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Title: Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx)
Author: Ferri, Enrico, 1859-1929
Language: English
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                SOCIALISM AND
               MODERN SCIENCE

           (DARWIN, SPENCER, MARX)

                ENRICO FERRI

               TRANSLATED BY

               THIRD EDITION


              Copyright, 1900

by The International Library Publishing Co.

Table of Contents.

Preface                                                          5
Introduction                                                     9



Virchow And Haeckel at the Congress of Munich                   13
  _a_) The equality of individuals                              19
  _b_) The struggle for life and its victims                    35
  _c_) The survival of the fittest                              49


Socialism and religious beliefs                                 59
The individual and the species                                  67
The struggle for life and the class-struggle                    74



The orthodox thesis and the socialist thesis confronted by
the theory of evolution                                         92
The law of apparent retrogression and collective ownership     100
The social evolution and individual liberty                    110
Evolution.--Revolution.--Rebellion.--Violence                  129



Sterility of sociology                                         156
Marx completes Darwin And Spencer. Conservatives and
socialists                                                     159
Appendix I.--Reply to Spencer                                  173
Appendix II.--Socialist superstition and individualist myopia  177

Author's Preface.

(_For the French Edition._)

This volume--which it has been desired to make known to the great public
in the French language--in entering upon a question so complex and so
vast as socialism, has but a single and definite aim.

My intention has been to point out, and in nearly all cases by rapid and
concise observations, the general relations existing between
contemporary socialism and the whole trend of modern scientific thought.

The opponents of contemporary socialism see in it, or wish to see in it,
merely a reproduction of the sentimental socialism of the first half of
the Nineteenth Century. They contend that socialism is in conflict with
the fundamental facts and inductions of the physical, biological and
social sciences, whose marvelous development and fruitful applications
are the glory of our dying century.

To oppose socialism, recourse has been had to the individual
interpretations and exaggerations of such or such a partisan of
Darwinism, or to the opinions of such or such a sociologist--opinions
and interpretations in obvious conflict with the premises of their
theories on universal and inevitable evolution.

It has also been said--under the pressure of acute or chronic
hunger--that "if science was against socialism, so much the worse for
science." And those who thus spoke were right if they meant by
"science"--even with a capital S--the whole mass of observations and
conclusions _ad usum delphini_ that orthodox science, academic and
official--often in good faith, but sometimes also through interested
motives--has always placed at the disposal of the ruling minorities.

I have believed it possible to show that modern experiential science is
in complete harmony with contemporary socialism, which, since the work
of Marx and Engels and their successors, differs essentially from
sentimental socialism, both in its scientific system and in its
political tactics, though it continues to put forth generous efforts for
the attainment of the same goal: social justice for all men.

I have loyally and candidly maintained my thesis on scientific grounds;
I have always recognized the partial truths of the theories of our
opponents, and I have not ignored the glorious achievements of the
bourgeoisie and bourgeois science since the outbreak of the French
Revolution. The disappearance of the bourgeois class and science,
which, at their advent marked the disappearance of the hieratic and
aristocratic classes and science, will result in the triumph of social
justice for all mankind, without distinction of classes, and in the
triumph of truth carried to its ultimate consequences.

The appendix contains my replies to a letter of Herbert Spencer and to
an anti-socialist book of M. Garofalo. It shows the present state of
social science, and of the struggle between ultra-conservative
orthodoxy, which is blinded to the sad truths of contemporary life by
its traditional syllogisms and innovating heterodoxy which is ever
becoming more marked among the learned, as well as strengthening its
hold upon the collective intelligence.

                                            ENRICO FERRI.

Brussels, Nov., 1895.


Convinced Darwinian and Spencerian, as I am, it is my intention to
demonstrate that Marxian Socialism--the only socialism which has a truly
scientific method and value, and therefore the only socialism which from
this time forth has power to inspire and unite the Social Democrats
throughout the civilized world--is only the practical and fruitful
fulfilment, in the social life, of that modern scientific revolution
which--inaugurated some centuries since by the rebirth of the
experimental method in all branches of human knowledge--has triumphed in
our times, thanks to the works of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer.

It is true that Darwin and especially Spencer halted when they had
travelled only half way toward the conclusions of a religious, political
or social order, which necessarily flow from their indisputable
premises. But that is, as it were, only an individual episode, and has
no power to stop the destined march of science and of its practical
consequences, which are in wonderful accord with the
necessities--necessities enforced upon our attention by want and
misery--of contemporary life. This is simply one more reason why it is
incumbent upon us to render justice to the scientific and political work
of Karl Marx which completes the renovation of modern scientific

Feeling and thought are the two inseparable impelling forces of the
individual life and of the collective life.

Socialism, which was still, but a few years since, at the mercy of the
strong and constantly recurring but undisciplined fluctuations of
humanitarian sentimentalism, has found, in the work of that great man,
Karl Marx, and of those who have developed and completed his thought,
its scientific and political guide.[1] This is the explanation of every
one of its conquests.

Civilization is the most fruitful and most beautiful development of
human energies, but it contains also an infectious _virus_ of tremendous
power. Beside the splendor of its artistic, scientific and industrial
achievements, it accumulates gangrenous products, idleness, poverty,
misery, insanity, crime and physical suicide and moral suicide, _i. e._

Pessimism--that sad symptom of a life without ideals and, in part, the
effect of the exhaustion or even of the degeneration of the nervous
system--glorifies the final annihilation of all life and sensation as
the only mode of escaping from or triumphing over pain and suffering.

We have faith, on the contrary, in the eternal _virtus medicatrix
naturae_ (healing power of Nature), and socialism is precisely that
breath of a new and better life which will free humanity--after some
access of fever perhaps--from the noxious products of the present phase
of civilization, and which, in a more advanced phase, will give a new
power and opportunity of expansion to all the healthy and fruitful
energies of all human beings.

                                               ENRICO FERRI.

Rome, June, 1894.


[1] The word in the original means a mariner's compass.--_Tr._





On the 18th of September, 1877, Ernest Haeckel, the celebrated
embryologist of Jena, delivered at the Congress of Naturalists, which
was held at Munich, an eloquent address defending and propagating
Darwinism, which was at that time the object of the most bitter
polemical attacks.

A few days afterward, Virchow, the great pathologist,--an active member
of the "progressive" parliamentary party, hating new theories in
politics just as much as in science--violently assailed the Darwinian
theory of organic evolution, and, moved by a very just presentiment,
hurled against it this cry of alarm, this political anathema: "Darwinism
leads directly to socialism."

The German Darwinians, and at their head Messrs. Oscar Schmidt and
Haeckel, immediately protested; and, in order to avert the addition of
strong political opposition to the religious, philosophical, and
biological opposition already made to Darwinism, they maintained, on the
contrary, that the Darwinian theory is in direct, open and absolute
opposition to socialism.

"If the Socialists were prudent," wrote Oscar Schmidt in the "Ausland"
of November 27, 1877, "they would do their utmost to kill, by silent
neglect, the theory of descent, for that theory most emphatically
proclaims that the socialist ideas are impracticable."

"As a matter of fact," said Haeckel,[2] "there is no scientific doctrine
which proclaims more openly than the theory of descent that the equality
of individuals, toward which socialism tends, is an impossibility; that
this chimerical equality is in absolute contradiction with the necessary
and, in fact, universal inequality of individuals.

"Socialism demands for all citizens equal rights, equal duties, equal
possessions and equal enjoyments; the theory of descent establishes, on
the contrary, that the realization of these hopes is purely and simply
impossible; that, in human societies, as in animal societies, neither
the rights, nor the duties, nor the possessions, nor the enjoyments of
all the members of a society are or ever can be equal.

"The great law of variation teaches--both in the general theory of
evolution and in the smaller field of biology where it becomes the
theory of descent--that the variety of phenomena flows from an original
unity, the diversity of functions from a primitive identity, and the
complexity of organization from a primordial simplicity. The conditions
of existence for all individuals are, from their very birth, unequal.
There must also be taken into consideration the inherited qualities and
the innate tendencies which also vary more or less widely. In view of
all this, how can the work and the reward be equal for all?

"The more highly the social life is developed, the more important
becomes the great principle of the division of labor, the more requisite
it becomes for the stable existence of the State as a whole that its
members should distribute among themselves the multifarious tasks of
life, each performing a single function; and as the labor which must be
performed by the individuals, as well as the expenditure of strength,
talent, money, etc., which it necessitates, differs more and more, it is
natural that the remuneration of this labor should also vary widely.
These are facts so simple and so obvious that it seems to me every
intelligent and enlightened statesman ought to be an advocate of the
theory of descent and the general doctrine of evolution, as the best
antidote for the absurd equalitarian, utopian notions of the socialists.

"And it was Darwinism, the theory of selection, that Virchow, in his
denunciation, had in mind, rather than mere metamorphic development, the
theory of descent, with which it is always confused! Darwinism is
anything rather than socialistic.

"If one wishes to attribute a political tendency to this English
theory,--which is quite permissible,--this tendency can be nothing but
aristocratic; by no means can it be democratic, still less socialistic.

"The theory of selection teaches that in the life of mankind, as in that
of plants and animals, it is always and everywhere a small privileged
minority alone which succeeds in living and developing itself; the
immense majority, on the contrary, suffer and succumb more or less
prematurely. Countless are the seeds and eggs of every species of plants
and animals, and the young individuals who issue from them. But the
number of those who have the good fortune to reach fully developed
maturity and to attain the goal of their existence is relatively

"The cruel and pitiless 'struggle for existence' which rages everywhere
throughout animated nature, and which in the nature of things must rage,
this eternal and inexorable competition between all living beings, is an
undeniable fact. Only a small picked number of the strongest or fittest
is able to come forth victoriously from this battle of competition. The
great majority of their unfortunate competitors are inevitably destined
to perish. It is well enough to deplore this tragic fatality, but one
cannot deny it or change it. 'Many are called, but few are chosen!'

"The selection, the 'election' of these 'elect' is by absolute necessity
bound up with the rejection or destruction of the vast multitude of
beings whom they have survived. And so another learned Englishman has
called the fundamental principle of Darwinism 'the survival of the
fittest, the victory of the best.'

"At all events, the principle of selection is not in the slightest
degree democratic; it is, on the contrary, thoroughly aristocratic. If,
then, Darwinism, carried out to its ultimate logical consequences, has,
according to Virchow, for the statesman 'an extraordinarily dangerous
side,' the danger is doubtless that it favors aristocratic aspirations."

I have reproduced complete and in their exact form all the arguments of
Haeckel, because they are those which are repeated--in varying tones,
and with expressions which differ from his only to lose precision and
eloquence--by those opponents of socialism who love to appear
scientific, and who, for polemical convenience, make use of those
ready-made or stereotyped phrases which have currency, even in science,
more than is commonly imagined.

It is easy, nevertheless, to demonstrate that, in this debate, Virchow's
way of looking at the subject was the more correct and more
perspicacious, and that the history of these last twenty years has amply
justified his position.

It has happened, indeed, that Darwinism and socialism have both
progressed with a marvelous power of expansion. From that time the one
was to conquer--for its fundamental theory--the unanimous endorsement of
naturalists; the other was to continue to develop--in its general
aspirations as in its political discipline--flooding all the conduits of
the social consciousness, like a torrential inundation from internal
wounds caused by the daily growth of physical and moral disease, or like
a gradual, capillary, inevitable infiltration into minds freed from all
prejudices, and which are not satisfied by the merely personal
advantages that they derive from the orthodox distribution of spoils.

But, as political or scientific theories are natural phenomena and not
the capricious and ephemeral products of the free wills of those who
construct and propagate them, it is evident that if these two currents
of modern thought have each been able to triumph over the opposition
they first aroused--the strongest kind of opposition, scientific and
political conservatism--and if every day increases the army of their
avowed disciples, this of itself is enough to show us--I was about to
say by a law of intellectual _symbiosis_--that they are neither
irreconcilable with, nor contradictory to, each other.

Moreover, the three principal arguments which form the substance of the
anti-socialist reasoning of Haeckel resist neither the most elementary
criticisms, nor the most superficial observation of every-day life.

These arguments are:

I.--Socialism tends toward a chimerical equality of persons and
property: Darwinism, on the contrary, not only establishes, but shows
the organic necessity of the natural inequality of the capabilities and
even the wants of individuals.

II.--In the life of mankind, as in that of plants and animals, the
immense majority of those who are born are destined to perish, because
only a small minority can triumph in the "struggle for existence";
socialism asserts, on the contrary, that all ought to triumph in this
struggle, and that no one is inexorably destined to be conquered.

III.--The struggle for existence assures "the survival of the best, the
victory of the fittest," and this results in an aristocratic hierarchic
gradation of selected individuals--a continuous progress--instead of the
democratic, collectivist leveling of socialism.


[2] Les preuves du transformisme.--Paris, 1879, page 110 _et seq._



The first of the objections, which is brought against socialism in the
name of Darwinism, is absolutely without foundation.

If it were true that socialism aspires to "the equality of all
individuals," it would be correct to assert that Darwinism irrevocably
condemns it.[3]

But although even to-day it is still currently repeated--by some in good
faith, like parrots who recite their stereotyped phrases; by others in
bad faith, with polemical skillfulness--that socialism is synonymous
with equality and leveling; the truth is, on the contrary, that
scientific socialism--the socialism which draws its inspiration from the
theory of Marx, and which alone to-day is worthy of support or
opposition,--has never denied the inequality of individuals, as of all
living beings--inequality innate and acquired, physical and

It is just as if one should say that socialism asserts that a royal
decree or a popular vote could settle it that "henceforth all men shall
be five feet seven inches tall."

But in truth, socialism is something more serious and more difficult to

Socialism says: _Men are unequal, but they are all_ (of them) _men_.

And, in fact, although each individual is born and develops in a
fashion more or less different from that of all other individuals,--just
as there are not in a forest two leaves identically alike, so in the
whole world there are not two men in all respects equals, the one of the
other,--nevertheless every man, simply because he is a _human being_,
has a right to the existence of a man, and not of a slave or a beast of

We know, we as well as our opponents, that all men cannot perform the
same kind and amount of labor--now, when social inequalities are added
to equalities of natural origin--and that they will still be unable to
do it under a socialist regime--when the social organization will tend
to reduce the effect of congenital inequalities.

There will always be some people whose brains or muscular systems will
be better adapted for scientific work or for artistic work, while others
will be more fit for manual labor, or for work requiring mechanical
precision, etc.

What ought not to be, and what will not be--is that there should be some
men who do not work at all, and others who work too much or receive too
little reward for their toil.

But we have reached the height of injustice and absurdity, and in these
days it is the man who does not work who reaps the largest returns, who
is thus guaranteed the individual monopoly of wealth which accumulates
by means of hereditary transmission. This wealth, moreover, is only very
rarely due to the economy and abstinence of the present possessor or of
some industrious ancestor of his; it is most frequently the time-honored
fruit of spoliation by military conquest, by unscrupulous "business"
methods, or by the favoritism of sovereigns; but it is in every instance
always independent of any exertion, of any socially useful labor of the
inheritor, who often squanders his property in idleness or in the
whirlpool of a life as inane as it is brilliant in appearance.

And, when we are not confronted with a fortune due to inheritance, we
meet with wealth due to fraud. Without talking for the moment of the
economic organization, the mechanism of which Karl Marx has revealed to
us, and which, even without fraud, normally enables the capitalist or
property owner to live upon his income without working, it is
indisputable that the fortunes which are formed or enlarged with the
greatest rapidity under our eyes cannot be the fruit of honest toil. The
really honest workingman, no matter how indefatigable and economical he
may be, if he succeeds in raising himself from the state of wage-slave
to that of an overseer or contractor, can, by a long life of privations,
accumulate at most a few hundreds of dollars. Those who, on the
contrary, without making by their own talent industrial discoveries or
inventions, accumulate in a few years millions, can be nothing but
unscrupulous manipulators of affairs, if we except a few rare strokes
of good luck. And it is these very parasites--bankers, etc.,--who live
in the most ostentatious luxury enjoying public honors, and holding
offices of trust, as a reward for their honorable business methods.

Those who toil, the immense majority, receive barely enough food to keep
them from dying of hunger; they live in back-rooms, in garrets, in the
filthy alleys of cities, or in the country in hovels not fit for stables
for horses or cattle.

Besides all this, we must not forget the horrors of being unable to find
work, the saddest and most frequent of the three symptoms of that
_equality in misery_ which is spreading like a pestilence over the
economic world of modern Italy, as indeed, with varying degrees of
intensity, it is everywhere else.

I refer to the ever-growing army of the _unemployed_ in agriculture and
industry--of those who have lost their foothold in the lower middle
class,--and of those who have been _expropriated_ (robbed) of their
little possessions by taxes, debts or usury.

It is not correct, then, to assert that socialism demands for all
citizens material and actual equality of labor and rewards.

The only possible equality is equality of obligation to work in order to
live, with a guarantee to every laborer of conditions of existence
worthy of a human being in exchange for the labor furnished to society.

Equality, according to socialism--as Benoit Malon said[5]--is a
relative thing, and must be understood in a two-fold sense: 1st, All
men, as men, must be guaranteed human conditions of existence; 2d, All
men ought to be equal _at the starting point_, ought not to be
handicapped, in the struggle for life, in order that each may freely
develop his own personality in an environment of equality of _social_
conditions, while to-day a child, sound and healthy, but poor, goes to
the wall in competition with a child puny but rich.[6]

This is what constitutes the radical, immeasurable transformation that
socialism demands, but that it also has discovered and announces as an
evolution--already begun in the world around us--that will be
necessarily, inevitably accomplished in the human society of the days to

This transformation is summed up in the conversion of private or
individual ownership of the means of production, _i. e._ of the physical
foundation of human life (land, mines, houses, factories, machinery,
instruments of labor or tools, and means of transportation) into
collective or social ownership, by means of methods and processes which
I will consider further on.

From this point we will consider it as proven that the first objection
of the anti-socialist reasoning does not hold, since its starting-point
is non-existent. It assumes, in short, that contemporary socialism aims
at a chimerical physical and mental equality of all men, when the fact
is that scientific and fact-founded socialism never, even in a dream,
thought of such a thing.

Socialism maintains, on the contrary, that this inequality--though
greatly diminished under a better social organization which will do away
with all the physical and mental imperfections that are the cumulative
results of generations of poverty and misery--can, nevertheless, never
disappear for the reasons that Darwinism has discovered in the
mysterious mechanism of life, in other words on account of the principle
of variation that manifests itself in the continuous development of
species culminating in man.

In every social organization that it is possible to conceive, there will
always be some men large and others small, some weak and some strong,
some phlegmatic and some nervous, some more intelligent, others less so,
some superior in mental power, others in muscular strength; and it is
well that it should be so; moreover, it is inevitable.

It is well that this is so, because the variety and inequality of
individual aptitudes naturally produce that division of labor that
Darwinism has rightly declared to be a law of individual physiology and
of social economy.

All men ought to work in order to live, but each ought to devote himself
to the kind of labor which best suits his peculiar aptitudes. An
injurious waste of strength and abilities would thus be avoided, and
labor would cease to be repugnant, and would become agreeable and
necessary as a condition of physical and moral health.

And when all have given to society the labor best suited to their innate
and acquired aptitudes, each has a right to the same rewards, since
each has equally contributed to that solidarity of labor which sustains
the life of the social aggregate and, in solidarity with it, the life of
each individual.

The peasant who digs the earth performs a kind of labor in appearance
more modest, but just as necessary, useful and meritorious as that of
the workman who builds a locomotive, of the mechanical engineer who
improves it or of the savant who strives to extend the bounds of human
knowledge in his study or laboratory.

The one essential thing is that all the members of society work, just as
in the individual organism all the cells perform their different
functions, more or less modest in appearance--for example, the
nerve-cells, the bone-cells or the muscular cells--but all biological
functions, or sorts of labor, equally useful and necessary to the life
of the organism as a whole.

In the biological organism no living cell remains inactive, and the cell
obtains nourishment by material exchanges only in proportion to its
labor; in the social organism no individual ought to live without
working, whatever form his labor may take.

In this way the majority of the artificial difficulties that our
opponents raise against socialism may be swept aside.

"Who, then, will black the boots under the socialist regime?" demands M.
Richter in his book so poor in ideas, but which becomes positively
grotesque when it assumes that, in the name of social equality the
"grand chancellor" of the socialist society will be obliged, before
attending to the public business, to black his own boots and mind his
own clothes! In truth, if the adversaries of socialism had nothing but
arguments of this sort, discussion would indeed be needless.

But all will want to do the least fatiguing and most agreeable kinds of
work, says some one with a greater show of seriousness.

I will answer that this is equivalent to demanding to-day the
promulgation of a decree as follows: Henceforth all men shall be born
painters or surgeons!

The distribution to the proper persons of the different kinds of mental
and manual labor will be effected in fact by the anthropological
variations in temperament and character, and there will be no need to
resort to monkish regulations (another baseless objection to socialism).

Propose to a peasant of average intelligence to devote himself to the
study of anatomy or of the penal code or, inversely, tell him whose
brain is more highly developed than his muscles to dig the earth,
instead of observing with the microscope. They will each prefer the
labor for which they feel themselves best fitted.

The changes of occupation or profession will not be as considerable as
many imagine when society shall be organized under the collectivist
regime. When once the industries ministering to purely _personal_ luxury
shall be suppressed--luxury which in most cases insults and aggravates
the misery of the masses--the quantity and variety of work will adapt
themselves gradually, that is to say naturally, to the socialist phase
of civilization just as they now conform to the bourgeois phase.

Moreover, under the socialist regime, every one will have the fullest
liberty to declare and make manifest his personal aptitudes, and it will
not happen, as it does to-day, that many peasants, sons of the people
and of the lower middle class, gifted with natural talents, will be
compelled to allow their talents to atrophy while they toil as peasants,
workingmen or employees, when they would be able to furnish society a
different and more fruitful kind of labor, because it would be more in
Harmony with their peculiar genius.

The one essential point is this: In exchange for the labor that they
furnish to society, society must guarantee to the peasant and the
artisan, as well as to the one who devotes himself to the liberal
careers, conditions of existence worthy of a human being. Then we will
no longer be affronted by the spectacle of a ballet girl, for instance,
earning as much in one evening by whirling on her toes as a scientist, a
doctor, a lawyer, etc., in a year's work. In fact to-day the latter are
in luck if they do that well.

Certainly, the arts will not be neglected under the socialist regime,
because socialism wishes life to be agreeable for all, instead of for a
privileged few only, as it is to-day; it will, on the contrary, give to
all the arts a marvelous impulse, and if it abolishes private luxury
this will be all the more favorable to the splendor of the public

More attention will be paid to assuring to each one remuneration in
proportion to the labor performed. This ratio will be ascertained by
taking the difficulty and danger of the labor into account and allowing
them to reduce the time required for a given compensation. If a peasant
in the open air can work seven or eight hours a day, a miner ought not
to work more than three or four hours. And, indeed, when everybody shall
work, when much unproductive labor shall be suppressed, the aggregate of
daily labor to be distributed among men will be much less heavy and more
easily endured (by reason of the more abundant food, more comfortable
lodging and recreation guaranteed to every worker) than it is to-day by
those who toil and who are so poorly paid, and, besides this, the
progress of science applied to industry will render human labor less and
less toilsome.

Individuals will apply themselves to work, although the wages or
remuneration cannot be accumulated as private wealth, because if the
normal, healthy, well-fed man avoids excessive or poorly rewarded labor,
he does not remain in idleness, since it is a physiological and
psychological necessity for him to devote himself to a daily occupation
in harmony with his capacities.

The different kinds of sport are for the leisure classes a substitute
for productive labor which a physiological necessity imposes upon them,
in order that they may escape the detrimental consequences of absolute
repose and ennui.

The gravest problem will be to _proportion_ the remuneration to the
labor of each. You know that collectivism adopts the formula--to each
according to his labor, while communism adopts this other--to each
according to his needs.

No one can give, in _its practical details_, the solution of this
problem; but this impossibility of predicting the future even in its
slightest details does not justify those who brand socialism as a utopia
incapable of realization. No one could have, _a priori_, in the dawn of
any civilization predicted its successive developments, as I will
demonstrate when I come to speak of the methods of social renovation.

This is what we are able to affirm with assurance, basing our position
on the most certain inductions of psychology and sociology.

It cannot be denied, as Marx himself declared, that this second
formula--which makes it possible to distinguish, according to some,
anarchy from socialism--represents a more remote and more complex ideal.
But it is equally impossible to deny that, in any case, the formula of
collectivism represents a phase of social evolution, a period of
individual discipline which must necessarily precede communism.[8]

There is no need to believe that socialism will realize in their fulness
all the highest possible ideals of humanity and that after its advent
there will be nothing left to desire or to battle for! Our descendants
would be condemned to idleness and vagabondage if our immediate ideal
was so perfect and all-inclusive as to leave them no ideal at which to

The individual or the society which no longer has an ideal to strive
toward is dead or about to die.[9] The formula of communism may then be
a more remote ideal, when collectivism shall have been completely
realized by the historical processes which I will consider further on.

We are now in a position to conclude that there is no contradiction
between socialism and Darwinism on the subject of the equality of all
men. Socialism has never laid down this proposition and like Darwinism
its tendency is toward a better life for individuals and for society.

This enables us also to reply to this objection, too often repeated,
that socialism stifles and suppresses human individuality under the
leaden pall of collectivism, by subjecting individuals to uniform
monastic regulations and by making them into so many human bees in the
social honey-comb.

Exactly the opposite of this is true. Is it not obvious that it is under
the present bourgeois organization of society that so many
individualities atrophy and are lost to humanity, which under other
conditions might be developed to their own advantage and to the
advantage of society as a whole? To-day, in fact, apart from some rare
exceptions, every man is valued for what he _possesses_ and not for what
he _is_.[10]

He who is born poor, obviously by no fault of his own, may be endowed by
Nature with artistic or scientific genius, but if his patrimony is
insufficient to enable him to triumph in the first struggles for
development and to complete his education, or if he has not, like the
shepherd Giotto, the luck to meet with a rich Cimabue, he must
inevitably vanish in oblivion in the great prison of wage-slavery, and
society itself thus loses treasures of intellectual power.[11]

He who is born rich, although he owes his fortune to no personal
exertion, even if his mental capacity is below normal, will play a
leading role on the stage of life's theatre, and all servile people will
heap praise and flattery upon him, and he will imagine, simply because
he _has_ money, that he is quite a different person from what in reality
he _is_.[12]

When property shall have become collective, that is to say, under the
socialist regime, every one will be assured of the means of existence,
and the daily labor will simply serve to give free play to the special
aptitudes, more or less original, of each individual, and the best and
most fruitful (potentially) years of life will not be completely taken
up, as they are at present, by the grievous and tragic battle for daily

Socialism will assure to every one a _human_ life; it will give each
individual true liberty to manifest and develop his or her own physical
and intellectual individuality--individualities which they bring into
the world at birth and which are infinitely varied and unequal.
Socialism does not deny inequality; it merely wishes to utilize this
inequality as one of the factors leading to the free, prolific and
many-sided development of human life.


[3] J. De Johannis, _Il concetto dell'equaglianza nel socialismo e nella
scienza_, in _Rassegna delle scienza sociali_, Florence, March 15, 1883,
and more recently, Huxley, "On the Natural Inequality of Men," in the
"Nineteenth Century," January, 1890.

[4] Utopian socialism has bequeathed to us as a mental habit, a habit
surviving even in the most intelligent disciples of Marxian socialism,
of asserting the existence of certain equalities--the equality of the
two sexes, for example--assertions which cannot possibly be maintained.

BEBEL, _Woman in the Past, Present and Future_.

Bebel, the propagandist and expounder of Marxian theories, also repeats
this assertion that, from the psycho-physiological point of view, woman
is the equal of man, and he attempts to refute, without success, the
scientific objections that have been made to this thesis.

Since the scientific investigations of Messrs. Lombroso and Ferrero,
embodied in _Donna delinquente, prostituta e normale_, Turin, 1893 (This
book has been translated into English, if my memory serves me
right.--Tr.), one can no longer deny the physiological and psychological
inferiority of woman to man. I have given a Darwinian explanation of
this fact (Scuola positiva, 1893, Nos. 7-8), that Lombroso has since
completely accepted (_Uomo di genio_, 6e édit, 1894. This book is also
available in English, I believe.--Tr.) I pointed out that all the
physio-psychical characteristics of woman are the consequences of her
great biological function, maternity.

A being who creates another being--not in the fleeting moment of a
voluptuous contact, but by the organic and psychical sacrifices of
pregnancy, childbirth and giving suck--cannot preserve for herself as
much strength, physical and mental, as man whose only function in the
reproduction of the species is infinitely less of a drain.

And so, aside from certain individual exceptions, woman has a lower
degree of physical sensibility than man (the current opinion is just the
opposite), because if her sensibility were greater, she could not,
according to the Darwinian law, survive the immense and repeated
sacrifices of maternity, and the species would become extinct. Woman's
intellect is weaker, especially in synthetic power, precisely because
though there are no (Sergi, in _Atti della societa romana di
antropologia_, 1894) women of genius, they nevertheless give birth to
men of genius.

This is so true that greater sensibility and power of intellect are
found in women in whom the function and sentiment of maternity are
undeveloped or are only slightly developed (women of genius generally
have a masculine physiognomy), and many of them attain their complete
intellectual development only after they pass the critical period of
life during which the maternal functions cease finally.

But, if it is scientifically certain that woman represents an inferior
degree of biological evolution, and that she occupies a station, even as
regards her physio-psychical characteristics, midway between the child
and the adult male, it does not follow from this that the socialist
conclusions concerning the woman question are false.

Quite the contrary. Society ought to place woman, as a human being and
as a creatress of men--more worthy therefore of love and respect--in a
better juridical and ethical situation than she enjoys at present. Now
she is too often a beast of burden or an object of luxury. In the same
way when, from the economic point of view, we demand at the present day
special measures in behalf of women, we simply take into consideration
their special physio-psychical conditions. The present economic
individualism exhausts them in factories and rice-fields; socialism, on
the contrary, will require from them only such professional, scientific
or muscular labor as is in perfect harmony with the sacred function of

KULISCIOFF, _Il monopolio dell'uomo_, Milan, 1892, 2d edition.--MOZZONI,
_I socialisti e l'emancipazione della donna_, Milan, 1891.

