Chapter 7: The Principles of Social Organization
§1. Practical aspects of organization
A group of individuals acting together may, in some cases, accomplish only the sum of what the same individuals, acting separately might accomplish. For example, ten persons, picking string beans for an hour, and working simultaneously, each with his own baskets, may actually pick the same total quantity of beans as would be picked if each worked at a different time. Even in this case, how-ever, the ten bean-pickers might constitute a social group psychologically, and may even be organized into a bean-pickers union, by which hours of work, wages, and general conditions of labor are regulated. It is unlikely, nevertheless, that the total quantity of work would be uninfluenced by the grouping. Through mutual stimulation, perhaps with rivalry, the total result may be greater; or through distraction, by conversation or without conversation, or through actual physical interference, the total result may be less than the total that would be accomplished by the ten working in-dependently.
In some cases, a group may accomplish something which could not possibly be done by the same individuals working separately, even if, in the group action, each individual is doing practically the same thing that all the others are doing, i.e., without specialization of function. Three men, for example, lifting simultaneously on a large stone, may raise it from the ground; although the maximal exertion of the three, exerted at different times, might not budge it. A hunting band in which all the individuals are armed with the same sort of spear, might succeed in killing a lion; although if the individuals attacked the lion successively he might kill them all.
When the group is organized on a higher plane, with specialization of function, as in the army; or in the hunting band earlier described, where some are riflemen, some carriers, some beaters, some cooks, and so on; or in the various industrial organizations, the disparity
( 198) between the group-accomplishment and the sum of what the same individuals, working independently, might accomplish, becomes greater. In the operation of a battleship, the work of the navigators, the range finders, the engineers, the stokers, the gun crews, and a large number of others, is entirely ineffectual unless all the groups coöperate in a precise way.
Because of this disparity between the group accomplishment and the sum of the accomplishments of individuals not working co-operatively, the notion has arisen that an organized group is some-thing more than the sum of the individuals composing it. This notion, however, is the result of a common logical fallacy. The group accomplishment is really nothing but the sum of the accomplishments of the component individuals working as a group. But, as was pointed out above, the sum of the accomplishments when the individuals work as a group is not always the same as the sum of the accomplishments of the same individuals when not working as a group. For, the accomplishments of any individual, even when working alone, necessarily depend on the conditions under which he works; and one of the most important conditions for the work of any one is the nature of the relation of his work to that of others. The group, from any point of view, is nothing but the sum of the individuals composing it; but that is a far different thing, in many cases, from the sum of the same individuals taken out of the group relation.
It is evident, then, that groupings and group relationships cannot be defined solely in terms of accomplishment or behavior, but that the most important factors are those which predetermine the group to the activities and accomplishments of which it is capable. The behavior and the accomplishments of groups, in other words, are results of their organization, not its causes; although psychological considerations Of results which it is desired to accomplish may be among the most important of the predetermining causes. While we cannot consider the principles of social groupings without reference to the results which these groups are formed to accomplish, and while all groups are formed to accomplish something of a practical nature, or actually do accomplish practical results, even if not formed for that specific purpose; the principles of social grouping are to be found in their psychological organization.
§2. Social consciousness and social feeling
In a really social group, each member of the group is at various times conscious of other members as members along with himself. That is, he perceives, or thinks of, the others, as related to himself in the complex way which constitutes a group. This social consciousness, or "group consciousness," is no more mysterious than any other occurrence of perception or thought. Just as one perceives a spot of color as located in a certain relation to other spots in a diagram; or thinks of a certain number as related to smaller and larger numbers in definite ways; so he perceives other individuals as related to himself, and thinks of himself and others as related in the same system. When an individual belonging to a certain group is conscious of that membership, we say he has social consciousness, just as we might say that when he is conscious of color he has color-consciousness, or when conscious of numbers he has number-consciousness.
Social consciousness is the essential factor in social organization, and without it there is no social group. A mass of pebbles on the beach may interact on one another physically, under the influence of waves and tide, but there is nothing social about the interaction. A number of hunters may be stalking game independently in the same forest, but if each is unaware of the presence of the others, there is a collection of hunters, but no hunting-group. As soon as the hunters become aware of the presence and purpose of the others, even with no further types of organization, there is at once a definite social group. Such a group is, of course, quite different from a hunting band, in which there are additional types of organization; but it is nevertheless a social group, and may become subsequently organized into a band.
The importance of social consciousness in the family, the religious organization, and the political organization, has already been emphasized in connection with these organizations; and the importance is equally great in every other type of organization. Without social consciousness there can be no effective common activity, and no interlocking activities or specialization of function such as is essential to the highly organized band, the political group, the industrial group, or even the family. Nor can there be any social feeling. By social feeling we mean the emotional states and social sentiments
( 200) which arise in conjunction with group consciousness. If one's family, church, lodge, or state is derided or denounced, one may feel anger, or shame. Or, one may feel pride at the praise of one's group, or at the view of some achievement by its representative; or even at the mere thought of the group. Loyalty, group pride, and other sentiments regarding the group are sometimes described as group feeling, but more properly as group sentiments.
Social feelings and social sentiments are not essential to the existence of a social group, but they are important factors in group organization. Pride, loyalty, devotion, and the various feelings which systematically occur in these sentiments, strengthen the bonds which unite the members and increase the efficiency and permanence of organizations very much. These feelings and sentiments which are positive in their effects on the group are sometimes called group spirit. Conversely, the class of social feelings of which shame is typical, and the class of sentiments typified by disloyalty, are destructive of group organization and group permanency. The race without racial pride, the nation without national pride (patriotism), and any group without loyalty on the part of the members, is sure to be weak in action and insecure in its existence. The group with distinctly negative group feeling and group sentiments such as shame and mutual distrust, is still weaker and more evanescent, because these negative feelings are actually disintegrative elements.
Because group spirit strengthens organization, patriotism, local pride, family pride, pride in religious organizations, and group loyalty are factors of extreme importance, and worthy of cultivation. The nation without patriotism is incapable of accomplishing anything beneficial either to itself or to the rest of the world, but not necessarily incapable of accomplishing evil. In the long run, patriotism is a benefit to other nations, and family pride is a benefit to other families, just as college spirit is an ultimate benefit to other colleges. Those who decry and deride family pride, patriotism, and college spirit are as foolish as those who decry physical health in the individual because the healthy, strong individual may use his strength in ways injurious to others. The development of group spirit is really one of the first steps toward the healthy functioning of the family, nation, or any other group.
Social groups may exist without communication between the members, but unless such communication be established their functions are very limited. The hunters referred to in the preceding section become a social group as soon as social consciousness is established; that is, as soon as the individuals in the group know that the others are present and united in the same occupation. But they function as a group only when they begin to be influenced by one another, directing their activities through stimulation by the sight of the others, or the sounds of their voices. That is, when communication is established.
Certain other groups, however, may function in a narrowly limited way when there is communication only between a single person, the leader, and the other members of the group. A number of individuals listening to an appeal by radio for contributions to a certain cause, may be aware that they belong to a group of listeners to this particular appeal, and therefore constitute a real social group. They may subsequently send their contributions, with full understanding that no individual contribution will accomplish the purpose desired: in other words, with consciousness of their action as a part of group action. Yet there may be no communication between the listeners themselves.
In general, the effectiveness of action of any group is increased by multiple communication: by communication between the members generally, and by increasing richness of means of communication. Radio appeals for money are slightly effective, as compared with appeals to an audience in physical communication with one another; and bands function more effectively with communication between all the members, as well as between leaders and the members. In family, state, church, and lodge, increasing facility, richness, and accuracy of communication increases the group consciousness, the group spirit, and the effectiveness of action.
Communication occurs in two forms: perceptual and linguistic. Perceptual communication is illustrated by the avoidance of collision between pedestrians on a side walk. The visual and auditory stimulations emanating from one person modify the actions of the others so that each walks with reference to the others. Yet this modification
( 202) is not merely mechanical, for the modifications of reactions produced by these stimuli are actually conscious; that is to say: they are perceptions. The perceptual modifications are based on habit; that is to say: they involve past learning; but as they occur they do not involve ideas, although ideas may have been involved previously in the learning process.
Some of the modifications of reaction produced in this perceptual way are similitude reactions. In these cases the stimulus is an act performed by another person, and the reaction is the same act, (or nearly the same act) performed by the reactor. The sudden movement of one member of a herd of wild cattle, springing to his feet, or snorting, may produce similar movements on the part of the other members. Laughter by one member of an audience may set others to laughing. One man's movements of speech and gesture are simulated by other men. One person's stopping on the sidewalk and gazing upwards, causes others to do the same.
In the family group, simulation has wide scope. Habitual actions of the older members are "copied" by the younger: habits of speech, of movement, and of emotional expression; habits of appreciation of human and of esthetic objects; even habits of clothing and habits of thought.
In the band, control is frequently exercised in the forms of similitude reactions. The movements of the leader, or movements of the members, are direct guides to the movements of the others. The leader changes his direction of march, the others make a similar change. One man suddenly makes his weapons ready, others make ready also as direct responses.
These similitude reactions are sometimes said to be unconscious
( 203) imitations, but such is not really the case. They are not reflective, it is true; they are unintentional; but there is perceptual consciousness involved in each one of them. Moreover, they are not imitations, and should not be confused with imitative reactions.
Feelings and emotions are acts, and are subject to simulation as are other acts, in so far as they are perceptible to others. Approval, indignation, disgust, and a long list of feelings are capable of trans-mission through similitude reactions and are frequently simulated. Group feeling is propagated by similitude reactions more effectively than by any other means. Expression of civic pride, family pride, or other group feelings by one person arouses the same feelings in others without deliberation.
The schematization of the similitude response offers no greater difficulty than does any other conscious response. In the case of response in general, we assume a nervous system so disposed by growth and previous responses, (by habit formation or learning), that a certain stimulus pattern produces an integrated nervous transit, (a neural pattern), of a certain specific type; and that the final efferent discharge of this neural pattern produces a movement pattern, (action pattern), which we designate as this or that "act." The stimulus pattern in any case involves stimulation details of the internal (visceral and somatic) receptors, as well as of the external receptors (receptors of the "special senses"). Conventionally, we select for discussion certain parts of the total stimulus pattern and designate these parts as "the" stimulus. For example; in one case, where the reaction-pattern involves colored lights displayed on a traffic semaphore, we speak of the color as the stimulus which produces the reaction of starting or stopping an automobile, as the case may be, although the actual reaction is influenced by the visual stimulation from other cars and pedestrians, by various sounds, and by the internal stimulation of the driver. All these details are a part of the effective stimulus pattern, but are neglected in our statements because the change in lights is, in the circumstances described, the feature in which we happen to be interested.
