CHAPTER FIVE
THE ETHICS OF COMMUNITY

WHAT MEN REGARD AS RIGHT AND WRONG VARIES GREATLY from one society to another. The moral sense, or conscience, of a man seems to be relative to the society or age in which he lives. Indeed, the moral sense must be relative; that is, it must change as the context of society changes. For systems of law and morals tend to lose their meanings as society changes. Only if the moral sense keeps pace with society, can we expect to have a code which is satisfactory.

But here we have introduced a further conception. We seem to have some standard or principle in mind by which we judge particular moral codes satisfactory or unsatisfactory. It seems, then, that the moral sense is not limited to the rules of a particular code, but includes more general ideas. It seems that while specific systems of morals are transient and relative, there are certain general principles which are at least more constant and less relative. Perhaps this, rather than specific moral codes, is the direction in which to look for the formulation of the Higher Law, and the true sense of conscience.

Fundamental Moral Maxims If we consider the case of wage regulation again, a rationalization in terms of more general moral principles might be worked out on these lines: We feel that a man doing useful work ought to receive a wage which enables him to keep his mental and physical health. We find that in the 1880's laisser-faire in general provided this "living wage," but that fifty years later, it was necessary for government to step in in order to ensure similar consequences. The moral principle has re-

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