint of the passion and the pain 
that gave it birth. "I am not a man," he says, 
"I am dynamite" ; he writes like a man who feels 
error after error exploding at his touch ; and he 
defines a philosopher as "a terrible explosive in 
the presence of which everything is in danger." 6 
"There are more idols than realities in the world ; 
and I have an 'evil eye' for idols." 8 

ilbid., p. 195. *E. H.,p. 106. »/. W., §371. 

*E. H., p. 141. *Ibid., pp. 131, 81. • T. I., pref. 



126 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

What is this philosophy which seemed to its 
creator more important than even the mightiest 
events of the past? How shall we compress it 
without distorting it, as it has been distorted by so 
many of its lovers and its haters ? Let us ask the 
man himself to speak to us ; let us see if we cannot 
put the matter in his own words, ourselves but 
supplying, so to speak, connective tissue. That 
done, we shall understand the man better, and 
ourselves, and perhaps our social problem. 

Ill 
Exposition 



Morality as Impotence 

From a biological standpoint the phenomenon 
morality is of a highly suspicious nature. 1 Cui 
bono ? — Whom shall we suspect of profiting by 
this institution ? Is it a mode of enhancing life ? 
— Does it make men stronger and more perfect ? — 
or does it make for deterioration and decay? It 
is obvious that up to the present, morality has 
not been a problem at all ; it has rather been the 
very ground on which people have met after all 
distrust, dissension, and contradiction, the hal- 
lowed place of peace, where thinkers could obtain 
rest even from themselves. 2 But what if morality 

1 W. P., § 400 (all references to W. P. will be by sections). 
1 J. W., § 345 (all references to J. W. by section unless 
otherwise stated). 



NIETZSCHE 127 

be the greatest of all the stumbling-blocks in the 
way of human self -betterment ? Is it possible that 
morality itself is the social problem, and that the 
solution of that problem lies in the judicious aboli- 
tion of morality? It is a view for which some- 
thing can be said. 

You have heard that morality is a means used 
by the strong to control the weak. And it is true : 
just consider the conversion of Constantine. 
But to stop here is to let half the truth be passed 
off on you as the whole ; and half a truth is half 
a lie. Much more true is it that morality is a 
means used by the weak to control the strong, the 
chain which weakness softly lays upon the feet of 
strength. The whole of the morality of Europe 
is based upon the values which are useful to the 
herd. 1 Every one's desire is that there should be 
no other teaching and valuation of things than 
those by means of which he himself succeeds. 
Thus the fundamental tendency of the weak and 
mediocre of all times has been to enfeeble the 
strong and to reduce them to the level of the 
weak ; their chief weapon in this process was the 
moral principle. 2 Good is every one who does 
not oppress, who hurts no one, attacks no one, does 
not take vengeance but hands over vengeance to 
God ; who goes out of the way of evil, and de- 
mands little from life ; like ourselves, patient, 
meek, just. Good is to do nothing for which we 
are not strong enough. 3 Zarathustra laughed 

iPF. P.,276. 'Ibid., 345. » G. M„ p. 46. 



128 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

many times over the weaklings who thought 
themselves good because they had lame paws ! x 
Obedience, subordination, submission, devotion, 
love, the pride of duty ; fatalism, resignation, 
objectivity, stoicism, asceticism, self-denial ; in 
short, anemia : these are the virtues which the 
herd would have all men cultivate, — particularly 
the strong men. 2 And the deification of Jesus, — 
that is to say of meekness, — what was it but 
another attempt to lull the strong to sleep ? 



Democracy 

See, now, how nearly that attempt has suc- 
ceeded. For is not democracy, if not victorious, 
at least on the road to victory to-day ? And what 
is the democratic movement but the inheritor 
of Christianity ? 3 Not the Christianity of the 
great popes ; they knew better, and were building 
a splendid aristocracy when Luther spoiled it all 
by letting loose the levelling instincts of the 
herd. 4 The instinct of the herd is in favor of the 
leveller (Christ). 5 I very much fear that the first 
Christian is in his deepest instincts a rebel against 
everything privileged ; he lives and struggles un- 
remittingly for "equal rights." 6 It is by Chris- 
tianity, more than by anything else, that the 
poison of this doctrine of "equal rights" has 

1 Z., p. 166. * W. P., 721 ; T. I., p. 89. 

» B. G. E., § 202. * J. W., 358 ; Antich., § 361. 

• W. P., 284. * Antich., § 46. 



NIETZSCHE 129 

been spread abroad. And do not let us under- 
estimate the fatal influence! Nowadays no one 
has the courage of special rights, of rights of 
dominion. The aristocratic attitude of mind 
has been most thoroughly undermined by the lie 
of the equality of souls. 1 

But is not this the greatest of all lies — the 
"equality of men " ? That is to say, the dominion 
of the inferior. Is it not the most threadbare and 
discredited of ideas? Democracy represents the 
disbelief in all great men and select classes ; 
everybody equals everybody else; "at bottom we 
are all herd." There is no welcome for the genius 
here ; the more promising for the future the 
modern individual happens to be, the more suffer- 
ing falls to his lot. 2 If the rise of great and rare 
men had been made dependent upon the voices 
of the multitude, there never would have been any 
such thing as a great man. The herd regards 
the exception, whether it be above or beneath its 
general level, as something antagonistic and dan- 
gerous. Their trick in dealing with the excep- 
tions above them — the strong, the mighty, 
the wise, the fruitful — is to persuade them to 
become their head-servants. 3 

But the torture of the exceptional soul is only 
part of the villainy of democracies. The other 
part is chaos. Voltaire was right: "Quand la 
populace se mele de raisonner, tout est perdu." 

1 Ibid., § 43. » Ibid., 885, 281. 

1 W. P., 464, 861, 748, 752, 686. 

K 



130 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Democracy is an aristocracy of orators, a com- 
petition in headlines, a maelstrom of ever new 
majorities, a torrent of petty factions sweeping 
on to ruin. Under democracy the state will de- 
cay, for the instability of legislation will leave 
little respect for law, until finally even the police- 
man will have to be replaced by private enter- 
prise. 1 Democracy has always been the death- 
agony of the power of organization : 2 remember 
Athens, and look at England. Within fifty years 
these Babel governments will clash in a gigantic 
war for the control of the markets of the world ; 
and when that war comes, England will pay the 
penalty for the democratic inefficiency of its 
dominant muddle-class. 3 

This wave of democracy will recede, and recede 
quickly, if men of ability will only oppose it 
openly. It is necessary for higher men to declare 
war on the masses. In all directions mediocre 
people are joining hands in order to make them- 
selves master. The middle classes must be dis- 
solved, and their influence decreased ; 4 there must 
be no more intermarrying of aristocracy with plu- 
tocracy ; this democratic folly would never have 
come at all had not the master-classes allowed 
their blood to be mingled with that of slaves. 5 
Let us fight parliamentary government and the 
power of the press ; they are the means whereby 

i H. H., §§ 428, 472. * T. I., p. 96. 

> G. M., p. 225 ; written in 1887. * W. P., 861, 891. 

« B. G. E., p. 233. 



NIETZSCHE 131 

cattle become rulers. 1 Finally, it is senseless and 
dangerous to let the counting-mania (the custom 
of universal suffrage) — which is still but a short 
time under cultivation, and could easily be up- 
rooted — take deeper root ; its introduction was 
merely an expedient to steer clear of temporary 
difficulties ; the time is ripe for a demonstration 
of democratic incompetence and a restoration of 
power to men who are born to rule. 2 



Feminism 

Democracy, after all, is a disease ; an attempt 
on the part of the botched to lay down for all the 
laws of social health. You may observe the dis- 
ease in its growth-process by studying the woman 
movement. Woman's first and last function is 
that of bearing robust children. 3 The emanci- 
pated ones are the abortions among women, those 
who lack the wherewithal to have children (I go 
no farther, lest I should become medicynical). 4 
All intellect in women is a pretension ; when a 
woman has scholarly inclinations there is generally 
something wrong with her sex. These women 
think to make themselves charming to free spirits 
by wearing advanced views ; as though a woman 
without piety would not be something perfectly 
obnoxious and ludicrous to a profound and god- 

1 W. P., 753. i G. M., p. 223. 

* B. G. E., p. 189. * E. H„ p. 65. 



132 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

less man ! l If there is anything worthy of laugh- 
ter it is the man who takes part in this feminist 
agitation. Let it be understood clearly that the 
relations between men and women make equality 
impossible. It is in the nature of woman to take 
color and commandment from a man, — unless 
she happens to be a man. Man's happiness is "I 
will," woman's happiness is " He will." 2 Woman 
gives herself, man takes her : I do not think one 
will get over this natural contrast by any social 
contract. 3 Indeed, women will lose power with 
every step towards emancipation. Since the 
French Revolution the influence of woman has 
declined in proportion as she has increased her 
rights and claims. Let her first do her proper 
work properly (consider how much man has suf- 
fered from stupidity in the kitchen), and then it 
may be time to consider an extension of her ac- 
tivities. To be mistaken in this fundamental 
problem of "man and woman," to deny here the 
profoundest antagonism, and the necessity for 
an eternally hostile tension, to dream here of 
equal rights, equal training, equal claims and ob- 
ligations : that is a typical sign of shallow-minded- 
ness. On the other hand, a man who has depth 
of spirit as well as of desires, and has also the 
depth of benevolence which is capable of severity 
and harshness, and easily confounded with them, 
can only think of woman as Orientals do : he 
must conceive of her as a possession, as confinable 

» B. G. E., pp. 96, 189. * Z„ p. 89. * J. W„ 363. 



NIETZSCHE 133 

property, as a being predestined for service and 
accomplishing her mission therein — he must 
take his stand in this matter upon the immense 
rationality of Asia, upon the superiority of the 
instincts of Asia. 1 



Socialism and Anarchism 

All this uprising of housekeepers is, of 
course, part of the general sickness with which 
Christianity has inoculated and weakened the 
strong races of Europe. Consider now the more 
virulent forms of the disease : socialism and anar- 
chism. The coming of the "kingdom of God" 
has here been placed in the future, and been given 
an earthly, a human, meaning ; but on the whole 
the faith in the old ideal is still maintained. 
There is still the comforting delusion about equal 
rights, with all the envy that lurks in that delu- 
sion. One speaks of "equal rights": that is to 
say, so long as one is not a dominant personality, 
one wishes to prevent one's competitors from grow- 
ing in power. 2 It is a pleasure for all poor devils 
to grumble — it gives them a little intoxicating 
sensation of power. There is a small dose of re- 
venge in every lamentation. 3 When you hear one 
of those reformers talk of humanity, you must not 
take him seriously ; it is only his way of getting 

1 B. O. E., pp. 188, 184, 189. * W. P., 339, 86. 

« T. I., p. 86. 



134 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

fools to believe that he is an altruist ; beneath the 
cover of this buncombe a man strong in the gre- 
garious instincts makes his bid for fame and fol- 
lowers and power. This pretense to altruism is 
only a roundabout way of asking for altruism, 
it is the result of a consciousness of the fact that 
one is botched and bungled. 1 In short, socialism 
is not justice but covetousness. 2 No doubt we 
should look upon its exponents and followers with 
ironic compassion : they want something which 
we have. 3 

From the standpoint of natural science the high- 
est conception of society according to socialists 
is the lowest in the order of rank among societies. 
A socialist community would be another China, 
a vast and stifling mediocracy; it would be the 
tyranny of the lowest and most brainless brought 
to its zenith. 4 A nation in which there would 
be no exploitation would be dead. Life itself is 
essentially appropriation, conquest of the strange 
and weak ; to put it at its mildest, exploitation. 6 
The absence of exploitation would mean the end 
of organic functioning. Surely it is as legitimate 
and valuable for superior men to command and 
use inferior men as it is for superior species to com- 
mand and use inferior species, as man commands 
and uses animals. 6 It is not surprising that the 
lamb should bear a grudge against the great birds 

» J. W., 377 ; W. P., 350, 315, 373. 2 H. H., § 451. 

3 W. P., 761. * Ibid., 51, 125. 

6 B. G. E., p. 226. « W. P., 856. 



NIETZSCHE 135 

of prey, but that is no reason for blaming the 
great birds of prey. 1 What should be done with 
muscle except to supply it with directive brains? 
How, otherwise, can anything worthy ever be 
built by men ? In fact, man has value and signifi- 
cance only in so far as he is a stone in a great 
building ; for which purpose he has first of all to 
be solid ; he has to be a "stone." 2 

Now the common people understand this quite 
well, and are as happy as any of the well-to-do, 
so long as a silly propaganda does not disturb 
them with dreams that can never be fulfilled. 3 
Poverty, cheerfulness, and independence — it is 
possible to find these three qualities combined in 
one individual ; poverty, cheerfulness, and slavery 
— this is likewise a possible combination : and I 
can say nothing better to the workmen who serve 
as factory-slaves. 4 

As for the upper classes, they need be at no loss 
for weapons with which to fight this pestilence. 
An occasional opening of the trap-door between 
the Haves and the Have-nots, increasing the 
number of property-owners, will serve best of all. 
If this policy is pursued, there will always be too 
many people of property for socialism ever to sig- 
nify anything more than an attack of illness. 6 
A little patience with inheritance and income 
taxes, and the noise of the cattle will subside. 6 

1 G. M., p. 44. * J. W., 356. 3 Lonely N., p. 83. 

' D. D., § 206. ' W. P., 125. 

« Wanderer and His Shadow, § 292 (H. H., ii, p. 343). , 



136 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Notice, meanwhile, that socialism and despotism 
are bedfellows. Give the socialist his way, and 
he will put everything into the hands of the state, 
— that is to say, into the hands of demagogue 
politicians. 1 And then, all in the twinkling of 
an eye, socialism begets its opposite in good 
Hegelian fashion, and the dogs of anarchism are 
let loose to fill the world with their howling. And 
not without excuse or benefit ; for politicians must 
be kept in their place, and the state rigidly re- 
stricted to its necessary functions, even if anar- 
chist agitation helps one to do it. 2 And the anar- 
chists are right : the state is the coldest of all 
monsters, and this lie creeps out of its mouth, "I, 
the State, am the people." 3 So the wise man 
will turn anarchism, as well as socialism, to ac- 
count ; and he will not fret even when a king or 
two is hurried into heaven with nitroglycerine. 
Only since they have been shot at have princes 
once more sat securely on their thrones. 4 

Anarchism justifies itself in the aristocrat, who 
feels law as his instrument, not as his master; 
but the rebellion against law as such is but one 
more outburst of physiological misfits bent on 
levelling and revenge. 5 It is childish to desire 
a society in which every individual would have as 
much freedom as another. 6 Decadence speaks in 
the democratic idiosyncrasy against everything 

> H. H., i, § 473. » D. D., § 179. 

« Z., p. 62. « W. P., 329. 

« T. I., p. 86 ; E. H., p. 66 ; Antich., § 57. 
e W. P., 859. 



NIETZSCHE 137 

which rules and wishes to rule, the modern mis- 
archism (to coin a bad word for a bad thing). 1 
When all men are strong enough to command, 
then law will be superfluous ; weakness needs the 
vertebrae of law. He is commanded who cannot 
obey his own self. Let the anarchist be thankful 
that he has laws to obey. To command is more 
difficult ; whenever living things command they 
risk themselves ; they take the hard responsibili- 
ties for the result. 2 Freedom is the will to be re- 
sponsible for ourselves ; 3 when the mob is capable 
of that, it will be time to think of dispensing with 
law. The truth is, of course, that the anarchist 
is lulled into nonsense by Rousseau's notion of the 
naturally good man. He does not understand 
that revolution merely unlashes the dogs in man, 
till they once more cry for the whip. 4 Cast out 
the Bourbons, and in ten years you will welcome 
Napoleon. 

That is the end of anarchism ; and it is the end 
of democracy, too. 

The truth is that men are willing and anxious 
to be ruled by rulers worthy of the name. But 
the corrupted ruling classes have brought ruling 
into evil odor. The degeneration of the ruler 
and of the ruling classes has been the cause of aD 
the disorders in history. Democracy is not rul- 
ing, but drifting; it is a political relaxation, as 
if an organism were to allow each of its parts to 

'G. M., p. 91. 'Z., p. 159. 

' T. I., p. 94. * H. H., § 463. 



138 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

do just as it pleased. Precisely these disorganizing 
principles give our age its specific character. Our 
society has lost the power to function properly ; 
it no longer rids itself naturally of its rotten ele- 
ments ; it no longer has the strength even to ex- 
crete. 1 



Degeneration 

What kind of men is to be found in such a 
society ? Mediocre men ; men stupid to the point 
of sanctity ; fragile, useless souls-de-luxe ; men 
suffering from a sort of hemiplegia of virtue, — 
that is to say, paralyzed in the self-assertive in- 
stincts; men tamed, almost emasculated by a 
morality whose essence is the abdication of the 
will. 2 Now, as a rule, the taming of a beast is 
achieved only by deteriorating it ; so too the moral 
man is not a better man, he is rather a weaker 
member of his species. He is altruistic, of course ; 
that is, he feels that he needs help. There is no 
place for really great men in this march towards 
nonentity; if a great man appears he is called 
a criminal. 3 A Periclean Greek, a Renaissance 
Florentine, would breathe like one asphyxiated 
in this moralic acid atmosphere; the first condi- 
tion of life for such a man is that he free himself 
from this Chinadom of the spirit. 4 But the num- 

• W. P., 750, 874, G5, 50. 

> B. G. E., p. 173 ; W. P., 823, 851, 871, 11. 

» W. P., 397, 12, 736. * E. H„ p. 136. 



NIETZSCHE 139 

ber of those who are capable of rising into the pure 
air of unmoralism is very small ; and those who 
have made timid sallies into theological heresy- 
are the most addicted to the comfort and security 
of ethical orthodoxy. In short, men are coming 
to look upon lowered vitality as the heart of 
virtue; and morality will be saddled with the 
guilt if the maximum potentiality of the power 
and splendor of the human species should never 
be attained. 1 

Men of this stamp require a good deal of reli- 
gious pepsin to overcome the indigestibility of 
life ; if they leave one faith in the passing bravery 
of their youth they soon sink back into another. 2 
God, previously diluted from tribal deity into 
substantia and ding-an-sich, 3 now recovers a re- 
spectable degree of reality ; the imaginary pillar 
on which men lean is made stronger and more 
concrete as their weakness increases. How much 
faith a person requires in order to flourish, how 
much fixed opinion he needs which he does not 
wish to have shaken, because he holds himself 
thereby, — is a measure of his power (or more 
plainly speaking, of his weakness). 4 

The same criterion classifies our friends the 
metaphysicians, — those albinos of thought, — who 
are, of course, priests in disguise. 6 The degree of 
a man's will-power may be measured by the extent 
to which he can dispense with the meaning in 

l G.M., p. 10. « T. O. 8., i, p. 78. * Antich., § 17. 

• /. W., 847. • Anlich., § 17 ; D. D., § 542. 



140 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

things ; by the extent to which he is able to endure 
a world without meaning; because he himself 
arranges a small portion of it. 1 The world has no 
meaning : all the better ; put some meaning into 
it, says the man with a man's heart. The world 
has no meaning : but it is only a world of appear- 
ance, says the weak-kneed philosopher; behind 
this phenomenal world is the real world, which 
has meaning, and means good. Of the real world 
"there is no knowledge; consequently there is 
a God" — what novel elegance of syllogism! 2 
This belief that the world which ought to be is 
real is a belief proper to the unfruitful who do not 
wish to create a world. The "will to truth" is 
the impotence of the "will to create." 3 Even 
monism is being turned into medicine for sick 
souls; clearly these lovers of wisdom seek not 
truth, but remedies for their illnesses. 4 There 
is too much beer and midnight oil in modern 
philosophy, and not enough fresh air. 6 Philoso- 
phers condemn this world because they have 
avoided it ; those who are contemplative naturally 
belittle activity. 6 In truth, the history of phi- 
losophy is the story of a secret and mad hatred 
of the prerequisites of life, of the feelings which 
make for the real values of life. 7 No wonder 
that philosophy is fallen to such low estate. 
Science flourishes nowadays, and has the good 

1 W. P., 585. 2 G. M., p. 202. 8 W. P., 585. 

* Ibid., 600 ; D. D., § 424. 6 J. W., 366. 

•£>.£>., §41. 7 IF. P., 461. 



NIETZSCHE 141 

conscience clearly visible on its countenance ; 
while the remnant to which modern philosophy 
has gradually sunk excites distrust and displeas- 
ure, if not scorn and pity. Philosophy reduced 
to a "theory of knowledge," a philosophy that 
never gets beyond the threshold, and rigorously 
denies itself the right to enter — that is philoso- 
phy in its last throes, an end, an agony ; some- 
thing that awakens pity. How could such a phi- 
losophy rule! 1 

6 

Nihilism 

All these things, democracy, feminism, social- 
ism, anarchism, and modern philosophy, are heads 
of the Christian hydra, each a sore in the total 
disease. Given such illness, affecting all parts of 
the social body, and what result shall we expect 
and find ? Pessimism, despair, nihilism, — that 
is, disbelief in all values of life. 2 Confidence in 
life is gone; life itself has become a problem. 
Love of life is still possible, — only it is the love 
of a woman of whom one is doubtful. 3 The 
"good man" sees himself surrounded by evil, 
discovers traces of evil in every one of his acts. 
And thus he ultimately arrives at the conclusion, 
which to him is quite logical, that nature is evil, 
that man is corrupted, and that being good is an act 
of grace (that is to say, it is impossible to man 

1 B. G. E., p. 136. * W. P., § 8. » J. W., p. 7. 



142 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 



l 



when he stands alone). In short, he denies life 
The man who frees himself from the theology of 
the Church but adheres to Christian ethics neces- 
sarily falls into pessimism. He perceives that man 
is no longer an assistant in, let alone the culmina- 
tion of, the evolutionary process; he perceives 
that Becoming has been aiming at Nothing, and 
has achieved it ; and that is something which he 
cannot bear. 2 Suffering, which was, before, a 
trial with promised reward, is now an intolerable 
mystery ; if he is materially comfortable himself, 
he finds source for sentiment and tears in the pain 
and misery of others; he concocts a "social 
problem," and never dreams that the social 
problem is itself a result of decadence. 3 He does 
not feel at home in this world in which the Chris- 
tian God is dead, and to which, nevertheless, he 
brings nothing more appreciative than the old 
Christian moral attitude. He despairs because he 
is a chaos, and knows it; "I do not know where 
I am, or what I am to do ; I am everything that 
knows not where it is or what to do," he sighs 
Life, he says at last, is not worth living. 