An excellent illustration of similitude reactions may be drawn from a phenomenon which sometimes occurs in dancing. Sometimes, in dancing at a social gathering, one notices that he has adopted a new method of holding his partner, or of varying the rhythm of his steps, of holding his arm, or what not; a method which he has not
( 204) heretofore used, but which is in accord with that of the group in which he is now dancing. Although it is true that in most cases such innovations are copied intentionally, that is, imitatively, there are nevertheless these distinct cases in which there has been no intention of adopting the movement or attitude, and no ideational process of considering that detail of the behavior of others. In such cases it frequently happens that one's first deliberate attention to the type of behavior comes in noticing that one has made an innovation in his dancing; and, second, in recalling that it is the similitude of what others have been doing. That the acts of the others have nevertheless been perceived is evidenced by the possibility of remembering them. In any case, the action must have been learned previously. The reactor must have built up, by previous reactions, the neural integration which results from the stimulus pattern in question.
In imitation, the stimulus pattern afforded by the act of another person produces, not the reaction of doing the act, but a perceptual reaction of some other type; and this first reaction, (the perception), produces an idea, (an ideational reaction), which includes the act. This ideational reaction may be produced immediately by the perception; or it may be produced mediately, by an intervening ideational reaction, or by a series of such. The distinguishing characteristic of the imitation reaction, in short, is the intervention of an idea, or a series of ideas, between the stimulus pattern of perception and the act which resembles that stimulus pattern.
The social effects of imitation are enormous, and are most conspicuous in the carrying out of the tendency to conform. Social customs, manners of speech, and details of dress are adopted from others mainly through deliberate imitation. No woman copies the type of costume of another woman except in so far as she has ideas that the costume represents a type which is to be worn by the group to whom she wishes to conform. Selective adoption of action is not impossible in the level of similitude reactions, but selection is vastly extended and facilitated by deliberation.
Ideas are simulated and imitated, along with other activities. Simply, or deliberatively, we adopt the religious, political, scientific, and other notions of others by repeating them. The expression of the idea by another person is the stimulus pattern; the thinking of the same idea is our imitative reaction. Although this is only one of the types of promulgation of ideas, and has been overemphasized in the
( 205) theories of the past, it is important. All forms of the promulgation of ideas, including imitation, involve language, which is the most important of mental instruments, both socially and individually.
Neither similitude reaction nor imitation, therefore, is a means or method of learning, so far as specific acts are concerned. The reactor must have learned to perform the acts, or he cannot reproduce them. He cannot imitate the methods of speech of another person unless he has already learned to make the inflections and-sounds involved, any more than he can imitate the starting of a motor car unless he has learned how to start it.
In another way, however, imitation may be an important method of learning; that is, in the synthesis of acts already learned as individual acts. One might learn to start an automobile by imitating the successive acts of a driver, provided one is already able to perform these successive acts. These acts being called forth in a certain order by successive imitation, may then become fixed in that order, in accordance with the laws of association, and the total reaction, comprising the series of previously learned acts, becomes learned.
In the simulation and imitation responses, the final act resembles the act of the other person which serves as the stimulus pattern; or else, the situation resulting from the act resembles the situation which constitutes the stimulus pattern. When one person's clapping his bands together causes another person to clap his hands, or when an American imitates a Britisher's drawl, we have illustrations of the first type. When the shop girl clothes herself, as nearly as skill and finances will allow, like my lady of the limousine, we have an illustration of the second type.
There is, however, another type of communication which is like imitation in that the ultimate act is the expression of an idea, not of a perception, but differs in that the idea does not result from a perception of an act or situation similar to the act or situation ultimately produced. This type of communication is properly called suggestion, and should be distinguished from imitation.
Suggestion is exhibited in a startling way in many of the phenomena of hypnosis; but it is no less present in normal life. On the other hand, neither hypnosis nor the social activities of normal life can be fully accounted for in terms of suggestion. If the hypnotist makes a bow to a properly prepared subject, the subject will bow in return; that is obviously imitation or else mere similitude reaction. If the hypnotist says "You will now greet politely Miss Blank, who is speaking to you," the subject again will bow. This is not imitation, but suggestion.
In both suggestion and imitation we are dealing with the same process, absent in similitude reaction, namely, "the tendency for an idea to express itself in action;" or more strictly, the tendency for the idea reactions to become strong and definite enough to produce outward effects of importance.
In normal life, suggestion and imitation contribute only part of the springs of social action. Many other factors contribute to the determination of the actions of man upon the stimulation furnished by other men, so that suggestion and imitation may be inhibited, accentuated, or reversed. Among these other factors, the influence of desires, and the process of associative recall of ideas are the most important. In hypnosis, both of these factors are reduced, so that the "suggestion" of a course of action fails to bring up associatively conflicting ideas, and the desires have less effect in impelling to or against the suggested acts. The effect of suggestion in normal life. however, is very large.
§4. Language and culture
Language may be broadly defined as a type of stimulation which produces ideational responses rather than perceptual responses. Actually, the distinction between perceptual and ideational reactions is not so sharp as this definition would imply. There are types of responses which are purely perceptual and types which are purely ideational. There are also responses which are both perceptual and ideational in their nature; and stimulus patterns which produce this "mixed" type of reaction are properly designated as language, along with the patterns which produce purely ideational responses.
The above definition applies to language in a wide sense of the term, although a perfectly proper sense. In many instances, how-
( 207) -ever, we use the term in a distinctly narrower sense to indicate those stimulus patterns which provoke ideational reactions of a conventionalized, or habitual sort. Thus, while any sort of signs, sound, or other stimulations which another person can give you may arouse an idea, the idea may be much more dependent upon the general features of the pattern than upon the sign itself. For example; if the other person turns and looks at you, the gesture may mean "come on" in one situation, "go back" in another, and have various other significations in other circumstances. The gesture, or sign, then, is "language" only in the broad sense.
If, on the other hand, another person says "come ahead"or makes a beckoning gesture, the auditory stimulus pattern or the visible gesture is "language" in the strict or narrow sense, for it is capable of arousing practically the same idea in a great range of situations and circumstances. The habit of responding to these stimulus patterns in relatively fixed ideational ways has been developed, and it is this habit that makes the pattern "language."
The distinction between the two sorts of language is, however, not a matter of sharp separation. Even in such a highly conventionalized system of stimulus patterns as the "English language,"the same sound-pattern, (or the visible pattern by which it is rep-resented in writing), does not arouse the same idea in all circumstances. The wide range of "meanings"of many words are matters of common observation. Even the words which have but one possible definition have nevertheless certain shadings of meaning within that definition.
Language-communication, moreover, shades into perceptual communication. The signal to "go,"whether vocal, gestural, or verbal-visual, may not, in the person thoroughly habituated to response thereto, arouse an idea; it may be merely the stimulus pattern for the perceptual reaction of going. How far, in the development of language reactions in the individual, the perceptual reaction functions as an antecedent, is a matter for investigation. At present we have no precise information on this point.
The natural cries of animals are sometimes designated as language. Unquestionably, they are means of communication: stimulus pat-terns which produce definite reactions in other animals. It is probable, however, that they remain entirely on the plane of perceptual
( 208) communication, and should not, on that accord, be classed as language.
In addition to its function in communication, language plays an important rôle in the mental life of the individual in that it affords the most important means of thinking; and a large part of our most important perceptual processes, quite aside from the social perceptions, are based on language.
All thinking involves reactions, since reaction is the only conceivable basis for conscious process. It is possible for individuals to think in reactions which are consciously significant only for them-selves; which are not language reactions in either the strict or the broad sense of the term, but which, since they serve the same purposein thinking as that served by language reactions, are sometimes called by the same name. These reactions may be called idiolanguage reactions, and their stimulus patterns, (muscle patterns resulting from preceding reactions), may be designated idio-language, in order that the terms language and language-reaction may be restricted to their true significance as social stimulus patterns and reactions to social patterns.
Idio-language, as a vehicle for thinking, suffers in two respects as compared with true language. First; since thought processes and their results are important principally for social purposes, the maximal efficiency is attained when the language of communication and the language of thinking are the same. The thoughts of others are obtained in terms of their language expressions. If these must be translated into an idio-language, an additional and confusing process is involved, inaccuracies are introduced, and so much time is lost that the "following" of the presentation of another person's ideas, whether spoken or written, is imperfect and unsatisfactory.
Second; no one person in an ordinary life-time, can develop a language of adequate flexibility, richness, and accuracy, even if he
( 209) gives his entire time to the work. In the modern languages, developed by long generations of practical use and assisted by the contribution of the most brilliant minds of past generations, we have vehicles of thought of amazing efficiency, due to their richness, flexibility, and exactness. In the English language, for example, we have stimulus patterns, (words), for hundreds of thousands of different objects, relations, feelings, and conditions. We have words for individual objects, for genera, species, and endlessly varied sub-species of objects of all types. The language is far from perfect, but steadily progresses in efficiency as the needs of thinking require. If we need to make a distinction between two things not heretofore distinguished (that is, designated heretofore by the same word), we immediately invent a new word for one of the objects, or in some cases, new words for both. The ease and accuracy with which stimulus patterns but slightly different evoke, after slight training, distinct reactions, is so great as to be astounding when we first consider the matter.
It is quite understandable, therefore, that in proportion as social life, culture, and science develop, social language becomes more and more the vehicle of thinking, and idio-language drops out. It is true, that thinkers, for economy's sake, must develop short cuts in thinking, in order to abbreviate the somewhat lengthy details of language necessarily used in communication. But if this sort of idio-language is developed on the basis not only of social language, but on the basis of an adequate command of social language, it is a help, and not a hindrance. It is evident that command of language and command of thinking go hand in hand; that improvement in one is improvement in the other; and that from the person's type of language, his type of thinking can be determined. The man of bombastic, oratorical speaking, for example, is a loose, vague thinker, and the man whose language is precise and rich is a precise, rich thinker.
