« PreviousContinue »
carding the old labels “egotism” and “altruism” there seems danger of missing certain vivid realities of “my-feeling” as pretty definitely set over against the thought of other people. The reaction is thoroughgoing and at times plays havoc with traditional ways of thought and speech, which the conservative will for a long time regard as corresponding to certain realities.
In spite of such incredulity, this sort of analysis will bring the student to close quarters with actual social facts. Dr. Cooley has made an important contribution in both matter and form to the growth of social theory. But even more valuable is his practical application of this theory to the problems of personal development, of self-realization through living a common life with and for one's fellows.
GEORGE E. VINCENT. THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.
Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties. By M.
Ostrogorski. Translated from the French by FREDERICK
This work will occupy a place like that of de Tocqueville's Democracy in America or Bryce's American Commonwealth. It must not only be consulted by all students of the actual workings of democratic political machinery, but it will have to be used as their point of departure by all serious students of the subject.
The subject matter is not the constitutional history or the legal structure of democratic peoples, but the form, spirit, and workings of political parties, the “government outside the government.” As Mr. Bryce observes (Preface, p. xxxix) :
No one has, so far as I know, produced any treatise containing a systematic examination and description of the structure of parties or organizations governed by settled rules and working by established methods. Even in the United States, where party organization early attained a completeness and effective power unapproached in any other country, I could not find, when in 1883 I began to study, and was seeking to portray, the institutions of that country, any account of the very remarkable and well-compacted scheme of organization which had been at work there for forty or fifty years; and noted that among even the best-educated men there were few that had 'mastered its details. . . . . There was no book on which one could draw, and the persons whom I interrogated usually seemed surprised that a stranger should feel interested in inquiries of the kind.
M. Ostrogorski devotes the first volume to England. His aim is to show how British democracy has attempted to exercise public authority through “extra-constitutional organizations of the electoral masses. Vol. II carries out the same program for the United States.
The quality of the author's thought may be indicated by a few sentences from his concluding section (Vol. II, pp. 607-741):
When we take a comprehensive glance at the phenomena which have been successively brought under our notice, and try to find our bearings among them, nothing is visible at first but confusion. Going back to the starting-point, we see the state, in the hands of a class, and society, embodied in that ruling class, dominating the individual, and overwhelming him with the whole weight of social, religious, and political convention. But this threefold tyranny gives way and collapses under the pressure of manifold forces of a moral and material kind. The enthusiasm of self-revealed religious faith, the criticism of reason triumphantly asserting itself, the new appliances of industry, all combine to free the individual from his bonds. In vain do dethroned authority and relaxed social discipline call to their aid the religious tradition, social tradition, the emotions of the heart, the distress inspired by the future, in order to stop the progress of the individual. Everything conspires in his favor, obstacles vanish before him. The autonomous individual is finally proclaimed sovereign in the state. Left to himself in the political sphere, by the emancipating process of individualism, and powerless in his atomistic isolation, he fastens on the old party groove, and makes it his base of operations. Jealous of his new power, he is not content with being invested with it. To prevent a fresh attack from the old influences, which appear to him more odious than ever, the individual, weary of the moral action of man on his fellow-men, which has kept him for centuries in a state of dependence and submission, strives to regulate even this action, to make its effect subject to formal conditions. He tries to refer directly to himself, as to their source, all the relations in public life, within and without the legal sphere. On the other side of the Atlantic, where he became his own master sooner, he presses forward in this direction with exceptional energy.
But — strange phenomenon -the nearer he advances the nearer he appears to draw to the starting-point. In fact, after he has gone on for a time, it is seen that the rôle of the individual in the state dwindles to a small affair. He wields only a shadow of the sovereignty which is laid at his feet as pompously as it is hypocritically. He has, in reality, no power over the choice of the men who govern in his name and by his authority. The nation and its
rulers are separated. Government is a monopoly. It is in the hands of a class, which, without forming a caste, constitutes a distinct group in society. It is even often wielded by a single man, who relies on that class and enjoys the powers of an autocrat in spite of the republican forms of the state. The bulk of the community endure this yoke with indifference or passivity, as in the old times when concern for the public welfare was forbidden them on pain of being treated as rebels. Government is at the beck and call of private interests and their designs on the general interest. Legislation and administration are bought and sold. Public office itself is virtually put up to auction.
It would, in truth, be difficult to find, in the history of human societies, a more pathetic drama than this ruin of so many generous aspirations, of so many noble efforts, of such high promise and expectations. But the tragic gravity of this spectacle, extorting cries of distress or of joy at the failure of democracy, cannot detain the scientific observer. What he has just seen simply suggests to him the very elementary reflection that if society, which set forth to realize a new ideal, finds itself after a time near its starting-point, it has evidently moved in a circle, or entered on a side-path, which has brought it straight back to the starting point. The inference, then, is that the paths which have been taken to reach the goal were not the right ones. As for the goal itself, it is neither condemned nor justified by experience; the seekers turned their backs on it. Consequently, to arrive at a practical solution, the all-important point is to single out the paths which have misled society in its pursuit of the new ideal, and then to note those which appear more certain to lead to the goal. Our lengthy investigation has but accumulated the data which will enable us to distinguish, as from a vantage-ground, the one set from the other.
