Studies in History and Jurisprudence, vol. 2 - Online Library of Liberty
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Perhaps these three sources of the tendency to comply are really only forms of, as they are certainly all closely connected with, the disposition to imitate which is so strong, not only in man, but throughout the animal kingdom, so far as we can observe it. When ninety-nine sheep one after another jump over a fence at precisely the point where the first of the flock has jumped it, they reveal a propensity similar to that which makes a file of savages travelling over a wilderness each tread in the footsteps of his predecessor, or that which soon stamps the local accent upon the tongue of a child brought from some other part of the country, where the Edition: There is evidently a psychological, doubtless indeed a physiological, cause for this general and powerful tendency to reproduce the acts and ways of other creatures, even where, as in the case of a local accent, there is no motive whatever for doing so.
Conscious imitation is of course frequently explainable by the desire to please, or by a perception of the advantage of doing as others do. But there are many facts to show that its roots lie deeper and that it is due largely to a sympathy between the organs of perception and those of volition, which goes on in unconscious or subconscious states of the mind, and which makes the following of others, the reproduction of their acts, or the adoption of their ideas, to be the path of least resistance, which is therefore usually followed by weaker natures, and frequently even by strong ones.
Of Fear and of Reason nothing need be said, because the school of Hobbes and Bentham for the one, and the apostles of democratic theory for the other, have said more than all that is needed to show the part they respectively play in political society.
Fear is no doubt the promptest and most effective means of restraining the turbulent or criminal elements in society; and is of course the last and necessary expedient when authority either legally established or actually dominant is threatened by insurrection. Reason operates, and operates with increasing force as civilization advances, upon the superior minds, leading them to forgo the assertion of their own wills even where such assertion would be in itself innocent or beneficial, merely because the authority which rules in the community has otherwise directed.
Reason teaches the value of order, reminding us that without order there can be little progress, and preaches patience, holding out a prospect that evils will be amended by the general tendency for truth to prevail. Reason suggests that it is often better that the law should be certain than that it should be just, that an existing authority should be supported rather than that Edition: So also Reason disposes minorities to acquiesce even where a majority is tyrannical, in the faith that tyranny will provoke a reaction and be overthrown by peaceable discussion.
Allowing for the efficacy of Fear as a motive acting powerfully upon the ruder and more brutish natures, and for that of Reason as guiding the more thoughtful and gentle ones, and admitting that neither can be dispensed with in any community, their respective parts would nevertheless seem to be less important than are the parts played by the three first-mentioned motives.
If it were possible either in the affairs of the State, or in the private relations of life, to enumerate the number of instances in which one man obeys another, we should find the cases in which either the motive of Fear or the motive of Reason was directly and consciously present to be comparatively few, and their whole collective product in the aggregate of human compliance comparatively small.
If one may so express it, in the sum total of obedience the percentage due to Fear and to Reason respectively is much less than that due to Indolence, and less also than that due to Deference or to Sympathy. In a large proportion of the cases arising in private life the motive of Fear cannot be invoked at all, because there is no power of inflicting harm; and Reason just as little, because the persons who habitually apply ratiocinative processes to their actions are after all few.
It may be said that conscious thought is not ordinarily applied to action because Habit supplies its place, and Habit, enabling and disposing us to do without consideration the acts which otherwise would need to be considered, is in fact fossil reason. That is largely so, but Habit is still more often the permanent and unchanging expression of Indolence.
Nothing becomes a habit so quickly as does the acquiescence due to Indolence, nor does any tendency strike its roots so deep. And though it is true as regards public or civic matters that Edition: They do not necessarily, nor even generally, think of the penalties of the law. They defer to it from respect and because other people defer; they are glad that it is there to save them and other people from trouble.
This attitude is not confined to civilized States, but has existed always, even in unsettled societies, where the law might not be able to prevail but for the aid of private citizens. Of the three springs of Obedience which have been represented as on the whole the stronger, Indolence disguises itself under Deference and Deference is intensified by Sympathy; that is to say, the tendency of men to let others take decisions for them which they might take for themselves becomes much stronger and more constant when they have any ground for believing others to possess some sort of superiority, while the disposition to admit superiority is incomparably more active where a number of other persons are perceived to be also admitting it.
