Social Psychology

Chapter 5: Civic and Martial Organization

Knight Dunlap

Table of Contents | Next | Previous

§1. The band

It is possible that in the most primitive cultures there may be no important social groupings other than the family; but in all known cultures and civilizations other groupings are relatively numerous. One of the groups which is important because of its simplicity, early appearance, and practical functions is the band. The band may in some cases be purely within the family, but usually it involves members of several families. It may be organized for hunting; for war; for the care of flocks or herds; for the gathering of vegetable products such as bark, nuts, or roots; for fishing; for transportation; or for the migration of the people from one locality to another. In modern civilization it is represented by mobs, hiking and camping parties, and many similar minor groups. The band may be a purely temporary organization which ceases to exist when its immediate function is fulfilled, or it may be a relatively permanent affair, like the Ku Klux Klan, with repeated periods of activity.

Often the band is an almost purely informal organization, with little specialization of function of its members, and no coördination of action except that established in the process of activity. In other cases, there is careful preliminary organization, with functions of leadership and subordination definitely prescribed, and with the activities of the different members carefully planned so that each supplements the other. Thus, in a hunting expedition, there may be some one having general direction, whom all must obey. Of the others, some will scout for game; others stalk or drive it; others attack it, perhaps in further stabilized groups; others will skin and dress the captured game; and still others will act as cooks, carriers, wood-choppers, etc. Each of these specialized groups may have its overseer or foreman, and further internal organization. But, on the other hand, hunting parties may operate as groups with-

( 131) out this specialization; each hunter having the same general function as all the others, subject to informal coöperation at various moments as the needs of the chase require. Martial bands may also operate without formal organization, but they inevitably tend toward specialization of function, including specialization of authority, because a higher degree of efficiency is obtained in that way.

The organization of a band is very similar to the integration of an animal organism, and the progressive development and perfection of band organization and activity resemble the formation of habit in the individual. When a group of individuals have once come together and acted together, it is easier for them to do so again. When specialization of function has developed in one performance of the band, the specialization tends to reappear, and to become strengthened, when the band is again active. Leaders are progressively developed, and with this development, their function becomes strengthened. Individuals who have served in one capacity become efficient therein, and the coördination of their functions with the functions of others becomes perfected, so that the band acts more and more as a unit, and less as a mere aggregation.

Although the band, as such, goes out of existence when its ends are temporarily accomplished, its potentialities are retained in the individuals composing it, just as the potentialities of acting and thinking are retained by the component cells in the individual in the intervals when the acts or the thoughts are non-existent. An army may disperse at night, and cease to exist as an army; yet, on coming together the next ,morning, it may resume group action at once, the basis for such action having been acquired and retained by the individuals. In the interim between band-activities of a certain type, the individuals may have been active in other groups; but this need not interfere with the resumption of the first type of band-action when the occasion arises. Just so, the thousands of individual cells integratively active in a reaction of the animal body at a certain moment, may be involved in many other integrations during the interval between the first reaction and its next recurrence; and yet may resume the former type of integration with little loss of efficiency, if the reaction has been thoroughly fixed through learning.

The continuity of a band is therefore not like the continuity of an individual as a whole, but rather like the continuity of a certain

( 132) type of function in the individual; such as memory for a particular set of ideas, or the activity of swimming.

Bands are organized through group consciousness.[1] Each member of a band must be aware of himself as a member of the band, and aware of the others as fellow members, or the band cannot function. Common interest and common purpose add greatly to the strength of the organization, but are not essential. Some of the members of an efficient band may be interested solely in the wages they are to receive, and in the specific work they must do to receive these wages. Or, they may be slaves, or drafted men, who serve because they must, and who merely have interests and purposes in their tasks so as to escape punishment, or to get along with the least trouble. Group feeling is also an important asset in a band, but may be lacking in many members.

The desire to be preeminent spurs many members to their best efforts in the bands, and the desire to conform to the group organization is effective very generally. Persons without the conformity desire, and without the habits or tendencies based upon it, are disruptive forces in any band, and no band can survive with many such members, unless, under extreme martial discipline, conformity is enforced through the individuals' calculation of results, or through fear. Even then, the band is always in a precarious situation if conformity is largely forced.

In spite of the ability of the individual to function in one group without reference to the integrations in other groups, group activities commenced in the band tend to carry over into many different groupings in which the band as such is not operative. The man who establishes leadership in the hunt or war expedition tends to retain some of his leadership when the band is reabsorbed into the camp. If no leaders are established for the camp group, he tends to become leader there. Similarly, the leader of a larger group from which a band is organized, tends to become leader of the band. Yet, these tendencies may be inhibited by other influences, just as the "transfer of training" in the individual organism may be inhibited,

( 133) and the accepted leader of the band may not be a leader in the larger group, and vice versa.

Even when a greater variety of overlapping groups has been established, the tendency to carry over from one organization to another exists. The military leader becomes a candidate for civil office. The business executive receives a military commission when new armies are organized. The man who leads in politics, or in sports, or in military affairs, has a greater chance of leadership in the lodge, or the church. Aside from leadership, other specialized functions may carry over in the same way.

