1. Politics, in the largest sense, refers to the action of human beings in Society.
The notion of Society can be gained only by each one's individual experience. The first example of it is the Family, which contains a plurality of persons in mutual co-operation, with command and obedience. The earliest notions of authority, law, command, obedience, punishment, superior, inferior, ruler, subject,---are gained from the various aspects of the small domestic circle.
The larger aggregations of the school, village, parish, township, church, &c., repeat all those aspects of the family, while dropping the incidents special to the family.
2. The science of Politics, as a whole, is either Theoretical or Practical.
Under the Theoretical Science of Politics must be described the structure or organization of Political Society; this being equally essential as a preparation for the Practical Science. All the leading terms of Politics must be defined; all the parts of the Political system explained. To this preliminary branch, Sir G. C. Lewis applies the designation `Positive Politics'.
In the second place, the Theoretical Science traces cause and effect in political institutions, as facts of the order of nature; in the same way as Physics and Chemistry describe cause and effect in inorganic bodies, and Biology in living bodies. The theoretical department of Society would state, upon evidence of fact, conjoined with reasonings from human nature, what are the consequences of given institutions. To quote from Sir George Lewis:---`It assumes that we know what a state is; what are its functions; what are the conditions necessary for its existence, by what instruments it acts; what are its possible relations with other states. Starting from this point, it inquires how certain forms of government, and certain laws and political institutions, operate: it seeks from observed facts and from known principles of human nature, to determine their character and tendency; it attempts to frame propositions respecting their probable consequences, either universally, or in some hypothetical state of circumstances, Thus it may undertake to determine the respective characters of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; it may show how each of these forms of government promotes the happiness of the community, and which of them is preferable to the other two. It may inquire into the operation of certain modes of preventing crimes---as police,---of criminal procedure, and of legal punishment, such as death, transportation, imprisonment, pecuniary fines,-and it may seek to determine the characteristic advantages and disadvantages of each, in certain assumed conditions. It may inquire into the operation of different systems of taxation---of laws respecting trade and industry---of modes of regulating the currency---of laws regulating the distribution of property with or without will---and other economical relations. It may lay down the conditions which render it expedient to govern a territory as a dependency; or which tend to promote the prosperity of a new colony. It may define the circumstances which ensure the permanence of national confederacies, and it may inquire what are the rules of international law which would tend to promote the uninterrupted maintenance of peace.
'It seeks to lay down general theorems respecting the operation and consequences of political institutions, and measures them by their utility or their capacity for promoting the welfare of the national community to which they are applicable. Propositions of this sort may lead (though not by so direct a road as is often supposed) to preceptive maxims; but they are themselves merely general expressions of fact, and they neither prescribe any course of conduct, nor do they predict any specific occurrence; though, from the generality of their form, they may relate as much to the future as to the past.'
The Theoretical Science of Society is sometimes expressed as the `Philosophy of History', or the accounting upon general principles of cause and effect for the actual course of political events, the growth of institutions, the progress and decay of nations. History, in the ordinary signification, recounts these things in the detail; the Philosophy of History generalizes the agencies at work, and endeavours to present the whole as following out certain great leading ideas. A few writers have aimed at establishing such generalities---Vico, Montesquieu, Millar, Condorcet, Auguste Comte, &c.
Practical Politics consists of maxims of political practice. Here we have to suppose an end,---the welfare of the community, or any other mode of stating the political end.
This necessarily appears with more or less prominence in all political treatises. Aristotle's work is a search after the best government. Machiavel's treatises are preceptive or practical. Locke does not formally enquire after the best constitution, but under the guise of what is necessary to a state, he insinuates certain political forms, and certain legislative principles.
Sound method requires that a writer should, in the first instance, separate the Theoretical from the Practical.
3. The entire department of Political Science at the present day comprises several sciences.
It has been found practicable and convenient to withdraw from the wide region of human society, certain subjects that can with advantage be cultivated apart, and thus to reduce the complication of political enquiries.
- The first of these is Jurisprudence. This is a distinct branch bearing on the form of Law, as apart from its substance. It teaches how laws should be expressed, with a view to their satisfactory interpretation by the Courts; it embraces evidence, and the principles and procedure for the just administration of the laws. It does not consider the choice and gradation of punishments, but explains how they should be legally defined, so as to be applied in the manner intended by the legislator.
- International law is the body of rules agreed upon by independent nations for regulating their dealings with each other, both in peace and in war. It includes, for example, questions as to the Extradition of Criminals, and the right of Blockade at Sea.
- Political Economy, or the science of the production and distribution of Wealth, relieves the political philosopher of a considerable part of his load. The legislation regarding Property in Land, Trade, Manufactures, Currency, Taxation, &c., is guided by the enquiries of Political Economy. Within its own sphere, this science has the same logical character as the mother science. It has its definitions, its principles or laws, partly inductive and deductive, and its methods, which are the ordinary logical methods.
- Statistics is a branch of the Science of Society, admitting of being cultivated separately. It furnishes the facts and data of political reasoning in the most complete and authentic form.
4. The subjects remaining to Political Science, are (1) the Form of Government, and (2) Legislation on all topics not otherwise embraced.
The different Forms of Government, their precise definition, and their several tendencies, constitute the foremost problem of the political science. The discussion of Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy, enters into every treatise called political.
In immediate connexion with this subject, if not a part of it, is the distribution of the functions of government, into Legislative, Administrative and Judicial; the delegation of the powers of government to subordinate authorities, as in provincial, local, or municipal government.
These subjects are sometimes considered as exhausting the sphere of Politics; but in a very narrow, although distinct signification of that sphere. Thus, Mr Mill remarks,---`To attempt to investigate what kind of government is suited to every known state of society, would be to compose a treatise on political science at large.'
It must, however, be matter of enquiry how a government, when constituted, is to discharge its functions. This supposes that the functions are classified and defined; an operation involving one very important enquiry in Politics, namely, the proper Province of Government.
There are certain things that Government must -undertake, in order to fulfil its primary ends; such are Defence, and the Preservation of Life and Property.
