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Title: Socialism: Positive and Negative
Author: La Monte, Robert Rives
Language: English
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SOCIALISM: POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

by

ROBERT RIVES LA MONTE



     "I will make a man more precious than fine gold;
     even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir."
                            --_Isaiah xiii, 12._


Chicago
Charles H. Kerr & Company
1907

Copyright 1907
by Charles H. Kerr & Company


[Illustration: logo]

Press of
John F. Higgins
Chicago



TO

M. E. M. AND L. H. M.



PREFACE


Of the papers in this little volume two have appeared in print before:
"Science and Socialism" in the International Socialist Review for
September, 1900, and "Marxism and Ethics" in Wilshire's Magazine for
November, 1905. My thanks are due to the publishers of those periodicals
for their kind permission to re-print those articles here. The other
papers appear here for the first time.

There is an obvious inconsistency between the treatment of Materialism
in "Science and Socialism" and its treatment in "The Nihilism of
Socialism." I would point out that seven years elapsed between the
composition of the former and that of the latter essay. Whether the
inconsistency be a sign of mental growth or deterioration my readers
must judge for themselves. I will merely say here that the man or woman,
whose views remain absolutely fixed and stereotyped for seven years, is
cheating the undertaker. What I conceive the true significance of this
particular change in opinions to be is set forth in the essay on "The
Biogenetic Law."

Some Socialists will deprecate what may seem to them the unwise
frankness of the paper on "The Nihilism of Socialism." To them I can
only say that to me Socialism has always been essentially a
revolutionary movement. Revolutionists, who attempt to maintain a
distinction between their exoteric and their esoteric teachings, only
succeed in making themselves ridiculous. But, even were the maintenance
of such a distinction practicable, it would, in my judgment, be highly
inexpedient. As a mere matter of policy, ever since I first entered the
Socialist Movement, I have been a firm believer in the tactics admirably
summed up in Danton's "_De l'audace! Puis de l'audace! Et toujours de
l'audace!_"

Should any reader find himself repelled by "The Nihilism of Socialism,"
let me beg that he will not put the book aside until he has read the
essay on "The Biogenetic Law."

I do not send forth this little book with any ambitious hope that it
will be widely read, or even that it will convert any one to Socialism.
My hope is far more modest. It is that this book may be of some real
service, as a labor-saving device, to the thinking men and women who
have felt the lure of Socialism, and are trying to discover just what is
meant by the oft-used words 'Marxian Socialism,' Should it prove of
material aid to even _one_ such man or woman, I would feel that I had
been repaid a hundred-fold for my labor in writing it.

                                               ROBERT RIVES LA MONTE.
Feb. 7, 1907.



TABLE OF CONTENTS


                                                    PAGE

SCIENCE AND SOCIALISM                                 15

     I. THE MATERIALISTIC CONCEPTION OF HISTORY       25

    II. THE LAW OF SURPLUS-VALUE                      34

   III. THE CLASS STRUGGLE                            46

MARXISM AND ETHICS                                    57

INSTEAD OF A FOOTNOTE                                 75

THE NIHILISM OF SOCIALISM                             81

THE BIOGENETIC LAW                                   131

KISMET                                               143



SCIENCE AND SOCIALISM[1]

(International Socialist Review, September, 1900.)


Until the middle of this (the nineteenth) century the favorite theory
with those who attempted to explain the phenomena of History was the
Great-Man-Theory. This theory was that once in a while through infinite
mercy a great man was sent to the earth who yanked humanity up a notch
or two higher, and then we went along in a humdrum way on that level, or
even sank back till another great man was vouchsafed to us. Possibly the
finest flower of this school of thought is Carlyle's Heroes and Hero
Worship. Unscientific as this theory was, it had its beneficent effects,
for those heroes or great men served as ideals, and the human mind
requires an unattainable ideal. No man can be or do the best he is
capable of unless he is ever reaching out toward an ideal that lies
beyond his grasp. Tennyson put this truth in the mouth of the ancient
sage who tells the youthful and ambitious Gareth who is eager to enter
into the service of King Arthur of the Table Round:


                   "-----------the King
     Will bind thee by such vows as is a shame
     A man should not be bound by, yet the which
     No man can keep."


This function of furnishing an ideal was performed in former times by
these great men and more especially by those great men whom legend, myth
and superstition converted into gods. But with the decay of the old
faiths the only possible fruitful ideal left is the ideal upheld by
Socialism, the ideal of the Co-operative Commonwealth in which the
economic conditions will give birth to the highest, purest, most
altruistic ethics the world has yet seen. It is true the co-operative
commonwealth is far more than a Utopian ideal, it is a scientific
prediction, but at this point I wish to emphasize its function as an
ideal.

But it is obvious that this Great Man theory gave no scientific clue to
history. If the Great Man was a supernatural phenomenon, a gift from
Olympus, then of course History had no scientific basis, but was
dependent upon the arbitrary caprices of the Gods, and Homer's Iliad was
a specimen of accurate descriptive sociology. If on the other hand the
great man was a natural phenomenon, the theory stopped short half way
toward its goal, for it gave us no explanation of the genesis of the
Great Man nor of the reasons for the superhuman influence that it
attributed to him.

Mallock, one of the most servile literary apologists of capitalism, has
recently in a book called "Aristocracy and Evolution" attempted to
revive and revise this theory and give it a scientific form. He still
attributes all progress to Great Men, but with the brutal frankness of
modern bourgeois Capitalism, gives us a new definition of Great Men.
According to Mallock, the great man is the man who makes money. This has
long been the working theory of bourgeois society, but Mallock is the
first of them who has had the cynicism or the stupidity to confess it.
But mark you, by this confession he admits the truth of the fundamental
premise of modern scientific socialism, our Socialism, viz., that the
economic factor is the dominant or determining factor in the life of
society. Thus you see the ablest champion of bourgeois capitalism,
admits, albeit unconsciously, the truth of the Marxian materialistic
conception of history. This book, however, is chiefly remarkable for its
impudent and shameless misrepresentations of Marx and Marxism, but these
very lies show that intelligent apologists of capitalism know that their
only dangerous foe is Marxian socialism.

But just as according to the vulgar superstition the tail of a snake
that has been killed wiggles till sundown, so this book of Mallock's is
merely a false show of life made by a theory that received its deathblow
long since. It is the wiggling of the tail of the snake that Herbert
Spencer killed thirty years ago with his little book "The Study of
Sociology." The environment philosophy in one form or another has come
to occupy the entire field of human thought. We now look for the
explanation of every phenomenon in the conditions that surrounded its
birth and development. The best application of this environment
philosophy to intellectual and literary phenomena that has ever been
made is Taine's History of English Literature.

But while Spencer's Study of Sociology is the most signal and brilliant
refutation of the Great Man theory, no one man really killed that
theory. The general spread and acceptance of Darwinism has produced an
intellectual atmosphere in which such a theory can no more live than a
fish can live out of water.

By Darwinism we mean, as you know, the transmutation of species by
variation and natural selection--selection accomplished mainly, if not
solely, by the struggle for existence. Now this doctrine of organic
development and change or metamorphic evolution, which was, with its
originators, Wallace and Darwin, a purely biological doctrine, was
transported to the field of sociology by Spencer and applied with great
power to all human institutions, legal, moral, economic, religious, etc.
Spencer has taught the world that all social institutions are fluid and
not fixed. As Karl Marx said in the preface to the first edition of
Capital: "The present society is no solid crystal, but an organization
capable of change, and is constantly changing," and again in the preface
to the second edition, "Every historically developed social form is in
fluid movement." This is the theory of Evolution in its broadest sense,
and it has struck a death-blow to the conception of Permanence so dear
to the hearts of the bourgeoisie who love to sing to their Great God,
Private Property, "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen." "_Saecula saeculorum._" "For the Ages of
Ages."

Before natural science had thus revolutionized the intellectual
atmosphere, great men proclaiming the doctrines of modern socialism
might have been rained down from Heaven, but there would have been no
socialist movement. In fact many of its ideas had found utterance
centuries before, but the economic conditions, and consequently the
intellectual conditions were not ripe, and these ideas were still-born,
or died in infancy.

The general acceptance of the idea that all things change, that
property, marriage, religion, etc., are in process of evolution and are
destined to take on new forms prepared the way for Socialism. A man who
has read Wallace and Darwin is ready to read Marx and Engels.

Now the story of the birth of Darwinism is itself a proof of the fallacy
of the Great Man theory, and a signal confirmation of the view that new
ideas, theories and discoveries emanate from the material conditions.
The role of the great man is still an important one. We need the men who
are capable of abstract thought, capable of perceiving the essential
relations and significance of the facts, and of drawing correct
inductions from them. Such men are rare, but there are always enough of
them to perform these functions. And the Great Man, born out of due
time, before the material and economic conditions are ripe for him, can
effect nothing. When the conditions are ripe, the new idea always occurs
to more than one man; that is, the same conditions and facts force the
same idea upon different minds. It is true there is always some one man
who gives this idea its best expression or best marshals the evidence of
the facts in its support, and the idea usually becomes inseparably
linked with his name. In this way does our race express its gratitude to
its great men and perpetuate their memory.

Darwinism or the theory of Natural Selection was in this way
independently discovered by Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin,
and the popular judgment has not erred in giving the chief credit to
Charles Darwin.

Wallace's paper "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New
Species," written by Wallace on one of the far-away islands of the Malay
Archipelago, where he was studying the Geographical Distribution of
Species, appeared in the "Annals of Natural History" in 1855. Its
resultant conclusion was "that every species has come into existence
coincident both in space and time with a preexisting closely allied
species." Mr. Darwin tells us that Mr. Wallace wrote him that the cause
to which he attributed this coincidence was no other than "generation
with modification," or in other words that the "closely allied
ante-type" was the parent stock from which the new form had been derived
by variation.

Mr. Wallace's second paper, which in my judgment is the clearest and
best condensed statement of the Doctrine of the Struggle for Existence
and the principle of Natural Selection ever written, was written by Mr.
Wallace at Ternate in the Malay Archipelago, in February, 1858, and sent
to Mr. Darwin. It was called "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart
Indefinitely from the Original Type." Mr. Wallace requested Mr. Darwin
to show it to Sir Chas. Lyell, the father of Modern Geology, and
accordingly Dr. Hooker, the great botanist, brought it to Sir Chas.
Lyell. They were both so struck with the complete agreement of the
conclusions of Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace that they thought it would be
unfair to publish one without the other, so this paper and a chapter
from Darwin's unpublished manuscript of the "Origin of Species" were
read before the Linnaean Society on the same evening and published in
their Proceedings for 1858, and thus appeared in the same year, 1859, as
Marx's Critique of Political Economy. This theory of Natural Selection
is, you know, in brief, that more animals of every kind are born than
can possibly survive, than can possibly get a living. This gives rise to
a Battle for Life. In this battle those are the victors who are the best
able to secure food for themselves and their offspring and are best able
by fight or flight to protect themselves from their enemies. This is
called the Law of the Survival of the Fittest, but remember, the Fittest
are not always the best or most highly developed forms, but simply those
forms best suited to the then existing environment. These two extremely
interesting papers of Wallace are printed as the two first chapters of
his book "Natural Selection and Tropical Nature," published by
MacMillan, a book so fascinating I would beg all my hearers and readers
who have not read it to do so.

This law of double or multiple discovery holds good of all great
discoveries and inventions, and is notably true of the first of the
three great thoughts that we ordinarily associate with the name of Karl
Marx. These three are:

1. The Materialistic Conception of History.

2. The Law of Surplus Value.

3. The Class Struggle--the third being a necessary consequence of the
first two.

Now the Materialistic Conception of History was independently discovered
by Engels just as Darwinism was by Wallace, as you will see by reading
Engels' preface to the Communist Manifesto. But just as Wallace gave
Darwin all the credit, so Engels did to Marx.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] This essay was originally prepared for and delivered as a Lecture
before the Young Mens' Socialist Literary Society, an organization of
Jewish Socialists on the lower East Side of New York city, in the early
part of the winter of 1899-1900.



I

THE MATERIALISTIC CONCEPTION OF HISTORY


What do we mean by the Doctrine of the Materialistic Conception of
History, or of "Economic Determinism," as Ferri calls it? We must make
sure we understand, for there is cant in Socialism, just as there is in
religion, and there is good reason to fear many of us go on using these
good mouth-filling phrases, "Materialistic Conception of History,"
"Class-Conscious Proletariat," "Class Struggle," and "Revolutionary
Socialism," with no more accurate idea of their meaning than our pious
friends have of the theological phrases they keep repeating like so many
poll-parrots.

At bottom, when we talk intelligently of the Materialistic Conception of
History, we simply mean, what every man by his daily conduct proves to
be true, that the bread and butter question is the most important
question in life. All the rest of the life of the individual is
affected, yes dominated the way he earns his bread and butter. As this
is true of individuals, so also it is true of societies, and this gives
us the only key by which we can understand the history of the past, and,
within limits, predict the course of future development.

That is all there is of it. That is easy to understand, and every man of
common sense is bound to admit that that much is true.

The word "materialistic" suggests philosophy and metaphysics and brings
to our minds the old disputes about monism and dualism, and the dispute
between religious people who believe in the existence of spirit and
scientists who adopt modern materialistic monism. But no matter what
position a man may hold on these philosophical and theological questions
he can with perfect consistency recognize the fact that the economic
factor is the dominant, determining factor in every day human life, and
the man who admits this simple truth believes in the Marxian
Materialistic Conception of History. The political, legal, ethical and
all human institutions have their roots in the economic soil, and any
reform that does not go clear to the roots and affect the economic
structure of society must necessarily be abortive. Any thing that does
go to the roots and does modify the economic structure, the bread and
butter side of life, will inevitably modify every other branch and
department of human life, political, ethical, legal, religious, etc.
This makes the social question an economic question, and all our thought
and effort should be concentrated on the economic question.[2]

I am aware of the fact that in the Preface of his "Socialism, Utopian
and Scientific," Engels apparently identifies the Materialistic
Conception of History with Materialistic Monism in Philosophy, but this
connection or identification is not a necessary logical consequence of
any statement of the Materialistic Conception of History I have been
able to find by Engels, Marx, Deville, Ferri, Loria, or any Marxian of
authority and to thus identify it, is detrimental to the cause of
Socialism, since many people who would not hesitate to admit the
predominance of the economic factor, instantly revolt at the idea of
Materialism.

Let us take Engels' statement of this doctrine in the preface to the
Manifesto. It is as follows:

"In every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production
and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it,
form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be
explained the political and intellectual history of that epoch."

