The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

Postby admin » Fri May 25, 2018 8:29 am

VI. EUGENICS AND LOVE

Eugenics and the Decline of the Birth-rate—Quantity and Quality in the Production of Children—Eugenic Sexual Selection—The Value of Pedigrees—Their Scientific Significance—The Systematic Record of Personal Data—The Proposal for Eugenic Certificates—St. Valentine's Day and Sexual Selection—Love and Reason—Love Ruled by Natural Law—Eugenic Selection not opposed to Love—No Need for Legal Compulsion—Medicine in Relation to Marriage

I

During recent years the question of the future of the human race has been brought before us in a way it has never been brought before. The great expansive movement in civilized countries is over. Whereas, fifty years ago, France seemed to present a striking contrast to other countries in her low and gradually falling birth-rate, to-day, though she has herself now almost reached a stationary position, France is seen merely to have been the leader in a movement which is common to all the more highly civilized nations. They are all now moving rapidly in the direction in which she moved slowly. It was inevitable that this movement, world-wide as it is, should call forth energetic protests, for there is no condition of things so bad but it finds some to advocate its perpetuation. There has, therefore, been much vigorous preaching against "race suicide" by people who were deaf to the small voice of reason, who failed to understand that this matter could not be settled by mere consideration of the crude birth-rates, and that, even if it could, we should have still to realize that, as an economist remarks, it is to the decline of the birth-rate only that we probably owe it that the modern civilized world has been saved from economic disaster. [147]

But whatever the causes of the declining birth-rate it is certain that even when they are within our control they are of far too intimate a character for the public moralist to be permitted to touch them, even though we consider them to be in a disastrous state. It has to be recognized that we are here in the presence, not of a merely local or temporary tendency which might be shaken off with an effort, but of a great fundamental law of civilization; and the fact that we encounter it in our own race merely means that we are reaching a fairly high stage of civilization. It is far from the first time, in the history of the world, that the same phenomenon has been witnessed. It was seen in Imperial Rome; it was seen, again, in the "Protestant Rome," Geneva. Wherever are gathered together an exceedingly fine race of people, the flower of the race, individuals of the highest mental and moral distinction, there the birth-rate falls steadily. Vice or virtue alike avails nothing in this field; with high civilization fertility inevitably diminishes.

II

Under these circumstances it was to be expected that a new ideal should begin to flash before men's eyes. If the ideal of quantity is lost to us, why not seek the ideal of quality? We know that the old rule: "Increase and multiply" meant a vast amount of infant mortality, of starvation, of chronic disease, of widespread misery. In abandoning that rule, as we have been forced to do, are we not left free to seek that our children, though few, should be at all events fit, the finest, alike in physical and psychical constitution, that the world has seen?

Thus has come about the recent expansion of that conception of Eugenics, or the science and art of Good Breeding in the human race, which a group of workers, pioneered by Francis Galton [148]—at first in England and later in America, Germany and elsewhere—have been developing for some years past.
Eugenics is beginning to be felt to possess a living actuality which it failed to [196] possess before. Instead of being a benevolent scientific fad it begins to present itself as the goal to which we are inevitably moving.

The cause of Eugenics has sometimes been prejudiced in the public mind by a comparison with the artificial breeding of domestic animals. In reality the two things are altogether different. In breeding animals a higher race of beings manipulates a lower race with the object of securing definite points that are of no use whatever to the animals themselves, but of considerable value to the breeders. In our own race, on the other hand, the problem of breeding is presented in an entirely different shape. There is as yet no race of super-men who are prepared to breed man for their own special ends. As things are, even if we had the ability and the power, we should surely hesitate before we bred men and women as we breed dogs or fowls. We may, therefore, quite put aside all discussion of eugenics as a sort of higher cattle-breeding. It would be undesirable, even if it were not impracticable.

But there is another aspect of Eugenics. Human eugenics need not be, and is not likely to be, a cold-blooded selection of partners by some outside scientific authority. But it may be, and is very likely to be, a slowly growing conviction—first among the more intelligent members of the community and then by imitation and fashion among the less intelligent members—that our children, the future race, the torch-bearers of civilization for succeeding ages, are not the mere result of chance or Providence, but that, in a very real sense, it is within our power to mould them, that the salvation or damnation of many future generations lies in our hands since it depends on our wise and sane choice of a mate. The results of the breeding of those persons who ought never to be parents is well known; the notorious case of the Jukes family is but one among many instances. We could scarcely expect in any community that individuals like the Jukes would take the initiative in movements for the eugenic development of the race, but it makes much difference whether such families exist in an environment like our own which is indifferent to the future of the race, or whether they are surrounded by influences of a more wholesome character which can scarcely fail to some extent to affect, and even to control, the reckless and anti-social elements in the community.

In considering this question, therefore, we are justified in putting aside not only any kind of human breeding resembling the artificial breeding of animals, but also, at all events for the present, every compulsory prohibition on marriage or procreation. We must be content to concern ourselves with ideals, and with the endeavour to exert our personal influence in the realization of these ideals.

III

Such ideals cannot, however, be left in the air; if they depend on individual caprice nothing but fruitless confusion can come of them. They must be firmly grounded on a scientific basis of ascertained fact. This was always emphasized by Galton. He not only initiated schemes for obtaining, but actually to some extent obtained, a large amount of scientific knowledge concerning the special characteristics and aptitudes of families, and his efforts in this direction have since been largely extended and elaborated. [149] The feverish activities of modern life, and the constant vicissitudes and accidents that overtake families to-day, have led to an extraordinary indifference to family history and tradition. Our forefathers, from generation to generation, carefully entered births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths in the fly-leaf of the Family Bible. It is largely owing to these precious entries that many are able to carry their family history several centuries further back than they otherwise could. But nowadays the Family Bible has for the most part ceased to exist, and nothing else has taken its place. If a man wishes to know what sort of stocks he has come from, unless he is himself an antiquarian, or in a position to employ an antiquarian to assist him, he can learn little, and in the most favourable position he is helpless without clues; though with such clues he might often learn much that would be of the greatest interest to him. The entries in the Family Bible, however, whatever their value as clues and even as actual data, do not furnish adequate information to serve as a guide to the different qualities of stocks; we need far more detailed and varied information in order to realize the respective values of families from the point of view of eugenics. Here, again, Galton had already realized the need for supplying a great defect in our knowledge, and his Life-history Albums showed how the necessary information may be conveniently registered.

The accumulated histories of individual families, it is evident, will in time furnish a foundation on which to base scientific generalizations, and eventually, perhaps, to justify practical action.
Moreover, a vast amount of valuable information on which it is possible to build up a knowledge of the correlated characteristics of families, already lies at present unused in the great insurance offices and elsewhere. When it is possible to obtain a large collection of accurate pedigrees for scientific purposes, and to throw them into a properly tabulated form, we shall certainly be in a position to know more of the qualities of stocks, of their good and bad characteristics, and of the degree in which they are correlated. [150]

In this way we shall, in time, be able to obtain a clear picture of the probable results on the offspring of unions between any kind of people. From personal and ancestral data we shall be able to reckon the probable quality of the offspring of a married couple. Given a man and woman of known personal qualities and of known ancestors, what are likely to be the personal qualities, physical, mental and moral, of the children? That is a question of immense importance both for the beings themselves whom we bring into the world, for the community generally, and for the future race.

Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit, to carry on the race.
[151] Unless they are full and frank such records are useless. But it is obvious that for a long time to come such a system of registration must be private. According to the belief which is still deeply rooted in most of us, we regard as most private those facts of our lives which are most intimately connected with the life of the race, and most fateful for the future of humanity. The feeling is no doubt inevitable; it has a certain rightness and justification. As, however, our knowledge increases we shall learn that we are, on the one hand, a little more responsible for future generations than we are accustomed to think, and, on the other hand, a little less responsible for our own good or bad qualities. Our fiat makes the future man, but, in the same way, we are ourselves made by a choice and a will not our own. A man may indeed, within limits, mould himself, but the materials he can alone use were handed on to him by his parents, and whether he becomes a man of genius, a criminal, a drunkard, an epileptic, or an ordinarily healthy, well-conducted, and intelligent citizen, must depend at least as much on his parents as on his own effort or lack of effort, since even the aptitude for effective effort is largely inborn. As we learn to look on the facts from the only sound standpoint of heredity, our anger or contempt for a failing and erring individual has to give way to the kindly but firm control of a weakling. If the children's teeth have been set on edge it is because the parents have eaten sour grapes.

If, however, we certainly cannot bring legal or even moral force to compel everyone to maintain such detailed registers of himself, his ancestral stocks, and his offspring—to say nothing of inducing him to make them public—there is something that we can do. We can make it to his interest to keep such a record. If it became an advantage in life to a man to possess good ancestors, and to be himself a good specimen of humanity in mind, character, and physique, we may be sure that those who are above the average in these matters will be glad to make use of that superiority. Insurance offices already make an inquisition into these matters, to which no one objects, because a man only submits to it for his own advantage; while for military and some other services similar inquiries are compulsory. Eugenic certificates, according to Galton's proposal, would be issued by a suitably constituted authority to those candidates who chose to apply for them and were able to pass the necessary tests. Such certificates would imply an inquiry and examination into the ancestry of the candidate as well as into his own constitution, health, intelligence and character; and the possession of such a certificate would involve a superiority to the average in all these respects. No one would be compelled to offer himself for such examination, just as no one is compelled to seek a university degree. But its possession would often be an advantage. There is nothing to prevent the establishment of a board of examiners of this kind to-morrow, and we may be sure that, once established, many candidates would hasten to present themselves. [153] There are obviously many positions in life wherein a certificate of this kind of superiority would be helpful. But its chief distinction would be that its possession would be a kind of patent of natural nobility; the man or woman who held it would be one of Nature's aristocrats, to whom the future of the race might be safely left without further question.

IV

By happy inspiration, or by chance, Galton made public his programme of eugenic research, in a paper read before the Sociological Society, on February 14, the festival of St. Valentine. Although the ancient observances of that day have now died out, St. Valentine was for many centuries the patron saint of sexual selection, more especially in England. It can scarcely be said that any credit in this matter belongs to the venerable saint himself; it was by an accident that he achieved his conspicuous position in the world. He was simply a pious Christian who was beheaded for his faith in Rome under Claudius. But it so happened that his festival fell at that period in early spring when birds were believed to pair, and when youths and maidens were accustomed to select partners for themselves or for others. This custom—which has been studied together with many allied primitive practices by Mannhard [154]—was not always carried out on February 14, sometimes it took place a little later. In England, where it was strictly associated with St. Valentine's Day, the custom was referred to by Lydgate, and by Charles of Orleans in the rondeaus and ballades he wrote during his long imprisonment in England. The name Valentins or Valentines was also introduced into France (where the custom had long existed) to designate the young couples thus constituted. This method of sexual selection, half playful, half serious, flourished especially in the region between England, the Moselle, and the Tyrol. The essential part of the custom lay in the public choice of a fitting mate for marriageable girls. Sometimes the question of fitness resolved itself into one of good looks; occasionally the matter was settled by lot. There was no compulsion about these unions; they were often little more than a game, though at times they involved a degree of immorality which caused the authorities to oppose them. But very frequently the sexual selection thus exerted led to weddings, and these playful Valentine unions were held to be a specially favourable prelude to a happy marriage.

It is scarcely necessary to show how the ancient customs associated with St. Valentine's Day are taken up again and placed on a higher plane by the great movement which is now beginning to shape itself among us. The old Valentine unions were made by a process of caprice tempered more or less by sound instincts and good sense. In the sexual selection of the future the same results will be attained by more or less deliberate and conscious recognition of the great laws and tendencies which investigation is slowly bringing to light. The new St. Valentine will be a saint of science rather than of folk-lore.

Whenever such statements as these are made it is always retorted that love laughs at science, and that the winds of passion blow where they list. [155] That, however, is by no means altogether true, and in any case it is far from covering the whole of the ground. It is hard to fight against human nature, but human nature itself is opposed to indiscriminate choice of mates. It is not true that any one tends to love anybody, and that mutual attraction is entirely a matter of chance. The investigations which have lately been carried out show that there are certain definite tendencies in this matter, that certain kinds of people tend to be attracted to certain kinds, especially that like are attracted to like rather than unlike to unlike, and that, again, while some kinds of people tend to be married with special frequency other kinds tend to be left unmarried. [156] Sexual selection, even when left to random influences, is still not left to chance; it follows definite and ascertainable laws. In that way the play of love, however free it may appear, is really limited in a number of directions. People do not tend to fall in love with those who are in racial respects a contrast to themselves; they do not tend to fall in love with foreigners; they do not tend to be attracted to the ugly, the diseased, the deformed. All these things may happen, but they are the exception and not the rule. These limitations to the roving impulses of love, while very real, to some extent vary at different periods in accordance with the ideals which happen to be fashionable. In more remote ages they have been still more profoundly modified by religious [207] and social ideas; polygamy and polyandry, the custom of marrying only inside one's own caste, or only outside it, all these various and contradictory plans have been easily accepted at some place and some time, and have offered no more conscious obstacle to the free play of love than among ourselves is offered by the prohibition against marriage between near relations.

Those simple-minded people who talk about the blind and irresistible force of passion are themselves blind to very ordinary psychological facts. Passion—when it occurs—requires in normal persons cumulative and prolonged forces to impart to it full momentum. [157] In its early stages it is under the control of many influences, including influences of reason. If it were not so there could be no sexual selection, nor any social organization. [158]

The eugenic ideal which is now developing is thus not an artificial product, but the reasoned manifestation of a natural instinct, which has often been far more severely strained by the arbitrary prohibitions of the past than it is ever likely to be by any eugenic ideals of the future. The new ideal will be absorbed into the conscience of the community, whether or not like a kind of new religion, and will instinctively and unconsciously influence the impulses of men and women. It will do all this the more surely since, unlike the taboos of savage societies, the eugenic ideal will lead men and women to reject as partners only the men and women who are naturally unfit—the diseased, the abnormal, the weaklings—and conscience will thus be on the side of impulse.

It may indeed be pointed out that those who advocate a higher and more scientific conscience in matters of mating are by no means plotting against love, which is for the most part on their side, but rather against the influences that do violence to love: on the one hand, the reckless and thoughtless yielding to mere momentary desire, and, on the other hand, the still more fatal influences of wealth and position and worldly convenience which give a factitious value to persons who would never appear attractive partners in life were love and eugenic ideals left to go hand in hand. It is such unions, and not those inspired by the wholesome instincts of wholesome lovers, which lead, if not to the abstract "deterioration of the race," at all events in numberless cases to the abiding unhappiness of persons who choose a mate without realizing how that mate is likely to develop, nor what sort of children may probably be expected from the union. The eugenic ideal will have to struggle with the criminal and still more resolutely with the rich; it will have few serious quarrels with normal and well constituted lovers.

It will now perhaps be clear how it is that the eugenic conception of the improvement of the race embodies a new ideal. We are familiar with legislative projects for compulsory certificates as a condition of marriage. But even apart from all the other considerations which make such schemes both illusory and undesirable, these externally imposed regulations fail to go to the root of the matter. If they are voluntary, if they spring out of a fine eugenic aspiration, it is another matter. Under these conditions the method may be carried out at once. Professor Grasset has pointed out one way in which this may be effected. We cannot, he remarks, follow the procedure of a military conseil de revision and compulsorily reject the candidate for a definite defect. But it would be possible for the two families concerned to call a conference of their two family doctors, after examination of the would-be bride and bridegroom, permitting the doctors to discuss freely the medical aspects of the proposed union, and undertaking to accept their decision, without asking for the revelation of any secrets, the families thus remaining ignorant of the defect which prevented this union but might not prevent [210] another union, for the chief danger in many cases comes from the conjunction of convergent morbid tendencies. [160] In France, where much power remains with the respective families, this method might be operative, provided complete confidence was felt in the doctors concerned. In some countries, such as England, the prospective couple might prefer to take the matter into their own hands, to discuss it frankly, and to seek medical advice on their own account; this is now much more frequently done than was formerly the case. But all compulsory projects of this kind, and indeed any mere legislation, cannot go to the root of the matter. For in the first place, what we need is a great body of facts, and a careful attention to the record and registration and statistical tabulation of personal and family histories. In the second place, we need that sound ideals and a high sense of responsibility should permeate the whole community, first its finer and more distinguished members and then, by the usual contagion that rules in such matters, the whole body of its members. In time, no doubt, this would lead to concerted social action. We may reasonably expect that a time will come when if, for instance, an epileptic woman conceals her condition from the man she is marrying it would generally be felt that an offence has been committed serious enough to invalidate the marriage. We must not suppose that lovers would be either willing or competent to investigate each other's family and medical histories . But it would be at least as easy and as simple to choose a partner from those persons who had successfully passed the eugenic test—more especially since such persons would certainly be the most attractive group in the community—as it is for an Australian aborigine to select a conjugal partner from one social group rather than from any other. It is a matter of accepting an ideal and of exerting our personal and social influence in the direction of that ideal. If we really seek to raise the level of humanity we may in this way begin to do so to-day.

NOTE ON THE LIFE-HISTORY RECORD

The extreme interest of a Life-History Record is obvious, even apart from its eventual scientific value. Most of us would have reason to congratulate ourselves had such records been customary when we were ourselves children. It is probable that this is becoming more generally realized, though until recently only the pioneers have here been active. "I started a Life-History Album for each of my children," writes Mr. F.H. Perrycoste in a private letter, "as soon as they were born; and by the time they arrive at man's and woman's estate they will have valuable records of their own physical, mental, and moral development, which should be of great service to them when they come to have children of their own, whilst the physical—in which are included, of course, medical—records may at any time be of great value to their own medical advisers in later life. I have reason to regret that some such Albums were not kept for my wife and myself, for they would have afforded the necessary data by which to 'size up' the abilities and conduct of our children. I know, for instance, pretty well what was my own Galtonian rank as a schoolboy, and I am constantly asking myself whether my boy will do as well, better, or worse. Now fortunately I do happen to remember roughly what stages I had reached at one or two transition periods of school-life; but if only such an Album had been kept for me, I could turn it up and check my boy against myself in each subject at each yearly stage. You will gather from this that I consider it of great importance that ample details of school-work and intellectual development should be entered in the Album. I find the space at my disposal for these entries insufficient, and consequently I summarize in the Album and insert a reference to sheets of fuller details which I keep; but it might be well, when another edition of the [213] Album comes to be published, to agitate for the insertion of extra blank pages after the age of eight or nine, in order to allow of the transcription of full school-reports. However, the great thing is to induce people to keep an Album that will form the nucleus round which any number of fuller records can cluster."

It is not necessary that the Galtonian type of Album should be rigidly preserved, and I am indebted to "Henry Hamill," the author of The Truth We Owe to Youth, for the following suggestions as to the way in which such a record may be carried out:

"The book should not be a mere dry rigmarole, but include a certain appeal to sentiment. The subject should begin to make the entries himself when old enough to do so properly, i.e. so that the book will not be disfigured—though indeed the naivity of juvenile phrasing, etc., may be of a particular interest. From a graphological point of view, the evolution of the handwriting will be of interest; and if for no other reason, specimens of handwriting ought to appear in it from year to year, while the parent is still writing the other entries. There may now be a certain sacramental character in the life-history. The subject should be led to regard the book as a witness, and to perceive in it an additional reason for avoiding every act the mention of which would be a disfigurement of the history. At the same time, the nature of the witness may be made to correct the wrong notions prevailing as to the worthiness of acts, and to sanctify certain of them that have been foolishly degraded. Thus there may be left several leaves blank before the pages of forms for filling in anthropometric and physiological data, and the headings may be made to suggest a worthier way of viewing these things. For instance, there may be the indication 'Place and time of conception,' and a specimen entry may be of service to lead commonplace minds into a more reverent and poetical view than is now usual—such as the one I culled from the life-history [214] of an American child: 'Our second child M—— was conceived on Midsummer Day, under the shade of a friendly sycamore, beneath the cloudless blue of Southern California.' Or, instead of restricting the reference to the particular episode, it may refer to the whole chapter of Love which that episode adorned, more especially in the case of a first child, when a poetical history of the mating of the parents may precede. The presence of the idea that the book would some day be read by others than the intimate circle, would restrain the tendency of some persons to inordinate self-revelation and 'gush.' Such books as these would form the dearest heirlooms of a family, helping to knit its bonds firmer, and giving an insight into individual character which would supplement the more tangible data for the pedigree in a most valuable way. The photographs taken every three months or so ought to be as largely as possible nude. The gradual transition from childhood would help to prevent an abrupt feeling arising, and the practice would be a valuable aid to the rehabilitation of the nude, and of genuineness in our daily life, no matter in what respect. This leads to the difficult question of how far moral aspects should be entertained. 'To-day Johnnie told his first fib; we pretended to disbelieve everything else he said, and he began to see that lying was bad policy.' 'Chastised Johnnie for the first time for pulling the wings off a fly; he wanted to know why we might kill flies outright, but not mutilate them,' and so on. For in this way parents would train themselves in the psychology of education and character-building, though books by specially gifted parents would soon appear for their guidance.

"Of course, whatever relevant circumstances were available about the ante-natal period or the mother's condition would be noted (but who would expect a mother to note that she laced tight up to such and such a month? Perhaps the keeping of a log like this might act as a deterrent). Similarly, [215] under diet and regimen, year by year, the assumption of breast-feeding—provision of columns for the various incidents of it—weight before and after feeding, etc., would have a great suggestive value.

"The provision under diet and regimen of columns for 'drug habits, if any'—tea, coffee, alcohol, nicotine, morphia, etc.—would have a suggestive value and operate in the direction of the simple life and a reverence for the body. Some good aphorisms might be strewed in, such as:

"'If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred' (Whitman).


"As young people circulate their 'Books of Likes and Dislikes,' etc., and thus in an entertaining way provide each other with insight into mutual character, so the Life-History need not be an arcanum—at least where people have nothing to be ashamed of. It would be a very trying ordeal, no doubt, to admit even intimate friends to this confidence. But as eugenics spread, concealment of taint will become almost impracticable, and the facts may as well be confessed. But even then there will be limitations. There might be an esoteric book for the individual's own account of himself. Such important items as the incidence of puberty (though notorious in some communities) could not well be included in a book open even to the family circle, for generations to come. The quiescence of the genital sense, the sedatives naturally occurring, important as these are, and occupying the consciousness in so large a degree, would find no place; nevertheless, a private journal of the facts would help to steady the individual, and prove a check against disrespect to his body.

"As the facts of individual evolution would be noted, so likewise would those of dissolution. The first signs of decay—the teeth, the elasticity of body and mind—would provide a valuable sphere for all who are disposed to the diary-habit. The journals of individuals with a gift for introspection would [216] furnish valuable material for psychologists in the future. Life would be cleansed in many ways. Journals would not have to be bowdlerized, like Marie Bashkirtseff's, for the morbidity that gloats on the forbidden would have a lesser scope, much that is now regarded as disgraceful being then accepted as natural and right.

"The book might have several volumes, and that for the periods of infancy and childhood might need to be less private than the one for puberty. More, in his Utopia, demands that lovers shall learn to know each other as they really are, i.e. naked. That is now the most Utopian thing in More's Utopia. But the lovers might communicate their life-histories to each other as a preliminary.

"The whole plan would, of course, finally have to be over-hauled by the so-called 'man of the world.'"

Not everyone may agree with this conception of the Life-History Album and its uses. Some will prefer a severely dry and bald record of measurements. At the present time, however, there is room for very various types of such documents. The important point is to realize that, in some form or another, a record of this kind from birth or earlier is practicable, and constitutes a record which is highly desirable alike on personal, social, and scientific grounds.

_______________

Notes:

[147] Dr. Scott Nearing, "Race Suicide versus Over-Population," Popular Science Monthly, January, 1911. And from the biological side Professor Bateson concludes (Biological Fact and the Structure of Society, p. 23) that "it is in a decline in the birth-rate that the most promising omen exists for the happiness of future generations."

[148] Galton himself, the grandson of Erasmus Darwin, and the half-cousin of Charles Darwin, may be said to furnish a noble illustration of an unconscious process of eugenics. (He has set forth his ancestry in Memories of My Life.) On his death, the editor of the Popular Science Monthly wrote, referring to the fact that Galton was nominated to succeed William James in the honorary membership of an Academy of Science: "These two men are the greatest whom he has known. James possessed the more complicated personality; but they had certain common traits—a combination of perfect aristocracy with complete democracy, directness, kindliness, generosity, and nobility beyond all measure. It has been said that eugenics is futile because it cannot define its end. The answer is simple—we want men like William James and Francis Galton" (Popular Science Monthly, March, 1911.) Probably most of those who were brought, however slightly, in contact with these two fine personalities will subscribe to this conclusion.

[149] Galton chiefly studied the families to which men of intellectual ability belong, especially in his Hereditary Genius and English Men of Science; various kinds of pathological families have since been investigated by Karl Pearson and his co-workers (see the series of Biometrika); the pedigrees of the defective classes (especially the feeble-minded and epileptic) are now being accurately worked out, as by Godden, at Vineland, New Jersey, and Davenport, in New York (see e.g. Eugenics Review, April, 1911, and Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, November, 1911).

[150] "When once more the importance of good birth comes to be recognized in a new sense," wrote W.C.D. Whetham and Mrs. Whetham (in The Family and the Nation, p. 222), "when the innate physical and mental qualities of different families are recorded in the central sociological department or scientifically reformed College of Arms, the pedigrees of all will be known to be of supreme interest. It would be understood to be more important to marry into a family with a good hereditary record of physical and mental and moral qualities than it ever has been considered to be allied to one with sixteen quarterings."

[151] The importance of such biographical records of aptitude and character are so great that some, like Schallmayer (Vererbung und Auslese, 2nd ed., 1910, p. 389) believe that they must be made universally obligatory. This proposal, however, seems premature.

[152] In many undesigned and unforeseen ways these registers may be of immense value. They may even prove the means of overthrowing our pernicious and destructive system of so-called "education." A step in this direction has been suggested by Mr. R.T. Bodey, Inspector of Elementary Schools, at a meeting of the Liverpool branch of the Eugenics Education Society: "Education facilities should be carefully distributed with regard to the scientific likelihood of their utilization to the maximum of national advantage, and this not for economic reasons only, but because it was cruel to drag children from their own to a different sphere of life, and cruel to the class they deserted. Since the activities of the nation and the powers of the children were alike varied in kind and degree, the most natural plan would be to sort them both out, and then design a school system expressly in order to fit one to the other. At present there was no fixed purpose, but a perpetual riot of changes, resulting in distraction of mind, discontinuity of purpose, and increase of cost, while happiness decayed because desires grew faster than possessions or the sense of achievement. The only really scientific basis for a national system of education would be a full knowledge of the family history of each child. With more perfect classification of family talent the need of scholarships of transplantation would become less, for each of them was the confession of an initial error in placing the child. Then there would be more money to be spared for industrial research, travelling and art studentships, and other aids to those who had the rare gift of original thought" (British Medical Journal, November 18, 1911).

[153] I should add that there is one obstacle, viz. expense. When the present chapter was first published in its preliminary form as an article in the Nineteenth Century and After (May, 1906), Galton, always alive to everything bearing on the study of Eugenics, wrote to me that he had been impressed by the generally sympathetic reception my paper had received, and that he felt encouraged to consider whether it was possible to begin giving such certificates at once. He asked for my views, among others, as to the ground which should be covered by such certificates. The programme I set forth was somewhat extensive, as I considered that the applicant must not only bring evidence of a sound ancestry, but also submit to anthropological, psychological, and medical examination. Galton eventually came to the conclusion that the expenses involved by the scheme rendered it for the present impracticable. My opinion was, and is, that though the charge for such a certificate might in the first place be prohibitive for most people, a few persons might find it desirable to seek, and advantageous to possess, such certificates, and that it is worth while at all events to make a beginning.

[154] Mannhardt, Wald-und Feldkulte, 1875, Vol. I, pp. 422 et seq. I have discussed seasonal erotic festivals in a study of "The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity," Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. I.

[155] Thus we read in a small popular periodical: "I am prepared to back human nature against all the cranks in Christendom. Human nature will endure a faddist so long as he does not interfere with things it prizes. One of these things is the right to select its partner for life. If a man loves a girl he is not going to give her up because she happens to have an aunt in a lunatic asylum or an uncle who has epileptic fits," etc. In the same way it may be said that a man will allow nothing to interfere with his right to eat such food as he chooses, and is not going to give up a dish he likes because it happens to be peppered with arsenic. It may be so, let us grant, among savages. The growth of civilization lies in ever-extended self-control guided by foresight.

[156] I have summarized some of the evidence on these points, especially that showing that sexual attraction tends to be towards like persons and not, as was formerly supposed, towards the unlike, in Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. IV, "Sexual Selection in Man."

[157] In other words, the process of tumescence is gradual and complex. See Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. III, "The Analysis of the Sexual Impulse."

[158] As Roswell Johnson remarks ("The Evolution of Man and its Control," Popular Science Monthly, January, 1910): "While it is undeniable that love when once established defies rational considerations, yet we must remark that sexual selection proceeds usually through two stages, the first being one of mere mutual attraction and interest. It is in this stage that the will and reason are operative, and here alone that any considerable elevation of standard may be effective."

[159] Galton looked upon eugenics as fitted to become a factor in religion (Essays in Eugenics, p. 68). It may, however, be questioned whether this consummation is either probable or desirable. The same religious claim has been made for socialism. But, as Dr. Eden Paul remarks in a recent pamphlet on Socialism and Eugenics, "Whereas both Socialism and Eugenics are concerned solely with the application of the knowledge gained by experience to the amelioration of the human lot, it seems preferable to dispense with religious terminology, and to regard the two doctrines as complementary parts of the great modern movement known by the name of Humanism." Personally, I do not consider that either Socialism or Eugenics can be regarded as coming within the legitimate sphere of religion, which I have elsewhere attempted to define (Conclusion to The New Spirit).

[160] J. Grasset, in Dr. A. Marie's Traité International de Psychologie Pathologique, 1910, Vol. I, p. 25. Grasset proceeds to discuss the principles which must guide the physician in such consultations.

[161] This has been clearly realized by the German Society of Eugenics or "Racial Hygiene," as it is usually termed in Germany (Internationale Gesellschaft für Rassen-Hygiene), founded by Dr. Alfred Ploetz, with the co-operation of many distinguished physicians and men of science, "to further the theory and practice of racial hygiene." It is a chief aim of this Society to encourage the registration by the members of the biological and other physical and psychic characteristics of themselves and their families, in order to obtain a body of data on which conclusions may eventually be based; the members undertake not to enter on a marriage except they are assured by medical investigation of both parties that the union is not likely to cause disaster to either partner or to the offspring. The Society also admits associates who only occupy themselves with the scientific aspects of its work and with propaganda. In England the Eugenics Education Society (with its organ the Eugenics Review) has done much to stimulate an intelligent interest in eugenics.

[162] How influential public opinion may be in the selection of mates is indicated by the influence it already exerts—in less than a century—in the limitation of offspring. This is well marked in some parts of France. Thus, concerning a rural district near the Garonne, Dr. Belbèze, who knows it thoroughly, writes (La Neurasthénie Rurale, 1911): "Public opinion does not at present approve of multiple procreation. Large families, there can be no doubt, are treated with contempt. Couples who produce a numerous progeny are looked on, with a wink, as 'maladroits,' which in this region is perhaps the supreme term of abuse.... Public opinion is all-powerful, and alone suffices to produce restraint, when foresight is not adequate for this purpose."
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

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VII. RELIGION AND THE CHILD

Religious Education in Relation to Social Hygiene and to Psychology—The Psychology of the Child—The Contents of Children's Minds—The Imagination of Children—How far may Religion be assimilated by Children?—Unfortunate Results of Early Religious Instruction—Puberty the Age for Religious Education—Religion as an Initiation into a Mystery—Initiation among Savages—The Christian Sacraments—The Modern Tendency as regards Religious Instruction—Its Advantages—Children and Fairy Tales—The Bible of Childhood—Moral Training.

It is a fact as strange as it is unfortunate that the much-debated question of the religious education of children is almost exclusively considered from the points of view of the sectarian and the secularist. In a discussion of this question we are almost certain to be invited to take part in an unedifying wrangle between Church and Chapel, between religion and secularism. That is the strange part of it, that it should seem impossible to get away from this sectarian dispute as to the abstract claims of varying religious bodies. The unfortunate part of it is that in this quarrel the interests of the community, the interests of the child, even the interests of religion are alike disregarded.

If we really desire to reach a sound conclusion on a matter which is unquestionably of great moment, both for the child and for the community of which he will one [218] day become a citizen, we must resolutely put into the background, as of secondary importance, the cries of contending sects, religious or irreligious. The first place here belongs to the psychologist, who is building up the already extensive edifice of knowledge concerning the real nature of the child and the contents and growth of the youthful mind, and to the practical teacher who is in touch with that knowledge and can bring it to the test of actual experience. Before considering what drugs are to be administered we must consider the nature of the organism they are to be thrust into.

The mind of the child is at once logical and extravagant, matter-of-fact and poetic or rather mytho-p[oe]ic. This combination of apparent opposites, though it often seems almost incomprehensible to the adult, is the inevitable outcome of the fact that the child's dawning intelligence is working, as it were, in a vacuum. In other words, the child has not acquired the two endowments which chiefly give character to the whole body of the adult's beliefs and feelings. He is without the pubertal expansion which fills out the mind with new personal and altruistic impulses and transforms it with emotion that is often dazzling and sometimes distorting; and he has not yet absorbed, or even gained the power of absorbing, all those beliefs, opinions, and mental attitudes which the race has slowly acquired and transmitted as the traditional outcome of its experiences.