There are other things that government may or may not undertake---as the Support of Religion. Education, Postal communication, the maintenance of Roads, main Drainage, and other works of general utility.
5. The curtailment of Individual Liberty is a necessary effect of government; and the degree of this curtailment is a vital consideration in Political theory.
In order that men may act together in society, each must in part subordinate their own actions and wishes to the general scheme. Obviously, however, individual liberty, which is in itself a chief element of well-being, should be restricted in the least possible degree; and the burden of proof must always lie upon the proposer of restraint.
6. The preliminary branch of the Social Science, contains the Definition of Political Society, and of all the Relationships and Institutions implied therein.
This is the part of the subject entitled by Sir G. C. Lewis Positive or Descriptive Politics. It teaches what is essentially involved in the idea of political government. It explains the necessary instruments of government; as a law, rights and obligations, sanctions, executive commands, and the like. It neither enquires into the operation and tendency of institutions (which is Theoretical Politics), nor urges the preference of one to others (Practical Politics). It explains the meaning of monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, but does not teach which is the best form. It shows what is the nature of punishment, but does not say which punishments are the most efficacious. It expounds the relations of master and free servant, and of master and slave, but does not trace their bearings on the welfare of the parties concerned. It explains the nature of a dependency, without arguing the question---Should colonies have a separate government. It shows what are the acts constituting an exchange, and the difference between barter and a money equivalent, but does not dwell upon the advantages of exchange in facilitating trade. (Methods of Reasoning in Politics, Vol. I., P. 64).
The fundamental notions of Political Society---Sovereignty, Law, Command, Duty, Sanction, Obligation---are treated of by John Austin as a part of the special science of Jurisprudence. That these notions are at the basis of Jurisprudence is beyond doubt. Still, in a completely formed Political Science, they would be given once for all at the outset, under the head of the Structure of Political Society, and would need only to be referred to by the Jurist.
7. The very fact of Political Society involves a series of primary notions, forming a mutually implicated, or correlative group.
Government.---This is the essential fact of political society; to define it, or any one of its numerous synonyms---Sovereignty, Authority, Ruler, Political Superior---is to define political society. The definition must be gathered from the Particulars common to Political Societies. It is given by Sir G. C. Lewis, as follows:---``When a body of persons, yielding obedience to no superior, issue their commands to certain other persons to do or to forbear doing certain acts, and threaten to punish the disobedience of their commands by the infliction of pain, they are said to establish political or civil government.''
Closely examined, this definition contains the very terms to be defined---for example, superior and command---so that it is not a definition suited to inform the ignorant. It is rather of the nature of the first definitions of geometry (Line, Angle, &c.) which do not communicate notions, but employ terms to fix with more precision the boundaries of notions already gained from experience. We should require, in the first place, to know political societies, in concrete instances; and the definition would teach us the corresponding abstraction or generality.
Austin (Province of Jurisprudence Examined) endeavours to build up the definition from its simplest assignable elements. Starting with Command, be defines this as `the expression or intimation of a wish, to be followed with some evil, if not complied with'. This involves only such facts of human nature as wish, expression, non-compliance, infliction of evil. In the notion of Command, as thus defined we have nearly all that is signified by Government, Sovereign, Superior, Authority. We have only to specify the persons intimating the wish (to some other persons) and following up the non-compliance with the infliction of pain.
The supposed command is a Law: The evil to be inflicted is a Sanction, Penalty, or Punishment. The persons addressed are Subjects, Inferiors; they are placed under Obedience, Duty, Obligation. The aggregate of persons comprised within the scope of the same commands, is a Political Society, a Community, a People. They are in the Social state as opposed to the state of nature.
Moral Right and Wrong must be referred to the same complex fact.
8. Government is usually said to have three distinct functions---Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; each one giving birth to a numerous class of notions.
Legislature.---The power of making general commands universally applicable, under given circumstances, is called Legislation; it is the most extensive and characteristic function of government. The process is very different under different forms of government. In every shape, there are implied as subsidiary notions---statute, and its synonyms, publication or proclamation, enactment and repeal, &c.
Executive, Administration.---Implies performance of the specific acts occurring from day to day, in the exigencies of society -organizing and directing the military force, negotiating with foreign governments, appointing the officials of government, erecting public works, &c. In this function, The government is said to use ministers, to issue orders, to receive and issue despatches, reports, to superintend all functionaries.
Judicial.---A distinct function of government, usually entrusted to a separate class of persons. It supposes impediments to the commands and operations of government, either in the way of misunderstanding, or of disobedience. These are removed by Judicial Institutions, called Courts of Law, presided over by Judges, said to administer Justice, according to a definite Procedure, and rules of Evidence. The ramified arrangements belonging to these several heads are detailed and defined by the special science of Jurisprudence.
With all varieties of government there must exist these three functions; in rude governments, they are exercised by the same persons; in civilized governments, they are more or less divided between different persons.
9. Under `Form of Government', there is a number of structural modes, for which there are specific designations.
The Form of Government brings out the designations Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy, Republic, Mixed Government, Balance of Power, Constitution.
The logical division of Forms of Government is into the government of one person (Absolute Monarchy) and the government of more than one (Republic or Commonwealth). If, in the second alternative, the governing body is small, the government is an Aristocracy; if the power is lodged in the majority of adult citizens, the government is a Democracy. Such names as Limited Monarchy, Constitutional Monarchy, mean either Aristocracy or Democracy; they indicate the form of monarchy, but the reality of another power. A Mixed Government is a mere semblance; some one of the constituents is in point of fact the sovereign.
Aristocracy, where it prevails, makes a division of the people into Nobility and Commonality. Often the governing body is a hereditary nobility.
Representative Government, the growth of modern Democracy, is a leading notion of Political Science. The meaning is that the whole people, or a large portion, exercise the ultimate controlling power, through the deputies periodically elected by themselves. In the ancient republics, the corporate or collegiate action lay with an assembly of all the citizens, or of as many as could be got together.
The operations of corporate government give birth to the political elements expressed by assembly, deliberation and debate, decision by a majority, chairman, election, suffrage.