For certain divisions of social psychology, the field of language is an important source of data. In studying the structure of the language of a people, we are studying the forms and methods of their thinking. In studying their vocabulary, we are finding their types of discrimination. The description of a language as the crystallized
( 210) thought of a people is not far from wrong. In studying the development of language in general, from the crude picture writing of primitive man to the stage of modern languages, we are following the general course of development of human thinking. The principal source of data for phylogenetic psychology, including the genesis of religion, of the family, and of other social institutions, is to be found in philology, linguistics, and comparative literature.
Language, however, is far more than a matter of words and their arrangement. Communication through words, although based on their set meanings, goes beyond that, and includes as its most effective means of communication, the contents, or associative values of language, words and phrases as the means of communicating other contents. The entire range of literature, art, religion, mythology, political history, and science is at the disposal of language for its communication. A reference to the "black hole of Calcutta" or to the "bulrush cradle of Moses," or the "karyokinetic spindle," may be made to convey a meaning to one who knows the reference, which would otherwise take a long exposition to convey less definitely. And this meaning may be quite outside the topic from which the reference is taken. A mythological allusion may be effective in politics or in biology. A biological reference may be useful in religion or in economics.
Culture, in short, is a part of language, a means of communication between man and man. To those who know Greek literature, Greek literature may be made an effective means of communication of a wide variety of ideas. For those ignorant of Greek literature, this means is not available. But the same is true of physics, chemistry, or any other science. That which is a cultural subject in one age may cease to be cultural in another age, and something else may take its place. The scholar of classic literature, in a society composed of those with no classical learning, is as devoid of culture as is the biologist who knows no classics in a group of persons who are educated in nothing but the classics. In either case, his means of communication is restricted.
That some forms of culture are more efficient than others, there can be no doubt. A family in which culture, (i.e., common topics), is restricted to affairs of the household; where otherwise the fields of knowledge of the individual members are different; has inadequate
( 211) means of communication, and its family life is necessarily low. Community of interest and information in art, in politics, in history, in literature is an invaluable addition. Common interest in baseball, racing, or the movies, is perhaps just as valuable as some of these others.
In the church, proper organization and group consciousness are very often inhibited through lack of a common culture. Some members know nothing but domestic affairs, dress, and social affairs. Others know nothing but "business." Others have still different departments of information. There is no culture, no body of common knowledge; and hence the various members can communicate only with their small cliques of the membership; and the minister must be exceptionally versatile in order to communicate even with these cliques, and flounders woefully in attempting communication with the whole group. This state of affairs is avoided by selective member-ship, and remedied by introducing common culture through clubs, lectures, and other social instructional activities.
In the civic group, also, lack of culture is an inhibitory factor. In the older rural communities, the farmers had a common culture in agricultural topics, extended into other realms by reading the same papers, attending the same churches, and patronizing community musical and dramatic performances. In industrial communities the same conditions prevailed. Under modern conditions, community culture is lessened. The younger generation is not oriented in the topics which concern the older generations, and vice versa, hence neither generation understands the other. With more rapid movement from place to place, and especially with the introduction into the same community of different nationals, culture breaks up still more, communication is reduced to mere verbalism, and few understand the ideas of others. Obviously such conditions must be remedied, or the civic community, the basis of the state and nation, disintegrates. In this revival of culture the public schools must do the greater part of the work, hence parochial and other schools devoted to a separatist culture are especially deplorable. Next to the public schools and the private schools of similar type, movies contribute (for better or worse) to community culture more than any other agency, because of the enormous number of people who come under the influence of the same ideas and information,
( 212) and possess, in consequence a culture which tends to break down the lines of sectarian, local, and racial separation of thought, and to give people of diverse classes a common social fund for communication. We may judge the culture of the movies to be a low form, but it is a culture nevertheless, and a rich one; embracing in increasing volume the facts and settings of history, the geographical and anthropological features of the whole world, the progress of science, and the art and literature of the past. Certain recent social changes can be directly attributed to the movies, and greater changes will undoubtedly be worked by it, through its addition to social communication. That these changes affect family, religious, and social organization has been well recognized by many observers.
Contiguity, or spatial nearness together, is an important factor in many types of social organization, although not necessary to all. In the family, the band, and all other types of civic and military organizations, contiguity is an essential factor in the formation of the groups, which, however, may persist when afterward the group members are more widely separated.
Contiguity is not to be measured in absolute distance, but is relative and variable. A group of primitive villagers, in huts closely packed together, are but little more contiguous than a group of modem farmers, with their houses miles apart, but put in touch with one another by telephone, radio and motor cars. Without these appliances, the dwellers at such distances would be almost non-contiguous, and social organization would be exceedingly limited.
Yet, with increasing spatial separation, contiguity, although it may not decrease in measure (and it may decrease) becomes changed in kind. For contiguity, as a social factor, is expressed in two phases; communication, and physical interaction. In a crowded village or cave, communication is through all the senses, and one man reveals to another his meanings and his feelings, more closely and richly than is possible through modern contrivances at longer range.
The increase of distance between individuals excludes progressively the various means of communication. First, touch and odors go,
( 213) leaving vision and hearing, with the latter rapidly becoming in-effective, even under primitive conditions, and visual signalling alone left. With the introduction of electrical contrivances, vision becomes more largely discarded, and hearing again becomes predominant. With each of these changes, the type of response to social stimulation changes, and with these changes, the social organization differs. The modern office organization, occupying perhaps a huge building, every office connected with every other by telephone, pneumatic tube, and hurrying messengers, differs in many ways from the foot-ball team, the army division, or the savage band. And these differences are based in part on the differences in conditions of communication, whether these be closer or looser in the one case than in the others.
Through habit, visual stimulation through the printed word does not have the same reactive effect as does vocal stimulation through the spoken. Corresponding differences obtain for all departments of visual and auditory stimulation. Nor is the timber of the voice the same over the telephone, as when heard, without instrumental intervention, at short range. The addition of odors and touches makes a vast difference. In some cases, they increase the energy and speed of response, in some cases they decrease them. But most important is the difference in pattern of response.
Extreme cases prove little, but are usefully illustrative. That the insurance or bond salesmen can work more effectively upon his victim in a personal interview than over the best of telephones is common knowledge; that a phone conversation with his adored one is not the same as a personal interview, no lover doubts for a moment.
Manifestly, community organization in the village where normal voice and visual appearance are constant stimuli; where the movements of persons, the lighting and darkness of houses, the sounds of babies crying, children laughing, and elders quarreling are constantly heard; where the fragrance of the cooking meal and the stench of defective sanitation are wafted from home to home; where gossip over back fences and on steps and sidewalks is a continuous performance; will be quite different from that of the community of wheat farmers, long distances apart, although provided with the best of telephone equipment and motor cars. Effective contiguity exists in the latter group, but it is of a different kind from that in the former.
At the other extreme, the quarters of a crowded city may stand. In some of our cities, solid blocks of houses of moderately well-to-do citizens are packed together. In other quarters, huge apartment houses are compacted. In such localities, the dwellers are, in mere space, closer together than in the primitive village, but the actual contiguity is in many cases less than in the wheat rancher's community, and is certainly of a vastly different sort. The denizens of such quarters may see each other frequently, may constantly hear the sounds of their next door neighbors, but verbal interchange is almost absent, the names even of neighbors are not known, and the few stimulations that come from them have little social significance. In such cases, community organization hardly exists; it must be built up by extraordinary means.
The type of organization built up in crowds and mobs is not possible without close contiguity in actual space, so that the richest means of communication are possible. Congregations, scattered in their homes and listening to sermons and services by radio are not congregations of the same type as those collected in churches, seeing and hearing at first hand, and stimulated by one another optically, acoustically and osphretically. Neither the same meanings, nor the same emotions will be aroused, nor will the same later group results .be achieved. Changing the means of communication to the printed word, and letting the several individuals read the sermon and services, is but a little further deviation.
Without literal contiguity, the family could not come into existence at all. Continued contiguity maintains and strengthens the family organization, and interruption of the contiguity eventually weakens it. The old fashioned family in which family prayers are celebrated, in which the whole family assembles for at least two meals a day, and in which a considerable part of the member's time is spent in a common "living room," has its serious disadvantages in cramping personality, and limiting personal development. But it has, in its rich intercommunication, a strength of organization which is entirely lacking in the family in which the contiguity of living is reduced, not so much by spatial distance, as by the cutting off of these means of communication.
Contiguity, in the spatial sense, is so important for the maintenance of psychological contiguity, and therefore effective organization,
( 215) that periodic conventions, rallies, and other physical collections of the members of a scattered organization are vitally important. It is not that the "business" of a trade, a party, a church, or a scientific society really require these conventions. The "business" in most cases can be transacted more expeditiously and effectively by mail and telegraph. But the "business" gives a nucleus and a technique for convening. And the contiguity builds an organization which carries over to and vivifies the organization established by other means of communication at greater range.
§6. The lower grades of social organization: the crowd
Social groups differ from one another, not merely as to type, (as, for example, the difference between the family, the band, the state, and the church), but also as to grade. Some groups are very loosely organized, others are organized very closely, or as we sometimes say, very "highly" organized. The meaning of this classification may best be shown by considering certain groups which we have not heretofore discussed and comparing them with groups which have been previously considered.
The "lowest" form of organization in the scale we are considering is the fortuitous crowd: the collection of people brought into contiguity without prearrangement, except that which comes about through other social organization and individual considerations, and without direct intention, on the part of the individuals, to form the group.
Such a fortuitous crowd may be observed in the waiting room of a railroad station, or on a busy corner in the shopping district. It is fortuitous only in a limited social sense, since the presence of each individual in the crowd is the result of definite causes, and definite purposes or intentions. The crowd at the railroad station is assembled because each person present has the intention of taking a train, or accompanying some other person to the train, or of awaiting some one on an incoming train. But these causes and intentions exist and operate without respect to the other persons present, and have brought the several persons together without preceding reference to the others or to the assemblage. In this sense only, such a crowd is "fortuitous."
A fortuitous crowd is, however, a social group, with a definite, although "low" grade of social organization, for it involves social
( 216) consciousness and social action. Each person in the crowd is aware of his membership in the crowd, and his actions are, to a considerable extent, governed perceptually and ideationally by the actions and contiguousness of the others. One goes to the ticket window, buys his ticket, sits on a bench, and goes through the gate to the train, in a very different way, when a member of the crowd, from the way in which he would proceed if the concourse were vacated by all save himself. Group feeling frequently arises in such a crowd. The resentment against the limited accommodations for purchasing tickets, for example, or against muddy street crossings, is felt socially as resentment against a condition affecting one's self and others.
