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Theology and the Social Consciousness. By HENRY CHURCHILL
KING. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1902. Pp. 252.
PROFESSOR King defines what he means by the “social consciousness
by analyzing the sense of the like-mindedness of men, the sense of the mutual influence of men, the sense of the value and sacredness of the person, the sense of obligation, and the sense of love. He finds the ultimate explanation and ground of the social consciousness in the immanence of God and his supporting will. Then he traces the influence of the social consciousness upon the conception of religion and upon theological doctrine.
What is the interest of the sociologist in such discussions ? Professor King makes his own statement of the relation of theology to sociology (p. 5): the theologian interprets, but does not attempt to explain; it is sociology which traces the processes of phenomena in causal connections. The sociologist, as such, is interested in the inquiry of this volume first of all because religious factors are social facts. This is as obvious to the agnostic as to the theologian. Sociology must deal with all causal elements, even with those which are detestable. Religious ideas, feelings, purposes, actions, customs, and institutions are social phenomena and part of the causative facts in history. Society might be better or worse without religion, but it indubitably would be different.
Theological studies like the one under our notice tend to illuminate these regions of social consciousness, to reveal the nature of the contents of religious experience, and to measure the forces here at work. The book before us is a fine example of the perspicacity and subtle analysis of facts which are best known from the inside, facts which can be described only by one instructed by sympathy. But sociology does not stop with explanation and causal connections of social phenomena; that is, with theory; it is also and inevitably a practical science; it deals with practice. Practical social science transcends the merely mechanical and physical methods of reasoning, which are inadequate even in theory, and it treats of associations of persons who aim at ends on which they set a value and who put forth conscious and costly efforts to further and realize these ends because they set a value on them.
In practical social science this valuation of ends is vital, for without an estimate of worth which may be used as a criterion there is no rational and solid basis for a judgment of any social arrangement.
Practical social science must consider two problems when it passes judgment, or arranges the materials for a judgment, on any social arrangement, device, movement, or tendency : Is the end valuable and the most valuable, all things considered ? and, Are the proposed means most suitable and efficient? The latter, it is conceivable, might be studied somewhat apart from the former. The sociologist might reserve his verdict as to the end and merely say: "Assuming that the proposed object is socially valuable, what is the best disposition of available social forces to attain it?"
But, after all, human reason would regard such a solution as superficial and unsatisfactory. There is no way of avoiding a discussion of the worth of ends in a study of the value of institutions, systems, laws, customs, or tendencies. In the case before us the end is religious satisfactions.
At this point an attempt to study the meaning and value of religion and the theological implications of the social consciousness is useful to sociology, whether we are thinking of it as an explanatory Or as a practical science.
The alternative of agnosticism, of course, is still open, and there is no absolute demonstration of the ism which would make unbelief impossible. Taste and preference may not be forced.
The case of religion is the same as that of friendship, or knowledge, or art, or moral character. The man who has personal experience of these values can bear witness to them, nothing more. They must be personally taken into consciousness by active and creative Choice, and then they are seen in their true nature and “proof” is pot asked.
What a skilful art critic or interpreter does for pictures, music, or Verse, Professor King has done, with a high degree of success, for religion.
CHARLES R. HENDERSON.
Savings and Savings Institutions. By James Henry Hamilton.
New York: The Macmillan Co., 1902. Pp. 436.
The economic principles of thrift are discussed under the head of "The Theory of Savings,” but while the orthodox position is clearly
stated, the recent objections are given scant notice, since “the attacks upon the accepted principle of saving are not regarded as more than ingenious.” In the chapter on “The Educational Aspects of Saving”a very important point is made (p. 53), that community provision of the means of culture will fail of their best results if the individual home cannot possess the means of æsthetic and intellectual satisfaction. “It can hardly be said that the priceless art treasures of Italy, which belong to the people, bring them to a higher plane of living. The highest art and the most wretched squalor are the closest neighbors.” The savings bank is even more valuable as a means of education than as an agency of thrift. "Criminality largely flows from hazy conceptions of the character of property and proper methods of acquiring it.” The author sees with clearness (p. 79) that the voluntary movement is utterly inadequate; the national government must be invoked to assist this potent agent of national education and morality. The postal savings bank, with solicitors among the people, is necessary to establish a universal habit of economy.
Having abandoned the theory of laissez-faire, one might expect from the author a favorable opinion of German compulsory insurance, which trains the wage-workers of the entire nation to save means to help in time of sickness, accident, and old age. But the author assumes a rather hostile attitude to these measures, and some of his assertions about them seem to require further reflection and inquiry. He admits he has no inductive proof (p. 424).