Let us not try to answer such a man ; he needs 
not logic but a sanitarium. But see, through him, 
and in him, the destructiveness of Christian morals. 
This despicable civilization, says Rousseau, is to 
blame for our bad morality. What if our good 
morality is to blame for this despicable civiliza- 

1 W. P., § 351. * Ibid., § 12. 

• Ibid., § 43. * Antich., § 1. 



4 



NIETZSCHE 143 

tion? l See how the old ethic depreciates the joy 
of living, and the gratitude felt towards life ; how 
it checks the knowledge and unfolding of life ; 
how it chokes the impulse to beautify and ennoble 
life. 2 And at what a time ! Think what a race 
with masculine will could accomplish now ! Pre- 
cisely now, when will in its fullest strength were 
necessary, it is in the weakest and most pusillani- 
mous condition. Absolute mistrust concerning 
the organizing power of the will : to that we have 
come. 3 The world is dark with despair at the 
moment of greatest light. 

What if man could be made to, love the light and 
use it? 



The Will to Power 

Is it possible that this despair is not the final 
state in the exhaustion of a race, but only a tran- 
sition from belief in a perfect and ethical world 
to an attitude of transvaluation and control ? 4 
Perhaps we are at the bottom of our spiritual to- 
boggan, and an ascending movement is around 
the corner of the years. Now that our Christian 
bubble has burst into Schopenhauer, we are left 
free to recover some part of the joyous strength 
of the ancients. Let us become again as little 
children, unspoiled by religion and morality ; let 
us forget what it is to feel sinful ; let the thou- 

» D. D., § 163. * W. P., 266. 

' Ibid., 20. * Ibid., 585. 



144 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

sandfold laughter of children clear the air of the 
odor of decay. Let us begin anew ; and the soul 
will rise and overflow all its margins with the joy 
of rediscovered life. 1 Life has not deceived us! 
On the contrary, from year to year it appears 
richer, more desirable, and more mysterious ; the 
old fetters are broken by the thought that life 
may be an experiment and not a duty, not a fatal- 
ity, not a deceit ! 2 Life — that means for us to 
transform constantly into light and flame all that 
we are, and also all that we meet with ; we cannot 
possibly do otherwise. 3 To be natural again, to 
dare to be as immoral as nature is; to be such 
pagans as were the Greeks of the Homeric age, 
to say Yea to life, even to its suffering; to win 
back some of that mountain-air Dionysian spirit 
which took pleasure in the tragic, nay, which in- 
vented tragedy as the expression of its super- 
abundant vitality, as the expression of its welcome 
of even the cruelest and most terrible elements of 
life ! 4 To be healthy once more ! 

For there is no other virtue than health, vigor, 
energy. All virtues should be looked upon as 
physiological conditions, and moral judgments 
are symptoms of physiological prosperity or the 
reverse. Indeed, it might be worth while to try 
to see whether a scientific order of values might 

1 Z., pp. 193, 315 ; E. H., pp. 71, 28. * J. W., § 324. 

*Ibid., p. 6. 

* W. P., 120, 1029; Antich., §55; E. H., pp. 72, 70; 

Birth of Tragedy, passim. 



NIETZSCHE 145 

not be constructed according to a scale of num- 
bers and measures representing energy. All other 
values are matters of prejudice, simplicity, and 
misunderstanding. 1 Instead of moral values let 
us use naturalistic values, physiological values ; 
let us say frankly with Spinoza that virtue and 
power are one and the same. What is good? 
All that enhances the feeling of power, the will to 
power, and power itself, in man. What is bad? 
All that proceeds from weakness. What is happi- 
ness ? The feeling that power is increasing, that 
resistance is being overcome. 2 This is not ortho- 
dox ethics; and perhaps it will not do for long 
ears, — though an unspoiled youth would under- 
stand it. A healthy and vigorous boy will look 
up sarcastically if you ask him, "Do you wish 
to become virtuous?" — but ask him, "Do you 
wish to become stronger than your comrades?" 
and he is all eagerness at once. 3 Youth knows 
that ability is virtue; watch the athletic field. 
Youth is not at home in the class room, because 
there knowledge is estranged from action ; and 
youth measures the height of what a man knows 
by the depth of his power to do. 4 There is a better 
gospel in the boy on the field than in the man in 
the pulpit. 

Which of the boys whom we know do we love 
best in our secret hearts — the prayerful Aloysius, 
or the masterful leader of the urchins in the 

» W. P., 255, 258, 710, 462, 392, 305. 
* Antich., § 2. > W. P., 918. * T. 0. S., p. 76. 

L 



146 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

street? We moralize and sermonize in mean ef- 
forts to bring the young tyrant down to our 
virtuous ansemia ; but we know that we are wrong, 
and respect him most when he stands his ground 
most firmly. To require of strength that it should 
express itself as weakness is just as absurd as to 
require of weakness that it should express itself 
as strength. 1 Let us go to school to our children, 
and we shall understand that all native propensities 
are beneficent, that the evil impulses are to a far 
view as necessary and preservative as the good. 2 
In truth we worship youth because at its finest it 
is a free discharge of instinctive strength ; and we 
know that happiness is nothing else than that. 
To abandon instinct, to deliberate, to clog action 
with conscious thought, — that is to achieve old 
age. After all, nothing can be done perfectly so 
long as it is done consciously ; consciousness is a 
defect to be overcome. 3 Instinct is the most in- 
telligent of all kinds of intelligence which have 
hitherto been discovered. 4 Genius lies in the 
instincts ; goodness too ; all consciousness is 
theatricality. 6 When a people begins to worship 
reason, it begins to die. 6 Youth knows better: 
it follows instinct trustfully, and worships power. 
And we worship power too, and should say so 
were we as honest as our children. Our gentlest 
virtues are but forms of power : out of the abun- 

1 G. M., p. 45. * J. W., § 4. 

3 Antich., § 14. < B. G. E., p. 162. 

« W. P., 440, 289. « E. H., p. 10. 



NIETZSCHE 147 

dance of the power of sex come kindness and pity ; 
out of revenge, justice; out of the love of re- 
sistance, bravery. Love is a secret path to the 
heart of the powerful, in order to become his mas- 
ter ; gratitude is revenge of a lofty kind ; self- 
sacrifice is an attempt to share in the power of 
him to whom the sacrifice is made. Honor is 
the acknowledgment of an equal power; praise 
is the pride of the judge ; all conferring of bene- 
fits is an exercise of power. 1 Behold a man in dis- 
tress : straightway the compassionate ones come 
to him, depict his misfortune to him, at last go 
away, satisfied and elevated ; they have gloated 
over the unhappy man's misfortune and their 
own ; they have spent a pleasant Sunday after- 
noon. 2 So with the scientist and the philosopher : 
in their thirst for knowledge lurks the lust of gain 
and conquest. And the cry of the oppressed for 
freedom is again a cry for power. 3 

You cannot understand man, you cannot under- 
stand society, until you learn to see in all things 
this will to power. Physiologists should bethink 
themselves before putting down the instinct of 
self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an 
organic being. A living thing seeks above all to 
discharge its strength : self-preservation is only 
one of the results of this. And psychologists 
should think twice before saying that happiness 
or pleasure is the motive of all action. Pleasure is 

i W. P., 255, 774, 775; D. D., § 215; J. W., 13. 
* D. D., § 224. 3 w. P., 376, 776. 



148 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

but an incident of the restless search for power ; 
happiness is an accompanying, not an actuating, 
factor. The feeling of happiness lies precisely in 
the discontentedness of the will, in the fact that 
without opponents and obstacles it is never satis- 
fied. Man is now master of the forces of nature, 
and master too of his own wild and unbridled feel- 
ings ; in comparison with primitive man the man 
of to-day represents an enormous quantum of 
power, but not an increase of happiness. How can 
one maintain, then, that man has striven after 
happiness ? No ; not happiness, but more power ; 
not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but 
capacity ; that is the secret of man's longing and 
man's seeking. 1 

Let biologists, too, reexamine the stock-in- 
trade of their theory. Life is not the continuous 
adjustment of internal to external relations, but 
will to power, which, proceeding from within, 
subjugates and incorporates an ever-increasing 
quantity of " external phenomena." All motive 
force, all "causation" whatever, is this will to 
power ; there is no other force, physical, dynam- 
ical, or psychical. 2 As to the famous "struggle 
for existence," it seems at present to be more of an 
assumption than a fact. It does occur, but as an 
exception ; and it is due not to a desire for food 
but a tergo to a surcharge of energy demanding 
discharge. The general condition of life is not 

1 W. P., 650, 657, 685, 696, 704 ; Antich., § 2. 
* Ibid., 681, 688, 689. 



NIETZSCHE 149 

one of want or famine, but rather of riches, of 
lavish luxuriance, and even of absurd prodi- 
gality ; where there is a struggle it is a struggle 
for power. We must not confound Malthus with 
Nature. 1 One does indeed find the "cruelty of 
Nature" which is so often referred to, but in a 
different place : Nature is cruel, but against her 
lucky and well-constituted children ; she protects 
and shelters and loves the lowly. Darwin sees 
selection in favor of the stronger, the better- 
constituted. Precisely the reverse stares one in 
the face : the suppression of the lucky cases, the 
reversion to average, the uselessness of the more 
highly constituted types, the inevitable mastery 
of the mediocre. If we drew our morals from 
reality, they would read thus : the mediocre are 
more valuable than the exceptional creatures ; 
the will to nonentity prevails over the will to life. 
We have to beware of this formulation of reality 
into a moral. 2 

No ; morality is not mediocrity, it is superior- 
ity ; it does not mean being like most people, but 
being better, stronger, more capable than most 
people. It does not mean timidity : if anything 
is virtue it is to stand unafraid in the presence of 
any prohibition. 3 It does not mean the pursuit 
of ends sanctified by society; it means the will 
to your own ends, and to the means to them. It 
means behaving as states behave, — with frank 

1 T. I., p. 71 ; W. P., 649. 
* W. P.,685. » Z„ p. 398. 



150 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

abandonment of all altruistic pretence. Cor- 
porate bodies are intended to do that which 
individuals have not the courage to do : for this 
reason all communities are vastly more upright 
and instructive as regards the nature of man than 
individuals, who are too cowardly to have the 
courage of their desires. All altruism is the pru- 
dence of the private man ; societies are not 
mutually altruistic. Altruism and life are in- 
compatible : all the forces and instincts which are 
the source of life lie stagnant beneath the ban of 
the old morality. But real morality is certainty 
of instinct, effectiveness of action ; it is any action 
which increases the power of a man or of men ; it is 
an expression of ascendent and expanding life; 
it is achievement ; it is power. 1 

8 

The Superman 

With such a morality you breed men who are 
men ; and to breed men who are men is all that 
your "social problem" comes to. This does not 
mean that the whole race is to be improved : the 
very last thing a sensible man would promise to 
accomplish would be to improve mankind. Man- 
kind does not improve, it does not even exist. 
The aspect of the whole is much more like that 
of a huge experimenting workshop where some 
things in all ages succeed, while an incalculable 

« W. P., 880, 716, 343, 423, 291. 



NIETZSCHE 151 

number of things fail. To say that the social 
problem consists in a general raising of the aver- 
age standard of comfort and ability amounts to 
abandoning the problem ; there is as little pros- 
pect of mankind's attaining to a higher order as 
there is for the ant and the ear-wig to enter into 
kinship with God and eternity. The most fun- 
damental of all errors here lies in regarding the 
many, the herd, as an aim instead of the individual : 
the herd is only a means. The road to perfection 
lies in the bringing forth of the most powerful 
individuals, for whose use the great masses would 
be converted into mere tools, into the most intel- 
ligent and flexible tools possible. Every human 
being, with his total activity, has dignity and 
significance only so far as he is, consciously or 
unconsciously, a tool in the service of a superior 
individual. All that can be done is to produce 
here and there, now and then, such a superior 
individual, Vuomo singulare, the higher man, the 
superman. The problem does not concern what 
humanity as a whole or as a species is to accom- 
plish, but what kind of man is to be desired as 
highest in value, what kind of man is to be worked 
for and bred. To produce the superman : that 
is the social problem. If this is not understood, 
nothing is understood. 1 

Now what would such a man be like? Shall 
we try to picture him? 

' E. H., p. 2 ; D. D., § 49 ; Lonely N., p. 17 ; W. P., 269, 
90, 766, 660. 



152 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

We see him as above all a lover of life : strong 
enough, too, to love life without deceiving himself 
about it. There is no memento mori here ; rather 
a memento vivere; rich instincts call for much 
living. A hard man, loving danger and difficulty : 
what does not kill him, he feels, leaves him 
stronger. Pleasure — pleasure as it is understood 
by the rich — is repugnant to him : he seeks not 
pleasure but work, not happiness but responsi- 
bility and achievement. He does not make 
philosophy an excuse for living prudently and 
apart, an artifice for withdrawing successfully 
from the game of life ; he does not stand aside 
and merely look on ; he puts his shoulder to the 
wheel ; for him it is the essence of philosophy to 
feel the obligation and burden of a hundred 
attempts and temptations, the joy of a hundred 
adventures ; he risks himself constantly ; he 
plays out to the end this bad game. 1 

To risk and to create, this is the meaning of life 
to the superman. He could not bear to be a man, 
if man could not be a poet, a maker. To change 
every "It was" into a "Thus I would have it !" 
— in this he finds that life may redeem itself. He 
is moved not by ambition but by a mighty over- 
flowing spendthrift spirit that drives him on ; he 
must remake ; for this he compels all things to 
come to him and into him, in order that they may 
flow back from him as gifts of his love and his 

» E. H., p. 138 ; T. 0. S„ ii, p. 66 ; Z., p. 222 ; W. P., 
934, 944 ; J. W., p. 8 ; T. /., § 40 ; B. G. E., p. 138. 



NIETZSCHE 153 

abundance ; in this refashioning of things by 
thought he sees the holiness of life ; the greatest 
events, he knows, are these still creative hours. 1 

He is a man of contrasts, or contradictions ; 
he does not desire to be always the same man ; he 
is a multitude of elements and of men ; his value 
lies precisely in his comprehensiveness and multi- 
fariousness, in the variety of burdens which he 
can bear, in the extent to which he can stretch 
his responsibility; in him the antagonistic char- 
acter of existence is represented and justified. He 
loves instinct, knows that it is the fountain of all 
his energies ; but he knows, too, the natural delight 
of aesthetic natures in measure, the pleasure of 
self-restraint, the exhilaration of the rider on a 
fiery steed. He is a selective principle, he rejects 
much ; he reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli, 
with that tardiness which long caution and de- 
liberate pride have bred in him ; he tests the 
approaching stimulus. He decides slowly ; but 
he holds firmly to a decision made. 2 

He loves and has the qualities which the folk 
call virtues, but he loves too and shows the quali- 
ties which the folk call vices ; it is again in this 
union of opposites that he rises above mediocrity ; 
he is a broad arch that spans two banks lying 
far apart. The folk on either side fear him ; for 
they cannot calculate on him, or classify him. 

1 Z., pp. 199, 103, 186 ; W. P., 792. 

» W. P., 881, 870, 918; B. O. E., p. 154; E. H„ p. 13; 
D. D., § 552. 



154 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

He is a free spirit, an enemy of all fetters and 
labels ; he belongs to no party, knowing that the 
man who belongs to a party perforce becomes a 
liar. He is a sceptic (not that he must appear to 
be one) ; freedom from any kind of conviction is a 
necessary factor in his strength of will. He does 
not make propaganda or proselytes ; he keeps his 
ideals to himself as distinctions ; his opinion is 
his opinion : another person has not easily a right 
to it ; he has renounced the bad taste of wishing 
to agree with many people. He knows that he 
cannot reveal himself to anybody ; like everything 
profound, he loves the mask ; he does not descend 
to familiarity ; and is not familiar when people 
think he is. If he cannot lead, he walks alone. 1 
He has not only intellect ; if that were all it 
would not be enough ; he has blood. Behind 
him is a lineage of culture and ability ; lives of 
danger and distinction ; his ancestors have paid 
the price for what he is, just as most men pay the 
price for what their ancestors have been. Natu- 
rally, then, he has a strong feeling of distance ; he 
sees inequality and gradation, order and rank, 
everywhere among men. He has the most 
aristocratic of virtues : intellectual honesty. 
He does not readily become a friend or an enemy ; 
he honors only his equals, and therefore cannot 
be the enemy of many ; where one despises one 
cannot wage war. He lacks the power of easy 

l W. P., 967, 366-7, 349; Z„ p. 141; Antich., § 65; 
B. G. E„ pp. 64, 57. 



NIETZSCHE 155 

reconciliation; but "retaliation" is as incompre- 
hensible to him as "equal rights." He remains 
just even as regards his injurer ; despite the strong 
provocation of personal insult the clear and lofty 
objectivity of the just and judging eye (whose 
glance is as profound as it is gentle) is untroubled. 
He recognizes duties only to his equals ; to others 
he does what he thinks best ; he knows that jus- 
tice is found only among equals. He has that 
distinctively aristocratic trait, the ability to 
command and with equal readiness to obey ; that 
is indispensable to his pride. He will not permit 
himself to be praised ; he does what serves his 
purpose. The essence of him is that he has a 
purpose, for which he will not hesitate to run all 
risks, even to sacrifice men, to bend their backs 
to the worst. That something may exist which 
is a hundred times more important than the ques- 
tion whether he feels well or unwell, and therefore 
too whether the others feel well or unwell : this 
is a fundamental instinct of his nature. To have 
a purpose, and to cleave to it through all dangers 
till it be achieved, — that is his great passion, 
that is himself. 1 

9 

How to Make Supermen 

It is our task, then, to procreate this synthetic 
man, who embodies everything and justifies it, 

» W. P., 969, 371, 356, 926, 946, 26; Z., p. 430; E. H., 
pp. 23, 19, 128 ; G. M., p. 85 ; D. D„ § 60. 



156 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

and for whom the rest of mankind is but soil ; 
to bring the philosopher, the artist, and the saint, 
within and without us, to the light, and to strive 
thereby for the completion of nature. In this 
cultivation lies the meaning of culture : the direc- 
tion of all life to the end of producing the finest 
possible individuals. What is great in man is 
that he is a bridge and not a goal ; his very essence 
is to create a being higher than himself ; that is the 
instinct of procreation, the instinct of action and 
of work. Even the higher man himself feels this 
need of begetting ; and for lesser men all virtue 
and morals lie in preparing the way that the super- 
man may come. There is no greater horror than 
the degenerating soul which says, "All for my- 
self." In this great purpose, too, is the essence of 
a better religion, and a surpassing of the bounds 
of narrow individualism ; with this purpose there 
come moments, sparks from the clear fire of love, in 
whose light we understand the word " I " no longer ; 
we feel that we are creating, and therefore in a 
sense becoming, something greater than ourselves. 1 

How to make straight the way for the superman ? 

First by reforming marriage. Let it be under- 
stood at once that love is a hindrance rather than 
a help to such marriages as are calculated to breed 
higher men. To regard a thing as beautiful is 
necessarily to regard it falsely ; that is why love- 
marriages are from the social point of view the 

> W. P., 866 ; T. 0. S., ii, p. 154 ; Z., pp. 8, 104 ; T. I., 
p. 269. 



NIETZSCHE 157 

most unreasonable form of matrimony. Were 
there a benevolent God, the marriages of men 
would cause him more displeasure than anything 
else ; he would observe that all buyers are careful, 
but that even the most cunning one buys his wife 
in a sack ; and surely he would cause the earth to 
tremble in convulsions when a saint and a goose 
couple. When a man is in love, he should not be 
allowed to come to a decision about his life, and 
to determine once for all the character of his 
lifelong society on account of a whim. If we 
treated marriage seriously, we would publicly 
declare invalid the vows of lovers, and refuse 
them permission to marry. We would remake 
public opinion, so that it would encourage trial 
marriage ; we would exact certificates of health 
and good ancestry ; we would punish bachelor- 
hood by longer military service, and would reward 
with all sorts of privileges those fathers who 
should lavish sons upon the world. And above 
all we would make people understand that the 
purpose of marriage is not that they should 
duplicate, but that they should surpass, them- 
selves. Perhaps we would read to them from 
Zarathustra, with fitting ceremonies and solemni- 
ties : "Thou art young, and wishest for child and 
marriage. But I ask thee, art thou a man who 
dareth to wish for a child ? Art thou the victori- 
ous one, the self-subduer, the commander of thy 
senses, the master of thy virtues ? — or in thy 
wish doth there speak the animal, or necessity? 



158 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Or solitude? Or discord with thyself? I would 
that thy victory and freedom were longing for a 
child. Thou shalt build living monuments unto 
thy victory and thy liberation. Thou shalt 
build beyond thyself. But first thou must build 
thyself square in body and soul. Thou shalt not 
only propagate thyself, but propagate thyself 
upward ! Marriage : thus I call the will of two 
to create that one which is more than they who 
created it. I call marriage reverence unto each 
other as unto those who will such a will." l 

In a word, eugenic marriage ; and after eugenic 
marriage, rigorous education. But interest in 
education will become powerful only when belief 
in a God and his care have been abandoned, just 
as medicine began to flourish only when the belief 
in miraculous cures had lapsed. When men begin 
at last to believe in education, they will endure 
much rather than have their sons miss going to a 
good and hard school at the proper time. What is 
it that one learns in a hard school ? To obey and 
to command. For this is what distinguishes hard 
schooling, as good schooling, from every other 
schooling, namely that a good deal is demanded, 
severely exacted ; that excellence is required as 
if it were normal ; that praise is scanty, that 
leniency is non-existent ; that blame is sharp, 
practical, and without reprieve, and has no regard 
to talent and antecedents. To prefer danger to 
comfort ; not to weigh in a tradesman's balance 
1 W. P., 804, 732-3 ; Z., pp. 94-6 ; D. D„ § 150-1. 



NIETZSCHE 159 

what is permitted and what is forbidden ; to be 
more hostile to pettiness, slyness, and parasitism 
than to wickedness ; — we are in every need of a 
school where these things would be taught. Such 
a school would allow its pupils to learn produc- 
tively, by living and doing ; it would not subject 
them to the tyranny of books and the weight of 
the past ; it would teach them less about the past 
and more about the future ; it would teach them 
the future of humanity as depending on human 
will, on their will; it would prepare the way for 
and be a part of a vast enterprise in breeding 
and education. 1 But even such a school would 
not provide all that is necessary in education. 
Not all should receive the same training and the 
same care ; select groups must be chosen, and 
special instruction lavished on them ; the greatest 
success, however, will remain for the man who 
does not seek to educate either everybody or 
certain limited circles, but only one single indi- 
vidual. The last century was superior to ours 
precisely because it possessed so many individually 
educated men. 

10 

On the Necessity of Exploitation 

And next slavery. 

This is one of those ugly words which are the 
verba non grata of modern discussion, because they 

' H. H., § 242 ; W. P., 912 ; B. G. E., p. 129 ; D. D., § 194 ; 

"Schopenhauer as Educator" (in T. 0. 8.), passim. 