§2. The state, or political group

Individuals living contiguously are brought into social relations by that very fact. The acts of one individual in a contiguous group affect the activities of other individuals immediately, and the satisfaction of the desires of one is a factor having important consequences on the satisfactions of the others. It is impossible for one individual in a local group to ignore the others; group consciousness is an essential result of contiguous life. Group feeling tends easily to rise, and in many cases becomes superior to family feeling. The group which is constituted primarily through contiguous living is called the political group, or, in its formal aspects, the state. In the further development of political groups, the contiguity-relation may be-come unimportant in some cases, and groups without contiguity may arise. But these are exceptional cases, and there is no political group, however exceptional, which does not have as its foundation continguous living.

Contiguity is, of course, a factor in the family, and in the band. Hence, both of these have the germs of political groupings, and in the absence of any other state organization, these are the political groups. But the tendencies in both the band and the family lead to the establishment of a political group superior to both as soon as the population in any area becomes numerous, because the adequate satisfaction of desires cannot otherwise be obtained.

The family-state ceases to be an efficient means of satisfaction when numerous families conflict in their uses of camping grounds, hunting grounds, and other natural resources. The use of these resources involves the desires of food, rest, activity, excretion, and

( 134) shelter. Conflicts in regard to these resources between members of a family, and similar conflicts arising from sexual desires, can be settled by family rules and authority. But conflicts between members of different families, or between families as wholes, cannot be settled by the authority of either family. They can be settled only by war, by treaty, or by higher political organization.

Inter-family war (feud) leads to the subjection of one family by another, or to extermination of one or both, or else to treaty, if the strength of the two is equal. By treaty, a set of rules for conduct is established: this is itself a form of political organization. If the treaty is merely an armed peace, progress is checked. But, the disadvantages of war, and of the constant threat of war involved in mere treaty, inevitably lead to closer political organization if the contiguity of the families is close, and through the state so established, war and feud are avoided. The first state is the tribe. The formation of the tribe may occur early or late in the multiplication of families, depending on the closeness of the living of the several families involved. In some cases, perhaps, the tribe has been formed with little preceding quarreling between the families. A great deal depends on the power of the families involved, which again depends on the resources and the separation of the families, and the length of development thereby permitted before political needs arise. War with an enemy common to all the families, and threatening all, would undoubtedly be a great aid to political organization, even when the contiguity of the families is slight, since the common bands organized for war not only tend to carry their organization over to peace, but also to increase the effective contiguity by increasing social contacts between the scattered families. But a great deal obviously depends on the intelligence, quarrelsomeness, and pride of the families involved.

The fact that families descended from a common stock tend to settle near each other would account for the fact that in most cases a tribe is of a single race.[2] The fact that families frequently migrate far would account for different and separate tribes of the same race. The absorption of contiguous families of other stocks, and the amalgamation of the stocks thus combined would account for the dif-

( 135) -ferences in tribes which are obviously of nearly, but apparently not quite, the same stock.

Among savages, the tribes are frequently found divided into moities (halves), and into smaller divisions, these divisions having different importance politically in different places. In some cases these divisions (clans, gentes, totems, etc.), are the forms in which the original family groups persist. In other cases the family groups have become transformed into smaller families within larger groups which serve some of the original family functions. The importance of these subdivisions is in all cases primarily in the religious and family life of the tribe, less in its larger political life, although the political function is sometimes present, as in the cases in which the chief must be selected from a particular family group.

The distinctive features of political organization, which mark it everywhere, in the family, the band, the church, and especially in the state, are, (1) the conception of rights; (2) the limitation of these rights by conventions or rules established with greater or less definiteness; and (3) the formulation of duties. With the increasing power and importance of the state, these political features are more and more taken over from the family and other organizations, and those organizations are allowed to define and maintain only minor rights, limitations, and duties, such as do not conflict with the larger control of the state. The progressive dominance of the church by the state, or rather the amalgamation of church and state, has been checked in modern civilization by sharply separating the religious (that is, other-worldly) rights, limitations, and duties from the practical ones, leaving church and state supreme each in its own sphere. This separation has apparently been due to the power of the church, and the danger of its gaining the ascendency in the general political sphere: an outcome which, of course, the state can never permit, since it is precisely the political organization. If this separation should cease, the expansion of the state at the expense of the church would doubtless again proceed.

"Personal liberty," or individual freedom of action, can obtain only among individuals living in isolation from one another. When individuals are in contact, so that the activities of one affect the activities of the others, either some of the individuals will retain their personal liberties, and the others give theirs up to a very large

( 136) extent, or else personal liberty must be replaced by social liberty, which is the product of political organization.

