Numero Uno—“Positivism, whether looked at as a philosophical system or as an instrument of social renovation, cannot count upon much support from any of the classes, whether in Church or State, by whom the government of mankind has hitherto been conducted. There will be isolated exceptions of great value, and these will soon become more numerous: but the prejudices and passions of these classes will present serious obstacles to the work of moral and mental reorganization which constitutes the second phase of the great Western revolution. Their faulty education and their repugnance to system prejudice them against a philosophy which subordinates specialities to general principles. Their aristocratic instincts make it very difficult for them to recognize the supremacy of Social Feeling; that doctrine which lies at the root of social regeneration, as conceived by Positivism. That no support can be expected from the classes who were in the ascendant before the Revolution, is of course obvious; and we shall probably meet with opposition, quite as real though more carefully concealed, from the middle classes, to whom that revolution transferred the authority and socialinfluence which they had long been coveting. Their thoughts are entirely engrossed with the acquisition of power; and they concern themselves but little with the mode in which it is used, or the objects to which it is directed. They were quite convinced that the Revolution had found a satisfactory issue in the parliamentary system instituted during the recent period of political oscillation. They will long continue to regret that stationary period, because it was peculiarly favourable to their restless ambition. A movement tending to the complete regeneration of society is almost as much dreaded now by the middle classes as it was formerly by the higher. And both would at all events agree in prolonging the system of theological hypocrisy, as far as republican institutions admitted of it. That policy is now the only means by which retrogression is still possible. Ignoble as it is, there are two motives for adopting it; it secures respect and submission on the part of the masses, and it imposes no unpleasant duties on their governors. All their critical and metaphysical prejudices indispose them to terminate the state of spiritual anarchy which is the greatest obstacle to social regeneration: while at the same time their ambition dreads the establishment of a new moral authority, the restrictive influence of which would of course press most heavily upon themselves. In the eighteenth century, men of rank, and even kings, accepted the purely negative philosophy that was then in vogue; it removed many obstacles, it was an easy path to reputation, and it imposed no great sacrifice. But we can hardly hope from this precedent that the wealthy and literary classes of our own time will be equally willing to accept Positive philosophy; the avowed purpose of which is to discipline our intellectual powers, in order to reorganize our modes of life.
The avowal of such a purpose is quite sufficient to prevent Positivism from gaining the sympathies of any one of the governing classes. The classes to which it must appeal are those who have been left untrained in the present worthless methods of instruction by words and entities, who are animated with strong social instincts, and who consequently have the largest stock of good sense and good feeling. In a word it is among the Working Classes that the new philosophers will find their most energetic allies. They are the two extreme terms in the social series as finally constituted; and it is only through their combined action that social regeneration can become a practical possibility. Notwithstanding their difference of position, a difference which indeed is more apparent than real, there are strong affinities between them, both morally and intellectually. Both have the same sense of the real, the same preference for the useful, and the same tendency to subordinate special points to general principles. Morally they resemble each other in generosity of feeling, in wise unconcern for material prospects, and in indifference to worldly grandeur. This at least will be the case as soon as philosophers in the true sense of that word have mixed sufficiently with the nobler members of the working classes to raise their own character to its proper level. When the sympathies which unite them upon these essential points have had time to show themselves, it will be felt that the philosopher is, under certain aspects, a member of the working class fully trained; while the working man is in many respects a philosopher without the training. Both too will look with similar feelings upon the intermediate or capitalist class. As that class is necessarily the possessor of material power, the pecuniary existence of both will as a rule be independent upon it.
These affinities follow as a natural result from their respective position and functions. The reason of their not having been recognized more distinctly is, that at present we have nothing that can be called a philosophic class, or at least it is only represented by a few isolated types. Workmen worthy of their position are happily far less rare; but hitherto it is only in France, or rather in Paris, that they have shown themselves in their true light, as men emancipated from chimerical beliefs, and careless of the empty prestige of social position. It is, then, only in Paris that the truth of the preceding remarks can be fully verified.
The occupations of working men are evidently far more conducive to philosophical views than those of the middle classes; since they are not so absorbing, as to prevent continuous thought, even during the hours of labour. And besides having more time for thinking, they have a moral advantage in the absence of any responsibility when their work is over. The workman is preserved by his position from the schemes of aggrandisement, which are constantly harassing the capitalist. Their difference in this respect causes a corresponding difference in their modes of thought; the one cares more for general principles, the other more for details. To a sensible workman, the system of dispersive speciality now so much in vogue shows itself in its true light. He sees it, that is, to be brutalizing, because it would condemn his intellect to the most paltry mode of culture, so much so that it will never be accepted in France, in spite of the irrational endeavours of our Anglo-maniac economists. To the capitalist, on the contrary, and even to the man of144 science, that system, however rigidly and consistently carried out, will seem far less degrading; or rather it will be looked upon as most desirable, unless his education has been such as to counteract these tendencies, and to give him the desire and the ability for abstract and general thought.
Morally, the contrast between the position of the workman and the capitalist is even more striking. Proud as most men are of worldly success, the degree of moral or mental excellence implied in the acquisition of wealth or power, even when the means used have been strictly legitimate, is hardly such as to justify that pride. Looking at intrinsic qualities rather than at visible results, it is obvious that practical success, whether in industry or in war, depends far more on character than on intellect or affection. The principal condition for it is the combination of a certain amount of energy with great caution, and a fair share of perseverance. When a man has these qualities, mediocrity of intellect and moral deficiency will not prevent his taking advantage of favourable chances; chance being usually a very important element in worldly success. Indeed it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that poverty of thought and feeling has often something to do with forming and maintaining the disposition requisite for the purpose. Vigorous exertion of the active powers is more frequently induced by the personal propensities of avarice, ambition, or vanity, than by the higher instincts. Superiority of position, when legitimately obtained, deserves respect; but the philosopher, like the religionist, and with still better grounds, refuses to regard it as a proof of moral superiority, a conclusion which would be wholly at variance with the true theory of human nature.
The life of the workman, on the other hand,145 is far more favourable to the development of the nobler instincts. In practical qualities he is usually not wanting, except in caution, a deficiency which makes his energy and perseverance less useful to himself, though fully available for society. But it is in the exercise of the higher feelings that the moral superiority of the working class is most observable. When our habits and opinions have been brought under the influence of systematic principles, the true character of this class, which forms the basis of modern society, will become more distinct; and we shall see that home affections are naturally stronger with them than with the middle classes, who are too much engrossed with personal interests for the full enjoyment of domestic ties. Still more evident is their superiority in social feelings strictly so called, for these with them are called into daily exercise from earliest childhood. Here it is that we find the highest and most genuine types of friendship, and this even amongst those who are placed in a dependent position, aggravated often by the aristocratic prejudices of those above them, and whom we might imagine on that account condemned to a lower moral standard. We find sincere and simple respect for superiors, untainted by servility, not vitiated by the pride of learning, not disturbed by the jealousies of competition. Their personal experience of the miseries of life is a constant stimulus to the nobler sympathies. In no class is there so strong an incentive to social feeling, at least to the feeling of Solidarity between contemporaries; for all are conscious of the support that they derive from union, support which is not at all incompatible with strong individuality of character. The sense of Continuity with the past has not, it is true, been sufficiently developed; but this is a want which can only be supplied by146 systematic culture. It will hardly be disputed that there are more remarkable instances of prompt and unostentatious self-sacrifice at the call of a great public necessity in this class than in any other. Note, too, that in the utter absence of any systematic education, all these moral excellences must be looked upon as inherent in the class. It is impossible to attribute them to theological influence, now that they have so entirely shaken off the old faith. The type I have described would be generally considered imaginary; and at present it is only in Paris that it can be fully realized. But the fact of its existence in the centre of Western Europe is enough for all rational observers. A type so fully in accordance with what we know of human nature cannot fail ultimately to spread everywhere, especially when these spontaneous tendencies are placed under the systematic guidance of Positivism.
These remarks will prepare us to appreciate the wise and generous instincts of the Convention in looking to the Proletariate as the mainspring of its policy; and this is not merely on account of the incidental danger of foreign invasion, but in dealing with the larger question of social regeneration, which it pursued so ardently, though in such ignorance of its true principles. Owing, however, to the want of a satisfactory system, and the disorder produced by the metaphysical theories of the time, the spirit in which this alliance with the people was framed was incompatible with the real object in view. It was considered that government ought as a rule to be in the hands of the people. Now under the special circumstances of the time popular government was undoubtedly147 very useful. The existence of the republic depended almost entirely upon the proletariate, the only class that stood unshaken and true to its principles. But in the absolute spirit of the received political theories, this state of things was regarded as normal, a view which is incompatible with the most important conditions of modern society. It is of course always right for the people to assist government in carrying out the law, even to the extent of physical force, should the case require it. Interference of this subordinate kind, whether in foreign or internal questions, so far from leading to anarchy, is obviously a guarantee for order which ought to exist in every properly constituted society. Indeed in this respect our habits in France are still very defective; men are too often content to remain mere lookers on, while the police to whom they owe their daily protection is doing its duty. But for the people to take a direct part in government, and to have the final decision of political measures, is a state of things which in modern society is only adapted to times of revolution. To recognize it as final would lead at once to anarchy, were it not so utterly impossible to realize.
Positivism rejects the metaphysical doctrine of the Sovereignty of the people. But it appropriates all that is really sound in the doctrine, and this with reference not merely to exceptional cases but to the normal state; while at the same time it guards against the danger involved in its application as an absolute truth. In the hands of the revolutionary party the doctrine is generally used to justify the right of insurrection. Now in Positive Polity, this right is looked upon as an ultimate resource, with which no society should allow itself to dispense. Absolute submission,148 which is too strongly inculcated by modern Catholicism, would expose us to the danger of tyranny. Insurrection may be regarded, scientifically, as a sort of reparative crisis, of which societies stand in more need than individuals in accordance with the well-known biological law, that the higher and the more complicated the organism, the more frequent and also the more dangerous is the pathological state. Therefore, the fear that Positivism, when generally accepted, will encourage passive obedience, is perfectly groundless; although it is certainly not favourable to the pure revolutionary spirit, which would fain take the disease for the normal type of health. Its whole character is so essentially relative, that it finds no difficulty in accepting subordination as the rule, and yet allowing for exceptional cases of revolt; a course by which good taste and human dignity are alike satisfied. Positivism looks upon insurrection as a dangerous remedy that should be reserved for extreme cases; but it would never scruple to sanction and even to encourage it when it is really indispensable. This is quite compatible with refusing, as a rule, to submit the decision of political questions and the choice of rulers to judges who are obviously incompetent; and who, under the influence of Positivism, will of their own free will abdicate rights which are subversive of order.
The metaphysical doctrine of the Sovereignty of the people, contains, however, a truth of permanent value, though in a very confused form. This truth Positivism separates very distinctly from its dangerous alloy, yet without weakening, on the contrary, with the effect of enforcing, its social import. There are two distinct conceptions in this doctrine,149 which have hitherto been confounded; a political conception applicable to certain special cases; a moral conception applicable to all.
In the first place the name of the whole body politic ought to be invoked in the announcement of any special measure, of which the motives are sufficiently intelligible, and which directly concern the practical interests of the whole community. Under this head would be included decisions of law courts, declarations of war, etc. When society has reached the Positive state, and the sense of universal solidarity is more generally diffused, there will be even more significance and dignity in such expressions than there is now, because the name invoked will no longer be that of a special nation, but that of Humanity as a whole. It would be absurd, however, to extend this practice to those still more numerous cases where the people is incompetent to express any opinion, and has merely to adopt the opinion of superior officers who have obtained its confidence. This may be owing either to the difficulty of the question or to the fact of its application being indirect or limited. Such, for instance, would be enactments, very often of great importance, which deal with scientific principles; or again most questions relating to special professions or branches of industry. In all these cases popular good sense would, under Positivist influence, easily be kept clear from political illusions. It is only under the stimulus of metaphysical pride that such illusions become dangerous; and the untaught masses have but little experience of this feeling.
There is, however, another truth implied in the expression, Sovereignity of the people. It implies that it is the first of duties to concentrate all the efforts of society upon the common good. And in this there is a more direct reference to the150 working class than to any other; first, on account of their immense numerical superiority, and, secondly, because the difficulties by which their life is surrounded require special interference to a degree which for other classes would be unnecessary. From this point of view it is a principle which all true republicans may accept. It is, in fact, identical with what we have laid down as the universal basis of morality, the direct and permanent preponderance of social feeling over all personal interests. Not merely, then, is it incorporated by Positivism, but, as was shown in the first chapter, it forms the primary principle of the system, even under the intellectual aspect. Since the decline of Catholicism the metaphysical spirit has been provisionally the guardian of this great social precept. Positivism now finally appropriates it, and purifies it for the future from all taint of anarchy. Revolutionists, as we should expect from their characteristic dislike to the separation of the two powers, had treated the question politically. Positivism avoids all danger by shifting it to the region of morality. I shall show presently that this very salutary change, so far from weakening the force of the principle, increases its permanent value, and at the same time removes the deceptive and subversive tendencies which are always involved in the metaphysical mode of regarding it.
What then, it will be asked, is the part assigned to the Proletariate in the final constitution of society? This similarity of position which I pointed out between themselves and the philosophic class suggests the answer. They will be of the most essential service to the spiritual power in each of its three social functions, judgment, counsel, and even education. All the151intellectual and moral qualities that we have just indicated in this class concur in fitting them for this service. If we except the philosophic body, which is the recognized organ of general principles, there is no class which is so habitually inclined to take comprehensive views of any subject. Their superiority in Social Feeling is still more obvious. In this even the best philosophers are rarely their equals; and it would be a most beneficial corrective of their tendency to over-abstraction to come into daily contact with the noble and spontaneous instincts of the people. The working class, then, is better qualified than any other for understanding, and still more for sympathizing with the highest truths of morality, though it may not be able to give them a systematic form. And, as we have seen, it is in social morality, the most important and the highest of the three branches of Ethics, that their superiority is most observable. Besides, independently of their intrinsic merits, whether intellectual or moral, the necessities of their daily life serve to impress them with respect for the great rules of morality, which in most cases were framed for their own protection. To secure the application of these rules in daily life is a function of the spiritual power in the performance of which they will meet with but slight assistance from the middle classes. It is with them that temporal power naturally resides, and it is their misuse of power that has to be controlled and set right. The working classes are the chief sufferers from the selfishness and domineering of men of wealth and power. For this reason they are the likeliest to come forward in defence of public morality. And they will be all the more disposed to give it their hearty support if they have nothing to do directly with political administration. Habitual participation in temporal power, to say nothing of its152 unsettling influence, would lead them away from the best remedy for their sufferings of which the constitution of society admits. Popular sagacity will soon detect the utter hollowness of the off-hand solutions that are now being obtruded upon us. The people will rapidly become convinced that the surest method of satisfying all legitimate claims lies in the moral agencies which Positivism offers, though it appears to them at the same time to abdicate political power which either yields them nothing or results in anarchy.
