M. N. Roy Jawaharlal Nehru



Download 4,14 Mb.
Page59/67
Date conversion09.08.2018
Size4,14 Mb.
1   ...   55   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   ...   67

GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS

  1. of human nature on which the politician can build, and that with the help of new quantitative methods which were coming into vogue, political thinkers would be able to state their problems more fully and answer them with greater accuracy than in the past. These tenden­cies may enable us to develop a new political science. Wallas "looks forward to improvement by education, and he looks forward to guid­ance rendered effective by a clearer perception of the impulses upon which men and women act. Perhaps, an election will become more and more the educational process for which he, like Mill, ardently hopes."9 The spread of education could place the management of political parties in the hands of those who possess civil consciousness. Finally Wallas hoped that the name of Humanity might become charged with emotion and come to have no less emotional effect than what the national flag and national anthem and party labels possess­ed at the present time. He was a great optimist; he expected much in the way of social improvement from 'social invention', and laid stress on deliberate plans of social control and direction. In his other works he attempted to give a more socialized content to the doctrines of political liberty and natural rights.

  2. The Idea of 'Social Equality' in Democracy

  3. Ii is clear to the exponents of democracy that its successful opera­tion depends upon the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, for efficient participation of individuals in group affairs, either direct­ly or under the guidance of leaders whose opinions they accept, neces­sitates a factual basis of activity. All the writers recognize this, and some, like Lippmann, Lowell, Zueblin, Cooley, Dicey, Ellwood, Fol-lett, Godkin. A.B. Hall, Mecklin and Wallas have given special atten­tion to the subjects of public opinion and education. In discussing the formation and functioning of public opinion, the work of Lippmann and Wallas is especially valuable in emphasizing the unconscious fac­tors that play a prominent part. Their insistence that man's human nature must be considered as a factor in all discussion of political activity lends a valuable dynamic note to analyses of democracy.


    1. Murray, R. H. : The History of Political Science from Plato to the Pre­sent, New York (1929).

    2. Human Nature and Politics, p. 22.

    3. Ibid., p. 231.

    Wallas saw representative government constantly growing. But nowhere is it a complete success, partly because of a faith in the Benthamistic concept of man as a rational machine. This intellec-tualistic theory ignores the importance of the unconscious drives to behaviour without consideration of which the problems of democracy cannot be squarely met.' The success of democracy, which is the most satisfactory form of government yet devised, and under which Wallas included the idea of social equality,8 demands that political faith be strengthened, thus combating the domination of the



  1. GRAHAM WALLAS

  2. 481



  1. unconscious upon which the unscrupulous leaders can play to obtain their own ends.8 Wallas advocated reform of the electoral systems so that an election would not be a mere device for registering a poorly formed opinion, but would become the agency for forming an intelligent opi­nion. Having shown how little thought actually enters into the political life of the individual, Wallas urged the social organization of thought as a method of attaining a more rational basis of behaviour.9

  2. The Doctrine of Liberty

  3. Expressing his views on the doctrine of liberty, which he consi­dered as highly essential for the successful working of democracy, Wallas wrote that any socialized theory of liberty should provide, not only for the removal of all obstructions in the way of using one's faculties, but also for the conscious and organized will to use them. Liberty is, thus, a positive as well as a negative concept. On these grounds Wallas found that the Periclean notion of liberty was far more helpful than the negative definitions of John Stuart Mill and Sidney Webb. He did not favour empty individualism of J. S. Mill. Whenever he discussed individual liberty, he did not lose sight of social needs. On the political plane, liberty and liberal institutions are not matters which may be deliberately willed by statesmen and put into operation without reference to the social environment.

  4. His Reforms


    1. 8 Ibid., pp. 206 ff.