10. The Functions or Business of government introduce many structural elements.
The first function of a political society being defence, there in a large institution corresponding, called the War Organization---Army and Navy.
The protection of the members of the society from one another is either by an application of the War force, that is the soldiery, or by a separate force called Police.
These two leading institutions involve many others. An official machinery, or bureaucracy, is interposed between the sovereign power and the actual instruments. For paying the cost, there must be a levy of Taxes, with a bureaucracy corresponding.
If the government undertakes public works-roads, bridges, public buildings, means of communication---it becomes a sort of industrial management on the large scale.
The coining of money is a proper function of government.
The regulation of bargains and contracts of every description, as well as the enforcing, of them, is a matter for the state. The marriage contract, in particular, the relations and rights of the different members of the family, are under state control.
A Church Establishment, whether incorporated with the civil government, as is most usual, or existing apart, is a vast social machinery with elements and terms corresponding, all admitting of definition.
11. To a society spread over a wide territory, there must be a division into local governments, duly subordinated to the chief or Central Authority.
This originates the terms Central, Centralization, and Local, Provincial, or Municipal government and institutions. A small locality may represent in miniature nearly all the features of the entire society. The delegation of power to the locality may be small or may be great. Moreover, the Form of Government of the entire society repeats itself in the localities. If the sovereign is an absolute monarch, the local authority is absolute in the local sphere; such is the oriental satrap, and the viceroy of the absolute European monarch.
12. The Province of Government marks the line between Public and Private management.
The habitual industry or every day avocations of the mass of the people must be left to themselves. Their manner of, subsistence, their recreations and amusements, are also their own choice; although governments have often interposed to regulate all such matters.
13. The mutual bearings of Public and Private Institutions are so numerous, that a statement of the Political structure is incomplete without the Private Institutions.
The Industry of the People is an important element of the state politically. So are their Recreations, Tastes, Opinions, Literature, and Science. However much the government abstains from control in these matters, its operations in its proper sphere are influenced by every one of them. An agricultural community gives a peculiar character to the entire action of its government. A community largely occupied in foreign trade involves the government in relations with foreign countries.
14. The good or ill working of the Political system leads to a variety of situations, requiring the consideration of the political reasoner.
When the government fails to accomplish its main functions---defence, protection, justice, &c.---it receives the designations, `bad government', `mis-government'. Its badness may consist in partiality to individuals, which is injustice; in not adhering to its own published regulations; in the capricious introduction of changes; in preying upon the community by exactions, or by affronts.
When the government is excessive in its restraints on individual movements, it is called despotical, tyrannical, oppressive; and the re-action or revolt is Political Liberty. When it meddles with what might be left to private management, it is said to over-govern; the euphuistic phrase is a paternal government.
The emphatic expression Social Order means, in the first place, that the government, whether good or bad, is obeyed; the opposite state is Anarchy, Revolt.
Order is also contrasted with Progress, Improvement, or Civilization. Those things that maintain the existing structure in its integrity are said to minister to Order; while the agencies that raise the society to a higher pitch of improvement, are said to minister to Progress. In point of fact, the opposition between the two is very slight; what is good for one is, with very trifling allowances, good for the other (Mill's Representative Government, chap. II).
15. The Laws, Principles, or Propositions, of political society, together with the Methods of Investigation, constitute Theoretical Politics.
The foregoing head, including the Analysis of the Social Structure, the meaning of State of Society, the Notions of Politics---is preparatory to the enunciation of the Laws of Society, so far as known. These Laws are best discussed in the theoretical form; they may afterwards be changed into the practical or preceptive form, that is, into maxims of the Political Art.
16. The Laws of Society may be either Laws of Coexistence, or Laws of Succession, of the different parts of the Social Structure. In both cases, they are laws of Cause and Effect.
The complex structure of Political Society involves many relationships of Co-existence and of non-coexistence. Some arrangements always carry with them some other arrangements; some things are repugnant to other things. The remark was made by Volney that the `plains are the seat of indolence and slavery, the mountains of energy and liberty'. But whatever co-existences and repugnances can be predicated generally are dependent on causation.
Again, we may take any one part of the social structure as a cause, and lay down the laws of its effects; as when we describe the consequences arising in a given state of society, from an absolute monarchy or from a state church.
We may even take up an entire state of society, with all its mutual actions, and endeavour to trace its future destiny. This is the large problem of the Philosophy of History.
But for devices of simplification, such problems would be wholly unworkable; the complication of elements could not be embraced by the human mind. We should need to fasten upon some single agency, either comprehending or outweighing the others, whose solitary operation will give the key to the entire problem. The state of opinion and enlightenment of a community is an example of those over-mastering circumstances.
17. As the subject-matter of Political Science is human beings, the characteristics of humanity must enter as a primary element.
If all human beings were alike, either wholly or in those points concerned in political action, the construction of a political society, whether easy or not, would be but one problem. But there are wide differences as regards peculiarities of character essential to the working of the political scheme. The differences between an American Indian, a Hindoo, a Chinaman, a Russian, an Englishman, an Irishman, an Italian, taken on the average, are such as to affect seriously the structure and the workings of political institutions. Given a certain Form of Government, or a certain constitution of Landed Property, the tendencies would alter greatly under these various types of character.
The theory of Society consists in stating how human beings will act under a given social arrangement; it is, therefore, essentially a special application of the laws of mind and character. Hence a thorough knowledge of whatever Psychology can teach would be a preparation for this study.
Yet, all parts of human nature are not equally concerned in political action; the ethical qualities of Honesty, Industry, Steadiness of Purpose, are more vital than the Artistic sensibilities.
Moreover, Politics is concerned only with the characteristics that appear in collective bodies. The politician leaves out of account all those individualities that are merged when men act together in a body; that is, the qualities occurring merely in scattered individuals and in minorities. Whence, national character is a much simpler phenomenon than individual character; as the flow of a river in mass is a simpler physical problem than the molecular adjustments of the liquid state.
18. A Political Ethology would be a modified science of character, Consisting (1) of a selection of the qualities that appear in national character, and (2) of the laws of their operation.
