The Morality of Strife

Henry Sidgwick

An address delivered to the London Ethical Society in the year 1890.

All who have thought earnestly on moral questions, and in particular have reflected on the causes of and the remedies for the failure to do what is right in themselves and others, must have recognized that the causes of this failure divide themselves naturally under two distinct heads. Firstly, men do not see their duty with sufficient clearness; secondly, they do not feel the obligation to do it with sufficient force. But there are great differences of opinion among thoughtful persons as to the relative importance of these different sources of wrong conduct. The commonest opinion is disposed to lay most stress on the latter, the defect of feeling or will, and even to consider the defect of intellectual insight as having comparatively little practical importance. It is not uncommon to hear said by preachers and moralizers that we all know our duty quite sufficiently for practical purposes, if we could only spur or brace our wills into steady action in accordance with our convictions. And it is no doubt true that, if we suppose all our intellectual errors and limitations to remain unchanged, and only the feebleness of character which prevents our acting on our convictions removed, an immense improvement would take place in many departments of human life. But it is important not to overlook other inevitable results of the supposed change, which would certainly not be improvements. We all recognize the dangers of fanaticism. But what is a fanatic? Surely we all mean by a ``fanatic'' a person who acts up to his convictions, resolutely and perhaps vehemently, when they are opposed to the common sense of mankind, and when—in the judgment of common sense—his acts are likely to lead to gravely mischievous consequences. If, therefore, we suppose that the element of intellectual error in the causes of wrong action remains unchanged, while the element of feebleness of character, weakness of motive or will to do duty, is entirely removed, we must suppose fanaticism greatly increased. We must also suppose an increase in the bad effects of more widespread errors in popular morality, which are now often prevented from causing the full evil which they tend to cause, by the actual feebleness of the mistaken resistance which they oppose to healthy natural impulses. Hence, when we had to strike the balance of gain and loss to human happiness resulting from the change—though I have no doubt that the gain on the whole would be great—we must recognize that the drawbacks would be serious and substantial.

Considerations of this kind have led some thoughtful minds to take an exactly opposite view, and to regard it of paramount importance to remove the intellectual source of error in conduct, holding with Socrates that the true good of each individual man is really consistent and harmonious with the true good of all the rest; and that what every man really wants is his own true good, if he only knew it. But this view also is too simple and unqualified; since, in the first place, a man often sacrifices what he rightly regards as his true interest to the over-mastering influence of appetite or resentment or ambition; and, secondly, if we measure human well-being by an ordinary mundane standard, and suppose men's feelings and wants unaltered, we must admit that the utmost intellectual enlightenment would not prevent the unrestrained pursuit of private interest from being, sometimes, anti-social, anarchical, and disorganizing. Still, allowing all this, it seems to me not only that a very substantial gain would result if we could remove from men's minds all errors of judgment as to right and wrong, good and evil, even if we left other causes of bad conduct unchanged; but that the gain in this case would be more unmixed than in the former case. Suppose, for instance, that every one who is liable to drink too much had clearly present to his mind, in the moment of temptation, the full amount of harm that his insobriety was doing to his bodily health, his reputation, his means of providing for those dependent on him; some, no doubt, would drink all the same, but the great majority of those not yet in bondage to the unnatural craving would draw back. Suppose, again, that any one who is wronging a neighbour saw, as clearly as any impartial judge or friend would see, the violation of right that he is committing; surely only a thoroughly bad man would persist in his wrong-doing. And thoroughly bad men are after all rare exceptions among the beings of mingled and chequered moral nature of whom the great mass of mankind consists, and who on the whole mean only to maintain their own rights and not to encroach upon the rights of others; though doubtless, from a mixture of intellectual muddle with passionate impulse or selfish negligence, they are continually liable to wrong others.