[5] B. MALON, _Le Socialisme Integral_, 2 vol., Paris, 1892.

[6] ZULIANI, _Il privilegio della salute_, Milan, 1893.

[7] LETOURNEAU, _Passé, présent et avenir du travail_, in _Revue
mensuelle de l'école d'anthropologie_, Paris, June 15, 1894.

[8] M. Zerboglio has very justly pointed out that individualism acting
without the pressure of external sanction and by the simple internal
impulse toward good (rightness)--this is the distant ideal of Herbert
Spencer--can be realized only after a phase of collectivism, during
which the individual activity and instincts can be disciplined into
social solidarity and weaned from the essentially anarchist
individualism of our times when every one, if he is clever enough to
"slip through the meshes of the penal code" can do what he pleases
without any regard to his fellows.

[9] "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp," is the way Robert
Browning expresses this in "Andrea Del Sarto."--Translator.

[10] Note our common expression: He is worth so much.--Tr.


       "Full many a gem of purest ray serene
       The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
     Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
       And waste its fragrance on the desert air.

     "Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
       The little tyrant of his field withstood,
     Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
       Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood."
   --Stanzas from GRAY'S "Elegy in a Country Church-yard." Translator.


     "Cursed be the gold that gilds the straighten'd forehead of
       the fool!"
                                --Tennyson, in "Locksley Hall."

     "Gold, yellow, glittering, precious gold!
     Thus, much of this will make black, white; foul, fair;
     Wrong, right; base, noble; old, young; coward, valiant."
         --Shakespeare, in "Timon of Athens."--Translator.



Socialism and Darwinism, it is said, are in conflict on a second point.
Darwinism demonstrates that the immense majority--of plants, animals and
men--are destined to succumb, because only a small minority triumphs "in
the struggle for life"; socialism, on its part, asserts that all ought
to triumph and that no one ought to succumb.

It may be replied, in the first place, that, even in the biological
domain of the "struggle for existence," the disproportion between the
number of individuals who are born and the number of those who survive
regularly and progressively grows smaller and smaller as we ascend in
the biological scale from vegetables to animals, and from animals to

This law of a decreasing disproportion between the "called" and the
"chosen" is supported by the facts even if we limit our observation to
the various species belonging to the same natural order. The higher and
more complex the organization, the smaller the disproportion.

In fact, in the vegetables, each individual produces every year an
infinite number of seeds, and an infinitesimal number of these survive.
In the animals, the number of young of each individual diminishes and
the number of those who survive continues on the contrary, to increase.
Finally, for the human species, the number of individuals that each one
can beget is very small and most of them survive.

But, moreover, in the cases of all three, vegetables, animals and men,
we find that it is the lower and more simply organized species, the
races and classes less advanced in the scale of existence, who reproduce
their several kinds with the greatest prolificness and in which
generation follows generation most rapidly on account of the brevity of
individual life.

A fern produces millions of spores, and its life is very short--while a
palm tree produces only a few dozen seeds, and lives a century.

A fish produces several thousand eggs--while the elephant or the
chimpanzee have only a few young who live many years.

Within the human species the savage races are the most prolific and
their lives are short--while the civilized races have a low birth-rate
and live longer.

From all this it follows that, even confining ourselves to the purely
biological domain, the number of victors in the struggle for existence
constantly tends to approach nearer and nearer to the number of births
with the advance or ascent in the biological scale from vegetables to
animals, from animals to men, and from the lower species or varieties to
the higher species or varieties.

The iron law of "the struggle for existence," then, constantly reduces
the number of the victims forming its hecatomb with the ascent of the
biological scale, and the rate of decrease becomes more and more rapid
as the forms of life become more complex and more perfect.

It would then be a mistake to invoke against socialism the Darwinian law
of Natural Selection in the form under which that law manifests itself
in the primitive (or lower) forms of life, without taking into account
its continuous attenuation as we pass from vegetables to animals, from
animals to men, and within humanity itself, from the primitive races to
the more advanced races.

And as socialism represents a yet more advanced phase of human progress,
it is still less allowable to use as an objection to it such a gross and
inaccurate interpretation of the Darwinian law.

It is certain that the opponents of socialism have made a wrong use of
the Darwinian law or rather of its "brutal" interpretation in order to
justify modern individualist competition which is too often only a
disguised form of cannibalism, and which has made the maxim _homo homini
lupus_ (man to man a wolf; or, freely, "man eats man") the
characteristic motto of our era, while Hobbes only made it the ruling
principle of the "_state of nature_" of mankind, before the making of
the "social contract."

But because a principle has been abused or misused we are not justified
in concluding that the principle itself is false. Its abuse often serves
as an incentive to define its nature and its limitations more
accurately, so that in practice it may be applied more correctly. This
will be the result of my demonstration of the perfect harmony that
reigns between socialism and Darwinism.

As long ago as the first edition of my work _Socialismo e Criminalità_
(pages 179 _et seq._) I maintained that the struggle for existence is a
law immanent in the human race, as it is a law of all living beings,
although its forms continually change and though it undergoes more and
more attenuation.

This is still the way it appears to me, and consequently, on this point
I disagree with some socialists who have thought they could triumph more
completely over the objection urged against them in the name of
Darwinism by declaring that in human society the "struggle for
existence" is a law which is destined to lose all meaning and
applicability when the social transformation at which socialism aims
shall have been effected.[13]

It is a law which dominates tyrannically all living beings, and it must
cease to act and fall inert at the feet of Man, as if he were not merely
a link inseparable from the great biological chain!

I maintained, and I still maintain, that the struggle for existence is a
law inseparable from life, and consequently from humanity itself, but
that, though remaining an inherent and constant law, it is gradually
transformed in its essence and attenuated in its forms.

Among primitive mankind the struggle for existence is but slightly
differentiated from that which obtains among the other animals. It is
the brutal struggle for daily food or for possession of the
females--hunger and love are, in fact, the two fundamental needs and the
two poles of life--and almost its only method is muscular violence. In a
more advanced phase there is joined to this basic struggle the struggle
for political supremacy (in the clan, in the tribe, in the village, in
the commune, in the State), and, more and more, muscular struggle is
superseded by intellectual struggle.

In the historical period the Graeco-Latin society struggled for _civil_
equality (the abolition of slavery); it triumphed, but it did not halt,
because to live is to struggle; the society of the middle ages struggled
for _religious_ equality; it won the battle, but it did not halt; and at
the end of the last century, it struggled for _political_ equality. Must
it now halt and remain stationary in the present state of progress?
To-day society struggles for _economic_ equality, not for an absolute
material equality, but for that more practical, truer equality of which
I have already spoken. And all the evidence enables us to foresee with
mathematical certainty that this victory will be won to give place to
new struggles and to new ideals among our descendants.

The successive changes in the subject-matter (or the ideals) of the
struggles for existence are accompanied by a progressive mitigation of
the methods of combat. Violent and muscular at first, the struggle is
becoming, more and more, pacific and intellectual, notwithstanding some
atavic recurrences of earlier methods or some psycho-pathological
manifestations of individual violence against society and of social
violence against individuals.

The remarkable work of Mr. Novicow[14] has recently given a signal
confirmation to my opinion, although Novicow has not taken the sexual
struggle into account. I will develop my demonstration more fully in
the chapter devoted to _l'avenir moral de l'humanité_ (the intellectual
future of humanity), in the second edition of _Socialismo e

For the moment I have sufficiently replied to the anti-socialist
objection, since I have shown not merely that the disproportion between
the number of births and the number of those who survive tends to
constantly diminish, but also that the "struggle for existence" itself
changes in its essence and grows milder in its processes at each
successive phase of the biological and social evolution.

Socialism may then insist that human conditions of existence ought to be
guaranteed to all men--in exchange for labor furnished to collective
society--without thereby contradicting the Darwinian law of the survival
of the victors in the struggle for existence, since this Darwinian law
ought to be understood and applied in each of its varying
manifestations, in harmony with the law of human progress.

Socialism, scientifically understood, does not deny, and cannot deny,
that among mankind there are always some "losers" in the struggle for

This question is more directly connected with the relations which exist
between _socialism_ and _criminality_, since those who contend that the
struggle for existence is a law which does not apply to human society,
declare, accordingly, that _crime_ (an abnormal and anti-social form of
the struggle for life, just as _labor_ is its normal and social form) is
destined to disappear. Likewise they think they discover a certain
contradiction between socialism and the teachings of criminal
anthropology concerning the congenital criminal, though these teachings
are also deducted from Darwinism.[15]

I reserve this question for fuller treatment elsewhere. Here is in brief
my thought as a socialist and as a criminal anthropologist.

In the first place the school of scientific criminologists deal with
life as it now is--and undeniably it has the merit of having applied the
methods of experimental science to the study of criminal phenomena, of
having shown the hypocritical absurdity of modern penal systems based on
the notion of free-will and moral delinquency and resulting in the
system of cellular confinement, one of the mental aberrations of the
nineteenth century, as I have elsewhere qualified it. In its stead the
criminologists wish to substitute the simple segregation of individuals
who are not fitted for social life on account of pathological
conditions, congenital or acquired, permanent or transitory.

In the second place, to contend that socialism will cause the
disappearance of all forms of crime is to act upon the impulse of a
generous sentiment, but the contention is not supported by a rigorously
scientific observation of the facts.

The scientific school of criminology demonstrates that crime is a
natural and social phenomenon--like insanity and suicide--determined by
the abnormal, organic and psychological constitution of the delinquent
and by the influences of the physical and social environment. The
anthropological, physical and social factors, all, always, act
concurrently in the determination of all offences, the lightest as well
as the gravest--as, moreover, they do in the case of all other human
actions. What varies in the case of each delinquent and each offense, is
the decisive intensity of each order of factors.[16]

For instance, if the case in point is an assassination committed through
jealousy or hallucination, it is the anthropological factor which is the
most important, although nevertheless consideration must also be paid
to the physical environment and the social environment. If it is a
question, on the contrary, of crimes against property or even against
persons, committed by a riotous mob or induced by alcoholism, etc., it
is the social environment which becomes the preponderating factor,
though it is, notwithstanding, impossible to deny the influence of the
physical environment and of the anthropological factor.

We may repeat the same reasoning--in order to make a complete
examination of the objection brought against socialism in the name of
Darwinism--on the subject of the ordinary diseases; crime, moreover, is
a department of human pathology.

All diseases, acute or chronic, infectious or not infectious, severe or
mild, are the product of the anthropological constitution of the
individual and of the influence of the physical and social environment.
The decisiveness of the personal conditions or of the environment varies
in the various diseases; phthisis or heart disease, for instance, depend
principally on the organic constitution of the individual, though it is
necessary to take the influence of the environment into account;
pellagra,[17] cholera, typhus, etc., on the contrary, depend principally
on the physical and social conditions of the environment. And so
phthisis makes its ravages even among well-to-do people, that is to say,
among persons well nourished and well housed, while it is the badly
nourished, that is to say, the poor, who furnish the greatest number of
victims to pellagra and cholera.

It is, consequently, evident that a socialist regime of collective
property which shall assure to every one human conditions of existence,
will largely diminish or possibly annihilate--aided by the scientific
discoveries and improvement in hygienic measures--the diseases which are
principally caused by the conditions of the environment, that is to say
by insufficient nourishment or by the want of protection from inclemency
of the weather; but we shall not witness the disappearance of the
diseases due to traumatic injuries, imprudence, pulmonary affections,

The same conclusions are valid regarding crime. If we suppress poverty
and the shocking inequality of economic conditions, hunger, acute and
chronic, will no longer serve as a stimulus to crime. Better nourishment
will bring about a physical and moral improvement. The abuses of power
and of wealth will disappear, and there will be a considerable
diminution in the number of crimes due to circumstances (_crimes
d'occasion_), crimes caused principally by the social environment. But
there are some crimes which will not disappear, such as revolting crimes
against decency due to a pathological perversion of the sexual instinct,
homicides induced by epilepsy, thefts which result from a
psycho-pathological degeneration, etc.

For the same reasons popular education will be more widely diffused,
talents of every kind will be able to develop and manifest themselves
freely; but this will not cause the disappearance of idiocy and
imbecility due to hereditary pathological conditions. Nevertheless it
will be possible for different causes to have a preventive and
mitigating influence on the various forms of congenital degeneration
(ordinary diseases, criminality, insanity and nervous disorders). Among
these preventive influences may be: a better economic and social
organization, the prudential counsels, constantly growing in efficacy
given by experimental biology, and less and less frequent procreation,
by means of voluntary abstention, in cases of hereditary disease.

To conclude we will say that, even under the socialist regime--although
they will be infinitely fewer--there will always be some who will be
vanquished in the struggle for existence--these will be the victims of
weakness, of disease, of dissipation, of nervous disorders, of suicide.
We may then affirm that socialism does not deny the Darwinian law of the
struggle for existence. Socialism will, however, have this indisputable
advantage--the epidemic or endemic forms of human degeneracy will be
entirely suppressed by the elimination of their principal cause--the
physical poverty and (its necessary consequence) the mental suffering of
the majority.

Then the struggle for existence, while remaining always the driving
power of the life of society, will assume forms less and less brutal and
more and more humane. It will become an intellectual struggle. Its ideal
of physiological and intellectual progress will constantly grow in
grandeur and sublimity when this progressive idealization of the ideal
shall be made possible by the guarantee to every one of daily bread for
the body and the mind.

The law of the "struggle for life" must not cause us to forget another
law of natural and social Darwinian evolution. It is true many
socialists have given to this latter law an excessive and exclusive
importance, just as some individuals have entirely neglected it. I refer
to the law of solidarity which knits together all the living beings of
one and the same species--for instance animals who live gregariously in
consequence of the abundance of the supply of their common food
(herbivorous animals)--or even of different species. When species thus
mutually aid each other to live they are called by naturalists
_symbiotic_ species, and instead of the struggle for life we have
co-operation for life.

It is incorrect to state that the struggle for life is the sole
sovereign law in Nature and society, just as it is false to contend that
this law is wholly inapplicable to human society. The real truth is that
even in human society the struggle for life is an eternal law which
grows progressively milder in its methods and more elevated in its
ideals. But operating concurrently with this we find a law, the
influence of which upon the social evolution constantly increases, the
law of solidarity or co-operation between living beings.

Even in animal societies mutual aid against the forces of Nature, or
against other animals is of constant occurrence, and this is carried
much further among human beings, even among savage tribes. One notes
this phenomenon especially in tribes which on account of the favorable
character of their environment, or because their subsistence is assured
and abundant, become of the industrial or peaceful type. The military or
warlike type which is unhappily predominant (on account of the
uncertainty and insufficiency of subsistence) among primitive mankind
and in reactionary phases of civilization, presents us with less
frequent examples of it. The industrial type constantly tends, moreover,
as Spencer has shown, to take the place of the warlike type.[18]

Confining ourselves to human society alone, we will say that, while in
the first stages of the social evolution the law of the struggle for
life takes precedence over the law of solidarity, with the growth within
the social organism of the division of labor which binds the various
parts of the social whole more closely together in inter-dependence, the
struggle for life grows milder and is metamorphosed, and the law of
co-operation or solidarity gains more and more both in efficiency and in
the range of its influence, and this is due to that fundamental reason
that Marx pointed out, and which constitutes his great scientific
discovery, the reason that in the one case the conditions of
existence--food especially--are not assured, and in the other case they

In the lives of individuals as in the life of societies, when the means
of subsistence, that is to say, the physical basis of existence, are
assured, the law of solidarity takes precedence over the law of the
struggle for existence, and when they are not assured, the contrary is
true. Among savages, infanticide and parricide are not only permitted
but are obligatory and sanctioned by religion if the tribe inhabits an
island where food is scarce (for instance, in Polynesia), and they are
immoral and criminal acts on continents where the food supply is more
abundant and certain.[19]

Just so, in our present society, as the majority of individuals are not
sure of getting their daily bread, the struggle for life, or "free
competition," as the individualists call it, assumes more cruel and more
brutal forms.

Just as soon as through collective ownership every individual shall be
assured of fitting conditions of existence, the law of solidarity will
become preponderant.

When in a family financial affairs run smoothly and prosperously,
harmony and mutual good-will prevail; as soon as poverty makes its
appearance, discord and struggle ensue. Society as a whole shows us the
picture on a large scale. A better social organization will insure
universal harmony and mutual good-will.

This will be the achievement of socialism, and, to repeat, for this, the
fullest and most fruitful interpretation of the inexorable natural laws
discovered by Darwinism, we are indebted to socialism.



[14] NOVICOW, _Les luttes entre sociétés, leurs phases successives_,
Paris, 1893. LERDA, _La lotta per la vita_, in _Pensiero italiano_,
Milan, Feb. and March, 1894.

[15] I regret that M. Loria, ordinarily so profound and acute, has here
been deceived by appearances. He has pointed out this pretended
contradiction in his "Economic Foundations of Society" (available in
English, Tr.). He has been completely answered, in the name of the
school of scientific criminal anthropology, by M. RIVIERI DE ROCCHI, _Il
diritto penale e un'opera recente di Loria in Scuola positiva nella
giurisprudenza penale_ of Feb. 15, 1894, and by M. LOMBROSO, in
_Archivio di psichiatria e scienza penali_, 1894, XIV, fasc. C.

[16] ENRICO FERRI, Sociologie criminelle (French translation), 1893,
Chaps. I. and II.

A recent work has just given scientific confirmation to our inductions:
FORSINARI DI VERCE, _Sulla criminalità e le vicende economiche d'Italia
dal 1873 al 1890_. Turin, 1894. The preface written by Lombroso
concludes in the following words: "We do not wish, therefore, to slight
or neglect the truth of the socialist movement, which is destined to
changed the current of modern European thought and action, and which
contends _ad majorem gloriam_ of its conclusions that _all_ criminality
depends on the influence of the economic environment. We also believe in
this doctrine, though we are unwilling and unable to accept the
erroneous conclusions drawn from it. However enthusiastic we may be, we
will never, in its honor, renounce the truth. We leave this useless
servility to the upholders of classical orthodoxy."

[17] A skin-disease endemic in Northern Italy. Tr.

[18] See in this connection the famous monographs of Kropotkin, _Mutual
aid among the savages_, in the "Nineteenth Century," April 9, 1891, and
_Among the barbarians_, "Nineteenth Century," January, 1892, and also
two recent articles signed: "Un Professeur," which appeared in the
_Revue Socialiste_, of Paris, May and June, 1894, under the title:
_Lutte ou accord pour la vie_.

[19] ENRICO FERRI, _Omicidio nell' antropologia criminale_,
_Introduction_, _Turin_, 1894.



The third and last part of the argument of Haeckel is correct if applied
solely to the purely biological and Darwinian domain, but its starting
point is false if it is intended to apply it to the social domain and to
turn it into an objection against socialism.

It is said the struggle for existence assures the survival of the
fittest; it therefore causes an aristocratic, hierarchic gradation of
selected individuals--a continuous progress--and not the democratic
leveling of socialism.

Here again, let us begin by accurately ascertaining the nature of this
famous natural selection which results from the struggle for existence.

The expression which Haeckel uses and which, moreover, is in current
use, "survival of the best or of the best fitted," ought to be
corrected. We must suppress the adjective _best_. This is simply a
persisting relic of that teleology which used to see in Nature and
history a premeditated goal to be reached by means of a process of
continuous amelioration or progress.

Darwinism, on the contrary, and still more the theory of universal
evolution, has completely banished the notion of final causes from
modern scientific thought and from the interpretation of natural
phenomena. Evolution consists both of involution and dissolution. It
may be true, and indeed it is true, that by comparing the two extremes
of the path traversed by humanity we find that there has really been a
true progress, an improvement taking it all in all; but, in any case,
progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but, as Goethe has
said, a spiral with rhythms of progress and of retrogression, of
evolution and of dissolution.

Every cycle of evolution, in the individual life as in the collective
life, bears within it the germs of the corresponding cycle of
dissolution; and, inversely, the latter, by the decay of the form
already worn out, prepares in the eternal laboratory new evolutions and
new forms of life.

It is thus that in the world of human society every phase of
civilization bears within it and is constantly developing the germs of
its own dissolution from which issues a new phase of civilization--which
will be more or less different from its predecessor in geographical
situation and range--in the eternal rhythm of living humanity. The
ancient hieratic civilizations of the Orient decay, and through their
dissolution they give birth to the Graeco-Roman world, which in turn is
followed by the feudal and aristocratic civilization of Central Europe;
it also decays and disintegrates through its own excesses, like the
preceding civilizations, and it is replaced by the bourgeois
civilization which has reached its culminating point in the Anglo-Saxon
world. But it is already experiencing the first tremors of the fever of
dissolution, while from its womb there emerges and is developing the
socialist civilization which will flourish over a vaster domain than
that of any of the civilizations which have preceded it.[20]

Hence it is not correct to assert that the natural selection caused by
the struggle for existence assures the survival of the _best_; in fact,
it assures the survival of the best _fitted_.

This is a very great difference, alike in natural Darwinism and in
social Darwinism.

The struggle for existence necessarily causes the survival of the
individuals best fitted for the environment and the particular
historical period in which they live.

In the natural, biological domain, the free play of natural
(_cosmiques_) forces and conditions causes a progressive advance or
ascent of living forms, from the microbe up to Man.

In human society, on the contrary, that is to say, in the super-organic
evolution of Herbert Spencer, the intervention of other forces and the
occurrence of other conditions sometimes causes a retrograde selection
which always assures the survival of those who are best fitted for a
given environment at a given time, but the controlling principle of this
selection is in turn affected by the vicious conditions--if they are
vicious--of the environment.

Here we are dealing with the question of "social selection," or rather
"social selections," for there is more than one kind of social
selection. By starting from this idea--not clearly comprehended--some
writers, both socialists and non-socialists, have come to deny that the
Darwinian theories have any application to human society.

It is known, indeed, that in the contemporaneous civilized world natural
selection is injuriously interfered with by _military_ selection, by
_matrimonial_ selection, and, above all, by _economic_ selection.[21]

The temporary celibacy imposed upon soldiers certainly has a deplorable
effect upon the human race. It is the young men who on account of
comparatively poor physical constitutions are excused from military
service, who marry the first, while the healthier individuals are
condemned to a transitory sterility, and in the great cities run the
risk of contagion from syphilis which unfortunately has permanent

Marriage also, corrupted as it is in the existent society by economic
considerations, is ordinarily in practice a sort of retrogressive sexual
selection. Women who are true degenerates, but who have good dowries or
"prospects," readily find husbands on the marriage market, while the
most robust women of the people or of the middle class who have no
dowries are condemned to the sterility of compulsory old-maiddom or to
surrender themselves to a more or less gilded prostitution.[22]

It is indisputable that the present economic conditions exercise an
influence upon all the social relations of men. The monopoly of wealth
assures to its possessor the victory in the struggle for existence. Rich
people, even though they are less robust, have longer lives than those
who are ill-fed. The day-and-night-work, under inhuman conditions,
imposed upon grown men, and the still more baleful labor imposed upon
women and children by modern capitalism causes a constant deterioration
in the biological conditions of the toiling masses.[23]

In addition to all these we must not forget the moral selection--which
is really immoral or retrograde--made at present by capitalism in its
struggle with the proletariat, and which favors the survival of those
with servile characters, while it persecutes and strives to suppress all
those who are strong in character, and all who do not seem disposed to
tamely submit to the yoke of the present economic order.[24]

The first impression which springs from the recognition of these facts
is that the Darwinian law of natural selection does not hold good in
human society--in short, is inapplicable to human society.

I have maintained, and I do maintain, on the contrary, in the first
place, that these various kinds of retrograde social selection are not
in contradiction with the Darwinian law, and that, moreover, they serve
as the material for an argument in favor of socialism. Nothing but
socialism, in fact, can make this inexorable law of natural selection
work more beneficently.

As a matter of fact, the Darwinian law does not cause the "survival of
the _best_," but simply the "survival of the _fittest_."

It is obvious that the forms of degeneracy produced by the divers kinds
of social selection and notably by the present economic organization
merely promote, indeed, and with growing efficiency, the survival of
those best fitted for this very economic organization.

If the victors in the struggle for existence are the worst and the
weakest, this does not mean that the Darwinian law does not hold good;
it means simply that the environment is corrupt (and corrupting), and
that those who survive are precisely those who are the fittest for this
corrupt environment.

In my studies of criminal psychology I have too often had to recognize
the fact that in prisons and in the criminal world it is the most cruel
or the most cunning criminals who enjoy the fruits of victory; it is
just the same in our modern economic individualist system; the victory
goes to him who has the fewest scruples; the struggle for existence
favors him who is fittest for a world where a man is valued for what he
has (no matter how he got it), and not for what he is.

The Darwinian law of natural selection functions then even in human
society. The error of those who deny this proposition springs from the
fact that they confound the present environment and the present
transitory historical era--which are known in history as the _bourgeois_
environment and period, just as the Middle Ages are called
_feudal_--with all history and all humanity, and therefore they fail to
see that the disastrous effects of modern, retrograde, social selection
are only confirmations of the Darwinian law of the "survival of the
_fittest_." Popular common sense has long recognized this influence of
the surroundings, as is shown by many a common proverb, and its
scientific explanation is to be found in the necessary biological
relations which exist between a given environment and the individuals
who are born, struggle and survive in that environment.

On the other hand, this truth constitutes an unanswerable argument in
favor of socialism. By freeing the environment from all the corruptions
with which our unbridled economic individualism pollutes it, socialism
will necessarily correct the ill effects of natural and social
selection. In a physically and morally wholesome environment, the
individuals best fitted to it, those who will therefore survive, will
be the physically and morally healthy.

In the struggle for existence the victory will then go to him who has
the greatest and most prolific physical, intellectual and moral
energies. The collectivist economic organization, by assuring to
everyone the conditions of existence, will and necessarily must, result
in the physical and moral improvement of the human race.

To this some one replies: Suppose we grant that socialism and Darwinian
selection may be reconciled, is it not obvious that the survival of the
fittest tends to establish an aristocratic gradation of individuals,
which is contrary to socialistic leveling?

I have already answered this objection in part by pointing out that
socialism will assure to all individuals--instead of as at present only
to a privileged few or to society's heroes--freedom to assert and
develop their own individualities. Then in truth the result of the
struggle for existence will be the survival of the best and this for the
very reason that in a wholesome environment the victory is won by the
healthiest individuals. Social Darwinism, then, as a continuation and
complement of natural (biological) Darwinism, will result in a selection
of the best.

To respond fully to this insistence upon an unlimited aristocratic
selection, I must call attention to another natural law which serves to
complete that rhythm of action and reaction which results in the
equilibrium of life.

To the Darwinian law of natural inequalities we must add another law
which is inseparable from it, and which Jacoby, following in the track
of the labors of Morel, Lucas, Galton, De Caudole, Ribot, Spencer,
Royer, Lombroso, and others, has clearly demonstrated and expounded.

This same Nature, which makes "choice" and aristocratic gradation a
condition of vital progress, afterwards restores the equilibrium by a
leveling and democratic law.

"From the infinite throng of humanity there emerge individuals, families
and races which tend to rise above the common level; painfully climbing
the steep heights they reach the summits of power, wealth, intelligence
and talent, and, having reached the goal, they are hurled down and
disappear in the abysses of insanity and degeneration. Death is the
great leveler; by destroying every one who rises above the common herd,
it democratizes humanity."[25]

Every one who attempts to create a monopoly of natural forces comes into
violent conflict with that supreme law of Nature which has given to all
living beings the use and disposal of the natural agents: air and light,
water and land.

Everybody who is too much above or too much below the average of
humanity--an average which rises with the flux of time, but is
absolutely fixed at any given moment of history--does not live and
disappears from the stage.

The idiot and the man of genius, the starving wretch and the
millionaire, the dwarf and the giant, are so many natural or social
monsters, and Nature inexorably blasts them with degeneracy or
sterility, no matter whether they be the product of the organic life, or
the effect of the social organization.

And so, all families possessing a monopoly of any kind--monopoly of
power, of wealth or of talent--are inevitably destined to become in
their latest offshoots imbeciles, sterile or suicides, and finally to
become extinct. Noble houses, dynasties of sovereigns, descendants of
millionaires--all follow the common law which, here again, serves to
confirm the inductions--in this sense, equalitarian--of science and of


[20] One of the most characteristic processes of social dissolution is
_parasitism_. MASSART and VANDERVELDE, Parasitism, organic and social.
(English translation.) Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., London.

[21] BROCA, _Les sélections_ (§ 6. Les sélections sociales) in _Mémoires
d' anthropologie_, Paris, 1877, III., 205. LAPOUGE, _Les sélections
sociales_, in _Revue d' anthrop._, 1887, p. 519. LORIA, _Discourse su
Carlo Darwin_, SIENNE, 1882. VADALA, _Darwinismo naturale e Darwinismo
sociale_, Turin, 1883. BORDIER, _La vie des sociétés_, Paris, 1887.
SERGI, _Le degenerazione umane_, Milan, 1889, p. 158. BEBEL, Woman in
the past, present and future.

[22] MAX NORDAU, Conventional Lies of our Civilization. (English trans.)
Laird & Lee, Chicago, 1895.

[23] While this is shown by all official statistics, it is signally
shown by the facts collated by M. Pagliani, the present Director-General
of the Bureau of Health in the Interior Department, who has shown that
the bodies of the poor are more backward and less developed than those
of the rich, and that this difference, though but slightly manifest at
birth, becomes greater and greater in after life, _i. e._ as soon as the
influence of the economic conditions makes itself felt in all its
inexorable tyranny.

[24] TURATI, _Selezione servile_, in _Critica Sociale_, June 1, 1894.
SERGI, _Degenerazione umane_, Milan, 1889.

[25] JACOBY, _Etudes sur la sélection dans ses rapports avec l'hérédité
chez l'homme_, Paris, 1881, p. 606.

LOMBROSO, _L'uomo di genio_, 6th edition, Turin, 1894, has developed and
complemented this law. This law, so easily forgotten, is neglected by
RITCHIE (Darwinism and Politics. London. Sonnenschein, 1891.) in the
section called "Does the doctrine of Heredity support Aristocracy?"