Does not that agree exactly with the doctrine as I have stated it? Or,
take this statement of it by Comrade Vail, of Jersey City:

"The laws, customs, education, public opinion and morals are controlled
and shaped by economic conditions, or, in other words, by the dominant
ruling class which the economic system of any given period forces to
the front. The ruling ideas of each age have been the ideas of its
ruling class, whether that class was the patricians of ancient Rome, the
feudal barons of the middle ages, or the capitalists of modern times.
The economic structure of society largely controls and shapes all social
institutions, and also religious and philosophical ideas."

Or, take this, by Marx himself: "The mode of production obtaining in
material life determines, generally speaking, the social, political and
intellectual processes of life."

Does not that again agree exactly with the doctrine as I have stated it?

The doctrine is stated in nearly the same language by Loria and Ferri,
though Ferri calls it Economic Determinism, which seems to me a much
better and more exact name. Ferri points out that we must not forget the
intellectual factor and the various other factors, which though they are
themselves determined by the economic factor, in their turn become
causes acting concurrently with the economic factor. Loria deals with
this whole subject most exhaustively and interestingly in his recently
translated book "The Economic Foundations of Society." Curiously enough
in this long book he never once gives Marx the credit of having
discovered this theory, but constantly talks as though he--Loria--had
revealed it to a waiting world. The method of his book is the reverse of
scientific, as he first states his theory and conclusions and then
starts to scour the universe for facts to support them, instead of first
collecting the facts and letting them impose the theory upon his mind.
And his book is by no means free from inconsistencies and
contradictions. But while you cannot place yourselves unreservedly and
confidingly in his hands as you can in those of Karl Marx, still his
book has much value. He shows most interestingly how all the connective
institutions, as he calls religious and legal and political
institutions, have been moulded in the interest of the economically
dominant class, and how useful they have been in either persuading or
forcing the so-called "lower classes" to submit to the economic
conditions that were absolutely against their interests. But the system
of Wage Slavery is such a beautifully automatic system, itself
subjugating the workers and leaving them no choice, that I cannot see
that the capitalists have any further need of any of these connective
institutions save the State. At all events, these institutions are fast
losing their power over the minds of men. But the most valuable part of
his book is the immense mass of evidence he has collected showing how
political sovereignty follows economic sovereignty or rather, revenue,
and how all past history has been made up of a series of contests
between various kinds of revenue, particularly between rent from landed
property and profits from industrial or manufacturing capital, but as
this is nothing more than the Class Struggle between the landed
aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, a struggle sketched by master hands in
the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, we can give Loria no credit
for originality, but merely praise his industry in collecting evidence.

Gabriel Deville, who has probably done more than any one else to
popularize the ideas of Marx in France, has pointed out a very nice
distinction here. Man, like all living beings, is the product of his
environment. But while animals are affected only by the natural
environment, man's brain, itself a product of the natural environment,
becomes a cause, a creator, and makes for man an economic environment,
so that man is acted on by two environments, the natural environment
which has made man and the economic environment which man has made. Now
in the early stages of human development, it is the natural environment,
the fertility of the soil, climatic conditions, abundance of game, fish,
etc., which is all-important, but with the progress of civilization, the
natural environment loses in relative importance, and the economic
environment (machinery, factories, improved appliances, etc.) grows in
importance until in our day the economic environment has become well
nigh all-important. Hence the inadequacy of the Henry George theory
which places all its stress on one element of the natural environment,
land, and wholly neglects the dominant economic environment.

But while this economic environment, the dominant factor in human life,
is the child of the brain of man, man in its creation has been forced to
work within strict limitations. He had to make it out of the materials
furnished him in the first place by the natural environment and later by
the natural environment and the inherited economic environment, so that
in the last analysis the material and economic factors are supreme.

We Marxians are often accused of neglecting the intellectual factor and,
as Deville says, a whole syndicate of factors; but we do not neglect
them. We recognize their existence and their importance, but we do
refuse to waste our revolutionary energy on derivative phenomena when we
are able to see and recognize the decisive, dominant factor, the
economic factor. As Deville says, we do not neglect the cart because we
insist upon putting it behind the horse instead of in front of or
alongside of him, as our critics would have us do. Now, if the economic
factor is the basic factor, it behooves us to understand the present
economic system--Marx's Law of Surplus-Value is the key to this system.

FOOTNOTE:

[2] If this be true the question naturally arises: Why do the
socialists, instead of using economic methods to solve an economic
question, organize themselves into a political party? To answer this
question, we must first see what the State is and what relation it holds
to the economic conditions. Gabriel Deville defines the State thus: "The
State is the public power of coercion created and maintained in human
societies by their division into classes, a power which, being clothed
with force, makes laws and levies taxes." As long as the economically
dominant class retain full possession of this public power of coercion
they are able to use it as a weapon to defeat every attempt to alter the
economic structure of society. Hence every attempt to destroy economic
privilege and establish Industrial Democracy inevitably takes the form
of a political class struggle between the economically privileged class
and the economically exploited class.



II

THE LAW OF SURPLUS-VALUE


The second great idea that we associate with the name of Karl Marx is
the Law of Surplus-Value. Curiously enough this one technical theory is
the only discovery that bourgeois writers and economists give Marx
credit for. If you look up Marx in any ordinary encyclopedia or
reference book you will find they make his fame depend on this theory
alone, and to make matters worse they usually misstate and misrepresent
this theory, while they invariably fail to mention his two other equally
great, if not greater discoveries, the Materialistic Conception of
History and the Class Struggle. I think the reason they give special
prominence to this law of Surplus-Value is that, as it is a purely
technical theory in economics, it is easier to obscure it with a cloud
of sophistry and persuade their willing dupes that they have refuted it.
And then they raise the cry that the foundation of Marxian Socialism
has been destroyed and that the whole structure is about to tumble down
on the heads of its crazy defenders, the Socialists. It is much to be
regretted that many so-called Socialists are found foolish enough to
play into the hands of the Capitalists by joining in the silly cry that
some pigmy in political economy has overthrown the Marxian theory of
Value. I suppose these so-called Socialists are actuated by a mad desire
to be up to date, to keep up with the intellectual band-wagon.
Revolutions in the various sciences have been going on so rapidly, they
fancy that a theory that was formulated forty years ago must be a
back-number, and so they hasten to declare their allegiance to the last
new cloud of sophistry, purporting to be a theory of value, that has
been evolved by the feeble minds of the anarchists of Italy or the
capitalist economists of Austria. The Fabians of London are the most
striking example of these socialists whose heads have been turned in
this way by the rapid progress of science. But the followers of
Bernstein in Europe and this country are running into the same danger
and in their eagerness to grasp the very newest and latest doctrine will
fall easy victims of the first windy and pretentious fakir who comes
along. Ask any one of these fellows who tells you that the Marxian
theory of Value has been exploded, to state the new and correct theory
of Value that has taken its place and you will find that he cannot state
a theory that you or I or any other man can understand. He will either
admit he is floored, or else he will emit a dense fog of words. I
challenge any one of them to state a theory of value that he himself can
understand, let alone make any one else understand.

Now the Marxian theory of Value can be clearly stated so that you and I
can understand it. But let us begin with surplus-value. This theory of
surplus-value is simply the scientific formulation of the fact that
workingmen had been conscious of in a vague way long before Karl Marx's
day, the fact that the workingman don't get a fair deal, that he don't
get all he earns. This fact had been formulated as long ago as 1821 by
the unknown author of a letter to Lord John Russell on "The Source and
Remedy of the National Difficulties." In this letter the very phrases
"surplus produce" and "surplus labor" are used. You will find that Marx
refers to this letter in a note on page 369 (Humboldt edition, 644 Kerr
edition) of the American edition of Capital. The Russian writer,
Slepzoff, quotes several passages from this letter in an article in the
December, 1899, number of _La Revue Socialiste_, and it is amazing to
see how near to Marx's conclusions this unknown writer had come eighty
years ago, but the conditions were not ripe and his letter would to-day
be forgotten if Marx had not embalmed it in a footnote. I confess I was
surprised to learn that this was not a purely original discovery of
Marx's, but the fact that it is not is one more signal confirmation of
the theory I have given in this lecture of the double or multiple
discovery of great ideas.

But let us resume the discussion of Surplus Value and see just what it
really is.

No matter where you, my workingman hearer or reader may work, the person
or corporation or trust for whom or which you work gets back more out of
your labor, than he or it pays you in wages. If this is not so, your
employer is either running a charitable institution or he is in business
for his health. You may have employers of that kind here on the East
Side of New York, but I have never met any of them elsewhere. It is
impossible to conceive of a man going on day after day, week after week,
year after year, paying you wages, unless he receives more for the
product of your labor than he pays you in wages. Now, this difference
between what you get and what he gets is what we call surplus-value.

This surplus-value is the key to the whole present economic organization
of society. The end and object of bourgeois society is the formation and
accumulation of surplus-value, or in other words, the systematic robbery
of the producing class. Now when we say robbery, we do not mean to
accuse employers of conscious dishonesty. They are the creatures of a
system just as the workers are, but it is a system which makes their
interests diametrically opposed to the interests of their employees. The
only way the capitalists can increase their relative share of the
product of their employees' labor is by decreasing the relative share of
the latter.

Now, if out of the total product of his labor the workingman only
receives a part, then it is true to say that he works part of the day
for himself and part of the day gratuitously for the capitalist. Let us
say, for purposes of illustration, that he works three hours for himself
and seven hours for his employer for nothing. This three hours we call
his necessary labor time, or his paid labor; and the seven hours we
call his surplus labor time or his unpaid labor. The product of his
three hours' labor is the equivalent of his wages or as we call it, the
value of his Labor-Power. The product of the other seven hours of his
labor, his surplus or unpaid labor, is surplus product or surplus-value.
Starting from the fact that every workingman knows to be true, that he
don't get all he feels he ought to get, we have thus, I think, made the
definition of surplus-value clear to every one of you, but we have been
talking of surplus-value and value of labor power and we have not yet
defined Value.

When we speak of the value of an object we mean the amount of human
labor that is embodied or accumulated in it, that has been spent in
fitting it to satisfy human needs. And we measure the amount of this
human labor by its duration, by labor-time. You, if you are a skilled,
highly-paid worker, receiving say four dollars a day, may say that it is
absurd to say that an hour of your labor produces no more value than an
hour of Tom's or Dick's or Pete's, who get only eighty cents a day
apiece. You are quite right. Your hour does produce more value. The
labor-time that determines value is the labor-time of the average,
untrained worker. Again, you may waste your time, spending half of it
looking out of the window or carrying on a flirtation. This wasted labor
does not count in measuring value. The only labor that counts is the
labor that is socially necessary under normal conditions for the
production of the given commodity. Again, labor spent to produce a
useless article does not produce value. To produce value the labor must
serve to satisfy human wants. Now, I think this is quite clear so far.
We know what surplus-value is. We know what value is and how it is
measured. Let us now see what is meant by the Value of Labor-Power.

To begin with, what is Labor-Power? When a workingman goes upon the
market to sell something for money with which to buy bread and butter
and other necessaries of life, what has he to offer for sale? He cannot
offer a finished commodity, such as a watch, a shoe, or a book, because
he owns nothing. He has neither the necessary machinery, the necessary
raw material, nor even the necessary place in which to work to make
these things. These all belong to another class who by owning them, in
fact, own him. He cannot offer labor for sale, because his labor does
not yet exist. He cannot sell a thing that has no existence. When his
labor comes into real objective existence, it is incorporated with
materials that are the property of the class that rules him, and no
longer belongs to him. He cannot sell what he don't possess. There is
only one thing he can sell, namely, his mental and physical or muscular
power to do things, to make things. He can sell this for a definite time
to an employer, just exactly as a livery stable keeper sells a horse's
power to trot to his customers for so much per hour. Now this power of
his to do things is what we call his labor-power; that is, his capacity
to perform work. Now, its value is determined precisely like the value
of every other commodity, _i. e._, by the labor-time socially necessary
for its production. Now the labor-time socially necessary for the
production of labor-power is the labor-time socially necessary to
produce the food, clothing and shelter or lodging that are necessary to
enable the laborer to come on the labor market day after day able
physically to work, and also to enable him to beget and raise children
who will take his place as wage-slaves when he shall have been buried
by the County or some Sick and Death Benefit Fund.

In the example we used above we assumed that the laborer worked three
hours a day to produce a value equal to the value of his labor-power.
The price of this value, the value produced by his paid labor, we call
"Wages." This price is often reduced by the competition of "scabs" and
other victims of capitalist exploitation, below the real value of
labor-power, but we have not time to go into that here, so we will
assume that the laborer gets in wages the full value of his labor-power.

Well, then, if he produces in three or four hours a value equal to the
value of his labor-power or wages, why doesn't he stop work then, and
take his coat and hat and go home and devote the rest of the day to
study, reading, games, recreation and amusement? He don't because he
can't. He has to agree (voluntarily, of course) to any conditions that
the class who by owning his tools own him choose to impose upon him, and
the lash of the competition of the unemployed, Capital's Reserve Army,
as Marx called it, is ever ready to fall upon his naked back.

Why is he so helpless? Because he and his class have been robbed of the
land and the tools and all the means of sustenance and production, and
have nothing left them but that empty bauble, legal liberty, liberty to
accept wages so small that they barely enable them to live like beasts,
or liberty to starve to death and be buried in unmarked graves by the
public authorities.

The wage system necessarily implies this surplus labor or unpaid labor.
So long as there are wages, workingmen, you will never get the full
product of your labor. Let no reformer beguile you into a struggle which
simply aims to secure a modification of the wage system! Nothing short
of the annihilation of the wage system will give you justice and give
you the full product of your labor.

But while wages necessarily imply surplus-labor, the reverse is not
true. You can have surplus-labor without wages. Surplus-labor is not an
invention of modern capitalists. Since Mankind emerged from the state of
Primitive Communism typified by the Garden of Eden in the Hebraic myth,
there have been three great systems of economic organization: 1.
Slavery; 2. Serfdom; 3. The Wage System. It is interesting to note the
varying appearances of surplus or unpaid labor under these three
systems.

Under the first, Slavery, all labor appears as unpaid labor. This is
only a false appearance, however. During a part of the day the slave
only reproduces the value of his maintenance or "keep." During that part
of the day he works for himself just as truly as the modern wage slave
works for himself during a part of his day. But the property relation
conceals the paid labor.

Under the second system, Serfdom, or the Feudal System,--the paid labor
and the unpaid labor are absolutely separate and distinct, so that not
even the most gifted orthodox political economist can confuse them.

Under the third system, Wage Slavery, the unpaid labor apparently falls
to Zero. There is none. You voluntarily enter into a bargain, agreeing
that your day's work is worth so much, and you receive the full price
agreed upon. But again this is only a false appearance. As we saw by our
analysis, a part of the wage-slave's day is devoted to paid labor and a
part to unpaid. Here wages or the money relation conceals the unpaid
labor and disguises under the mask of a voluntary bargain the struggle
of the working class to diminish or abolish unpaid labor, and the
class-conscious, pitiless struggle of the capitalist class to increase
the unpaid labor and reduce the paid labor to the minimum, _i. e._, to
or below the level of bare subsistence. In other words the Wage System
conceals the Class Struggle.