The traffic regulations in force in civilized communities, and the reasons for the existence of these regulations, are clear illustrations of the transformation of personal liberty into social liberty. Obviously, only a very few persons could possibly have full personal liberty to drive their cars as they please. The liberties of other drivers and pedestrians would necessarily be seriously curtailed by the exercise of the liberty of these few. Hence, the rights of drivers are specified by the regulations, and the rights of pedestrians are also specified, the rights of all being definitely limited. Pedestrians may cross the streets only at specified points. No driver may go at a speed exceeding certain set limits. A driver under certain conditions must stop to allow another driver to proceed. Cars must be parked only at certain places, and certain times. No driver may proceed if a traffic signal is set against him. And so through a long list of minute regulations which entirely destroy personal liberty in the use of cars, and substitute for it the social liberty which allows every one the fullest possible use.

This supplanting of individual liberties by social liberty, which becomes so complicated in crowded cities, is characteristic of social organizations generally, and it is the political aspect of social organization, and is therefore especially characteristic of the state, which exists for the purpose of carrying out political functions in the most general, but yet most highly specialized way. In the loosely organized state, the transformation may be small, and may affect only a limited group of activities. In the highly organized state, the transformation is extreme and affects every phase of life. The more crowded the community, the greater the need for trans-formation; and in general, the state becomes more complex with age. In a large city where there has been time for the minute adjustment of rights, one cannot make a noise at will; one can sometimes not sneeze without holding a protecting handkerchief before the face; one cannot dress in certain costumes, and so on.

The limitations of liberty necessarily bring with it the definition of rights. In a condition of personal liberty, there are no rights. One simply does what one does. But where social liberty arises, rights exist. A right is merely the limit to which liberty is permitted

( 137) to extend. One has a right to act within the set limitations, and the establishment of the limits automatically defines the rights. At the same time, the negative duty, not to exceed one's rights, is established. But further, positive duties are entailed also, since personal liberties to refrain from acts are also limited. Under personal liberty, I need not clean my sidewalk; under social liberty, I am constrained actively to keep it clean, since to refrain would interfere with the rights of others. So, I must pay taxes, which is a radical curtailment of my personal liberty, but a part of my duty under social liberty. Beyond this conception of duty, political organization does not go. Duty, in the ethical sense, is not involved in the state, but belongs to a still higher form of organization.

The organization of the state has proceeded in three different ways, or in ways which are combinations of two of these; and by reflection on these three processes three ideals of the state have arisen. These are the imperialistic, the aristocratic, and the democratic ideals.

The imperialistic theory of the state makes the state itself, as contrasted with the individuals composing it, the center of values. The individuals exist for the state, not the state for the individuals, and their rights are defined and limited, and their duties prescribed, solely with this in view. The individual has no rights to the satisfaction of any desire, except in so far as it is to the advantage of the state that he satisfy it; he has not even the right to live, except it be advantageous to the state that he should live. This theory is at the basis of the Japanese state (under the name of Bushido), and was the theory of the recent German Imperial Government.

The imperialistic theory tends towards the notion that the state is a real entity, over and above the individuals composing it; al-though this extreme view is not always involved. In strict theory, it might be made out that there is no practical difference between imperialism and democracy, if imperialism be carried out adequately, since the ultimate advantage of the state may be found in the greatest social liberty of the individuals. But nevertheless, the tendency of imperialism is to limit and subordinate the individual unduly, and to develop the martial and economic powers of the state at the expense of ethical and other social values. With omniscient control, it might make little difference which ideal were held; but since social development in so far as it is deliberate, proceeds with limited knowl-

( 138) -edge, and with a great deal of trial and error, the imperialistic plan offers the lesser chance of progress and the greater danger of need-less injury to the individuals.

Furthermore, under an imperial scheme, individual and class influences have an excellent chance to undermine the state in their own interests, and to increase the liberty and advantages of certain groups at the expense of the other groups. In all historical instances, a privileged governing class at least, with usually other privileged classes accessory thereto, has existed, and has bent the nominally imperial scheme towards aristocracy.

The aristocratic theory holds that certain classes of individuals, selected either by birth, by wealth, or by intelligence, should have superior rights, and that the rights of other individuals should properly be limited in order to give greater scope to the rights of these classes, in which, therefore, social values are held to inhere, rather than in the state as a whole, or in individuals socially. This theory is not merely that individuals of actual superior value, through heredity or otherwise, who are therefore of superior use to the state, should be guaranteed the right to assert these values; but that they should be given in addition superior political rights. And since aristocracy is always based on classes, and not on individual considerations, it involves the assignment of superior rights to individuals of a favored class regardless of their actual worth as individuals or to the state. Aristocracy, therefore, is the avowed enemy of social liberty.

Imperial states have always been largely aristocratic in theory and in practice, in spite of their imperialism, and democracies are largely tinctured with aristocratic institutions and practices, against which they must keep continually struggling. Whatever may be said about the agreement of imperialism and democracy, if both are omnisciently directed, the tendencies of aristocracy and democracy are diametrically opposed, and the greatest indictment of imperialism is that it uniformly tends towards aristocracy.

Democracy assigns all ultimate values to the individual, and holds that the state is justified only in so far as it assures the greatest social liberty to the individual. Assuming that no state can be omnisciently directed, but that it must proceed in its development by experimental trial and error, democracy insists on the utmost cau-

( 139) -tion in the limitation of individual rights, preferring the chaotic element of personal liberty in details which have not yet been thoroughly evaluated in the light of social justice, to the arbitrary regulation which is ignorant, and, therefore, probably unfair. This is the theory on which the United States was organized, and which it still upholds in spite of continued and serious assaults upon it by those favoring aristocratic ideals.