Not one of the three contradictions between socialism and Darwinism,
which Haeckel formulated, and which so many others have echoed since,
resists a candid and more accurate examination of the natural laws which
bear the name of Charles Darwin.

I add that not only is Darwinism not in contradiction with socialism,
but that it constitutes one of its fundamental scientific premises. As
Virchow justly remarked, socialism is nothing but a logical and vital
corollary, in part of Darwinism, in part of Spencerian evolution.

The theory of Darwin, whether we wish it or not, by demonstrating that
man is descended from the animals, has dealt a severe blow to the belief
in God as the creator of the universe and of man by a special _fiat_.
This, moreover, is why the most bitter opposition, and the only
opposition which still continues, to its scientific inductions, was made
and is made in the name of religion.

It is true that Darwin did not declare himself an atheist[26] and that
Spencer is not one; it is also true that, strictly speaking, the theory
of Darwin, like that of Spencer, can also be reconciled with the belief
in God, since it may be admitted that God created matter and force, and
that both afterward evolved into their successive forms in accordance
with the initial creative impulse. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied
that these theories, by rendering the idea of causality more and more
inflexible and universal, lead necessarily to the negation of God, since
there always remains this question: And God, who created him? And if it
is replied that God has always existed, the same reply may be flung back
by asserting that the universe has always existed. To use the phrase of
Ardigò, human thought is only able to conceive the chain which binds
effects to causes as terminating at a given point, purely

God, as Laplace said, is an hypothesis of which exact science has no
need; he is, according to Herzen, at the most an X, which represents not
the _unknowable_--as Spencer and Dubois Raymond contend--but all that
which humanity does not yet know. Therefore, it is a variable X which
decreases in direct ratio to the progress of the discoveries of science.

It is for this very reason that science and religion are in inverse
ratio to each other; the one diminishes and grows weaker in the same
proportion that the other increases and grows stronger in its struggle
against the unknown.[28]

And if this is one of the consequences of Darwinism, its influence on
the development of socialism is quite obvious.

The disappearance of faith in the hereafter, where the poor shall become
the elect of the Lord, and where the miseries of the "vale of tears"
will find an eternal compensation in paradise, gives greater strength to
the desire for some semblance of an "earthly paradise" here below even
for the unfortunate and the poor, who are the great majority.

Hartmann and Guyau[29] have shown that the evolution of religious
beliefs may be summarized thus: All religions include, with various
other matters, the promise of happiness; but the primitive religions
concede that this happiness will be realized during the life of the
individual himself, and the later religions, through an excess of
reaction, place its realization after death, outside the human world; in
the final phase, this realization of happiness is once more placed
within the field of human life, no longer in the ephemeral moment of the
individual existence, but indeed in the continuous evolution of all

On this side, then, socialism is closely related to the religious
evolution, and tends to substitute itself for religion, since its aim is
for humanity to have its own "earthly paradise" here, without having to
wait for it in the _hereafter_, which, to say the least, is very

Therefore, it has been very justly remarked that the socialist movement
has many traits in common with, for example, primitive Christianity,
notably that ardent faith in the ideal that has definitively deserted
the arid field of bourgeois skepticism, and some savants, not
socialists, such as Messrs. Wallace, de Lavaleye and the Roberty, etc.,
admit that it is entirely possible for socialism to replace by its
humanitarian faith the faith in the hereafter of the former religions.

More direct and potent than these relations (between socialism and faith
in a hereafter) are, however, the relations which exist between
socialism and the belief in God.

It is true that Marxian Socialism, since the Congress held at Erfurt
(1891), has rightly declared that religious beliefs are private
affairs[30] and that, therefore, the Socialist party combats religious
intolerance under all its forms, whether it be directed against
Catholics[31] or against Jews, as I have shown in an article against
_Anti-Semitism_.[32] But this breadth of superiority of view is, at
bottom, only a consequence of the confidence in final victory.

It is because socialism knows and foresees that religious beliefs,
whether one regards them, with Sergi,[33] as pathological phenomena of
human psychology, or as useless phenomena of moral incrustation, are
destined to perish by atrophy with the extension of even elementary
scientific culture. This is why socialism does not feel the necessity of
waging a special warfare against these religious beliefs which are
destined to disappear. It has assumed this attitude although it knows
that the absence or the impairment of the belief in God is one of the
most powerful factors for its extension, because the priests of all
religions have been, throughout all the phases of history, the most
potent allies of the ruling classes in keeping the masses pliant and
submissive under the yoke by means of the enchantment of religion, just
as the tamer keeps wild beasts submissive by the terrors of the cracks
of his whip.

And this is so true that the most clear-sighted conservatives, even
though they are atheists, regret that the religious sentiment--that
precious narcotic--is diminishing among the masses, because they see in
it, though their pharisaism does not permit them to say it openly, an
instrument of political domination.[34]

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the religious sentiment cannot be
re-established by royal decree. If it is disappearing, the blame for
this cannot be laid at the door of any particular individual, and there
is no need of a special propaganda against it, because its antidote
impregnates the air we breathe--saturated with the inductions of
experimental science--and religion no longer meets with conditions
favorable to its development as it did amid the superstitious ignorance
of past centuries.

I have thus shown the direct influence of modern science, science based
on observation and experiment,--which has substituted the idea of
natural causality for the ideas of miracle and divinity,--on the
extremely rapid development and on the experimental foundation of
contemporary socialism.

Democratic socialism does not look with unfriendly eyes upon "Catholic
Socialism" (the Christian Socialism of Southern Europe), since it has
nothing to fear from it.

Catholic socialism, in fact, aids in the propagation of socialist ideas,
especially in the rural districts where religious faith and practices
are still very vigorous, but it will not win and wear the palm of
victory _ad majorem dei gloriam_. As I have shown, there is a growing
antagonism between science and religion, and the socialist varnish
cannot preserve Catholicism. The "earthly" socialism has, moreover, a
much greater attractive power.

When the peasants shall have become familiar with the views of Catholic
socialism, it will be very easy for democratic socialism to rally them
under its own flag--they will, indeed, convert themselves.

Socialism occupies an analogous position with regard to republicanism.
Just as atheism is a private affair which concerns the individual
conscience, so a republican form of government is a private affair which
interests only a part of the bourgeoisie. Certainly, by the time that
socialism draws near to its day of triumph, atheism will have made
immense progress, and a republican form of government will have been
established in many countries which to-day submit to a monarchical
regime. But it is not socialism which develops atheism, any more than it
is socialism which will establish republicanism. Atheism is a product of
the theories of Darwin and Spencer in the present bourgeois
civilization, and republicanism has been and will be, in the various
countries, the work of a portion of the capitalist bourgeoisie, as was
recently said in some of the conservative newspapers of Milan (_Corriere
della sera_ and _Idea liberale_), when "the monarchy shall no longer
serve the interests of the country," that is to say of the class in

The evolution from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and to
republicanism is an obvious historical law; in the present phase of
civilization the only difference between the two latter is in the
elective or hereditary character of the head of the State. In the
various countries of Europe, the bourgeoisie themselves Hill demand the
transition from monarchy to republicanism, in order to put off as long
as possible the triumph of socialism. In Italy as in France, in England
as in Spain, we see only too many republicans or "radicals" whose
attitude with regard to social questions is more bourgeois and more
conservative than that of the intelligent conservatives. At
Montecitorio, for example, there is Imbriani whose opinions on religious
and social matters are more conservative than those of M. di Rudini.
Imbriani, whose personality is moreover very attractive, has never
attacked the priests or monks--this man who attacks the entire universe
and very often with good reason, although without much success on
account of mistaken methods--and he was the only one to oppose even the
consideration of a law proposed by the _Député_ Ferrari, which increased
the tax on estates inherited by collateral heirs!

Socialism then has no more interest in preaching republicanism than it
has in preaching atheism. To each his role (or task), is the law of
division of labor. The struggle for atheism is the business of science;
the establishment of republicanism in the various countries of Europe
has been and will be the work of the bourgeoisie themselves--whether
they be conservative or radical. All this constitutes the historical
progress toward socialism, and individuals are powerless to prevent or
delay the succession of the phases of the moral, political and social


[26] Darwin never made a declaration of atheism, but that was in fact
his way of looking at the problem ("_sa manière de voir_.").

While Haeckel, concerned solely with triumphing over the opposition,
said at the Congress of Eisenach (1882) that Darwin was not an atheist,
Büchner, on the contrary, published shortly afterward a letter which
Darwin had written him, and in which he avowed that "since the age of
forty years, his scientific studies had led him to atheism."

(See also, "Charles Darwin and Karl Marx: A Comparison," by Ed. Aveling.
Published by the Twentieth Century Press, London.--Translator.)

In the same way, John Stuart Mill never declared himself a Socialist,
but that, nevertheless, in opinion he was one, is made evident by his
autobiography and his posthumous fragments on Socialism. (See "The
Socialism of John Stuart Mill." Humboldt Pub. Co., New York.--Tr.)

[27] ARDIGÒ, _La Formazione naturale_, Vol. II. of his _Opere
filologiche_, and Vol. VI., _La Ragione_, Padone, 1894.

[28] Guyau, _L'Irréligion de l'avenir_. Paris. 1887.

[29] The dominant factor, nevertheless, in religious beliefs, is the
hereditary or traditional _sentimental_ factor; this it is which always
renders them respectable when they are professed in good faith, and
often makes them even appeal to our sympathies,--and this is precisely
because of the ingenuous or refined sensibility of the persons in whom
religious faith is the most vital and sincere.

[30] NITTI, _Le Socialisme catholique_, Paris, 1894, p. 27 and 393.

[31] Its usual form in America.--Translator.

[32] _Nuova Rassegna_, August, 1894.

[33] SERGI, _L'origine dei fenomeni psichici e loro significazione
biologica_, Milan, 1885, p. 334, _et seq._

[34] DURKHEIM, _De la division du travail social_. Paris. 1893. As
regards the pretended influence of religion on personal morality I have
shown how very slight a foundation there was for this opinion in my
studies on criminal psychology, and more particularly in _Omicidio nell'
antropologia criminale_.



It can also be shown that scientific socialism proceeds directly from
Darwinism by an examination of the different modes of conceiving of the
individual in relation to the species.

The eighteenth century closed with the exclusive glorification of the
individual, of the _man_--as an entity in himself. In the works of
Rousseau this was only a beneficent, though exaggerated re-action
against the political and sacerdotal tyranny of the Middle Ages.

This individualism led directly to that artificiality in politics, which
I will consider a little further on in studying the relations between
the theory of evolution and socialism, and which is common to the ruling
classes under the bourgeois regime and to the individualistic
anarchists,--since both alike imagine that the social organization can
be changed in a day by the magical effect of a bomb,--more or less

Modern biology has radically changed this conception of the _individual_
and it has demonstrated, in the domain of biology as in that of
sociology, that the individual is himself only an aggregation of more
simple living elements, and likewise that the individual in himself, the
_Selbstwesen_ of the Germans, does not exist in independent isolation,
but only as a member of a society (_Gliedwesen_).

Every living object is an association, a collectivity.

The monad itself, the living cell, the irreducible expression of
biological individuality, is also an aggregate of various parts
(nucleus, _nucléole_, protoplasm), and each one of them in its turn is
an aggregate of molecules which are aggregates of atoms.

The atom does not exist alone, as an individual; the atom is invisible
and impalpable and it does not live.

And the complexity of the aggregation, the federation of the parts
constantly increases with the ascent in the zoological series from
protozoa to Man.

Unifying, Jacobin artificiality corresponds to the metaphysics of
individualism, just as the conception of national and international
federalism corresponds to the scientific character of modern socialism.

The organism of a mammal is simply a federation of tissues, organs and
anatomical machinery; the organism of a society can consist of nothing
but a federation of communes, provinces and regions; the organism of
humanity can be nothing but a federation of nations.

If it is absurd to conceive of a mammal whose head should have to move
in the same fashion as the extremities and all of whose extremities
would have to perform the same motions simultaneously, there is no less
absurdity in a political and administrative organization in which the
extreme northern province or the mountainous province, for instance,
have to have the same bureaucratic machinery, the same body of laws, the
same methods, etc., as the extreme southern province or the province
made up of plains, solely through the passion for symmetrical
uniformity, that pathological expression of unity.

If we disregard those considerations of a political order which make it
possible to conclude, as I have done elsewhere,[35] that the only
possible organization for Italy, as for every other country, appeared to
me to be that of an administrative federalism combined with political
unity, we can regard it as manifest, that at the close of the nineteenth
century the individual, as an independent entity, is dethroned alike in
biology and sociology.

The individual exists, but only in so far as he forms a part of a social

Robinson Crusoe--that perfect type of individualism--can not possibly be
aught but a legend or a pathological specimen.

The species--that is to say, the social aggregate--is the great, the
living and eternal reality of life, as has been demonstrated by
Darwinism and confirmed by all the inductive sciences from astronomy to

At the close of the eighteenth century Rousseau thought that the
individual alone existed, and that society was an artificial product of
the "social contract" and, as he attributed (just as Aristotle had done
in the case of slavery) a permanent human character to the transitory
manifestations of the period, such as the rottenness of the regime under
which he lived, he further thought that Society was the cause of all
evils, and that individuals are all born good and equal. At the end of
the nineteenth century, on the contrary, all the inductive sciences
agree in recognizing that society, the social aggregate, is a fact of
Nature, inseparable from life, in the vegetable species as in the animal
species, from the lowest "animal colonies" of zoophytes up to societies
of mammals (herbivora), and to human society.[36]

All that is best in the individual, he owes to the social life, although
every phase of evolution is marked at its decline by pathological
conditions of social decay--essentially transitory, however--which
inevitably precede a new cycle of social renovation.

The individual, as such, if he could live, would fulfill only one of the
two fundamental requirements (needs) of existence: alimentation--that is
to say, the selfish preservation of his own organism, by means of that
primordial and fundamental function, which Aristotle designated by the
name of _ctesi_--the conquest of food.

But all individuals have to live in society because a second fundamental
requirement of life imposes itself upon the individual, _viz._, the
reproduction of beings like himself for the preservation of the species.
It is this life of relationship and reproduction (sexual and social)
which gives birth to the moral or social sense, which enables the
individual not only _to be, but to co-exist with his fellows_.

It may be said that these two fundamental instincts of life--bread and
love--by their functioning maintain a social equilibrium in the life of
animals, and especially in Man.

It is love which causes, in the great majority of men, the principal
physiological and psychical expenditure of the forces accumulated in
larger or smaller quantities by the consumption of daily bread, and
which the daily labor has not absorbed or which parasitic inaction has
left intact.

Even more--love is the only pleasure which truly has a universal and
equalitarian character. The people have named it "the paradise of the
poor;" and religions have always bidden them to enjoy it without
limits--"be fruitful and multiply"--because the erotic exhaustion which
results from it, especially in males, diminishes or hides beneath the
pall of forgetfulness the tortures of hunger and servile labor, and
permanently enervates the energy of the individual; and to this extent
it performs a function useful to the ruling class.

But indissolubly linked to this effect of the sexual instinct there is
an other, the increase of the population. Hence it happens that the
desire to eternize a given social order is thwarted and defeated by the
pressure of this population which in our epoch assumes the
characteristic form of the _proletariat_,--and the social evolution
continues its inexorable and inevitable forward march.

It follows from our discussion that while at the end of the eighteenth
century it was thought that Society was made for the individual--and
from that the deduction could be made that millions of individuals could
and ought to toil and suffer for the exclusive advantage of a few
individuals--at the end of our century the inductive sciences have
demonstrated, just the opposite, that it is the individual who lives for
the species and that the latter is the only eternal reality of life.

There we have the starting-point of the sociological or socialist
tendency of modern scientific thought in the face of the exaggerated
individualism inherited from the last century.

Modern biology also demonstrates that it is necessary to avoid the
opposite excess--into which certain schools of utopian socialism and of
communism fall--the excess of regarding only the interests of Society
and altogether neglecting the individual. An other biological law shows
us, in fact, that the existence of the aggregation is the resultant of
the life of all the individuals, just as the existence of an individual
is the resultant of the life of its constituent cells.

We have demonstrated that the socialism which characterizes the end of
the nineteenth century and which will illumine the dawn of the coming
century is in perfect harmony with the entire current of modern thought.
This harmony manifests itself even on the fundamental question of the
predominance given to the vital necessity of collective or social
solidarity over the dogmatic exaggerations of individualism, and if the
latter at the close of the last century was the outward sign of a potent
and fruitful awakening, it inevitably leads, through the pathological
manifestations of unbridled competition, to the "libertarian" explosions
of anarchism which preaches "individual action," and which is entirely
oblivious of human and social solidarity.

We now come to the last point of contact and essential oneness that
there is between Darwinism and socialism.


[35] _Sociologie criminelle_, French trans., Paris, 1892.

[36] I cannot consider here the recent attempt at eclecticism made by M.
Fouillée and others. M. Fouillée wishes to oppose, or at least to add,
to the _naturalistic_ conception of society the consensual or
_contractual_ conception. Evidently, since no theory is absolutely
false, there is even in this consensual theory a share of truth, and the
liberty of emigration may be an instance of it--as long as this liberty
is compatible with the economic interests of the class in power. But,
obviously, this consent, which does not exist at the birth of each
individual into such or such a society (and this fact of birth is the
most decisive and tyrannical factor in life) also has very little to do
with the development of his aptitudes and tendencies, dominated as they
are by the iron law of the economic and political organization in which
he is an atom.



Darwinism has demonstrated that the entire mechanism of animal evolution
may be reduced to the struggle for existence between individuals of the
same species on the one hand, and between each species and the whole
world of living beings.

In the same way all the machinery of social evolution has been reduced
by Marxian socialism to the law of the _Struggle between Classes_. This
theory not only gives us the secret motive-power and the only scientific
explanation of the history of mankind; it also furnishes the ideal and
rigid standard of discipline for political socialism and thus enables it
to avoid all the elastic, vaporous, inconclusive uncertainties of
sentimental socialism.

The only scientific explanation of the history of animal life is to be
found in the grand Darwinian law of the _struggle for existence_; it
alone enables us to determine the natural causes of the appearance,
development and disappearance of vegetable and animal species from
paleontological times down to our own day. In the same way the only
explanation of the history of human life is to be found in the grand
Marxian law of the _struggle between classes_; thanks to it the annals
of primitive, barbarous and civilized humanity cease to be a capricious
and superficial kaleidoscopic arrangement of individual episodes in
order to become a grand and inevitable drama, determined--whether the
actors realize it or not, in its smallest internal details as well as in
its catastrophes--by the _economic conditions_, which form the
indispensable, physical basis of life and by the _struggle between the
classes_ to obtain and keep control of the economic forces, upon which
all the others--political, juridical and moral--necessarily depend.

I will have occasion to speak more at length--in studying the relations
between sociology and socialism--of this grand conception, which is the
imperishable glory of Marx and which assures him in sociology the place
which Darwin occupies in biology and Spencer in philosophy.[37]

For the moment it suffices for me to point out this new point of contact
between Socialism and Darwinism. The expression, _Class-Struggle_, so
repugnant when first heard or seen (and I confess that it produced this
impression on me when I had not yet grasped the scientific
import of the Marxian theory), furnishes us, if it be correctly
understood, the primary law of human history and, therefore, it alone
can give us the certain index of the advent of the new phase of
evolution which Socialism foresees and which it strives to hasten.

To assert the existence of the class-struggle is equivalent to saying
that human society, like all other living organisms, is not a
homogeneous whole, the sum of a greater or smaller number of
individuals; it is, on the contrary, a living organism which is made up
of diverse parts, and their differentiation constantly increases in
direct ratio to the degree of social evolution attained.

Just as a protozoon is almost wholly composed of albuminoid gelatine,
while a mammal is composed of tissues widely varying in kind, in the
same way a tribe of primitive savages, without a chief, is composed
simply of a few families and the aggregation is the result of mere
material propinquity, while a civilized society of the historical or
contemporaneous period is made up of social classes which differ, the
one from the other, either through the physio-psychical constitutions of
their component members, or through the whole of their customs and
tendencies, and their personal, family or social life.

These different classes may be rigorously separated. In ancient India
they range from the _brahman_ to the _sudra_: in the Europe of the
Middle Ages, from the Emperor and the Pope to the feudatory and the
vassal, down to the artisan, and an individual cannot pass from one
class into another, as his social condition is determined solely by the
hazard of birth. Classes may lose their legal character, as happened in
Europe and America after the French Revolution, and exceptionally there
may be an instance of an individual passing from one class into another,
analogously to the endosmose and exosmose of molecules, or, to use the
phrase of M. Dumont, by a sort of "social capillarity." But, in any
case, these different classes exist as an assured reality and they
resist every juridical attempt at leveling as long as the fundamental
reason for their differentiation remains.

It is Karl Marx who, better than any one else, has proved the truth of
this theory by the mass of sociological observations which he has drawn
from societies under the most diverse economic conditions.

The names (of the classes), the circumstances and phenomena of their
hostile contact and conflict may vary with the varying phases of social
evolution, but the tragic essence of history always appears in the
antagonism between those who hold the monopoly of the means of
production--and these are few--and those who have been robbed
(expropriated) of them--and these are the great majority.

_Warriors_ and _shepherds_ in the primitive societies, as soon as first,
family and then individual ownership of land has superseded the
primitive collectivism; _patricians_ and _plebeians_--_feudatories_ and
_vassals_--_nobles_ and _common people_--_bourgeoisie_ and
_proletariat_; these are so many manifestations of one and the same
fact--the monopoly of wealth on one side, and productive labor on the

Now, the great importance of the Marxian law--the struggle between
classes--consists principally in the fact that it indicates with great
exactness _just what_ is in truth the vital point of the social question
and _by what method_ its solution may be reached.

As long as no one had shown on positive evidence the economic basis of
the political, juridical and moral life, the aspirations of the great
majority for the amelioration of social conditions aimed vaguely at the
demand and the partial conquest of some _accessory_ instrumentality,
such as freedom of worship, political suffrage, public education, etc.
And certainly, I have no desire to deny the great utility of these

But the _sancta sanctorum_ always remained impenetrable to the eyes of
the masses, and as economic power continued to be the privilege of a
few, all the conquests and all the concessions had no real basis,
separated, as they were, from the solid and fecund foundation which
alone can give life and abiding power.

Now, that Socialism has shown--even before Marx, but never before with
so much scientific precision--that individual ownership, private
property in land and the means of production is the vital point of the
question--the problem is formulated in exact terms in the consciousness
of contemporaneous humanity.

What method will it be necessary to employ in order to abolish this
monopoly of economic power, and the mass of suffering and ills, of hate
and injustice which flow from it?

The method of the _Class Struggle_, based on the scientifically proven
fact that every class tends to preserve and increase its acquired
advantages and privileges, teaches the class deprived of economic power
that in order to succeed in conquering it, the struggle (we will
consider, further on, the forms of this struggle) must be a struggle of
class against class, and not of individual against individual.

Hatred toward such or such an individual--even if it result in his
death--does not advance us a single step toward the solution of the
problem; it rather retards its solution, because it provokes a reaction
in the general feeling against personal violence and it violates the
principle of _respect for the human person_ which socialism proclaims
most emphatically for the benefit of all and against all opponents. The
solution of the problem does not become easier because it is recognized
that the present abnormal condition, which is becoming more and more
acute--misery for the masses and pleasure for a few--is not the
consequence of the bad intentions of such or such an individual.

Viewed from this side also socialism is, in fact, in perfect harmony
with modern science, which denies the free will of man and sees in human
activity, individual and collective, a necessary effect whose
determining causes are the conditions of race and environment, acting

Crime, suicide, insanity, misery are not the fruits of free will, of
individual faults, as metaphysical spiritualism believes, and neither is
it an effect of free will, a fault of the individual capitalist if the
workingman is badly paid, if he is without work, if he is poor and

All social phenomena are the necessary resultants of the historical
conditions and of the environment. In the modern world the facility and
the greater frequency of communication and relations of every kind
between all parts of the earth have also increased the dependence of
every fact--economic, political, juridical, ethical, artistic or
scientific--upon the most remote and apparently unrelated conditions of
the life of the great world.

The present organization of private property with no restrictions upon
the right of inheritance by descent or upon personal accumulation; the
ever increasing and more perfect application of scientific discoveries
to the facilitation of human labor--the labor of adapting the materials
furnished by Nature to human needs; the telegraph and the steam-engine,
the constantly overflowing torrent of human migrations--all these bind,
with invisible but infrangible threads, the existence of a family of
peasants, work-people or petty trades-people to the life of the whole
world. And the harvest of coffee, cotton or wheat in the most distant
countries makes its effects felt in all parts of the civilized world,
just as the decrease or increase of the sun-spots are phenomena
co-incident with the periodical agricultural crises and have a direct
influence on the destinies of millions of men.

This magnificent scientific conception of the "unity of physical
forces," to use the expression of P. Secchi, or of universal solidarity
is far, indeed, from that infantile conception which finds the causes of
human phenomena in the free wills of individuals.

If a socialist were to attempt, even for philanthropic purposes, to
establish a factory in order to give work to the unemployed, and if he
were to produce articles out of fashion or for which there was no
general demand, he would soon become bankrupt in spite of his
philanthropic intentions by an inevitable effect of inexorable economic

Or, again, if a socialist should give the laborers in his establishment
wages two or three times as high as the current rate of wages, he would
evidently have the same fate, since he would be dominated by the same
economic laws, and he would have to sell his commodities at a loss or
keep them unsold in his warehouses, because his prices for the same
qualities of goods would be above the market price.

He would be declared a bankrupt and the only consolation the world would
offer him would be to call him an _honest man_ (_brave homme_); and in
the present phase of "mercantile ethics" we know what this expression

Therefore, without regard to the personal relations, more or less
cordial, between capitalists and workingmen, their respective economic
situations are inexorably determined by the present (industrial)
organization, in accordance with the law of surplus-labor which enabled
Marx to explain and demonstrate irrefutably how the capitalist is able
to accumulate wealth without working,--because the laborer produces in
his day's work an amount of wealth exceeding in value the wage he
receives, and this surplus-product forms the gratuitous (unearned)
profit of the capitalist. Even if we deduct from the total profits his
pay for technical and administrative superintendence, this unearned
surplus-product still remains.

Land, abandoned to the sun and the rain, does not, of itself, produce
either wheat or wine. Minerals do not come forth, unaided, from the
bowels of the earth. A bag of dollars shut up in a safe does not produce
dollars, as a cow produces calves.

The production of wealth results only from a transformation of
(Nature-given) materials effected by human labor. And it is only because
the peasant tills the land, because the miner extracts minerals, because
the laborer sets machinery in motion, because the chemist makes
experiments in his laboratory, because the engineer invents machinery,
etc., that the capitalist or the landlord--though the wealth inherited
from his father may have cost him no labor, and though he may practise
_absenteeism_ and thus make no personal exertion--is able every year to
enjoy riches that others have produced for him, in exchange for wretched
lodgings and inadequate nourishment--while the workers are, in most
cases, poisoned by the miasmatic vapors from rivers or marshes, by gas
in mines and by dust in factories--in brief, in exchange for wages which
are always inadequate, to assure the workers conditions of existence
worthy of human creatures.

Even under a system of absolute _métayage_ (share-farming)--which has
been called a form of practical socialism--we always have this question
left unanswered. By what miracle does the landlord, who does not work,
get his barns and houses filled with wheat and oil and wine in
sufficient quantities to enable him to live in ample comfort, while the
_métayer_ (the tenant on shares) is obliged to work every day, in order
to wrest from the earth enough to support himself and his family in

And the system of _métayage_ does at least give the tenant the
tranquillizing assurance that he will reach the end of the year without
experiencing all the horrors of enforced idleness to which the ordinary
day or wage laborers are condemned in both city and country. But, in
substance, the whole problem in its entirety remains unsolved (even
under this system), and there is always one man who lives in comfort,
without working, because ten others live poorly by working.[40]

This is the way the system of private property works, and these are the
consequences it produces, without any regard to the wills or wishes of

Therefore, every attempt made against such or such an individual is
condemned to remain barren of results; it is the ruling tendency of
Society, the objective point which must be changed, it is private
ownership which must be abolished, not by a _partition_ ("dividing up"),
which would result in the most extreme and pernicious form of private
ownership, since by the end of a year the persistence of the old
individualist principle would restore the _status quo ante_, and all the
advantage would accrue solely to the most crafty and the least

Our aim must be the abolition of private ownership and the establishment
of collective and social ownership in land and the means of production.
This substitution cannot be the subject for a decree,--though the
intention to effect it by a decree is attributed to us--but it is in
course of accomplishment under our eyes, every day, from hour to hour,
directly or indirectly.

Directly, because civilization shows us the continuous substitution of
public ownership and social functions for private ownership and
individual functions. Roads, postal systems, railways, museums, city
lighting-plants, water-plants, schools, etc., which were only a few
years since private properties and functions, have become social
properties and functions. And it would be absurd to imagine that this
direct process of socialization is destined to come to a halt to-day,
instead of becoming progressively more and more marked, in accordance
with every tendency of our modern life.

Indirectly, since it is the outcome toward which the economic
individualism of the bourgeoisie tends. The bourgeois class, which takes
its name from the dwellers in the _bourgs_ (towns) which the feudal
chateau and the Church--symbols of the class then dominant--protected,
is the result of fecund labor intelligently directed toward its goal and
of historical conditions which have changed the economic structure and
tendency of the world (the discovery of America, for instance). This
class achieved its revolution in the end of the eighteenth century, and
conquered the political power. In the history of the civilized world, it
has inscribed a page in letters of gold by those wondrous developments
in the lives of nations that are truly epic in character, and by its
marvelous applications of science to industry ... but it is now
traversing the downward branch of the parabola, and symptoms are
appearing which announce to us--and offer proof of their
announcement--its dissolution; without its disappearance, moreover, the
advent and establishment of a new social phase would be impossible.

Economic individualism carried out to its ultimate logical consequences,
necessarily causes the progressive multiplication of property in hands
of a constantly diminishing number of persons. _Milliardaire_
(billionaire) is a new word, which is characteristic of the nineteenth
century, and this new word serves to express and emphasize that
phenomenon--in which Henry George saw the historic law of
individualism--of the rich becoming richer while the poor become

Now it is evident that the smaller is the number of those who hold
possession of the land and the means of production the easier is their
expropriation--with or without indemnification--for the benefit of a
single proprietor which is and can be Society alone.

