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very large communities, it involves itself in such fatal contradictions of its own life-principle as, for example, the nobility of Poland before the division exemplified. In more fortunate cases such a contradiction resolves itself simply through transformation into the unified democratic social form; for example, the ancient free German community, with its complete personal equality of the members, was aristocratic throughout, and yet became in its continuation in the civic communities the source of democracy. If this is to be avoided, nothing remains except to draw, at a definite point of increase in numbers, a hard and fast line, and to oppose to all elements approaching from beyond this line, even though they were otherwise qualified for admission, the quantitative completeness of the structure. Frequently the aristocratic nature of the same appears only at this point; it becomes conscious for the first time in this closing up of itself against the demand for extension. Accordingly, the old constitution of the "gens" seems to have turned into a real aristocracy for the reason that a new population, alien to the members of the gens, pressed in upon them in too large numbers for gradual absorption into the associations of like strata. In opposition to this increase of the total group, the groups of gentes, which, by their very nature, were limited in numbers, could conduct themselves only as an aristocracy. In quite the same way the Cölnische Schutzgilde Richerzeche consisted originally of the totality of the free burghers. In the degree, however, in which the population increased, it became an aristocratic society which closed itself against all intruders. A group which constitutes a totality and, like the gens for instance, is in its whole nature quantitatively limited, will be able to preserve itself within a new and very extended totality only in the form of an aristocracy.
The tendency of political aristocracies leads, to be sure, as a rule, not to the maintenance of the existing status, but to decline in numbers and disappearance. Not merely on account of physiological causes, but small and narrowly exclusive groups are in general distinguished from greater ones in this that the very same destiny which strengthens and renews the latter
destroys the former. A disastrous war, which ruins a petty city-state, may regenerate a great state. This occurs not merely from the quite evident external reasons, but because the relation of the reserves of power to the active energies in the two cases is different. Small and centripetally organized groups usually call out and employ to their full extent the energies available within them; in greater groups, on the other hand, much more energy, not merely absolutely but also relatively, remains in a latent condition. The demand of the whole does not seize upon every member constantly and completely, and it permits much power to remain unused which then, in extreme cases, may be mobilized and actualized. The decisive thing in this case is, as indicated, the social centripetalism, that is, the ratio in which the energies present in the society are harnessed for its purposes. When it, therefore, occurs that a lower and smaller group allows its members much autonomy and independence, the latter then often develop energies which are not used socially, and, therefore, in case the appeal to the common interests occurs, they represent a considerable available recourse. This was for a long time the case, for example, with the nobility of the Scotch highlands. Likewise, on the other hand, where dangers, which demand an unused quantity of social energy, are excluded by the circumstances, means of numerical limitation, which extend even beyond endogamy, may be quite appropriate. In the highlands of Thibet polyandry prevails and, as even the missionaries recognize, to the advantage of society; for the soil is there so unfruitful that a rapid increase of the population would produce the greatest misery. To prevent this, polyandry is an efficient means. When we hear that among the Bushmen, on account of the sterility of the soil, very often even families must separate, the rule that the families must limit themselves to numbers corresponding with the possibilities of food production appears to be precisely in the interest of their unity, and highly appropriate when this and its social significance are considered. The dangers of the quantitative limitation are provided against by the external conditions of the life of the group, and their consequences for its inner structure.
Where the small group absorbs the personalities in considerable measure into its unity, especially in political groups, it strives, precisely for the sake of its unity, for definiteness of status toward persons, material tasks, and other societies. The large group, with the number and variety of its elements, demands or tolerates such definiteness much less. The history of the Greek and of the Italian cities, as of the Swiss cantons, shows that small communities, in case they do not proceed to federation, habitually live in open or latent hostility to each other. Moreover, warfare and martial law are between them much more bitter and sharp, and especially more radical, than between great states. It is precisely that absence of organs, of reserves, of undefined and transitional elements, which makes modification and adaptation difficult for them, and, apart from their external conditions, forces them, on account of their fundamental sociological configuration, much oftener to confront the question, "To be or not to be?"