So Protestants have been apt to assume that the natural and normal attitude of man in religious matters is independence—a wish to seek out truth for himself, a sense of the duty of consulting his own conscience; whereas the opposite is the fact, and those religious systems take the greatest hold upon man which leave least to individual choice and inculcate, not merely humility towards the Unseen Powers, but the duty of implicitly accepting definite traditions or of revering and following visible ecclesiastical guides.
Some philosophers have talked of Will as the distinctive note of Man—and in so far as the exercise of Will Edition: But in mere tenacity of purpose and persistence in a particular course other animals run him hard. A rogue elephant or a bucking mustang can show as much persistence, sometimes mingled with a craft which seeks to throw the opponent off his guard, and bides its time till the most favourable moment for resistance arrives.
In most men the want of individual Will—that is to say, the proneness to comply with or follow the will of another—is the specially conspicuous phenomenon. It is for this reason that a single strenuous and unwearying will sometimes becomes so tremendous a power. There are in the world comparatively few such wills, and when one appears, united to high intellectual gifts, it prevails whichever way it turns, because the weaker bow to it and gather round it for shelter, and, in rallying to it, increase its propulsive or destructive power.
It becomes almost a hypnotizing force. One perceives this most strikingly among the weaker races of the world. They are not necessarily the less intelligent races. In India, for instance, an average European finds many Hindus fully his equals in intelligence, in subtlety, and in power of speech; but he feels his own volitions and his whole personality to be so much stronger than that of the great bulk of the native population excluding a very few races that men seem to him no more than stalks of corn whom he can break through and tread down in his onward march.
This is how India was conquered and is now held by the English. Superior arms, superior discipline, stronger physique, are all secondary causes. There are other races far less cultivated, far less subtle and ingenious, than the Hindus, with whom Europeans have found it harder to deal, because the tenacity of purpose and the pride of the individual were greater. This is the case with the North-American Indians, who fought so fiercely for their lands that it has been estimated that in the long conflict they maintained they have Edition: Yet they were far inferior in weapons and in military skill; and they had no religious motives to stimulate their valour.
No one can read the history of the East without being struck by the extraordinary triumphs which a single energetic will has frequently achieved there. A military adventurer, or the chief of a petty tribe, suddenly rises to greatness, becomes the head of an army which attacks all its neighbours, and pursues a career of unbroken conquest till he has founded a mighty empire. Perhaps he raises vast revenues, constructs magnificent works, establishes justice, creates a system of administration which secures order and peace during his lifetime.
One asks why this happens chiefly in the East. Is there a greater difference in Asiatic than in European peoples between the few most highly-gifted men and the great mass of humanity, so that where the ordinary characters are weak one strong character prevails swiftly and easily? Or is the cause rather to be sought in the fact that in the East there are no permanent institutions of government to be overthrown?
That which is strong and permanent there—viz. In mediaeval and modern Europe, the weakness of the ordinary man was and is entrenched behind a fabric of government and law, which the strongest individual will cannot overthrow; and it is Edition: Thus the comparative stability of governments in mediaeval and modern Europe does not disprove the view which finds in the force of individual will, and the tendency of average men to yield to it, a potent factor in compelling obedience.
For in the European countries the resistance offered to the ambition of such a will is effective, not so much because ordinary men are themselves more independent and more capable of opposition as because their superior intelligence has built up well-compacted systems of polity to which obedience has by long habit become attached. Traditions of deference and loyalty have grown up around these systems, so that they enable individuals to stand firmly together, and constitute a solid bulwark against any personality less forceful than that of a Julius Caesar or a Buonaparte.
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To this explanation one may perhaps add another. In the East the monarch is as a rule raised so far above his subjects that they are all practically on a level, as compared with him; and those who are for the moment powerful are powerful in virtue of his favour, which has elevated and may at any moment abase them. This has long been the case in Musulman States, and was to a large extent true even in the Byzantine Empire.