I have drawn attention to this fundamental distinction between (1) improvement in moral insight and (2) improvement in feeling and will, because I think it important that we should have a clear view of its general character before we enter on the special discussion of the ``Morality of Strife'', which is the subject of the present paper. I ought perhaps to explain that in speaking of strife I shall have primarily and chiefly in view that most intense form of conflict which we call war, in which masses of civilized men elaborately try to destroy each other's lives and incidentally to take each other's property. This is the strife which, from its fundamental nature and inevitable incidents, cause the most intense and profound moral aversion an perplexity to the modern mind. At the same time it seems to me that the deepest problems presented by war, and the deepest principles to be applied in dealing with them, are applicable also to the milder conflict and collisions that arise within the limits of an orderly and peaceful community, and especially to those struggles for wealth and power carried on by classes and parties within a state. Indeed, these latter though conducted by the milder methods of debate and vote—often resemble wars very strongly in the states of thought and feeling that they arouse, and also in some of the difficulties that they suggest.

Now, in considering the morality of strife, the difference of opinion which I have been discussing, as to the causes of wrong conduct in general, meets us with especial force. Thus many will say, when they hear of moralizing war, that the moralist ought not to acquiesce in its existence; he ought to trace it to its source, in the lack of kindly feeling among human beings. Spread kindness and goodwill; make altruism predominate over egoism; and wars between states will come to an end among civilized men, because there will be no hostile emotions to rouse them, while within states strife will resolve itself into a competition for the privilege of doing good to others. I do not deny that a solution of the problem of war for the world might be found in this diffusion of kindly feeling, if sufficiently ardent and universal, But for this effect the universality is necessary. as well as the ardour. The increase of the ``enthusiasm of humanity'' in a moral minority, in a world where most men are still as selfish as now, would have no decisive tendency to prevent strife; for if around us some are wronging others, the predominance of altruism in ourselves, though it will diminish our disposition to fight in our own quarrels, will make us more eager to take part with others who are wronged; and since, so long as we are human beings, our kindly feelings must flow more strongly in special channels, as they grow in intensity we shall exhibit greater energy in defending against unjust attacks the narrower communities and groups in which we take special interest. Increase of sympathy among human beings may ultimately do away with strife; but it will only be after a long interval, during which the growth of sympathetic resentment against wrongs seems not unlikely to cause as much strife as the diminution of mere selfishness prevents. The Founder of Christianity is recorded to have said that he ``came not to bring peace on earth, but a sword'', and the subsequent history of Christianity offers ample and striking confirmation of the truth of the prediction. And the same may be said, with at least equal truth, of that ardour for the secular amelioration of mankind which we find presented to us in these latter days as a substitute for Christian feeling.

The extinction of strife through the extension of amity being thus at best a remote event, we may allow ourselves to dwell for a moment on the brighter aspects of the continuance of war. War is an evil; but it is not, from an ethical point of view, an unmixed evil. Indeed, its value as a school of manly virtue led the greatest thinkers of ancient Greece—even in the civilized fourth century—to regard the fighting part of the community as the only part on whose education it was worth while to bestow labour and care; the occupations of the trader and the artisan being considered an insuperable bar to the development of fine moral qualities Christianity and the growth of free industry combined have carried European thought so far away from the point of view of Plato and Aristotle, that their utterances on this topic now seem to most of us startlingly narrow-minded and barbaric; but the element of truth that they contain still, from time to time, forces itself on the modern mind, and finds transient expression in a modified form. There are, I believe, even at the end of the nineteenth century, some thoughtful persons seriously concerned for moral excellence, who would regret the extinction of war; attracted not so much by the showy virtue of valour in battle, but by the unreserved devotion, the ardour of self-sacrifice for duty and the common good, which war tends to develop. If this acceptance of war as an indispensable school of virtue were widespread enough to impede the drift of modern opinion and sentiment towards universal peace as an ideal, it might be necessary to argue against it as a dangerous paradox. In such an argument we should not lay stress exclusively or even mainly on its physical mischief; but still more on its moral evils, its barbarous inadequacy as a means of settling disputes of right, the frequent triumphs of injustice and their demoralizing consequences, the constant tendency of the bitter resentments and the intensification of national self-regard, which war brings with it, to overpower the sentiments of humanity, and confuse and obscure those of justice and good faith. But I need not labour these points; the evils of war are so keenly felt that the moralist may without danger allow himself to make the most of the opportunities of moral development that it affords.