The intellectual processes of children, the attitude and contents of the child's mind, have been explored during recent years with a care and detail that have never been [219] brought to that study before. This is not a matter of which the adult can be said to possess any instinctive or matter-of-course knowledge. Adults usually have a strange aptitude to forget entirely the facts of their lives as children, and children are usually, like peoples of primitive race, very cautious in the deliberate communication of their mental operations, their emotions, and their ideas. That is to say that the child is equally without the internally acquired complex emotional nature which has its kernel in the sexual impulse, and without the externally acquired mental equipment which may be summed up in the word tradition. But he possesses the vivid activities founded on the exercise of his senses and appetites, and he is able to reason with a relentless severity from which the traditionalized and complexly emotional adult shrinks back with horror. The child creates the world for himself, and he creates it in his own image and the images of the persons he is familiar with. Nothing is sacred to him, and he pushes to the most daring extremities—as it seems to the adult—the arguments derived from his own personal experiences. He is unable to see any distinction between the natural and the supernatural, and he is justified in this conviction because, as a matter of fact, he himself lives in what for most adults would be a supernatural atmosphere; most children see visions with closed and sometimes with open eyes; [163] they are not infrequently subject [220] to colour-hearing and other synæsthetic sensations; and they occasionally hear hallucinatory voices. It is possible, indeed, that this is the case with all children in some slight degree, although the faculty dies out early and is easily forgotten because its extraordinary character was never recognized.

Of 48 Boston children, says Stanley Hall, [164] 20 believed the sun, moon, and stars to live, 16 thought flowers could feel, and 15 that dolls would feel pain if burnt. The sky was found the chief field in which the children exercise their philosophic minds. About three-quarters of them thought the world a plain with the sky like a bowl turned over it, sometimes believing that it was of such thin texture that one could easily break through, though so large that much floor-sweeping was necessary in Heaven. The sun may enter the ground when it sets, but half the children thought that at night it rolls or flies away, or is blown or walks, or God pulls it higher up out of sight, taking it up into Heaven, according to some putting it to bed, and even taking off its clothes and putting them on again in the morning, or again, it is believed to lie under the trees at night and the angels mind it. God, of whom the children always hear so [221] much, plays a very large part in these conceptions, and is made directly responsible for all cosmic phenomena. Thus thunder to these American children was God groaning or kicking or rolling barrels about, or turning a big handle, or grinding snow, or breaking something, or rattling a big hammer; while the lightning is due to God putting his finger out, or turning the gas on quick, or striking matches, or setting paper on fire. According to Boston children, God is a big, perhaps a blue, man, to be seen in the sky, on the clouds, in church, or even in the streets. They declare that God comes to see them sometimes, and they have seen him enter the gate. He makes lamps, babies, dogs, trees, money, etc., and the angels work for him. He looks like a priest, or a teacher, or papa, and the children like to look at him; a few would themselves like to be God. His house in the sky may be made of stone or brick; birds, children, and Santa Claus live with God.

Birds and beasts, their food and their furniture, as Burnham points out, all talk to children; when the dew is on the grass "the grass is crying," the stars are candles or lamps, perhaps cinders from God's stove, butterflies are flying pansies, icicles are Christmas candy. Children have imaginary play-brothers and sisters and friends, with whom they talk. Sometimes God talks with them. Even the prosiest things are vivified; the tracks of dirty feet on the floor are flowers; a creaking chair talks; the shoemaker's nails are children whom he is driving to school; a pedlar is Santa Claus.

Miss Miriam Levy once investigated the opinions of 560 [222] children, boys and girls, between the ages of 4 and 14, as to how the man in the moon got there. Only 5 were unable to offer a serious explanation; 48 thought there was no man there at all; 50 offered a scientific explanation of the phenomena; but all the rest, the great majority, presented imaginative solutions which could be grouped into seventeen different classes.

Such facts as these—which can easily be multiplied and are indeed familiar to all, though their significance is not usually realized—indicate the special tendencies of the child in the religious sphere. He is unable to follow the distinctions which the adult is pleased to make between "real," "spiritual" and "imaginary" beings. To him such distinctions do not exist. He may, if he so pleases, adopt the names or such characteristics as he chooses, of the beings he is told about, but he puts them into his own world, on a footing of more or less equality, and he decides himself what their fate is to be. The adult's supreme beings by no means always survive in the struggle for existence which takes place in the child's imaginative world. It was found among many thousand children entering the city schools of Berlin that Red Riding Hood was better known than God, and Cinderella than Christ. That is the result of the child's freedom from the burden of tradition.

Yet at the same time the opposite though allied peculiarity of childhood—the absence of the emotional developments of puberty which deepen and often cloud the mind a few years later—is also making itself felt. Extravagant as his beliefs may appear, the child is an [223] uncompromising rationalist and realist. His supposed imaginativeness is indeed merely the result of his logical insistence that all the new phenomena presented to him shall be thought of in terms of himself and his own environment. His wildest notions are based on precise, concrete, and personal facts of his own experience. That is why he is so keen a questioner of grown-up people's ideas, and a critic who may sometimes be as dangerous and destructive as Bishop Colenso's Zulus. Most children before the age of thirteen, as Earl Barnes states, are inquirers, if not sceptics.

If we clearly realize these characteristics of the childish mind, we cannot fail to understand the impression made on it by religious instruction. The statements and stories that are repeated to him are easily accepted by the child in so far, and in so far only, as they answer to his needs; and when accepted they are assimilated, which means that they are compelled to obey the laws of his own mental world. In so far as the statements and stories presented to him are not acceptable or cannot be assimilated, it happens either that they pass by him unnoticed, or else that he subjects them to a cold and matter-of-fact logic which exerts a dissolving influence upon them.

Now a few of the ideas of religion are assimilable by the child, and notably the idea of a God as the direct agent in cosmic phenomena; some of the childish notions I have quoted illustrate the facility with which the child adopts this idea. He adopts, that is, what may be called the hard precise skeleton of the idea, and imagines a [224] colossal magician, of anthropomorphic (if not paidomorphic) nature, whose operations are curious, though they altogether fail to arouse any mysterious reverence or awe for the agent. Even this is not very satisfactory, and Stanley Hall, in the spirit of Froebel, considers that the best result is attained when the child knows no God but his own mother. [165] But for the most part the ideas of religion cannot be accepted or assimilated by children at all; they were not made by children or for children, but represent the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of men, and sometimes even of very exceptional and abnormal men. "The child," it has been said, "no doubt has the psychical elements out of which the religious experience is evolved, just as the seed has the promise of the fruit which will come in the fullness of time. But to say, therefore, that the average child is religious, or capable of receiving the usual advanced religious instruction, is equivalent to saying that the seed is the fruit or capable of being converted into fruit before the fullness of time." [166] The child who grows devout and becomes anxious about the state of his soul is a morbid [225] and unwholesome child; if he prefers praying for the conversion of his play-fellows to joining them in their games he is not so much an example of piety as a pathological case whose future must be viewed with anxiety; and to preach religious duties to children is exactly the same, it has been well said, as to exhort them to imagine themselves married people and to inculcate on them the duties of that relation. Fortunately the normal child is usually able to resist these influences. It is the healthy child's impulse either to let them fall with indifference or to apply to them the instrument of his unmerciful logic.

Naturally, the adult, in self-defence, is compelled to react against this indifferent or aggressive attitude of the child. He may be no match for the child in logic, and even unspeakably shocked by his daring inquiries, like an amiable old clergyman I knew when a Public School teacher in Australia; he went to a school to give Bible lessons, and was one day explaining how King David was a man after God's own heart, when a small voice was heard making inquiries about Uriah's wife; the small boy was hushed down by the shocked clergyman, and the cause of religion was not furthered in that school. But the adult knows that he has on his side tradition which has not yet been acquired by the child, and the inner emotional expansion which still remains unliberated in the child. The adult, therefore, fortified by this superiority, feels justified in falling back on the weapon of authority: "You may not want to believe this and to learn it, but you've got to."

[226] It is in this way that the adult wins the battle of religious education. In the deeper and more far-seeing sense he has lost it. Religion has become, not a charming privilege, but a lesson, a lesson about unbelievable things, a meaningless task to be learnt by heart, a drudgery. It may be said that even if that is so, religious lessons merely share the inevitable fate of all subjects which become school tasks. But that is not the case. Every other subject which is likely to become a school task is apt to become intelligible and attractive to some considerable section of the scholars because it is within the range of childish intelligence. But, for the two very definite reasons I have pointed out, this is only to an extremely limited degree true as regards the subject of religion, because the young organism is an instrument not as yet fitted with the notes which religion is most apt to strike.

Of all the school subjects religion thus tends to be the least attractive. Lobsien, at Kiel, found a few years since, in the course of a psychological investigation, that when five hundred children (boys and girls in equal numbers), between the ages of nine and fourteen, were asked which was their favourite lesson hour, only twelve (ten girls and two boys) named the religious lesson. [167] In other words, nearly 98 per cent children (and nearly all the boys) find that religion is either an indifferent or a repugnant subject. I have no reports at hand as regards English children, but there is little reason to suppose that the result would be widely different. [168] [227] Here and there a specially skilful teacher might bring about a result more favourable to religious teaching, but that could only be done by depriving the subject of its most characteristic elements.

This is, however, not by any means the whole of the mischief which, from the religious point of view, is thus perpetrated. It might, on a priori grounds, be plausibly argued that even if there is among healthy young children a certain amount of indifference or even repugnance to religious instruction, that is of very little consequence: they cannot be too early grounded in the principles of the faith they will later be called on to profess; and however incapable they may now be of understanding the teaching that is being inculcated in the school, they will realize its importance when their knowledge and experience increase. But however plausible this may seem, practically it is not what usually happens. The usual effect of constantly imparting to children an [228] instruction they are not yet ready to receive is to deaden their sensibilities to the whole subject of religion. [169] The premature familiarity with religious influences—putting aside the rare cases where it leads to a morbid pre-occupation with religion—induces a reaction of routine which becomes so habitual that it successfully withstands the later influences which on more virgin soil would have evoked vigorous and living response. So far from preparing the way for a more genuine development of religious impulse later on, this precocious scriptural instruction is just adequate to act as an inoculation against deeper and more serious religious interests. The commonplace child in later life accepts the religion it has been inured to so early as part of the conventional routine of life. The more vigorous and original child for the same reason shakes it off, perhaps for ever.

Luther, feeling the need to gain converts to Protestantism as early as possible, was a strong advocate for the religious training of children, and has doubtless had much influence in this matter on the Protestant churches. "The study of religion, of the Bible and the Catechism," [229] says Fiedler, "of course comes first and foremost in his scheme of instruction." He was also quite prepared to adapt it to the childish mind. "Let children be taught," he writes, "that our dear Lord sits in Heaven on a golden throne, that He has a long grey beard and a crown of gold." But Luther quite failed to realize the inevitable psychological reaction in later life against such fairy-tales.

At a later date, Rousseau, who, like Luther, was on the side of religion, realized, as Luther failed to realize, the disastrous results of attempting to teach it to children. In La Nouvelle Héloïse, Saint-Preux writes that Julie had explained to him how she sought to surround her children with good influences without forcing any religious instruction on them: "As to the Catechism, they don't so much as know what it is." "What! Julie, your children don't learn their Catechism?" "No, my friend, my children don't learn their Catechism." "So pious a mother!" I exclaimed; "I can't understand. And why don't your children learn their Catechism?" "In order that they may one day believe it. I wish to make Christians of them." [170]

Since Rousseau's day this may be said to be the general attitude of nearly all thinkers who have given attention to the question, even though they may not have viewed it psychologically. It is an attitude by no means confined [230] to those who are anxious that children should grow up to be genuine Christians, but is common to all who consider that the main point is that children should grow up to be, at all events, genuine men and women. "I do not think," writes John Stuart Mill, in 1868, "there should be any authoritative teaching at all on such subjects. I think parents ought to point out to their children, when the children begin to question them or to make observations of their own, the various opinions on such subjects, and what the parents themselves think the most powerful reasons for and against. Then, if the parents show a strong feeling of the importance of truth, and also of the difficulty of attaining it, it seems to me that young people's minds will be sufficiently prepared to regard popular opinion or the opinion of those about them with respectful tolerance, and may be safely left to form definite conclusions in the course of mature life." [171]

There are few among us who have not suffered from too early familiarity with the Bible and the conceptions of religion. Even for a man of really strong and independent intellect it may be many years before the precociously dulled feelings become fresh again, before the fetters of routine fall off, and he is enabled at last to approach the Bible with fresh receptivity and to realize, for the first time in his life, the treasures of art and beauty and divine wisdom it contains. But for most that moment never comes round. For the majority the religious education of the school as effectually seals the [231] Bible for life as the classical education of the college seals the great authors of Greece and Rome for life; no man opens his school books again when he has once left school. Those who read Greek and Latin for love have not usually come out of universities, and there is surely a certain significance in the fact that the children of one's secularist friends are so often found to become devout church-goers, while, according to the frequent observation, devout parents often have most irreligious offspring, just as the bad boys at school and college are frequently sons of the clergy.

At puberty and during adolescence everything begins to be changed. The change, it is important to remember, is a natural change, and tends to come about spontaneously; "where no set forms have been urged, the religious emotion," as Lancaster puts it, "comes forth as naturally as the sun rises." [172] That period, really and psychologically, marks a "new birth." Emotions which are of fundamental importance, not only for the individual's personal life but for his social and even cosmic relationships, are for the first time born. Not only is the child's body remoulded in the form of a man or a woman, but the child-soul becomes a man-soul or a woman-soul, and nothing can possibly be as it has been before. The daringly sceptical logician has gone, and so [232] has the imaginative dreamer for whom the world was the automatic magnifying mirror of his own childish form and environment. It has been revealed to him that there are independent personal and impersonal forces outside himself, forces with which he may come into a conscious and fascinatingly exciting relationship. It is a revelation of supreme importance, and with it comes not only the complexly emotional and intellectual realization of personality, but the aptitude to enter into and assimilate the traditions of the race.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this is the moment, and the earliest moment, when it becomes desirable to initiate the boy or girl into the mysteries of religion. That it is the best moment is indicated by the well-recognized fact that the immediately post-pubertal period of adolescence is the period during which, even spontaneously, the most marked religious phenomena tend to occur. [173] Stanley Hall seems to think that twelve is the age at which the cultivation of the religious consciousness may begin; "the age, signalized by the ancient Greeks as that at which the study of what was comprehensively called music should begin, the age at which Roman guardianship ended, at which boys are [233] confirmed in the modern Greek, Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal Churches, and at which the Child Jesus entered the Temple, is as early as any child ought consciously to go about his Heavenly Father's business." 174] But I doubt whether we can fix the age definitely by years, nor is it indeed quite accurate to assert that so early an age as twelve is generally accepted as the age of initiation; the Anglican Church, for example, usually confirms at the age of fifteen. It is not age with which we ought to be concerned, but a biological epoch of psychic evolution. It is unwise to insist on any particular age, because development takes place within a considerably wide limit of years.

I have spoken of the introduction to religion at puberty as the initiation into a mystery. The phrase was deliberately chosen, for it seems to me to be not a metaphor, but the expression of a truth which has always been understood whenever religion has been a reality and not a mere convention. Among savages in nearly all parts [234] of the world the boy or girl at puberty is initiated into the mystery of manhood or of womanhood, into the duties and the privileges of the adult members of the tribe. The youth is taken into a solitary place, for a month or more, he is made to suffer pain and hardship, to learn self-restraint, he is taught the lore of the tribe as well as the elementary rules of morality and justice; he is shown the secret things of the tribe and their meaning and significance, which no stranger may know. He is, in short, enabled to find his soul, and he emerges from this discipline a trained and responsible member of his tribe. The girl receives a corresponding training, suited to her sex, also in solitude, at the hands of the older women. A clear and full description of a typical savage initiation into manhood at puberty is presented by Dr. Haddon in the fifth volume of the Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, and Dr. Haddon makes the comment: "It is not easy to conceive of more effectual means for a rapid training."

The ideas of remote savages concerning the proper manner of initiating youth in the religious and other mysteries of life may seem of little personal assistance to superiorly civilized people like ourselves. But let us turn, therefore, to the Greeks. They also had preserved the idea and the practice of initiation into sacred mysteries, though in a somewhat modified form because religion had ceased to be so intimately blended with all the activities of life. The Eleusinian and other mysteries were initiations into sacred knowledge and insight which, as is now recognized, involved no revelation of [235] obscure secrets, but were mysteries in the sense that all intimate experiences of the soul, the experiences of love quite as much as those of religion, are mysteries, not to be lightly or publicly spoken of. In that feeling the Greek was at one with the Papuan, and it is interesting to observe that the procedure of initiation into the Greek mysteries, as described by Theon of Smyrna and other writers, followed the same course as the pubertal initiations of savages; there was the same preliminary purification by water, the same element of doctrinal teaching, the same ceremonial and symbolic rubbing with sand or charcoal or clay, the same conclusion in a joyous feast, even the same custom of wearing wreaths.

In how far the Christian sacraments were consciously moulded after the model of the Greek mysteries is still a disputed point; [175] but the first Christians were seeking the same spiritual initiation, and they necessarily adopted, consciously or unconsciously, methods of procedure which, in essentials, were fundamentally the same as those they were already familiar with. The early Christian Church adopted the rite of Baptism not merely as a symbol of initiation, but as an actual component part of a process of initiation; the purifying ceremony was preceded by long preparation, and when at last completed the baptized were sometimes crowned with garlands. When at a later period in the history of the Church the physical part of the initiation was divorced [236] from the spiritual part, and baptism was performed in infancy and confirmation at puberty, a fatal mistake was made, and each part of the rite largely lost its real significance.

But it still remains true that Christianity embodied in its practical system the ancient custom of initiating the young at puberty, and that the custom exists in an attenuated form in all the more ancient Christian Churches. The rite of Confirmation has, however, been devitalized, and its immense significance has been almost wholly lost. Instead of being regarded as a real initiation into the privileges and the responsibilities of a religious communion, of an active fellowship for the realization of a divine life on earth, it has become a mere mechanical corollary of the precedent rite of baptism, a formal condition of participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The splendid and many-sided discipline by which the child of the savage was initiated into the secrets of his own emotional nature and the sacred tradition of his people has been degraded into the learning of a catechism and a few hours' perfunctory instruction in the schoolroom or in the parlour of the curate's lodgings. The vital kernel of the rite is decayed and only the dead shell is left, while some of the Christian Churches have lost even the shell.

It is extremely probable that in no remote future the State in England will reject as insoluble the problem of imparting religious instruction to the young in its schools, in accordance with a movement of opinion which is [237] taking place in all civilized countries. [176] The support which the Secular Education League has found in the most various quarters is without doubt a fact of impressive significance. [177] It is well known also that the working classes—the people chiefly concerned in the matter—are distinctly opposed to religious teaching in State schools. There can be little doubt that before many years have passed, in England as elsewhere, the Churches will have to face the question of the best methods of themselves undertaking that task of religious training which they have sought to foist upon the State. If they are to fulfil this duty in a wise and effectual manner they must follow the guidance of biological psychology at the point where it is at one with the teaching of their own most ancient traditions, and develop the merely formal rite of confirmation into a true initiation of the new-born soul at puberty into the deepest secrets of life and the highest mysteries of religion.

It must, of course, be remembered that, so far as England is concerned, we live in an empire in which [238] there are 337 millions of people who are not even nominally Christians, [178] and that even among the comparatively small proportion (about 14 per cent) who call themselves "Christians," a very large proportion are practically Secularists, and a considerable number avowedly so. If, however, we assume the Secularist's position, the considerations here brought forward still retain their validity. In the first place, the undoubtedly frequent hostility of the Freethinker to Christianity is not so much directed against vital religion as against a dead Church. The Freethinker is prepared to respect the Christian who by free choice and the exercise of thought has attained the position of a Christian, but he resents the so-called Christian who is merely in the Church because he finds himself there, without any effort of his will or his intelligence. The convinced secularist feels respect for the sincere Christian, even though it may only be in the sense that the real saint feels tenderness for the hopeless sinner. And in the second place, as I have sought to point out, the facts we are here concerned with are far too fundamental to concern the Christian alone. They equally concern the secularist, who also is called upon to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the adolescent youth, to furnish him with a discipline for his entry into life, and a satisfying vision of the universe. And if secularists have not always grasped this necessity, we may perhaps find therein one main reason why secularism [239] has not met with so enormous and enthusiastic a reception as the languor and formalism of the churches seemed to render possible.

If the view here set forth is sound,—a view more and more widely held by educationists and by psychologists trained in biology,—the first twelve years must be left untouched by all conceptions of life and the world which transcend immediate experience, for the child whose spiritual virginity has been prematurely tainted will never be able to awake afresh to the full significance of those conceptions when the age of religion at last arrives. But are we, it may be asked, to leave the child's restless, inquisitive, imaginative brain without any food during all those early years? By no means. Even admitting that, as it has been said, at the early stage religious training is the supreme art of standing out of Nature's way, it is still not hard to find what, in this matter, the way of Nature is. The life of the individual recapitulates the life of the race, and there can be no better imaginative food for the child than that which was found good in the childhood of the race. The child who is deprived of fairy tales invents them for himself,—for he must have them for the needs of his psychic growth just as there is reason to believe he must have sugar for his metabolic growth,—but he usually invents them badly. [179] The savage sees the [240] world almost exactly as the civilized child sees it, as the magnified image of himself and his own environment; but he sees it with an added poetic charm, a delightful and accomplished inventiveness which the child is incapable of. The myths and legends of primitive peoples—for instance, those of the British Columbian Indians, so carefully reproduced by Boas in German and Hill Tout in English—are one in their precision and their extravagance with the stories of children, but with a finer inventiveness. It was, I believe, many years ago pointed out by Ziller that fairy-tales ought to play a very important part in the education of young children, and since then B. Hartmann, Stanley Hall and many others of the most conspicuous educational authorities have emphasized the same point. Fairy tales are but the final and transformed versions of primitive myths, creative legends, stories of old gods. In purer and less transformed versions the myths and legends of primitive peoples are often scarcely less adapted to the child's mind. Julia Gayley argues that the legends of early Greek civilization, the most perfect of all dreams, should above all be revealed to children; the early traditions of the East and of America yield material that is scarcely less fitted for the child's imaginative uses. Portions of the Bible, especially of Genesis, are in the strict sense fairy tales, that is legends of early gods and their deeds which have become stories. In the opinion of many these portions of the Bible may suitably be given to children (though it is curious to observe that a Welsh Education Committee a few years ago prohibited the reading in [241] schools of precisely the most legendary part of Genesis); but it must always be remembered, from the Christian point of view, that nothing should be given at this early age which is to be regarded as essential at a later age, for the youth turns against the tales of his childhood as he turns against its milk-foods. Some day, perhaps, it may be thought worth while to compile a Bible for childhood, not a mere miscellaneous assortment of stories, but a collection of books as various in origin and nature as are the books of the Hebraic-Christian Bible, so that every kind of child in all his moods and stages of growth might here find fit pasture. Children would not then be left wholly to the mercy of the thin and frothy literature which the contemporary press pours upon them so copiously; they would possess at least one great and essential book which, however fantastic and extravagant it might often be, would yet have sprung from the deepest instincts of the primitive soul, and furnish answers to the most insistent demands of primitive hearts. Such a book, even when finally dropped from the youth's or girl's hands, would still leave its vague perfume behind.

It may be pointed out, finally, that the fact that it is impossible to teach children even the elements of adult religion and philosophy, as well as unwise to attempt it, by no means proves that all serious teaching is impossible in childhood. On the imaginative and spiritual side, it is true, the child is re-born and transformed during adolescence, but on the practical and concrete side his life and thought are for the most part but the regular and orderly development of the habits he has already acquired. [242] The elements of ethics on the one hand, as well as of natural science on the other, may alike be taught to children, and indeed they become a necessary part of early education, if the imaginative side of training is to be duly balanced and complemented. The child as much as the adult can be taught, and is indeed apt to learn, the meaning and value of truth and honesty, of justice and pity, of kindness and courtesy; we have wrangled and worried for so long concerning the teaching of religion in schools that we have failed altogether to realize that these fundamental notions of morality are a far more essential part of school training. It must, however, always be remembered that they cannot be adequately treated merely as an isolated subject of instruction, and possibly ought not to be so treated at all. As Harriet Finlay-Johnson wisely says in her Dramatic Method of Instruction: "It is impossible to shut away moral teaching into a compartment of the mind. It should be firmly and openly diffused throughout the thoughts, to 'leaven the whole of the lump.'" She adds the fruitful suggestion: "There is real need for some lessons in which the emotions shall not be ignored. Nature study, properly treated, can touch both senses and emotions." [180]

[243] The child is indeed quite apt to acquire a precise knowledge of the natural objects around him, of flowers and plants and to some extent of animals, objects which to the savage also are of absorbing interest. In this way, under wise guidance, the caprices of his imagination may be indirectly restrained and the lessons of life taught, while at the same time he is thus being directly prepared for the serious studies which must occupy so much of his later youth.

The child, we thus have to realize, is, from the educational point of view of social hygiene, a being of dual nature, who needs ministering to on both sides. On the one hand he demands the key to an imaginative paradise which one day he must leave, bearing away with him, at the best, only a dim and haunting memory of its beauty. On the other hand he possesses eager aptitudes on which may be built up concrete knowledge and the sense of human relationships, to serve as a firm foundation when the period of adolescent development and discipline at length arrives.

_______________

Notes:

[163] De Quincey in his Confessions of an Opium Eater referred to the power that many, perhaps most, children possess of seeing visions in the dark. The phenomenon has been carefully studied by G.L. Partridge (Pedagogical Seminary, April, 1898) in over 800 children. He found that 58.5 of them aged between thirteen and sixteen could see visions or images at night with closed eyes before falling asleep; of those aged six the proportion was higher. There seemed to be a maximum at the age of ten, and probably another maximum at a much earlier age. Among adults this tendency is rudimentary, and only found in a marked form in neurasthenic subjects or at moments of nervous exhaustion. See also Havelock Ellis, The World of Dreams, chap. II.

[164] G. Stanley Hall, "The Contents of Children's Minds on Entering School," Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891.

[165] "The mother's face and voice are the first conscious objects as the infant soul unfolds, and she soon comes to stand in the very place of God to her child. All the religion of which the child is capable during this by no means brief stage of its development consists of these sentiments—gratitude, trust, dependence, love, etc.—now felt only for her, which are later directed towards God. The less these are now cultivated towards the mother, who is now their only fitting if not their only possible object, the more feebly they will later be felt towards God. This, too, adds greatly to the sacredness of the responsibilities of motherhood." (G. Stanley Hall, Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891, p. 199).

[166] J. Morse, American Journal of Religious Psychology, 1911, p. 247.

[167] Lobsien, "Kinderideale," Zeitschrift für Päd. Psychologie, 1903.

[168] Mr. Edmond Holmes, formerly Chief Inspector of Elementary Education in England, has an instructive remark bearing on this point in his suggestive book, What Is and What Might be (1911, p. 88): "The first forty minutes of the morning session are given in almost every elementary school to what is called Religious Instruction. This goes on, morning after morning, and week after week. The fact that the English parent, who must himself have attended from 1500 to 2000 Scripture lessons in his schooldays, is not under any circumstance to be trusted to give religious instruction to his own children, shows that those who control the religious education of the youthful 'masses' have but little confidence in the effects of their system on the religious life and faith of the English people." Miss Harriet Finlay-Johnson, a highly original and successful elementary school teacher, speaks (The Dramatic Method of Teaching, 1911, p. 170) with equal disapproval of the notion that any moral value attaches to the ordinary school examinations in "Scripture."

[169] If it were not so, England, after sixty years of National Schools, ought to be a devout nation of good Church people. Most of the criminals and outcasts have been taught in Church Schools. A clergyman, who points this out to me, adds: "I am heartily thankful that religion was never forced on me as a child. I do not think I had any religion, in the ethical sense, until puberty, or any conscious realization of religion, indeed, until nineteen." "The boy," remarks Holmes (op. cit., p. 100), "who, having attended two thousand Scripture lessons, says to himself when he leaves school: 'If this is religion I will have no more of it,' is acting in obedience to a healthy instinct. He is to be honoured rather than blamed for having realized at last that the chaff on which he has so long been fed is not the life-giving grain which, unknown to himself, his inmost soul demands."

[170] La Nouvelle Héloïse, Part V, Letter 3. In more recent times Ellen Key remarks in a suggestive chapter on "Religions Education" in her Century of the Child: "Nothing better shows how deeply rooted religion is in human nature than the fact that 'religious education' has not been able to tear it out."

[171] J.S. Mill, Letters, Vol. II, p. 135.

[172] Lancaster found ("The Psychology and Pedagogy of Adolescence," Pedagogical Seminary, July, 1897) that among 598 individuals of both sexes in the United States, as many as 518 experienced new religious emotions between the ages of 12 and 20, only 80 having no such emotions at this period, so that more than 5 out of 6 have this experience; it is really even more frequent, for it has no necessary tendency to fall into conventional religious moulds.

[173] Professor Starbuck, in his Psychology of Religion, has well brought together and clearly presented much of the evidence showing this intimate association between adolescence and religious manifestations. He finds (Chap. III) that in females there are two tidal waves of religious awakening, one at about 13, the other at 16, with a less significant period at 18; for males, after a wavelet at 12, the great tidal wave is at 16, followed by another at 18 or 19. Ruediger's results are fairly concordant ("The Period of Mental Reconstruction," American Journal of Psychology, July, 1907); he finds that in women the average age of conversion is 14, in men it is at 13 or 14, and again at 18.

[174] G. Stanley Hall, "The Moral and Religious Training of Children and Adolescents," Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891, p. 207. From the more narrowly religious side the undesirability of attempting to teach religion to children is well set forth by Florence Hayllar (Independent Review, Oct., 1906). She considers that thirteen is quite early enough to begin teaching children the lessons of the Gospels, for a child who acted in accordance with the Gospels would be "aggravating," and would generally be regarded as "an insufferable prig." Moreover, she points out, it is dangerous to teach young children the Christian virtues of charity, humility, and self-denial. It is far better that they should first be taught the virtues of justice and courage and self-mastery, and the more Christian virtues later. She also believes that in the case of the clergy who are brought in contact with children a preliminary course of child-study, with the necessary physiology and psychology, should be compulsory.

[175] The varying opinions on this point have been fairly and clearly presented by Cheetham in his Hulsean lectures on the Mysteries Pagan and Christian.

[176] Thus at the first Congress of Italian Women held at Rome in 1908—a very representative Congress, by no means made up of "feminists" or anti-clericals, and marked by great moderation and good sense—a resolution was passed against religious teaching in primary schools, though a subsequent resolution declared by a very large majority in favour of teaching the history of religions in secondary schools. These resolutions caused much surprise at the time to those persons who still cherish the superstition that in matters of religion women are blindly prejudiced and unable to think for themselves.

[177] See e.g. an article by Halley Stewart, President of the Secular Education League, on "The Policy of Secular Education," Nineteenth Century, April, 1911.

[178] So far as numbers go, the dominant religion of the British Empire, the religion of the majority, is Hinduism; Mohammedanism comes next.

[179] "Not long ago," says Dr. L. Guthrie (Clinical Journal, 7th June, 1899), "I heard of a lady who, in her desire that her children should learn nothing but what was true, banished fairy tales from her nursery. But the children evolved from their own imagination fictions which were so appalling that she was glad to divert them with Jack-the-Giant-Killer."

[180] In his interesting study of comparative education (The Making of Citizens, 1902, p. 194), Mr. R.E. Hughes, a school inspector, after discussing the methods of settling the difficulties of religious education in England, America, Germany, and France, reasonably concludes: "The solution of the religious problem of the schools of these four peoples lies in the future, but we believe it will be found not to be beyond human ingenuity to devise a scheme of moral and ethical training for little children which will be suitable. It is the moral principles underlying all conduct which the school should teach. Indeed, the school, to justify its existence, dare not neglect them. It will teach them, not dogmatically or by precept, but by example, and by the creation of a noble atmosphere around the child." Holmes also (op. cit., p. 276) insists that the teaching of patriotism and citizenship must be informal and indirect.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

Postby admin » Fri May 25, 2018 8:31 am

VIII. THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL HYGIENE

The New Movement for giving Sexual Instruction to Children—The Need of such a Movement—Contradictions involved by the Ancient Policy of Silence—Errors of the New Policy—The Need of Teaching the Teacher—The Need of Training the Parents—And of Scientifically equipping the Physician—Sexual Hygiene and Society—The far-reaching Effects of Sexual Hygiene.

It is impossible to doubt the vitality and the vigour of the new movement of sexual hygiene, especially that branch of it concerned with the instruction of children in the essential facts of life. [181] In the eighteenth century the great educationist, Basedow, was almost alone when, by practice and by precept, he sought to establish this branch of instruction in schools. [182] A few years ago, when the German Dürer Bund offered prizes for the best essays on the training of the young in matters of sex, as many as five hundred papers were sent in. [183] We may say that during the past ten years more has been [245] done to influence popular feeling on this question than during the whole of the preceding century.

Whenever we witness a sudden impulse of zeal and enthusiasm to rush into a new channel, however admirable the impulse may be, we must be prepared for many risks and perhaps even a certain amount of damage. This is, indeed, especially the case when we are concerned with a new activity in the sphere of sex. The sexual relationships of life are so ancient and so wide, their roots ramify so complexly and run so deep, that any sudden disturbance in this soil, however well-intentioned, is certain to have many results which were not anticipated by those responsible for it. Any movement here runs the risk of defeating its own ends, or else, in gaining them, to render impossible other ends which are of not less value.

