D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

The Popular science monthly (Volume 19) online

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mercy of one of higher status.

Otherwise described, the process of militant organization is a
process of regimentation, which, primarily taking place in the army,
secondarily affects the whole community.

The first indication of this we trace in the fact everywhere visible,
that the military head grows into a civil head — mostly at once, and, in
exceptional cases, at last, if militancy continues. Beginning as leader
in war he becomes ruler in peace ; and such regulative policy as he
pursues in one sphere, he pursues, so far as conditions permit, in the
other. Being, as the non-combatant part is, a permanent commissariat,
the principle of graduated subordination is extended to it. Its mem-
bers come to be directed in^ way like that in which the warriors are
directed — not literally, since the dispersion of the one and the con-
centration of the other prevent exact parallelism ; but, nevertheless,
similarly in principle. Labor is carried on under coercive control ; and
supervision spreads everywhere.

To suppose that a despotic military head, carrying out daily the


inherited traditions of regimental control as the sole form of govern-
ment known to him, will not impose on the producing classes a kindred
control, is to suppose in him sentiments and ideas entirely foreign to
his circumstances.

The nature of the militant form of government will be further
elucidated on observing that it is both positively regulative and
negatively regulative. It does not simply restrain ; it also enforces.
Besides telling the individual what he shall not do, it tells him what he
shall do.

That the government of a fighting body is thus characterized needs
no showing. Indeed, commands of the positive kind given to the
soldier are more important than those of the negative kind : fighting
is done under the one, while order is maintained under the other. But
here it chiefly concerns us to note that not only the control of military
life, but also the control of civil life, is, under the militant t}T5e of gov-
ernment, thus characterized. There are two ways in which the ruling
power may deal with the private individual. It may simply limit his
actions to those which he can carry on without aggression, direct or
indirect, upon others ; in which case its action is negatively regulative.
Or, besides doing this, it may prescribe the how, and the where, and
the when, of his daily actions ; may force him to do various things
which he would not spontaneously do ; may direct in greater or less
detail his mode of living ; in which case its action is positively regula-
tive. Under the militant type this positively regulative action is wide-
spread and peremptory. The- civilian is in a condition as much like that
of the soldier as difference of occupation permits.

And this is another way of expressing the truth that the fun-
damental principle of the militant type is compulsory cooperation.
While this is obviously the principle under which the members of the
combatant body act, it no less certainly must be the principle acted
upon throughout the non-combatant body, if military efficiency is to
be great ; since, otherwise, the aid which the non-combatant body has
to furnish can not be insured.

That binding together by which the units of a militant society are
made into an efficient fighting structure tends to fix the position of
each in rank, in occupation, in locality.

In a graduated regulative organization there is resistance to change
from a lower to a higher grade. Such change is made difficult by lack
of the possessions needed for filling superior positions ; and it is made
difficult by the opposition of those who already fill them, and can hold
inferiors dowTi. Preventing intrusion from below, these transmit their
respective places and ranks to their descendants ; and, as the principle
of inheritance becomes settled, the rigidity of the social structure be-
comes decided. Only where an "egalitarian despotism " reduces all


subjects to the same political status — a condition of decay rather than
of development — does the converse state arise.

The principle of inheritance, becoming established in respect of the
classes which militancy originates, and fixing the general functions of
their members from generation to generation, tends eventually to fix
also their special functions. Not only do men of the slave classes and
the artisan classes succeed to their respective positions, but they suc-
ceed to the i^articular occupations carried on in them. This, which is
a working out of the tendency toward regimentation, is ascribable pri-
marily to the fact that superiors, requiring from each kind of worker
his particular product, have an interest in replacing him at death by a
capable successor ; while ho, prompted to get aid in fulfilling of his
tasks, has an interest in bringing up a son to his own occupation : the
Avill of the son being powerless against these conspiring interests.
Under the system of compulsory cooperation, therefore, the principle
of inheritance, spreading through the producing organization, causes a
relative rigidity in this also.

And then a kindred effect is shown in the entailed restraints on
movement from place to place. In proportion as the individual is sub-
ordinated in life, liberty, and property, to his society, it is needful that
his whereabout shall be constantly known. Obviously the relation of
the soldier to his officer, and of this officer to his superior, is such that
each must be ever at hand ; and where the militant type is fully de-
veloped the like holds throughout the society. The slave can not leave
his appointed abode ; the serf is tied to his allotment ; the master is
not allowed to absent himself from his lo.cality without leave.

So that the corporate action, the combination, the cohesion, the
regimentation, which efficient militancy necessitates, imply a structure
which strongly resists change.

A further trait of the militant type, naturally accompanying the
last, is that organizations other than those forming parts of the state
organization are wholly or partially repressed. The public combina-
tion occupying all fields, excludes private corabinations.