So natural is this tendency of the people to rally round the spiritual power in defence of morality, that we find it to have been the case even in mediaeval times. Indeed this it is which explains the sympathies which Catholicism still retains, notwithstanding its general decline, in the countries where Protestantism has failed to establish itself. Superficial observers often mistake these sympathies for evidence of sincere attachment to the old creeds, though in point of fact they are more thoroughly undermined in those countries than anywhere else. It is an historical error which will, however, soon be corrected by the reception which these nations, so wrongly imagined to be in a backward stage of political development, will give to Positivism. For they will soon see its superiority to Catholicism in satisfying the primary necessity with which their social instincts are so justly preoccupied.
In the Middle Ages, however, the relations between the working classes and the priesthood were hampered by the institution of serfage, which was not wholly abolished until Catholicism had begun to decline. In fact a careful study of history will show that one of the principal causes of its decline was the want of popular support. The mediaeval church was a noble, but premature attempt.153 Disbelief in its doctrines, and also retrograde tendencies in its directors, had virtually destroyed it, before the Proletariate had attained sufficient social importance to support it successfully, supposing it could have deserved their support. But we are now sufficiently advanced for the perfect realization of the Catholic ideal in Positivism. And the principal means of realizing it will be the formation of an alliance between philosophers and the working classes, for which both are alike prepared by the negative and positive progress of the last five centuries.
The direct object of their combined action will be to set in motion the force of Public Opinion. All views of the future condition of society, the views of practical men as well as of philosophic thinkers, agree in the belief that the principal feature of the state to which we are tending, will be the increased influence which Public Opinion is destined to exercise.
It is in this beneficial influence that we shall find the surest guarantee for morality; for domestic and even for personal morality, as well as for social. For as the whole tendency of Positivism is to induce every one to live as far as possible without concealment, the public will be intrusted with a strong check upon the life of the individual. Now that all theological illusions have become so entirely obsolete, the need of such a check is greater than it was before. It compensates for the insufficiency of natural goodness which we find in most men, however wisely their education has been conducted. Except the noblest of joys, that which springs from social sympathy when called into constant exercise, there is no reward for doing right so satisfactory as the approval of our fellow-beings. Even under theological systems it has154 been one of our strongest aspirations to live esteemed in the memory of others. And still more prominence will be given to this noble form of ambition under Positivism, because it is the only way left us of satisfying the desire which all men feel of prolonging their life into the Future. And the increased force of Public Opinion will correspond to the increased necessity for it. The peculiar reality of Positive doctrine and its constant conformity with facts facilitate the recognition of its principles, and remove all obscurity in their application. They are not to be evaded by subterfuges like those to which metaphysical and theological principles, from their vague and absolute character, have been always liable. Again, the primary principle of Positivism, which is to judge every question by the standard of social interests, is in itself a direct appeal to Public Opinion; since the public is naturally the judge of the good or bad effect of action upon the common welfare. Under theological and metaphysical systems no appeal of this sort was recognized; because the objects upheld as the highest aims of life were purely personal.
In political questions the application of our principle is still more obvious. For political morality Public Opinion is almost our only guarantee. We feel its force even now in spite of the intellectual anarchy in which we live. Neutralized as it is in most cases by the wide divergences of men’s convictions, yet it shows itself on the occasion of any great public excitement. Indeed, we feel it to our cost sometimes when the popular mind has taken a wrong direction; government in such cases being very seldom able to offer adequate resistance. These cases may convince us how irresistible this power will prove when used legitimately, and when it is formed by systematic155 accordance in general principles instead of by a precarious and momentary coincidence of feeling. And here we see more clearly than ever how impossible it is to effect any permanent reconstruction of the institutions of society, without a previous reorganization of opinion and of life. The spiritual basis is necessary not merely to determine the character of the temporal reconstruction, but to supply the principal motive force by which the work is to be carried out. Intellectual and moral harmony will gradually be restored, and under its influence the new political system will by degrees arise. Social improvements of the highest importance may therefore be realized long before the work of spiritual reorganization is completed. We find in mediaeval history that Catholicism exercised a powerful influence on society during its emergence from barbarism, before its own internal constitution had advanced far. And this will be the case to a still greater degree with the regeneration which is now in progress.
Having defined the sphere within which Public Opinion should operate, we shall find little difficulty in determining the conditions requisite for its proper organization. These are, first, the establishment of fixed principles of social action; secondly, their adoption by the public, and its consent to their application in special cases; and, lastly, a recognized organ to lay down the principles, and to apply them to the conduct of daily life. Obvious as these three conditions appear, they are still so little understood, that it will be well to explain each of them somewhat more fully.
The first condition, that of laying down fixed principles, is, in fact, the extension to social questions156 of that separation between theory and practice, which in subjects of less importance is universally recognized. This is the aspect in which the superiority of the new spiritual system to the old is most perceptible. The principles of moral and political conduct that were accepted in the Middle Ages were little better than empirical, and owed their stability entirely to the sanction of religion. In this respect, indeed, the superiority of Catholicism to the systems which preceded it, consisted merely in the fact of separating its precepts from the special application of them. By making its precepts the distinct object of preliminary study, it secured them against the bias of human passions. Yet important as this separation was, the system was so defective intellectually, that the successful application of its principles depended simply on the good sense of the teachers; for the principles in themselves were as vague and as absolute as the creeds from which they were derived. The influence exercised by Catholicism was due to its indirect action upon social feeling in the only mode then possible. But the claims with which Positivism presents itself are far more satisfactory. It is based on a complete synthesis; one which embraces, not the outer world only, but the inner world of human nature. This, while in no way detracting from the practical value of social principles, give them the imposing weight of theoretical truth; and ensures their stability and coherence, by connecting them with the whole series of laws on which the life of man and of society depend. For these laws will corroborate even those which are not immediately deduced from them. By connecting all our rules of action with the fundamental conception of social duty, we render their interpretation in each special case clear and consistent, and we secure it against157 the sophisms of passion. Principles such as these, based on reason, and rendering our conduct independent of the impulses of the moment, are the only means of sustaining the vigour of Social Feeling, and at the same time of saving us from the errors to which its unguided suggestions so often lead. Direct and constant culture of Social Feeling in public as well as in private life is no doubt the first condition of morality. But the natural strength of Self-love is such that something besides this is required to control it. The course of conduct must be traced beforehand in all important cases by the aid of demonstrable principles, adopted at first upon trust, and afterwards from conviction.
There is no art whatever in which, however ardent and sincere our desire to succeed, we can dispense with knowledge of the nature and conditions of the object aimed at. Moral and political conduct is assuredly not exempt from such an obligation, although we are more influenced in this case by the direct promptings of feeling than in any other of the arts of life. It has been shown only too clearly by many striking instances how far Social Feeling may lead us astray when it is not directed by right principles. It was for want of fixed convictions that the noble sympathies entertained by the French nation for the rest of Europe at the outset of the Revolution so soon degenerated into forcible oppression, when her retrograde leader began his seductive appeal to selfish passions. Inverse cases are still more common; and they illustrate the connexion of feeling and opinion as clearly as the others. A false social doctrine has often favoured the natural ascendency of Self-love by giving a perverted conception of public well-being. This has been too plainly exemplified in our own time by the deplorable influence which158 Malthus’s sophistical theory of population obtained in England. This mischievous error met with very little acceptance in the rest of Europe, and it has been already refuted by the nobler thinkers of his own country; but it still gives the show of scientific sanction to the criminal antipathy of the governing classes in Great Britain to all effectual measures of reform.
Next to a system of principles, the most important condition for the exercise of Public Opinion is the existence of a strong body of supporters sufficient to make the weight of these principles felt. Now it was here that Catholicism proved so weak; and therefore, even had its doctrine been less perishable, its decline was unavoidable. But the defect is amply supplied in the new spiritual order, which, as I have before shown, will receive the influential support of the working classes. And the need of such assistance is as certain as the readiness with which it will be yielded. For though the intrinsic efficacy of Positive teaching is far greater than that of any doctrine which is not susceptible of demonstration, yet the convictions it inspires cannot be expected to dispense with the aid of vigorous popular support. Human nature is imperfectly organized; and the influence which Reason exercises over it is not by any means so great as this supposition would imply. Even Social Feeling, though its influence is far greater than that of Reason, would not in general be sufficient for the right guidance of practical life, if Public Opinion were not constantly at hand to support the good inclinations of individuals. The arduous struggle of Social Feeling against Self-love requires the constant assertion of true principles to remove uncertainty as to the proper course of action in each case. But it requires also something more. The strong reaction159 of All upon Each is needed, whether to control selfishness or to stimulate sympathy. The tendency of our poor and weak nature to give way to the lower propensities is so great that, but for this universal co-operation, Feeling and Reason would be almost inadequate to their task. In the working class we find the requisite conditions. They will, as we have seen, form the principal source of opinion, not merely from their numerical superiority, but also from their intellectual and moral qualities, as well as from the influence directly due to their social position. Thus it is that Positivism views the great problem of human life, and shows us for the first time that the bases of a solution already exist in the very structure of the social organism.
Working men, whether as individuals or, what is still more important, collectively, are now at liberty to criticize all the details, and even the general principles, of the social system under which they live; affecting, as it necessarily does, themselves more nearly than any other class. The remarkable eagerness lately shown by our people to form clubs, though there was no special motive for it, and no very marked enthusiasm, was a proof that the checks which had previously prevented this tendency from showing itself were quite unsuited to our times. Nor is this tendency likely to pass away; on the contrary, it will take deeper root and extend more widely, because it is thoroughly in keeping with the habits, feelings, and wants of working men, who form the majority in these meetings. A consistent system of social truth will largely increase their influence, by giving them a more settled character and a more important aim. So far from being in any way destructive, they form a natural though imperfect model of the mode of life which160 will ultimately be adopted in the regenerate condition of Humanity. In these unions social sympathies are kept in constant action by a stimulus of a most beneficial kind. They offer the speediest and most effectual means of elaborating Public Opinion: this at least is the case when there has been a fair measure of individual training. No one at present has any idea of the extent of the advantages which will one day spring from these spontaneous meetings, when there is an adequate system of general principles to direct them. Spiritual reorganization will find them its principal basis of support, for they secure its acceptance by the people; and this will have the greater weight, because it will always be given without compulsion or violence. The objection that meetings of this kind may lead to dangerous political agitation, rests upon a misinterpretation of the events of the Revolution. So far from their stimulating a desire for what are called political rights, or encouraging their exercise in those who possess them, their tendency is quite in the opposite direction. They will soon divert working men entirely from all useless attempts to interfere with existing political institutions, and bring them to their true social function, that of assisting and carrying out the operations of the new spiritual power. It is a noble prospect which is thus held out to them by Positivism, a prospect far more inviting than any of the metaphysical illusions of the day. The real intention of the Club is to form a provisional substitute for the Church of old times, or rather to prepare the way for the religious building of the new form of worship, the worship of Humanity; which, as I shall explain in a subsequent chapter, will be gradually introduced under the regenerating influence of Positive doctrine. Under our present republican government all progressive tendencies161 are allowed free scope, and therefore it will not be long before our people accept this new vent for social sympathies, which in former times could find expression only in Catholicism.
In this theory of Public Opinion one condition yet remains to be described. A philosophic organ is necessary to interpret the doctrine; the influence of which would otherwise in most cases be very inadequate. This third condition has been much disputed; but it is certainly even more indispensable than the second. And in fact it has never been really wanting, for every doctrine must have had some founder, and usually has a permanent body of teachers. It would be difficult to conceive that a system of moral and political principles should be possessed of great social influence, and yet at the same time that the men who originate or inculcate the system should exercise no spiritual authority. It is true that this inconsistency did for a time exist under the negative and destructive influence of Protestantism and Deism, because men’s thoughts were for the time entirely taken up with the struggle to escape from the retrograde tendencies of Catholicism. During this long period of insurrection, each individual became a sort of priest; each, that is, followed his own interpretation of a doctrine which needed no special teachers, because its function was not to construct but to criticize. All the constitutions that have been recently established on metaphysical principles give a direct sanction to this state of things, in the preambles with which they commence. They apparently regard each citizen as competent to form a sound opinion on all social questions, thus exempting him from the necessity of applying to any special interpreters. This extension to the normal state of things of a phase of mind only suited to the period of revolutionary162 transition, is an error which I have already sufficiently refuted.
In the minor arts of life, it is obvious that general principles cannot be laid down without some theoretical study; and that the application of these rules to special cases is not to be entirely left to the untaught instinct of the artisan. And can it be otherwise with the art of Social Life, so far harder and more important than any other, and in which, from its principles being less simple and less precise, a special explanation of them in each case is even more necessary? However perfect the demonstration of social principles may become, it must not be supposed that knowledge of Positive doctrine, even when it has been taught in the most efficient way, will dispense with the necessity of frequently appealing to the philosopher for advice in questions of practical life, whether private or public. And this necessity of an interpreter to intervene occasionally between the principle and its application, is even more evident from the moral than it is from the intellectual aspect. Certain as it is that no one will be so well acquainted with the true character of the doctrine as the philosopher who teaches it, it is even more certain that none is so likely as himself to possess the moral qualifications of purity, of exalted aims, and of freedom from party spirit, without which his counsels could have but little weight in reforming individual or social conduct. It is principally through his agency that we may hope in most cases to bring about that reaction of All upon Each, which, as we have seen, is of such indispensable importance to practical morality. Philosophers are not indeed the principal source of Public Opinion, as intellectual pride so often leads them to believe. Public Opinion proceeds essentially from the free voice and spontaneous co-operation163 of the people. But in order that the full weight of their unanimous judgment may be felt, it must be announced by some recognized organ. There are, no doubt, rare cases where the direct expression of popular feeling is enough, but these are quite exceptional. Thus working men and philosophers are mutually necessary, not merely in the creation of Public Opinion, but also in most cases in the manifestation of it. Without the first, the doctrine, however well established, would not have sufficient force. Without the second, it would usually be too incoherent to overcome those obstacles in the constitution of man and of society, which make it so difficult to bring practical life under the influence of fixed principles.