    2. 9 Ibid., pp. 185 ff : The Great Society, Chap. XI. !0 Ibid., Chap. VIII

    Wallas considered the present working of government as burden­some and uncreative. He pointed out to the discrepancy between the structure and functions of government.10 According to him, human mind has failed to develop proper forms of co-operative thought to keep pace with the governing complexity of social life. Our committees, our municipal councils, and the House of Commons are not true to their purpose of group deliberation. If thinking is done at all, it is done in small groups of party leaders or of individual members, in correspondence, in interviews between members and responsible officials. Effective discussion has so far been possible in the cabinet on account of its selected personnel and the solidarity of the party. Any reform which aims at improving the capacity for deliberation of these institutions must recognize the complexity of legislative problems and the existence of forms of impersonal means of communication. The House of Commons may be forced to diminish its membership. It may make greater use of committees and also abolish the Committee of the Whole House. The Cabinet will have to rely on the work of committees. The size of the local bodies has to be reduced. The House of Lords must assume the nature of a Royal Commission.

  1. 432

  2. great political thinkers



  1. Also, according to Wallas, changes should be made in the civil service with a view to increasing the possibilities of creative thought on their part. They should be prevented from the spirit of narrow professionalism. The spirit of originality should be encouraged among them. The present official atmosphere stands in the way of originality. The spirit of conservatism is very strong. This results in efficiency of management of details but infertility in the invention of principles. If civil administration is to be humanized, greater opportunities should be given to officials for creative thought. They should make public investigation of some public matters. They should make oral reports to parliamentary or cabinet committees. Their reports on the working of departments should be signed by them.

  2. Graham Wallas also devoted his attention to the problems of nationality and international organization. A great majority of the sociologists is agreed that the sovereign national state cannot be regarded as the final stage in political evolution. Some form of international organization must be found which will eliminate national wars in a manner similar to that in which the national state has ended neighbourhood and sectional conflicts. The chief thesis of Wallas' latest book, Our Social Heritage, is the assertion that society and civilization cannot long endure unless some adequate method is found to avert the destructive wars of the modern era. He makes a number of suggestions as to how we may build up reaction patterns founded upon international co-operation rather than national egoism and rivalry.11

  3. As a Great Humanitarian, a Democrat and a Rationalist

  4. On the basis of our above observations of the views of Graham Wallas we can conclude that he was a great humanitarian, a democrat and a rationalist. Democracy in practice may be pretty bad, but at least it is better than government by an irresponsible dictator or oligarchy, and the one or the few are apt to be as irrational as the many. Moreover, Wallas is optimistic enough to think that mankind though normally irrational, may be trained or educated to act more or less rationally. In fact, much of Wallas' work is concerned with discovering within the democratic framework, effective methods of substituting rational control of social processes for the unreasoning group action of the herd. In like manner, we find Lippmann lauc'ing such American institutions as the League of Women Voters which attempts to lay before its members an impartial survey of political facts as an antidote to the irrational propaganda employed by all the major political parties.


    1. 11 Our Social Heritage, Chapters LX-XIT.

    Graham Wallas wielded great influence. His writings have won for him a very high place in the literature of politics. There are very few books on politics which do not make a reference to his works. His quantitative method is followed all over the world.

























































































  5. A

  1. 24

  2. JOHN DEWEY (I 859-1 962)

  3. John Dewey, the third of four sons of a middle-ciass couple, was born on October 20, 1859, in Burlington, Vermont. It was the year of the publication of The Origin of Species by Charles Dar­win, by whom Dewey was later to be much influenced in his philo­sophic thinking. This child of rural Vermont was to become in this country the voice of scientific method, of disciplined inquiry as the chief agency and instrument of freedom in the complex industrial society of our time.

  4. Influence of John Dewey's Philosophy

  5. To describe Dewey as a maker of twentieth-century America, or a remaker of it, implies, of course, certain general assumptions as to the influences of ideas on history. It might be said that, if Dewey is recognized as a peculiarly American philosopher, it is because he caught the voice, accent and temper of the American tradition and the nature of the special contingencies and choices before it in his own era. He did not, it may be argued, make the tradition, or, for that matter, remake it. The expanding forces of technology, the intervolvement of public and private affairs, the rising tides of the labour movement, the revolt against authoritarianism in religion and in education—all of these play a large part in and colour his social philosophy—were, it may be argued, themes he translated into gene­ral terms of philosophical analysis ; they were not consequences of his published ideas.