Land is the physical basis of the social organism. It is then absurd for
it to belong to a few and not to the whole social collectivity; it would
not be any more absurd for the air we breathe to be the monopoly of a
few _airlords_.

That (the socialization of the land and the means of production) is
truly the supreme goal of socialism, but evidently it can not be reached
by attacking such or such a landlord, or such or such a capitalist. The
individualist mode of conflict is destined to remain barren of results,
or, to say the least, it requires a terribly extravagant expenditure of
strength and efforts to obtain merely partial or provisional results.

And so those politicians, whose conception of statesmanship is a career
of daily, trivial protests, who see nothing in politics but a struggle
between individuals--and those tactics no longer produce any effect
either on the public or on legislative assemblies, because they have at
last become wonted to them--produce just about as much effect as would
fantastic champions of hygiene who should attempt to render a marsh
inhabitable by killing the mosquitoes one by one with shots from a
revolver, instead of adopting as their method and their goal the
draining of the pestilential marsh.

No individual conflicts, no personal violence, but a Class Struggle. It
is necessary to make the immense army of workers of all trades and of
all professions conscious of these fundamental truths. It is necessary
to show them that their class interests are in opposition to the
interests of the class who possess the economic power, and that it is by
class-conscious organization that they will conquer this economic power
through the instrumentality of the other public powers that modern
civilization has assured to free peoples. It may, nevertheless, be
foreseen that, in every country, the ruling class, before yielding, will
abridge or destroy even these public liberties which were without danger
for them when they were in the hands of laborers not organized into a
class-conscious party, but forming the rearguard of other purely
political parties, as radical on secondary questions as they are
profoundly conservative on the fundamental question of the economic
organization of property.

A Class-Struggle, therefore a struggle of class against class; and a
struggle (this is understood), by the methods of which I will soon speak
in discussing the four modes of social transformation:
evolution--revolution--rebellion--individual violence. But a
Class-Struggle in the Darwinian sense, which renews in the history of
Man the magnificent drama of the struggle for life between species,
instead of degrading us to the savage and meaningless brute strife of
individual with individual.

We can stop here. The examination of the relations between Darwinism and
socialism might lead us much further, but it would go on constantly
eliminating the pretended contradiction between the two currents of
modern scientific thought, and it would, on the contrary, confirm the
essential, natural and indissoluble harmony that there is between them.

Thus the penetrating view of Virchow is confirmed by that of Leopold

"The same year in which appeared Darwin's book (1859) and coming from a
quite different direction, an identical impulse was given to a very
important development of social science by a work which long passed
unnoticed, and which bore the title: _Critique de l'économie politique_
by KARL MARX--it was the forerunner of _Capital_.

"What Darwin's book on the _Origin of Species_ is on the subject of the
genesis and evolution of organic life from non-sentient nature up to
Man, the work of Marx is on the subject of the genesis and evolution of
association among human beings, of States and the social forms of

And this is why Germany, which has been the most fruitful field for the
development of the Darwinian theories, is also the most fruitful field
for the intelligent, systematic propaganda of socialist ideas.

And it is precisely for this reason that in Berlin, in the windows of
the book-stores of the socialist propaganda, the works of Charles Darwin
occupy the place of honor beside those of Karl Marx.[43]


[37] LARFARGUE, _Le Matérialisme économique_, in _Ere nouvelle_, 1893.

[38] Avoiding both of the mutually exclusive theses that civilization is
a consequence of race or a product of the environment, I have always
maintained--by my theory of the natural factors in criminality--that it
is the resultant of the combined action of the race and the environment.

Among the recent works which support the thesis of the exclusive or
predominant influence of race, I must mention LE BON, _Les lois
psychologiques de l'évolution des peuples_, Paris, 1894. This work is,
however, very superficial. I refer the reader for a more thorough
examination of these two theses to Chap. IV of my book _Omicidio nell'
anthropologia criminale_, Turin, 1894.

[39] I use the expression "mercantile ethics," which LETOURNEAU used in
his book on the Evolution of Ethics (_L'évolution de la morale_), Paris,
1887. In his scientific study of the facts relating to ethics,
Letourneau has distinguished four phases: _animal_ ethics--_savage_
ethics--_barbarous_ ethics--_mercantile_ (or bourgeois) ethics; these
phases will be followed by a higher phase of ethics which Malon has
called _social_ ethics.

[40] Some persons, still imbued with political (Jacobin) artificiality,
think that in order to solve the social question it will be necessary to
generalize the system of _métayage_. They imagine, then--though they do
not say so--a royal or presidential decree: "Art. 1. Let all men become

And it does not occur to them that if métayage, which was the rule, has
become a less and less frequent exception, this must be the necessary
result of natural causes.

The cause of the transformation is to be found in the fact that
_métayage_ represents (is a form typical of) petty agricultural
industry, and that it is unable to compete with modern agricultural
industry organized on a large scale and well equipped with machinery,
just as handicrafts have not been able to endure competition with modern
manufacturing industry. It is true that there still are to-day some
handicraft industries in a few villages, but these are rudimentary
organs which merely represent an anterior phase (of production), and
which no longer have any important function in the economic world. They
are, like the rudimentary organs of the higher species of animals,
according to the theory of Darwin, permanent witnesses of past epochs.

The same Darwinian and economic law applies to _métayage_, which is also
evidently destined to the same fate as handicrafts.

_Conf._ the excellent propagandist pamphlet of BIEL, _Ai contadini
toscani_, Colle d' Elsa, 1894.

[41] HENRY GEORGE, Progress and Poverty, New York, 1898. Doubleday &
McClure Co.

[42] L. JACOBY, _L'Idea dell' evoluzione_, in _Bibliotheca dell'
economista_, série III, vol. IX, 2d part, p. 69.

[43] At the death of Darwin the _Sozialdemokrat_ of the 27th of April,
1882, wrote: "The proletariat who are struggling for their emancipation
will ever honor the memory of Charles Darwin."

Conf. LAFARGUE, _La théorie darwinienne_.

I am well aware that in these last years, perhaps in consequence of the
relations between Darwinism and socialism, consideration has again been
given to the objections to the theory of Darwin, made by Voegeli, and
more recently by Weismann, on the hereditary transmissibility of
acquired characters. See SPENCER, _The Inadequacy of Natural Selection_,
Paris, 1894.--VIRCHOW, _Transformisme et descendance_, Berlin, 1893. But
all this merely concerns such or such a detail of Darwinism, while the
fundamental theory of metamorphic organic development remains



The theory of universal evolution which--apart from such or such a more
or less disputable detail--is truly characteristic of the vital tendency
of modern scientific thought, has also been made to appear in absolute
contradiction with the theories and the practical ideals of socialism.

In this case the fallacy is obvious.

If socialism is understood as that vague complex of sentimental
aspirations so often crystallized into the artificial utopian creations
of a new human world to be substituted by some sort of magic in a single
day for the old world in which we live; then it is quite true that the
scientific theory of evolution condemns the presumptions and the
illusions of artificial or utopian political theories, which, whether
they are reactionary or revolutionary, are always romantic, or in the
words of the American Senator Ingalls, are "iridescent dreams."

But, unfortunately for our adversaries, contemporary socialism is an
entirely different thing from the socialism which preceded the work of
Marx. Apart from the same sentiment of protest against present
injustices and the same aspirations toward a better future, there is
nothing in common between these two socialisms, neither in their logical
structure nor in their deductions, unless it be the clear vision, which
in modern socialism becomes a mathematically exact prediction (thanks to
the theories of evolution) of the final social organization--based on
the collective ownership of the land and the means of production.

These are the conclusions to which we are led by the evidence of the
facts--facts verified by a scientific examination of the three principal
contradictions which our opponents have sought to set up between
socialism and scientific evolution.

From this point it is impossible not to see the direct causal connection
between Marxian socialism and scientific evolution, since it must be
recognized that the former is simply the logical consequence of the
application of the evolutionary theory to the domain of economics.



What, in substance, is the message of socialism? That the present
economic world can not be immutable and eternal, that it merely
represents a transitory phase of social evolution and that an ulterior
phase, a differently organized world, is destined to succeed it.

That this new organization must be collectivist or socialist--and no
longer individualist--results, as an ultimate and certain conclusion,
from the examination we have made of Darwinism and socialism.

I must now demonstrate that this fundamental affirmation of
socialism--leaving out of consideration for the moment all the details
of that future organization, of which I will speak further on--is in
perfect harmony with the experiential theory of evolutionism.

Upon what point are orthodox political economy and socialism in absolute
conflict? Political economy has held and holds that the economic laws
governing the production and distribution of wealth which it has
established are _natural laws_ ... not in the sense that they are laws
naturally determined by the conditions of the social organism (which
would be correct), but that they are _absolute laws_, that is to say
that they apply to humanity at all times and in all places, and,
consequently, that they are immutable in their principal points, though
they may be subject to modification in details.[44]

Scientific socialism holds, on the contrary, that the laws established
by classical political economy, since the time of Adam Smith, are laws
peculiar to the present period in the history of civilized humanity, and
that they are, consequently, laws essentially _relative_ to the period
of their analysis and discovery, and that just as they no longer fit the
facts when the attempt is made to extend their application to past
historical epochs and, still more, to pre-historic and ante-historic
times, so it is absurd to attempt to apply them to the future and thus
vainly try to petrify and perpetuate present social forms.

Of these two fundamental theses, the orthodox thesis and the socialist
thesis, which is the one which best agrees with the scientific theory of
universal evolution?

The answer can not be doubtful.[45]

The theory of evolution, of which Herbert Spencer was the true creator,
by applying to sociology the tendency to relativism which the historical
school had followed in its studies in law and political economy (even
then heterodox on more than one point), has shown that everything
changes; that the present phase--of the facts in astronomy, geology,
biology and sociology--is only the resultant of thousands on thousands
of incessant, inevitable, natural transformations; that the present
differs from the past and that the future will certainly be different
from the present.

Spencerism has done nothing but to collate a vast amount of scientific
evidence, from all branches of human knowledge, in support of these two
abstract thoughts of Leibnitz and Hegel: "The present is the child of
the past, but it is the parent of the future," and "Nothing is;
everything is becoming." This demonstration had already been made in the
case of geology by Lyell who substituted for the traditional
catastrophic theory of cataclysmic changes, the scientific theory of the
gradual and continuous transformation of the earth.[46]

It is true that, notwithstanding his encyclopædic knowledge, Herbert
Spencer has not made a really profound study of political economy, or
that at least he has not furnished us the evidence of the _facts_ to
support his assertions in this field as he has done in the natural
sciences. This does not alter the fact, however, that socialism is,
after all, in its fundamental conception only the logical application of
the scientific theory of natural evolution to economic phenomena.

It was Karl Marx who, in 1859 in his _Critique de l'économie politique_,
and even before then, in 1847, in the famous _Manifesto_ written in
collaboration with Engels, nearly ten years before Spencer's _First
Principles_, and finally in _Capital_ (1867) supplemented, or rather
completed, in the social domain, the scientific revolution begun by
Darwin and Spencer.

The old metaphysics conceived of ethics--law--economics--as a finished
compilation of absolute and eternal laws. This is the conception of
Plato. It takes into consideration only historical times and it has, as
an instrument of research, only the fantastic logic of the school-men.
The generations which preceded us, have all been imbued with this notion
of the absoluteness of natural laws, the conflicting laws of a dual
universe of matter and spirit. Modern science, on the contrary, starts
from the magnificent synthetic conception of monism, that is to say, of
a single substance underlying all phenomena--matter and force being
recognized as inseparable and indestructible, continuously evolving in a
succession of forms--forms relative to their respective times and
places. It has radically changed the direction of modern thought and
directed it toward the grand idea of universal evolution.[47]

Ethics, law and politics are mere superstructures, effects of the
economic structure; they vary with its variations, from one parallel (of
latitude or longitude) to another, and from one century to another.

This is the great discovery which the genius of Karl Marx has expounded
in his _Critique de l'économie politique_. I will examine further on the
question as to what this sole source or basis of the varying economic
conditions is, but the important point now is to emphasize their
constant variability, from the pre-historic ages down to historical
times and to the different periods of the latter.

Moral codes, religious creeds, juridical institutions both civil and
criminal, political organization:--all are constantly undergoing
transformation and all are relative to their respective historical and
material environments.

To slay one's parents is the greatest of crimes in Europe and America;
it is, on the contrary, a duty enjoined by religion in the island of
Sumatra; in the same way, cannibalism is a permitted usage in Central
Africa, and such it also was in Europe and America in pre-historic ages.

The family is, at first (as among animals), only a sort of sexual
communism; then polyandry and the matriarchal system were established
where the supply of food was scanty and permitted only a very limited
increase of population; we find polygamy and the patriarchal system
appearing whenever and wherever the tyranny of this fundamental economic
cause of polyandry ceases to be felt; with the advent of historical
times appears the monogamic form of the family the best and the most
advanced form, although it is still requisite for it to be freed from
the rigid conventionalism of the indissoluble tie and the disguised and
legalised prostitution (the fruits of economic causes) which pollute it
among us to-day.

How can any one hold that the constitution of property is bound to
remain eternally just as it is, immutable, in the midst of the
tremendous stream of changing social institutions and moral codes, all
passing through evolutions and continuous and profound transformations?
Property alone is subject to no changes and will remain petrified in its
present form, _i. e._, a monopoly by a few of the land and the means of

This is the absurd contention of economic and juridical orthodoxy. To
the irresistible proofs and demonstrations of the evolutionist theory,
they make only this one concession: the subordinate rules may vary, the
_abuses_ may be diminished. The principle itself is unassailable and a
few individuals may seize upon and appropriate the land and the means of
production necessary to the life of the whole social organism which thus
remains completely and eternally under the more or less direct
domination of those who have control over the physical foundation of

Nothing more than a perfectly clear statement of the two fundamental
theses--the thesis of classical law and economics, and the economic and
juridical thesis of socialism--is necessary to determine, without
further discussion, this first point of the controversy. At all events,
the theory of evolution is in perfect, unquestionable harmony with the
inductions of socialism and, or the contrary, it flatly contradicts the
hypothesis of the absoluteness and immutability of the "natural" laws of
economies, etc.


[44] U. RABBENO, _Le leggi economiche e il socialismo_, in _Rivista di
filos. scientif._, 1884, vol. III., fasc. 5.

[45] This is the thesis of COLAJANNI, in _Il socialismo_, Catane, 1884,
P. 277. He errs when he thinks that I combatted this position in my book
_Socialismo e criminalità_.

[46] MORSELLI, _Antropologia generale--Lezioni sull' uomo secondo la
teoria dell' evoluzione_, Turin, 1890-94, gives an excellent _resumé_ of
these general indications of modern scientific thought in their
application to all branches of knowledge from geology to anthropology.

[47] BONARDI, _Evoluzionismo e socialismo_, Florence, 1894.

[48] ARCANGELI, _Le evoluzioni della proprietà_, in _Critica sociale_,
July 1, 1894.

[49] This is exactly analogous to the conflict between the partisans and
the opponents of free-will.

The old metaphysics accorded to man (alone, a marvelous exception from
all the rest of the universe) an absolutely free will.

Modern physio-psychology absolutely denies every form of the free-will
dogma in the name of the laws of natural causality.

An intermediate position is occupied by those who, while recognizing
that the freedom of man's will is not absolute, hold that at least a
remnant of freedom must be conceded to the human will, because otherwise
there would no longer be any merit or any blameworthiness, any vice or
any virtue, etc.

I considered this question in my first work: _Teoria dell' imputabilità
e negazione del libero arbitrio_ (Florence, 1878, out of print), and in
the third chapter of my _Sociologie criminelle_, French trans., Paris,

I speak of it here only in order to show the analogy in the form of the
debate on the economico-social question, and therefore the possibility
of predicting a similar ultimate solution.

The true conservative, drawing his inspiration from the metaphysical
tradition, sticks to the old philosophical or economic ideas with all
their rigid absolutism; at least he is logical.

The determinist, in the name of science, upholds diametrically opposite
ideas, in the domain of psychology as well as in those of the economic
or juridical sciences.

The eclectic, in politics as in psychology, in political economy as in
law, is a conservative through and through, but he fondly hopes to
escape the difficulties of the conservative position by making a few
partial concessions to save appearances. But if the eclecticism is a
convenient and agreeable attitude for its champions, it is, like
hybridism, sterile, and neither life nor science owe anything to it.

Therefore, the socialists are logical when they contend that in the last
analysis there are only two political parties: the individualists
(conservatives [or Republicans], progressives [or Democrats] and
radicals [or Populists]) and the socialists.



Admitting, say our adversaries, that in demanding a social
transformation socialism is in apparent accord with the evolutionist
theory, it does not follow that its positive conclusions--notably the
substitution of social ownership for individual ownership--are justified
by that theory. Still further, they add, we maintain that those
conclusions are in absolute contradiction with that very theory, and
that they are therefore, to say the least, utopian and absurd.

The first alleged contradiction between socialism and evolutionism is
that the return to collective ownership of the land would be, at the
same time, a return to the primitive, savage state of mankind, and
socialism would indeed be a transformation, but a transformation in a
backward direction, that is to say, against the current of the social
evolution which has led us from the primitive form of collective
property in land to the present form of individual property in land--the
form characteristic of advanced civilization. Socialism, then, would be
a return to barbarism.

This objection contains an element of truth which can not be denied; it
rightly points out that collective ownership should be a
return--apparent--to the primitive social organization. But the
conclusion drawn from this truth is absolutely false and anti-scientific
because it altogether neglects a law--which is usually forgotten--but
which is no less true, no less founded on scientific observation of the
facts than is the law of social evolution.

This is a sociological law which an able French physician merely pointed
out in his studies on the relations between Transmutation and
Socialism,[50] and the truth and full importance of which I showed in my
_Sociologie criminelle_ (1892)--before I became a militant
socialist--and which I again emphasized in my recent controversy with
Morselli on the subject of divorce.[51]

This law of apparent retrogression proves that the reversion of social
institutions to primitive forms and types is a fact of constant

Before referring to some obvious illustrations of this law, I would
recall to your notice the fact that M. Cognetti de Martiis, as far back
as 1881, had a vague perception of this sociological law. His work,
_Forme primitive nell' evoluzione economica_, (Turin, 1881), so
remarkable for the fullness, accuracy and reliability of its collation
of relevant facts, made it possible to foresee the possibility of the
reappearance in the future economic evolution of the primitive forms
characteristic of the status which formed the starting-point of the
social evolution.

I also remember having heard Carducci say, in his lectures at the
University of Bologna, that the later development of the forms and the
substance of literature is often merely the reproduction of the forms
and the substance of the primitive Græco-Oriental literature; in the
same way, the modern scientific theory of monism, the very soul of
universal evolution and the typical and definitive form of systematic,
scientific, experiential human thought boldly fronting the facts of the
external world--following upon the brilliant but erratic speculations of
metaphysics--is only a return to the ideas of the Greek philosophers and
of Lucretius, the great poet of naturalism.

The examples of this reversion to primitive forms are only too obvious
and too numerous, even in the category of social institutions.

I have already spoken of the religions evolution. According to Hartmann,
in the primitive stage of human development happiness appeared
attainable during the lifetime of the individual; this appeared
impossible later on and its realization was referred to the life beyond
the tomb; and now the tendency is to refer its realization to the
earthly life of humanity, not to the life of the individual as in
primitive times, but to series of generations yet unborn.

The same is true in the political domain. Herbert Spencer remarks
(Principles of Sociology, Vol. II, Part V, Chap. V,) that the will of
all--the sovereign element among primitive mankind--gradually gives way
to the will of a single person, then to those of a few (these are the
various aristocracies: military, hereditary, professional or feudal),
and the popular will finally tends again to become sovereign with the
progress of democracy (universal suffrage--the referendum--direct
legislation by the people, etc.).

The right to administer punishment, a simple defensive function among
primitive mankind tends to become the same once more. Criminal law no
longer pretends to be a teleological agency for the distribution of
ideal justice. This pretension in former days was an illusion that the
belief in the freedom of the will had erected on the natural foundation
of society's right of self-defense. Scientific investigations into the
nature of crime, as a natural and social phenomenon, have demonstrated
to-day how absurd and unjustified was the pretension of the lawmaker and
the judge to weigh and measure the guilt of the delinquent to make the
punishment exactly counterbalance it, instead of contenting themselves
with excluding from civil society, temporarily or permanently, the
individuals unable to adapt themselves to its requirements, as is done
in the case of the insane and the victims of contagious diseases.

The same truth applies to marriage. The right of freely dissolving the
tie, which was recognized in primitive society, has been gradually
replaced by the absolute formulæ of theology and mysticism which fancy
that the "free will" can settle the destiny of a person by a
monosyllable pronounced at a time when the physical equilibrium is as
unstable as it is during courtship and at marriage. Later on the
reversion to the spontaneous and primitive form of a union based on
mutual consent imposes itself on men, and the matrimonial union, with
the increase in the frequency and facility of divorce, reverts to its
original forms and restores to the family, that it to say to the social
cell, a healthier constitution.

This some phenomenon may be traced in the organization of property.
Spencer himself has been forced to recognize that there has been an
inexorable tendency to a reversion to primitive collectivism since
ownership in land, at first a family attribute, then industrial, as he
has himself demonstrated, has reached its culminating point, so that in
some countries (Torrens act in Australia) land has become a sort of
_personal_ property, transferable as readily as a share in a

Read as proof what such an _individualist_ as Herbert Spencer has

"At first sight it seems fairly inferable that the absolute ownership of
land by private persons, must be the _ultimate_ state which
industrialism brings about. But though industrialism has thus far tended
to individualize possession of land, while individualizing all other
possession, _it may be doubted whether the final stage is at present
reached_. Ownership established by force does not stand on the same
footing as ownership established by contract, and though multiplied
sales and purchases, treating the two ownerships in the same way, have
tacitly assimilated them, the assimilation may eventually be denied. The
analogy furnished by assumed rights of possession over human beings,
helps us to recognize this possibility. For while prisoners of war,
taken by force and held as property in a vague way (being at first much
on a footing with other members of a household), were reduced more
definitely to the form of property when the buying and selling of slaves
became general; and while it might, centuries ago, have been thence
inferred that the ownership of man by man was an ownership in course of
being permanently established;[52] yet we see that a later stage of
civilization, reversing this process, has destroyed ownership of man by
man. Similarly, at a stage still more advanced, it may be that _private
ownership of land will disappear_."[53]

Moreover, this process of the socialization of property, though a
partial and subordinate process, is nevertheless so evident and
continuous that to deny its existence would be to maintain that the
economic and consequently the juridical tendency of the organization of
property is not in the direction of a greater and greater magnification
of the interests and rights of the collectivity over those of the
individual. This, which is only a preponderance to-day, will become by
an inevitable evolution a complete substitution as regards property in
land and the means of production.

The fundamental thesis of Socialism is then, to repeat it again, in
perfect harmony with that sociological law of apparent retrogression,
the natural reasons for which have been so admirably analyzed by M.
Loria, thus: the thought and the life of primitive mankind are moulded
and directed by the natural environment along the simplest and most
fundamental lines; then the progress of intelligence and the complexity
of life increasing by a law of evolution give us an analytical
development of the principal elements contained in the first genus of
each institution; this analytical development is often, when once
finished, detrimental to each one of its elements; humanity itself,
arrived at a certain stage of evolution, reconstructs and combines in a
final synthesis these different elements, and thus returns to its
primitive starting-point.[54]

This reversion to primitive forms is not, however, a pure and simple
repetition. Therefore it is called the law of _apparent_ retrogression,
and this removes all force from the objection that socialism would be a
"return to primitive _barbarism_." It is not a pure and simple
repetition, but it is the concluding phase of a cycle, of a grand
rhythm, as M. Asturaro recently put it, which infallibly and inevitably
preserves in their integrity the achievements and conquests of the long
preceding evolution, in so far as they are vital and fruitful; and the
final outcome is far superior, objectively and subjectively, to the
primitive social embryo.

The track of the social evolution is not represented by a closed circle,
which, like the serpent in the old symbol, cuts off all hope of a better
future; but, to use the figure of Goethe, it is represented by a spiral,
which seems to return upon itself, but which always advances and


[50] L. DRAMARD, _Transformisme et socialisme_, in _Revue Socialiste_,
Jan. and Feb., 1885.

[51] _Divorzio e sociologia_, in _Scuola positiva nella geurisprudenza
penale_, Rome, 1893, No. 16.

[52] It is known that Aristotle, mistaking for an absolute sociological
law a law relative to his own time, declared that slavery was a natural
institution, and that men were divided, _by Nature_, into two
classes--free men and slaves.

[53] SPENCER, Principles of Sociology, Vol. II, Part. V., Chap. XV., p.
553. New York, 1897. D. Appleton & Co.

This idea, which Spencer had expressed in 1850 in his _Social Statics_
is found again in his recent work, _Justice_ (Chap. XI, and Appendix 3).
It is true that he has made a step backward. He thinks that the amount
of the indemnity to be given to the present holders of the land would be
so great that this would make next to impossible that "nationalization
of the land" which, as long ago as 1881, Henry George considered as the
only _remedy_, and that Gladstone had the courage to propose as a
solution of the Irish question. Spencer adds: "I adhere to the inference
originally drawn, _that the aggregate of men forming the community are
the supreme owners of the land_, but a fuller consideration of the
matter has led me to the conclusion that individual ownership, subject
to State suzerainty, should be maintained."

The "profound study" which Spencer has made in Justice--(and, let us say
between parentheses, this work, together with his "_Positive and
Negative Beneficence_" furnishes sad evidence of the senile mental
retrogression that even Herbert Spencer has been unable to escape;
moreover its subjective aridity is in strange contrast with the
marvelous wealth of scientific evidence poured forth in his earlier
works)--is based on these two arguments: I. The present landed
proprietors are not the direct descendants of the first conquerors; they
have, in general, acquired their titles by free contract; II. Society is
entitled to the ownership of the virgin soil, as it was before it was
cleared, before any improvements or buildings were put upon it by
private owners; the indemnity which would have to be paid for these
improvements would reach an enormous figure.

The answer is that the first argument would hold good if socialism
proposed to _punish_ the present owners; but the question presents
itself in a different form. Society places the expropriation of the
owners of land on the ground of "public utility," and the individual
right must give way before the rights of society. Just as it does at
present, leaving out of consideration for the moment the question of
indemnity. To reply to the second argument, in the first place, it must
not be forgotten that the improvements are not exclusively the work of
the personal exertions of the owners. They represent, at first, an
enormous accumulation of fatigue and blood that many generations of
laborers have left upon the soil, in order to bring it to its present
state of cultivation ... and all of this for the profit of others; there
is also this fact to be remembered that society itself, the social life,
has been a great factor in producing these improvements (or increased
values), since public roads, railways, the use of machinery in
agriculture, etc., have been the means of bestowing freely upon the
landowners large unearned increments that have greatly swollen the
prices of their lands.

Why, finally, if we are to consider the amount and the character of this
indemnity, should this indemnity be _total_ and _absolute_? Why, even
under present conditions, if a landowner, for various reasons, such as
cherished memories connected with the land, values it at a sentimental
price, he would be forced under the right of eminent domain to accept
the market value, without any extra payment for his affection or
sentiment. It would be just the same in the case of the collective
appropriation which would, moreover, be facilitated by the progressive
concentration of the land in the hands of a few great landed
proprietors. If we were to assure these proprietors, _for the term of
the natural lives_, a comfortable and tranquil life, it would suffice to
make the indemnity meet all the requirements of the most rigorous

[54] LORIA, _La Teoria economica della constituzione politica_, Turin,
1886. p. 141. The second edition of this work has appeared in French,
considerably enlarged: _Les bases économiques de la constitution
sociale_, Paris, 1893. (This has also been translated into

This law of apparent retrogression alone overthrows the greater part of
the far too superficial criticisms that Guyot makes upon socialism in
_La Tyrannie socialiste_, Paris, 1893 (published in English, by Swan
Sonnenschein, London,) and in _Les Principes de 1789 et le Socialisme_,
Paris, 1894.



The conclusion of the preceding chapter will be of use to us in the
examination of the second contradiction that, it is pretended, exists
between socialism and the theory of evolution. It is asserted and
repeated in all possible tones that socialism constitutes a tyranny
under a new form which will destroy all the blessings of liberty won
with such toil and difficulty in our century, at the cost of so many
sacrifices and of so many martyrs.

I have already shown, in speaking of anthropological inequalities, that
socialism will, on the contrary, assure to all individuals the
conditions of a human existence and the possibility of developing with
the utmost freedom and completeness their own respective

It is sufficient here for me to refer to another law, which the
scientific theory of evolution has established, to demonstrate (since I
cannot in this monograph enter into details) that it is an error to
assume that the advent of socialism would result in the suppression of
the vital and vitalizing part of personal and political liberty.

It is a law of natural evolution, set forth and illustrated with
remarkable clearness by M. Ardigò[55], that each succeeding phase of
the natural and social evolution does not destroy the vital and
life-giving manifestations of the preceding phases, but that, on the
contrary, it preserves their existence in so far as they are vital and
only eliminates their pathological manifestations.

In the biological evolution, the manifestations of vegetable life do not
efface the first glimmerings of the dawn of life that are seen even
before in the crystallization of minerals, any more than the
manifestations of animal life efface those of vegetable life. The human
form of life also permits the continued existence of the forms and links
which precede it in the great series of living beings, but, more than
this, the later forms only really live in so far as they are the product
of the primitive forms and co-exist with them.

The social evolution follows the same law: and this is precisely the
interpretation of transition periods given by scientific evolutionism.
They did not annihilate the conquests of the preceding civilizations,
but they preserved, on the contrary, whatever was vital in them and
fecundated them for the Renaissance of a new civilization.

This law, which dominates all the magnificent development of the social
life, equally governs the fate and the parabolic career of all social

One phase of social evolution by following upon another phase
eliminates, it is true, the parts that are not vital, the pathological
products of preceding institutions, but it preserves and develops the
parts that are healthy and vigorous while ever elevating more and more
the physical and moral diapason of humanity.