What I rather wish now to point out is, that the moral benefits of war, such as they are, depend largely on the fact that war is not usually—as cynics imply—a mere collision of passions and cupidities; it is a conflict in which each side conceives itself to be contending on behalf of legitimate interests. In the wars I have known, as a contemporary, this has been strikingly manifested in the sincere belief of religious persons generally—ordinary plain honest Christians on either side—that God would defend their cause. In the wars of ancient history a people's belief in special divine protection was not equally an evidence of its belief in the justice of its cause, since each nation had its own deities who were expected to take sides with their worshippers; but in a war between modern Christian nations, worshipping the same God, the favour of heaven implies the justice of the cause favoured; and it is sometimes startling to see that not only is each side convinced of its overwhelming claims to the favour of heaven, but it can hardly believe in a similar sincere conviction on the other side. Perhaps some of my readers may remember how, in the Franco-German war of 1870, the pious utterances of the Emperor William excited the derision of Frenchmen and their friends; it seemed to the latter not only evident that the invading Germans were brigands, but even impossible to conceive that they did not know that they were brigands. This strikingly shows how war among human beings, supposing them to possess the degree of rationality that average civilized humanity has at present reached, is normally not a mere conflict of interests, but also a conflict of opposing views of right and justice.

I must not exaggerate. I do not mean that in modern times unscrupulous statesmen have never made wars that were substantially acts of conscious brigandage, and have never been applauded for so doing by the nations whom they led, who have suffered a temporary obscurity of their moral sense under the influence of national ambition. I do not say that this has not occurred; but I do not think it is the normal case, and I shall leave it out of account, partly because it does not seem to me to give rise to any moral problem which we can profitably discuss. The immorality of such unscrupulous aggression is simple; and the duty is no less clear for any individual in the aggressing country to use any moral and intellectual influence he may possess—facing unpopularity—to prevent the immoral act. It may be difficult to say exactly how far he should go in such opposition; but the answer to this question depends so much on circumstances that an abstract discussion of it is hardly profitable.

It is still more true that in any strife of parties and classes within a modern civilized state, when there is a conflict of interests, it is not of bare interests, but of interests clothed in the garb of rights—and in the main the garb is not hypocritically worn. In such a state the sentiment of fellow-citizenship, the habit of co-operating for common ends, the community of hopes and fears stirred by the vicissitudes of national prosperity, tend powerfully to reinforce the wider sentiments of humanity and justice to men as men. Hence, though the predatory type of human being cannot be said to be rare in any civilized society, it is still an exceptional type; the average member of such a society is too moral to enter into a struggle on behalf of interests which he knows to be ``sinister interests''—to use Bentham's apt phrase. I do not say that he is not easily led to believe that what is conducive to his interests is just—men's proneness to such belief is proverbial—but the belief is generally sincere; and though, again, in the heat of party conflict many things are done from passion and eagerness to win which are known to be wrong, these are deplorable incidents of party strife, they do not make up its moral texture.

If, then, normal human strife is due not merely to colliding interests, but to conflicting views of rights, it would seem that we might hope to reduce its worst effects to a sporadic and occasional evil, if we could only find and make clear the true definition of the rights in question. For though the interests of all individuals, classes, and nations are not harmonious, their rights are; that is the essential difference between the two. You cannot be sure of bringing disputants into harmony and peace by enlightening them as to their true interests, though you may in some cases; but you must do this if you can really and completely enlighten them as to their true rights, unless they are bad enough to fight on in conscious wrongful aggression. Such completeness of enlightenment, however, we cannot reasonably expect to attain; the complexity of human relations, and the imperfection of our intellectual methods of dealing with them, preclude the hope that we can ever solve a problem of rights with the demonstrative clearness and certainty with which we can solve a problem of mathematics. The practical question therefore is, how we can attain a tolerable approximation to such a solution.