The principal characteristics of a fortuitous crowd are transitoriness and ineffectualness. There is group action, but it is directed solely to individual ends, and is less efficient than it would be if it were purely individual. It takes longer to buy one's ticket, or to accomplish shopping, because of the interference of other persons.
A selective crowd, such as one finds at a church social or a political rally, is somewhat higher in degree of organization. The causes and intentions which have brought the crowd together have had reference to the other members. One joins such a crowd, not merely to transact individual business, but for the purpose of forming one of the group. This purpose carries over into the situation in the group assembled, and one's social consciousness, when in the group, is accordingly richer, and one's actions more complexly social. Group feeling arises more easily, and in greater variety, as well as being relatively more intense on the average. These groups are also relatively more permanent than the fortuitous ones.
Between the distinctly fortuitous crowds and the distinctly selective crowds there is no distinct line, but a gradation of intermediate sorts of crowds. The crowd assembled at a baseball game, for example, is in part fortuitous, in part selective. Most of the spectators are there partly for the individual purpose of seeing the game, and partly for the social purpose of being one of the crowd.
In the constitution and function of every crowd common stimulation is involved. This is a necessary consequence of the contiguity which is a primary characteristic of most crowds, and which is displaced in certain types of crowds peculiar to civilized society (such as the radio audience), only through the substitution of a type of common
( 217) stimulation which renders contiguity needless, or widely extends the limits of contiguity. This means of common stimulation may employ languages, or a non-language stimulation, such as music. With the development of the mechanism for "broadcasting" colors, further means of common stimulation will be afforded. The contiguous crowd is, however, and probably always will be, much "higher" in actual social constitution than the uncontiguous crowd.
Common feeling, (including emotion and desire), and common attention are also factors in crowds generally. In the fortuitous crowd, these may be reduced to a low degree. But in any crowd, necessarily subjected to some amount of common stimulation, there is consequently some degree of common feeling and attention, from the statistical point of view, although in the fortuitous crowd the measure of variation is sometimes very large. The common feeling and attention are, however, not necessarily social, that is, the different individuals, or the majority of them, may have the same feeling without the consciousness that other individuals share it. The crowd on the street corner, for example, may share generally a type of feeling dependent on the character of the weather and the season, (as on a sunshiny holiday), without awareness on the part of the individual that other individuals feel as he does. In the selective crowd, however, the common feeling is more distinctly social, on the average, and reaches higher stages of sociality.
In many cases, common judgment is an important factor in a crowd. Community of judgment or opinion may occur, as may common feeling, on the mere basis of similar preestablished tendencies on the part of the individuals, and may be elicited by a common feature of stimulation; the same stimulus acting upon similar organisms producing similar results. Thus, a street crowd, with attention arrested by a reckless individual standing on his head on a fourteenth story window ledge, may have not merely a common feeling aroused, but may also form the common judgment as to the needless risk of the performance; without communication or social stimulation within the group of observers being involved at all. In its more usual developments, however, common judgment is decidedly dependent on communication and other forms of social stimulation. Social control is established and maintained very largely through these methods of shaping common judgment.
Common activity is a feature of all contiguous crowds. Even the fortuitous crowd has some degree of community in this respect, at least such as is expressed in avoidance reactions. With higher degree of organization in other respects, the community of action becomes, of course, more complex, and the possible effectiveness of action becomes increasingly great.
§7. Intermediate grades of social organization: the mob
When a contiguous crowd reaches a certain degree of community of stimulation, feeling, and attention, and a relatively high degree of common activity, it is called a mob. No metrical limits can be set, in regard to these characteristics, between the mere crowd and the mob; the two terms being applied to indefinitely distinguished phases of what is really a continuous gradation of organization.
A crowd may reach an extremely high plane of community in stimulation, attention, and feeling, without being classed as a mob, if a significant common action is not manifested. For example: an audience listening to an effective political or religious speaker may have its attention concentrated on the speaker's appearance, voice, and ideas, and be carried by these to a high pitch of feeling of a common sort, and yet not be properly designated as a mob, until definite common activity occurs. Mark Antony's audience is only a crowd until it begins to "fetch fire, pluck down benches, pluck down forms, windows, anything;" then it becomes a mob. Obviously, the most distinctive characteristic of a mob is its activity.
Much nonsense concerning crowds and mobs has been popularized by social philosophers who have sought to make the crowd or the mob the basis of social theory. In addition to this sterile notion itself, the notion that in a crowd the intellectual, emotional and moral level of the individual is necessarily lessened, has been widely popularized. This confusion has been fostered by the consideration of crowds and mobs of one type only, neglecting the wider manifestations of the same type of organization, and by comparing the individual in a crowd or mob with the individual in a higher type of organization only, neglecting the comparison of the social behavior of the individual with his merely individual behavior.
That the feelings and judgment of the individual are profoundly influenced by his social relations is, of course, obvious. That common
( 219) stimulation, and especially communication, whether from a leader or from diverse members of the group, are efficacious, this chapter is designed to demonstrate. Which feelings and which types of judgment will become most common in a crowd or mob are determined by a complex pattern of circumstance, which includes not only current stimulations and communication, but also the predisposition of the individuals due to their training and social experience. Given a certain individual predisposition, the common stimulations of non-language sort, (as, for example, the sight of a fire bursting out, or of the attempt to escape on the part of an automobile driver who has just run down a pedestrian), will be determined by these predispositions, and modified by imitation of the actions of other individuals and by communications from these. No influences, aside from these, which shape the feelings, judgment, and actions of individuals in such circumstances, are known to psychology; and the assumption of a magic force which somehow lowers the individual's mental or moral level must be classed as mythical.
The individual in the crowd or mob is still an individual; and aside from direct social influence, exhibits his individual tendencies, which, of course have been socially developed in his past life. The effect of the immediate social influences of the crowd depends upon the nature and predominances of these influences. Through imitation, or communication, the tendencies of a superior group in the crowd may predominate, and the mental and moral average be considerably raised above the average which the individuals would show without these influences. This occurs in many cases. In the case of an accident, or other occurrence requiring group activity for the remedy, the ideas of the most clear thinking are apt to have such weight that the crowd acts with an efficiency far above that which would be displayed by a group composed of "average" members merely. In respect to ideals, the printed or spoken communications of effective leaders often raise the judgments and actions of the crowd to temporary levels far above the usual level of the average member.
On the other hand, bad counsels, and deplorable ideals frequently prevail, because these are sometime communicated more effectively than their contraries. Mobs do perpetrate outrages; and sometimes the actions and ideals involved represent a level below that which would be reached by a group composed solely of individuals approxi-
( 220) -mately the average of the larger group. In such cases, the result can be definitely attributed to the communications of a leader, or a group, representing a level below the average. In many cases, however, the appearances of lowering of the "individual" level are fallacious. If the worse counsels prevail when the better are as well presented, this is itself an evidence of the low individual average in mentality or in morals of the members of the group. Often, the members of a group express, in action, feelings and judgments which are fairly representative of their individual tendencies, but which they would be afraid to express in other groups.
The more important confusion in respect to the effects of crowds and mobs is due to the comparison of crowd action with the action of more highly organized groups. These latter groups unquestionably show more efficient action than do crowds and mobs; but the higher "individual" action in such groups is no more really individual, no less the result of the social influences, than is action in a crowd or mob. In any social group, the actions of any member are individual actions. They are the resultants of the interaction of the environmental forces on his "tendencies." But these "tendencies" are not independent of environmental stimulations; they are tendencies to act this way on certain stimulus patterns, and that way on certain other stimulus patterns; and no one of these types of action represents his "individual" tendencies more than does another. A man's action and judgments in a mob are as real indications of his individual tendencies as are his actions and judgments in a parliament or in the family group, and no more so. The comparison between the individual's standards in the crowd and out of it is really, in the most important instances, a comparison between his standards in the crowd and his standards in an organization or social group of a higher type. Rarely is a comparison with abstract "individual" tendencies important, or even possible.
§8. The higher grades of social organization
The essential factors in the higher type of social organization are permanency and specialization of function. The crowd and the mob are transitory. The cooperation of the members is less effectual because it is clumsy, lacking the smoothness of operation of the adjusted machine. The efficiency of the mob is, therefore, limited,
( 221) both for good and evil. The mob secures its results most conspicuously where there is little to overcome, in the way of physical conditions or opposing social agencies. The mob group may rescue persons from imprisonment under an automobile by the simple expedient of lifting the car off and carrying the victim away. A pickpocket may be caught, or a skater rescued from drowning by similarly simple action. A negro may be lynched, a home wrecked, or the cargo of a ship thrown overboard expeditiously by a hastily gathered mob. Yet, any such activity may be prevented by a slight natural difficulty, or the opposition of a small group of determined opponents. A life saving organization, vigilance committee, or other permanent band is enormously more effective either for good or evil, because of the coördination permitted by previous organization, and by the group habits established.
Specialization of function is, however, the feature which most significantly distinguishes the more effective type of organization from the looser and less efficient. The effect of specialization of function on the band has already been pointed out. In its lowest forms, the band is merely a crowd or mob. But its characteristic features and functions become distinguishable as soon as its organization includes distribution of function, which makes of it an interlocking mechanism.
Specialization of function may begin in a variety of ways, and proceed to an indefinitely complicated stage. It may, in fact, reach a degree of development in which the group becomes unwieldy and inefficient because the machinery is clumsy and wasteful. Organizations constructed on an arbitrary plan, instead of evolving in a normal way, frequently suffer from this defect, although at the same time they may suffer also from sufficient lack of specialization of function in certain directions.
In the family, specialization begins in the psychological and physiological complementariness of the sex function, and extends to other functions, including the economic and civic function which the family exercises. Since the sex specialization is inescapable, the other specializations must take form with due regard to this primary differentiation; and as a matter of fact, such coördination is the general rule, although faulty in many instances. The relation of economic and civic functions to sex function is not fixed, but is
( 222) dependent upon general social conditions, as well as upon such "physical" conditions as climate. As social conditions change, these secondary specializations must be readjusted with respect to the sexual specialization. In some social environments, for example, the male is adequately the bread-winner; but in other environments, the economic specialization cannot so rigidly follow the sexual. It cannot be assumed, therefore, that existing coordinations of family specialization are final or perfect, and readjustments must be considered from time to time.