In fact this necessity for some systematic organ to direct and give effect to Public Opinion, has always been felt, even amidst the spiritual anarchy which at present surrounds us, on every occasion in which such opinion has played any important part. For its effect on these occasions would have been null and void but for some individual to take the initiative and personal responsibility. This is frequently verified in private life by cases in which we see the opposite state of things; we see principles which no one would think of contesting, practically inadequate, for want of some recognized authority to apply them. It is a serious deficiency, which is, however, compensated, though imperfectly, by the greater facility of arriving at the truth in such cases, and by the greater strength of the sympathies which they call forth. But in public life, with its more difficult conditions and more important claims, such entire absence of systematic intervention could never be tolerated. In all public transactions even now we may perceive the participation of a spiritual authority of one kind or other; the organs of164 which, though constantly varying, are in most cases metaphysicians or literary men writing for the press. Thus even in the present anarchy of feelings and convictions, Public Opinion cannot dispense with guides and interpreters. Only it has to be content with men who at the best can only offer the guarantee of personal responsibility, without any reliable security either for the stability of their convictions or the purity of their feelings. But now that the problem of organizing Public Opinion has once been proposed by Positivism, it cannot remain long without a solution. It plainly reduces itself to the principle of separating the two social powers; just as we have seen that the necessity of an established doctrine rested on the analogous principle of separating theory from practice. It is clear, on the one hand, that sound interpretation of moral and political rules, as in the case of any other art, can only be furnished by philosophers engaged in the study of the natural laws on which they rest. On the other hand these philosophers, in order to preserve that breadth and generality of view which is their principal intellectual characteristic, must abstain scrupulously from all regular participation in practical affairs, and especially from political life: on the ground that its specializing influence would soon impair their speculative capacity. And such a course is equally necessary on moral grounds. It helps to preserve purity of feeling and impartiality of character; qualities essential to their influence upon public as well as upon private life.
Such, in outline, is the Positive theory of Public Opinion. In each of its three constituent elements, the Doctrine, the Power, and the Organ, it is intimately connected with the whole question of spiritual reorganization; or rather, it forms the simplest mode of viewing that great subject. All165 the essential parts of it are closely related to each other. Positive principles, on the one hand, cannot count on much material support, except from the working classes; these in their turn will for the future regard Positivism as the only doctrine with which they can sympathize. So, again, with the philosophic organs of opinion; without the People, their necessary independence cannot be established or sustained. To our literary classes the separation of the two powers is instinctively repugnant, because it would lay down systematic limits to the unwise ambition which we now see in them. And it will be disliked as strongly by the rich classes, who will look with fear upon a new moral authority destined to impose an irresistible check upon their selfishness. At present it will be generally understood and welcomed only by the proletary class, who have more aptitude for general views and for social sympathy. In France especially they are less under the delusion of metaphysical sophisms and of aristocratic prestige than any other class; and the Positivist view of this primary condition of social regeneration will find a ready entrance into their minds and hearts.
Our theory of Public Opinion shows us at once how far we have already gone in organizing this great regulator of modern society; how far we still fall short of what is wanted. The Doctrine has at last arisen: there is no doubt of the existence of the Power; and even the Organ is not wanting. But they do not as yet stand in their right relation to each other. The effective impulse towards social regeneration depends, then, on one ultimate condition; the formation of a firm alliance between philosophers and proletaries.
Of these advantages, the principal, and that by which the rest will speedily be developed and secured, is the important social function which is hereby conferred upon them. They become auxiliaries of the new spiritual power; auxiliaries indispensable to its action. This vast proletary class, which ever since its rise in the Middle Ages has been shut out from the political system, will now assume the position for which by nature it is best adapted, and which is most conducive to the general well-being of society. Its members, independently of their special vocation, will at last take a regular and most important part in public life, a part which will compensate for the hardships inseparable from their social position. Their combined action, far from disturbing the established order of things, will be its most solid guarantee, from the fact of being moral, not political. And here we see definitely the alteration which Positivism introduces in the revolutionary conception of the action of the working classes upon society. For stormy discussions about rights, it substitutes peaceable definition of duties. It supersedes useless disputes for the possession of power, by inquiring into the rules that should regulate its wise employment.
A superficial observer of the present state of things might imagine our working classes to be as yet very far from this frame of mind. But he who looks deeper into the question will see that the very experiment which they are now trying, of extending their political rights, will soon have the effect of showing them the hollowness of a remedy which has so slight a bearing upon the167 objects really important to them. Without making any formal abdication of rights, which might seem inconsistent with their social dignity, there is little doubt that their instinctive sagacity will lead them to the still more efficacious plan of indifference. Positivism will readily convince them that whereas spiritual power, in order to do its work, must ramify in every direction, it is essential to public order that political power should be as a rule concentrated. And this conviction will grow upon them, as they see more clearly that the primary social problems which are very properly absorbing their attention are essentially moral rather than political.
One step in this direction they have already taken of their own accord, though its importance has not been duly appreciated. The well-known scheme of Communism, which has found such rapid acceptance with them, serves, in the absence of sounder doctrine, to express the way in which they are now looking at the great social problem. The experience of the first part of the Revolution has not yet wholly disabused them of political illusions, but it has at least brought them to feel that Property is of more importance than Power in the ordinary sense of the word. So far Communism has given a wider meaning to the great social problem, and has thereby rendered an essential service, which is not neutralized by the temporary dangers involved in the metaphysical forms in which it comes before us. Communism should therefore be carefully distinguished from the numerous extravagant schemes brought forward in this time of spiritual anarchy; a time which stimulates incompetent and ill-trained minds to the most difficult subjects of thought. The foolish schemes referred to have so few definite features, that we have to distinguish them by the168 names of their authors. But Communism bears the name of no single author, and is something more than an accidental product of anomalous circumstances. We should look upon it as the natural progress in the right direction of the revolutionary spirit; progress of a moral rather than intellectual kind. It is a proof that revolutionary tendencies are now concentrating themselves upon moral questions, leaving all purely political questions in the background. It is quite true that the solution of the problem which Communists are now putting forward, is still as essentially political as that of their predecessors; since the only mode by which they propose to regulate the employment of property, is by a change in the mode of its tenure. Still it is owing to them that the question of property is at last brought forward for discussion: and it is a question which so evidently needs a moral solution, the solution of it by political means is at once so inadequate and so destructive, that it cannot long continue to be debated, without leading to the more satisfactory result offered by Positivism. Men will see that it forms a part of the final regeneration of opinion and of life, which Positivism is now inaugurating.
To do justice to Communism, we must look at the generous sympathies by which it is inspired, not at the shallow theories in which those sympathies find expression provisionally, until circumstances enable them to take some other shape. Our working classes, caring but very little for metaphysical principles, do not attach nearly the same importance to these theories as is done by men of literary education. As soon as they see a better way of bringing forward the points on which they have such legitimate claims, they will very soon adopt the clear and practical conceptions of169 Positivism, which can be carried out peaceably and permanently, in preference to these vague and confused chimeras, which, as they will instinctively feel, lead only to anarchy. Till then they will naturally abide by Communism, as the only method of bringing forward the most fundamental of social problems in a way which there shall be no evading. The very alarm which their present solution of the problem arouses helps to stir public attention, and fix it on this great subject. But for this constant appeal to their fears, the metaphysical delusions and aristocratic self-seeking of the governing classes would shelve the question altogether, or pass it by with indifference. The errors of Communism must be rectified; but there is no necessity for giving up the name, which is a simple assertion of the paramount importance of Social Feeling. However, now that we have happily passed from monarchy to republicanism, the name of Communist is no longer indispensable; the word Republican expresses the meaning as well, and without the same danger. Positivism, then, has nothing to fear from Communism; on the contrary, it will probably be accepted by most Communists among the working classes, especially in France where abstractions have but little influence on minds thoroughly emancipated from theology. The people will gradually find that the solution of the great social problem which Positivism offers is better than the Communistic solution.
A tendency in this direction has already shown itself since the first edition of this work was published. The working classes have now adopted a new expression, Socialism, thus indicating that they accept the problem of the Communists while rejecting their solution. Indeed that solution would seem to be finally disposed of by the voluntary exile of their170 leader. Yet, if the Socialists at present keep clear of Communism, it is only because their position is one of criticism or inaction. If they were to succeed to power, with principles so far below the level of their sympathies, they would inevitably fall into the same errors and extravagances which they now instinctively feel to be wrong. Consequently the rapid spread of Socialism very naturally alarms the upper classes; and their resistance, blind though it be, is at present the only legal guarantee for material order. In fact, the problem brought forward by the Communists admits of no solution but their own, so long as the revolutionary confusion of temporal and spiritual power continues. Therefore the universal blame that is lavished on these utopian schemes cannot fail to inspire respect for Positivism, as the only doctrine which can preserve Western Europe from some serious attempt to bring Communism into practical operation. Positivists stand forward now as the party of construction, with a definite basis for political action; namely, systematic prosecution of the wise attempt of mediaeval statesmen to separate the two social powers. On this basis they are enabled to satisfy the Poor, and at the same time to restore the confidence of the Rich. It is a final solution of our difficulties which will make the titles of which we have been speaking unnecessary. Stripping the old word Republican of any false meaning at present attached to it, we may retain it as the best expression of the social sympathies on which the regeneration of society depends. For the opinions, manners, and even institutions of future society, Positivist is the only word suitable.
The peculiar reality of Positivism, and its invariable tendency to concentrate our intellectual powers upon171 social questions, are attributes, both of which involve its adoption of the essential principle of Communism; that principle being, that Property is in its nature social, and that it needs control.
Property has been erroneously represented by most modern jurists as conferring an absolute right upon the possessor, irrespectively of the good or bad use made of it. This view is instinctively felt by the working classes to be unsound, and all true philosophers will agree with them. It is an anti-social theory, due historically to exaggerated reaction against previous legislation of a peculiarly oppressive kind, but it has no real foundation either in justice or in fact. Property can neither be created, nor even transmitted by the sole agency of its possessor. The co-operation of the public is always necessary, whether in the assertion of the general principle or in the application of it to each special case. Therefore the tenure of property is not to be regarded as a purely individual right. In every age and in every country the state has intervened, to a greater or less degree, making property subservient to social requirements. Taxation evidently gives the public an interest in the private fortune of each individual; an interest which, instead of diminishing with the progress of civilization, has been always on the increase, especially in modern times, now that the connexion of each member of society with the whole is becoming more apparent. The practice of confiscation, which also is in universal use, shows that in certain extreme cases the community considers itself authorized to assume entire possession of private property. Confiscation has, it is true, been abolished for a time in France. But this isolated exception is due only to the abuses which recently accompanied the exercise of what was in itself an172 undoubted right; and it will hardly survive when the causes which led to it are forgotten, and the power which introduced it has passed away. In their abstract views of property, then, Communists are perfectly able to maintain their ground against the jurists.
They are right, again, in dissenting as deeply as they do from the Economists, who lay it down as an absolute principle that the application of wealth should be entirely unrestricted by society. This error, like the one just spoken of, is attributable to instances of unjustifiable interference. But it is utterly opposed to all sound philosophical teaching, although it has a certain appearance of truth, in so far as it recognizes the subordination of social phenomena to natural laws. But the Economists seem to have adopted this important principle only to show how incapable they are of comprehending it. Before they applied the conception of Law to the higher phenomena of nature, they ought to have made themselves well acquainted with its meaning, as applied to the lower and more simple phenomena. Not having done so, they have been utterly blind to the fact that the Order of nature becomes more and more modifiable as it grows more complicated. This conception lies at the very root of our whole practical life; therefore nothing can excuse the metaphysical school of Economists for systematically resisting the intervention of human wisdom in the various departments of social action. That the movement of society is subject to natural laws is certain; but this truth, instead of inducing us to abandon all efforts to modify society, should rather lead to a wiser application of such efforts, since they are at once more efficacious, and more necessary in social phenomena than in any other.
So far, therefore, the fundamental principle of173 Communism is one which the Positivist school must obviously adopt. Positivism not only confirms this principle, but widens its scope, by showing its application to other departments of human life; by insisting that, not wealth only, but that all our powers shall be devoted in the true republican spirit to the continuous service of the community. The long period of revolution which has elapsed since the Middle Ages has encouraged individualism in the moral world, as in the intellectual it has fostered the specializing tendency. But both are equally inconsistent with the final order of modern society. In all healthy conditions of Humanity, the citizen, whatever his position, has been regarded as a public functionary, whose duties and claims were determined more or less distinctly by his faculties. The case of property is certainly no exception to this general principle. Proprietorship is regarded by the Positivist as an important social function; the function, namely, of creating and administering that capital by means of which each generation lays the foundation for the operations of its successor. This is the only tenable view of property; and wisely interpreted, it is one which, while ennobling to its possessor, does not exclude a due measure of freedom. It will in fact place his position on a firmer basis than ever.
But the agreement here pointed out the between sociological science and the spontaneous inspirations of popular judgment, goes no farther. Positivists accept, and indeed enlarge, the programme of Communism; but we reject its practical solution on the ground that it is at once inadequate and subversive. The chief difference between our own solution and theirs is that we substitute moral agencies for174 political. Thus we come again to our leading principle of separating spiritual from temporal power; a principle which, disregarded as it has hitherto been in the system of modern renovators, will be found in every one of the important problems of our time to be the sole possible issue. In the present case, while throwing such light on the fallacy of Communism, it should lead us to excuse the fallacy, by reminding us that politicians of every accredited school are equally guilty of it. At a time when there are so very few, even of cultivated minds, who have a clear conception of this the primary principle of modern politics, it would be harsh to blame the people for still accepting a result of revolutionary empiricism, which is so universally adopted by other classes.
I need not enter here into any detailed criticism of the utopian scheme of Plato. It was conclusively refuted twenty-two centuries ago, by the great Aristotle, who thus exemplified the organic character, by which, even in its earliest manifestations, the Positive spirit is distinguished. In modern Communism, moreover, there is one fatal inconsistency, which while it proves the utter weakness of the system, testifies at the same time to the honourable character of the motives from which it arose. Modern Communism differs from the ancient, as expounded by Plato, in not making women and children common as well as property; a result to which the principle itself obviously leads. Yet this, the only consistent view of Communism, is adopted by none but a very few literary men, whose affections, in themselves too feeble, have been perverted by vicious intellectual training. Our untaught proletaries, who are the only Communists worthy our consideration, are nobly inconsistent in this respect. Indivisible as their erroneous system is, they only adopt that175 side of it which touches on their social requirements. The other side is repugnant to all their highest instincts, and they utterly repudiate it.
Without discussing these chimerical schemes in detail, it will be well to expose the errors inherent in the method of reasoning which leads to them, because they are common to all the other progressive schools, the Positivist school excepted. The mistake consists in the first place, in disregarding or even denying the natural laws which regulate social phenomena; and secondly, in resorting to political agencies where moral agency is the real thing needed. The inadequacy and the danger of the various utopian systems which are now setting up their rival claims to bring about the regeneration of society, are all attributable in reality to these two closely-connected errors. For the sake of clearness, I shall continue to refer specially to Communism as the most prominent of these systems. But it will be easy to extend the bearing of my remarks to all the rest.