(1) Following the divisions and subdivisions of character, as formerly sketched (p. 518), we should have to bring out into prominence all that arise in human beings when working collectively.
Thus, to commence with ACTION, in the form of Spontaneous Energy. Prior to an account of the various motives that induce men to activity, there is a notable peculiarity of character in the degree of the energetic disposition itself. Now this shows itself, as high or as low, in whole nations, and is of importance as respects both the Form of Government and many other political arrangements. The inhabitants of temperate climates are superior in natural energy, irrespective of all modes of stimulation to the dwellers either in the tropics or in the arctic circles. The English and Anglo-American peoples are probably at the top of the scale.
Now this attribute has numerous social bearings. It favours private industry and the accumulation of wealth, an effect leading to many other effects. It is both directly and indirectly hostile to monarchical or despotical rule, and is, therefore, the parent and the guardian of liberty.
In like manner, we might survey in detail the FEELINGS, Sensibilities, or Emotions of the mind, and mark those that have social significance, and those that appear in men collectively. Thus, the Tender Sentiments, or the Sociability of the Mind, when strong, draw human beings together in society, and favour the cohesion of states as well as of families. Again, the strength and the mode of the Sentiment of Power may be a collective peculiarity, with national consequences. The conjunction of tender feeling, as patriotism within our own nation, with the love of domination beyond, is a peculiarity often repeated.
The INTELLECTUAL qualities that stand out in national prominence are too numerous to be touched upon. It was An intellectually minded people, the Greeks, that began all the civilization flowing from science or philosophy. There is a certain depth of ignorance and incapacity that renders the higher modes of Political society impossible. A signal failure in either of the intellectual virtues---prudence and sympathy, is incompatible with political union.
(2) The next part of Political Ethology is an account of the tendencies of these various characteristics, and of the means whereby they themselves are modified. The general science of character embraces this investigation on the wide scale, and the present department is a special application of the principles.
19. The Political Structure, or Organism, being defined, the Laws of Theoretical Politics are the laws of Cause and Effect, traceable in the working of the several Institutions
What are the consequences of Absolute Monarchy, or Democracy; of Castes; of Entails; of Free Trade; of Poor Laws; of Indissoluble Marriage; of State Churches? These are a few of the enquiries of Political Science; they are strictly enquiries of Cause and Effect. Given any of these institutions as causes, the effects may be sought. Again, given certain effects, as the repression of agrarian crimes, the impartial administration of justice, the encouragement of trade,---we may seek for causes. This is really the same problem in a different form. To all intents and purposes, the one enquiry is---Given a cause, required the effect?
It is not uncommon for political philosophers to entertain such problems, as What are the effects of Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy, in general; what are the effects of Slavery in general, that is, under all circumstances, under every possible variety of human character. Now, with such strongly-acting causes as Absolute Monarchy, there may be assigned certain universal tendencies so decided as to be seldom wholly defeated. There are points in common to the despotism of a single person in all countries and times. The possession of power, whether on the great scale or on the small, operates with remarkable uniformity. This is a psychological tendency whose free course is best seen in politics; where, by the necessities of the case, individuals have to be entrusted with power in a large amount. The same consideration renders the workings of slavery uniform to a high degree.
20. The Propositions of Political Science range between two Extremes; on the one extreme are propositions affirming universal tendency, and, on, the other, propositions affirming specific effects in limited cases.
(1) The propositions affirming a universal tendency are exemplified above. Similar propositions maybe found respecting every institution of human society. In many institutions, however, the tendencies are difficult to find out, and are so liable to be defeated by other causes, that their enunciation bas scarcely any value. For example, the operation of guilds, or privileged corporations, admits of no definite statement with reference to all possible circumstances. The division of land into large or small properties may have opposite effects in different social states.
Nevertheless, the attempt should be made to generalize the tendencies both of the Forms of Government, in their detailed varieties, and of all the leading Institutions growing out of legislative action. It is equally indispensable to estimate the precise worth of this class of propositions, to be aware of their infirmities, and of the cautions needed in applying them. There are prevailing tendencies of every important Institution---Of the Succession of Land, of Direct or Indirect Taxation, of Religious Endowments, and the rest. The affirmations respecting these are only probable; they afford a certain presumption of what will actually happen in individual cases. The special departments---Political Economy and Jurisprudence---share the burden of these difficult problems.
(2) Propositions confined in their range to limited circumstances, to a narrow field of observation, may be so qualified as to state the causation with almost perfect exactness. Thus if we confine our views to communities in similar climates, of the same race, of nearly the same advancement in general intelligence, we can formulate with comparative precision the tendencies of a given institution, whether the Form of Government, or any of the other loading social elements. These Limited or Partial Theories are the really valuable parts of Political Science; they afford the guidance in the art or practice of Politics.
With a view to these propositions, there must be a division and subdivisions of communities into classes. An example of such a classification is given by Sir G. C. Lewis, as follows:
`One large classification of communities for the purpose of common predication is---1, those communities which are in wild and unsettled state, such as the African and Indian savages, the Bedouin Arabs, the Nomad Tartars; 2, those Oriental communities which live under a regular political government, but whose social state is nevertheless fixed and unprogressive, such as the Turks, the Persians, the Hindus, the Chinese, the Japanese; 3, Christian communities partaking of the modern European civilization.'
Setting aside the first class, as affording too limited a field for political data, Sir G. C. Lewis institutes a comparison and contrast between Oriental and European communities, showing the numerous important peculiarities that may be affirmed of each of the two classes as a whole. The following are some leading points of the contrast.Numerous propositions of Cause and Effect could be laid down respecting these peculiarities, connecting them with one another, and with the Climate and Physical Situation, the Physical and Mental Constitution, and the Historical Antecedents of the oriental races.
ORIENTAL. EUROPEAN. Government. Despotical Free By Delegation Direct from the centre International Law. Rude Intricate, forming a balance of power Laws---Civil and Religious codes. Interwoven Distinct Marriage. Polygamy Monogamy Women. Secluded At large Status of the Labourer. Slavery Civil Freedom Punishments. Cruel Mild Dress. Loose Closely fitting Alphabet. Intricate Simple Form of Literature. Poetry and mystical prose Argumentative prose.