  6. It is John Dewey himself, incidentally, who in his central work. Democracy and Education, assures us that philosophical differences matter only where they make a difference in educational practice. On that basis alone, again for better or worse, John Dewey's philosophy has had phenomenal influence on America, for everything that is asso­ciated with the transformation of education from mere passive learn­ing of the three R's to education as shared living, everything that is associated with the modern trei d in education, the emphasis on edu­cation as social and as an experience of shared life, is directly or obliquely the consequence of Dewey's ideas. Moreover, to Dewey's inspiration may be credited the whole tendency of modern legal thinking to turn from abstract principles to the estimation of law in terms of the consequences of law on human lives. And, latteiiy, the more surprising in the light of the fact that Dewey is so often labelled as a pragmatist and instrumentalist is bis influence on

  1. 484

  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS



  1. aesthetics and criticism, which he has done much to take out of the hands of the formalists and semantic and scholastic pedants, and reclaim for the exploratory imagination.

  2. Dewey all his life retained something of the simplicity of the nineteenth-century world of individuality and of fair play, of first­hand respect for first-hand experience that was characteristic of the nineteenth-century Vermonters among whom he grew up. For all his recognition of the complex changes science and industry and inter­national commerce were making in the twentieth century, he retained a paramount sense of individual, and the private dignity of the individual, that had been the themes of Thoreau and Emerson in the nineteenth century. He had the slowness of speech and the sharpness of perception of the weathered Vermonter. Nearly all his life he spent in the Universities ; yet he early had become aware that schools are a function of society, and he spent not a small part of his own life becoming acquainted with that society outside of schools, in adult education, in labour movements, in what was happening in science and government and industry, among plain people and artists.

  3. Gradually Dewey's fame became world-wide. He was invited to China, where he spent two years following World War I teaching at the University of Peking, and at the Imperial University of Tokyo, where he delivered a series of lectures of which his book entitled Reconstruction in Philosophy was a consequence. He also visited Russia, with which, long before a great many other liberals, he became drastically disillusioned. In France a generation ago Dewey's philo­sophical rather than his educational works were very widely known. But he remained to the end of his life, in his ninety-second year, characterized by both a shrewd simplicity and an acute awareness of the complicated new problems of men and women in the twentieth century. He always "saw around" the academy and felt that philo­sophy had its obligation to that society in which it emerged and which it expressed, and which it could help intelligently to transform itself, to grow and change in the light of disciplined guiding hypo­theses, of which for him philosophy essentially consisted.

  4. Pragmatic View of the State

  5. Dewey's trips abroad played a decisive part in the evolution of his social and political ideas. He discussed the state and its functions as a pragmatist in his work, The Public and Its Problems (1927). The state can be approached with as little respect for abstractions as greeted Society and the Individual. Of course, once we pronounce that magic phrase, "The State," the temptation is to add immediate­ly, "Loud cheers." For it seems to be indeed a thing, an entity, a metaphysical essence—at the very least, a causal agency having power to produce action. Now, when we begin looking in this direction, almost anything may turn up, and so the state has come to mean the whole series of hypostatisations that parade regally through the his-

  1. JOHN DEWEY

  2. 485



  1. tory of political philosophy. It ranges from the Hegelian capstone of the universal processes to a wicked ogre which is waiting only to be pushed over. But we have been looking in the wrong place for the state. It is not to be discovered in the land of essences or forms. But if the method Dewey proposed is to be followed, the state must be sought in actual happenings and consequences. It was nothing short of a pragmatic method.