There are chapters on “Building and Loan Associations," "Savings Banks,” “Trustee Savings Banks,” “Co-operative Savings Banks," “Municipal Savings Banks," and “Postal Savings Banks.” After making critical comments on each of these schemes, he concludes: “The savings bank as an institution represents the most conservative, the most logical, and the most hopeful scheme for bettering the condition of the laboring classes."
CHARLES R. HENDERSON.
The movement to establish juvenile courts, with probation officers, parental schools, and other allies, has gained great momentum in this country, from Massachusetts to Colorado and Louisiana. The absurdity and wickedness of trying mere children in ordinary courts have been discussed, and the proverbial conservatism of judicial traditions has been broken down for the sake of humanity.
The same movement is much discussed in Germany, and the Prussian law for guardianship and education, instead of compulsory discipline, is a subject of interest all over the empire.
Dr. E. Münsterberg, of Berlin, recommends especially the following books upon the Fürsorge-Erziehungsgesetz of 1900, passed by the Prussian diet : C. v. Masson, Das preussische Fürsorge-Erziehungsgesetz vom 2. Juli 1900, und die Mitwirkung der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft bei seiner Ausführung (Berlin: Nicolaische Verlagsbuchh., 1901; pp. 72); 0. Noelle, Das Gesetz über die Fürsorge-Erziehung Minderjähriger (Berlin: Franz Vohlen, 1901); L. Schmitz, Die Fürsorgeerziehung Minderjähriger, Preuss. Gesetz vom 2. Juli 1900, etc. (Düsseldorf: L. Schramm, 1901).
It is no longer necessary to convict a child of crime before he can be brought under corrective and helpful guardianship. When family influence is inadequate to prevent moral ruin, the authorities can interfere before the habits of evil are deeply fixed, and the minor may be transferred from the depraving environment to a suitable family or institution.
An admirable feature of this new law is that it requires the co-operation of parents, teachers, pastors, poor-authorities, and benevolent societies, and has a tendency to enlist voluntary friendly service in the interest of the imperiled youth. The parents are not relieved of their responsibility, but must help ineet the costs of treatment, as far as their means permit.
The essential principles of the Prussian law are as true for America as for Germany.
C. R. H.
La responsabilité pénale. Par ADOLPHE LANDRY. Paris : Félix
Alcan, 1902. Pp. 196.
The first part of this work is devoted to the rather thankless task of kicking the carcass of the dead lion of the “classical school” of criminalists, the advocates of an exact penal equivalent for each species of crime. The author will not tolerate half-way doctrines and will accept nothing but unadulterated “ utilitarianism." He reasons his way in truly French deductive style, with acute and logical precision, to his principle that, from the point of view of “penal responsibility," offenders must be classified, and all members of each class subjected by law and courts to one treatment.
Mr. Z. R. Brockway or Mr. C. T. Lewis, whose discussions of the “indeterminate sentence' seem never to have attracted our author's notice, would probably find this fine-spun theory of categories of convicts as impossible to apply in practice as the “classical” theory of expiatory sentences and equivalents decreed upon the basis of absolute distributive justice.
The result of the author's learned and clairvoyant discussion is summed up in this idea : In order to resolve the problem of penal responsibility, it is necessary to divide men into a certain number of kinds; each of these kinds will receive a definite treatment. In applying penalties a utilitarian estimate will be made of the balance of advantages and evils. Intimidation will be sought, so far as the individual can be affected by the penalty, and deterrent influence will be sought by considering the effect of the penalty on the group.
C. R. H.
The Government of Maine: Its History and Administration. By
William MacDonald, LL.D., Professor of History in Brown
Co. Pp. ix+263.
ALTHOUGH this volume has primarily none but local interest, the conception of the book, and of the series to which it belongs, marks a salutary change in ideas of what is worth studying. Until yesterday instructors in Maine colleges did not call the attention of students to the institutions of their own state. Probably they were no more delinquent than college officers in other states. College graduates have known more about the British constitution than about the structure of their own local government. Or, rather, they have had command of more formulas about the former than about the latter, but from long-distance survey of all governmental machinery, they have had very hazy notions beneath their formulas. The present book will enable students in Maine to become acquainted with their own legal and political machinery, and by means of this real knowledge they will be in the way of acquiring more and better knowledge of larger systems. A glance at the appendix of this book, containing the constitution of Maine, and other documents which should constitute the primer of political education for every resident of the state, causes one who had his schooling in Maine to protest in spirit against his instructors' sins of omission. The college instructor of today is not ashamed