III

THE CLASS STRUGGLE


The third of the great ideas that will always be associated with the
name of Karl Marx is that of the Class Struggle. The Class Struggle is
logically such a necessary consequence of both the Materialistic
Conception of History and the Law of Surplus-Value, that as we have
discussed them at some length, but little need be said of the Class
Struggle itself. In discussing the Materialistic Conception of History
we showed with sufficient fullness and clearness that, in the language
of the Communist Manifesto, "The history of all hitherto existing
society is the history of Class Struggles." Hence it is clear the
doctrine of class struggles is a key to past history. But it is more
than this. It is a compass by which to steer in the present struggle for
the emancipation of the proletariat, who cannot, fortunately, emancipate
themselves without emancipating and ennobling all mankind.

The Law of Surplus-Value has shown us that there is a deep-seated,
ineradicable conflict between the direct class interest of the
proletariat which coincides with the true interests of the human race,
and the direct, conscious guiding interest of the class who own the
means of production and distribution. There is here a direct clash
between two hostile interests. This fact has been skilfully hidden from
the eyes of the workers in the past, but the modern socialist movement,
aided by the growing brutality of the capitalist class, is making it
impossible to fool them in this way much longer. In other words, the
workingmen are becoming Class-Conscious, _i. e._, conscious of the fact
that they, as a class, have interests which are in direct conflict with
the selfish interests of the capitalist class. With the growth of this
class-consciousness this conflict of interests must inevitably become a
political class struggle. The capitalists, the economically privileged
class, struggle to retain possession of the State that they may continue
to use it as a weapon to keep the working class subjugated, servile and
dependent. The proletariat, the working-class, struggle to obtain
possession of the State, that they may use it to destroy every vestige
of economic privilege, to abolish private property in the means of
production and distribution, and thus put an end to the division of
society into classes, and usher in the society of the future, the
Co-operative Commonwealth. As the State is in its very nature a class
instrument, as its existence is dependent upon the existence of distinct
classes, the State in the hands of the victorious proletariat will
commit suicide, by tearing down its own foundation.

Until a man perceives and is keenly conscious of this class conflict, a
conflict which admits of no truce or compromise, and ranges himself on
the side of the workers to remain there until the battle is fought and
the victory won, until the proletariat shall have conquered the public
powers, taken possession of that class instrument, the State (for so
long as the State exists it will be a class instrument) and made it in
the hands of the working class a tool to abolish private ownership in
the tools and the land, in the means of production and distribution, and
to abolish all classes by absorbing them all in the Brotherhood of Man;
until a man has thus shown himself clearly conscious of the Class
Struggle, with its necessary implications, his heart may be in the right
place, but laboring men can not trust him as a leader. The fact that
the hearts of many popular reformers, political candidates and so-called
"friends of labor," who ignore the class struggle, are on the right
side, but gives them added power to mislead and betray workingmen.
Workingmen, I beg you to follow no leader who has not a clear enough
head to see that there is a class struggle, and a large enough heart to
place himself on your side of that struggle. But remember that you are
not fighting the battle of a class alone. You are fighting for the
future welfare of the whole human race. But while this is true, it is
also true that your class must bear the brunt of this battle, for yours
is the only class that, in the language of the Manifesto, "has nothing
but its chains to lose, and a World to gain!" The rich have much to
lose, and this very real and tangible risk of loss not unnaturally
blinds the eyes of most of them to the more remote, though infinitely
greater compensations that Socialism has to offer them. The Middle
Class, even down to those who are just a round above the proletarians on
the social ladder, love to ape the very rich and the capitalist
magnates. It tickles their silly vanity to fancy that their interests
are capitalistic interests, and their mental horizon is too hopelessly
limited for them to perceive that the proletariat whom it pleases them
to despise as the great army of the "unwashed" are in truth fighting
their battles for them, and receiving instead of gratitude, contempt,
gibes and sneers. Socialism does occasionally receive a recruit from the
very highest stratum of society, but I tell you it is easier for a camel
to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a member of the
Middle Class to become a scientific socialist.

I have said the Class Struggle is a compass to steer by in the present
struggle for the emancipation of the working class. If we steer by this
compass, we will resolutely reject all overtures from political parties
representing the interests of other classes, even when such parties in
their platform endorse some of the immediate demands of the socialists;
we will "fear the Greeks bringing gifts;" we will not be seduced for a
moment by the idea of fusion with any so-called Socialist party which is
not avowedly based on the Class Struggle; especially as individuals will
we avoid giving our votes or our support to any Middle Class party which
we may at times fancy to be "moving in the right direction." The history
of the class conflicts of the past shows that whenever the proletarians
have joined forces with the Middle Class or any section of it, the
proletarians have had to bear the heat and burden of the day and when
the victory has been won their allies have robbed them of its fruits.

You, yourselves, then, Workingmen, must fight this battle! To win, it is
true, you will need the help of members of the other classes. But this
help the economic evolution is constantly bringing you. It is a law of
the economic evolution that with the progress of industrialism the ratio
of the returns of capital to the capital invested constantly diminishes,
(though the aggregate volume of those returns increases). You see this
in the constant lowering of the rate of interest. Now, as their incomes
decrease, the small capitalists and the middle class, who form the vast
majority of the possessing class, become unable to continue to support
the members of the liberal professions, the priests, preachers, lawyers,
editors, lecturers, etc., whose chief function heretofore has been to
fool the working class into supporting or at least submitting to the
present system. Now, when the income of these unproductive laborers, an
income drawn from the class hostile to the proletariat, shall sensibly
decrease or, worse still, cease, these educated members of the liberal
professions will desert the army of Capital and bring a much-needed
reinforcement to the Army of Labor.

Some of the more far-seeing upholders of the present system are keenly
conscious of this danger. And this danger (even though most of the
expansionists may not realize it), is one of the most potent causes of
the Imperialism, Militarism, and Jingoism which are at present
disgracing the civilized world. England in Africa, and America in the
Philippines are pursuing their present criminal policies, not solely to
open new markets for English and American goods, but also to secure new
fields for the investment of English and American capital, and thus to
stop the continuous dropping of the rate of interest and profits, for if
this cannot be stopped, the intellectual proletariat will join the
sweating proletariat, and the Co-operative Commonwealth will be
established and then the poor capitalists will have to work for their
livings like other people.

This was clearly pointed out by a capitalist writer in an essay in a
recent number of the Atlantic Monthly, who warned the capitalist
opponents of McKinley, Destiny & Co.'s policy of expansion that they
were attempting to close the only safety-valve which under present
conditions could, not avert, but postpone the Social Revolution.[3]

But, friends, nothing can postpone it long, for the industrial crises
and financial panics are recurring at shorter and shorter intervals, and
the process of recovery from them is slower and slower, and every panic
and crisis forces thousands of educated, intelligent members of the
middle class off their narrow and precarious foothold down into the
ranks of the proletariat, where the hard logic of the facts will convert
them to class-conscious Socialism.

Workingmen, I congratulate you upon the approaching victory of the
workers and the advent of the Co-operative Commonwealth, for I tell you,
in the language of an English comrade:


     "Failure on failure may seem to defeat us; ultimate failure is
     impossible.

     Seeing what is to be done then, seeing what the reward is,

     Seeing what the terms are,--are you willing to join us? Will you
     lend us the aid of your voice, your money, your sympathy?

     May we take you by the hand and call you 'Comrade'?"


FOOTNOTE:

[3] The expansion policy also acts as a safety-valve by promoting the
emigration of the discontented and by providing employment abroad for
the educated proletarians who would, no doubt, become "dangerous and
incendiary Socialist agitators" in their native lands.



MARXISM AND ETHICS

(Wilshire's Magazine, November, 1905).


     What are "wrong," "right," "vice," "virtue," "bad" and "good"?
     Mere whips to scourge the backs that naked bear
     The burden of the world--bent backs that dare
     Not rise erect, defy the tyrant, "Should,"
     And freely, boldly do the things they would.
     In living's joy they rarely have a share;
     They look beyond the grave, and hope that there
     They'll be repaid, poor fools, for being good.

     To serve thy master, that is virtue, Slave;
     To do thy will, enjoy sweet life, is vice.
     Poor duty-ridden serf, rebel, forget
     Thy master-taught morality; be brave
     Enough to make this earth a Paradise
     Whereon the Sun of Joy shall never set!


Thanks to modern science--the child of the machine process--the
universality of the law of cause and effect is now assumed on all hands.
In Labriola's strong words, "Nothing happens by chance." The Marxist
believes this in all its fulness. To him systems of religion, codes of
ethics and schools of art are, in the last analysis, just as much
products of material causes as are boots or sausages. There are some
intellectual Socialists whose mode of life has shielded them from the
discipline of the Machine Process--the inexorable inculcator of
causation--who attempt to place religion and ethics and other
ideological phenomena in a separate category not to be accounted for by
the materialistic conception of history. These may turn to Marx and
weary their auditors by their iteration of "Lord! Lord!" but verily they
know not the mind of the Master.

With Marx matter always comes first, thought second. The dialectic
materialism of the Socialist is an all-inclusive philosophy, accounting
for _all_ phenomena--as fully for those called spiritual as for the most
grossly material.

The man who narrows this dialectic materialism down to economic
determinism and then defines the latter as meaning that the economic
factor has been the "dominant" factor--among many independent
factors--in producing the civilization of to-day, may be a sincere
Socialist, but he is no Marxist.

The work of the theoretical Marxist will not be done till the origin and
development of all religions, philosophies, and systems of ethics have
been explained and accounted for by reference to material and economic
causes. To understand history the primary requisite is to understand the
processes by which the material means of life have been produced and
distributed.

"The ruling ideas of every age have ever been the ideas of its ruling
class." This applies of ideas of right and wrong--of what is commonly
known as morality--as fully as to ideas of any other kind.

Conduct that has tended to perpetuate the power of the economically
dominant class--since the increase of wealth has divided society into
classes--has ever been accounted moral conduct; conduct that has tended
to weaken or subvert the power of the ruling class has always been
branded as immoral. There you have the key to all the varying codes of
ethics the world has seen. For it must never be forgotten that ideas of
right and wrong are not absolute, but relative; not fixed, but fluid,
changing with the changes in our modes of producing food, clothes and
shelter. Morality varies not only with time, but with social altitude.
What was accounted a virtue in a bold baron of the feudal days was a
crime in that same baron's serf. The pipe-line hand who regulates his
daily life by the same moral ideas which have made John D. Rockefeller a
shining example of piety will find himself behind prison bars.

Ethics simply register the decrees by which the ruling class stamps with
approval or brands with censure human conduct solely with reference to
the effect of that conduct upon the welfare of their class. This does
not mean that any ruling class has ever had the wit to devise _ab
initio_ a code of ethics perfectly adapted to further their interests.
Far from it. The process has seldom, if ever, been a conscious one. By a
process akin to natural selection in the organic world, the ruling class
learns by experience what conduct is helpful and what hurtful to it, and
blesses in the one case and damns in the other. And as the ruling class
has always controlled all the avenues by which ideas reach the so-called
lower classes, they have heretofore been able to impose upon the
subject classes just those morals which were best adapted to prolong
their subjection. Even to-day in America the majority of the working
class get their ideas--like their clothes--ready-made.

But there is an ever-growing portion of the working class whom the
ever-increasing severity of the discipline of the machine process is
teaching more and more to think solely in terms of material cause and
effect. To them, just as much as to the scholar who has learned by study
the relativity of ethics, current morality has ceased to appeal. It is
idle to talk of the will of God, or of abstract, absolute ideas of right
and wrong to the sociological scholar and the proletarian of the factory
alike.

George Bernard Shaw, in the preface to "Plays, Pleasant and Unpleasant,"
says: "I have no respect for popular morality." A few weeks since, a
workingman, who had been listening to a stereotyped sentimental harangue
emitted by one of our amiable Utopian comrades, showed me the palms of
his hands, which were thickly studded with callouses, and asked me,
"What the hell has a fellow with a pair of mits like those to do with
morality? What I want is the goods." Shaw meant just what he wrote; yet
the critics will continue to treat his utterance as one of Bernard
Shaw's "delightfully witty paradoxes." My friend meant just what he
said; yet Salvation Armyists and other good Christians will continue to
preach to him and his kind a religion and a morality which have become
meaningless to them.

Organized government, with its power to make laws and levy taxes--in
other words, the State--only came into existence with the division of
society into classes. The State is, in its very essence, a class
instrument--an agency in the hands of the ruling class to keep the
masses in subjection. Hence the name, "State," cannot fitly be applied
to the social organization of a society in which there are no classes,
whether that society be the primitive communist group of savagery or the
co-operative commonwealth of the future.

The word "capital," cannot be applied to the machinery and means of
production in any and every society. They only become capital when they
are used as means to exploit (rob) a subject class of workers, and when
they shall cease to be so used they will cease to be capital. The word
"wages," necessarily implies the extraction of surplus-value (profits)
from the workers by a parasitic class; hence, that share of the social
product which the workers of the future will devote to individual
consumption cannot be correctly spoken of as "wages."

In the same way, morality is, in its very essence, a class
institution--a set of rules of conduct enforced or inculcated for the
benefit of a class. Hence, to speak of the morality of the future, when
one refers to the classless society to which Socialists look forward, is
the height or the depth of absurdity. In the free fellowship of the
future there will be no morality. This is not saying that there will be
no criteria by which conduct will be praised or deplored; it is simply
saying that with the abolition of classes, morality, like the State,
capital and wages, being a product of class-divisions, will cease to
exist.

While the revolutionary proletariat have no respect for current
morality, it is none the less true that they have in process of growth a
morality of their own--a morality that has already emerged from the
embryonic stage. The proletariat are to be the active agents in bringing
to pass the social revolution which is to put a period to Capitalism and
usher in the new order. During this transition period and until the
change is fully accomplished, they will be a distinct class with special
class interests of their own. As fast as they become class-conscious
they will recognize and praise as moral all conduct that tends to hasten
the social revolution--the triumph of their class, and they will condemn
as unhesitatingly as immoral all conduct that tends to prolong the
dominance of the capitalist class. Already we can note manifestations of
this new proletarian morality in that sense of class solidarity
exhibited by the workers in the many acts of kindness and assistance of
the employed to the unemployed, and more especially in the detestation
in which the scab is held.

The revolutionary workingman, be he avowed Socialist or not, who
repudiates the current or capitalist morality, does not abandon himself
to unbridled license, but is straightway bound by the obligations of the
adolescent proletarian morality which is enforced with ever greater
vigor by the public opinion of his class as his class grows in
class-consciousness.

