Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

СНАР.
XII

are used for wage-cutting, of strikers toward "scabs" and strike-breakers, illustrates how we come to hate supplanters. In such cases conflict is not limited by cool calculation of the gains and costs of strife, but may persist even after the opposing forces have come into equilibrium, so that further strife is futile.

IMAGINATIVE HOSTILITY AS A CAUSE OF OPPOSITION Better

Opposition may be inspired not only by this instinctive hostility Acquaintance May to competitors but as well by that imaginative hostility which Not Allay Hostility

arises when we attribute an inimical idea to another mind. Against this feeling closer association and fuller knowledge of one another offer no security. “Whether intimacy will improve our sentiment toward another man or not depends upon the true relation of his way of feeling and thinking to ours."2 Hence, we cannot accept Victor Hugo's line, Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner. No doubt we would hate rivals and foes less could we know them as men like ourselves. But it is not so with the antipathy which roots in difference. There are individuals who do not improve on acquaintance. Mark Twain had the type in mind when he drawled, " The more I think of him, the less I think of him." This is why refinement, culture and taste do not of necessity lessen hostility. “They make a richer and finer sympathy possible, but at the same time multiply the occasions of antipathy."

Resentment is a species of hostility springing from menace to the mirrored self. It rests “ upon a feeling that the other person harbors ideas injurious to us; so that the thought of him is an attack upon ourself.” Indignation is a higher sort of imaginative hostility " directed toward some attack upon a standard of right and not merely an impulse like pique or jealousy.” It claims a general or social foundation and is always ready to justify itself

in open court. Hostility

It is a pity that hostility is a highly suggestible attitude. It Is More Contagious seems to be easier for the orator to sway the mob against some Than Amity one than to sway it for him. Simmel holds that "it is much

more difficult to influence the average man in general to take an interest in or to feel an inclination of sympathy for a third person previously indifferent than to develop in him mistrust and an

2 For this and other quotations see Cooley, “Human Nature and the Social Order," Ch. VII.

tipathy"; and points out that a damaging prejudice about some

CHAP. one may be created in our minds by insignificant persons, whereas a farorable prejudice requires a source in some person of authority or some one in whom we have confidence. When life is rather bare of interests, grudges are cherished Reads

May Bo and handed down from fathers to sons as precious heirlooms. Cherished

for Their Feuds between clans in our Appalachian Mountains, between Pungent

Flavor gangs in city slums, between villages in China and in the Caucasus, constitute the pungent seasoning of a humdrum existence. But when life becomes full of interests such conflict is avoided as pointless and wasteful. Again, hatreds die as society becomes fluid. The worst foes sometimes are bickering farmers whose fields join and who cannot get apart. In the city, relationships are more easily shifted, with the result that city denizens feel more indifference for one another than country dwellers, but less oiren cherish active hostility. One avoids the person he has found to be antipathetic, but does not hate him.

One benefit of the introduction of a village improvement society, a grange, or a social center into a neighborhood is that, by giving people something else to think about than one another's faults and irritating ways, it sweetens the entire community.

Conflict is sharpest and most passionate when it comes between The those who have been united. Thus the old Hebrew law per- Condict tried bigamy but forbade a man marrying two sisters, on the Between gmund (probably) that they would be more stung by jealousy Those Who than two stranger wives. After the Reformation sectarian con- Mates troversies so embittered the Protestants that often it was said "It is easier to hold with the Papists than with those of the other sert." The hatred of apostates and renegades is far sharper than if no connection had ever existed. Family quarrels are proverbial for the intensity of bitterness they develop, and next come church quarrels. In American politics the hatred of the Republicans for the “Mugwumps" is a case in point.

One reason for such bitterness is that each hates the other as rending or even ruining the group. The closer the previous comgranity, the more opposition is resented as a disloyalty to something held dear.

A battle not for self but for a cause or a principle is fought oct without the embitterments, but also without the mollifyings, : Simmel, op. cit., pp. 513-14.

Bitterest

Comes

Have

CHAP.
XIII

Conflict
Impersonal
Does Not
Lessen Its

nity to

which come from the presence of the personal element. Disinter

estedness may intensify conflict, as we see in scientific controverMaking

sies in which the issue is the establishment of truth. In such a case every forbearance in exposing the errors of an opponent

would be treason to that end for the sake of which the personal Intensity

element is excluded from the conflict.

The Marxian theory that the class struggle does not spring from the personal aims of laborers and capitalists but is determined by the present productive system itself has lessened the acrimony of the class struggle without diminishing its intensity. On the contrary, the struggle has become more self-conscious and aggressive from the conviction of the individual that he struggles

not for himself alone but for a vast super-personal end. Opportu. In a way, open opposition preserves society. Without the Protest power and the right to oppose what we believe to be tyranny, the salva obstinacy, caprice, or stupidity, we should terminate our relations Group

with persons who betray such characteristics. Protest affords relief, gives us the feeling that we are not completely crushed in relationships which otherwise we should find unendurable, and from which we should extricate ourselves at any cost. In any voluntary association the corking up by the dominant element of the protest and opposition of the rest is likely to lead to the splitting of the group. Shrewd statesmen realize that it is well to tolerate criticism of government in Parliament and in the press as a vaccine against revolt. Free remonstrance is a safety valve, letting off steam which, if confined, might blow up the boiler. The government carries out its policies, to be sure, but its opponents submit more gracefully once they have aired their objections. This, indeed, was the real role of the Reichstag in the German Imperial system.

