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By Lewis H. Berens

"If anyone goes about to build up Commonwealth government upon kingly principles, htey will both shame and lose themselves; for there is a plain difference between the two govrnments." Gerrard Winstanley (The Digger) 1652.

Government is he art of administering the public affairs of the community, of raising the revenue necessary to this end, and of framing, maintaining and enforcing such laws and institutions as may be deemed conducive to the continued existence and well-being of the community as a whole.

The primary necessity of communal or social life, of voluntary association and harmonious co-operation, is internal peace. Hence to maintain and promote this end is the primary function of government. In other words, the primary function of government is o maintain "law and order" the established law and the esablished order, whaever these may be.

Variation and adaption, however, are the two fundamental principles of oragnic life. Organisms that cannot adapt themselves to altered conditions necessarily degeneraet and ultimately perish; only those that so adapt themselves survive, and, by surviving, prove themselves the fittest to survive. This is true, too, of societies, communities or nations. Condiions ineviably change, requiring alera-ions in the estabilshed "law and order," in the prevailing man-made

social laws and institutions, to enable society to adapt itself to the changed conditions. Laws and institutions suitable to one set of scrial conditions, to one stage of human development, asy the nomadic or pastoral, may prove utterly unsuittable to another, say the agricultural or industrial. Hence the second necessity for the perservation, stability and peaceful development of social or communal life, is the possibility of effecting such changes in the rules and regulations determining and guiding the social relations of the units forming the community, as changed conditions demand: including changes demanded by intellectual and moral development, which necessarily alter men's conceptions of what is necessary, wise, beneficial, just or "right." For it is to those conceptions that the prevailing social or political laws and instituions have ultimately to conform.

Hence it is that to establish and "legalize" such alterations in social regulations as changed conditions demand, is the second function of gov ernmen. Upon the due performance of this function as necessity dictates and occasion renders practicable, the preservation, stability and development of the community necessarily. depend. Fortunate, indeed, is the community or nation whose ruling or governing classes are patriotic enough, or whose citizens are intelligent and public-spirited enough, to promoe those changes demanded by

the altered conditions under which it finds itself, to the requirements of which the ruling instinct of selfpreservation will impel it by some means or other to adapt itself.

That such changes are possible under any form of Government, may be readily admitted. Constitutional Government, however, when respected by all classes of the community, offers het one great advanage that it enables all such changes to be made and legalized in a peaceful, orderly, "constitutional" manner, rendering un necessary thos appeals to force, known to us as "Revovlutions,' which hitherto have formed the landmarks in the tragic sory of political or social evolution.

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The general tendency of mankind, however, is to conservatism, to love the old, to cling to the social garment o which they have adapted themselves, to persist in the paths that past generations have carved out for hem. In truth, eNwton's law of inertia, "by which everybody, as much as in it lies, endeavors to persevere in its rpesent state," is as true of men as it is of inanimate nature. As Thoma Carlyle so well expresses it"The Law of Perseverence is among the deepest in man; by nature he hats changes; seldom will he quit his old house till it has actually fallen about his ears." Constitutional Government, however, necessarily tends to combat this universal tendency to stagnation, to make men more tolerant of the idea of change, and of make sotciety as a whole more plastic and adaptable. Hence its special fitness and advantage to the progressive, or industrial nations of the world, who today are living under conditions unknown to any previous generation of men, and who, therefore, necessarily have o atdapt the customs, laws and institutions they have inherited from the past, to the requirements of he new cotnditions they have created, or under which they find


Not whether change is necessary, but rather as to what changes should be made, is, in fact, the question today at issue in all such countries. Hence during normal times the public attention is more directed toward the second function of government— the establishing and legalizing of necessary changes-than to it's primary function-he tmainenance of "law and order"--and constant necessity for which only obtrudes itself, coming almost as a shock or revelation to peace-loving sentimentalists, under normal conditions, during times of internal industrial strife.

The chronic activity of their Legislative Bodies, wih the consequent over-production of laws and regulations, affecting almost every social relation and civic duty of the citizens, bears witness to the universality of the belief in the necessity and desirability of some change in the established order. And the accrimonious discussions, ofen embittering social relations, between adherents of the different schools of social or political thought, bear witness to the fundamental diverences of opinion as to what are necessary or desirable, and should, therefore, be legalized and enforced by he power of Government.

Today, intruth, in all such countries, it is no longer differences in religious but in social or political views that is dividing the communtty into opposing and hostils camps. And all such differences may be traced, not to differences as to the power, function, or even form of Government, for all assign to it much the same power and functions, but rather as to the ideal toward which it is held the community as a whole should aspire, and to promote which it is deemed. the power of Government should be utilized. In short, it is a conbict of social ideals that is today dividing thoughtful men in the progressive, industrial, constitutionally-governed

countries of the world; a well as in countries as yet only aspiring to wring constitutions from hose who have inherited or usurped the power of Government.

Nor is the reason far to seek. The future will be the product of the present, the present is the product of the past. From the past we have inherited, not only our fundamental social laws and institutions, but also our social and political ideals and aspirations. To understand the present we must, therefore, study the past. And o understand the present social and political conflict, we must study the social or political ideals of the past and compare them with those today animating and inspiring the more prorgessive nations of the world.