Does the new morality condemn what the old branded as "crimes against
property?" It must be confessed that the revolutionary worker has
absolutely no respect for natural rights--including the right of
property--as such. Hence, as the act of an individual in appropriating
the goods of another is not likely either to help or to injure his
class, he neither approves or condemns it on moral grounds; but knowing,
as he does, that his class enemies, the capitalists, own not only "the
goods," but also the courts and the police, he condemns theft by a
workingman as suicidal folly.

The Marxist absolutely denies the freedom of the will.[4] Every human
action is inevitable. "Nothing happens by chance." Every thing is
because it cannot but be. How then can we consistently praise or blame
any conduct? If one cares to make hair-splitting distinctions, it may be
replied that we cannot, but none the less we can rejoice at some actions
and deplore others. And the love of praise, with its obverse, the fear
of blame, has ever been one of the strongest motives to human conduct.
It is not necessarily the applause of the thoughtless multitude that one
seeks; but in writing this paper, which I know will be misunderstood or
condemned by the majority of those who read it, undoubtedly one of my
motives is to win the approbation of the discerning few for whose good
opinion I deeply care.

The passengers whose train has come to a standstill on a steep up-grade
owing to the inefficiency of the engine, will not fail to greet with a
hearty cheer the approach of a more powerful locomotive. In the same
way, Socialist workingmen, though they know that no human act deserves
either praise or blame, though they know, in the words of the wise old
Frenchman, that "_comprendre tout, c'est pardonner tout_," or, better
yet, that to understand all is to understand that there is nothing to
pardon, will not be chary of their cheers to him who is able to advance
their cause, nor of their curses upon him who betrays it. And in so
doing they will not be inconsistent, but will be acting in strict
accordance with that law of cause and effect which is the very fundament
of all proletarian reasoning; for those cheers and curses will be
potent factors in causing such conduct as will speed the social
revolution.

While we have no respect for current morality, we must not fall into the
error of supposing that there are no criteria by which to judge conduct,
that there are, so to say, no valid distinctions between the acts of a
hero and those of a blackguard. By referring to the ethic inspiring the
actor we can always pronounce some conduct to be fine and other acts
base. It is this power of a fine or noble action to thrill the human
heart that makes the triumphs of dramatic art possible. The dramatists,
like Shakespeare, whose characters accept the current moral code, appeal
to a wide audience--to nearly all. But those dramatists, such as Ibsen,
Shaw, Maeterlinck, and above all, Sudermann, whose heroes and heroines
attempt to put into practice the ideals of to-morrow in the environment
of to-day, are misunderstood and disliked by the majority, and
understood and appreciated only by the few who, like themselves, have
rejected the current code and adopted the criteria of to-morrow. But
those of us who call Sudermann the first of living dramatists, do so on
account of the extreme nobility of his heroines' conduct judged by the
criteria of the future.

While there will be no morality in Socialist society; while in the
perfect solidarity of a classless society there can be no conflict of
individual with social interests; there will nevertheless be certain
actions exceptionally fitted to increase the welfare and augment the
happiness of the community, and the men and women who perform these acts
will undoubtedly be rewarded by the plaudits and the love of their
comrades. Indeed, we with our debased standards are incapable of
conceiving how dear to them this reward will be. It is because I believe
that this love of one's fellows under Socialism will be a joy far
exceeding in intensity any pleasure known to us, that I look for
dramatic art to reach under Socialism a perfection and influence to-day
inconceivable.

The most striking phenomenon in the field of ethics to-day is the rapid
growth of the new proletarian morality; and one of the principal
functions of the Socialist agitator and propagandist is to facilitate
and further this growth. He is the teacher of a new morality and, if one
accepted Matthew Arnold's definition of religion as "morality touched
with emotion," he might be called the preacher of a new religion. Let
who will call this sentimentalism, it is none the less hard fact. For,
after all, this new proletarian ethic is nothing else than
class-consciousness under a new name. And what Socialist will deny that
the chief function of the militant Socialist is to develop
class-consciousness in the workers? The one hope of the world to-day is
in the victory of the proletariat--aye, it is more than a hope, it is a
certainty; but this victory can only be won by a proletariat permeated
with the sense of solidarity; and the workingman imbued with this sense
of proletarian solidarity will be a living incarnation of the new
morality.

And what is this class-consciousness which it is our business to preach
in season and out of season? There is probably no term in the whole
technical vocabulary of Socialism which grates so unpleasantly on the
ear of the _petit bourgeois_ who "is coming our way" as this one of
"class-consciousness." To say class-consciousness is not to say class
hatred; though class-consciousness ofttimes develops into class hatred
and does not thereby become the less effective. The Socialist recognizes
in the words of Edmund Burke that "Man acts not from metaphysical
considerations, but from motives relative to his interests," and hence,
he regards it as his first duty to show his fellow-workers that their
economic interests are in direct conflict with those of the
master-class. He does not create this conflict by pointing it out; he
merely shows the working class "where they are at."

But besides pointing out this conflict of material interests, the
Socialist propagandist shows the workers that it is their high destiny
to accomplish a revolution far more glorious and pregnant with blessings
for humanity than any of those recorded in the history of the past. This
consciousness of the great part that he and his class are called to play
on the world's stage is the most uplifting and ennobling influence that
can enter the life of a workingman. There can be no doubt that the
sentiment expressed by the words, _noblesse oblige_, has had an
influence on the lives of the more worthy of the aristocrats. Similar in
its nature is the influence here under consideration, and that this
influence is not less potent is well known to every one acquainted with
the men and women who form what is known as the Socialist Movement. The
non-Socialist, who wishes to see the effect of this influence, has but
to read even in the files of the capitalist press the accounts of the
high and noble bearing of the martyrs of the Paris Commune who faced
death with calm and cheerful courage, though they were buoyed up by no
hope of a hereafter.

While we continue devoting our whole energies to arousing in our
fellow-workers a keen and clear consciousness of the hideous
class-struggle now waging in all its brutal bitterness, let us keep our
courage high and our hope bright by keeping our eyes ever fixed upon the
glorious future, upon the "wonderful days a-coming when all shall be
better than well!"

FOOTNOTE:

[4] It will be seen that the text treats the long-debated question of
the "freedom of the will" as _res adjudicata_. It may be that some
readers will want to know where to turn for fuller discussions of this
famous question. As a full bibliography of the literature on this
subject would more than fill this volume, I must content myself with
telling them that a very helpful discussion of it may be found in
Huxley's Life of Hume, and a clear and succinct statement of the
conclusions of the modern school of psychology in Ferri's "The Positive
School of Criminology." Both of these are to be had in cheap form.



INSTEAD OF A FOOTNOTE[5]


A photograph of a Fifth Avenue mansion, taken from the partition wall in
the back-yard, might be a perfectly accurate picture and yet give a very
inadequate idea of the house as a whole. This article on "Marxism and
Ethics" is, in a sense, just such a picture. In writing it, space
limitations compelled me to confine myself wholly to impressing upon the
reader the relative and transitory character of moral codes. But in the
popular concept of morality there are elements that are relatively
permanent. Darwin in his "Descent of Man" showed that the gregarious and
social traits that make associated life possible antedate, not only the
division of society into classes, but even antedate humanity itself,
since they plainly appear in the so-called lower animals.

So that my contention that morality only came into being with the
division of society into classes and will pass away when class divisions
are abolished, becomes a question of definition. If we include in our
definition of morality the almost universal and relatively permanent
gregarious traits of men and beasts, then morality has existed longer
than humanity itself, and will continue to exist under Socialism. But it
cannot be denied that moral codes were not formulated until after
class-divisions had arisen. Every moral code of which we have any
knowledge has been moulded by the cultural discipline of a society based
on class-divisions. In every one of them there is implied the relation
of status, of a superior, natural or supernatural, with the right or
power to formulate "commandments," and of an inferior class whose lot it
is to obey. We find this implication of status in even the noblest
expressions of current ethical aspirations. Wordsworth's immortal Ode to
Duty begins, "Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!"

Since then morality as a word through the force of immemorial habit
unavoidably suggests to the mind the relation of status, it appears to
me that its use to describe truly social conduct in a society of equals
can lead to nothing but confusion. What we really need is the right
word to apply to the highest conduct in a classless society; and, I am
inclined to think that a generation to whom the idea of status will have
become wholly alien will find the word "social" entirely adequate for
this purpose, though I frankly confess it is not adequate for us


     "In the days of the years we dwell in, that wear our lives away."


My statement that the Revolutionary worker abstains from crimes against
property from expediency rather than from principle must not be
construed into an allegation that fear of personal punishment is the
only ground for abstaining from such crimes. If it were not for the
stupidity and malice of our opponents I would feel that I was insulting
my readers by making this explanation; but for their benefit be it said
that in a society based economically upon the institution of private
property social life is impossible without respect (respect here refers
to acts, not to mental attitude) for private property. Crimes against
property are distinctly unsocial. But respect for the rights of property
is rapidly disintegrating both among trust magnates and proletarians.
The Natural Rights Philosophy[6] still has much vitality in the middle
classes, but as a broad statement it will hold good that the millionaire
or the proletarian who shows respect for private property (the private
property of others, be it understood) does so chiefly on grounds of
expediency.

The socialist materialist is well content to leave this whole question
of ethics to adjust itself, since he knows that equality of condition,
the economic basis of Socialism, will necessarily evolve a mode of
living, and standards of conduct in perfect harmony with their economic
environment.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] It may be as well to state that this was written before the writer
had read Karl Kautsky's illuminating work, "Ethics and the Materialist
Conception of History."

[6] For a fuller discussion of the relation of current conceptions of
property-rights to the Natural Rights Philosophy see Veblen's "The
Theory of Business Enterprise," Chapters II and VIII, and La Monte's
paper "Veblen, The Revolutionist," International Socialist Review, Vol.
V. pp. 726-739.



THE NIHILISM OF SOCIALISM.


     "In their negative proposals the socialists and anarchists are
     fairly agreed. It is in the metaphysical postulates of their
     protest and in their constructive aims that they part company. Of
     the two, the socialists are more widely out of touch with the
     established order. They are also more hopelessly negative and
     destructive in their ideals, as seen from the standpoint of the
     established order." THORSTEIN VEBLEN in "The Theory of Business
     Enterprise." Page 338.


To label a truth a truism is too often regarded as equivalent to placing
it in the category of the negligible. It is precisely the salient
obviousness, which makes a truth a truism, that places it in the direst
peril of oblivion in the stress of modern life. Such a truth was well
stated by Enrico Ferri, the Italian criminologist, in a recent lecture
before the students of the University of Naples:

"Without an ideal, neither an individual nor a collectivity can live,
without it humanity is dead or dying. For it is the fire of an ideal
which renders the life of each one of us possible, useful and fertile.
And only by its help can each one of us, in the longer or shorter course
of his or her existence, leave behind traces for the benefit of
fellow-beings."

Platitude though this may be, our greatest poets have not hesitated to
use their highest powers to impress it upon us. Robert Browning put this
truth into the mouth of Andrea del Sarto in one of the strongest lines
in all English verse,


     "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp."


Mr. George S. Street, in a very interesting paper in Putnam's Monthly
for November (1906), points out that the most significant contrast
between our time and Early Victorian days is a decrease in idealism.
"The most characteristic note," he tells us, "in the mental attitude of
the forties and fifties in England, and that in which they contrast most
sharply with our own times, was confidence.... In party politics this
confidence was almost without limit. There was a section of Conservatism
which really believed in things as they were, and thought it undesirable
to attempt any change for the better.... It was simply--I speak of a
section, not the party as a whole--the articulate emotion of privileged
and contented people and their parasites, and its denomination as
'stupid' was an accurate description, though hardly the brilliant
epigram for which, in our poverty of political wit, it has been taken.
On the other hand, there was a confident Liberalism which inspired a
whole party. Some wished to go faster, some slower, but all believed
sincerely in a broad scheme of domestic policy. They were to reform this
and that at home; they were to assist, or at least applaud, the
reforming of this and that abroad. So believing and intending, they
naturally conceived themselves made very little indeed lower than the
angels.

"The contrast with our own day hardly needs pointing. You might now
search long and in vain for a Conservative in public life who would not
admit that reforms are desirable or even urgent, though few might be
prepared with precise statements about particulars.... But their (the
Liberals') confidence in reform, in their ability to improve the body
politic by certain definite measures, is gone. The old Liberal spirit
animating a whole party is dead. It may seem an odd remark to make just
after the late election, but the evidence is abundant, and the
explanation simple. Domestic reform on a large scale and on
individualist lines has reached its limit; but to many Liberals, to many
eminent and authoritative Liberals, reform on socialist lines is
abhorrent.... Consequently there is a large party called Liberal, which,
through the faults of its opponents and the accidents of time, is
successful and has the high spirits of success, but is no more now than
it has been for twenty years a party of homogeneous confidence in
domestic reform, while on the world outside the British islands it looks
with passivity, perhaps timidity, certainly with no intention of
assisting oppressed peoples."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Theoretical Socialism of a logical and thoughtful kind, not entangled
with Radicalism, has made much progress of late years, more especially,
so far as my own experience goes, in the educated and professional
classes; but in practice it bides its time, with confidence perhaps, but
with a consciousness that the time will be long coming. That is a
different spirit from the buoyant expectancy of the old Liberalism."

Granted the necessity of idealism to individual and social health, Mr.
Street's views do not conduce to optimism. Here we have a competent
observer telling us that the only note of idealism he finds in
contemporary intellectual life is a growing, but half-hearted, belief in
Socialism, which is more noticeable "in the educated and professional
classes."

There is another note of idealism in the life of to-day which Mr. Street
ignores. This is the tendency toward the apotheosis of the individual in
antithesis to society. This is a sign of health, in so far as it is a
revolt against the stifling pressure of outworn conventionality, and it
has found worthy expression in the philosophy of Herbert Spencer and the
poetry of Browning and Walt Whitman.

But this form of idealism cannot be said to differentiate our time from
the Early Victorian era, for it found its classic expression back in the
middle of the last century in Max Stirner's _Der Einzige und sein
Eigentum_, a book which has been forgotten amid the growing
consciousness of the organic solidarity of society. But Mr. Street is
possibly justified in ignoring this tendency, for as a school of thought
it has committed suicide in the person of Nietzsche's Overman attempting
to construct out of materials drawn from his inner consciousness a pair
of stilts on which to tower above "the herd."

What is the lure of Socialism that is appealing, according to Mr.
Street, to more and more of our "educated and professional" people? For,
in spite of what Professor Veblen truly says of the "negative and
destructive" (in the quotation at the head of this paper) character of
socialist ideals, Socialism must hold up some positive ideals to attract
such growing numbers of the educated classes. To convince oneself of the
actuality of this appeal it is only necessary to run over the writers'
names in the tables of contents in our popular magazines. The proportion
of socialists is surprisingly large and is constantly growing. There can
be no doubt that the percentage of Socialists among writers of
distinction is larger than the percentage of socialists in the
population at large.