For the achievement of complete corporate action, there must, as
we have seen, be a centralized administration, not only throughout
the combatant part, but throughout the non-combatant part ; and, if
there exist unions of citizens which act independently, they in so far
diminish the range of this centralized administration. Any structures
which are not parts of the state structure serve more or less as limi-
tations to it, and stand in the way of the required unlimited subordi-
nation. If private combinations are allowed to exist, it will be on
condition of submitting to an official regulation such as greatly re-
strains independent action ; and since private combinations thus offi-
cially regulated are inevitably hindered from doing things not con-
forming to established routine, and are so debarred from improvement,


they can not habitually thrive and grow. Obviously, indeed, such
combinations, formed on the principle of voluntary cooperation, are
incongruous with the social type formed on the principle of compul-
sory cooperation. Hence the militant type is characterized by the
absence, or comparative rarity, of bodies of citizens associated for
commercial purposes, for propagating special religious views, for
achieving philanthropic ends, etc.

Private combinations of one kind, however, are congruous with the
militant type — the combinations, namely, which are formed for minor
defensive or offensive purposes. We have, as examples, those which
constitute factions, very general in militant societies ; those which
assume forms like the primitive guilds, serving for mutual protection ;
and those which take the shape of secret societies. Of such bodies it
may be noted that they fulfill on a small scale ends like those which
the whole society fulfills on a large scale — the ends of self-preserva-
tion, or aggression, or both. And it may be further noted that these
small included societies are organized on the same principle as the large
including society — the princij^le of compulsory cooperation. Their
governments are coercive : in some cases even to the extent of killing
those of their members who are disobedient.

A remaining fact to be noted is that a society of the militant type
tends to evolve a self-sufficient sustaining organization. With its po-
litical autonomy there goes what we may call an economic autonomy.
Evidently in proportion as it carries on frequent hostilities with sur-
rounding societies, its commercial intercourse with them must be hin-
dered or prevented : exchange of commodities can go on but to a
slight extent between those who are continually fighting. A militant
society must, therefore, to the greatest degree practicable, provide in-
ternally the supplies of all articles needful for carrying on the lives of
its members. Such an economic state as that which existed during-
early feudal times, when, as in France, " the castles made almost all
the articles used in them," is a state evidently entailed on groups,
small or large, which are in constant antagonism with surroimding
groups. If there does not already exist, within any group so circum-
stanced, an agency for producing some necessary article, inability to
obtain it from without will lead to the establishment of an agency for
obtaining it within.

Whence it follows that the desire " not to be dependent on for-
eigners " is one appropriate to the militant type of society. So long
as there is danger that the supplies of needful things derived from
other countries will be cut off by the breaking out of hostilities, it is
imperative that there shall be maintained a power of producing these
supplies at home, and that to this end the required structures shall be
maintained. Hence there is a manifest direct relation between mili-
tant activities and a protectionist policy.




And now having noted the traits which may be expected to estab-
lish themselves by survival of the fittest dm-ing the struggle for exist-
ence among societies, let us observe how these traits are displayed in
actual societies, similar in respect of their militancy but otherwise dis-

Of course in small primitive groups, however warlike they may be,
we must not look for more than rude outlines of the structure proper
to the militant type. Being loosely aggregated, definite arrangement
of their parts can be carried but to a small extent. Still, so far as it
goes, the evidence is to the point. The fact that habitually the fight-
ing body is coextensive with the adult male population is so familiar
that no illustrations are needed. An equally familiar fact is that the
women, occupying a servile position, do all the unskilled labor and
bear the burdens ; with which may be joined the fact that not unfre-
quently during war they carry the supplies, as in Asia among the
Bhils and Khonds, as in Polynesia among the New Caledonians and
Sandwich-Islanders, as in America among the Comanches, Mundrucus,
Patagonians : their office as forming the permanent commissariat being
thus clearly shown. We see, too, that, where the enslaving of captives
has arisen, these also serve to support and aid the combatant class ;
acting during peace as producers and during war joining the women in
attendance on the army, as among the Xew-Zealanders, or, as among
the Malagasy, being then exclusively the carriers of provisions, etc.
Again, in these first stages, as in later stages, we are shown that pri-
vate claims are, in the militant type, overridden by public claims.
The life of each man is held subject to the needs of the group ; and,
by implication, his freedom of action is similarly held. So, too, with
his goods ; as instance the remark made of the Brazilian Indians, that
personal property, recognized but to a limited extent during peace, is
scarcely at all recognized during war ; and as instance Hearne's state-
ment concerning certain hyperborean tribes of North America Avhen
about to make war, that " property of every kind that could be of
general use now ceased to be private." To which add the cardinal
! ruth, once more to be repeated, that where no political subordination
• xists war initiates it. Tacitly or ovei'tly a chief is temporarily ac-
knowledged ; and he gains permanent power if war continues. From
these beginnings of the militant type which small groups show us, let
us pass to its developed forms as shown in larger groups.

