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Title: Landmarks of Scientific Socialism - "Anti-Duehring"
Author: Engels, Friedrich, 1820-1895
Language: English
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Translated and Edited by Austin Lewis

Charles H. Kerr & Company

Copyright, 1907
by Charles H. Kerr & Company

John F. Higgins
Printer and Binder
376-382 Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois


CHAPTER I                                                    PAGE

TRANSLATOR'S INTRODUCTION                                       7


PREFACES                                                       23
    Part I                                                     23
    Part II                                                    27
    Part III                                                   35


INTRODUCTION                                                   36
     I. In General                                             36
    II. What Herr Duehring Has to Say                          50



        Apriorism                                              54
        The Scheme of the Universe                             63


NATURAL PHILOSOPHY                                             70
        Time and Space                                         70
        Cosmogony, Physics, and Chemistry                      82
        The Organic World                                      94
        The Organic World (conclusion)                        107


MORAL AND LAW                                                 116
        Eternal Truths                                        116
        Equality                                              130
        Freedom and Necessity                                 146


THE DIALECTIC                                                 150
        Quantity                                              150
        Negation of the Negation                              159
        Conclusion                                            175



POLITICAL ECONOMY                                             176
     I. Objects and Methods                                   176
    II. The Force Theory                                      184
   III. Force Theory (continued)                              193
    IV. Force Theory (conclusion)                             203
     V. Theory of Value                                       214
    VI. Simple and Compound Labor                             219
   VII. Capital and Surplus Value                             223
  VIII. Capital and Surplus Value (conclusion)                227
    IX. Natural Economic Laws--Ground Rent                    232
     X. With Respect to the "Critical History"                235



SOCIALISM                                                     236
        Production                                            236
        Distribution                                          245
        The State, The Family, and Education                  256

APPENDIX                                                      261




When Dr. Eugene Duehring, privat docent at Berlin University, in 1875,
proclaimed the fact that he had become converted to Socialism, he was
not content to take the socialist movement as he found it, but set out
forthwith to promulgate a theory of his own. His was a most elaborate
and self-conscious mission. He stood forth as the propagandist not
only of certain specific and peculiar views of socialism but as the
originator of a new philosophy, and the propounder of strange and
wonderful theories with regard to the universe in general. The taunt
as to his all-comprehensiveness of intellect, with which Engels
pursues him somewhat too closely and much too bitterly, could not have
affected Herr Duehring very greatly. He had his own convictions with
respect to that comprehensive intellect of his and few will be found
to deny that he had the courage of his convictions.

Thirty years have gone since Duehring published the fact of his
conversion to socialism. The word "conversion" contains in itself the
distinction between the socialism of thirty years ago and that of
to-day. What was then a peculiar creed has now become a very
widespread notion. Men are not now individually converted to
socialism but whole groups and classes are driven into the socialist
ranks by the pressure of circumstances. The movement springs up
continually in new and unexpected places. Here it may languish
apparently, there it gives every indication of strong, new and
vigorous life.

The proletariat of the various countries race as it were towards the
socialist goal and, as they change in their respective positions, the
economic and political fields on which they operate furnish all the
surprises and fascinations of a race course. In 1892 Engels wrote that
the German Empire would in all probability be the scene of the first
great victory of the European proletariat. But thirteen years have
sufficed to bog the German movement in the swamps of Parliamentarianism.
Great Britain, whose Chartist movement was expected to provide the
British proletariat with a tradition, has furnished few examples of
skill in the management of proletarian politics, but existing society in
Great Britain has none the less been thoroughly undermined. The year
before that in which Herr Duehring made his statement of conversion, the
British Liberals had suffered a defeat which, in spite of an apparent
recuperation in 1880, proved the downfall of modern Liberalism in Great
Britain, and showed that the Liberal Party could no longer claim to be
the party of the working class. Not only that, but the British
philosophic outlook has become completely changed. The nonconformist
conscience grows less and less the final court of appeal in matters
political. A temporary but fierce attack of militant imperialism coupled
with the very general acceptance of an empiric collectivism has sufficed
to destroy old ideas and to make the road to victory easier for a
determined and relentless working class movement.

But if thirty years have worked wonders in Europe, and disintegration
can be plainly detected in the social fabric, the course of social and
political development in the United States has been still more
remarkable. In 1875 the country was still a farming community living
on the edge of a vast wilderness through which the railroad was just
beginning to open a path. Thirty years have been sufficient to convert
it into the greatest of manufacturing and commercial states. The
occupation of the public lands, the establishment of industry on an
hitherto undreamed of scale, the marvellous, almost overnight creation
of enormous cities, all these have resulted in the production of a
proletariat, cosmopolitan in its character, and with no traditions of
other than cash relations with the class which employs it. The purity
of the economic fact is unobscured. Hence a socialistic agitation has
arisen in the United States, the enthusiasm of which vies with that in
any of the European countries and the practical results of which bid
fair to be even more striking. This movement has arisen almost
spontaneously as the result of economic conditions. It is a natural
growth not the result of the preaching of abstract doctrines or the
picturing of an ideal state. The modern American proletariat is, as a
matter of fact, given neither to philosophic speculation nor to the
imagination which is necessary to idealism. Such socialism as it has
adopted it has taken up because it has felt impelled thereto by
economic pressure.

Hence, apart from all socialistic propaganda, a distinct
disintegration-process has been proceeding in modern society. Each
epoch carries within itself the seeds of its own dissolution. Things
have just this much value, they are transitory, says Engels in his
paraphrase of Hegel, and this is in fact the central idea of his
dialectic philosophy.

He criticises the work of Duehring from this standpoint. He labors not
so much to show that Duehring is mistaken in certain conclusions as to
prove that the whole method of his argument is wrong. His diatribes,
though the subject matter of his argument requires him to attack the
Berlin tutor, are directed chiefly against all absolute theories.
"Eternal truth," in the realm of science, equally with that of
philosophy, he scouts as absurd. To interpret the history of the time
in terms of the spirit of the time, to discover the actual beneath the
crust of the conventional, to analyse the content of the formulæ which
the majority are always ready to take on trust, and to face the fact
with a mind clear of preconceived notions is what Engels set out to
do. It cannot be said that he altogether succeeded. No man can succeed
in such a task. The prejudices and animosities created by incessant
controversy warped his judgment in some respects, and tended on more
than one occasion to destroy his love of fair play. The spirit which
is occasionally shown in his controversial writing is to be deplored
but it may be said in extenuation that all controversies of that time
were disfigured in the same way. He pays the penalty for the fault.

Much of the work is valueless to-day because of Engels' eagerness to
score a point off his adversary rather than to state his own case. But
where the philosopher lays the controversialist on one side for a
brief period, and takes the trouble to elucidate his own ideas we
discover what has been lost by these defects of temperament. He
possesses in a marked degree the gift of clear analysis and of keen
and subtle statement.

The socialist movement everywhere arrives some time or other at what
may be called the Duehring stage of controversy. There are two very
distinct impulses towards socialism. The individuals who are
influenced by these impulses must sooner or later come into collision,
and as a result of the impact the movement is for a time divided into
hostile parties and a war of pamphleteering and oratory supervenes.
This period has just ended in France. For the last few years the
French movement has been divided upon the question of the
philosophical foundation of the movement, and the parties to the
controversy may be divided into those who sought to justify the
movement upon ethical grounds and those who have regarded it as a
modern political phenomenon dependent alone upon economic conditions.
The former of these parties based its claims to the suffrages of the
French people upon the justice of the socialistic demands. It
proclaimed socialism to be the logical result of the Revolution, the
necessary conclusion from the teachings of the revolutionary
philosophers. Justice was the word in which they summed up the claims
of socialism, that and Equality, for which latter term as Engels
points out in the present work, the French have a fondness which
amounts almost to a mania. Hence one party of the French socialist
movement chose as a platform those very "eternal truths" which Engels
ridicules and which it is the sole purpose of the present work to

To kill "eternal truths" is however by no means an easy matter. Years
of habit have made them part of the mental structure of the citizens
of the modern democratic or semi-democratic states. Not only in France
but to an even greater degree in the English speaking countries these
"eternal truths" persist, they form the stock in trade of the
clergyman and the ordinary politician. Bernard Shaw directs the
shafts of his ridicule against these "eternal truths" and smites with
a sarcasm which is more fatal than all the solemn German philosophy
which Engels has at his command. But Shaw is not appreciated by the
British socialist. The latter cannot imagine that the writer is really
poking fun at things so exceedingly serious and so essential to any
well constituted man, to a well-constituted Briton in particular. The
British socialist is as much in love with "eternal truths" as is the
stiffest and most unregenerate of his bourgeois opponents. He
therefore toploftily declares that Mr. Shaw is an unbalanced person, a
licensed jester. Precisely the same results would attend the efforts
of an American iconoclast who would venture to ridicule the "eternal
truths" which have been handed down to us in documents of
unimpeachable respectability, like the Declaration of Independence,
and by Fourth of July orators, portly of person and of phrase.

The "eternal truth" phase of socialist controversy seems to be as
eternal as the truth, and must necessarily be so as long as the
movement is recruited by men who bring into it the ideas which they
have derived from the ordinary training of the American citizen.

The other side of the controversy to which reference has been made
derived its philosophy from the experience of the proletariat. This
modern proletariat, trained to, the machine, is a distinct product of
the occupation by which it lives. The organisation of industry in the
grasp of which the workman is held during all his working hours and
manufacture by the machine-process, the motions of which he is
compelled to follow have produced in him a mental condition which does
not readily respond to any sentimental stimulus. The incessant process
from cause to effect endows him with a sort of logical sense in
accordance with which he works out the problems of life independent of
the preconceptions and prejudices which have so great a hold upon the
reason of his fellow citizens who are not of the industrial
proletariat. Without knowing why he arrives by dint of the experience
of his daily toil at the same conclusions as Engels attained as the
result of philosophic training and much erudition. The Church is well
aware of this fact to her sorrow for the industrial proletarian seldom
darkens her portals. He has no hatred of religion, as the atheistic
radical bourgeois had, but with a good-natured "non possumus" says by
his actions what Engels says by his philosophy.

Revolution is an every day occurrence with the industrial proletarian.
He sees processes transformed in the twinkling of an eye. He wakes up
one morning to find that the trade which he has learned laboriously
has overnight become a drug on the market. He is used to seeing the
machine whose energy has enchained him flung on the scrap heap and
contemptuously disowned, in favor of a more competent successor whose
motions he must learn to follow or be himself flung on the scrap heap
also. This constant revolution in the industrial process enters into
his blood. He becomes a revolutionist by force of habit. There is no
need to preach the dialectic to him. It is continually preached. The
transitoriness of phenomena is impressed upon him by the changes in
industrial combinations, by the constant substitution of new modes of
production for those to which he has been accustomed, substitutions
which may make "an aristocrat of labor" of him to-day, and send him
tramping to-morrow.

The industrial proletarian therefore knows practically what Engels has
taught philosophically. So that when in the course of his political
peregrinations he strays into the socialist movement and there finds
those who profess a socialism based upon abstract conceptions and
"eternal truths" his contempt is as outspoken as that of a Friedrich
Engels who chances upon a certain Eugen Duehring spouting paraphrases
of Rousseau by the socialistic wayside. Engels simply anticipated by
the way of books the point of view reached by the industrial
proletarian of to-day by the way of experience, and by the American
machine-made proletarian in particular. This is a matter of no mean
importance. In the following pages we can detect if we can look beyond
and beneath the mere criticism of Duehring, an attitude of mind, not
of one controversialist to another merely but of an entire class, the
class upon which modern society is driven more and more to rely, to
the class which relies upon it.

For their popular support classes and governments rely upon formulæ.
When the cry of "Down with the Tsar" takes the place of the humbly
spoken "Little Father" what becomes of the Tsardom? When the terms
"Liberty" and "Equality" become the jest of the workshop, upon what
basis can a modern democratic state depend? This criticism of "eternal
truths" is destructive criticism, and destructive of much more than
the "truths." It is more destructive than sedition itself. Sedition
may be suppressed cheaply in these days of quick-firing guns and open
streets. But society crumbles away almost insensibly beneath the
mordant acid of contemptuous analysis. So to-day goaded on the one
side by the gibes of the machine-made proletariat, and on the other,
by the raillery of the philosophic jester, society staggers along like
a wounded giant and is only too glad to creep into its cave and to
forget its sorrows in drink.