It is in some degree true in Russia now. Hence there may be no order of men to set the example of an independence of feeling and attitude which springs from their position as the leaders of their dependents and as entitled to be consulted by the Crown.
Such an order of men existed in the feudal aristocracy of the Middle Ages, who have done much to create a type of character in the States of Edition: To them has now succeeded, in some modern countries, a so-called aristocracy of wealth, which, vain as it may be of its opportunities for influencing others, is much less stable than was the land-holding class of old days, and much less high-spirited.
Such a man may have a career in a huge democracy which he could not have had a century ago, because the forces that resist are fewer and feebler to-day than they were then, and the multitude is more easily fascinated by audacity or force of will, apart from moral excellence, apart from intellectual distinction, than is an aristocratic society. It may help to explain the theory I am trying to present if we pause for a moment to examine the influences under which the habit of obedience is first formed in the individual man and in the nascent community.
For the individual, it begins in the Family; and it grows up there only to a small extent by the action of Force and Fear. The average child, even in the days of a discipline harsher than that which now obtains, did not as a rule act under coercion, but began from the dawn of consciousness to comply with the wish of the parent or the nurse, partly from the sense of dependence, partly from affection, partly because it saw that other children did the like.
Force might sometimes be resorted to; but force was in most cases a secondary and subsidiary agency. Nor did force succeed so well as softer methods. Everybody knows that the children who have been most often punished are not the most obedient, nor is this Edition: The child whose constant impulse is to disobey is as likely to turn out ineffective as the child who obeys too readily; for perversity is as frequently due to want of affection, sympathy and common sense as to exceptional force of will.
Thus most people enter adult life having already formed the habit of obeying in many things where Force and Fear do not come in at all, but in which the most obvious motive is the readiness to be relieved of trouble and responsibility by following the directions of some one else, presumably superior. They have also formed during boyhood the habit of adopting the opinions of those around them.
An acute observer has said that the chief fault of the English public school is that it makes this habit far too strong. Custom—that is to say, whatever is established and obeyed—has great power over them.
No conservatism surpasses that of the schoolboy. It would not be safe to try to find a general explanation of the growth of political communities in the phenomena of domestic life, though it was a favourite doctrine of a past generation that the germ or the type of the State was to be found in the Family.
There are some races among whom the Family and its organization seem to have played no great part. But it is clear that in primitive societies three forces, other than Fear, have been extremely powerful—the reverence for ancient lineage, the instinctive deference to any person of marked gifts with a disposition to deem those gifts supernaturaland the associative tendency which unites the members of a group or tribe so closely together that the Edition: These forces have imprinted the habit of obedience so deeply upon early communities that it became a tradition, moulding the minds of succeeding generations.
Physical force had plenty of scope in the strife of clans or cities, or somewhat later of factions, with one another; but in building up the clan or the city it was hardly needed, for motives more uniform and steady in their efficiency were at work.
To pursue this topic would lead us into a field too wide for this occasion; yet it is well to note two facts which stand out in the early history of those communities in which Force and Fear might seem to have had most to do with the formation of governments, and of the habit of obedience to authority. One is the passionate and persistent attachment to a particular reigning family, apart from their personal gifts, apart from their power to serve the community or to terrify it.
The Franks in Gaul during the seventh and eighth centuries were as fierce and turbulent a race as the world has ever seen. Their history is a long record of incessant and ferocious strife.
From the beginning of the seventh century the Merwing kings, descendants of Clovis, became, with scarcely an exception, feeble and helpless.
Their power passed to their vizirs, the Mayors of the Palace, who from about ad onwards were kings de facto. But the Franks continued to revere the blood of Clovis, and when, ina rash Mayor of the Palace had deposed a Merwing and placed his own son on the throne, they rose at once against the insult offered to the ancient line; and its scions were revered as titular heads of the nation for a century longer, till Pippin the Short, having induced the Pope to pronounce the deposition of the last Merwing and to sanction the transfer of the crown to himself, sent that prince into a monastery.