In the church, and in the band, the state, and other organizations of the civic type, the primary form of specialization is in respect to leadership; and final efficiency of action is not reached until such specialization is as complete as possible, although other types of specialization are essential also if full efficiency is to be reached. In the economic groups, although specialization does not so essentially begin in leadership, the same considerations otherwise apply. Maximal efficiency of group action is reached only with the fullest specialization in leadership. The fullest specialization is reached only when a single individual exercises a certain function. In most respects, such extreme specialization is impossible and approximation to it is detrimental; but in respect to leadership, it is essential that one man shall exercise the highest leadership, as director, executive, or administrator.
This principle has long been recognized in religious organizations, is practically established in economic organizations, and should be recognized in civic organizations more generally than it is. Efficient specialization in leadership is defeated when several individuals attempt to exercise the same supreme function, or when the leader attempts to exercise functions which might be delegated to subordinates of various sorts: boards of directors, trustees, faculties, cabinet officers, legislatures, vestries, departmental superintendents and foremen, lieutenants, and appointed committees. Organizations are frequently wrecked either upon the Scylla of division of ultimate responsibility, or the Charybdis of putting too many subordinate functions on the leader.
§9. Moral organization: types of conduct
Throughout the various types and grades of social organization, social consciousness is the fundamental factor which makes the group
( 223) social, whether the group be a fortuitous and transitory crowd, or a highly organized church or commercial body. In groups so organized, there arises a factor embodying the ultimate, highest, principle of organization, that of obligation, which we may call moral organization. Moral organization may be absent from a group in which social consciousness is highly developed, but it is usually present, in organizations of all grades, from lowest to highest, and only when it is present does any group reach its highest organic stage. In the morally organized group, in addition to recognizing one's fellow members as fellow members, one recognizes one's self as bound to them by obligations. In order to approach the topic of obligation properly, we must consider the types of conduct manifested by individuals generally.
From the point of view of morals, human reactions are designated as conduct. The application of that term does not imply anything in the system of reactions beyond those factors involved in perceptual, ideational, and volitional reactions as considered from the general psychological standpoint; but it does imply a different view point from which the problem of reactions or behavior is considered, and it is important that this difference should be emphasized by our terms. The emphasis is the more important because the moral' classification of conduct is in many respects parallel to the general psychological classification we have already employed, and hence confusion between the two points of view is easy and frequent. Social psychology must discuss conduct, which general psychology may ignore.
Conduct falls effectively into two classes: impulsive and reflective..,
1. Impulsive conduct. There are two forms of impulsive conduct which, for moral considerations, are equivalent, although their psychological conditions are different. (a) An individual may react to a stimulus pattern immediately, without the intervention of ideas. One "feels tired" and stops work; one sees a piece of pie, and attacks it with a fork; one hears the voice of an enemy, and springs up to fight (or to run); one feels a sex urge, and gratifies it. Such conduct, when the action takes place upon stimulation without "consideration," "reflection," awareness of alternative, or planning, is impulsive. (b) An idea, however aroused, may express itself in action in the same impulsive way. It is not the absence of ideas, in the preceding cases, which makes the conduct impulsive, but the
( 224) absence of ideas intervening between the action and the stimulus! pattern which evokes it. An impulsive action may, however, be evoked by an idea, or be the "expression" of an idea,  and if this expression (action) follows immediately upon the stimulus which arouses the idea, without reflection, consideration, or any other, intermediate ideational process, it is properly classed as impulsive.
It is clear that the thought of suffering may lead as directly to an impulsive act expressive of pity as may the sight of suffering. A thief may impulsively steal money which he sees, but he may just as! impulsively begin the sequence of actions leading to complicated theft upon merely thinking of unguarded money in the adjoining room.
Impulsive reactions are not necessarily reactions to the stimulus of the moment merely. These reactions are determined by preceding reactions, as well as by feelings and desires of the moment. The cat, whose impulse is to take any food which is conveniently located, comes, as the result of repeated chastisings to have a different impulse; at least when his master is near. The babe whose early impulse may be to grasp the snake which glides by him, acquires, through admonitions, a different impulse, to avoid the snake; and acquires a different set of desires and feelings in respect to the snake. Yet his later actions may be as impulsive, as free from reflection and planning at the time of their occurrence, as were his earlier actions.
All human beings act impulsively a great part of the time. While, those of lower mental grade act impulsively in a greater proportion of their conduct than do the highly intelligent, the conduct of even the most intelligent person must necessarily be impulsive most of the time unless he be neurotic. It is quite possible that the behavior of lower animals is entirely impulsive, although at the same time it may be in part ideational.
2. Reflective conduct. Frequently, a stimulus pattern evokes a reaction of a type more complex than the impulsive reaction. Before the action is completed, ideas are aroused, which enter into the
( 225) determination of the final reaction. Conduct involving this type of reaction is commonly termed reflective.
The ideas which enter into reflective conduct may be classifieds. under four types. (1) Ideas of acts which might follow from the perception or idea which involves the stimulus pattern. (2) Apprehension of consequences which might result from the act or acts, in question. (3) Recollection of the consequences of similar acts ', in the past. (4) Ideas of standards of action or conduct, and of the agreement or disagreement of the act or acts in question with these standards. Ideas of these four types may be accompanied by feelings and desires of various intensity and complexity, which also enter into the final determination of the conduct.
These ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There may be, for example, an idea of an act which might be the result of a certain situation, followed by an idea of the consequence of the act, or by a recollection of effects of past acts. But in another case, the first idea may be of the act and its consequences. In any case, reflective thinking necessarily involves an idea of a possible act; else there cannot be ideas of consequences, future or past, nor can there be a comparison with standards.
Ideas of the second, third and fourth classes serve as checks on impulses, or determine the issue when impulses tend in different directions. Obviously, reflection delays and weakens action, and is in itself disadvantageous. It is desirable, therefore, only in so far as its benefits, in the way of increased accuracy, and improvement in type of action, offset the disadvantage of delay. A man whose conduct should be always reflective would be incapacitated for any useful part in life, even for maintaining his own life. The most advantageous type of conduct would be that which should be completely impulsive, but with the impulses always in the proper direction. Reflection, therefore, is useful in conduct only in so far as it may serve to correct improper impulses and form new ones, so that ultimately reflection will not be needed in similar situations.
Reflective walking, in which each detail of procedure should be ideationally considered, would be a troublesome method of procedure if long carried on; but reflective walking at certain times may be a great aid to the establishing of better walking habits, in which each detail shall be eventually an "impulsive" one. Reflective enunciation
( 226) of words, long continued, leads to stammering and other difficulties of speech; but periods of reflective articulation may be of service in the improvement of speech habits. Just so, reflective conduct in any department of life is of service if it leads to the establishment of correct impulsive conduct: disastrous, if it does not. Imagine a man reflecting each morning on whether he should go to his office; or reflecting each noon on the propriety of upsetting the restaurant waiter with his tray of dishes; and you are imagining a case of at least incipient mental trouble. Yet any man may profit, both in his immediate and his later conduct, by reflection at some critical moment on one or the other of these possibilities. In matters of morals, the situation is just the same. The bank cashier who keeps his accounts straight reflectively each day; that is, who considers each time the consequences of being "straight," and of stealing; or compares each time his acts with a standard of honesty, would be a dangerous man in a bank. Habits of impulsive honesty are the only safe reliance in such circumstances. Reflection, in other words, is justified only where its occurrence makes its repetition unnecessary.
§10. Moral organization: standards of conduct
In reflective conduct, standards are constantly involved. Even) the contemplation of consequences is complicated by the consideration of the agreement of these consequences with standards. Frequently the standards are individual rather than social. The individual reflects that he has smoked three cigars already, and that three-a-day! is his rule or standard. Or he reflects that the suit he is examining' has a green stripe in it, and that he doesn't wear green. And so on, through an indefinitely long list of standards which represent some» times arbitrary decisions of the past, sometimes the net results of serious reflection on effects or reflection on more ultimate standards, and sometimes mere results of environmental conditions.
There are, however, three types of standards of a distinctly social nature which have a vast importance in the regulation of all conduct! through reflective conduct. These are: A, standards of taste; B, standards of duty; and C, standards of law.
A. Standards of taste and their development. A standard of taste is the measure of what one does, or doesn't do, merely because it "isn't done." It is the crystallization, metaphorically speaking, of
( 227) the desire to conform to the group types of conduct. It is not connected with law except in so far as it may, (or may not), be "good taste" or "good form" to obey the laws in general, or this or that particular law; and in so far as it is true that the best foundation for effective law is in convention of good taste.
Standards of taste are built up through the operation of many factors, among which the most important are: (1) preeminence of certain individuals; (2) natural appropriateness and economic ad-vantage of certain types of conduct; (3) deliberate propaganda; and (4) failure of discrimination. The desire to conform is involved in the effects of all but the second of these; and standards, once evolved through any cause, are maintained through this desire.
1. Leaders in any social group set the standards of taste in certain respects, but the leaders in matters of taste are not necessarily leaders in other respects. The Prince of Wales sets the standard for men's attire in England and America, but he is not a leader in political, religious, economic, or any other aspect of life. His leadership in this respect, moreover, is merely the continuation of a convention established by his grandfather, when the latter was Prince of Wales. On the other hand, the Presidents of the United States, although in the past several of them have been great leaders in things political, have had no leadership in manners, dress, or any other matters of taste. In art, and music, great artists and musicians seldom establish or modify standards of taste, but are usually crushed by those standards set by critics, until other critics later arise and make the standards more favorable. In literature, conditions are more favorable to the preeminent author, and many authors are notable for the modification of taste which has been wrought by their writings. Diverse as are the qualifications for leadership in various departments of taste, the influence of these leaders is nevertheless large.