As for 1875, "Many things have happened since then" as Beaconsfield
used to say, but of all that has happened nothing could have given
more cynical pleasure to the "Old Jew" than the lack of faith in its
own shibboleths which has seized the cocksure pompous society in which
he disported himself. The rhetoric of a Gladstone based upon the
"eternal truths" which constituted always the foundations of his
political appeals would fail to affect the masses to-day with any
other feeling than that of ridicule. We have already arrived at the
"Twilight of the Idols" at least so far as "eternal truths" are
concerned. They still find however an insecure roosting place in the
pulpits of the protestant sects.

If blows have been showered upon the political "eternal truths" in the
name of which the present epoch came into existence social and ethical
ideals have by no means escaped attack. Revolt has been the watchword
of artist and theologian alike. The pre-Rafaelite school, a not
altogether unworthy child of the Chartist movement, raised the cry of
artistic revolt against absolutism and the revolt spread in ever
widening circles until it has exhausted itself in the sickly egotism
of the "art nouveau." Even Engels, with all his independence and
glorification of change as a philosophy, can find an opportunity to
fling a sneer at Wagner and the "music of the future." The remnants of
early Victorianism cling persistently to Engels. He cannot release
himself altogether from the bonds of the bourgeois doctrine which he
is so anxious to despise. He is in many respects the revolutionist of
'48, a bourgeois politician possessed at intervals by a proletarian
ghost, such as he says himself ever haunts the bourgeois. The younger
generation without any claims to revolutionism has gone further than
he in the denunciation of authority and without the same self
consciousness. The scorn of Bernard Shaw for the moguls of the
academies and for social ideals is greater than the scorn of Engels
for "eternal truths." Says Mr. Shaw, "The great musician accepted by
his unskilled listener is vilified by his fellow musician. It was the
musical culture of Europe that pronounced Wagner the inferior of
Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer. The great artist finds his foes among the
painters and not among the men in the street. It is the Royal Academy
that places Mr. Marcus Stone above Mr. Burne Jones. It is not rational
that it should be so but it is so for all that. The realist at last
loses patience with ideals altogether and finds in them only something
to blind us, something to numb us, something to murder self in us.
Something whereby instead of resisting death we disarm it by
committing suicide." Here is a note of modernity which Engels was
hardly modern enough to appreciate and yet it was written before he

Nietzsche, Tolstoy and a host of minor writers have all had their
fling at "eternal truths" and modern ideals. The battle has long since
rolled away from the ground on which Engels fought. His arguments on
the dialectic are commonplaces to-day which it would be a work of
supererogation to explain to anyone except the persistent victim of
Little Bethel. The world has come to accept them with the equanimity
with which it always accepts long disputed truths.

The sacred right of nationality for which men contended in Engels'
youth, as a direct consequence of political "eternal truths" has been
ruthlessly brushed aside. The philosopher talks of the shameful
spoliation of the smaller by the larger nations, a moral view of
commercial progress, which an age, grown more impatient of "eternal
truths" than Engels himself simply ignores, and moves on without a
qualm to the destruction of free governments in South Africa. Backward
and unprogressive peoples jeer, it is true, and thereby show their
political ineptitude, for even the American Republic, having freed the
negro under the banner of "eternal truth" annexes the Philippines and
raids Panama in defiance of it.

And so since the days of 1875 the world has come to accept the general
correctness of Engels' point of view.

The enemy which Engels was most anxious to dislodge was "mechanical
socialism," a naïve invention of a perfect system capable of
withstanding the ravages of time, because founded upon eternal
principles of truth and justice. That enemy has now obeyed the law of
the dialectic and passed away. Nobody builds such systems, nowadays.
They have ceased their building however not in obedience to the
commands of Friedrich Engels but because the lapse of time and the
change in conditions have proved the dialectic to the revolutionist.
With the annihilation of "eternal truths," system building ceased to
be even an amusing pastime. The revolutionist has been revolutionized.
He no longer fancies that he can make revolutions. He knows better. He
is content to see that the road is kept clear so that revolutions may
develop themselves. Your real revolutionist, for example, puts no
obstacle in the path of the Trust, he is much too wise. He leaves that
to the corrosion of time and the development of his pet dialectic. He
sees the contradiction concealed in the system which apparently
triumphs, and in the triumph of the system he sees also the triumph of
the contradiction. He waits until that shadowy proletariat which
haunts the system takes on itself flesh and blood and shakes the
system with which it has grown up. But this waiting for the
development of the inevitable is weary work to those who want to
realise forthwith, so they, unable to confound the logic of Engels,
attack the "abstractions" on which his theory is founded. They still
oppose their "eternal truths" to the dialectic.

Thus in England, where the strife between the two parties in the
socialist movement has lately been waged with a somewhat amusing
ferocity, Engels is charged with a wholesale borrowing from Hegel. In
any other country than England this would not be laid up against a
writer, but the Englishman is so averse to philosophy that the
association of one's name with that of a philosopher, and a German
philosopher in particular, is tantamount to an accusation of keeping
bad company. But a glance at the following pages should tend to
dispose of so romantic a statement which could, in fact, only have
been made by those who know neither Hegel nor Engels.

That Hegel furnished the original philosophic impetus to both Marx and
Engels is true beyond question, but the impetus once given, the course
of the founders of modern socialism tended ever further from the
opinions of the idealistic philosopher. In fact Engels says somewhat
self consciously, not to say boasts, that he and his followers were
pioneers in applying the dialectic to materialism. Whatever accusation
may be made against Engels, this much is certain that he was no
Hegelian. In fact both in the present work and in "Feuerbach" he is at
great pains to show the relation of the socialist philosophy as
conceived by himself and Marx to that of the great man for whom he
always kept a somewhat exaggerated respect, but from whom he differed
fundamentally. Engels' attack upon the philosophy of Duehring is based
upon dislike of its idealism, the fundamental thesis upon which the
work depends being entirely speculative. Duehring insisted that his
philosophy was a realist philosophy and Engels' serious arguments,
apart from the elaborate ridicule with which he covers his opponent
and which is by no means a recommendation to the book, is directed to
show that it is not realist, that it depends upon certain preconceived
notions. Of these notions some are axiomatic, as Duehring claims, that
is they are propositions which are self evident to Herr Duehring but
which will not stand investigation. Others again are untrue and are
preconceptions so far as they are out of harmony with established

Much of Engels' work is out of date judged by recent biological and
other discoveries, but the essential argument respecting the
interdependence of all departments of knowledge, and the impossibility
of making rigid classifications holds good to-day in a wider sense
than when Engels wrote. Scientific truths which have been considered
absolute, theories which have produced approximately correct results,
have all been discredited. The dogmas of science against which the
dogmatic ecclesiastics have directed their scornful contempt have
shared the same fate as the ecclesiastical dogmas. Nothing remains
certain save the certainty of change. There are no ultimates. Even the
atom is suspect and the claims of the elements to be elementary are
rejected wholesale with something as closely resembling scorn as the
scientist is ever able to attain. A scientific writer has recently
said "What is undeniable is that the Daltonian atom has within a
century of its acceptance as a fundamental reality suffered
disruption. Its proper place in nature is not that formerly assigned
to it. No longer 'in seipso totus, teres, atque rotundus' its
reputation for inviolability and indestructibility is gone for ever.
Each of these supposed 'ultimates' is now known to be the scene of
indescribable activities, a complex piece of mechanism composed of
thousands of parts, a star-cluster in miniature, subject to all kinds
of dynamical vicissitudes, to perturbations, accelerations, internal
friction, total or partial disruption. And to each is appointed a
fixed term of existence. Sooner or later the balance of equilibrium is
tilted, disturbance eventuates in overthrow; the tiny exquisite system
finally breaks up. Of atoms, as of men, it may be said with truth
'Quisque suos patitur manes.'"

The discovery of radium was in itself sufficient to revolutionise the
heretofore existing scientific theories and the revolution thereby
effected has been enough to cause Sir William Crookes to say, "There
has been a vivid new start, our physicists have remodelled their views
as to the constitution of matter." In his address to the physicists at
Berlin the same scientist said, "This fatal quality of atomic
dissociation appears to be universal, and operates whenever we brush a
piece of glass with silk; it works in the sunshine and raindrops in
lightnings and flame; it prevails in the waterfall and the stormy sea"
and a writer in the Edinburgh Review (December, 1903) remarks in this
connection "Matter he (Sir William Crookes) consequently regards as
doomed to destruction. Sooner or later it will have dissolved into the
'formless mist' of protyle and 'the hour hand of eternity will have
completed one revolution.' The 'dissipation of energy' has then found
its correlative in the 'dissolution of Matter.'"

The scope of this revolution may only be gauged by the fact that one
writer ("The Alchemy of the Sea," London "Outlook," Feb. 11, 1905) has
ventured to say, and this is but one voice in a general chorus: "To-day
no one believes in the existence of elements; no one questions the
possibility of a new alchemy; and the actual evolution of one element
from another has been observed in the laboratory--observed by Sir
William Ramsey in London, and confirmed by a chemist in St. Petersburg."
Helium being an evolution of radium and it is expected furthermore that
radium will prove to be an evolution of uranium and so there is a
constant process as the writer points out of what was formerly called
alchemy the transmutation of one metal into another.

It is clear that in face of these facts the arguments of Engels
possess even greater force at the present day than when they were
enunciated and that the old hard and fast method of arguing from
absolute truths is dead and done for.

Only statesmen see fit to still harp on the same phrases which have
become as it were a part of the popular mental structure and by
constant appeals to the old watchwords to obscure the fact of change.
Were one not acquainted with the essential stupidity of the political
mind and the lack of grasp which is the characteristic of statesmen,
it might be imagined that all this was done with malice aforethought
and that there was a sort of tacit conspiracy on the part of the
politicians to delude the people. But experience of the inexcusable
blunders and the inexplicable errors into which statesmen are
continually driven forces the conclusion that they are in reality no
whit in advance of the electorate and that only now and then a
Beaconsfield appears who can understand the drift of events. Such a
man is the "revolutionist" which Beaconsfield claimed himself to be.
But what shall we say of the President of the country that has
attained the highest place in industrial progress among the nations,
whose whole history is a verification of the truth of the dialectic
and who can still appeal to "individualism" as a guiding principle of
political action? It is a wanton flying in the face of the experience
of the last quarter of a century and such rashness will require its
penalty. "Back to Kant" appears to be the hope of reactionary
politicians as well as of reactionary philosophers.




The following work is by no means the fruit of some "inward
compulsion," quite the contrary.

When three years ago, Herr Duehring suddenly challenged the world, as
a scholar and reformer of socialism, friends in Germany frequently
expressed the wish that I should throw a critical light upon these new
socialist doctrines, in the central organ of the Social Democratic
Party, at that time the "Volkstaat." They held it as very necessary
that new opportunity for division and confusion should not be afforded
in a party so young and so recently definitely united. They were in a
better condition than myself to comprehend the condition of affairs in
Germany, so that I was compelled to trust to their judgment. It
appeared furthermore that the proselyte was welcomed by a certain
portion of the socialist press, with a warmth, which meant nothing
more than kindliness to Herr Duehring, but it was seen by a portion of
the party press that a result of this kindly feeling towards Herr
Duehring was the introduction unperceived of the Duehring doctrine.
People were found who were soon ready to spread his doctrine in a
popular form among the workingmen, and finally Herr Duehring and his
little sect employed all the arts of advertisement and intrigue to
compel the "Volksblatt" to change its attitude respecting the new
teachings which put forth such tremendous claims.

