Economic Sophisms/124

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"to warrant the social sciences, especially Political Economy, in holding it as of no account.

I go further. That which prevents the social order from attaining that perfection of which it is susceptible, is the constant effort of its members to live and enjoy themselves at the expense of each other. So that if SPOLIATION did not exist, social science would be without object, for society would then be perfect.

I go further still. When SPOLIATION has once become the recognised means of existence of a body of men united and held together by social ties, they soon proceed to frame a law which sanctions it, and to adopt a system of morals which sanctifies it.

It is sufficient to enumerate some of the more glaring forms which Spoliation assumes, in order to show the place which it occupies in human transactions.

There is first of all WAR. Among savages the conqueror puts to death the vanquished, in order to acquire a right, which, if not incontestable, is, at least, uncontested, to his enemy's hunting grounds.

Then comes SLAVERY, When man comes to find that the land may be made fertile by means of labour, he says to his brother man, "Thine be the labour, and mine the product."

Next we have PRIESTCRAFT. "According as you give or refuse me a portion of your substance, I will open to you the gate of Heaven or of Hell."

Lastly comes MONOPOLY. Its distinguishing character is to leave in existence the great social law of service for service, but to bring force to bear upon the bargain, so as to impair the just proportion between the service received and the service rendered.

Spoliation bears always in its bosom that germ of death by which it is ultimately destroyed. It is rarely the many who despoil the few. Were it so, the few would soon be reduced to such a state as to be no longer able to satisfy the cupidity of the many, and spoliation would die out for want of support.

It is almost always the majority who are oppressed, but spoliation is not the less on this account subject to an inevitable check.

For, if the agent be Force, as in the cases of War and Slavery, it is natural that Force, in the long run, should pass to the side of the greatest number.