160 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

jar us so ruthlessly out of the grooves of our think- 
ing. Nevertheless it is clear to all but those to 
whom self-deception is the staff of life, that as the 
honest Greeks had it, some are born to be slaves. 
Try to educate all men equally, and you become 
the laughing-stock of your own maturity. The 
masses seem to be worth notice in three aspects 
only : first as the copies of great men, printed on 
bad paper from worn-out plates ; next as a con- 
trast to the great men ; and lastly as their tools. 
Living consists in living at the cost of others : the 
man who has not grasped this fact has not taken 
the first step towards truth to himself. And to 
consider distress of all kinds as an objection, as 
something which must be done away with, is the 
greatest nonsense on earth ; almost as mad as 
the will to abolish bad weather, out of pity to 
the poor, so to speak. The masses must be used, 
whether that means or does not mean that they 
must suffer ; — it requires great strength to live 
and forget how far life and injustice are one. 
What is the suffering of whole peoples compared 
to the creative agonies of great individuals? 1 

There are many who threw away everything 
they were worth when they threw away their 
slavery. In all respects slaves live more securely 
and more happily than modern laborers; the 
laborer chooses his harder lot to satisfy the vanity 
of telling himself that he is not a slave. These 
men are dangerous ; not because they are strong, 

1 T. O. S., ii, pp. 84, 28 ; W. P., 369, 965 ; E. H., p. 135. 



NIETZSCHE 161 

but because they are sick ; it is the sick who are 
the greatest danger to the healthy ; it is the weak 
ones, they who mouth so much about their sick- 
ness, who vomit bile and call it newspaper, — it 
is they who instil the most dangerous venom and 
scepticism into our trust in life, in man, and in 
ourselves ; it is they who most undermine the life 
beneath our feet. It is for such as these that 
Christianity may serve a good purpose (so serv- 
ing our purpose too). Those qualities which are 
within the grasp only of the strongest and most 
terrible natures, and which make their existence 
possible — leisure, adventure, disbelief, and even 
dissipation — would necessarily ruin mediocre 
natures — and does do so when they possess them. 
In the case of the latter, industry, regularity, 
moderation, and strong "conviction" are in their 
proper place — in short, all "gregarious virtues" ; 
under their influence the.se mediocre men become 
perfect. We good Europeans, then, though 
atheists and immoralists, will take care to support 
the religions and the morality which are associated 
with the gregarious instinct ; for by means of them 
an order of men is, so to speak, prepared, which 
must at some time or other fall into our hands, 
which must actually crave for our hands. 1 

Slavery, let us understand it well, is the neces- 
sary price of culture ; the free w ( ork, or art, of some 
involves the compulsory labor of others. As in 

1 Z., pp. 84, 64 ; H. H., § 457 ; G. M., 156-7 ; B. G. E., 
§§ 61-2; W. P., 373, 901, 132. 
II 



162 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

the organism so in society : the higher function 
is possible only through the subjection of the 
lower functions. A high civilization is a pyra- 
mid ; it can stand only on a broad base, its first 
prerequisite is a strongly and soundly consoli- 
dated mediocrity. In order that there may be a 
broad, deep, and fruitful soil for the development 
of art, the enormous majority must, in the service 
of a minority, be slavishly subjected. At their 
cost, through the surplus of their labor, that 
privileged class is to be relieved from the struggle 
for existence, in order to create and to satisfy a 
new world of want. The misery of the toilers 
must still increase in order to make the production 
of a world of art possible to a small number of 
Olympian men. 1 

11 

Aristocracy 

The greatest folly of the strong is to let the 
weak make them ashamed to exploit, to let the 
weak suggest to them, "It is a shame to be happy 
— there is too much misery !" Let us therefore 
reaffirm the right of the happy to existence, the 
right of bells with a full tone over bells that are 
cracked and discordant. Not that exploitation 
as such is desirable ; it is good only where it sup- 
ports and develops an aristocracy of higher men 

» H. H., § 439 ; W. P., 660 ; Antich., § 57 ; Lonely N., 
p. 7. 



NIETZSCHE 163 

who are themselves developing still higher men. 
This philosophy aims not at an individualistic 
morality but at a new order of rank. In this age 
of universal suffrage, in this age in which every- 
body is allowed to sit in judgment upon every- 
thing and everybody, one feels compelled to re- 
establish the order of rank. The higher men must 
be protected from contamination and suffocation 
by the lower. The richest and most complex 
forms perish so easily ! Only the lowest suc- 
ceed in maintaining their apparent imperish- 
ableness. 1 

The first question as to the order of rank : how 
far is a man disposed to be solitary or gregarious ? 
If he is disposed to be gregarious, his value consists 
in those qualities which secure the survival of his 
tribe or type ; if he is disposed to be solitary, his 
qualities are those which distinguish him from 
others ; hence the important consequence : the 
solitary type should not be valued from the stand- 
point of the gregarious type, or vice versa. Viewed 
from above, both types are necessary ; and so is 
their antagonism. Degeneration lies in the ap- 
proximation of the qualities of the herd to those of 
the solitary creature, and vice versa; in short, in 
their beginning to resemble each other. Hence 
the difference in their virtues, their rights and their 
obligations ; in the light of this difference one comes 
to abhor the vulgarity of Stuart Mill when he 
says, "What is right for one man is right for an- 

• G. M., pp. 160-1 ; W. P., 287, 854, 864. 



164 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

other." It is not ; what is right for the herd is 
precisely what is wrong for their leaders; and 
what is right for the leaders is wrong for the herd. 
The leaders use, the herd is used ; the virtues of 
either lie in the efficiency here of leadership, 
there of service. Slave-morality is one thing, and 
master-morality another. 1 

And leadership of course requires an aristoc- 
racy. Let us repeat it : democracy has always 
been the death-agony of the power of organization 
and direction ; these require great aristocratic 
families, with long traditions of administration 
and leadership ; old ancestral lines that guarantee 
for many generations the duration of the necessary 
will and the necessary instincts. Not only aristoc- 
racy, then, but caste ; for if a man have plebeian 
ancestors, his soul will be a plebeian soul ; educa- 
tion, discipline, culture will be wasted on him, 
merely enabling him to become a great liar. 
Therefore intermarriage, even social intercourse 
of leaders with herd, is to be avoided with all 
precaution and intolerance ; too much intercourse 
with barbarians ruined the Romans, and will ruin 
any noble race. 2 

In what direction may one turn with any hope 
of finding even the aspiration for such an aristoc- 
racy ? Only there where a noble attitude of mind 
prevails, an attitude of mind which believes in 

i W. P., 886, 926. 

* T. I., p. 96 ; W. P., 957 ; B. G. E., p. 239 ; T. O. S., u, 

p. 39. 



NIETZSCHE 165 

slavery and in manifold orders of rank, as the 
prerequisites of any higher degree of culture. 
Men with this attitude of mind will insistently 
call for, and will at last produce, philosophical 
men of power, artist-tyrants, — a higher kind of 
men which, thanks to their preponderance of will, 
knowledge, riches, and influence, will avail them- 
selves of democratic Europe as the most suitable 
and subtle instrument for taking the fate of 
Europe into their hands, and working as artists 
upon man himself. The fundamental belief of 
these great desirers will be that society must not 
be allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as 
the foundation and scaffolding by means of which 
a select class of beings may be able to elevate 
themselves to their highest duties, and in general 
to a higher existence : like those sun-climbing 
plants in Java which encircle an oak so long and 
so often with their arms that at last, high above 
it, but supported by it, they can unfold their tops 
in the open light, and exhibit their happiness. 1 

12 

Signs of Ascent 

Are we moving toward such a consummation? 
Can we detect about us any signs of this ascending 
movement of life ? Not signs of " progress " ; that 
is another narcotic, like Christianity, — good for 
slaves, but to be avoided by those who rule. Man 

« W. P., 464, 960 ; B. O. E., p. 225. 



166 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

as a species is not progressing ; the general level of 
the species is not raised. But humanity as mass 
sacrificed to the prosperity]of the one stronger type 
of Man, — that would be a progress. 1 

Progress of this kind, to some degree, there has 
always been. The ruling class in Greece, as seen 
in Homer and even in Thucydides (though with 
Socrates degeneration begins), is an example of 
this kind of progress or attainment. Imagine 
this culture, which has its poet in Sophocles, its 
statesman in Pericles, its physician in Hippoc- 
rates, its natural philosopher in Democritus; 
here is a yea-saying, a gratitude, to life in all its 
manifestations; here life is understood, and 
covered with art that it may be borne ; here men 
are frivolous so that they may forget for a moment 
the arduousness and perilousness of their task; 
they are superficial, but from profundity; they 
exalt philosophers who preach moderation, be- 
cause they themselves are so immoderate, so 
instinctive, so hilariously wild; they are great, 
they are elevated above any ruling class before or 
after them because here the morals of the govern- 
ing caste have grown up among the governing 
caste, and not among the herd. 2 

We catch some of the glory of these Greeks in 
the men of the Renaissance : men perfect in their 
immorality, terrible in their demands ; we should 

i W. P., 44, 684, 909 ; G. M„ p. 91. 

> D. D., §§ 165, 168 ; W. P., 1052 ; B. G. E., p. 69; /. W., 
p. 10. 



NIETZSCHE 167 

not dare to stand amid the conditions which 
produced these men and which these men pro- 
duced ; we should not even dare to imagine our- 
selves in those conditions : our nerves would not 
endure that reality, — not to speak of our muscles. 
One man of their type, continuator and develop- 
ment of their type, brother (as Taine most rightly 
says) of Dante and Michelangelo, — one such 
man we have known with less of the protection 
of distance ; and he was too hard to bear. That 
Ens Realissimum, synthesis of monster and super- 
man, surnamed Napoleon ! The first man, and the 
man of greatest initiative and developed views, of 
modern times ; a man of tolerance, not out of 
weakness, but out of strength, able to risk the full 
enjoyment of naturalness and be strong enough 
for this freedom. In such a man we see some- 
thing in the nature of "disinterestedness" in his 
work on his marble, whatever be the number of 
men that are sacrificed in the process. Men were 
glad to serve him ; as most normal men are glad 
to serve the great man ; the crowd was tired of 
"equal rights," tired of being masterless; it 
longed to worship genius again. What was the 
excuse for that terrible farce, the French Revolu- 
tion? It made men ready for Napoleon. 1 

When shall we produce another superman? 
Let us go back to our question : Can we detect 
about us any signs of strength? 

1 T. I., pp. 91, 110; J. W., § 362; G. M., pp. 56, 226; 
W. P., 975, 877 ; B. G. E., pp. 201, 53. 



168 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Yes. We are learning to get along without 
God. We are recovering from the noble senti- 
ments of Rousseau. We are giving the body its 
due; physiology is overcoming theology. We 
are less hungry for lies, — we are facing squarely 
some of the ugliness of life, — prostitution, for 
example. We speak less of "duty" and "princi- 
ples" ; we are not so enamored of bourgeois con- 
ventions. We are less ashamed of our instincts ; 
we no longer believe in a right which proceeds 
from a power that is unable to uphold it. There 
is an advance towards "naturalness": in all 
political questions, even in the relations between 
parties, even in merchants', workmen's circles 
only questions of power come into play; what 
one can do is the first question, what one ought to 
do is a secondary consideration. There is a cer- 
tain degree of liberal-mindedness regarding moral- 
ity; where this is most distinctly wanting we 
regard its absence as a sign of a morbid condi- 
tion (Carlyle, Ibsen, Schopenhauer) ; if there is 
anything which can reconcile us to our age it is 
precisely the amount of immorality which it allows 
itself without falling in its own estimation. 1 

Modern science, despite its narrowing speciali- 
zation, is a sign of ascent. Here is strictness in 
service, inexorability in small matters as well as 
great, rapidity in weighing, judging, and con- 
demning ; the hardest is demanded here, the best 
is done without reward of praise or distinction ; it 

J W. P., 109-34, 747. 



NIETZSCHE 169 

is rather as among soldiers, — almost nothing but 
blame and sharp reprimand is heard; for doing 
well prevails here as the rule, and the rule has, as 
everywhere, a silent tongue. It is the same with 
this "severity of science" as with the manners 
and politeness of the best society : it frightens the 
uninitiated. He, however, who is accustomed to 
it, does not like to live anywhere but in this 
clear, transparent, powerful, and highly electri- 
fied atmosphere, this manly atmosphere. 1 

In this achievement of science lies such an 
opportunity as philosophy has never had before. 
Science traces the course of things but points to 
no goal : what it does give consists of the funda- 
mental facts upon which the new goal must be 
based. All the sciences have now to pave the 
way for the future task of the philosopher; this 
task being understood to mean that he must 
solve the problem of value, that he has to fix the 
hierarchy of values. He must become lawgiver, 
commander; he must determine the "whither" 
and "why" for mankind. All knowledge must 
be at his disposal, and must serve him as a tool 
for creation. 2 

Most certain of the signs of a reascending move- 
ment of life is the development of militarism. 
The military development of Europe is a delightful 
surprise. This fine discipline is teaching us to do 

1 J. W., 293. 

* T. I., p. 260 ; O. M., p. 58 ; B. O. E„ p. 151 ; Lonely N., 
p. 221. 



170 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

our duty without expecting praise. Universal 
military service is the curious antidote which we 
possess for the effeminacy of democratic ideas. 
Men are learning again the joy of living in danger. 
Some of them are even learning the old truth 
that war is good in itself, aside from any gain in 
land or other wealth; instead of saying "A good 
cause will hallow every war," they learn to say 
"A good war hallows every cause." When the 
instincts of a society ultimately make it give up 
war and conquest, it is decadent : it is ripe for 
democracy and the rule of shopkeepers. A state 
which should prevent war would not only be com- 
mitting suicide (for war is just as necessary to the 
state as the slave is to society) ; it would be hostile 
to life, it would be an outrage on the future of man. 
The maintenance of the military state is the last 
means of adhering to the great traditions of the 
past ; or where it has been lost, of reviving it. 
Only in this can the superior or strong type of 
man be preserved. 1 

A nation is a detour of nature to arrive at six 
or seven great men, and then to get around them. 
The state is the organization of immorality for 
the attainment of this purpose. But as existing 
to-day the state is a very imperfect instrument, 
subject at any moment to democratic foundering. 
What concerns the thinker here is the slow and 
hesitant formation of a united Europe. This 

1 W. P., 127, 728-9 ; G. M., pp. 88, 226 ; J. W„ 283 ; 
Z., p. 60 ; Lonely N„ p. 15. 



NIETZSCHE 171 

was the thought, and the sole real work and 
impulse, of the only broad-minded and deep- 
thinking men of this century, — the tentative ef- 
fort to anticipate the future of "the European." 
Only in their weaker moments, or when they grew 
old, did they fall back again into the national 
narrowness of the " Fatherlanders " — then they 
were once more "patriots." One thinks here of 
men like Napoleon, Heine, Goethe, Beethoven, 
Stendhal, Schopenhauer. And after all, is there 
a single idea behind this bovine nationalism? 
What possible value can there be in encouraging 
this arrogant self-conceit when everything to-day 
points to greater and more common interests ? — 
at a moment when the spiritual dependence and 
denationalization which are obvious to all are 
paving the way for the rapprochements and 
fertilizations which make up the real value and 
sense of present-day culture? l 

What an instrument such a united Europe 
would be for the development and protection 
and expression of superior individuals ! What a 
buoyant ascent of life after this long descent into 
democracy ! See now, in review, the two move- 
ments which we have studied and on which we 
have [strung our philosophy : on the one hand 
Christian mythology and morality, the cult of 
weakness, the fear of life, the deterioration of the 
species, ever increasing suppression of the privi- 
leged and the strong, the lapse into democracy, 

» B. G. E., p. 94 ; W. P., 717, 748 ; G. M., pp. 223-4. 



172 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

feminism, socialism, and at last into anarchy, — 
all terminating in pessimism, despair, total loss 
of the love of life ; on the other hand the reaffir- 
mation of the worth of life, the resolute distinction 
between slave-morality and master-morality, the 
recognition of the aristocratic valuation of health, 
vigor, energy, as moral in all their forms, and of 
the will to power as the source and significance 
of all action and all living ; the conception of the 
higher man, of the exceptional individual, as the 
goal of human endeavor ; the redirection of mar- 
riage, of education, of social structure, to the 
fostering and cherishing of these higher types ; — 
culminating in the supernational organization of 
Europe as the instrumentality and artistic expres- 
sion of the superior man. 1 

Is this philosophy too hard to bear? Very 
well. But those races that cannot bear it are 
doomed ; and those which regard it as the greatest 
blessing are destined to be masters of the world. 2 



IV 

Criticism 

What shall one say to this? What would a 
democrat say, — such a democrat as would be a 
friend to socialism and feminism, and even to 
anarchism, — and a lover of Jesus ? One pictures 
such a man listening with irritated patience to 

« W. P., 712. 2 Ibid., 1053. 



NIETZSCHE 173 

the foregoing, and responding very readily to an 
invitation to take the floor. 

There are lessons here, he begins, as if brushing 
away an initial encumbrance. There is some- 
thing of Nietzsche in all of us, just as. there is 
something of Jesus (almost as there is something 
of man and of woman in all of us, as Weininger 
argued) ; and part of that crowd called myself 
is flattered by this doctrine of ruthless power. 
Nietzsche stood outside our social and moral 
structure, he was a sort of hermit in the world of 
thought ; and so he could see things in that struc- 
ture which are too near to our noses for easy vision. 
And as you listen to him you see history anew as a 
long succession of masterings and enslavings and 
deceivings, and you become almost reconciled to 
the future being nothing but a further succession of 
the same. And then you begin to see that if the 
future is to be different, one of the things we must do 
is to pinch ourselves out of this Nietzschean dream. 

And a good way to begin is with Nietzsche's 
own principle, that every philosophy is a physi- 
ology. 1 He asks us to believe that there is no such 
thing as a morbid trait in him, 2 but we must not 
take him at his word. The most important point 
about this philosophy is that it was written by a 
sick man, a man sick to the very roots — if you 
will let me say it, abnormal in sexual constitution ; 
a man not sufficiently attracted to the other sex, 
i J. W., p. 5. * E. H., p. 53. 



174 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

because he has so much of the other sex in him. 
"She is a woman," he writes in Zarathustra, 
"and never loves anyone but a warrior"; that 
is, if Nietzsche but knew it, the diagnosis of 
his own disease. This hatred of women, this 
longing for power, this admiration for strength, 
for successful lying, 1 this inability to see a 
tertium quid between tyranny and slavery, 2 — all 
these are feminine traits. A stronger man 
would not have been so shrewishly shrill about 
woman and Christianity ; a stronger man would 
have needed less repetition, less emphasis and 
underlining, less of italics and exclamation points ; 
a stronger man would have been more gentle, and 
would have smiled where Nietzsche scolds. It is 
the philosophy, you see, of a man abnormally 
weak in the social instincts, and at the same time 
lacking in proper outlet for such social instincts 
as nature has left him. 

Consequently, he never gets beyond the individ- 
ual. He thinks society is made up of individuals, 
when it is really made up of groups. He supposes 
that the only virtues a man can have are those 
which help him as an isolated unit ; the idea that a 
man may find self-expression in social expression, 
in cooperation, that there are virtues which are 

1 W. P., 544, with footnote quoting Napoleon: "An al- 
most instinctive belief with me is that all strong men lie when 
they speak, and much more so when they write." 

2 "Far too long a slave and a tyrant have been hidden in 
woman : . . . she is not yet capable of friendship." — Z„ 
p. 75. 



NIETZSCHE 175 

virtues because they enable one to work with 
others against a common evil, — this notion 
never occurs to him. He does not see that sym- 
pathy and mutual aid, for example, though they 
preserve some inferior individuals, yet secure that 
group-solidarity, and therefore group-survival, 
without which even the strong ones would perish. 1 
He does not imagine that perhaps the barbarians 
who invaded Rome needed the gospel of a "gentle 
Jesus meek and mild" if anything at all was to 
remain of that same classical culture which he 
paints so lovingly. 2 He laughs at self-denial ; 
and then invites you to devote yourself forever 
to some self-elected superman. 

This philosophy of aristocracy, of the necessity 
of slavery, of the absurdity of democracy, — of 
course it is exciting to all weak people who would 
like to have power, — and who have not read it 
all before in Plato. In this particular case the 
humor of the situation lies in the very powerful 
attack which Nietzsche makes on the irreligious 
religious humbug which has proved one of the chief 
instruments of mastery in the hands of the class 
whose power he is trying to strengthen. "I hope 
to be forgiven," says Nietzsche, "for discovering 
that all moral philosophy hitherto has belonged 
to the soporific appliances." 3 "Discovering" — 

1 Hobhouse, Social Evolution and Political Theory, New 
York, 1911, p. 25. 

* There is something verging on a recognition of this in 
W. P., 403-4. 

" B. G. E., p. 173. 



176 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

as if the aristocracy had not known that all along ! 
"Here is a naive bookworm," these "strong men" 
will say among themselves, "who has discovered 
what every one of us knows. He presumes to 
tell us how to increase our power, and he can find 
no better way of helping us than to expose in 
print the best secrets of our trade." 

Just in this lies the value of Nietzsche, as 
Rousseau said of Machiavelli : he lets us in 
behind the scenes of the drama of exploitation. 
We know better now the men with whom democ- 
racy must deal. We see the greed for power that 
hides behind the contention that culture cannot 
exist without slavery. Grant that contention : so 
much the worse for culture ! If culture means 
the increasing concentration of the satisfactions of 
life in the hands of a few "superior" pigs, their 
culture may be dispensed with ; if it is to stay, it 
will have to mean the direction of knowledge and 
ability to the spread of the satisfactions of life. 
Which is finer, — the relationship of master and 
slave, or that of friend and friend? Surely a 
world of people liking and helping one another is a 
finer world to live in than one in which the instincts 
of aggression are supreme. And such a coopera- 
tive civilization need not fear the tests of survival ; 
selection puts an ever higher premium on solidar- 
ity, an ever lower value on pugnacity. Intelli- 
gence, not ready anger, will win the great contests 
of the future. Friendship will pay. 

The history of the world is a record of the 



NIETZSCHE 177 

patient and planful attempt to replace hatred by- 
understanding, narrowness by large vision, oppo- 
sition by cooperation, slavery by friendship. 
Friendship : a word to be avoided by those who 
would appear blase. But let us repeat it ; words 
have been known to nourish deeds which without 
them might never have grown into reality. Some 
find heaven in making as many men as possible 
their slaves ; others find heaven in making as 
many men as possible their friends. Which type 
of man will we have? Which type of man, if 
abundant, would make this world a splendor and 
a delight? 