This instance is the more remarkable because the Franks, being Christians in doctrine if not in practice, can hardly have continued to hold the divine origin of their dynasty. Altars have probably done even more than hearths to stimulate patriotism, especially among those who, like the Romans, had a sort of domestic altar for every hearth, and kept up a worship of family and clan spirits beside the worship of the national gods.
It may be said that the power of religion in welding men together and inducing them to obey kings or magistrates or laws is due to the element of Fear in religion. Such an element has no doubt been at work, but its influence is more seen in the requirement of sacrifices to the deities themselves than in enforcing obedience to the authorities and institutions of the State. What commends these latter to reverence is rather the belief that their divine appointment gives them a claim on the affection of the citizens, and makes it a part of piety as well as of patriotism to support them.
In the Old Testament, for instance, the love of Jehovah, and the sense of gratitude to Him for His favours to His people, are motives invoked as no less potent than the dread of His wrath. There has always been a tendency, since Christianity lost its first freshness and power, to insist upon the more material motives, upon those which appear palpable and ponderable, such as the fear of future punishment, rather than on those of a more refined and ethereal quality.
But it was not by appealing to these lower motives that Christianity originally made its way in the Roman Empire. The element of Fear, though not wholly absent from the New Testament, plays a very subordinate part there, and became larger in mediaeval and modern times.
Yet it may be doubted whether, in growing stronger, it increased the efficiency Edition: The martyrs in the persecutions under Decius and Diocletian, and the Armenian martyrs ofwho were counted by thousands, overcame the terror of impending torture and death, not from any thought of penalties in a world to come, but from the sense of honour and devotion which forbade them to deny the God whom they and their parents or forefathers had worshipped.
Returning to the general question of the disposition of the average man to follow rather than to make a path for himself, it may be remarked that the abstract love of liberty, the desire to secure self-government for its own sake, apart from the benefits to be reaped from it, has been a comparatively feeble passion, even in nations far advanced in political development. It is not easy to establish this proposition by instances, because wherever arbitrary power is exercised, there are pretty certain to be tangible grievances as well as a denial of liberty, and where a monarch, or an oligarchy, attempts to deprive a people of the freedom they have enjoyed, they conclude, and with good reason, that oppression is sure to follow.
But when the sources of insurrections are examined, it will be almost always found that the great bulk of the insurgents were moved either by the hatred of foreign domination, or by religious passion, or by actual wrongs suffered. Those who in drawing the sword appeal to the love of liberty and liberty only are usually a group of persons who, like the last republicans of Rome, are either exceptional in their sense of dignity and their attachment to tradition, or deem the predominance of a despot injurious to their own position in the State.
So we may safely say that rebellions and revolutions are primarily made, not for the sake of freedom, but in order to get rid of some evil which touches men in a more tender place than their pride. Once they have risen, the more ardent spirits involve the sacred name of liberty and fight under its banner. But so long as the government is fairly easy and tolerant, the mere denial of a share in the control of public affairs is not acutely resented, and a great deal of paternally regulative despotism is acquiesced in.
In adwhen Bismarck was flouting the Prussian Parliament, Englishmen were surprised at the coolness with which the Prussian people bore the violations of their not too liberal constitution. The explanation was that the country was well governed, and the struggle for political power did not move peasants and tradesmen otherwise contented with their lot.
The English were a people singularly attached to their ancient political and civil rights, yet Charles the First might probably have destroyed the liberties of England, and would almost certainly have destroyed those of Scotland, if he had left religion alone. One of the few cases that can be cited where a great movement sprang from the pure love of independence is the migration of the chieftains of Western Norway to Iceland in the ninth century, rather than admit the overlordship of King Harold the Fair-haired.
But even here it is to be remembered that Harold sought to levy tribute: There are even times when peoples that have enjoyed a disordered freedom tire of it, and are ready to welcome, for the sake of order, any saviour of society who appears, an Octavianus Augustus or even a Louis Napoleon.
The greatest peril to self-government is at all times to be found in the want of zeal and energy among Edition: This is a peril which exists in democracies as well as in despotisms.
Submission is less frequently due to overwhelming force than to the apathy of those who find acquiescence easier than resistance. Two questions arising out of the view that has been here presented regarding the main sources of Obedience remain to be considered.