The ignorance of the true laws of social life under which Communists labour is evident in their dangerous tendency to suppress individuality. Not only do they ignore the inherent preponderance in our nature of the personal instincts; but they forget that, in the collective Organism, the separation of functions is a feature no less essential than the co-operation of functions. Suppose for a moment that the connexion between men could be made such that they were physically inseparable, as has been actually the case with twins in certain cases of monstrosity; society would obviously be impossible. Extravagant as this supposition is, it may illustrate the fact that in social life individuality cannot be dispensed with. It is necessary in order to admit of that176 variety of simultaneous efforts which constitutes the immense superiority of the Social Organism over every individual life. The great problem for man is to harmonize, as far as possible, the freedom resulting from isolation, with the equally urgent necessity for convergence. To dwell exclusively upon the necessity of convergence would tend to undermine not merely our practical energy, but our true dignity; since it would do away with the sense of personal responsibility. In exceptional cases where life is spent in forced subjection to domestic authority, the comforts of home are often not enough to prevent existence from becoming an intolerable burden, simply from the want of sufficient independence. What would it be, then, if everybody stood in a similar position of dependence towards a community that was indifferent to his happiness? Yet no less a danger than this would be the result of adopting any of those utopian schemes which sacrifice true liberty to uncontrolled equality, or even to an exaggerated sense of fraternity. Wide as the divergence between Positivism and the Economic schools is, Positivists adopt substantially the strictures which they have passed upon Communism; especially those of Dunoyer, their most advanced writer.
There is another point in which Communism is equally inconsistent with the laws of Sociology. Acting under false views of the constitution of our modern industrial system, it proposes to remove its directors, who form so essential a part of it. An army can no more exist without officers than without soldiers; and this elementary truth holds good of Industry as well as of War. The organization of modern industry has not been found practicable as yet; but the germ of such organization lies unquestionably in the division which has177 arisen spontaneously between Capitalist and Workman. No great works could be undertaken if each worker were also to be a director, or if the management, instead of being fixed, were entrusted to a passive and irresponsible body. It is evident that under the present system of industry there is a tendency to a constant enlargement of undertakings: each fresh step leads at once to still further extension. Now this tendency, so far from being opposed to the interests of the working classes, is a condition which will most seriously facilitate the real organization of our material existence, as soon as we have a moral authority competent to control it. For it is only the larger employers that the spiritual power can hope to penetrate with a strong and habitual sense of duty to their subordinates. Without a sufficient concentration of material power, the means of satisfying the claims of morality would be found wanting, except at such exorbitant sacrifices as would be incompatible with all industrial progress. This is the weak point of every plan of reform which limits itself to the mode of acquiring power, whether public power or private, instead of aiming at controlling its use in whosever hands it may be placed. It leads to a waste of those forces which, when rightly used, form our principal resource in dealing with grave social difficulties.
The motives, therefore, from which modern Communism has arisen, however estimable, lead at present, in the want of proper scientific teaching, to a very wrong view both of the nature of the disease and of its remedy. A heavier reproach against it is, that in one point it shows a manifest insufficiency of social instinct. Communists boast of their spirit of social union; but they limit it to the union of the present generation, stopping short178 of historical continuity, which yet is the principal characteristic of Humanity. When they have matured their moral growth, and have followed out in Time that connexion which at present they only recognize in Space, they will at once see the necessity of these general conditions which at present they would reject. They will understand the importance of inheritance, as the natural means by which each generation transmits to its successor the result of its own labours and the means of improving them. The necessity of inheritance, as far as the community is concerned, is evident, and its extension to the individual is an obvious consequence. But whatever reproaches Communists may deserve in this respect are equally applicable to all the other progressive sects. They are all pervaded by an anti-historic spirit, which leads them to conceive of Society as though it had no ancestors; and this, although their own ideas for the most part can have no bearing except upon posterity.
Serious as these errors are, a philosophic mind will treat the Communism of our day, so far as it is adopted in good faith, with indulgence, whether he look at the motives from which it arose, or at the practical results which will follow from it. It is hardly fair to criticize the intrinsic merits of a doctrine, the whole meaning and value of which are relative to the peculiar phase of society in which it is proposed. Communism has in its own way discharged an important function. It has brought prominently forward the greatest of social problems; and, if we except the recent Positivist explanation, its mode of stating it has never been surpassed. And let no one suppose that it would have been enough simply to state the problem, without hazarding any179solution of it. Those who think so do not understand the exigencies of man’s feeble intellect. In far easier subjects than this, it is impossible to give prolonged attention to questions which are simply asked, without any attempt to answer them. Suppose, for instance, that Gall and Broussais had limited themselves to a simple statement of their great problems without venturing on any solution; their principles, however incontestable, would have been barren of result, for want of that motive power of renovation which nothing can give but a systematic solution of some kind or other, hazardous as the attempt must be at first. Now it is hardly likely that we should be able to evade this condition of our mental faculties in subjects which are not only of the highest difficulty, but also more exposed than any others to the influence of passion. Besides, when we compare the errors of Communism with those of other social doctrines which have recently received official sanction, we shall feel more disposed to palliate them. Are they, for instance, more shallow and more really dangerous than the absurd and chimerical notion which was accepted in France for a whole generation, and is still upheld by so many political teachers; the notion that the great Revolution has found its final issue in the constitutional system of government, a system peculiar to England during her stage of transition? Moreover, our so-called conservatives only escape the errors of Communism by evading or ignoring its problems, though they are becoming every day more urgent. Whenever they are induced to deal with them, they render themselves liable to exactly the same dangers, dangers common to all schools which reject the division of the two powers, and which consequently are for ever trying to make legislation do the work of morality.180 Accordingly we see the governing classes nowadays upholding institutions of a thoroughly Communist character, such as alms-houses, foundling hospitals, etc.; while popular feeling strongly and rightly condemns such institutions, as being incompatible with that healthy growth of home affection which should be common to all ranks.
Were it not that Communism is provisionally useful in antagonizing other doctrines equally erroneous, it would have, then, no real importance, except that due to the motives which originated it; since its practical solution is far too chimerical and subversive ever to obtain acceptance. Yet, from the high morality of these motives, it will probably maintain and increase its influence until our working men find that their wants can be more effectually satisfied by gentler and surer means. Our republican system seems at first sight favourable to the scheme; but it cannot fail soon to have the reverse effect, because, while adopting the social principle which constitutes the real merit of Communism, it repudiates its mischievous illusions. In France, at all events, where property is so easy to acquire and is consequently so generally enjoyed, the doctrine cannot lead to much practical harm; rather its reaction will be beneficial, because it will fix men’s minds more seriously on the just claims of the People. The danger is far greater in other parts of Western Europe; especially in England, where aristocratic influence is less undermined, and where consequently the working classes are less advanced and more oppressed. And even in Catholic countries, where individualism and anarchy have been met by a truer sense of fraternity, Communistic disturbances can only be avoided finally by a more rapid dissemination of Positivism, which will ultimately dispel all social delusions,181 by offering the true solution of the questions that gave rise to them.
The nature of the evil shows us at once that the remedy we seek must be almost entirely of a moral kind. This truth, based as it is on real knowledge of human nature, the people will soon come to feel instinctively. And here Communists are, without knowing it, preparing the way for the ascendancy of Positivism. They are forcing upon men’s notice in the strongest possible way a problem to which no peaceable and satisfactory solution can be given, except by the new philosophy.
That philosophy, abandoning all useless and irritating discussion as to the origin of wealth and the extent of its possession, proceeds at once to the moral rules which should regulate it as a social function. The distribution of power among men, of material power especially, lies so far beyond our means of intervention, that to set it before us as our main object to rectify the defects of the natural order in this respect, would be to waste our short life in barren and interminable disputes. The chief concern of the public is that power, in whosever hands it may be placed, should be exercised for their benefit; and this is a point to which we may direct our efforts with far greater effect. Besides, by regulating the employment of wealth, we do, indirectly, modify its tenure; for the mode in which wealth is held has some secondary influence over the right use of it.
The regulations required should be moral, not political in their source; general, not special, in their application. Those who accept them will do so of their own free will, under the influence of their education. Thus their obedience, while steadily maintained, will have, as Aristotle long ago observed, the merit of voluntary action. By182 converting private property into a public function, we would subject it to no tyrannical interference; for this, by the destruction of free impulse and responsibility, would prove most deeply degrading to man’s character. Indeed, the comparison of proprietors with public functionaries will frequently be applied in the inverse sense; with the view, that is, of strengthening the latter rather than of weakening the former. The true principle of republicanism is, that all forces shall work together for the common good. With this view we have on the one hand, to determine precisely what it is that the common good requires; and on the other, to develop the temper of mind most likely to satisfy the requirement. The conditions requisite for these two objects are, a recognized Code of principles, an adequate Education, and a healthy direction of Public Opinion. For such conditions we must look principally to the philosophic body which Positivism proposes to establish at the apex of modern society. Doubtless this purely moral influence would not be sufficient of itself. Human frailty is such that Government, in the ordinary sense of the word, will have as before to repress by force the more palpable and more dangerous class of delinquencies. But this additional control, though necessary, will not fill so important a place as it did in the Middle Ages under the sway of Catholicism. Spiritual rewards and punishments will preponderate over temporal, in proportion as human development evokes a stronger sense of the ties which unite each with all, by the threefold bond of Feeling, Thought, and Action.
Positivism, being more pacific and more efficacious than Communism, because more true, is also broader and more complete in its solution of great183 social problems. The superficial view of property, springing too often from envious motives, which condemns Inheritance because it admits of possession without labour, is not subversive merely, but narrow. From the moral point of view we see at once the radical weakness of these empirical reproaches. They show blindness to the fact that this mode of transmitting wealth is really that which is most likely to call out the temper requisite for its right employment. It saves the mind and the heart from the mean and sordid habits which are so often engendered by slow accumulation of capital. The man who is born to wealth is more likely to feel the wish to be respected. And thus those whom we are inclined to condemn as idlers may very easily become the most useful of the rich classes, under a wise reorganization of opinions and habits. Of course too, since with the advance of Civilization the difficulty of living without industry increases, the class that we are speaking of becomes more and more exceptional. In every way, then, it is a most serious mistake to wish to upset society on account of abuses which are already in course of removal, and which admit of conversion to a most beneficial purpose.
Again, another feature in which the Positivist solution surpasses the Communist, is the remarkable completeness of its application. Communism takes no account of anything but wealth; as if wealth were the only power in modern society badly distributed and administered. In reality there are greater abuses connected with almost every other power that man possesses; and especially with the powers of intellect; yet these our visionaries make not the smallest attempt to rectify. Positivism being the only doctrine that embraces the whole sphere of human existence, is therefore184 the only doctrine that can elevate Social Feeling to its proper place, by extending it to all departments of human activity without exception. Identification, in a moral sense, of private functions with public duties is even more necessary in the case of the scientific man or the artist, than in that of the proprietor; whether we look at the source from which his powers proceed, or at the object to which they should be directed. Yet the men who wish to make material wealth common, the only kind of wealth that can be held exclusively by an individual, never extend their utopian scheme to intellectual wealth, in which it would be far more admissible. In fact the apostles of Communism often come forward as zealous supporters of what they call literary property. Such inconsistencies show the shallowness of the system; it proclaims its own failure in the very cases that are most favourable for the application. The extension of the principle here suggested would expose at once the inexpediency of political regulations on the subject, and the necessity of moral rules; for these and these only can ensure the right use of all our faculties without distinction. Intellectual effort, to be of any value, must be spontaneous; and it is doubtless an instinctive sense of this truth which prevents Communists from subjecting intellectual faculties to their utopian regulations. But Positivism can deal with these faculties which stand in the most urgent need of wise direction, without inconsistency and without disturbance. It leaves to them their fair measure of free action; and in the case of other faculties which, though less eminent, are hardly less dangerous to repress, it strengthens their freedom. When a pure morality arises capable of impressing a social tendency upon every phase of human activity, the freer our185 action becomes the more useful will it be to the public. The tendency of modern civilization, far from impeding private industry, is to entrust it more and more with functions, especially with those of a material kind, which were originally left to government. Unfortunately this tendency, which is very evident, leads economists into the mistake of supposing that industry may be left altogether without organization. All that it really proves is that the influence of moral principles is gradually preponderating over that of governmental regulations.
The method which is peculiar to Positivism of solving our great social problems by moral agencies, will be found applicable also to the settlement of industrial disputes, so far as the popular claims involved are well founded. These claims will thus become clear from all tendency to disorder, and will consequently gain immensely in force; especially when they are seen to be consistent with principles which are freely accepted by all, and when they are supported by a philosophic body of known impartiality and enlightenment. This spiritual power, while impressing on the people the duty of respecting their temporal leaders, will impose duties upon these latter, which they will find impossible to evade. As all classes will have received a common education, they will all alike be penetrated with the general principles on which these special obligations will rest. And these weapons, derived from no source but that of Feeling and Reason, and aided solely by Public Opinion, will wield an influence over practical life, of which nothing in the present day can give any conception. We might compare it with the influence of Catholicism in the Middle Ages, only that men are too apt to attribute the results of186 Catholicism to the chimerical hopes and fears which it inspired, rather than to the energy with which praise and blame were distributed. With the new spiritual power praise and blame will form the only resource; but it will be developed and consolidated to a degree which, as I have before shown, was impossible for Catholicism.
This is the only real solution of the disputes that are so constantly arising between workmen and their employers. Both parties will look to this philosophic authority as a supreme court of arbitration. In estimating its importance, we must not forget that the antagonism of employer and employed has not yet been pushed to its full consequences. The struggle between wealth and numbers would have been far more serious, but for the fact that combination, without which there can be no struggle worth speaking of, has hitherto only been permitted to the capitalist. It is true that in England combinations of workmen are not legally prohibited. But in that country they are not yet sufficiently emancipated either intellectually or morally, to make such use of the power as would be the case in France. When French workmen are allowed to concert their plans as freely as their employers, the antagonism of interests that will then arise will make both sides feel the need of a moral power to arbitrate between them. Not that the conciliating influence of such a power will ever be such as to do away entirely with extreme measures; but it will greatly restrict their application, and in cases where they are unavoidable, will mitigate their excesses. Such measures should be limited on both sides to refusal of co-operation; a power which every free agent ought to be allowed to exercise, on his own personal responsibility, with the object of impressing on those who are teaching187him unjustly the importance of the services which he has been rendering. The workman is not to be compelled to work any more than the capitalist to direct. Any abuse of this extreme protest on either side will of course be disapproved by the moral power; but the option of making the protest is always to be reserved to each element in the collective organism, by virtue of his natural independence. In the most settled times functionaries have always been allowed to suspend their services on special occasions. It was done frequently in the Middle Ages by priests, professors, judges, etc. All we have to do is to regulate this privilege, and embody it into the industrial system. This will be one of the secondary duties of the philosophic body, who will naturally be consulted on most of these occasions, as on all others of public or private moment. The formal sanction which it may give to a suspension or positive prohibition of work would render such a measure far more effective than it is at present. The operation of the measure is but partial at present, but it might in this way extend, first to all who belong to the same trade, then to other branches of industry, and even ultimately to every Western nation that accepts the same spiritual guides. Of course persons who think themselves aggrieved may always resort to this extreme course on their own responsibility, against the advice of the philosophic body. True spiritual power confines itself to giving counsel: it never commands. But in such cases, unless the advice given by the philosophers has been wrong, the suspension of work is not likely to be sufficiently general to bring about any important result.
