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again be a time when it is recognised that the possession of a great estate, as is natural in a form of ownership probably descended from a form of sovereignty,5 implies more administrative power and kindlier relations with other classes having subordinate interests than almost any other kind of superiority founded on wealth. The assertion of the inherent absurdity of an hereditary legislature will seem itself absurd to those who can follow the course of scientific thought in our day. Under all systems of government, under Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy alike, it is a mere chance whether the individual called to the direction of public affairs will be qualified for the undertaking; but the chance of his competence, be far from being less under Aristocracy than under the other two systems, is distinctly greater. If the qualities proper for the conduct of government can be secured in a limited class or body of men, there is a strong probability that they will be transmitted to the corresponding class in the next generation, although no assertion be possible 'as to individuals. Whether—and this is the last objection —the age of aristocracies be over, I cannot take upon myself to say. I have sometimes thought it one of the chief drawbacks on modern democracy that, while it gives birth to despotism with the greatest facility, it does not seem to be capable of producing aristocracy, though from that form of political and social ascendency all improvement has hitherto sprung. But some of the keenest observers of democratic society in our day do not share this opinion. Noticing that the modern movement towards democracy is coupled with a movement towards scientific perfection, they appear to be persuaded that the world will some day fall under intellectual aristocracies. Society is to become the Church of a sort of political Calvinism, in which the Elect are to be the men with exceptional brains. This seems to be the view suggested by French democratic society to M. Ernest Renan.6 Whether such an aristocracy, if it wielded all the power which the command of all scientific results placed in its hands, would be exactly beneficent, may possibly be doubted. The faults to which the older privileged orders are liable are plain enough and at
* I have discussed this point in an earlier work, Early History of Institutions, pp. 115 et seq. and pp. 130 et seq.
6 Renan, Dialogues Philosophiques. Third Dialogue. A younger writer, M. Paul Bourget, expresses himself as follows in a remarkable book called Essais de Psychologie contemporaine. "Il est possible, en effet, qu'une divergence éclate entre ces deux grandes forces des sociétés modernes: la démocratie et la science. Il est certain que la première tend de plus en plus à niveler, tandis que la seconde tend de plus en plus à créer des différences. 'Savoir, c'est pouvoir,' disait le philosophe de l'induction, savoir dix fois plus qu'un autre homme, c'est pouvoir dix fois ce qu'il peut, et comme la chimère d'une instruction également répartie sur tous les individus est, sans aucun doute, irréalisable, par suite de l'inégalité des intelligences, l'antinomie se manifestera de plus en plus entre les tendances de la démocratie et les résultats sociaux de la science " (pp. 106, 107).
times very serious. They are in some characters idleness, luxuriousness, insolence, and frivolity; in others, and more particularly in our day, they are timidity, distrust of the permanence of anything ancient and great, and (what is worse) a belief that no reputation can be made by a member of an ancient and grea - institution except by helping to pull it down. But, assuming the utmost indulgence in these faults, I may be permitted to doubt whether mankind would derive unmixed advantage from putting in their place an ascetic aristocracy of men of science, with intellects perfected by unremitting exercise, absolutely confident in themselves and absolutely sure of their conclusions. The question, however, will not long or deeply trouble those who, like me, have the strongest suspicion that, if there really arise a conflict between Democracy and Science, Democracy, which is already taking precautions against the enemy, will certainly win.
"Mr. Tylor has justly observed that the true "lesson of the new science of Comparative Mythology "is the barrenness in primitive times of the faculty "which we most associate with mental fertility, the "Imagination. Comparative Jurisprudence, as might "be expected from the natural stability of law and "custom, yet more strongly suggests the same infer"ence, and points to the fewness of ideas and the "slowness of additions to the mental stock as among "the most general characteristics of mankind in its "infancy."
7 This Note is taken from my Eovrly History of Institution*, pp. 225-230.
"The fact that the generation of new ideas does not "proceed in all states of society as rapidly as in that "to which we belong, is only not familiar to us through "our inveterate habit of confining our observation of "human nature to a small portion of its phenomena. "When we undertake to examine it, we are very apt "to look exclusively at a part of Western Europe and "perhaps of the American Continent. We constantly "leave aside India, China, and the whole Mahometan "East. This limitation of our field of vision is per"fectly justifiable when we are occupied with the "investigation of the laws of Progress. Progress is, in "fact, the same thing as the continued production of "new ideas, and we can only discover the law of this "production by examining sequences of ideas where "they are frequent and of considerable length. But "the primitive condition of the progressive societies is "best ascertained from the observable condition of "those which are non-progressive; and thus we leave "a serious gap in our knowledge when we put aside "the mental state of the millions upon millions of men "who fill what we vaguely call the East as a pheno"mcnon of little interest and of no instructiveness. "The fact is not unknown to most of us that, among "these multitudes, Literature, Religion, and Art—or "what corresponds to them—move always within a "distinctly drawn circle of unchanging notions; but "the fact that this condition of thought is rather the "infancy of the human mind prolonged than a dif"fercnt maturity from that most familiar to us, is "very seldom brought home to us with a clearness "rendering it fruitful of instruction.
"I do not, indeed, deny that the difference between "the East and the West, in respect of the different "speed at which new ideas are produced, is only a "difference of degree. There were new ideas produced "in India even during the disastrous period just before "the English entered it, and in the earlier ages this "production must have been rapid. There must have "been a series of ages during which the progress of "China was very steadily maintained, and doubtless "our assumption of the absolute immobility of the "Chinese and other societies is in part the expression "of our ignorance. Conversely, I question whether "new ideas come into being in the West as rapidly "as modern literature and conversation sometimes "suggest. It cannot, indeed, be doubted that causes,