The hope for which Jesus lived was that man 
might some day come to mean friend. It is the 
only hope worth living for. 



Nietzsche Replies 

"It is certainly not the least charm of a theory," 
says Nietzsche, "that it is refutable." l But 
"what have I to do with mere refutations?" 2 
"A prelude I am of better players." 3 "Verily, 
I counsel you," said Zarathustra, "depart from 
me and defend yourselves against Zarathustra ! 
And better still, be ashamed of him. Perhaps he 
hath deceived you. The man of perception must 
not only be able to love his enemies, but also to 
hate his friends. One ill requiteth one's teacher 
1 B. G. E., p. 25. ■ G. M., p. 6. « Z., p. 303. 

N 



178 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

by always remaining only his scholar. Why will 
ye not pluck at my wreath ? Ye revere me ; but 
how if your reverence one day falleth down? 
Beware of being crushed to death with a statue ! 
Ye say ye believe in Zarathustra? But what is 
Zarathustra worth ? Ye are my faithful ones ; 
but what are all faithful ones worth? When ye 
had not yet sought yourselves ye found me. 
Thus do all faithful ones ; hence all belief is 
worth so little. Now I ask you to lose me and 
find yourselves ; not until all of you have dis- 
owned me shall I return unto you." l 

VI 

Conclusion 

"Look," says Rudin, in Turgenev's story, 
"you see that apple tree? It has broken down 
with the weight and multitude of its own fruit. 
It is the emblem of genius." "To perish beneath 
a load one can neither bear nor throw off," wrote 
Nietzsche, — "that is a philosopher." 2 I shall 
announce the song of the lightning, said Zara- 
thustra, and perish in the announcing. 3 

Insanity with such a man is but a matter of 
time ; he feels it coming upon him ; he values his 
hours like a man condemned to execution. In 
twenty days he writes the Genealogy of Morals; 
in one year (1888) he produces The Twilight of the 
Idols, Antichrist, The Case of Wagner, Ecce 
1 z., p. 107. 2 T. I., p. 2. 3 z., p. 10. 



NIETZSCHE 179 

Homo, and his longest and greatest book, The 
Will to Power. He not only writes these books ; 
he reads the proof-sheets, straining his eyes 
beyond repair. He is almost blind now ; he is 
deceived, taken advantage of, because he can 
hardly see farther than his touch. "If I were 
blind," he writes pitifully, "I should be healthy." l 
Yet his body is racked with pain : "on 118 days 
this year I have had severe attacks." 2 "I have 
given a name to my pain, and call it ' a dog ' — it 
is just as pitiful, just as importunate and shame- 
less; and I can domineer over it, vent my bad 
humor on it, as others do with then dogs, servants, 
and wives." 3 

Meanwhile the world lives on unnoticing, or 
noticing only to misunderstand. "My foes have 
become mighty, and have so distorted my teach- 
ing, that my best beloved must be ashamed of the 
gifts that I gave them." 4 He learns that the 
libertines of Europe are using his philosophy as a 
cloak for their sins : " I can read in their faces that 
they totally misunderstand me, and that it is 
only the animal in them which rejoices at being 
able to cast off its fetters." 5 He finds one whom 
he thinks to make his disciple ; he is buoyed up 
for a few days by the hope ; the hope is shattered, 
and loneliness closes in once more upon him. 
"A kingdom for a kind word !" he cries out in the 
depth of his longing; and again he writes, "For 

1 J. W., 312. * Ibid., p. 69 ; referring to 1879. 

8 Ibid., 312. * Lonely N., p. 206. * Ibid., p. 218. 



180 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

years no milk of human kindness, no breath of 
love." 1 

In December, 1888, one whom he has thought 
friendly writes that his brother-in-law is sending to 
a magazine an attack on him. It is the last blow ; 
it means that his sister has joined the others in 
deserting him. "I take one sleeping-draught 
after another to deaden the pain, but for all that I 
cannot sleep. To-day I will take such a dose that 
I will lose my wits." 2 He has been taking chloral, 
and worse drugs, to pay for the boon of sleep ; 
the poison tips the scale already made heavy by 
his blindness and eye-strain, by his loneliness, by 
the treachery of his friends, by his general bodily 
ailments ; he wakes up from this final draught 
in a stupor from which he never recovers ; he 
writes to Brandes and signs himself "The Cru- 
cified" ; he wanders into the street, is tormented 
by children, falls in a fit ; his good landlord 
helps him back to his room, sends for the simple, 
ignorant doctor of the neighborhood ; but it is 
too late ; the man is insane. Age, forty-four ; 
another — the only name greater than his among 
modern philosophers — had died at that pitifully 
early age. 

The body lingered eleven years behind the mind. 
Death came in 1900. He was buried as he had 
wished: "Promise me," he had asked his sister, 
many years before, "that when I die only my 
friends shall stand about my coffin, and no inquisi- 
» Lonely N., p. 289. * Ibid., p. 391. 



NIETZSCHE 181 

tive crowd. See that no priest or anyone else 
utters falsehoods at my graveside, when I can no 
longer defend myself; and let me descend into 
my tomb as an honest pagan." l 

After his death the world began to read him. 
As in so many cases the life had to be given that 
the doctrine might be heard. "Only where there 
are graves," he had written in Zarathustra, "are 
there resurrections." 2 

« Ibid., p. 65. » Ibid., p. 157. 



PART II 

SUGGESTIONS 



CHAPTER I 

SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 

I 
The Problem 

And so we come through our five episodes in 
the history of the reconstructive mind, and find 
ourselves in the bewildering present, comfortably 
seated, let us say, in the great reading room of 
our Columbia Library. An attendant liberates 
us from the maze of "Nietzsche's Works" lying 
about us, and returns presently with a stack of 
thirty books purporting to give the latest develop- 
ments in the field of social study and research. 
We are soon lost in their graphs and statistics, 
their records and results; gradually we come to 
feel beneath these dead facts the lives they would 
reveal ; and as we read we see a picture. 

It is the picture of one life. We see it begin- 
ning helplessly in the arms of the factory physi- 
cian; it is only after some violence that it con- 
sents to breathe, — as if it hesitates to enter 
upon its adventure. It has a touch of consump- 
tion but is otherwise a fair enough baby, says the 
factory physician. It will do, — not saying for 

185 



186 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

what or whom. Luckily, it is a boy, and will 
be able to work soon. He does; at the age of 
nine he becomes a newsboy ; he is up at five in 
the morning and peddles news till eight ; at nine 
he gets to school, fagged out but restless; he 
gives trouble ; cannot memorize quickly enough, 
nor sit still long enough ; plays truant, loving 
the hard lessons of the street ; school over, he 
has a half-hour of play, but must then travel 
his news route till six; after supper he has no 
taste for study; if he cannot go down into the 
street, he will go to bed. At fourteen, hating 
the school where he is beaten or scolded daily, 
he connives with his parents at certain false- 
hoods which secure his premature entrance into 
the factory. He works hard, and for a time hap- 
pily enough ; there is more freedom here than 
in the school. He discovers sex, passes through 
the usual chapter of accidents, and finally achieves 
manhood in the form of a sexual disease. He falls 
in love several times, and out as many times but 
one ; he marries, shares his disease with his 
wife, and begets ten children, — nearly all of 
them feeble, and two of them blind; he does 
not want so many children, but the priest has 
told him that religion commands it. He works 
harder to support them, but his health is giving 
way, and life becomes a heavy burden to him. 
The factory installs scientific management, and 
he finds himself performing the same operation 
every ten seconds from seven to twelve and from 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 187 

one to six ; — some three thousand times a day ; 
he protests, but is told that science commands 
it. He joins a union, and goes out on strike ; 
his family suffer severely, one of the children 
dying of malnutrition ; he wins a wage-increase 
of five per cent ; his landlord raises his rent, and 
a month later his wife informs him that the prices 
of food and clothing have gone up six per cent. 
His country goes to war about a piece of territory 
he has never heard of; his one fairly strong boy 
rushes off to the defence of the colors, returns 
(age twenty) with one leg and almost an arm, 
and sits in the house smoking, drinking, and 
dribbling in repetitious semi-torpor his memories 
of battle. Then comes street-corner talk of 
socialism, capitalism, and other things new and 
therefore hard to understand; a glimmer of 
hope, a cloud of doubt, then resignation. Four 
of the children die before they are twenty; two 
others become consumptive weaklings. The 
father is sent away from the factory because he 
is too old and feeble ; he finds work in a saloon ; 
drink helps him to slip down ; he steals a bracelet 
from the factory-owner's kept woman, is arrested, 
tries to hang himself, but is discovered when half 
dead, and is restored to life against his will. He 
serves his sentence, returns to his family, and 
becomes a beggar. He dies of exposure and 
disease, and his widow is supported by two of 
his daughters, who have become successful 
prostitutes. 



188 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

It is the picture of one life. And as you look 
at it you see beyond it the hundred thousand 
lives of which it is one; you see this suffering 
and meaninglessness as but one hundredth part 
of a thousandth part of the meaningless suffering 
of men ; you hear the angry cries of the rebellious 
young, the drunken laughter of the older ones 
who have no more rebellion in them, the quiet 
weeping of the mothers of many children. 
Around you here you see the happy faces of 
young students, eloquent of comfortable homes; 
at your elbow a gentleman of family is writing a 
book on the optimism of Robert Browning. And 
then suddenly, beneath this world of leisure and 
learning, you feel the supporting brawn of the 
wearied workers; you vision the very pillars 
of this vast edifice held up painfully, hour 
after hour, on the backs of a million sweat- 
ing men; your leisure is their labor, your learn- 
ing is paid for by their ignorance, your luxury is 
their toil. 

For a moment the great building seems to trem- 
ble, as if rebellion stirred beneath and up- 
heaval was upon the world. Then it is still 
once more, and you and I are here with our 
thirty books. 

One feels guilty of sentiment here (after read- 
ing Nietzsche!), and hurries back to the sober 
features of those crowded volumes. Here, in 
cold scientific statement, is our social problem : 
here are volumes biological on heredity, eugenics, 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 189 

dietetics, and disease; volumes sociological on 
marriage, prostitution, the family, the position 
of woman, contraception and the control of pop- 
ulation ; volumes psychological on education, 
criminology, and the replacement of supernatural 
by social religion ; volumes economic on private 
property, poverty, child labor, industrial methods, 
arbitration, minimum wage, trusts, free trade, 
immigration, prohibition, war; volumes political 
on individualism and communism, anarchism 
and socialism, single tax, Darwinism and politics, 
democracy and aristocracy, patriotism, imperial- 
ism, electoral and administrative methods; 
methodological volumes on trade-unions and craft- 
unions, " direct action" and "political action," 
violence and non-resistance, revolution and re- 
form. It is a discouraging maze ; we plunge into 
it almost hopelessly. Several of these authors 
have schemes for taking the social machine 
apart, and a few even have schemes for putting 
it together again; hardly one of them remem- 
bers the old warning that this machine must 
be kept going while it is being repaired. And 
each of these solutions, as its author never sus- 
pects, is but an added problem. 

Let us listen to these men for a while, let us 
follow them for a space, and see where they bring 
us out. They may not bring us out at all ; but 
perhaps that is just what we need to see. 



190 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

II 

:: solutions :: 
1 

Feminism 

And first, with due propriety, let us listen to 
the case of woman vs. the status quo. We imag- 
ine the argument as put by a studious and ap- 
parently harmless young lady. She begins gently 
and proceeds crescendo. 

"The case for woman is quite simple; as 
simple as the case for democracy. We are 
human beings, we are governed, we are taxed ; 
and we believe that just government implies 
the consent of the governed. 

"We might have been content with the old 
life, had you masters of the world been content 
to leave us the old life. But you would not. 
Your system of industry has made the position 
of most young men so hopeless and insecure 
that they are year by year putting back the age 
of marriage. You have forced us out of our 
homes into your factories; and you have used 
us as a means of making still harder the compe- 
tition for employment among the men. Your 
advocates speak of the sacredness of the home; 
and meanwhile you have dragged 5,000,000 
English women out of their homes to be the slaves 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 191 

of your deadening machines. 1 You exalt mar- 
riage; and in this country one woman out of 
every ten is unmarried, and one out of every 
twenty married women works in your unclean 
shops. The vile cities born of your factory-sys- 
tem have made life so hard for us, temptations 
so frequent, vice so attractive and convenient, 
that we cannot grow up among you without 
suffering some indelible taint. 

"Some of us go into your factories because we 
dread marriage, and some of us marry because 
we dread your factories. But there is not much 
to choose between them. If we marry we be- 
come machines for supplying another generation 
of workers and soldiers ; and if we talk of birth- 
control you arrest us. As if we had no right to 
all that science has discovered ! And the horror 
of it is that while you forbid us to learn how to 
protect ourselves and our children from the evils 
of large families, you yourselves buy this knowl- 
edge from your physicians and use it; and one 
of your societies for the prevention of birth- 
control has been shown to consist of members 
with an average of 1.5 children per family. 2 
Your physicians meet in learned assemblies and 
vote in favor of maintaining the law which for- 
bids the spread of this information ; and then we 
find that physicians have the smallest average 

1 Mrs. Gallichan, The Truth about Woman, New York, 1914, 
p. 281. 

* Jos. McCabe, Tyranny of Shams, London, 1916, p. 171. 



192 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

family in the community. 1 One must be a liar 
and a thief to fit comfortably into this civiliza- 
tion which you ask us to defend. 

"But we are resolved to get this information; 
and all your laws to prevent us will only lessen 
our respect for law. We will not any longer 
bring children into the world unless we have 
some reasonable hope of giving them a decent 
life. And not only that. We shall end, too, 
the hypocrisies of marriage. If you will have 
monogamy you may have it; but if you con- 
tinue merely to pretend monogamy we shall find 
a way of regaining our independence. We shall 
not rest until we have freed ourselves from the 
sting of your generosity ; until our bread comes 
not from your hand in kindness but from the 
state or our employers in recognition of our work. 
Then we shall be free to leave you, and you free 
to leave us, as we were free to take one another 
at the beginning, — so far, alas ! as the categorical 
imperative of love left us free. And our children 
will not suffer; better for them that they see 
us part than that they live with us in the midst 
of hypocrisy and secret war. 

"Because we want this freedom — to stay or to 
go — this freedom to know and control the vital 
factors of our lives, therefore we demand equal 
suffrage. It is but a little thing, a mere begin- 
ning; and beware how you betray your secrets 
in your efforts to bar us from this beginning. 

1 Dr. Drysdale, The Small Family System, London, 1915. 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 193 

Are you afraid to share with us the power of the 
ballot ? Do you confess so openly that you wish 
to command us without our consent, that you 
wish to use us for your secret ends ? You dare not 
fight fair and in the open ? Is the ballot a weapon 
which you use on us and will not let us use on you ? 
It is so you conceive citizenship ! Or will you 
ask us to believe that you are thinking not of 
your own interests but of posterity? 

"But we shall get this from you, just as we 
get other things from you, — by repetition. 
And then we shall go on to make the world more 
fit for women to live in : we shall force open all 
the avenues of life that have been closed to us 
before, making us narrow and petty and dull. 
We shall compel your universities to admit us 
to their classes ; we shall enter your professions, 
we shall compete with you for office, we shall 
win the experiences and dare the adventures 
which we need to make us your rivals in litera- 
ture and philosophy and art. You say we can- 
not be your comrades, your friends ; that we 
can be only tyrants or slaves ; but what else 
can we be, with all the instructive wealth of life 
kept from us? You hide from us the great 
books that are being written to-day, and then 
you are surprised at our gossip, our silly scandal- 
mongering, our inability to converse with you 
on business and politics, on science and religion 
and philosophy; you will not let us grow, and 
then you complain because we are so small, 
o 



194 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

But we want to grow now, we want to grow ! 
We cannot longer be mothers only. The world 
does not need so many children ; and even to 
bring up better children we must have a wider 
and healthier life. We must have our intellects 
stimulated more and our feelings less. We 
have burst the bonds of our old narrow world; 
we must explore everything now. It is too late 
to stop us; and if you try you will only make 
life a mess of hatred and conflict for us both. 
And after all, do you know why we want to grow ? 
It is because we long for the day when we shall 
be no longer merely your mistresses, but also 
your friends." 



Socialism 

Another complainant : a young Socialist : 
such a man as works far into almost every night 
in the dingy office of his party branch, and de- 
votes his Sundays to Das Kapital; bright-eyed, 
untouched by disillusionment ; fired by the vision 
of a land of happy comrades. 

"I agree with the young lady," he says; "the 
source of all our ills is the capitalist system. It 
was born of steam-driven machinery and con- 
ceived in laissez-faire. It saw the light in Adam 
Smith's England, ruined the health of the men 
of that country, and then came to America, 
where it grew fat on 'liberty' and 'the right 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 195 

to do as one pleases with one's own.' It believed 
in competition — that is to say war — as its 
God, in whom all things lived and moved and 
sweated dividends; it made the acquisition of 
money, by no matter what means, the test of 
virtue and success, so that honest men became 
ashamed of themselves if they did not fail; it 
made all life a matter of 'push' and 'pull,' 
like the two sides of a door in one of those busi- 
ness palaces which make its cities great mazes 
of brick and stone rising like new Babels in the 
face of heaven. Its motto was, Beware of small 
profits; its aim was the greatest possible happi- 
ness of the smallest possible number. Out of 
competition it begot the trust, the rebate, and 
the 'gentleman's agreement'; out of 'freedom 
of contract' it begot wage-slavery; out of 
'liberty, equality and fraternity' it begot an 
industrial feudalism worse than the old feudalism, 
based on the inheritance not of land, but of the 
living bodies and souls of thousands of men, 
women and children. When it came (in 1770) 
the annual income of England was $600,000,000 ; 
in 1901 the annual income of England was 
$8,000,000,000 ; the system has made a thousand 
millionaires, but it has left the people starving 
as before. 1 It has increased wages, and has in- 
creased prices a trifle more. It has improved 
the condition of the upper tenth of the workers, 

1 Winston Churchill in Parliament, quoted by Schoon- 
maker, The World-War and Beyond, New York, 1915, p. 95. 



196 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

and has thrown the great remaining mass of 
the workers into a hell of torpor and despair. 
It has crowned all by inventing the myopic science 
of scientific management, whereby men are made 
to work at such speed, and with such rigid uni- 
formity, that the mind is crazed, and the body 
is worn out twenty years before its time. It has 
made the world reek with poverty, and ugliness, 
and meanness, and the vulgarity of conspicuous 
wealth. It has made life intolerable and dis- 
graceful to all but sheep and pigs. 

"There is only one way of saving our civiliza- 
tion — such as there is of it — from wasting 
away through the parasitic degeneration of a 
few of its parts and the malnutrition of the rest ; 
and that is by frankly abandoning this laissez- 
faire madness, and changing the state into a 
mechanism for the management of the nation's 
business. We workers must get hold of the 
offices, and turn government into administra- 
tion. Without that our strikes and boycotts, 
our 'direct action' and economic organization, 
arrive at little result; every strike we 'win' 
means that prices will go up, and our time and 
energy — and dues — have gone to nothing 
but self-discipline in solidarity. We can control 
prices only by controlling monopolies; and we 
can control monopolies only by controlling gov- 
ernment. That means politics, and it's a scheme 
that won't work until the proletariat get brains 
enough to elect honest and sensible men to office ; 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 197 

but if they haven't the brains to do that they 
won't have the brains to do anything effective 
on the economic or any other field. We know 
how hard it is to get people to think; but we 
flatter ourselves that our propaganda is an edu- 
cative force that grows stronger every year, 
and has already achieved such power as to de- 
cide the most important election held in this 
country since the Civil War. 

"Already a large number of people have been 
educated — chiefly by our propaganda — to un- 
derstand, for example, the economic greed that 
lies behind all wars. They perceive that so 
long as capital finds its highest rate of profit 
in the home market, capitalists see to it that 
peace remains secure ; but that when capital 
has expanded to the point at which the rate of 
interest begins to fall, or when labor has ceased 
to be docile, because it has ceased to be unor- 
ganized and uninformed, capitalists then seek 
foreign markets and foreign investments, and 
soon require the help of war — that is, the lives 
of the workers at home — to help them enforce 
their terms on foreign governments and peoples. 
Only the national ownership of capital can 
change that. We thought once that we were 
too civilized ever to go to war again ; we begin 
to see that our industrial feudalism leads inevi- 
tably to war and armaments, and the intellectual 
stagnation that comes from a militaristic mode of 
national life. We begin to see all history as a 



198 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Dark Age (with fitful intervals of light), — a 
long series of wars in which men have killed and 
died for delusions, fighting to protect the prop- 
erty of their exploiters. And it becomes a little 
clearer to us than before that this awful succes- 
sion of killings and robberies is no civilization at 
all, and that we shall never have a civilization 
worthy of the name until we transform our indus- 
trial war into the cooperative commonwealth, 
and all 'foreigners' into friends." 



Eugenics 

"My dear young man," says the Eugenist at 
this point, "you must study biology. Your 
plan for the improvement of mankind is all shot 
through with childish ignorance of nature's 
way of doing things. Come into my laboratory 
for a few years; and you will learn how little 
you can do by merely changing the environment. 
It's nature that counts, not nurture. Improve- 
ment depends on the elimination of the inferior, 
not on their reformation by Socialist leaflets 
or settlement work. What you have to do is 
to find some substitute for that natural selection 
— the automatic and ruthless killing off of the 
unfit — which we are more and more frustrating 
with our short-sighted charity. Humanitari- 
anism must get informed. Our squeamishness 
about interfering with the holy 'liberty of the 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 199 

individual' will have to be moderated by some 
sense of the right of society to protect itself 
from interference by the individual. Here are 
the feeble-minded, for example; they breed 
more rapidly than healthy people do, and they 
almost always transmit their defect. If you 
don't interfere with these people, if you don't 
teach them or force them to be childless, you 
will have an increase in insanity along with the 
development of humanity. Think of making 
a woman suffer to deliver into the world a cripple 
or an idiot. And further, consider that the lowest 
eighth of the people produce one-half of the next 
generation. The better people, the more vigor- 
ous and healthy people, are refusing to have 
children ; every year the situation is becoming 
more critical. City-life and factory-life make 
things still worse; young men coming from the 
country plunge into the maelstrom of the city, 
then into its femalestrom ; they emerge with 
broken health, marry deformities dressed up in 
the latest fashion, and produce children inferior 
in vigor and ability to themselves. Given a 
hundred years more of this, and western Europe 
and America will be in a condition to be overcome 
easily by the fertile and vigorous races of the 
East. That is what you have to think of. The 
problem is larger than that of making poor people 
less poor; it is the problem of preserving our 
civilization. Your socialism will help, but it 
will be the merest beginning; it will be but an 



200 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

introduction to the socialization of selection, — 
which is eugenics. We will prevent procreation 
by people who have a transmissible defect or 
disease ; we will require certificates of health 
and clean ancestry before permitting marriage ; 
we will encourage the mating, with or without 
love, of men and women possessed of energy 
and good physique. We will teach people, in 
Mr. Marett's phrase, to marry less with their 
eyes and more with their heads. It will take us 
a long while to put all this into effect ; but we 
will put it. Time is on our side ; every year 
will make our case stronger. Within half a 
century the educated world will come and beg 
us to guide them in a eugenic revolution." 