Socialism does present certain very definite positive ideals. The first
of these is "Comfort for All" (to use a chapter-heading from Prince
Kropotkin's too little known book, "_La Conquête du Pain_"). The second
is Leisure for All, or, in Paul Lafargue's witty phrase, "The Right to
be Lazy." The third is the fullest possible physical and intellectual
development of every individual, considered not as an isolated,
self-centred entity, but as a member of an interdependent society; or,
in the words of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist
Manifesto, the socialist ideal is "an association in which the free
development of each is the condition for the free development of all."

It may be noted that all that is vivifying in the ideal of individualism
is included in this third positive ideal of Socialism, so that, it is
now seen, Mr. Street was fully justified in making no separate mention
of the ideal of individualism. There can be no doubt that it is the
immensely richer literary and artistic life promised by this third ideal
of Socialism that accounts for the phenomenon noted by Mr. Street.

The beauties of the positive ideals of the socialist Utopias have been
sufficiently lauded by scores of writers from Sir Thomas More to Bellamy
and Mr. H. G. Wells. What it is desired to emphasize here is the
"negative and destructive" (from the standpoint of the established
order) aspects of socialist ideals; for it is the Nihilism of Socialism
that explains why Mr. Street's "educated and professional" socialists
have more patience than confidence in awaiting the realization of their
ideal. The Nihilism of Socialism turns aside many, who have felt the
lure of the socialist ideal, into what Professor Veblen calls, "some
excursion into pragmatic romance,"[7] such as Social Settlements,
Prohibition, Clean Politics, Single Tax, Arts and Crafts, Neighborhood
Guilds, Institutional Church, Christian Science, New Thought, Hearstism,
or "some such cultural thimble-rig." Yet more, there are many of the
"educated and professional classes" who call themselves socialists,
because they cherish the charming delusion that it is possible to
separate the positive from the negative ideals of Socialism, and to work
(in a dilettante fashion) for the former while blithely anathematizing
the latter.

It is the purpose of this paper to show that Socialism is not a scheme
for the betterment of humanity to be accomplished by a sufficiently
zealous and intelligent propaganda, but that it is, on the contrary, a
consistent, (though to many repellent) monistic philosophy of the
cosmos; that it is from its Alpha to its Omega so closely and
inextricably interlocked that its component parts cannot be
disassociated, save by an act of intellectual suicide; that, in a word,
the Nihilism[8] of Socialism is of the very essence of Socialism.

But, here, a most important distinction should be noted. Socialism,
viewed as a political propaganda, is purely positive in its demands. In
fact, all its demands may be reduced to two--Collectivism and Democracy.
That the people shall own the means of production, and the producers
shall control their products--that is the sum and substance of all
Socialist platforms. Socialist parties do not attack Religion, the
Family, or the State. But socialist philosophy proves conclusively that
the realization of the positive political and economic ideals of
Socialism involves the atrophy of Religion, the metamorphosis of the
Family, and the suicide of the State.

The Nihilism of Socialism springs from the Materialist Conception of
History, and this is precisely the portion of the socialist doctrine
that is usually ignored or half-understood by the enthusiastic young
intellectuals who are in growing numbers joining the Socialist movement
on both sides of the Atlantic. While the Communist Manifesto, written
by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1847, is throughout founded on this
conception, the first clearly formulated statement of the conception
itself is to be found in the Preface to the "Contribution to the
Critique of Political Economy," published by Karl Marx in 1859, the same
year in which Darwin and Wallace made public their independent and
almost simultaneous discoveries of the theory of Natural Selection. This
first statement runs thus:


     "In the social production which men carry on they enter into
     definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their
     will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage
     of development of their material powers of production. The sum
     total of these relations of production constitutes the economic
     structure of society--the real foundation, on which rise legal and
     political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of
     social consciousness. The mode of production in material life
     determines the general character of the social, political, and
     spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men
     that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social
     existence determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of
     their development, the material forces of production in society
     come in conflict with the existing relations of production,
     or--what is but a legal expression for the same thing--with the
     property relations within which they had been at work before. From
     forms of development of the forces of production these relations
     turn into their fetters. Then comes the period of social
     revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire
     immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed."[9]


This statement contains a whole Revolution in embryo. Viewed from the
standpoint of the established order, it is the very Quintessence of
Nihilism. In a word, it teaches the material origin of Ideas. In the
last analysis, every idea can be traced back to the economic and
telluric environments. In the words of Joseph Dietzgen, "philosophy
revealed to them (Marx and Engels) the basic principle that, in the last
resort, the world is not governed by Ideas, but, on the contrary, the
Ideas by the material world." This doctrine involves a new epistemology,
the distinguishing mark of which is its denial of the immaculate
conception of thought. The human mind, according to Marx and Dietzgen,
can only bring forth thought after it has been impregnated by the
objects of sense perception.[10]

Here we have a thorough-going system of materialist monism. "Ours is
the organic conception of history," says Labriola. "The totality of the
unity of social life is the subject matter present to our minds. It is
economics itself which dissolves in the course of one process, to
reappear in as many morphological stages, in each of which it serves as
a substructure for all the rest. Finally, it is not our method to extend
the so-called economic factor isolated in an abstract fashion over all
the rest, as our adversaries imagine, but it is, before everything else,
to form an historic conception of economics, and to explain the other
changes by means of its changes."[11]

In another place he says: "Ideas do not fall from heaven, and nothing
comes to us in a dream.... The change in ideas, even to the creation of
new methods of conception, has reflected little by little the experience
of a new life. This, in the revolutions of the last two centuries, was
little by little despoiled of the mythical, religious and mystical
envelopes in proportion as it acquired the practical and precise
consciousness of its immediate and direct conditions. Human thought,
also, which sums up this life and theorizes upon it, has little by
little been plundered of its theological and metaphysical hypotheses to
take refuge finally in this prosaic assertion: in the interpretation of
history we must limit ourselves to the objective co-ordination of the
determining conditions and of the determined effects." He reiterates:
"Ideas do not fall from heaven; and, what is more, like the other
products of human activity, they are formed in given circumstances, in
the precise fulness of time, through the action of definite needs,
thanks to the repeated attempts at their satisfaction, and by the
discovery of such and such other means of proof which are, as it were,
the instruments of their production and their elaboration. Even ideas
involve a basis of social conditions; they have their technique; thought
also is a form of work. To rob the one and the other, ideas and thought,
of the conditions and environment of their birth and their development,
is to disfigure their nature and their meaning."[12]

This socialist materialism does not refuse the inspiration of ideals.
"By granting that society is dominated by material interests," Dietzgen
explains, "we do not deny the power of the ideals of the heart, mind,
science, and art. For we have no more to deal with the absolute
antithesis between idealism and materialism, but with their higher
synthesis which has been found in the knowledge that the ideal depends
on the material, that divine justice and liberty depend on the
production and distribution of earthly goods."[13]

Religions, schools of ethics, philosophy, metaphysics, art, political
and juridical institutions are all to be explained in the last analysis
by the economic and telluric environments, present and past. This
ruthless materialism crushes belief in God, in the Soul, in immortality.
It leaves no room for any shred of dualism in thought. It is true that
the German Social Democracy included in the famous Erfurt Programme
(adopted in 1891--the first clearly Marxian socialist platform ever
promulgated) a demand for a "Declaration that religion is a private
matter. Abolition of all expenditure from public funds upon
ecclesiastical and religious objects. Ecclesiastical and religious
bodies are to be regarded as private associations, which order their
affairs independently." It will be seen that this is nothing more than a
demand that the State withdraw its sanction of religion as France has
recently done in the Clemenceau law. But Ferri does nothing but draw the
necessary conclusions from socialist premises when he writes: "God, as
Laplace has 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 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."[14]

Joseph Dietzgen has thus stated what may be called the law of the
atrophy of religion: "The more the idea of God recedes into the past the
more palpable it is; in olden times man knew everything about his God;
the more modern the form of religion has become, the more confused and
hazy are our religious ideas. The truth is that the historic
development of religion tends to its gradual dissolution."[15]

The characteristic attitude of the socialist materialist toward
Christianity appears very clearly in the following excerpt from
Professor Ferri's "Socialism and Modern Science":

"It is true that Marxian Socialism, since the Congress held at Erfurt
(1891), has rightly declared that religious beliefs are private
affairs[16] and that, therefore, the Socialist party combats religious
intolerance under all its forms.... 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, 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"
(page 63).

It is also well to remember that a prevalent animistic habit of thought
in viewing the events of life, whether it take the form of a belief in
luck, as in gamblers and sporting men, or the form of a belief in
supernatural interposition in mundane affairs, as in the case of the
devotees of the anthropomorphic cults, or merely the tendency to give a
teleological interpretation to evolution, to attribute a meliorative
trend to the cosmic process, as in Tennyson's "through the ages one
increasing purpose runs," tends, by retarding the prompt perception of
relations of material cause and effect, to lower the industrial
efficiency of the community.[17]

The socialist materialist can look forward with unruffled serenity to
the passing of religion, since his very definition of religion as "a
popular striving after the illusory happiness that corresponds with a
social condition which needs such an illusion,"[18] implies that it
cannot pass away till it has ceased to be needful to human happiness.


From the point of view of this Socialist materialism, the monogamous
family, the present economic unit of society, ceases to be a divine
institution, and becomes the historical product of certain definite
economic conditions. It is the form of the family peculiar to a society
based on private property in the means of production, and the production
of commodities for sale. It is not crystallized and permanent, but, like
all other institutions, fluid and subject to change. With the change in
its economic basis, the code of sexual morality and the monogamous
family are sure to be modified; but, in the judgment of such socialists
as Friedrich Engels and August Bebel, we shall probably remain
monogamous, but monogamy will cease to be compulsorily permanent.[19]

"What we may anticipate," says Engels, "about the adjustment of sexual
relations after the impending downfall of capitalist production is
mainly of a negative nature and mostly confined to elements that will
disappear. But what will be added? That will be decided after a new
generation has come to maturity: a race of men who never in their lives
have had any occasion for buying with money or other economic means of
power the surrender of a woman; a race of women who have never had any
occasion for surrendering to any man for any other reason but love, or
for refusing to surrender to their lover from fear of economic
consequences. Once such people are in the world, they will not give a
moment's thought to what we to-day believe should be their course. They
will follow their own practice and fashion their own public
opinion--only this and nothing more."[20]

Changed economic conditions are already reflected in the disintegration
of the traditional bourgeois belief in the permanency of the existing
forms of the family and the home. A portentous sign of the times for the
conservatives is the appearance of Mrs. Elsie Clews Parsons' book on
"The Family," the most scholarly work on the subject by a bourgeois
writer that has yet appeared. Like all bourgeois writers Mrs. Parsons
has been very chary of using materials furnished by Socialist scholars.
Very striking is the absence from her very extensive bibliographical
notes of the names of Marx, Engels, Bebel and Ferri. But she was
compelled to avail herself freely of the wealth of materials provided by
the scholarly and industrious researches of Morgan, Kautsky, and Cunow.

In her now famous Fifteenth Lecture on "Ethical Considerations," she
suggests various modes of ameliorating the condition of Woman, and
improving conjugal and family relations; but she is again and again
driven to admit that the economic independence of women is a condition
precedent to her "reforms." Most of her suggestions are tinged with the
utopian fancifulness characteristic of the bourgeois theorist. Two
excerpts will illustrate these points sufficiently:

"Again reciprocity of conjugal rights and duties is desirable for
parenthood. If marriage have a proprietary character, neither the owner
nor the owned is entirely fit to develop free personalities in his or
her children. Moreover the idea of marital ownership more or less
involves that of parental ownership, and the latter, as we have seen, is
incompatible with a high type of parenthood. The custom of proprietary
marriage inevitably leads, for example, to restrictions upon female
education. Now just in so far as a woman's education is limited is she
handicapped as an educator of her children. It is unfortunate that in
the _emancipation of woman_ agitation of the past half-century the
reformers failed to emphasize the social as adequately as the
individualistic need of change. If women are to be fit wives and mothers
they must have all, perhaps more, of the opportunities for personal
development that men have. All the activities hitherto reserved to men
must at least be open to them, and many of these activities, certain
functions of citizenship[21] for example, must be expected of them.
Moreover, whatever the lines may be along which the fitness of women to
labor will be experimentally determined, the underlying position must be
established that for the sake of individual and race character she is to
be a producer as well as a consumer of social values.[22] As soon as
this ethical necessity is generally recognized the conditions of modern
industry will become much better adapted to the needs of women workers
than they are now, the hygiene of workshop, factory, and office will
improve, and child bearing and rearing will no longer seem incompatible
with productive activity" (pages 345-347).

Here follows the paragraph upon which the Reverend Doctor Morgan Dix and
other clerical defenders of the economic conditions that cause marital
and non-marital prostitution pounced with such avidity:

"We have therefore, given late marriage and the passing of
prostitution,[23] two alternatives, the requiring of absolute chastity
of both sexes until marriage or the toleration of freedom of sexual
intercourse on the part of the unmarried of both sexes before marriage,
_i. e._, before the birth of offspring. In this event condemnation of
sex license would have a different emphasis from that at present. Sexual
intercourse would not be of itself disparaged or condemned, it would be
disapproved of only if indulged in at the expense of health or of
emotional or intellectual activities in oneself or in others. As a
matter of fact, truly monogamous relations seem to be those most
conducive to emotional or intellectual development and to health, so
that, quite apart from the question of prostitution, promiscuity is not
desirable or even tolerable. It would therefore, seem well from this
point of view, to encourage early trial marriage,[24] the relation to be
entered into with a view to permanency, but with the privilege of
breaking it if proved unsuccessful and in the _absence of offspring_
without suffering any great degree of public condemnation.

"The conditions to be considered in any attempt to answer the question
that thus arises are exceedingly complex. Much depends upon the outcome
of present experiments in _economic independence for women, a matter
which is in turn dependent upon the outcome of the general labor
'question.'_ Much depends upon revelations of physiological science. If
the future brings about the full economic independence of women, if
physiologists will undertake to guarantee society certain immunities
from the sexual excess of the individual,[25] if, and these are the most
important conditions of all, increases in biological, psychological and
social knowledge make parenthood a more enlightened and purposive
function than is even dreamed of at present and if _pari passu_ with
this increase of knowledge a higher standard of parental duty and a
greater capacity for parental devotion develop, then the need of sexual
restraint as we understand it _may_ disappear and different relations
between the sexes before marriage and to a certain extent within
marriage may be expected."

