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many in 1878 on the occasion of Nobiling's attempt on the life of the Emperor William I. was very stringent. Everything written or printed by Socialists was proscribed; as were even musical and athletic societies that admitted Socialists to membership. At that time the number of Socialists in the Reichstag was nine, and the Socialist vote throughout the empire was less than half a million.
The results of repression (the editor goes on to say) are now before us. At the last election in Germany the Socialists polled over a million and a half votes, and elected thirtyfive members of the Reichstag, It is open to question, to say the least, whether the increase in the Socialist vote may be regarded as the result of oppression. Just what constitutes socialism in Germany is by no means easy of determination. It seems clear, at any rate, that adherence to what we call Democratic principles as distinguished from monarchical or aristocratical doctrines is there associated with socialism. Else how shall we understand the opposition to the personal rulers and to the traditions of imperialism displayed by the Socialists? It is tolerably evident that there is no necessary connection between democracy and socialism, although much of the prevalence of the latter in this country must no doubt be attributed to the confusion that exists in the minds of many between democracy and freedom, or absence of all government. Nevertheless, if, by no other signs, the distinctness of democracy and socialism is sufficiently shown by the greater prevalence of socialism in some countries where democracy flourishes least and monarchy and aristocracy sit most secure. As in Germany. I have several times called attention to the socialistic performances of Prince Bismarck; and the theatrical accompaniments of the accession to power of the young man who at present embodies the monarchical idea in Germany did more to call attention to the case than my humbler, though more intelligent, efforts had done. Many persons know now who did not know before young William of Hohenzollern cut his first caper, that Germany tends strongly to socialism.
The Prussian system of compulsory education supported by taxation, the state-ownership of railways, the tariff laws, were more or less well known. Prince Bismarck's factory and insurance laws, of more recent date, were less notorious, to be sure, but still well
enough known to exist. Yet when the emperor took possession of his hereditary estate by the coup d'état which ousted Prince Bismarck, and, summoning a "labor conference" to Berlin, announced his determination to take up with socialism, the whole editorial world stood agog, as though some wonderful portent had suddenly appeared on the German horizon. That the American editors should have seized this occasion for exhibiting their assorted stock of ignorance and misinformation is not so surprising; surprising or not, it is quite true that the English purveyors of editorial clap-trap commented in a similarly ignorant manner. Ye gods! here was an emperor, a royal master," possessed with the D—, with socialism. What vast and astonishing transformations shall we now witness! exclaimed the daily quill-drivers. Hardly a one of them who knew that William's escapade was only a step, and a short and insignificant step, along the path Germany had been treading while Bismarck was king.
It is best not to be misled about these things. In Germany what goes by the name of socialism at the polls and in debate on the floor of the Reichstag is a particular brand of socialism deriving a very large part of its support from the fact of its being confounded with democracy. Democracy, not having gained much headway simply as a political institution, all the tendencies that make toward democracy in the modern world have in Germany got diverted into the industrial current, and have become associated with socialism. But the forces tending toward industrial change reformation, if you like, have not been similarly confined to democratic lines. Instead of democratic socialism, the rulers of Germany have put imperial socialism, only they have not called it that. Wise supervision, I suppose, they call it; but it matters little what they call it: socialism allied to military imperialism is what prevails; socialism allied to industrial democracy has a monopoly of the name just now. It is difficult to tell which of the parties to this latter alliance has been gaining at the polls. It would not be judicious to attribute much, if any, of the gain to the anti-socialist law of 1878. There is always a presumption that way, it is true, but the truth is that the tendency toward socialism is very strong and widespread, having overleaped national boun
daries years ago and entered into alliance, conscious or unconscious, here with party, there with another.
In Germany the alliance with the democratic tendency is probably unconcious. The majority of the Socialists no doubt rega d the two as inseparable. Of course they can only do so by shutting their eyes to patent facts of the past and present; but eye-shutting is not an unusual or difficult matter for Socialists. To the apologists of democracy, on the other, the case usually seems reversed, and democracy appears to many of them an infallible check to over-regulation and paternalism. In Germany we must, I think, believe that those who are attracted toward democracy fall into an unconscious alliance with the stronger industrial party, not from any special liking for the industrial programme, but solely from opposition to imperialism. Take the two tendencies together, and the surprising thing is not so much that the socialist party has trebled its numbers at the polls as that the gain has not been greater. It is, as I have said, difficult, if not impossible, to determine which tendency has been gaining in the twelve years.