This theory of trade-unions is, in fact, in the industrial world, what the power of insurrection is with regard to the higher social functions; it is an ultimate resource which every collective188 organism must reserve. The principle is the same in the simpler and more ordinary cases as in the more unusual and important. In both the intervention of the philosophic body, whether solicited or not, whether its purpose be to organize popular effort or to repress it, will largely influence the result.
We are now in a position to state with more precision the main practical difference between the policy of Positivism, and that of Communism or of Socialism. All progressive political schools agree in concentrating their attention upon the problem, How to give the people their proper place as a component element of modern Society, which ever since the Middle Ages has been tending more and more distinctly to its normal mode of existence. They also agree that the two great requirements of the working classes are, the organization of Education, and the organization of Labour. But here their agreement ends. When the means of effecting these two objects have to be considered, Positivists find themselves at issue with all other Progressive schools. They maintain that the organization of Industry must be based upon the organization of Education. It is commonly supposed that both may be begun simultaneously: or indeed that Labour may be organized irrespectively of Education. It may seem as if we are making too much of a mere question of arrangement; yet the difference is one which affects the whole character and method of social reconstruction. The plan usually followed is simply a repetition of the old attempt to reconstruct politically without waiting for spiritual reconstruction; in other words, to raise the social edifice before its intellectual and moral foundations have been laid. Hence the attempts made to satisfy popular requirements by measures of a purely political189 kind, because they appear to meet the evil directly; a course which is as useless as it is destructive. Positivism, on the contrary, substitutes for such agencies, an influence which is sure and peaceful, although it be gradual and indirect; the influence of a more enlightened morality, supported by a purer state of Public Opinion; such opinion being organized by competent minds, and diffused freely amongst the people. In fact, the whole question, whether the solution of the twofold problem before us is to be empirical, revolutionary, and therefore confined simply to France; or whether it is to be consistent, pacific, and applicable to the whole of Western Europe, depends upon the preference or the postponement of the organization of Labour to the organization of Education.
This conclusion involves a brief explanation of the general system of education which Positivism will introduce. This the new spiritual power regards as its principal function, and as its most efficient means of satisfying the working classes in all reasonable demands.
It was the great social virtue of Catholicism, that it introduced for the first time, as far as circumstances permitted, a system of education common to all classes without distinction, not excepting even those who were still slaves. It was a vast undertaking, yet essential to its purpose of founding a spiritual power which was to be independent of the temporal power. Apart from its temporary value, it has left us one imperishable principle, namely that in all education worthy of the name, moral training should be regarded as of greater importance than scientific teaching. Catholic education, however, was of course, extremely defective; owing partly to the circumstances of the time, and partly to the weakness of190 the doctrine on which it rested. Having reference almost exclusively to the oppressed masses, the principal lesson which it taught was the duty of almost passive resignation, with the exception of certain obligations imposed upon rulers. Intellectual culture in any true sense there was none. All this was natural in a faith which directed men’s highest efforts to an object unconnected with social life, and which taught that all the phenomena of nature were regulated by an impenetrable Will. Catholic Education was consequently quite unsuited to any period but the Middle Ages; a period during which the advanced portion of Humanity was gradually ridding itself of the ancient institution of slavery, by commuting it first into serfdom, as a preliminary step to entire personal freedom. In the ancient world Catholic education would have been too revolutionary; at the present time it would be servile and inadequate. Its function was that of directing the long and difficult transition from the social life of Antiquity to that of Modern times. Personal emancipation once obtained, the working classes began to develop their powers and rise to their true position as a class; and they soon became conscious of intellectual and social wants which Catholicism was wholly incapable of satisfying.
And yet this is the only real system of universal education which the world has hitherto seen. For we cannot give that name to the so-called University system which metaphysicians began to introduce into Europe at the close of the Middle Ages; and which offered little more than the special instruction previously given to the priesthood; that is, the study of the Latin language, with the dialectical training required for the defence of their doctrines. Morals were untaught except as a part of the training of the191 professed theologian. All this metaphysical and literary instruction was of no great service to social evolution, except so far as it developed the critical power; it had, however, a certain indirect influence on the constructive movement, especially on the development of Art. But its defects, both practical and theoretical, have been made more evident by its application to new classes of society, whose occupations, whether practical or speculative, required a very different kind of training. And thus, while claiming the title of Universal, it never reached the working classes, even in Protestant countries, where each believer became to a certain extent his own priest.
The theological method being obsolete, and the metaphysical method inadequate, the task of founding an efficient system of popular education belongs to Positivism; the only doctrine capable of reconciling these two orders of conditions, the intellectual and the moral, which are equally necessary, but which since the Middle Ages have always proved incompatible. Positivist education, while securing the supremacy of the heart over the understanding more efficiently than Catholicism, will yet put no obstacle in the way of intellectual growth. The function of Intellect, in education as in practical life, will be to regulate Feeling; the culture of which, beginning at birth, will be maintained by constant exercise of the three classes of duties relative to Self, to the Family, and to Society.
I have already explained the mode in which the principles of universal morality will be finally co-ordinated; a task which, as I have shown, is connected with the principal function of the new spiritual power. I have now only to point out the paramount influence of morality on every part of Positive Education. It will be seen to be connected192 at first spontaneously, and afterwards in a more systematic form, with the entire system of human knowledge.
Positive Education, adapting itself to the requirements of the Organism with which it has to deal, subordinates intellectual conditions to social. Social conditions are considered as the main object, intellectual as but the means of attaining it. Its principal aim is to induce the working classes to accept their high social function of supporting the spiritual power, while at the same time it will render them more efficient in their own special duties.
Presuming that Education extends from birth to manhood, we may divide it into two periods, the first ending with puberty, that is, at the beginning of industrial apprenticeship. Education here should be essentially spontaneous, and should be carried on as far as possible in the bosom of the family. The only studies required should be of an esthetic kind. In the second period, Education takes a systematic form, consisting chiefly of a public course of scientific lectures, explaining the essential laws of the various orders of phenomena. These lectures will be the groundwork of Moral Science, which will co-ordinate the whole, and point out the relation of each part to the social purpose common to all. Thus, at about the time which long experience has fixed as that of legal majority, and when in most cases the term of apprenticeship closes, the workman will be prepared intellectually and morally for his public and private service.
The first years of life, from infancy to the end of the period of second dentition, should be devoted to education of the physical powers, carried on193 under the superintendence of the parents, especially of the mother. Physical education, as usually practised, is nothing but mere muscular exercise; but a more important object is that of training the senses, and giving manual skill, so as to develop from the very first our powers of observation and action. Study, in the ordinary acceptation, there should be none during this period, not even reading or writing. An acquaintance with facts of various kinds, such as may spontaneously attract the growing powers of attention, will be the only instruction received. The philosophic system of the infant individual, like that of the infant species, consists in pure Fetichism, and its natural development should not be disturbed by unwise interference. The only care of the parents will be to impress those feelings and habits for which a rational basis will be given at a later period. By taking every opportunity of calling the higher instincts into play, they will be laying down the best foundation for true morality.
During the period of about seven years comprised between the second dentition and puberty, Education will become somewhat more systematic; but it will be limited to the culture of the fine arts; and it will be still most important, especially on moral grounds, to avoid separation from the family. The study of Art should simply consist in practising it more or less systematically. No formal lectures are necessary, at least for the purposes of general education, though of course for professional purposes they may still be required. There is no reason why these studies should not be carried on at home by the second generation of Positivists, when the culture of the parents will be sufficiently advanced to allow them to superintend it. They will include Poetry, the art on which all the rest are based; and the two most194 important of the special arts, music and drawing. Meantime the pupil will become familiar with the principal Western languages, which are included in the study of Poetry, since modern poetry cannot be properly appreciated without them. Moreover, independently of esthetic considerations, a knowledge of them is most important morally, as a means of destroying national prejudices, and of forming the true Positivist standard of Occidental feeling. Each nation will be taught to consider it a duty to learn the language of contiguous countries; an obvious principle, which, in the case of Frenchmen, will involve their learning all the other four languages, as a consequence of that central position which gives them so many advantages. When this rule becomes general, and the natural affinities of the five advanced nations are brought fully into play, a common Occidental language will not be long in forming itself spontaneously, without the aid of any metaphysical scheme for producing a language that shall be absolutely universal.
During the latter portion of primary Education, which is devoted to the culture of the imaginative powers, the philosophic development of the individual, corresponding to that of the race, will carry him from the simple Fetichism with which he began to the state of Polytheism. This resemblance between the growth of the individual and that of society has always shown itself more or less, in spite of the irrational precautions of Christian teachers. They have never been able to give children a distaste for those simple tales of fairies and genii, which are natural to this phase. The Positivist teacher will let this tendency take its own course. It should not, however, involve any hypocrisy on the part of the parents, nor need it lead to any subsequent contradiction. The simple195 truth is enough. The child may be told that these spontaneous beliefs are but natural to his age, but that they will gradually lead him on to others, by the fundamental law of all human development. Language of this kind will not only have the advantage of familiarizing him with a great principle of Positivism, but will stimulate the nascent sense of sociability, by leading him to sympathize with the various nations who still remain at his own primitive stage of intellectual development.
The second part of Positivist Education cannot be conducted altogether at home, since it involves public lectures, in which of course the part taken by the parent can only be accessory. But this is no reason for depriving the pupil of the advantages of family life; it remains as indispensable as ever to his moral development, which is always to be the first consideration. It will be easy for him to follow the best masters without weakening his sense of personal and domestic morality, which is the almost inevitable result of the monastic seclusion of modern schools. The public-school system is commonly thought to compensate for these disadvantages, by the knowledge of the world which it gives; but this is better obtained by free intercourse with society, where sympathies are far more likely to be satisfied. Recognition of this truth would do much to facilitate and improve popular education; and it applies to all cases, except perhaps to some special professions, where seclusion of the pupils may still be necessary, though even in these cases probably it may be ultimately dispensed with.
The plan to be followed in this period of education, will obviously be that indicated by the encyclopædic law of Classification, which forms part196 of my Theory of Development. Scientific study, whether for the working man or the philosopher, should begin with the inorganic world around us, and then pass to the subject of Man and Society; since our ideas on these two subjects form the basis of our practical action. The first class of studies, as I have stated before, includes four sciences which we may arrange in pairs: Mathematics and Astronomy forming the first pair; Physics and Chemistry the second. To each of these pairs, two years may be given. But as the first ranges over a wide field, and is of greater logical importance, it will require two lectures weekly; whereas, for all the subsequent studies one lecture will be sufficient. Besides, during these two years, the necessities of practical life will not press heavily, and more time may fairly be spent in mental occupation. From the study of inorganic science, the pupil will proceed to Biology: this subject may easily be condensed in the fifth year into a series of forty lectures, without really losing either its philosophic or its popular character. This concludes the introductory part of Education. The student will now co-ordinate all his previous knowledge by the direct study of Sociology, statically and dynamically viewed. On this subject also forty lectures will be given, in which the structure and growth of human societies, especially those of modern times, will be clearly explained. With this foundation we come to the last of the seven years of pupillage, in which the great social purpose of the scheme is at last reached. It will be devoted to a systematic exposition of Moral Science, the principles of which may be now fully understood by the light of the knowledge previously obtained of the World, of Life, and of Humanity.
During this course of study, part of the three197 unoccupied months of each year will be spent in public examinations, to test the degree to which the instruction has been assimilated. The pupils will of their own accord continue their esthetic pursuits, even supposing their natural tastes in this direction not to be encouraged as they ought to be. During the last two years the Latin and Greek languages might be acquired, as an accessory study, which would improve the poetic culture of the student, and be useful to him in the historical and moral questions with which he will then be occupied. For the purposes of Art, Greek is the more useful of the two; but in the second object, that of enabling us to realize our social Filiation, Latin is of even greater importance.
In the course of these seven years the philosophic development of the individual, preserving its correspondence with that of the race, will pass through its last phase. As the pupil passed before from Fetichism to Polytheism, so he will now pass, as spontaneously, into Monotheism, induced by the influence on his imaginative powers which hitherto have been supreme, of the spirit of discussion. No interference should be offered to this metaphysical transition, which is the homage that he pays to the necessary conditions under which mankind arrives at truth. There is something in this provisional phase which evidently harmonizes well with the abstract and independent character of Mathematics, with which the two first years of the seven are occupied. As long as more attention is given to deduction than to induction, the mind cannot but retain a leaning to metaphysical theories. Under their influence the student will soon reduce his primitive theology to Deism of a more or less distinct kind; and this during his physico-chemical studies will most likely degenerate into a species of Atheism; which last phase,198 under the enlightening influence of biological and still more of sociological knowledge, will be finally replaced by Positivism. Thus at the time fixed for the ultimate study of moral science, each new member of Humanity will have been strongly impressed by personal experience, with a sense of historical Filiation, and will be enabled to sympathize with his ancestors and contemporaries, while devoting his practical energies to the good of his successors.
There is an excellent custom prevalent among the working men of France and creditable to their good sense, with which our educational scheme seems at first sight incompatible. I refer to the custom of travelling from place to place during the last years of apprenticeship; which is as beneficial to their mind and character, as the purposeless excursions of our wealthy and idle classes are in most cases injurious. But there is no necessity for its interfering with study, since it always involves long residence in the chief centres of production, where the workman is sure to find annual courses of lectures similar to those which he would otherwise have been attending at home. As the structure and distribution of the philosophic body will be everywhere the same, there need be no great inconvenience in these changes. For every centre not more than seven teachers will be required; each of whom will take the whole Encyclopædic scale successively. Thus the total number of lectures will be so small as to admit of a high standard of merit being everywhere attained, and of finding everywhere a fair measure of material support. So far from discouraging the travelling system, Positivism will give it a new character, intellectually and socially, by extending the range of travel to the whole of Western Europe, since there is no part of it in which the workman199 will not be able to prosecute his education. The difference of language will then be no obstacle. Not only would the sense of fraternity among Western nations be strengthened by such a plan, but great improvement would result esthetically. The languages of Europe would be learnt more thoroughly, and there would be a keener appreciation of works of art, whether musical, pictorial, or architectural; for these can never be properly appreciated but in the country which gave them birth.