The Socialist materialist leaves idle speculations of this nature to the
bourgeois Utopians; he knows that a revolution in economic conditions
must precede any material changes in sexual relations, and that when
such changes take place they will take place in response to the stimuli
of the transformed economic environment, and not in accordance with any
preconceived notions of Mrs. Parsons or others.

Those, who are horrified at such proposed modifications of marriage as
Mr. George Meredith's marriages for a fixed, limited period, and Mrs.
Parsons' "trial marriages," will do well to ponder this posthumous
aphorism of the clearsighted Norse genius, Ibsen, recently published in
Berlin:

"To talk of 'men born free' is a mere phrase. There are none such.
Marriages, the relations of man and woman, have ruined the whole race
and set on all the brand of slavery."[26]

In the same case is what we may call the stage-setting of the
monogamous family, the home. The home ceases to be regarded as the
sacred and eternal Palladium of society. It, too, is destined to change,
if not to disappear. "With the transformation of the means of production
into collective property," Engels writes, "the private household changes
to a social industry. The care and education of children becomes a
public matter."[27]

This does not deny the splendid role that the Home has played in the
history of the last three centuries. Many an English and American home
to-day still merits even such an offensively pretentious epithet as
"Palladium." What morals our people have known and practised they have
learned and been drilled in in the homes. That these morals should have
been warped by a class-bias was inevitable. A home, itself the product
of a society divided into classes, could not teach anything but a
class-morality. A purely social morality (if morality be the proper name
for the highest conduct in a classless society) is even yet impossible.

But, much as we owe to the home, (I pity the reader who can recall his
or her early home life with dry eyes), the Nihilism of Socialism tells
us the day of the home is drawing to its close. So it may be as well for
us to consider for a moment the bad side of the home as we know it
to-day. It may be that when we have done so, we shall be able to
anticipate its passing with greater equanimity.

At this late day--when seventeen years have rolled by since Ibsen's "The
Doll's House" was first introduced to an English-speaking audience at
the Novelty Theatre in London--it is surely not necessary to dwell upon
the dwarfing and stifling effects upon women of even "happy" homes. In
the brilliant preface to "Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant," Bernard Shaw,
referring to middle-class home life, speaks of "the normal English way
being to sit in separate families in separate rooms in separate houses,
each person silently occupied with a book, a paper, or a game of halma,
cut off equally from the blessings of society and solitude." "The
result," he continues, "is that you may make the acquaintance of a
thousand streets of middle-class English families without coming on a
trace of any consciousness of citizenship, or any artistic cultivation
of the senses."

In the following paragraph he adds:

"In proportion as this horrible domestic institution is broken up by the
active social circulation of the upper classes in their own orbit, or
its stagnant isolation made impossible by the overcrowding of the
working classes, manners improve enormously. In the middle classes
themselves the revolt of a single clever daughter (nobody has yet done
justice to the modern clever Englishwoman's loathing of the very word
'home'), and her insistence on qualifying herself for an independent
working life, humanizes her whole family in an astonishingly short time;
and the formation of a habit of going to the suburban theatre once a
week, or to the Monday Popular Concerts, or both, very perceptibly
ameliorates its manners. But none of these breaches in the Englishman's
castle-house can be made without a cannonade of books and pianoforte
music. The books and music cannot be kept out, because they alone can
make the hideous boredom of the hearth bearable. If its victims may not
live real lives, they may at least read about imaginary ones, and
perhaps learn from them to doubt whether a class that not only submits
to home life, but actually values itself on it, is really a class worth
belonging to. For the sake of the unhappy prisoners of the home, then,
let my plays be printed as well as acted."

A concrete picture may give us a better idea of what Shaw means when he
calls women "the unhappy prisoners of the home." In that magnificent
scene in the third act of "Candida," after Morell has called on Candida
to choose between him and the poet, Marchbanks, Candida gives us a vivid
glimpse of what her home life had been, in this speech, addressed to
Marchbanks, and, in reading it, remember that Morell was "a good
husband" and that Candida loved him.


     "--You know how strong he (Morell) is--how clever he is--how happy!
     Ask James's mother and his three sisters what it cost to save James
     the trouble of doing anything but be strong and clever and happy.
     Ask me what it costs to be James's mother and three sisters and
     wife and mother to his children all in one. Ask Prossy and Maria
     how troublesome the house is even when we have no visitors to help
     us slice the onions. Ask the tradesmen who want to worry James and
     spoil his beautiful sermons who it is that puts them off. When
     there is money to give, he gives it: when there is money to refuse,
     I refuse it. I build a castle of comfort and indulgence and love
     for him, and stand sentinel always to keep little vulgar cares out.
     I make him master here, though he does not know it, and could not
     tell you a moment ago how it came to be so."


This should make it easy for us to understand why so many women are
ready to sympathize with William Morris in the sentiments he expressed
in the following paragraph in "Signs of Change:"

"As to what extent it may be necessary or desirable for people under
social order to live in common, we may differ pretty much according to
our tendencies toward social life. For my part I can't see why we should
think it a hardship to eat with the people we work with; I am sure that
as to many things, such as valuable books, pictures, and splendor of
surroundings, we shall find it better to club our means together; and I
must say that often when I have been sickened by the stupidity of the
mean, idiotic rabbit warrens that rich men build for themselves in
Bayswater and elsewhere, I console myself with visions of the noble
communal hall of the future, unsparing of materials, generous in worthy
ornament, alive with the noblest thoughts of our time, and the past,
embodied in the best art which a free and manly people could produce;
such an abode of man as no private enterprise could come anywhere near
for beauty and fitness, because only collective thought and collective
life could cherish the aspirations which would give birth to its beauty,
or have the skill and leisure to carry them out. I for my part should
think it much the reverse of a hardship if I had to read my books and
meet my friends in such a place; nor do I think I am better off to live
in a vulgar stuccoed house crowded with upholstery that I despise, in
all respects degrading to the mind and enervating to the body to live
in, simply because I call it my own, or my house."


From the viewpoint of this historical materialism, the State loses its
attribute of permanence and becomes the product of definite economic
conditions--in a word, it is the child of economic inequality. "The
State," in the words of Engels, "is the result of the desire to keep
down class conflicts. But, having arisen amid these conflicts, it is as
a rule the State of the most powerful economic class that by force of
its economic supremacy becomes also the ruling political class, and thus
acquires new means of subduing and exploiting the oppressed masses. The
antique State was, therefore, the State of the slave owners for the
purpose of holding the slaves in check. The feudal State was the organ
of the nobility for the oppression of the serfs and dependent farmers.
The modern representative State is the tool of the capitalist exploiters
of wage labor."[28]

"The State, then," Engels says on another page of the same work, "did
not exist from all eternity. There have been societies without it, that
had no idea of any State or public power.[29] At a certain stage of
economic development, which was of necessity accompanied by a division
of society into classes, the State became the inevitable result of this
division. We are now rapidly approaching a stage of evolution in
production, in which the existence of classes has not only ceased to be
a necessity, but becomes a positive fetter on production. Hence, these
classes must fall as inevitably as they once arose. The State must
irrevocably fall with them. The society that is to reorganize production
on the basis of a free and equal association of the producers, will
transfer the machinery of the State where it will then belong--into the
Museum of Antiquities by the side of the spinning wheel and the bronze
ax."[30]

In another work, he says: "The first act by virtue of which the State
really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of
society--the taking possession of the means of production in the name of
Society--this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State.
State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after
another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of
persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct
of processes of production. The State is not abolished. _It dies
out._"[31]

It is thus seen that, according to the teaching of historical
materialism, the State is destined, when it becomes the State of the
working-class, to remove its own foundation--economic inequality--and
thus, to commit suicide.

Many of those, who have witnessed with mingled consternation and
amusement the strenuous efforts of Mr. Roosevelt and the frantic zeal of
Mr. Hearst to enlarge the scope of governmental action to cover every
conceivable field of human activity from spelling to beef-canning, will
hail with delight Engels' tidings that the State is to "die out."


The thesis, that the realization of the socialist ideal involves the
atrophy of Religion, the metamorphosis of the Family, and the suicide of
the State, would now appear to be sufficiently demonstrated.

One cannot help wondering what proportion of the "educated and
professional" persons, who, Mr. Street testifies, are in growing numbers
yielding to the lure of Socialism, really desire these results. Many of
them, no doubt, are trying on a new field the old experiment of serving
God and Mammon, of putting new wine into old bottles. Ibsen's Nora,
though she had far less learning than is usual in the "educated and
professional classes" of England and America, was, in this matter, far
wiser than are they. When the falsehood and slavery of life in "The
Doll's House" became unbearable to her, she knew that she must choose
between the Old and the New; and that, if she chose the new life of
revolt and freedom, she must leave behind her all the badges of her
doll's life. Had she taken with her the trinkets and gauds that the
master of the Doll's House had given her, she would not have escaped
from the doll's life when she turned her back on the Doll's House. Her
woman's instinct did not fail her, and, when, with a woman's courage she
chose the New and left the Old, she told Torvald, "Whatever belongs to
me I shall take with me. I will have nothing from you either now or
later on."

Many of the young people of education, who have of late come into the
socialist movement, have left--temporarily, at least--the Doll's House
of conservatism; but they have brought with them many of the habits of
thought, many of the conventions of their old doll's life. Some of them,
doubtless, realizing that the Materialist Conception of History involves
the Nihilism of Socialism, and thus calls on them to abandon their
religious, metaphysical, and dualistic habits of thought, to cast aside
their conventional class morality, to cease vaporing about that
impossible monstrosity, "the Socialist State," attempt to cut the
Gordian knot by denying the Materialist Conception of History, while
clinging to their socialist ideal. They thus repeat in inverted form the
curious feat in intellectual acrobatics performed by Professor Seligman,
who believes in historical materialism, but rejects Socialism. "There
is nothing in common," he asserts, "between the economic interpretation
of history and the doctrine of socialism, except the accidental fact
that the originator of both theories happened to be the same man." And a
few pages further on he reiterates: "Socialism and 'historical
materialism' are entirely independent-conceptions."[32]

To the educated socialists, who deny or mutilate the doctrine of
historical materialism, the materialist socialist might well reply by
asserting that these educated socialists are socialists only because of
the artistic, intellectual, ethical, and spiritual changes they expect
the economic revolution of socialism to produce. The fact that they,
lovers of "the things of the spirit," are socialists proves that they
believe, albeit unconsciously, in economic determinism.

But, although this personal argument might Well be deemed sufficient, it
can readily be proven affirmatively that the whole theory of Modern
Socialism rests upon the foundation of historical materialism. This
clearly appears in the' admirable summary of the teachings of Marx that
Gabriel Deville gives in the Preface to his epitome of Marx's "Capital."


     "History, Marx has shown, is nothing but the history of class
     conflicts. The division of society into classes, which made its
     appearance with the social life of man, rests on economic
     relations--maintained by force--which enable some to succeed in
     shifting on to the shoulders of others the natural necessity of
     labor.

     "Material interests have always been the inciting motives of the
     incessant struggles of the privileged classes, either with, each
     other, or against the inferior classes at whose expense they live.
     Man is dominated by the material conditions of life, and these
     conditions, and therefore the mode of production, have determined
     and will determine human customs, ethics, and institutions--social,
     economic, political, juridical, etc.

     "As soon as one part of society has monopolized the means of
     production, the other part, upon whom the burden of labor falls, is
     obliged to add to the labor-time necessary for its own support, a
     certain surplus-labor-time, for which it receives no
     equivalent,--time that is devoted to supporting and enriching the
     possessors of the means of production. As an extractor of unpaid
     labor, which, by means of the increasing surplus-value whose source
     it is, accumulates every day, more and more, in the hands of the
     proprietary class the instruments of its dominion, the capitalist
     regime surpasses in power all the antecedent regimes founded on
     compulsory labor.

     "But to-day, the economic conditions begotten by this regime,
     trammelled in their natural evolution by this very regime,
     inexorably tend to break the capitalist mould which can no longer
     contain them, and these destroying principles are the elements of
     the new society.

     "The historic mission of the class at present exploited, the
     proletariat, which is being organized and disciplined by the very
     mechanism of capitalist production, is to complete the work of
     destruction begun by the development of social antagonisms. It
     must, first of all, definitively wrest from its class adversaries
     the political power--the command of the force devoted by them to
     preserving intact their economic monopolies and privileges.

     "Once in control of the political power, it will be able, by
     proceeding to the socialization of the means of production through
     the expropriation of the usurpers of the fruits of others' toil, to
     suppress the present contradiction between collective production
     and private capitalist appropriation, and to realize the
     universalization of labor, and the abolition of classes."[33]


If the "educated and professional" socialists cannot break the chain of
this logic, they find themselves, as Nora did, face to face with the
necessity of making a choice. Behind them is the old doll's house life
with its manifold conventions--once useful, but through economic
evolution outgrown and thus become false and deadly--a life, easy
enough mayhap, but wholly devoid of idealism; before them is the new
life of freedom, of revolt against outworn beliefs and conventions--a
life of great difficulty, mayhap, but a life cheered by a noble
ideal--an ideal in whose realization the socialist materialists believe
as fully, as passionately as the ancient Hebrews believed in the
fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies.

Theirs is a hard case. Without ideals they cannot, in any worthy sense,
live. The only possible ideal, that even the keen eyes of so shrewd an
observer as Mr. Street can perceive, is the ideal of Socialism. But they
cannot accept this ideal without abandoning much, I do not say that is
dear to them, but much that by habit and tradition has become part and
parcel of their intellectual being.

If they decide to go forward into the New, the old world of dolls'
houses must become a strange land to them. In the difficulties and
trials of the new life, they cannot send back for aid to the old world,
which will have become a world of strangers to them. Nora's woman's
instinct did not fail her here; when Torvald asked if he could send help
to her in case of need, her unhesitating reply was, "No, I say. I take
nothing from strangers."

Far better is the case of the workingman attracted by the socialist
ideal. The Nihilism of Socialism has no deterrent terrors for him, for,
as Karl Marx said long ago, "he has nothing to lose but his chains, and
a whole world to gain." He has long since lost all interest in religion;
the factory by enlisting his wife and children as workers has already
destroyed his home; and to him the State means nothing but the club of
the policeman, the injunction of the judge, and the rifle of the
militiaman.

But for the man of the "educated and professional classes" leaving the
doll's house is indeed a difficult task. For its performance three
things are requisite: a free and open mind, courage, and a vivid
imagination. The Russian genius, Peshkoff (Maxim Gorky), did it, and did
it with relative ease because he was a workingman _before_ he became an
educated man. For the same reason, though in a less degree, Jack London
has also done it successfully, though here and there he still lapses
into the doll's mode of thought. The sex-interest in the latter part of
"The Sea Wolf" is obviously treated from the dolls' point of view; but
it should be remembered that Mr. London necessarily expected the
majority of the purchasers of "The Sea Wolf" to be dolls. But, in spite
of this instance, we may be sure that Jack London brought but little
with him when he left the Doll's House; and I am very sure he never
sends back to have parcels forwarded to him.