In this matter of sexual hygiene we are faced at the outset by the fact that the very recognition of any such branch of knowledge as "sexual hygiene" involves not merely a new departure, but the reversal of a policy which has been accepted, almost without question, for centuries. Among many primitive peoples, indeed, we know that the boy and girl at puberty are initiated with solemnity, and even a not unwholesome hardship, into the responsibilities of adult life, including those which have reference to the duties and privileges of sex. [184] But in our own traditions scarcely even a relic of any such custom is preserved. On the contrary, we tacitly maintain [246] a custom, and even a policy, of silent obscurantism. Parents and teachers have considered it a duty to say nothing and have felt justified in telling lies, or "fairy tales," in order to maintain their attitude. The oncoming of puberty, with its alarming manifestations, especially in the girl, has often left them unmoved and still silent. They have taken care that our elementary textbooks of anatomy and physiology, even when written by so independent and fearless a pioneer as Huxley, should describe the human body absolutely as though the organs and functions of reproduction had no existence. The instinct was not thus suppressed; all the inevitable stimulations which life furnishes to the youthful sexual impulse have continued in operation. [185] Sexual activities were just as liable to break out. They were all the more liable to break out, indeed, because fostered by ignorance, often unconscious of themselves, and not held in check by the restraints which knowledge and teaching might have furnished. This, however, has seemed a matter of no concern to the guardians of youth. They have congratulated themselves if they could pilot the youths, and especially the maidens, under their guardianship into the haven of matrimony not only in apparent [247] chastity, but in ignorance of nearly everything that marriage signifies and involves, alike for the individual and the coming race.

This policy has been so firmly established that the theory of it has never been clearly argued out. So far as it exists at all, it is a theory that walks on two feet pointing opposite ways: sex things must not be talked about because they are "dirty"; sex things must not be talked about because they are "sacred." We must leave sex things alone, they say, because God will see to it that they manifest themselves aright and work for good; we must leave sex things alone, they also say, because there is no department in life in which the activity of the Devil is so specially exhibited. The very same person may be guilty of this contradiction, when varying circumstances render it convenient. Such a confusion is, indeed, a fate liable to befall all ancient and deeply rooted tabus; we see it in the tabus against certain animals as foods (as the Mosaic prohibition of pork); at first the animal was too sacred to eat, but in time people came to think that it is too disgusting to eat. They begin the practice for one reason, they continue it for a totally opposed reason. Reasons are such a superficial part of our lives!

Thus every movement of sexual hygiene necessarily clashes against an established convention which is itself an inharmonious clash of contradictory notions. This is especially the case if sexual hygiene is introduced by way of the school. It is very widely held by many who accept the arguments so ably set forth by Frau Maria [248] Lischnewska, that the school is not only the best way of introducing sexual hygiene, but the only possible way, since through this channel alone is it possible to employ an antidote to the evil influences of the home and the world. [186] Yet to teach children what some of their parents consider as too sacred to be taught, and others as too disgusting, and to begin this teaching at an age when the children, having already imbibed these parental notions, are old enough to be morbidly curious and prurient, is to open the way to a complicated series of social reactions which demand great skill to adjust.

Largely, no doubt, from anxiety to counterbalance these dangers, there has been a tendency to emphasize, or rather to over-emphasize, the moral aspects of sexual hygiene. Rightly considered, indeed, it is not easy to over-value its moral significance. But in the actual teaching of such hygiene it is quite easy, and the error is often found, to make statements and to affirm doctrines—all in the interests of good morals and with the object of exhibiting to the utmost the beneficial tendencies of this teaching—which are dubious at the best and often at [249] variance with actual experience. In such cases we seem to see that the sexual hygienist has indeed broken with the conventional conspiracy of silence in these matters, but he has not broken with the conventional morality which grew out of that ignorant silence. With the best intention in the world he sets forth, dogmatically and without qualification, ancient half-truths which to become truly moral need to be squarely faced with their complementary half-truths. The inevitable danger is that the pupil sooner or later grasps the one-sided exaggeration of this teaching, and the credit of the sexual hygienist is gone. Life is an art, and love, which lies at the heart of life, is an art; they are not science; they cannot be converted into clear-cut formulæ and taught as the multiplication table is taught. Example here counts for more than precept, and practice teaches more than either, provided it is carried on in the light of precept and example. The rash and unqualified statements concerning the immense benefits of continence, or the awful results of self-abuse, etc., frequently found in books for young people will occur to every one. Stated with wise moderation they would have been helpful. Pushed to harsh extravagance they are not only useless to aid the young in their practical difficulties, but become mischievous by the injury they inflict on over-sensitive consciences, fearful of falling short of high-strung ideals. This consideration brings us, indeed, to what is perhaps the chief danger in the introduction of any teaching of sexual hygiene: the fact that our teachers are themselves untaught. Sexual hygiene in the full sense—in so far as [250] it concerns individual action and not the regulative or legislative action of communities—is the art of imparting such knowledge as is needed at successive stages by the child, the youth and maiden, the young man and woman, in order to enable them to deal rightly, and so far as possible without injury either to themselves or to others, with all those sexual events to which every one is naturally liable. To fulfil his functions adequately the master in the art of teaching sexual hygiene must answer to three requirements: (1) he must have a sufficing knowledge of the facts of sexual psychology, sexual physiology, and sexual pathology, knowledge which, in many important respects, hardly existed at all until recently, and is only now beginning to become generally accessible; (2) he must have a wise and broad moral outlook, with a sane idealism which refrains from demanding impossibilities, and resolutely thrusts aside not only the vulgar platitudes of worldliness, but the equally mischievous platitudes of an outworn and insincere asceticism, for the wise sexual hygienist knows, with Pascal, that "he who tries to be an angel becomes a beast," and is less anxious to make his pupils ineffective angels than effective men and women, content to say with Browning, "I may put forth angels' pinions, once unmanned, but not before"; (3) in addition to sound knowledge and a wise moral outlook, the sexual hygienist must possess, finally, a genuine sympathy with the young, an insight into their sensitive shyness, a comprehension of their personal difficulties, and the skill to speak to them simply, frankly, and humanly. If we ask ourselves [251] how many of the apostles of sexual hygiene combine these three essential qualities, we shall probably not be able to name many, while we may suspect that some do not even possess one of the three qualifications. If we further consider that the work of sexual hygiene, to be carried out on a really national scale, demands the more or less active co-operation of parents, teachers, and doctors, and that parents, teachers, and doctors are in these matters at present all alike untrained, and usually prejudiced, we shall realize some of the dangers through which sexual hygiene must at first pass.

It is, I hope, unnecessary for me to say that, in thus pointing out some of the difficulties and the risks which must assail every attempt to introduce an element of effective sexual hygiene into life, I am far from wishing to argue that it is better to leave things as they are. That is impossible, not only because we are realizing that our system of incomplete silence is mischievous, but because it is based on a confusion which contains within itself the elements of disruption. We have to remember, however, that the creation of a new tradition cannot be effected in a day. Before we begin to teach sexual hygiene the teachers must themselves be taught.

There are many who have insisted, and not without reason, on the right of the parent to control the education of the child. Sexual hygiene introduces us to another right, the right of the child to control the education of the parents. For few parents to-day are fitted to exercise the duty of training and guiding the child in the difficult field of sex without preliminary education, and such [252] education, to be real and effective, must begin at an early age in the parents' life. [187]

The school teacher, again, on whom so many rely for the initial stage in sexual hygiene, is at present often in almost exactly the same stage of ignorance or prejudice in these matters as his or her pupils. The teacher has seldom been trained to impart even the most elementary scientific knowledge of the facts of sex, of reproduction, and of sexual hygiene, and is more often than not without that personal experience of life in its various aspects which is required in order to teach wisely in such a difficult field as that of sex, even if the principle is admitted that the teacher in class, equally whether addressing one sex or both sexes, is not called upon to go beyond the scientific, abstract, and objective aspects of sex.

This difficulty of the lack of suitable teachers is not, indeed, insuperable. It would be largely settled, no doubt, if a wise and thorough course of sexual hygiene and puericulture formed part of the training of all school teachers, as, in France, Pinard has proposed for the Normal schools for young women. Dr. W.O. Henry, in a paper read before the Nebraska State Medical Association in May, 1911, put forward the proposal: "Let each State have one or more competent physicians whose duty it shall be to teach [253] these things to the children in all the public schools of the State from the time they are eight years of age. The boys and girls should be given the instruction separately by means of charts, pictures, and stereopticon views, beginning with the lower forms of life, flowers, plants, and then closing with the organs in man. These lectures and illustrations should be given every year to all the boys and girls separately, having those from eight to ten together at one time, and those from ten to twelve, and those from over twelve to sixteen." Dr. Henry was evidently not aware that the principle of a special teacher appointed by Government to give special instruction in matters of sex in all State schools had already been adopted in Canada, in the province of Ontario; the teacher thus appointed goes from school to school and teaches the elements of sexual physiology and anatomy, and the duty of treating sexual matters with reverence, to classes of boys and of girls from the age of ten. The course is not compulsory, but any School Board may call upon the special teacher to deliver the lectures. This appointment has met with so much approval that it is proposed to appoint further teachers on the same lines, women as well as men.

It is not necessary that the school teacher of sex should be a physician. For personal and particular advice on the concrete difficulties of sex, however, as well as for the more special and detailed hygiene of the sexual relationship and the precautions demanded by eugenics, we must call in the physician. Yet none of these things so far enter the curriculum through which the physician [254] passes to reach his profession; he is often only a layman in relation to them. Even if we are assured that these subjects form part of his scientific equipment, that fact by no means guarantees his tact, sympathy, and insight in addressing the young, whether by general lectures or individual interviews, both these being forms of imparting sexual hygiene for which we may properly call upon the physician, especially towards the end of the school or college course, and at the outset of any career in the world. [188]

Undoubtedly we have amongst us many mothers, teachers, and physicians who are admirably equipped to fulfil their respective parts—elementary, secondary, and advanced—in the work of sexual hygiene. But so long as they are few and far apart their influence is negatived, if it is not even rendered harmful.

It must often be useless for a mother to instil into her little boy respect for his own body, reverence for the channel of motherhood through which he entered the world, any sense of the purity of natural functions or the beauty of natural organs, if outside his home the little boy finds that all other little boys and girls [255] regard these things as only an occasion for sniggering. It is idle for the teacher to describe plainly the scientific facts of sex as a marvellous culmination in the natural unfolding of the world if, outside the schoolroom, the pupil finds that, in the newspapers and in the general conversation of adults, this sacred temple is treated as a common sewer, too filthy to be spoken of, and that the books which contain even the most necessary descriptions of it are liable to be condemned as "obscene" in the law courts. [189] It is vain for the physician to explain to young men and women the subtle and terrible nature of venereal poisons, to declare the right and the duty of both partners in marriage to know, authoritatively and beforehand, the state of each other's health, or to warn them that a proper sense of responsibility towards the race must prevent some ill-born persons from marrying, or at all events from procreating, if the young man and woman find, on leaving the physician, that their acquaintances are prepared to accept all these risks, light-heartedly, in the dark, in a heedless dream from which they somehow hope there will be no awful awakening.

The moral to which these observations point is fairly clear. Sex penetrates the whole of life. It is not a branch of mathematics, or a period of ancient history, which we can elect to teach, or not to teach, as may seem best to us, which if we teach we may teach as we choose, and if we neglect to teach it will never trouble us. Love and Hunger are the foundations of life, and the impulse [256] of sex is just as fundamental as the impulse of nutrition. It will not remain absent because we refuse to call for its presence, it will not depart because we find its presence inconvenient. At the most it will only change its shape, and mock at us from beneath masks so degraded, and sometimes so exalted, that we are no longer able to recognize it.

"People are always writing about education," said Chamfort more than a century ago, "and their writings have led to some valuable methods. But what is the use, unless side by side with the introduction of such methods, corresponding reforms are not introduced in legislation, in religion, in public opinion? The only object of education is to conform the child's reason to that of the community. But if there is no corresponding reform in the community, by training the child to reason you are merely training him to see the absurdity of opinions and customs consecrated by the seal of sacred authority, public or legislative, and you are inspiring him with contempt of them." [190] We cannot too often meditate on these wise words.

It is useless to attempt to introduce sexual hygiene as a subject apart, and in some respects it may be dangerous. When we touch sex we are touching sensitive fibres which thrill through the whole of our social organism, just as the touch of love thrills through the whole of the bodily organism. Any vital reform here, any true introduction of sexual hygiene to replace our traditional policy of confused silence, affects the whole of life or it affects [257] nothing. It will modify our social conventions, enter our family life, transform our moral outlook, perhaps re-inspire our religion and our philosophy.

That conclusion need by no means render us pessimistic concerning the future of sexual hygiene, nor unduly anxious to cling to the policy of the past. But it may induce us to be content to move slowly, to prepare our movements widely and firmly, and not to expect too much at the outset. By introducing sexual hygiene we are breaking with the tradition of the past which professed to leave the process by which the race is carried on to Nature, to God, especially to the devil. We are claiming that it is a matter for individual personal responsibility, deliberately exercised in the light of precise knowledge which every young man and woman has a right, or rather a duty, to possess. That conception of personal responsibility thus extended to the sphere of sex in the reproduction of the race may well transform life and alter the course of civilization. It is not merely a reform in the class-room, it is a reform in the home, in the church, in the law courts, in the legislature. If sexual hygiene means that, it means something great, though something which can only come slowly, with difficulty, with much searching of hearts. If, on the other hand, sexual hygiene means nothing but the introduction of a new formal catechism, and an occasional goody-goody perfunctory exhortation, it may be introduced at once, quite easily, without hurting anyone's feelings. But, really, it will not be worth worrying about, one way or the other.

_______________

Notes:

[181] For a full discussion of the movement, see Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chaps. II and III.

[182] Basedow (born at Hamburg 1723, died 1790) set forth his views on sexual education—which will seem to many somewhat radical and advanced even to-day—in his great treatise Elementarwerk (1774). His practical educational work is dealt with by Pinloche, La Réforme de l'Education en Allemagne au Dix-huitième Siècle.

[183] The best of these papers have been printed in a volume entitled Am Lebensquell.

[841] The elaborate and admirable initiation of boys among the natives of Torres Straits furnishes a good example of this education, and has been fully described by Dr. A.C. Haddon, Reports of the Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, Vol. V, chaps. VII and XII.

[185] Moll in his wise and comprehensive work, The Sexual Life of the Child (German ed., p. 225), lays it down emphatically that "we must clearly realize at the outset that the complete exclusion of sexual stimuli in the education of children is impossible." He adds that the demands made by some "fanatics of hygiene" would be dangerous even if they were practicable. Games and physical exercises induce in many cases a considerable degree of sexual stimulation. But this need not cause us undue alarm, nor must we thereby be persuaded to change our policy of recommending such games and exercises.

[186] See Frau Maria Lischnewska's excellent pamphlet, Geschlechtliche Belehrung der Kinder, first published in Mutterschutz, 1905, Heft 4 and 5. This is perhaps the ablest statement of the argument in favour of giving the chief place in sexual hygiene to the teacher. Frau Lischnewska recognizes three factors in the movement for freeing the sexual activities from degradation: (1) medical, (2) economic, and (3) rational. But it is the last—in the broadest sense as a comprehensive process of enlightenment—which she regards as the chief. "The views and sentiments of people must be changed," she says. "The civilized man must learn to gaze at this piece of Nature with pure eyes; reverence towards it must early sink into his soul. In the absence of this fundamental renovation, medical and social measures will merely produce refined animals."

[187] "We parents of to-day," as Henriette Fürth truly says ("Erotik und Elternpflicht," Am Lebensquell, p. 11), "have not yet attained that beautiful naturalness out of which in these matters simplicity and freedom grow. And however willing we may be to learn afresh, most of us have so far lost our inward freedom from prejudice—the standpoint of the pure to whom all things are pure—that we cannot acquire it again. We parents of to-day have been altogether wrongly brought up. The inoculated feeling of shame still remains even after we have recognized that shame in this connection is false."

[188] The method of imparting a knowledge of sexual hygiene (especially in relation to venereal diseases) at the outset of adult life has most actively been carried out in Germany and the United States. In Germany lectures by doctors to students and others on these matters are frequently given. In the United States information and advice are spread abroad chiefly by the aid of societies. The American Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, with which the name of Dr. Morrow is specially connected, was organized in 1905. The Chicago Society of Social Hygiene was established in 1906. Since then many other similar societies have sprung up under medical auspices in various American cities and states.

[189] Many flagrant cases in point are set forth from the legal point of view by Theodore Schroeder, "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law, New York, 1911, chap. IV.

[190] Chamfort, [OE]uvres Choisies, ed. by Lescure, Vol. I, p. 33.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

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Part 1 of 2

IX. IMMORALITY AND THE LAW

Social Hygiene and Legal Compulsion—The Binding Force of Custom among Savages—The Dissolving Influence of Civilization—The Distinction between Immorality and Criminality—Adultery as a Crime—The Tests of Criminality—National Differences in laying down the Boundary between Criminal and Immoral Acts—France—Germany—England—The United States—Police Administration—Police Methods in the United States—National Differences in the Regulation of the Trade in Alcohol—Prohibition in the United States—Origin of the American Method of Dealing with Immorality—Russia—Historical Fluctuations in Methods of dealing with Immorality and Prostitution—Homosexuality—Holland—The Age of Consent—Moral Legislation in England—In the United States—The Raines Law—American Attempts to Suppress Prostitution—Their Futility—German Methods of Regulating Prostitution—The Sound Method of Approaching Immorality—Training in Sexual Hygiene—Education in Personal and Social Responsibility.

The modern development of Social Hygiene in matters of Eugenics has already sufficed to show that there are certain people in the community, anxious to take quick cuts to the millennium, who think that Eugenics can be promoted by hasty legislation. That method of attempting to further social progress is not new. It has been practised with signal lack of success for several thousand years. Therefore, if Social Hygiene is really to progress among us on sane and fundamental lines, it is necessary for us to realize clearly the mistakes of the past. Again and again [259] the blind haste of over-zealous reformers has led not to progress, but to retrogression. The excellent intentions of such social reformers have been defeated, not so much by the evils they have sought to overcome, as by their own excesses of ignorant zeal. As our knowledge of history and of psychology increases, we learn that, in dealing with human nature, what seems the longest way round is sometimes the shortest way home.

Among savages, and no doubt in primitive societies generally, the social reaction against injurious or even unusual acts on the part of individuals is regulated by the binding force of custom. The ruling opinion is the opinion of all, the ruling custom is the duty for all. The dictates of custom, even of ritual and etiquette, are stringent dictates of morality binding upon all, and the breach of any is equivalent to what we should consider a crime. The savage man is held in the path of duty by a much more united force of public opinion than is the civilized man. But, as Westermarck points out, in a suggestive chapter on customs and laws as the expression of moral ideas, "custom never covers the whole field of morality, and the uncovered space grows larger in proportion as the moral consciousness develops.... The rule of custom is the rule of duty at early stages of development. Only progress in culture lessens its sway." [191] As a community increases in size and in cultivation, growing more heterogeneous, it adheres [260] rigidly to fundamental conceptions of right and wrong, but in less fundamental matters its moral ideas become both more subjective and more various. If a man kills another man out of love to that man's wife, all civilized society is of opinion that the homicide is a "crime" to be severely punished; but if the man should make love to the wife without killing the husband, then, although in some savage societies the act would still have been a "crime," in a civilized society it would usually be regarded as more properly a case for civil action, not for criminal action; while should it come to be known that the wife had from the first been in love with the man, and was married by compulsion to a husband who had brutally ill-used her, then a very considerable section of the civilized community would actually transfer their sympathies to the offending couple and look upon the husband as the real offender.

This is why the vestigial relics of the ancient ecclesiastical view of adultery as a "crime" are no longer supported by public opinion; [192] they are no longer enforced, or else the penalty is reduced to ridiculous dimensions (as in France, where a fine of a few francs may be imposed), and there is a general inclination to abolish them altogether. Penalties for adultery are not nowadays enacted afresh, except in the United States, where [261] medieval regulations are enabled to survive through the strength of the Puritan tradition. Thus in the State of New York a law was passed in 1907 rendering any person guilty of adultery punishable by six months' imprisonment, or a heavy fine, or both. The law was largely due to agitation by the National Christian League for the Promotion of Purity; it was supposed the law would act to prevent adultery. Less than three months after the Act became law, lawyers reached the conclusion that it was a dead letter. During the two years after its enactment, notwithstanding the large number of divorces, only three persons were sent to prison, for a few days, under this Act, and only four fined a small sum. The Committee of Fourteen state that it is "of practically no effect," and add: "The preventive values of this statute cannot be determined, but, judging from the prosecutions, it has proved an ineffective weapon against immorality, and has practically no effect upon commercialized vice." [193] When such laws remain on the Statute Book as relics of practically medieval days they deserve a certain respect, even if it is impossible to enforce them; to re-enact them in modern times is a gratuitous method of bringing law into contempt.

It is clear that all such cases affecting morals are not only altered by circumstances, and by consideration of the psychic state of the individual, but that in regard to them different sections of the community hold widely different views. The sanctions of the criminal law to be firm and unshakeable must be capable of literal interpretation [262] and of unfailing execution, and in that interpretation and execution be accepted as just by the whole community. But as soon as law enters the sphere of morals this becomes impossible; law loses all its certainty and all the reverence that rightly belongs to it. It no longer voices the conscience of the whole community; it tends to be merely an expression of the feelings of a small upper-class social circle; the feelings and the habits and the necessities of the mass of the population are altogether ignored. [194] Nor are such legislative incursions into the sphere of morals any more satisfactory from the point of view of the class which is responsible for them. It very soon begins to be felt that, as Hagen puts it, "the formulas of penal law are stiff and clumsy instruments which can only in the rarest instance serve to disentangle the delicate and manifoldly interwoven threads of the human soul, and decide what is just and what unjust. Formulas are adopted for simple, uncomplicated, rough everyday cases. Only in such cases do they achieve the conquest of justice over injustice."

It is true that no sharp line divides criminal acts from merely immoral acts, and the latter tend to be indirectly, even when not directly, anti-social. It would be highly convenient if we could draw a sharp distinction between major anti-social acts, which may properly be described as "crime," and justly be pursued [263] with the full rigour of the law, and minor anti-social acts, which may be left to the varying reaction of the social environments since they cannot properly be visited by the criminal law. [195] Such a distinction exists, but it cannot be made sharply because there are a large number of intermediate anti-social acts which some sections of the community regard as major, while others regard them as minor, or even, in some cases, as not anti-social at all. The only convenient test we can apply is the strength of the social reaction—provided we are dealing with an act which is definitely anti-social, injuring recognized rights, and not merely an unusual or disgusting act. [196] When an anti-social act meets with a reaction of social indignation which is fairly universal and permanent, it may be regarded as a crime coming under the jurisdiction of the law. If opinion varies, if a considerable section of the community revolt against the punishment of the alleged anti-social act, then we are not entitled to dignify it with the appellation of "crime." This is not an altogether sure or satisfactory criterion because there are frequently times and places, especially [264] under the stimulation of some particular occurrence evoking an outburst of increased public emotion, when a section of the community succeeds by its noisy vigour in creating the impression that it voices the universal will. But, on the whole, it works out justly. Ethical standards differ in different places at different times. They are, indeed, always changing. Therefore, in regard to all matters which belong to the sphere of what we commonly call morals, there are in every community some who approve of a given act, others who disapprove of it, yet others who regard it with indifference. In such a shifting sphere we cannot legislate with the certainty of carrying the whole community with us, nor can we properly introduce the word "crime," which ought to indicate only an action of so gravely anti-social nature that there can be no possibility of doubt about it.

It is, however, important to understand the marked national differences in the reaction to these slightly or dubiously anti-social acts, for such differences rest on ancient tradition, and are to some extent the expression of the genius of a people, though they are not the absolutely immutable product of racial constitution, and, within limits, they undergo transformation. It thus happens that acts which in some countries are pursued by the law and punished as crime, are in other countries untouched by the law, and left to the social reaction of the community. It becomes, therefore, of some importance to compare national differences in the attitude towards immorality, to find out whether the attempt to repress it directly, by law, is more effective, [265] or less effective, than the method of leaving it to social reaction.

In many respects France and Germany present a remarkable contrast in their respective methods of dealing with immorality. The contrast has only existed since the sweeping legal reforms which followed the Revolution in France. In old France the laws against sexual and religious offences were extremely severe, involving in some cases death at the stake, and even during the eighteenth century this extreme penalty of the law was sometimes carried out. The police were active, their methods of investigation elaborate and thorough, yet the rigour of the law and the energy of the police signally failed to suppress irreligion and immorality in eighteenth-century France. The Revolution, by popularizing the opinions of the more enlightened men of the time, and by giving to the popular voice an authority it had never possessed before, remoulded the antiquated ecclesiastical laws in accordance with the ideas of the average modern man. In 1791 nearly all the ancient laws against immorality, which had proved so ineffectual, were flung away, and when in 1810 Napoleon established the great penal code which bears his name, he was careful to limit to a minimum the moral offences of which the law was empowered to take cognisances, and—acting certainly in accordance with deeply rooted instincts of the French people—he avoided any useless or dangerous interference with private life and the freedom of the individual. The penal code in France remains substantially the same to-day, while [266] the other countries which have constructed their codes on the French model have shown similar tendencies.

In Germany, and more especially in Prussia, which now dominates German opinion, a very different tendency prevails. The German feels nothing of that sensitive jealousy with which the French seek to guard private life and the rights of the individual. He tolerates a police system which, as Fuld has pointed out, is the most military police system in the world, and he makes little complaint of the indiscriminating thoroughness, even harshness, with which it exercises its functions. "The North German," as a German lawyer puts it, "gazes with sacred respect on every State authority, and on every official, especially on executive and police functionaries; he complacently accepts police inquisition into his private life, and the regulation of his behaviour by law and police affects his impulse of freedom in a relatively slight manner. Hence the law-maker's interference with his private life seems to him a customary and not too injurious encroachment on his individuality." [197] It thus comes about that a great many acts, of for the most part unquestioned immoral character—such as incest, the procuring of women for immoral purposes, and acts of a homosexual character—which, when adults are alone concerned, the French leave to be dealt with [267] by the social reaction, are in Germany directly dealt with by the law. These things and the like are viewed in France with fully as much detestation as in Germany, but while the German considers that that detestation is itself a reason for inflicting a legal penalty on the detested act, the Frenchman considers that to inflict a punishment upon such acts by law is an inadmissible interference of the State in private affairs, and an unnecessary interference since the social reaction is quite adequate. In Germany, Dr. Wilhelm points out, a man who allows his daughter's fiancé to stay overnight in his house with her is liable to be dragged before the police court and sent to prison for procuring immorality; [198] to a Frenchman this is a shocking and inconceivable insult to private rights. [199] So also with the German legal attitude towards sexual inversion. The German method of [268] dragging private scandals into the glare of day and investigating them at interminable length in the law courts is a perpetual source of astonishment to Frenchmen. They point out that not only does this method defeat its own end by concentrating attention on the abnormal practices it attacks, but it adds dignity to them; a certain small section of the community justifies and upholds these practices, but while in France this section has no reason to come prominently before the public since it has no grievances demanding redress, in Germany the existence of a cause to advocate in the name of justice has produced a serious and imposing body of literature which has no parallel in France. [200] Thus, as Wilhelm points out, we find exactly opposite methods adopted in Germany and France to obtain the same ends: "In Germany, punishment on account of alleged injury to general interests; in France absence of punishment in order to avoid injury to general interests; in Germany the police baton is called for in order to ward off threatened injury, while in France it is feared that the use of the police baton will itself cause the injury."

The question naturally arises: Which method is the more effective? Wilhelm finds that these differences in [269] national attitude towards immorality have not by any means rendered immorality more prevalent in France than in Germany; on the contrary, though extra-conjugal intercourse is in Germany almost a crime, sexual offences against children are far more prevalent than in France, while family life is at least as stable in France as in Germany, and more intimate. "The freer way of regarding sexual matters and its results in legislation have, as compared to Germany, in no respect led to more immoral conditions, while, on the other hand, it has been the reason why the vigorous agitation which we find in Germany for certain legal reforms in respect to sexuality are quite unknown."

It is forgotten, in Germany and in some other countries, sometimes even in France, that to bring immorality within reach of the arm of the law is not necessarily by any means to make the actual penalty, in the largest sense of the term, more severe. So long as he retains the good opinion of his fellows, imprisonment is no injury to a man; it has happened to some of our most distinguished and respected public men. The bad opinion of his fellows, even when the law is powerless to touch him, is often an irretrievable injury to a man. We do not fortify the social reaction, in most matters, when we attempt to give it a legal sanction; we do not even need to fortify it, for it is sometimes harsher and more severe than the law, overlooking or not knowing all the extenuating circumstances. In France, as in England, the force of social opinion, independently of the law, is exceedingly and perhaps excessively strong.

[270] In England, however, we see an attitude towards immorality which differs alike from the French attitude and the German attitude, though it has points of contact with both. The distinctive feature of the Englishman's attitude is his spirit of extreme individualism (which distinguishes him from the German) combined with the religious nature of his moral fervour (which distinguishes him from the Frenchman), both being veiled by a shy prudery (which distinguishes him alike from the Frenchman and the German). The Englishman's reverence for the individual's rights goes beyond the Frenchman's, for in France there is a tendency to subordinate the individual to the family, and in England the interests of the individual predominate. But while in France the laws have been re-moulded to the national temperament, this has not been the case to anything like the same extent in England, where in modern times no great revolution has occurred to shake off laws which still by their antiquity, rather than by their reasonableness, retain the reverence of the people. Thus it comes about that, on the legal side the English attitude towards immorality in many respects resembles the German attitude. Yet undoubtedly the most fundamental element in the English attitude is the instinct for personal freedom, and even the religious fervour of the moral impulse has strengthened the individualistic element. [201] We see this clearly in the fact [271] that England has even gone beyond France in rejecting the control of prostitutes. The French are striving to abolish such control, but in England where it was never extensively established it has long been abolished, leaving only a few faint traces behind. It is abhorrent to the English mind that even the most degraded specimens of humanity should be compulsorily deprived of rights over their own persons, even when it is claimed that the deprivation of such rights might be for the benefit of the community. In no country, perhaps, is the prostitute so free to parade the streets in the exercise of her profession as in England, and in no country is public opinion so intolerant of even the suspicion of a mistake by the police in the exercise of that very limited control over prostitutes which they possess. The freedom of the prostitute in England is further guaranteed by the very fervour of English religious feeling; for active interference with prostitutes involves regulation of prostitution, and that implies a national recognition of prostitution which to a very large section of the English people would be altogether repellant. Thus English love of freedom and English love of God combine to protect the prostitute. It has to be added that this result is by no means, as some have imagined, hostile to morality. It is the opinion of many foreign observers that in this matter London, for all its freedom, compares favourably with many other large cities where prostitution is severely regulated by the police and so far as possible concealed. For the police can never become the agents of any morality of the heart, and all the repression in the world can only touch the surface of life.

[272] The English attitude, again, is characteristically seen in the method of dealing with homosexual practices and other similar sexual aberrations. Here, legally, England is closer to Germany than to modern France. No country in the world, it is often said, has preserved by tradition and even maintained by recent accretion such severe penalties against homosexual offences as England. Yet, unlike the Germans, the English do not actively prosecute in these cases and are usually content to leave the law in abeyance, so long as public order and decency are reasonably maintained. English people, like the French people, are by no means impressed by the advantages of the German system by which purely private scandals are made public scandals, to be set forth day after day in all their details before the court, and discussed excitedly by the whole population. Yet the English law in this matter is still very widely upheld. There are very many English people who think that the fact that homosexuality is disgusting to most people is a reason for punishing it with extreme severity. Yet disgust is a matter of taste, we cannot properly impart it into our laws; a disgusting person is not necessarily a criminal person, or we shall have to enact that many inmates of our hospitals and lunatic asylums be hanged. There is thus a fundamental inconsistency in the English method of dealing with immorality; it is made up of opposite views, some of them extreme in contrary directions. But by virtue of the national tendency to compromise, these conflicting tendencies work in a fairly harmonious manner. The result is that the general state of English morality—notwithstanding, [273] and perhaps partly by reason of, its prudish anxiety to leave unpleasant matters alone—is at least as satisfactory as that of countries where much more logical and thorough methods are in favour.

In the United States we see yet another attitude towards immorality. It is, indeed, related to the English attitude, necessarily so, since the most ancient and fundamental element of it was carried over to America by the English Puritans, who cherished in the extreme form alike the English passion for individualism and the English fervour of religious idealism. These germs have been too potent for destruction even under all the new influences of American life. But they are not altogether in harmony with those influences, and the result has been that the American attitude towards immorality has sometimes looked rather like a caricature of the English method. The influx of a vast and racially confused population with the over-rapid development of urbanization which has necessarily followed, opens an immense field for idealistic individualism to attempt reforms. But this individualism has not been held in check by the English spirit of compromise, which is not a part of Puritanism, and it has thus tended alike to excess and to impotence. This result is brought about partly by facilities for individualistic legislation not voicing the tendencies of the whole population, and therefore fatally condemned to sterility, and partly by the fact that in a new and rapidly developed civilization it is impossible to secure an army of functionaries who may be trusted to deal with the regulation of delicate and complex moral [274] questions in regard to which the community is not really agreed. The American police are generally admitted to be open with special frequency to the charge of ineffectiveness and venality. It is not so often realized that these defects are fostered by the impossible nature of the tasks which are imposed on the American police.