2. In many instances, the natural appropriateness of a line of conduct, or its economic advantages, determine its adoption as a standard. In the case of invention by a leader, the mode persists only if not really inconvenient nor opposed to practical needs. But certain modes persist as "good taste" long after their practical ad-vantages cease. Such are the practice of drinking healths, saluting with the right hand, doffing masculine head gear in the home, and various forms of deference to females. Other modes gain slowly
( 228) because of their practical advantages, although violently opposed at first. Among such modes which have triumphed in spite of opposition through conservative adherence to older conventions, and through denunciation on the scores of religion and morals, are the use of bath tubs and underwear, the bobbing of women's hair, and shortening of dresses. Man's attire changes but little in its modern form, because of its practical utility, which can scarcely be improved. The recent achievements in woman's attire, made so painfully, will probably never be repudiated. Corsets, hoop skirts, long dresses, and long trains are so practically disadvantageous that they cannot be reintroduced, once woman has realized the utility of modern clothing. On the other hand, trousers, knickers and breeches will never supplant skirts for woman's indoor wear because of certain practical advantages of skirts for women which they do not possess for men.
In all matters of "courtesy" and manners, utility generally rules. The ways of conduct which grease the wheels of society and make social relations more pleasant, persist until more efficacious procedures are invented. We will long continue to utter flagrant social lies: to say "pleased to have met you," "enjoyed the evening so much," applaud the amateur pianist, and commit other acts of falsehood and mendacity which deceive no one, because social relations generally are made more satisfactory in that way.
3. Standards of taste are often set up through deliberate propaganda calculated to appeal to the desire to conform. Let the fashion magazines proclaim that "purple will be worn this year" and purple will be fashionable among women. Announce widely that Mah Jong is "the thing" and it becomes so. In art, standards are upheld by propaganda, and innovations fought and fostered in the same way. That the majority of persons other than trained musicians enjoy "high brow" music only because they are told that they must do so in order to conform to "good taste" is demonstrated by analysis of any opera audience. Propaganda fails in such accomplishment only when it is directed against practical utility, or against a general appreciation too strong to be denied by the individual who has it. Thus, the wide announcement that "this year the skirts will be long again" preceded each further shortening, and persistent thunders emitted voluminously from press, pulpit, and "authorities" of all
( 229) kinds against "jazz" have hindered very little the establishment of jazz appreciation as "good taste."
4. Failure to make adequate discrimination may not actually establish standards of taste but it effectually extends them. "Free verse" of the common type is countenanced, even admired, by the public because there is real free verse of high excellence, and the public (including even many literary critics) cannot discriminate between them. So, terrible stuff of the type which any ten-year old child can write, is accepted and applauded because there is some successful free verse, more difficult to compose than is rhymed verse, and distinctive in its effects. The vogue of the bizarre or "futurist" type of art is due to the same lack of discrimination. An ocean of junk pours in through the gap made by a few great masterpieces, and neither the public nor the rank and file of critics can discriminate between them.
B. Standards of duty. The recognition of duty is indicated by the judgment "I ought to do so and so," "it is my duty to do so and so," or "it is right." These judgments are based, reflectively, on standards in every case, and although considerations of possible consequences of acts, and recollections of past consequences, are frequently involved, they are always subsidiary to the standard as means of interpreting and applying a standard in a particular case. The standard of duty is based on no specific desire, but arises from the consideration of the total system of desires, and from the effects which the satisfaction of the desire of the individual have on the satisfaction of the desires of others in the social group.
Standards of duty are sometimes indistinguishable from standards of taste. There are many things which are avoided by men of certain classes, and many things which are done without question or hesitation, although personally disagreeable, dangerous, or even certainly fatal. Yet, in many such cases it is difficult to decide whether the avoidances or actions are dominated by standards of good taste, or standards of duty. An Anglo-Saxon man, in a sinking ship, stays on the ship to drown, in order to let women and children be saved. He may be acting impulsively, but his impulse has undoubtedly been formed by earlier reflection. If he should reflect, would his reflection take the general form: "it is my duty," or "as a gentleman, I can't do otherwise?" Certain types of men can be trusted with
( 230) large sums of money, in places where they are under no surveillance. Have the reflective processes which have led to this type of action been dominated by standards of duty, or of good form? Certain men will sacrifice their lives for others. Certain men may be trusted to protect the persons of women, under circumstances which would preclude a lapse becoming known. Soldiers will go voluntarily to certain death, in carrying out the responsibilities placed upon them. Are these men swayed by duty, or by pride in "keeping the faith"—in being "gentlemen" to the last ditch?
It might perhaps be said, that there is no difference between good; taste and good morals, where they lead to the same results: that there is a difference only where the two are in conflict, as in groups of men among whom it is perfectly good form to take any advantage of a woman which will not result in legal complication or unpleasant publicity, where yet moral standards condemn the act. Yet, the fact that duty and good taste may be opposed shows that they are not identical. The matter is further complicated by the fact that it is frequently one's "duty" to conform to standards of taste. Most persons recognize that where deviation from accepted standards of taste cause annoyance, or hurt, to other persons, one ought to conform to the standard, except it be in opposition to a distinct standard of duty. Moreover, it is recognized by most people that it is good taste to do one's duty, where the duty is clearly recognized. Apparently, then, there is a real distinction between standards of taste and standards of duty, else one could be applied as a measure of the other. It is, therefore, extremely important that we should inquire into the nature and origin of our standards of duty, since duty forms, we have above assumed, the supreme social link between man and man.
In the consideration of the source and nature of duty, that is, in ethics, there has long been a fundamental difference of opinion concerning the universality or particularity of standards. According to one view, there is a universal standard, which is the same for all men, at all time and in all places. According to the other view, all moral standards are variable and relative, no universal standards being demonstrable. Those who advocate the latter view, cite in its support the undeniable fact that conflicting and even contradictory standards have actually been held and applied by different groups.
( 231) In some groups, for example, it is considered wrong to kill one's enemies: in other groups, it has been held a clear duty to slaughter enemies, even after they have surrendered. In modern civilized societies, there is recognized obligation on children to support and care for their parents when they become incapacitated for caring for themselves. In some savage societies, and apparently in primitive culture generally, it has been a duty to kill one's parents when they become incapable, through age or accident or disease, of being an aid to the group. And so on through a long list of major and minor details of conduct. It is alleged, therefore, that there is no moral standard except the custom of the group, which is indefinitely variable.
In support of the view that there is a universal moral standard it is pointed out that in spite of the diversity of rules of conduct, there is an important peculiarity of all rules, even of those which contradict each other flatly as to specific actions enjoined, namely, that the acts are recognized as obligatory, and not merely desirable on account of their consequences. The citation of the fact that the savage feels it to be his duty to slay his aged parent, and that the civilized man feels it to be his duty to cherish them, is, from this point of view, an argument for the universality of duty, since it is evident that men recognize the force of the particular standard of duty they possess, even when these particular standards are so strikingly diverse. This point has been brought out so clearly by Emmanuel Kant, (being perhaps the only point he does make really clear), that the universality of duty in its fundamental form is hardly a debatable question any longer.
The diversity of particular standards of duty, that is, of rules concerning the specific conduct to which the fundamental or general standard applies, is admitted; and the existence of these diverse rules is not difficult to explain as soon as we consider the most important sources of these rules.
1. In some cases, the rules are standards of taste, and in certain other cases they are conventions of a closely similar nature. In other words, we feel it our duty to follow the dictates of good taste, and otherwise to conform to standards of conduct which in them-selves might be indifferent, but which are accepted by our fellows. It is one's duty to bear pain without whimpering. It is one's duty to defer to women and children. It is one's duty to say "please"
( 232) to the telephone operator. But in some exceptional cases, good form may not require these particular sorts of conduct, and then they are not morally obligatory.
2. Usually, rules of conduct which it is our duty to follow are rules which have been taught us. These rules may have been developed slowly in our ancestral group under the influence of practical considerations; or they may have been dictated by an influential ruling class; or they may have been impressed by an especially influential person, such as the Buddha or Jesus; but we accept them because they have been impressed upon us by education, in the home and in the civic and religious groups. If we who are civilized Christians had been brought up as Kaffir or Buddhists, our rules of conduct would have been Kaffir or Buddhist.
3. In a relatively few cases, individuals think out their own rules of conduct, making them different from the standards of taste and other conventions which have been taught them. These individuals are enemies of the existing social order and must be suppressed if the group is to retain its established order. Usually, they are sup-pressed. If they are not, but succeed in teaching their rules to a sufficiently large part of the group, they are great leaders and teachers, and captains of progress. It may well be assumed that most of the radicals who repudiate the doctrines which the group has evolved, setting up independent rules of conduct against the group rule, are pernicious innovators whose influence would simply be to disintegrate society; and that their suppression is desirable. The exceptional few, whose variant rules of conduct are valuable improvements on the social order, may, unfortunately, be suppressed also. To those who succeed, all social progress is due.
The question concerning the particular standard or rules of conduct is simply what is to be done. The further question is why it is to be done. In regard to many rules and conventions the answer, or at least a partial answer, to this question may be found in the practical results of conduct, or in the need of conformity. Rules of taste depend rather distinctly on the latter consideration. But even where practical advantage or conformity is important, a further question inevitably arises: why seek practical advantage? why conform? The answers to questions of these types are of only two kinds. Either as a matter of fact, one does seek practical advantages, or one does
( 233) conform to the group conduct, or else one ought to do so, that is, it is one's duty. In some cases, the attempt to answer the question of why comes directly to the consideration of duty, without specific regard to either practical consequences or to conformity; or, at least, in many cases these other considerations seem not to be involved. The fundamental question of moral conduct, therefore, is as to the nature and significance of duty, and the settling of this question is essential to the adequate ordering of the rules of conduct, including rules of duty, rules of taste, laws, and minor conventions. Historically, five answers have been given to this question, the answers determining five types of ethical theory.
1. One theory of the nature of obligation is that it is founded on the commands of God, or some other divine principle. Certain standards of conduct have been ordained by God, and the moral obligation to follow these standards is simply the fact that they are divinely ordained. Many ethical systems founded on this theory tacitly abandon it, however, in favor of the second theory, by adding the conception of divine reward and punishment. Those who follow the divinely appointed ruler, it is taught, will be rewarded in this life or in the next. Those who disobey will be punished, either here by the limitation of the satisfaction of their desires—perhaps by death; or else, though they may "flourish like the green bay tree" in this life, the pains and limitations of hell will be visited upon them hereafter.
The question concerning those who deliberately choose independence before obedience, and accept their punishment on earth and hereafter, is thus left open. Either, there is an obligation to follow the divine rules, or else the man who defies God is just as moral as the man who obeys him. In either case, the nature of obligation is left unsolved.