By this natural process the great stream of humanity issued from the
virgin forests of savage life and developed with majestic grandeur
during the periods of barbarism and the present civilization, which are
superior in some respects to the preceding phases of the social life,
but in many others are marred by the very products of their own
degeneracy, as I pointed out in speaking of reactionary varieties of
social selection.

And, as an example of this, it is certain that the laborers of the
contemporaneous period, of the bourgeois civilization have, in general,
a better physical and moral life than those of past centuries, but it
cannot be denied none the less that their condition as free
_wage-workers_ is inferior in more than one particular to the condition
of the _slaves_ of antiquity and of the _serfs_ of the Middle Ages.

The _slave_ of antiquity was, it is true, the absolute property of his
master, of the _free_ man, and he was condemned to well nigh an animal
existence, but it was to the interest of his master to assure him daily
bread at the least, for the slave formed a part of his estate, like his
cattle and horses.

Just so, the serf or villein of the Middle Ages enjoyed certain
customary rights which attached him to the soil and assured him at the
least--save in case of famine--of daily bread.

The free wage-worker of the modern world, on the contrary, is always
condemned to labor inhuman both in its duration and its character, and
this is the justification of that demand for an Eight-Hours day which
can already count more than one victory and which is destined to a sure
triumph. As no permanent legal relation binds the wage-slave either to
the capitalist proprietor or to the soil, his daily bread is not assured
to him, because the proprietor no longer has any interest to feed and
support the laborers who toil in his factory or on his field. The death
or sickness of the laborer cannot, in fact, cause any decrease of his
estate and he can always draw from the inexhaustible multitude of
laborers who are forced by lack of employment to offer themselves on the

That is why--not because present-day proprietors are more wicked than
those of former times, but because even the moral sentiments are the
result of economic conditions--the landed proprietor or the
superintendent of his estate hastens to have a veterinary called if, in
his stable, a cow becomes ill, while he is in no hurry to have a doctor
called if it is the son of the cow-herd who is attacked by disease.

Certainly there may be--and these are more or less frequent
exceptions--here and there a proprietor who contradicts this rule,
especially when he lives in daily contact with his laborers. Neither can
it be denied that the rich classes are moved at times by the spirit of
benevolence--even apart from the _charity fad_--and that they thus put
to rest the inner voice, the symptom of the moral disease from which
they suffer, but the inexorable rule is nevertheless as follows: with
the modern form of industry the laborer has gained political liberty,
the right of suffrage, of association, etc. (rights which he is allowed
to use only when he does not utilize them to form a class-party, based
on intelligent apprehension of the essential point of the social
question), but he has lost the guarantee of daily bread and of a home.

Socialism wishes to give this guarantee to all individuals--and it
demonstrates the mathematical possibility of this by the substitution of
social ownership for individual ownership of the means of
production--but it does not follow from this that socialism will do away
with all the useful and truly fruitful conquests of the present phase of
civilization, and of the preceding phases.

And here is a characteristic example of this: the invention of
industrial and agricultural machinery, that marvelous application of
science to the transformation of natural forces which ought to have had
only beneficent consequences, has caused and is still causing the misery
and ruin of thousands and thousands of laborers. The substitution of
machines for human labor has inevitably condemned multitudes of workers
to the tortures of enforced idleness and to the ruthless action of the
iron law of minimum wages barely sufficient to prevent them from dying
of hunger.

The first instinctive reaction or impulse of these unfortunates was and
still is, unhappily, to destroy the machines and to see in them only the
instruments of their undeserved sufferings.

But the destruction of the machines would be, in fact, only a pure and
simple return to barbarism, and this is not the wish or purpose of
socialism which represents a higher phase of human civilization.

And this is why socialism alone can furnish a solution of this tragic
difficulty which can not be solved by economic individualism which
involves the constant employment and introduction of improved machinery
because its use gives an evident and irresistible advantage to the

It is necessary--and there is no other solution--that the machines
become collective or social property. Then, obviously, their only effect
will be to diminish the aggregate amount of labor and muscular effort
necessary to produce a given quantity of products. And thus the daily
work of each worker will be decreased, and his standard of existence
will constantly rise and become more closely correspondent with the
dignity of a human being.

This effect is already manifest, to a limited extent, in those cases
where, for instance, several small farm proprietors found co-operative
societies for the purchase of, for example, threshing-machines. If there
should be joined to the small proprietors, in a grand fraternal
co-operation, the laborers or peasants (and this will be possible only
when the land shall have become social property), and if the machines
were municipal property, for example, as are the fire-engines, and if
the commune were to grant their use for the labors of the fields, the
machines would no longer produce any evil effects and all men would see
in them their liberators.

It is thus that socialism, because it represents a higher phase of human
evolution, would eliminate from the present phase only the bad products
of our unbridled economic individualism which creates, at one pole, the
billionaires or "Napoleons of Finance" who enrich themselves in a few
years by seizing upon--in ways more or less clearly described in the
penal code--the public funds, and which, at the other pole, accumulates
vast multitudes of poverty-stricken wretches in the slums of the cities
or in the houses of straw and mud which reproduce in the South of Italy,
the quarters of the Helots of antiquity, or in the valley of the Po, the
huts of the Australian bushmen.[56]

No intelligent socialist has ever dreamt of not recognizing all that the
bourgeoisie has done for human civilization, or of tearing out the pages
of gold that it has written in the history of the civilized world by its
brilliant development of the various nations, by its marvelous
applications of science to industry, and by the commercial and
intellectual relations which it has developed between different peoples.

These are permanent conquests of human progress, and socialism does not
deny them any more than it wishes to destroy them, and it accords a just
tribute of recognition to the generous pioneers who have achieved them.
The attitude of socialism toward the bourgeoisie might be compared to
that of atheists who do not wish either to destroy or to refuse their
admiration to a painting of Raphael or to a statue of Michel-Angelo,
because these works represent and give the seal of eternity to religious

But socialism sees in the present bourgeois civilization, arrived at its
decline, the sad symptoms of an irremediable dissolution, and it
contends that it is necessary to rid the social organism of its
infectious _poison_, and this not by ridding it of such or such a
bankrupt, of such or such a corrupt official, of such or such a
dishonest contractor ... but by going to the root of the evil, to the
indisputable source of the virulent infection. By radically transforming
the regime--through the substitution of social ownership for individual
ownership--it is necessary to renew the healthy and vital forces of
human society, to enable it to rise to a higher phase of civilization.
Then, it is true, the privileged classes will no longer be able to pass
their lives in idleness, luxury and dissipation, and they will have to
make up their minds to lead an industrious and less ostentatious life,
but the immense majority of men will rise to the heights of serene
dignity, security and joyous brotherhood, instead of living in the
sorrows, anxieties and bitter strife of the present.

An analogous response may be made to that banal objection that socialism
will suppress all liberty--that objection repeated to satiety by all
those who more or less consciously conceal, under the colors of
political liberalism, the tendencies of economic conservatism.

That repugnance which many people, even in good faith, show toward
socialism, is it not the manifestation of another law of human evolution
which Herbert Spencer has formulated thus: "Every progress effected is
an obstacle to further progress"?

This is, in fact, a natural psychological tendency, a tendency analogous
to _fetishism_, to refuse to consider the ideal attained, the progress
effected as a simple instrument, a starting-point for further progress
and for the attainment of new ideals, instead of contentedly halting to
adore as a fetish the progress already effected, which men are prone to
look upon as being so complete that it leaves no room for new ideals and
higher aspirations.

Just as the savage adores the fruit-tree, whose benefits he enjoys, for
itself and not for the fruits it can yield, and, in the end, makes a
fetish of it, an idol too holy to be touched and, therefore, barren;
just as the miser who has learned in our individualist world the value
of money, ends by adoring the money in itself and for itself, as a
fetish and an idol, and keeps it buried in a safe where it remains
sterile, instead of employing it as a means for procuring himself new
pleasures; in the same way, the sincere liberal, the son of the French
Revolution, has made Liberty an idol which is its own goal, a sterile
fetish, instead of making use of it as an instrument for new conquests,
for the realization of new ideals.

It is understood that under a regime of political tyranny, the first and
most urgent ideal was necessarily the conquest of liberty and of
political sovereignty.

And we who arrive upon the field after the battle is fought and the
victory won, we gladly pay our tribute of gratitude for that conquest to
all the martyrs and heroes who bought it at the price of their blood.

But Liberty is not and can not be its own end and object!

What is the liberty of holding public assemblages or the liberty of
thought worth if the stomach has not its daily bread, and if millions of
individuals have their moral strength paralyzed as a consequence of
bodily or cerebral anemia?

Of what worth is the theoretic share in political sovereignty, the right
to vote, if the people remain enslaved by misery, lack of employment,
and acute or chronic hunger?

Liberty for liberty's sake--there you have the progress achieved turned
into an obstacle to future progress; it is a sort of political
masturbation, it is impotency face to face with the new necessities of

Socialism, on the other hand, says that just as the subsequent phase of
the social evolution does not efface the conquests of the preceding
phases, neither does it wish to suppress the liberty so gloriously
conquered, by the bourgeois world in 1789--but it does desire the
laborers, after they have become conscious of the interests and needs of
their class, to make use of that liberty to realize a more equitable and
more human social organization.

Nevertheless, it is only too indisputable that under the system of
private property and its inevitable consequence, the monopoly of
economic power, the liberty of the man who does not share in this
monopoly, is only an impotent and sentimental toy. And when the workers,
with a clear consciousness of their class-interests, wish to make use of
this liberty, then the holders of political power are forced to disown
the great liberal principles, "the principles of '89," by suppressing
all public liberty, and they vainly fancy that they will be able, in
this way, to stop the inevitable march of human evolution.

As much must be said of another accusation made against socialists.
They renounce their fatherland (_patrie_), it is said, in the name of

This also is false.

The national _épopées_ which, in our century, have reconquered for Italy
and Germany their unity and their independence, have really constituted
great steps forward, and we are grateful to those who have given us a
free country.

But our country can not become an obstacle to future progress, to the
fraternity of all peoples, freed from national hatreds which are truly a
relic of barbarism, or a mere bit of theatrical scenery to hide the
interests of capitalism which has been shrewd enough to realize, for its
own benefit, the broadest internationalism.

It was a true moral and social progress to rise above the phase of the
communal wars in Italy, and to feel ourselves all brothers of one and
the same nation; it will be just the same when we shall have risen above
the phase of "patriotic" rivalries to feel ourselves all brothers of one
and the same humanity.

It is, nevertheless, not difficult for us to penetrate, thanks to the
historical key of class-interests, the secret of the contradictions, in
which the classes in power move. When they form an international
league--the London banker, thanks to telegraphy, is master of the
markets in Pekin, New York and St. Petersburg--it is greatly to the
advantage of that ruling class to maintain the artificial divisions
between the laborers of the whole world, or even those of old Europe
alone, because it is only the division of the workers which makes
possible the maintenance of the power of the capitalists. And to attain
their object, it suffices to exploit the primitive fund of savage hatred
for "foreigners."

But this does not keep international socialism from being, even from
this point of view, a definite moral scheme and an inevitable phase of
human evolution.

Just so, and in consequence of the same sociological law, it is not
correct to assert that, by establishing collective ownership, socialism
will suppress every kind of individual ownership.

We must repeat again that one phase of evolution can not suppress all
that has been accomplished during the preceding phases; it suppresses
only the manifestations which have ceased to be vital, and it suppresses
them because they are in contradiction with the new conditions of
existence begotten by the new phases of evolution.

In substituting social ownership for individual ownership of the land
and the means of production, it is obvious that it will not be necessary
to suppress private property in the food necessary to the individual,
nor in clothing and objects of personal use which will continue to be
objects of individual or family consumption.

This form of individual ownership will then always continue to exist,
since it is necessary and perfectly consistent with social ownership of
the land, mines, factories, houses, machines, tools and instruments of
labor, and means of transportation.

The collective ownership of libraries--which we see in operation under
our eyes--does it deprive individuals of the personal use of rare and
expensive books which they would be unable to procure in any other way,
and does it not largely increase the utility that can be derived from
these books, when compared to the services that these books could render
if they were shut up in the private library of a useless book-collector?
In the same way, the collective ownership of the land and the means of
production, by securing to everyone the use of the machines, tools and
land, will only increase their utility a hundred-fold.

And let no one say that, when men shall no longer have the exclusive and
transferable (by inheritance, etc.) _ownership_ of wealth, they will no
longer be impelled to labor because they will no longer be constrained
to work by personal or family self-interest.[57] We see, for example,
that, even in our present individualist world, those survivals of
collective property in land--to which Laveleye has so strikingly called
the attention of sociologists--continue to be cultivated and yield a
return which is not lower than that yielded by lands held in private
ownership, although these communist or collectivist farmers have only
the right of use and enjoyment, and not the absolute title.[58]

If some of these survivals of collective ownership are disappearing, or
if their administration is bad, this can not be an argument against
socialism, since it is easy to understand that, in the present economic
organization based on absolute individualism, these organisms do not
have an environment which furnishes them the conditions of a possible

It is as though one were to wish a fish to live out of water, or a
mammal in an atmosphere containing no oxygen.

These are the same considerations which condemn to a certain death all
those famous experiments--the socialist, communist or anarchist colonies
which it has been attempted to establish in various places as
"experimental trials of socialism." It seems not to have been
understood that such experiments could only result in inevitable
abortions, obliged as they are to develop in an individualist economic
and moral environment which can not furnish them the conditions
essential for their physiological development, conditions which they
will, on the contrary, have when the whole social organization shall be
guided by the collectivist principle, that is to say, when society shall
be _socialized_.[59]

Then individual tendencies and psychological aptitudes will adapt
themselves to the environment. It is natural that in an individualist
environment, a world of free competition, in which every individual sees
in every other if not an adversary, at least a competitor, anti-social
egoism should be the tendency which is inevitably most highly developed,
as a necessary result of the instinct of self-preservation, especially
in these latest phases of a civilization which seems to be driven at
full steam, compared to the pacific and gentle individualism of past

In an environment where every one, in exchange for intellectual or
manual labor furnished to society, will be assured of his daily bread
and will thus be saved from daily anxiety, it is evident that egoism
will have far fewer stimulants, fewer occasions to manifest itself than
solidarity, sympathy and altruism will have. Then that pitiless
maxim--_homo homini lupus_--will cease to be true--a maxim which,
whether we admit it or not, poisons so much of our present life.

I can not dwell longer on these details and I conclude here the
examination of this second pretended opposition between socialism and
evolution by again pointing out that the sociological law which declares
that the subsequent phase (of social evolution) does not efface the
vital and fruitful manifestations of the preceding phases of evolution,
gives us, in regard to the social organization in process of formation,
a more exact (_positive_ or fact-founded) idea than our opponents think,
who always imagine that they have to refute the romantic and sentimental
socialism of the first half of this century.[60]

This shows how little weight there is in the objection recently raised
against socialism, in the name of a learned but vague sociological
eclecticism, by a distinguished Italian professor, M. Vanni.

"Contemporary socialism is not identified with individualism, since it
places at the foundation of the social organization a principle which is
not that of individual autonomy, but rather its negation. If,
notwithstanding this, it promulgates individualist ideas, which are in
contradiction with its principles, this does not signify that it has
changed its nature, or that it has ceased to be socialism: it means
simply that it lives upon and by contradictions."[61]

When socialism, by assuring to every one the means of livelihood,
contends that it will permit the assertion and the development of all
individualities, it does not fall into a contradiction of principles,
but being, as it is, the approaching phase of human civilization, it
can not suppress nor efface whatever is vital, that is to say,
compatible with the new social form, in the preceding phases. And just
as socialist internationalism is not in conflict with patriotism, since
it recognizes whatever is healthy and true in that sentiment, and
eliminates only the pathological part, jingoism, in the same way,
socialism does not draw its life from contradiction, but it follows, on
the contrary, the fundamental laws of natural evolution, in developing
and preserving the vital part of individualism, and in suppressing only
its pathological manifestations which are responsible for the fact that
in the modern world, as Prampolini said, 90 per cent. of the cells of
the social organization are condemned to anemia because 10 per cent. are
ill with hyper-emia and hyper-trophy.


[55] ARDIGÒ, _La formazione naturale_, Vol. II. of his _Opere
filosofiche_, Padua, 1897.

[56] My master, Pietro Ellero, has given in _La Tirrandie borghese_, an
eloquent description of this social and political pathology as it
appears in Italy.

[57] RICHTER, _Où mène le socialisme_, Paris, 1892.

[58] M. Loria, in _Les Bases économiques de la constitution sociale_,
Paris, 1894, part 1st, demonstrates, moreover, that in a society based
on collective ownership selfishness, rightly understood will still
remain the principal motive of human actions, but that it will then be
the means of realizing a social harmony of which it is the worst enemy
under the regime of individualism.

Here is an example of this, on a small scale, but instructive. The means
of transportation have, in large cities, followed the ordinary process
of progressive socialization. At first, everybody went on foot,
excepting only a few rich persons who were able to have horses and
carriages; later, carriages were made available for the public at a
fixed rate of hire (the _fiacres_ which have been used in Paris a little
more than a century, and which took their name from Saint Fiacre because
the first cab stood beneath his image); then, the dearness of
_fiacre_-hire led to a further socialization by means of omnibuses and
tramways. Another step forward and the socialization will be complete.
Let the cab service, omnibus service, street railways, _bicyclettes_,
etc., become a municipal service or function and every one will be able
to make use of it gratis just as he freely enjoys the railways when they
become a national public service.

But, then--this is the individualist objection--everybody will wish to
ride in cabs or on trolleys, and the service having to attempt to
satisfy all, will be perfectly satisfactory to no one.

This is not correct. If the transformation had to be made suddenly, this
might be a temporary consequence. But even now many ride gratis (on
passes, etc.) on both railways and tramways.

And so it seems to us that every one will wish to ride on the street
cars because the fact that it is now impossible for many to enjoy this
mode of locomotion gives rise to the desire for the forbidden fruit. But
when the enjoyment of it shall be free (and there could be restrictions
based on the necessity for such transportation) another egoistic motive
will come into play--the physiological need of walking, especially for
well-fed people who have been engaged in sedentary labor.

And so you see how individual selfishness, in this example of collective
ownership on a small scale, would act in harmony with the social

[59] Thus it is easy to understand how unfounded is the reasoning among
the opponents of socialism that the failure of communist or socialist
colonies is an objective demonstration of "the instability of a
socialist arrangement" (of society).

[60] This is what Yves Guyot, for example, does in _Les Principes de
1789_, Paris, 1894, when he declares, in the name of individualist
psychology, that "socialism is restrictive and individualism expansive."
This thesis is, moreover, in part true, if it is transposed.

The vulgar psychology, which answers the purposes of M. Guyot (_La
Tyrannie socialiste_, liv. III, ch. I.), is content with superficial
observations. It declares, for instance, that if the laborer works
twelve hours, he will produce evidently a third more than if he works
eight hours, and this is the reason why industrial capitalism has
opposed and does oppose the minimum programme of the three
eighths--eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep and eight hours for
meals and recreation.

A more scientific physio-psychological observation demonstrates, on the
contrary, as I said long ago, that "man is a machine, but he does not
function after the fashion of a machine," in the sense that man is a
living machine, and not an inorganic machine.

Every one knows that a locomotive or a sewing machine does in twelve
hours a quantity of work greater by one-third than it does in eight
hours; but man is a living machine, subject to the law of physical
mechanics, but also to those of biological mechanics. Intellectual
labor, like muscular labor, is not uniform in quality and intensity
throughout its duration. Within the individual limits of _fatigue_ and
exhaustion, it obeys the law which Quetelet expressed by his binomial
curve, and which I believe to be one of the fundamental laws of living
and inorganic nature. At the start the force or the speed is very
slight--afterward a maximum of force or speed is attained--and at last
the force or speed again becomes very slight.

With manual labor, as with intellectual labor, there is a maximum, after
which the muscular and cerebral forces decline, and then the work drags
along slowly and without vigor until the end of the forced daily labor.
Consider also the beneficient _suggestive_ influence of a reduction of
hours, and you will readily understand why the recent English reports
are so unanswerable on the excellent results, even from the capitalist
point of view, of the Eight-Hour reform. The workingmen are less
fatigued, and the production is undiminished.

When these economic reforms, and all those which are based on an exact
physio-psychology, shall be effected under the socialist regime--that is
to say, without the friction and the loss of force that would be
inevitable under capitalist individualism--it is evident that they will
have immense material and moral advantages, notwithstanding the _a
priori_ objections of the present individualism which can not see or
which forgets the profound reflex effects of a change of the social
environment on individual psychology.

[61] ICILIO VANNI, _La funzione practica della filosofia del diritto
considerata in sè e in rapporto al socialismo contemporaneo_, Bologne,



The last and the gravest of the contradictions that it is attempted to
set up between socialism and the scientific theory of evolution, relates
to the question of _how_ socialism, in practice, will be inaugurated and

Some think that socialism ought, at the present time, to set forth, in
all its details, the precise and symmetrical form of the future social
organization.--"Show me a practical description of the new society, and
I will then decide whether I ought to prefer it to the present society."

Others--and this is a consequence of that first false
conception--imagine that socialism wishes in a single day to change the
face of the world, and that we will be able to go to sleep in a world
completely bourgeois and to wake up next morning in a world completely

How is it possible not to see, some one then says, that all this is
directly and thoroughly in conflict with the law of evolution, a law
based on the two fundamental ideas--which are characteristic of the new
tendencies of scientific thought and which are in conflict with the old
metaphysics--of the _naturalness_ and the _gradualness_ of all phenomena
in all domains of universal life, from astronomy to sociology.

It is indisputable that these two objections were, in great part, well
founded when they were directed against what Engels has called "utopian

When socialism, before the time of Karl Marx, was merely the sentimental
expression of a humanitarianism as noble as it was neglectful of the
most elementary principles of exact science, it was altogether natural
for its partisans to give rein to the impetuosity of their generous
natures both in their vehement protests against social injustices and in
their reveries and day-dreams of a better world, to which the
imagination strove to give precise contours, as witness all the utopias
from the REPUBLIC of Plato to the LOOKING BACKWARD of Bellamy.

It is easy to understand what opportunities these constructions afforded
to criticism. The latter was false in part, moreover, because it was the
offspring of the habits of thought peculiar to the modern world, and
which will change with the change in the environment, but it was well
founded in part also because the enormous complexity of social phenomena
makes it impossible to prophesy in regard to all the details of a social
organization which will differ from ours more profoundly than the
present society differs from that of the Middle Ages, because the
bourgeois world has retained the same foundation, individualism, as the
society which preceded it, while the socialist world will have a
fundamentally different polarization.

These prophetic constructions of a new social order are, moreover, the
natural product of that artificiality in politics and sociology, with
which the most orthodox individualists are equally deeply imbued,
individualists who imagine, as Spencer has remarked, that human society
is like a piece of dough to which the law can give one form rather than
another, without taking into account the organic and psychical, ethical
and historical qualities, tendencies and aptitudes of the different

Sentimental socialism has furnished some attempts at utopian
construction, but the modern world of politics has presented and does
present still more of them with the ridiculous and chaotic mess of laws
and codes which surround every man from his birth to his death, and even
before he is born and after he is dead, in an inextricable network of
codes, laws, decrees and regulations which stifle him like the silk-worm
in the cocoon.

And every day, experience shows us that our legislators, imbued with
this political and social artificiality, do nothing but copy the laws of
the most dissimilar peoples, according as the fashion comes from Paris
or Berlin,--instead of carefully studying the facts of actual life, the
conditions of existence and the interests of the people in their
respective countries, in order to adapt their laws to them, laws
which--if this is not done--remain, as abundant examples show, dead
letters because the reality of the facts of life does not permit them to
strike their roots into the social soil and to develop a fruitful

On the subject of artificial social constructions, the socialists might
say to the individualists: let him who is without sin, cast the first

The true reply is wholly different. Scientific socialism represents a
much more advanced phase of socialist thought; it is in perfect harmony
with modern, experiential science, and it has completely abandoned the
fantastic idea of prophesying, at the present time, what human society
will be under the new collectivist organization.

What scientific socialism can affirm and does affirm with mathematical
certainty, is that the current, the trajectory, of human evolution is in
the general direction pointed out and foreseen by socialism, that is to
say, in the direction of a continuously and progressively increasing
preponderance of the interests and importance of the species over the
interests and importance of the individual--and, therefore, in the
direction of a continuous _socialization_ of the economic life, and with
and in consequence of that, of the juridical, moral and political life.

As to the petty details of the new social edifice, we are unable to
foresee them, precisely because the new social edifice will be, and is,
a _natural_ and _spontaneous_ product of human evolution, a product
which is already in process of formation, and the general outlines of
which are already visible, and not an artificial construction of the
imagination of some utopian or idealist.

The situation is the same in the social sciences and the natural
sciences. In embryology the celebrated law of Haeckel tells us that the
development of the _individual_ embryo reproduces in miniature the
various forms of development of the animal _species_ which have preceded
it in the zoological series. But the biologist, by studying a human
embryo of a few days' or a few weeks' growth, can not tell whether it
will be male or female, and still less whether it will be a strong or a
weak individual, phlegmatic or nervous, intelligent or not.

He can only tell the general lines of the future evolution of that
individual, and must leave it to time to show the exact character of all
the particular details of its personality, which will be developed
naturally and spontaneously, in conformity with the hereditary organic
conditions and the conditions of the environment in which it will live.

This is what can be and what must be the reply of every socialist. This
is the position taken by Bebel in the German _Reichstag_[63] in his
reply to those who wish to know at the present time what all the details
of the future State will be, and who skilfully profiting by the
ingenuity of the socialist romancers, criticize their artificial
fantasies which are true in their general outlines, but arbitrary in
their details.

It would have been just the same thing if, before the French
Revolution,--which, as it were, hatched out the bourgeois world,
prepared and matured during the previous evolution,--the nobility and
the clergy, the classes then in power, had asked the representatives of
the Third Estate--bourgeois by birth, though some aristocrats or priests
embraced the cause of the bourgeoisie against the privileges of their
caste, as the Marquis de Mirabeau and the Abbé Sieyès--"But what sort of
a world will this new world of yours be? Show us first its exact plan,
and after that we will decide!"

The Third Estate, the bourgeoisie, would not have been able to answer
this question, because it was impossible for them to foresee what the
human society of the nineteenth century was to be. But this did not
prevent the bourgeois revolution from taking place because it
represented the next natural and inevitable phase of an eternal
evolution. This is now the position of socialism with relation to the
bourgeois world. And if this bourgeois world, born only about a century
ago, is destined to have a much shorter historical cycle than the feudal
(aristocratico-clerical) world, this is simply because the marvelous
scientific progress of the nineteenth century has increased a
hundred-fold the rapidity of life in time and has nearly annihilated
space, and, therefore, civilized humanity traverses now in ten years the
same road that it took, in the Middle Ages, a century or two to travel.

The continuously accelerated velocity of human evolution is also one of
the laws established and proved by modern social science.

It is the artificial constructions of sentimental socialism which have
given birth to the idea--correct so far as they are concerned--that
_socialism_ is synonymous with _tyranny_.

It is evident that if the new social organization is not the spontaneous
form naturally produced by the human evolution, but rather an artificial
construction that has issued complete in every detail from the brain of
some social architect, the latter will be unable to avoid regulating the
new social machinery by an infinite number of rules and by the superior
authority which he will assign to a controlling intelligence, either
individual or collective. It is easy to understand then, how such an
organization gives rise in its opponents--who see in the individualist
world only the advantages of liberty, and who forget the evils which so
copiously flow from it--the impression of a system of monastic or
military discipline.[64]

Another contemporary artificial product has contributed to confirm this
impression--_State Socialism_. At bottom, it does not differ from
sentimental or utopian socialism, and as Liebknecht said at the
socialist congress of Berlin (1892), it would be "a State Capitalism
which would join political slavery to economic exploitation." State
Socialism is a symptom of the irresistible power of scientific and
democratic socialism--as is shown by the famous _rescripts_ of Emperor
William convoking an international conference to solve (this is the
infantile idea of the decree) the problems of labor, and the famous
Encyclical on "The Condition of Labor" of the very able Pope, Leo XIII,
who has handled the subject with great tact and cleverness.[65] But
these imperial rescripts and these papal encyclicals--because it is
impossible to leap over or suppress the phases of the social
evolution--could only result abortively in our bourgeois, individualist
and _laissez faire_ world. Certainly it would not have been displeasing
to this bourgeois world to see the vigorous contemporary socialism
strangled to death in the amorous embraces of official artificiality and
of State Socialism, for it had become evident in Germany and elsewhere,
that neither laws nor repressive measures of any kind could kill it.[66]

All that arsenal of rules and regulations and provisions for inspection
and superintendence has nothing in common with scientific socialism
which foresees clearly that the executive guidance of the new social
organization will be no more confused than is the present administration
of the State, the provinces and the communes, and will, on the
contrary, be much better adapted to subserve the interests of both
society and the individual, since it will be a natural product and not a
parasitic product of the new social organization. Just so, the nervous
system of a mammal is the regulating apparatus of its organism; it is,
certainly, more complex than that of the organism of a fish or of a
mollusc, but it has not, for that reason, tyrannically stifled the
autonomy of the other organs and anatomical machinery, or of the cells
in their living confederation.

It is understood, then, that to refute socialism, something more is
needed than the mere repetition of the current objections against that
artificial and sentimental socialism which still continues to exist, I
confess, in the nebulous mass of popular ideas. But every day it is
losing ground before the intelligent partisans--workingmen, middle-class
or aristocrats--of scientific socialism which armed--thanks to the
impulse received from the genius of Marx--with all the best-established
inductions of modern science, is triumphing over the old objections
which our adversaries, through force of mental custom, still repeat, but
which have long been left behind by contemporary thought, together with
the utopian socialism which provoked them.

The same reply must be made to the second part of the objection, with
regard to the mode by which the advent of socialism will be

One of the inevitable and logical consequences of utopian and artificial
socialism is to think that the architectonic construction proposed by
such or such a reformer, ought to be and can be put into practice in a
single day by a decree.