Anarchism 

A gentle anarchist : 

"You do well to talk of revolution; but you 
do wrong to forget the individual in the race. 
Your eugenic revolution will not stop the exploita- 
tion of the workers by the manufacturers through 
the state. Give men justice and they will soon 
be healthy ; give them the decent life which is 
the only just reward for their work, and you will 
not need eugenics. Instead of bothering about 
parasitic germs you should attend to parasitic 
exploiters ; it is in this social parasitism that 
the real danger of degeneration lies. Continued 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 201 

injustice of employers to employees is splitting 
every western nation into factions ; class-loyalty 
will soon be stronger than loyalty to the com- 
munity ; and the time will come when nations 
in which this civil war has not been superseded 
by voluntary mutual aid will crumble into 
oblivion. 

"And yet men are willing to be loyal to the 
community, if the community is organized to 
give them justice. If exploitation were to cease 
there would be such bonds of brotherhood among 
men as would make the community practically 
everlasting. All you need do is to let men co- 
operate in freedom. They long to cooperate ; 
all evolution shows a growth in the ability to co- 
operate ; man surpassed the brute just because of 
this. Nor is law or state needed ; coercive govern- 
ment is necessary only in societies founded on in- 
justice. The state has always been an instrument 
of exploitation ; and law is merely the organized 
violence of the ruling class. It is a subtle scheme ; 
it enables industrial lords to do without any pangs 
of conscience what but for their statute-books 
might give them a qualm or two. Notice, for 
example, how perfectly Christian such slaughters 
as those in Colorado or Virginia can be made to 
appear — even to the slaughterers — by the 
delightful expedient of the statute-book. They 
kill and call it law, so that they may sleep. 

"And then we are told that one must never 
use violence in labor disputes. But obviously 



202 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

it is precisely violence that is used against labor, 
and against the free spirit. As a matter of his- 
tory, rebels did not begin to use violence on the 
authorities until the authorities had used violence 
on them. We feel ourselves quite justified in 
using any means of attack on a system so founded 
in coercion. The whole question with us is one 
not of morals but of expediency. We have been 
moral a little too long." 



Individualism 

"Precisely," says the Stirnerite anarchist; 
"it is all a question of might, not of right; and 
we exploited ones may be as right as rectitude 
and never get anywhere unless we can rhyme 
a little might to our right. Each of us has a 
right to do whatever he is strong enough to do. 
'One gets farther with a handful of might than 
with a bagful of right.' He who wants much, 
and knows how to get it, has in all times taken 
it, as Napoleon did the continent, and the French 
Algeria. Therefore the only point is that the 
respectful 'lower classes' should at length learn 
to take for themselves what they want." 

6 

Individualism Again 

And lastly, Advocatus Diaboli, Mr. Status 
Quo: 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 203 

"I agree with you right heartily, Sir Stirnerite 
anarchist ; it is time you children came to under- 
stand that everything is a question of power. 
Let the fittest survive and let us all use whatever 
means we find expedient. I am frank with you 
now ; but you must not be surprised if to-morrow 
I write out a few checks for the salaries of the 
liars whom I have in my employ. Why should 
we tell the truth and go under? Surely you 
will understand that not all knowledge is good for 
all men. If it gives you satisfaction, for example, 
to spread information about birth-control, you 
will not feel hurt if it gives us satisfaction to 
oppose you, for the sake of the future armies of 
unemployed without which our great scheme 
of industry would be seriously hampered. 

"And I agree with your fellow-anarchist, 
that the state is often a nuisance. I can make 
use of a little government; but when the state 
begins to tell me how to run my business then 
I feel as if your criticism of the state is very just 
— and convenient. I am an individualist, — 
a good old American individualist, — like Jef- 
ferson and Emerson. The state can't manage 
industry half as well as we can. You know — 
as our Socialists do not — that government 
ownership is only ownership by politicians, by 
Hinky-Dinks and Bath-house Johns; and I 
can tell you from intimate knowledge of these 
people that they will do anything for money 
except efficient administrative work. 



204 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

"Your scheme of having the workers take 
over the industries is a good scheme — for the 
millennium. Where would you get men to direct 
you? They come to us because we pay them 
well ; if your syndicalist shops would pay them 
as well as we do, they would be the begin- 
ning of a new aristocracy ; if you think these 
clever men will work for 'honor' you are 
leaning on an airy dream. Destroy private 
property and you will have a nation of hoboes 
and Hindus. 

"As to exploitation, what would you have? 
We are strong, and you are weak ; it is the law 
of nature that we should use you, just as it is 
the law of nature that one species should use the 
weaker species as its prey. The weaker will 
always suffer, with or without law. Even if 
all bellies are full, the majority will envy the 
intellectual power of their betters, and will suffer 
just as keenly on the intellectual plane as they 
do now on the physical. The alternative of 
the under-dog is to get intelligence and power, 
or 'stay put.' 

"My advice, then, is to let things be. You 
can change the superficial conditions of the 
struggle for existence and for power, but the 
fundamental facts of it will remain. Monarchy, 
aristocracy, democracy, — it's all the same. 
The most powerful will rule, whether by armies 
or by newspapers ; it makes no difference if God 
is on the side of the biggest battalions, or the 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 205 

side of the biggest type. We bought the battal- 
ions ; we buy the type. 

"Come, let us get back to our business." 

Ill 

Dissolutions 

Here is a redudio ad absurdum of our social 
'isms; and here is the history of many a social 
rebel. From dissatisfaction to socialism, from 
socialism to anarchism, from anarchism to Stir- 
nerism, from Stirnerism and the cult of the ego 
to Nietzsche and the right to exploit ; — so has 
many a man made the merry-go-round of thought 
and come back wearily at last to the terra firma 
of the thing that is. We sail into the sea of social 
controversy without chart or compass or rudder ; 
and though we encounter much wind, we never 
make the port of our desire. We need maps, 
and instruments, and knowledge ; we need to 
make inquiries, to face our doubts, to define 
our purposes ; we shall have to examine more 
ruthlessly our preconceptions and hidden pre- 
mises, to force into the light the wishes that 
secretly father our illegitimate thoughts. We 
must ask ourselves questions that will reach 
down to the tenderest roots of our philosophies. 

You are a feminist, let us say. Very well. 
Have you ever considered the sociological conse- 
quences of that very real disintegration of the 
"home" which an advancing feminism implies? 



206 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Granted that this disintegration has been begun 
by the industrial revolution. Do you want it to 
go on more rapidly? Do you want women to 
become more like men? Do you think that the 
"new woman" will care to have children? It 
is surely better for the present comfort of our 
society that there should be a considerable fall 
in the birth rate ; but will that expose the people 
of Europe and America to absorption by the 
races of the East? You argue that the case for 
feminism is as simple as the case for democracy; 
but is the case for democracy simple? Is democ- 
racy competent? Is it bringing us where we 
want to go? Or is it a sort of collective deter- 
mination to drift with the tide, — a sort of 
magnified laissez-faire f And as to "rights" 
and "justice," how do you answer Nietzsche's 
contention that the more highly organized species, 
sex, or class, must by its very nature use, command, 
and exploit the less highly organized species, 
sex, or class? 

You are a Socialist ; and you yearn for a Utopia 
of friends and equals ; but will you, to make 
men equal, be compelled to chain the strength 
of the strong with many laws and omnipresent 
force ? — will you sacrifice the superiority of 
the chosen few to the mediocrity of the many? 
Will you, to control the exploiter, be obliged to 
control all men, even in detail ? — will your 
socialism really bring the slavery and servile 
state that Spencer and Chesterton and Belloc 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 207 

fear? Is further centralization of government 
desirable? Have you considered sufficiently the 
old difficulty about the stimulus to endeavor in 
a society that should restrict private property 
to a minimum and prohibit inheritance? Have 
you arranged to protect your cooperative com- 
monwealth by limiting immigration — from Eu- 
rope and from heaven ? x Are you not, in gen- 
eral, exaggerating the force of the aggregative 
as against the segregative tendencies in human 
nature? And do you think that a change of 
laws can make the weak elude the exploiting 
arm of the strong? Will not the strongest men 
always make whatever laws are made, and rule 
wherever men are ruled? Can any government 
stand that is not the expression of the strongest 
forces in the community? And if the strongest 
force be organized labor, are you sure that or- 
ganized labor will not exploit and tyrannize? 
Will the better organized and skilled workers 
be "just" to the unskilled and imperfectly or- 
ganized workers? And what do you mean by 
"justice"? 

And as to the eugenist, surely it is unnecessary 
to expose his unpreparedness to meet the ques- 
tions which his programme raises. Questions, for 
example, as to what "units" of character to 
breed for, if there are such "units"; whether 
definite breeding for certain results would forfeit 

1 Carver, Essays in Social Justice, New York, 1915, p. 
261. 



208 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

adaptive plasticity ; whether compulsory sterili- 
zation is warranted by our knowledge of heredity ; 
whether serious disease is not often associated 
with genius ; whether the native mental endow- 
ments of rich and poor are appreciably different, 
and whether the "comparative infertility of the 
upper classes" is really making for the deteriora- 
tion of the race ; whether progress depends on 
racial changes so much as on changes in social 
institutions and traditions. And so on. 

And the anarchist, whom one loves if only for 
the fervor of his hope and the beauty of his 
dream, — the anarchist falters miserably in the 
face of interrogation. If all laws were to be 
suspended to-morrow, all coercion of citizen by 
state, how long would it be before new laws 
would arise? Would the aforementioned strong 
cease to be strong and the weak cease to be weak ? 
Would people be willing to forego private prop- 
erty? Are not belief and disbelief in private 
property determined less by logic and "justice" 
than by one's own success or failure in the acquisi- 
tion of private property ? Do only the weak and 
uncontrolled advocate absolute lack of restraint? 
Do most men want liberty so much that they 
will tolerate chaos and a devil-take-the-hind- 
most individualism for the sake of it? Can it 
be, after all, that freedom is a negative thing, — 
that what men want is, for some, achievement, 
for others, peace, — and that for these they will 
give even freedom? What if a great number 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 209 

of people dread liberty, and are not at all so sen- 
sitive to restraint and commandment as the 
anarchist? Perhaps only children and geniuses 
can be truly anarchistic? Perhaps freedom 
itself is a problem and not a solution? Does 
the mechanization, through law and custom, of 
certain elements in our social behavior, like the 
mechanization, through habit and instinct, of 
certain elements in individual behavior, result 
in greater freedom for the higher powers and 
functions? Again, to have freedom for all, all 
must be equal ; but does not development make 
for differentiation and inequality? Consider 
the America of three hundred years ago ; a 
nation of adventurous settlers, hardly any of 
them better off than any other, — all of a class, 
all on a level; and see what inequalities and 
castes a few generations have produced ! Is 
there a necessary antithesis between liberty and 
order, freedom and control ? — or are order and 
control the first condition of freedom? Does 
not law serve many splendid purposes, — could 
it not serve more? Is the state necessary so 
long as there are long-eared and long-fingered 
gentry ? 

As for your revolutions, who profits by them? 
The people who have suffered, or the people who 
have thought? Is a revolution, so far as the 
poor are concerned, merely the dethronement 
of one set of rulers or exploiters so that another 
set may have a turn ? Do not most revolutions, 
v 



210 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

like that which wished to storm heaven by a 
tower, end in a confusion of tongues? And after 
each outbreak do not the workers readapt them- 
selves to their new slavery with that ease and 
torpid patience which are the despair of every 
leader, until they are awakened by another quarrel 
among their masters ? 

One could fling about such questions almost 
endlessly, till every 'ism should disappear under 
interrogation points. Every such 'ism, clearly, 
is but a half-truth, an arrested development, 
suffering from malinformation. One is reminded 
of the experiment in which a psychologist gave a 
ring-puzzle to a monkey, and — in another room 
— a like puzzle to a university professor : the 
monkey fell upon the puzzle at once with teeth 
and feet and every manner of hasty and hap- 
hazard reaction, — until at last the puzzle, 
dropped upon the floor, came apart by chance; 
the professor sat silent and motionless before 
the puzzle, working out in thought the issue of 
many suggested solutions, and finally, after 
forty minutes, touched it to undo it at a stroke. 
Our 'isms are simian reactions to the social 
puzzle. We jump at conclusions, we are impinged 
upon extremes, we bound from opposite to oppo- 
site, we move with blinders to a passion-colored 
goal. Some of us are idealists, and see only 
the beautiful desire; some of us are realists, 
and see only the dun and dreary fact; hardly 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 211 

any of us can look fact in the face and see through 
it to that which it might be. We "bandy half- 
truths" for a decade and then relapse into the 
peaceful insignificance of conformity. 1 

It dawns on students of social problems, as it 
dawned long since on philosophers, that the be- 
ginning of their wisdom is a confession of their 
ignorance. We know now that the thing we 
need, and for lack of which we blunder valiantly 
into futility, is not good intentions but informed 
intelligence. All problems are problems of edu- 
cation ; all the more so in a democracy. Not 
because education can change the original nature 
of man, but because intelligent cooperation 
can control the stimuli which determine the inju- 

1 The "experimental attitude . . . substitutes detailed 
analyses for whosesale assertions, specific inquiries for temper- 
amental convictions, small facts for opinions whose size is 
in precise ratio to their vagueness. It is within the social 
sciences, in morals, politics, and education, that thinking still 
goes on by large antitheses, by theoretical oppositions of 
order and freedom, individualism and socialism, culture and 
utility, spontaneity and discipline, actuality and tradition. 
The field of the physical sciences was once occupied by similar 
'total* views, whose emotional appeal was inversely as their 
intellectual clarity. But with the advance of the experi- 
mental method, the question has ceased to be which one of 
two rival claimants has a right to the field. It has become a 
question of clearing up a confused subject matter by attack- 
ing it bit by bit. I do not know a case where the final result 
was anything like victory for one or another among the pre- 
experimental notions. All of them disappeared because they 
became increasingly irrelevant to the situation discovered, 
and with their detected irrelevance they became unmeaning and 
uninteresting." — Professor John Dewey, New Republic, 
Feb. 3, 1917. 



212 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

riousness or beneficence of original dispositions. 
Impulse is not the enemy of intelligence ; it is 
its raw material. We desire knowledge — and 
particularly knowledge of ourselves — so that 
we may know what external conditions evoke 
destructive, and what conditions evoke construc- 
tive, responses. We do not, for example, expect 
intelligence to eradicate pugnacity; we do not 
want it to do so ; but we want to eradicate the 
environmental conditions which turn this impulse 
to wholesale suicide. Men should fight ; it is 
the essence of their value that they are willing to 
fight ; the problem of intelligence is to discuss 
and to create means for the diversion of pugnacity 
to socially helpful ends. Character is per se 
neither good nor bad, but becomes one or the 
other according to the nature of the stimuli 
presented. What we call moral reform, then, 
waits on information and consequent remould- 
ing of the factors determining the direction of 
our original dispositions. We become "better" 
men and women only so far as we become more 
intelligent. Just as psychoanalysis can, in some 
measure, reconstruct the personal life, so social 
analysis can reconstruct social life and turn into 
productive channels the innocent but too often 
destructive forces of original nature. 1 

1 All this has been indicated — with, however, too little 
emphasis on the reconstructive function of intelligence — by 
Bertrand Russell in Principles of Social Reconstruction (Lon- 
don, 1916) ; and more popularly by Max Eastman in Under- 



SOLUTIONS AND DISSOLUTIONS 213 

Our problem, then, to repeat once more our 
central theme, is to facilitate the growth and 
spread of intelligence. With this definition of the 
issue we come closer to our thesis, — that the social 
problem must be approached through philosophy, 
and philosophy through the social problem. 

standing Germany (New York, 1916) ; it has been put very 
briefly again and again by Professor Dewey, — e.g., in an 
essay on "Progress" in the International Journal of Ethics, 
April, 1916. 



CHAPTER II 

THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION OF PHILOSOPHY 

I 
Epistemologs 

Now there are a great many people who will 
feel no thrill at all at the mention of philosophy, 
— who will rather consider themselves excused 
by the very occurrence of the word from continu- 
ing on the road which this discussion proposes 
to travel. No man dares to talk of philosophy 
in these busy days except after an apologetic 
preface ; philosophers themselves have come to 
feel that their thinking is so remote from practical 
endeavor that they have for the most part aban- 
doned the effort to relate their work to the concrete 
issues of life. In the eyes of the man who does 
things philosophy is but an aerial voyaging 
among the mists of transcendental dialectic, or 
an ineffective moralizing substitute for super- 
natural religion. Philosophy was once mistress 
of all the disciplines of thought and search ; 
now none so poor to do her reverence. 

There is no way of meeting this indictment 

214 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 215 

other than to concede it. It is true. It is mild. 
Only a lover of philosophy can know — with 
the intimacy of a particeps criminis — how 
deeply philosophy has fallen from her ancient 
heights. Looking back to Greece we find that 
philosophy there was a real pursuit of wisdom, 
a very earnest effort to arrive by discussion and 
self-criticism at a way of life, a philosophia vitm 
magistra, a knowledge of the individual and social 
good and of the means thereto, a conscious direc- 
tion of social institutions to ethical ends ; philos- 
ophy and life in those days were bound up with 
one another as mechanics is now bound up with 
efficient construction. Even in the Middle Ages 
philosophy meant coordinate living, synthetic 
behavior ; with all their reputation for cobweb- 
spinning, the Scholastics were much closer to 
life in their thinking than most modern philos- 
ophers have been in theirs. 

The lapse of philosophy from her former 
significance and vitality is the result of the exag- 
gerated emphasis placed on the epistemological 
problem by modern thinkers ; and this in turn 
is in great part due to the difficulties on which 
Descartes stumbled in his effort to reconcile 
his belief in mechanism with his desire to placate 
the Jesuits. How minor a role is played by the 
problems of the relation between subject and 
object, the validity of knowledge, epistemological 
realism and idealism, in a frankly mechanist 
philosophy, appears in Bacon, Hobbes, and 



216 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Spinoza ; l these men — deducting Bacon's 
astute obeisance to theology — know what they 
want and say what they mean ; they presume, 
with a maturity so natural as to be mistaken for 
naivete, that the validity of thought is a matter 
to be decided by action rather than by theory ; 
they take it for granted that the supreme and 
ultimate purpose of philosophy is not analysis 
but synthesis, not the intellectual categorizing 
of experience but the intelligent reconstruction 
of life. Indeed, as one pursues this clew through 
the devious — almost stealthy — course of mod- 
ern speculation it appears that no small part of 
the epistemological development has been made 
up of the oscillations, compromises, and obscuri- 
ties natural in men who were the exponents 
and the victims of a painful transition. Civiliza- 
tion was passing from one intellectual basis 
to another ; and in these weird epistemologs the 
vast process came uncomfortably to semicon- 
sciousness. They were old bottles bursting with 
new wine ; and their tragedy was that they knew 
it. They clung to the old world even while the 
new one was swimming perilously into their 
ken ; they found a pitiful solace in the old phrases, 
the old paraphernalia of a dead philosophy ; and 
in the suffering of their readjustment there was, 
quite inevitably, some measure of self-deception. 
And that is why they are so hard to under- 

1 This is not a defence of mechanism or materialism ; it 
is a plea for a better perspective in philosophy. 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 217 

stand. Even so subtle a thinker as Santayana 
finds them too difficult, and abandons them in 
righteous indignation. There is no worse con- 
founding of confusion than self-deception : let 
a man be honest with himself, and he may lie 
with tolerable intelligibility and success; but 
let him be his own dupe and he may write a thou- 
sand critiques and never get himself understood. 
Indeed, some of them do not want to be under- 
stood, they only want to be believed. Hegel, 
for example, was not at all surprised to find that 
no one understood him ; he would have been 
surprised and chagrined to find that some one 
had. Obscurity can cover a multitude of sins. 
Add to this self-befoggery the appalling his- 
torismus (as Eucken calls it), the strange lifeless 
interest in the past for its own sake, the petty 
poring over problems of text and minutiae of 
theory in the classics of speculation ; — and the 
indictment of philosophy as a useless appanage 
of the idle rich gains further ground. We do 
not seem to understand how much of the past is 
dead, how much of it is but a drag on the imagina- 
tive courage that dares to think of a future differ- 
ent from the past, and better. Philosophy is 
too much a study of the details of superseded 
systems ; it is too little the study of the miraculous 
living moment in which the past melts into the 
present and the future finds creation. Most 
people have an invincible habit of turning their 
backs to the future ; they like the past because 



218 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

the future is an adventure. So with most philos- 
ophers to-day; they like to write analyses of 
Kant, commentaries on Berkeley, discussions of 
Plato's myths; they are students remembering, 
they have not yet become men thinking. They 
do not know that the work of philosophy is in 
the street as well as in the library, they do not 
feel and understand that the final problem of 
philosophy is not the relation of subject and object 
but the misery of men. 

And so it is well that philosophy, such as it 
chiefly is in these days, should be scorned as a 
busy idler in a world where so much work is 
asking to be done. 

Philosophy was vital in Plato's day; so vital 
that some philosophers were exiled and others 
put to death. No one would think of putting a 
philosopher to death to-day. Not because men are 
more delicate about killing; but because there 
is no need to kill that which is already dead. 1 

II 

Philosophy as Control 

But after all, this is not a subject for rhetoric 
so much as for resolution. Here we are again in 

1 It would be invidious to name the exceptions which one 
is glad to remember here ; but it is in place to say that the prac- 
tical arrest of Bertrand Russell is a sign of resuscitation on 
the part of philosophy, — a sign for which all lovers of philos- 
ophy should be grateful. When philosophers are once more 
feared, philosophy will once mote be respected. 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 219 

our splendid library; here we sit, financially se- 
cure, released from the material necessities of life, 
to stand apart and study, to report and help and 
state and solve ; under us those millions holding 
us aloft so that we may see for them, dying by 
the thousand so that we may find the truth that 
will make the others free; and what do we do? 
We make phrases like "esse est percipi," "syn- 
thetic judgments a -priori" and "being is noth- 
ing"; we fill the philosophic world with great 
Saharas of Kantiana; we write epistemology for 
two hundred years. Surely there is but one 
decent thing for us to do : either philosophy is 
of vital use to the community, or it is not. If it 
is not, we will abandon it ; if it is, then we must 
seek that vital use and show it. We have been 
privileged to study and think and travel and 
learn the world ; and now we stand gaping 
before it as if there were nothing wrong, as 
if nothing could be done, as if nothing should 
be done. We are expert eyes, asked to point 
the way; and all that we report is that there 
is nothing to see, and nowhere to go. We are 
without even a partial sense of the awful responsi- 
bility of intelligence. 