2. The theory that obligation is founded on practical advantages has many forms. One form, the view that the practical advantages depend on divine will and divine obedience superposed on, or independent of, natural law, has been indicated above. Other forms of the theory include the Hedonistic, Stoical, and Epicurean doctrines. These doctrines agree in holding that certain psychological benefits
( 234) flow from certain lines of conduct and are inhibited by certain other lines. The Hedonists emphasize the benefits of pleasure, and the disadvantages of pain. The Stoics and Epicureans emphasize the value of contentment, tranquility, and peace of mind, rather than the mere feeling of pleasure. Practical advantages of other sorts have been made, by theorists of other schools, the basis of moral standards.
The consideration of practical advantage of all or any sort fails to answer the fundamental question, except in so far as it may lead to the conclusion that the question itself is an illusion. If it is implied that one ought to seek one's advantage, the question why ought one is still untouched. Practically all branches of the advantage-school have as a matter of fact involved this implication.
On the other hand one may say that as a matter of fact one does seek one's personal advantage, in so far as one knows it; that beyond this matter of fact, there is no "ought," and instead of saying one ought to seek contentment, or some other good, we state the facts most clearly and accurately when we say that one does. Really, then, to say that a man ought to do so and so means no more than the statement that a stone ought to fall, when released from support. In either case, we mean simply that the thing will happen.
This conclusion is logically consistent with the premises from which it is drawn, and is held by many persons at the present time. There are, however, certain facts which cause us to refrain from endorsing it without further proof. In the first place, the philosophers of the Epicurean and other advantage schools, have felt it necessary to instruct others in the doctrine. Now, if every one does seek his advantage, what is the necessity of telling him so? If it is merely a matter of telling him where his advantages lie, that is, what things really are to his advantage, what is the obligation to tell him? It is certainly not to my advantage to have others better able to obtain their advantages—in many cases it is distinctly to my disadvantage—unless there is actually involved a type of social connection between men which these theorists are attempting to deny.
On the other hand, it is apparent that men do not always 'pursue the plans which they know are maximally advantageous to them personally. We have, for example, the addict of a drug, or of some other vice, who may clearly know its evils, but is unable to pursue
( 235) the more advantageous course. Again, we have the hero, who sacrifices his desires, often his life, in accordance with a demand which he calls duty. It will not do, with the Hedonist to say that man pursues the immediate pleasure, in contrast with the remote, for many do act more in accordance with the Epicurean doctrine, sacrificing immediate pleasure and enduring immediate pain, in order to secure a later or more general advantage. Nor will it do to say that the hero and the martyr are obtaining a pleasure, or seeking an ultimate advantage, greater than that which they give up. Obviously, some act in this way; but just as obviously some do not. One man may sacrifice his life while convinced that he obtains a greater part in future life thereby. But another man, with no faith in a future life, will sacrifice his life also. Different men act differently. But there seems little reasonable doubt that all men, above the lowest mental grade, act at some times on the dictates of duty, regardless of the practical advantages or disadvantages of the action and there is no doubt at all that all men recognize the duty of such action, although not always following it.
The importance of practical advantage, including pleasure, in determining human conduct cannot be denied. But neither in this advantage, nor in its consideration can we find the explanation of duty.
3. The theory that the fundamental principle of morality is self-development, the development of the inherent capacities of the individual, is really a specific form of the advantage hypothesis, but merits special consideration. One of the most famous forms of the theory is that which Plato, in certain of his dialogues, puts into the mouth of Socrates. Virtue, according to the Socratic view, is merely knowledge. The good, or moral man, is the one who possesses knowledge. And Socrates emphasizes the notion that knowledge is not something added to a man's mind from without, but is the development, under the stimulation of the moment, of the "innate" processes or capacity.
No one can doubt the importance of knowledge for moral conduct, in fact for all behavior. At present, we extend the conception of the knowledge which is effective in conduct much farther than Plato did. We admit that every form of learning or habit formation is important in its effect on conduct. But we do not admit that the
( 236) cognitive factor is the sole important conscious factor in conduct. Or rather, we do not agree that the cognitive factor involved in "knowledge," as the term is ordinarily used, covers the whole case. Duty may be called "knowledge of good and evil," but cognition is never the explanation of its object, and the assumption of knowledge of good and evil involves a distinction between good and evil in order that it may be known. And this distinction between good and evil is obviously the distinction involved in the problem of obligation or duty. Is the "good" always that which is advantageous? If so, is there any obligation to pursue the good? If not, what is the relation of the non-advantageous good to duty?
4. In criticizing the foregoing discussion, it might properly be objected that we have been considering "good" and "advantage" from a too limited and erroneous viewpoint. We have considered only individual good, whereas morals is eventually social, and hence the only good or advantage which could properly be contemplated in morals is social good. This point is certainly well taken against the schools of ethics we have just been discussing. Whatever the nature of the "good" for the individual as an individual, it has no moral value. An individual, hopelessly isolated on an island, could not conceivably have any duty or obligation of any sort except in regard to a god conceived of as in some way dependent on that individual. Admitting even a god, but a god in no way affected by the acts of the individual, it is then a matter of complete moral indifference what the individual does. If he chooses to injure him-self, or end his life, it may be to his disadvantage, but not moral or immoral.
Morality depends upon, and necessitates social relations. It is, in fact, the highest social nexus. We find, therefore, the utilitarian school of ethics marking an important advance in ethical theory, (although not originating it), by insisting that morality is eventually consideration of the welfare of others, and that conduct is moral in proportion as it contributes to the securing of the "greatest good of the greatest number," that is, the greatest social advantage.
Individual advantage is still the criterion, as it must always be, since society includes nothing but individuals. But utilitarians consider the advantage of one individual relatively, that is, with
( 237) reference to the advantage of all other individuals. An individual who seeks his own advantage at the expense of the advantage of others is immoral; an individual who seeks the advantage of others at his own disadvantage is also immoral. Seeking one's own ad-vantage where there is no effect on others is moral. Increasing the advantage of others where it has no effect on one's own situation is also moral, since this increases the total social advantage.
In terms of desires and their satisfaction, the utilitarian doctrine would be that morality consists in limiting one's own satisfactions only in so far as the satisfactions of others are thereby increased enough to make the total satisfaction greater; and also, in increasing the satisfaction of others and of one's self, wherever no other satisfactions are curtailed thereby.
Yet, utilitarianism does not solve the problem of duty, although it tacitly assumes the duty to promote social welfare. As a statement of fact, namely, that moral conduct does promote social' welfare, and can be distinguished in that way, utilitarianism is useful. It furnishes, in short, a criterion of duty, which is actually vague and difficult of application, since the evaluation of satisfactions is not accurately possible; and it furnishes nothing more. It tells us, in a general way, what duty is, enabling us to unify and rationalize the various and conflicting rules of conduct which so perplex the superficial student of ethics, but it does not tell us why duty is.
5. The final clarification of our problem may be found in the ethical theory of Kant. Kant's conclusion is that duty is an ultimate fact of human life; that the recognition of duty is an ultimate mental fact; and that in regard to these facts, as in regard to all other really ultimate facts, the question "why?" has no meaning whatever. To ask why the world exists; why colors exist; why consciousness exists; why duty exists, is meaningless. All we can rationally ask is; what these are, and how they operate, and how they are related to other things.
We cannot intelligibly ask why man is a social being. All we can do is to analyze his social nexus, and ascertain the fundamental links. And one of these fundamentals is duty which links man to man as inexorably as the relations of red to yellow link those two colors together. In short, duty is a social relation, and is nothing
( 238) but a social relation. Like other relations, it can be cognized. Further, it is a relation of conduct, and conduct is marked by it as moral or immoral; and behavior not involving the relation is non-moral.
Kant further contributed a more profound formulation of the general nature of moral rules, that is, what in general, duty is. It is always the obligation to act socially; to act in a way which recognizes the common nature of man. The Universal Moral Law is: "Act on that rule, (or standard), which you accept for all men alike." This is at once the explanation of the utilitarian criterion, and the. reason why we apply it. It is also a law which constantly needs interpretation by reference to the utilitarian principle.
The ultimate standard of morals, in its most general form, is the principle on which democracy is founded; or, put in another way, democracy is the application to civic organization of the moral law in the fullest possible way. Social organization is theoretically possible, of course, even in the civic domain, without morals. But practically, some degree of moral organization is necessary in civic groups or the organization breaks down, as will become more evident from the discussion of laws and conventions in the next section. Aside from the demands of morals themselves, it would seem that if moral organization is an essential for society, the more thorough going the embodiment of the moral law in social organization generally, the more stable society will be.
From the point of view of general psychology, morals present no confect with our accepted principles. Obviously, duty, objectively considered, belongs in the realm of relations, that is, of intellectual data: a realm as yet but imperfectly analyzed by psychology, which has, (perhaps usefully), concentrated its efforts so far rather on sensory data. Admitting relations and systems of relations as facts, we admit duty, objectively considered, as perhaps the most difficult datum in this group to deal with scientifically, but still a datum of no extraordinary sort. Awareness of relations is one of the fundamental facts of experience, and awareness of duty, (the so-called "sense of duty" or "feeling of duty"), must be recognized in a specific instance within the general class. Variations and errors in applications, and dependence on "rules," upon the facts to which the standard is applied, belong then in the general sphere of variations and errors in judgment generally, that is, variations and errors in measurements.
§ 11. Laws and conventions
Laws and conventions are standards of conduct which are in general not sharply separable from moral standards, although in specific cases such separations may be possible. Laws, in the civic sense of the term, are rules of conduct which are definitely formulated by specialized functions of a civic group having a permanent organization, and having a specialized force to back up the rule. No laws are absolutely enforced; if they were, penalties for breaking laws would not be needed. A civic rule may be very widely infracted and still be a "law." On the other hand, if the rule as formulated is entirely disregarded and no attempt made to enforce it, (a "dead" law), it is hardly a law in the factual sense at all, but a mere verbal formulation, such as any individual might concoct for his own amusement. Between the "dead" law and the actual law, however, there is no line of demarcation, but there is a gradation of small differences in observances and enforcements from zero to a relatively high degree. Many bodies of "laws" pertaining to special departments of life show the entire range. Among "traffic laws," for example, we have in Maryland some which are so dead that few drivers know they are on the statute books, and the police make no effort at all to enforce them; we have certain others which are admirably enforced and observed by almost every one, and other traffic laws fill in the range between these extremes.