Judging by our present practice, it would seem impossible to include such a mass of important scientific studies, as are here proposed, in three hundred and sixty lectures. But the length to which courses of lectures on any subject extend at present, is owing partly to the special or professional object with which the course is given, and still more to the discursive and unphilosophical spirit of most of the teachers, consequent on the miserable manner in which our scientific system is organized. Such a regeneration of scientific studies as Positivism proposes, will animate them with a social spirit, and thus give them a larger and more comprehensive tendency. Teachers will become more practised in the art of condensing, and their lectures will be far more substantial. They will not indeed be a substitute for voluntary effort, on which all the real value of teaching depends. Their aim will be rather to direct such effort. A striking example, which is not so well remembered as it should be, will help to explain my meaning. At the first opening of the Polytechnic School, courses of lectures were given, very appropriately namedRevolutionary Courses, which concentrated the teaching of three years into three months. What was in that case an extraordinary anomaly, due200 to republican enthusiasm, may become the normal state when a moral power arises not inferior in energy, and yet based upon a consistent intellectual synthesis, of which our great predecessors of the Revolution could have no conception.
Little attention has hitherto been given to the didactic value of Feeling. Since the close of the Middle Ages, the heart has been neglected in proportion as the mind has been cultivated. But it is the characteristic principle of Positivism, a principle as fertile in intellectual as in moral results, that the Intellect, whether we look at its natural or at its normal position, is subordinate to Social Feeling. Throughout this course of popular education, parents and masters will seize every suitable occasion for calling Social Feeling into play; and the most abstruse subjects will often be vivified by its influence. The office of the mind is to strengthen and to cultivate the heart; the heart again should animate and direct the mental powers. This mutual influence of general views and generous feelings will have greater effect upon scientific study, from the esthetic culture previously given, in which such habits of mind will have been formed, as will give grace and beauty to the whole life.
When I speak of this education as specially destined for the people, I am not merely using words to denote its comprehensiveness and philosophic character. It is, in my opinion, the only education, with the exception of certain special branches, for which public organization is needed. It should be looked on as a sacred debt which the republic owes to the working classes. But the claim does not extend to other classes, who can easily pay for any special instruction that they may require. Besides such201 instruction will be only a partial development of the more general teaching, or an application of it to some particular purpose. Therefore if the general training be sound, most people will be able to prosecute accessory studies by themselves. Apprenticeship to any business involves very little, except the practice of it. Even in the highest arts, no course of systematic instruction is necessary. The false views now prevalent on the subject are due to the unfortunate absence of all general education, since the decay of Catholicism. The special institutions founded in Europe during the last three centuries, and carefully remodelled in France by the Convention, are only valuable as containing certain germs of truth, which will be found indispensable when general education is finally reorganized. But important as they may be from a scientific aspect, their practical utility, which seems to have been the motive for establishing them, is exceedingly doubtful. The arts which they were intended to promote could have done perfectly well without them. I include in these remarks such institutions as the Polytechnic School, the Museum of Natural History, etc. Their value, like that of all good institutions of modern times, is purely provisional. Viewed in this light, it may be worth our while to reorganize them. Positivist principles, discarding all attempts to make them permanent, will be all the better able to adapt them to their important temporary purpose. Indeed there are some new institutions which it might be advisable to form; such, for instance, as a School of Comparative Philology, the object of which would be to range all human languages according to their true affinities. This would compensate the suppression of Greek and Latin professorships, which is certainly an indispensable measure. But the whole of this202 provisional framework would no doubt disappear before the end of the nineteenth century, when a system of general education will have been thoroughly organized. The present necessity for a provisional system should lead to no misconception of its character and purpose. Working men are the only class who have a real claim upon the State for instruction; and this, if wisely organized, dispenses with the necessity of special institutions. The adoption of these views would at once facilitate and ennoble popular education. Nations, provinces, and towns will vie with one another in inviting the best teachers that the spiritual authorities of Western Europe can supply. And every true philosopher will take pride in such teaching, when it becomes generally understood that the popular character of his lectures implies that they shall be at the same time systematic. Members of the new spiritual power will in most cases regard teaching as their principal occupation, for at least a considerable portion of their public life.
What has been said makes it clear that any organization of such education as this at the present time would be impossible. However sincere the intentions of governments to effect this great result might be, any premature attempt to do it would but injure the work, especially if they put in a claim to superintend it. The truth is that a system of education, if it deserve the name, presupposes the acceptance of a definite philosophical and social creed to determine its character and purpose. Children cannot be brought up in convictions contrary to those of their parents; indeed, the influence of the parent is essential to the instructor. Opinions and habits that have been already formed may subsequently be strengthened by an educational system; but the carrying out203 of any such system is impossible, until the principles of combined action and belief have been well established. Till then the organization that we propose can only be effected in the case of individuals who are ripe for it. Each of these will endeavour to repair the faults and deficiencies of his own education in the best way he can, by the aid of the general doctrine which he accepts. Assuming that the doctrine is destined to triumph, the number of such minds gradually increases, and they superintend the social progress of the next generation. This is the natural process, and no artificial interference can dispense with it. So far, then, from inviting government to organize education, we ought rather to exhort it to abdicate the educational powers which it already holds, and which, I refer more especially to France, are either useless or a source of discord. There are only two exceptions to this remark, namely, primary education, and special instruction in certain higher branches. Of these I have already spoken. But with these exceptions, it is most desirable that government, whether municipal or central, should surrender its unreasonable monopoly, and establish real liberty of teaching; the condition of such liberty being, as I said before, the suppression of all annual grants whatsoever for theological or metaphysical purposes. Until some universal faith has been accepted on its own merits, all attempts made by Government to reform education must necessarily be reactionary; since they will always be based on some one of the retrogressive creeds which it is our object to supersede altogether.
It is with adults, then, that we must deal. We must endeavour to disseminate systematic convictions among them, and thus open the door to a real reform of education for the next generation. The press and the power of free speech offer many204 ways of bringing about this result. The most important of these would be a more or less connected series of popular lectures on the various positive sciences, including history, which may now be ranked among them. Now for these lectures to produce their full effect, they must even when treating of the most elementary point in mathematics, be thoroughly philosophic and consequently animated by a social spirit. They must be entirely independent of government, so as not to be hampered by any of the authorized views. Lastly, there is a condition in which all the rest are summed up. These lectures should be Occidental, not simply National. What we require is a free association of philosophers throughout Western Europe, formed by the voluntary co-operation of all who can contribute efficiently to this great preliminary work; their services being essentially gratuitous. It is a result which no system but Positivism is capable of effecting. By its agency that coalition between philosophers and the working classes, on which so much depends, will speedily be established.
While the work of propagating Positivist convictions is going on in the free and unrestricted manner here described, the spiritual authority will at the same time be forming itself, and will be prepared to make use of these convictions as the basis for social regeneration. Thus the transitional state will be brought as nearly as possible into harmony with the normal state; and this the more in proportion as the natural affinity between philosophers and workmen is brought out more distinctly. The connexion between Positivist lectures and Positivist clubs will illustrate my meaning. While the lectures prepare the way for the Future, the clubs work in the same direction by judging the Past, and advising for the Present;205 so that we have at once a beginning of the three essential functions of the new spiritual power.
We have now a clear conception of popular education in its provisional, and in its normal state. Long before the normal state can be realized, the mutual action of philosophers and workmen will have done great service to both. Meeting with such powerful support from the people, the rising spiritual power will win the respect if not the affection of their rulers, even of those among them who are now the most contemptuous of every influence but that of material power. Their excess of pride will often be so far humbled that they will invite its mediation in cases where the people have been roused to just indignation. The force of numbers seems at first so violent as to carry all before it; but in the end it usually proves far inferior to that of wealth. It cannot exist for any length of time without complete convergence of opinion and feeling. Hence, a spiritual power has very great weight in controlling or directing its action. Philosophers will never, indeed, be able to manage the working classes as they please, as some unprincipled agitators have imagined; but when they exercise their authority rightly, whether it be in the cause of Order or that of Progress, they will have great power over their passions and conduct. Such influence can only spring from long cherished feelings of gratitude and trust, due not merely to presumed capacity but to services actually rendered. No one is a fit representative of his own claims; but the philosopher may honourably represent the cause of working men before the governing classes; and the people will in their turn compel their rulers to respect the new spiritual power. By this habitual exchange of services the aspirations of the people will be kept clear of all subversive tendencies, and206 philosophers will be led to abandon the folly of seeking political power. Neither class will degrade itself by making its own interest the chief consideration: each will find its own reward in keeping to the nobler course of its own social duty.
To complete this view of the political attitude which Positivism recommends to the working class, I have now to speak of the intellectual and moral conditions which that attitude requires, and on which the character of their spiritual leaders depends. What is wanted is only a more perfect development of tendencies which already exist in the people, and which have already shown themselves strong in Paris, the centre of the great Western movement.
Intellectually the principal conditions are two; Emancipation from obsolete beliefs, and a sufficient amount of mental culture.
The emancipation of the working classes from theology is complete, at least in Paris. In no other class has it so entirely lost its power. The shallow deism, which satisfies so many of our literary men, finds little favour with the people. They are happily unversed in studies of words and abstractions, without which this last stage in the process of emancipation speedily comes to an end. We only require a stronger expression of popular feeling on this point, so as to avoid all deception and false statement as to the intellectual character of the reorganization that is going on. And the freedom that we are now enjoying will admit of these feelings being unmistakably manifested, especially now that they have the new philosophy for their exponent. A distinct declaration of opinion on this subject is urgently needed on social grounds. That hypocritical affectation of theological belief against which we have to fight, is designed207 to prevent, or at least has the effect of preventing, the just enforcement of popular claims. These unscrupulous attempts to mystify the people involve their mental subjection. The result is, that their legitimate aspirations for real progress are evaded, by diverting their thoughts towards an imaginary future state. It is for the working classes themselves to break through this concerted scheme, which is even more contemptible than it is odious. They have only to declare without disguise what their intellectual position really is; and to do this so emphatically as to make any mistake on the part of the governing classes impossible. They will consequently reject all teachers who are insufficiently emancipated, or who in any way support the system of theological hypocrisy, which, from Robespierre downwards, has been the refuge of all reactionists, whether democrat or royalist. But there are teachers of another kind, who sincerely maintain that our life here on earth is a temporary banishment, and that we ought to take as little interest in it as possible. A prompt answer may be given to such instructors as these. They should be requested to follow out their principle consistently, and to cease to interfere in the management of a world which is so alien to what, in their ideas, is the sole aim of life.
Metaphysical principles have more hold on our working classes than theological; yet their abandonment is equally necessary. The subtle extravagances by which the German mind has been so confused, find, it is true, little favour in Catholic countries. But even in Paris the people retains a prejudice in favour of metaphysical instruction, though happily it has not been able to obtain it. It is most desirable that this last illusion of our working classes should be dissipated, as it forms the one great208 obstacle to their social action. One reason for it is that they fall into the common error of confounding knowledge with intelligence, and imagine in their modesty that none but instructed men are capable of governing. Now this error, natural as it is, often leads them to choose incompetent leaders. A truer estimate of modern society would teach them that it is not among our literary, or even our scientific men, proud as they may be of their attainments, that the largest number of really powerful intellects are to be found. There are more of them among the despised practical class, and even amongst the most uninstructed working men. In the Middle Ages this truth was better known than it is now. Education was thought more of than instruction. A knight would be appreciated for his sagacity and penetration, and appointed to important posts, though he might be extremely ignorant. Clear-sightedness, wisdom, and even consistency of thought, are qualities which are very independent of learning; and, as matters now stand, they are far better cultivated in practical life than in scholastic study. In breadth of view, which lies at the root of all political capacity, our literary classes have certainly shown themselves far below the average.
And now we come to another and a deeper reason for the prejudice of which I am speaking. It is that they make no distinction between one kind of instruction and another. The unfortunate confidence which they still bestow on literary men and lawyers shows that the prestige of pedantry lingers among them longer than the prestige of theology or monarchy. But all this will soon be altered under the influence of republican government, and the strong discipline of a sound philosophical system. Popular instinct209 will soon discover that constant practice of the faculty of expression, whether in speech or in writing, is no guarantee for real power of thought; indeed that it has a tendency to incapacitate men from forming a clear and decided judgment on any question. The instruction which such men receive is utterly deficient in solid principles, and it almost always either presupposes or causes a total absence of fixed convictions. Most minds thus trained, while skilled in putting other men’s thoughts into shape, become incapable of distinguishing true from false in the commonest subjects, even when their own interest requires it. The people must give up the feeling of blind respect which leads them to intrust such men with their higher interests. Reverence for superiors is doubtless indispensable to a well-ordered state; only it needs to be better guided than it is now.