This aspect of the matter has been very clearly set forth by Dr. Fuld, of Columbia University, in his able and thorough book on police administration. [202] He shows that, though the American police system as a system has defects which need to be remedied, it is not true that the individual members of the American police forces are inferior to those of other countries; on the contrary, they are, in some respects, superior; it is not a large proportion which sells the right to break the law. [203] Their most serious defects are due to the impracticable laws and regulations made by inexperienced legislators. These laws and ordinances in many cases cannot possibly be enforced, and the weak police officers accept money from the citizen for not enforcing rules which in any case they could not enforce. "The American police forces," says Fuld, "have been corrupted almost solely by the statutes.... The real blame attaches not to the policeman who accepts a bribe temptingly offered him, nor to the bribe-giver who seeks by giving a bribe to make the best [275] possible business arrangement, but rather to the law, which by giving the police a large and uncontrolled discretion in the enforcement of the law places a premium upon bribe-giving and bribe-taking." This state of things is rendered possible by the fact that the duties of the police are not confined to matters affecting crime and public order—matters which the whole community consider essential, and in regard to which any police negligence is counted a serious charge—but are extended to unessential matters which a considerable section of the community, including many of the police themselves, view with complete indifference. It is impossible to regard seriously a conspiracy to defeat laws which a large proportion of citizens regard as unnecessary or even foolish. It thus unfortunately comes about that the charge brought against the American police that "it sells the right to break the law" has not the same grave significance which it would have in most countries, for the rights purchased in America may in most countries be obtained without purchase. "An act ought to be made criminal," as Fuld rightly lays down, "only when it is socially expedient to punish its criminality.... The American people, or at least the American legislators, do not make this clear distinction between vice and crime. There seems to be a feeling in America that unless a vice is made a crime, the State countenances the vice and becomes a party to its commission. There are unfortunately a large number of men in the community who believe that they have satisfied the demands made upon them to lead a virtuous life by incorporating into some statute the [276] condemnation of a particular vicious act as a crime." [204] This special characteristic of American laws, with its failure to distinguish between vice and crime, is clearly a legacy of the early Puritans. The Puritans carried over to New England independent autonomous laws of morality, and were contemptuous of external law. The sturdy pioneers of the first generation were faithful to that attitude, and were not even guilty of punishing witches. But, when the opportunity came, their descendants could not resist the temptation to erect an external law of morals, and, like the Calvinists of Geneva, they set up an inquisition backed by the secular arm. It was not until the days of Emerson that American Puritanism regained autonomous freedom and moved in the same air as Milton. But in the meantime the mischief had been done. Even to-day an inquisition of the mails has been established in the United States. It is said to be unconstitutional, and one can well believe that that is so, but none the less it flourishes under the protection of what a famous American has called "the never-ending audacity of elected persons." But to allow subordinate officials to masquerade in the Postal Department as familiars of the inquisition, in the supposed interests of public morals, is a dangerous policy. [205] Its deadening [277] influence on national life cannot fail sooner or later to be realized by Americans. To moralize by statute is idle and unsatisfactory enough; but it is worse to attempt to moralize by the arbitrary dicta of minor government officials.

It is interesting to observe the methods which find favour in some parts of the United States for dealing with the trade in alcoholic liquors. Alcohol is, on the one hand, a poison; on the other hand, it is the basis of the national drinks of every civilized country. Every state has felt called upon to regulate its sale to more or less extent, in such a way that (1) in the interests of public health alcohol may not be too easily or too cheaply obtainable, that (2) the restraints on its sale may be a source of revenue to the State, and that (3) at the same time this regulation of the sale may not be a vexatious and useless attempt to interfere unduly with national customs. States have sought to attain these ends in various ways. The sale of alcohol may be made a State monopoly, as in Russia, or, again, it may be carried on under disinterested municipal or other control, as by the Gothenburg system of Sweden or the Samlag system of Norway. [206] In England the easier and more usual plan is adopted of heavily [278] taxing the sale, with, in addition, various minor methods for restraining the sale of alcoholic drinks and attempting to improve the conditions under which they are sold.

In France an ingenious method of influencing the sale of alcohol has lately been adopted, in the interests of public health, which has proved completely successful. The French national drink is light wine, which may be procured in abundance, of excellent and wholesome quality and very cheaply, provided it is not heavily taxed. But of recent years there has been a tendency in France to consume in large quantity the heavy alcoholic spirits, often of a specially deleterious kind. The plan has been adopted of placing a very high duty on distilled beverages and reducing the duty on the light wines, as well as beer, so that a wholesome and genuine wine can be supplied to the consumer at as low a price as beer. As a result the French consumer has shown a preference for the cheap and wholesome wine which is really his national drink, and there is an enormous fall in the consumption of spirits. Whereas formerly the consumption of brandy in French towns amounted to seven or eight litres of absolute alcohol per head, it has now fallen in the large towns to 4.23 litres. [207]

In America, however, there is a tendency to deal with the sale of alcohol totally opposed to that which nearly everywhere prevails in Europe. When in Europe a man abandons the use of alcohol he makes no demand on his fellow men to follow his example, or, if he does, he is [279] usually content to employ moral suasion to gain this end. But in the United States, where there is no single national drink, a large number of people have abandoned the use of alcohol, and have persuaded themselves that its use by other people is a vice, for it is not universally recognized that—"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." Moreover, as in the United States the medieval confusion between vice and crime still subsists among a section of the population, being a part of the national tradition, it became easy to regard the drinking of alcohol as a crime and to make it punishable. Hence we have "Prohibition," which has prevailed in various States of the Union and is especially associated with Maine, where it was established in a crude form so long ago as 1846 and (except for a brief interval between 1856 and 1858) has prevailed until to-day. The law has never been effective. It has been made more and more stringent; the wildest excuses of arbitrary administration have been committed; scandals have constantly occurred; officials of iron will and determination have perished in the faith that if only they put enough energy into the task the law might, after all, be at last enforced. It was all in vain. It has always been easy in the cities of Maine for those to obtain alcohol who wished to obtain it. Finally, in 1911, by a direct Referendum, the majority by which the people of Maine are maintaining Prohibition has been brought down to 700 in a total poll of 120,000, while all the large towns have voted for the repeal of Prohibition by enormous majorities. The people of Maine are evidently [280] becoming dimly conscious that it is worse than useless to make laws which no human power can enforce. "The result of the vote," writes Mr. Arthur Sherwell, an English social Reformer, not himself opposed to temperance legislation, "from every point of view, and not least from the point of view of temperance, is eminently unsatisfactory, and it unquestionably creates a position of great difficulty and embarrassment for the authorities. A majority of 700 in a total poll of 120,000 is clearly not a sufficient mandate for a drastic law which previous experience has conclusively shown cannot be enforced successfully in the urban districts of the State." Successful enforcement of prohibition on a State basis would appear to be hopeless. The history of Prohibition in Maine will for ever form an eloquent proof of the mischief which comes when the ancient ecclesiastical failure to distinguish between the sphere of morals and the sphere of law is perpetuated under the conditions of modern life. The attempt to force men to render unto Cæsar the things which are God's must always end thus.

In these matters we witness in America the survival of an ancient tradition. The early Puritans were individualists, it is true, but their individualism took a theocratic form, and, in the name of God, they looked upon crimes and vices equally and indistinguishably as sins. We see exactly the same point of view in the Penitentials of the ninth century, which were ecclesiastical codes dealing, exactly in the same spirit and in the same way, with crime and with vice, recognizing nothing but a certain difference in degree between murder and masturbation. [281] In the ninth century, and even much later, in Calvin's Geneva and Cotton Mather's New England, it was possible to carry into practice this theocratic conception of the unity of vices and crimes and the punishment as sins of both alike, for the community generally accepted that point of view. But that is very far from being the case in the United States of to-day. The result is that in America in this respect we find a condition of things analogous to that which existed in France, before the Revolution remoulded the laws in accordance with the temperament of the nation. Laws and regulations of the medieval kind, for the moral ordering of the smallest details of life, are still enacted in America, but they are regarded with growing contempt by the community and even by the administrators of the laws. It is realized that such minute inquisition into the citizen's private life can only be effectively carried out where the citizen himself recognizes the divine right of the inquisitor. But the theocratic conception of life no longer corresponds to American ideas or American customs; this minute moral legislation rests on a basis which in the course of centuries has become rotten. Thus it has come about that nowhere in the world is there so great an anxiety to place the moral regulation of social affairs in the hands of the police; nowhere are the police more incapable of carrying out such regulation.

When we thus bear in mind the historical aspect of the matter we can understand how it has come about that the individualistic idealist in America has been much more resolute than in England to effect reforms, much more [282] determined that they shall be very thorough and extreme reforms, and, especially, much more eager to embody his moral aspirations in legal statutes. But his tasks are bigger than in England, because of the vast, unstable, heterogeneous and crude population he has to deal with, and because, at the same time, he has no firmly established centralized and reliable police instrument whereby to effect his reforms. The fiery American moral idealist is determined to set out for the Kingdom of Heaven at once, but every steed he mounts proves broken-winded, and speedily drops down by the wayside. Don Quixote sets the lance at rest and digs his spurs into Rosinante's flanks, but he fails to realize that, in our modern world, he will never bear him anywhere near the foe.

If we wish to see a totally different national method of regarding immorality we may turn to Russia. Here also we find idealism at work, but it is not the same kind of idealism, since, far from desiring to express itself by force, its essential basis is an absolute disbelief in force. Russia, like France, has inherited from an ancient ecclesiastical domination an extremely severe code of regulations against immorality and all sexual aberrations, but, unlike France, it has not cast them off in order to mould the laws in accordance with national temperament. The essence of the Russian attitude in these matters is a sympathy with the individual which is stronger than any antipathy aroused by his immoral acts; his act is a misfortune rather than a sin or a crime. We may observe this attitude in the kindly and helpful fashion in which the Russian assists along the streets his fellow-man who has [283] drunk too much vodka, and, on a higher plane, we see the same spirit of forgiving human tenderness in the Russian novelists, most clearly in the greatest and most typically national, in Dostoieffsky and in Tolstoy. The harsh rigidity of the old Russian laws had not the slightest influence, either in changing this national attitude or in diminishing the prevalence, at the very least as great as elsewhere, of sexual laxity or sexual aberration. Nowadays, as Russia attains national self-consciousness, these laws against immorality are being slowly remoulded in accordance with the national temperament, and in some respects—as in its attitude towards homosexuality and the introduction in 1907 of what is practically divorce by mutual consent—they allow a freedom and latitude scarcely equalled in any other country. [208]

Undoubtedly there is, within certain limits, mutual action and reaction in these matters among nations. Thus the influence of France has led to the abolition of the penalty against homosexual practices in many countries, notably Holland, Spain, Portugal, and, more recently, Italy, while even in Germany there is a strong and influential party, among legal as well as medical authorities, in favour of taking the same step. On the other hand, France has in some matters of detail departed from her general principle in these matters, and has, for [284] instance—without doubt in an altogether justifiable manner—taken part in the international movement against what is called the white slave trade. This mutual reaction of nations is well recognized by the more alert and progressive minds in every country, jealous of any undue interference with liberty. When, for instance, a Bill is introduced in the English Parliament for promoting inquisitorial and vexatious interference with matters that are not within the sphere of legislation it is eagerly discussed in Germany before even its existence is known to most people in England, not so much out of interest in English Affairs as from a sensitive dread that English example may affect German legislation. [209]

Not only, indeed, have we to recognize the existence of these clearly marked and profound differences in legislative reaction to immorality. We have also to realize that at different periods there are general movements, to some extent overpassing national bounds, of rise and of fall in this reaction.

A sudden impulse seizes on a community, and spreads to other communities, to attempt to suppress some form of immorality by law. Such attempts, as we know, have always ended in failure or worse than failure, for laws [285] against immorality are either not carried out, or, if they are carried out, it is at once realized that new evils are created worse than the original evils, and the laws speedily fall into abeyance or are repealed. That has been repeatedly seen, and is well illustrated by the history of prostitution, a sexual manifestation which for two thousand years all sorts of persons in authority have sought to suppress off-hand by law or by administrative fiat. From the time when Christianity gained full political power, prostitution has again and again been prohibited, under the severest penalties, but always in vain. The mightiest emperors—Theodosius, Valentinian, Justinian, Karl the Great, St. Louis, Frederick Barbarossa—all had occasion to discover that might was here in vain, and worse than in vain, that they could not always obey their own moral ordinances, still less coerce their subjects into doing so, and that even so far as, on the surface, they were successful they produced results more pernicious than the evils they sought to suppress. The best known and one of the most vigorous of these attempts was that of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna; but all the cruelty and injustice of that energetic effort, and all the stringent, ridiculous, and brutal regulations it involved—its prohibition of short dresses, its inspection of billiard-rooms, its handcuffing of waitresses, its whippings and its tortures—proved useless and worse than useless, and were soon quietly dropped. [210] No more fortunate were more recent municipal attempts in England and America (Portsmouth, Pittsburgh, New York, etc.) to [286] suppress prostitution off-hand; for the most part they collapsed even in a few days.

The history of the legal attempts to suppress homosexuality shows the same results. It may even be said to show more, for when the laws against homosexuality are relaxed or abolished, homosexuality becomes, not perhaps less prevalent (in so far as it is a congenital anomaly we cannot expect its prevalence to be influenced by law), but certainly less conspicuous and ostentatious. In France, under the Bourbons, the sexual invert was a sacrilegious criminal who could legally be burnt at the stake, but homosexuality flourished openly in the highest circles, and some of the kings were themselves notoriously inverted. Since the Code Napoléon was introduced homosexual acts, per se, have never been an offence, yet instead of flourishing more vigorously, homosexuality has so far receded into the background that some observers regard it as very rare in France. In Germany and England, on the other hand, where the antiquated laws against this perversion still prevail, homosexuality is extremely prominent, and its right to exist is vigorously championed. The law cannot suppress these impulses and passions; it can only sting them into active rebellion. [211]

But although it has invariably been seen that all attempts to make men moral by law are doomed to disappointment, spasmodic attempts to do so are continually being made afresh. No doubt those who make these [287] attempts are but a small minority, people whose good intentions are not accompanied by knowledge either of history or of the world. But though a minority they can often gain a free field for their activities. The reason is plain. No public man likes to take up a position which his enemies may interpret as favourable to vice and probably due to an anxiety to secure legal opportunities for his own enjoyment of vice. This consideration especially applies to professional politicians. A Member of Parliament, who must cultivate an immaculately pure reputation, feels that he is also bound to record by his vote how anxious he is to suppress other people's immorality. Thus the philistine and the hypocrite join hands with the simple-minded idealist. Very few are left to point out that, however desirable it is to prevent immorality, that end can never be attained by law.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

Postby admin » Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 am

Part 2 of 2

During the past ten years one of these waves of enthusiasm for the moralization of the public by law has been sweeping across Europe and America. Its energy is scarcely yet exhausted, and it may therefore be worthwhile to call attention to it. The movement has shown special activity in Germany, in Holland, in England, in the United States, and is traceable in a minor degree in many other countries. In Germany the Lex Heintze in 1900 was an indication of the appearance of this movement, while various scandals have had the result of attracting an exaggerated amount of attention to questions of immorality and of tightening the rigour of the law, though as Germany already holds moral matters in a very complex web of regulations it can scarcely [288] be said that the new movement has here found any large field of activity. In Holland it is different. Holland is one of the traditional lands of freedom; it was the home of independent intellect, of free religion, of autonomous morals, when every other country in Europe was closed to these manifestations of the spirit, and something of the same tradition has always inspired its habits of thought, even when they have been largely Puritanic. So that there was here a clear field for the movement to work in, and it has found expression, of a very thorough character indeed, in the new so-called "Morals Law" which was passed in 1911 after several weeks' discussion. Undoubtedly this law contains excellent features; thus the agents of the "white slave trade," who have hitherto been especially active in Holland, are now threatened with five years' imprisonment. Here we are concerned with what may fairly be regarded as crime and rightly punishable as such. But excellent provisions like these are lost to sight in a great number of other paragraphs which are at best useless and ridiculous, and at worst vexatious and mischievous in their attempts to limit the free play of civilization. Thus we find that a year's imprisonment, or a heavy fine, threatens any one who exposes any object or writing which "offends decency," a provision which enabled a policeman to enter an art-pottery shop in Amsterdam and remove a piece of porcelain on which he detected an insufficiently clothed human figure. Yet this paragraph of the law had been passed with scarcely any opposition. Another provision of this law deals extensively with the difficult and complicated question of the "age of consent" [289] for girls, which it raises to the age of twenty-one, making intercourse with a girl under twenty-one an offence punishable by four years' imprisonment. It is generally regarded as desirable that chastity should be preserved until adult age is well established. But as soon as sexual maturity is attained—which is long before what we conventionally regard as the adult age, and earlier in girls than in boys—it is impossible to dismiss the question of personal responsibility. A girl over sixteen, and still more when she is over twenty, is a developed human being on the sexual side; she is capable of seducing as well as of being seduced; she is often more mature than the youth of corresponding age; to instruct her in sexual hygiene, to train her to responsibility, is the proper task of morals. But to treat her as an irresponsible child, and to regard the act of interfering with her chastity when her consent has been given, as on a level with an assault on an innocent child merely introduces confusion. It must often be unjust to the male partner in the act; it is always demoralizing and degrading to the girl whom it aims at "protecting"; above all, it reduces what ought to be an extremely serious crime to the level of a merely nominal offence when it punishes one of two practically mature persons for engaging with full knowledge and deliberation in an act which, however undesirable, is altogether according to Nature. There is here a fatal confusion between a crime and an action which is at the worst morally reprehensible and only properly combated by moral methods.

These objections are not of a purely abstract or theoretical character. They are based on the practical outcome [290] of such enactments. Thus in the State of New York the "age of consent" was in former days thirteen years. It was advanced to fourteen and afterwards to sixteen. This is the extreme limit to which it may prudently be raised, and the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which had taken the chief part in obtaining these changes in the law, was content to stop at this point. But without seeking the approval of this Society, another body, the White Cross and Social Purity League, took the matter in hand, and succeeded in passing an amendment to the law which raised the age of consent to eighteen. What has been the result? The Committee of Fourteen, who are not witnesses hostile to moral legislation, state that "since the amendment went into effect making the age of consent eighteen years there have been few successful prosecutions. The laws are practically inoperative so far as the age clause is concerned." Juries naturally require clear evidence that a rape has been committed when the case concerns a grown-up girl in the full possession of her faculties, possibly even a clandestine prostitute. Moreover, as rape in the first degree involves the punishment of imprisonment for twenty years, there is a disinclination to convict a man unless the case is a very bad one. One judge, indeed, has asserted that he will not give any man the full penalty under the present law, so long as he is on the bench. The natural result of stretching the law to undue limits is to weaken it. Instead of being, as it should be, an extremely serious crime, rape loses in a large proportion of cases the opprobrium which rightly belongs to it. It is, therefore, [291] a matter for regret that in some English dominions there is a tendency to raise the "age of consent" to an unduly high limit. In New South Wales the Girls' Protection Act has placed the age of consent at sixteen, and in the case of offences by guardians, schoolmasters, or employers at seventeen years, notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of a distinguished medical member of the Legislative Council (the Hon. J.M. Creed), who presented the arguments against so high an age. Not a single prosecution has so far occurred under this Act.

In England the force of the moral legislation wave has been felt, but it has been largely broken against the conservative traditions of the country, which make all legislation, good or bad, very difficult. A lengthy, elaborate and high-strung Prevention of Immorality Bill was introduced in the House of Commons by a group of Nonconformists mainly on the Liberal side. This Bill was very largely on the lines of the Dutch law already mentioned; it proposed to raise the age of consent to nineteen; making intercourse with a girl under that age felony, punishable by five years' penal servitude, and any attempt at such intercourse by two years' imprisonment. Such a measure would be, it may be noted, peculiarly illogical and inconsistent in England and Scotland, in both of which countries (though their laws in these matters are independent) even a girl of twelve is legally regarded as sufficiently mature and responsible to take to herself a husband. At one moment the Bill seemed to have a chance of becoming law, but a group of enlightened and independent Liberals, realizing that such [292] a measure would introduce intolerable social conditions, organized resistance and prevented the acceptance of the Bill.

The chief organization in England at the present time for the promotion of public morality is the National Council of Public Morals, which is a very influential body, with many able and distinguished supporters. Law-enforced morality, however, constitutes but a very small part of the reforms advocated by this organization, which is far more concerned with the home, the school, the Church, and the influences which operate in those spheres. It has lately to a considerable extent joined hands with the workers in the eugenic movement, advocating sexual hygiene and racial betterment, thus allying itself with one of the most hopeful movements of our day. Certainly there may be some amount of zeal not according to knowledge in the activities of the National Council of Public Morals, but there is also very much that is genuinely enlightened, and the very fact that the Council includes representatives from so many fields of action and so many schools of thought largely saves it from running into practical excesses. Its influence on the whole is beneficial, because, although it may not be altogether averse to moral legislation, it recognizes that the policeman is a very feeble guide in these matters, and that the fundamental and essential way of bettering the public morality is by enlightening the private conscience.

In the United States conditions have been very favourable, as we have seen, for the attempt to achieve social reform by moral legislation, and nowhere else in the [293] world has it been so clearly demonstrated that such attempts not only fail to cure the evils they are aimed at, but tend to further evils far worse than those aimed at. A famous example is furnished by the so-called "Raines Law" of New York. This Act was passed in 1896, and was intended to regulate the sale of alcoholic liquor in all its phases throughout the State. The grounds for bringing it forward were that the number of drinking saloons was excessive, that there was no fixed licensing fee, that too much discretionary power was allowed to the local commissioner; while, above all, the would-be Puritanic legislators wished so far as possible to suppress the drinking of alcoholic liquors on Sunday. To achieve these objects the licensing fee was raised to four times its usual amount previously to this enactment; heavy penalties, including the forfeiture of a large surety-bond, were established, and more surely to prevent Sunday drinking only hotels, not ordinary drinking bars, were allowed, with many stringent restrictions, to sell drink on that day. In order that there should be no mistake, it was set forth in the Act that the hotel must be a real hotel with at least ten properly furnished bedrooms. The legislators clearly thought that they had done a fine piece of work. "Seldom," wrote the Committee of Fourteen, who are by no means out of sympathy with the aims of this legislation, "has a law intended to regulate one evil resulted in so aggravated a phase of another evil directly traceable to its provisions." [212]

[294] In the first place, the passing of this law alarmed the saloon keepers; they realized that it had them in a very tight grip, and they suspected that it might be strictly enforced. They came to the conclusion, therefore, that their best policy would be to accept the law and to conform themselves to its provisions by converting their drinking bars into real hotels, with ten properly furnished bedrooms, kitchen, and dining-room. The immediate result was the preparation of ten thousand bedrooms, for which there was of course no real demand, and by 1905 there were 1407 certificated hotels in Manhattan and the Bronx alone, about 1150 of these hotels having probably been created by the Raines Law.

But something had to be done with all these bedrooms, properly furnished according to law, for it was necessary to meet the heavy expenses incurred under the new conditions created by the law. The remedy was fairly obvious. These bedrooms were excellently adapted to serve as places of assignation and houses of prostitution. Many hotel proprietors became practically brothel keepers, the women in some cases becoming boarders in the hotels; and saloons and hotels have entered into a kind of alliance for their mutual benefit, and are sometimes indeed under the same management. When a hotel is thus run in the interests of prostitution it has what may be regarded as a staff of women in the neighbouring streets. In some districts of New York it is found that practically all the prostitutes on the street are connected with some Raines Law hotel. These wise moral legislators of New York thought they were placing a penalty on [295] Sunday drinking; what they have really done is to place a premium on prostitution [213].

An attempt of a different kind to strike a blow at once at alcohol and at prostitution has been made in Chicago, with equally unsatisfactory results. Drink and prostitution are connected, so intimately connected, indeed, that no attempt to separate them can ever be more than superficially successful even with the most minute inquisition by the police, least of all by police officers, who, in Chicago, we are officially told, are themselves sometimes found, when in uniform and on duty, drinking among prostitutes in "saloons." On May 1, 1910, the Chicago General Superintendent of Police made a rule prohibiting the sale of liquor in houses of prostitution. On the surface this rule has in most cases been observed (though only on the surface, as the field-workers of the Chicago Vice Commission easily discovered), and a blow was thus dealt to those houses which derive a large profit from the sale of drinks on account of the high price at which they retail them. Yet even so far as the rule has been obeyed, and not evaded, has it effected any good? On this point we may trust the evidence of the Vice Commissioners of Chicago, a municipal body appointed by the Mayor and [296] City Council, and not anxious to discredit the actions of their Police Superintendent. "As to the benefits derived from this order, either to the inmates or the public, opinions differ," they write. "It is undoubtedly true that the result of the order has been to scatter the prostitutes over a wide territory and to transfer the sale of liquor carried on heretofore in houses to the near-by saloon-keepers, and to flats and residential sections, but it is an open question whether it has resulted in the lessening of either of the two evils of prostitution and drink." [214] That is a mild statement of the results. It may be noted that there are over seven thousand drinking saloons in Chicago, so that the transfer is not difficult, while the migration to flats—of which an enormous number have been taken for purposes of prostitution (five hundred in one district alone) since this rule came into force—may indeed enable the prostitute to live a freer and more humanizing life, but in no faintest degree diminishes the prevalence of prostitution. From the narrow police standpoint, indeed, the change is a disadvantage, for it shelters the prostitute from observation, and involves an entirely new readjustment to new conditions.

It cannot be said that either the State of New York or the city of Chicago has been in any degree more fortunate in its attempts at moral legislation against prostitution than against drinking. As we should expect, the laws of New York regard prostitution and the prostitute with an eye of extreme severity. Every prostitute in New York, [297] by virtue of the mere fact that she is a prostitute, is technically termed a "vagrant." As such she is liable to be committed to the workhouse for a term not exceeding six months; the owner of houses where she lives may be heavily fined, as she herself may be for living in them, and the keeper of a disorderly house may be imprisoned and the disorderly house suppressed. It is not clear that the large number of prostitutes in New York have been diminished by so much as a single unit, but from time to time attempts are made in some district or another by an unusually energetic official to put the laws into execution, and it is then possible to study the results. When disorderly houses are suppressed on a large scale, there are naturally a great number of prostitutes who have to find homes elsewhere in order to carry on their business. On one occasion, under the auspices of District-Attorney Jerome, it is stated by the Committee of Fourteen that eight hundred women were reported to be turned out into the street in a single night. For many there are the Raines Law hotels. A great many others take refuge in tenement houses. Such houses in congested districts are crowded with families, and with these the prostitute is necessarily brought into close contact. Consequently the seeds of physical and mental disorder which she may bear about her are disseminated in a much more fruitful soil than they were before. Moreover, she is compelled by the laws to exert very great energy in the pursuit of her profession. As it is an offence to harbour her she has to pay twice as high a rent as other people would have to pay for the same rooms. She may have [298] to pay the police to refrain from molesting her, as well as others to protect her from molestation. She is surrounded by people whom the law encourages to prey upon her. She is compelled to exert her energies at highest tension to earn the very large sums which are necessary, not to gain profits for herself, but to feed all the sharks who are eager to grab what is given to her. The blind or perverse zeal of the moral legislators not only intensifies the evils it aims at curing, but it introduces a whole crop of new evils.

How large these sums are we may estimate by the investigation made by the Vice Commissioners of Chicago. They conclude after careful inquiry that the annual profits of prostitution in the city of Chicago alone amount to between fifteen to sixteen million dollars, and they regard this as "an ultra-conservative estimate." It is true that not all this actually passes through the women's hands and it includes the sales of drinks. If we confine ourselves strictly to the earnings of the girls themselves it is found to work out at an average for each girl of thirteen hundred dollars per annum. This is more than four times as much as the ordinary shop-girl can earn in Chicago by her brains, virtue, and other good qualities. But it is not too much for the prostitute's needs; she is compelled to earn so large an income because the active hostility of society, the law, and the police facilitates the task of all those persons—and they are many—who desire to prey upon her. Thus society, the law, and the police gain nothing for morals by their hostility to the prostitute. On the contrary, they give strength and [299] stability to the very vice they nominally profess to fight against. This is shown in the vital matter of the high rents which it is possible to obtain where prostitution is concerned. These high rents are the direct result of legal and police enactments against the prostitute. Remove these enactments and the rents would automatically fall. The enactments maintain the high rents and so ensure that the mighty protection of capital is on the side of prostitution; the property brings in an exorbitant rate of interest on the capital invested, and all the forces of sound business are concerned in maintaining rents. So gross is the ignorance of the would-be moral legislators—or, some may think, so skilful their duplicity—that the methods by which they profess to fight against immorality are the surest methods for enabling immorality not merely to exist—which it would in any case—but to flourish. A vigorous campaign is initiated against immorality. On the surface it is successful. Morality triumphs. But, it may be, in the end we are reminded of the saying of M. Desmaisons in one of Remy de Gourmont's witty and profound Dialogues des Amateurs: "Quand la morale triomphe il se passe des choses très vilaines."

The reason why the "triumphs" of legislative and administrative morality are really such ignominious failures must now be clear, but may again be repeated. It is because on matters of morals there is no unanimity of opinion as there is in regard to crime. There is always a large section of the community which feels tolerant towards, and even practises, acts which another section, [300] it may be quite reasonably, stigmatizes as "immoral." Such conditions are highly favourable for the exercise of moral influence; they are quite unsuitable for legislative action, which cannot possibly be brought to bear against a large minority, perhaps even majority, of otherwise law-abiding citizens. In the matter of prostitution, for instance, the Vice Commissioners of Chicago state emphatically the need for "constant and persistent repression" leading on to "absolute annihilation of prostitution." They recommend the appointment of a "Morals Commission" to suppress disorderly houses, and to prosecute their keepers, their inmates, and their patrons; they further recommend the establishment of a "Morals Court" of vaguely large scope. Among the other recommendations of the Commissioners—and there are ninety-seven such recommendations—we find the establishment of a municipal farm, to which prostitutes can be "committed on an indeterminate sentence"; a "special morals police squad"; instructions to the police to send home all unattended boys and girls under sixteen at 9 p.m.; no seats in the parks to be in shade; searchlights to be set up at night to enable the police to see what the public are doing, and so on. The scheme, it will be seen, combines the methods of Calvin in Geneva with those of Maria Theresa in Vienna. [215]

[301] The reason why any such high-handed repression of immorality by force is as impracticable in Chicago as elsewhere is revealed in the excellent picture of the conditions furnished by the Vice Commissioners themselves. They estimate that the prostitutes in disorderly houses known to the police—leaving out of account all prostitutes in flats, rooms, hotels and houses of assignation, and also taking no note of clandestine prostitutes—receive 15,180 visits from men daily, or 5,540,700 per annum. They consider further that the men in question may be one-fourth of the adult male population (800,000 in the city itself, leaving the surrounding district out of the reckoning), and they rightly insist that this estimate cannot possibly cover all the facts. Yet it never occurs to the Vice Commissioners that in thus proposing to brand one-third or even only one quarter of the adult male population as criminals, and as such to prosecute them actively, is to propose an absurd impossibility.

It is not by any means only in the United States that an object lesson in the foolishness of attempting to make people moral by force is set up before the world. It has often been set up before, and at the present day it is illustrated in exactly the same way in Germany. Unlike as are the police systems and the national temperaments of Germany and the United States, in this matter social reformers tell exactly the same story. They report that [302] the German laws and ordinances against immorality increase and support the very evil they profess to attack. Thus by making it criminal to shelter, even though not for purposes of gain, unmarried lovers, even when they intend to marry, the respectable girl is forced into the position of the prostitute, and as such she becomes subject to an endless amount of police regulation and police control. Landlords are encouraged to live on her activities, charging very high rates to indemnify themselves for the risks they run by harbouring her. She, in her turn, to meet the exorbitant demands which the law and the police encourage the whole environment to make upon her, is forced to exercise her profession with the greatest activity, and to acquire the maximum of profit. Law and the police have forged the same vicious circle. [216]

The illustrations thus furnished by Germany, Holland, England, and the United States, will probably suffice to show that there really is at the present time a wave of feeling in favour of the notion that it is possible to promote public morals by force of law. It only remains to observe that the recognition of the futility of such attempts by no means necessarily involves a pessimistic conservatism. To point out that prostitution never has been, and never can be, abolished by law, is by no means to affirm that it is an evil which must endure for ever and that no influence can affect it. But we have to realize, in the first place, that prostitution belongs to that sphere of human impulses in which mere external police ordinances count for [303] comparatively little, and that, in the second place, even in the more potent field of true morals, which has nothing to do with moral legislation, prostitution is so subtly and deeply rooted that it can only be affected by influences which bear on all our methods of thought and feeling and all our social custom. It is far from being an isolated manifestation; it is, for instance, closely related to marriage; any reforms in prostitution, therefore, can only follow a reform in our marriage system. But prostitution is also related to economics, and when it is realized how much has to be altogether changed in our whole social system to secure even an approximate abolition of prostitution it becomes doubtful whether many people are willing to pay the price of removing the "social evil" they find it so easy to deplore. They are prepared to appoint Commissions; they have no objection to offer up a prayer; they are willing to pass laws and issue police regulations which are known to be useless. At that point their ardour ends.

