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only good excuse is the necessity of preserving it." (Carter's "Law. Its origin and growth,” page 337.)
There must also be left to the individual some personal motives for labor and thrift, for, after all, it is the toil of individuals that supports society and its members. It is the surplus products, not consumed, but stored up by the economy of individuals that constitutes the energy of society. However it may be improved in the future, the nature of the average man today is such that he will not toil and deny himself without prospect of rewards to accrue to himself for his own personal use. He will not strive to earn and then conserve his earnings unless he can have them for his own, to control, use and dispose of at his pleasure. However it may be with a few unselfish, devoted souls, men as a rule are not yet so altruistic as to devote themselves exclusively to the good of others, of society. I think it evident that if the impelling natural desire to serve one's self be wholly or even largely
disregarded by society, little would be produced or saved by voluntary labor and self-denial. The alternative would be the restoration of some system of enforced labor, of slavery, for the vast majority of men. At this day, after centuries of exhortation to practise the virtues of benevolence, of brotherly love, of self-sacrifice for the good of others, men do not from pure love of humanity voluntarily endure heat and cold, expend their labor and savings in working mines, in braving seas, in building and operating factories, railroads and steamships, in growing corn and cotton. Even those public offices, in which the altruist might find the best opportunities for serving the people, are not much sought for unless some personal honor or pecuniary profit be attached to them. Should society decree that the laborer, whether with hands or brain, should have no individual reward proportionate to the efficiency of his labor, but only his numerical proportion of the product of all laborers, I fear the efficiency of all classes of laborers, manual
and mental, would fall to the "irreducible minimum."
The foregoing statements and inferences lead to the question, how far should society go in undertaking to regulate the conduct and restrict the freedom of the individual, — that freedom which would be his if he were alone in the world? It may be thought that this is a question of expediency for economists and sociologists, and so it is largely, but it is also a question of rights and hence of justice, since every action or nonaction of society affects the freedom of the individual in the gratification of his desires or, in other words, in his pursuit of happiness.
JUSTICE THE EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN THE FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND
THE SAFETY OF SOCIETY
HE question stated at the close of the last
chapter is most important and, in a sense, is perhaps the crux of the whole matter. Not only may error in the solution of the question injuriously affect the material interests of individuals and hence of society as a whole, but it may cause unhappiness far greater than that caused by any material loss, viz., a sense of injustice. As said by the English judge, "Injustice cuts to the bone."
At the outset I accept Herbert Spencer's theory that the idea of justice contains two sentiments, positive and negative; the one the sentiment of the individual that he has the right by nature to the unimpeded use of his faculties and to the
benefits he acquires by such use; the other the consciousness that the presence of other individuals with similar claims of rights necessitates some limitation of his own claims. Out of those two sentiments is evolved, I think, the idea of justice or injustice according as they are or are not in equilibrium. They suggest the definition that justice is the equilibrium between the full freedom of the individual and the restrictions thereon necessary for the safety of society. The restraint of personal conduct within too narrow limits, the necessity of which cannot be made clear, excites resentment, stimulates angry passions, and hence causes unhappiness through a sense of injustice. Restraint within necessary limits only, the necessity of which can be seen, arouses no resentment; on the contrary, it satisfies the individual, favors harmonious cooperation, profits society and increases the happiness of its members, through the appreciation of that necessity.
But for the fixing of the boundary line between