In this sense it is quite true that the utopian illusion of empirical
socialism is in opposition to the scientific law of evolution, and,
_looked at in this way_, I combatted it in my book on _Socialismo e
Criminalità_, because at that time (1883) the ideas of scientific or
Marxian socialism were not yet generally disseminated in Italy.

A political party or a scientific theory are natural products which must
pass through the vital phases of infancy and youth, before reaching
complete development. It was, then, inevitable that, before becoming
scientific or _positif_ (fact-founded), socialism, in Italy as in other
countries, should pass through the infantile phases of clannish
exclusiveness--the era when socialism was confined to organizations of
_manual_ laborers--and of nebulous romanticism which, as it gives to the
word _revolution_ a narrow and incomplete meaning, is always fed with
false hope by the illusion that a social organism can be radically
changed in a single day with four rifle-shots, just as a monarchical
regime could thus be converted into a republican regime.

But it is infinitely easier to change the political envelope of a social
organization,--because such a change has little effect on the economic
foundation of the social life,--than to completely revolutionize this
social life in its economic constitution.

The processes of social transformation, as well as--under various
names--those of every sort of transformation in living organisms are:
evolution,--revolution,--rebellion,--individual violence.

A mineral or vegetable or animal species may pass through, during the
cycle of its existence, these four processes.

As long as the structure and the volume of the centre of
crystallization, the germ, or the embryo, increase gradually, we have a
gradual and continuous process of _evolution_, which must be followed at
a definite stage by a process of _revolution_, more or less prolonged,
represented, for example, by the separation of the entire crystal from
the mineral mass which surrounds it, or by certain revolutionary phases
of vegetable or animal life, as, for example, the moment of sexual
reproduction; there may also be a period of _rebellion_, that is to say,
of organized personal violence, a frequent and well-verified phenomenon
among those species of animals who live in societies; there may also be
isolated instances of _personal violence_, as in the struggles to obtain
food or for possession of the females between animals of the same

These same processes also occur in the human world. By _evolution_ must
be understood the transformation that takes place day by day, which is
almost unnoticed, but continuous and inevitable; by _revolution_, the
critical and decisive period, more or less prolonged, of an evolution
that has reached its concluding phase; by _rebellion_, the partially
collective violence which breaks out, upon the occasion of some
particular circumstance, at a definite place and time; and by
_individual violence_, the action of one individual against one or
several others, which may be the effect of a fanatical passion or of
criminal instincts, or the manifestation of a lack of mental
equilibrium,--and which identifies itself with the political or
religious ideas most in vogue at the moment.

It must be remarked, in the first place, that while revolution and
evolution are normal functions of social physiology, rebellion and
individual violence are symptoms of social pathology.

These are, nevertheless, merely natural and spontaneous processes,
since, as Virchow has shown, pathology is merely the sequel of normal
physiology. Besides, the pathological symptoms have, or should have, a
great diagnostical value for the classes in power; but the latter,
unfortunately, in every period of history, in times of political crisis,
as in those of social crisis, have shown themselves unable to conceive
of any other remedy than brutal repression--the guillotine or the
prison--and they fancy that thus they can cure the organic and
constitutional disease which vexes the social body.[67]

But it is indisputable, at all events, that the normal processes of
social transformation (and because they are normal, the most fruitful
and the surest, although the slowest and the least effective in
appearance) are evolution and revolution, using the latter term in its
accurate and scientific sense, as the concluding phase of an evolution,
and not in the current and incorrect sense of a stormy and violent

It is evident, in fact, that Europe and America are, in these closing
years of the nineteenth century, in a period of revolution, prepared by
the evolution begotten by the bourgeois organization itself and promoted
by utopian socialism as well as by scientific socialism. Likewise, we
are in that period of social life which Bagehot calls "the age of
discussion,"[69] and already we can see what Zola has called, in
_Germinal_, the cracking of the politico-social crust, and, in fact, all
those symptoms which Taine has described in his _l'Ancien Régime_, in
relating the history of the twenty years which preceded 1789. As
repressive methods are of no avail against domestic revolution, and only
serve to expose the symptoms, there can be nothing efficacious and
productive of good results, except laws of social reform and preparation
which, while safe-guarding the present society, will render less
painful, as Marx said, "the birth of the new society."

In this sense, evolution and revolution constitute the most fruitful and
surest processes of social metamorphosis. As human society forms a
natural and living organism, like all other organisms, it can not
endure sudden transformations, as those imagine who think that recourse
must be had only or by preference to rebellion or personal violence to
inaugurate a new social organization. This seems to me like imagining
that a child or a youth could, in a single day, accomplish a biological
evolution and become forthwith an adult.[70]

It is easy to understand how a man out of work, in the horrors of
starvation, his brain giving way for want of nourishment, may fancy that
by giving a policeman a blow with his fist, by throwing a bomb, by
raising a barricade, or by taking part in a riot, he is hastening the
realization of a social ideal, from which injustice will have vanished.

And, even apart from such cases, it is possible to understand how the
power of impulsive feeling, the dominant factor in some natures, may,
through a generous impatience, lead them to make some real attempt--and
not imaginary like those which the police in all times and all countries
prosecute in the courts--to spread terror among those who feel the
political or economic power slipping from their hands.

But scientific socialism, especially in Germany, under the direct
influence of Marxism, has completely abandoned those old methods of
revolutionary romanticism. Though they have often been employed, they
have always resulted abortively, and for that very reason the ruling
classes no longer dread them, since they are only light, localized
assaults on a fortress which still has more than sufficient resistant
power to remain victorious and by this victory to retard temporarily the
evolution by removing from the scene the strongest and boldest
adversaries of the _status quo_.

Marxian socialism is revolutionary in the scientific meaning of the
word, and it is now developing into open social revolution--no one will
attempt to deny, I think, that the close of the nineteenth century marks
the critical phase of the bourgeois evolution rushing under a full head
of steam, even in Italy, along the road of individualist capitalism.

Marxian socialism has the candor to say, through the mouths of its most
authoritative spokesmen, to the great suffering host of the modern
proletariat, that it has no magic wand to transform the world in a
single day, as one shifts the scenes in a theatre; it says on the
contrary, repeating the prophetic exhortation of Marx, "_Proletarians of
all countries, unite_," that the social revolution can not achieve its
object, unless it first becomes a vivid fact in the minds of the workers
themselves by virtue of the clear perception of their class-interests
and of the strength which their union will give them, and that they will
not wake up some day under a full-fledged socialist regime, because
divided and apathetic for 364 days out of the year they shall rebel on
the 365th, or devote themselves to the perpetration of some deed of
personal violence.

This is what I call the psychology of the "_gros lot_" (the capital
prize in a lottery, etc.). Many workingmen imagine, in fact,
that--without doing anything to form themselves into a class-conscious
party--they will win some day the capital prize, the social revolution,
just as the manna is said to have come down from heaven to feed the

Scientific socialism has pointed out that the transforming power
decreases as we descend the scale from one process to another, that of
revolution being less than that of evolution, and that of rebellion
being less than that of revolution, and individual violence having the
least of all. And since it is a question of a complete transformation
and, consequently, in its juridical, political and ethical organization,
the process of transformation is more effective and better adapted to
the purpose in proportion as its _social_ character predominates over
its _individual_ character.

The individualist parties are individualists even in the daily struggle;
socialism, on the contrary, is collectivist even in that, because it
knows that the present organization does not depend upon the will of
such or such an individual, but upon society as a whole. And this is
also one reason why charity, however generous it be, being necessarily
personal and partial, can not be a remedy for the social, and thereby
collective, question of the distribution of wealth.

In political questions, which leave the economico-social foundation
untouched, it is possible to understand how, for instance, the exile of
Napoleon III. or of the Emperor Don Pedro could inaugurate a republic.
But this transformation does not extend to the foundation of the social
life, and the German Empire or the Italian Monarchy are, socially,
bourgeois just the same as the French Republic or the North American
Republic, because notwithstanding the _political_ differences between
them, they all belong to the same _economico-social_ phase.

This is why the processes of evolution and revolution--the only wholly
social or collective processes--are the most efficacious, while partial
rebellion and, still more, individual violence have only a very feeble
power of social transformation; they are, moreover, anti-social and
anti-human, because they re-awaken the primitive savage instincts, and
because they deny, in the very _person_ whom they strike down, the
principle with which they believe themselves animated--the principle of
respect for human life and of solidarity.

What is the use of hypnotizing oneself with phrases about "the
propaganda of the deed" and "immediate action?"

It is known that anarchists, individualists, "amorphists" and
"libertarians" admit as a means of social transformation _individual
violence_ which extends from homicide to theft or _estampage_, even
among "companions;" and this is then merely a political coloring given
to criminal instincts which must not be confounded with political
fanaticism, which is a very different phenomenon, common to the extreme
and romantic parties of all times. A scientific examination of each case
by itself, with the aid of anthropology and psychology, alone can
decide whether the perpetrator of such or such a deed of violence is a
congenital criminal, a criminal through insanity, or a criminal through
stress of political fanaticism.

I have, in fact, always maintained, and I still maintain, that the
"political criminal," whom some wish to class in a special category,
does not constitute a peculiar anthropological variety, but that he can
be placed under one or another of the anthropological categories of
criminals of ordinary law, and particularly one of these three: the
_born_ criminal having a congenital tendency to crime, the
_insane_-criminal, the criminal by stress of fanatical _passion_.

The history of the past and of these latter times afford us obvious
illustrations of these several categories.

In the Middle Ages religious beliefs filled the minds of all and colored
the criminal or insane excesses of many of the unbalanced. A similar
insanity was the efficient cause of the more or less hysterical
"sanctity" of some of the saints. At the close of our century it is the
politico-social questions which absorb (and with what overwhelming
interest!) the universal consciousness--which is stimulated by that
universal contagion created by journalism with its great
sensationalism--and these are the questions which color the criminal or
insane excesses of many of the unbalanced, or which are the determining
causes of instances of fanaticism occurring in men who are thoroughly
honorable, but afflicted with excessive sensibility.

It is the most extreme form of these politico-social questions which,
in each historical period, possesses the most intense suggestive power.
In Italy sixty years ago it was _Mazzinnianisme_ or _Carbonarisme_;
twenty years ago, it was _socialism_; now it is _anarchism_.

It is very easy to understand how there occurred in each period, in
accordance with their respective dominant tendencies, deeds of personal
violence.... Felice Orsini, for example, is one of the martyrs of the
Italian Revolution.

In each case of individual violence, unless one is content with the
necessarily erroneous judgments begotten by emotion to reach a correct
decision it is necessary to make a physio-psychical examination of the
perpetrator, just as it is in the case of any other crime.

Felice Orsini was a political criminal through _passion_. Among the
anarchist bomb-throwers or assassins of our day may be found the born
criminal--who simply colors his congenital lack of the moral or social
sense with a political varnish--; the insane-criminal or mattoid whose
mental deficiency becomes blended with the political ideas of the
period; and also the criminal through political _passion_, acting from
sincere conviction and mentally almost normal, in whom the criminal
action is determined (or caused) solely by the false idea (which
socialism combats) of the possibility of effecting a _social_
transformation by means of _individual_ violence.[71]

But no matter whether the particular crime is that of a congenital
criminal or of a madman or of a political criminal through passion, it
is none the less true that personal violence, as adopted by the
anarchist individualists, is simply the logical product of individualism
carried to extremes and, therefore, the natural product of the existing
economic organization--though its production is also favored by the
"delirium of hunger," acute or chronic; but it is also the least
efficacious and the most anti-human means of social transformation.[72]

But all anarchists are not individualists, _amorphists_ or autonomists;
there are also anarchist-communists.

The latter repudiates deeds of _personal violence_, as ordinary means of
social transformation (Merlino, for example has recently stated this in
his pamphlet: _Necessità e base di un accordo_, Prato, 1892), but even
these anarchist-communists cut themselves off from Marxian socialism,
both by their ultimate _ideal_ and more especially by their _method_ of
social transformation. They combat Marxian socialism because it is
_law-abiding_ and _parliamentary_, and they contend that the most
efficacious and the surest mode of social transformation is _rebellion_.

These assertions which respond to the vagueness of the sentiments and
ideas of too large a portion of the working-class and to the impatience
provoked by their wretched condition, may meet with a temporary,
unintelligent approval, but their effect can be only ephemeral. The
explosion of a bomb may indeed give birth to a momentary emotion, but
it can not advance by the hundredth part of an inch the evolution in
men's minds toward socialism, while it causes a reaction in feeling, a
reaction in part sincere, but skilfully fomented and exploited as a
pretext for repression.

To say to the laborers that, without having made ready the requisite
material means, but especially without solidarity and without an
intelligent conception of the goal and without a high moral purpose,
they ought to rise against the classes in power, is really to play into
the hands of those very classes, since the latter are sure of the
material victory when the evolution is not ripe and the revolution is
not ready.[73]

And so it has been possible to show in the case of the late Sicilian
rebellion, in spite of all the lies of those interested in hiding the
truth, that in those districts where socialism was most advanced and
best understood there were no deeds of personal violence, no revolts,
as, for example, among the peasants of Piana dei Greci, of whom Nicola
Barbato had made intelligent socialists; while those convulsive
movements occurred outside of the field of the socialist propaganda as a
rebellion against the exactions of the local governments and of the
_camorre_,[74] or in those districts where the socialist propaganda was
less intelligent and was stifled by the fierce passions caused by hunger
and misery.[75]

History demonstrates that the countries where revolts have been the most
frequent are those in which social progress is the least advanced. The
popular energies exhaust and destroy themselves in these feverish,
convulsive excesses, which alternate with periods of discouragement and
despair--which are the fitting environment of the Buddhist theory of
_electoral abstention_--a very convenient theory for the conservative
parties. In such countries we never see that continuity of premeditated
action, slower and less effective in appearance, but in reality the only
kind of action that can accomplish those things which appear to us as
the miracles of history.

Therefore Marxian socialism in all countries has proclaimed that from
this time forth the principal means of social transformation must be
_the conquest of the public powers_ (in local administrations as well as
in national Parliaments) as one of the results of the organization of
the laborers into a class-conscious party. The further the political
organization of the laborers, in civilized countries, shall progress,
the more one will see realized, by a resistless evolution, the socialist
organization of society, at first by partial concessions, but ever
growing more important, wrested from the capitalist class by the
working-class (the law restricting the working-day to Eight Hours, for
example), and then by the complete transformation of individual
ownership into social ownership.

As to the question whether this complete transformation, which is at
present being prepared for by a process of gradual evolution which is
nearing the critical and decisive period of the social revolution, can
be accomplished without the aid of other means of transformation--such
as rebellion and individual violence--this is a question which no one
can answer in advance. Marxian socialists are not prophets.

Our sincere wish is that the social revolution, when its evolution shall
be ripe, may be effected peacefully, as so many other revolutions have
been, without blood-shed--like the English Revolution, which preceded by
a century, with its _Bill of Rights_, the French Revolution; like the
Italian Revolution in Tuscany in 1859; like the Brazilian Revolution,
with the exile of the Emperor Dom Pedro, in 1892.

It is certain that socialism by spreading education and culture among
the people, by organizing the workers into a class-conscious party under
its banner, is only increasing the probability of the fulfilment of our
hope, and is dissipating the old forebodings of a _reaction_ after the
advent of socialism, which were indeed justified when socialism was
still utopian in its means of realization instead of being, as it now
is, a natural and spontaneous, and therefore inevitable and irrevocable,
phase of the evolution of humanity.

Where will this social revolution start? I am firmly convinced that if
the Latin peoples, being Southerners, are more ready for revolt, which
may suffice for purely political transformations, the peoples of the
North, the Germans and Anglo-Saxons are better prepared for the tranquil
and orderly but inexorable process of the true revolution, understood as
the critical phase of an organic, incomplete, preparatory evolution,
which is the only effective process for a truly social transformation.

It is in Germany and England, where the greater development of bourgeois
industrialism inevitably aggravates its detrimental consequences, and
thereby magnifies the necessity for socialism, that the great social
metamorphosis will perhaps being--though indeed it has begun
everywhere--and from there it will spread across old Europe, just as at
the close of the last century the signal for the political and bourgeois
revolution was raised by France.

However this may be, we have just demonstrated once more the profound
difference there is between socialism and anarchism--which our opponents
and the servile press endeavor to confound[76] and, at all events, I
have demonstrated that Marxian socialism is in harmony with modern
science and is its logical continuation. That is exactly the reason why
it has made the theory of evolution the basis of its inductions and why
it thus marks the truly living and final phase--and, therefore, the only
phase recognized by the intelligence of the collectivist democracy--of
socialism which had theretofore remained floating in the nebulosities of
sentiment and why it has taken as its guide the unerring compass of
scientific thought, rejuvenated by the works of Darwin and Spencer.


[62] We have a typical example of this in the new Italian penal code,
which, as I said before its enforcement, shows no signs of special
adaptation to Italian conditions.

It might just as well be a code made for Greece or Norway, and it has
borrowed from the countries of the north the system of confinement in
cells, which even then in the north was recognized in all its costly
absurdity as a system devised for the brutalization of men.

[63] BEBEL, _Zukunftstaat und Sozialdemokratie_, 1893.

[64] It is this artificial socialism which Herbert Spencer attacks.

[65] See "Socialism: a Reply to the Pope's Encyclical," by Robert
Blatchford. The International Publishing Co., New York.--Tr.

[66] To this State socialism apply most of the individualist and
anarchist objections of Spencer In "_Man vs. State_." D. Appleton & Co.,
New York.

You will recall on this subject the celebrated debate between Spencer
and Laveleye: "The State and the Individual or Social Darwinism and
Christianity," in the "Contemporary Review," 1885.

Lafargue has also replied to Spencer, but has not pointed out the fact
that Spencer's criticisms apply, not to democratic socialism, our
socialism, but to State socialism.

See also CICCOTTI on this subject.

[67] At the moment when I was correcting the proofs of the Italian
edition of this work, M. Crispi had just proposed the "exceptional laws
for the public safety," which, using the outrages of the anarchists as a
pretext, aimed by this method to strike a blow at and to suppress

Repressive laws can suppress men, but not ideas. Has the failure of the
exceptional laws against the socialist party in Germany been forgotten?

It is possible to increase the number of crimes, to suppress public
liberties ... but that is no remedy. Socialism will continue its forward
march just the same.

[68] LOMBROSO and LASCHI, _Le Crime politique_, etc., and the monograph
of ELISEE RECLUS, Evolution et Révolution.

[69] WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics. D. Appleton & Co.

[70] It is this lack of even elementary knowledge of geology, biology,
etc., which makes the vague ideal of anarchy so attractive to many men
or the people with really bright minds, but with no scientific training,
even though they repudiate the employment of violent methods.

In my opinion a more wide-spread instruction in the natural
sciences--together with their substitution for the classics--would do
more than any repressive laws to suppress the outrages of anarchy.

[71] HAMON, _Les Hommes et les théories de l'anarchie_, Paris,
1893.--LOMBROSO, _Ultime scoperte ed applicazioni dell' antropologia
criminale_, Turin, 1893.

[72] At the moment when I was correcting the proofs of the Italian
edition of this book, the emotion had not yet subsided which grew out of
the harmless attack upon Crispi, at Rome, on the 16th of June, and
especially the much keener emotion produced by the death of the
President of the French Republic, Sadi Carnot, on the 24th of June.

I reproduce here, as documentary evidence, the declaration published by
a section of the _Socialist Party of Italian Workers_ in the _Secolo_ of
the 27-28 June, and distributed by thousands in Milan as a manifesto,
and which was not mentioned by either the Conservative or the
Progressive newspapers, who tried by their silence to perpetrate the
confusion between socialism and anarchy.

Here is the declaration:

     _The Socialist Party to the Workingmen of Italy._--Down with
     assassins! "Humanity now understands that life is sacred, and does
     not tolerate brutal violations of this great principle which is
     morally the soul of socialism." C. PRAMPOLINI.

     "He who struggles for the right to life, in exchange for his labor,
     condemns every assault upon human life,--whether it be the work of
     bourgeois exploitation in factories, or of the bombs or daggers of
     unintelligent revolutionists.

     "The Socialist Party which has this principle for a shibboleth,
     which expects everything from the class-conscious organization of
     the working class, execrates the crime committed against the person
     of the President of the French Republic, as a brutal deed, as the
     negation of every principle of revolutionary logic.

     "It is necessary to arouse in the proletariat the consciousness of
     their own rights, to furnish them the _structure_ of organization,
     and to induce them to _function_ as a new organism. It is necessary
     to conquer the public powers by the means which modern civilization
     gives us.

     "To revolt, to throw at haphazard a bomb among the spectators in a
     theatre, or to kill an individual, is the act of barbarians or of
     ignorant people. The _Socialist Party_ sees in such deeds the
     violent manifestation of _bourgeois_ sentiments.

     "We are the adversaries of all the violences of bourgeois
     exploitation, of the guillotine, of musketry discharges (aimed at
     strikers, etc.), and of anarchist outrages. _Hurrah for

Socialism represses all these sterile and repugnant forms of individual

Carnot's death accomplished nothing except to arouse a transitory
atavistic hatred of Italians. Afterward, the French Republic elected
another President and everything was as before. The same may be said of
Russia after the assassination of Alexander II.

But the question may be regarded from another point of view, which the
conservatives, the progressives and the radicals too completely forget.

The very day of these outrages two explosions of gas took place, one in
the mines of Karwinn (Austria), and the other in the mines of Cardiff
(England); the first _caused the death of 257 miners_ ..., the second
_the death of 210_!!

Although the death of an honorable man, like Carnot, may be regretted,
it is not to be compared to the mass of human sufferings, misery and woe
which fell upon these 467 working-class _families_, equally innocent as

It will be said, it is true, that the murder of Carnot was the
_voluntary_ act of a fanatic, while no one directly killed these 467
miners!--And certainly this is a difference.

But it must be remarked that if the death of these 467 miners is not
_directly_ the voluntary work of any one, it is _indirectly_ a result of
individual capitalism, which, to swell its revenues, reduces expenses to
the lowest possible point, does not curtail the hours of labor, and does
not take all the _preventive_ measures indicated by science and
sometimes even enjoined by law, which is in such cases not respected,
for the justice of every country is as flexible to accommodate the
interests of the ruling class as it is rigid when applied against the
interests of the working-class.

If the mines were collectively owned, it is certain the owners would be
less stingy about taking all the technical preventive precautions
(electric lighting, for instance), which would diminish the number of
these frightful catastrophes which infinitely increase the anonymous
multitude of the martyrs of toil and which do not even trouble the
digestion of the _share-holders_ in mining companies.

That is what the individualist regime gives us; all this will be
transformed by the socialist regime.

[73] RIENZI, _l'Anarchisme_; DEVILLE, _l'Anarchisme_.

[74] A. ROSSI, _l'Agitazione in Sicilia_, Milan, 1894. COLAJANNI, _In
Sicilia_, Rome, 1894.

[75] The _camorre_ were tyrannical secret societies that were formerly
prevalent and powerful in Italy.--Translator.

[76] I must recognize that one of the recent historians of socialism,
_M. l'Abbé Winterer_--more candid and honorable than more than one
jesuitical journalist--distinguishes always, in each country, the
_socialist_ movement from the _anarchist_ movement.

WINTERER, _le Socialisme contemporain_, Paris, 1894, 2nd edition.





One of the strangest facts in the history of the scientific thought of
the nineteenth century is that, though the profound scientific
revolution caused by Darwinism and Spencerian evolution has
reinvigorated with new youth all the physical, biological and even
psychological sciences, when it reached the domain of the social
sciences, it only superficially rippled the tranquil and orthodox
surface of the lake of that social science _par excellence_, political

It has led, it is true, through the initiative of Auguste Comte--whose
name has been somewhat obscured by those of Darwin and Spencer, but who
was certainly one of the greatest and most prolific geniuses of our
age--to the creation of a new science, _Sociology_, which should be,
together with the natural history of human societies, the crowning glory
of the new scientific edifice erected by the experimental method.

I do not deny that sociology, in the department of purely descriptive
anatomy of the social organism, has made great and fruitful new
contributions to contemporary science, even developing into some
specialized branches of sociology, of which _criminal sociology_, thanks
to the labors of the Italian school, has become one of the most
important results.

But when the politico-social question is entered upon, the new science
of sociology is overpowered by a sort of hypnotic sleep and remains
suspended in a sterile, colorless limbo, thus permitting sociologists to
be in public economy, as in politics, conservatives or radicals, in
accordance with their respective whims or subjective tendencies.

And while Darwinian biology, by the scientific determination of the
relations between the individual and the species, and evolutionist
sociology itself by describing in human society the organs and the
functions of a new organism, was making the individual a cell in the
animal organism, Herbert Spencer was loudly proclaiming his English
individualism extending to the most absolute theoretical anarchism.

A period of stagnation was inevitable in the scientific productive
activity of sociology, after the first original observations in
descriptive social anatomy and in the natural history of human
societies. Sociology represented thus a sort of arrested development in
experimental scientific thought, because those who cultivated it,
wittingly or unwittingly, recoiled before the logical and radical
conclusions that the modern scientific revolution was destined to
establish in the social domain--the most important domain of all if
science was to become the handmaid of life, instead of contenting itself
with that barren formula, science for the sake of science.

The secret of this strange phenomenon consists not only in the fact
that, as Malagodi said,[77] sociology is still in the period of
scientific _analysis_ and not yet in that of _synthesis_, but especially
in the fact that the logical consequences of Darwinism and of scientific
evolutionism applied to the study of human society lead inexorably to
socialism, as I have demonstrated in the foregoing pages.


[77] MALAGODI, _Il Socialismo e la scienza_. In _Critica Sociale_, Aug.
1, 1892.



To Karl Marx is due the honor of having scientifically formulated these
logical applications of experiential science to the domain of social
economy. Beyond doubt, the exposition of these truths is surrounded, in
his writings, with a multitude of technical details and of apparently
dogmatic formulæ, but may not the same be said of the FIRST PRINCIPLES
of Spencer, and are not the luminous passages on _evolution_ in it
surrounded with a dense fog of abstractions on time, space, the
unknowable, etc.? Until these last few years a vain effort was made to
consign, by a conspiracy of silence, the masterly work of Marx to
oblivion, but now his name is coming to rank with those of Charles
Darwin and Herbert Spencer as the three Titans of the scientific
revolution which begot the intellectual renaissance and gave fresh
potency to the civilizing thought of the latter half of the nineteenth

The ideas by which the genius of Karl Marx completed in the domain of
social economy the revolution effected by science are in number three.

The first is the discovery of the law of surplus-labor. This law gives
us a scientific explanation of the accumulation of private property not
created by the labor of the accumulator; as this law has a more
peculiarly technical character, we will not lay further stress upon it
here, as we have given a general idea of it in the preceding pages.

The two other Marxian theories are more directly related to our
observations on scientific socialism, since they undoubtedly furnish us
the sure and infallible key to the life of society.

I allude, first, to the idea expressed by Marx, as long ago as 1859, in
his _Critique de l'économie politique_, that the economic phenomena form
the foundation and the determining conditions of all other human or
social manifestations, and that, consequently, ethics, law and politics
are only derivative phenomena determined by the economic factor, in
accordance with the conditions of each particular people in every phase
of history and under all climatic conditions.

This idea which corresponds to that great biological law which states
the dependence of the function on the nature and capacities of the organ
and which makes each individual the result of the innate and acquired
conditions of his physiological organism, living in a given environment,
so that a biological application may be given to the famous saying:
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,"--this sublime
idea which unfolds before our eyes the majestic drama of history, no
longer as the arbitrary succession of great men on the stage of the
social theatre, but rather as the resultant of the economic conditions
of each people, this sublime idea, after having been partially applied
by Thorold Rogers[78] has been so brilliantly expounded and illustrated
by Achille Loria,[79] that I believe it unnecessary to say anything more
about it.

One idea, however, still appears to me necessary to complete this
Marxian theory, as I remarked in the first edition of my book:
_Socialismo e criminalità_.

It is necessary, indeed, to rid this impregnable theory of that species
of narrow dogmatism with which it is clothed in Marx and still more in

It is perfectly true that every phenomenon, as well as every
institution--moral, juridical or political--is simply the result of the
economic phenomena and conditions of the transitory physical and
historical environment. But, as a consequence of that law of natural
causality which tells us that every effect is always the resultant of
numerous concurrent causes and not of one cause alone, and that every
effect becomes in its turn a cause of other phenomena, it is necessary
to amend and complete the too rigid form that has been given to this
true idea.

Just as all the psychical manifestations of the individual are the
resultant of the organic conditions (temperament) and of the environment
in which he lives, in the same way, all the social
manifestations--moral, juridical or political--of a people are the
resultant of their organic conditions (race) and of the environment, as
these are the determining causes of the given economic organization
which is the physical basis of life.

In their turn, the individual psychical conditions become causes and
effect, although with less power, the individual organic conditions and
the issue of the struggle for life. In the same way, the moral,
juridical and political institutions, from effects become causes (there
is, in fact, for modern science no _substantial_ difference between
cause and effect, except that the effect is always the latter of two
related phenomena, and the cause always the former) and react in their
turn, although with less efficacy, on the economic conditions.

An individual who has studied the laws of hygiene may influence
beneficently, for instance, the imperfections of his digestive
apparatus, but always within the very narrow limits of his organic
capacities. A scientific discovery, an electoral law may have an effect
on industry or on the conditions of labor, but always within limits
fixed by the framework of the fundamental economic organization. This is
why moral, juridical and political institutions have a greater influence
on the relations between the various subdivisions of the class
controlling the economic power (capitalists, industrial magnates, landed
proprietors) than on the relations between the
capitalist--property-owners on the one side and the toilers on the

It suffices here for me to have mentioned this Marxian law and I will
refer to the suggestive book of Achille Loria the reader who desires to
see how this law scientifically explains all the phenomena, from the
most trivial to the most imposing, of the social life. This law is truly
the most scientific and the most prolific sociological theory that has
ever been discovered by the genius of man. It furnishes, as I have
already remarked, a scientific, physiological, experiential explanation
of social history in the most magnificent dramas as well as of personal
history in its most trivial episodes--on explanation in perfect harmony
with the entire trend--which has been described as materialistic--of
modern scientific thought.[80]

If we leave out of consideration the two unscientific explanations of
free will and divine providence, we find that two one-sided and
therefore incomplete, although correct and scientific, explanations of
human history have been given. I refer to the _physical determinism_ of
Montesquieu, Buckle and Metschnikoff, and to the _anthropological
determinism_ of the ethnologists who find the explanation of the events
of history in the organic and psychical characteristics of the various
races of men.