Space does not permit analysis of the data which the author presents in the body of the work, nor of the argument which the conclusion maintains. It will suffice to say that the author has made an invaluable contribution to knowledge of democratic institutions. This does not mean that his statement is free from serious defects. Indeed, if the author were an attorney for absolutism he could hardly present a more scathing indictment of democracy than some portions of his argument contains. They remind one of Dorman B. Eaton's summary of the sins of the spoils system in municipal government. One who
( did not know how to supply the silver lining would conclude that the outlook is all black clouds. As an exhibit of one phase of the party system, however, the book is magnificent, and it will probably be a long time before an equally able critique of the other phases of the democratic situation appears.
Albios W. SMALL.
The Coming City. By RICHARD T. ELY, PH.D. LL.D., Professor
of Political Economy and Director of the School of Economics and Political Science in the University of Wis
consin. Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. Pp. 110.
This little book, the expansion of a lecture, is in Professor Ely's best vein. It gives a bird's-eye view, not of visionary plans, but of a movement that is visible in our urban life. Not all factors in the movement are well represented in every city, but enough is going forward to convince Professor Ely that he used a misnomer when he called the original lecture “Neglected Aspects of Municipal Reform." They are observed and calculated upon to such a degree that he believes it is more strictly in accordance with the facts to speak of “The Coming City.” He does this in a mnost hopeful and stimulating way.
The argument is not that the better urban conditions are coming no matter how indifferent good citizens may be, but that there is a fighting chance to make a good rate of progress. The line of argument is suggested by the phrases: "Expert knowledge required for successful municipal administration;" “municipal government a profession rather than a business ;”? “ the ideal of the city as a well-ordered household ;" " the city as a work of art." Including an appendix containing useful illustrative material, the book provokes interest in nearly every phase of the modern movement for better cities. The closing paragraphs would doubtless strike the typical ward politician as somewhat perfervid. To anyone who feels the seriousness of the subject, their note is none too high :
We have to prepare for the coming domination of the city, and for an extension of urban conditions even to rural communities. We have to adjust ourselves to some extent to a change of ideals. What shall we say to this? Certainly there is no ground for despair. The spreading out of cities and the extension of urban conditions to country districts may mean, and must be made to mean, a combination of advantages of city and of country. Our ideal in this country has been the domination of the rural community rather than of the city. But if we look back upon past history, and ask ourselves whence the sources of the highest achievements in the way of culture and civilization, we shall find much to give us hope in the prospect of the domination of the city in the twentieth century. As we think about the city during human history, we recall Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Florence, London, Paris, Berlin sources of religion, learning, and art. Is it without significance that the words “polite” and “urbane” are both derived from words meaning "city"? Is it without significance that Christianity became known in a city, and that
the word " pagan” means a “dweller in the country”? Or is it without sig. nificance that the apostle John saw a redeemed society existing as a city? “And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
I think all of these things are deeply significant, and the significance is perceived in the expression “civic church,” which, like the expression “the city a well-ordered household,” gathers up ideals which are animating those who are giving shape to the twentieth-century city. The city is destined to become a well-ordered household, a work of art, and a religious institution in the truest sense of the word “religious.”
The great Italian, Mazzini, said long ago : Every political question is becoming a social question, and every social question a religious question. Until our religion can take in municipal reform, we shall not achieve the best of which we are capable in the way of the city. We must come to have that feeling which the Psalmist had for the great Jewish city, and the promise and power of the present efforts making for civic righteousness are found precisely in this fact, that we are coming to have just that sort of a truly religious feeling. You remember the words of the Psalmist : “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth : if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” So we may learn to say-indeed, are learning to say : "If I forget thee, O Chicago, O New York, O St. Louis, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth : if I prefer thee not above my chief joy.” And because we are learning to say this, we may look forward with the brightest anticipations to the future of the twentieth-century city.
A. W. S.
Americans in Process: A Settlement Study by Residents and
Associates of the South End House, Edited by ROBERT A.
Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. ix + 389. $1.50.
The indifference of the so-called good citizen is largely because his best effort to produce a mental picture of his city in its essential human aspects results in something altogether vague, scattered, out-of-date. Many of the efforts toward better things reflect this lack of mental furnishing in being piecemeal, casual, and beside the mark. The purpose of this volume, as of its predecessor (The City IVilderness), is to contribute toward building up a contemporary conception of the city, as the groundwork of a type of municipal and social improvement, which shall be accurate in its adaptation to detailed facts, and statesmanlike in its grasp of large forces and total situations.