21. As in all other sciences, there must be Observation of Facts.
In Political Observation, there are special peculiarities amenable to logical canons. The education of a political observer is scarcely in any degree, as in the physical sciences, an education of the senses; it consists mainly of intellectual habits.
22. The Facts of Politics coincide with authentic History or Narrative.
The individual occurrences that, when generalized, make up political principles, have to be correctly recorded, with all the circumstances essential to the link of causation. The sequence of events in a revolution must be stated exactly as they occurred, and in sufficient fulness to give the conditions of cause and effect.
The rules of historical evidence are a branch of Inductive Logic, and as such they are given elsewhere (Appendix, 1). They have in view principally the number and the nature of the testimonies needed to establish the truth of a past event.
A farther exercise of discrimination is requisite in the political historian, namely, to include all the circumstances entering into the chain of causes, and to separate accompaniments that have only a poetic interest. To do this, the historian must be himself a political philosopher; he must know that the dazzling glitter of spears in the sun has nothing to do with the fighting strength of an army, that the stature, complexion, voice, or dress of Charles I. had no bearing upon his quarrel with his parliament. In short, as regards the relevance of facts and circumstances, the narrator must understand what, it is to trace cause and effect in history. `In order to frame a coherent narrative, some theory of causation is necessary' (Lewis).
23. In Politics was first developed the reducing of observations to the form called Statistics; definable as the observation, registration, and arrangement of such facts as can be given in numbers.
The cultivation of statistics was first owing to the impetus given to political economy by the French economists; it being possible to state in numbers the most material facts regarding trade, currency, taxation, production, population, &c. The subject now comprises matters relating to all branches of political observation; Population, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Occupations, Diseases, Crimes, Pauperism, Education.
Statistics gives an entirely new precision both to Theoretical or Speculative Politics, and to the operations of government. The increase or diminution of pauperism or of crime, in a large country, could be judged only in the vaguest manner without statistical returns from the officials concerned. The government would be at the mercy of accidental displays, and of circumstances where the impressions are exaggerated. A bread riot in a particular locality, an outrage of appalling accompaniments, would distort the judgment of the nation, as to the general state of destitution or of crime.
24. The causes of erroneous observation in Politics, are partly common to the sciences generally, and partly special to the political science.
Indolence and inattention, the love of the marvelous, aesthetic likings and dislikings, the support of a favourite theory, are operative in politics as elsewhere. The more special sources of bias in the political department are admiration of individual actors, party feeling, and, where practice concerned, direct personal interest. As a matter of course, these corrupting motives extend their influence to the generalizing no less than to the observing of facts.
Politics deals with human beings, whose springs of action are in the mind; while observation relates only to outward appearances, from which the mental states are obtained by inference. The right performance of this process of inference is an operation based on Psychology, and. guided by the rules of Inductive Logic. That Charles I. was executed is a fact; the motives of Cromwell and the Puritans in executing him are a matter of difficult inference; requiring us to apply laws of human nature (veracity, bias, &c.), to what the actors said and did in connexion with the fact. The secrecy of motives is the characteristic of many ethical maxims.
25. Experiment, in the strict scientific meaning, is usually regarded as inadmissible in Politics. The substitutes are (1) the sudden introduction of extraordinary influences, and (2) the practical operations of government.
It is not possible to submit a society to the process employed in studying a metal, or in detecting the laws of Heat or Magnetism. A political community cannot be manipulated with a view to excluding artificially this or that agency, isolating it from all bat known circumstances.
(1) Some of the advantages of experiment are derivable through the introduction of a now and extraordinary influence into the society---such as a famine, a commercial crisis, an insurrection, an epidemic, an invasion, a new invention, as the steam engine, a religious revolution. The Irish potato famine of 1845, is adduced by Lewis as a case in point. The influence of this terrible calamity laid bare the evils in the state of the Irish poor, and disclosed the secret springs in the social economy of the people, as effectually as could have been done by an artificial experiment contrived for that purpose.
(2) It is the very nature of government, especially an improving government, to be trying experiments. Every new law is an experiment. There being an object to be achieved by the law, the public is supposed to be interested in watching the effects of the measure. A Police is organized, and the effects upon crime observed. A Poor Law is introduced, and the consequences traced. So every great innovation is a new agent in society, which is followed by definite effects. The experiments are not always free from ambiguity; there may be concurring agencies either defeating or exaggerating the results; hence a demand for the precautions of the various Inductive Methods.
26. In Political Causation the predominating fact is Collocation; there is seldom, yet occasionally, an appeal to Conservation.
A political sequence is always immersed in a host of arrangements, positive or negative; and although impelling forces must always be present, the result is dependent in a pro-eminent degree upon the direction given to these forces, Thus, a political rising depends less upon the greatness of an impelling force, than upon the direction given to forces always present. The demand for thirty shillings of ship money from John Hampden was the turning point of the English Revolution.
Yet in dealing with human nature, whether as individuals or political masses, any omission to allow for the principle of Conservation, in the form or Limitation of Human Energy, will load to mistakes. Thus, a politician that would expect an Art-loving people like the Italians, Germans, or French, take on the energy of the English in business and in politics. without becoming less artistic, would be guilty of overlooking the law of Limitation.
27. In Political Causation, it is especially necessary to keep in view the entire aggregate of conditions, positive and negative, entering into the cause.
When Luther preached against Indulgences, and when Hampden refused to pay ship money, these were merely a single condition out of a large assemblage concerned in bringing about the great events that ensued. Hence, the historian considers it requisite to describe the whole of the surroundings in the state of society at the time, but for which the consequences would not have arisen.
To seek the cause of a political event in a single circumstance is a perversion of the political problem. The most enlightened reasoners and historians are accustomed to state the case as an enquiry into the causes of a phenomenon. The phrase is not strictly correct; the entire aggregate Of antecedents is properly the cause; but as bringing forward the idea of plurality of circumstances, conditions, or collocations, the mistake is on the right side. The causation of the French Revolution was a vast aggregate of prior arrangements in the state of the French nation, together with numerous circumstances in the world at large.