Karl Marx sums up, combines and completes these two theories by his
_economic determinism_.

The economic conditions--which are the resultant of the _ethnical_
energies and aptitudes acting in a given _physical_ environment--are the
determining basis of all the moral, juridical and political phenomenal
manifestations of human life, both individual and social.

This is the sublime conception, the fact-founded and scientific Marxian
theory, which fears no criticism, resting as it does on the best
established results of geology and biology, of psychology and sociology.

It is thanks to it that students of the philosophy of law and sociology
are able to determine the true nature and functions of the _State_
which, as it is nothing but "society juridically and politically
organized," is only the secular arm used by the class in possession of
the economic power--and consequently of the political, juridical and
administrative power--to preserve their own special privileges and to
postpone as long as possible the evil day when they must surrender them.

The other sociological theory by which Karl Marx has truly dissipated
the clouds which had ere then darkened the sky of the aspirations of
socialism, and which has supplied scientific socialism with a political
compass by the use of which it can guide its course, with complete
confidence and certainty, in the struggles of every-day life, is the
great historical law of _class struggles_.[81] ("The history of all
hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Communist
Manifesto. Marx and Engels. 1848.)

If it is granted that the economic conditions of social groups, like
those of individuals, constitute the fundamental, determining cause of
all the moral, juridical and political phenomena, it is evident that
every social group, every individual will be led to act in accordance
with its or his economic interest, because the latter is the physical
basis of life and the essential condition of all other development. In
the political sphere, each social class will be inclined to pass laws,
to establish institutions and to perpetuate customs and beliefs which,
directly or indirectly subserve its interests.

These laws, these institutions, these beliefs, handed down by
inheritance or tradition, finally obscure or conceal their economic
origin, and philosophers and jurists and often even the laity defend
them as truths, subsisting by virtue of their own intrinsic merits,
without seeing their real source, but the latter--the economic
sub-stratum--is none the less the only scientific explanation of these
laws, institutions and beliefs. And in this fact consists the greatness
and strength of the perspicacious conception of the genius of Marx.[82]

As in the modern world there are now but two classes, with subordinate
varieties,--on the one side the workers to whatever category they
belong, and on the other the property owners who do not work,--the
socialist theory of Marx leads us to this evident conclusion: since
political parties are merely the echoes and the mouth-pieces of class
interests--no matter what the subvarieties of these classes may
be--there can be substantially only two political parties: the socialist
labor party and the individualist party of the class in possession of
the land and the other means of production.

The difference in the character of the economic monopoly may cause, it
is true, a certain diversity of political _color_, and I have always
contended that the great landed proprietors represent the conservative
tendencies of political stagnation, while the holders of financial or
industrial capital represent in many instances the progressive party,
driven by its own nature to petty innovations of form, while finally
those who possess only an intellectual capital, the liberal professions,
etc., may go to the extreme length of political radicalism.

On the vital question--that is to say on the economic question of
property--conservatives, progressives and radicals are all
individualists. On this point they are all, in their essential nature of
the same social class and, in spite of certain sentimental sympathies,
the adversaries of the working class and of those who, although born on
_the other shore_, have embraced the political programme of that class,
a programme necessarily corresponding to the primordial economic
necessity--that is to say, the socialization of the land and the means
of production with all the innumerable and radical moral, juridical and
political transformations, which this socialization will inevitably
bring to pass in the social world.

This is why contemporary political life cannot but degenerate into the
most sterile _bysantinisme_ and the most corrupt strife for bribes and
spoils, when it is confined to the superficial skirmishes between
individualist parties, which differ only by a shade and in their formal
names, but whose ideas are so similar that one often sees radicals and
progressives less modern than many conservatives.

There will be a new birth of political life only with the development of
the socialist party, because, after the disappearance from the political
stage of the historical figures of the patriots (the founders of modern
Italy) and of the personal reasons which split up the representatives
into different political groups, the formation of one single
individualist party will become necessary, as I declared in the Italian
Chamber on the 20th of December, 1893.

The historical duel will then be begun, and the Class Struggle will then
display on the field of politics all its beneficent influence.
Beneficent, I say, because the class struggle must be understood not in
the contemptible sense of a Saturnalia of fist-fights and outrages, of
malevolence and personal violence, but must be worthily conceived as a
great social drama. With all my heart I hope that this conflict may be
settled, for the progress of civilization, without bloody convulsions,
but historical destiny has decreed the conflict, and it is not given to
us or to others to avert or postpone it.

It follows from all that we have just said that these ideas of political
socialism, because they are scientific, dispose their partisans both to
_personal tolerance_ and to _theoretical inflexibility_.[83] This is
also a conclusion reached by experimental psychology in the domain of
philosophy. However great our personal sympathies may be for such or
such a representative of the radical faction of the individualist party
(as well as for every honorable and sincere representative of any
scientific, religious or political opinion whatsoever), we are bound to
recognize that there are on the side of socialism no _partiti
affini_.[84] It is necessary to be on one side or the
other--individualist or socialist. There is no middle ground. And I am
constantly growing more and more convinced that the only serviceable
tactics for the formation of a socialist party likely to live, is
precisely that policy of theoretical inflexibility and of refusing to
enter into any "alliance" with _partiti affini_, as such an alliance is
for socialism only a "false placenta" for a fetus that is unlikely to

The conservative and the socialist are the natural products of the
individual character and the social environment. One is born a
conservative or an innovator just as one is born a painter or a surgeon.
Therefore the socialists have no contempt for or bitterness toward the
sincere representatives of any faction of the conservative party, though
they combat their ideas unrelentingly. If such or such a socialist shows
himself intolerant, if he abuses his opponents, this is because he is
the victim of a passing emotion or of an ill-balanced temperament; it
is, therefore, very excusable.

The thing that provokes a smile of pity is to see certain conservatives
"young in years, but old in thought"--for conservatism in the young can
be nothing but the effect of calculating selfishness or the index of
psychical anemia--have an air of complacency or of pity for socialists
whom they consider, at best, as "misled," without perceiving that what
is normal is for the old to be conservatives, but that young
conservatives can be nothing but _egoists_ who are afraid of losing the
life of idle luxury into which they were born or the advantages of the
orthodox fashion of dividing (?) the fruits of labor. Their hearts at
least, if not their brains, are abnormally small. The socialist, who has
everything to lose and nothing to gain by boldly declaring his position
and principles, possesses by contrast all the superiority of a
disinterested altruism, especially when having been born in the
aristocratic or the bourgeois class he has renounced the brilliant
pleasure of a life of leisure to defend the cause of the weak and the

But, it is said, these bourgeois socialists act in this way through love
of popularity! This is a strange form of selfishness, at all events,
which prefers to the quickly reaped rewards and profits of bourgeois
individualism, "the socialist idealism" of popular sympathy, especially
when it might gain this sympathy by other means which would compromise
it less in the eyes of the class in power.

Let us hope, in concluding, that when the bourgeoisie shall have to
surrender the economic power and the political power in order that they
may be used for the benefit of all in the new society and that, as
Berenini recently said, victors and vanquished may really become
brothers without distinction of class in the common assured enjoyment of
a mode of life worthy of human beings, let us hope that in surrendering
power, the bourgeoisie will do it with that dignity and self-respect
which the aristocracy showed when it was stripped of its class
privileges by the triumphant bourgeoisie at the time of the French

It is the truth of the message of socialism and its perfect agreement
with the most certain inductions of experimental science which explain
to us not only its tremendous growth and progress, which could not be
merely the purely negative effect of a material and moral malady
rendered acute by a period of social crisis, but above all it explains
to us that unity of intelligent, disciplined, class-conscious solidarity
which presents, in the world-wide celebration of the first of May, a
moral phenomenon of such grandeur that human history presents no
parallel example, if we except the movement of primitive Christianity
which had, however, a much more restricted field of action than
contemporary socialism.

Henceforth--disregarding the hysterical or unreasoning attempts to
revert from bourgeois scepticism to mysticism as a safeguard against the
moral and material crisis of the present time, attempts which make us
think of those lascivious women who become pious bigots on growing
old[86]--henceforth both partisans and adversaries of socialism are
forced to recognize the fact that, like Christianity at the dissolution
of the Roman world, Socialism constitutes the only force which restores
the hope of a better future to the old and disintegrating human
society--a hope no longer begotten by a faith inspired by the
unreasoning transports of sentiment, but born of rational confidence in
the inductions of modern experimental science.



[78] J. E. TH. ROGERS, The Economic Interpretation of History, London,

[79] LORIA, _Les Bases économiques de la constitution sociale_, 2nd
edition, Paris, 1894. (This work is available in English under the
title: "The Economic Foundations of Society." Swan Sonnenschein,

To the general idea of Karl Marx, Loria adds a theory about "the
occupation of free land," which is the fundamental cause of the
technical explanation of the different econo-micro-social organizations,
a theory which he has amply demonstrated in his _Analisi della proprietà
capitalistica_, Turin, 1892.

[80] It is seen what our judgment must be regarding the thesis
maintained by Ziegler, in his book: _La question sociale est une
question morale_ (The social question is a moral question). French
trans., Paris, 1894. Just as psychology is an effect of physiology, so
the moral phenomena are effects of the economic facts. Such books are
only intended, more or less consciously, to divert attention from the
vital point of the question, which is that formulated by Karl Marx.

See on our side, DE GREEF, _l'Empirieme, l'utopié et le socialisme
scientifique_, Revue Socialiste, Aug., 1886, p. 688.

[81] As proof of that conspiracy of silence about the theories of Karl
Marx, it suffices for me to point out that the historians of socialism
generally mention only the technical theory of _surplus-labor_, and
ignore the two other laws: (1) the determination of social phenomena and
institutions by economic conditions, and (2) the Class Struggle.

[82] The votes on measures imposing taxes in the legislative bodies of
all countries afford obvious illustrations of this principle. (The
alignment of forces in the struggle for the income tax under the late
administration of President Cleveland, is a very striking

[83] If _uncompromisingness_ was an English word, it would express the
thought more clearly and strongly.--Tr.

[84] Parties related by affinity of object, tactics, or, more
especially, of immediate demands.--Tr.

[85] See the lectures of DE AMICIS. _Osservazioni sulla questione
sociale_, Lecce, 1894. LABRIOLA, _Il Socialismo_, Rome, 1890. G. OGGERO,
_Il Socialismo_, 2nd edition, Milan, 1894.

[86] There are, however, certain forms of this mysticism which appeal to
our sympathies very strongly. Such forms I will call _social mysticism_.
We may instance the works of Tolstoi, who envelops his socialism with
the doctrine of "non-resistance to evil by violent means," drawn from
the _Sermon on the Mount_.

Tolstoi is also an eloquent _anti-militarist_, and I am pleased to see
quoted in his book _le Salut est en vous_, Paris, 1894, a passage from
one of my lectures against war.

But he maintains a position aloof from contemporary experimental
science, and his work thus fails to reach the mark.


   Editor, etc.


I have read in your journal a letter from Mr. Herbert Spencer in which
he, relying on indirect information conveyed to him, regarding my book,
_Socialism and Modern Science_, expresses "his astonishment at the
audacity of him who has made use _of his name_ to defend socialism."

Permit me to say to you that no socialist has ever dreamt of making Mr.
Spencer (who is certainly the greatest of living philosophers) pass as a
partisan of socialism. It is strange, indeed, that anyone could have
been able to make him believe that there is in Italy enough ignorance
among writers as well as among readers for one to misuse so grotesquely
the name of Herbert Spencer, whose extreme individualism is known to all
the world.

But the personal opinion of Herbert Spencer is a quite different thing
from the logical consequence of the scientific theories concerning
universal evolution, which he has developed more fully and better than
anyone else, but of which he has not the official monopoly and whose
free expansion by the labor of other thinkers he can not inhibit.

I myself, in the preface of my book, pointed out that Spencer and Darwin
stopped half-way on the road to the logical consequences of their
doctrines. But I also demonstrated that these very doctrines constituted
the scientific foundation of the socialism of Marx, the only one who, by
rising above the sentimental socialism of former days, has arranged in a
systematic and orderly fashion the facts of the social economy, and by
induction drawn from them political conclusions in support of the
revolutionary method of tactics as a means of approach to a
revolutionary goal.

As regards Darwinism, being unable to repeat here the arguments which
are already contained in my book and which will be more fully developed
in the second edition, it suffices for me to remind you--since it has
been thought fit to resort to arguments having so little weight as
appeals to the authority of individuals--that, among many others, the
celebrated Virchow foresaw, with great penetration, that Darwinism would
lead directly to socialism, and let me remind you that the celebrated
Wallace, Darwinian though he is, is a member of the English _League_ for
the _Nationalization_ of the _Land_, which constitutes one of the
fundamental conclusions of socialism.[88]

And, from another point of view, what is the famous doctrine of
"class-struggle" which Marx revealed as the positive key of human
history, but the Darwinian law of the "struggle for life" transformed
from a chaotic strife between individuals to a conflict between

Just the same as every individual, every class or social group struggles
for its existence. And just as the bourgeoisie struggled against the
clergy and the aristocracy, and triumphed in the French Revolution, in
the same way to-day the international proletariat struggles, and not by
the use of violence, as is constantly charged against us, but by
propaganda and organization for its economic and moral existence at
present so ill assured and depressed to so sadly low a plane.

As regards the theory of evolution, how can any one not see that it most
flagrantly contradicts the classical theories of political economy,
which looks upon the basic laws of the existing economic organization as
eternal and immutable laws?

Socialism, on the contrary, maintains that the economic institutions and
the juridical and political institutions are only the historical product
of their particular epoch, and that therefore they are changing, since
they are in a state of continuous evolution, which causes the present to
differ from the past, just as the future will be different from the

Herbert Spencer believes that universal evolution dominates over all
orders of phenomena, with the exception of the organization of property,
which he declares is destined to exist eternally under its
individualistic form. The socialists, on the contrary, believe that the
organization of property will inevitably undergo--just as all other
institutions--a radical transformation, and, taking into consideration
its historical transformations, they show that the economic evolution is
marching and will march faster and faster--as a consequence of the
increased evils of individualist concentration--toward its goal, the
complete socialization of the means of production which constitute the
physical basis of the social and collective life, and which must not and
can not therefore remain in the hands of a few individuals.

Between these two doctrines it is not difficult to decide which is the
more in harmony with the scientific theory of physical and social

In any case, with all the respect due to our intellectual father,
Herbert Spencer, but also with all the pride to which my scientific
studies and conscience give me the right, I am content with having
repelled the anathema which Herbert Spencer--without having read my book
and on indirect and untrustworthy information--has thought proper to
hurl with such a dogmatic tone against a scientific thesis which I have
affirmed--not merely on the strength of an _ipse dixi_ (a mode of
argument which has had its day)--but which I have worked out and
supported with arguments which have, up to this time, awaited in vain a
scientific refutation.

                                                    ENRICO FERRI.

Rome, June, 1895.


[87] This appendix is a copy of a letter addressed by M. Ferri to an
Italian newspaper which had printed a letter addressed by Herbert
Spencer to M. Fiorentino.

[88] Wallace has advanced beyond this "half way house," and now calls
himself a Socialist.--Tr.



Among the numerous publications which, for or against socialism, have
appeared in Italy since my _Socialismo e scienza positiva_[90]--which
demonstrated the agreement of socialism with the fundamental lines of
contemporary scientific thought--the book of Baron Garofalo was looked
forward to with eager interest. It received attention both because of
the fame of the author and the open and radical disagreement which its
publication made manifest in the ranks of the founders of the school of
positive criminology, formerly united in such close bonds in the
propaganda and defense of the new science--criminal anthropology and
sociology--created by M. Lombroso.

It is true that the scientific union between the founders of the new
Italian school of criminology formed an alliance, but they were never in
perfect unison.

M. Lombroso gave to the study of crime as a natural and social
phenomenon the initial impulse, and brilliantly supported the
correctness of this conception by his fruitful anthropological and
biological investigations. I contributed the systematic, theoretical
treatment of the problem of human responsibility, and my psychological
and sociological studies enabled me to classify the natural causes of
crime and the anthropological categories of criminals. I showed the
predominant role of _social_ prevention--quite a different thing from
police prevention--of criminality, and demonstrated the infinitesimal
influence of repression, which is always violent and only acts after the
mischief has been done.

M. Garofalo--though he was in accord with us on the subject of the
diagnosis of criminal pathology--contributed nevertheless a current of
ideas peculiar to himself, ideas more metaphysical and less heterodox;
such, for instance, as the idea that the anomaly shown by the criminal
is only a "moral anomaly;" that religion has a preventive influence on
criminality; that severe repression is, at all events, the effective
remedy; that misery (poverty) it not only not the sole and exclusive
factor in producing crime (which I always maintained and still
maintain), but that it has no determining influence on crime; and that
popular education, instead of being a preventive means, is, on the
contrary, an incentive, etc.

These ideas, in evident disagreement with the inductions of biology and
of criminal psychology and sociology--as I have elsewhere
demonstrated--nevertheless did not prevent harmony among the positivists
of the new school. In fact, these personal and antiquated conceptions of
M. Garofalo passed almost unnoticed. His action was especially notable
by reason of the greater importance and development he gave to the
purely juridical inductions of the new school, which he systematized
into a plan of reforms in criminal law and procedure. He was the jurist
of the new school, M. Lombroso was the anthropologist, and I the

But while in Lombroso and myself the progressive and heterodox
tendency--extending even to socialism--became more and more marked, it
could already be foreseen that in M. Garofalo the orthodox and
reactionary tendencies would prevail, thus leading us away from that
common ground on which we have fought side by side, and might still so
fight. For I do not believe that these disagreements concerning the
social future must necessarily prevent our agreement on the more limited
field of the present diagnosis of a phenomenon of social pathology.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the explanation of this personal matter, we must now examine the
contents of this "_Superstition socialiste_," in order to see, in this
schism of the scientific criminologists, which side has followed most
systematically the method of experimental science, and traced with the
most rigorous exactness the trajectory of human evolution.

We must see who is the more scientific, he who in carrying the
experimental science beyond the narrow confines of criminal anthropology
and applying it in the broad field of social science, accepts all the
logical consequences of scientific observations and gives his open
adherence to Marxian socialism--or he who while being a positivist and
innovator in one special branch of science, remains a conservative in
the other branches, to which he refuses to apply the positive method,
and which he does not study with a critical spirit, but in which he
contents himself with the easy and superficial repetition of trite

To those familiar with the former work of the author, this book, from
the first page to the last, presents a striking contrast between M.
Garofalo, the heterodox criminologist ever ready to criticize with
penetration classical criminology, always in revolt against the
threadbare commonplaces of juridical tradition, and M. Garofalo, the
anti-socialist, the orthodox sociologist, the conservative follower of
tradition, who finds that all is well in the world of to-day. He who
distinguished himself before by the tone of his publications, always
serene and dignified, now permits us to think, that he is less convinced
of the correctness of his position than he would have us believe, and
to cover up this deficiency of conviction screams and shouts at the top
of his voice.

For instance, on page 17, in a style which is neither aristocratic nor
bourgeois, he writes that "Bebel had the _impudence_ to defend the
Commune in a public session of the Reichstag;" and he forgets that the
Commune of Paris is not to be judged historically by relying solely upon
the revolting impressions left upon the mind by the artificial and
exaggerated accounts of the bourgeois press of that time. Malon and Marx
have shown by indisputable documentary evidence and on impregnable
historical grounds what the verdict on the Commune of the impartial
judgment must be, in spite of the excesses which--as M. Alfred Maury
said to me at the Père-Lachaise, one day in 1879--were far surpassed by
the ferocity of a bloody and savage repression.

In the same way, on pages 20-22, he speaks (I can not see why) of the
"contempt" of Marxian socialists for sentimental socialism, which no
Marxian has ever dreamt of _despising_, though we recognize it is little
in harmony with the systematic, experimental method of social science.

And, on page 154, he seems to think, he is carrying on a scientific
discussion when he writes: "In truth, when one sees men who profess such
doctrines succeed in obtaining a hearing, one is obliged to recognize
that there are no limits to human imbecility."

Ah! my dear Baron Garofalo, how this language reminds me of that of some
of the classical criminologists--do you remember it?--who tried to
combat the positivist school with language too much like this of yours,
which conceals behind hackneyed phrases, the utter lack of ideas to
oppose to the hated, but victorious heresy!

       *       *       *       *       *

But aside from this language, so strange from the pen of M. Garofalo, it
is impossible not to perceive the strange contrast between his critical
talent and the numerous statements in this book which are, to say the
least, characterized by a naiveté one would never have suspected in him.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is true that, on page 74, like an individualist of the good old days,
and with an absolutism which we may henceforth call pre-historic, he
deplores the enactment of even those civil laws which have limited the
_jus utendi et abutendi_ (freely, the right of doing what one will with
one's own--Tr.), and which have "seriously maimed the institution of
private property," since, he says, "the lower classes suffer cruelly,
not from the existence of great fortunes, but rather from the economic
embarrassment of the upper classes" (page 77). What boldness of critical
thought and profundity in economic science!

And, in regard to my statement that contemporary science is altogether
dominated by the idea and the fact of the _social aggregate_--and,
therefore, of socialism--in contrast to the glorification of the
individual, and, therefore, of individualism, which obtained in the
Eighteenth Century, M. Garofalo replies to me that "the story of
Robinson Crusoe was borrowed from a very trustworthy history," and adds
that it would be possible to cite many cases of anchorites and hermits
"who had no need of the company of their fellows" (page 82).

He believes that he has thus demonstrated that I was mistaken when I
declared that the species is the sole eternal reality of life and that
the individual--himself a biological aggregation--does not live alone
and by himself alone, but only by virtue of the fact that he forms a
part of a collectivity, to which he owes all the creative conditions of
his material, moral and intellectual existence.

In truth, if M. Garofalo had employed such arguments to expose the
absurdities of metaphysical penology, and to defend the heresies of the
positive school, the latter would certainly not number him among its
most eloquent and suggestive founders and champions.

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet, M. Garofalo, instead of repeating these soporific banalities,
ought to have been able to discuss seriously the fundamental thesis of
socialism, which, through the social ownership of the land and the means
of production, tends to assure to every individual the conditions of an
existence more worthily human, and of a full and perfectly free
development of his physical and moral personality. For then only, when
the daily bread of the body and mind is guaranteed, will every man be
able, as Goethe said, "to become that which he is," instead of wasting
and wearing himself out in the spasmodic and exhausting struggle for
daily bread, obtained too often at the expense of personal dignity or
the sacrifice of intellectual aptitudes, while human energies are
obviously squandered to the great disadvantage of the entire society,
and all this with the appearance of personal liberty, but, in fact, with
the vast majority of mankind reduced to dependence upon the class in
possession of economic monopoly.

But M. Garofalo has altogether refrained from these discussions, which
admit of scientific arguments on either hand. He has confined himself,
on the contrary, even when he has attempted to discuss seriously, to the
repetition of the most superficial commonplaces.

Thus, for example (page 92), opposing the socialists who maintain that
the variations of the social environment will inevitably bring about a
change in individual aptitudes and activities, he writes: "But the world
can not change, if men do not first begin by transforming themselves
under the influence of those two ideal factors: honor and duty."

That is the same as saying that a man must not jump into the water ...
unless he has learned beforehand to swim, while remaining on land.

Nothing, on the contrary, is more in harmony with the scientific
inductions of biology and sociology than the socialist idea, according
to which changes in the environment cause correlative changes, both
physiological and psychical, in individuals. The soul of Darwinism, is
it not wholly in the variability, organic and functional, of individuals
and species, under the modifying influence of the environment, fixed and
transmitted by natural selection? And neo-Darwinism itself, does it not
consist wholly in the constantly increasing importance attributed to
the changes in the environment as explanations of the variations of
living beings?

And, in the realm of sociology, just as, according to the repeated and
unquestioned demonstrations of Spencer, in the passage of human
societies from the military type to the industrial type--as Saint-Simon
had already pointed out--a change, a process of adaptation, also takes
place in that "human nature" which the anti-socialists would have us
believe is a fixed and immutable thing, like the "created species" of
old-school biology; in the same way, in the gradual transition to a
collectivist organization, human nature will necessarily adapt itself to
the modified social conditions.

Certainly, human nature will not change in its fundamental tendencies;
and, as an illustration, man like the animals will always shun suffering
and strive after pleasure, since the former is a diminution and the
latter an augmentation of life; but this is not inconsistent with the
fact that the application and direction of these biological tendencies
can and must change with the changes in the environment. So that I have
been able elsewhere to demonstrate that individual egoism will, indeed,
always exist, but it will act in a profoundly different fashion, in a
society whose conscious goal will be true human solidarity, from the way
in which it acts in the individualist and morally anarchical world of
to-day, a world in which every man, by the working of what is called
"free competition," is forced to follow the impulses of his anti-social
egoism, that is to say, to be in conflict, and not in harmony, with the
wants and the tendencies of the other members of society.

But the repetition of worn-out commonplaces reaches its climax when M.
Garofalo--surely, through inattention--writes these marvelous lines:

"Apparently, many young men of aristocratic families do not work. It is
nevertheless more correct to say that they do not do any productive
labor for themselves, but they work just the same (!!), and this for the
benefit of others!

"In fact, these gentlemen 'of leisure' are generally devoted to
sport--hunting, yachting, horseback riding, fencing--or to travel, or to
_dilettantisme_ in the arts, and their activity, unproductive for
themselves, provides an immense number of persons with profitable
occupations" (page 183).

One day, when I was studying the prisoners in a jail, one of them said
to me: Such an outcry is made against the criminals because they do not
work; but if we did not exist, "an immense number of persons"--jailers,
policemen, judges and lawyers--would be without a "profitable

       *       *       *       *       *

After having noted these _specimens_ of unscientific carelessness, and
before entering upon the examination of the few scientific arguments
developed by M. Garofalo, it will be well, to aid us in forming a
general judgment on his book, to show how far he has forgotten the most
elementary rules of the scientific method.

And it will be useful also to add a few examples of mistakes in regard
to facts bearing either on science in general, or on the doctrines
combated by him.

On page 41, speaking of the scientific work of Marx with a disdain which
can not be taken seriously, since it is too much like that of the
theologians for Darwin or that of the jurists for Lombroso, he reasons
in this curious fashion:

"Starting from the hypothesis that all private property is unjust, it is
not logic that is wanting in the doctrine of Marx. But _if one
recognizes_, on the contrary, _that every individual has a right to
possess some thing of his own_, the direct and inevitable consequence is
[the rightfulness of] the profits of capital, and, therefore, the
augmentation of the latter."

Certainly, if one admits _a priori_ the right of individual property in
the land and the means of production ... it is needless and useless to
discuss the question.

But the troublesome fact is that all the scientific work of Marx and the
socialists has been done precisely in order to furnish absolute
scientific proof of the true genesis of capitalist property--the unpaid
surplus-labor of the laborer--and to put an end to the old fables about
"the first occupant," and "accumulated savings" which are only
exceptions, ever becoming rarer.

Moreover, the negation of private property is not "the hypothesis," but
the logical and inevitable consequence of the premises of _facts_ and of
_historical_ demonstrations made, not only by Marx, but by a numerous
group of sociologists who, abandoning the reticence and mental
reservations of orthodox conventionalism, have, by that step, become

       *       *       *       *       *

But contemporary socialism, for the very reason that it is in perfect
harmony with scientific and exact thought, no longer harbors the
illusions of those who fancy that to-morrow--with a dictator of
"wonderful intelligence and remarkable eloquence," charged with the duty
of organizing collectivism by means of decrees and regulations--we could
reach the Co-operative Commonwealth at a bound, eliminating the
intermediate phases. Moreover, is not the absolute and unbridled
individualism of yesterday already transformed into a limited
individualism and into a partial collectivism by legal limitations of
the _jus abutendi_ and by the continuous transformation into social
functions or public properties of the services (lighting, water-supply,
transportation, etc.), or properties (roads, bridges, canals, etc.),
which were formerly private services and properties? These intermediate
phases can not be suppressed by decrees, but they develop and finish
their course naturally day by day, under the pressure of the economic
and social conditions; but, by a natural and therefore inexorable
progress, they are constantly approaching more closely that ultimate
phase of absolute collectivism in the means of production, which the
socialists have not invented, but the tendency toward which they have
shown, and whose ultimate attainment they scientifically predict. The
rate of progress toward this goal they can accelerate by giving to the
proletarians, organized into a class-party, a clearer consciousness of
their historic mission.

       *       *       *       *       *

All through this book are scattered not only defects of method, but also
actual errors in matters of fact. The book is also marred by an immanent
contradiction that runs all through it, in connection with the
absolutely uncompromising attitude against socialism which the author
aims to maintain, but which he is unable to keep up in the face of the
irresistible tendency of the facts, as we shall see in the conclusion of
this analysis.

In chapter IV, M. Garofalo contends that civilization would be menaced
with destruction by the elevation to power of the popular classes. M.
Garofalo, who is of an old aristocratic family, declares that "the Third
Estate, which should have substituted youthful energies for the
feebleness and corruption of an effete and degenerate aristocracy, has
shown magnified _a hundred-fold_ the defects and corruption of the
latter" (p. 206). This is certainly not a correct historical judgment;
for it is certain that the Third Estate, which with the French
Revolution gained political ascendancy--a political ascendancy made
inevitable by its previously won economic ascendancy,--gave in the
course of the Nineteenth Century a new and powerful impulse to
civilization. And if to-day, after a century of undisputed domination,
the bourgeoisie shows "multiplied a hundred-fold" the defects and the
corruption of the aristocracy of the Eighteenth Century, this signifies
simply that the Third Estate has reached the final phase of its
parabola, so that the advent of a more developed social phase is
becoming an imminent historical necessity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another error in criminal psychology--natural enough for idealists and
metaphysicians, but which may well surprise us in an exact scientist--is
the influence upon human conduct which M. Garofalo attributes to the
religious sentiment. "Moral instruction has no meaning, or at least no
efficacy, without a religious basis" (p. 267). And from this erroneous
psychological premise, he draws the conclusion that it is necessary to
return to religious instruction in the schools, "selecting the masters
from among men of mature age, fathers of families or _ministers of
religion_" (p. 268).

