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OUR DESTINY

Zbc influence of Spcialtem on flDotals an& IReUgion



AN ESSAY IN ETHICS

BY

LAURENCE GRONLUND, M.A.

AUTHoib or "the oo-opbbaiivb commonwealth," and "9A
** Bitch thy wagon to a star."— Emsasom.



SECOND EDITION



LONDON

SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO.

PATERNOSTER SQUARE

1891.



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TABLE OF CONTENTS.



PAOB



1. My Object - • - • • -

CHAPTER I.-THE SOIL.

2. Roots of Morals.— 3. The Impending Change.— 4. System.
— 5. Abundance. — 6. Freedom. — 7. Leisure. — 8. Insufficiency of

all these - - -.-.1

CHAPTER IL— THE SOCIAL BOND.
9. Order. — 10. Authority. — 11. Patriotism. — 12. Collective
Conscience. — 13. Love of Approbation. — 14. Equality. — 16. In-
dividuality - - -.-25

CHAPTER IIL— CONTRADICTIONS.
16. The Intellectual Atmosphere. — 17. Liberty. — 18. Demo-
cracy. — 19. Social Functions. — 20. Struggle for Life. — 21. Social
Self. -22. End of Da*a of Ethics - - - - 49

CHAPTER IV.— DUTY OR JUSTICE.
23. Pessimism. — 24. Conventional Morality. — 25. Tempta-
tions.— 26. Diligence.— 27. Obedience.— 28. Integrity.— 29. The
Ideal 70

CHAPTER v.— LOVE.
30. Purity.— 31. Conjugal Love.— 32. Parent and Child.— 33.
Servants.— 34. Sympathy.— 35. Sacrifice.— 36. A Typical Life - 96

CHAPTER VI.— GOD IN HUMANITY.
37. Blossom of Morals. — 38. Purpose— God's Picsence.— 39.
Morality now "Law." — 40. Kingdom of Heaven. — 41. What will
be, is His will.— 32. Soul of Humanity.— 43. The True Mediator 126

CHAPTER VII.— THE HEREAFTER.

44. Fruit of Morals. — 45. Psychic Investigations. — 46. Me-
mory. — 47. Self-ness. — 48. Self-hood. — 49. Our Common
Pestiny.— 50. Your Life- Work - • - • - 146



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OUE DESTINY.



MY OBJECT.

"The nineteenth century so far has been nothing but a riddle."

Jvles Simon,

1. Leslie Stephen claims that ethical problems require to be
discussed in every generation with a change of dialect. This is
emphatically the case now, but the dialect must be very different
from that adopted iu his Science of Ethics. Events are at hand
that can be, most fitly, compared with the advent of Christianity.

Three writers have discussed the future that awaits us. Mal-
lock, in Is Life Worth Living, warns us that it will be disastrous
if we do not return to the old beliefs ; Morison, in The Service of
Man, prophesies it will be glorious if we will only give up all re-
ligious notions, while Professor Graham, in The Creed of Science^
consoles us that our moral and religious acquisitions will not be
seriously threatened. I have arrived at very different and much
more ennobling conclusions (for which the reader, if he be but
patient, will in the course of this essay find, at all events, a
sufficient number of reasons), to wit :

That Nationalism (by whish I simply mean American Socialism)
will be the future economic system in all civilised countries^ and
that it will be inaugurated, not by violence, but by enthusiasm.

That it will establish virtually the Kingdom of Heaven on
earth, mainly by rendering all humanity precious to each of us
— what now to all sensible people must seem an impossible feat.

That it will evolve an irresistible belief in God and Immortality
which will satisfy all the instincts of the human heart as well as
the most developed intelligences.

t



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vi Our Destiny,



That is to say : I hold that, though it is perhaps a fact that a
majority of those who are called Socialists are avowed Atheists,
yet Atheism is not an integral part of Socialism, but merely an
accretion upon it, like tartar upon the enamel of the teeth.
Such are Atheists, not because they are Socialists, but because
they are Frenchmen and Germans. Socialism is eminently
religious.

Very little has hitherto been done to persuade the higher order
of minds or to place Socialism in its proper light before them. To
speak frankly, I can perfectly sympathise with Sir James Stephen,
who, in the future, generally foreshadowed by the motto oi
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, cannot see " a state of society which a
reasonable man ought to regard with enthusiasm and self-devo-
tion."^ I can very well understand that a society confined even
to the most fascinating and abundant material enjoyments, but in
which morality is simply an invention to abate social jars and fric-
tions, is not seductive to such minds.