It is time we put this problem of knowledge, 
even the problem of the validity of knowledge, 
into the hands of science. How we come to 
know, what the process of knowledge is, what 
"truth" is, — all these are questions of fact; 
they are problems for the science of psychology, 



220 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

they are not problems for philosophy. This con- 
tinual sharpening of the knife, as Lotze put it, 
becomes tiresome — almost pathetic — if, after 
all, there is no cutting done. Like Faust, who 
found himself when, blinded by the sun, he turned 
his face to the earth, so we shall have to forget 
our epistemological heaven and remember mother 
earth ; we shall have to give up our delightful 
German puzzles and play our living part in the 
flow of social purpose. Philosophers must once 
more learn to live. 

To make such a demand for a new direction of 
philosophy to life is after all only a development 
of pragmatism, turning that doctrine of action as 
the test and significance of thought to uses not 
so individual as those in which William James 
found its readiest application. If philosophy has 
meaning, it must be as life become aware of its 
purposes and possibilities, it must be as life cross- 
examining life for the sake of life ; it must be as 
specialized foresight for the direction of social 
movement, as reconstructive intelligence in con- 
scious evolution. Man finds himself caught in a 
flux of change ; he studies the laws operating in 
the flux; studying, he comes to understand; 
understanding, he comes to control ; controlling, 
he comes face to face with the question of all 
questions, For what? Where does he wish to go, 
what does he want to be? It is then that man 
puts his whole experience before him in synthetic 
test ; then that he gropes for meanings, searches 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 221 

for values, struggles to see and define his course 
and goal; then that he becomes philosopher. 
Consider these questions of goal and course as 
questions asked by a society, and the social func- 
tion of philosophy appears. Science enlightens 
means, philosophy must enlighten ends. Science 
informs, philosophy must form. A philosopher 
is a man who remakes himself ; the social function 
of philosophy is to remake society. 

Have we yet felt the full zest of that brave dis- 
covery of the last century, — that purpose is not 
in things but in us? What a declaration of in- 
dependence there is in that simple phrase, what 
liberation of a fettered thought to dare all ven- 
tures of creative endeavor ! Here at last is man's 
coming-of-age ! Well : now that we have won 
this freedom, what shall we do with it? That 
is the question which freedom begets, often as its 
Frankenstein ; for unless freedom makes for life, 
freedom dies. Once our sloth and cowardice 
might have pleaded the uselessness of effort in a 
world where omnipotent purpose lay outside of 
us, superimposed and unchangeable; now that 
we can believe that divinity is in ourselves, that 
purpose and guidance are through us, we can no 
longer shirk the question of reconstruction. The 
world is ours to do with what we can and will. 
Once we believed in the unchangeable environ- 
ment — that new ogre that succeeded to the 
Absolute — and (as became an age of laissez- 
faire) we thought that wisdom lay in meeting all 



222 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

its demands ; now we know that environments 
can be remade; and we face the question, How 
shall we remake ours? 

This is preeminently a problem in philosophy ; 
it is a question of values. If the world is to be 
remade, it will have to be under the guidance of 
philosophy. 

Ill 

Philosophy as Mediator between Science and Statesmanship 

But why philosophy ? — some one asks. Why 
will not science do? Philosophy dreams, while 
one by one the sciences which she nursed steal 
away from her and go down into the world 
of fact and achievement. Why should not 
science be called upon to guide us into a better 
world ? 

Because science becomes more and more a frag- 
mentated thing, with ever less coordination, ever 
less sense of the whole. Our industrial system 
has forced division of labor here, as in the manual 
trades, almost to the point of idiocy : let a man 
seek to know everything about something, and 
he will soon know nothing about anything else; 
efficiency will swallow up the man. Because of 
this shredded science we have great zoologists 
talking infantile patriotism about the war, and 
great electricians who fill sensational sheets with 
details of their trips to heaven. We live in a 
world where thought breaks into pieces, and co- 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 223 

ordination ebbs; we flounder into a chaos of 
hatred and destruction because synthetic think- 
ing is not in fashion. 

Consider, for example, the problem of monop- 
oly : we ask science what we are to do here ; 
why is it that after we have listened to the econo- 
mist, and the historian, and the lawyer, and the 
psychologist, we are hardly better off than 
before? Because each of these men speaks in 
ignorance of what the others have discovered. 
We must find some way of making these men 
acquainted with one another before they can 
become really useful to large social purposes; 
we must knock their heads together. We want 
more uniters and coordinators, less analyzers 
and accumulators. Specialization is making the 
philosopher a social necessity of the very first 
importance. 

This does not mean that we must put the state 
into the hands of the epistemologists. Hardly. 
The type of philosopher who must be produced 
will be a man too close to life to spend much time 
on merely analytical problems. He will feel the 
call of action, and will automatically reject all 
knowledge that does not point to deeds. The 
essential feature of him will be grasp : he will 
have his net fixed for the findings of those sciences 
which have to do, not with material reconstruc- 
tions, but with the discovery of the secrets of 
human nature. He will know the essentials of 
biology and psychology, of sociology and history, 



224 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

of economics and politics ; in him these long- 
divorced sciences will meet again and make 
one another fertile once more. He will busy 
himself with Mendel and Freud, Sumner and 
Veblen, and will scandalously neglect the Abso- 
lute. He will study the needs and exigencies of 
his time, he will consider the Utopias men make, 
he will see in them the suggestive pseudo- 
podia of political theory, and will learn from 
them what men at last desire. He will sober 
the vision with fact, and find a focus for im- 
mediate striving. With this focus he will be 
able to coordinate his own thinking, to point 
the nose of science to a goal ; science becom- 
ing thereby no longer inventive and instructive 
merely, but preventive and constructive. And 
so fortified and unified he will preach his gospel, 
talking not to students about God, but to states- 
men about men. 

For we come again — ever and ever again — to 
Plato : unless wisdom and practical ability, phi- 
losophy and statesmanship, can be more closely 
bound together than the}' are, there will be no 
lessening of human misery. Think of the learn- 
ing of scientists and the ignorance of politicians ! 
You see all these agitated, pompous men, making 
laws at the rate of some ten thousand a year; 
you see those quiet, unheard of, underpaid seekers 
in the laboratories of the world ; unless you can 
bring these two groups together through coordi- 
nation and direction, your society will stand still 



THE RECONSTRUCTIVE FUNCTION 225 

forever, however much it moves. Philosophy 
must take hold ; it must become the social direc- 
tion of science, it must become, strange to say, 
applied science. 

We stand to-day in social science where Bacon 
stood in natural science : we seek a method first 
for the elucidation of causes, and second for the 
transformation, in the light of this knowledge, of 
man's environment and man. "We live in the 
stone age of political science," says Lester Ward; 
"in politics we are still savages." x Our political 
movements are conceived in impulse and de- 
veloped in emotion ; they end in fission and frag- 
mentation because there is no thought behind 
them. Who will supply thinking to these in- 
stincts, direction to this energy, light to this 
wasted heat ? Our young men talk only of ideals, 
our politicians only of fact ; who will interpret to 
the one the language of the other? What is it, 
too, that statesmen need if not that saving sense 
of the whole which makes philosophy, and which 
philosophy makes? Just as philosophy without 
statesmanship is — let us say — epistemology, 
so statesmanship without philosophy is — Ameri- 
can politics. The function of the philosopher, 
then, is to do the listening to to-day's science, 
and then to do the thinking for to-morrow's 
statesmanship. The philosophy of an age should 
be the organized foresight of that age, the inter- 
preter of the future to the present. "Selection 

1 American Journal of Sociology, March, 1905, p. 645. 



226 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

adapts man to yesterday's conditions, not to 
to-day's"; 1 the organized foresight of conscious 
evolution will adapt man to the conditions of to- 
morrow. And an ounce of foresight is worth a 
ton of morals. 

1 Ross, Social Control, New York, 1906, p. 9. 



CHAPTER III 

ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 

I 
The Need 

Intelligence is organized experience ; but in- 
telligence itself must be organized. Consider the 
resources of the unused intelligence of the world ; 
intelligence potential but undeveloped ; intelli- 
gence developed but isolated ; intelligence allowed 
to waste itself in purely personal pursuits, un- 
asked to enter into cooperation for larger ends. 
Consider the Platos fretting in exile while petty 
politicians rule the world; consider Montaigne, 
and Hobbes, and Hume, and Carlyle, and the 
thousand other men whose genius was left to grow 
— or die — in solitude or starvation ; consider 
the vast number of university-trained minds who 
are permitted, for lack of invitation and organized 
facilities, to slip into the world of profit and loss 
and destructively narrow intent; consider the 
expert ability in all lines which can be found in 
the faculties of the world, and which goes to 
training an infinitesimal fraction of the com- 
munity. The thought of university graduates, 

227 



228 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

of university faculties, of university-trained in- 
vestigators, has had a rapidly growing influence 
in the last ten years in America ; and because it 
is an influence due to enlightenment it is funda- 
mentally an influence for "good." It was this 
influence that showed when President Wilson 
said that the eight-hour day was demanded by 
the informed opinion of the time. The sources 
of such influence have merely been touched ; 
they are deep ; we must find a way to make in- 
formed opinion more articulate and powerful. 
"The most valuable knowledge consists of 
methods," said Nietzsche ; l and the most valuable 
methods are methods of organization, whether of 
data or of men. Organization's the thing. Eco- 
nomic forces are organized ; the forces of intelli- 
gence are not. To organize intelligence ; that is 
surely one method of approach to the social 
problem ; and what if, indeed, it be the very 
heart and substance of the social problem? 

Now a very easy way of making the propounder 
of such an organization feel unusually modest is 
to ask him that little trouble-making question, 
How? To answer that would be to answer 
almost everything that can be answered. Here 
are opera basilica again ! — for what are we doing, 
after all, but trying to take Francis Bacon seri- 
ously? Of course the difficulty in organizing in- 
telligence is how to know who are intelligent, and 
how to get enough people to agree with you that 

» Will to Power, § 469. 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 229 

you know. If each man's self-valuation were 
accepted, our organization would be rather bulky. 
Are there any men very widely recognized as in- 
telligent, who could be used as the nucleus of an 
organization? There are individual men so rec- 
ognized, — Edison, for example, and, strange to 
say, one or two men who by accident are holding 
political office. But these are stray individuals ; 
are there any groups whose average of intelligence 
is highly rated by a large portion of the com- 
munity ? There are. Physicians are so rated ; 
so much so that by popular usage they have won 
almost a monopoly on the once more widely used 
term doctor. University professors are highly 
rated. Let us take the physicians and the pro- 
fessors ; here is a nucleus of recognized intelligence. 
There are objections, here, of course ; some one 
urges that many physicians are quacks, another 
that professors are rated as intelligent, but only 
in an impractical sort of way. Perhaps we shall 
find some scheme for eliminating the quacks; 
but the professors present a difficult problem. 
It is true that they suffer from intellectualism, 
academitis, overfondness for theories, and other 
occupational diseases ; it is true that the same 
people who stand in awe of the very word pro- 
fessor would picture the article indicated by the 
word as a thin, round-shouldered, be-spectacled 
ninny, incapable of finding his way alone through 
city streets, and so immersed in the stars that he 
is sooner or later submerged in a well. But what 



230 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PEOBLEM 

if this quality of detachment, of professorial 
calm, be just one of the qualities needed for the 
illumination of our social problem? Perhaps we 
have too much emotion in these questions, and 
need the colder light of the man who is trained 
to use his "head" and not his "heart." Perhaps 
the most useful thing in the world for our purpose 
is this terribly dispassionate, coldly scrutinizing 
professor. We need men as impartial and clear- 
eyed as men come ; and whatever a professor 
may say, yet he sees his field more clearly and 
impartially than any other group of men what- 
ever. Let the professors stay. 

And so we have our physicians and our profes- 
sors, — say all physicians and professors who 
have taught or practised three years in institu- 
tions, or as the graduates of institutions, of recog- 
nized standing. And now let us dream our dream. 

II 

The Organization of Intelligence 

These men, through meetings and correspond- 
ence, organize themselves into a "Society for 
Social Research"; they begin at once to look 
for an "inspired millionaire" to finance the move- 
ment for six months or so ; they advertise them- 
selves diligently in the press, and make known 
their intention to get together the best brains of 
the country to study the facts and possibilities 
of the social problem. And then — a difficult 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 231 

point — they face the task of arranging some 
more or less impersonal method of deciding who 
are the intelligent people and who not. They ask 
themselves just what kind of information a man 
should be expected to have, to fit him for com- 
petent handling of social questions ; and after 
long discussions they conclude that such a man 
should be well trained in one — and acquainted 
with the general findings of the others — of what 
we may call the social disciplines : biology, psy- 
chology, sociology, history, economics, law, poli- 
tics, philosophy, and perhaps more. They formu- 
late a long and varied test for the discovery of 
fitness in these fields ; and they arrange that every 
university in the country shall after plentiful 
advertisement and invitation to all and sundry, 
give these tests, and pay the expenses incurred by 
any needy candidate who shall emerge successful 
from the trial. In this way men whose studies 
have been private, and unadorned with academic 
degree, are to find entrance to the Society. 

It is recognized that the danger of such a test 
lies in the premium which it sets on the bookish 
as against the practical man : on the man whose 
knowledge has come to him in the classroom or 
the study, as against the man who has won his 
knowledge just by living face to face with life. 
There are philosophers who have never heard of 
Kant, and psychologists who have been Freud- 
ians for decades without having ever read a book. 
A society recruited by such a test will be devoid 



232 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

of artists and poets, may finally eliminate all but 
fact-gathering dryasdusts, and so end deservedly 
in nothing. And yet some test there must be, 
to indicate, however crudely, one's fitness or un- 
fitness to take part in this work ; the alternative 
would be the personal choice of the initial few, 
whose prejudices and limitations would so become 
the constitution and by-laws of the society. 
Perhaps, too, some way may appear of using the 
artists and poets, and the genius who knows no 
books. 

Well : the tests are given ; the original nucleus 
of physicians and professors submit themselves 
to these tests, and some, failing, are eliminated ; 
other men come, from all fields of work, and from 
them a number survive the ordeal and pass into 
the Society. So arises a body of say 5000 men, 
divided into local groups but working in unison 
so far as geographical separateness will permit ; 
and to them now come, impressed with their 
earnestness, a wealthy man, who agrees to finance 
the Society for such time as may be needed to 
test its usefulness. 

Now what does our Society do ? 

It seeks information. That, and not a pro- 
gramme, is the fruitful beginning of reform. 
"Men are willing to investigate only the small 
things of life," says Samuel Butler ; this Society 
for Social Research is prepared and resolved to 
investigate anything that has vital bearing on the 
social problem ; it stands ready to make enemies, 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 233 

ready to soil its hands. It appoints committees to 
gather and formulate all that biologists can tell 
of human origin and the innate impulses of men ; 
all that psychology in its varied branches can 
tell of human behavior ; all that sociology knows 
of how and why human societies and institutions 
rise and fall ; all that medicine can tell of social 
ills and health ; it appoints committees to go 
through all science with the loadstone of the 
social purpose, picking up this fact here and that 
one there ; committees to study actual and pro- 
posed forms of government, administrative and 
electoral methods ; committees to investigate 
marriage, eugenics, prostitution, poverty, and the 
thousand other aspects and items of the social 
problem ; committees to call for and listen to 
responsible expressions of every kind of opinion ; 
committees to examine and analyze social experi- 
ments, profit-sharing plans, Oneida communi- 
ties ; even a committee on Utopia, before which 
persons with schemes and 'isms and perfect cities 
in their heads may freely preach their gospel. 
In short this Society becomes the organized eye 
and ear of the community, ready and eager to 
seek out all the facts of human life and business 
that may enlighten human will. 

And having found the facts it publishes them. 
Its operations show real earnestness, sincerity, 
and ability; and in consequence it wins such 
prestige that its reports find much heralding, 
synopsis, and comment in the press. But in addi- 



234 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

tion to that it buys, for the first day of every 
month, a half-page of space in several of the more 
widely circulated periodicals and journals of the 
country, and publishes its findings succinctly and 
intelligibly. It gives full references for all its 
statements of fact ; it makes verification possible 
for all doubters and deniers. It includes in each 
month's report a reliable statement of the year's 
advances in some one of the social disciplines, so 
that its twelve reports in any year constitute a 
record of the socially vital scientific findings of 
the year. It limits itself strictly to verifiable in- 
formation, and challenges demonstration of hu- 
manly avoidable partiality. And it takes great 
care that its reports are- couched not in learned 
and technical language but in such phraseology 
as will be intelligible to the graduates of an aver- 
age grammar school. That is central. 

Ill 

Information of Panacea 

Without some such means of getting and spread- 
ing information there is no hope for fundamental 
social advance. We have agreed, have we not, 
that to make men happier and more capable we 
must divert their socially injurious impulses into 
beneficent channels ; that we can do this only 
by studying those impulses and controlling the 
stimuli which arouse them ; that we can control 
those stimuli only by studying the varied factors 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 235 

of the environment and the means of changing 
them ; in short, that at the bottom of the direc- 
tion of impulse lies the necessity of knowledge, of 
information spread to all who care to receive it. 
Autocracy may improve the world without spread- 
ing enlightenment ; but democracy cannot. De- 
lenda est ignorantia. 1 

This, after all, is a plan for the democratiza- 
tion of aristocracy; it is Plato translated into 
America. It utilizes superior intelligence and 
gives it voice, but sanctions no change that has 
not received the free consent of the community. 
It gives the aristocracy of intellect the influence 
and initiative which crude democracy frustrates ; 
but it avoids the corruption that usually goes 
with power, by making this influence work 
through the channels of persuasion rather than 
compulsion/" It counteracts the power of wealth 
to disseminate partisan views through news-items 
and editorials, and relies on fact to get the better 
at last of double-leaded prejudice. It rests on 
the faith that lies will out. 

Would the mass of the people listen to such 
reports ? Consider, first, the repute that attaches 
to the professorial title. Let a man write even 
the sorriest nonsense but sign himself as one of 
the faculty of some responsible institution, and 
he will find a hearing ; the reader, perhaps, need 
not go far to find an example. In recent indus- 
trial and political issues the pronouncements of 

1 Barker, Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle, p. 80. 



236 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

a few professors carried very great weight ; and 
there are some modest purveyors of so supposedly 
harmless a thing as philosophy whose voice is 
feared by all interests that prosper in the dark. 
Will the combined reputation of the most en- 
lightened men in the country mean less? A 
report published by this Society for Social Re- 
search will mean that a large body of intelligent 
men have from their number appointed three or 
five or ten to find the facts of a certain situation 
or dispute ; these appointed men will, if they 
report hastily, or carelessly, or dishonestly, impair 
the repute of all their fellows in the Society; 
they will take care, then, and will probably find 
honesty as good a policy as some of us pretend it 
to be. With every additional report so guarded 
from defect the repute of the society will grow 
until it becomes the most powerful intellectual 
force in the world. 

When one reflects how many pages of misrep- 
resentation were printed in the papers of only 
one city in the presidential campaign of 1916, 
and then imagines what would have been the 
effect of a mere statement of facts on both sides, 
— the records of the candidates and the parties, 
their acknowledged connections, friends and 
enemies, their expressed principles and pro- 
grammes, the facts about the tariff, the German 
issue, international law, the railway-brotherhood 
dispute, and so forth — one begins to appreciate 
the importance of information. After the initial 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 237 

and irrevocable differences of original nature 
nothing is so vital as the spread of enlighten- 
ment ; and nothing offers itself so well to 
organized effort. Eugenics is weak because it 
has no thought-out programme ; 'isms rise and 
fall because people are not informed. Let who 
can, improve the native qualities of men ; but 
that aside, the most promising plan is the 
dissemination of fact. 

Such a society for research would be a sort of 
social consciousness, a "mind of the race." It 
would make social planning possible for the first 
time ; it would make history conscious. It would 
look ahead and warn ; it would point the nose of 
the community to unwelcome but important facts ; 
it would examine into such statements as that of 
Sir William Ramsay, that England's coal fields 
will be exhausted in one hundred and seventy- 
five years ; and its warnings, backed by the pres- 
tige of its expert information, would perhaps avert 
the ravages of social waste and private greed. 
Nature, said Lester Ward, is a spendthrift, 
man an economizer. But economy means pre- 
vision, and social economy means organized 
provision. Here would be not agitation, not 
propaganda, not moralizing, but only clarifica- 
tion ; these men would be "merchants of light," 
simply giving information so that what men 
should do they might do knowingly and not 
in the dark. 

Indeed, if one can clarify one need not agitate. 



238 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

Just to state facts is the most terrible thing that 
can be done to an injustice. Sermons and 
stump-speeches stampede the judgment for a 
moment, but the sound of their perorations 
still lingers in the air when reaction comes. 
Fact has this advantage over rhetoric, that 
time strengthens the one and weakens the 
other. Tell the truth and time will be your 
eloquence. 

Let us suppose that our Society has existed 
some three years ; let us suppose that on the first 
day of every month it has spread through the 
press simple reports of its investigations, simple 
accounts of socially significant work in science, 
and simple statements of fact about the economic 
and political issues of the day; let us suppose 
that by far the greater part of these reports have 
been conscientious and accurate and clear. Very 
well : in the course of these three years a large 
number of mentally alert people all over the coun- 
try will have developed the habit of reading these 
monthly reports ; they will look forward to them, 
they will attach significance to them, they will 
herald them as events, almost as decisions. In 
any question of national policy its statements 
will influence thousands and thousands of the more 
independent minds. Let us calculate the number 
of people who, in these United States, would be 
reached by such reports ; let us say the reports 
are printed in three or four New York dailies, 
having a total circulation of one million ; in other 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 239 

dailies throughout the country totalling some five 
million circulation ; and in one or more weeklies 
or monthlies with a large or a select circulation. 
One may perhaps say that out of the seven or 
eight million people so reached (mostly adult 
males), five per cent will be so influenced by the 
increasing prestige of the Society that they will 
read the reports. Of these four hundred thousand 
readers it is reasonable to suppose that three hun- 
dred thousand will be voters, and not only voters 
but men of influence among their fellows. These 
men will each of them be a medium through 
which the facts reported will be spread ; it is not 
too much to say that the number of American 
voters influenced directly or indirectly by these 
reports will reach to a million. 1 Now imagine 
the influence of this million of voters on a presi- 
dential election. Their very existence would be 
a challenge ; candidates would have them in mind 
when making promises and criticisms ; parties 
would think of them when formulating policies 
and drawing up platforms ; editors would beware 
of falling into claptrap and deceit for fear of these 
million men armed with combustible fact. It 
would mean such an elevation of political discus- 
sion and political performance as democracy has 
never yet produced ; such an elevation as democ- 
racy must produce or die. 