The Socialists pure and simple are no doubt still the larger party; but the gain may have been with the others. And there is this special reason for believing that democracy is the increasing force, namely, that the official household of the emperor evidently believe that the contrary is true, and that the gain is in the industrial ranks. For it will of course pass without question that the probability always is that officials are wrong. The probability is, I confess, much stronger in the case of a Democratic government; still the rule is pretty general even for monarchical governments. So the Palace may wake up some morning to find that while they have been camping over against the army of socialism, the Democrats have gathered a force in the rear and undermined the empire.
If there are any wise men in Germany they will leave no stone unturned to break up the unconscious alliance of the Democratic tendency with socialism. Nothing I have said was intended to intimate that there were not in Germany, and even in the Reichstag, true Democrats, who are not misled by the specious promises of socialism. But the fact remains that the forces, which, in France and England, and even in Russia, tend chiefly or almost wholly toward simple democracy, in
Germany have succeeded only in driving the the unreflecting toward democracy plus socialism. The less the Democratic spirit, allied with so-called Liberalism in Europe, seems to advance toward the true end, the more those anxious for change in Germany are diverted to socialism. If Germans do not have a mind to what they are about, they will discover when it is too late that, while they have been guarding frontiers from French and Russian, the real danger has centred in Berlin itself. If one man has contributed so largely to the anti-monarchical impulse, what may not a second Ferdinand Lasalle accomplish, with so much of his work already done?
REPARATIVE JUSTICE, II.
A thoughtful French writer defends State intervention for the purpose of social amelioration as being a mere duty of what he calls reparative justice. Popular misery and decadence, he would say, are always very largely the result of bad laws and other bad civil conditions, as we see it plainly to have been in the case of the Irish cottiers, the Scotch crofters, and the rural laborers of England, and when the community has really inflicted the injury, the community is bound in the merest justice to repair it. JOHN RAE, Cont. Rev.
Although experience proves that justice is one of the most easily abused of words, the assertion of the duty of the community contained in the last clause of the above quotation recommends itself so fairly to every one that it will not probably be gainsaid. Many men have asserted that it is the merest justice that a "community" should provide those of its members reduced to want with bread to keep soul and body together; others, that justice demanded of the State to give every child an education that would fit it for the coming struggle; and not a few have pretended that justice required nothing less of the community than to stave off forever the struggle itself, and the need of bread, by simply bestowing on each and every individual, either in a lump or annually, the wherewithal to make himself or herself comfortable in the world. It is evident that the meaning of justice is very different in these cases from the meaning in the quotation from Mr. Rae, and from the meaning ordinarily attached to the word, at least in theory, in the courts
of law. In the sense in which the word "justice" is ordinarily used the adjective which Mr. Rae places before it (reparative) is wholly unnecessary. The only justice. with which courts of law deal (when they deal in justice at all), and the only justice thought of by the majority of persons whenever the conception is suggested to their minds, is reparative justice. As far as the courts are concerned, and the generally current conception is drawn from the same experience, the material presence of a criminal or of litigants is the essential concomitant of their operation. In either case, an injury done, a right infracted, is the presupposed condition of deliberation, much more than of decision and action And justice, when thought of at all, is thought of as the righting of a wrong. This may be accomplished, or at any rate it is thought to be accomplished, either by the exaction of a penalty, as of the criminal's life, or by undoing the wrong as nearly as may be, as by mulcting the offender of damages. The majority, in short, do not think of justice in any other way than as reparative; and it must be, I think, some ill-defined notion of the wrong done by the "community "that lies at the bottom of all those projects of "social amelioration" with which we have now become so familiar under the name of socialism. I say the notion is ill-defined. This it evidently is, because the attempt to give greater definition to their idea would inevitably lead the advocates of socialism into an examination of the facts in order to prove that wrong has been done, and what that wrong is. By the time a presentable case had been made out they would have abandoned all faith in the method by which they propose to give effect to the demands of reparative justice. Whether or not the notion of accomplishing justice by the socialist means must be abandoned may now engage our attention. Let us give greater definition to the dea, by examining some of the facts which prove that wrong has been done, and what that wrong is.