William H. Mallock illustrates his fears by saying : ^ The path
of thought has taken a sudden turn around a mountain, and we
find ourselves looking bewildered on an utterly unfamiliar pros-
pect. * * * A mist hangs over it, and we have no right to
be sure it is the promised land or not." He is very much afraid
that it means our spiritual degradation and the destruction of qui
whole moral civilisation.

Now, I have ventured on this essay because I firmly believe that
I can dissipate the mist, and prove to unbiassed minds and sym-
pathetic hearts that it is, indeed, towards " the Promised Land "
that the Power behind Evolution has all the time been leading
our race. If this " moral civilisation " must pass away, it is only
because it will grow into something much grander. At present it
is an " immoral " growth : Pharisaism, precisely of a kin to that,
so fiercely denounced by Jesus, which makes self-styled ^* better
citizens," who, having never known what temptation means, strut
about praising God that they are so much better than their

1 It will become apparent in the course of this essay, that I take a pro-
found interest in this virile book, though it was intended to be a refutation
of Socialism.



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My Object. vii



humble, temptation-ridden brethren who are tempted every
moment of th'^ir poor life to act wrongly by this satanic system or
ours. And the morality which will take its place, I am sure,
can be best stated in that sublime precept which embodies the
deepest truth : that in which we are bidden to love our neighbours
as ourselves. Instead of spiritual degradation, American Socialism,
as I understand it, will give us a profound conviction of the
presence of God in Humanity, and confer on Humanity a special
dignity, fit to inherit " endless times and eternities." And if the
American people can be persuaded that Socialisi;a really offers
them such an ideal, the next half century will be a period of change
compared with which the past fifty years will seem tame and un-
eventful.

Such an effort seems now particularly opportune. It is well
known that a constructive form of Socialism has for some years
been evolving among American working-men. The conscience of
the country has during the past twelve months been aroused, as
it has not been since the anti-slavery agitation — witness the
Nationalist and Christian Socialist movements — an evidence that
our comfortable classes are becoming conscience of being part of a
living organism that suffers. The soil then is fertile and prepared,
the time favourable. Throughout our country there is a moral
awakening and a deepening ferment. All the signs and portents
seemingly declare : God wills it !

What a proud distinction for our American civilisation would it
be — compared with that of Europe — if some of the leaders of in-
tellect and conscience among us would, like modern Richards, place
themselves at the head of the new social crusade. Nothing, surely,
would so fill and fire such men with the needed enthusiasm and
devotion as the ideal here presented.

To present this ideal is my present object, and I believe I have
the qualifications for making this effort. I do not refer to literary
ability. I entered upon my works of Socialist exposition, not from
literary ambition, but from a deep conviction that I had some-
thing to tell my fellows-men.

The rise and spread of Pessimism is a fact of great interest and
significance. " A strange protest surely, that, in these days when



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viii Our Destiny.



the jubilant chorus is loudest, the note of desolation and despair
has broken in as a discord that suddenlj finds acceptance, first of
all, among the fortunate classes — a philosophy, afl&rming the nullity
of all things, and asking : Is life worth living f " Yet while
Pessimism is a symptom of the hoUowncss at the core of the present
order, I, whose lot is certainly not cast among the fortunate ones
of this world, answer : Yea I Life, if lightened and warmed by a
true philosophy, w worth living. My secondary purpose is to
communicate this, my joy in life, to others. In spite of experienc-
ing more than most men the hardships of the established state of
things, in spite of privations and lack of sympathy for many years,
I know that this is the threshold of the Golden A.ge, and feel that
it is a high privilege to live now, a privilege which I am sure
posterity will envy me. My faith makes me an optimist : of this
faith I proceed to give an account, confident that it will soon be
realised

Laurence Gronlund.



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CHAPTER t



THE SOIL.



** Keep hammering away, even at the risk of being deemed a victim of
crotchets. For this is a not over-intelligent world. " — John Fiske,

2. Spencer's Data of Ethics should be rather called " Data of
Selfishness," or " Data of the Animal Well-being of Man," as it does
not go beyond our animal origin, and considers goodness in man
identical in kind with goodness in a dog or in a rock. Mallock, on
the other hand, remains in the clouds, where mankind could not
dwell if it would, and his morality, rooted in these clouds, is thus
a topsy-turvy growth. J. C. Morison, lastly, who has a practical
eye for the needs of our immediate future, unfortunately opens
his book. The Service of Man, with this simile : " A ruined
temple, with its fallen columns and broken arches, is a suggestive
type of the transitory nature of all human handiwork," and applies
this to all human activities, even the highest. Such a view is
dispiriting enough to make one, entering upon this service, throw
it up at once and commit suicide ; but what is more to the point,
it is false, because one-sided ; just as false as is that of a person
with the jaundice, who sees all things yellow. This essay, what-
ever it is, will be found radically different from either of those
three works.