When Mr. Upton Sinclair left the Doll's House, he evidently stuffed his
mental pockets with a large assortment of intellectual _lingerie_ and
millinery from the doll wardrobes. In telling us what Life means to him
in a recent magazine, he says that during a certain stress and storm
period of his life he lived in close intimacy with three friends who
"loved" him "very dearly." "Their names are Jesus, Hamlet and Shelley."
Can any one imagine William Morris writing a sentiment so perfectly
satisfying to a doll's sense of beauty? When I read these lines there
rises before me a picture of the author tastefully robed in an exquisite
dress--a doll's dress--of dotted swiss.[34]

Recently he has started a Co-operative Home Colony quite in the spirit
of the bourgeois Utopians who founded Brook Farm more than
half-a-century ago. Colony-founding, historians tell us, was a favorite
amusement of the dolls of that era.

In the "Times Magazine" (for December 1906) he tells us that "the home
has endured for ages, and through all the ages it has stayed about the
same." This belief, I am informed, is almost universal among dolls.

I find myself the prey of a growing suspicion that Mr. Sinclair from
time to time receives express parcels from the "Doll's House."

William Morris was a genius; he had a free and open mind; he had
courage; and he had a vivid imagination. When he left the Doll's House,
he took nothing with him, and he never afterward took anything "from
strangers." It was his poet's imagination that enabled him to write
"News from Nowhere," the only Utopia in whose communal halls the unwary
reader does not stumble over dolls' furniture. Morris is the perfect
type of the man of culture turned revolutionist.[35]

Mr. H. G. Wells has recently written a Utopian romance, "In the Days of
the Comet," which, although it possesses in the fullest measure Mr.
Wells' well known charm of style, is in substance at best a very feeble
echo of "News from Nowhere." One of the modes of thought specially
characteristic of eighteenth century French dolls is strongly to the
fore in Mr. Wells' treatment of war. In the conversations "after the
Change" between Melmount, the famous Cabinet Minister, and the pitiful,
cowardly, inefficient hero (?), Leadford, they both appear to be
inexpressibly shocked at the _unreasonableness_ of war. It is true it is
somewhat difficult to tell just what Melmount did think or feel, for
Melmount is in one particular like Boston's distinguished _litterateur_,
Mr. Lawson,--he appears to be constantly on the point of uttering some
great thought, but never utters it. But so far as light is given us
Melmount after the Change seems to have looked on war much as Carlyle
did long before. Every one remembers Carlyle's two groups of
peasants,[36] living hundreds of miles apart, who never heard of each
other, and had not the slightest quarrel, the one with the other, but
who none-the-less obeyed the orders of their respective kings, and
marched until they met, and at the word of command shot each other into
corpses. Most of us will agree with Carlyle and Melmount that, viewed
from the peasants' standpoint, this was unreasonable to the point of
sheer folly.

But, if I understand Mr. Wells aright, he seems to elevate the reason of
the peasant into something very like the "eternal reason" of Diderot and
Rousseau. He apparently forgets for the nonce that Engels long ago
pointed out that "this eternal reason was in reality nothing but the
idealized understanding of the eighteenth century citizen, just then
evolving into the bourgeois." The difficulty that Mr. Wells will
encounter in trying to bring human society into harmony with "eternal
reason" is the impossibility of getting different classes of men to
agree as to what is reasonable. No one outside of dolls' houses any
longer believes in "eternal reason." Every man and every class has an
ideal of what is reasonable, but these ideals vary. War is unreasonable
to the peasant-target; it is also unreasonable to Melmount and Mr. Wells
so far as they are representatives of the citizens of the classless
society of the future, a society based on social solidarity, on
world-wide brotherhood. But to the socialist materialist, war, in a
world based on private ownership of the means of production used to
produce commodities, with its concomitants, the wage-system,
competition--domestic and international,--and ever-recurring
"over-production," is so very far from unreasonable that it is
absolutely inevitable.[37]

Mr. Wells evidently brought something with him when he left the Doll's
House.

We now begin to realize what a very difficult matter it is to rid the
mind completely of the effects of what Professor Veblen calls "the
institutional furniture handed down from the past." The man, who yields
to the lure of Socialism, must sooner or later effect a revolution
within his own mind; if he does not, he will sooner or later return to
his Doll's House, or make an excursion into some field of "pragmatic
romance" where he will build himself a new doll's house.

Granted the truth of historical materialism, how will future
generations look on the literature of to-day and yesterday? To a
generation wholly untrained in theological, metaphysical and dualistic
modes of thought how much meaning will there be in the poetry of
Tennyson and Browning? For my part, I never read Browning now without
being unpleasantly reminded of the aphorism Nietzsche put into the mouth
of Zarathustra: "Alas, it is true I have cast my net in their (poets')
seas and tried to catch good fish; but I always drew up the head of some
old God."

But I am glad to believe that the matchless melody and the chiseled
beauty of Tennyson's verse will charm the senses of men to whom his
curious mixture of pantheism and Broad Church theology, which the middle
classes of England and America in the latter decades of the nineteenth
century welcomed as the ultimate massage of philosophy, will not be
ridiculous only because it will be meaningless. But I am unable to think
of the men of the future deriving any pleasure from our greatest poet,
Browning. On the other hand it is not impossible that the fame of
Swinburne will stand higher in the twenty-first century than it does in
this opening decade of the twentieth.

The men and women of the future will, I am sure, feel themselves akin
to Shelley. They will probably enjoy Byron too, so far as they
understand him; but men and women, who have never known any relationship
between the sexes but that of independence and equality, will be bored
and baffled by that great bulk of Byron's verse which shocked his
contemporaries.

When we turn to the drama, it appears probable that the revolution in
the relations of the sexes will convert into mere materials for the
historian even our greatest plays, such as Ibsen's "The Doll's House,"
Sudermann's "The Joy of Living," Maeterlinck's "Monna Vanna," and Shaw's
"Mrs. Warren's Profession."

Are the "educated and professional" socialists prepared to accept gladly
such tremendous changes? They are confronted by a momentous question. It
was of their class William Morris was thinking when he wrote:


     "I have looked at this claim by the light of history and my own
     conscience, and it seems to me so looked at to be a most just
     claim, and that resistance to it means nothing short of a denial of
     the hope of civilization.

     This, then, is the claim:--

     _It is right and necessary that all men should have work to do
     which shall be worth doing, and be of itself pleasant to do: and
     which should be done under such conditions as would make it neither
     over-wearisome nor over-anxious._

     Turn that claim about as I may, think of it as long as I can, I
     cannot find that it is an exorbitant claim; yet again I say if
     Society would or could admit it, the face of the world would be
     changed; discontent and strife and dishonesty would be ended. To
     feel that we were doing work useful to others and pleasant to
     ourselves, and that such work and its due reward _could_ not fail
     us! What serious harm could happen to us then? And the price to be
     paid for so making the world happy is Revolution."[38]


Are they willing to pay the price? Nora paid the price for her freedom
and paid it in full.

_She took nothing from strangers._

If they are unwilling to pay the price, what is there left for them save
the joyless sensuality and black despair of pessimism?

FOOTNOTES:

[7] "The Theory of Business Enterprise," Veblen, New York, 1904. Pages
351, 352. See also my article on Veblen the Revolutionist, International
Socialist Review, June, 1905, vol. V, page 726.

[8] Throughout this article "nihilism" is not used in its strict
technical or philosophical sense, but is used simply as a convenient
term by which to designate the aggregate of those aspects of Socialism
which, viewed from the standpoint of the existing regime, appear as
negative and destructive.

[9] "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy." Karl Marx,
New York, 1904. Pages 11, 12.

[10] "See Philosophical Essays," Joseph Dietzgen, Chicago, 1906. Pages
174 and 52.

[11] "Essays on the Materialistic Conception of History." Antonio
Labriola, Chicago, 1904. Pages 85, 86.

[12] l. c. pages 155-6, 158.

[13] "Philosophical Essays." Dietzgen. Page 86.

[14] "Socialism and Modern Science." Enrico Ferri, New York, 1904. Pages
60, 61.

[15] "Philosophical Essays." Dietzgen. Page 116.

[16] The reader will observe that Ferri reads into the Erfurt
pronouncement on religion (quoted in full above) a broader spirit of
tolerance than its words necessarily imply.

[17] See "The Theory of the Leisure Class." Thorstein Veblen, New York,
1905. Pages 287, 288.

[18] Marx in "Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechts Philosophie."

[19] "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State." F.
Engels, Chicago, 1905. Page 99, and "Woman under Socialism," August
Bebel, New York, 1904. Page 127.

[20] Engels, "Origin of the Family, &c." Page 100.

[21] (Mrs. Parsons'.) The enlightened public opinion of to-day finds the
chief if not the only warrant for universal male suffrage in its being
an educational means. In this view women need the suffrage at present
even more than men.

[22] (Mrs. Parsons'.) Dr. Alice Drysdale Vickery gave striking
expression to one phase of this subject at a recent discussion of the
London Sociological Society. She urged that _without economic
independence_ the individuality of woman could not exercise that natural
selective power in the choice of a mate which was probably a main factor
in the spiritual evolution of the race. _The American Journal of
Sociology_, Sept., 1905. Page 279.

[23] (LaMonte's.) No wonder such a startling hypothesis aroused the ire
of our clerical friends.

[24] (LaMonte's.) It is worthy of note that this suggestion of a serious
modification of marriage _under existing economic conditions_ comes
characteristically, not from a Socialist, but from the wife of a
Republican member of Congress and the daughter of a distinguished
financier.

[25] (Mrs. Parsons'.) Through the discovery of certain and innocuous
methods of preventing conception. The application of this knowledge
would have to be encouraged by public opinion in cases where conception
would result in a degenerate offspring. Public opinion would also have
to endorse the segregation of persons tainted with communicable sexual
disease.

[26] Berlin cablegram in the New York Sun of Dec. 7, 1906.

[27] "Origin of the Family, &c.," Pages 91, 92. See also Bebel, "Woman
under Socialism," Page 122, and elsewhere.

[28] "Origin of the Family &c." Pages 208, 209.

[29] On the existence of organized societies without a co-ercive State,
see also, "Ancient Society." Lewis H. Morgan, Chicago, 1907.

[30] "Origin of the Family &c." Pages 211, 212.

[31] "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific." F. Engels, Chicago, 1905.
Pages 76, 77.

[32] "The Economic Interpretation of History." Edwin R. A. Seligman, New
York, 1903. Pages 105 and 109.

[33] "The People's Marx." Gabriel Deville, New York, 1900. Pages 18, 19.

[34] Cartoonists are warned that this idea is protected by copyright.

[35] The other day I chanced upon a pamphlet by one Oscar Lovell Triggs
of Chicago. It bore the title, "William Morris, Craftsman, Writer and
Social Reformer." In turning over its pages I was somewhat startled to
read: "'Scientific' socialism he never understood or advocated." And
again further on my eye fell on this gem: "It is apparent that Morris's
'Socialism' is poetic and not scientific socialism." This pamphlet
should have a place of honor in every doll's library.

[36] In "Sartor Resartus."

[37] In fact, Professor Veblen has shown that for the last quarter of a
century the commonest cause of seasons of "ordinary prosperity" has been
war. See "The Theory of Business Enterprise." Pages 250-1.

[38] From "Art and Socialism," a pamphlet that is now rare.



THE BIOGENETIC LAW


It is very easy to go too far in drawing analogies between biology and
sociology. Society--as yet, at least--is not an organism in the sense
that a tree or a mammal is. It is quite true that with the perfect
organization and solidarity to which Socialists look forward the analogy
will be more complete than it is to-day, but for the present we must
always remember that, as the lawyers would say, "the cases are not on
all fours." If we bear these reservations in mind laws drawn from
natural science are often of the greatest aid in enabling us to
understand the phenomena of psychology and sociology.

One of the most helpful of these laws of science is the biogenetic law
which is always associated with the great name of Ernest Haeckel, its
most distinguished exponent. Doctor William Bölsche, in his book[39] on
Haeckel, uses, to illustrate this law, the familiar example of the
frog. The mother frog lays her eggs in the water. In due course a new
little frog develops from each of these eggs. But the object that
develops from them is altogether different from the adult frog. This
object is the familiar fish-like tadpole. It finally loses its tail,
develops legs, and becomes a frog. Doctor Bölsche discusses the matter
as follows:--

"There are reasons on every hand for believing that the frogs and
salamanders, which now stand higher in classification than the fishes,
were developed from the fishes in earlier ages in the course of
progressive evolution. Once upon a time they were fishes. If that is so,
the curious phenomenon we have been considering really means that each
young frog resembles its fish ancestors. In each case to-day the frog's
egg first produces the earlier or ancestral stage, the fish, it then
develops rapidly into a frog. In other words, the individual development
recapitulates an important chapter of the earlier history of the whole
race of frogs. Putting this in the form of a law, it runs: each new
individual must, in its development, pass rapidly through the form of
its parents' ancestors before it assumes the parent form itself. If a
new individual frog is to be developed and if the ancestors of the
whole frog stem were fishes, the first thing to develop from the frog's
egg will be a fish and it will only later assume the form of a frog.

"That is a simple and pictorial outline of what we mean when we speak of
the biogenetic law. We need, of course, much more than the one frog-fish
before we can erect it into a law. But we have only to look around us
and we find similar phenomena as common as pebbles.

"Let us bear in mind that evolution proceeded from certain amphibia to
the lizards and from these to the birds and mammals. That is a long
journey, but we have no alternative. If the amphibia (such as the frog
and the salamander) descend from the fishes, all the higher classes up
to man himself must also have done so. Hence the law must have
transmitted even to ourselves this ancestral form of the gill-breathing
fish.

"What a mad idea, many will say, that man should at one time be a
tadpole like the frog! And yet--there's no help in prayer, as Falstaff
said--even the human germ or embryo passes through a stage at which it
shows the outlines of gills on the throat just like a fish. It is the
same with the dog, the horse, the kangaroo, the duck mole, the bird,
the crocodile, the turtle, the lizard. They all have the same structure.

