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Anarchism such as Fichte conceived it, lying beyond socialism when the latter had had its perfect work.
But if history, as Hegel conceived, is a record of the development of freedom, we might expect that the future form of government will at least leave room for individual liberty, “variation,” and even caprice. We may be at ease on this head; men will never sell their liberty to purchase a compulsory equality and fraternity ; and, if socialism became a tyranny, it would have a short life.
The analogy of the education of the individual may perhaps apply to the education of a nation. There was a dispute (not yet obsolete) between those who viewed the former as properly a discipline, or subjugation of the passions, those who viewed it as instruction or the acquisition of knowledge, and a third group of theorists who, like the Greeks, regarded it as properly the development or awaking of the faculties. In a complete education all three have their place, discipline, knowledge, and development of powers. In a nation too there must be order and law; there must be science; and there must be freedom to show special powers.
If it be said that the distinction of nations is arbitrary, yet humanity as a whole has learned these lessons when it was so divided ; and the lessons must be remembered, if civilization is not to vanish away with the outward forms in which it has grown up.
1 See F. D. Maurice, Lectures on National Education (1839). The various elements of a modern state are comprehensively treated by Mr. J. S. Mackenzie, Introduction to Social Philosophy (1890).
The results of the foregoing inquiry may now be briefly reviewed: The treatment of economic ideas in Ancient and a great part of Modern Philosophy is affected by the fact that economics did not until modern times exist as a separate study. Accordingly the philosophers of the earlier periods devoted more space in their philosophical books to economic discussions than the philosophers of the later, who were free to hand over all such discussion to the economists. Plato's treatment of economical subjects is for this reason much more ample than Hegel's.
But, if direct economic discussion tends rather to assume a less than a greater place in philosophical works, the consideration of the philosophical roots of ideas which economists take for granted, tends to take a greater place. This appears not only in regard to the theory of the foundation of property, family, society, and State, but in regard to the psychology of the feelings, desires, and volitions connected with the pursuit of subsistence and wealth. The time when political economy became a distinct study in the hands of the Physiocrats and the Scottish philosophers was also the time when the motives of an ordinary human life were investigated with the greatest curiosity.
Recurring to Ancient Philosophy, we find that Plato conceives wealth sometimes as the necessaries of life, sometimes as life's superfluities. He would prefer that men should content themselves with the former, to be interpreted ascetically, as the simplest style of living that is consistent with living and working at all
. But he practically admits that neither this simple living nor the correspondingly simple society and State will be adopted by men as they are. Aristotle for his part would not insist on ascetic living, but assumes that for human beings who are not only to live, but to live well, and develop all their powers, a comfortable life and fair opportunities are necessary. The impossibility of making certain of such favourable outward conditions, especially for political activity, helped to lead the Stoics and Epicureans to fall back on the notion of individual independence, by which was meant an independence of outward comfort as well as of political circumstances. This was also the ideal of Christianity, although detachment from the world, once the world had become generally Christian, became a duty of which laymen were allowed to relieve themselves. The theory of Christianity, even more than that of Stoicism, was inconsistent with Slavery, and prepared the way for the claim of all human beings to the outward opportunities claimed by Aristotle for the Greeks.
1 E.g., in the writings of Wagner and Cohn, Cossa and Loria.
În regard to the production and distribution of wealth, the work of Ancient Philosophy, so far as it went, was accepted with fewer modifications. The Platonic principle of division of labour was applied by its author to trade and industry, as well as to the relations of the powers of the human spirit and the departments of the State to each other; and he observes (though he is not always consistent) that industrial division of labour seems spontaneously to create a society, anterior to any State, while, after a certain point, it leads to the establishment of a State. The economical principle of division of labour was by Plato once for all founded on its philosophical basis.
Yet he attaches more importance to its artistic than to its economic effects; the analogy of the fine arts is applied by him not only to moral action but to industrial; he thinks more of the increased power of the producer to turn out a result good in itself than to turn out larger supplies of useful articles. He would like to keep money-making out of the business altogether, and has not Aristotle's clear notion of money, while he thinks that artisans' labour at the best is unfit for a Greek citizen, as marring both body and mind. Aristotle, on the other hand, pointed out some obvious differences between art and morality, and between art and industry. Morality relates to action in the sense of conduct, the fine arts to a production where the product is an end in itself, industry to production where the product is only a means to an end. In describing tools and means of production Aristotle comes near to the notion of Capital, and he recognises the function of Money. But Interest to him seems contrary to “nature,” and money-making, though apparently inevitable, is in a great measure unnatural also. Trade as distinguished from industry is a form of cheating ; the gain of one man is the loss of another. Money-making, except as subsidiary to the support of the household, is pronounced inconsistent with the rational nature of man; wealth should always be treated as a means and not an end. As against Plato he refuses to simplify society artificially. Man is by nature a social and political being, and the intercourse of man with man in trade, as in all his other proceedings within the State, is a relation to which differences are as essential as a common basis of union. Aristotle gives us the first analysis of an actual political society as distinguished from an ideal one. He does not, however, clearly distinguish Society from State, and does not clearly recognize some of the most important elements in human nature (appearing in industry and trade perhaps more remarkably than elsewhere) which tend to organize society as it were from below, and apart from the action of a governing body. Yet both in Plato (especially in the Laws) and in Aristotle there is clear recognition that every practicable gove ment must rest on the traditional morality and customs of the people governed. In both philosophers there is a tendency to ratify, as permanently valid, institutions (like Slavery) which were only transitional. Plato rose above this prejudice in the case of women, but not in the case of artisans
Finally, in regard to the possibility either of socialism or of communism, Aristotle has no doubt given the weightiest criticisms ever arrayed by a philosopher against these doctrines; but they are felt to be inconclusive inasmuch as the industrial element in society played a humbler part then than it does now, and even that humble part received scanty attention. Aristotle has given us a classical politics but not a classical economics, even for the days before individualism.
For individualism, the philosophical basis was laid by the Lesser Socratics, Stoics, and Epicureans. It takes at first the false form of independence through restriction of wants. Even the State (in the idea of most of these philosophers) is unnecessary to me if my wants are few and sınall enough. This is the reductio ad absurdum of asceticism. In Stoicism the independence has a more positive meaning; the individual is strong enough by himself because he is a member of a body much larger and more sublime and potent than any earthly State. In Christianity, too, as his citizenship is in heaven, the individual is not dependent on terrestrial governments, and he sees their terrestrial limitations; they put barriers between man and man where God has made all of one blood. The notion of a common humanity, leading, as it did eventually, to a claim of equal rights for all, was thus spread in civilized Europe.
The notion of Natural Law (which led later to the claim of natural rights) as revived and new-defined by Stoicism exerted great influence on Roman Law under the Empire, but lost its power with the decline and fall of the latter. Political philosophy, when it went back at the Renaissance (as in Machiavelli) to ancient models, did not at first move strongly in the old direction of natural law, while it remained in the narrow sense political.
In More's Utopia we have the revival of the Platonic Republic with additions that: make the scheme entirely modern. Improvement of the outward conditions, not only of the few but of all, is declared to be essential to a good State ; and the economical element in the social body receives for the first time its proper rank as of the highest moment for public welfare. Even Bodin, who deals more with practical politics, has learned this lesson, and lays stress at least on the importance of the middle class and the industrial and commercial members of the community. The aggrandisement of particular States, under the rule of an Absolute Monarch, was the aim of most writers immediately after him, when they wrote on political economy. Montchrétien's book, the first to bear the title Economie politique (1615) is of this nature. The