Democracy does not maintain that individuals are equal in intelligence, in training, or in abilities and achievements generally. The wording of the Declaration of Independence, that "All men are created free and equal" has been very seriously misconstrued by enemies of democracy, and has been made out to be an absurd denial of the obvious fact of individual inequality in capacities. Such misconstruction is puerile, and there is not the least historical evidence that the framers of the Declaration had any such notion. Certainly, Jefferson, the writer of the document, gave no signs that he did not consider himself intellectually superior to many of his fellow citizens, and he obviously believed that his selection for important offices in the state was due to such superiority. The founders of the United States Government were establishing, or hoping to establish, a purely political organization, and the equality which they held as an ideal was, therefore, a purely political equality.

If men were actually equal in capacities, there would be good grounds for arguing that political equality would be needless, or that it would be automatically regulated without difficulty. But, be-cause men are not equal in capacities, it is essential to social justice, and to the development of a strong state, that they shall have the political equality requisite to enable each man to develop his capacities to the fullest point possible and to enjoy the advantages that his natural capacities should procure for him.

It is not true that every citizen of the United States has the capacity to make an effective president. Some are intellectually unfit, some are emotionally unfit, some are physically unfit. Jefferson and his fellows held no belief to the contrary. But they saw that there is no class of citizens, whether by birth, wealth, or social position, which does not include also seriously unfit individuals; and they saw also that individuals fitted by natural capacities may arise in any American class. It is provided, therefore, that politically, any

( 140) American citizen is eligible to the presidency, provided he has the training which it is aimed to make available to all; and the restriction to American birth and a certain minimal age are justified limitations with respect to probabilities of training. The only fault that can justly be charged to the founders of the United States Government is that they did not carry the theory of democracy far enough, and include "women" with "men." But they went as far as was possible in their era, and their plans are in this generation being extended consistently.

The practical objection to democracy is based on universal suffrage, with certain limitations on age and residence, which are always subject to revision. Theoretically, specialization should be carried out here also, and those who are most fit to make decisions and selections should have charge of these state functions. This is admitted, and democracy continually moves in this direction. Executives and legislators are selected, as well as judges, and the great burden of further selection and decision is placed upon them. But the ultimate decision rests with the electorate, and if it does not intelligently select the officials to whom authority is delegated, the system does not work efficiently.

The justification for this system is that it works better than any other that has been devised. Any scheme that takes ultimate power from the general public puts it in the hands of an aristocracy, and no scheme which will make the action of an aristocracy less vicious than the action of the general electorate has been even remotely suggested. Aristocratic control appeals only to those who hope that they will be numbered among the aristocrats.

The boss system is the acknowledged evil of democracy, but our actual bosses are among our most intelligent citizens, and many of them high in social standing and personal attractiveness. They control the electorate with difficulty, and yield slowly to the demands of social justice, in spite of their own personal interests, because the very unwieldiness of the electorate and its social diversity makes it impossible for them to do otherwise. They know that it is always possible for them to be overthrown because an appeal to the intelligence and moral principle and group interests of the public is possible, and has always chances of success. Make this class of bosses a political aristocracy and their powers are impregnable. And that

( 141) any political aristocracy will inevitably fall into their hands is demonstrated by their success even under the present adverse conditions.

Moral considerations are foreign to political organizations by their very nature. But the individuals comprising the public are amenable to moral influences, and can hence make the political organization responsive. The public, because of the desire and tendency to adopt the opinions of leaders, may be made to decide in accordance with the intelligence of those leaders. The decision sometimes follows the intelligence of the immoral leaders. but in the long run, the moral principles prevail. If this be not so, the democratic state has the best chance of success, so long as the right of appeal to the electorate is carefully preserved.

The enemies of democracy, being intelligent, have concentrated their attacks on the right of appeal to the public, a right which the founders of the United States Government with clear vision put in the forefront. The present demand for "censorship"which is being promoted under various guises is the most dangerous attack which democracy has ever suffered. Censorship of the motion pictures; censorship of books; censorship of the press; censorship of school and university teaching; is being demanded under the plausible pre-texts of the interests of "morals,""religion,"and the "public protection." If any such system of control of appeal is ever established, democracy will not merely be doomed; it will be (lead. Thousands of misguided individuals are eagerly forwarding these movements, for their own destruction, with the backing and control of forces which are far wiser, and which aim at the destruction of democratic government.

§3. The hierarchy of states

We are so familiar with the hierarchy of states existing in America and Europe, that we are prone to overlook its significance. In Maryland, for example, one lives first of all, in a city, village, or rural community, and is amenable to its rules establishing his rights and duties. He lives also in the county (Baltimore excepted), in which again he has rights and duties. He is also a citizen of the State of Maryland, and finally of the United States. Beyond this, the resident of Maryland is typically a member of a civic group which is not represented in the governmental scheme, but which

( 142) is nevertheless typical of the groupings out of which our political groups have developed. He is an "Eastern Shore" man, or a "Western Shore" man, or a member of some other group which oversteps the official civic lines, but which influences his political activities to a considerable extent.