In order to get a type that would appear to me adequate of
man's highest work, of that which he has been sent into this

A



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Our Destiny,



world to do, let me outline a stately tree, a tree whose germ was
planted with the advent of life upon this planet ; which has been
growing ever since, and which is destined to reach a marvellous
height and girth, until its rich foliage shall finally overshadow and
shelter the whole world, and its one blossom and one fruit, more
precious by far than all mythological apples, shall fill the earth
with gladness. Such is an approximate, and yet inadequate,
type of man's distinctive work, his permanent work, since by its
fruit it is connected with all eternity ; for by the one blossom I
typify his belief in God and by the one fruit his belief in Immor-
tality. This tree, in other words, is a type of what in Greek is
called Ethics, in Latin, Morality, and in Saxon, Righteousness.

Mark, I say, is destined to, for morality is yet but very small, a
stunted bush, and what I wish to emphasise is, that under the
circumstances by which it is and has hitherto been surrounded,
it could not be anything else. 1 repudiate all physical, materia-
listic morality as utterly false — the gross, initial mistake of
Evolution-moralists — and I contend that the germ of morality has,
sometime and somehow, come upon earth from on high or from
elsewhere. But there is another point, equally important and
certain, which the Intuitionists are just as wrong in ignoring :
namely, that material surroundings, almost exclusively, condition
the growth of this germ ; or as the Evolution-moralists rightly
put it : " The moral development of a given period is determined
by the corresponding state of the social evolution."

First, then, it is a fact, that economics, or our material, indus-
trial relations, are the soil in which the roots of morals bury
themselves and from which they draw their nourishment ; next, it
is equally a fact, that the state of morals is much dependent
on whether the social atmosphere is cloudy and chilly or
sunny and warm; a third fact is, that just as an apple-tree
produces small, sour fruit, if left in natural neglect, but delicious
pippins, if a skilful gardener gives his attention to it ; precisely so
it is with morals. These three facts, soil, cultivation, and atmo-
sphere, the variable and phenomenal phases of morals, together with
its essential nature, are the true "Data of Ethics," and these
we shall study in the first three chapters. In the remaining part



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The Soil 3

of the book we shall follow the growth of morality itself ; the per-
manent, eternal essence of man, " the proper science and business
of mankind in general," as Locke says.

This first chapter, then, will be devoted to the impending change
in our industrial system. It may, therefore, contain little novel
to Nationalists or Socialists. But I beg them to remember that
this book is written mainly for outsiders; and also that these
preliminaries are the necessary stepping-stones to what follows.

Few can deny that it is now a very barren soil. Carlyle sneers
at the Englishman's hell: that of "not making money." But,
surely, under our present system lack of wealth is hell, is a true
penal servitude for a man's natural life, together with the tortur
ing consciousness of leaving a like hopeless heritage to his offspring.
With our present conception of life as a competitive race, property
is the sole thing worth a sane man's pursuit, simply because we
cannot be independent, indeed can scarcely be honest without it.

But is not such a life-theory about the most demoralising that
could be promulgated % Certainly it is one wliich, systematically
acted on, would be fatal to all high aims. " It is a conception of
life which, if true, would make Falstaff the sensible fellow, and all
disinterested servers of mankind noble fools." In what a terrible
dilemma does the fact, that there is no safety for the unpropertied
man, place us I How serious the responsibility for urging choice
spirits to seek higher things than wealth I

Again, modem Political Economy, entirely disregarding the
fact that both the Ancients and he who is called its founder in-
sisted upon the unity of morals and economics, has entirely
divorced them. Wealth has thus become an ultimate, instead of
a mediate end, and this has caused Political Economy to be styled
<*the dismal science," for it sacrifices human beings to capital;
and makes our national wealth, controlled by shrewd, capable
men, whose object is gain, act like a malarial poison upon a
population of operatives.