However, a year elapsed before I could make up my mind to engage in so
disagreeable a business to the neglect of my other labors. It was the
sort of thing one had to get through as quickly as possible, once it
was begun. And it was not only unpleasant but quite a task. The new
socialist theory appeared as the last practical result of a new
philosophic system. It therefore involved an investigation of it in
connection with this system and therefore of the system itself. It was
necessary to follow Herr Duehring over a wide expanse of country where
he had dealt with everything under the sun, yea, and more also. So
there came into existence a series of articles which appeared from the
beginning of 1877 in the successor of the "Volkstaat," the "Vorwaerts"
of Leipsic, and are collected here.

It was my object which extended the criticism to a length out of all
proportion to the scientific value of the matter and, therefore, of
Herr Duehring's writings. There are two further reasons in extenuation
of this lengthiness. In the first place it gave me an opportunity of
developing my views, in a positive fashion, with respect to matters
which are connected with this, though very different, and which are of
more general scientific and practical interest to-day. I have taken
the opportunity to do so in every chapter, and, as this book cannot
undertake to set up a system in opposition to that of Herr Duehring,
it is to be hoped that the reader will not overlook the real
significance of the views which I have set forth. I have already had
sufficient proof that my labors have not been altogether in vain in
this regard.

On the other hand the "system-shaping" Herr Duehring is by no means an
exceptional phenomenon in Germany these days. Nowadays in Germany
systems of cosmogony, of natural philosophy in particular, of
politics, of economics, etc., are in the habit of shooting up over
night like mushrooms. The most insignificant Doctor of Philosophy,
nay, even the student, has no further use for a complete "system." In
the modern state, it is predicated that every citizen is able to pass
judgment on all the questions upon which he is called upon to vote; in
political economy it is assumed that every consumer is thoroughly
acquainted with all commodities, which he has occasion to buy to
maintain himself withal, and the same idea is also held as regards
knowledge. Freedom of knowledge demands that a person write of that
which he has not learned and proclaim this as the only sound
scientific method. But Herr Duehring is one of the most conspicuous
types of those absurd pseudo-scientists, who to-day occupy so
conspicuous a place in Germany and drown everything with their noisy
nonsense. Noisy nonsense in poetry, in philosophy, in political
economy, in writing history: noisy nonsense in the professor's chair
and tribune; noisy nonsense too in the claims to superiority and
intellectuality above the vulgar noisy nonsense of other nations,
noisy nonsense the most characteristic and mightiest product of German
intellectual activity, cheap and bad, like other German products,
along with which, I regret to say, they were not exhibited at

So, German socialism, particularly since Herr Duehring set the
example, beats the drum, and produces here and there one who prides
himself upon a "science" of which he knows nothing. It is this, a sort
of child's disease which marks the first conversion of the German
university man to social democracy and is inseparable from him, but it
will soon be thrust aside by the remarkable sound sense of our working

It is not my fault that I am obliged to follow Herr Duehring into a
realm in which I can at the very most only claim to be a dilettante.
On such occasions I have for the most part limited myself to placing
the plain incontrovertible facts in contrast with the false or crooked
assertions of my opponent, as in relation to jurisprudence and many
instances with regard to natural science. In other places he indulges
in universal views on the subject of natural science theories and
therefore on a field where the professional naturalist must range out
of his own particular specialty to neighboring regions, where he,
according to Herr Virchow's confessions is just as good a
"half-knower" as the rest of us. For slight deficiencies and
unavoidable errors in the publication I hope that the same indulgence
will be extended to me as has been shown the other side of the

Just as I was completing this preface I received the publishers'
notice of a new important book by Herr Duehring. "New Foundations for
rational Physics and Chemistry." Although I am very well aware of my
deficiencies in physics and chemistry I still believe that I know my
Duehring well enough, without having read the book, to venture to say
that the laws of physics and chemistry there set forth are worthy of
being placed alongside of Herr Duehring's former discoveries and the
laws of economics, scheme of the universe, etc., examined in my
writings and proved to be misunderstood or commonplace, and that the
rhigometer, an instrument constructed by Herr Duehring for measuring
temperature will be found to serve not only as a measure for high or
low temperature but of the ignorance and arrogance of Herr Duehring.
_London, 11 June, 1878._


It came to me as quite a surprise that a new edition of this work was
called for. The special views which it criticised are practically
forgotten to-day. The work itself has not only been placed before many
thousands of readers by its serial publication in "Vorwaerts" of
Leipsic in 1877 and 1878, but it has also been published in large
editions in its entirety. How then can there be any further interest
in what I have to say about Herr Duehring?

In the first place, I fancy, that it is owing to the fact that this
book, as indeed, all my writings at that time, was prohibited in
Germany soon after the publication of the anti-Socialist laws.
Whosoever was not fettered by the inherited officialdom of the
countries of the Holy Alliance should have clearly seen the effect of
this measure--the double and treble sale of the prohibited books, and
the advertisement of the impotence of the gentlemen in Berlin, who
issued injunctions and could not make them effective. Indeed the
amiability of the Government was the cause of the publication of
several new editions of my shorter writings, as I am able to affirm. I
have no time for a proper revision of the text and so allow it to go
to press, just as it is.

But there is still an additional circumstance. The "system" of Herr
Duehring here criticised spreads over a very extensive theoretical
ground and I was compelled to pursue him all over it and to place my
ideas in antagonism to his. Negative criticism thereupon became
positive; the polemic developed into a more or less connected
exposition of dialectic methods and the socialist philosophy, of which
Marx and myself are representative, and this in quite a number of
places. These our philosophic ideas have had an incubation period of
about twenty years since they were first given to the world in Marx's
"Misère de la Philosophie" and the Communist Manifesto until they
obtained a wider and wider influence through the publication of
"Capital" and now find recognition and support far beyond the limits
of Europe in all lands where a proletariat exists together with
progressive scientific thinkers. It seems that there is also a public
whose interests in this matter are sufficient to induce them to
purchase the polemic against Duehring's opinions, in spite of the fact
that it is now without an object, and who evidently derive pleasure
from the positive development.

I must call attention to the fact, by the way, that the views here set
out were, for by far the most part, developed and established by Marx,
and only to a very slight degree by myself, so that it is understood
that I have not represented them without his knowledge. I read the
entire manuscript to him before sending it to press and the tenth
chapter of the section on Political Economy was written by Marx and
unfortunately had to be somewhat abbreviated by me.

It was our wont to mutually assist each other in special branches of

The present edition is with the exception of one chapter an unchanged
edition of the former. I had no time for revision although there was
much in the mode of presentation which I wanted altered. But there is
incumbent upon me the duty of preparing for publication the
manuscripts which Marx left, and this is much more important than
anything else. Then my conscience rebels against making any changes.
The book is controversial and I have an idea that it is unfair to my
antagonist for me to alter anything when he cannot do so. I could only
claim the right to reply to Herr Duehring's answer. But what Herr
Duehring has written with respect to my attack I have not read and
shall not do so, unless obliged. I am theoretically done with him.
Besides I must observe the rules of literary warfare all the more
closely as a despicable wrong has since been inflicted upon him by the
University of Berlin. It has been chastised for this, indeed. A
university which so degrades itself as to refuse permission to Herr
Duehring to teach under the known circumstances should not be
surprised if a Herr Schwenninger is forced upon it under circumstances
just as well known.

The one chapter in which I have permitted myself any explanations is
the Second of the Third Section "Theory." Here where the sole concern
is the presentation of a most important part of the philosophy which I
represent, my antagonist cannot complain if I put myself to some
trouble to speak popularly and to generalise. This was undoubtedly a
special occasion. I had made a French translation of three chapters of
the book (the First of the Introduction and the First and Second of
the Third Section) into a separate pamphlet for my friend Lafargue,
and the French edition afterwards served as a basis for one in Italian
and one in Polish. A German edition was provided under the title "The
Development of Socialism from Utopia to Science." The latter has
exhausted three editions in a few months and has also made its
appearance translated into Russian and Danish. In all these
publications only the chapter in question was added to and it would
have been pedantic in me if I had confined myself to the actual
wording of the original in the new edition in spite of the later and
international form which it had assumed.

Where I wished to make changes had particular reference to two points.
In the first place with regard to primitive history, as far as known,
to which Morgan was the first to give us the key in 1877. In my book
"The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State," Zurich,
1884, I have since had an opportunity of working up material more
lately accessible which I employed in this later work. In the second
place, as far as that portion which is concerned with theoretical
science is concerned, the presentation of the subject is very
defective and a much more definite one could now be given. If I did
not allow myself the right of improving it now, I should be in duty
bound to pass criticism on myself instead of the other.

Marx and I were probably the first to import the well known dialectic
of the German idealistic philosophy into the materialistic view of
nature and history. But to a dialectical and at the same time
materialistic view of nature there pertains an acquaintance with
mathematics and natural science. Marx was a sound mathematician but
the sciences we only knew in part, by fits and starts, sporadically.
After I retired from mercantile pursuits and went to London and had
time, I made as far as possible a complete mathematical and scientific
"molting," as Liebig calls it, and spent the best part of eight years
on it. I was occupied with this molting process when it chanced that I
was called upon to busy myself with Herr Duehring's so-called
philosophy. If, therefore, I often fail to find the correct technical
expression, and am a little awkward in the field of natural science it
is only too natural. On the other hand the consciousness of
insecurity which I have not yet got over has made me cautious. Actual
blunders respecting facts up to the present known, and incorrect
presentations of theories thus far recognised cannot be proved against
me. In this relation just one great mathematician, who is laboring
under a mistake, has complained to Marx in a letter that I have made a
mischievous attack upon the honor of the square root of minus one.

As regards my review of mathematics and the natural science it was
necessary for me to reassure myself on some special points--since I
had no doubts about the truth of the general proposition--that in
nature the same dialectic laws of progress fulfill themselves amid all
the apparent confusion of innumerable changes as dominate the
apparently accidental in nature; the same laws whose threads traverse
the progressive history of human thought, and little by little come to
the consciousness of thinking men. These were first developed by Hegel
in a comprehensive fashion but in a mystical form. Our efforts were
directed towards stripping away this mystical form and making them
evident in their full simplicity and universal reality. It was self
evident that the old philosophies of nature--in spite of all their
actual value and fruitful suggestiveness--could be of no value to us.
There was an error in the Hegelian form, as shown in this book, in
that it recognised no progression of nature in time, no "one after
another" (Nacheinander) but merely "one besides another"
(Nebeneinander). This was due on the one hand to the Hegelian system
itself which ascribed to the Spirit (Geist) alone a progressive
historical development, but on the other hand, the general attitude of
the natural sciences was responsible. So Hegel fell far behind Kant in
this respect for the latter had already by his nebular hypothesis
proclaimed the origin and, by his discovery of the stoppage of the
rotation of the earth through the tides, the destruction of the solar
system. And finally, I could not undertake to construct the
dialectical laws of nature but to discover them in it and to develop
them from it.

To do this entirely and in each separate division is a colossal task.
Not only is the ground to be covered almost immeasurable but on this
entire ground natural science is involved in such tremendous changes
that even those who have all their time to give can hardly keep up
with it. Since the death of Marx however my mind has been occupied by
more pressing duties and so I had to interrupt my work. I must, for
the moment, confine myself to the hints in the work before us and wait
for a later opportunity to correct and publish the results obtained,
probably together with the most important manuscripts on mathematics
left behind by Marx.