Now, whatever history we study-whether that of Japan or of India, of Mexico or of Peru, of Egypt or of Rome, or of any of the nations inheriting their ideas and ideals of overgnment and politics from Rome. -we shall find that from time immemorial the prevailing man-made oscial laws and institutions have divided society into two distinct and separate classes-free-men and slaves, patricians and plebians, landlords and serfs, gentry and peasants, rulers and ruled, the privileged and the disfranchised and disinherited. That some were born to command, others to obey; some to rule, others to serve; some ot enjoy, others to labor; and that, therefore, by ancient custom or by new enacments, special preferences, advantages and powers, or briefly special privielges, should be conferred on some, involving corresponding disabilities and restraints upon the rest of the community, almost seems acceptdd as axiomatic by those in a position to influence and shape the Governments of het past. Privilege,, therefore, in one form or another, was tacitly accepted as the necessary basis or guiding principle of Government, as i is still today by those whose poli

tical philosophy is dominated by inherited ideas.

The very essence, or distinguishing characerisics of Privilege, then, is that some preference, advantage or power, involving corresponding disabilities or restraints upon the rest of the community, should by custom or by law be conferred upon a specially favored class or caste. Once established, Privilege necessarily tends to exalt these above the rest of the community, to enable them more or less easily to impose their will upon the rest of their fellow-ciizens, and to make their partial interests rise superior to and dominate the common interests. Once established, Privilege, in fact, not only exempts some from the operation of hose naural causes determining tehe action of the rest of the community, but also, as far as is humanly possible, from the penalties attached to disobedience to natural laws. Thus, Nature demands that men shoul dwork in order to live, and starvation is the penalty she exacts for idleness. Inu the abesnce of any system of preference or restraints, under natural, rational or equitable conditions, it is manifest that only those who shared in the labors of the community could have any claim to share in its fruits. To exempt some from sharing he cotmmon labors, as well as from the penalty that would naturally attach o any such exemption, has ever been the aim and object of Privigleee.

The primary necessity of both individual an edommunal life, however, is the use of land. In other words, access to Nature, to the natural sources, forces and opportunities, is the indispensable conditio sine qua non of he production of everything necessary for the maintenance of individual and of communal life. Hence, apart from laws conferring on some few alone avoice in the government of the community, it is in the social customs, laws and institutions deter

mining the possession, or rather the holding and control, of the land of the community that the main support and bulwarks of Privilege are always to be found. In ancient communities the holding of land, the control of the land of the community that the main support and bulwarks of Privilege are always to be found. In ancient communities he holding of land, he conrol of he natural bounties, has from time immemorial been considered the peculiar appantage, heirloom and privilege of a particular caste, in modern communities of a particular class.

Of the tendency of once established partial interests to over-ride and dominate the common interests, we need only give one illustration. It is admittedly to the common interest that the land of the community should constantly be put to its best and fullest use. Fixed rents for mineral land, as well as high rents for agricultural, urban and other lands, have been justified, more especially by those who receivved them, as the best means of ensuring the fullest and best use of the land, and to prevent tenants from neglecting or even ceasing to make. use of the opportunities granted them. But even in the most progressive countries of the world, in those most impatient of unnecessary, artificially created social inequalities and class privileges, those on whom has been conferred the privileges of controlling the use of he land have hitherto proved themselves powerful and influential enough to prevent any steps being taken by the community as a whole that would that would ensure their putting the lands heyt conrol to their fullest and best uses. They may be willing enough that those who hold from them should be impelled to do so, but not that hey should be subjected to a similar pressure. For themselves they claim the right to allow their holdinsg to be used or ot withhold them from use, as may best suit heir own individual or class inter


Whether the conferring of special privileges on some is or ever was to the best interests of society as a whole; whether it is the natural accompaniment or product of the development of social life; or whether it is but an inheritance from a time when such perference were enforced upon communities by an ilien, conquering race, class or caste: it would be idle here to discuss. Those who regard. Privilege as one of the necessary foundations of society will, however, necessary find their social ideals limited to hte hope hat sooner or later a benevolent privileged class, aristocracy, claeocary or landocracy, may yet learn so to administer the privileges they enjoy that hey shall benefit, not injure, those who do not share them: an ideal nevevr yet attired. A benevolent despot, aristocracy, slaveowner or land-holder wisely ruling a contended body of subjects, slaves, serfs or peasants,seems in fact, the only social ideal conforming to the requirements of Privilege. Fortunately or unfortunately, however, the path of social or political progress is strewn with the relics of Privilege. And the almost continuous protest aaignst established Privilege, even in the milder form in which it still persists, seems to prove its continuance to be incompatible with modern requirements and aspirations with the changed conditions of social life, and with the consequent altered concep'tions of what is necessary, just and "right."

That men such as Aristotle and Sir Thomas More should have accepted the institution of slavery as the necessary basis of society, is sufficient to indicate he enormous gulf between past and present social or political thought. It may also be taken as evidence of how impossible it was even for such thinkkers to conceive of a social system based upon the recognition of social ustice, upon the admission of the

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