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toward which the power manifested throughout evolution works.” The individual and the species must live, and mind and morals are both brought in as means to this end, although it is hard to see how they could help the matter, since they affect nothing in the physical series. The individual could not live if it failed to correspond, hence the need of mind. The species could not continue without moral order, hence the need of ethics. In truth, Mr. Spencer's system is teleological through and through. From the conception of physical survival as an end he has deduced the need and thus the fact of mind and morals, and both are what they are because of the peculiar demands made upon them by the conditions of survival. Had these been different, truth and righteousness would have been different. Hence our conceptions in mind and morals properly express nothing but the conditions of survival. Where these conditions have not been observed, life and thought have come quickly to an end. Survival has been possible only along certain lines, and by heredity the thoughts and conduct fitted to secure it have been integrated and transmitted until at last our mental laws and moral instincts have been built up. To us they appear as first truths; but, in fact, they express only the conditions of existence. This principle is throughout assumed, but it is not as explicitly stated as we could wish. If utility is to be taken as the test and measure of truth, the belief in God, retribution, the future life, and even in Christianity, would make a respectable show. these beliefs do not agree with our own, it may be well to keep the principles for strictly private use. Indeed, if natural selection be the determining principle of belief, the faith of the future will not be materialism, atheism, agnosticism, or deism, but Christianity; for all other beliefs are relatively depressing and demoralizing.
Mr. Spencer's ethics is little more than an exposition of this conception. If the individual should perish, the species would also perish; for it exists only in the individual. Hence there must be egoism. But pure egoism would make society, and thus the individual, impossible; hence there must be altruism. Pure altruism, on the other hand, by condemning all egoism, would lead to non-survival. Hence there must be conciliation" and “compromise.” We must be neither too egoistic nor too.
altruistic. In all things the golden mean seems to be the rule of life which will most probably lead to survival.
This view is interesting from its novelty. Never before was there a system so amazingly teleological. Much as Aristotle and Leibnitz made of the notion of final cause, they still admitted some things as unconditionally true and right, or as such without any reference to an end. But with Mr. Spencer the true and the right are conditioned entirely by their relation to the particunar end of survival. It is not entirely plain what would become of many scientific and philosophic speculations if they were tested by this standard ; and as we have an interest in both, we forbear to inquire. Another interesting feature of the theory is, that its possibility is a striking testimony to the truth that “the power, not ourselves, makes for righteousness." Whether we regard the laws of righteousness as expressing only the conditions of existence, or as the expressions of an august and holy Will, in either case we admit that they are our life. But as a moral theory, apart from the author's fatalism which reduces all theories to necessary impertinences, this view is lamentably imperfect. In the first place, the scheme will have no authority at all with one who does not recognize physical survival as the end of conduct. On the one hand, the Christian and the theist insist that there are things better than living, and other things worse than dying. The law of righteousness must never be abandoned, though the fagots be gathered and the instruments of torture be spread. This conviction has left indelible marks in human history; indeed, pretty much all that is noble and reverend in history has sprung from it. On the other hand, the pessimist will repudiate survival as an end, alleging that he sees no value in the end. Considering the misery and irrationality of being, he thinks that non-survival would be vastly more desirable. To Mr. Spencer's claim that we must survive, he answers that he knows of no such need. To the threat that failure to adjust or correspond will lead to destruction, he replies that such a consummation is devoutly to be wished. Mr. Spencer points out that moral principles are necessities of social equilibrium; and the pessimist replies that he sees no necessity for social equilibrium. If there were any essential sacredness in righteousness, or any inalienable obligation, he might think otherwise; but since it is only a matter of survival or non-survival, he inclines to non-survival as the most desirable. It may be said that no moral theory can do any thing with a pessimist; but it is also true that some theories lead directly to pessimism, and to abandon thein is to discharge the pessimism. One need not be incorrigible in order to deduce pessimism from fatalistic materialism. Mr. Speneer seems to have no conception of the spread of pessimism since the dawn of advanced science. He has always been such an ardent apostle of progress as to forget to inquire whether the progress was worth having. Others have made the inquiry. The world turns out to be only a large machine which has ground us into being, and which, after having tortured us awhile to no purpose, will grind us to powder. Goodness is due to the viscera. There is nothing reverend or noble in existence. We have nothing to be proud of, for the viscera have managed every thing. We have nothing to hope for except annihilation, and even that will not come until the bungling mechanism has racked and mangled and butchered us. We can only stand at bay and wait for the end. This being the case, men are beginning to sneer at progress. The very word is greeted with moody and scornful laughter. Reason will no longer be stupefied with the cordials and soothing syrups of the apostles of progress; and men are growing indignant at the apostles' attempts to cover up the death's-head which grins horribly through all their theories. And so they
And so they stand up and swear that the world is worse than none. A ghastly and haggard pessimism is rapidly seizing upon all the earnest minds in the ranks of advanced scientists. They see clearly that whoever may have words of eternal life, the new science and the new philosophy have them not. But of this state of affairs, Mr. Spencer seems not to have the least conception. In spite of his fatalism, in spite of his materialism, in spite of the annihilation toward which the race is hurrying, he still pipes and sings of " that grand progress which is bearing humanity onward to a higher intelligence and a nobler character."