It will be convenient to observe at the outset that the current conception of justice as a reparative process is incomplete. So far as justice is forced on our attention by the aggressions on personal rights which make up such a large part of our intercourse either on the contracted stage of individual and daily life or on the more imposing stage of history, justice appears to us, it is true, only to us, it is true, only as the quality of acts of reparation. Wrongs done play such an important part in our conduct that the partial righting of them either through expiation or through reparation, which are generally confounded, has unconsciously, but almost wholly, absorbed, so to speak, the conception of justice. It seems that we are so unfamiliar with relations from which injustice is absent that we attach the notice of justice only to the act of restoring an equilibrium which has been destroyed. But the notion of restoration implies the previous existence of the thing or quality restored; before the destruction of the equilibrium sought to be restored, the quality was present in the undisturbed relations. And it is to this quality, present in social relations, whose equilibrium is undisturbed by injustice, to which the conception of JUSTICE properly belongs.*
Justice being a tolerably unfamiliar state for human relations, it has troubled some weak minds to discover by what right it is spoken of in the above absolute sense.
This way of describing justice does not exclude other ways. The reaping of the rewards of conduct, good or bad, is another description to which the conception of justice answers equally well; and the reason is that, although emphasis is thereby placed on another aspect, the thing described is the same, viewed from a slightly different position. Given social conditions, then the reaping of the rewards of conduct by each individual implies the existence and the observance of the limit of action imposed by the presence and like actions of other individuals. For if these limits are disregarded by some, the portion of others is diminished; then these do not reap the rewards of conduct; then the reaping of the rewards of conduct by each individual does not prevail; then the quality of justice does not characterize the conduct of that community. As a fact, the gaining of more than the rewards of conduct and the trenching on the liberty of others are, in
When told that justice is the property that actions have when they are absolutely right so far as the effect on other men are concerned, dissenters are apt to let their minds wander aimlessly over an indefinite range of ill-assorted experiences and ideas, apparently in the endeavor to conjure up a conception of how justice looks, or tastes, or smells. For instance, take a practical politician, or a corporation lawyer, or an occupant of the bench, a Congressman, a student of historical jurisprudence or of political economy-I have mentioned them in the descending order of intelligence,all men who think they have to do with social intercourse in its relation to justice. Every one of them will scorn the notion of an absolute justice- an ideal justice, as they think derogatorily to call it. Well, let us call that justice ideal, and let us too call the social state in which the ideal justice should prevail to the total exclusion of those acts and considerations of reparative justice which now absorb our attention the ideal social state: are we to be routed by confrontation with the opprobrious fact that we are dealing with an ideal?
social life, one and the same thing. A statement of this fact set out in full becomes tautological. For the statement would then become: the gaining of more than the just rewards of conduct is unjustthat is, trenches on the liberty of others. Or again, the rewards of conduct which are just, are those which have not been gained by trenching on the liberty of others. Then justice is the property of that conduct which forever moves in an uncrossed path. And this characterization of justice is undistinguishable from the one given above. It is evident that this description takes no account of, nor can its validity be affected by, the occurrence of catastrophes, fortunate or unfortunate.
himself preoccupied with attending to the "interests" of his constituents; and the self-styled students of political history will conclude with warning us against metaphysical conceptions of the absolute essence and ideal! I ask them, What are words, if not the counterparts of ideas? Of what avail are rules and precedents unless they spring from the nature of things? What are the "interests" of a Congressman's constituents unless justice be their Alpha and Omega? What have these questions to do with metaphysics? Did any of these scoffers at ideals and JUSTICE ever see or handle circularity, or any other relation? What is circularity? It is the property a curve has that, followed however long in imagination, it is always equidistant from at fixed point. And that is also JUSTICE. It is the property men's actions have that, observed however closely, they are always equidistant from a fixed point. Nor need we now hesitate an instant to locate the point. The point up to which men's actions possess the property of justice, and beyond which they lose that quality, is the point up to which the like freedom of other men extends. If, in any particular action, or set of actions, the exact point at which aggression on the liberty of others begins cannot be precisely determined, that is no more an objection to the conception of absolute justice than is it an objection to the conception of circularity that the centre of no circle can be precisely determined.