Aside from limitations and duties prescribed officially by membership in these groups, and the attendant group consciousness, group feeling is strongly developed. Pride of citizenship in his city or town, in his county, or in his geographical community, and interest in his fellow members is an important part of the Marylander's life. He contrasts his group with other groups in Maryland, and still more strongly with groups in other sections of the United States, always to the disadvantage of the latter. He believes that his people are the best, his local institutions the best, and his local cookery and products the best. He votes for men from his groups, even against the dictates of larger interests.

The fundamental political groups are the small communities, the most immediate civil organization being of those who live in the contiguity of a village, camp, or other settlement where personal stimulation and personal interference are easy. Rules of life, manners, customs, and laws, grow up to make this close association possible; and the group consciousness and group feeling grow with them. Frequently, the compacting of a community group is deter-mined by, or assisted by geographical features. On a small island, in an enclosed valley, or on a confined coast line, the isolation of the inhabitants from others, and the resultant intensifying of their internal contacts, coöperate with the intensification of group consciousness due to the common lot, to produce easily a strong social group. To this characteristic method of grouping, Maryland presents some striking, exceptions, of a sort which is not infrequent and which is easily explained. Geographically, the Eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia together with a part of Delaware, constitute a single territory, relatively isolated, and suitable for the inclusion of a civic group through the continuity, isolation, and common economic situation of the inhabitants. Western Maryland and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania form another such geographical area, and the Western Shore of Maryland is by location and topographical features distinct from both Western Mary-

( 143) -land and the Eastern Shore. Distinct group consciousness and group feeling of these three areas of the state are truly discernible, yet the three are merged in one commonwealth.

Under a primitive type of growth of the population such a condition would not easily occur. But in this case, the conditions of rapid settlement by influx from Europe, and the political forms established by grants of land, have, to a large extent, counteracted the effects of the natural forces.

The social group of geographically non-contiguous peoples, and the withstanding of the normal effects of contiguity is also evident in the relations of distant colonies to their mother countries, and their antagonism to close-by colonies of other countries. Such conditions can occur only when peoples already numerous, and with strongly established political institutions, migrate to new territories.

In the normal growth of political organization, the community-state comes first. But the same process which leads to the establishment of the community, leads inevitably to the formation of a larger state including several communities, whenever the communities come in contact. Conflict of activities is inevitable, and these conflicts can be settled only by war, with resulting absorption or annihilation, or by treaties establishing a loose organization, or by the formation of a higher state. And as feuds between families eventually must be settled by organization or else by destruction, so war between communities must also eventuate. The American Indians in some cases formed confederations of tribes, like that of the Iroquois. In .some cases the perpetual warfare between tribes kept the tribes far apart, reducing contacts and minor conflicts, and inhibiting the growth of population. The relatively small population of America at the advent of Columbus was all that it could accomodate under the prevailing conditions of inter-tribal conflict. The colonies of whites established in America had either to limit their groups in the same way, or establish a political union.

When new countries were settled by colonization from old and thickly populated ones, it was inevitable that the hierarchies of states which had been developed in the older countries should be trans-planted to the new, and organized without waiting for slow development. This has happened partly because man is a creature of habit,

( 144) and partly because of the obvious fact that the heirarchal system operates successfully.

With the development of commerce, which is a form of contact between tribes and tribal federations transcending considerable distances, international agreement, which is a form of political group organization, became imperative; and international organization and commerce have developed and waned together.

Although it is generally true that the closest association of individuals is between those living in the closest contact, and the associations in the larger groups are less close, the constant tendency is for the larger group to gain in importance, at the expense of its constituent smaller groups, taking over progressively more and more of the political functions, and absorbing more and more of the group feeling and group consciousness. The Carroll Countian, the Baltimorean, and the Eastern Shoreman, are less strongly these than they are Marylanders; and their rights and duties are to a greater extent prescribed by the state than by the local groups. The same holds for the Yorkshireman, the Londoner, and the Welshman, and will probably some time in the future hold for the Irishman, however much more strongly he may be at present an Irishman than he is a Britisher. In the United States generally, the national ties are slowly gaining at the expense of the local and state ties, and the national government is surely gaining in power at the expense of the states. This progression is inevitable in any federation in which economic improvement, and improvements in transportation and communication are occurring; because these improvements increase and widen the contacts of individuals, and make it less and less possible for local government to guarantee social liberty. A fixed relation, less than the utmost extension of the power and scope of the highest state, is possible only among peoples where economic and intellectual progress has reached a plateau of no further advance, as it has in savage cultures. The only precaution that can be taken is to avoid making the centralization of political organization advance faster than the conditions actually warrant; and not to retard it beyond the actual needs.