By the side of such tendencies in smaller circles I cite, with the same unavoidable arbitrary selection from innumerable cases, the following for the sociological characterization of greater circles. I start from the fact that these, compared with smaller circles, seem to show an inferior degree of radicalism and obstinacy of attitude. This, however, requires a limitation. Precisely where great masses must be set in motion in political, social, and religious movements, they show a ruthless radicalism, a victory of the extreme parties over the mediating. This is primarily for the reason that great masses are always filled merely with simple ideas, and can be led by such only. What is common to many must for that reason be of a sort which the lowest, most primitive minds among them can entertain. And even higher and more differentiated personalities will approach each other in great numbers, not in the more complicated and highly elaborated, but only in the relatively simple universal human conceptions and impulses. Since, however, the actualities in which the ideas of the mass strive to become practical are always articulated in a very multifold way, and are composed of a great assemblage of very divergent elements, it follows that simple
ideas can work only in an entirely one-sided, ruthless, and radical fashion. This fact is accentuated in case the behavior of a crowd in actual physical contact is in question. Under such circumstances, the innumerable suggestions working back and forth produce an extraordinarily intense nervous excitement, which often deprives the individual of his senses, and drags him along as though he were unconscious. It inflates every impulse, often in a freakish manner, and makes the mob the prey of the most passionate personality in its number. This melting of masses into one feeling, in which all peculiarity and reserves of personalities are suspended, is naturally in its content so thoroughgoing, so radical, so alien to all mediation and consideration, that it would lead to sheer impracticabilities and destructions, if it did not usually find its end at an earlier stage from inner wearinesses and reactions, the consequence of this one-sided exaggeration. More than that, the masses, in the sense now in mind, have little to lose. On the contrary, they believe, so to speak, that they have everything to gain. This is the situation in which most of the restraints of radicalism habitually fall away; in this unorganized mass which consists of human beings with their immediate reciprocities, without a super-individual unity and form, those indefinitenesses, many-sidednesses, and mediatorial phenomena are lacking through which the great community ordinarily is distinguished from the small one. In order to form themselves upon the periphery of a community, they need precisely a stable center of the same, an objective social form and interest, in excess of the merely subjective and momentary unification of the elements.
Thus it is to be observed in general that small parties are more radical than large ones, of course within the limits which the ideas constituting the party prescribe. The radicalism here meant is immediately sociological; that is, it is marked by the unreserved dedication of the individual to the tendency of the group, by the sharp delimitation of the same against neighboring structures which is necessary to the self-preservation of the group, by the impossibility of taking up into the externally narrow frame a multitude of far-reaching endeavors and thoughts.
The radicalism which is peculiarly such in its content is to a considerable degree independent of the sort here in mind. It has been observed that the conservative-reactionary elements in Germany at the present time are compelled by the very fact of their numerical strength to restrain the ruthlessness of their endeavors. They are composed of so many and so different strata of society that they cannot follow any of their programs straight to the end without giving offense to some portion of their constituency. In the same way the Social-Democratic party is forced by its quantitative extent to dilute its qualitative radicalism, to allow dogmatic deviations a certain scope, to permit, if not expressly, nevertheless in fact here and there, a certain compromise with their intolerance. The unqualified coherence of the elements, upon which the possibility of radicalism rests sociologically, loses power to maintain itself as more and more varied individual elements are introduced with numerical accretion. For that reason professional labor coalitions, whose purpose is the improvement of the conditions of labor in detail, know very well that they lose in actual coherence with increase of extent. In this case, however, numerical extension has, on the other hand, the tremendous significance that every added member frees the coalition from a competitor, perhaps underbidding and thereby threatening it in its existence. There occur evidently quite special life-conditions for a group which constitutes itself inside of a larger group, and subordinate to its idea, and when its idea realizes its purpose only in so far as it unites in itself all elements which fall under its presuppositions. In such cases the rule usually holds: "He that is not for me is against me;" the personality outside of the group to which it, in accordance with the claims of the latter, so to speak, ideally belongs, does the group a very positive injury, through the mere indifference of non-attachment. This is the case whether, as among labor coalitions, through competition, or when it reveals to those standing outside of the group the boundaries of its power, or when the group only comes to real existence by the inclusion of all the elements concerned, as in the case of many industrial syndicates. In case, therefore, the question of com