To many the answer to this question seems simple. They propose to settle the disputes of right between nations, and the disputes of right between classes and sections within any state, by applying what I will call an external method; i.e., by referring the dispute to the judgment of impartial—and, if possible, skilled—outsiders, as the legal disputes of individual members of a civilized community are referred to arbitrators, judges, and juries. I call this an external method, because it does not require any effect to be produced on the intellects and consciences of the disputants; they are allowed to remain in their onesided and erroneous convictions; indeed, they are almost inevitably left to concentrate their attention on their own onesided views, and—if I may so say—harden themselves in their onesidedness, because their function in the process of settlement is to advocate their own case before the outside arbiter; they are not supposed to be convinced by his decision, but merely to accept it for the sake of peace.

The method takes various forms, according to circumstances. In the case of disputes between nations it takes the form of a substitution of arbitration for war; the practical—or, perhaps I may say, the technical—problem comes to be how to get a wise and impartial court of international arbitration. A similar method is widely advocated for the settlement of those disputes between employers and employed—within the limits drawn by the existing law—which have been so long a prominent feature of our present industrial condition. But in the still deeper disputes between classes and sections within a community, which tend to changes in the established legal order, the expedient commonly recommended is somewhat different; it consists in the construction of a legislature on the representative system, so adjusted and balanced that each class and section has enough representatives to advocate its claims, but not enough to constitute it a judge in its own cause; the decision on any proposed change in laws or taxation, affecting the interests of different sections in opposite ways, is always to rest with the presumably impartial representatives of other sections. Now, I do not wish to undervalue the external method in any of these cases; I think the attention of statesmen should be seriously directed to making it as perfect as possible. But I cannot believe that it is in any case safe to rely on it for a complete and final removal of the evils of strife.

Let us place ourselves at the point of view of a nation that is being drawn into what it regards as a just war, according to the received principles of international justice. It is obvious that any serious and unprovoked violation of international duty must be held to give a state whose rights are violated a claim for reparation; and if reparation be obstinately refused, it would seem that—so long as states are independent—the offending state must be held to have a right to obtain it by force, with the aid of any other states that can be persuaded to join it. This exercise of force need not necessarily amount to war. For instance, if the property belonging to a state or any of its members has been unjustly seized by another state, reparation may be obtained by reprisals; but it is most probable that such reprisals, being resisted, will lead to the thorough-going appeal to physical force as a means of settlement, which we call war. Well, at this point it is asked, by many earnest philanthropists, ``Why should not the offended state make a proposal to submit its claims to arbitration, and why should not the offending state be made, by the pressure of public opinion, to accept this proposal?'' I am far from waiving this suggestion aside as out of the range of practical politics. Much may be hoped, in the way of reduction of the danger of war between civilized states, from improvements in the machinery of arbitration, and a more extensive adoption of the improved machinery; and the efforts of those who keep urging these points on the attention of statesmen and of the public deserve our warmest sympathy. But I think that such efforts are more likely to attain the limited success which can alone be reasonably hoped, if those who urge them bear in mind the inevitable limitations of the applicability of arbitration to the disputes of right between nations.

In the first place, the violation of right which leads to a conflict may be a continuing evil, which requires immediate abatement as well as reparation; and the violence required for this abatement is likely to lead to further violence on the other side, so that the conflicting states may be drawn into the condition of war by a series of steps too rapid to allow of the delay necessary for arbitration, and which involve so many fresh grounds of complaint that the decision of the original dispute may easily sink into insignificance. But there are other reasons of more importance and wider application. On the one hand, the interests at stake may be so serious that a state, believing itself able to obtain redress by its own strong hand, cannot reasonably be expected to run the risk of arbitration, unless it can feel tolerably secure of impartiality in the arbitrator; or, to keep closer to the moral problem actually presented, I should rather say that the government of a community cannot feel justified in thus risking the interests of the community intrusted to it. On the other hand, where the quarrel is one that involves a conflict of principles, widely extended among civilized states, there may be an insuperable difficulty in finding an arbiter on whose impartiality both sides could rely. A similar difficulty may be caused by the ties of interest and alliance binding nations into groups. Thus, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it would have been almost impossible to find such an arbiter in Europe in any quarrel between a Catholic and a Protestant state In the nineteenth century it would be almost impossible to find such an arbiter in any quarrel caused by the claims of a nationality struggling for independence; while in the intervening period the combinations of states—formed, to a great extent, for the legitimate end of maintaining the ``balance of power''—presented a similar obstacle.