To expect robust morals from such a soil would be as unreason-
able as to expect grapes from a vine planted on an iceberg. No
wonder that our professional moral teachers are uncertain wWt to
teach. In his so-called ^^ Science" of JEthics, Leslie Stephen comes



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Oiir Destiny,



to the conclusion, that " in exhorting a man to be virtuous, you
exhort him to acquire a quality which will in many cases make
him less fit than the less moral man for getting the greatest
amount of happiness from a given combination of circumstances,'^
and that " as a matter of fact, prudence and virtue often empha-
tically differ." But there is something worse yet. Nob only is
conventional morality nothing but calculating prudenc?, but our
church morality makes selfishness an end ; it makes one consider
himself superior to others of his fellow-men; differentiates him
from other poor sinners, and is thereby positively a vicious thing.
No wonder that the blossom and fruit of such a morality must be
correspondingly insignificant, to wit : a God who is simply a bulky
policeman governed by partiality, and an Immortality, consisting
in " such a good time " for our favoured selves in the next world,
while the vast majority of the race goes to perdition.

But morality, true morality, is now avenged ! Our present
condition is such, that it may well be doubted if there ever were
more misery in the midst of so much wealth.

We are fast coming to see that the production of wealth is not
the chief interest of a nation ; and also that Political Economy
will be forever " dismal and accursed/' if it does not change.

3. Sober and well-informed observers, however, perceive that a
large social transformation is actually now going on. Unfortunately,
many leaders of thought are yet profoundly ignorant respecting
these matters. Never was I more amazed, than when I read in a
work, published in 1889, on "State-Socialism," by Claudio
Jannet, Professor of Political Economy at the Catholic Institute of
Paris, these words : " The State must not pursue the chimera of
bringing production and consumption into equilibrium. Obser-
vation, indeed, shows that there is in humanity, by reason of the
original fall, a certain amount of economic suffering which no
material progress can possibly remedy. The crises of over-pro-
duction are the scourges inherent in our modem economic con-
dition. Catholics who talk of suppressing our economic anarchy,
and of harmony and equilibrium of interests, forget that one of
the consequences of the fall of Adam has been to render labour



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The Soil. 5



painful, ix> make the earth grow thistles J^ (The professor's own
italics !) " No progress of science, no social institutions, can ever
make them disappear."

What a monumental stupidity in a modern Professor of Politi-
cal Economy ! But fortunately, day by day, thoughtful people are
in greater numbers discarding the notion once almost universal,
that social customs and institutions enter into the eternal order of
things in such a way that any thorough-going change must involve
universal ruin. The fact is being recognised, that our world is
everywhere in a constant flux, is at every moment becoming, like a
flowing river which is ever in a condition of change. There is,
however, in this connection, another point of very great practical
importance to which we shall several times in this essay have to
recur, which is not sufficiently recognised, and about which even
Herbert Spencer is apparently at sea, and this is that there are in
human affairs two kinds of evolution which it is highly important
to keep apart. There is the natural evolution — the only one that
Spencer seems to recognise — and that other, brought about by the
voluntary intervention of man : the conscious evolution. The latter
will certainly by-and-bye play far the most important role. That
human intervention can modify social phenomena is the scientific
foundation for all rational hope of a systematic reform of human
affairs ; but it is to natural evolution that we so far have been
and, undoubtedly for some time yet to come, will be, almost ex-
clusively, indebted for our progress.

Many have of late been studying this natural evolution, and
think that they now clearly see the direction in which it works,
in one word, its " trend." They think that they have especially
learned the nature of the startling revolution through which our
forefathers passed. The spirit of invention — the most important
thing for our race sm6e Christianity — had fallen upon them
stirred the human mind and given it a fresh impulse. This im-
pulse has never ceased, but has multiplied human efforts in a hun-
dred new directions and increased a hundredfold man's power
over nature. In all civilised countries it has raised up from the
masses the greatest plutocracy the world has ever seen, and
this in a century which seemed b^nt on making equality one gf



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Our Destiny,



its chief social goals — a plutocracy that is now everywhere at its
zenith.

But events are still marching on with their relentless logic. No-
where has this plutocracy had such perfect liberty of action as in
the United States. And there has now come over industry and
business here a startling change which is going on with such rapi-
dity as to suggest the complete abandonment of the principle by
which the industries of the nation have hitherto been developed.
This change is the formation of the " trust : " the merging of our
corporations into a body, outside the control and ignoring the
consent of the State, a body whose Executive Board has full power
of management and full authority to limit or centralize production,
consolidate establishments, purchase raw materials, and supervise
selling prices, terms and conditions. The object of this is greater
regularity of production, steadiness of prices, and a uniform system
of credit, as well as the prevention of unhealthy competition.

But this phenomenon has an inner, underlying meaning. It
presents the question, whether under present conditions society
can continue to develop normally and healthfully in all its parts.


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