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property, and the desire of laboring directly for the beloved objects of a separate household. But let it be conceded, for the sake of argument, that the economical advantages would be equal to the most sanguine anticipations; still, he must be blind indeed who does not see that there is another and far more important aspect to this question. These advantages may be purchased at the cost of something immensely outweighing all merely physical comforts or enjoyments. This presents the great point, and, in fact, the only one worth discussing, in the whole controversy.
So far the matter is as yet only hypothetical, even should these pecuniary advantages be vastly greater than they have been ever represented. It all yet depends upon the settlement of an if. If men can live more cheaply and have more of the comforts of life with less labor,-if they can avoid the toil, and the anxiety, and the thousand nameless cares, that, with a large portion of mankind, attend the isolated household state, —if all this can be without the risk of any moral or spiritual damage far surpassing all physical benefits,-if it can be done without at all interfering with paternal authority, or filial obligation, or affecting any of those sacred domestic institutions which are the nurseries of almost all the native virtues to which fallen human nature may yet lay claim,-IF, we say, all this could be safely effected, then certainly the doctrine of associationism would be worthy of our most ardent support ;-if not, then all the riches, and plenty, and physical comforts, and gratifications of art, and pleasures of the eye, and of the ear, and of the fancy, that are so glowingly set forth on the pages of Fourier and Brisbane, would not even begin to compensate for the moral sacrifice. Aside from this, carry the economical argument without contradiction to its utmost extent of advantage, and it is of no value in the right decision of the question.
But this is the very matter in controversy; and which no party has a right to understand as alien to it. It is contended that there are moral and religious considerations far outweighing any economical advantages; that a life of toil, of anxiety, of poverty even, if it be accompanied with the preservation of these sacred institutions, is to be preferred to any amount of physical comfort which may be purchased by their loss; even if, without them, such physical comforts could be really supposed to have any long-continued permanence. It may be contended, in short, that a ruder state of society (should it be admitted that such might be the result) is to be chosen rather than what might be thought to be physically the highest civilization, when there is no longer that peculiar virtue and that peculiar religion-sacra Dei, sanctique patres—the reve
rence for which can never truly exist separate from the divinely instituted family state.
Now, in this view of the matter, upon what ground can any one who makes pretensions to fairness in discussion, claim the right of understanding this question only in its first or economical aspect? And does not this, of itself, exhibit evidence that its moral bearings cannot bear the light of rigid examination? The party insists upon regarding it simply as a question of cheap living; and if his opponent chooses to take a wider view of the matter, and to trace it in all its moral and social relations, he would spring upon him the previous question, and exclude it as not coming within his understanding of the subject.
Certainly neither Fourier nor Brisbane was willing thus to treat it. To the great apostle of the doctrine must certainly be conceded the acuteness and consistency of seeing that the successful carrying out of his scheme, in any aspect, necessarily involved the most radical changes in almost all the moral and social relations; that it must greatly modify, to say the least, all the common views in respect to marriage, filial obedience, paternal authority, religious doctrine, and education. He saw how utterly inconsistent with his new revelation must be the maintenance of certain religious creeds, and therefore the infidel Frenchman coolly set forth as the religion of the phalanx a Christianity which should have no dogmas--or, rather, only one, namely, that which most dogmatically denied and condemned all dogmas. In the favorite language of a certain transcendental school which coalesces most naturally with the philosophy of associationism, it was to be all religion and no theology. Hence Fourier most consistently enters into a close examination of all these topics as inseparable from his theory. He discusses carefully the subject of education, boldly tells us that the paternal authority must give way to that of the phalanx, and condemns the “isolated family” relation as utterly inconsistent with the very first principles of his scheme. He shrinks from none of the legitimate deductions which inevitably flow from his starting doctrine of passional attraction, but boldly traces it out to the weakening and overthrow of the permanent marriage institution. The two principal writers among his followers in this country keep close, in the main, to the same track; except that they stand back a little from some of those conclusions so much better adapted to the meridian of France, in Fourier's day, although they find it impossible to deny the rigid logic by which they are derived from fundamental premises, admitted by them as fully as by their master.