In combating this conclusion, truly surprising in a scientist, it is
useless to recall the teachings of the experience of former times in
regard to the pretended moralizing influence of the priest upon the
school; and it is also unnecessary to recall the statistics of criminal
assaults committed by priests condemned to celibacy. It is equally
superfluous to add that at all events, in again turning the priest into
a schoolmaster, it would be necessary to recommend to him never to
recall the invectives of Jesus against the rich, the metaphor of the
camel passing through the eye of a needle, or the still more violent
invectives of the Fathers of the Church against private property; for
long before Proudhon, Saint Jerome had said that "wealth is always the
product of theft; if it was not committed by the present holder, it was
by his ancestors," and Saint Ambrose added that "Nature has established
community [of goods]; from usurpation alone is private property born."

If it is true that later on the Church, in proportion as it departed
from the doctrines of the Master, preached in favor of the rich,
leaving to the poor the hope of Paradise; and if it is true, as M.
Garofalo says, that "the Christian philosophers exhorted the poor to
sanctify the tribulations of poverty by resignation" (p. 166); it is
also true that, for example, Bossuet, in one of his famous sermons,
recognized that "the complaints of the poor are justified;" and he
asked: "Why are conditions so unequal? We are all formed of the same
dust, and nothing can justify it." So that recently, M. Giraud-Teulon,
in the name of an hermaphrodite liberalism, recalled that "the right of
private property is rather tolerated by the Church as an existing fact
than presented as a necessary foundation of civil society. It is even
condemned in its inspiring principle by the Fathers of the Church."[91]

But apart from all this, it is sufficient for me to establish that the
psychological premise, from which M. Garofalo starts, is erroneous in

Studying elsewhere the influence of the religious sentiment on
criminality[92], I have shown by positive documentary evidence, that
religious beliefs, efficacious for individuals already endowed with a
normal social sense, since they add to the sanction of the moral
conscience (which, however, would suffice by itself) the sanctions of
the life beyond the tomb--"religion is the guarantor of
justice"[93]--are, nevertheless, wholly ineffective, when the social
sense, on account of some physio-psychical anomaly, is atrophied or
non-existent. So that religious belief, considered as a regulator of
social conduct, is at once superfluous for honorable people and
altogether ineffective for those who are not honorable, if indeed it is
not capable of increasing the propensity to evil by developing religious
fanaticism or giving rise to the hope of pardon in the confessional or
of absolution _in articulo mortis_, etc.

It is possible to understand--at least as an expedient as utilitarian as
it is highly hypocritical--the argument of those who, atheists so far as
they themselves are concerned, still wish to preserve religious beliefs
for the people, because they exercise a depressing influence and prevent
all energetic agitation for human rights and enjoyments _here below_.
The conception of God as a Policeman is only one among many illusions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides these errors of fact in the biological and psychological
sciences, M. Garofalo also misstates the socialist doctrines, following
the example of the opponents of the new school of criminology, who found
it easier to refute the doctrines they attributed to us than to shake
the doctrines we defended.

On page 14, M. Garofalo begins by stating, "the true tendency of the
party known as the Workingmen's Party, is to gain power, _not in the
interest of all_, but in order to expropriate the dominant class and _to
step into their shoes_. They do not disguise this purpose in their
programmes." This statement is found again on page 210, etc.

Now, it suffices to have read the programme of the socialist party, from
the MANIFESTO of Marx and Engels down to the propagandist publications,
to know, on the contrary, that contemporary socialism wishes, and
declares its wish, to accomplish the general suppression of all social
divisions into classes by suppressing the division of the social
patrimony of production, and, therefore, proclaims itself resolved to
achieve the prosperity OF ALL, and not only--as some victims of myopia
continue to believe--that of a Fourth Estate, which would simply have to
follow the example of the decaying Third Estate.

Starting from this fundamental datum of socialism, that _every
individual_, unless he be a child, sick or an invalid, _must work, in
order to live_, at one sort or another of useful labor, it follows as an
inevitable consequence that, in a society organized on this principle,
all class antagonism will become impossible; for this antagonism exists
only when society contains a great majority who work, in order to live
in discomfort, and a small minority who live well, without working.

This initial error naturally dominates the entire book. Thus, for
instance, the third chapter is devoted to proving that "the social
revolution planned for by the new socialists, will be the destruction of
all _moral order_ in society, because it is without an _ideal_ to serve
it as a luminous standard" (p. 159).

Let us disregard, my dear Baron, the famous "moral order" of that
society which enriches and honors the well-dressed wholesale thieves of
the great and little Panamas, the banks and railways, and condemns to
imprisonment children and women who steal dry wood or grass in the
fields which formerly belonged to the commune.

But to say that socialism is without an _ideal_, when even its opponents
concede to it this immense superiority in potential strength over the
sordid skepticism of the present world, _viz._, its ardent faith in a
higher social justice for all, a faith that makes strikingly clear its
resemblance to the regenerating Christianity of primitive times (very
different from that "fatty degeneration" of Christianity, called
Catholicism), to say this is truly, for a scientist, to blindly rebel
against the most obvious facts of daily life.

M. Garofalo even goes so far as to say that "the want of the necessaries
of life" is a very exceptional fact, and that therefore the condition of
"the proletariat is a _social condition_ like that of all the other
classes, and the lack of capital, which is its characteristic, is a
permanent economic condition _which is not at all abnormal_ FOR THOSE

Then--while passing over this comfortable and egoistic quietism which
finds nothing abnormal in the misery ... of others--we perceive how
deficient M. Garofalo is, in the most elementary accuracy, in the
ascertainment of facts when we recall the suffering and ever-growing
multitude of the _unemployed_, which is sometimes a "local and
transitory" phenomenon, but which, in its acute or chronic forms, is
always the necessary and incontestable effect of capitalist
accumulation and the introduction and improvement of machinery, which
are, in their turn, the source of modern socialism, scientific
socialism, so different from the sentimental socialism of former times.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the fundamental fallacy, from which so many thinkers--M. Garofalo
among them--can not free themselves, and to which I myself yielded,
before I had penetrated, thanks to the Marxian theory of historic
materialism--or, more exactly, of economic determinism--into the true
spirit of socialist sociology, is the tendency to judge the inductions
of socialism by the biological, psychological and sociological data of
the present society, without thinking of the necessary changes that will
be effected by a different economic environment with its inevitable
concomitants or consequences, different moral and political

In M. Garofalo's book we find once more this _petitio principii_ which
refuses to believe in the future in the name of the present, which is
declared immutable. It is exactly as if in the earliest geological
epochs it had been concluded from the flora and fauna then existing that
it was impossible for a fauna and flora ever to exist differing from
them as widely as do the cryptogams from the conifers, or the mammalia
from the mollusca.

This confirms, once more, the observation that I made before, that to
deny the truth of scientific socialism is implicitly to deny that law of
universal and eternal evolution, which is the dominant factor in all
modern scientific thought.

On page 16, M. Garofalo predicts that with the triumph of socialism "we
shall see re-appear upon earth the reign of irrational and brutal
physical force, and that we shall witness, _as happens every day_ in the
lowest strata of the population, the triumph of the most violent men."
And he repeats this on pages 209-210; but he forgets that, given the
socialist premise of a better organized social environment, this
brutality, which is the product of the present misery and lack of
education, must necessarily gradually diminish, and at last disappear.

Now, the possibility of this improvement of the social environment,
which socialism asserts, is a thesis that can be discussed; but when a
writer, in order to deny this possibility, opposes to the future the
effects of a present, whose elimination is the precise question at
issue, he falls into that insidious fallacy which it is only necessary
to point out to remove all foundation from his arguments.

       *       *       *       *       *

And it is as always by grace of this same fallacy that he is able to
declare, on page 213, that under the socialist regime "the fine arts
will be unable to exist. It is easy to say, they will henceforth be
exercised and cultivated for the benefit of the public. Of what public?
Of the great mass of the people _deprived of artistic education_?" As
if, when poverty is once eliminated and labor has become less exhausting
for the popular classes, the comfort and economic security, which would
result from this, would not be sure to develop in them also the taste
for æsthetic pleasure, which they feel and satisfy now, so far as that
is possible for them, in the various forms of popular art, or as may be
seen to-day it Paris and Vienna by the "_Théâtre socialiste_" and at
Brussells by the free musical matinées, instituted by the socialists and
frequented by a constantly growing number of workingmen. It is just the
same with regard to scientific instruction, as witness "University
Extension" in England and Belgium. And all this, notwithstanding the
present total lack of artistic education, but thanks to the exigence
among the workers of these countries of an economic condition lees
wretched than that of the agricultural or even the industrial
proletariat in countries such as Italy.

And from another point of view, what are the museums if not a form of
collective ownership and use of the products of art?

It is again, as always, the same fallacy which (at page 216) makes M.
Garofalo write: "The history of Europe, from the fifth to the thirteenth
centuries, shows us, _by analogy_, what would happen to the world if the
lower classes should come into power.... How to explain the medieval
barbarism and anarchy save by the grossness and ignorance of the
conquerors? _The same fate_ would inevitably await the modern
civilization, if the controlling power should fall into the hands of the
proletarians, who, assuredly, _are intellectually not superior to the
ancient barbarians_ and MORALLY ARE FAR INFERIOR TO THEM!"

Let us disregard this unjustified and unjustifiable insult and this
completely erroneous historical comparison. It is enough to point out
that it is here supposed that by a stroke of a magic wand "the lower
classes" will be able in a single day to gain possession of power
without having been prepared for this by a preliminary moral revolution,
a revolution accomplished in them by the acquired consciousness of their
rights and of their organic solidarity. It will be impossible to compare
the proletarians in whom this moral revolution shall have taken place
with the barbarians of the Middle Ages.

       *       *       *       *       *

In my book _Socialismo et Criminalità_, published in 1883, and which
to-day my adversaries, including M. Garofalo (p. 128 _et seq._), try to
oppose to the opinions which I have upheld in my more recent book,
_Socialisme et science positive_ (the present work), I have developed
two theses:

I. That the social organization could not be _suddenly_ changed, as was
then maintained in Italy by the sentimental socialists, since the law of
evolution dominates with sovereign power the human world as well as the
inorganic and organic world;

II. That, by analogy, crime could not disappear _absolutely_ from among
mankind, as the Italian socialists of those days vaguely hinted.

Now, in the first place it would not have been at all inconsistent if,
after having partially accepted socialism, which I had already done in
1883, the progressive evolution of my thought, after having studied the
systematic, scientific form given to socialism by Marx and his
co-workers, had led me to recognize (apart from all personal advantage)
the complete truth of socialism. But, especially, precisely because
scientific socialism (since [the work of] Marx, Engels, Malon, de Paepe,
Dramard, Lanessan, Guesde, Schaeffle, George, Bebel, Loria, Colajanni,
Turati, de Greef, Lafargue, Jaurès, Renard, Denis, Plechanow,
Vandervelde, Letourneau, L. Jacoby, Labriola, Kautsky, etc.) is
different from the sentimental socialism which I had alone in mind in
1883, it is for that very reason that I still maintain to-day these two
same principal theses, and I find myself in so doing in perfect harmony
with international scientific socialism.

And as to the absolute disappearance of all criminality, I still
maintain my thesis of 1883, and in the present book (§ 3), I have
written that, even under the socialist regime, there will be--though
infinitely fewer--some who will be conquered in the struggle for
existence and that, though the chronic and epidemic forms of nervous
disease, crime, insanity and suicide, are destined to disappear, the
acute and sporadic forms will not completely disappear.

At this statement M. Garofalo manifests a surprise which, as I can not
suppose it simulated, I declare truly inexplicable in a sociologist and
a criminologist; for this reminds me too strongly of the ignorant
surprise shown by a review of classical jurisprudence in regard to a new
scientific fact recorded by the _Archives de psychiatrie_ of M.
Lombroso, the case being the disappearance of every criminal tendency in
a woman after the surgical removal of her ovaries.

But that the trepanning of the skull in a case of traumatic epilepsy or
that ovariotomy can cure the central nervous system and, therefore,
restore the character and even the morality of the individual, these are
facts that can be unknown only to a metaphysical idealist, an opponent
of the positivist school of criminology.

And yet this is how M. Garofalo comments on my induction (p. 240); this
commentary is reproduced again on pages 95, 100, 134 and 291:

"It is truly extraordinary that M. Ferri, notwithstanding that criminal
anthropology, of which he has so long been (and still is) one of the
most ardent partisans, should have allowed himself to be so blinded by
the mirage of socialism. A statement such as that which I have quoted at
first leaves the reader stunned, since he sees absolutely _no
connection_ between nervous diseases and collective ownership. It would
be just as sensible to say that by the study of algebra one can make
sure of one's first-born child being a male." How exactly like the
remarks of the Review of jurisprudence concerning the case of the
removal of the ovaries!

Now, let us see whether it is possible, by a supreme effort of our
feeble intellect, to point out a connection between nervous diseases and
collective ownership.

That poverty, _i. e._, inadequate physical and mental nutrition--in the
life of the individual and through hereditary transmission--is, if not
the only and exclusive cause, certainly the principal cause of human
degeneration, is henceforth an indisputable and undisputed fact.

That the poverty and misery of the working class--and notably of the
unhappy triad of the unemployed, the displaced [by machinery, trusts,
etc.] and those who have been expropriated by taxation--is destined to
disappear with the socialization of the land and the means of
production:--this is the proposition that socialism maintains and

It is, therefore, natural that under the socialist régime, with the
disappearance of poverty, there should be eliminated the principal
source of popular degeneracy in the epidemic and chronic forms of
diseases, crimes, insanity and suicide; this can, moreover, be seen at
present--on a small scale, but clearly enough to positively confirm the
general induction--since diseases [nervous], crimes, insanity and
suicide increase during famines and crises, while they diminish in years
when the economic conditions are less wretched.

There is still more to be said. Even among the aristocracy and
bourgeoisie, no one can fail to see that the feverish competition and
cannibalistic strife of our present system beget nervous disorders,
crime and suicide, which would be rendered quite unnecessary by the
establishment of a socialist régime, which would banish worry and
uneasiness for the morrow from the human race.

There then you see established the relation between collective ownership
and nervous diseases or degeneration in general, not only among the
popular and more numerous classes, but also in the bourgeois and
aristocratic classes.

It is, indeed, astonishing that the anti-socialist prejudice of M.
Garofalo should have been strong enough to cause him to forget that
truth which is nevertheless a legitimate induction of criminal biology
and sociology, the truth that besides the congenital criminal there are
other types of criminals who are more numerous and more directly
produced by the vitiated social environment. And, finally, if the
congenital criminal is not himself the direct product of the
environment, he is indirectly its product through the degeneration begun
in his ancestors, by some acute disease in some cases, but by
debilitating poverty in the majority of cases, and afterward
hereditarily transmitted and aggravated in accordance with the
inexorable laws discovered by modern science.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. Garofalo's book, which was announced as an assault of science upon
socialism, has been, even from this point of view, a complete
disappointment, as even the Italian anti-socialists have confessed in
several of the most orthodox Reviews.

It now remains for me to reply briefly to his observations--and they are
few and far between--on the relations which exist between contemporary
socialism and the general trend and tendency of thought in the exact

Disregarding the arguments which I had developed on this subject by
pointing out that there is an essential connection between economic and
social transmutation (Marx) and the theories of biological transmutation
(Darwin) and of universal transmutation (Spencer), M. Garofalo has
thought it prudent to take up for consideration only "the struggle for
existence" and the relations between "evolution and revolution."

As to the first, five pages (96-100) are enough to enable him to
declare, without supporting his declaration by any positive argument
which is not merely a different verbal expression of the same idea, that
the Darwinian law of the struggle for existence has not undergone and
can not undergo any transformation except that which will change the
violent struggle into competition (the struggle of skill and
intelligence) and that this law is irreconcilable with socialism; for it
necessarily requires the sacrifice of the conquered, while socialism
"would guarantee to all men their material existence, so they would have
no cause for anxiety."

But my friend, the Baron Garofalo, quietly and completely ignores the
fundamental argument that the socialists oppose to the individualist
interpretation that has hitherto been given of the struggle for life and
which still affects the minds of some socialists so far as to make them
think that the law of the struggle for life is not true and that
Darwinism is irreconcilable with socialism.

The socialists, in fact, think that the laws of life are the following,
and that they are concurrent and inseparable: _the struggle for
existence_ and _solidarity in the struggle against natural forces_. If
the first law is in spirit individualist, the second is essentially

Now, not to repeat what I have written elsewhere, it is sufficient here
for me to establish this positive fact that all human evolution is
effected through the constantly increasing predominance of the law of
solidarity over the law of the struggle for existence.

The forms of the struggle are transformed and grow milder, as I showed
as long ago as 1883, and M. Garofalo accepts this way of looking at the
matter when he recognizes that the muscular struggle is ever tending to
become an intellectual struggle. But he has in view only the formal
evolution; he wholly disregards the progressive decrease in the
importance of the struggling function under the action of the other
parallel law of solidarity in the struggle.

Here comes in that constant principle in sociology, that the social
forms and forces co-exist always, but that their relative importance
changes from epoch to epoch and from place to place.

Just as in the individual egoism and altruism co-exist and will co-exist
always--for egoism is the basis of personal existence--but with a
continuous and progressive restriction and transformation of egoism,
corresponding to the expansion of altruism, in passing from the fierce
egoism of savage humanity to the less brutal egoism of the present
epoch, and finally to the more fraternal egoism of the coming society;
in the same way in the social organism, for example, the military type
and the industrial type always co-exist, but with a progressively
increasing predominance of the latter over the former.

The same truth applies to the different forms of the family, and also to
many other institutions, of which Spencerian sociology had given only
the _descriptive_ evolution and of which the Marxian theory of economic
determinism has given the _genetic_ evolution, by explaining that the
religious and juridical customs and institutions, the social types, the
forms of the family, etc., are only the reflex of the economic
structure which differs in varying localities (on islands or continents,
according to the abundance or scarcity of food) and also varies from
epoch to epoch. And--to complete the Marxian theory--this economic
structure is, in the case of each social group, the resultant of its
race energies developing themselves in such or such a physical
environment, at I have said elsewhere.

The same rule holds in the case of the two co-existing laws of the
_struggle for existence_ and of _solidarity in the struggle_, the first
of which predominates where the economic conditions are more difficult;
while the second predominates with the growth of the economic security
of the majority. But while this security will become complete under the
régime of socialism, which will assure to every man who works the
material means of life, this will not exclude the intellectual forms of
the struggle for existence which M. Tchisch recently said should be
interpreted not only in the sense of a _struggle for life_, but also in
the sense of a _struggle for the enrichment of life_.[95]

In fact, when once the material life of every one is assured, together
with the duty of labor for _all_ the members of society, man will
continue always to struggle _for the enrichment of life_, that is to
say, for the fuller development of his physical and moral individuality.
And it is only under the régime of socialism that, the predominance of
the law of solidarity being decisive, the struggle for existence will
change its form and substance, while persisting as an eternal striving
toward a better life in the _solidaire_ development of the individual
and the collectivity.

But M. Garofalo devotes more attention to the practical (?) relations
between socialism and the law of evolution. And in _substance_, once
more making use of the objection already so often raised against Marxism
and its tactics, he formulates his indictment thus:

"The new socialists who, on the one hand, pretend to speak in the name
of sociological science and of the natural laws of evolution, declare
themselves politically, on the other hand, as revolutionists. Now,
evidently science has nothing to do with their political action.
Although they take pains to say that by "revolution" they do not mean
either a riot or a revolt--an explanation also contained in the
dictionary[96]--this fact always remains, _viz._: that they are
unwilling to await the _spontaneous_ organization of society under the
new economic arrangement foreseen by them in a more or less remote
future. For if they should thus quietly await its coming, who among them
would survive to prove to the incredulous the truth of their

It is a question then of an evolution _artificially hastened_, that is
to say, in other words, of the _use of force_ to transform society in
accordance with their wishes." (p. 30.)

"The socialists of the Marxian school do not expect the transformation
to be effected by a slow evolution, but by a _revolution of the people_,
and they even fix the epoch of its occurence." (p. 53.)

"Henceforth the socialists must make a decision and take one horn of the
dilemma or the other.

"Either they must be _theoretical evolutionists_, WHO WAIT PATIENTLY
until the time shall be ripe;

Or, on the contrary, they must be _revolutionary democrats_; and if they
take this horn, it is nonsense to talk of evolution, accumulation,
spontaneous concentration, etc. ACCOMPLISH THEN THIS REVOLUTION, IF YOU
HAVE THE POWER." (p. 151.)

I do not wish to dwell on this curious "instigation to civil war" by
such an orthodox conservative as the Baron Garofalo, although he might
be suspected of the not specially Christian wish to see this "revolution
of the people" break out at once, while the people are still
disorganized and weak and while it would be easier for the dominant
class to bleed them copiously....

Let us try rather to deliver M. Garofalo from another trouble; for on
page 119 he exclaims pathetically: "I declare on my honor I do not
understand how a sincere socialist can to-day be a revolutionist. I
would be sincerely grateful to anyone who would explain this to me, for
to me this is an enigma, so great is the contradiction between the
theory and the methods of the socialists."

Well then, console yourself, my excellent friend! Just as in the case of
the relationship between collective ownership and human degeneration,
which seemed so "enigmatical" to this same Baron Garofalo--and although
he has not offered his gratitude for the solution of this enigma to the
socialist Oedipus who explained it to him--here also, in the case of
this other enigma, the explanation is very simple.

On the subject of the social question the attitudes assumed in the
domain of science, or on the field of politics, are the following:

1st. That of the _conservatives_, such as M. Garofalo. These, judging
the world, not by the conditions objectively established, but by their
own subjective impressions, consider that they are well enough off under
the present régime, and contend that everything is for the best in this
best of all possible worlds, and oppose in all cases, with a very
logical egoism, every change which is not merely a superficial change;

2nd. That of the _reformers_, who, like all the eclectics, whose number
is infinite, give, as the Italian proverb says, one blow to the cask and
another to the hoop and do not deny--O, no!--the inconveniences and even
the absurdities of the present ... but, not to compromise themselves too
far, hasten to say that they must confine themselves to minor
ameliorations, to superficial reforms, that is to say, to treating the
symptoms instead of the disease, a therapeutic method as easy and as
barren of abiding results in dealing with the social organism as with
the individual organism;

3rd. That, finally, of the _revolutionaries_, who rightly call
themselves thus because they think and say that the effective remedy is
not to be found in superficial reforms, but in a radical reorganization
of society, beginning at the very foundation, private property, and
which will be so profound that it will truly constitute a social

It is in this sense that Galileo accomplished a scientific revolution;
for he did not confine himself to reforms of the astronomical system
received in his time, but he radically changed its fundamental lines.
And it is in this same sense that Jacquart effected an industrial
revolution, since he did not confine himself to reforming the hand-loom,
as it had existed for centuries, but radically changed its structure and
productive power.

Therefore, when socialists speak of socialism as _revolutionary_, they
mean by this to describe the programme to be realized and the final goal
to be attained and not--as M. Garofalo, in spite of the dictionary,
continues to believe--the method or the tactics to be employed in
achieving this goal, the social revolution.

And right here appears the profound difference between the method of
sentimental socialism and that of scientific socialism--henceforth the
only socialism in the civilized world--which has received through the
work of Marx, Engels and their successors that systematic form which is
the distinctive mark of all the _evolutionary_ sciences. And that is why
and how I have been able to demonstrate that contemporary socialism is
in full harmony with the scientific doctrine of evolution.

Socialism is in fact evolutionary, but not in the sense that M. Garofalo
prefers of "waiting patiently until the times shall be ripe" and until
society "shall organize _spontaneously_ under the new economic
arrangement," as if science necessarily must consist in Oriental
contemplation and academic Platonism--as it has done for too
long--instead of investigating the conditions of actual, every-day
life, and applying its inductions to them.

Certainly, "science for the sake of science," is a formula very
satisfactory to the avowed conservatives--and that is only logical--and
also to the eclectics; but modern positivism prefers the formula of
"science for life's sake" and, therefore, thinks that "the ripeness of
the times" and "the new economic arrangement" will certainly not be
realized by spontaneous generation and that therefore it is necessary to
act, in harmony with the inductions of science, in order to bring this
realization to pass.

To act, but _how_?

There is the question of methods and tactics, which differentiates
utopian socialism from scientific socialism; the former fancied it
possible to alter the economic organization of society from top to
bottom by the improvised miracle of a popular insurrection; the latter,
on the contrary, declares that the law of evolution is supreme and that,
therefore, the social revolution can be nothing but the final phase of a
preliminary evolution, which will consist--through scientific study and
propaganda work--in the realization of the exhortation of Marx:
_Proletarians of all countries, unite!_

There then is the explanation of the _easy_ enigma, presented by the
fact that socialism, though revolutionary in its programme, follows the
laws of evolution in its method of realization, and that is the secret
of its vitality and power, and that is also what makes it so essentially
different from that mystical and violent anarchism, which class
prejudices or the exigencies of venal journalism assert is nothing but
a consequence of socialism, while in fact it is the practical negation
of socialism.

       *       *       *       *       *

Finally, as a synthetic conclusion, I think it worth while to show that,
while in the beginning of his book M. Garofalo starts out in open
hostility to socialism with the intention of maintaining an absolutely
uncompromising attitude, declaring on the first page that he has written
his book "for those who are called the bourgeois," in order to dissuade
them from the concessions which they themselves, in their own minds, can
not prevent themselves from making to the undeniable truth of the
socialist ideal, when he reaches the end of his polemic, the
irresistible implications of the facts force M. Garofalo to a series of
eclectic compromises, which produce on the reader, after so many
accusations and threats of repression, the depressing impression of a
mental collapse, as unforeseen as it is significant.

Indeed, M. Garofalo, on page 258, recognizes the usefulness of
combinations of laborers to enable them "to _resist_ unjust demands,"
and even declares it obligatory upon factory-owners "to assure a
life-pension to their laborers who have served them long." (p. 275.) And
he demands for the laborers at all events "a share in the profits" (p.
276); he recognizes also that the adult out of work and in good health
has the right to assistance, no less than the sick man or the cripple
(p. 281).

M. Garofalo, who by all these restrictions to his absolute individualism
has permitted himself to make concessions to Socialism, which are in
flagrant contradiction with his announced intention and to the whole
trend of his book, ends indeed by confessing that "if the new socialists
were to preach collectivism _solely within the sphere of agricultural
industry_, it would at least be possible to discuss it, since one would
not be confronted at the outset by an absurdity, as is the case in
attempting to discuss universal collectivism. This is not equivalent to
saying that agricultural collectivism[97] would be _easily_ put into

That is to say that there is room for compromises and that a mitigated
collectivism would not be in contradiction with all the laws of science,
a contradiction which it seems his entire argument was intended to
establish; for M. Garofalo confines himself to remarking that the
realization of collectivism in land would not be _easy_--a fact that no
socialist has ever disputed.

There is no need for me to point out once more how this method of
combating socialism, on the part of M. Garofalo, resemble that which the
classical criminologists employed against the positivist school, when,
after so many sweeping denials of our teachings, they came to admit
that, nevertheless, some of our inductions, for example, the
anthropological classification of criminals, might well be applied ...
on a reduced scale, in the administration of jails and penitentiaries,
but never in the provisions of the criminal law!

During many years, as a defender of the positivist school of
criminology, I have had personal experience of the inevitable phases
that must be passed through by a scientific truth before its final
triumph--the conspiracy of silence; the attempt to smother the new idea
with ridicule; then, in consequence of the resistance to these artifices
of reactionary conservatism, the new ideas are misrepresented, through
ignorance or to facilitate assaults upon them, and at last they are
partially admitted and that is the beginning of the final triumph.

So that, knowing these phases of the natural evolution of every new
idea, now when, for the second time, instead of resting upon the laurels
of my first scientific victories, I have wished to fight for a second
and more radical heresy; this time the victory appears to me more
certain, since my opponents and my former companions in arms again call
into use against it the same artifices of reactionary opposition, whose
impotence I had already established on a narrower battle-field, but one
where the conflict was neither less keen nor less difficult.

And so, a new recruit enlisted to fight for a grand and noble human
ideal, I behold even now the spectacle of partial and inevitable
concessions being wrung from those who still pretend to maintain a
position of uncompromising and unbending hostility, but who are helpless
before the great cry of suffering and hope which springs from the depths
of the masses of mankind in passionate emotion and in intellectual

                                                  ENRICO FERRI.


[89] This appendix was written as a reply to a book by Baron Garofalo,
called _La Superstition socialiste_. This book made quite a sensation in
Italy and France, not on account of the solidity of its arguments, but
merely because Garofalo had been associated with Lombroso and Ferri in
founding the modern school of criminology. As Garofalo's book is
practically unknown in this country, I have felt justified in making
many and large omissions from this appendix. Gabriel Deville exposed the
emptiness of Garofalo's pretentious book in a most brilliant open letter
to the Baron, which appeared in _Le Socialiste_ for the 15th of Sept.,

[90] The present work, which appeared in Italian in 1894, in French in
1895, and in Spanish in Madrid and Buenos-Ayres in 1895. It now appears
in English for the first time.

[91] GIRAUD-TEULON, _Double péril social. L'Eglise et le socialisme_,
Paris, 1894, p. 17.

[92] E. FERRI, _l'Omicidio nell' antropologia criminale_, Turin, 1895,
together with _Atlas_ and more especially _Religion et Criminalité_ in
_la Revue des Revues_, Oct.. 1895.

[93] DE MOLINARI, _Science et Religion_, Paris, 1894.

[94] Garofalo suppressed these lines in the French edition of his book.

[95] Tchisch, _la Loi fondamentale de la vie_, Dorpat, 1895, p. 19.

[96] And yet, how many judges have not, to the injury of the Socialists,
denied this elementary truth taught by the dictionary!

[97] More correctly, collective ownership of the land.--Tr.

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