A second defect of Mr. Spencer's ethical theory is that, from making success the standard of right, it leaves the question of right forever open or forever subject to revision. Taken in strictness, it would say that we do not know the right until the event has declared itself. It would then always be allowable for us to do our utmost to make our side succeed. The right and the wrong would thus appear as two advocates between whom we could not decide until the case had decided itself. We could not even call them right and wrong in advance, for the problem is to know which is which. Pending the decision each side might properly do its utmost for success. Mr. Spencer might give two answers to this objection. First, he might fall back on his fatalism, as making such an indecision impossible; but this solution would be very expensive, for it would reduce all moral theories to a farce. He might next say that this case has been debated through the ages. The survival of the fittest has been nothing but such a debate, and hence it is quite too late for us to think of re-opening the question. But even this answer fails to meet the case. We know that the unknowable has gone on changing its opinions on various matters; and who shall assure us that it has made up its mind in morals? And even if the so-called wrong has failed thus far, how do we know that it always will? Mr. Spencer expresses a great and just indignation at the conduct of the British government toward the tribes and nations of Asia and Africa. He glows at times with such fervor as to lead to the fear that he secretly believes in God and eternal righteousness. Yet, gratifying as this moral enthusiasm is, it is a logical inconsequence. For England has succeeded, and why, then, is not her conduct right? May we not see in such success an indication that the unknowable has no settled scheme of morality? And on this theory, why should not England, in fixing her Asiatic and African policy, settle the question by comparing her military strength with that of the other side? Our own trouble with the Indians arises largely from imagining that right is independent of survival; but it is becoming plain that the unknowable is bent on rooting them out, and why should we not lend a hand ? The shortest cut to social equilibrium in this case would seem to be extermination. Mr. Spencer has no valid answer to these objections. The outcome of his view is Spinoza's position that right is measured by power, and this, in turn, is only another form of Hobbes' doctrine that might makes right. Would some Spencerian mind showing us how the theory can fairly escape this conclusion ?
To the common conscience, Mr. Spencer's ethics is especially obnoxious on account of its low tone. This low pitch is due to the fact that he is bound to get all his sanctions from the
earthly life. When this limited view is combined with the doctrine that happiness is the only source of obligation, the result is a theory of duty which is very flat and uninspiring. The earlier selfish systems of morals are generally abandoned in theory, and all moralists feel called upon to insist upon the duty of self-sacrifice for the good of the many. The result is that all utilitarian systems have great trouble to get any rational basis for the duty of self-sacrifice. Our own conviction is that the selfish systems have been theoretically too much decried. There is an element of truth in them which must be taken into account. A reasonable self-love, as Butler calls it, is as much justified as any altruistic principle of action. But in our revolt against selfishness we have overlooked this fact, and have failed to reflect upon the postulates of self-sacrifice as a duty. If we may not assume that the interests of the one and the many are at bottom identical, there is no justice in sacrificing the one to the many. Mr. Spencer recognizes this, and aims to show that a wise egoism leads to altruism and conversely a wise altruism will lead to egoism. Thus there is “conciliation,” and “compromise," and survival is secured. Unfortunately in the actual world this view does not always apply. In a vague, general way, it is valid, but when applied to the details of life it is unsufficient. How shall we reconcile egoism and altruism when it is a question of carrying help into a yellow-fever district, or when life is worn away in caring for the helpless and useless? If there were some outlook upon the heavenly and the eternal the solution would be easy, but when one is dead forever, it is hard to see how the “compromise” is possible. Compromise can be effected only while both parties are alive. Theoretically there is no escape for the Spencerian from admitting that when the law of duty brings us into such straits as these, we may rightly draw back. In. deed, Mr. Spencer rather boasts that he has made ethics pleasant. The current views of duty are stern, severe, and forbidding. He aims to show a more excellent way. And it must be allowed that his doctrines are not pitched in a heroic key. In a theoretical world of tame, well-meaning people they might suffice, but they are too mild and insipid altogether for the actual world and its abnormal relations. They are the ethics of the well-fed and prosperous. Of the tragical issues between
FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XXXII.-30