The process of federation of states obviously has not reached its limits, even when a system of great nations, each with its inner hierarchies of states, has arisen, so long as these nations are in ef

( 145) -fective contact, and therefore in conflicts which can be settled only by war or organization. In spite of the disasters of the recent war, progress towards world federation has been made, and whether or not the League of Nations develops as its founders hoped it would, the same processes which have led to the federation of families, and the abolition of feuds; to the federation of communities, and the federation of tribes, with the abolition of internecine war; and which have led these federations to develop into real political organizations, must inevitably lead to world federation, and the abolition of inter-national wars. Social liberty, and the satisfaction of desires cannot be attained otherwise, with the population of the world in ever in-creasing contact.

§4. Economic organization

Such industrial organization as exists within the family, the state, or the other groups prior to definite formation of specialized industrial organizations, is to a large extent directed immediately to the satisfaction of desires. Animals are captured for food, and for their pelts for purposes of shelter. Bark, nuts, ochre, berries, etc., are gathered with the satisfaction of food, shelter, and other desires immediately in view. Wool and fibres are gathered, spun, and woven with the same directness of interest. The manufacture of tools, weapons, baskets, pots, and other utensils, and the production of ornaments may be a degree less immediate in their application to the satisfaction of desires, but even in these cases, the ultimate use of the articles by the individuals of the group which manufactures them in the processes of satisfying their own desires is clearly in view.

This stage of industry might be called "primitive," for it is the form which industry has tended to take in small and isolated communities prior to the development of commerce, and is to a large extent characteristic of savage industry. In the almost complete absence of information as to the lives of really "primitive" man, there is no harm in applying the term "primitive" in this way.

In large well established groups, with commerce between groups, the industrial organization tends to take on another form, that of economic organization which is especially developed in the Western world.

( 146)

On account of manifold factors, such as the possession of favorable soil and other natural facilities for specific types of production, accumulated skill in technical processes of manufacture, in the handling of certain domestic animals, in the details of capturing fish and game, etc., individuals and groups find it advantageous to specialize in certain forms of industry, not for the purpose of using the products themselves in the processes of satisfying their desires, but for exchange of the products with other groups for such commodities as may be needed for those purposes. Whether this ex-change is through barter or through the use of money and credits is a matter merely of the efficiency of the general economic system.

When a group engages in industry in this way, the group acquires common interests, and hence group consciousness and group feeling to an important degree. It also acquires, eventually, explicit rules and regulations, defining the rights and duties of individuals composing the group, and thus substitutes social liberty for personal liberty within the specific industrial sphere, just as the substitution is made in the more general political sphere from which the industrial is only in part separated. One needs only to consider the older trade guilds, the modern labor unions, farmers associations, chambers of commerce, professional societies, and shippers associations, to see the nature and system of such development.

But the most intensive development of this economic organization is reached in the corporations, "trusts," syndicates, and other extremely definite groups formed and maintained for purely economic purposes. In these forms of organization, and in many less highly organized forms, the final stage of industry is reached, in which the greater part of the individuals concerned do not even produce commodities for barter, but exchange their "labor" directly for the money and credit wherewith to purchase the direct means of satisfying desires.

It is not advisable, in an elementary treatise, to go deeply into the forms and conditions of economic organization, which, even as concerns the psychological aspects, constitute a highly special subject, which is treated at length in other volumes. But the indissoluble connections between the modern economic organizations and all other forms of social organization, and the important influence

( 147) which economic organization exercises upon other forms, needs to be pointed out.

We have noted already how the modern economic organization of industry has affected the family, and how closely the forms of family life are dependent upon forms of economic organization. This, however, is a matter of minor importance compared with the connection of political organization and economic organization.

Through the system of stocks, bonds, and credits upon which our economic system is organized, industry has established claims upon all other organizations. Churches, universities, and philanthropic organizations are not exempt, since their funds for the carrying on of their work are largely derived from these sources. Not only is every form of organization dependent, therefore, upon the economic system (not merely upon industry), and subject to its influence continually; but also the group consciousness of every organization is modified by the economic group consciousness of its members. Industrial group affiliations dominate all other group affiliations, out-side of the family.

Moreover, the state is so tied up with business (including industry and commerce), that there are but two alternatives in regard to control: either the state must dominate the economic system, or the economic system must dominate the state. No simple (if temporary) solution of the conflict such as has sometimes been attained in another sphere by the "separation of church and state," is possible here. For, not only possession of property, but also the life of the economic system, is actually guaranteed and maintained by the state, and if the state should cease its active participation in the economic system, that system should die immediately, and carry the state to death, or at least temporary cessation of function, with it, since the funds of the state would be automatically cut off. To give only one instance, but the most important: the rights of stock-holders and bondholders are guaranteed by the state, and are protected not only by a vast system of laws, but by the full power of the judicial system, and if necessary by the armed force of the state. Without such guarantee stocks and bonds would be valueless, and the economic system based upon them would be demolished. The notion that the state could "take its hands off" of business, and let it proceed "unhampered," is the most absurd notion ever promul-

( 148) -gated. Business depends on the intimate support of the state, and the actual "regulation" which the state necessarily exercises is no less fundamental than state ownership of industry would be.