28. The Method of Agreement enters into political investigation but not without shortcomings.
Like every other inductive enquirer, the political reasoner first collects his facts; then compares them with a view to attaining laws of concomitance, which he farther verifies by Agreement, as a method of Elimination.
This has always seemed the obvious course. When Aristotle enquires into the effects of Despotical or of Democratical government, he collects examples of each, and looks out for the attendent peculiarities. By an inductive determination, founded on Agreement, we are accustomed to connect different forms of government with lower or with higher stages of civilization.
The first peculiarity of the inductive problem of society, as affecting the sufficiency of the Method of Agreement, is the mere number of concomitant circumstances in a state of society. The cause A, say Despotism, works in conjunction with such a large variety of other circumstances,---climate, race, history, institutions in detail---B C D E F, &c.,---that we can hardly find in the whole area of our experience a sufficiently diversified series of instances to eliminate them all, and find A followed in every instance by a.
Worse than the more number of accompaniments is plurality of causes with intermixture of effects. Whatever results might really flow from Despotism---whether discontent and insurrections, or the repression of men's energies and the arrest of prosperity and progress---could flow from other social agencies; the effect a, an actual effect of A, might also be an effect of C, F, H. This would not prevent a from being always present with A; it would rather in some instances make it superabundantly present; yet, as proving too much, it would be fatal to the evidence. An apparently more paralyzing instance would be, when the effect a, properly belonging to A, is neutralised by some accompanying agent D; one of the commonest of all occurrences in politics. Hardly any effect of absolute monarchy is better substantiated than the discouragement of intellectual activity generally; yet this did not follow at once on the imperial despotism of the Roman Empire; the prior impetus acquired under free institutions was for a long time unspent. So, a law designed to produce a certain effect, may really be acting as intended; but the effect may be frustrated by evasions, or by passive resistance to its enactments. Restrictions on trade are adverse to commercial prosperity; yet the effect may happen to be counteracted by other circumstances. The United States of America, in the abundance of land to be occupied, can prosper under many arrangements that would be ruinous to Great Britain.
29. The Method of Difference may be exemplified in Political Cause and Effect.
The introduction or withdrawal of a single agent, followed at once by a definite change in other respects, is our most cogent, as well as our shortest proof of causation. In the complications of Political Society, we cannot always be sure that only the one innovating circumstance is present; so many unseen operations being always at work. This source of ambiguity is practically overcome when an agent suddenly introduced, is almost instantaneously followed by some other change; as when the announcement of a diplomatic rupture between two nations is followed the same day with a derangement of the money market.
According as the supposed change is more gradual in its introduction, and the consequences slower in their development, the instance is less and less a decisive example of difference. The deterioration of value is saved only when we are sure that every other thing has remained the same. A new religion introduced into a nation, remarkably stationary in its other institutions, would be held as the cause of all the subsequent changes.
30. Agreement in Absence may be advantageously resorted to in Politics.
We compare the cases of the presence of Poor Laws, of Commercial Restrictions, of a Standing Army, of Local Self-Government,---with the cases of the absence of those institutions; and if any circumstances uniformly present in the one are uniformly absent in the other, the force of proof is greatly augmented.
30. Concomitant Variations is employed in tracing political causation.
There is a marked concomitance, in the History of England, between the growth of Free Institutions, and the progress of the nation, both materially and intellectually. This may be compared with the inverse instances of Greece and Rome, where, by a gradual process, the extinction of liberty was ultimately followed by intellectual and social decay. Even all these instances, in the complications of Politics, may not be final; yet they afford a very high presumption of cause and effect;
31. The Deductive Method, in conjunction with the Inductive or Experimental Methods, must be regarded as the mainstay of political investigation.
Neither the Deductive Method alone, nor the Inductive Methods alone, can be trusted in the complications of the social science. Their mutual consilience or confirmation, is requisite in order to yield trustworthy conclusions.
Pure Deduction appears to most advantage in following out the tendencies of separate agents. This is the motive for subdividing the Social Science into branches, as Political Economy, &c. The tendency of the single motive of the desire of wealth can be studied apart from other tendencies.
An essential part of political deduction consists in tracing the wide operation of the Sentiment of Power, in the various degrees of its development among human beings, and under all circumstances. The deduction should comprise a wider area than mere political situations.
The Sociability of mankind, their Sympathies, the grades of intelligence, have consequences traceable by a purely deductive operation.
We might even venture a certain way in the second deductive process---Calculation or computation of concurring agencies; as Wealth, Power, Sociability, Sympathy, with Habits, Customs, &c. Here, however, we become aware of the helplessness of the deductive method by itself. Having no correct quantitative estimate of the separate agents, our attempt to combine them in a quantitative sum, is entirely hopeless. The errors of calculation may be so wide as radically to vitiate the conclusions.
It is the third step of Deduction---Verification---that gives the method all its weight, by joining it with Inductions. In point of fact, politicians in applying the conjoint methods usually have an inductive or empirical generality presented in the first instance; which induction they compare with the deduced tendencies of the agents concerned. Thus the working of despotism is first given as an empirical generalization from history; we then compare these alleged results with the deductive consequences of the love of power, and all other human motives, both of the ruler and the ruled, entering into the situation. Such maxims as the following, require, for their verification, the consilience of induction and deduction.---`The possessors of supreme power, whether One, Few, or Many, have no need of the arms of reason; they can make will prevail.' `The governments most distinguished for sustained vigour and ability have generally been aristocracies.' The deductive reasons in favour of this last position are founded on the consequences of devoting a small number of men exclusively to public business.
Thus, the usual course of the Deductive Method is to lay hold of a number of empiricisms, derived from history and political experience, and to subject them to the test of deduction, thereby converting them into derivative laws. Considered as inductive generalities, everything should be done for them that can be done by strict compliance with the Inductive Methods; after which they are to come into comparison with the deductive results of the tendencies concerned.