"The army, or, what is nearly synonymous, the nation of Daho-
mey," to quote Burton's words, furnishes us with a good example : the
excessive militancy being indicated by the fact that the royal bedroom
is paved with skulls of enemies. Here the king is absolute, and is re-
garded as supernatural in character — he is " the spirit " ; and of course
he is the religious head — he ordains the priests. lie absorbs in him-
self all powers and all rights : " by the state law of Dahomey. . .
all men are slaves to the king." He " is heir to all his subjects " ; and


he takes from living subjects whatever he likes. When we add that
there is a frequent killing of victims to carry messages to the other
world, as well as occasions on which numbers are sacrificed to supply-
deceased kings with attendants, we are shown that life, liberty, and
property are at the entire disposal of the state as represented by its
head. In both the civil and military organizations the centers and
subcenters of control are numerous. Names, very generally given by
the king and replacing surnames, change " with every rank of the
holder " ; and so detailed is the regimentation that " the dignities
seem interminable." There are numerous sumptuary laws ; and, ac-
cording to Waitz, no one wears any other clothing or weapons than
what the king gives him or allows him. Under penalty of slavery or
death "no man must alter the construction of his house, sit upon a
chair, or be carried on a hammock, or drink out of a glass," without
permission of the king.

The ancient Peruvian empire, gradually established by the con-
quering Incas, may next be instanced. Here the ruler, divinely de-
scended, sacred, absolute, was the center of a system which minutely
controlled all life. His headship was at once military, political, eccle-
siastical, judicial ; and the entire nation was composed of those who,
in the capacity of soldiers, laborers, and officials, were slaves to him
and his deified ancestors. Military service was obligatory on all taxa-
ble Indians who were capable ; and those of them who had served their
prescribed terms, formed into reserves, had then to work under state
superintendence. The army having heads of ten, fifty, a hundred, five
hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, had, besides these, its superior
commanders of Inca blood. The community at large was subject to a
parallel regimentation : the inhabitants, registered in groups, being
under the control of officers over tens, fifties, hundreds, and so on.
And through these successive grades of centers reports ascended to the
Inca governors of great divisions, passing on from them to the Inca ;
while his orders descended " from rank to rank till they reached the
lowest." There was an ecclesiastical organization, similarly elaborate,
having, for example, five classes of diviners ; and there was an organ-
ization of spies to examine and report upon the doings of the other
officers. Everything was under public inspection. There were village
officers who overlooked the plowing, sowing, and harvesting. AYhen
there was a deficiency of rain, measured quantities of water were sup-
plied by the state. Any who traveled without authority were pun-
ished as vagabonds ; but, for those who were authorized to travel for
public purposes, there were establishments supplying lodging and nec-
essaries. " It was the duty of the decurions to see that the people
were clothed " ; and the kinds of cloth, decorations, badges, etc., to
be worn by the different ranks were all prescribed. Besides this reg-
ulation of external life, there was regulation of domestic life. The peo-
ple were required to " dine and sup with open doors, that the judges


might be able to enter freely " ; and these judges had to see that the
liouse, clothes, furniture, etc., were kept clean and in order, and the
<*hildren properly disciplined : those who mismanaged their houses be-
ing flogged. Subject to this regulation, the people labored to support
this elaborate state organization. The political, religious, and military
classes, throughout all their grades, Avere exempt from tribute, while
tlie laboring classes, when not serving in the army, had to yield up all
produce beyond that required for their bare sustenance. Of the whole
empire, one third was allotted for supporting the state, one third for
supporting the prisethood, who ministered to the manes of ancestors,
and the remaining third had to support the workers. Besides giving
tribute by tilling the lands of the sun and the king, the workers had
to till the lands of the soldiers on duty, as well as those of the incapa-
bles. And they had also to pay tribute of clothes, shoes, and arms.
Of the lands on which the people maintained themselves, the parts
were apportioned to each man according to the size of his family.
Similarly with the produce of the flocks. Such moiety of this in each
district as was not required for supplying public needs was periodi-
cally shorn, and the wool divided by oflicials. These arrangements
were in pursuance of the principle that " the private property of each
man was held by favor of the Inca, and according to their laws he had
no other title to it.'' Thus the people, completely possessed by the
state in person, property, and labor, transplanted to this or that local-
ity, as the Inca directed, and, when not serving in the army, living
imder a discipline like that within the army, wei-e units in a central-
ized regimented machine, moved throughout life to the greatest prac-
ticable extent by the Inca's will, and to the least practicable extent by
their own wills. And, naturally, along with militant organization thus
carried to its ideal limit, there went an almost entire absence of any
other organization. They had no money ; " they neither sold clothes
nor houses nor estates " ; and trade was represented among them by
;scarcely anything more than some bartering of articles of food.