The process of formulation of a law, that is to say, the enactment of a law as in the case of an ordinance enacted by a group, is a function which may be specialized in one of two ways. 1. The whole group may enact the law, as in the case of an ordinance enacted by a town meeting. In this case the group is functioning in a specialized way at the time, in the abeyance of many or all of its other functions; or else, the organization of the total group for the purpose of enacting laws is its only group organization, and the legislative function its only function. 2. The enactment may be the function of a specialized group or an individual within the larger group, organically related to it through the permanent organization of the larger group. By "delegated authority" or by arbitrarily grasped authority, the legislative group or individual legislates for the total group. In either of these two cases the general nature of the law and its conditions are eventually the same.
Conventions, when definitely distinguishable from laws, differ from them in respect to the two characteristics of law above mentioned, (a) Conventions are not enacted, but come about through general consent of the group, acting without definite specialization for the purpose. These conventions may be rules of taste, or rules of morals, or rules of more general sorts of behavior. (b) Conventions are not backed by an enforcing mechanism. No specialized agency in their group (comparable to a police force for the maintenance of law) exists for their enforcement.
Between conventions and laws, however, there is no sharp line of demarcation, but rather a gradation. The "common law" where it obtains, is really something which begins as a mere convention, but which is eventually recognized, and enforced by the courts and police force. Theoretically, we can draw a line even here, and say that the first moment at which the convention is enforced, or at which it is recognized by legislative reference to it, is the moment of its enactment. Practically, however, that moment can be assigned with difficulty in many cases, and the early legal recognitions of conventions are usually vague, leaving for further interpretation the exact details to be recognized.
Even where we can draw a sharp line between convention and law on the basis of enactment, there can not always be drawn a line on the basis of enforcement. Many conventions have no penalties except "natural" ones, that is, penalties due to social action which is general rather than specialized. The man who inhales his soup or eats baked beans with his knife encounters no specialized agency, and no specialized action of his fellows which should enforce upon him the rule he breaks; but he is subjected to penalties just the same, through the opinions formed of him by his fellows and through exclusion from certain groups. In other cases, however, conventions are enforced by force, and many a man has been physically disciplined by his fellows for conduct which infracts established conventions, but infracts no law recognized by the courts.
The distinction between convention and law is still further con-fused through a delegation of general legislative powers to judicial and police agencies under such vague designations of disorderly conduct, vagrancy, and contempt of court. This legislative authority is used arbitrarily, and it is intended to be so used; otherwise, it would
( 241) not be delegated, but more specific laws would be enacted covering the situation. It is admitted that such delegation is dangerous, and has been the source of grave abuse, but no better way has as yet been found. Social progress is uniformly in the direction of restriction of enforcement to actual laws, and the abolition of lynch law, private justice, and all other forms of enforcement of rules of conduct except by socially designated and specialized officials.
In an imperially organized group, laws are decreed by the ruler, or by an aristocratic group, and enforced on the other members of the group by military power. Such a system requires a military machine of size and power sufficient to overcome the total power of the others in the state, and sufficiently active to detect and punish almost all infractions, otherwise it cannot maintain itself. The inherent viciousness of such a system is obvious, inasmuch as the rulers are enabled to disregard any interest of the public, and use the state for their private purposes, however selfish or misguided; and progress is impossible except through revolution or democratization to some degree. The history of imperialism seems to justify this conclusion.
In a democratically organized society, the majority imposes its will on the minority, through the laws it enacts or causes to be en-acted. Laws may be as vicious as the majority are vicious or ignorant, but the probability of vicious laws is no greater than in an imperial state, and progress is not cut off. In a democratic state, the maintenance of laws depends on two factors.
1. There must be a mechanism, which we may designate as the police, specialized for the enforcement of law. The police mechanism is, however, merely the nucleus of the total law enforcement mechanism, around which the total power of the citizen is ranged. This principle is well recognized, in that the citizens are expected to aid the police in enforcing laws, and may be definitely drafted into service in various ways.
The police must be limited in its total power. It must be large enough to be effective, but small enough so that the larger group of citizens may overcome it at any time. This fact is vital for the preservation of democracy, and is recognized in the constant vigilance
( 242) of the public to prevent the police growing to the point at which it would become a master of the group rather than its servant, and recognized also in various laws such as the constitutional provision concerning the right of citizens to possess arms.
2. A law must be supported by a convention accepted by a large proportion of the citizens. The approval of the law is to be distinguished here from the acceptance of the convention, since there are clear cases in which the majority of citizens approve and support a law which they have no intention of observing. Such is the case with game laws in many places: those who favor the law doing so in hopes that others will be compelled to observe it, and thus game will be multiplied, but hoping to be able to take this game illegally themselves. In the case of the Maryland Blue Laws, the case is outwardly similar, but perhaps the motives are different. Apparently, the laws prohibiting labor and sports on Sunday are popularly supported, although universally disregarded, and enforced occasionally in a way which arouses the suspicion of the use of the civic machinery for private interests. Undoubtedly the support of these blue laws, which are broken openly even by state and city agencies, and by individuals who are most active in maintaining the law, is due to a mixture of corrupt motives, religious inconsistencies, and desires to use the state machinery for the regulation of commercial and industrial competition. In all these cases, it is clearly evident that the vicious consequences of the laws are due to the fact that there are no conventions supporting them.
It is not certain that the convention supporting a law must be accepted by the majority at all times. While it seems probable that no law will long remain reasonably effective unless the supporting convention is accepted by a majority, it is quite possible that acceptance by a substantial minority in the beginning may be followed later by majority acceptance. The prohibition amendment and its supporting legislation furnish an interesting case for study in this connection. Apparently, these laws are approved by a majority of the citizens of the United States, but the convention of abstinence from the use of "intoxicating liquors" is accepted only by a minority. Although at present there is no doubt that the enforcement of prohibition is as efficient as the enforcement of many other laws of which there is little discussion, the situation is critical, and may lead either
( 243) to the ultimate acceptance of the convention by the next generation, or to the virtual abandonment of the prohibition laws.
Whatever the nature of the convention supporting a law, the law must at least be respected if it is to be in any measure effective. Even in an imperial state under alien domination, where the convention upholding an irksome ukase is based on fear alone, this respect is essential. In order that a law can be respected, it must be enforced to a certain extent, although the exact percentage of enforcement necessary in any case cannot be predicted. The percentage of penalties inflicted to the total infraction of a law is an important, although undetermined factor, but is not the only factor of importance, since a large part of law enforcement consists in prevention of infraction, and a law may, in certain circumstances, be most effectively enforced when the percentage of punishment is lowest. Laws which are not enforced to a reasonable degree not only become virtually dead, but also breed disrespect for laws generally, since the formation of habit occurs in every sphere of life. Sunday laws in the United States at present are undoubtedly prolific breeders of disrespect for law. Laws requiring all motor cars to stop at all railroad crossings, even in the open country, may decrease accidents somewhat, because they may be actually enforced at the most dangerous crossings. But the grave effects of the habitual disregard of these laws by practically all motorists at the majority of crossings, cannot be safely disregarded, hence a more rigidly enforceable law, requiring stops at certain crossings plainly marked with "stop" signs, will not only produce greater safety, but promote observance of traffic laws generally.
In a democracy, and in a partially democratized imperial society, there are still further conditions of the respect for law. Laws, although reasonably well enforced, will not be respected unless enforced justly, without distinction of class or wealth. Our present laws against gambling command no respect because it is well known that they are enforced chiefly against the poor, negroes, foreigners, and others without social standing. Raids on Afro-American crap games are frequent. We seldom hear of a bridge or poker game in a club of high social or financial standing being similarly raided. Dishonesty becomes accepted, when only small grafters are punished, and large "deals" are swung without interference.
In a democracy, in short, laws become not only ineffectual, but harmful, unless the infraction of the laws is actually a disgrace. The dependence of law upon convention is everywhere apparent, and laws can only be enacted or maintained reasonably where the sup-porting convention exists.
In any state which acquires a large population, and reaches a high state of organization, laws tend to become so numerous as to be troublesome, because of the increasing difficulties of social relations; the increasing necessity of exact definition of rules, so as to leave less to the arbitrary action of police and judicial authorities; and because of the constant tendency of smaller groups within the state to appeal to the state to do for them through special legislation what they should do for themselves. The first two causes of the multiplication of laws are inescapable, while the last is an unnecessary evil. We have today the spectacle of widespread protest against the multiplication of laws, while some of the protestants are actively promoting the passage of more laws, and the maintenance of old laws, of a similar type.
We have earlier pointed out that "business" cannot exist in a highly organized state without very extensive state regulation, and that business is constantly demanding new legislation to protect its interests, while protesting regulation which is in the interest of other groups. Unquestionably, the regulation by the state of every form of activity should be kept at the minimal necessary for effective satisfaction of desires generally, but that minimum should be uniform and impartial in its nature.
In the maintenance of the Sunday laws already cited, one factor is the attempt of certain business groups to regulate competition. Barbers or store keepers, desiring to close their places of business on Sunday, but fearing the competition of other tradesmen who will not close, pursue the easiest method, appealing to the State to regulate this competition by passing either general Sunday laws, or Sunday laws for the special trade. The principle of state interference in details of activities of constituent groups which should more properly be self regulating, which is established by laws of this type, is a principle which even the groups involved would hardly wish to see universalized.
The regulation of conduct in all its phases obviously depends on
( 245) conventions as the basis for laws, as the means of application of ethical and esthetic standards, and as the regulating force in a multitude of matters to which these standards hardly apply. Convention is, in short, the essential regulating force in social relations, without which society is impossible. Conventions need constantly to be modified; but above all they need to be conserved. Those who rail against convention are merely objecting to particular conventions which they dislike, and are as much dependent upon other conventions as are other persons. There is no reason to suppose that any convention has become established which has not been useful; but many conventions outlive their usefulness and many definitely useful ones can be improved. The reformer, that is, the person who wishes to change a certain convention, must therefore always be given a hearing, although we may reasonably assume that most reformers will be wrong, and only an occasional one have an idea of real value.
The important practical matter, therefore, is the method and technique of
forming, maintaining, and modifying conventions; and as this is a part of the
wider topic of social control, or the formation of opinion and judgment, that
topic will be treated in the next chapter.