The control exercised over industry by the state at present is in some respects inimical to the general social welfare, since its active protection of the purely economic organization is based on the sub-ordination of these general public interests to the interests of the economic organizations. The decision of the Supreme Court that the directors of corporations must make the highest possible profits for their stockholders, regardless of public interest is an interesting illustration of the general governmental attitude.

It should be noted that the governmentally guaranteed incomes on bonds, and the governmentally protected dividends on stocks, are forms of taxation delegated to private organizations. The holder of bonds, for example, is entitled to his income from the industry the bonds represent, whether his bonds are inherited or acquired by him in return for actual services; and he can be deprived of this tax-right only by the destruction or crippling of the industry. The enormous volume of stocks and bonds outstanding, in addition to its actual economic function, provides for the maintenance of a leisure class by revenues withdrawn from industry in a way comparable to the support of the medieval aristocracy through feudal rights. So inextricably does the system of securities tie all social classes and organizations together, that no cure for the admitted evils of the system, which would not work other serious injustice, has been devised.

The economic system of organizations is, moreover, such that mere speculation or gambling is governmentally protected by the same regulations which protect the purely economic functions. We must not overlook the fact that the man who makes a profit by speculation in wheat or cotton is exercising a delegated state right to the levying of taxes, which are drawn from the consumers through the industry. Furthermore, the exploitation or "milking" of public service corporations, through methods of financing which constantly increase the "capital" instead of reducing it, so that the part of the income which must be devoted to "fixed charges" is kept large, is made possible by the existing economic organization and its political support.

From the very nature of things business must dominate the state

( 149) in its general functions, or else the state must dominate business. Herein lies the greatest social problem of today, and struggles between factions representing various proposed solutions and opposition to solution have occupied the forefront of "politics" for many years. That business, which represents but one part of the general social technique for the satisfaction of desires, will eventually be allowed to dominate the whole fabric, or will be allowed to continue its pre-sent relative dominance, is highly improbable, since such an out-come would undoubtedly bring disaster not only to political organization, but to every other form of organization, including business itself. The saying that business, unless under strict political control, inevitable cuts its own throat, probably has truth in it.

§5. Secret societies

Organized civic groups of a peculiar type, conventionally designated as "Secret Societies," are found everywhere among modern civilized people and among savages; and have existed in the ancient civilizations also. The specific details and functions of these groups vary from people to people, but there are certain general characteristics which distinguish them from groups of other types. Secrecy is a common but varying characteristic of such groups. In general, there are matters of more or less importance, usually pretended at least to be important, the knowledge of which is carefully restricted to members of the group. Meetings of the group are in general exclusive, although certain meetings may be held to which the general public is admitted.

Certain of the group activities involve rituals of a formal character, more or less elaborate. These rituals are usually symbolic, or probably have been symbolic in their origin. In the carrying out of the rituals certain costumes, fetiches, and other accessories are commonly employed.

Membership in such societies is customarily bestowed through ritualistic initiation ceremonies. In these ceremonies, and as marks of their fulfillment some savages mutilate the candidate by knocking out or filing the teeth, by slashing the skin in certain ways, by tatooing, etc. Mutilations and disfigurements in initiations into "civilized" secret societies are not unknown, and frequently, where actual mutilation is not practiced, it is the custom to "treat the

( 150) candidate rough." Badges of membership other than mutilations or set styles of hair dressing are commonly employed, such badges as bracelets, ear and nose rings, watch charms, brooches, etc.

Membership is frequently, but not always, attained by degrees. The accepted candidate is, by ritual process, admitted to the lowest degree of membership; then after a certain time, he is admitted, if found "worthy," to the next degree; and so on up. Admission to a higher degree is determined sometimes by the choice of those al-ready members in that degree; sometimes by the payment of a fee, which may increase in magnitude with the elevation of the degree; sometimes by the ability of the candidate to "stand on examination" or go through the ritual or certain set feats of endurance to the satisfaction of the group; sometimes by the combination of two or all of these methods. The fees for the higher degrees in some savage lodges are relatively high, so that only the very wealthy can attain to them.

The standing and influence of the member within the society in-creases with his elevation through the degrees, and his power out-side of the group may increase likewise, through the influence of the society in the tribe. The men in the highest degrees of some savage lodges virtually dominate the community, although they may not constitute the legal political authority.

In some savage and civilized secret societies, however, there are no degrees, admission to the society being complete and full in one initiation. Although for the most part, membership in the societies is selective; not all members of the community, tribe, or other civic group being admitted, or even all of the general class of those from whom the membership is selected; there are some savage lodges to which all males of the tribe are regularly initiated upon reaching a prescribed age, unless very serious disqualifications stand in the way; and in these cases, a male of eligible age, not admitted to the lodge, would be a pariah in his general social relations.

In general, secret societies are sex-limited, and are mostly male. In only a few savage tribes are there women's lodges, and these are inferior in power and standing to the male organizations. The growth of secret societies admitting women, and of exclusively female societies, among civilized peoples, is relatively new; and the female lodges are usually subsidiary to male lodges, membership in

( 151) them being limited to women who are closely related to members of the corresponding men's organization.