What then, working men may ask, is the proper training for themselves, and consequently for those who claim to guide them? The answer is, systematic cultivation of the Positive spirit. It is already called into exercise by their daily occupations; and all that is wanted is to strengthen it by a course of scientific study. Their daily work involves a rudimentary application of the Positive method: it turns their attention to many most important natural laws. In fact, the workmen of Paris, whom I take as the best type of their class, have a clearer sense of that union of reality with utility by which the Positive spirit is characterized, than most of our scientific men. The speciality of their employment is no doubt disadvantageous with respect to breadth and coherence of ideas. But it leaves the mind free from responsibility, and this is the most favourable condition for developing these qualities to which all vigorous intellects are naturally disposed. But nothing will so210 strongly impress on the people the importance of extending and organizing their scientific knowledge, as their interest in social questions. Their determination to rectify a faulty condition of society will suggest to them that they must first know what the laws of Social life really are; knowledge which is obviously necessary in every other subject. They will then feel how impossible it is to understand the present state of society, without understanding its relation on the one hand with the Past, and on the other with the Future. Their desire to modify the natural course of social phenomena will make them anxious to know the antecedents and consequences of these phenomena, so as to avoid all mischievous or useless interference. They will thus discover that Political Art is even more dependent than other arts, upon its corresponding Science. And then they will soon see that this science is no isolated department of knowledge, but that it involves preliminary study of Man and of the World. In this way they will pass downwards through the hierarchic scale of Positive conceptions, until they come back to the inorganic world, the sphere more immediately connected with their own special avocations. And thus they will reach the conclusion that Positivism is the only system which can satisfy either the intellectual or material wants of the people, since its subject-matter and its objects are identical with their own, and since, like themselves, it subordinates everything to social considerations. All that it claims is to present in a systematic form principles which they already hold instinctively. By co-ordinating these principles of morality and good sense, their value, whether in public or in private questions, is largely increased; and the union of the two forms of wisdom, theoretical and practical wisdom, is permanently secured.211 When all this is understood, the people will feel some shame at having entrusted questions of the greatest complexity to minds that have never quite comprehended the difference between a cubic inch and a cubic foot. As to men of science, in the common acceptation of the word, who are so respected by the middle classes, we need not be afraid of their gaining much influence with the people. They are alienated from them by their utter indifference to social questions; and before these their learned puerilities fade into insignificance. Absorbed in the details of their own special science, they are quite incapable of satisfying unsophisticated minds. What the people want is to have clear conceptions on all subjects, des clartés de tout, as Molière has it. Whenever the savants of our time are drawn by their foolish ambition into politics, ordinary men find to their surprise that, except in a few questions of limited extent and importance, their minds have become thoroughly narrow under the influence of the specializing system of which they are so proud. Positivism explains the mystery, by showing that, since the necessity for the specializing system now no longer exists, it naturally results if prolonged, in a sort of academic idiocy. During the last three centuries it did real service to society, by laying down the scientific groundwork for the renovation of Philosophy projected by Bacon and Descartes. But as soon as the groundwork was sufficiently finished to admit of the formation of true Science, that is, of Science viewed relatively to Humanity, the specializing method became retrograde. It ceased to be of any assistance to the modern spirit; and indeed it is now, especially in France, a serious obstacle to its diffusion and systematic working. The wise revolutionists of the Convention were well aware of this when they took the bold step212 of suppressing the Academy of Sciences. The beneficial results of this statesman-like policy will soon be appreciated by our workmen. The danger lest, in withdrawing their confidence from metaphysicians or literary men, they should fall into the bad scientific spirit, is not therefore very great. With the social aims which they have in view, they cannot but see that generality in their conceptions is as necessary as positivity. The Capitalist class by which industry is directed, being more concentrated on special objects, will always look on men of pure science with more respect. But the people will be drawn by their political leanings towards philosophers in the true sense of that word. The number of such men is but very small at present; but it will soon increase at the call of the working classes, and will indeed be recruited from their ranks.
This, then, should be the attitude of the working class, intellectually. Morally, what is required is, that they should have a sufficient sense of the dignity of labour, and that they should be prepared for the mission that now lies before them.
The workman must learn to look upon himself, morally, as a public servant, with functions of a special and also of a general kind. Not that he is to receive his wages for the future from the State instead of from a private hand. The present plan is perfectly well adapted to all services which are so direct and definite, that a common standard of value can be at once applied to them. Only let it be understood that the service is not sufficiently recompensed, without the social feeling of gratitude towards the agent that performs it. In what are called liberal professions, this feeling already obtains. The client or patient is not dispensed213 from gratitude by payment of his fee. In this respect the republican instincts of the Convention have anticipated the teaching of philosophy. They valued the workman’s labour at its true worth. Workmen have only to imagine labour suppressed or even suspended in the trade to which they may belong, to see its importance to the whole fabric of modern society. Their general function as a class, the function of forming public opinion, and of supporting the action of the spiritual power, it is of course less easy for them to understand at present. But, as I have already shown, it follows so naturally from their character and position, and corresponds so perfectly with their requirements as a class, that they cannot fail to appreciate its importance, when the course of events allows, or rather compels them to bring it into play. The only danger lies in their insisting on the possession of what metaphysicians call political rights, and in engaging in useless discussions about the distribution of power, instead of fixing their attention on the manner in which it is used. Of this, however, there is no great fear, at all events in France, where the metaphysical theory of Right has never reached so fanatical a pitch with the working classes as elsewhere. Ideologists may blame them, and may use their official influence as they will; but the people have too much good sense to be permanently misled as to their true function in society. Deluged as they have been with electoral votes, they will soon voluntarily abandon this useless qualification, which now has not even the charm of a privilege. Questions of pure politics have ceased to interest the people; their attention is fixed, and will remain fixed, on social questions, which are to be solved for the most part through moral agencies. That substitutions of one person or party for another, or that mere modifications214 of any kind in the administration should be looked on as the final issue of the great Revolution, is a result in which they will never acquiesce.
And if this is to be the attitude of the people, it must be the attitude no less of those who seek to gain their confidence. With them, as with the people, political questions should be subordinate to social questions; and with them the conviction should be even more distinct, that the solution of social problems depends essentially on moral agencies. They must, in fact, accept the great principle of separation of spiritual from temporal power, as the basis on which modern society is to be prominently organized. So entirely does the principle meet the wants of the people, that they will soon insist on its adoption by their teachers. They will accept none who do not formally abandon any prospects they may have of temporal power, parliamentary as well as administrative. And by thus dedicating their lives without reservation to the priesthood of Humanity, they will gain confidence, not merely from the people, but from the governing classes. Governments will offer no impediment to social speculations which do not profess to be susceptible of immediate application; and thus the normal state may be prepared for in the future without disturbance, and yet without neglecting the present. Practical statesmen meanwhile, no longer interfered with by pretentious sophists, will give up their retrograde tendencies, and will gradually adapt their policy to the new ideas current in the public mind, while discharging the indispensable function of maintaining material order.
For the people to rise to the true level of their position, they have only to develop and cultivate certain dispositions which already exist in them215 spontaneously. And the most important of these is, absence of ambition for wealth or rank. Political metaphysicians would say that the sole object of the Great Revolution was to give the working classes easier access to political and civil power. But this, though it should always be open to them, is very far from meeting their true wants. Individuals among them may be benefited by it, but the mass is left unaffected, or rather is placed often in a worse position, by the desertion of the more energetic members. The Convention is the only government by which this result has been properly appreciated. It is the only government which has shown due consideration for working men as such; which has recognized the value of their services, and encouraged what is the chief compensation for their condition of poverty, their participation in public life. All subsequent governments, whether retrograde or constitutional, have, on the contrary, done all they could to divert the people from their true social function, by affording opportunity for individuals among them to rise to higher positions. The monied classes, under the influence of blind routine, have lent their aid to this degrading policy, by continually preaching to the people the necessity of saving; a precept which is indeed incumbent on their own class, but not on others. Without saving, capital could not be accumulated and administered; it is therefore of the highest importance that the monied classes should be as economical as possible. But in other classes, and especially in those dependent on fixed wages, parsimonious habits are uncalled for and injurious; they lower the character of the labourer, while they do little or nothing to improve his physical condition; and neither the working classes nor their teachers should encourage them. Both the one and the other will find their truest216 happiness in keeping clear of all serious practical responsibility, and in allowing free play to their mental and moral faculties in public as well as private life. In spite of the Economists, savings-banks are regarded by the working classes with unmistakable repugnance. And the repugnance is justifiable; they do harm morally, by checking the exercise of generous feelings. Again, it is the fashion to declaim against wine-shops; and yet after all they are at present the only places where the people can enjoy society. Social instincts are cultivated there which deserve our approval far more than the self-helping spirit which carries men to the savings-bank. No doubt this unconcern for money, wise as it is, involves real personal risk; but it is a danger which civilization is constantly tending to diminish, without effacing qualities which do the workman honour, and which are the source of his most cherished pleasures. The danger ceases when the mental and moral faculties are called into stronger exercise. The interest which Positivism will arouse among the people in public questions, will lead to the substitution of the club for the wine-shop. In these questions, the generous inspirations of popular instinct hold out a model which philosophers will do well to follow themselves. Fondness for money is as much a disqualification for the spiritual government of Humanity, as political ambition. It is a clear proof of moral incompetence, which is generally connected in one way or other with intellectual feebleness.
One of the principal results of the spiritual power exercised by philosophers and the working classes under the Positivist system, will be to compensate by a just distribution of blame and praise for the imperfect arrangements of social rank, in which wealth must always preponderate.217 Leaving the present subordination of offices untouched, each functionary will be judged by the intrinsic worth of his mind and heart, without servility and yet without any encouragement to anarchy. It must always be obvious that the political importance which high position gives, is out of all proportion to the real merit implied in gaining that position. The people will come to see more and more clearly that real happiness, so far from depending on rank, is far more compatible with their own humble station. Exceptional men no doubt there are, whose character impels them to seek power; a character more dangerous than useful, unless there be sufficient wisdom in the social body to turn it to good account. The best workmen, like the best philosophers, will soon cease to feel envy for greatness, laden, as it always must be, with heavy responsibilities. At present, the compensation which I hold out to them has not been realized; but when it exists, the people will feel that their spiritual and temporal leaders are combining all the energies of society for the satisfaction of their wants. Recognizing this, they will care but little for fame that must be bought by long and tedious meditation, or for power burdened with constant care. There are men whose talents call them to these important duties, and they will be left free to perform them; but the great mass of society will be well satisfied that their own lot is one far more in keeping with the constitution of our nature; more compatible with that harmonious exercise of the faculties of Thought, Feeling, and Action, which is most conducive to happiness. The immediate pressure of poverty once removed, the highest reward of honourable conduct will be found in the permanent esteem, posthumous as it may be sometimes, of that portion of Humanity which has witnessed218 it. In a word the title, servus servorum, which is still retained by the Papacy from false humility, but which originated in anticipation of a social truth, is applicable to all functionaries in high position. They may be described as the involuntary servants of voluntary subordinates. It is not chimerical to conceive Positivist society so organized that its theoretical and practical directors, with all their personal advantages, will often regret that they were not born, or that they did not remain, in the condition of workmen. The only solid satisfaction which great minds have hitherto found in political or spiritual power has been that, being more occupied with public interests, they had a wider scope for the exercise of social feeling. But the excellence of the future condition of society will be, that the possibility of combining public and private life will be open to all. The humblest citizen will be able to influence not by command but by counsel, in proportion to his energy and worth.
All the views brought forward in this chapter bear out the statement with which it began, that the Proletariate forms the principal basis of the social system, not merely as finally constituted, but in its present state of transition; and admitting this, the present state will be seen to have no essential difference from the normal future to which it tends. The principal conditions of our transitional policy were described at the conclusion of the last chapter. The security for these conditions is to be found in the natural tendencies of the people of Western Europe, and especially of France. Our governors will do well to follow these tendencies instead of attempting to lead them; for they are in perfect keeping with the two great requirements of the present time, Liberty and Public Order.
Liberty of thought and speech is enjoyed in France, and especially in Paris, to an extent impossible in any other country, and it is due principally to the intellectual emancipation of our workmen. They have rid themselves of theology in all its forms, and yet have not accepted any metaphysical system. At the same time, though totally devoid at present of systematic convictions, there is in them a submissiveness of mind which predisposes them to receive convictions combining reality with utility. In all other classes there is a tendency to use forcible measures in spreading their doctrines when discussion fails. It is only to the people that philosophers can look for the support and extension of Liberty, which is so essential to their objects; and from this they derive moral confidence far more reassuring than any legal security. However reactionary or stationary the views of particular leaders or sects may be, with such a population as that of Paris, no real oppression is possible. Of all the claims which France has to the leadership of Europe, this is the strongest. The resistance which is still offered to freedom of association and freedom of education will soon be overcome by the force of its liberal sympathies. A population of such strong social feeling as ours will certainly not allow itself to be permanently deprived of the power of meeting together freely in clubs; institutions most conducive both to its culture and to the protection of its interests. It will insist with equal force upon perfect liberty of teaching, feeling deeply the need of solid instruction, and the incapacity of metaphysicians and theologians to give it. Without popular pressure, the essential conditions of educational liberty will always be evaded.
And if Liberty depends upon popular support,220 Public Order, whether at home or abroad, depends upon it no less. The inclinations of the working classes are altogether on the side of peace. Their strong dislike of war is the principal reason of the present remarkable tranquillity of Europe. The foolish regret expressed by all the retrograde parties for the decline of the military spirit is a sufficient indication of what the popular feeling is; but even more significant is the necessity for compulsory enlistment, which began in France and has extended to other parts of Europe. There has been much factitious indignation on the subject, but at least it must be allowed, that in our armies the officers are the only volunteers. Again, the working class is more free than any other from international prejudices, which still disunite the great family of Western nations, although they are very much weaker than formerly. They are strongest in the middle classes, a fact principally due to industrial competition. But working men feel how similar their wants and their conditions are in all countries, and this feeling checks their animosity. And the consciousness of union will become far stronger, now that the great social problem of their incorporation into modern society is being raised everywhere. No errors that statesmen can commit, whether in matters of war or peace, can prevent this from becoming the preponderating question in every European country; and thus it tends to preserve their mutual concord.
Popular sympathies of this sort are, it may be said, less conducive to internal tranquillity than to pacific foreign relations. But the alarm which is naturally aroused by the spiritual anarchy around us must not blind us to the real guarantees for Order which popular tendencies, rightly interpreted, hold out. It is to the people that we must look for the ascendancy of central over local221 power, which, as we have seen, is so indispensable to public order. The executive authority, provided only that it gives no cause to fear reaction, will always have their support when opposed by an assembly the prevalent tendencies of which will usually be adverse to their interests. They will always turn instinctively to the dictatorial rather than to the parliamentary branch of the administration; feeling that from its practical character and the directness of its action, it is more likely to meet their wants. Useless discussions on constitutional questions may suit ambitious members of the middle classes, by facilitating their arrival to power. But the people take very little interest in all this unmeaning agitation, and often treat it with merited contempt. They know that it can be of no use to them, and that its only result is to evade their real wants by undermining the only authority that can do them justice. Consequently the people are certain to give their support to every government that deserves it; especially in France, where political passions have already yielded to the superior and more permanent interest of social questions. And while strengthening the government they may do much to elevate its character; by confining it strictly to its practical function, and resisting any attempts that it may make to interfere with opinion. In all these respects the spontaneous influence of the working classes will be of material assistance in carrying out the systematic conceptions of social philosophy.
But a more striking proof of the political influence to be exercised by the people is this. The dictatorship which our transitional policy requires as long as the spiritual interregnum lasts must arise in the first instance from their ranks.
In the word People, especially in the French language, there is a fortunate ambiguity, which may serve to remind us that the proletariate class is not, properly speaking, a class at all, but constitutes the body of society. From it proceed the various special classes, which we may regard as organs necessary to that body. Since the abolition of royalty, the last remnant of caste, our political leaders have been recruited, and will continue to be so, from the working class. In the normal state, however, it will be required as a preliminary condition, that the holder of dictatorial power shall have first received the political training which is given by the exercise of authority in his own business. In a settled state of society, Government, strictly so called, is a mere extension of civil influence. Ultimately, therefore, political power will fall into the hands of the great leaders of industry. As spiritual reorganization proceeds, they will gradually become more worthy of it than they are at present. Besides, the tenure of power will become less burdensome, because it will be confined to duties of a purely practical kind.