But the advance of theoretical science makes my work in all
probability, in a great measure, or altogether, superfluous. Since the
revolution which overturned theoretical science the necessity of
arranging the accumulation of purely empirical discoveries has caused
the opposing empiricists to pay more and more attention to the
dialectical character of the operations of nature. The old stiff
antagonisms, the sharp impassable frontier lines are becoming more and
more abolished. Since the last "true" gases have been liquefied, since
the proof that a body can be put in a condition in which liquid and
gaseous forms cannot be differentiated, aggregate conditions have to
the last remnant lost their earlier absolute character. With the
statement of the kinetic theory of gases that, in gases, the squares
of the speeds with which the separate gas molecules move are in
inverse ratio to the molecular weights, under the same temperature,
heat takes its place directly in the series of such measurable forms
of motion. Ten years ago the newly discovered great fundamental law of
motion was still understood as a mere law of the conservation of
energy, as a mere expression of the indestructibility and
uncreatibility of motion, and therefore merely on its quantitative
side. That narrow negative expression has been more and more
subordinated to the transformation of energy, in which the qualitative
content of the process is duly recognised and the last notion of an
extramundane Creator is destroyed. That the quantity of motion (of
energy, so called) is not changed when it is transformed into kinetic
energy (mechanical force, so called), into electricity, heat,
potential static energy need not now be preached any longer as
something new, it served as the foundation, once attained, of many
valuable investigations of the process of transformation itself, of
the great fundamental process, in the knowledge of which is
comprehended the knowledge of all nature. And since biology has been
treated in the light of the theory of evolution it has abolished one
stiff line of classification after another in the realm of organic
nature. The entirely unclassified intermediate conditions increase in
number every day. Later investigations throw organisms out of one
class into another, and marks of distinction which have become
articles of faith lose their individual reality. We have now mammals
which lay eggs and, if the news is established, birds also which go on
all fours. It was already observed, before the time of Virchow, as a
conclusion of the discovery of the cell, that the identity of the
individual creature is lost, scientifically and dialectically
speaking, in a federation of cells, so the idea of animal (and
therefore human) individuality is still further complicated by the
discovery of the amoeba in the bodies of the higher animals
constituting the white blood corpuscles. And these are just the things
which were considered polar opposites, irreconcilable and insoluble,
the fixed boundaries and differences of classification, which have
given modern theoretical science its limited and metaphysical
character. The knowledge that these distinctions and antagonisms
actually do occur in nature, but only relatively, and that on the
other hand that fixity and absoluteness are the products of our own
minds--this knowledge constitutes the kernel of the dialectic view of
nature. The view is reached under the compulsion of the mass of
scientific facts, and one reaches it the more easily by bringing to
the dialectic character of these facts a consciousness of the laws of
dialectic thought. At all events, the scope of science is now so great
that it no longer escapes the dialectic comprehension. But it will
simplify the process if it is remembered that the results in which
these discoveries are comprehended are ideas, that the art of
operating with ideas is not inborn, moreover, and is not vouchsafed
every day to the ordinary mind, but requires actual thought, and this
thought has a long history crammed with experiences, neither more nor
less than the accumulated experiences of investigation into nature. By
these means, then, it learns how to appropriate the results of fifteen
hundred years development of philosophy, it gets rid of any separate
natural philosophy which stands above or alongside of it and the
limited method of thought brought over from English empiricism.

  _London, 22nd September, 1885._


The following new edition is, with the exception of a very few changes
in form of expression, a reproduction of the former. Only in one
chapter, namely in the Xth. of the Second Section (that on Critical
History) I have allowed some important emendations, for the following
reasons. As has been stated already in the preface to the second
edition, this chapter is in all its essentials, the work of Marx. In
its first form, which was intended as an article in a review, I was
compelled to abbreviate the manuscript of Marx very much, particularly
in those points in which the criticism of Herr Duehring's propositions
is subordinate to the particular development of the history of
economics. But these are just the portions of the manuscript which
constitute the greatest and most important of, as regards its
permanent interest, part of the work. The places in which Marx gives
their appropriate place in the genesis of political economy to such
writers as Petty, North, Locke and Hume, I consider myself obliged to
give as literally and completely as possible, and still more so, his
explanation of the "economic tableaux" by Quesnay, the insoluble
riddle of the sphinx to all economists. I have omitted however that
part which dealt solely with the writings of Herr Duehring as far as
the connection permitted. For the rest, I am perfectly well satisfied
with the extent to which the views represented in this work, have made
their way into the minds of the working class and the scientists
throughout the world since the publication of the former edition.

                                                       F. ENGELS.

  _London, 23d May, 1894._



_I. In General._

Modern socialism is in its essence the product of the existence on the
one hand of the class antagonisms which are dominant in modern
society, between the property possessors and those who have no
property and between the wage workers and the bourgeois; and, on the
other, of the anarchy which is prevalent in modern production. In its
theoretical form however it appears as a development of the
fundamental ideas of the great French philosophers of the eighteenth
century. Like every new theory it was obliged to attach itself to the
existing philosophy however deeply its roots were embedded in the
economic fact.

The great men in France who cleared the minds of the people for the
coming revolution were themselves uncompromisingly revolutionary. They
did not recognise outside authority of any kind whatsoever. Religion,
natural science, society, the state, all were subjected to the most
unsparing criticism, and everything was compelled to justify its
existence before the judgment seat of reason or perish. Reason was
established as the one and universal measure. It was the time when, as
Hegel said, the world was turned upside down, first in the sense that
the human mind and the principles arrived at by process of thought
were claimed as the foundations of all human actions and social
relations, but later also, in the wider sense, that the reality which
contradicted these theories had indeed to be turned upside down. All
forms of society and the state existent heretofore, all survivals of
old notions, were thrown into the lumber room as unreasonable. Up to
that time the world had only allowed itself to be led by prejudice.
All that had been done deserved merely pity and contempt. Now for the
first time day broke: from now on, superstition, injustice, tyranny
and privilege should be replaced by eternal truth, eternal justice,
equality founded on natural rights and the inalienable rights of man.

We now know that the rule of reason was nothing more than the rule of
the bourgeoisie idealised, that eternal right found its realisation in
bourgeois justice, that equality was materialised in bourgeois
equality before the law, that when the rights of man were proclaimed
bourgeois rights of property were proclaimed at one and the same time,
and that the state of reason, Rousseau's Social Contract, could only
come into existence as the bourgeois democratic republic. To such a
slight extent could the great thinkers of the eighteenth century, just
as their predecessors, prevail over the limits which their own epoch
had placed upon them.

But besides the antagonism between feudal baron and bourgeois there
existed the general antagonism between the robbers and the robbed,
between the rich idlers and the toiling poor. It was just this
antagonism which made it possible for the leaders of the bourgeoisie
to pose as the representatives not merely of a special class but of
the whole of suffering humanity. Furthermore the bourgeoisie was
saddled with an antithesis right from the start. Capitalists cannot
exist without laborers, and, in proportion, as the members of the
gilds in the Middle Ages developed into the modern bourgeois, the
journeymen of the gilds and the day laborers, on their part, developed
into the proletariat. And though the bourgeois, as a general rule,
might claim to represent also the interests of the different working
classes of the period, still, independent movements of the latter
classes broke out in connection with each great movement on the part
of the bourgeoisie; such working classes being the more or less
developed predecessors of the modern proletariat. Thus there came into
being at the time of the German Reformation and the Peasant War the
party of Thomas Munzer, in the great English Revolution the Levellers,
and in the great French Revolution, Baboeuf.

Besides these revolutionary demonstrations of a class still
undeveloped, occurred certain theoretical manifestations of a
corresponding nature. Thus in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
utopian pictures of an ideal social condition, in the eighteenth
century, absolutely communistic theories (Morelly and Mably). The
demand for equality was confined no longer to political rights, it had
to be extended to the social condition of individuals; the demand was
made for the abolition not merely of class privileges but of class
distinctions also. An ascetic communism patterned on that of Sparta
was the first form which the new teachings assumed. Then came the
three great utopians--Saint Simon, in whose eyes bourgeois aims
possessed a certain merit as well as those of the proletariat: then
Fourier and Owen, who, in the land of the most highly developed
capitalistic production, and under the influence of the antagonisms
which arise therefrom, developed in direct relation to French
materialism their proposals which tended to the abolition of class

One common feature pertaining to all the three is the fact that they
did not appear as the representatives of the interests of the
proletariat which had been in the meantime developed through the
historical process. Like the philosophers, their ambition is not to
free a particular class but the whole world. Like them they wish to
introduce the government of reason and eternal justice. But there is a
world of difference between their government and that of the
philosophers. According to the philosophers, the bourgeois world as it
exists is unreasonable and unjust and is destined for the rubbish
heap, just as feudalism and all other earlier forms of society. The
reason that true justice and reason have not dominated the world is
because up to the present man has not properly comprehended them. That
a man of genius has appeared and that the truth concerning these
things should have now been made clear are not results arising from a
combination of historical progress and necessity, but a mere piece of
luck. He might just as well have been born five hundred years earlier
and saved mankind the mistakes, conflicts and sorrows of five hundred

This is actually the idea of all English and French socialists and of
the earlier German socialists, Weitling included. According to this
view, socialism is the expression of absolute truth, reason, and
justice, and only has to be perceived in order to vanquish the world
by reason of its truth. Hence, absolute truth, reason, and justice
vary according to each founder of a school, and therefore with each
one, the variety of absolute truth, reason and justice is dependent,
in turn, upon the subjective temperament of that founder, his
conditions of life, the extent of his knowledge and mental discipline,
so that in this conflict of absolute truths there is no possible
solution save that they rub each other smooth by mutual contact. Hence
nothing could result from it except a sort of eclectic, average
socialism, which is, as a matter of fact, up to the present, the
prevailing notion in the minds of the great majority of socialist
agitators in France and England--a mixture admitting of manifold
shades, of a few notable critical utterances, economic teachings and
pictures of a future state of society by leaders of different sects, a
mixture which flows all the easier in proportion as the sharp precise
corners are rubbed off the separate notions in the stream of debates,
just as pebbles become round in a brook.

In order that a science can be made out of socialism it is first
necessary that it be placed on a sound basis.

Meanwhile, close to and just after the French philosophy of the
eighteenth century, the new German philosophy arose and culminated in
Hegel. Its greatest service was the restoration of the dialectic as
the highest form of thought. The old Greek philosophers were all
natural dialecticians, and the most universal intellect among them,
Aristotle, was already the discoverer of the essential forms of
dialectic thought. On the other hand, subsequent philosophy although
in it there were brilliant exponents of the dialectic (e.g. Descartes
and Spinoza), was more and more involved in the so-called metaphysical
mode of thought, chiefly owing to English influence which completely
mastered the French philosophers, at least of the eighteenth century.
Outside of the strict frontiers of philosophy, masterpieces of the
dialectic might be found occasionally of which I can only recall
"Rameau's Nephew" by Diderot, and the treatise upon the origin of
human inequality by Rousseau.

We now give briefly the essential features of the two modes of
thought: we will return to them more fully later.

If we examine nature, the history of man or our own intellectual
activities, we have presented to us an endless coil of interrelations
and changes in which nothing is constant whatever be its nature, time
or position, but every thing is in motion, suffers change, and passes
away. This original, naïve and very nearly correct philosophy of the
world is that of the old Greek philosophers and was first put in a
very clear form by Heraclitus. Everything is and yet is not, since
everything is in a state of flux, is comprehended as undergoing
constant modification, as eternally existing and disappearing. But
this philosophy, correct as it is as regards phenomena in general,
viewed as a picture, is insufficient to explain the individual
phenomena of which the picture of the universe is composed, and as
long as we cannot do that we are not clear about the general picture.
In order to study these individual phenomena we are obliged to take
them out of their natural or social connection, and examine each of
them by itself according to its own form and its particular origin and
development. This is the task of natural science and historical
investigation, branches of discovery to which the Greeks of classical
times assigned a subordinate place for very good reasons, since they,
first of all, had to collect the material. The beginning of an exact
observation of nature was made first by the Greeks of the Alexandrine
period, and was later developed further by the Arabs in the Middle
Ages. True natural science hence dates from the second half of the
fifteenth century, and from then on has advanced at a constantly
growing rate. The dissection of nature into its separate parts, the
separation of different natural events and natural conditions into
certain classes, the examination of the interiors of organic bodies
with respect to their manifold anatomical forms, furnished the
fundamental reasons for the progress in a knowledge of nature which
the last four hundred years have brought in their train. But it has
caused us occasionally to drop into the habit of regarding natural
phenomena and events as entities, apart from the great universal
interrelations, and therefore not as moving but quiescent, not as
changeable in their essence but fixed and constant, not in their life
but in their death. And hence, just as happened with Bacon and Locke,
this point of view has been carried over from science into philosophy,
and has constituted the specially narrow view of the last century, the
metaphysical mode of thought.