Among Empiricisms demanding to be confronted with deductive conclusions, we may instance the following---`modern civilization tends to collective mediocrity', (J. S. Mill); `unity in religion is unfavourable to civil interests' (G. C. Lewis); `there is no necessary connexion between hereditary royalty and hereditary nobility' (ibid); `the human race is on the whole progressive'; `there is a constant relation between the state of society and the state of intellectual speculation' (Comte).
Deductive confirmation is especially needed in assigning the causes of some one historical event. Unless there happen to be other events closely analogous, our inductive basis is of the slenderest kind; succession may be taken for causation without any check. Thus, the account of the rise of free institutions, in modern Europe, must be far more deductive than inductive.
The introduction of Christianity into Europe co-existed with so many other changes, that its consequences cannot easily be eliminated. Our only means of varying the instances is to take the separate nations apart; but in none of them was this one cause introduced singly. Hence any inference as to the political and other results of Christianity would want much deductive confirmation; and we find that this method is largely appealed to. The tendencies of the Christian religion are laid out deductively, and the attempt is made to show their coincidence with the facts. To be properly checked, a similar deduction should be made of all other tendencies---as Greek and Roman influences, and the mental endowments of the European races; which subtracted from the total would give a case of the Method of Residues.
In the foregoing brief allusion to the Deductive Method is included reference both to Empirical and to Derivative Laws. The subject of Politics furnishes pertinent examples of the limitation of Empirical Laws, and in a less degree of Derivative Laws, to adjacent cases. There is safety in extending an empirical law only to the same territory, the same time, and similar circumstances. When a ten pound suffrage had subsisted in Britain for thirty years, with good effects, it was a small matter to risk the extension to a seven pound or a six pound franchise, on the mere faith of the empirical coincidence; whereas, the sudden transition to universal suffrage, could not be relied on from the same empiricism. The consequences of such a step, if computable at all, could be computed only by the aid of deductive reasoning---by the establishment of a derivative law. A well-informed, sagacious, and unbiassed reasoner, might be trusted to predict, within certain limits of error, the probable issue of such an extension of the franchise; but only by a superior handling of the deductive method.
The Method of Residues being properly a Deductive Method, is occasionally valuable. It takes the problem on a varied aspect; as in the case of Christianity already referred to.
In applying the methods of Agreement and of Difference, to single out a cause, our prior knowledge of the general adequacy, of the cause, prepares us to receive the inductive evidence, without the misgivings that we must feel when we know nothing on this head.
32. In Politics, we are seldom. under the necessity of assuming an unknown agency; the known forces of human nature are the sufficing causes. Our assumptions refer to the presence, and the amount of the supposed agent; and these may be proved by their exactly tallying with the facts.
Assumptions are perpetually made regarding the conduct of human beings under all circumstances. The passions of Power, Pride, Fear, the Self-interest of men, their Sympathies, are all real or genuine causes. There may be doubts which of them produced a certain line of conduct; and we may apply the logical conditions of hypotheses to solve the doubt. If any one's actions tally precisely with the consequences of Love of Power, we receive this coincidence as so far a proof of the hypothesis. But the proof is completed only by showing that the action does not tally with any other motive; a, thing that we cannot h always be certain of. The execution of Charles I. might have resulted from the fears of the Puritans, from their revenge, from their ideas of justice, from their interpretation of the designs of providence. A proof from hypothesis would have to show that the act coincided fully with the tendencies of only one of all the supposable motives.
33. There are various modes of reducing the complications of Politics. Several of these have already been glanced at.
(1) By studying Institutions separately, due regard being had to their mutual action. This is that primary Analysis of Society which is the groundwork of scientific method throughout. There may be difficulty in making the isolation, and yet allowing for mutual influence; but any other method is hopeless.
(2) In modern political theory, much stress is laid upon the distinction between Order and Progress; and we are recommended to study separately the influences tending to Order or Stability, and the influences tending to Progress or Improvement. The advantage of this separation is chiefly to divide the field of study, for the ease of the understanding. It has been shown by Mr. J. S. Mill (Representative Government, Chap. II.) that the two interests cannot be absolutely separated; there can neither be Progress without Stability, nor Stability without Progress; yet the problem of Society is greatly simplified by first studying each by itself, and then paying attention to their reciprocal action.
Mr. Mill has traced, by the combined Inductive and Deductive Methods, the conditions of Stability in any society, and has referred them to the following beads.---(I) An education of the citizens calculated to impart a self-restraining discipline; (2) a feeling of allegiance or loyalty to something; (3) an element of cohesion among the members of the same state. It is apparent that all these causes, while arising from the inductive comparison of societies, may also be fairly deduced from general principles of the human mind; the consilience of the two results being essential to the proof.
(3) In the variation of political circumstances, the propositions of society would be numerous beyond calculation, but for the eminently scientific device of embodying a limited number in their exact circumstances and conditions, so that they may be varied at pleasure. It may be a question whether certain public works should be overtaken by the central government or by the local government; as bridges, roads, prisons, &c. Now the decision of this question in any one case, if accompanied with all the circumstantials that govern the decision, is the decision for innumerable other cases, even although differing considerably from one another. Thus, if the central government undertakes the work, avowedly and solely because the locality cannot bear the expense, this decides also the opposite case, where the locality can bear the expense.
It is thus that legal judgments, if accompanied with a full statement of reasons, may apply to a wide range of differing cases. And so also with all reasoned conclusions in politics. The very same proposition that declares the consequences of a despotism in given circumstances, implies the variation of the consequences in degree, as the despotism varies in degree; and the reversal of the consequences by the substitution of freedom. All such adaptations and principles are to be held as of the nature of deductions, for which inductive verification is desirable according to the extent of departure from the case embodied.
(4) Attention has already been called to the circumstance that Politics deals with men collectively,and not individually. In the view of the politician, a million of human beings is a less complicated thing than a single individual. The large scale of the operation reduces its complications. The maxims for governing a nation (in a certain rude way) are simpler than the maxims for managing single persons, if we have to consider all the minute peculiarities of each. The Foreign Minister, who has to transact business with one individual, may have his ingenuity and patience more severely taxed than the Home Minister, who deals with the mass of a nation. The limits of the proposition are contained in the reasons of it (as just remarked); if the mass of the community breaks up into individualities, by social discord, there is an end to the facility arising from collectiveness of action.