One of these, that which bears upon the theory of jurisprudence as a science, being somewhat technical, had better not be suffered to interrupt the course of the general argument. I have therefore relegated it to a note at the end of this essay. The Future of Political Obedience. The other question which deserves to be examined is a much wider one. We have inquired what have been the grounds of Obedience in the past, and how it has worked in consolidating political society.
We have seen that political society has depended upon the natural inequality in the strength of individual wills and in the activity of individual intellects, so that the weaker have tended to follow and shelter themselves behind the stronger, not so much because the stronger have compelled them to do so as because they have themselves wished to do so.
But the conditions of human life and society have of late years greatly changed, and are still continuing to change, in the direction of securing wider scope for independence of thought and action. Society has become orderly, and physical violence plays a smaller and a steadily decreasing part. The multitude, in most of the civilized and progressive countries, can, if and when it pleases, exercise political supremacy through its voting power. There is very much less distinction of ranks than formerly, so that even those who dislike social equality are obliged to profess their love for it.
And the opportunities of obtaining knowledge have become infinitely more accessible than they were even a Edition: Changes so great as these must surely—though of course they cannot alter the fundamental facts of human nature—modify the working of the tendencies and habits which man shows in political society. How far, then, are they likely to modify the tendency to Obedience, and in what way?
In other words, What will be the relation of Obedience to democracy and to social equality? It used to be believed, perhaps it is still generally believed, that with the advance of knowledge, the development of intelligence, and the accumulation of human experience, Obedience must necessarily decline, and that therewith governmental control will decay or be deemed superfluous, the good sense of mankind coming in to do for themselves what authority has hitherto done for them.
There is even a school counting among its members, besides a few assassins, many peaceful and tender-hearted theorists, men of high personal excellence, which maintains that all the troubles of the world spring from the effort of one man, or a group of men, or the general mass of a people, to regulate the relations and guide the conduct of individuals. To this school all forms of government are pretty nearly equally bad, and a Czar, though a more conspicuous mark for denunciation, is scarcely worse than is a Parliament.
The answer to this view, which is attractive, not merely because it is paradoxical, but because it is a protest against some really bad tendencies of human society, and whose ideal, however unattainable, offers larger prospects of pleasure than does that of the ultra-regulators, seems to be that Obedience is an instinct of human nature too strong and permanent to be got rid of, and that the extinction of the State machinery which Edition: To assume that human nature will change as soon as provisions for State compulsion have been withdrawn is to misread human nature as we have hitherto known it.
Organizations there will be and must be, even if existing governments come to an end: The decline of respect for the State, or even the growth of a habit of disobedience to State authorities, so far from implying a decline in the motives and forces which produce obedience generally, may indicate nothing more than that people have begun to obey some other authorities, and so illustrate our proposition that the obedience rendered to authorities commanding physical force is not always nor necessarily the promptest and the heartiest.
New forms of social grouping and organization are always springing up, and in these, if they are to strive for and attain their aims, discipline is essential, because it is only thus that success in a struggle can be won. To keep men tightly knit together power must be lodged in few hands, and the rank and file must take their orders from their officers. Such submission, due at starting partly no doubt to reason, which suggests motives of interest, but largely also to deference and to sympathy, with fear presently added, soon crystallizes into a habit.
Any one who will watch any considerable modern movement or series of movements outside the State sphere will perceive how naturally and inevitably guidance falls into a few hands, and how largely success depends on the discipline which those who guide maintain among those who follow; that is to say, on the uniformity and readiness of obedience, and on the strength of the associative Edition: Whether it be a political party, or an ecclesiastical movement, or a combination of employers or of workmen, the same tendencies appear, and victory is achieved by the same methods.
I will name in passing three very recent instances, drawn from the country in which it might be supposed that subordination was least likely to be found, because the principles of democracy and equality have had in it the longest and the fullest vogue.
One is to be found in the Boss system in American politics. Such party chieftains as Mr. Croker in New York City, Mr. Cox in Cincinnati, and the well-known masters of the Republican party in the great States of Pennsylvania and New York, wield a power far more absolute, far more unquestioned, than the laws of the United States permit to any official.