1 Perhaps this million could be reached more surely and 
economically through direct pamphlet-publication by the 
Society. 



240 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

IV 

Sex, Art, and Play in Social Reconstruction 

So far our imagined Society has done no more 
than to seek and give information. It has, it is 
true, listened to propagandists and Utopians, and 
has published extracts from their testimony ; but 
even this has been not to agitate but to inform ; 
that such and such opinions are held by such 
and such men, and by such and such a number 
of men, is also a point of information. Merely 
to state facts is the essential thing, and the ex- 
tremely effective thing. But now there are cer- 
tain functions which such a Society might per- 
form beyond the giving of facts — functions that 
involve personal attitudes and interpretations. 
It may be possible for our Society to take on these 
functions without detracting from the trust re- 
posed in its statements of fact. What are these 
functions ? 

First of all, the stimulation of artistic produc- 
tion, and the extension of artistic appreciation. 
Our Society, which is composed of rather staid 
men, themselves not peculiarly fitted to pass 
judgment outside the field of science, will invite, 
let us say, twenty of the most generally and 
highly valued of English and American authors 
to form themselves into a Committee on Literary 
Awards, as a branch of the Society for Social 
Research. Imagine Thomas Hardy and George 
Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells and John Gals- 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 241 

worthy and Rudyard Kipling and John Masefield 
and George Moore and Joseph Conrad and W. D. 
Howells and Theodore Dreiser and many more, 
telling the world every month, in individual in- 
stalments, their judgment on current fiction, 
drama, poetry, English literature in general ; 
imagine the varied judgments printed with synop- 
tic coordination of the results as a way of fixing 
the standing of a book in the English literary 
world ; and judge of the stimulus that would re- 
side in lists signed by such names. Imagine 
another group of men, the literary elite of France, 
making briefer reports on French literature ; and 
other groups in Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, 
Scandinavia; imagine the world getting every 
month the judgment of Anatole France and 
Romain Rolland and Gerhardt Hauptmann and 
Anton Tchekov and Georg Brandes on the current 
literature of their peoples ; imagine them making 
lists, too, of the best books in all their literatures ; 
imagine eager young men and women poring 
over these conflicting lists, discussing them, 
making lists of their own, and getting guidance 
so. And to the literary lists add monthly reports, 
by a committee of the Society itself, on the best 
books in the various fields of science. Finally, 
let the artists speak, — painters and sculptors 
and all ; let them say where excellence has dwelt 
this month in their respective fields. There are 
hundreds of thousands who hunger for such guid- 
ance as this plan would give. There are young 

B 



242 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

people who flounder about hopelessly because 
they find no guidance ; young people who are 
easily turned to fine work by the stimulus of 
responsible judgment, and as easily lapse into 
the banalities of popular fiction and popular 
magazines when this guiding stimulus fails to 
come. There are thousands of people who would 
be glad to pay their modest contribution to the 
support of any organization that would manage 
to get such direction for them. Half the value 
of a university course lies in this, that the teacher 
will suggest readings, judge books, and provide 
general guidance for individual work. Perhaps 
the most valuable kind of information in the world 
is that which guides one in the search for infor- 
mation. Such guidance, given to all who ask 
for it, would go far to save us from the mediocrity 
that almost stifles our national life. 1 

And more ; why should not the stimulation be 
for the producers as well as for the consumers? 
Why should not some kind of award be made, 
say every six months, to the authors adjudged 
best in their lines by their qualified contempo- 
raries ? Why should such a book as Jean Chris- 

1 Some students — e.g., Joseph McCabe, The Tyranny of 
Shams, London, 1916, p. 248 — are so impressed with the dan- 
gers lying in our vast production of written trash that they 
favor restricting the circulation of cheap fiction in our public 
libraries. But what we have to do is not to prohibit the evil 
but to encourage the good, to give positive stimulus rather 
than negative prohibition. People hate compulsion, but they 
grope for guidance. 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 243 

tophe or The Brothers Karamazov go unheralded 
except in fragmentary individual ways? Why 
not reward such productions with a substan- 
tial prize ? — or, if that be impossible, by some 
presentation of certificate? Even a "scrap of 
paper" would go a long way to stimulate the 
writer and guide the reader. But why should 
not a money reward be possible? If rich men 
will pay thousands upon thousands for the (per- 
haps) original works of dead artists, why should 
they not turn their wealth into spiritual gold by 
helping the often impecunious writers of the 
living day? It is a convenient error to believe 
that financial aid would detract from the inde- 
pendence of the creator : it would, did it come 
from men rewarding on the basis of their own 
judgment ; it would not if the judgment of the 
world's men of letters should be taken as criterion. 
And perhaps fewer Chattertons and Davidsons 
would mar the history of literature and art. 

This direction of attention to what is best and 
greatest in the work of our age is a matter of 
deeper moment than superficial thought can 
grasp. If, by some such method, the meaning 
of "success" could be freed from monetary im- 
plication and attached rather to excellence in art 
and science, the change would have almost in- 
estimably far-reaching results. Men worship 
money, as has often been pointed out, 1 not for 
its own sake, nor for the material good it brings, 

1 E.g., by G. Lowes Dickinson, Justice and Liberty, p. 133. 



244 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

but for the prestige of success that goes with its 
"conspicuous consumption"; let the artist find 
more appreciation for his ability than the captain 
of industry finds for his, and there will be a great 
release of energy from economic exploitation to 
creative work in science, literature, and art. A 
large part of the stimuli that prompt men to 
exploit their fellows will be gone ; and that 
richest of all incentives — social esteem — will 
go to produce men eager to contribute to the 
general power and happiness of the community. 1 
The art impulse, as is generally believed, is a 
diversion of sex energy. An organism is essen- 
tially not a food-getting but a reproductive 
mechanism ; the food-getting is a contributory 
incident in the reproduction. As development 
proceeds the period of pregnancy and adolescence 
increases, more of the offspring survive to 
maturity, large broods, litters, or families be- 
come unnecessary, and more and more of the 
energy that was sexual slides over into originally 
secondary pursuits, like play and art. At the 
same time there is a gradual diminution in pug- 
nacity (which was another factor in the drama of 
reproduction), and rivalry in games and arts en- 
croaches more and more on the emotional field 
once monopolized by strife for mates and food. 

1 Cf . Russell, Principles of Social Reconstruction, p. 236 : 
"The supreme principle, both in politics and in private life, 
should be to promote all that is creative, and so to diminish 
the impulses and desires that center round possession." 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 245 

The game — a sort of Hegelian synthesis of hos- 
tility and sociability — takes more and more the 
place of war, and artistic creation increasingly 
replaces reproduction. 

If all this is anything more than theoretic skat- 
ing over thin sheets of fact, it means that one 
"way out" from our social perplexities lies in 
the provision of stronger stimulus to creation and 
recreation, art and games. It is a serious part of 
the social planner's work to find some way of 
nourishing the art impulse wherever it appears, 
and drawing it on by arranging rewards for its 
productions. And again we shall have to under- 
stand that play is an important matter in a 
nation's life ; that one of the best signs for the 
future of America is the prevalence of healthy 
athleticism ; and that an attempt to widen these 
sport activities to greater intersectional and inter- 
national scope than they have yet attained will 
get at some of the roots of international pugnacity. 
A wise government would be almost as interested 
in the people's games as in their schools, and 
would spend millions in making rivalry absorb 
the dangerous energy of pugnacity. Olympic 
games should not be Olympic games, occurring 
only with Olympiads ; not a month should pass 
but great athletes, selected by eliminative tests 
from every part of every country, should meet, 
now here, now there, to match brawn and wits 
in the friendly enmity of games. Let men know 
one another through games, and they will not for 



246 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

slight reasons pass from sportsmanship to that 
competitive destruction and deceit which our polit- 
ical Barnums call "the defence of our national 
honor." 



Education 

This diversion of the sexual instinct into art 
and games (a prophylactic which has long since 
been applied to individuals, and awaits applica- 
tion to groups) must begin in the early days of 
personal development ; so that our Society for 
Social Research would, if it were to take on this 
task, find itself inextricably mixed up with the 
vast problem of educational method and aim. 

Here more than anywhere one hears the call 
for enlightenment and sees the need for clarifica- 
tion. Here is an abundance of 'isms and a dearth 
of knowledge. Most teachers use methods which 
they themselves consider antiquated, and teach 
subjects which they will admit not one in a 
hundred of their pupils wili ever need to know. 
Curious lessons in ethics are administered, which 
are seldom practised in the classroom, and make 
initiative children come to believe that com- 
mandment-breaking is heroic. Boys and girls 
bursting with vitality and the splendid exuber- 
ance of youth are cramped for hours into set 
positions, while by a sort of water-cure process 
knowledge is pumped into them from books 
duller than a doctor's dissertation in philosophy. 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 247 

And so forth : the indictment against our schools 
has been drawn up a thousand times and in a 
thousand ways, and needs no reenforcement here. 
But though we have indicted we have not made 
any systematic attempt to find just what is 
wrong, and how, and where ; and what may be 
done to remedy the evil. Experiments have been 
made, but their bearings and results have been 
very imperfectly recorded. 

Suppose now that our Society for Social Re- 
search should appoint a great Committee on 
Education to hire expert investigators and make 
a thorough attempt to clarify the issues in educa- 
tion. Here the function of philosophy should be 
clear ; for the educator touches at almost every 
point those problems of values, individual and 
social, which are the special hunting-ground of 
the philosopher. The importance of psychology 
here is recognized, but the importance of biology 
and pathology has not been seen in fit perspec- 
tive. Why should not a special group of men 
be set aside for years, if necessary, to study the 
applicability of the several sciences to educa- 
tion? Why should not all scientific knowledge, 
so far as it touches human nature, be focused on 
the semi-darkness in which the educator works? 

Two special problems in this field invite re- 
search. One concerns the effect, on national 
character and capacity, of a system of education 
controlled by the government. The point was 
made by Spinoza, as may be remembered, that a 



248 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

government will, if it controls the schools, aim 
to restrain rather than to develop the energies of 
men. Kant remarked the same difficulty. The 
function of education in the eyes of a dominant 
class is to make men able to do skilled work but 
unable to do original thinking (for all original 
thinking begins with destruction) ; the function of 
education in the eyes of a government is to teach 
men that eleventh commandment which God for- 
got to give to Moses : thou shalt love thy country 
right or wrong. All this, of course, requires 
some marvellous prestidigitation of the truth, as 
school text-books of national history show. The 
ignorant, it seems, are the necessary ballast in 
the ship of state. 

The alternative to such schools seems to be a 
return to private education, with the rich man's 
son getting even more of a start on the poor boy 
than he gets now. Is there a tertium quid here? 
Perhaps this is one point which a resolute effort 
to get the facts would clarify. What does such 
governmentally-regulated education do to the 
forces of personal difference and initiative? Will 
men and women educated in such a way produce 
their maximum in art and thought and industry ? 
Or will they be automata, always waiting for a 
push ? What different results would come if the 
nationally-owned schools were to confine their 
work absolutely to statements of fact, presenta- 
tions of science, and were to leave "character- 
moulding" and lessons in ethics to private per- 



ORGANIZED INTELLIGENCE 249 

sons or institutions? Then at least each parent 
might corrupt his own child in his own pet way ; 
and there might be a greater number of children 
who would not be corrupted at all. 

Another problem which might be advanced 
towards a solution by a little light is that of 
giving higher education to those who want it but 
are too poor to pay. There are certain studies, 
called above the social disciplines, which help a 
man not so much to raise himself out of his class 
and become a snob, as to get a better under- 
standing of himself and his fellow-men. Since 
mutual understanding is a hardly exaggerable 
social good, why should not a way be found to 
provide for all who wish it evening instruction in 
history, sociology, economics, psychology, biology, 
philosophy, and similar fields of knowledge? 
Every added citizen who has received instruction 
in these matters is a new asset to the community ; 
he will vote with more intelligence, he will work 
better in cooperation, he will be less subject to 
undulations of social mania, he will be a hint to 
all office-seekers to put their usual nonsense on 
the shelf. Perhaps by this medium too our 
Society would spread its reports and widen its 
influence. Imagine a nation of people instructed 
in these sciences : with such a people civilization 
would begin. 

And then again, our busy-body Society would 
turn its research light on the universities, and tell 
them a thing or two of what the light would 



250 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

show. It would betray the lack of coordination 
among the various sciences, — the department 
of psychology, for example, never coming to so 
much as speaking terms with the department of 
economics; it would call for an extension, per- 
haps, of the now infrequent seminars and con- 
ferences between departments whose edges over- 
lap, or which shed light on a common field. It 
would invite the university to give less of its 
time to raking over the past, and help it to orient 
itself toward the future ; it would suggest to every 
university that it provide an open forum for the 
responsible expression of all shades of opinion; 
it would, in general, call for a better organization 
of science as part of the organization of intelli- 
gence ; it would remind the universities that they 
are more vital even than governments ; and it 
might perhaps succeed in getting engraved on 
the gates of every institution of learning the words 
of Thomas Hobbes : "Seeing the universities are 
the foundation of civil and moral doctrine, from 
whence the preachers and the gentry, drawing 
such water as they find, use to sprinkle the same 
upon the people, there ought certainly to be 
great care taken to have it pure." 



CHAPTER IV 

THE READER SPEAKS 

I 
The Democratization of Aristocracy 

And now we stop for objections. 

"This plan is a hare-brained scheme for a new 
priesthood and a new aristocracy. It would put 
a group of college professors and graduates into a 
position where they could do almost as they 
please. You think you avoid this by telling the 
gentlemen that they must limit themselves to the 
statement of fact; but if you knew the arts of 
journalism you would not make so naive a dis- 
tinction between airing opinions and stating facts. 
When a man buys up a newspaper what he wants 
to do is not so much to control the editorials as 
to ' edit ' the news, — that is, to select the facts 
which shall get into print. It's wonderful what 
lies you can spread without telling lies. For 
example, if you want to hurt a public man, you 
quote all his foolish speeches and ignore his wise 
ones ; you put his mistakes into head-lines and 
hide his achievements in a corner. I will guaran- 
tee to prove anything I like, or anything I don't 

251 



252 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

like, just by stating facts. So with your Society 
for Social Research ; it would become a great 
political, rather than an educational, organiza- 
tion ; it would almost unconsciously select its 
information to suit its hobbies. Why, the thing 
is psychologically impossible. If you want 
something to be true you will be half blind and 
half deaf to anything that obstructs your desire; 
that is the way we're made. And even if nature 
did not attend to this, money would : as soon 
as your society exercised real power on public 
opinion it would be bought up, in a gentle, sleight- 
o'hand way, by some economic group ; a few of 
the more influential members of the Society would 
be 'approached,' some 'present' would be made, 
and justice would have another force to contend 
with. No; your Society won't do." 

Well, let us see. Here you have a body of 
5000 men; rather a goodly number for even an 
American millionaire to purchase. They wish to 
investigate, say, the problem of birth control ; 
what do they do? They vote, without nomi- 
nations, for six of their number to manage the 
investigation ; the six men receiving the highest 
vote investigate and write out a report. Now 
if any report were published which misstated 
facts, or omitted important items, the fault 
would at once diminish the repute and influence 
of the Society. Let merely the suspicion get 
about that these reports are unfair, and the 



THE READER SPEAKS 253 

Society would begin to decay. That is, the 
power of the Society would grow with its fairness 
and fall with its unfairness, — a very happy 
arrangement. The fear of this fall in influence 
would be the best incentive to impartial reports. 
Every committee would feel that the future of 
the Society depended on the fairness of its own 
report ; and every man on every committee 
would hesitate before making himself responsi- 
ble for the disrepute of the Society; he would 
feel himself on trial before his fellow-members, 
and would halt himself in the natural slide into 
partiality. 

Not that he would always succeed ; men are 
men. But it is reasonable to expect that men 
working under these conditions would be con- 
siderably more impartial than the average news- 
paper. Again, who is as impartial as the scien- 
tist? One cannot do much in science without a 
stern control of the personal equation ; to de- 
scribe protozoa, for example, as one would like 
them to be, is no very clever way of attaining 
repute in protozoology. This is not so true in 
the social as in the physical sciences, though even 
in this new field scientific fairness and accuracy 
are rapidly increasing. One can get more reliable 
and impartial reports of an industrial situation, 
— e.g., of the Colorado troubles, — from the 
scientific investigators than from either side to the 
controversy. The very deficiencies of the student 
type — incapacity for decisions or for effective 



254 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

methods in action — involve a compensatory 
grasp of understanding and impartiality of atti- 
tude. Our best guarantee against dishonesty is 
not virtue but intelligence, and our Society is 
supposed to be a sort of distilled intelligence. 

That the scheme savors of aristocracy is not 
to its discredit. We need aristocracy, in the 
sense of better methods for giving weight to 
superior brains ; we need a touch of Plato in our 
democracy. After all, the essence of the plan, 
as we have said, is the democratization of Plato 
and Nietzsche and Carlyle; the intelligent man 
gets more political power, but only through the 
mechanism of democracy. His greater power 
comes not by his greater freedom to do what he 
pleases despite the majority, but by improved 
facilities for enlightening and converting the 
majority. Democracy, ideally, means only that 
the aristocracy is periodically elected and re- 
newed ; and this is a plan whereby the aristo- 
crats — the really best — shall be more clearly 
seen to be so. Furthermore, the plan avoids the 
great defect of Plato's scheme, — that philoso- 
phers are not fitted for executive and administra- 
tive work, that those skilled to see are very sel- 
dom also able to do. Here the philosopher, the 
man who gets at the truth, rules, but only 
indirectly, and without the burdens of office 
and execution. And indeed it is not the phi- 
losopher who rules, but truth. The liberator is 
made king. 



THE HEADER SPEAKS 255 

II 

The Professor as Buridan's Ass 

"You have anticipated my objection, and 
cleverly twisted it into an argument. But that 
would be too facile an escape ; you must face 
more squarely the fact that your professors are 
mere intellectualist highbrows, incapable of under- 
standing the real issues involved in our social war, 
and even more incapable pf suggesting practical 
ways out. The more you look the more you 
see; the more you see, the less you do. You 
think that reflection leaves you peace of mind ; it 
doesn't, it leaves your mind in pieces. The in- 
tellectual is like Dr. Buridan's ass : he is so careful 
to stand in the middle that he never gives a word 
of practical advice, for fear that he will com- 
promise himself and fracture a syllogism. The 
trouble is that we think too much, not too little ; 
we make thinking a substitute for action. Really, 
as Rousseau argued, thinking is unnatural ; what 
the world needs is men who can make up their 
minds and then march on, almost in blinders, to 
a goal. We know enough, we know too much; 
and surely we have a plethora of investigating 
committees. A committee is just a scientific 
way of doing nothing. Your plan would flood 
the country with committees and leave courage 
buried under facts. You should call your organi- 
zation a Society for Talky-talk." 



256 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

The only flaw in this argument is that it does 
not touch the proposal. What is suggested is 
not that the Society take action or make pro- 
grammes, much less execute them ; we ask our pro- 
fessors merely to do for a larger public, and more 
thoroughly and systematically, what we are glad 
to have them do for a small number of us in 
college and university. Action is ex hypothesi 
left to others ; the function of the researcher is 
quite simply to look and tell us what he sees. 
That he is a highbrow, an intellectual, and even 
a Buridan's ass, does not interfere with his seeing ; 
nobody ever argued that Buridan's ass was 
blind. 

- We forget that seeing is itself an art. Some of 
us have specialized in the art, and have naturally 
failed to develop cleverness in practical affairs. 
But that does not mean that our special talent 
cannot be used by the community, any more 
than Sir Oliver Lodge's fondness for celestial 
exploration makes us reject his work on electricity. 
Thinking is itself a form of action, and not the 
easiest nor the least effective. It is true that "if 
you reflect too much you will never accomplish 
anything," but if you reflect too little you will 
accomplish about as much. We make headway 
only by the head way. Action without fore- 
thought tends to follow a straight line; but in 
life the straight line is often the longest distance 
between two points, because, as Leonardo said, 
the straightest line offers the greatest resistance. 



THE READER SPEAKS 257 

Thought is roundabout, and loves flank attacks. 
The man of action rushes into play courageously, 
succeeds now, fails then; and sooner or later 
wishes — if he lives to wish — that he could think 
more. The increasing dependence of industry on 
scientific research, and of politics on expert in- 
vestigators, shows how the world is coming to 
value the man whose specialty is seeing. Faith 
in intellect, as Santayana says, "is the only faith 
yet sanctioned by its fruit." x The two most 
important men in America just now are, or have 
been, college professors. To speak still more 
boldly : the greatest single human source of good 
in our generation is the "intellectual" researcher 
and professor. The man to be feared above all 
others is the man who can see. 

Ill 

Is Information Wanted? 

"But your whole scheme shows a very amateur 
knowledge of human nature. You seem to think 
you can get people interested in fact. You 
can't; fact is too much against their interest. 
If the facts favor their wish, they are interested ; 
if not, they forget them. The hardest thing in 
the world is to listen to truth that threatens to 
frustrate desire. That is why people won't listen 
to your reports, unless you tell them what they 
want to hear. They will — and perhaps excus- 

• Reason in Common Sense, New York, 1911, p. 96. 
8 



258 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PKOBLEM 

ably — prefer the bioscope to your embalmed 
statistics; just as they will prefer to read The 
Family Herald rather than the subtleties recom- 
mended by the Mutual Admiration Society which 
you would make out of our men of letters. You 
can investigate till you are blue in the face, and 
all you will get out of it won't be worth the 
postage stamps you use. Public opinion doesn't 
follow fact, it follows desire; people don't vote 
for a man because he is supported by 'truth' 
but because he promises to do something they 
like. And the man who makes the biggest 
promises to the biggest men will get office ninety- 
nine times out of a hundred, no matter what the 
facts are. What counts is not truth but money." 

