« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
with France, has to pay for French fashions as well as French labor. In other words, France possesses superior skill, and exploitates England by means of it. Labor, not skill, is the just and equitable pleasure of values.
America sends her cotton, her surplus grain and meats, and other agricultural products, and her California gold, to England, and gets worse than nothing in return; for if she were compelled to produce at home what she procures from England, she must cultivate a thousand skillful and intellectual pursuits, instead of being, as she too much is, confined to the coarse drudgery of common labor. The Southern States of this Union are exploitated of their labor and their brains, in their trade with England and New England. They produce nothing which we had not better produce at home. Northern trade exploitates us. Trade further South would enrich us and enlighten us; for we would manufacture for the far South. We should become exploitators, instead of being exploitated.
When we were in New Haven, a distinguished abolitionist boasted to us that mechanics received two dollars per day for their labor, and, by their China trade, exchanged the products of one day's labor for twenty days' labor of the Chinese, who worked for ten cents a day. The New England mechanic was thus the master of twenty Chinese laborers, whose labor he commanded for one of his
own day's labor. Here was an instance of individual, not of national exploitation. Well might China dread free trade. It gives her task-masters, who impoverish her people and depress her civilization; for they, by their machinery and superior skill, withdraw her people from a thousand mechanical pursuits that promoted civilization.
In Sociology, we explained this subject synthetically: we have tried now to expound it analytically.
FALSE PHILOSOPHY OF THE AGE.
The moral philosophy of our age, (which term we use generically to include Politics, Ethics, and Economy, domestic and national,) is deduced from the existing relations of men to each other in free society, and attempts to explain, to justify, to generalize and regulate those relations. If that system of society be wrong, and its relations false, the philosophy resulting from it must partake of its error and falsity. On the other hand, if our current philosophy be true, slavery must be wrong, because that philosophy is at war with slavery. No successful defence of slavery can be made, till we succeed in refuting or invalidating the principles on which free society rests for support or defence. The world, however, is sick of its philosophy; and the Socialists have left it not a leg to stand on. In fact, it is, in all its ramifications, a mere expansion and application of Political Economy, and Political Economy may be summed up in the phrase, "Laissez-faire," or "Let alone." A system of unmitigated selfishness pervades and distinguishes all departments of ethical, political, and
economic science. The philosophy is partially true, because selfishness, as a rule of action and guide of conduct, is necessary to the existence of man, and of all other animals. But it should not be, with man especially, the only rule and guide; for he is, by nature, eminently social and gregarious. His wants, his weakness, his appetites, his affections, compel him to look without, and beyond self, in order to sustain self. The eagle and the owl, the lion and the tiger, are not gregarious, but solitary and self-supporting. They practice political economy, because 'tis adapted to their natures. But men and beavers, herds, bees, and ants, require a different philosophy, another guide of conduct. The Bible, (independent of its authority,) is far man's best guide, even in this world. Next to it,. we would place Aristotle. But all books written four hundred or more years ago, are apt to yield useful instruction, whilst those written since that time will generally mislead. We mean, of course, books on moral science. We should not be far out in saying, that no book on physics, written more than four hundred years ago, is worth reading, and none on morals written within that time. The Reformation, which effected much of practical good, gave birth to a false philosophy, which has been increasing and ramifying until our day, and now threatens the overthrow of all social institutions. The right of Private Judgment led to the doctrine
of Human Individuality, and a Social Contract to restrict that individuality. Hence, also, arose the doctrines of Laissez-faire, free competition, human equality, freedom of religion, of speech and of the press, and universal liberty. The right of Private Judgment, naturally enough, leads to the right to act on that judgment, to the supreme sovereignty of the individual, and the abnegation of all government. No doubt the Reformation resulted from the relaxation of feudalism and the increased liberties of mind and body which men had begun to relish and enjoy. We have no quarrel with the Reformation, as such, for reform was needed; nor with all of the philosophy that has been deduced from it; but it is the excess of reform, and the excessive applications of that philosophy, to which we object. Man is selfish, as well as social; he is born a part and member of society, born and lives a slave of society; but he has also natural individual rights and liberties. What are his obligations to society, what his individual rights, what position he is entitled to, what duties he should fulfill, depend upon a thousand ever-changing circumstances, in the wants and capacities of the individual, and in the necessities and well-being of the society to which he belongs. Modern philosophy treats of men only as separate monads or individuals; it is, therefore, always partly false and partly true; because, whilst man is always a limb or member of