One must go to Russia to find anything comparable to the despotic control they exert over fellow citizens who are supposed to enjoy the widest freedom the world has known. A second is supplied by the American trade unions, in which a few leaders are permitted by the mass of their fellow workmen to organize combinations and to direct strikes as practical dictators. A trade union is a militant body, and the conditions of war make the leader all-powerful. The third is to be found in the American Trusts or great commercial corporations, aggregations of capital which embrace vast industries and departments of trade employing many thousands of work-people, and which are controlled by a very small number of capable men.
Modern commerce, like war, suggests the concentration of virtually irresponsible power in a few hands. Whether we examine the moral constitution of man or the phenomena of society in its various stages, we shall be led to conclude that the theoretic democratic ideal of men as each of them possessing and exerting an independent reason, conscience, and will, is an ideal too remote from human nature as we know it, and from Edition: What, then, is the most that a reasonable optimist may venture to hope for?
The masses cannot have either the leisure or the capacity for investigating the underlying principles of policy or for mastering the details of legislation. For the average man to do more than this seems scarcely more possible than that he should examine religious truth for himself, scrutinizing the Christian evidences and reaching independent conclusions upon the Christian dogmas.
This is what the extreme Protestant theory, which exalted human reason in the religious sphere no less than democratic theory did in the political sphere, has demanded, and indeed must demand, from the average man. But how many Protestants seek to rise to it? Many of those who grew up under the influence of that inspiriting theory can recall the disappointment with which, between twenty and thirty years of age, they came to perceive that the ideal was unattainable for themselves, and that they must be content to form and live by such Edition: Even this, however, has seemed to most of those who have passed through such an experience to be better than a despairing surrender to ecclesiastical authority.
So the optimist aforesaid may argue that the future for which he hopes will represent, not indeed the ideal which democracy sets up, yet nevertheless an advance upon any government the world has yet seen, except perhaps in very small communities or for a brief space of time.
The doctrine that the natural instinct and passion of men was for liberty, because every human being was a centre of independent force, striving to assert itself; the doctrine that political freedom would bring mental independence and a sense of responsibility; that education would teach men, not only to prize their political rights, but also to use them wisely—this doctrine was first promulgated by persons of exceptional vigour, exceptional independence, exceptional hopefulness.
These were the qualities that made such men idealists and reformers: It was an admirable ideal. Let us hold to it as long as we can. The world is still young. Having heard the optimist, we must let the pessimist also state his case.
If he is a reasonable pessimist, he will admit that Obedience may be expected to become more and more a product of reason rather than of mere indolence or timidity, because every advance in popular enlightenment or in the participation of the masses in government ought, after the first excitement of unchastened hopes or destructive impulses has passed away, to engender a stronger feeling of the common interest Edition: But if he is asked to admit further that governments will become purer and better because there will come along with that habit of rational obedience a habit necessary to enable any government to be efficient a stronger interest in self-government, a more active public spirit, a constant sense of the duty which each citizen owes to the community to secure an honest and wise administration, he will observe that as we have seen that Obedience rests primarily upon certain instincts and habits woven into the texture of human nature, these instincts and habits will be permanent factors, not necessarily less potent in the future than they have been in the past.
He will then ask whether the events of the last seventy years, during which power has, at least in form and semblance, passed from the few to the many, encourage the belief that the spirit of independence, the standard of public duty, and the sense of responsibility in each individual for the conduct of government are really advancing. Are the omens in this quarter of the heavens so favourable as we are apt to assume? There is less love of liberty—so our pessimist pursues—than there used to be, perhaps less value set upon the right of a man to express unpopular opinions.
There is less sympathy in each country for the struggles which are maintained for freedom in other countries. National antagonisms are as strong as ever they were, and nations seem quite as willing as in the old days of tyranny to forgo domestic progress for the sake of strengthening their militant force against their rivals.