May Ee

tion of a

OPPOSITION AND THE FIGHTING GROUP

Fighting Groups Become Compact and Centralized

Opposition between groups hardens and toughens those which can stand the strain. Warfare has been the great state maker. The Eskimos, so pacific that one avenges himself on his enemy by singing satirical verses about him and thereby getting the laugh on him, are quite state-less. The first power to be passed up to a newly formed political union is the war power. A foreign war will either make or break a state distracted by factions and internal dissensions. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 unified

Japan but shattered Russia. Likewise a hard-fought strike CHAP. strengthens a labor union if it survives. When a union, in which in quiet times it is difficult to collect ordinary dues, is in a fight with its employers, it is an easy matter to collect dues and special assessments. Opposition brings out the latent fighting qualities in a union as in an individual and dispels the lassitude which frequently appears after a long period of peace.

Sometimes each group not only centralizes itself for effectiveness, but wants its opponent centralized. A belligerent dreads a military success so overwhelming as to shatter the opposing government and leave it with a guerilla warfare on its hands. It wants its opponent to be strong enough to make and execute a treaty of peace. The British Labor Commission of 1894 reached the conclusion that a firm organization of employees in an industry is a good thing for the employers and vice versa. The strategic disadvantage of having your opponent unified is more than offset by the advantage of having the struggle concentrated and brought entirely within the field of vision, so that a general and permanent peace may be concluded when the time is ripe. Every fighting group would, if it could, confiscate the wills of the

Fighting its members. The state calls it wrong not only for the citizen to Group prefer his interest to its interest, but for him to put any duty Will Out

Sucks the above his duty to it. The Church makes a like demand for un

of Its

Members qualified obedience. The labor struggle sharpens class lines. Says Brooks: “I have seen a man wholly unruffled under such wurds as 'liar,' .coward' and 'thief,' but the monosyllable • ab' had an instantaneous effect like a dash of vitriol in the fore.". Special fighting groups like the Molly Maguires, the Camuta, the Mafia, as well as ordinary bands of law breakers, canland of their members unlimited self-devotion. Once the directors of a fighting group have succeeded in The

Fighting Biiing it an object of idolatry, they no longer need to make the Group 7°498 serve the interests or aims of its members. Since the to Endeln Gemers regard themselves as existing for the group, the heads Some

One's Vest are free to commit it to any policy, however monstrous or de- Pocket 395.ctive. The outcome of neighboring peoples blindly yielding to the insistent demands of their respective governments for patotic seli-sacrifice is needless and meaningless war. State worshi is the more dangerous, the less the people control the state.

** American Syndicalism," p. 38.

CHAP.
XITI

The “our-country,— right-or-wrong " attitude is least harmful under popular government.

Opposition is the very breath of life to the fighting group and often it goes to pieces when it no longer has antagonists. A political party after a too-overwhelming victory is liable to lose its cohesion. The disappearance of one opposition party soon brings on the break-up of the survivor. Party leaders lament a victory that leaves them with a big, “unwieldy” majority, for they realize that a formidable enemy is the best prop to their party discipline. In England under James II and under William and Mary, the non-conformist groups — Independents, Baptists, Quakers, etc.— repeatedly rejected approaches on the part of the government, for they realized that such concessions would undermine that unanimity of opposition of the members which alone preserved the cohesion of the sect. Vain is it, in the absence of bitter opposition, to preserve "the protest of Protestantism and the dissidence of Dissent."

KINDS OF OPPOSITION

Save Under Rare Circumstances, Every Kind of

with

Other
Kind

The chief oppositions which occur in society are between individuals, sexes, ages, races, nationalities, sections, classes, political parties and religious sects. Several such oppositions may

be in full swing at the same time, but the more numerous they Opposition are, the less menacing is any one. Every species of conflict interin Society Interferes feres with every other species in society at the same time, save Every

only when their lines of cleavage coincide; in which case they reinforce one another.

Suppose at a given moment there is a certain strain along the line between Christians and Jews. If now, a strain appears along a quite different line, e.g., that between employers and workmen, the religious opposition will be less intense. For Jewish bosses and Jewish workmen will be estranged; likewise Christian bosses and Christian workmen. On the other hand, Jewish and Christian capitalists will recognize that they are “in the same boat,” while Jewish workers and Christian workers will sympathize with one another as brother victims of exploitation.

Again, take the case of a tension between blacks and whites: Suppose now embitterment arises between labor and capital. If the lines of cleavage cross, each opposition will weaken the other. But if, as sometimes happens, all the employers are white men

« ForrigeFortsæt »