So far as accounts of it go, ancient Egypt presents us with phe-
nomena allied in their general if not in their special characters. Its
])redominant militancy during its remotest unrecorded times is suf-
ticiently implied by the vast population of slaA'es who toiled to build
:he pyramids ; and its subsequent continued militancy we are shown
alike by the boasting records of its kings, and the delineations of their
triumphs on its temple-walls. Along with this form of activity we
have, as before, the god-descended ruler, limited in his powers only
by the usages transmitted from his divine ancestors, who was at once
political head, high-priest, commander-in-chief, and supreme judge.
Under him was a centralized organiz.ition, of which the civil part was
arranged in classes and sub-classes as definite as were those of the mili-
tant part. Of the four great social divisions — priests, soldiers, towns-
men, or traders, and common people, beneath whom came the slaves —


the first contained more than a score of different orders ; the second
some half-dozen beyond those constituted by military grades ; the
third nearly a dozen ; and the fourth a still greater number. Though
within the ruling classes the castes were not so rigorously defined as to
prevent change of function in successive generations, yet Herodotus
and Diodorus state that industrial occupations descended from father
to son ; "every particular trade and manufacture was carried on by its
own craftsmen, and none changed from one trade to another." How
elaborate was the regimentation may be judged from the detailed ac-
count of the staff of oflScers and workers engaged in one of their vast
quarries : the numbers and kinds of functionaries paralleling those of
an army. To support this highly-developed regulative organization,
civil, military, and sacerdotal — an organization which held exclusive
possession of the land — the lower classes labored, " Overseers were
set over the wretched people, who were iirged to hard work more by
the punishment of the stick than words of warning." And whether
or not official oversight included domiciliary visits, it at any rate went
to the extent of taking note of each family. " Every man was re-
quired under pain of death to give an account to the magistrate of
how he earned his livelihood."

Take now another ancient society, which, contrasted in sundry
respects, shows us, along with habitual militancy, the assumption of
structural traits allied in their fundamental characters to those thus
far observed. I refer to Sparta. That warfare did not among the
Spartans evolve a simple despotic head, while in part due to causes
which, as before shown, favor the development of compound political
heads, was largely due to the accident of their double kingship : the
presence of two divinely-descended chiefs prevented the concentration
of power. But though from this cause there continued an imperfectly
centralized government, the relation of this government to members
of the community was substantially like that of militant governments
in general. Notwithstanding the serfdom, and in towns the slavery
of the Helots, and notwithstanding the political subordination of the
Perioeki, they all, in common with the Spartans proper, were under
obligation to military service : the working function of the first, and
the trading function, so far as it existed, which was carried on by the
second, were subordinate to the militant function with which the third
was exclusively occupied. And the civil divisions thus marked reap-
peared in the military divisions : " At the battle of Plataea every Spar-
tan hoplite had seven Helots, and every Perio-ki hoplite one Helot to
attend him." The extent to which, by the daily military discipline,
prescribed military mess, and fixed contributions of food, the individual
life of the Spartan was subordinated to the public demands from seven
years upward, needs mention only to show the rigidity of the restraints
which here, as elsewhere, the militant type imposes — restraints which
were further shown in the prescribed age for marriage, the prevention



of domestic life, the forbidding of industry or any money-seeking
occupation, the interdict of going abroad without leave, and the au-
thorized censorship under wliich his days and nights were passed.
There was fully carried out in Sparta the Greek theory of society,
that "the citizen belongs neither to himself nor to his family, but to
his city." So that though in this exceptional case chronic militancy
was prevented from developing a supreme head, owning the individual
citizen in body and estate, yet it developed an essentially identical rela-
tion between the community as a whole and its units. The commu-
nity, exercising its power through a compound head instead of through
a simple head, completely enslaved the individual. While the lives
and labors of the Helots were devoted exclusively to the support of
those who formed the militant organization, the lives and labors of
those who formed the militant organization were exclusively devoted
to the service of the state — they were slaves with a difference.

Of modern illustrations that furnished by Russia will suffice. Here,
again, with the wars w^hich effected conquests and consolidations, came
the development of the victoi'ious commander into the absolute ruler,
who, if not divine by alleged origin, yet acquired something like di-
vine prestige. " All men are equal before God, and the Russian's God
is the Emperor," says De Custine ; '' the supreme governor is so raised
above earth that he sees no difference between the serf and the lord."
Under the stress of Peter the Great's wars, which, as the nobles com-
plained, took them away from their homes, " not, as formerly, for a

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 95 of 110)