Very frequently, both in civilized and savage organizations, the lodge is a means of maintaining male superiority. The tradition that the members of the lodge are in possession of secrets of Profound importance is commonly maintained, and among savages, the women are made to believe that the members are wielders of magic power. The prestige of the males is thus heightened, and the savage women are persuaded of the danger of refusing submission to the men, and especially of the danger attending approach to the meeting place of the lodge. Offenders against the rules of the lodge are in some places slain outright. In some cases, the societies resort to trickery to maintain the fearsome traditions. Certain Australian tribes make use of a flat piece of wood (called a "bull-roarer"in the terminology of the anthropologists) which when whirled on the end of a string emits a loud roaring sound. The women and children are told that this sound is made by the gods or demons invoked by the society, and only initiates are allowed to know how the sound is actually produced.

The methods of impressing the women among civilized people are somewhat different, but it is not uncommon for a man to make use of his lodge membership to enhance his importance in the eyes of his family. The use of the need of attending "lodge meetings"in order to effect an escape from family social duties is so common that it has been embodied in popular comedies.

The secret society very frequently has distinctly political functions; and, among savages, these functions are usually openly defined. In the case of civilized lodges, the political functions are only incidental, and where they exist are not openly declared. Religious functions are frequently exercised, and among some savages the lodge is sometimes the only religious organization or "church"; the ceremonials of social religion being carried on by it exclusively. Some civilized lodges have been instituted among adherents of certain religious denominations to inhibit their mixing socially with members of other denominations, particularly to prevent their joining secret societies not controlled by the denomination, and thus running the danger of losing their religious affiliations.

Individual profit, other than the attainment of social rank, is

( 152) frequently a feature of a secret society. This advantage is ensured sometimes by sick and death benefits, sometimes by obligations to render other aid to fellow members beyond that extended to fellow citizens generally. With these obligations go, by implication, a lessening of the general obligations to non-members; which is again an individual benefit. Thus, members may be under obligation to avoid seducing the wives and daughters of brother members, by which protection for their own families is secured without limiting their personal freedom to gratify their sexual inclinations at the expense of the families of non-members. The establishment of preferential business relations is frequently assigned as the dominant reason for "joining a lodge." Many college and high-school fraternities have as an acknowledged function the promotion of the individual interests of their members in various ways, and some have gone so far as to promote the sexual gratification of their members in very definite manners.

When one sees a savage secret society in function, or reads of its activities and importance; or when one sees a street procession of the Knights of Salambo, or the Order of the Sacred Elephants, in full and astounding regalia; or sees the college sophomore proudly sporting the badge of Alpha Pow Zowie; one realizes the universality of the tendency which is expressed in secret societies, and that manifestly there are desires in savage and civilized man which are not fully satisfied through other organizations. For it may be accepted as a general principle, that organizations do not persist unless they contribute to the satisfaction of desires.

It is obvious that the political functions, economic functions, and most of the religious functions of secret societies, and the various individual advantages to members, are incidental to the main functions; for these other functions are not universal. The tendency to make use of any organization for personal advantage, and the tendency of a "going" organization to assume social functions not fully fulfilled by other organizations is sufficient to explain these variations. The real basis of the secret society must be sought in some function they fulfill universally.

One universal function of secret societies is the satisfaction of the desires for preeminence and conformity. The ordinary man cannot attain eminence in political, economic and religious life, but he may

( 153) attain the distinction of membership in an exclusive organization which sets him apart (above, in his estimation), from the common herd; and he can attain distinction within the organization through the attaining of the higher degrees and the holding of office. At the same time, he attains the satisfaction of conformity with the members of his society group. He "belongs." The universal satisfaction taken in the wearing of badges and paraphernalia which signify membership, and in parading publicly, attest the importance of this satisfaction.

But there is another important function of secret societies which is perhaps just as important, namely: the opportunity they offer for play. While play activity cannot be separated from social religion, and the definitions of the two are the same, not all play can be usefully classed as religion, and vice versa. Play is free activity, that is to say, activity which has no purpose except itself. It is the fuller satisfaction of the desire for activity, not completely fulfilled by those activities directed towards the satisfactions of other desires. The business man, for example, obviously cannot satisfy through his routine activities the desire for activities of all his muscles, hence he must "play" golf, or some other muscular game. Even that will not give outlet for all his types of activity, although we can-not specify the other types so closely, and he engages in still other forms of play, including the participation in secret societies. It is precisely those men whose intellectual activities are not sufficiently varied who demand the outlet of lodge "work," and associations, parades, etc. Children whose rapidly developing intellectual activities are inadequately provided for by school and home life are especially zealous in this sort of play, so that regalia, parades, and rituals appeal strongly to children.


  1. By group consciousness is meant consciousness by the individual members; but consciousness whose object or content is the group, that is to say, consciousness in which the individual is conscious of the group. For fuller discussion see Chapter VII.
  2.  But in the case of tribes which have had long existence, there is no means of knowing what mixture of original stocks they may include.

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2