Now, I think that history shows that minor violations of international rights—such as arbitration undoubtedly might settle—have rarely been the real causes, though they have often been the ostensible causes and the real occasions, of momentous wars. The most serious wars of the European group of states have resulted from conflicting fundamental principles, religious or political, or conflicting national interests of great real or supposed importance, or more often a combination of the two, Hence, though the international law which arbitrators can administer may be most useful in removing minor occasions of controversy and in minimizing the mischief resulting from graver conflicts, we can hardly look to it to provide such a settlement for the graver controversies as will enable us to dispense with war. This will perhaps appear more clearly if we reflect for a moment on the special difficulties that beset the definition of international rights, in consequence of which opposite views of imperfectly-defined rights tend to be combined with discordant interests. Such difficulties arise partly from the absence of a central government of the community of nations; partly from the imperfect unity and cohesion of a nation as compared with individual human beings; partly from the great difference in degrees of civilization in the society of nations; and practically we have also to take into account the comparatively small number of civilized states, and the consequent greater importance of an individual nation—and still more of a group of allied nations—-relatively to the whole community whose affairs international law is designed to regulate. The first of these causes renders necessary and legitimate an extension of the right and duty of self-defence, which it is very difficult to limit. War is not only obviously just against actual aggression, but when aggression is unmistakably being prepared, the nation threatened cannot be condemned for striking the first blow if this is an important gain for self-defence. But this easily passes over into anticipation of a blow that is merely feared, not really threatened. Indeed this enlarged right of self-protection against mere danger has often been further extended to justify hostile interference to prevent a neighbour growing strong merely through expansion or coalescence with other states. I think that moral opinion should set itself steadily against this latter extension of the right of self-protection; still, it is obviously difficult to define exactly the degree of alarm that would justify hostile action. It is still more difficult to decide, on any clearly just principles, how far the right of national self-preservation may be legitimately extended into the right to prevent interference with ``national development''— e.g., if nation A appropriates territory over which nation B is hoping to extend its sway some time or other. At the same time, this is a cause of strife that we must, I think, expect to operate more intensely as the world gets fuller. With each successive generation the demand for expansion on the part of civilized nations is likely to grow stronger; and the more serious the interests involved, the more difficult it will be to obtain acquiescence in the rules determining the legitimate occupation of new territory, which must inevitably be to some extent arbitrary. And the question is complicated by the differences in grade of civilization, to which I have referred, for the nations most advanced in civilization have a tendency—the legitimacy of which cannot be broadly and entirely disputed—to absorb semi-civilized states in their neighbourhood, as in the expansion of England and Russia in Asia, and of France in Africa. As, I say, the tendency cannot be altogether condemned, since it often seems clearly a gain to the world on the whole that the absorption should take place; still it is obviously difficult to define the conditions under which this is legitimate, and the civilized nation engaged in this process of absorption cannot be surprised that other civilized nations think that they have a right to interfere and prevent the aggression.

When we turn to the part of the earth tolerably filled with civilized nations—to Western Europe—it seems that the duty of avoiding substantial encroachment would be so clear that it could not be violated without manifest immorality, if only such nations had perfect internal unity and coherence. I do not see, e.g., how any quarrel could easily arise between France and Spain—apart from collisions of interest in other parts of the world—except of the minor kind which arbitration might settle, unless there was something like avowed brigandage on one side or the other. But we have only to look at Germany and Italy to see that even Western Europe is far from being composed of states of this type; and even if internal unity were attained for a time, it might always be broken up again by some new division.

I therefore think it inevitable that, at least for a long time to come, every nation in the most important matters—as individuals in matters not within the range of law courts—must to an important extent be judge in its own cause; it may refer some of its disputes to arbitration—and hope the number may increase—but there are others which it cannot so refer, and its judgment must determine the limits of such reference. Other considerations might be adduced, tending to restrict still further the normal application of arbitration in international controversies; e.g., it might be shown that even where both sides in such a controversy are animated by an adequate and preponderant desire for peace, an acceptable compromise is often more likely to be attained by direct negotiation than by reference to an arbitrator. But it belongs to a political rather than an ethical discussion to dwell on points like these. I have said enough to show why even civilized nations, in which the majority are so far moral as to be sincerely unwilling to fight for a cause clearly known to be wrong, cannot be expected to avoid war by arbitration, except to a very limited extent.