Now it is evident what is meant by absolute justice and wherein the incompleteness of the current conception of justice merely as a reparative process lies. Justice, or justness, is the property men's actions have when they do not invade each other's liberty. There is no other attribute necessary to give to actions the quality of justice. It is sufficient that men should not infringe the like right of other men in order that every act, whatever its other aspects may be, should be tempered with justice. Some persons, notably Prof. Huxley, show a dis
* Bee Nineteenth Century, January, February, 1890.
position to throw moderation to the winds, break all bounds, and race headlong through sociology, history, biology, metaphysics, theology, philology, and mediæval literature, and otherwise comport themselves as the traditional bull in the presence of a red rag, at the mere mention of the rights of men. To be sure, when so smitten with their mania, they delight to call the object of their aversion the "Rights of Man." And it is rather astonishing what difference the change from the plural to the singular does make in the sound of that phrase. We cannot here digress further than to observe that the habit of speaking lightly and contemptuously of the rights of men is a bad one bad for the individual and dangerous to the community. As an intellectual performance, the attempt to disparage the notion that men have rights, rights which may quite as properly be called natural rights as the domestic instinct may be called a natural instinct, or feeling if you like, is as futile as it is gratuitous. The trouble seems to lie chiefly with the word natural, rather than with the notion of rights; but how men shall have become seized of non-natural, or unnatural, or supernatural, or of any other rights whatever than of natural rights, it would perhaps puzzle Prof. Huxley to say. He and those for whom he is spokesman, if not leader, seem to think that they who make use of the phrase natural rights and claim to attach a true and important meaning to the words, wish, by a monopoly of the word natural, or rights, or both of them, to vault themselves into some high place of safety, inaccessible to facts and reason. But the case is more nearly the reverse. It is the opponents of the notion of "natural rights" who seem to mount a high horse the more quickly to trample under foot the facts which give pause to more pedestrian thinkers. But no one need be distressed or perplexed by these lucubrations, even although the relation of Rousseau to the French Revolution and consequent political ideas is far from clear,
and though Ulpian should remain forever a sealed book to him. If men have any rights at all, we may rest assured that they are eminently natural rights. The question as to what their rights are is a trifle more obscure. One way of finding out is to consult their feelings. The method is open to objection, -open to objection from Prof. Huxley or from any one else; and the results of several consultations would certainly be very contradictory. That is one objection, and there are no doubt many more. It is certain that if absolute justice, from the rights of men to justice is always a short step, if ideal justice were a sine qua non of social existence, we should not be here to speculate on the matter. This suggests another mode of inquiry into the nature of rights. Giving history a somewhat broader meaning than usual, perhaps a study of history will reveal what those rights are which men must individually and collectively observe as a condition of social wellbeing. It is possible that the investigation may disclose, along with others, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Further reflection may tend to mark this condition off from the rest and place it in a somewhat unique position with reference to social well-being. At about this stage of the inquiry a return to the consideration of the feelings of men may be advisable. A little study of these feelings may show that they speak strongly in favor of the conclusion suggested by history. Nevertheless, other parts of this same history will make the trustworthiness of the egotistic feeling seem very questionable. If so, then the facts must be sifted finer still; for surely they must somehow be made to disclose what the natural rights of men are. After a while, a murmur here, an event there, a muttering yonder, a cloud above, an earthquake below, may give a hint which when followed up will lead to the idea of equality; and from equality to what I have called justice is a span finer than the finest hair's breadth. A third, and, if necessary, a hundredth return to