For the metaphysician, things and their pictures in the minds,
concepts, are separate entities, one following the other without any
regard to each other, stable, rigid, eternally fixed objects of
investigation. The metaphysician thinks in antitheses. His
conversation is "Yea, yea; Nay, nay" and whatsoever is more than these
cometh of evil. For him a thing exists or it does not exist, a thing
can never be itself and something else at the same time; positive and
negative are mutually exclusive, cause and effect stand in stiff
antagonism to each other. This method of thought seems at the first
glance to be quite plausible because it is in accordance with sound
common sense. But sound common sense, respectable fellow though he may
be in his own home surrounded by his four walls, meets with strange
adventures when he betakes himself into the wide world of
investigation; and the metaphysical way of looking at things, sound
and useful as it is, under given conditions, runs sooner or later into
a stone wall, beyond which it is one-sided, stupid and abstract, and
loses itself in insoluble contradictions. Because it omits to notice
the interrelations of the individual phenomena, their existence, their
coming and their going, their static and mobile conditions, and so to
speak does not see the forest for trees. We know for example, with
sufficient certainty for every day affairs, whether an animal is alive
or dead, but, on closer examination, we find that this is sometimes no
easy matter to decide, as jurists know very well and have gone indeed
to great pains to discover a rational border line beyond which the
killing of a child in the womb of its mother is murder. It is just as
impossible too to fix the precise moment of death, for physiology
shows that death is not a single and sudden event but a very slow
process. Just so is every organic being at the same moment itself and
not itself. Every moment it takes up matter coming to it from the
outside and throws off other matter, every moment its body-cells die
and are recreated. Indeed after a longer or shorter period the whole
material of the body is renewed through the taking up of other
particles of matter so that each organic being is at the same time
itself and something else. We find also if we look at the matter more
closely that the two poles of an antithesis, positive and negative,
are just as inseparable as they are antagonistic, and that they, in
spite of all their fixed antagonisms permeate each other, also that
the cause and effect are concepts which can only realise themselves in
relation to a particular case. However when we come to examine the
separate case in its general relation to the world at large they come
together and dissolve themselves in face of the working out of the
universal problem, for, here, cause and effect exchange places, what
was at one time and place effect becoming cause and vice versa.

All these phenomena and thought-concepts do not fit into the frame of
metaphysical philosophy. According to the dialectic method of thinking
which regards things and their concepts in relation to their
connection with each other, their concatenation, their coming into
being and passing away, phenomena, like the preceding, are so many
confirmations of its own philosophy. Nature is the proof of the
dialectic, and we must give to modern science the credit of having
furnished an extraordinary wealth and daily increasing store of
material towards this proof, and thereby showing in the last instance
things proceed dialectically and not in accordance with metaphysical
notions. But as the scientists who have learned to think dialectically
may be still easily counted, the chaos arising from the confusion
between actual results and an antiquated mode of thought is thus
explained, and this confusion is to-day dominant in theoretical
science, and drives teachers and pupils, writers and readers to

A correct notion of the universe, of the human race, as well as of the
reflection of this progress in the human mind can only be had by means
of the dialectic method, together with a steady observation of the
change and interchange which goes on in the universe, the coming into
existence and passing away, progressive and retrogressive

And the later German philosophy has proceeded from this standpoint.
Kant began his career in this way by abolishing Newton's conception of
a stable solar system which persisted after receiving its first
impulse, in favor of a historical process, to wit, the origin of the
sun and all the planets from a rotating mass of nebulæ. From this
concept he drew the conclusion that, granted this origin, the future
dissolution of the solar system is inevitable. His theory was
mathematically proved by Laplace half a century later, and half a
century later still the spectroscope discovered the existence of such
glowing masses of gas in space in different stages of condensation.

This later German philosophy found its conclusion in the philosophy of
Hegel where for the first time, and this is his greatest service, the
entire natural, historical and spiritual universe was regarded as a
process, that is, as in constant progress, change, transformation and
development, and the attempt was made to show the more subtle
relations of this process and development. From this historical point
of view the history of mankind no longer appeared as a barren
confusion of mindless forces, all alike subject to rejection before
the judgment seat of the most recently ripened philosophy, and which,
at the very best, man puts out of his mind as soon as possible, but as
the development-process of humanity itself, to follow the process of
which, little by little, through all its ramifications, and to
establish the essential laws of which, in spite of all apparent
accidents, is now the task of philosophic thought.

It is immaterial at this place that Hegel did not solve this problem.
His epoch-making service was to have proposed it. It is a problem,
moreover, which no individual can solve. Though Hegel, next to Saint
Simon, was the most universal intellect of his time he was still
limited, in the first place, through the necessarily narrow grasp of
his own knowledge and in addition through the limitations of the
contemporary conditions of knowledge. There was a third reason, too.
Hegel was an idealist, that is he regarded thought not as a mere
abstract representation of real phenomena, but, on the contrary,
phenomena and their development appeared to him as the representations
of the Idea which existed before the world. The result was an
inversion of everything, the actual interrelations of the universe
were turned completely upside down, and though of these
interrelations, many single ones were set out justly and correctly by
Hegel, much of the detail is patched, labored, made up, in short,
incorrect. The Hegelian system was, to speak briefly, a colossal
miscarriage, and the last of its kind. It rested on an incurable
contradiction; on the other hand, it actually proclaimed the
historical conception according to which human history is a process of
development, which, in its very nature, cannot find its intellectual
conclusion in the discovery of a so-called absolute truth, on the
other hand it declared itself to be the central idea of just such an
absolute truth. An all embracing and determined knowledge of nature
and history is in absolute contradiction with the foundations of
dialectic thought, but it is not denied, on the contrary, it is
strongly affirmed, that the systematic knowledge of the entire
external world may from age to age make giant strides.

The total perversion of modern German idealism of necessity drove men
to materialism, but not, and this is well worth noting, to the mere
metaphysical mechanical materialism of the eighteenth century. In
contradiction to the naïvely simple revolutionary pushing on one side
of all earlier history, modern materialism sees in history the process
of the development of society, to discover the laws of whose
development is its task. In contradistinction to the conception of
nature which prevailed among the French philosophers, as well as with
Hegel, as something moving in a narrow circle with an eternal and
unchangeable substantial form, as Newton conceived it, and with
invariable species of organic beings, as Linnæus thought, materialism
embraces the more recent discoveries of natural science, according to
which nature has also a history in time. For the forms of the worlds,
like the species of organisms by which they are inhabited under
suitable conditions, come into being and pass away, and the cycles of
their progress, in so far as it is permissible to use the term, take
on eternally more magnificent dimensions. In either case it is
entirely dialectic and no longer forces a static philosophy upon the
other sciences. As soon as the demand is made upon each separate
branch of science that it make clear its relation to things in
general, and science as a whole, the individual science thereupon
becomes superfluous. Of all philosophy up to the present time the only
peculiar property which remains as its characteristic is the study of
thought and the formal laws of thought--logic and the dialectic. All
else belongs to the positive sciences of nature and history.

While the revolution in natural science was only able to be completely
carried out in proportion as investigation furnished the necessary
positive material, there were known a multitude of earlier historical
facts which gave a distinct bias to the philosophy of history. In 1831
in Lyons the first purely working class revolt occurred. The first
national working class movement, that of the English Chartists,
reached its height between 1838 and 1842. The class war between the
proletariat and the bourgeoisie proceeded historically in the most
advanced European countries just in proportion as the newly developed
greater industry has progressed, on the one hand, and the political
power of the bourgeoisie on the other. The teachings of the bourgeois
economists with respect to the identity of the interests of capital
and labor and with respect to the universal peace and well being which
would follow as a matter of course from the adoption of free trade
were more and more contradicted by facts. All these things could be as
little ignored as the French and English socialism which was their
theoretical though very insufficient expression. But the old
idealistic philosophy of history which was as yet by no means laid
aside knew nothing of class wars dependent upon material interests,
and nothing of material interests, specially. Production, like all
economic phenomena only occupied a subordinate position as a secondary
element of the "history of civilisation." The new facts, moreover
rendered necessary a new investigation of all preceding history and
then it became evident that all history up to then had been a history
of class struggles and that these mutually conflicting classes are the
results of a given method of production and distribution at a given
period, in a word, of the economic conditions of that epoch. Hence,
that the economic structure of society at a given time furnishes the
real foundations upon which the entire superstructure of political and
juristic institutions as well as the religious, philosophical and
other abstract notions of a given period are to be explained in the
last instance. Idealism was thereupon driven from its last refuge, the
philosophy of history; a materialistic philosophy of history was set
up, and the path was discovered by which the consciousness of man
could be shown as springing from his existence rather than his
existence from his consciousness.

But the socialism which had existed so far was just as incompatible
with the materialistic conception of history as was the naturalistic
French materialism with the dialectic and the modern discoveries in
natural science. The then existing socialism criticised the prevailing
capitalistic methods of production and their results but it could not
explain them and thus could not match itself against them, it could
only brush them on one side as being bad. But it was necessary to
show, on the one hand, the capitalistic methods of production in their
historical connection, and their necessity at a given historical epoch
and therefore the necessity of their ultimate disappearance. On the
other hand their inner character had to be explained and this was all
the more concealed for criticism had up to then been chiefly engaged
in pointing out the evil results flowing from them rather than in
destroying the thing itself. This was made clear by the discovery of
surplus value.

It was shown that the appropriation of unpaid labor is the basis of
the capitalistic mode of production and the robbery of the worker is
carried out by its means; that the capitalist, although he buys the
labor-force of the worker at the full value which it possesses in the
market as a commodity, yet derives more from it than he has paid for
it, and that in the last instance this surplus creates the total
amount of value from which the capital steadily increasing in the
hands of the capitalistic class is amassed. The phenomenon not only of
capitalistic production but of the creation of capital has thus been

For these two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of
history and the disclosure of the mystery of capitalistic production
we must thank Marx. Granted these, socialism became a science, which
thereupon had to busy itself in the working out of these ideas in
their individual aspects and connections.

Thus matters stood in the realm of theoretical socialism and the dead
philosophy (of metaphysics Ed.) when Herr Eugene Duehring, with no
slight impressement sprang up before the public and announced that he
had accomplished a complete revolution in political economy and

Let us now see what Herr Duehring promises and--how he keeps his

_II. What Herr Duehring Has to Say._

Up to now, the notable writings of Herr Duehring are his "Course of
Philosophy," his "Course of Political and Social Science" and his
"Critical History of Political Economy and Socialism." The first work
is the one which particularly claims our attention.

Right on the first page Herr Duehring announces himself as "one who
claims to represent this power (of philosophy) at the present time and
its unfolding in the undiscoverable future." He discovers himself,
therefore, as the one true philosopher for the present and the hidden
future. Whoso differs from him differs from truth. Many people even
before Herr Duehring, have thought this about themselves or something
like it, but, with the exception of Richard Wagner, he is the first
who has allowed himself to say it right out. And, as a matter of fact,
the truth, as it is handled by him is "a final truth of the last
instance." Herr Duehring's philosophy is "the natural system, or the
philosophy of reality.... Reality is so understood as to exclude every
sudden impulse towards an unreal and subjectively limited
comprehension of the universe." The philosophy is therefore so shaped
as to exclude Herr Duehring himself from the somewhat obvious
limitations of his own personal, subjective narrowness. It is quite
necessary to explain how this miracle is worked, if he is in a
position to lay down unquestionable truths of the last instance,
though, for our part, we cannot discover any particular merit in them.
This "natural system of valuable knowledge" has "with great profundity
established the foundation forms of existence." Out of his real
critical attitude proceed the elements of a real critical philosophy,
based on the realities of nature and life, which does not allow of any
merely imaginary horizon but in its mighty revolutionary progress
opens up the earth and heaven of external and inner nature; it is a
"new method of thought" and its results are "from the bottom up,
peculiar results and philosophies ... system-shaping ideas ... fixed
truths." We have in it before us "a work which must seek its force in
the concentrated initiative," whatever that may mean; an
"investigation reaching to the roots ... a rooted science ... a
severely scientific conception of things and men ... a comprehensive
thorough effort of the mind ... a creative sketch of suppositions and
conclusions from overmastering ideas ... the absolute fundamental." In
the realm of political economy he gives us not only "historical and
systematic comprehensive efforts" of which the historical are moreover
distinguished by "my presentation of history in the grand style" and
those in political economy have produced "creative movements," but
closes with a special completely elaborated scientific scheme for a
future society which is "the actual fruit of a clear and basic
theory," and is therefore just as free from the possibility of error
and as individual as Duehring's philosophy ... for "only in that
socialistic structure which I have disclosed in my "Course of
Political and Social Science" can a true ownership arise in place of
the present apparent private property which rests on force such an
ownership as must be recognised in the future."

