The Importance of Equality in a nation


But even when the nation is sufficiently organised,—the

largest unit yet successfully developed by Nature,—entire unity

is not always achieved. If no other elements of discord remain,

yet the conflict of classes is always possible. And the phenomenon

leads us to another rule of this gradual development

of Nature in human life which we shall find of very considerable

importance when we come to the question of a realisable human

unity. The perfection of the individual in a perfected society or

eventually in a perfected humanity—understanding perfection

always in a relative and progressive sense—is the inevitable aim

of Nature. But the progress of all the individuals in a society does

not proceed pari passu, with an equal and equable march. Some

advance, others remain stationary—absolutely or relatively,—

others fall back.Consequently the emergence of a dominant class

is inevitable within the aggregate itself, just as in the constant

clash between the aggregates the emergence of dominant nations

is inevitable. That class will predominate which develops most

perfectly the type Nature needs at the time for her progress or, it

may be, for her retrogression. If she demands power and strength

of character, a dominant aristocracy emerges; if knowledge and

science, a dominant literary or savant class; if practical ability,

ingenuity, economy and efficient organisation, a dominant bourgeoisie

or Vaishya class, usually with the lawyer at the head; if

diffusion rather than concentration of general well-being and a

close organisation of toil, then even the domination of an artisan

class is not impossible.

But this phenomenon, whether of dominant classes or dominant

nations, can never be more than a temporary necessity; for

the final aim of Nature in human life cannot be the exploitation

of the many by the few or even of the few by the many, can never

be the perfection of some at the cost of the abject submergence

and ignorant subjection of the bulk of humanity; these can only

be transient devices. Therefore we see that such dominations

bear always in them the seed of their own destruction. They must

pass either by the ejection or destruction of the exploiting element

or else by a fusion and equalisation. We see in Europe and

America that the dominant Brahmin and the dominant Kshatriya

have been either abolished or are on the point of subsidence into

288 The Ideal of Human Unity

equality with the general mass. Two rigidly separate classes alone

remain, the dominant propertied class and the labourer, and all

the most significant movements of the day have for their purpose

the abolition of this last superiority. In this persistent tendency,

Europe has obeyed one great law of Nature’s progressive march,

her trend towards a final equality. Absolute equality is surely

neither intended nor possible, just as absolute uniformity is both

impossible and utterly undesirable; but a fundamental equality

which will render the play of true superiority and difference

inoffensive, is essential to any conceivable perfectibility of the

human race.

Therefore, the perfect counsel for a dominant minority is

always to recognise in good time the right hour for its abdication

and for the imparting of its ideals, qualities, culture, experience

to the rest of the aggregate or to as much of it as is prepared

for that progress. Where this is done, the social aggregate advances

normally and without disruption or serious wound or

malady; otherwise a disordered progress is imposed upon it, for

Nature will not suffer human egoism to baffle for ever her fixed

intention and necessity.Where the dominant classes successfully

avoid her demand upon them, the worst of destinies is likely

to overtake the social aggregate,—as in India where the final

refusal of the Brahmin and other privileged classes to call up the

bulk of the nation as far as possible to their level, their fixing of

an unbridgeable gulf of superiority between themselves and the

rest of society, has been a main cause of eventual decline and

degeneracy. For where her aims are frustrated, Nature inevitably

withdraws her force from the offending unit till she has brought

in and used other and external means to reduce the obstacle to

a nullity.





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