"Nor is this an isolated fact. From the fish was evolved the amphibian.
From this came the lizard. From the lizard came the bird. The lizard has
solid teeth in its mouth. The bird has no teeth in its beak. That is to
say, it has none to-day. But it had when it was a lizard. Here, then we
have an intermediate stage between the fish and the bird. We must expect
that the bird embryo in the egg will show some trace of it. As a matter
of fact, it does so. When we examine young parrots in the egg we find
that they have teeth in their mouth before the bill is formed. When the
fact was first discovered, the real intermediate form between the lizard
and the bird was not known. It was afterwards discovered at Solenhofen
in a fossil impression from the Jurassic period. This was the
archeopteryx, which had feathers like a real bird and yet had teeth in
its mouth like the lizard when it lived on earth. The instance is
instructive in two ways. In the first place it shows that we were quite
justified in drawing our conclusions as to the past from the bird's
embryonic form, even if the true transitional form between the lizard
and the bird were never discovered at all. In the second place, we see
in the young bird in the egg the reproduction of two consecutive
ancestral stages: one in the fish gills, the other in the lizard-like
teeth. Once the law is admitted, there can be nothing strange in this.
If one ancestral stage, that of the fish, is reproduced in the young
animal belonging to a higher group, why not several?--why not all of
them? No doubt, the ancestral series of the higher forms is of enormous
length. What an immense number of stages there must have been before the
fish! And then we have still the amphibian, the lizard, and the bird or
mammal, up to man.

"Why should not the law run: the whole ancestral series must be
reproduced in the development of each individual organism? We are now in
a position to see the whole bearing of Haeckel's idea."

In analogy with this, is it not true that every thinking man and woman
in the course of his or her development, epitomizes the history of human
thought? To be more specific, I take it that you, reader, are an
educated man of middle-class origin, and that you have been a socialist
for at least six months, and have, of course, read Engels' "Socialism:
Utopian and Scientific." Now, is it not a fact that your socialism has
developed from Utopia toward Science exactly along the lines Engels has
traced for the movement at large? So true was this in my case that for a
long time I was inclined to push the biogenetic law too far and to
conclude that every socialist had traveled the same road. I still think
the law holds here, but not in the narrow way I first applied it.

In the course of my work as an agitator (and socialist agitation is the
best School of Socialism) I met many sterling socialists who had never
been Utopians as I had. They were born fighters, so to speak, and had
been full of the class spirit, and fighting the capitalists in the
trade-union and elsewhere in every way they could think of, long before
they had ever heard of the ideal of the Co-operative Commonwealth. And
these men are among our best and most uncompromising socialists. Here
was a hard problem for me. I believed in my law, but it did not seen to
cover the cases of these militant socialists. I was long in solving the
problem, but I solved it at last.

Socialism has two aspects. As the most vital fact of modern life it is a
kinetic force. "Modern Socialism" in Engels' words "is, in its essence,
the direct product of the recognition on the one hand, of the class
antagonisms, existing in the society of to-day, between proprietors and
non-proprietors, between capitalists and wage-workers; on the other
hand, of the anarchy existing in production." This is Socialism, the
most pregnant actuality in the palpitating life all about us. But, as
Engels pointed out, Socialism also has its ideological side. In this
sense it may correctly be called a theory, if we bear in mind that it is
the virile force of class-feeling, and not the theory, that is going to
effect the Social Revolution. Now, every individual socialist does in
his development conform to the biogenetic law; but the bourgeois
socialist is more apt to epitomize the history of Socialist theory,
while the proletarian socialist recapitulates the development of class
feeling as a kinetic force from blind and often unavailing hatred of the
rich to the fruitful class-consciousness of the Marxian Socialist. The
individual may combine these two processes in varying proportions; but
in broad outline the bourgeois may be expected to reproduce fairly
closely the history of Socialism, as a theory, while the proletarian
reproduces the history of Socialism, the great kinetic force.

While, from the standpoint of socialist theory, the statement of Doctor
Parkhurst and many others that "Christ was a Socialist" is a manifest
absurdity, the historian who traces back the history of Socialism, the
kinetic force, will surely be led by the chain of facts to James and
Jesus and Isaiah. For they were among those who gave most effective
expression to the class hatred which is the lineal ancestor of Marxian
Socialism viewed as a kinetic actuality. In this sense Jesus was one of
the founders of Socialism.

Here are a few extracts from these ancient sowers of the seeds of
discontent:


     "The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people,
     and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the
     spoil of the poor is in your houses.

     What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces
     of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts."

     "Wo unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field,
     till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst
     of the earth!" ISAIAH.

     "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter the
     kingdom of heaven.

     And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through
     the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom
     of God."

     "Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour
     widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye
     shall receive the greater damnation." JESUS.

     "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall
     come upon you.

     Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.

     Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a
     witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye
     have heaped treasure together for the last days.

     Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields,
     which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them
     which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of
     Sabaoth."
                                                              JAMES.


James would appear to have been somewhat more class-conscious than is
deemed decorous by most of our modern Christian Socialists. But Isaiah
and Jesus and James all give expression to precisely the same fierce
emotions that I have many a time seen blazing out of the eyes of poor
hopeless proletarians grouped around the soap-box; and it is the glory
of Modern Socialism that it has been able to transform this fierce class
hatred into intelligent class-consciousness which aims by loyalty to the
Proletariat to rescue the rich as well as the poor from the fatal curse
of economic inequality.

The bourgeois and the proletarian who come into the Socialist movement
both have tadpole tails to lose in the course of their development into
scientific socialists; but the tails are different. The proletarian has
to rid himself of his hatred of the rich as individuals. He has to learn
that Rockefeller, just as much as he himself, is a product of economic
conditions. After he once thoroughly learns this there will be no danger
of his being a Democrat or Anarchist or any other species of dangerous
reactionary. The bourgeois tail is harder to lose. It consists of
animistic, theological and dualistic habits of thought, issuing in
utopianism and non-materialistic idealism. For, if I may be permitted to
toy with the Hegelian dialectic in the manner of Marx, no man can be a
fruitful idealist until he has become a materialist.

The reader of this volume will probably find himself able to agree
pretty fully with what I have said in "Science and Socialism." That is
because, when I wrote that, I had not fully gotten rid of my idealistic
tadpole tail. He will probably have more difficulty in assenting to the
theses of "The Nihilism of Socialism." That is because he has not yet
gotten rid of his tadpole tail. I do not wish to be understood as
speaking with contempt or depreciation of the tadpole tails. Without
their aid most of us bourgeois socialist frogs would never have been
able to get out of our old conservative shells. It was the utopianism of
our tails, in most cases, that first cracked the shell.

I should be sorry to have any reader interpret the materialism of "The
Nihilism of Socialism" into a disposition to deny or depreciate the
great and beneficent influence that Christianity has had in the past. I
should be greatly chagrined to be accused of irreverence in discussing
religion. Irreverence is ever a sign of a narrow intellectual horizon
and a limited vision. The scoffer is the product of the limited
knowledge characteristic of what Engels called "metaphysical
materialism." Unfortunately the mental development of many in the past
has been arrested at this Ingersoll-Voltaire stage. But with the growth
of Modern Socialism the tendency is for the metaphysical materialist to
_grow_ into socialist or dialectic materialism with its Hegelian
watchword, "Nothing is; every thing is becoming."

The socialist materialist realizes that the obsolescent ideals of
Christianity and the Family have played leading roles in the great drama
of human progress. It is impossible for him to speak lightly or
contemptuously of the ideals which have sustained and comforted, guided
and cheered countless hosts of his fellows through the long, dark ages
of Christian Faith. But he knows that those ages are past and that
present day adherence to the old ideals is atavistic and reactionary.
But none-the-less his mental attitude toward the old ideals is one of
reverent sympathy and, I had almost added, gratitude. This state of
feeling has found perfect expression in these lines by William Morris:


     "They are gone--the lovely, the mighty, the hope of the ancient
       Earth:
     It shall labor and bear the burden as before that day of their
       birth;
     It shall groan in its blind abiding for the day that Sigurd hath
       sped,
     And the hour that Brynhild hath hastened, and the dawn that waketh
       the dead;
     It shall yearn, and be oft-times holpen, and forget their deeds no
       more,
     Till the new sun beams on Baldur, and the happy sea-less shore."
                                   (From SIGURD the VOLSUNG.)


FOOTNOTE:

[39] Haeckel: His Life and Work. By William Bölsche. George W. Jacobs &
Company.



KISMET.


     "Verily I say unto you. That there be some of them that stand here
     which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of
     God come with power." Mark, ix, 1.


The very close analogy between primitive Christianity and Modern
Socialism has often been pointed out both by materialists, such as
Enrico Ferri, and by Churchmen, such as the Reverend Doctor Hall.

We find in both the doctrine of the Advent. The primitive Christian
believed in all simplicity and sincerity that he should not taste death
until the Son of Man had come and established upon earth His kingdom of
justice, peace and brotherhood. The Marxian Socialist to-day is even
more sure that men and women now living will bear a part in the Social
Revolution which is to usher in the reign of Fellowship on earth. The
secret of the propaganda power of both movements is in the sincerity of
this conviction.

Just at this point we are often met with two queries, both of which
bear witness to the persistence of the utopian tadpole tails of the
questioners. The first question is: If the early Christians were sincere
and yet mistaken, may not the Socialists also be mistaken in their
doctrine of the inevitability of Socialism? The second question is: If
Socialism is inevitable--is coming anyhow--why do you Socialists vex
your souls agitating for it?

The doubt of the inevitability of Socialism on analysis is always found
to be a doubt of the pro-socialist desires and actions of the
Proletariat. No one disputes that the Capitalist system is breaking
down. With the great mass of the producers receiving bare subsistence
wages the impossibility of disposing of the almost miraculously
stupendous product of modern machines and processes is mathematically
demonstrable. The former paradox of the Socialist agitator, that the
Utopian is the man who believes in the possibility of the continuance of
the present system, has become a platitude. Nor can many be found to
dispute the statement that the centralization of industry in the United
States has reached a point where Socialism is economically entirely
practicable. The doubt of the sceptics is: Will the workers create, in
the language of economics, an effective demand for Socialism? Two
eminent Utopians have voiced this doubt in the recent past. Their names
are George D. Herron and Daniel DeLeon. Both alike forget that the
desires, ideals, and motives of the proletariat cannot but be in harmony
with their economic environment, and I do not think that either of them
would deny that, as we near the downfall of Capitalism, the economic
environment will more and more imperatively drive men to Socialism as
the only avenue of escape from chaos and pessimism. On this point, of
the motives to action of the individual being formed by economic
conditions, Marx wrote in "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte":
"On the various forms of property, on the conditions of social
existence, there rises an entire superstructure of various and
peculiarly formed sensations, illusions, methods of thought and views of
life. The whole class fashions and moulds them from out of their
material foundations and their corresponding social relations. The
single individual, in whom they converge through tradition and
education, is apt to imagine that they constitute the real determining
causes and the point of departure of his action." (Prof. Seligman's
translation.)

The man who has thoroughly assimilated the doctrine of historical
materialism cannot for a moment doubt the inevitability of Socialism.
The utopianism which evinces itself in this doubt may be depended upon
to betray itself elsewhere in the views of the doubters. We find that
this is signally true in the case of the two illustrious utopian
sceptics I have mentioned. The Natural Rights platform that Professor
Herron wrote and the Socialist Party adopted in 1904 is only less
utopian than Daniel DeLeon's curiously childish conceit that in the
highly factitious, "wheel of fortune" form of organization of the
Industrial Workers of the World[40] we have the precise frame-work of
the coming Co-operative Commonwealth.

It does not seem too much to say that doubt of the inevitability of
Socialism is in all cases a symptom of failure to apprehend clearly the
full implications of the Materialist Conception of History.

The second question, If Socialism is inevitable, why do Socialists work
to bring it about?, would appear to have been answered by implication in
the course of our discussion of the first question. In brief, we work
for it because we know that if we did not it would never come. It is
inevitable simply because Socialists are inevitable. Our activity as
Socialist agitators is a necessary result of the development of
capitalist industry just as much as the Trust is. Again, we work for
Socialism because we know we can get it, and we work all the harder if
we believe it is coming soon. One of the most active of our wealthy
socialists has said: "If I had to be in 'the hundred year, step at a
time, take-what-you-can-get' class, you would find me automobiling my
life away down at Newport with Reggie Vanderbilt instead of editing this
magazine.... As said, I would rather chase down the pike on my Red
Dragon at 'steen hundred miles an hour, terrifying the farmers, than go
in for any 'reform game'." (Gaylord Wilshire in Wilshire Editorials. New
York, 1907. Pages 232, 233.) So we find that in practice the belief in
the inevitability and the proximity of Socialism is the most powerful
stimulus to socialist activity.

We believe that the doctrine of the inevitability of Socialism is
scientifically true, that its proclamation is the most effective weapon
in the arsenal of the Socialist agitator, and that it is the most
powerful incentive to Socialist activity; so that we mean exactly what
the words imply when we address our non-socialist friends in the words
of William Morris:


     _"Come, join in the only battle wherein no man can fail,
     Where whoso fadeth and dieth, yet his deed shall still prevail."_


FOOTNOTE:

[40] I trust that no one will construe this as an attack on the
Industrial Workers of the World. It is not my intention to express in
this place any opinion as to the merits or demerits of that
organization. It is only mentioned here because mention of it was
necessary to illustrate the most curious case I know of the abnormally
prolonged retention of the utopian tadpole tail.



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     cases throughout the whole animal kingdom death is violent rather
     than "natural." Even among human beings a really "natural" death is
     rare. The author suggests that with improved conditions of living,
     most premature deaths may be prevented, and that in that event the
     fear of death, which causes so much of the misery of the world, may
     disappear.


7. +The Making of the World.+ By Dr. M. Wilhelm Meyer. Translated by
Ernest Untermann. Cloth, 50 cents.


     This is a companion volume to "The End of the World," and traces
     the processes through which new suns and new worlds come into being
     to take the place of those that have grown old and died. It is an
     essential link in the chain of evidence proving that the human mind
     is not something apart from nature but only another manifestation
     of the one force that pervades all "matter." The book has
     twenty-four illustrations, for the most part reproductions of
     telescopic photographs, which make the truth of the statements in
     the book evident to every reader.



THE INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE.

This new library, the first volume of which appeared in January, 1906,
contains in substantial and artistic cloth binding some of the most
important works on socialism and kindred subjects that have ever been
offered in the English language. While our price has been fixed at a
dollar a volume, most of the books in the library are equal to the
sociological books sold by other publishers at from $1.50 to $2.00.


1. +The Changing Order.+ A Study of Democracy. By Oscar Lovell Triggs,
Ph.D. Cloth, $1.00.


     Dr. Triggs was a prominent professor in the University of Chicago,
     but he taught too much truth for Standard Oil, and is no longer a
     professor in the University of Chicago. This book contains some of
     the truth that was too revolutionary for Mr. Rockefeller's
     institution. It traces the inevitable rise of democracy in
     industry, in other words, of a working class movement that will
     take industry out of the control of capitalists. It also studies
     the necessary effect of this rising democracy on literature and
     art, on work and play, on education and religion.


For description of other books in this library, and a large variety of
other Socialistic literature, see catalog; mailed free on request.
Address


CHARLES H. KERR & CO.
264 East Kinzie Street
CHICAGO





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