As yet, however, the case is very different; and therefore the wealthy, though ultimately they will be the administrators of power, are not those to whom it should as a rule be entrusted in our present condition. Special departments may be given to them with advantage, as we have seen proved recently, and that in cases where the functions to be performed had no relation whatever to industrial skill. But they are not competent as yet for dictatorial power, the power which has to supply the place of royalty. Individual exceptions, of course, there may be, though none have appeared hitherto, and at least they are not enough for our provisional system to rely on. As yet the wealthy classes have shown themselves too debased in223 thought and feeling for an office of such importance. Nor do we find greater aptitude for it outside the industrial class. Scientific men are most assuredly unfit for it, especially in France, where the system of Academies has narrowed the mind, withered the feelings, and enervated the character to such an extent, that most of them fail in the conduct of common life, and are utterly unworthy of the smallest post of authority, even in their own department.
All other classes failing us, we have to look to the working class, which has been left more free to form broad views, and in which the sense of duty has been better cultivated. On historical grounds I feel convinced that the workmen of France are more likely than any other class to supply men competent for supreme power, as long as the spiritual interregnum lasts; that is, for at least one generation.
On looking at this question calmly and without scholastic or aristocratic prejudice, it will be seen, as I pointed out at the beginning of this chapter, that the working class is better situated than any other with respect to generality of views and generosity of feeling. In knowledge and experience of administration they would ordinarily be deficient; they would therefore not be fit for the work of any special department. But this is no disqualification for the supreme power, or indeed for any of the higher offices for which breadth of view rather than special knowledge is required. These may be filled by working men, whose good sense and modesty will at once lead them to choose their agents for special departments from the classes who have usually furnished them before. The practical character and progressive spirit of such a government being beyond suspicion, special talent of whatever kind may be made available, even in the case of men who, if224 they had been placed in a higher position, would have proved thoroughly hostile to republican institutions. Of all the diversified elements of modern society, there is not one which may not be of real service in assisting the transition. Among soldiers and magistrates, for instance, there are many who will join the popular movement, and become sincere supporters of republicanism. A government of this kind would tranquillize the people, would obviate the necessity for violent compressive measures, and would at the same time have a most beneficial influence on the capitalist class. It would show them the necessity of attaining to greater purity of feeling and greater breadth of view, if they are to become worthy of the position for which they are ultimately destined.
Thus, whether we look at the interests of Public Order, or at those of Liberty, it appears necessary as a provisional measure, during the continuance of our spiritual interregnum, that the holders of dictatorial power shall be chosen from the working class. The success of a few working men in the pursuit of wealth has exercised an unsettling influence on the rest; but in the present instance we need not fear this result. It will be obvious that the career of a proletary governor is a rare exception, and one which requires peculiar endowments.
In examining the mode in which this anomalous policy should be carried out, we must bear in mind the object with which it was instituted. It is most important to get rid of the custom, based on motives of self-interest, which has grown up during the last generation, of insisting on parliamentary experience as an apprenticeship for executive power; executive power being always the real object of ambition. We have found from experience what we might have anticipated on theoretical grounds,225 that this plan excludes all except mere talkers of the Girondin type, men totally devoid of statesman-like qualities. To working men it offers almost insurmountable obstacles; and even supposing these obstacles to be overcome, we may be sure that they would lose the straightforwardness and native vigour which constitute their best claim to the exceptional position proposed for them.
It is best, then, that they should reach the position assigned to them at once, without the circuitous process of a parliamentary career. Our transition towards the normal state will then exhibit its true character. It will be tranquil and yet decisive; for it will rest on the combined action of philosophers without political ambition, and dictators adverse to spiritual encroachment. The teacher who attempts to govern, the governor who attempts to educate, will both incur severe public censure, as enemies alike of peace and progress. The whole result will be a change in our revolutionary condition identical with that which the Convention would have realized, if, as its founders contemplated, it had lasted till the Peace.
Such, then, is the nature of the compact into which all true philosophers should enter with the leading members of the proletary class. Their object is to direct the organic and final phase through which the Great Revolution is now passing. What they have to do is carefully to prolong the provisional system adopted by the Convention, and to ignore, as far as possible, the traditions of all succeeding governments, whether stationary or retrograde. Comprehensiveness of view and social sympathy predominate alike in both members of this great alliance; and it is thus a guarantee for our present state of transition, and a sure earnest of the normal future. The people are the spontaneous representatives of this alliance; the philosophers its systematic organ. The intellectual deficiencies of the former will easily be remedied by philosophers, who will show them how essential it is on social grounds that they should understand the true meaning of history; since otherwise their conception of the union of mankind must be limited to the present generation, ignoring the more important truth of the continuity of the Present with the Past and the Future. A far greater obstacle is the moral deficiency of most philosophers of our time. But the wholesome influence of the people upon them, combined with a deep philosophic conviction of the preponderance of Feeling in every subject of thought, will do much to overcome the ambitious instincts which weaken and distract their energies in the common cause of social renovation.” Auguste Comte, A General View of Postivism, Or, Summary Exposition of System of Thought & Life; Chapter Three–“The Action of Positivism on the Working Classes ”
Numero Dos—“The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal—the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress nor egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”.
It was towards the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.
It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. These were seven—an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different, as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose colour varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example in blue—and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange—the fifth with white—the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the colour of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet—a deep blood colour. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.
But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colours and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.
He had directed, in great part, the movable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fête; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm—much of what has been since seen in “Hernani”. There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There were much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these—the dreams—writhed in and about taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away—they have endured but an instant—and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-coloured panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulged in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.
But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumour of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise—then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.
In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade licence of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood—and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.
When the eyes of the Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.
“Who dares,”—he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him—”who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him—that we may know whom we have to hang, at sunrise, from the battlements!”
It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly, for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.
It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple—through the purple to the green—through the green to the orange—through this again to the white—and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry—and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask, which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.
And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of Red Death;” 1842: http://www.gutenberg.org/files
Numero Tres—“In January 1992 I published my first journalistic article ever. Published in Puerto Rico’s Claridad weekly newspaper, it was titled ‘The October Surprise.’ In it I affirmed that the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign bargained secretly with Iranian radicals for the postponement of the liberation of 52 Americans that they were holding hostage. These hostages were employees of the US embassy in Iran’s capital city of Teheran, which had been stormed by militants loyal to the Ayatollah Khomeini in November 1979. This secret deal, known as the October Surprise, frustrated the attempts of US president Jimmy Carter to obtain the hostages’ release in time for the elections in November. This failure cost Carter his reelection, and swept Republican candidate Ronald Reagan into the presidency. Polls carried out before the election showed that the hostage issue was of top importance in the minds of the American electorate.
The Republican campaign’s main negotiators in this deal were George H. W. Bush, vice presidential candidate and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, and William Casey, the campaign’s director and veteran spook who spied for the Office of Strategic Services during World War Two. Once elected, president Reagan appointed Casey to direct the CIA.
The hostages were freed the same day Reagan was sworn in as his nation’s fortieth president on January 1981. What was in it for the Iranians? Weapons, tons of them. Iran needed them badly in order to repel an invasion by Iraq. The Iran-Iraq war lasted from 1980 to 1988 and took approximately one million lives. The much-publicized wars in Central America in those years positively pale in comparison to the horror and carnage of this Middle East war, which was almost certainly the bloodiest of that decade. The October Surprise conspiracy and the arms deals related to the Iran-Iraq war led to the Iran-Contra affair, the biggest political scandal of the 1980’s.
This is very serious business: aiding and abetting a kidnapping, secretly undermining a president’s foreign policy- with the express purpose of tilting election results at home, high treason. You could fry in the electric chair for less than this.
Public allegations of such a secret deal go back at least to 1987, when they appeared in a book titled Out of Control by journalist Leslie Cockburn, who herself had reported on Contra atrocities and on the Iran-Contra scandal for CBS and PBS Frontline. Robert Parry, then with Associated Press, also did some of the earliest reporting on this affair.
In the late 1980’s Gary Sick, who had been president Carter’s top aide for all matters related to the Persian Gulf region, reconsidered and reexamined the hostage negotiation process from October 1980 to their liberation in 1981, and declared in an April 1991 New York Times op-ed that the October Surprise theory was entirely plausible (1). Sick elaborated on this idea in his book October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, published that same year. At that time, former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who was elected in 1980 and overthrown the following year, published an autobiographical book titled My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution and Secret Deals With the U.S., in which he stated that islamic radicals associated with Khomeini negotiated the hostages with the Reagan campaign, thus sabotaging his negotiations with the Carter administration.
In June 1991 the Fund for New Priorities in America held in Washington a Congressional Colloquy on the October Surprise, with Sick as featured speaker. An open letter signed by eight former hostages calling for an official inquiry into the circumstances of their release was presented in the activity (2). The following year a Congressional investigation was launched under the direction of representative Lee Hamilton.
The lead counsel of the October Surprise Task Force, as the investigative body was called (3), was the renowned if controversial lawyer E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. As US attorney in the 1970s, Barcella became a hero of the left for his investigation and prosecution of the murder of Chilean patriot Orlando Letelier, who was car bombed in the streets of Washington DC. His legendary investigation, which led to the arrest of Cuban exile terrorists who worked directly with the DINA Chilean secret police agency, was narrated in the excellent book Assassination on Embassy Row, by John Dinges and the late Saul Landau.
But Barcella, who passed away in 2010, had many colors. He led the US Department of Justice’s international manhunt for former CIA agent turned arms dealer and fugitive Edwin Wilson, who had been supplying arms to Libya (read Manhunt by Peter Maas). According to Parry, Barcella worked with the CIA in that case: “Luckily for the CIA, the chief (October Surprise) investigator, E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. was a favorite of the intelligence community and had worked closely with many of the figures implicated in the October Surprise affair.” (4)
Barcella won great esteem and prestige for the conviction of Wilson in 1983, a feat which was key in Congress deciding to appoint him lead counsel of the October Surprise Task Force, a job he was keenly interested in. But the glory of that episode wore off in 2003 when it surmised that a Barcella affidavit that was key in swaying the jury against Wilson turned out to be full of falsehoods. “Barcella denied wrongdoing in connection with the bogus Wilson affidavit, which concealed about 80 contacts between Wilson and the CIA during the time period when Wilson was selling materiel to Moammar Khadafy’s Libya”, said Parry (5). Wilson was released in 2004 after a federal judge ruled that the prosecution had acted improperly and that both the Department of Justice and the CIA had covered up information in the case.
“His revenge for his framing came almost too late”, said an obituary in The Economist published after Wilson’s passing in 2012. “In 2003 his conviction… was overturned because, wrote the judge, the government had lied. Far from no contacts with the CIA between 1971 and 1978, there had been at least 80. Several ran intriguingly ‘parallel’ to the illegal acts he had been charged with.” (6)
Wilson’s closest business associates included current and former high-ranking officials of the Pentagon and the CIA who would later be implicated in the Iran-Contra arms deals.
In the 1990s Barcella, then in private practice, represented defendants in the BCCI affair, the biggest international banking corruption scandal in history. According to Parry’s Consortium News web site: “In the 1980s, Barcella and his law firm earned more than $2 million from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International for giving legal advice, lobbying and handling public relations problems. Barcella denounced as ‘absurd’ early press allegations that BCCI had secretly gained control of First American Bank in Washington. (The story turned out to be true.) In 1991, BCCI collapsed amid scandal over its ties to international drug money-laundering and influence-peddling.” (7) Parenthesis in the original.
The Congressional October Surprise investigation ended in January 1993, only days before US president Bill Clinton’s swearing-in, and concluded that there was no credible evidence to sustain the allegations of secret deals.
However, Parry did not let go of the story. Years after the Congressional investigation ended, the reporter obtained access to the Task Force’s documents and found a letter from Iran’s Bani-Sadr, dated December 17 1992, in which he detailed the contacts between Khomeini’s associates and the Reagan-Bush campaign. According to Parry, “In the Task Force’s final report, issued on Jan. 13, 1993, Barcella’s team simply misrepresented Bani-Sadr’s letter, mentioning it only briefly, claiming that it was hearsay, and then burying its contents in a little-noticed annex to the report along with other incriminating evidence.” (8)
Bani-Sadr’s testimony is supported by Iranian admiral Ahmad Madani, who was minister of defense in 1979 and presidential candidate in the 1980 elections. Madani’s presidential campaign was financed by Carter’s CIA through financier and arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi (9). Nevertheless, Bani-Sadr won with over 75% of the vote. In an interview in the early 1990’s Madani informed Parry that in 1980 Hashemi was double-crossing Carter, negotiating the hostages with the Republicans. According to Madani, Hashemi specifically mentioned to him the name of William Casey. Hashemi died in 1986 of a rare disease. According to a 1987 Los Angeles Times article published in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal:
“…sources say, a U.S. government informant who had worked with Hashemi claims that Customs Service officials told him the arms dealer may have been “bumped off” by government agents to protect the then-secret Iran initiative…
…Hashemi, a rival for roles ultimately assumed by Adnan Khashoggi and Manucher Ghorbanifar in the Iran operation, died suddenly on July 21, 1986, three months before the secret arms deals were disclosed. Officially, death was attributed to a rare and virulent form of leukemia that was diagnosed only two days before Hashemi died.
Since then, persistent questions have been raised about the accuracy of those autopsy results.” (10)
But the most explosive piece of October Surprise evidence is most certainly a Russian intelligence report sent to the Task Force on January 11 1993, just as the investigation was drawing to a close (11). The six-page document stated that Soviet intelligence knew that Bush, Casey and other US Republicans had met secretly in Europe with Iranian officials in 1980. Congressman Hamilton told Parry that he did not recall Barcella informing him of any Russian report. Several other members of Congress who formed part of the Task Force likewise told Parry they never saw such a report. Barcella did not mention the Russian report at the January 13 1993 press conference in which the Task Force presented its final findings.
In the waning months of 2010, as his health deteriorated due to his bladder cancer, Barcella stubbornly insisted to Parry that he had not hidden the report.
But according to Parry, ‘The taped-up boxes were moved to some House office space that years earlier had been carved out of the Rayburn House Parking Garage and there dumped on the floor of an abandoned Ladies Room.’ (12)
‘Hide’ is not too strong a word.
So, 22 years after that first article of mine I can confidently state that I was right all along. So, do I get a cigar or something?” “The October Surprise Was Real,” by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero; Counterpunch