There is less faith in, less regard for, that which used to be called the principle of nationality. Peoples which have achieved their own national freedom show no more disposition than did the tyrants of old time to respect the struggles Edition: The sympathy which Germans and Frenchmen used to feel for the oppressed races of the East has disappeared. France has ceased to care about the Cretans or the Poles. England, whose heart went out forty years ago to all who strove for freedom and independence, feels no compunction in blotting out two little republics whose citizens have fought with a valour and constancy never surpassed.
The United States ignore the principles of their Declaration of Independence when they proceed to subjugate by force the Philippine Islanders.
The modern ideal is no longer liberty, but military strength and commercial development. If freedom is less prized, it is perhaps because free governments have failed to bear the fruit that was expected from them fifty years ago. The Republic in France seems, after thirty years, to have made the country not much happier or more contentedly tranquil than it was under Louis Napoleon or Louis Philippe.
It maintains, to the eyes of foreign observers, a precarious life from year to year, now and then threatened by plots military, political, or ecclesiastical. A free and united Italy has not realized the hopes of the great men to whom she owes her unity and her freedom. The United States have at least as much corruption in their legislatures, and worse government in their great cities, with fewer men of commanding ability in their public life, than before the Civil War, when it was believed that all evils would disappear with the extinction of slavery.
In particular, representative government, in which the hopes of the apostles of progress were centred half a century ago, has fallen into discredit. In some countries the representative is more timid, more willing to be turned into a mere delegate, more at the mercy of a party organization, than he was formerly. In others the popular assembly is so much distrusted that men seek to override it by introducing a so-called plebiscite or referendum to review its decisions. But the United Kingdom is the only country in which Free Trade holds the field, and in the United Kingdom the true and wholesome principles of poor law administration, as set forth by Chalmers and by the famous Commissioners ofhave rather lost than gained ground.
The doctrines of Laissez-Faire and Individualism have suffered an eclipse. The State interferes more and more with the power of the individual to do as he pleases.
Its motives are usually excellent, but the result is to subject his life to a closer and more repressive supervision. This means more obedience, less exercise of personal discretion, less of that virtue which guides the self-determining will to choose the good and reject the evil.
Masses of working men surrender themselves to the control of the few chiefs of their trade organization, who are hardly the less despotic in fact because they are elected and because they are nominally subject to a control which those who have elected them cannot, from the nature of the case, effectively exert 1.
Thus there is, Edition: To one who believes the principles of Free Trade and Self-Help to be irrefragably true this means that the bulk of the people are not, as was formerly expected, thinking for themselves, perhaps are not capable of thinking for themselves, while those persons who are capable fear to contend for doctrines which happen to be unpopular because opposed to ignorant or superficial views of what is the interest of a nation or of the most numerous class in the nation.
In the enlightenment of the people, which was to increase their independence of spirit and their zeal for good government, the chief part was to be played by the public press. Its influence has increased beyond the most sanguine anticipations of the last generation of reformers whether in Great Britain or in Continental Europe. It employs an enormous amount of literary talent.
Nothing escapes its notice. But in some countries it has become a powerful agent for blackmailing; in others it is largely the tool of financial speculators; in others, again, it degrades politics by vulgarizing them, or seeks to increase its circulation by stimulating the passion of the moment.
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Pecuniary considerations cannot but affect it, because a newspaper is a commercial concern, whose primary aim is to make a profit. Almost everywhere it tends to embitter racial animosities and make more difficult the preservation of international peace.
When it tells each man that the views it expresses are those of everybody else, except a few contemptible opponents, it increases the tendency of each man to fall in with the views of the mass, and confirms that habit of passive acquiescence which the progress of enlightenment was once expected to dispel.
The growth in population of the great industrial nations, such as Germany, England, and the United States, may tend to dwarf the sense in each man of his own significance to the whole body politic, and dispose him Edition: The vaster the people the more trivial must the individual appear to himself, and the more readily will he fall in with what the majority think or determine.
The rise of wages among the poorer classes and the bettering of material conditions in all classes were expected to give the bulk of the people more leisure, and it was assumed that this would induce them to bestow more attention upon public affairs and so stimulate them in the discharge of civic duties.