If it is impossible to guard the community by statute against the central evil of prostitution, still more hopeless is it to attempt the legal suppression of all the multitudinous minor provocations of the sexual impulse offered by civilization. Let it be assumed that only by such suppression, and not by frankly meeting and fighting temptations, can character be formed, yet it would be absolutely impossible to suppress more than a fraction of the things that would need to be suppressed. "There is almost no feature, article of dress, attitude, act," Dr. Stanley Hall has truly remarked, "or even animal, or [304] perhaps object in nature, that may not have to some morbid soul specialized erogenic and erethic power." If, therefore, we wish to suppress the sexually suggestive and the possibly obscene we are bound to suppress the whole world, beginning with the human race, for if we once enter on that path there is no definite point at which we can logically stop. The truth is, as Mr. Theodore Schroeder has so repeatedly insisted, [217] that "obscenity" is subjective; it cannot reside in an object, but only in the impure mind which is influenced by the object. In this matter Mr. Schroeder is simply the follower, at an interval, of St. Paul. We must work not on the object, but on the impure mind affected by the object. If the impure heart is not suppressed it is useless to suppress the impure object, while if the heart is renewed the whole task is achieved. Certainly there are books, pictures, and other things in life so unclean that they can never be pure even to the purest, but these things by their loathsomeness are harmless to all healthy minds; they can only corrupt minds which are corrupt already. Unfortunately, when ignorant police officials and custom-house officers are entrusted with the task of searching for the obscene, it is not to these things that their attention is exclusively directed. Such persons, it seems, cannot distinguish between these things and the noblest productions of human art and intellect, and the law has proved powerless to set them right; in all civilized countries the list is indeed formidable of the splendid and [305] inspiring productions, from the Bible downwards, which officials or the law courts have been pleased to declare "obscene." So that while the task of moralizing the community by force must absolutely fail of its object, it may at the same time suffice to effect much mischief.

It is one of the ironies of history that the passion for extinguishing immorality by law and administration should have arisen in what used to be called Christendom. For Christianity is precisely the most brilliant proof the world has ever seen of the truth that immorality cannot so be suppressed. From the standpoint of classic Rome Christianity was an aggressive attack on Roman morality from every side. It was not so only in appearance, but in reality, as modern historians fully recognize. [218] Merely as a new religion Christianity would have been received with calm indifference, even with a certain welcome, as other new religions were received. But Christianity denied the supremacy of the State, carried on an anti-military propaganda in the army, openly flouted established social conventions, loosened family life, preached and practised asceticism to an age that was already painfully aware that, above all things, it needed men. The fatal though doubtless inevitable step was taken of attempting to suppress the potent poison of this manifold immorality by force. The triumph of Christianity [306] was largely due to the fine qualities which were brought out by that annealing process, and the splendid prestige which the process itself assured. Yet the method of warfare which it had so brilliantly proved to be worthless was speedily adopted by Christianity itself, and is even yet, at intervals, spasmodically applied.

That these attempts should have such results as we see is not surprising when we remember that even movements, at the outset, mainly inspired by moral energy, rather than by faith in moral legislation, when that energy becomes reckless, violent and intolerant, lead in the end to results altogether opposed to the aims of those who initiated them. It was thus that Luther has permanently fortified the position of the Popes whom he assailed, and that the Reformation produced the Counter-Reformation, a movement as formidable and as enduring as that which it countered. When Luther appeared all that was rigid and inhuman in the Church was slowly dissolving, certainly not without an inevitable sediment of immorality, yet the solution was in the highest degree favourable to the development of the freer and larger conceptions of life, the expansion of science and art and philosophy, which at that moment was pre-eminently necessary for the [307] progress of civilisation, and, indirectly, therefore, for the progress of morals. [219] The violence of the Reformation not only resulted in a new tyranny for its own adherents—calling in turn for fresh reformations by Puritans, Quakers, Deists, and Freethinkers—but it re-established, and even to-day continues to support, that very tyranny of the old Church against which it was a protest.

When we try to regulate the morals of men on the same uniform pattern we have to remember that we are touching the most subtle, intimate, and incalculable springs of action. It is useless to apply the crude methods of "suppression" and "annihilation" to these complex and indestructible forces. When Charles V retired in weariness from the greatest throne in the world to the solitude of the monastery at Yuste, he occupied his leisure for some weeks in trying to regulate two clocks. It proved very difficult. One day, it is recorded, he turned to his assistant and said: "To think that I attempted to force the reason and conscience of thousands of men into one mould, and I cannot make two clocks agree!" Wisdom [308] comes to the rulers of men, sometimes, usually when they have ceased to be rulers. It comes to the moral legislators not otherwise than it comes to the immoral persons they legislate against. "I act first," the French thief said; "then I think."

It seems to some people almost a paradox to assert that immorality should not be encountered by physical force. The same people would willingly admit that it is hopeless to rout a modern army with bows and arrows, even with the support of a fanfare of trumpets. Yet that metaphor, as we have seen, altogether fails to represent the inadequacy of law in the face of immorality. We are concerned with a method of fighting which is not merely inadequate, but, as has been demonstrated many times during the last two thousand years, actually fortifies and even dignifies the foe it professes to attack. But the failure of physical force to suppress the spiritual evil of immorality by no means indicates that a like failure would attend the more rational tactics of opposing a spiritual force by spiritual force. The virility of our morals is not proved by any weak attempt to call in the aid of the secular arm of law or the ecclesiastical arm of theology. If a morality cannot by its own proper virtue hold its opposing immorality in check then there is something wrong with that morality. It runs the risk of encountering a fresh and more vigorous movement of morality. Men begin to think that, if not the whole truth, there is yet a real element of truth in the assertion of Nietzsche: "We believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, [309] stoicism, tempter's art and devilry of every kind, everything wicked, tyrannical, predatory and serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the human species as its opposite." [220] To ignore altogether the affirmation of that opposing morality, it may be, would be to breed a race of weaklings, fatally doomed to succumb helplessly to the first breath of temptation.

Although we are passing through a wave of moral legislation, there are yet indications that a sounder movement is coming into action. The demand for the teaching of sexual hygiene which parents, teachers, and physicians in Germany, the United States and elsewhere, are now striving to formulate and to supply will, if it is wisely carried out, effect far more for public morals than all the legislation in the world. Inconsistently enough, some of those who clamour for moral legislation also advocate the teaching of sexual hygiene. But there is no room for compromise or combination here. A training in sexual hygiene has no meaning if it is not a training, for men and women alike, in personal and social responsibility, [310] in the right to know and to discriminate, and in so doing to attain self-conquest. A generation thus trained to self-respect and to respect for others has no use for a web of official regulations to protect its feeble and cloistered virtues from possible visions of evil, and an army of police to conduct it homewards at 9 p.m. Nor, on the other hand, can any reliable sense of social responsibility ever be developed in such an unwholesome atmosphere of petty moral officialdom. The two methods of moralization are radically antagonistic. There can be no doubt which of them we ought to pursue if we really desire to breed a firmly-fibred, clean-minded, and self-reliant race of manly men and womanly women.

_______________

Notes:

[191] Westermarck, Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, Vol. I, p. 160; see also chapter on sexual morality in Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. IX.

[192] It must be remembered that in medieval days not only adultery but the smallest infraction of what the Church regarded as morality could be punished in the Archdeacon's court; this continued to be the case in England even after the Reformation. See Archdeacon W.W. Hales' interesting work, Precedents and Proceedings in Criminal Causes (1847), which is, as the author states, "a History of the Moral Police of the Church."

[193] The Social Evil in New York City, p. 100.

[194] This has been emphasized in an able and lucid discussion of this question by Dr. Hans Hagen, "Sittliche Werturteile," Mutterschutz, Heft I and II, 1906. Such recognition of popular morals, he justly remarks, is needed not only for the sake of the people, but for the sake of law itself.

[195] Grabowsky, in criticizing Hiller's book, Das Recht über sich Selbst (Archiv für Kriminalanthropologie und Kriminalistik, Bd. 36, 1809), argues that in some cases immorality injures rights which need legal protection, but he admits it is difficult to decide when this is the case. He does not think that the law should interfere with homosexuality in adults, but he does consider it should interfere with incest, on the ground that in-breeding is not good for the race. But it is the view of most authorities nowadays that in-breeding is only injurious to the race in the case of an unsound stock, when the defect being in both partners of the same kind would probably be intensified by heredity.

[196] The occurrence of, for instance, incestuous, bestial, and homosexual acts—which are generally abhorrent, but not necessarily anti-social—makes it necessary to exercise some caution here.

[197] I quote from a valuable and interesting study by Dr. Eugen Wilhelm, "Die Volkspsychologischen Unterschiede in der französischen und deustchen Sittlichkeits-Gesetzgebung und Rechtsprechung," Sexual-Probleme, October, 1911. It may be added that in Switzerland, also, the tyranny of the police is carried to an extreme. Edith Sellers gives some extraordinary examples, Cornhill, August, 1910.

[198] The absurdities and injustice of the German law, and its interference with purely private interests in these matters, have often been pointed out, as by Dr. Kurt Hiller ("Ist Kuppelei Strafwürdig?" Die Neue Generation, November, 1910). As to what is possible under German law by judicial decision since 1882, Hagen takes the case of a widow who has living with her a daughter, aged twenty-five or thirty, engaged to marry an artisan now living at a distance for the sake of his work; he comes to see her when he can; she is already pregnant; they will marry soon; one evening, with the consent of the widow, who looks on the couple as practically married, he stays over-night, sharing his betrothed's room, the only room available. Result: the old woman becomes liable to four years' penal servitude, a fine of six thousand marks, loss of civil rights, and police supervision.

[199] In another respect the French code carries private rights to an excess by forbidding the unmarried mother to make any claim on the father of her child. In most countries such a prohibition is regarded as unreasonable and unjust. There is even a tendency (as by a recent Dutch law) to compel the father to provide for his illegitimate child not on the scale of the mother's social position but on the scale of his own social position. This is, possibly, an undue assertion of the superiority of man.

[200] The same point has lately been illustrated in Holland, where a recent modification in the law is held to press harshly on homosexual persons. At once a vigorous propaganda on behalf of the homosexual has sprung into existence. We see here the difference between moral enactments and criminal enactments. Supposing that a change in the law had placed, for instance, increased difficulties in the way of burglary. We should not witness any outburst of literary activity on behalf of burglars, because the community, as a whole, is thoroughly convinced that burglary ought to be penalized.

[201] Apart from the attitude towards immorality, we have an illustration of the peculiarly English tendency to unite religious fervour with individualism in Quakerism. In no other European country has any similar movement—that is, a popular movement of individualistic mysticism—ever appeared on the same scale.

[202] E.F. Fuld, Ph.D., Police Administration, 1909.

[203] Ex-Police Commissioner Bingham, of New York, estimated (Hampton's Magazine, September, 1909) that "fifteen per cent. or from 1500 to 2000 members of the police force are unscrupulous 'grafters' whose hands are always out for easy money." See also Report of the Committee of Fourteen on The Social Evil in New York City, p. 34.

[204] Fuld, op. cit., pp. 373 et seq. This last opinion by no means stands alone. Thus it is asserted by the Committee of Fourteen in their Report on The Social Evil in New York City (1910, p. xxxiv) that "some laws exist to-day because an unintelligent, cowardly public puts unenforceable statutes on the book, being content with registering their hypocrisy."

[205] It is also a blundering policy. Its blind anathema is as likely as not to fall on its own allies. Thus the Report of the municipally appointed and municipally financed Vice Commission of Chicago is not only an official but a highly moral document, advocating increased suppression of immoral literature, and erring, if it errs, on the side of over-severity. It has been suppressed by the United States Post Office!

[206] This system applies only to spirits, not to beer and wine, but it has proved very effective in diminishing drunkenness, as is admitted by those who are opposed to the system. A somewhat similar system exists in England under the name of the Trust system, but its extension appears unfortunately to be much impeded by English laws and customs.

[207] Jacques Bertillon, in a paper read to the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, 30th September, 1911.

[208] During the present century a great wave of immorality and sexual crime has been passing over Russia. This is not attributable to the laws, old or new, but is due in part to the Russo-Japanese War, and in part to the relaxed tension consequent on the collapse of the movement for political reform. (See an article by Professor Asnurof, "La Crise Sexuelle en Russie," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, April, 1911.)

[209] It was by this indirect influence that I was induced to write the present chapter. The editor of a prominent German review wrote to me for my opinion regarding a Bill dealing with the prevention of immorality which had been introduced into the English Parliament and had aroused much interest and anxiety in Germany, where it had been discussed in all its details. But I had never so much as heard of the Bill, nor could I find any one else who had heard of it, until I consulted a Member of Parliament who happened to have been instrumental in causing its rejection.

[210] J. Schrank, Die Prostitution in Wien, Bd. I, pp. 152-206.

[211] The history of this movement in Germany may be followed in the Vierteljahrsberichte des Wissenschaftlich-humanitären Komitees, edited by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a great authority on the matter.

[212] Report on The Social Evil in New York City, p. 38; see also Rev Dr. J.P. Peters, "Suppression of the 'Raines Law Hotels,'" American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1908.

[213] It is probably needless to add that the specific object of the Act—the Puritanic observance of Sunday—was by no means attained. On Sunday, the 8th December, 1907, the police made a desperate attempt to enforce the law; every place of amusement was shut up; lectures, religious concerts, even the social meetings of the Young Men's Christian Association, were rigorously put a stop to. There was, of course, great popular indignation and uproar, and the impromptu performances got up in the streets, while the police looked on sympathetically, are said to have been far more outrageous than any entertainment indoors could possibly have been.

[214] The Social Evil in Chicago, p. 112.

[215] The methods of Maria Theresa never had any success; the methods of Calvin at Geneva had, however, a certain superficial success, because the right conditions existed for their exercise. That is to say, that a theocratic basis of society was generally accepted, and that the suppression of immorality was regarded by the great mass of the population, including in most cases, no doubt, even the offenders themselves, as a religious duty. It is, however, interesting to note that, even at Geneva, these "triumphs of morality" have met the usual fate. At the present day, it appears (Edith Sellers, Cornhill, August, 1910), there are more disorderly houses in Geneva, in proportion to the population, than in any other town in Europe.

[216] See e.g. P. Hausmeister, "Zur Analyse der Prostitution," Geschlect und Gesellschaft, 1907, p. 294.

[217] Theodore Schroeder, "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law, New York, 1911.

[218] Thus Sir Samuel Dill (Roman Society, p. 11) calls attention to the letter of St. Paulinus who, when the Empire was threatened by barbarians, wrote to a Roman soldier that Christianity is incompatible with family life, with citizenship, with patriotism, and that soldiers are doomed to eternal torment. Christians frequently showed no respect for law or its representatives. "Many Christian confessors," says Sir W.M. Ramsay (The Church in the Roman Empire, chap. xv), "went to extremes in showing their contempt and hatred for their judges. Their answers to plain questions were evasive and indirect; they lectured Roman dignitaries as if the latter were the criminals and they themselves the judges; and they even used violent reproaches and coarse, insulting gestures." Bouché-Leclercq (L'Intolérance Religieuse et le Politique, 1911, especially chap. X) shows how the early Christians insisted on being persecuted. We see much the same attitude to-day among anarchists of the lower class (and also, it may be added, sometimes among suffragettes), who may be regarded as the modern analogues of the early Christians.

[219] It may well be, indeed, that in all ages the actual sum of immorality, broadly considered—in public and in private, in thought and in act—undergoes but slight oscillations. But in the nature of its manifestations and in the nature of the manifestations that accompany it, there may be immense fluctuations. Tarde, the distinguished thinker, referring to the "delicious Catholicism" of the days before Luther, asks: "If that amiable Christian evolution had peacefully continued to our days, should we be still more immoral than we are? It is doubtful, but in all probability we should be enjoying the most æsthetic and the least vexatious religion in the world, in which all our science, all our civilization, would have been free to progress" (Tarde, La Logique Sociale, p. 198). As has often been pointed out, it was along the lines indicated by Erasmus, rather than along the lines pursued by Luther, that the progress of civilization lay.

[220] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, chap. II. A century earlier Godwin had written in his Political Justice (Book VII, chap. VIII): "Men are weak at present because they have always been told they are weak and must not be trusted with themselves. Take them out of their shackles, bid them enquire, reason, and judge, and you will soon find them very different beings. Tell them that they have passions, are occasionally hasty, intemperate, and injurious, but that they must be trusted with themselves. Tell them that the mountains of parchment in which they have been hitherto entrenched, are fit only to impose upon ages of superstition and ignorance, that henceforth we will have no dependence but upon their spontaneous justice; that, if their passions be gigantic, they must rise with gigantic energy to subdue them; that if their decrees be iniquitous, the iniquity shall be all their own."
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

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Part 1 of 2

X. THE WAR AGAINST WAR

Why the Problem of War is specially urgent To-day—The Beneficial Effects of War in Barbarous Ages—Civilization renders the Ultimate Disappearance of War Inevitable—The Introduction of Law in disputes between Individuals involves the Introduction of Law in disputes between Nations—But there must be Force behind Law—Henry IV's Attempt to Confederate Europe—Every International Tribunal of Arbitration must be able to enforce its Decisions—The Influences making for the Abolition of Warfare—(1) Growth of International Opinion—(2) International Financial Development—(3) The Decreasing Pressure of Population—(4) The Natural Exhaustion of the Warlike Spirit—(5) The Spread of Anti-military Doctrines—(6) The overgrowth of Armaments—(7) The Dominance of Social Reform—War Incompatible with an Advanced Civilization—Nations as Trustees for Humanity—The Impossibility of Disarmament—The Necessity of Force to ensure Peace—The Federated State of the Future—The Decay of War still leaves the Possibilities of Daring and Heroism.

There are, no doubt, special reasons why at the present time war and the armaments of war should appear an intolerable burden which must be thrown off as soon as possible if the task of social hygiene is not to be seriously impeded. But the abolition of the ancient method of settling international disputes by warfare is not a problem which depends for its solution on the conditions of the moment. It is implicit in the natural development of the process of civilization. At one stage, no doubt, warfare plays an important part in constituting states and so, indirectly, in promoting [312] civilization. But civilization tends slowly but surely to substitute for war in the later stages of this process the methods of law, or, in any case, methods which, while not always unobjectionable, avoid the necessity for any breach of the peace. [221] As soon, indeed, as in primitive society two individuals engage in a dispute which they are compelled to settle not by physical force but by a resort to an impartial tribunal, the thin end of the wedge is introduced, and the ultimate destruction of war becomes merely a matter of time. If it is unreasonable for two individuals to fight it is unreasonable for two groups of individuals to fight. [222]

[313] The difficulty has been that while it is quite easy for an ordered society to compel two individuals to settle their differences before a tribunal, in accordance with abstractly determined principles of law and reason, it is a vastly more difficult matter to compel two groups of individuals so to settle their differences. A large part of the history of all the great European countries has consisted in the progressive conquest and pacification of small but often bellicose states outside, and even inside, their own borders. [223] This is the case even within a community. Hobbes, writing in the midst of a civil war, went so far as to lay down that the "final cause" of a commonwealth is nothing else but the abolition of "that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe." Yet we see to-day that even within our highly civilized communities there is not always any adequately awful power to prevent employers and employed from engaging in what is little better than a civil war, nor even to bind them to accept the decision of an impartial tribunal they may have been persuaded [314] to appeal to. The smallest state can compel its individual citizens to keep the peace; a large state can compel a small state to do so; but hitherto there has been no guarantee possible that large states, or even large compact groups within the state, should themselves keep the peace. They commit what injustice they please, for there is no visible power to keep them in awe. We have attained a condition in which a state is able to enforce a legal and peaceful attitude in its own individual citizens towards each other. The state is the guardian of its citizens' peace, but the old problem recurs: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

It is obvious that this difficulty increases as the size of states increases. To compel a small state to keep the peace by absorbing it if it fails to do so is always an easy and even tempting process to a neighbouring larger state. This process was once carried out on a complete scale, when practically the whole known world was brought under the sway of Rome. "War has ceased," Plutarch was able to declare in the days of the Roman Empire, and, though himself an enthusiastic Greek, he was unbounded in his admiration of the beneficence of the majestic Pax Romana, and never tempted by any narrow spirit of patriotism to desire the restoration of his own country's glories. But the Roman organization broke up, and no single state will ever be strong enough to restore it.

Any attempt to establish orderly legal relationships between states must, therefore, be carried out by the harmonious co-operation of those states. At the end of the sixteenth century a great French statesman, Sully, [315] inspired Henry IV with a scheme of a Council of Confederated European Christian States; each of these states, fifteen in number, was to send four representatives to the Council, which was to sit at Metz or Cologne and regulate the differences between the constituent states of the Confederation. The army of the Confederation was to be maintained in common, and used chiefly to keep the peace, to prevent one sovereign from interfering with any other, and also, if necessary, to repel invasion of barbarians from without. The scheme was arranged in concert with Queen Elizabeth, and twelve of the fifteen Powers had already promised their active co-operation when the assassination of Henry destroyed the whole plan. Such a Confederation was easier to arrange then than it is now, but probably it was more difficult to maintain, and it can scarcely be said that at that date the times were ripe for so advanced a scheme. [224]

To-day the interests of small states are so closely identified with peace that it is seldom difficult to exert pressure on them to maintain it. It is quite another matter with the large states. The fact that during the [316] past half century so much has been done by the larger states to aid the cause of international arbitration, and to submit disputes to international tribunals, shows how powerful the motives for avoiding war are nowadays becoming. But the fact, also, that no country hitherto has abandoned its liberty of withdrawing from peaceful arbitration any question involving "national honour" shows that there is no constituted power strong enough to control large states. For the reservation of questions of national honour from the sphere of law is as absurd as would be any corresponding limitation by individuals of their liability for their acts before the law; it is as though a man were to say: "If I commit a theft I am willing to appear before the court, and will probably pay the penalty demanded; but if it is a question of murder, then my vital interests are at stake, and I deny altogether the right of the court to intervene." It is a reservation fatal to peace, and could not be accepted if pleaded at the bar of any international tribunal with the power to enforce its decisions. "Imagine," says Edward Jenks, in his History of Politics, "a modern judge 'persuading' Mr. William Sikes to 'make it up' with the relatives of his victim, and, on his remaining obdurate, leaving the two families to fight the matter out." Yet that is what was in some degree done in England until medieval times as regards individual crimes, and it is what is still done as regards national crimes, in so far as the appeal to arbitration is limited and voluntary. The proposals, therefore—though not yet accepted by any Government—lately mooted in the United States, in England, and in [317] France, to submit international disputes, without reservation, to an impartial tribunal represent an advance of peculiar significance.

The abolition of collective fighting is so desirable an extension of the abolition of individual fighting, and its introduction has waited so long the establishment of some high compelling power—for the influence of the Religion of Peace has in this matter been less than nil—that it is evident that only the coincidence of very powerful and peculiar factors could have brought the question into the region of practical politics in our own time. There are several such factors, most of which have been developing during a long period, but none have been clearly recognized until recent years. It may be worth while to indicate the great forces now warring against war.

(1) Growth of International Opinion. There can be no doubt whatever that during recent years, and especially in the more democratic countries, an international consensus of public opinion has gradually grown up, making itself the voice, like a Greek chorus, of an abstract justice. It is quite true that of this justice, as of justice generally, it may be said that it has wide limits. Renan declared once, in a famous allocution, that "what is called indulgence is, most often, only justice," and, at the other extreme, Remy de Gourmont has said that "injustice is sometimes a part of justice;" in other words, there are varying circumstances in which justice may properly be tempered either with mercy or with severity. In any case, and however it may be qualified; a popular international voice generously pronouncing itself in favour of [318] justice, and resonantly condemning any Government which clashes against justice, is now a factor of the international situation. It is, moreover, tending to become a factor having a certain influence on affairs. This was the case during the South African War, when England, by offending this international sense of justice, fell into a discredit which had many actual unpleasant results and narrowly escaped, there is some reason to believe, proving still more serious. The same voice was heard with dramatically sudden and startling effect when Ferrer was shot at Barcelona. Ferrer was a person absolutely unknown to the man in the street; he was indeed little more than a name even to those who knew Spain; few could be sure, except by a kind of intuition, that he was the innocent victim of a judicial murder, for it is only now that the fact is being slowly placed beyond dispute. Yet immediately after Ferrer was shot within the walls of Monjuich a great shout of indignation was raised, with almost magical suddenness and harmony, throughout the civilized world, from Italy to Belgium, from England to Argentina. Moreover, this voice was so decisive and so loud that it acted like those legendary trumpet-blasts which shattered the walls of Jericho; in a few days the Spanish Government, with a powerful minister at its head, had fallen. The significance of this event we cannot easily overestimate. For the first time in history, the voice of international public opinion, unsupported by pressure, political, social, or diplomatic, proved potent enough to avenge an act of injustice by destroying a Government. A new force has appeared in the world, [319] and it tends to operate against those countries which are guilty of injustice, whether that injustice is exerted against a State or even only against a single obscure individual. The modern developments of telegraphy and the Press—unfavourable as the Press is in many respects to the cause of international harmony—have placed in the hands of peace this new weapon against war.

(2) International Financial Development. There is another international force which expresses itself in the same sense. The voice of abstract justice raised against war is fortified by the voice of concrete self-interest. The interests of the propertied classes, and therefore of the masses dependent upon them, are to-day so widely distributed throughout the world that whenever any country is plunged into a disastrous war there arises in every other country, especially in rich and prosperous lands with most at stake, a voice of self-interest in harmony with the voice of justice. It is sometimes said that wars are in the interest of capital, and of capital alone, and that they are engineered by capitalists masquerading under imposing humanitarian disguises. That is doubtless true to the extent that every war cannot fail to benefit some section of the capitalistic world, which will therefore favour it, but it is true to that extent only. The old notion that war and the acquisition of territories encouraged trade by opening up new markets has proved fallacious. The extension of trade is a matter of tariffs rather than of war, and in any case the trade of a country with its own acquisitions by conquest is a comparatively insignificant portion of its total trade. But even if the [320] financial advantages of war were much greater than they are, they would be more than compensated by the disadvantages which nowadays attend war. International financial relationships have come to constitute a network of interests so vast, so complicated, so sensitive, that the whole thrills responsively to any disturbing touch, and no one can say beforehand what widespread damage may not be done by shock even at a single point. When a country is at war its commerce is at once disorganized, that is to say that its shipping, and the shipping of all the countries that carry its freights, is thrown out of gear to a degree that often cannot fail to be internationally disastrous. Foreign countries cannot send in the imports that lie on their wharves for the belligerent country, nor can they get out of it the exports they need for their own maintenance or luxury. Moreover, all the foreign money invested in the belligerent country is depreciated and imperilled. The international voice of trade and finance is, therefore, to-day mainly on the side of peace.

It must be added that this voice is not, as it might seem, a selfish voice only. It is justifiable not only in immediate international interests, but even in the ultimate interests of the belligerent country, and not less so if that country should prove victorious. So far as business and money are concerned, a country gains nothing by a successful war, even though that war involves the acquisition of immense new provinces; after a great war a conquered country may possess more financial stability than its conqueror, and both may stand lower in this respect than some other country which is internationally [321] guaranteed against war. Such points as these have of late been ably argued by Norman Angell in his remarkable book, The Great Illusion, and for the most part convincingly illustrated. [225] As was long since said, the ancients cried, Væ victis! We have learnt to cry, Væ victoribus!

It may, indeed, be added that the general tendency of war—putting aside peoples altogether lacking in stamina—is to moralize the conquered and to demoralise the conquerors. This effect is seen alike on the material and the spiritual sides. Conquest brings self-conceit and intolerance, the reckless inflation and dissipation of energies. Defeat brings prudence and concentration; it ennobles and fortifies. All the glorious victories of the first Napoleon achieved less for France than the crushing defeat of the third Napoleon. The triumphs left enfeeblement; the defeat acted as a strong tonic which is still working beneficently to-day. The corresponding reverse process has been at work in Germany: the German soil that Napoleon ploughed yielded a Moltke and a Bismarck, [226] while to-day, however mistakenly, the German Press is crying out that only another war—it ought in honesty to say an unsuccessful war—can restore the nation's flaccid muscle. It is yet too early to see the [322] results of the Russo-Japanese War, but already there are signs that by industrial overstrain and the repression of individual thought Japan is threatening to enfeeble the physique and to destroy the high spirit of the indomitable men to whom she owed her triumph.

(3) The Decreasing Pressure of Population. It was at one time commonly said, and is still sometimes repeated, that the pressure of over-population is the chief cause of wars. That is a statement which requires a very great deal of qualification. It is, indeed, possible that the great hordes of warlike barbarians from the North and the East which invaded Europe in early times, sometimes more or less overwhelming the civilized world, were the result of a rise in the birth-rate and an excess of population beyond the means of subsistence. But this is far from certain, for we know absolutely nothing concerning the birth-rate of these invading peoples either before or during the period of their incursions. Again, it is certain that, in modern times, a high and rising birth-rate presents a favourable condition for war. A war distracts attention from the domestic disturbances and economic wretchedness which a too rapid growth of population necessarily produces, while at the same time tending to draw away and destroy the surplus population which causes this disturbance and wretchedness. Yet there are other ways of meeting this over-population beside the crude method of war. Social reform and emigration furnish equally effective and much more humane methods of counteracting such pressure. No doubt the over-population resulting from an excessively high birth-rate, [323] when not met, as it tends to be, by a correspondingly high death-rate from disease, may be regarded as a predisposing cause of war, but to assert that it is the pre-eminent cause is to go far beyond the evidence at present available.

To whatever degree, however, it may have been potent in causing war in the past, it is certain that the pressure of population as a cause of war will be eliminated in the future. The only nations nowadays that can afford to make war on the grand scale are the wealthy and civilized nations. But civilization excludes a high birth-rate: there has never been any exception to that law, nor can we conceive any exceptions, for it is more than a social law; it is a biological law. Russia, a still imperfectly civilized country, stands apart in having a very high birth-rate, but it also has a very high death-rate, and even should it happen that in Russia improved social conditions lower the death-rate before affecting the birth-rate, there is still ample room within Russian territory for the consequent increase of population. Among all the other nations which are considered to threaten the world's peace, the birth-rate is rapidly falling. This is so, for instance, as regards England and Germany. Germany, especially, it was once thought—though in actual fact Germany has not fought for over forty years—had an interest in going to war in order to find an outlet for her surplus population, compelled, in the absence of suitable German colonies, to sacrifice its patriotism and lose its nationality by emigrating to foreign countries. But the German birth-rate is falling, German emigration is decreasing, and the [324] immense growth of German industry is easily able to absorb the new generation. Thus the declining birth-rate of civilized lands will alone largely serve in the end to eliminate warfare, partly by removing one of its causes, partly because the increased value of human life will make war too costly.

(4) The Natural Exhaustion of the Warlike Spirit. It is a remarkable tendency of the warlike spirit—frequently emphasized in recent years by the distinguished zoologist, President D.S. Jordan, who here follows Novikov [227]—that it tends to exterminate itself. Fighting stocks, and peoples largely made up of fighting stocks, are naturally killed out, and the field is left to the unwarlike. It is only the prudent, those who fight and run away, who live to fight another day; and they transmit their prudence to their offspring. Great Britain is a conspicuous example of a land which, being an island, was necessarily peopled by predatory and piratical invaders. A long series of warlike and adventurous peoples—Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Normans—built up England and imparted to it their spirit. The English were, it was said, "a people for whom pain and death are nothing, and who only fear hunger and boredom." But for over eight hundred years they have never been reinforced by new invaders, and the inevitable consequences have followed. There has been a gradual killing out of the warlike stocks, a process immensely accelerated during the [325] nineteenth century by a vast emigration of the more adventurous elements in the population, pressed out of the overcrowded country by the reckless and unchecked increase of the population which occurred during the first three-quarters of that century. The result is that the English (except sometimes when they happen to be journalists) cannot now be described as a warlike people. Old legends tell of British heroes who, when their legs were hacked away, still fought upon the stumps. Modern poets feel that to picture a British warrior of to-day in this attitude would be somewhat far-fetched. The historian of the South African War points out, again and again, that the British leaders showed a singular lack of the fighting spirit. During that war English generals seldom cared to engage the enemy's forces except when their own forces greatly outnumbered them, and on many occasions they surrendered immediately they realized that they were themselves outnumbered. Those reckless Englishmen who boldly sailed out from their little island to face the Spanish Armada were long ago exterminated; an admirably prudent and cautious race has been left alive.

It is the same story elsewhere. The French long cherished the tradition of military glory, and no country has fought so much. We see the result to-day. In no country is the attitude of the intellectual classes so calm and so reasonable on the subject of war, and nowhere is the popular hostility to war so strongly marked. [228] Spain [326] furnishes another instance which is even still more decisive. The Spanish were of old a pre-eminently warlike people, capable of enduring all hardships, never fearing to face death. Their aggressively warlike and adventurous spirit sent them to death all over the world. It cannot be said, even to-day, that the Spaniards have lost their old tenacity and hardness of fibre, but their passion for war and adventure was killed out three centuries ago.

In all these and the like cases there has been a process of selective breeding, eliminating the soldierly stocks and leaving the others to breed the race. The men who so loved fighting that they fought till they died had few chances of propagating their own warlike impulses. The men who fought and ran away, the men who never fought at all, were the men who created the new generation and transmitted to it their own traditions.