This is the basic difficulty. Is it worth while 
to spread information? Think how much in- 
formation is spread every week in Europe and 
America ; — the world remaining the while as 
"wicked" as it probably ever was. Public 
opinion is still, it seems, as Sir Robert Peel de- 
scribed it to be : "a compound of folly, weakness, 
prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, 
and newspaper paragraphs," » — particularly the 
paragraphs. Once we thought that the printing- 
press was the beginning of democracy, that 
Gutenberg had enfranchised the world. Now it 
appears that print and plutocracy get along very 
well together. Nevertheless the hope of the weak 

1 Quoted by Walter Weyl, The New Democracy, p. 136. 



THE READER SPEAKS 259 

lies in numbers and in information; in democ- 
racy and in print. "The remedy for the abuses 
of public opinion is not to discredit it but to in- 
struct it." 1 The cure for misstatements is better 
statements. If the newspapers are used to 
spread falsehood that is no reason why news- 
papers should not be used to spread truth. After 
all, the spread of information has done many 
things, — killed dogma, sterilized many mar- 
riages, and even prevented wars; and there is 
no reason why a further spread may not do more 
valuable things than any yet done. It has been 
said, so often that we are apt to admit it just to 
avoid its repetition, that discussion effects noth- 
ing. But indeed nothing else effects anything. 
Whatever is done without information and dis- 
cussion is soon undone, must be soon undone; 
all that bears time is that which survives the 
test of thought. All problems are at last prob- 
lems in information : to find out just how things 
stand is the only finally effective way of getting 
at anything. 

As to the limited number of persons who 
would be reached by the reports, let us not ask 
too much. There is no pretence here that the 
great mass of the people would be reached; no 
doubt these would go on living what Wells calls 
the "normal social life." But these people do 
not count for constructive purposes ; they divide 
about evenly in every election. The men who 

1 Ross, Social Control, New York, 1906, p. 103. 



260 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

do count — the local leaders, the clergymen, the 
lecturers, the teachers, the union officials, the 
newspaper men, the "agitators," the arch-rebels 
and the arch-Tories, — all these men will be 
reached; and the information given will 
strengthen some and weaken others, and so play- 
its effective part in the drama of social change. 
Each one of these men will be a center for the 
further distribution of information. Imagine a 
new monthly with a country-wide circulation of 
one million voters (that is, a general circulation 
of five million) ; would such a periodical have 
power ? — would not millions be given to control 
it? Well, here we have more power, because 
not so concentrated in a few editorial hands, not 
so easily purchaseable, and based on better in- 
tellect and repute. The money that would be paid 
at any time for the control of a periodical of such 
influence would finance our Society for many years. 
It is impossible to believe that such a spread 
of knowledge as is here suggested would do noth- 
ing to elevate the moral and political life of the 
country. Consider the increased scrupulousness 
with which a Congressman would vote if he knew 
that at the next election his record would be 
published in cold print in a hundred newspapers, 
over the name of the Society for Social Research. 
Consider the effect, on Congressional appropria- 
tions for public buildings, of a plain statement of 
the population and size of the towns which require 
such colossal edifices for their mail. Publicity, 



THE READER SPEAKS 261 

it has been said, is the only cure for bad motives. 
Consider the stimulus which such reports would 
give to political discussion everywhere. Hardly 
a dispute occurs which is not based upon insuffi- 
cient acquaintance with the facts; here would 
be information up to date, ready to give the light 
which dispels the heat. Men would turn to these 
reports all the more willingly because the reports 
were pledged to confine themselves to fact. Men 
would find here no attacks, no argument, no 
theory or creed ; it would be refreshing, in some 
ways, to bathe the mind, hot with contention, in 
these cool streams of fact, and to emerge cleansed 
of error and filled with the vitality of truth. We 
have spent so much time attacking what we hate 
that we have not stopped to tell people what we 
like ; if we would only affirm more and deny less 
there would be less of cross-purpose in the world. 
And information is affirmation. It would not 
open the wounds of controversy so much as offer 
points of contact ; and in the light of fact, enemies 
might see that their good lay for the most part 
on a common road. If you want to change a foe 
into a friend (or, some cynic will say, a friend 
into a foe), give him information. 

IV 

Finding Maecenas 

"Well; suppose you are right. Suppose in- 
formation, as you say, is king. How are you going 



262 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

to do it? Do you really think you will get some 
benevolent millionaire to finance you? And will 
you, like Fourier, wait in your room every day 
at noon for the man who will turn your dream 
into a fact?" 

What we tend to forget about rich men is that 
besides being rich they are men. There are a 
surprising number of them — particularly those 
who have inherited money — who are eager to 
return to the community the larger part of their 
wealth, if only they could be shown a way of 
doing it which would mean more than a change 
of pockets. Merely to give to charity is, in 
Aristotle's phrase, to pour water into a leaking 
cask. What such men want is a way of increas- 
ing intelligence ; they know from hard experi- 
ence that in the end intelligence is the quality 
to be desired and produced. They have spent 
millions, perhaps billions, on education ; and this 
plan of ours is a plan for education. If it is what 
it purports to be, some one of these men will offer 
to finance it. 

And not only one. Let the beginnings of our 
Society be sober and efficient, let its first investi- 
gations be thorough and intelligent, let its initial 
reports be impartial, succinct, illuminating and 
simple, and further help will come almost unasked. 
After a year of honest and capable work our 
Society would find itself supported by rather a 
group of men than by one man; it might con- 



THE READER SPEAKS 263 

ceivably find itself helped by the state, at the 
behest of the citizens. What would prevent a 
candidate for governor from declaring his inten- 
tion that should he be elected he would secure 
an annual appropriation for our Society ? — and 
why should not the voters be attracted by such a 
declaration ? Why should not the voters demand 
such a declaration? 

Nor need we fear that a Society so helped by 
the rich man and the state would turn into but 
one more instrumentality of obstructionism. Not 
that such an organization of intelligence would 
be " radical" : the words "radical" and "conserv- 
ative" have become but instruments of calumny, 
and truth slips between them. But in the basic 
sense of the word our Society would be extremely 
radical ; for there is nothing so radical, so revolu- 
tionary, as just to tell the truth, to say what it 
is you see. That surely is to go to the radix 
of the thing. And truth has this advantage, 
that it is discriminately revolutionary : there are 
some things old to which truth is no enemy, 
just as there are some things new which will melt 
in the glare of fact. Let the fact say. 

This is the final faith : that truth will make 
us free, so far as we can ever be free. Let the 
truth be published to the world, and men sepa- 
rated in the dark will see one another, and one 
another's purposes, more clearly, and with saner 
understanding than before. The most disastrous 
thing you can do to an evil is to describe it. Let 



264 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

truth be told, and the parasite will lose his strength 
through shame, and meanness will hide its face. 
Only let information be given to all and freely, 
and it will be a cleansing of our national blood ; 
enmity will yield to open and honest opposition, 
where it will not indeed become cooperation. 
All we need is to see better. Let there be light. 



The Chance of Philosophy 

"One more objection before you take the 
money. And that is : What on earth has all this 
to do with philosophy? I can understand that 
to have economists on your investigating commit- 
tees, and biologists, and psychologists, and histo- 
rians, would be sensible ; but what could a philoso- 
pher do? These are matters for social science, 
not for metaphysics. Leave the philosophers out 
and some of us may take your scheme seriously." 

It is a good objection, if only because it shows 
again the necessity for a new kind of philosopher. 
Merely to make such an objection is to reenforce 
the indictment brought above against the philoso- 
pher as he is. But what of the philosopher as he 
might be? 

What might the philosopher be ? 

Well, first of all, he would be a living man, and 
not an annotator of the past. He would have 
grown freely, his initial spark of divine fire un- 



THE READER SPEAKS 265 

quenched by scholastic inflexibilities of discipline 
and study. He would have imbibed no sermons, 
but his splendid curiosity would have found food 
and encouragement from his teachers. He would 
have lived in and learned to love the country and 
the city ; he would, be at home in the ploughed 
fields as well as in the centres of learning ; he 
would like the cleansing solitude of the woods 
and yet too the invigorating bustle of the city 
streets. He would be brought up on Plato and 
Thucydides, Leonardo and Michelangelo, Bacon 
and Montaigne ; he would study the civilization 
of Greece and that of the Renaissance on all 
sides, joining the history of politics, economics, 
and institutions with that of science, literature, 
and philosophy ; and yet he would find time to 
study his own age thoroughly. He would be 
interested in life, and full of it ; he would jump 
into campaigns, add his influence carefully to 
movements he thought good, and help make the 
times live up more nearly to their possibilities. 
He would not shut himself up forever in labora- 
tories, libraries, and lecture rooms ; he would live 
more widely than that. He would be of the 
earth earthly, of the world worldly. He would 
not talk of ideals in the abstract and do nothing 
for them in the concrete; above all else in the 
world he would abhor the kind of talk that is a 
refuge from the venture and responsibility of 
action. He would not only love wisdom, he 
would live it. 



266 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

But we must not make our ideal philosopher 
too repulsively perfect. Let us agree at least to 
this, that a man who should know the social 
disciplines, and not merely one science, would be 
of help in some such business as we have been 
proposing; and if we suppose that he has not 
only knowledge but wisdom, that his acquaint- 
ance with the facts of science is matched by his 
knowledge of life, that through fellowship with 
genius in Greece and Florence he has acquired 
a fund of wisdom which needs but the nourish- 
ment of living to grow richer from day to day, — 
then we are on the way to seeing that this is the 
sort of man our Society would need above all 
other sorts of men. Such philosophers would be 
worthy to guide research and direct the enlighten- 
ment of the world ; such philosophers might be 
to their generation what Socrates and Plato were 
to their generations and Francis Bacon to his ; 
such a philosophy, in Nietzsche's words, might 
rule ! 

This is the chance of philosophy. It may linger 
further in that calm death of social ineffectiveness 
in which we see it sinking ; or it may catch the 
hands of the few philosophers who insist on 
focusing thought on life, and so regain the posi- 
tion which it alone is fitted to fill. Unless that 
position is filled, and properly, all the life of the 
world is zigzag and fruitless, — what we have 
called the logic-chopping life ; and unless that 
position is filled philosophy too is logic-chopping, 



THE READER SPEAKS 267 

zigzag, and fruitless, and turns away from life 
men whom life most sorely needs. There are 
some among us, even some philosophers among 
us, who are eager to lead the way out of bickering 
into discussion, out of criticism into construction, 
out of books into life. We must keep a keen eye 
for such men, and their beginnings ; and we must 
strengthen them with our little help. Philosophy 
is too divinely splendid a thing to be kept from 
the most divine of things, — creation. Some of 
us love it as the very breath of our lives ; it is 
our vital medium, without which life would be 
less than vegetation ; and we will not rest so long 
as the name philosopher means anything less 
aspiring and inspiring than it did with Plato. 
Science nourishes and philosophy languishes, be- 
cause science is honest and philosophy syco- 
phantic, because science touches life and helps it, 
while philosophy shrinks fearfully and helplessly 
away. If philosophy is to live again, it must re- 
discover life, it must come back into the cave, 
it must come down from the "real" and tran- 
scendental world and play its venturesome part 
in the hard and happy world of efforts and events. 
It is the chance of philosophy. 



CONCLUSION 

See now, in summary, how modest a suggestion 
it is, grandiloquent though it may have seemed. 
We propose no 'ism, we make no programme ; we 
suggest, tentatively, a method. We propose a 
new start, a new tack, a new approach, — not to 
the exclusion of other approaches, but to their 
assistance. If this thing should be done, it would 
not mean that other gropers toward a better 
world would have to stand idle; it would but 
give light to them that walk in darkness. And 
it would make possible a more generous coopera- 
tion among the different currents in the stream 
of reconstructive thought. 

We are a little discouraged to-day; we lovers 
of the new have become doubtful of the object 
of our love. Perhaps — we sometimes feel — all 
this effort is a vain circling in the mist ; perhaps 
we do not advance, but only move. Our faith 
in progress is dimmed. We even tire of the 
"social problem" ; we have tried so many ways, 
knocked at so many doors, and found so little 
of that which we sought. Sometimes, in the las- 
situde of mistaken effort and drear defeat, we 
almost think that the social problem is never to 
find even partial solution, that it is not a problem 

268 



CONCLUSION 269 

but a limitation, a limitation forever. We need 
a new beginning, a new impetus, — perhaps a 
new delusion? 

See, too, how the thought of our five teachers 
lies concentrated and connected in this new 
approach : what have we done but renew con- 
cretely the Socratic plea for intelligence, the Pla- 
tonic hope for philosopher-kings, Bacon's dream 
of knowledge organized and ruling the world, 
Spinoza's gentle insistence on democracy as the 
avenue of development, and Nietzsche's passion- 
ate defence of aristocracy and power? There 
was something in us that thrilled at Plato's con- 
ception of a philosophy that could guide as well 
as dissect our social life ; but there was another 
something in us that hesitated before his plan of 
slavery as the basis of it all. We felt that we 
would rather be free and miserable than bound 
and filled. Why should a man feed himself if his 
feet are chained, and he must never move ? And 
we were inspired, too, by the demand that the 
best should rule, that they should have power 
fitted to their worth ; we should be glad to find 
some way whereby the best could have power, 
could rule, and yet with the consent of all, — we 
wanted an aristocracy sanctioned by democracy, 
a social order standing on the broad base of free 
citizenship and wide cooperation. Socrates shows 
us how to use Bacon to reconcile Plato and 
Nietzsche with Spinoza : intelligence will organ- 
ize intelligence so that superior worth may have 



270 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

superior influence and yet work with and through 
the will of all. 

And here at the end comes a thought that 
some of us perhaps have had more than once as 
this discussion advanced : What could the 
Church do for the organization of intelligence? 

It could do wonderful things. It has power, 
organization, facilities, through which the gospel 
of "the moral obligation to be intelligent" could 
be preached to a wider audience than any news- 
paper could reach. And among the clergy are 
hundreds of young men who have found new 
inspiration in the figure of Jesus seen through the 
aspirations of democracy ; hundreds eager to do 
their part in any work that will lessen the misery 
of men. What if they were to find in this organi- 
zation of intelligence a focus for their labor ? — 
what if they should not only themselves under- 
take the studies which would fit them for mem- 
bership in the Society, but should also make it 
their business to stir up in all who might come to 
them the spirit of the seeker, to incite them to 
read religiously the reports of the Society, to call 
on them to spread abroad the good news of truth 
to be had for the asking? What if these men 
should make their churches extension centers for 
the educational work of the Society, — giving 
freely the use of their halls and even contributing 
to the expense of organizing classes and paying 
for skilled instruction? What if they should see 



CONCLUSION 271 

in the spread of intelligence the best avenue to 
that wide friendship which Jesus so passionately- 
preached? What better way is there to make 
men love one another than to make men under- 
stand one another? True charity comes only 
with clarity, — just as "mercy" is but justice 
that understands. Surely the root of all evil is 
the inability to see clearly that which is ; how 
better can religion combat evil than to preach 
clarity as the beginning of social redemption? 

One of the many burdens that drag on the soul 
is a knowledge of the past. It is a strong man 
who can know history and keep his courage ; a 
great dream that can face the fact and live. We 
look at those flitting experiments called civiliza- 
tions : we see them rise one after another, we see 
them produce and produce and produce, we feel 
the weight of their accumulating wealth ; still 
visionable to us the busyness of geniuses and 
slaves piling stone upon stone and making pyra- 
mids to greet the stars, still audible the voices of 
Socrates in the agora and of old Plato passing 
quietly among the students in the grove, still 
haunting us the white faces of martyrs in the 
amphitheatres of Rome : and then the pyramids 
stand bare and lonely, the voices of Greek genius 
are hushed, the Colosseum is a ruin and a memory ; 
one after another these peoples pass, these won- 
derful peoples, greater perhaps, wiser and nobler 
perhaps, than the peoples of our time; and we 



272 PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOCIAL PROBLEM 

almost choke with the heavy sense of a vast 
futility encompassing the world. Some of us 
turn away then from the din of effort, and seek 
in resignation the comfort of a living death ; 
some others find in the "doubt and difficulty the 
zest and reward of the work. After all, the past 
is not dead, it has not failed ; only the vileness of 
it is dead, gone with the winnowing of time ; that 
which was great and worthy lives and works and 
is real. Plato speaks to us still, speaks to millions 
and millions of us; and the blood of martyrs is 
the seed of saints. We speak and pass, but the 
word remains. Effort is not lost. Not to have 
tried is the only failure, the only misery; all 
effort is happiness, all effort is success. And so 
again we write ourselves in books and stone and 
color, and smile in the face of time ; again we hear 
the call of the work, that it be done : 

Edens that wait the wizardry of thought, 
Beauty that craves the touch of artist hands, 
Truth that but hungers to be felt or seen ; 

and again we are hot with the passion for perfec- 
tion. We will remake. We will wonder and de- 
sire and dream and plan and try. We are such 
beings as dream and plan and try ; and the glory 
of our defeats dims the splendor of the sun. We 
will take thought and add a cubit to our stature ; 
we will bring intelligence to the test and call it 
together from all corners of the earth ; we will 
harness the genius of the race and renew creation. 
We will remake. 



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is offered for use as a text for college courses on charities, poverty, 
pauperism, dependency, and the like, but its most useful place is in the 
hands of the worker, the producer, the business man and woman, 
the serious shapers and makers of the present economic state of 
society." — American Review of Reviews. 

" Promoters of the democratic and humanitarian movement of 
our time will find this volume replete with valuable data and stimu- 
lating to close and careful thinking. Dr. Parmelee defines social 
progress as advancement toward realization of a normal human life 
for all mankind. He shows this obstructed by poverty in so many 
ways that there is no panacea for it, and a variety of remedies are 
requisite. The chief obstructions being in the production and dis- 
tribution of wealth, his discussion centers mainly in the problems 
of these."— Outlook. 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 



The Great Society 

A Psychological Analysis 
By GRAHAM WALLAS 

Author of " Human Nature in Politics " 

Cloth, crown 8vo, 383 pp., $2.00 

Graham Wallas's new book, " The Great Society," will be equally 
interesting to the psychologists, students of sociology, politics and the 
general reader. Mr. Wallas is a man of wide connections in England, 
a man whose experience has well fitted him for the task which he has 
essayed. He has been for many years a university extension lecturer; 
he was at one time a member of the school-board of London, chairman 
of the School Management Committee, a member of the Technical 
Education Board, of the London County Council and of the Education 
Committee of that council. He has been, since 1896, a lecturer at the 
London School of Economics. He has served on the Senate of London 
University, as university reader in political science and on the Royal 
Commission on Civil Service. He has written more or less widely, his 
most popular publication being, perhaps, " Human Nature in Politics." 

The present work, a portion of which was delivered last winter as the 
Lowell Lecture in Boston, begins with an exposition of what the author 
means by the term " The Great Society." It then proceeds to a con- 
sideration of the following topics: Disposition, Social Psychology, 
Instinct and Intelligence, Disposition and Environment, Habit, Fear, 
Pleasure, Pain, Happiness, The Psychology of the Crowd, Love and 
Hatred, Thought, The Organization of Thought, The Organization of 
Will, and the Organization of Happiness. 

" His deft and almost subtle grasp of the viewpoints of the philo- 
sophic factors in history ; his focusing of a theory into the tiny sun- 
spot of an illuminant sentence, and adopting a style that is as inviting 
and penetrating as Havelock Ellis, make the book one of sustained 
interest." — Galveston Daily News. 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 



The Social Problem 

A CONSTRUCTIVE ANALYSIS 

By CHARLES A. ELLWOOD, Ph.D. 

Professor of Sociology in the University of Missouri, Author of "Sociol- 
ogy in Its Psychological Aspects," "Sociology and Modern Social 

Problems," etc. 

Cloth, i2tno, 255 pp., $1.25 

This work is a brief analysis of the social problem in Western civiliza- 
tion. It outlines a scientific social philosophy which can serve as a basis 
for a well-balanced progress. The author points out that the present 
crisis in our civilization calls for a reconstruction of our social philosophy; 
for we cannot build anew the structure of Western society upon the in- 
adequate bases of eighteenth and nineteenth century thought. The book 
indicates the direction which our social thinking must take if we are to 
avoid revolution, on the one hand, and reaction, on the other. It aims 
to furnish a scientific basis for the progressive social movement; and it is 
commended to progressives in whatever class, party, or sect they may 
happen to find themselves. The attitude of the book is thoroughly posi- 
tive and constructive toward all the essential values of our civilization. 

" 'The Social Problem' by Professor Charles A. Ellwood is one of the 
best books of the kind I have ever seen. The subject is handled in a 
masterful way. The best books I read in my field ordinarily do not gain 
more than eighty-five or ninety per cent of my assent. This book, how- 
ever, I would endorse to ninety-eight or ninety-nine per cent. 

"It is not only sound in its general positions, but sound in details. Every 
statement is guarded and weighty. There is a fine sense of the value of 
words, there is no duplication, and the author reaches his goal with the 
fewest possible sentences. I know of no book upon the social problem, 
which can command so completely the endorsement of social thinkers 
everywhere." — Professor Edward A. Ross of the University of Wisconsin, 
Author of "The Changing Chinese,'" "Social Psychology," etc. 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 



AMERICAN SOCIAL PROGRESS SERIES 

The City Worker's World in America 

BY MARY KINGSBURY SIMKHOVITCH 

Director of Greenwich House Cloth, i2?no, $ 1.2$ 

A new volume in the American Social Progress Series edited by Samuel McCune 
Lindsay, I.L. D. 

A plain description of the facts of the city dweller's life, with some indications of the evolu- 
tionary process going on at the city's heart. 

Social Reform and the Constitution 

By FRANK J. GOODNOW ismo, $i. 5 o 

" The work is well worth not only reading but study and is a decided contribution to the 
literature of the subject." — Boston Transcript. 

The New Basis of Civilization 

BY SIMON N. PATTEN I2 mo, $1.00 

" The book is valuable and inspiring in its general conception and guiding principles. 
Social workers will welcome it, and moralists should greatly profit by its teachings." 

— Chicago Evening Post. 

Standards of Public Morality 

BY ARTHUR TWINING HADLEY i 2 ?no, $1.00 

" The book is worth reading not only once, but twice." — New York Times. 

Misery and Its Causes 

By EDWARD T. DEVINE i 2 mo, $1.25 

" One of the most vital and helpful books on social problems ever published " 

— Cdngregationalist and Christian World. 

Governmental Action for Social Welfare 

By JEREMIAH W. JENKS i2mo, $1.00 

" Professor Jenks' little book ought to be in the hands of every member of every legislature 
in the country." — Review 0/ Reviews. 

The Social Basis of Religion 

BY SIMON N. PATTEN i2mo, $1.25 

" It is a work of deep thought and abundant research. Those who read it will find their 
ideas and thoughts quickened and will be sure that their time has been profitably spent." 

— Salt Lake Tribune. 

The Church and Society 

By R. FULTON CUTTING 12/no, $1.25 

" A stimulating and informing little book." — Boston Herald. 

The Juvenile Court 

BY THOMAS D. ELIOT i2mo, $1.25 

" Another volume which will repay careful reading — the most useful treatise on youthful 
criminology." — Providence Journal. 

Social Insurance : A Program for Social Reform 

By HENRY ROGERS SEAGER i2mo, $1.00 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 



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