Wages have risen everywhere, notably in England and the United States, and material conditions have improved. But new interests have therewith been awakened, and pleasures formerly unattainable have been brought within the reach of every class except the very poorest. Whatever other benefits this change brings, it has not tended to make civic duty more prominent in the mind of the average man.
With some, material enjoyments, with others physical exercise, or what is called sport including the gambling that accompanies many kinds of sportwith others the more refined pleasures of art or literature, have come in to occupy the greatest part of such time and thought as can be spared from daily work; and public affairs receive no more, perhaps even less, of their attention than was formerly given.
To a fine taste things in which taste cannot be indulged become distasteful. Thus high civilization may end by increasing the sum of human indolence, at least so far as politics are concerned, and indolence is, after all, the prime source of Obedience. Some things no doubt men will continue to value and if need be to defend, because Edition: Freedom of Thought and Speech is probably one of these things, though the multitude occasionally shows how intolerant it can be when excited.
Why Trust is So Important The only person who will convert is a person who has trust. In e-commerce, trust is everything. Trust is a huge marketing category, and one that branches out to dozens of subcategories. Just imagine the myriad ways that trust is required, cultivated and encouraged. Here are some of them: Trust that the decision he or she is making is the right one. Trust that the product or service is the right one.
Trust that the business or company is legitimate. Trust that the merchant is ethical. Trust that the delivery is ensured. Trust that the money will be received.
Trust that the exchange will be fair. Trust that the technology for payment processing is working. Trust that there are real people who will be able to respond to inquiries. Trust that those people will be reachable by phone, email or other means. Trust that the people within that company will be able to speak in a language that the customer understands.
Trust that the people are nice. Trust is important precisely because the entire purchase experience depends upon trust in order to be successful. Every conversion is an indication that trust has been won. Every new customer represents a person whose trust has been earned. Every return customer represents a person whose trust continues to be held.
Without trust, there is no such thing as conversions, customers or revenue. Trust is the functional center for all of conversion optimization. In order to encourage customers to buy, conversion optimization experts focus on three main areas: Increasing motivation Reducing friction. Every user must have a degree of trust in order for motivation to be effective.
Motivating factors include urgency, likability, consistency and incentives. Behind all of these is the need for trust.
Anxiety is the antithesis of trust. There are lots of different types of friction. Many of these friction elements are created by a lack of trust. The only way to reduce friction in such categories copy, cognitive, design, etc. Your livelihood as a marketer depends on trust, and it depends on understanding, earning and keeping that trust. Thankfully, what we do and write impacts trust.
Content wins the day in conversion optimization as much as it does in search engine optimization. Content is one of the most important features in creating trust in your users. But it is one of the most important things. You need to create content that inspires trust. Humans are Driven by Language The use of language is rooted deep within our brains. Humans are wired for language and operate based on language.
Beyond its primal origins, however, language also has profound cultural moorings. Mere phonetics and pronunciation have an impact on the perception and profitability of companies. Something about that voiceless velar plosive … Stocks that hit the market with pronounceable and memorable names and ticker symbols actually perform demonstrably better.
Even in the life-on-life interaction of trust building, words are important. In a revealing way, the five points the article expanded on each had something to do with language and words: Show that your interests are the same.
Demonstrate concern for others. Be consistent and honest. Communicate frequently, clearly and openly. What words inspire trust? Research Believe it or not — trust me on this — there are entire organizations and branches of study that deal with trust. Some journals deal exclusively with the academic research on trust. This research was instrumental in my developing this list. Phonology The very sound of words phonology has an effect on their usage, understanding and trustworthiness.
The better the fit, the greater likelihood of a trust response. Connotative Meaning Words also have meaning. This is an issue of semantic relationships, and is perhaps the greatest contributor to the trustworthiness of certain words. Most members of the general population do not have strong feelings of affection or affinity toward snakes. According to the Bible, Satan appeared as a snake to Adam and Eve. Satan is the personification of evil, the antithesis of good, and the locus of all that is bad.
Denotative Meaning The straightforward dictionary meaning of a word is what originally classifies it as trustworthy. Words that inspire trust are words that are synonyms of trust. The meaning of a word stands as its own marker of trust.