This selective process, moreover, has not merely acted automatically; it has been furthered by social opinion and social pressure, sometimes very drastically expressed. Thus in the England of the Plantagenets there grew up a class called "gentlemen"—not, as has sometimes been [327] supposed, a definitely defined class, though they were originally of good birth—whose chief characteristic was that they were good fighting men, and sought fortune by fighting. The "premier gentleman" of England, according to Sir George Sitwell, and an entirely typical representative of his class, was a certain glorious hero who fought with Talbot at Agincourt, and also, as the unearthing of obscure documents shows, at other times indulged in housebreaking, and in wounding with intent to kill, and in "procuring the murder of one Thomas Page, who was cut to pieces while on his knees begging for his life." There, evidently, was a state of society highly favourable to the warlike man, highly unfavourable to the unwarlike man whom he slew in his wrath. Nowadays, however, there has been a revaluation of these old values. The cowardly and no doubt plebeian Thomas Page, multiplied by the million, has succeeded in hoisting himself into the saddle, and he revenges himself by discrediting, hunting into the slums, and finally hanging, every descendant he can find of the premier gentleman of Agincourt.

It must be added that the advocates of the advantages of war are not entitled to claim this process of selective breeding as one of the advantages of war. It is quite true that war is incompatible with a high civilization, and must in the end be superseded. But this method of suppressing it is too thorough. It involves not merely the extermination of the fighting spirit, but of many excellent qualities, physical and moral, which are associated with the fighting spirit. Benjamin Franklin seems to have [328] been the first to point out that "a standing army diminishes the size and breed of the human species." Almost in Franklin's lifetime that was demonstrated on a wholesale scale, for there seems little reason to doubt that the size and stature of the French nation have been permanently diminished by the constant levies of young recruits, the flower of the population, whom Napoleon sent out to death in their first manhood and still childless. Fine physical breed involves also fine qualities of virility and daring which are needed for other purposes than fighting. In so far as the selective breeding of war kills these out, its results are imperfect, and could be better attained by less radical methods.

(5) The Growth of the Anti-Military Spirit. The decay of the warlike spirit by the breeding out of fighting stocks has in recent years been reinforced by a more acute influence of which in the near future we shall certainly hear more. This is the spirit of anti-militarism. This spirit is an inevitable result of the decay of the fighting spirit. In a certain sense it is also complementary to it. The survival of non-fighting stocks by the destruction of the fighting stocks works most effectually in countries having a professional army. The anti-military spirit, on the contrary, works effectually in countries having a national army in which it is compulsory for all young citizens to serve, for it is only in such countries that the anti-militarist can, by refusing to serve, take an influential position as a martyr in the cause of peace.

Among the leading nations, it is in France that the spirit of anti-militarism has taken the deepest hold of [329] the people, though in some smaller lands, notably among the obstinately peaceable inhabitants of Holland, the same spirit also flourishes. Hervé, who is a leader of the insurrectional socialists, as they are commonly called in opposition to the purely parliamentary socialists led by Jaurès,—though the insurrectional socialists also use parliamentary methods,—may be regarded as the most conspicuous champion of anti-militarism, and many of his followers have suffered imprisonment as the penalty of their convictions. In France the peasant proprietors in the country and the organized workers in the town are alike sympathetic to anti-militarism. The syndicalists, or labour unionists with the Confédération Générale du Travail as their central organization, are not usually anxious to imitate what they consider the unduly timid methods of English trade unionists; [229] they tend to be revolutionary and anti-military. The Congress of delegates of French Trade Unions, held at Toulouse in 1910, passed the significant resolution that "a declaration of war should be followed by the declaration of a general revolutionary strike." The same tendency, though in a less radical form, is becoming international, and the great International Socialist Congress at Copenhagen has passed a resolution instructing the International Bureau to "take the opinion of the organized workers of the world on the [330] utility of a general strike in preventing war." [230] Even the English working classes are slowly coming into line. At a Conference of Labour Delegates, held at Leicester in 1911, to consider the Copenhagen resolution, the policy of the anti-military general strike was defeated by only a narrow majority, on the ground that it required further consideration, and might be detrimental to political action; but as most of the leaders are in favour of the strike policy there can be no doubt that this method of combating war will shortly be the accepted policy of the English Labour movement. In carrying out such a policy the Labour Party expects much help from the growing social and political power of women. The most influential literary advocate of the Peace movement, and one of the earliest, has been a woman, the Baroness Bertha von Suttner, and it is held to be incredible that the wives and mothers of the people will use their power to support an institution which represents the most brutal method of destroying their husbands and sons. "The cause of woman," says Novikov, "is the cause of peace." "We pay the first cost on all human life," says Olive Schreiner. [231]

[331] The anti-militarist, as things are at present, exposes himself not only to the penalty of imprisonment, but also to obloquy. He has virtually refused to take up arms in defence of his country; he has sinned against patriotism. This accusation has led to a counter-accusation directed against the very idea of patriotism. Here the writings of Tolstoy, with their poignant and searching appeals for the cause of humanity as against the cause of patriotism, have undoubtedly served the anti-militarists well, and wherever the war against war is being urged, even so far as Japan, Tolstoy has furnished some of its keenest weapons. Moreover, in so far as anti-militarism is advocated by the workers, they claim that international interests have already effaced and superseded the narrower interests of patriotism. In refusing to fight, the workers of a country are simply declaring their loyalty to fellow-workers on the other side of the frontier, a loyalty which has stronger claims on them, they hold, than any patriotism which simply means loyalty to capitalists; [332] geographical frontiers are giving place to economic frontiers, which now alone serve to separate enemies. And if, as seems probable, when the next attempt is made at a great European war, the order for mobilization is immediately followed in both countries by the declaration of a general strike, there will be nothing to say against such a declaration even from the standpoint of the narrowest patriotism, although there may be much to say on other grounds against the policy of the general strike. [232]

If we realize what is going on around us, it is easy to see that the anti-militarist movement is rapidly reaching a stage when it will be easily able, even unaided, to paralyse any war immediately and automatically. The pioneers in the movement have played the same part as was played in the seventeenth century by the Quakers. In the name of the Bible and their own consciences, the Quakers refused to recognize the right of any secular authority to compel them to worship or to fight; they [333] gained what they struggled for, and now all men honour their memories. In the name of justice and human fraternity, the anti-militarists are to-day taking the like course and suffering the like penalties. To-morrow, they also will be revered as heroes and martyrs.

(6) The Over-growth of Armaments. The hostile forces so far enumerated have converged slowly on to war from such various directions that they may be said to have surrounded and isolated it; its ultimate surrender can only be a matter of time. Of late, however, a new factor has appeared, of so urgent a character that it is fast rendering the question of the abolition of war acute: the over-growth of armaments. This is, practically, a modern factor in the situation, and while it is, on the surface, a luxury due to the large surplus of wealth in great modern states, it is also, if we look a little deeper, intimately connected with that decay of the warlike spirit due to selective breeding. It is the weak and timid woman who looks nervously under the bed for the burglar who is the last person she really desires to meet, and it is old, rich, and unwarlike nations which take the lead in laboriously protecting themselves against enemies of whom there is no sign in any quarter. Within the last half-century only have the nations of the world begun to compete with each other in this timorous and costly rivalry. In the warlike days of old, armaments in time of peace consisted in little more than solid walls for defence, a supply of weapons stored away here and there, sometimes in a room attached to the parish church, and occasional martial exercises with the sword or the bow, which were little more than [334] an amusement. The true fighting man trusted to his own strong right arm rather than to armaments, and considered that he was himself a match for any half-dozen of the enemy. Even in actual time of war it was often difficult to find either zeal or money to supply the munitions of war. The Diary of the industrious Pepys, who achieved so much for the English navy, shows that the care of the country's ships mainly depended on a few unimportant officials who had the greatest trouble in the world to secure attention to the most urgent and immediate needs.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

Postby admin » Fri May 25, 2018 8:35 am

Part 2 of 2

A very difficult state of things prevails to-day. The existence of a party having for its watchword the cry for retrenchment and economy is scarcely possible in a modern state. All the leading political parties in every great state—if we leave aside the party of Labour—are equally eager to pile up the expenditure on armaments. It is the boast of each party, not that it spends less, but more, than its rivals on this source of expenditure, now the chief in every large state. Moreover, every new step in expenditure involves a still further step; each new improvement in attack or defence must immediately be answered by corresponding or better improvements on the part of rival powers, if they are not to be outclassed. Every year these moves and counter-moves necessarily become more extensive, more complex, more costly; while each counter-move involves the obsolescence of the improvements achieved by the previous move, so that the waste of energy and money keeps pace with the expenditure. It is well recognized that there is absolutely no [335] possible limit to this process and its constantly increasing acceleration.

There is no need to illustrate this point, for it is familiar to all. Any newspaper will furnish facts and figures vividly exemplifying some aspect of the matter. For while only a handful of persons in any country are sincerely anxious under present conditions to reduce the colossal sums every year wasted on the unproductive work of armament; an increasing interest in the matter testifies to a vague alarm and anxiety concerning the ultimate issue. For it is felt that an inevitable crisis lies at the end of the path down which the nations are now moving.

Thus, from this point of view, the end of war is being attained by a process radically opposite to that by which in the social as well as in the physical organism ancient structures and functions are outgrown. The usual process is a gradual recession to a merely vestigial state. But here what may perhaps be the same ultimate result is being reached by the more alarming method of over-inflation and threatening collapse. It is an alarming process because those huge and heavily armed monsters of primeval days who furnish the zoological types corresponding to our modern over-armed states, themselves died out from the world when their unwieldy armament had reached its final point of expansion. Will our own modern states, one wonders, more fortunately succeed in escaping from the tough hides that ever more closely constrict them, and finally save their souls alive?

(7) The Dominance of Social Reform. The final factor [336] in the situation is the growing dominance of the process of social reform. On the one hand, the increasing complexity of social organisation renders necessary a correspondingly increasing expenditure of money in diminishing its friction and aiding its elaboration; on the other hand, the still more rapidly increasing demands of armament render it ever more difficult to devote money to such social purposes. Everywhere even the most elementary provision for the finer breeding and higher well-being of a country's citizens is postponed to the clamour for ever new armaments. The situation thus created is rapidly becoming intolerable.

It is not alone the future of civilization which is for ever menaced by the possibility of war; the past of civilization, with all the precious embodiments of its traditions, is even more fatally imperilled. As the world grows older and the ages recede, the richer, the more precious, the more fragile, become the ancient heirlooms of humanity. They constitute the final symbols of human glory; they cannot be too carefully guarded, too highly valued. But all the other dangers that threaten their integrity and safety, if put together, do not equal war. No land that has ever been a cradle of civilization but bears witness to this sad truth. All the sacred citadels, the glories of humanity,—Jerusalem and Athens, Rome and Constantinople,—have been ravaged by war, and, in every case, their ruin has been a disaster that can never be repaired. If we turn to the minor glories of more modern ages, the special treasure of England has been its parish churches, a treasure of unique charm in the [337] world and the embodiment of the people's spirit: to-day in their battered and irreparable condition they are the monuments of a Civil War waged all over the country with ruthless religious ferocity. Spain, again, was a land which had stored up, during long centuries, nearly the whole of its accumulated possessions in every art, sacred and secular, of fabulous value, within the walls of its great fortress-like cathedrals; Napoleon's soldiers over-ran the land, and brought with them rapine and destruction; so that in many a shrine, as at Montserrat, we still can see how in a few days they turned a Paradise into a desert. It is not only the West that has suffered. In China the rarest and loveliest wares and fabrics that the hand of man has wrought were stored in the Imperial Palace of Pekin; the savage military hordes of the West broke in less than a century ago and recklessly trampled down and fired all that they could not loot. In every such case the loss is final; the exquisite incarnation of some stage in the soul of man that is for ever gone is permanently diminished, deformed, or annihilated.

At the present time all civilized countries are becoming keenly aware of the value of their embodied artistic possessions. This is shown, in the most decisive manner possible, by the enormous prices placed upon them. Their pecuniary value enables even the stupidest and most unimaginative to realize the crime that is committed when they are ruthlessly and wantonly destroyed. Nor is it only the products of ancient art which have to-day become so peculiarly valuable. The products of modern science are only less valuable. So highly complex and [338] elaborate is the mechanism now required to ensure progress in some of the sciences that enormous sums of money, the most delicate skill, long periods of time, are necessary to produce it. Galileo could replace his telescope with but little trouble; the destruction of a single modern observatory would be almost a calamity to the human race.

Such considerations as these are, indeed, at last recognized in all civilized countries. The engines of destruction now placed at the service of war are vastly more potent than any used in the wars of the past. On the other hand, the value of the products they can destroy is raised in a correspondingly high degree. But a third factor is now intervening. And if the museums of Paris or the laboratories of Berlin were threatened by a hostile army it would certainly be felt that an international power, if it existed, should be empowered to intervene, at whatever cost to national susceptibilities, in order to keep the peace. Civilization, we now realize, is wrought out of inspirations and discoveries which are for ever passed and repassed from land to land; it cannot be claimed by any individual land. A nation's art-products and its scientific activities are not mere national property; they are international possessions, for the joy and service of the whole world. The nations hold them in trust for humanity. The international force which will inspire respect for that truth it is our business to create.

The only question that remains—and it is a question the future alone will solve—is the particular point at which this ancient and overgrown stronghold of war, now [339] being invested so vigorously from so many sides, will finally be overthrown, whether from within or from without, whether by its own inherent weakness, by the persuasive reasonableness of developing civilization, by the self-interest of the commercial and financial classes, or by the ruthless indignation of the proletariat. That is a problem still insoluble, but it is not impossible that some already living may witness its solution.

Two centuries ago the Abbé de Saint-Pierre set forth his scheme for a federation of the States of Europe, which meant, at that time, a federation of all the civilised states of the world. It was the age of great ideas, scattered abroad to germinate in more practical ages to come. The amiable Abbé enjoyed all the credit of his large and philanthropic conceptions. But no one dreamed of realizing them, and the forces which alone could realize them had not yet appeared above the horizon. [233] In this [340] matter, at all events, the world has progressed, and a federation of the States of the world is no longer the mere conception of a philosophic dreamer. The first step will be taken when two of the leading countries of the world—and it would be most reasonable for the states having the closest community of origin and language to take the initiative—resolve to submit all their differences without reserve to arbitration. As soon as a third power of magnitude joined this federation the nucleus would be constituted of a world state. Such a state would be able to impose peace on even the most recalcitrant outside states, for it would furnish that "visible power to keep them in awe," which Hobbes rightly declared to be indispensable; it could even, in the last resort, if necessary, enforce peace by war. Thus there might still be war in the world. But there would be no wars that were not Holy Wars. There are other methods than war of enforcing peace, and these such a federation of great states would be easily able to bring to bear on even the most warlike of states, but the necessity of a mighty armed international force would remain for a long time to come. To suppose, as some seem to suppose, that the establishment of arbitration in place of war means immediate disarmament is an idle dream. At Conferences of the English Labour Party on this question, the most active [341] opposition to the proposed strike method for rendering war impossible comes from the delegates representing the workers in arsenals and dockyards. But there is no likelihood of arsenals and dockyards closing in the lifetime of the present workers, and though the establishment of peaceful methods of settling international disputes cannot fail to diminish the number of the workers who live by armament, it will be long before they can be dispensed with altogether.

It is, indeed, so common to regard the person who points out the inevitable bankruptcy of war under highly civilized conditions as a mere Utopian dreamer, that it becomes necessary to repeat, with all the emphasis necessary, that the settlement of international disputes by law cannot be achieved by disarmament, or by any method not involving force. All law, even the law that settles the disputes of individuals, has force behind it, and the law that is to settle the disputes between nations cannot possibly be effective unless it has behind it a mighty force. I have assumed this from the outset in quoting the dictum of Hobbes, but the point seems to be so easily overlooked by the loose thinker that it is necessary to reiterate it. The necessity of force behind the law ordering international relations has, indeed, never been disputed by any sagacious person who has occupied himself with the matter. Even William Penn, who, though a Quaker, was a practical man of affairs, when in 1693 he put forward his Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by the Establishment of a European Diet, Parliament or Estate, proposed that if any imperial [342] state refused to submit its pretensions to the sovereign assembly and to abide by its decisions, or took up arms on its own behalf, "all the other sovereignties, united as one strength, shall compel the submission and performance of the sentence, with damages to the suffering party, and charges to the sovereignties that obliged their submission." In repudiating some injudicious and hazardous pacificist considerations put forth by Novikov, the distinguished French philosopher, Jules de Gaultier, points out that law has no rights against war save in force, on which war itself bases its rights. "Force in abstracto creates right. It is quite unimaginable that a right should exist which has not been affirmed at some moment as a reality, that is to say a force.... What we glorify under the name of right is only a more intense and habitual state of force which we oppose to a less frequent form of force." [234] The old Quaker and the modern philosopher are thus at one with the practical man in rejecting any form of pacification which rests on a mere appeal to reason and justice.

[343] It cannot be said that the progress of civilization has so far had any tendency to render unnecessary the point of view adopted by Penn and Jules de Gaultier. The acts of states to-day are apt to be just as wantonly aggressive as they ever were, as reckless of reason and of justice. There is no country, however high it may stand in the comity of nations, which is not sometimes carried away by the blind fever of war. France, the land of reason, echoed, only forty years ago, with the mad cry, "À Berlin!" England, the friend of the small nationalities, jubilantly, with even an air of heroism, crushed under foot the little South African Republics, and hounded down every Englishman who withstood the madness of the crowd. The great, free intelligent people of the United States went to war against Spain with a childlike faith in the preposterous legend of the blowing up of the Maine. There is no country which has not some such shameful page in its history, the record of some moment when its moral and intellectual prestige was besmirched in the eyes of the whole world. It pays for its momentary madness, it may valiantly strive to atone for its injustice, but the damaging record remains. The supersession of war is needed not merely in the interests of the victims of aggression; it is needed fully as much in the interests of the aggressors, driven by their own momentary passions, or by the ambitious follies of their rulers, towards crimes for which a terrible penalty is exacted. There has never been any country at every moment so virtuous and so wise that it has not sometimes needed to be saved from itself. For every country has sometimes gone mad, while every [344] other country has looked on its madness with the mocking calm of clear-sighted intelligence, and perhaps with a pharisaical air of virtuous indignation.

During the single year of 1911 the process was unrolled in its most complete form. The first bad move—though it was a relatively small and inoffensive move—was made by France. The Powers, after much deliberation, had come to certain conclusions concerning Morocco, and while giving France a predominant influence in that country, had carefully limited her power of action. But France, anxious to increase her hold on the land, sent out, with the usual pretexts, an unnecessary expedition to Fez. Had an international tribunal with an adequate force behind it been in existence, France would have been called upon to justify her action, and whether she succeeded or failed in such justification, no further evils would have occurred. But there was no force able or willing to call France to account, and the other Powers found it a simpler plan to follow her example than to check it. In pursuance of this policy, Germany sent a warship to the Moroccan port of Agadir, using the same pretext as the French, with even less justification. When the supreme military power of the world wags even a finger the whole world is thrown into a state of consternation. That happened on the present occasion, though, as a matter of fact, giants are not given to reckless violence, and Germany, far from intending to break the world's peace, merely used her power to take advantage of France's bad move. She agreed to condone France's mistake, and to resign to her the Moroccan rights to which [345] neither country had the slightest legitimate claim, in return for an enormous tract of land in another part of Africa. Now, so far, the game had been played in accordance with rules which, though by no means those of abstract justice, were fairly in accordance with the recognized practices of nations. But now another Power was moved to far more openly unscrupulous action. It has long been recognized that if there must be a partition of North Africa, Italy's share is certainly Tripoli. The action of France and of Germany stirred up in Italy the feeling that now or never was the moment for action, and with brutal recklessness, and the usual pretexts, now flimsier than ever, Italy made war on Turkey, without offer of mediation, in flagrant violation of her own undertakings at the Hague Peace Convention of 1899. There was now only one Mohammedan country left to attack, and it was Russia's turn to make the attack. Northern Persia—the most civilized and fruitful half of Persia—had been placed under the protection of Russia, and Russia, after cynically doing her best to make good government in Persia impossible, seized on the pretext of the bad government to invade the country. If the Powers of Europe had wished to demonstrate the necessity for a great international tribunal, with a mighty force behind it to ensure the observance of its decisions, they could not have devised a more effective demonstration.

Thus it is that there can be no question of disarmament at present, and that there can be no effective international tribunal unless it has behind it an effective army. A [346] great army must continue to exist apart altogether from the question as to whether the army in itself is a school of virtue or of vice. Both these views of its influence have been held in extreme forms, and both seem to be without any great justification. On this point we may perhaps accept the conclusion of Professor Guérard, who can view the matter from a fairly impartial standpoint, having served in the French army, closely studied the life of the people in London, and occupied a professorial chair in California. He denies that an army is a school of all the vices, but he is also unable to see that it exercises an elevating influence on any but the lowest: "A regiment is not much worse than a big factory. Factory life in Europe is bad enough; military service extends its evils to agricultural labourers, and also to men who would otherwise have escaped these lowering influences. As for traces of moral uplift in the army, I have totally failed to notice any. War may be a stern school of virtue; barrack life is not. Honour, duty, patriotism, are feelings instilled at school; they do not develop, but often deteriorate, during the term of compulsory service." [235]

But, as we have seen, and as Guérard admits, it is probable that wars will be abolished generations before armies are suppressed. The question arises what we are to do with our armies. There seem to be at least two ways in which armies may be utilized, as we may already see in France, and perhaps to some slight extent in England. In the first place, the army may be made a [347] great educational agency, an academy of arts and sciences, a school of citizenship. In the second place, armies are tending to become, as William James pointed out, the reserve force of peace, great organized unemployed bodies of men which can be brought into use during sudden emergencies and national disasters. Thus the French army performed admirable service during the great Seine floods a few years ago, and both in France and in England the army has been called upon to help to carry on public duties indispensable to the welfare of the nation during great strikes, though here it would be unfortunate if the army came to be regarded as a mere strike-breaking corps. Along these main lines, however, there are, as Guérard has pointed out, signs of a transformation which, while preserving armies for international use, yet point to a compromise between the army and modern democracy.

It is feared by some that the reign of universal peace will deprive them of the opportunity of exhibiting daring and heroism. Without inquiring too carefully what use has been made of their present opportunities by those who express this fear, it must be said that such a fear is altogether groundless. There are an infinite number of positions in life in which courage is needed, as much as on a battlefield, though, for the most part, with less risk of that total annihilation which in the past has done so much to breed out the courageous stocks. Moreover, the certain establishment of peace will immensely enlarge the scope for daring and adventure in the social sphere. There are departments in the higher breeding and social evolution of the race—some perhaps even involving [348] questions of life and death—where the highest courage is needed. It would be premature to discuss them, for they can scarcely enter the field of practical politics until war has been abolished. But those persons who are burning to display heroism may rest assured that the course of social evolution will offer them every opportunity.

_______________

Notes:

[221] The respective parts of war and law in the constitution of states are clearly and concisely set forth by Edward Jenks in his little primer, A History of Politics. Steinmetz, who argues in favour of the preservation of the method of war, in his book Die Philosophie des Krieges (p. 303) states that "not a single element of the warlike spirit, not one of the psychic conditions of war, is lacking to the civilized European peoples of to-day." That may well be, although there is much reason to believe that they have all very considerably diminished. Such warlike spirit as exists to-day must be considerably discounted by the fact that those who manifest it are not usually the people who would actually have to do the fighting. It is more important to point out (as is done in a historical sketch of warfare by A. Sutherland, Nineteenth Century, April, 1899) that, as a matter of fact, war is becoming both less frequent and less ferocious. In England, for instance, where at one period the population spent a great part of their time in fighting, there has practically been no war for two and a half centuries. When the ancient Germans swept through Spain (as Procopius, who was an eye-witness, tells) they slew every human being they met, including women and children, until millions had perished. The laws of war, though not always observed, are constantly growing more humane, and Sutherland estimates that warfare is now less than one-hundredth part as destructive as it was in the early Middle Ages.

[222] This inevitable extension of the sphere of law from the settlement of disputes between individuals to disputes between individual states has been pointed out before, and is fairly obvious. Thus Mougins-Roquefort, a French lawyer, in his book De la Solution Juridique des Conflits Internationaux (1889), observes that in the days of the Roman Empire, when there was only one civilized state, any system of international relationships was impossible, but that as soon as we have a number of states forming units of international society there at once arises the necessity for a system of international relationships, just as some system of social order is necessary to regulate the relations of any community of individuals.

[223] In England, a small and compact country, this process was completed at a comparatively early date. In France it was not until the days of Louis XV (in 1756) that the "last feudal brigand," as Taine calls the Marquis de Pleumartin in Poitou, was captured and beheaded.

[224] France, notwithstanding her military aptitude, has always taken the pioneering part in the pacific movement of civilization. Even at the beginning of the fourteenth century France produced an advocate of international arbitration, Pierre Dubois (Petrus de Bosco), the Norman lawyer, a pupil of Thomas Aquinas. In the seventeenth century Emeric Crucé proposed, for the first time, to admit all peoples, without distinction of colour or religion, to be represented at some central city where every state would have its perpetual ambassador, these representatives forming an assembly to adjudicate on international differences (Dubois and Crucé have lately been studied by Prof. Vesnitch, Revue d'Histoire Diplomatique, January, 1911). The history of the various peace projects generally has been summarily related by Lagorgette in Le Rôle de la Guerre, 1906, Part IV, chap. VI.

[225] The same points had previously been brought forward by others, although not so vigorously enforced. Thus the well-known Belgian economist and publicist, Emile de Laveleye, pointed out (Pall Mall Gazette, 4th August, 1888) that "the happiest countries are incontestably the smallest: Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, and still more the Republics of San Marino and Val d'Andorre"; and that "countries in general, even when victorious, do not profit by their conquests."

[226] Bismarck himself declared that without the deep shame of the German defeat at Jena in 1806 the revival of German national feeling would have been impossible.

[227] D. Starr Jordan, The Human Harvest, 1907; J. Novikov, La Guerre et ses Prétendus Bienfaits, 1894, chap. IV; Novikov here argued that the selection of war eliminates not the feeble but the strong, and tends to produce, therefore, a survival of the unfittest.

[228] "The most demoralizing features in French military life," says Professor Guérard, a highly intelligent observer, "are due to an incontestable progress in the French mind—its gradual loss of faith and interest in military glory. Henceforth the army is considered as useless, dangerous, a burden without a compensation. Authors of school books may be censured for daring to print such opinions, but the great majority of the French hold them in their hearts. Nay, there is a prevailing suspicion among working men that the military establishment is kept up for the sole benefit of the capitalists, and the reckless use of troops in case of labour conflicts gives colour to the contention." It has often happened that what the French think to-day the world generally thinks to-morrow. There is probably a world-wide significance in the fact that French experience is held to show that progress in intelligence means the demoralization of the army.

[229] The influence of Syndicalism has, however, already reached the English Labour Movement, and an ill-advised prosecution by the English Government must have immensely aided in extending and fortifying that influence.

[230] Some small beginnings have already been made. "The greatest gain ever yet won for the cause of peace," writes Mr. H.W. Nevinson, the well-known war correspondent (Peace and War in the Balance, p. 47), "was the refusal of the Catalonian reservists to serve in the war against the Riff mountaineers of Morocco in July, 1909.... So Barcelona flared to heaven, and for nearly a week the people held the vast city. I have seen many noble, as well as many terrible, events, but none more noble or of finer promise than the sudden uprising of the Catalan working people against a dastardly and inglorious war, waged for the benefit of a few speculators in Paris and Madrid."

[231] J. Novikov, Le Fédération de l'Europe, chap. iv. Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labour, chap. IV. While this is the fundamental fact, we must remember that we cannot generalize about the ideas or the feelings of a whole sex, and that the biological traditions of women have been associated with a primitive period when they were the delighted spectators of combats. "Woman," thought Nietzsche, "is essentially unpeaceable, like the cat, however well she may have assumed the peaceable demeanour." Steinmetz (Philosophie des Krieges, p. 314), remarking that women are opposed to war in the abstract, adds: "In practice, however, it happens that women regard a particular war—and all wars are particular wars—with special favour"; he remarks that the majority of Englishwomen fully shared the war fever against the Boers, and that, on the other side, he knew Dutch ladies in Holland, very opposed to war, who would yet have danced with joy at that time on the news of a declaration of war against England.

[232] The general strike, which has been especially developed by the syndicalist Labour movement, and is now tending to spread to various countries, is a highly powerful weapon, so powerful that its results are not less serious than those of war. To use it against war seems to be to cast out Beelzebub by Beelzebub. Even in Labour disputes the modern strike threatens to become as serious and, indeed, almost as sanguinary as the civil wars of ancient times. The tendency is, therefore, in progressive countries, as we see in Australia, to supersede strikes by conciliation and arbitration, just as war is tending to be superseded by international tribunals. These two aims are, however, absolutely distinct, and the introduction of law into the disputes between nations can have no direct effect on the disputes between social classes. It is quite possible, however, that it may have an indirect effect, and that when disputes between nations are settled in an orderly manner, social feeling will forbid disputes between classes to be settled in a disorderly manner.

[233] The Abbé de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743), a churchman without vocation, was a Norman of noble family, and first published his Mémoires pour rendre la Paix Perpetuelle à l'Europe in 1722. As Siégler-Pascal well shows (Les Projets de l'Abbé dé Saint-Pierre, 1900) he was not a mere visionary Utopian, but an acute and far-seeing thinker, practical in his methods, a close observer, an experimentalist, and one of the first to attempt the employment of statistics. He was secretary to the French plenipotentiaries who negotiated the Treaty of Utrecht, and was thus probably put on the track of his scheme. He proposed that the various European states should name plenipotentiaries to form a permanent tribunal of compulsory arbitration for the settlement of all differences. If any state took up arms against one of the allies, the whole confederation would conjointly enter the field, at their conjoint expense, against the offending state. He was opposed to absolute disarmament, an army being necessary to ensure peace, but it must be a joint army composed of contingents from each Power in the confederation. Saint-Pierre, it will be seen, had clearly grasped the essential facts of the situation as we see them to-day. "The author of The Project of Perpetual Peace" concludes Prof. Pierre Robert in a sympathetic summary of his career (Petit de Julleville, Histoire de la Langue et de la Littérature Française, Vol. VI), "is the precursor of the twentieth century." His statue, we cannot doubt, will be a conspicuous object, beside Sully's, on the future Palace of any international tribunal.

[234] Jules de Gaultier, "Comment Naissent les Dogmes," Mercure de France, 1st Sept., 1911. Jules de Gaultier also observes that "conflict is the law and condition of all existence." That may be admitted, but it ceases to be true if we assume, as the same thinker assumes, that "conflict" necessarily involves "war." The establishment of law to regulate the disputes between individuals by no means suppresses conflict, but it suppresses fighting, and it ensures that if any fighting occur the aggressor shall not profit by his aggression. In the same way the existence of a tribunal to regulate the disputes between national communities of individuals can by no means suppress conflict; but unless it suppresses fighting, and unless it ensures that if fighting occurs the aggressor shall not profit by his aggression, it will have effected nothing.

[235] A.L. Guérard, "Impressions of Military Life in France," Popular Science Monthly, April, 1911.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

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XI. THE PROBLEM OF AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE

Early Attempts to Construct an International Language—The Urgent Need of an Auxiliary Language To-day—Volapük—The Claims of Spanish—Latin—The Claims of English—Its Disadvantages—The Claims of French—Its Disadvantages—The Modern Growth of National Feeling opposed to Selection of a Natural Language—Advantages of an Artificial Language—Demands it must fulfil—Esperanto—Its Threatened Disruption—The International Association for the adoption of an Auxiliary International Language—The First Step to Take.

Ever since the decay of Latin as the universal language of educated people, there have been attempts to replace it by some other medium of international communication. That decay was inevitable; it was the outward manifestation of a movement of individualism which developed national languages and national literatures, and burst through the restraining envelope of an authoritarian system expounded in an official language. This individualism has had the freest play, and we are not likely to lose all that it has given us. Yet as soon as it was achieved the more distinguished spirits in every country began to feel the need of counterbalancing it. The history of the movement may be said to begin with Descartes, who in 1629 wrote to his friend Mersenne that it would be possible to construct an artificial [350] language which could be used as an international medium of communication. Leibnitz, though he had solved the question for himself, writing some of his works in Latin and others in French, was yet all his life more or less occupied with the question of a universal language. Other men of the highest distinction—Pascal, Condillac, Voltaire, Diderot, Ampère, Jacob Grimm—have sought or desired a solution to this problem. [236] None of these great men, however, succeeded even in beginning an attempt to solve the problem they were concerned with.

Some forty years ago, however, the difficulty began again to be felt, this time much more keenly and more widely than before. The spread of commerce, the facility of travel, the ramifications of the postal service, the development of new nationalities and new literatures, have laid upon civilized peoples a sense of burden and restriction which could never have been felt by their forefathers in the previous century. Added to this, a new sense of solidarity had been growing up in the world; the financial and commercial solidarity, by which any disaster or disturbance in one country causes a wave of disaster or disturbance to pass over the whole civilized globe, was being supplemented by a sense of spiritual solidarity. Men began to realize that the tasks of civilization cannot be carried out except by mutual understanding and mutual sympathy among the more civilized nations, that every nation has something to learn from [351] other nations, and that the bonds of international intercourse must thus be drawn closer. This feeling of the need of an international language led in America to several serious attempts to obtain a consensus of opinion among scientific men regarding an international language. Thus in 1888 the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, the oldest of American learned societies, unanimously resolved, on the initiative of Brinton, to address a letter to learned societies throughout the world, asking for their co-operation in perfecting a language for commercial and learned purposes, based on the Aryan vocabulary and grammar in their simplest forms, and to that end proposing an international congress, the first meeting of which should be held in Paris or London. In the same year Horatio Hale read a paper on the same subject before the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A little later, in 1890, it was again proposed at a meeting of the same Association that, in order to consider the question of the construction and adoption of a symmetrical and scientific language, a congress should be held, delegates being in proportion to the number of persons speaking each language.