If, then, a moral acquiescence in war is at present inevitable, what is to be the aim of morality with regard to it? Chiefly, it would seem, twofold: to reduce its causes by cultivating a spirit of justice, and to minimize its mischievous effects by the prevalence of a spirit of humanity. Now in this latter point the progress of modern civilization shows a steady and considerable improvement,—though it must be admitted that the progress starts from a very low level. The growth of humane sentiment has established rule after rule of military practice, tending to limit the mischief of war to the minimum necessary for the attainment of its ends. Thus bonâ-fide non-combatants have been more and more completely exempted from personal injury, while as regards their property, the old indiscriminate pillage has given place to regulated requisitions and contributions, the severity of which at any rate falls short of cruelty. In the case of combatants, the use of instruments—such as explosive bullets—which tend to cause pain out of proportion to disablement has been expressly prohibited, and the old liberty of refusing quarter practically abandoned; while elaborate provision has been made for humane tending of sick and wounded soldiers; and humane treatment of prisoners, even at considerable inconvenience to their captors, is decisively imposed by the opinion of the civilized world. Much, no doubt, might yet be done in the same direction; but considering the aims of war, and the deadly violence inevitable in its methods, I think that civilized humanity, at the end of the nineteenth century, may look with some complacency on the solid amount of improvement achieved.

The case is different when we turn to the other duty of cultivating a spirit of justice. We all admit that—as we must be judges in our own cause—we ought to endeavour to be just judges; but there is hardly any plain duty of great importance in which civilized men fail so palpably as in this. Doubtless the impartiality required is difficult; still, I am persuaded that even the imperfect beings who compose modern nations might perform with more success the judicial function—which, in a modern state under popular government, has become, in some degree, the business of every man—if national consciences could be roused to feel the nobility, and grapple practically and persistently with the difficulties of the task. At any rate, the thoughtful and moral part of every community might fit themselves for this judicial function with more care, and perform it under a sense of graver responsibility than is now the case. I am not urging that they should keep coldly aloof from patriotic sentiment; but at any rate before the struggle has actually commenced, when the cloud of discord that is to cover the sky is as yet no bigger than a man's hand, it is surely the imperative duty of all moral persons, according to their gifts and leisure, to make an earnest and systematic attempt to form an impartial view of the points at issue.

There are three stages in such an attempt, which are not always distinguished. First, we may endeavour to put ourselves in the opponent's place, carrying with us our own principles and views of right, and see whether, when we look at the opponent's case from the inside, there is not more to be said for it than appeared when we contemplated it from the outside. Secondly, if we have no doubt that our opponent is in the wrong, according to principles of right that we sincerely hold, we still have to ask ourselves whether we apply these principles not merely in claiming our rights, but also in practically determining the performance of our duties. For if there has been divergence between our actions and our principles, though it may not always be a reason for abandoning a present claim—for two wrongs do not make a right—it is an argument for mildness and for a spirit of compromise. And, thirdly, if there seems to us to be a real difference of principles, then comes the most difficult duty of endeavouring to place ourselves in an impartial position for contemplating the different sets of principles, and seeing if there is not an element of truth in the opponent's view which we have hitherto missed. It is hard to bring a man to this when once the complex collision of principles and interests has begun, and it is still harder to bring a nation to it; but it is a plain duty imposed on us by reason, and it is the most essential part of the internal method of aiding the transition from strife to concord, without which the perfecting of the machinery of arbitration does not seem to me likely to achieve very great results. Fortunately it is not, for practical needs, indispensable that the opposing views of justice should be completely harmonized; it is practically sufficient if the divergence be so far reduced by reciprocal admissions that the difference remaining may appear to both less important than the evils of war. Thus the effort at mutual comprehension, even if it does not lead to anything like agreement, may still avert strife. For, finally, one great argument for the strenuous use and advocacy of what I may distinguish as the spiritual method of avoiding the appeal to brute force in international disputes—the cultivation of a spirit of justice—is that it tends to promote the application of the external or political method. If we school ourselves to seek no more than is our due in any dispute, and to take pains to ascertain what this is, we shall be practically more a willing to submit our claims to arbitration; and, further, if a keen interest in international justice spreads through civilized nations, confidence in arbitrators will tend to increase.