  2. Dewey found the state in the need for regulation of activities. As a pragmatist he stated : "The state is the organization of the public effected through officials for the protection of the interests shared by its members."89 Viewed from this point of view, the states come into existence as they are required; they grow and develop as they face new and more complicated problems. They are the con­sequences of specific needs. There is nothing here of some prepotent force which by fiat or nisus generates a mystical state. Neither is there any trick with changeless, permanent states. States—according to this hypothesis—are no more all-embracing than they are insigni­ficant. They result from the projection of important consequences beyond the direct concern of persons and groups, consequences which require the establishment of special agencies. Therefore, as Dewey said, the formation of states becomes a series of experiments. Publics differ ; their needs and demands change. It is no more than reason­able to expect states to be flexible. By their very origin and nature they require constant scrutiny, revision, amendment. It is, thus, futile to talk about the 'best state' in terms of some pious hope which waits at the end of a rainbow. Yet it is equally futile to my simply upon improvisation. Instead, the specific search for the nature of the state directs its attention to problems that are real and soluble, it does not worry itself overmuch with the conceptual status or abstract justification of political activity. For example, included in this l.ind of an approach would be a deliberate accounting of the actual charac­teristic which states do possess, a type of inquiry which would be completely out of order were our attention fixed upon the traits which metaphysical states ought to have.'


    1. 2 These characteristics are worked out in Chapter II of The Public and Its Problems. They include such traits as localization of the state somewhere between associations which are narrow and intimate, and those which are remote and disconnected ; concern of the state peculiarly with long-time interests which are channelized and standardized by means of law ; func­tions of the state in dealing with irreparable conditions, e.g., those of in­feriority of age or capacity, and the like.

    Since the state is a functioning arm of public activity instead of some mystical power worthy of worship, it can be experimented with. In fact, as has already been emphasized, we should more correctly talk about states instead of the State. States are plural. They can be

  1. 486

  2. GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS



  1. manipulated and directed. It is comic to set up some totalitariau idol which is changeless, untouchable and aweprovoking. It is scarce­ly less arbitrary to decide in advance upon the degree of state activity. As far as anything that can be called a qualitative character of the state is concerned, it must be regarded as neutral in predetermining the extension of powers. States expand when the indirect and far-reaching consequences of private action expand. They contract when intimate, face-to-faee relations dominate. It goes without saying that the indirect and far-reaching consequences have expanded pro­digiously since, the industrial revolution ; the inference as to the powers of the state must be obvious. Yet to label the state collecti vistic or total in its essence is as prejudicial to the understanding of political function as following back upon laissez-faire or limited police powers.

  2. Democracy and Faith in Human Nature

  3. However, the word 'neutral' must not be misunderstood. Too often pragmatism, of whatever sort, has been decried as blind expe­diency or as resigned acceptance of whatever happens to be 'working' at the moment. Ludicrously enough, it finds itself accused of being responsible at the same time for both the fumbling and pointless efforts of liberalism, and the ostensible efficiency of fascism. But neutral docs not mean indifferent. It does not mean refusal to allow concepts and symbols which have been obviously weighted one way or the other to determine antecedently what kind of state must be supported by political philosophy. Instead, the purpose of political philosophy is precisely "the creation of methods such that experimen­tation may go on less blindly, less at the mercy of accident, more intelligently, so that man may learn from their errors and profit by their successes."90

  4. "It seems unnecessary to add that the political set-up for such cxperiL^ntation requires a democratic state. This mention of the democratic state will not be a stimulus for discussing his historical 01 political democracy."91 That would involve material which is both too familiar and too tricky ; besides, it would not be exactly the point in question. For the connotations of Dewey here are those of method.

  5. "The prime condition of a democratically organized public is a kind of knowledge and insight which does not yet exist. In its absence, it would be the height of absurdity to try to tell what it would be like if it existed. But some of the conditions which must be fulfilled if it is to exist can be indicated. . . .An obvious require­ment is freedom of social inquiry and of distribution of its conclu­sions."92



























































































  6. J

  1. Democracy :>s a personal, an individual, way of life involves no­thing fundamentally new. But v.hen applied it puts a new practical meaning in old ideas. Put into effect it signifies that powerful present enemies of democracy can be successfully met only by the creation of personal attitudes in individual human beings ; that we must get over our tendency to think that its defence can be found in any external means whatever, whether military or civil, if they are separa­ted from individual attitudes so deep-seated as to constitute personal character.

1   ...   55   56   57   58   59   60   61   62   ...   67


The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2016
send message

    Main page