These excellent proposals seem, however, to have borne little fruit. It is always an exceedingly difficult matter to produce combined action among scientific societies even of the same nation. Thus the way has been left open for individuals to adopt the easier but far less decisive or satisfactory method of inventing a new language by their own unaided exertions. Certainly over a hundred such languages have been proposed during the past century. [352] The most famous of these was undoubtedly Volapük, which was invented in 1880 by Schleyer, a German-Swiss priest who knew many languages and had long pondered over this problem, but who was not a scientific philologist; the actual inception of the language occurred in a dream. Volapük was almost the first real attempt at an organic language capable of being used for the oral transmission of thought. On this account, no doubt, it met with great and widespread success; it was actively taken up by a professor at Paris, societies were formed for its propagation, journals and hundreds of books were published in it; its adherents were estimated at a million. But its success, though brilliant, was short-lived. In 1889, when the third Volapük Congress was held, it was at the height of its success, but thereafter dissension arose, and its reputation suddenly collapsed. No one now speaks Volapük; it is regarded as a hideous monstrosity, even by those who have the most lively faith in artificial languages. Its inventor has outlived his language, and, like it, has been forgotten by the world, though his achievement was a real step towards the solution of the problem.

The collapse of Volapük discouraged thoughtful persons from expecting any solution of the problem in an artificial language. It seemed extremely improbable that any invented language, least of all the unaided product of a single mind, could ever be generally accepted, or be worthy of general acceptance, as an international mode of communication. Such a language failed to carry the prestige necessary to overcome the immense inertia [353] which any attempt to adopt it would meet with. Invented languages, the visionary schemes of idealists, apparently received no support from practical men of affairs. It seemed to be among actual languages, living or dead, that we might most reasonably expect to find a medium of communication likely to receive wide support. The difficulty then lay in deciding which language should be selected.

Russian had sometimes been advocated as the universal language for international purposes, and it is possible to point to the enormous territory of Russia, its growing power and the fact that Russian is the real or official language of a larger number of people than any other language except English. But Russian is so unlike the Latin and Teutonic tongues, used by the majority of European peoples; it is so complicated, so difficult to acquire, and, moreover, so lacking in concision that it has never had many enthusiastic advocates.

The virtues and defects of Spanish, which has found many enthusiastic supporters, are of an opposite character. It is an admirably vigorous and euphonious language, on a sound phonetic basis, every letter always standing for a definite sound; the grammar is simple and exceptionally free from irregularities, and it is the key to a great literature. Billroth, the distinguished Austrian surgeon, advocated the adoption of Spanish; he regarded English as really more suitable, but, he pointed out, it is so difficult for the Latin races to speak non-Latin tongues that a Romance language is essential, and Spanish is the simplest and most logical of the [354] Romance tongues. [237] It is, moreover, spoken by a vast number of people in South America and elsewhere.

A few enthusiasts have advocated Greek, and have supported their claim with the argument that it is still a living language. But although Greek is the key to a small but precious literature, and is one of the sources of latter-day speech and scientific terminology, it is difficult, it is without special adaptation to modern uses, and there are no adequate reasons why it should be made an international language.

Latin cannot be dismissed quite so hastily. It has in its favour the powerful argument that it has once already been found adequate to serve as the universal language. There is a widespread opinion to-day among the medical profession—the profession most actively interested in the establishment of a universal language—that Latin should be adopted, and before the International Medical Congress at Rome in 1894, a petition to this effect was presented by some eight hundred doctors in India. [238] It is undoubtedly an admirable language, expressive, concentrated, precise. But the objections are serious. The [355] relative importance of Latin to-day is very far from what it was a thousand years ago, for conditions have wholly changed. There is now no great influence, such as the Catholic Church was of old, to enforce Latin, even if it possessed greater advantages. And the advantages are very mixed. Latin is a wholly dead tongue, and except in a degenerate form not by any means an easy one to learn, for its genius is wholly opposed to the genius even of those modern languages which are most closely allied to it. The world never returns on its own path. Although the prestige of Latin is still enormous, a language could only be brought from death to life by some widespread motor force; such a force no longer exists behind Latin.

There remain English and French, and these are undoubtedly the two natural languages most often put forward—even outside England and France—as possessing the best claims for adoption as auxiliary international mediums of communication.

English, especially, was claimed by many, some twenty years ago, to be not merely the auxiliary language of the future, but the universal language which must spread all over the world and supersede and drive out all others by a kind of survival of the fittest. This notion of a universal language is now everywhere regarded as a delusion, but at that time there was still thought by many to be a kind of special procreative activity in the communities of Anglo-Saxon origin which would naturally [356] tend to replace all other peoples, both the people and the language being regarded as the fittest to survive. [239] English was, however, rightly felt to be a language with very great force behind it, being spoken by vast communities possessing a peculiarly energetic and progressive temperament, and with much power of peaceful penetration in other lands. It is generally acknowledged also that English fully deserves to be ranked as one of the first of languages by its fine aptitude for powerful expression, while at the same time it is equally fitted for routine commercial purposes. The wide extension of English and its fine qualities have often been emphasized, and it is unnecessary to dwell on them here. The decision of the scientific societies of the world to use English for bibliographical purposes is not entirely a tribute to English energy in organization, but to the quality of the language. One finds, indeed, that these facts are widely recognized abroad, in France and elsewhere, though I have noted that those who foretell the conquest of English, even when they are men of intellectual distinction and able to read English, are often quite unable to speak it or to understand it when spoken.

That brings us to a point which is overlooked by those who triumphantly pointed to the natural settlement of this question by the swamping of other tongues in the [357] overflowing tide of English speech. English is the most concise and laconic of the great languages. Greek, French and German are all more expansive, more syllabically copious. Latin alone may be said to equal, or surpass English in concentration, because, although Latin words are longer on the average, by their greater inflection they cover a larger number of English words. This power of English to attain expression with a minimum expenditure of energy in written speech is one of its chief claims to succeed Latin as the auxiliary international language. But it furnishes no claim to preference for actual speaking, in which this economy of energy ceases to be a supreme virtue, since here we have also to admit the virtues of easy intelligibility and of persuasiveness. Greek largely owed its admirable fitness for speech to the natural richness and prolongation of its euphonious words, which allowed the speaker to attain the legitimate utterance of his thought without pauses or superfluous repetition. French, again, while by no means inapt for concentration, as the pensée writers show, most easily lends itself to effects that are meant for speech, as in Bossuet, or that recall speech, as in Mme de Sevigné in one order of literature, or Renan in another. But at Rome, we feel, the spoken tongue had a difficulty to overcome, and the mellifluously prolonged rhetoric of Cicero, delightful as it may be, scarcely seems to reveal to us the genius of the Latin tongue. The inaptitude of English for the purposes of speech is even more conspicuous, and is again well illustrated in our oratory. Gladstone was an orator of acknowledged eloquence, [358] but the extreme looseness and redundancy into which his language was apt to fall in the effort to attain the verbose richness required for the ends of spoken speech, reveals too clearly the poverty of English from this point of view. The same tendency is also illustrated by the vain re-iterations of ordinary speakers. The English intellect, with all its fine qualities, is not sufficiently nimble for either speaker or hearer to keep up with the swift brevity of the English tongue. It is a curious fact that Great Britain takes the lead in Europe in the prevalence of stuttering; the language is probably a factor in this evil pre-eminence, for it appears that the Chinese, whose language is powerfully rhythmic, never stutter. One authority has declared that "no nation in the civilized world speaks its language so abominably as the English." We can scarcely admit that this English difficulty of speech is the result of some organic defect in English nervous systems; the language itself must be a factor in the matter. I have found, when discussing the point with scientific men and others abroad, that the opinion prevails that it is usually difficult to follow a speaker in English. This experience may, indeed, be considered general. While an admirably strong and concise language, English is by no means so adequate in actual speech; it is not one of the languages which can be heard at a long distance, and, moreover, it lends itself in speaking to so many contractions that are not used in writing—so many "can'ts" and "won'ts" and "don'ts," which suit English taciturnity, but slur and ruin English speech—that English, as spoken, is almost a different [359] language from that which excites admiration when written. So that the exclusive use of English for international purposes would not be the survival of the fittest so far as a language for speaking purposes is concerned.

Moreover, it must be remembered that English is not a democratic language. It is not, like the chief Romance languages and the chief Teutonic languages, practically homogeneous, made out of one block. It is formed by the mixture of two utterly unlike elements, one aristocratic, the other plebeian. Ever since the Norman lord came over to England a profound social inequality has become rooted in the very language. In French, b[oe]uf and mouton and veau and porc have always been the same for master and for man, in the field and on the table; the animal has never changed its plebeian name for an aristocratic name as it passed through the cook's hands. That example is typical of the curious mark which the Norman Conquest left on our speech, rendering it so much more difficult for us than for the French to attain equality of social intercourse. Inequality is stamped indelibly into our language as into no other great language. Of course, from the literary point of view, that is all gain, and has been of incomparable aid to our poets in helping them to reach their most magnificent effects, as we may see conspicuously in Shakespeare's enormous vocabulary. But from the point of view of equal social intercourse, this wealth of language is worse than lost, it is disastrous. The old feudal distinctions are still perpetuated; the "man" still speaks his "plain Anglo-Saxon," and the "gentleman" still speaks his refined Latinized speech. In every language, [360] it is true, there are social distinctions in speech, and every language has its slang. But in English these distinctions are perpetuated in the very structure of the language. Elsewhere the working-class speak—with a little difference in the quality—a language needing no substantial transformation to become the language of society, which differs from it in quality rather than in kind. But the English working man feels the need to translate his common Anglo-Saxon speech into foreign words of Latin origin. It is difficult for the educated person in England to understand the struggle which the uneducated person goes through to speak the language of the educated, although the unsatisfactory result is sufficiently conspicuous. But we can trace the operation of a similar cause in the hesitancy of the educated man himself when he attempts to speak in public and is embarrassed by the search for the set of words most suited for dignified purposes.

Most of those who regarded English as the coming world-language admitted that it would require improvement for general use. The extensive and fundamental character of the necessary changes is not, however, realized. The difficulties of English are of four kinds: (1) its special sounds, very troublesome for foreigners to learn to pronounce, and the uncertainty of its accentuation; (2) its illogical and chaotic spelling, inevitably leading to confusions in pronunciation; (3) the grammatical irregularities in its verbs and plural nouns; and (4) the great number of widely different words which are almost or quite similar in pronunciation. A vast [361] number of absurd pitfalls are thus prepared for the unwary user of English. He must remember that the plural of "mouse" is "mice," but that the plural of "house" is not "hice," that he may speak of his two "sons," but not of his two "childs"; he will indistinguishably refer to "sheeps" and "ships"; and like the preacher a little unfamiliar with English who had chosen a well-known text to preach on, he will not remember whether "plough" is pronounced "pluff" or "plo," [240] and even a phonetic spelling system would render still more confusing the confusion between such a series of words as "hair," "hare," "heir," "are," "ere" and "eyre." Many of these irregularities are deeply rooted in the structure of the language; it would be an extremely difficult as well as extensive task to remove them, and when the task was achieved the language would have lost much of its character and savour; it would clash painfully with literary English.

Thus even if we admitted that English ought to be the international language of the future, the result is not so satisfactory from a British point of view as is usually taken for granted. All other civilized nations would be bilingual; they would possess the key not only to their own literature, but to a great foreign literature with all the new horizons that a foreign literature opens out. The English-speaking countries alone would be furnished with only one language, and would have no stimulus to [362] acquire any other language, for no other language would be of any practical use to them. All foreigners would be in a position to bring to the English-speaking man whatever information they considered good for him. At first sight this seems a gain for the English-speaking peoples, because they would thus be spared a certain expenditure of energy; but a very little reflection shows that such a [363] saving of energy is like that effected by the intestinal parasitic worm who has digested food brought ready to his mouth. It leads to degeneracy. Not the people whose language is learnt, but the people who learn a language reap the benefit, spiritual and material. It is now admitted in the commercial world that the ardour of the Germans in learning English has brought more advantage to the Germans than to the English. Moreover, the high intellectual level of small nations at the present time is due largely to the fact that all their educated members must be familiar with one or two languages besides their own. The great defect of the English mind is insularity; the virtue of its boisterous energy is accompanied by lack of insight into the differing virtues of other peoples. If the natural course of events led to the exclusive use of English for international communication, this defect would be still more accentuated. The immense value of becoming acquainted with a foreign language is that we are thereby led into a new world of tradition and thought and feeling. Before we know a new language truly, we have to realize that the words which at first seem equivalent to words in our own language often have a totally different atmosphere, a different rank or dignity from that which they occupy in our own language. It is in learning this difference in the moral connotation of a language and its expression in literature that we reap the real benefit of knowing a foreign tongue. There is no other way—not even residence in a foreign land if we are ignorant of the language—to take us out of the customary circle of our own [364] traditions. It imparts a mental flexibility and emotional sympathy which no other discipline can yield. To ordain that all non-English-speaking peoples should learn English in addition to their mother tongue, and to render it practically unnecessary for English-speakers (except the small class of students) to learn any other language, would be to confer an immense boon on the first group of peoples, doubling their mental and emotional capacity; it is to render the second group hidebound.

When we take a broad and impartial survey of the question we thus see that there is reason to believe that, while English is an admirable literary language (this is the ground that its eulogists always take), and sufficiently concise for commercial purposes, it is by no means an adequate international tongue, especially for purposes of oral speech, and, moreover, its exclusive use for this purpose would be a misfortune for the nations already using it, since they would be deprived of that mental flexibility and emotional sympathy which no discipline can give so well as knowledge of a living foreign tongue.

Many who realized these difficulties put forward French as the auxiliary international language. It is quite true that the power behind French is now relatively less than it was two centuries ago. [241] At that time France [365] by its relatively large population, the tradition of its military greatness, and its influential political position, was able to exert an immense influence; French was the language of intellect and society in Germany, in England, in Russia, everywhere in fact. During the eighteenth century internal maladministration, the cataclysm of the Revolution, and finally the fatal influence of Napoleon alienated foreign sympathy, and France lost her commanding position. Yet it was reasonably felt that, if a natural language is to be used for international purposes, after English there is no practicable alternative to French.

French is the language not indeed in any special sense of science or of commerce, but of the finest human culture. It is a well-organized tongue, capable of the finest shades of expression, and it is the key to a great literature. In most respects it is the best favoured child of Latin; it commends itself to all who speak Romance languages, and, as Alphonse de Candolle has remarked, a Spaniard and an Italian know three-quarters of French beforehand, and every one who has learnt Latin knows [366] half of French already. It is more admirably adapted for speaking purposes than perhaps any other language which has any claim to be used for international purposes, as we should expect of the tongue spoken by a people who have excelled in oratory, who possess such widely diffused dramatic ability, and who have carried the arts of social intercourse to the highest point.

Paris remains for most people the intellectual capital of Europe; French is still very generally used for purposes of intercommunication throughout Europe, while the difficulty experienced by all but Germans and Russians in learning English is well known. Li Hung Chang is reported to have said that, while for commercial reasons English is far more widely used in China than French, the Chinese find French a much easier language to learn to speak, and the preferences of the Chinese may one day count for a good deal—in one direction or another—in the world's progress. One frequently hears that the use of French for international purposes is decaying; this is a delusion probably due to the relatively slow growth of the French-speaking races and to various temporary political causes. It is only necessary to look at the large International Medical Congresses. Thus at one such Congress at Rome, at which I was present, over six thousand members came from forty-two countries of the globe, and over two thousand of them took part in the proceedings. Four languages (Italian, French, German and English) were used at this Congress. Going over the seven large volumes of Transactions, I find that fifty-nine communications were presented in English, one hundred [367] and seventy-one in German, three hundred and one in French, the rest in Italian. The proportion of English communications to German is thus a little more than one to three, and the proportion of English to French less than one to six. Moreover, the English-speaking members invariably (I believe) used their own language, so that these fifty-nine communications represent the whole contribution of the English-speaking world. And they represent nothing more than that; notwithstanding the enormous spread of English, of which we hear so much, not a single non-English speaker seems to have used English. It might be supposed that this preponderance of French was due to a preponderance of the French element, but this was by no means the case; the members of English-speaking race greatly exceeded those of French-speaking race. But, while the English communications represented the English-speaking countries only, and the German communications were chiefly by German speakers, French was spoken not only by members belonging to the smaller nations of Europe, from the north and from the south, by the Russians, by most of the Turkish and Asiatic members, but also by all the Mexicans and South Americans. These figures may not be absolutely free from fallacy, due to temporary causes of fluctuation. But that they are fairly exact is shown by the results of the following Congress, held at Moscow. If I take up the programme for the department of psychiatry and nervous disease, in which I was myself chiefly interested, I find that of 131 communications, 80 were in French, 37 in [368] German and 14 in English. This shows that French, German and English bear almost exactly the same relation to one another as at Rome. In other words, 61 per cent of the speakers used French, 28 per cent German, and only 11 per cent English.

If we come down to one of the most recent International Medical Congresses, that of Lisbon in 1906, we find that the supremacy of French, far from weakening, is more emphatically affirmed. The language of the country in which the Congress was held was ruled out, and I find that of 666 contributions to the proceedings of the Congress, over 84 per cent were in French, scarcely more than 8 per cent in English, and less than 7 per cent in German. At the subsequent Congress at Budapesth in 1909, the French contributions were to the English as three to one. Similar results are shown by other International Congresses. Thus at the third International Congress of Psychology, held at Munich, there were four official languages, and on grounds of locality the majority of communications were in German; French followed with 29, Italian with 12, and English brought up the rear with 11. Dr. Westermarck, who is the stock example of the spread of English for international purposes, spoke in German. It is clearly futile to point to figures showing the prolific qualities of English races; the moral quality of a race and its language counts, as well as mere physical capacity for breeding, and the moral influence of French to-day is immensely greater than that of English. That is, indeed, scarcely a fair statement of the matter in view of the typical cases just quoted; one should rather say that, as a means of spoken international communication [369] for other than commercial purposes, English is nowhere.

There is one other point which serves to give prestige to French: its literary supremacy in the modern world. While some would claim for the English the supreme poetic literature, there can be no doubt that the French own the supreme prose literature of modern Europe. It was felt by those who advocated the adoption of English or French that it would surely be a gain for human progress if the auxiliary international languages of the future should be one, if not both, of two that possess great literatures, and which embody cultures in some respects allied, but in most respects admirably supplementing each other. [242]

The collapse of Volapük stimulated the energy of those who believed that the solution of the question lay in the adoption of a natural language. To-day, however, there are few persons who, after carefully considering the matter, regard this solution as probable or practicable. [243]

[370] Considerations of two orders seem now to be decisive in rejecting the claims of English and French, or, indeed, any other natural language, to be accepted as an international language: (1) The vast number of peculiarities, difficulties, and irregularities, rendering necessary so revolutionary a change for international purposes that the language would be almost transformed into an artificial language, and perhaps not even then an entirely satisfactory one. (2) The extraordinary development during recent years of the minor national languages, and the jealousy of foreign languages which this revival has caused. This latter factor is probably alone fatal to the adoption of any living language. It can scarcely be disputed that neither English nor French occupies to-day so relatively influential a position as it once occupied. The movement against the use of French in Roumania, as detrimental to the national language, is significant of a widespread feeling, while, as regards English, the introduction by the Germans into commerce of the method of approaching customers in their own tongue, has rendered impossible the previous English custom of treating English as the general language of commerce.

The natural languages, it became realized, fail to answer to the requirements which must be made of an auxiliary international language. The conditions which have to be fulfilled are thus formulated by Anna Roberts: [244]

"First, a vocabulary having a maximum of internationality in its root-words for at least the Indo-European races, living or bordering on the confines of the old Roman [371] Empire, whose vocabularies are already saturated with Greek and Latin roots, absorbed during the long centuries of contact with Greek and Roman civilization. As the centre of gravity of the world's civilization now stands, this seems the most rational beginning. Such a language shall then have:

"Second, a grammatical structure stripped of all the irregularities found in every existing tongue, and that shall be simpler than any of them. It shall have:

"Third, a single, unalterable sound for each letter, no silent letters, no difficult, complex, shaded sounds, but simple primary sounds, capable of being combined into harmonious words, which latter shall have but a single stress accent that never shifts.

"Fourth, mobility of structure, aptness for the expression of complex ideas, but in ways that are grammatically simple, and by means of words that can easily be analysed without a dictionary.

"Fifth, it must be capable of being, not merely a literary language, [245] but a spoken tongue, having a pronunciation that can be perfectly mastered by adults through the use of manuals, and in the absence of oral teachers.

"Finally, and as a necessary corollary and complement to all of the above, this international auxiliary language must, to be of general utility, be exceedingly easy of acquisition by persons of but moderate education, [372] and hitherto conversant with no language but their own."


Thus the way was prepared for the favourable reception of a new artificial language, which had in the meanwhile been elaborated. Dr. Zamenhof, a Russian physician living at Warsaw, had been from youth occupied with the project of an international language, and in 1887 he put forth in French his scheme for a new language to be called Esperanto. The scheme attracted little notice; Volapük was then at the zenith of its career, and when it fell, its fall discredited all attempts at an artificial language. But, like Volapük, Esperanto found its great apostle in France. M. Louis de Beaufront brought his high ability and immense enthusiasm to the work of propaganda, and the success of Esperanto in the world is attributed in large measure to him. The extension of Esperanto is now threatening to rival that of Volapük. Many years ago Max Müller, and subsequently Skeat, notwithstanding the philologist's prejudice in favour of natural languages, expressed their approval of Esperanto, and many persons of distinction, moving in such widely remote spheres as Tolstoy and Sir William Ramsay, have since signified their acceptance and their sympathy. Esperanto Congresses are regularly held, Esperanto Societies and Esperanto Consulates are established in many parts of the world, a great number of books and journals are published in Esperanto, and some of the world's classics have been translated into it.

It is generally recognized that Esperanto represents a great advance on Volapük. Yet there are already signs [373] that Esperanto is approaching the climax of its reputation, and that possibly its inventor may share the fate of the inventor of Volapük and outlive his own language. The most serious attack on Esperanto has come from within. The most intelligent Esperantists have realized the weakness and defects of their language (in some measure due to the inevitable Slavonic prepossessions of its inventor) and demand radical reforms, which the conservative party resist. Even M. de Beaufront, to whom its success was largely due, has abandoned primitive Esperanto, and various scientific men of high distinction in several countries now advocate the supersession of Esperanto by an improved language based upon it and called Ido. Professor Lorenz, who is among the advocates of Ido, admits that Esperanto has shown the possibility of a synthetic language, but states definitely that "according to the concordant testimony of all unbiased opinions" Esperanto in no wise represents the final solution of the problem. This new movement is embodied in the Délégation pour l'Adoption d'une Langue Auxiliaire Internationale, founded in Paris during the International Exhibition in 1900 by various eminent literary and scientific men, and having its head-quarters in Paris. The Délégation consider that the problem demands a purely scientific and technical solution, and it is claimed that 40 per cent of the stems of Ido are common to six languages: German, English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. The Délégation appear to have approached the question with a fairly open mind, and it was only after study of the subject that they finally reached the [374] conclusion that Esperanto contained a sufficient number of good qualities to furnish a basis on which to work. [246]

The general programme of the Délégation is that (1) an auxiliary international language is required, adapted to written and oral language between persons of different mother tongues; (2) such language must be capable of serving the needs of science, daily life, commerce, and general intercourse, and must be of such a character that it may easily be learnt by persons of average elementary education, especially those of civilized European nationality; (3) the decision to rest with the International Association of Academies, and, in case of their refusal, with the Committee of the Délégation. [247]

The Délégation is seeking to bring about an official international Congress which would either itself or through properly appointed experts establish an internationally and officially recognized auxiliary language. The chief step made in this direction has been the formation at Berne in 1911 of an international association whose object is to take immediate steps towards bringing the question before the Governments of Europe. The Association is pledged to observe a strict neutrality in regard to the language to be chosen.

The whole question seems thus to have been placed on a sounder basis than hitherto. The international language [375] of the future cannot be, and ought not to be, settled by a single individual seeking to impose his own invention on the world. This is not a matter for zealous propaganda of an almost religious character. The hasty and premature adoption of some privately invented language merely retards progress. No individual can settle the question by himself. What we need is calm study and deliberation between the nations and the classes chiefly concerned, acting through the accredited representatives of their Governments and other professional bodies. Nothing effective can be done until the pressure of popular opinion has awakened Governments and scientific societies to the need for action. The question of international arbitration has become practical; the question of the international language ought to go hand in hand with that of international arbitration. They are closely allied and both equally necessary.

While the educational, commercial, and official advantages of an auxiliary international language are obvious, it seems to me that from the standpoint of social hygiene there are at least three interests which are especially and deeply concerned in the settlement of this question.

The first and chief is that of international democracy in its efforts to attain an understanding on labour questions. There can be no solution of this question until a simpler mode of personal communication has become widely prevalent. This matter has from time to time already been brought before international labour congresses, and those who attend such congresses have doubtless had occasion to realize how essential it is. [376] Perhaps it is a chief factor in the comparative failure of such congresses hitherto.

Science represents the second great interest which has shown an active concern in the settlement of this question. To follow up any line of scientific research is already a sufficiently gigantic work, on account of the absence of proper bibliographical organization; it becomes almost overwhelming now that the search has to extend over at least half a dozen languages, and still leaves the searcher a stranger to the important investigations which are appearing in Russian and in Japanese, and will before long appear in other languages. Sir Michael Foster once drew a humorous picture of the woes of the physiologist owing to these causes. In other fields—especially in the numerous branches of anthropological research, as I can myself bear witness—the worker is even worse off than the physiologist. Just now science is concentrating its energies on the organization of bibliography, but much attention has been given to this question of an international language from time to time, and it is likely before long to come pressingly to the front.

The medical profession is also practically concerned in this question; hitherto it has, indeed, taken a more lively interest in the effort to secure an international language than has pure science. It is of the first importance that new discoveries and methods in medicine and hygiene should be rendered immediately accessible; while the now enormously extended domain of medicine is full of great questions which can only be solved by international co-operation on an international basis. [377] The responsibility of advocating a number of measures affecting the well-being of communities lies, in the first place, with the medical profession; but no general agreement is possible without full facilities for discussion in international session. This has been generally recognized; hence the numerous attempts to urge a single language on the organizers of the international medical congresses. I have already observed how large and active these congresses were. Yet it cannot be said that any results are achieved commensurate with the world-wide character of such congresses. Partly this is due to the fact that the organizers of international congresses have not yet learnt what should be the scope of such conferences, and what they may legitimately hope to perform; but very largely because there is no international method of communication; and, except for a few seasoned cosmopolitans, no truly international exchange of opinions takes place. This can only be possible when we have a really common and familiar method of intercommunication.

These three interests—democratic, scientific, medical—seem at present those chiefly concerned in the task of putting this matter on a definite basis, and it is much to be desired that they should come to some common agreement. They represent three immensely important modes of social and intellectual activity, and the progress of every nation is bound up with an international progress of which they are now the natural pioneers. It cannot be too often repeated that the day has gone by when any progress worthy of the name can be purely national. [378] All the most vital questions of national progress tend to merge themselves into international questions. But before any question of international progress can result in anything but noisy confusion, we need a recognized mode of international intelligence and communication. That is why the question of the auxiliary international language is of actual and vital interest to all who are concerned with the tasks of social hygiene.

THE QUESTION ON INTERNATIONAL COINAGE

It must be remembered that the international auxiliary language is an organic part of a larger internationalization which must inevitably be effected, and is indeed already coming into being. Two related measures of intercommunication are an international system of postage stamps, and an international coinage, to which may be added an international system of weights and measures, which seems to be already in course of settlement by the increasingly general adoption of the metric system. The introduction of the exchangeable international stamp coupon represents the beginning of a truly international postal system; but it is only a beginning. If a completely developed international postal system were incidentally to deliver some nations, and especially the English, from the depressingly ugly postage stamps they are now condemned to use, this reform would possess a further advantage almost as great as its practical utility. An international coinage is, again, a prime necessity, which would possess immense commercial advantages in addition to the great saving of trouble it would effect. The progress of civilization is already working towards an international coinage. In an interesting paper on this subject ("International Coinage," Popular Science Monthly, March, 1910) T.F. van Wagenen writes; "Each in its way, the great [379] commercial nations of the day are unconsciously engaged in the task. The English shilling is working northwards from the Cape of Good Hope, has already come in touch with the German mark and the Portuguese peseta which have been introduced on both the east and west sides of the Continent, and will in due time meet the French franc and Italian lira coming south from the shores of the Mediterranean. In Asia, the Indian rupee, the Russian rouble, the Japanese yen, and the American-Philippine coins are already competing for the patronage of the Malay and the Chinaman. In South America neither American nor European coins have any foot-hold, the Latin-American nations being well supplied by systems of their own, all related more or less closely to the coinage of Mexico or Portugal. Thus the plainly evolutionary task of pushing civilization into the uneducated parts of the world through commerce is as badly hampered by the different coins offered to the barbarian as are the efforts of the evangelists to introduce Christianity by the existence of the various denominations and creeds. The Church is beginning to appreciate the wastage in its efforts, and is trying to minimize it by combinations among the denominations having for their object to standardize Christianity, so to speak, by reducing tenet and dogma to the lowest possible terms. Commerce must do the same. The white man's coins must be standardized and simplified.... The international coin will come in a comparatively short time, just as will arrive the international postage stamp, which, by the way, is very badly needed. For the upper classes of all countries, the people who travel, and have to stand the nuisance and loss of changing their money at every frontier, the bankers and international merchants who have to cumber their accounts with the fluctuating item of exchange between commercial centres will insist upon it. All the European nations, with the exception of Russia and Turkey, are ready for the change, and when these reach the stage of real constitutionalism in [380] their progress upward, they will be compelled to follow, being already deeply in debt to the French, English, and Germans. Japan may be counted upon to acquiesce instantly in any unit agreed upon by the rest of the civilized world."

This writer points out that the opening out of the uncivilized parts of the world to commerce will alone serve to make an international coinage absolutely indispensable.

Without, however, introducing a really new system, an auxiliary international money system (corresponding to an auxiliary international language) could be introduced as a medium of exchange without interfering with the existing coinages of the various nations. Réné de Saussure (writing in the Journal de Genève, in 1907) has insisted on the immense benefit such a system of "monnaie de compte" would be in removing the burden imposed upon all international financial relations by the diversity of money values. He argues that the best point of union would be a gold piece of eight grammes—almost exactly equivalent to one pound, twenty marks, five dollars, and twenty-five francs—being, in fact, but one-third of a penny different from the value of a pound sterling. For the subdivisions the point of union must be decimally divided, and M. de Saussure would give the name of speso to a ten-thousandth part of the gold coin.

_______________

Notes:

[236] The history of the efforts to attain a universal language has been written by Couturat and Leau, Histoire de la Langue Universelle, 1903.

[237] The distinguished French physician, Dr. Sollier, also, in an address to the Lisbon International Medical Congress, on "La Question de la Langue Auxiliaire Internationale," in 1906, advocating the adoption of one of the existing Romance tongues, said: "Spanish is the simplest of all and the easiest, and if it were chosen for this purpose I should be the first to accept it."

[238] It has even been stated by a distinguished English man of science that Latin is sometimes easier for the English to use than is their own language. "I have known Englishmen who could be trusted to write a more intelligible treatise, possibly even to make a more lucid speech, in Latin than in English," says Dr. Miers, the Principal of London University (Lancet, 7th October, 1911), and he adds: "Quite seriously, I think some part of the cause is to be sought in the difficulty of our language, and many educated persons get lost in its intricacies, just as they get lost in its spelling." Without questioning the fact, however, I would venture to question this explanation of it.

[239] Thus in one article on the growing extension of the English language throughout the world (Macmillan's Magazine, March, 1892) we read: "English is practically certain to become the language of the world.... The speech of Shakespeare and Milton, of Dryden and Swift, of Byron and Wordsworth, will be, in a sense in which no other language has been, the speech of the whole world." We do not nowadays meet with these wild statements.

[240] The stumbling-stones for the foreigner presented by English words in "ough" have often been referred to, and are clearly set forth in the verses in which Mr. C.B. Loomis has sought to represent a French learner's experiences—and the same time to show the criminal impulses which these irregularities arouse in the pupil.

"I'm taught p-l-o-u-g-h
Shall be pronouncèd 'plow,'
'Zat's easy when you know,' I say,
'Mon Anglais I'll get through.'

"My teacher say zat in zat case
O-u-g-h is 'oo,'
And zen I laugh and say to him
'Zees Anglais make me cough.'

"He say, 'Not coo, but in zat word
O-u-g-h is "off,"'
Oh, sacre bleu! such varied sounds
Of words make me hiccough!

"He say, 'Again, mon friend ees wrong!
O-u-g-h is "up,"
In hiccough,' Zen I cry, 'No more,
You make my throat feel rough,'

"'Non! non!' he cry, 'you are not right—
O-u-g-h is "uff."'
I say, 'I try to speak your words,
I can't prononz zem though,'

"'In time you'll learn, but now you're wrong,
O-u-g-h is "owe."'
'I'll try no more. I sall go mad,
I'll drown me in ze lough!'

"'But ere you drown yourself,' said he,
'O-u-g-h is "ock."'
He taught no more! I held him fast,
And killed him wiz a rough!"