(5) Not the least important simplification of the Political Problem, whether for theory or for practice, is the Limitation of the Province of Government---the transferring of business from Public to Private management. The tendency of all societies has been to Over-government; and the relaxation of this is one of the favourable symptoms of existing societies. The proper province of government is a question to be solved according to the, circumstances of the time. A state religion may be suitable under one state of things and unsuitable in another; so great are the advantages of disburdening the civil ruler of such a charge that a case must always be made for retaining it.
34. These are for the most part implicated in the statement of the sound methods.
(1) The exclusive employment of the Experimental Methods is shown to be insufficient in the complications of Politics. How much more so is mere Agreement without the studied variation of circumstances demanded by the method; and yet such is the usual procedure of untutored minds. Thus, any institution whatever is pronounced beneficial, because the country has prospered under it. This is the grossest form of empiricism. The careful employment of the Experimental Methods would avoid such errors; but would still be inadequate.
(2) A purely Deductive Politics is equally at fault. Even starting from the best Psychology, and the best Ethology elaborated with an express eye to Politics, we should never be able to infer tendencies with perfect precision, still less to compute the sum of a plurality of tendencies. With the highest skill in psychology, with the best possible appreciation of the average development of the great leading attributes of the mind, in a given race of men, and with the closest attention to physical and other circumstances,---we should still break down in the attempt to say, how a community formed from such a race, could prosper under either a despotic or a democratic government, with or without a religious belief.
Allusion bas been made to the error of seeking a political cause in a single circumstance, instead of an aggregate situation, or group of circumstances.
(3). Sir G. C. Lewis has fully illustrated the assumption of false and fictitious causes in Politics. Such are mythical or legendary causes; fictions of law; and the supposed social contract suggested by Grotius, and formally argued by Hobbes.
35. In every Practical Science, we must begin by setting forth the End. In Politics, as in Ethics, this may be variously viewed.
In most practical sciences, there is no dispute as to the end. In Ethics, and in Politics, the case is different. Even, when parties agree to call the end `human happiness', they differ in the meaning attached to it.
In antiquity, the Athenian and the Spartan Ideals of Society were totally different; so much so that, on the basis of the same Theoretical Principles of Society, the rules of Practice would be distinct. The end in the Roman Republic was the power and glorification of the State. A leading design of the Spanish rule of America was the conversion of the nations to Catholicism.
According to some, the end of the political machine is good government, or the best mode of carrying out the primary objects of Defence, Security, &c., on whose account society exists. If a despotism accomplishes this best, a despotism is the best government; if not, not.
Others, as Mr. Mill, maintain that the cultivating of the energies of the people is an end independently valuable. When this is coupled with the farther assertion, that by such means alone can a high standard of government be maintained, then both parties agree as to the end, but differ as to the means. It is, however, possible to maintain that a worse government by the people themselves, is preferable to a better that excludes them.
Another way of expressing the same antithesis of ends is to contrast passive enjoyment with free action. It may be held, on the one side, that what gives the greatest amount of sentient pleasure with the least pain, is the highest ideal of society; and, on the other, that what allows the greatest scope to liberty and individuality, with or without mere sentient enjoyment, is absolutely the best.
These different modes of conceiving the ends of society have a great influence on actual practice, The `paternal governments' will not conform to the plan of leaving to the individual the utmost liberty compatible with the liberty of others.
36. The Political end being stated, the principles of Theoretical Politics are all convertible into maxims of Practice.
The principles of Causation in society, when stated as laws of the order or succession of events, are theoretical principles; when stated as rules for effecting a given object, are practical principles or maxims. Discussing theoretically the workings of Democracy, we trace certain tendencies of the predominance of the numerical majority, and the tendencies of certain political arrangements to counteract those; whereupon, having, in view the end of allowing no class unlimited ascendency, we lay down as a maxim or rule the providing of such checks.
Theoretical politics enounces the proposition that certainty of punishment is more deterring than severity; practical politics converts this into the precept,---make punishments certain rather than severe.
The requisites of Stability above laid down are convertible into maxims for attaining stability. So with the theoretical conditions of Progress.
Although Practical Politics is thus Theoretical Politics over again, with the addition of well defined ends, there are great advantages in laying out the subject in both forms, we being aware that the substance is the same. The theoretical form is the one most convenient for investigation; while the repetition of the principles in the preceptive dress, if done so as not to confuse the mind, is both suggestive and corrective. Moreover, it is only by the separate treatment of the two departments, that we do full justice to the special point raised in the practical department---the political end. The full handling of the various modes of viewing the end would justify a long preliminary chapter of Practical Politics.
It has been well pointed out by Sir G. C. Lewis that the propositions of politics are ordinarily cast at random, sometimes in the theoretical, sometimes in the practical mould. `The more haste, the worse speed' is theoretical; `festina lente', is practical.
Much of Theoretical Politics may be unavailing for practice, at least the limited practice of a given country and time. The theory of Politics, in its most imposing pretensions, comprehends the Philosophy of Universal History, much of which is of limited practical application. Hence the practical branch is content with selecting a portion of what has been elaborated in theory.
Again, the practical mode of selection has the farther peculiarity of altering the arrangement or grouping of the political dicta. In the theoretical investigation, the general tendencies of different institutions are described in a methodical array.---Forms of Government, War organization, Police, Justice, &c. With a view to a practical end, we borrow from many different parts of the theoretical exposition, the specific links of cause and effect conjoined in a peculiar structure, as for example, the Poor Law of a given country. This is the prevailing form of all practical departments with reference to the allied theoretical sciences.
Many of the greatest social devices have originated exclusively in the hands of men of practice, and have been stated first in the practical shape; being afterwards enounced in theoretical propositions. Such are the English Constitution, the union of Local Management with Central control and Inspection, the system of fastening Responsibility upon the real authors of political acts. Mr. Mill regards as one of the most valuable securities yet devised for good government, the device that grew up in the East India Company's rule, namely, to associate the chief administrator with a Council to advise, but not to compel; thus leaving the responsibility upon a definite individual.