These flowers of rhetoric from the praises of Herr Duehring by Herr
Duehring might be increased tenfold with ease. They must cause a doubt
to arise in the mind of the reader whether he is reading the words of
a philosopher or of a--but we must ask him to withhold his judgment
until he shall have learnt the aforesaid grasp of the root of things
by a closer acquaintance. We only quote the foregoing flowery remarks
to show that we have to do with no ordinary philosopher and socialist
who simply speaks what he thinks and leaves the future to decide with
respect to their value, but with an extraordinary personality like the
Pope whose individual teachings must be received if the damnable sin
of heresy is to be avoided. We have not by any means to deal with the
kind of work which abounds in all the socialist writings, and the
later German ones, in particular, works in which people of varying
calibre seek to explain in the most naïve fashion their notions of
things in general and for an answer to whom there is more or less
material available. But whatever may be the literary or scientific
deficiencies of these works their goodwill towards socialism is always
manifest. On the other hand, Herr Duehring presents us with statements
which he declares to be final truths of the last instance, exclusive
truths, according to which any other opinion is absolutely false. Thus
he owns the only scientific methods of investigation, and all others
are unscientific in comparison. Either he is right and we are face to
face with the greatest genius of our time, the first superhuman,
because infallible, man; or he is wrong, and then, since our judgment
may always be at fault, benevolent regard for his possible good
intentions would be the deadliest insult to Herr Duehring.

When one is in possession of final truths of the last instance and the
only absolutely scientific knowledge one must have a certain contempt
for the rest of erring and unscientific humanity. We cannot therefore
be surprised that Herr Duehring employs very abusive terms with regard
to his predecessors, and that only a few exceptional people,
recognised by him as great men, find favor in face of his
comprehension of fundamental truths.

(Then follows a list of the epithets applied by Duehring to
philosophers, naturalists, Darwin, in particular, and to the socialist
writers. This list has been omitted as it contributes nothing of value
to the general discussion and is only useful for the particular
controversial matter in hand. Ed.)

And so on--and this is only a hastily gathered bouquet of flowers from
Herr Duehring's rose garden. It will be understood that if these
amiable insults which should be forbidden Herr Duehring on any grounds
of politeness, are found somewhat disreputable and unpleasant, they
are, still, final truths of the last instance. Even now we shall guard
against any doubt of his profundity because we might otherwise be
forbidden to discover the particular category of idiots to which we
belong. We have but considered it our duty on the one hand to give
what Herr Duehring calls "The quintessence of a modest mode of
expression," and on the other hand, to show that in Herr Duehring's
eyes the objectionableness of his predecessors is no less firmly
established than his own infallibility. Accordingly if all this is
actually true we bow in reverence humbly before the mighty genius of
modern times.




Philosophy is, according to Herr Duehring, the development of the
highest forms of consciousness of the world and life, and embraces, in
a wider sense, the principles of all knowledge and volition. Wherever
a series of perceptions, or motives or a group of forms of life
becomes a matter of consideration in the human mind the principles
which underly these forms, of necessity, become an object of
philosophy. These principles are single, or, up to the present, have
been considered as single ingredients out of which are composed the
complexities of knowledge and volition. Like the chemical composition
of material bodies, the entire universe may be also resolved into
fundamental forms and elements. These elementary constituents and
principles serve, when once discovered, not only for the known
tangible world but for that also, which is unknown and inaccessible.
Philosophical principles therefore constitute the last complement
required by the sciences in order that they may become a uniform
system by means of which nature and human life are explained. In
addition to the examination of the fundamental forms of all existence,
philosophy has only two particular objects of investigation, Nature
and Humanity. Hence our material may be classified into three main
groups,--a general scheme of the universe, the teaching of the
principles of nature and finally the principles which regulate
Humanity. This arrangement at the same time comprises an inner
logical order, for the formal principles which are true for all
existence take precedence, and the concrete realms in which these
principles display themselves follow in the gradation of their
successive arrangements. So far, this is Herr Duehring's conception of
things given almost in his very words.

He is therefore engaged with principles, formal conceptions, which are
subjective and not derived from the knowledge of external phenomena,
but which are applied to Nature and Humanity, as the principles
according to which Nature and Humanity must regulate themselves. But
how are these subjective principles derived? From thought itself? No,
for Herr Duehring himself says: the purely ideal realm is limited to
logical arrangements and mathematical conceptions (which latter as we
shall later see is false). Logical arrangements can only be referred
to forms of thought, but we are engaged here only with forms of
existence, the external world, and these forms can never be created by
thought nor derived from it but only from the external world. Hereupon
the entire matter undergoes a change. We see that principles are not
the starting point of investigation but the conclusion of it, they are
not to be applied to nature and history but are derived from them.
Nature and Humanity are not steered by principles, but principles are,
on the other hand, only correct so far as they correspond with nature
and history. That is just the materialistic conception of the matter,
and the opposite, that of Herr Duehring is the idealistic conception,
it turns things upside down and constructs a real world out of the
world of thought, arrangements, plans and categories existing from
everlasting before the world, just like Hegelianism.

As a matter of fact, we prefer Hegel's "Encyclopedia," with all its
fever phantoms, to the "final truths of the last instance" of Herr
Duehring. In the first place, according to Herr Duehring we have the
general scheme of the universe which by Hegel is called "logic." Then
according to both of them we have the application of this scheme to
nature by means of the logical categories, the philosophy of nature,
and finally their application to Humanity, by what Hegel calls "the
Philosophy of the Spirit." "The inner logical arrangement" of
Duehring's scheme brings us therefore logically back to Hegel's
"Encyclopedia" from which it is taken with a fidelity which would move
that Wandering Jew of the Hegelian school, Professor Michelet of
Berlin, to tears.

Such a result follows if one takes it for granted that
"consciousness," "thought," is something which has existed from the
beginning in contradistinction to nature. It would then be of the
greatest importance to bring consciousness and Nature, thought and
existence, into harmony, to harmonise the laws of thought and the laws
of Nature. But one enquires further what are thought and consciousness
and whence do they originate. It is consequently discovered that they
are products of the brain of man, and that Humanity is itself a
product of nature which has developed in and along with its
environment; wherefore it becomes self-apparent that the products of
the brain of man being themselves, in the last instance, natural
products, do not contradict all the rest of Nature but correspond with

But Herr Duehring cannot allow so simple a treatment of the subject.
He thinks not only in the name of Humanity which would be quite a
large affair, but in the name of the conscious and thinking beings of
the whole universe. Indeed, it would be "a degradation of the
foundation concepts of knowledge and consciousness if one should wish
to exclude or even to throw suspicion upon their sovereign value and
undoubted claims to truth by means of the epithet 'human.'" In order
that there may be no suspicion that upon some heavenly body or other
twice two may make five, Herr Duehring does not venture to call
thought a human attribute, and therefore he is obliged to separate it
from the only true foundation on which it rests, as far as we are
concerned, namely, from man and nature, and thereby falls, without any
possibility of getting out, into an "ideology" which causes him to
play baby to Hegel. It is self-evident that one cannot build
materialistic doctrines on foundations so ideological. We shall see
later that Herr Duehring is compelled to push nature to the front as a
conscious agent and, therefore, as that, which people in plain English
call God.

Indeed, our philosopher had other motives in shifting the foundation
of reality from the material world to that of thought. The knowledge
of this general scheme of the universe, of these formal principles of
being is just the foundation of Herr Duehring's philosophy. If we
derive the scheme of the universe not from our own brain, but merely
by means of our own brain, from the material world, we need no
philosophy, but simply knowledge of the world and what occurs in it,
and the results of this knowledge likewise do not constitute a
philosophy, but positive science. In such a case, however, Herr
Duehring's entire book would have been love's labor lost.

Further, if no philosophy, as such, is longer required there is no
longer the necessity of any philosophy of nature even. The view that
all the phenomena of nature stand in systematic mutual relations
compels science to prove this systematic interconnection in all
respects, in single cases as well as in the entirety. But an
appropriate creative, scientific representation of this mutual
connection in such a way as to show the composition of an exact
thought-picture of the system of the universe in which we live remains
not only for us but for all time an impossibility. Should such a final
conclusive system of the interconnection of the various activities of
the universe, physical, as well as intellectual and historical, ever
be brought to completion at any point of time in the history of the
human race, human knowledge would forthwith come to an end and future
historical progress would be cut off from the very moment in which
society was directed in accordance with the system, which would be an
absurdity, mere nonsense.

Man is therefore confronted by a contradiction, on the one hand he is
obliged to study the interconnections of the world-system
exhaustively, and, on the other hand, he is unable to fully accomplish
the task either as regards himself or as regards the system of nature.
This contradiction, however, does not consist solely in the nature of
the two factors World and Man; it is the main lever also of universal
intellectual progress and is solved every day and for ever in an
endless progressive development of humanity, just as mathematical
problems find their solution in an endless progression of a recurring
decimal. As a matter of fact also every concept of the universe is
subject to objective limitations owing to the conditions of historical
knowledge, and subjectively in addition owing to the physical and
mental make up of the author of the concept. But Herr Duehring
exhibits a mode of thought which is confined in its application to a
limited and subjective idea of the universe. We saw earlier that he
was omnipresent, in all possible forms of the universe, now we see
that he is omniscient. He has solved the final problems of science and
has nailed up tight all future knowledge.

Herr Duehring considers that he can, as with the fundamental forms of
existence, produce aprioristically by means of his own cogitations the
whole of pure mathematics without making any use of the experience
which is afforded us in the objective world. In pure mathematics the
understanding is engaged "in its own free creations and imaginations";
the concepts of number and form are "self-sufficient objects
proceeding from themselves" and so have "a value independent of
individual experience and actual objective reality."

That pure mathematics has a significance independent of particular
individual experience is quite true as are also the established facts
of all the sciences and indeed of all facts. The magnetic poles, the
formation of water from oxygen and hydrogen, the fact that Hegel is
dead and that Herr Duehring is alive, are facts independent of my
experience or that of any other single individual, and will be
independent of that of Herr Duehring himself, as soon as he shall
sleep the sleep of the just. But in pure mathematics the mind is not
by any means engaged with its own creations and imaginings. The
concepts of number and form have only come to us by the way of the
real world. The ten fingers on which men count and thereby performed
the first arithmetical calculations are anything but a free creation
of the mind. To count not only requires objects capable of being
counted but the ability, when these objects are regarded, of
subtracting all qualities from them except number and this ability is
the product of long historical development of actual experience. The
concept form is, like that of number, derived exclusively from the
external world and is not a purely mental product. To it things
possessed of shape were necessary and these shapes men compared until
the concept form was arrived at. Pure mathematics considers the shapes
and quantities of things in the actual world, very real objects. The
fact that these objects appear in a very abstract form only
superficially conceals their origin in the world of external nature.
In order to understand these forms and qualities in their purity it is
necessary to separate them from their content and thus one gets the
point, without dimensions, the line, without breadth and thickness, a
and b, x and y, constants and variables, and we finally first arrive
at independent creations of the imagination and intellect, imaginary
magnitudes. Also the apparent derivation of mathematical magnitudes
from each other does not prove their aprioristic origin, but only
their rational interconnection. Before one attained the concept that
the form of a cylinder was derived from the revolution of a rectangle
round one of its sides, he must have examined a number of rectangles
and cylinders even if of imperfect form. Like all sciences,
mathematics has sprung from the necessities of men, from the
measurement of land and the content of vessels, from the calculation
of time and mechanics. But, as in every department of thought, at a
certain stage of development, laws are abstracted from the actual
phenomena, are separated from them and set over against them, as
something independent of them, as laws, which apparently come from the
outside, in accordance with which the material world must necessarily
conduct itself. So, it has happened in society and the state, so, and
not otherwise, pure mathematics though borrowed from the world is
applied to the world, and though it only shows a portion of its
component factors is all the better applicable on that account.