[241] It is interesting to remember that at one period in European history, French seemed likely to absorb English, and thus to acquire, in addition to its own motor force, all the motor force which now lies behind English. When the Normans—a vigorous people of Scandinavian origin, speaking a Romance tongue, and therefore well fitted to accomplish a harmonizing task of this kind—occupied both sides of the English Channel, it seemed probable that they would dominate the speech of England as well as of France. "At that time," says Méray (La Vie aux Temps des Cours d'Amour, p. 367), who puts forward this view, "the people of the two coasts of the Channel were closer in customs and in speech than were for a long time the French on the opposite banks of the Loire.... The influential part of the English nation and all the people of its southern regions spoke the Romance of the north of France. In the Crusades the Knights of the two peoples often mixed, and were greeted as Franks wherever their adventurous spirit led them. If Edward III, with the object of envenoming an antagonism which served his own ends, had not broken this link of language, the two peoples would perhaps have been united to-day in the same efforts of progress and of liberty.... Of what a fine instrument of culture and of progress has not that fatal decree of Edward III deprived civilization!"

[242] I was at one time (Progressive Review, April, 1897) inclined to think that the adoption of both English and French, as joint auxiliary international languages—the first for writing and the second for speaking—might solve the problem. I have since recognized that such a solution, however advantageous it might be for human culture, would present many difficulties, and is quite impracticable.

[243] I may refer to three able papers which have appeared in recent years in the Popular Science Monthly: Anna Monsch Roberts, "The Problem of International Speech" (February, 1908); Ivy Kellerman, "The Necessity for an International Language," (September, 1909); Albert Léon Guérard, "English as an International Language" (October, 1911). All these writers reject as impracticable the adoption of either English or French as the auxiliary international language, and view with more favour the adoption of an artificial language such as Esperanto.

[244] A.M. Roberts, op. cit.

[245] It should be added, however, that the auxiliary language need not be used as a medium for literary art, and it is a mistake, as Pfaundler points out, to translate poems into such a language.

[246] See International Language and Science, 1910, by Couturat, Jespersen, Lorenz, Ostwald, Pfaundler, and Donnan, five professors living in five different countries.

[247] The progress of the movement is recorded in its official journal, Progreso, edited by Couturat, and in De Beaufront's journal, La Langue Auxiliaire.
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Re: The Task of Social Hygiene, by Havelock Ellis

Postby admin » Fri May 25, 2018 8:40 am

XII. INDIVIDUALISM AND SOCIALISM

Social Hygiene in Relation to the Alleged Opposition between Socialism and Individualism—The Two Parties in Politics—The Relation of Conservatism and Radicalism to Socialism and Individualism—The Basis of Socialism—The Basis of Individualism—The seeming Opposition between Socialism and Individualism merely a Division of Labour—Both Socialism and Individualism equally Necessary—Not only Necessary but Indispensable to each other—The Conflict between the Advocates of Environment and Heredity—A New Embodiment of the supposed Conflict between Socialism and Individualism—The Place of Eugenics—Social Hygiene ultimately one with the Hygiene of the Soul—The Function of Utopias.

The controversy between Individualism and Socialism, the claim of the personal unit as against the claim of the collective community, is of ancient date. Yet it is ever new and constantly presented afresh. It even seems to become more acute as civilization progresses. Every scheme of social reform, every powerful manifestation of individual energy, raise anew a problem that is never out of date.

It is inevitable, indeed, that with the development of social hygiene during the past hundred years there should also develop a radical opposition of opinion as to the methods by which such hygiene ought to be accomplished. There has always been this opposition in the political sphere; it is natural to find it also in the social sphere. The very fact that old-fashioned politics are [382] becoming more and more transformed into questions of social hygiene itself ensures the continuance of such an opposition.

In politics, and especially in the politics of constitutional countries of which England is the type, there are normally two parties. There is the party that holds by tradition, by established order and solidarity, the maintenance of the ancient hierarchical constitution of society, and in general distinguishes itself by a preference for the old over the new. There is, on the other side, the party that insists on progress, on freedom, on the reasonable demands of the individual, on the adaptation of the accepted order to changing conditions, and in general distinguishes itself by a preference for the new over the old. The first may be called the party of structure, and the second the party of function. In England we know the adherents of one party as Conservatives and those of the other party as Liberals or Radicals.

In time, it is true, these normal distinctions between the party of structure and the party of function tend to become somewhat confused; and it is precisely the transition of politics into the social sphere which tends to introduce confusion. With a political system which proceeds ultimately out of a society with a feudalistic basis, the normal attitude of political parties is long maintained. The party of structure, the Conservative party, holds by the ancient feudalistic ideals which are really, in the large sense, socialistic, though a socialism based on a foundation of established inequality, and so altogether unlike the democratic socialism promulgated [383] to-day. The party of function, the Liberal party, insists on the break-up of this structural socialism to meet the new needs of progressive civilization. But when feudalism has been left far behind, and many of the changes introduced by Liberalism have become part of the social structure, they fall under the protection of Conservatives who are fighting against new Liberal innovations. Thus the lines of delimitation tend to become indistinct.

In the politics of social hygiene there are the same two factors: the party of structure and the party of function. In their nature and in their opposition to each other they correspond to the two parties in the old political field. But they have changed their character and their names: the party of structure is here Socialism or Collectivism, [248] the party of function is Individualism. [249] And while the Tory, the Conservative of early days, was allied to Collectivism, and the Whig, the Liberal of early days, to Individualism, that correspondence has ceased to be [384] invariable owing to the confused manner in which the old political parties have nowadays shifted their ground. We may thus see a Liberal who is a Collectivist when a Collectivist measure may involve that innovation to secure adjustment to new needs which is of the essence of Liberalism, and we may see a Conservative who is an Individualist when Individualism involves that maintenance of the existing order which is of the essence of Conservatism. Whether a man is a Conservative or a Liberal, he may incline either to Socialism or to Individualism without breaking with his political tradition. It is, therefore, impossible to import any political animus into the fundamental antagonism between Individualism and Socialism, which prevails in the sphere of social hygiene.

We cannot hope to see clearly the grave problems involved by the fundamental antagonism between Socialism and Individualism unless we understand what each is founded on and what it is aiming at.

When we seek to inquire how it is that the Socialist ideal exerts so powerful an attraction on the human mind, and why it is ever seeking new modes of practical realization, we cannot fail to perceive that it ultimately proceeds from the primitive need of mutual help, a need which was felt long before the appearance of humanity. [250] If, however, we keep strictly to our immediate mammalian traditions it may be said that the earliest socialist community [385] is the family, with its trinity of father, mother, and child. The primitive family constitutes a group which is conditioned by the needs of each member. Each individual is subordinated to the whole. The infant needs the mother and the mother needs the infant; they both need the father and the father needs both for the complete satisfaction of his own activities. Socially and economically this primitive group is a unit, and if broken up into its individual parts these would be liable to perish.

However we may multiply our social unit, however we may enlarge and elaborate it, however we may juggle with the results, we cannot disguise the essential fact. At the centre of every social agglomeration, however vast, however small, lies the social unit of the family of which each individual is by himself either unable to live or unable to reproduce, unable, that is to say, to gratify the two fundamental needs of hunger and love.

There are many people who, while willing to admit that the family is, in a sense, a composite social unit to which each part has need of the other parts, so that all are mutually bound together, seek to draw a firm line of distinction between the family and society. Family life, they declare, is not irreconcilable with individualism; it is merely un égoïsme à trois. It is, however, difficult to see how such a distinction can be maintained, whether we look at the matter theoretically or practically. In a small country like Great Britain, for instance, every Englishman (excluding new immigrants) is related by blood to every other Englishman, as would become clearer if every man possessed his pedigree for a thousand years back. When [386] we remember, further, also, that every nation has been overlaid by invasions, warlike or peaceful, from neighbouring lands, and has, indeed, been originally formed in this way since no people has sprung up out of the soil of its own land, we must further admit that the nations themselves form one family related by blood.

Our genealogical relation to our fellows is too remote and extensive to concern us much practically and sentimentally, though it is well that we should realize it. If we put it aside, we have still to remember that our actual need of our fellows is not definitely to be distinguished from the mutual needs of the members of the smallest social unit, the family.

In practice the individual is helpless. Of all animals, indeed, man is the most helpless when left to himself. He must be cared for by others at every moment during his long infancy. He is dependent on the exertions of others for shelter and clothes, while others are occupied in preparing his food and conveying it from the ends of the world. Even if we confine ourselves to the most elementary needs of a moderately civilized existence, or even if our requirements are only those of an idiot in an asylum, yet, for every one of us, there are literally millions of people spending the best of their lives from morning to night and perhaps receiving but little in return. The very elementary need of the individual in an urban civilization for pure water to drink can only be attained by organized social effort. The gigantic aqueducts constructed by the Romans are early monuments of social activity typical of all the rest. The primary needs of the individual can only [387] be supplied by an immense and highly organized social effort. The more complex civilization becomes, and the more numerous individual needs become, so much the more elaborate and highly organized becomes the social response to those needs. The individual is so dependent on society that he needs not only the active work of others, but even their mere passive good opinion, and if he loses that he is a failure, bankrupt, a pauper, a lunatic, a criminal, and the social reaction against him may suffice to isolate him, even to put him out of life altogether. So dependent indeed on society is the individual that there has always been a certain plausibility in the old idea of the Stoics, countenanced by St. Paul, and so often revived in later days (as by Schäffle, Lilienfeld, and René Worms), that society is an organism in which the individuals are merely cells depending for their significance on the whole to which they belong. Just as the animal is, as Hegel, the metaphysician, called it, a "nation," and Dareste, the physiologist, a "city," made up of cells which are individuals having a common ancestor, so the actual nation, the real city, is an animal made up of individuals which are cells having a common ancestor, or, as Oken long ago put it, individuals are the organs of the whole. [251] Man is a social animal in constant action and reaction with all his fellows of the same group—a group which becomes ever greater as civilization advances—and socialism is merely the formal statement of this ultimate social fact. [252]

[388] There is a divinity that hedges certain words. A sacred terror warns the profane off them as off something that might blast the beholder's sight. In fact it is so, and even a clear-sighted person may be blinded by such a word. Of these words none is more typical than the word "socialism." Not so very long ago a prominent public man, of high intelligence, but evidently susceptible to the terror-striking influence of words, went to Glasgow to deliver an address on Social Reform. He warned his hearers against Socialism, and told them that, though so much talked about, it had not made one inch of progress; of practical Socialism or Collectivism there were no signs at all. Yet, as some of his hearers pointed out, he gave his address in a municipally owned hall, illuminated by municipal lights, to an audience which had largely arrived in municipal tramcars travelling through streets owned, maintained, and guarded by the municipality. This audience was largely educated in State schools, in which their children nowadays can receive not only free education and free books, but, if necessary, free food and free medical inspection and treatment. Moreover, the members of this same audience thus assured of the non-existence of Socialism, are entitled to free treatment in the municipal hospital, should an infective disease overtake them; the municipality provides them freely with concerts and picture galleries, golf courses and swimming ponds; and in old age, finally, if duly qualified, they [389] receive a State pension. Now all these measures are socialistic, and Socialism is nothing more or less than a complicated web of such measures; the socialistic State, as some have put it, is simply a great national co-operative association of which the Government is the board of managers.

It is said by some who disclaim any tendency to Socialism, that what they desire is not the State-ownership of the means of production, but State-regulation. Let the State, in the interests of the community, keep a firm control over the individualistic exploitation of capital, let it tax capital as far as may be desirable in the interests of the community. But beyond this, capital, as well as land, is sacred. The distinction thus assumed is not, however, valid. The very people who make this distinction are often enthusiastic advocates of an enlarged navy and a more powerful army. Yet these can only be provided by taxation, and every tax in a democratic State is a socialistic measure, and involves collective ownership of the proceeds, whether they are applied to making guns or swimming-baths. Every step in the regulation of industry assumes the rights of society over individualistic production, and is therefore socialistic. It is a question of less or more, but except along those two lines, there is no socialism at all to be reckoned with in the practical affairs of the world. That revolutionary socialism of the dogmatically systematic school of Karl Marx which desired to transfer society at a single stroke by taking over and centralizing all the means of production may now be regarded as a dream. It never at any time [390] took root in the English-speaking lands, though it was advocated with unwearying patience by men of such force of intellect and of character as Mr. Hyndman and William Morris. Even in Germany, the land of its origin, nearly all its old irreconcilable leaders are dead, and it is now slowly but steadily losing influence, to give place to a more modern and practical socialism.

As we are concerned with it to-day and in the future, Socialism is not a rigid economic theory, nor is it the creed of a narrow sect. In its wide sense it is a name that covers all the activities—first instinctive, then organized—which arise out of the fundamental fact that man is a social animal. In its more precise sense it indicates the various orderly measures that are taken by groups of individuals—whether States or municipalities—to provide collectively for the definite needs of the individuals composing the group. So much for Socialism.

The individualist has a very different story to tell. From the point of view of Individualism, however elaborate the structure of the society you erect, it can only, after all, be built up of individuals, and its whole worth must depend on the quality of those individuals. If they are not fully developed and finely tempered by high responsibilities and perpetual struggles, all social effort is fruitless, it will merely degrade the individual to the helpless position of a parasite. The individual is born alone; he must die alone; his deepest passions, his most exquisite tastes, are personal; in this world, or in any other world, all the activities of society cannot suffice to save his soul. Thus it is that the individual must bear [391] his own burdens, for it is only in so doing that the muscles of his body grow strong and that the energies of his spirit become keen. It is by the qualities of the individual alone that work is sound and that initiative is possible. All trade and commerce, every practical affair of life, depend for success on the personal ability of individuals. [253] It is not only so in the everyday affairs of life, it is even more so on the highest planes of intellectual and spiritual life. The supreme great men of the race were termed by Carlyle its "heroes," by Emerson its "representative men," but, equally by the less and by the more democratic term, they are always individuals standing apart from society, often in violent opposition to it, though they have always conquered in the end. When any great person has stood alone against the world it has always been the world that lost. The strongest [392] man, as Ibsen argued in his Enemy of the People, is the man who stands most alone. "He will be the greatest," says Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil, "who can be the most solitary, the most concealed, the most divergent." Every great and vitally organized person is hostile to the rigid and narrow routine of social conventions, whether established by law or by opinion; they must ever be broken to suit his vital needs. Therefore the more we multiply these social routines, the more strands we weave into the social web, the more closely we draw them, by so much the more we are discouraging the production of great and vitally organized persons, and by so much the more we are exposing society to destruction at the hands of such persons.

Beneath Socialism lies the assertion that society came first and that individuals are indefinitely apt for education into their place in society. Socialism has inherited the maxim, which Rousseau, the uncompromising Individualist, placed at the front of his Social Contract: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." There is nothing to be done but to strike off the chains and organize society on a social basis. Men are not this or that; they are what they have been made. Make the social conditions right, says the thorough-going Socialist, and individuals will be all that we could desire them to be. Not poverty alone, but disease, lunacy, prostitution, criminality are all the results of bad social and economic conditions. Create the right environment and you have done all that is necessary. To some extent that is clearly true. But the individualist insists that there are definite [393] limits to its truth. Even in the most favourable environment nearly every ill that the Socialist seeks to remove is found. Inevitably, the Individualist declares, because we do not spring out of our environment, but out of our ancestral stocks. Against the stress on environment, the Individualist lays the stress on the ascertained facts of heredity. It is the individual that counts, and for good or for ill the individual brought his fate with him at birth. Ensure the production of sound individuals, and you may set at naught the environment. You will, indeed, secure results incomparably better than even the most anxious care expended on environment alone can ever hope to secure.

Such are the respective attitudes of Socialism and Individualism. So far as I can see, they are both absolutely right. Nor is it even clear that they are really opposed; for, as happens in every field, while the affirmations of each are sound, their denials are unsound. Certainly, along each line we may be carried to absurdity. The Individualism of Max Stirner is not far from the ultimate frontier of sanity, and possibly even on the other side of it; [254] while the Socialism of the Oneida Community involved a self-subordination which it would be idle to expect from the majority of men and women. But there is a perfect division of labour between Socialism and Individualism. We cannot have too much of either [394] of them. We have only to remember that the field of each is distinct. No one needs Individualism in his water supply, and no one needs Socialism in his religion. All human affairs sort themselves out as coming within the province of Socialism or of Individualism, and each may be pushed to its furthest extreme. [255]

It so happens, however, that the capacity of the human brain is limited, and a single brain is not made to hold [395] together the idea of Socialism and the idea of Individualism. Ordinary people have, it is true, no practical difficulty whatever in acting concurrently in accordance with the ideas of Socialism and of Individualism. But it is different with the men of ideas; they must either be Socialists or Individualists; they cannot be both. The tendency in one or the other direction is probably inborn in these men of ideas.

We need not regret this inevitable division of labour. On the contrary, it is difficult to see how the right result could otherwise be brought about. People without ideas experience no difficulty in harmonizing the two tendencies. But if the ideas of Socialism and Individualism tended to appear in the same brain they would neutralize each other or lead action into an unprofitable via media. The separate initiative and promulgation of the two tendencies encourages a much more effective action, and best promotes that final harmony of the two extremes which the finest human development needs.

There is more to be said. Not only are both alike indispensable, and both too profoundly rooted in human nature to be abolished or abridged, but each is indispensable to the other. There can be no Socialism without Individualism; there can be no Individualism without Socialism. Only a very fine development of personal character and individual responsibility can bear up any highly elaborated social organization, which is why small Socialist communities have only attained success by enlisting finely selected persons; only a highly organized social structure can afford scope for the play of individuality. [396] The enlightened Socialist nowadays often realizes something of the relationship of Socialism to Individualism, and the Individualist—if he were not in recent times, for all his excellent qualities, sometimes lacking in mental flexibility and alertness—would be prepared to admit his own relationship to Socialism. "The organization of the whole is dominated by the necessities of cellular life," as Dareste says. That truth is well recognized by the physiologists since the days of Claude Bernard. It is absolutely true of the physiology of society. Social organization is not for the purpose of subordinating the individual to society; it is as much for the purpose of subordinating society to the individual.

Between individuals, even the greatest, and society there is perpetual action and reaction. While the individual powerfully acts on society, he can only so act in so far as he is himself the instrument and organ of society. The individual leads society, but only in that direction whither society wishes to go. Every man of science merely carries knowledge or invention one further step, a needed and desired step, beyond the stage reached by his immediate predecessors. Every poet and artist is only giving expression to the secret feelings and impulses of his fellows. He has the courage to utter for the first time the intimate emotion and aspiration which he finds in the depth of his own soul, and he has the skill to express them in forms of radiant beauty. But all these secret feelings and desires are in the hearts of other men, who have not the boldness to tell them nor the ability to [397] embody them exquisitely. In the life of man, as in nature generally, there is a perpetual process of exfoliation, as Edward Carpenter calls it, whereby a latent but striving desire is revealed, and the man of genius is the stimulus and the incarnation of this exfoliating movement. That is why every great poet and artist when once his message becomes intelligible, is acclaimed and adored by the crowd for whom he would only have been an object of idle wonderment if he had not expressed and glorified themselves. When the man of genius is too far ahead of his time, he is rejected, however great his genius may be, because he represents the individual out of vital relation to his time. A Roger Bacon, for all his stupendous intellect, is deprived of pen and paper and shut up in a monastery, because he is undertaking to answer questions which will not be asked until five centuries after his death. Perhaps the supreme man of genius is he who, like Virgil, Leonardo, or Shakespeare, has a message for his own time and a message for all times, a message which is for ever renewed for every new generation.

The need for insisting on the intimate relations between Socialism and Individualism has become the more urgent to-day because we are reaching a stage of civilization in which each tendency is inevitably so pushed to its full development that a clash is only prevented by the realization that here we have truly a harmony. Sometimes a matter that belongs to one sphere is so closely intertwined with a matter that belongs to the other that [398] it is a very difficult problem how to hold them separate and allow each its due value. [256]

At times, indeed, it is really very difficult to determine to which sphere a particular kind of human activity belongs. This is notably the case as regards education. "Render unto Cæsar the things that be Cæsar's, and unto God the things that be God's." But is education among the things that belong to Cæsar, to social organization, or among the things that belong to God, to the province of the individual's soul? There is much to be said on both sides. Of late the Socialist tendency prevails here, and there is a disposition to standardize rigidly an education so superficial, so platitudinous, so uniform, so unprofitable—so fatally oblivious of what even the word education means [257]—that some day, perhaps, the revolted Individualist spirit will arise in irresistible might to sweep away the whole worthless structure from top to bottom, with even such possibilities of good as it may conceal. The educationalists of to-day may do well to remember that it is wise to be generous to your enemies even in the interests of your own preservation.

[399] In every age the question of Individualism and Socialism takes on a different form. In our own age it has become acute under the form of a conflict between the advocates of good heredity and the advocates of good environment. On the one hand there is the desire to breed the individual to a high degree of efficiency by eugenic selection, favouring good stocks and making the procreation of bad stocks more difficult. On the other hand there is the effort so to organize the environment by collectivist methods that life for all may become easy and wholesome. As usual, those who insist on the importance of good environment are inclined to consider that the question of heredity may be left to itself, and those who insist on the importance of good heredity are indifferent to environment. As usual, also, there is a real underlying harmony of those two demands. There is, however, here more than this. In this most modern of their embodiments, Socialism and Individualism are not merely harmonious, each is the key to the other, which remains unattainable without it. However carefully we improve our breed, however anxiously we guard the entrance to life, our labour will be in vain if we neglect to adapt the environment to the fine race we are breeding. The best individuals are not the toughest, any more than the highest species are the toughest, but rather, indeed, the reverse, and no creature needs so much and so prolonged an environing care as man, to ensure his survival. On the other hand, an elaborate attention to the environment, combined with a reckless inattention to the quality of the individuals born to live in that environment can [400] only lead to an overburdened social organization which will speedily fall by its own weight.

During the past century the Socialists of the school for bettering the environment have for the most part had the game in their own hands. They founded themselves on the very reasonable basis of sympathy, a basis which the eighteenth-century moralists had prepared, which Schopenhauer had formulated, which George Eliot had passionately preached, which had around its operations the immense prestige of the gospel of Jesus. The environmental Socialists—always quite reasonably—set themselves to improve the conditions of labour; they provided local relief for the poor; they built hospitals for the free treatment of the sick. They are proceeding to feed school children, to segregate and protect the feeble-minded, to insure the unemployed, to give State pensions to the aged, and they are even asked to guarantee work for all. Now these things, and the likes of them, are not only in accordance with natural human impulses, but for the most part they are reasonable, and in protecting the weak the strong are, in a certain sense, protecting themselves. No one nowadays wants the hungry to hunger or the suffering to suffer. Indeed, in that sense, there never has been any laissez-faire school. [258]

[401] But as the movement of environmental Socialism realizes itself, it becomes increasingly clear that it is itself multiplying the work which it sets itself to do. In enabling the weak, the incompetent, and the defective to live and to live comfortably, it makes it easier for those on the borderland of these classes to fall into them, and it furnishes the conditions which enable them to propagate their like, and to do this, moreover, without that prudent limitation which is now becoming universal in all classes above those of the weak, the incompetent, and the defective. Thus unchecked environmental Socialism, obeying natural impulses and seeking legitimate ends, would be drawn into courses at the end of which only social enfeeblement, perhaps even dissolution, could be seen.

The key to the situation, it is now beginning to be more and more widely felt, is to be found in the counterbalancing tendency of Individualism, and the eugenic guardianship of the race. Not, rightly understood, as a method of arresting environmental Socialism, nor even as a counterblast to its gospel of sympathy. Nietzsche, indeed, has made a famous assault on sympathy, as he has on conventional morality generally, but his "immoralism" in general and his "hardness" in particular are but new and finer manifestations of those faded virtues he was really seeking to revive. The superficially sympathetic man flings a coin to the beggar; the more deeply sympathetic man builds an almshouse for him so that he need no longer beg; but perhaps the most radically sympathetic of all is the man who arranges that the beggar shall not be born.

[402] So it is that the question of breed, the production of fine individuals, the elevation of the ideal of quality in human production over that of mere quantity, begins to be seen, not merely as a noble ideal in itself, but as the only method by which Socialism can be enabled to continue on its present path. If the entry into life is conceded more freely to the weak, the incompetent, and the defective than to the strong, the efficient, and the sane, then a Sisyphean task is imposed on society; for every burden lifted two more burdens appear. But as individual responsibility becomes developed, as we approach the time to which Galton looked forward, when the eugenic care for the race may become a religion, then social control over the facts of life becomes possible. Through the slow growth of knowledge concerning hereditary conditions, by voluntary self-restraint, by the final disappearance of the lingering prejudice against the control of procreation, by sterilization in special cases, by methods of pressure which need not amount to actual compulsion, [259] it will be possible to attain an increasingly firm grip on the evil elements of heredity. Not until such measures as these, under the controlling influence of a sense of personal responsibility extending to every member of the [403] community, have long been put into practice, can we hope to see man on the earth risen to his full stature, healthy in body, noble in spirit, beautiful in both alike, moving spaciously and harmoniously among his fellows in the great world of Nature, to which he is so subtly adapted because he has himself sprung out of it and is its most exquisite flower. At this final point social hygiene becomes one with the hygiene of the soul. [260]

Poets and prophets, from Jesus and Paul to Novalis and Whitman, have seen the divine possibilities of Man. There is no temple in the world, they seem to say, so great as the human body; he comes in contact with Heaven, they declare, who touches a human person. But these human things, made to be gods, have spawned like frogs over all the earth. Everywhere they have beslimed its purity and befouled its beauty, darkening the very sunshine. Heaped upon one another in evil masses, preying upon one another as no other creature has ever preyed upon its kind, they have become a festering heap which all the oceans in vain lave with their antiseptic waters, and all the winds of heaven cannot purify. It is only in the unextinguished spark of reason within him that salvation for man may ever be found, in the realization [404] that he is his own star, and carries in his hands his own fate. The impulses of Individualism and of Socialism alike prompt us to gain self-control and to learn the vast extent of our responsibility. The whole of humanity is working for each of us; each of us must live worthy of that great responsibility to humanity. By how fine a flash of insight Jesus declared that few could enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Not until the earth is purified of untold millions of its population will it ever become the Heaven of old dreamers, in which the elect walk spaciously and nobly, loving one another. Only in such spacious and pure air is it possible for the individual to perfect himself, as a rose becomes perfect, according to Dante's beautiful simile, [261] in order that he may spread abroad for others the fragrance that has been generated within him. If one thinks of it, that seems a truism, yet, even in this twentieth century, how few, how very few, there are who know it!

This is why we cannot have too much Individualism, we cannot have too much Socialism. They play into each other's hands. To strengthen one is to give force to the other. The greater the vigour of both, the more vitally a society is progressing. "I can no more call myself an Individualist or a Socialist," said Henry George, "than one who considers the forces by which the planets are held to their orbits could call himself a centrifugalist or a centripetalist." To attain a society in which Individualism and Socialism are each carried to its extreme point would be to attain to the society that lived in the [405] Abbey of Thelema, in the City of the Sun, in Utopia, in the land of Zarathustra, in the Garden of Eden, in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a kingdom, no doubt, that is, as Diderot expressed it, "diablement idéal." But to-day we hold in our hands more certainly than ever before the clues that were imperfectly foreshadowed by Plato, and what our fathers sought ignorantly we may attempt by methods according to knowledge. No Utopia was ever realized; and the ideal is a mirage that must ever elude us or it would cease to be ideal. Yet all our progress, if progress there be, can only lie in setting our faces towards that goal to which Utopias and ideals point.

_______________

Notes:

[248] In the narrow sense Socialism is identical with the definite economic doctrine of the Collectivistic organization of the productive and distributive work of society. It also possesses, as Bosanquet remarks (in an essay on "Individualism and Socialism," in The Civilization of Christendom), "a deeper meaning as a name for a human tendency that is operative throughout history." Every Collectivist is a Socialist, but not every Socialist would admit that he is a Collectivist. "Moral Socialism," however, though not identical with "Economic Socialism," tends to involve it.

[249] The term "Individualism," like the term "Socialism," is used in varying senses, and is not, therefore, satisfactory to everyone. Thus E.F.B. Fell (The Foundations of Liberty, 1908), regarding "Individualism," as a merely negative term, prefers the term "Personalism," to denote a more positive ideal. There is, however, by no means as any necessity to consider "Individualism," a more negative term than "Socialism."

[250] The inspiring appeal of Socialism to ardent minds is no doubt ethical. "The ethics of Socialism," says Kirkup, "are closely akin to the ethics of Christianity, if not identical with them." That, perhaps, is why Socialism is so attractive to some minds, so repugnant to others.

[251] This idea was elaborated by Eimer in an appendix to his Organic Evolution on the idea of the individual in the animal kingdom.

[252] The term "socialism" is said to date from about the year 1835. Leroux claimed that he invented it, in opposition to the term "individualism," but at that period it had become so necessary and so obvious a term that it is difficult to say positively by whom it was first used.

[253] An important point which the Individualist may fairly bring forward in this connection is the tendency of Socialism to repress the energy of the best worker among its officials at the expense of the public. Alike in government offices at Whitehall and in municipal offices in the town halls there is a certain proportion of workers who find pleasure in putting forth their best energies at high pressure. But the majority take care that work shall be carried on at low pressure, and that the output shall not exceed a certain understood minimum. They ensure this by making things uncomfortable for the workers who exceed that minimum. The gravity of this evil is scarcely yet realized. It could probably be counteracted by so organizing promotion that the higher posts really went to the officials distinguished by the quantity and the quality of their work. Pensions should also be affected by the same consideration. In any case, the evil is serious, and is becoming more so since the number of public officials is constantly increasing. The Council of the Law Society found some years ago that the cost of civil administration in England had increased between the years 1894 and 1904 from 19 millions to 25 millions, and, excluding the Revenue Departments, it is now said to have gone up to 42 millions. It is an evil that will have to be dealt with sooner or later.

[254] Max Stirner wrote his work, Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (The Ego and His Own, in the English translation of Byington), in 1845. His life has been written by John Henry Mackay (Max Stirner: Sein Leben und Sein Werk), and an interesting study of Max Stirner (whose real name was Schmidt) will be found in James Huneker's Egoists.

[255] In the introduction to my earliest book, The New Spirit (1889), I set forth this position, from which I have never departed: "While we are socializing all those things of which all have equal common need, we are more and more tending to leave to the individual the control of those things which in our complex civilization constitute individuality. We socialize what we call our physical life in order that we may attain greater freedom for what we call our spiritual life." No doubt such a point of view was implicit in Ruskin and other previous writers, just as it has subsequently been set forth by Ellen Key and others, while from the economic side it has been well formulated by Mr. J.A. Hobson in his Evolution of Capital: "The very raison d'être of increased social cohesiveness is to economize and enrich the individual life, and to enable the play of individual energy to assume higher forms out of which more individual satisfaction may accrue." "Socialism will be of value," thought Oscar Wilde in his Soul of Man, "simply because it will lead to Individualism." "Socialism denies economic Individualism for any," says Karl Nötzel ("Zur Ethischen Begrundung des Sozialismus," Sozialistische Monatshefte, 1910, Heft 23), "in order to make moral intellectual Individualism possible for all." And as it has been seen that Socialism leads to Individualism, so it has also been seen that Individualism, even on the ethical plane, leads to Socialism. "You must let the individual make his will a reality in the conduct of his life," Bosanquet remarks in an essay already quoted, "in order that it may be possible for him consciously to entertain the social purpose as a constituent of his will. Without these conditions there is no social organism and no moral Socialism.... Each unit of the social organism has to embody his relations with the whole in his own particular work and will; and in order to do this the individual must have a strength and depth in himself proportional to and consisting of the relations which he has to embody." Grant Allen long since clearly set forth the harmony between Individualism and Socialism in an article published in the Contemporary Review in 1879.

[256] An instructive illustration is furnished by the question of the relation of the sexes, and elsewhere (Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society") I have sought to show that we must distinguish between marriage, which is directly the affair of the individuals primarily concerned, and procreation, which is mainly the concern of society.

[257] See, for instance, the opinion of the former Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools in England, Mr. Edmond Holmes, What Is and What Might Be (1911). He points out that true education must be "self-realization," and that the present system of "education" is entirely opposed to self-realization. Sir John Gorst, again, has repeatedly attacked the errors of the English State system of education.

[258] The phrase Laissez faire is sometimes used as though it were the watchword of a party which graciously accorded a free hand to the Devil to do his worst. As a matter of fact, it was simply a phrase adopted by the French economists of the eighteenth century to summarize the conclusion of their arguments against the antiquated restrictions which were then stifling the trade and commerce of France (see G. Weuleresse, Le Mouvement Physiocratique en France, 1910, Vol. II, p. 17). Properly understood, it is not a maxim which any party need be ashamed to own.

[259] I would again repeat that I do not regard legislation as a channel of true eugenic reform. As Bateson well says (op. cit. p. 15); "It is not the tyrannical and capricious interference of a half-informed majority which can safely mould or purify a population, but rather that simplification of instinct for which we ever hope, which fuller knowledge alone can make possible." Even the subsidising of unexceptionable parents, as the same writer remarks, cannot be viewed with enthusiasm. "If we picture to ourselves the kind of persons who would infallibly be chosen as examples of 'civic worth' the prospect is not very attractive."

[260] "Aristotle, herein the organ and exponent of the Greek national mind," remarks Gomperz, "understood by the hygiene of the soul the avoidance of all extremes, the equilibrium of the powers, the harmonious development of aptitudes, none of which is allowed to starve or paralyse the others." Gomperz points out that this individual morality corresponded to the characteristics of the Greek national religion—its inclusiveness and spaciousness, its freedom and serenity, its ennoblement alike of energetic action and passive enjoyment (Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, Eng. Trans., Vol. III, p. 13).

[261] Convito, IV, 27.

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