In the discussion of this question, it was clearly the part of the asserter of the new scheme-and especially in view of this remarkable stipulation—to have presented distinctly what he understood associationism to be in that financial, practical, or economical aspect to which he intended to confine it. Instead of this, however, his commencement is marked by the widest theorizing about the laws of nature and natural rights; thus himself betraying a consciousness that there was far more included in the question than he had at first chosen to regard as contained in its terms. A succinct statement of those merely practical and financial results, which were expected from it under the aspect of an enlarged partnership, might have presented a case to which the other side would, perhaps, have made no objection; especially if there had been an express exclusion of those features of association from which the moral objections arise. But then it would have been no longer Fourierism, and there would, perhaps, have been no ground of discussion. It would hardly have been worth the while to occupy even one large column of a newspaper with a controversy respecting the merits of any mere scheme of partnership, or tenancy in common, or mutual insurance, or the formation of a trades-union, or any other project of association for pecuniary benefit, which left all the social and domestic relations, and all educational institutions, untouched. And so the leading party himself evidently felt it; for he very soon finds himself brought up against that most perplexing subject of education. Here the real difficulty, the very pinch of the controversy, commences. Now neither Brisbane nor Fourier had had any trouble about this. They most consistently march right up to the only conclusion which the social philosophy of the phalanx will admit. They lay it down, in the most explicit and unmistakable terms, that parental authority is no longer to have any control in this matter. The will of the phalanx must supersede that of the parent; and that, not only on the ground that this course cannot be avoided in consistency with the higher regulations of the general body, but because their doctrine of passional attraction brings out the conclusion, that the father is often the most unfit person to direct in the education of his own son. The reason assigned for this is, that “he is most likely to impose upon him his own tastes, which may be very different from the passional attractions of the child.” The latter is even to be more influenced by other children of nearly his own age, than by the advice and authority of the author of his being. “ The whole mechanism of the passional series,” it is said, “would be destroyed, if the son inherited the tastes of the father.” Again
we are told, that “
nature, in order to counteract all these defects of paternal education, gives to the child a REPUGNANCE for the lessons of the father and tutor; the child wishes to COMMAND and not to obey the father. ... The natural instructors of children are those a little superior in age.” We have not quoted the worst of it. Those who wish to see much more to the same effect, may consult Brisbane's book, from page 412 to 428; and also the work under review, pages 28, 29, &c.
Here is the fifth commandment, and all the train of virtues and promised blessings which spring from its observance, banished at once from this new social polity. Now the leading party in this discussion-we are glad to do him the justice to say it—was not prepared to go this length; neither was he well able to stop short of positions reached by these founders of the school, without departing from that idea of the phalanx which was fundamental in the lowest ground of associationism.
The subject of education could not be wholly avoided; but a most general statement is made, “that it would be the special charge of counselors elected by all the adult members, who would take care that the very best talents were to be from time to time employed in this department.” This is accompanied by the declaration of an opinion, “ that all true teachers are creuted such, not manufactured ;” (see page 21 ;) and here is about all that we have on a subject to which Fourier and Brisbane consistently devote a large part of their works, and which, it is admitted, association must most essentially modify in all its features and fundamental principles. In reply to a complaint of the poverty of this answer, and to inferences deduced from the admitted doctrines of Fourierism, the respondent is unguardedly referred to the acknowledged “writings of associationists," and is told that “if he had attended to them he might have seen how his obstacles were to be surmounted." In return, the other side draws largely upon the works of those associationists who must be regarded, above all others, as standard authorities, if any such the system can claim.
The respondent regarded this as fairly opening to him ground from which the letter of the terms of discussion might seem to have excluded him. Our own opinion of the matter may be expressed in few words. The stipulation aforesaid was absurd, and of a nature very soon to defeat itself. It could have no effect to shut out the respondent from any conclusions he might logically draw from any first positions of the school. The other party, in reply, had no right to say that he did not understand those inferences as forming any part of the doctrine of association, but was
bound to show, if he could, the unsoundness of the reasoning by which they were deduced. In another point of view it was equally nugatory. In showing that such and such conclusions result from certain acknowledged positions, it is a mode of reasoning perfectly fair and legitimate, to appeal to the effect they have produced on the minds of others who have given the closest attention to the system, who were its most ardent and consistent advocates,-who were placed in most favorable situations for its examination, and who were the most free from any counter influences which might prevent the doctrine from maturing (in their study of it) into its legitimate developments. This is a proper and very good collateral argument in showing the natural termination of certain courses of thought. We see where the most consistent travelers invariably come out, and we say, without hesitation, that the road must necessarily lead directly there. The argument has great weight almost any class of minds, and the respondent might therefore justly resort to it for the legitimate purpose of showing his readers that the “understanding” of the other party was wrong. Such and such, he might say, and does say, are the natural results of your scheme, and its admitted fundamental dogma of "passional attraction,” in respect to education, marriage, religion, &c. I do not thus “understand” it, says the other party, and therefore you have no right to use it against me. Your understanding, it is replied, is wrong; and, among other arguments, I prove it by the fact that such were the understandings and inferences of the very founders of your school, -of your most eulogized and almost deified apostle,-of your ablest reasoner, placed in the most favorable circumstances for the investigation and free utterance of the only possible conclusion.
In discussions like this, it is the part of wisdom to seize at once on some strong ground or grounds, which, with the least waste of collateral argument, may command the most speedy and conclusive decision of the whole matter. The respondent, we think, has done so. There are one or two positions of this kind that he keeps in view throughout, never suffering any considerations drawn solely from the economical aspect of the question, or any moving appeals which the other party so skillfully introduces respecting the miseries of the present social state, to draw him from these impregnable strongholds. One of these has reference to the bearing of association on the domestic relations. Would it in fact destroy the family, or what Brisbane and Fourier ever condemn under the opprobrious name of the “isolated household ?" If so, there is no great benefit or wisdom in discussing other points of