But as Herr Duehring imagines that the whole of pure mathematics can
be derived from the mathematical axioms, "which according to purely
logical concepts are neither capable of proof nor in need of any, and
without empirical ingredients anywhere and that these can be applied
to the universe, he likewise imagines, in the first place, the
foundation forms of being, the single ingredients of all knowledge,
the axioms of philosophy, to be produced by the intellect of man; he
imagines also that he can derive the whole of philosophy or plan of
the universe from these, and that his sublime genius can compel us to
accept this, his conception of nature and humanity." Unfortunately
nature and humanity are not constituted like the Prussians of the
Manteuffel regime of 1850.

The axioms of mathematics are expressions of the most elementary ideas
which mathematics must borrow from logic. They may be reduced to two.

(1) The whole is greater than its part; this statement is mere
tautology, since the quantitatively limited concept, "part,"
necessarily refers to the concept, "whole,"--in that "part" signifies
no more than that the quantitative "whole" is made up of quantitative
"parts." Since the so-called axiom merely asserts this much we are not
a step further. This can be shown to be a tautology if we say "The
whole is that which consists of several parts--a part is that several
of which make up a whole, therefore the part is less than the whole."
Where the barrenness of the repetition shows the lack of content all
the more strongly.

(2) If two magnitudes are equal to a third they are equal to one
another; this statement is, as Hegel has shown, a conclusion, upon
the correctness of which all logic depends, and which is demonstrated
therefore outside of pure mathematics. The remaining axioms with
regard to equality and inequality are merely logical extensions of
this conclusion. Such barren statements are not enticing either in
mathematics or anywhere else. To proceed we must have realities,
conditions and forms taken from real material things; representations
of lines, planes, angles, polygons, spheres, etc., are all borrowed
from reality, and it is just naive ideology to believe the
mathematicians, who assert that the first line was made by causing a
point to progress through space, the first plane by means of the
movement of a line, and the first solid by revolving a plane, etc.
Even speech rebels against this idea. A mathematical figure of three
dimensions is called a solid--corpus solidum--and hence, according to
the Latin, a body capable of being handled. It has a name derived,
therefore, by no means from the independent play of imagination but
from solid reality.

But to what purpose is all this prolixity? After Herr Duehring has
enthusiastically proclaimed the independence of pure mathematics of
the world of experience, their apriorism, their connection with free
creation and imagination, he says "it will be readily seen that these
mathematical elements (number, magnitude, time, space, geometric
progression), are therefore ideal forms with relation to absolute
magnitudes and therefore something quite empiric, no matter to what
species they belong." But "mathematical general notions are, apart
from experience, nevertheless capable of sufficient characterization,"
which latter proceeds, more or less, from each abstraction, but does
not by any means prove that it is not deprived from the actual. In the
scheme of the universe of our author pure mathematics originated in
pure thought, in his philosophy of nature it is derived from the
external world and then set apart from it. What are we then to

_The Scheme of the Universe._

"All-comprehending existence is sole. It is sufficient to itself and
has nothing above or below it. To associate a second existence with it
would be to make it just what it is not, a part of a constituent or
all-embracing whole. When we conceive of our idea of soleness as a
frame there is nothing which can enter into this, nothing which
retains twofoldness can enter into this concept of unity. But nothing
can alienate itself from this concept of unity. The essence of all
thought consists in uniting the elements of consciousness in a unity.
The indivisible concept of the universe has arisen by comprehending
everything, and the universe, as the word signifies, is recognised as
something in which everything is united into one unity."

So far Herr Duehring is quoted. The mathematical method, "Everything
must be decided on simple axiomatic foundation principles, just as if
it were concerned with the simple principles of mathematics," this
method is for the first time here applied.

"The all-embracing existence is sole." If tautology, simple repetition
in the predicate of what has been stated in the subject, if this
constitutes an axiom, then we have a splendid specimen. In the subject
Herr Duehring tells us that existence comprehends everything, in the
predicate he explains intrepidly that there is nothing outside it.
What a system-shaping thought. It is indeed system-shaping until we
find six lines further down that Herr Duehring has transformed the
soleness of being by means of our idea of unity into its one-ness. As
the work of all thought consists in the bringing together of all
thought into a unity so is existence, as soon as it is conceived,
thought of as a unity, an indivisible concept of the universe, and
because existence so conceived is the sole universal concept, so is
real existence, the real universe, just as much an indivisible unity,
and consequently "the beings in the beyond have no further place as
soon as the mind has learned to comprehend existence in the
homogeneous universality."

That is a campaign with which in comparison Austerlitz and Jena,
Koeniggratz and Sedan sink in insignificance. In a couple of
expressions after we have set the first axiom moving we have
abolished, put away, and destroyed all the inhabitants of the
spirit-world, God, the heavenly hierarchies, heaven, hell and
purgatory as well as the immortality of the soul.

How do we arrive at the idea of the unity of existence from that of
its soleness? As a matter of fact, we generally conceive it. As we
spread out our idea of unity as a frame around it the concept of
existence becomes the concept of unity, for the existence of all
thought consists in the bringing of elements of consciousness into

This last statement is simply false. In the first place thought
consists in the decomposition of objects of consciousness into their
elements as well as in the uniting of mutually connected elements into
a unity. There can be no synthesis without analysis. In the second
place, thought can, without error, only bring those elements of
consciousness into a unity in which or in the actual prototypes of
which this unity already existed beforehand. If I comprehend a
shoebrush under the class mammal, it does not thereupon become a
milk-giver. The unity of existence is therefore just the thing which
had to be proved in order to justify his concept of thought as a
unity, and if Herr Duehring assures us that he regards existence as a
unity and not as twofold he tells us nothing more than that he himself
personally thinks so.

To give a clear explanation of his method of reasoning, it is as
follows, "I begin with existence. Therefore I think of existence. The
idea of existence is an idea of unity. Thought and existence must
therefore belong together, they answer one another, they mutually
cover each other. Therefore existence is in reality a unity and there
are no beings beyond." But if Herr Duehring had spoken thus plainly
instead of entertaining us with oracular statements, the ideology of
his argument would have been completely exposed. To attempt to
undertake to prove from the identity of thought and existence the
reality of the result of thought, that indeed were one of the
fever-phantoms of a Hegel.

If his entire method of proof were really correct Herr Duehring would
not have gained a single point over the spiritists. The spiritists
would curtly reply, "The universe is simple from our standpoint also.
The division into the hither and the beyond only exists from our
special earthly original sin standpoint. In its essence, that is God,
the entire universe is a unity." And they will take Herr Duehring with
them to his beloved heavenly bodies, and will show him one or more
where no original sin can be found, and where there is therefore no
antagonism between the hither and the beyond, and the oneness of the
universe is a demand of faith.

The most comical thing about the matter is that Herr Duehring in order
to prove the non-existence of God from his concept of existence,
furnishes the ontological proof of God's existence. This runs as
follows--If we think of God we think of Him as the concept of complete
perfection. To the idea of perfection existence is a first essential,
since a non-existent being is of necessity imperfect. We must
therefore add existence to the perfections of God. Therefore God must
exist. Thus Herr Duehring reasons exactly. If we think of existence we
think of it as a concept. What is united into a concept is a unity,
therefore existence would not correspond with its concept if it were
not a unity. Therefore it must be a unity, therefore there is no God,

If we speak of existence and merely of existence, the unity can only
consist in this that all objects with which it is concerned
are--exist. They are comprised under the unity of this common
existence, and no other, and the general dictum that they all exist
cannot give them any further qualities, common or not common, but
excludes all such from consideration in advance. For as soon as we
take a step beyond the simple fact that existence is common to all
things, the distinctions between these separate things engage our
attention, and if these differences consist in this that some are
black, some white, some alive, others not alive, some hither and some
beyond, we cannot conclude therefrom that mere existence can be
imputed to all of them alike.

The unity of the universe does not consist in its existence, although
its existence is a presumption of its unity, since it must first exist
before it can be a unit. Existence beyond the boundary line of our
horizon is an open question. The real unity of the universe consists
in its materiality, and this is established, not by a pair of juggling
phrases but by means of a long and difficult development of philosophy
and natural science.

With respect to the subject in hand; the existence which Herr Duehring
presents to us is "not that pure existence which is self sufficient
and without any other qualities, in fact, only representing the
antithesis of no-idea or absence-of-idea." Now we shall very soon see
that the universe of Herr Duehring has its origin simultaneously with
an existence which is without essential differentiation, progress or
change, and is therefore merely in fact a contradiction of absence of
thought, therefore really nothing. From this non-existence is
developed the present differentiated, changeable universe which
represents progressive growth; and when we grasp this idea, only by
virtue of this eternal change do we arrive at "the concept of the self
sufficing, universal existence." We have therefore now the concept of
existence on a higher plane where it comprises within itself stability
as well as change, being as well as development. Arrived at this point
we find that "species and genera in fact the special and the general,
are the simplest forms of differentiation, without which the
constitution of things cannot be grasped."

But this is a means of distinguishing quality and after a discussion
of this part of the subject we proceed "Over against the idea of
species stands the idea of the whole, a homogeneity, as it were, in
which no differentiation of species can longer be found," so we pass
from quality to quantity and this is always "capable of measurement."

Let us compare this "clear analysis of the actual, universal scheme of
things" and its "real, critical standpoint" with the fever-phantasies
of a Hegel. We find that Hegel's "Logic" begins with existence as does
that of Herr Duehring; that existence displays itself as nothing, as
with Herr Duehring; that out of this not-being, a leap is made into
being, and that existence is the result of this, that is a more
complete and higher form of being, as with Herr Duehring. Being leads
to quality, quality to quantity, just as with Herr Duehring. And in
order that no essential shall be lacking Herr Duehring tells us
elsewhere "from the realm of absence of sensation man leaps to that of
sensation in spite of all the quantitative steps with but one
qualitative leap ... from which we can show that he is entirely
differentiated from the mere gradation of one and the same quality."
This is just the Hegelian standard of measurement according to which
mere quantitative expansion or contraction causes a sudden qualitative
change at a given point, as for example with heated or cooled water,
there are points where the spring into a new set of conditions is
fulfilled under normal circumstances, and where therefore quantity
suddenly changes into quality.

Our investigation has likewise sought to penetrate to the deepest
roots, and discovers the rooted Duehring foundations to be the
"fever-phantasies" of a Hegel, the categories of the Hegelian logic,
in the first place, teachings in regard to existence after the antique
Hegelian method, and an ineffective cloak of plagiarism.

And not content with purloining the whole scheme of existence from his
despised predecessors, Herr Duehring after giving the above example of
a change of quantity into quality has the coolness to say of Marx, "Is
it not comical, this appeal (of Marx) to Hegelian confusion and
mistiness, that quantity changes into quality." Confused mixture, who
changes his ground, who is a comical fellow Herr Duehring?

All these pretty little statements are not only not "axiomatic
utterances" according to label, but are simply taken from foreign
sources, that is, from Hegel's "Logic." Of a truth there is not
revealed in the whole chapter the shadow of any "inner connection,"
except so far as it is borrowed from Hegel, and the whole talk about
stability and change finally runs out into mere garrulity on the
subject of time and space.

From existence Hegel comes to substance, to the dialectic. Here he
treats of reflex-movements, antagonisms and contradictions, positive
and negative for example, and thence proceeds to causality, or the
conditions of cause and effect and closes with necessity. Herr
Duehring does not vary this method. What Hegel calls the "doctrines of
existence" Herr Duehring has translated into "logical properties of
existence." These exist, above all else in the antagonism of forces,
in antithesis, Herr Duehring denies the antithesis in toto, but we
shall return to this matter later. Then he proceeds to causality and
thence to necessity. If Herr Duehring says of himself, "I do not
philosophise from a cage," he must mean that he philosophises in a
cage, the cage of the Hegelian arrangement of categories.