I pass to consider briefly the burning question of the strife between industrial classes, that is an increasingly prominent feature of modern civilized society; the strife which, so far as physical violence is excluded by political order, is carried on between two groups of producers—ordinarily manual labourers and employers—by means of concerted refusals to exchange productive services except on terms fixed by one or other of the opposing groups. There is no kind of strife to which the application of the method of arbitration appears at first sight more reasonable, or is more commonly demanded; but there is none in which the nature of the case ordinarily presents greater obstacles to the satisfactory application of it. The difficulty here is not so much to find an arbitrator adequately free from bias as to find principles of distributive justice which the common sense of both the classes concerned accepts. This is a difficulty that seems to each its maximum in the present state of society, which is distracted between two opposing ideals. According to the individualistic ideal, monopoly and combination would only exist to an insignificant extent, and every individual worker would obtain, through unlimited competition, the market value—presenting the social utility—of the services rendered by him to society. On the other hand, so far as we can conceive a completely socialistic régime to exist at all, we must suppose that the remuneration allowed to different classes of producers—beyond the minimum which anyone could obtain from the state in return for the work which it would have to provide for him somehow—would be determined by some administrative organ of government, on principles laid down by the legislature. In neither case would there be an opening for the industrial strife that naturally occurs in our present intermediate system, in which the pursuit of self-interest is more and more prompting to combined instead of simply competitive action. In this system the problem of determining the just or equitable division of any product, between two or more groups of the persons who have produced it, only admits of a rough and, to a great extent, arbitrary solution. Compulsory arbitration in the disputes thus arising would involve serious risks in a fully-peopled state; for the rules to be applied by the arbitrator would in the last resort have to be determined by government; and a state that undertook to fix the terms of industrial bargains would be responsible for any want of employment that might result, and would therefore be in a logically weak position for refusing to provide employment on the terms thus laid down; while if it attempted any such provision, full-blown Socialism would be well in sight. And even voluntary arbitration is, under these conditions, only applicable when the two parties have been somehow brought to agreement as to the general rules by which any particular dispute should be decided; and the difficult problem is how to bring them to this agreement. Here again, therefore, the external method of composing strife requires the aid of the spiritual method. For the reason I have explained, to appeal to the sense of justice, strictly speaking, of the opposing parties would be rather ineffective rhetoric. But we may none the less endeavour to develop the elements from which the moral habit of justice springs—on the one hand, sympathy, and the readiness to imagine oneself in another's place and look at things from his point of view; and on the other hand, the intelligent apprehension of common interests. In this way we may hope to produce a disposition to compromise, adequate for practical needs, even when the adjustment thus attained can only be rough, and far removed from what either party regards as ideally equitable.

My limits do not allow me to discuss the larger questions raised by the other external method of realizing justice between classes in a state—I mean the construction of a supreme government that will, in legislation and taxation and the control of administration, keep a just balance between different sections of the community. I can only express my conviction that the most skilfully-adjusted representative system will not really protect us against a majority, formed by a combination of selfish interests, becoming practically judge in its own cause; and the belief in the natural right of the majority of any community to do what it likes is a political superstition which is rapidly passing to the limbo of such superstitions. The only sure way of preventing strife within modern states from growing continually more bitter and dangerous lies in persuading the citizens, of all classes and sections, that it is not enough to desire justice sincerely; it is needful that they fit themselves, by laborious and sustained efforts to understand the truths mingled with opposing errors, for the high and deeply responsible function, which democracy throws on them, of determining and realizing social justice so far as it depends on government. Otherwise, there seems grave reason to fear that the strife of sections within a community may lead to war in the future, as it has done in the past.

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