_Time and Space._

We now come to natural philosophy. Here again Herr Duehring takes it
upon himself to be dissatisfied with his predecessors. He says
"Natural philosophy sank so low that it became barren dregs of poetry
and had fallen into the degraded rubbish of the sham philosophy of a
Schelling and the like, grubbing in priest-craft and mystifying the
public." Disgust has rid us of these deformities, but up to the
present it has been succeeded by instability, and "what is of concern
to the public at large is that the disappearance of a particularly
great charlatan merely gives an opportunity to a smaller but more
expert successor who repeats the production in another form."
Naturalists have little desire for "a flight into the kingdom of the
universe-comprehending ideas," and therefore indulge too freely in
speculations which "go to pieces." Thus complete salvation must be
found, and, fortunately, Herr Duehring is at hand.

In order to comprehend aright the following conclusions respecting the
unfolding of the universe in time and its limitation in space, we must
again turn our attention to certain portions of the "scheme of the

Eternity is ascribed to existence, in agreement with Hegel, what Hegel
calls "tiresome (schlecht) eternity," and this eternity is now
investigated. "The plainest form of an incontrovertible idea of
eternity is the piling up of numbers unlimitedly in arithmetical
progression. Just as we can give a complete unity to each number
without the possibility of repetition, so at every stage of its being
it progresses still further and eternity consists in the unlimited
manifestation of this condition. This sufficiently conceived eternity
has but one single beginning with one single direction. Although it is
not material to our concept to imagine a direction opposite to that in
which the progression piles up, this notion of a backward moving
eternity is only a hasty picture drawn by the imagination. Since it
must necessarily run in a contrary direction, it would have behind it
in each instance an endless succession of numbers. But this would be
inadmissible as constituting the contradiction of a calculated
infinity of numbers, and so it seems absurd to imagine a second
direction of eternity."

The first conclusion to be drawn from this conception of eternity is
that the chain of cause and effect in the universe must once have had
a beginning: an endless number of causes which have followed one
another endlessly is therefore unthinkable, "because innumerability is
thus considered as enumerated," therefore a final cause is proved.

The second conclusion is "the law of the definite number: the
accumulation of identical independent objects of an actual species is
only thinkable as being made up of a definite number of these
individual objects." Not only must the actual number of the heavenly
bodies be definite at a given time, but the total number of all
existent objects, the smallest independent particles of matter. This
last necessity constitutes the real reason why no composite body is
thinkable except as made up of atoms. All actual division has a fixed
limit and must have it, if the contradiction of a numerated
innumerability is to be avoided. On the same grounds not only must the
revolutions of the sun and earth be fixed as they have occurred up to
the present, even if they cannot be indicated, but all the periodical
processes of nature must have had a beginning somewhere, and all the
distinctions and complexities of nature which succeed each other must
similarly have had an origin. This must indisputably have existed from
eternity, but such an idea would be excluded if time consisted of real
parts and was not arbitrarily divided to accommodate the possibilities
of our understanding. It is different with time, self regarded, but
the facts and phenomena of which time is made up being capable of
differentiation can be enumerated. Let us conceive of a condition in
which no change occurs and which undergoes no alteration in its stable
identity; the time concept then becomes transformed into the general
notion of existence. What is the result of piling up an empty duration
of time is not discoverable. So far, Herr Duehring writes and he is
not a little edified concerning the significance of these discoveries.
He hopes that "it is perceived as a not insignificant truth," and
later on says, "One should note the very simple phrases by which we
have helped the concept of immortality and the criticism of it to a
point at present unknown, through the sharpening and deepening of the
simple elements of the universal conception of time and space."

We have helped! This deepening and sharpening! Who are we? In what are
we manifest? Who deepens and who sharpens?

"Thesis--the world has a beginning in time and is bounded by space.
Proof--If one suppose that the world has no beginning in time he is
bound to grant infinity to each point of time, and so an infinite
succession of things has passed away in the universe. But infinity of
a series consists in the impossibility of its completion by successive
syntheses. Therefore an eternal progression of the world is
impossible. Hence a beginning of the world is a necessary condition of
its existence, which was to be proved. Let us take the other concept.
The world now appears as an eternal given whole consisting of things
which have a simultaneous existence. Now we can conceive of the mass
of a quantity, which can only be regarded under certain conditions, in
no other way than by means of the synthesis of its parts, and we
conceive the totality of the quantity by means of the completed
synthesis or repeated additions of the unity to itself. Thus, in order
to conceive of the universe as a whole which fills all space, the
successive syntheses of the parts of an infinite universe must be
regarded as being completed, that is an eternity of time must in
calculating all coexisting things, be regarded as having existed, but
this is impossible. Therefore an unending aggregate of actual things
cannot be regarded as a given whole and therefore also not as
coexistent. A world is therefore extension in space which is not
unlimited and which has therefore bounds. And this was the second
thing to be proved."

These statements are copied from a well-known book which made its
appearance in 1781 and is entitled "The Critique of Pure Reason," by
Immanuel Kant. They can be read there in Part I, Division 2, second
section, second part. "First Antinomy of Pure Reason." To Herr
Duehring alone remains the name and fame of having pasted the law of
fixed numbers on one of the published thoughts of Kant and of having
made the discovery that there was once a time when time did not exist
but only a universe. For the rest, therefore, when we come across
anything sensible in Herr Duehring's exposition "We" means Immanuel
Kant, and the "present" is only ninety-five years old. Quite simple
indeed, and unknown until now! But Kant does not establish the above
statement by his proof. On the other hand, he shows the reverse,
namely, that the universe has no beginning in time and no end in
space, and he fixes his antinomy in this, the unsolvable contradiction
that the one is just as capable of proof as the other. People of small
calibre might be inclined to think that here Kant had found an
insuperable difficulty, not so our bold author of fundamental results
"especially his own." He copies all that he can use of Kant's antinomy
and throws the rest away.

The matter solves itself very simply. Eternity in time and endlessness
in space signify from the very words that there is no end in either
direction, forwards or backwards, over or under, right or left. This
infinity is quite different from an endless progression, since the
latter always has some beginning, a first step. The inapplicability of
this progression idea to our object is evident directly we apply it to
space. Infinite progression translated in terms of space is a line
produced continuously in a given direction. Is infinity in space
expressed in this way, even remotely? On the contrary it requires six
of these lines drawn from this point in three opposite directions to
express the dimensions of space and we should have accordingly six of
these dimensions. Kant saw this so plainly that he employed his
progression merely indirectly in a round about way to express the
extent of the universe. Herr Duehring on the contrary forces us to
accept his six dimensions of space and at the same time has no words
in which to express his contempt of the mathematical mysticism of
Gauss who would not content himself with the three dimensions of

Applied to time, the series or row of objects, infinite at both
extremities, has a certain figurative significance. But let us picture
time as proceeding from unity or a line proceeding from a fixed point.
We can say then that time has had a beginning. We assume just what we
wanted to prove. We give a one-sided half-character to infinity of
time. But a one-sided eternity split in halves is a contradiction in
itself, the exact opposite of a hypothetical infinity, incapable of
contradiction. We can only overcome this contradiction by assuming
that the unity which we began to count the progression from, the point
from which we measure the line, is a unity taken at pleasure in the
series, a point taken at pleasure in the line. Hence as far as the
line or series is concerned it is immaterial where we put it.

But as for the contradiction of the "counted endless progression" we
shall be in a position to examine it more closely as soon as Herr
Duehring has taught us the trick of reckoning it. If he has
accomplished the feat of counting from minus infinity to zero, we
shall be glad to hear from him again. It is clear that wherever he
begins to count he leaves behind him an endless progression, and with
it the problem which he had to solve. Let him only take his own
infinite progression 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 etc. and try to reckon back to 1
again from the infinite end. He evidently does not comprehend the
requirements of the problem. And furthermore, if he affirms that the
infinite progression of past time is capable of calculation he must
affirm that time has a beginning for otherwise he could not begin to
calculate. Therefore he again substitutes a supposition for what he
had to prove. The idea of the calculated infinite series, in other
words Duehring's all-embracing law of the fixed number, is therefore a
contradiction in adjecto, is a self contradiction, and an absurd one,

It is clear that an infinity which has an end but no beginning is
neither more nor less than an infinity which has a beginning but no
end. The least logical insight would have compelled Herr Duehring to
the statement that beginning and end are mutually necessary to each
other, like North Pole and South Pole, and that if one omit the end
the beginning becomes the end, the one end which the series has and
vice versa.

The entire fallacy would not be possible if it were not for the
mathematical practice of operating with an infinite series. Because in
mathematics one must proceed from the given and finite to that which
is not given and infinite, all mathematical series whether positive or
negative, begin with a fixed point otherwise one cannot calculate. The
ideal necessities of the mathematician however are very far from being
a law compulsory upon the universe.

Besides Herr Duehring will never succeed in imagining an infinity
without contradiction. In the first place, infinity is a contradiction
and full of contradictions. For example it is a contradiction that
infinity should be made up of finite things and yet such is the case.
The notion of a limited universe leads to contradictions just as much
as the notion of its unlimitedness, and each attempt to abolish these
contradictions leads, as we have seen, to new and worse
contradictions. But just because infinity is a contradiction, it is
without end, endlessly developing itself in time and space. The
abolition of the contradiction would be the end of infinity. Hegel
saw that very clearly, and covers the people who entered upon
intricate arguments about this contradiction with merited scorn.

Let us proceed. Now, time has had a beginning. What was before this
beginning? The unchangeable universe incomparable with anything else.
And as no changes occur in this condition the particular concept time
is transformed into the general concept existence. In the first place
we have nothing to do with the transformation which goes on in the
brain of Herr Duehring. We are not engaged with a concept of time, but
with actual time of which Herr Duehring cannot so easily dispose. In
the second place no matter how much the concept of time is transformed
into the general concept existence it does not bring us one step
nearer the goal. For the fundamental forms of all existence are space
and time, and a thing existing outside of time is as silly an idea as
that of a being outside of space. The Hegelian "past existence in
which there was no time" and the neo-Schelling "being beyond the scope
of thought" are rational conceptions compared with this being outside
of time. For this reason Herr Duehring goes to work very cautiously
"intrinsically it may be called time, but one cannot really call it
time, as time does not consist in itself of real parts but is merely
divided by us into parts to suit our own convenience," only a real
filling up of time with distinct facts makes it capable of
calculation. It is impossible to see the significance of piling up an
empty duration. But it does not matter anyway. The question is whether
the universe in this presupposed condition continues, that is
persists, through a period of time. We have long known that it is
useless to try and measure such empty space and to calculate without
plan or aim and just because of the tiresomeness of such a proceeding
Hegel calls this infinity "miserable." According to Herr Duehring time
exists only by virtue of change, not change in and through time.
Because time is different from change and independent of it, we can
measure it by the changes, because in order to measure we need
something different from that which is to be measured. And the time in
which no recognisible changes take place is very far from being no
time, on the other hand since it is free from other ingredients, it is
pure, that is to say, true time. Indeed if we want to contemplate time
as a pure concept separated from all foreign admixture, we are obliged
to eliminate all the various events which occur in time, either
successively or simultaneously, and thus imagine a time in which
nothing occurs. By this means we have not permitted the concept time
to be overcome by the general concept of existence, but we have
thereby arrived at a pure time concept. All these contradictions and
impossibilities are mere child's play compared with the confusion into
which he plunges the universe with its self-sufficient commencement.
If the universe was in a condition in which no change occurred in it,
how did it ever manage to get from that state to one of change?
Moreover, an absolute condition of absence of change existing from
eternity cannot possibly get out of that state unaided so as to pass
over to a condition of progress and change. A first cause of motion
must therefore have come from the outside, from beyond the universe,
which caused the movement. This first cause of motion is clearly only
another term for God, The God and the Beyond of which Herr Duehring
fancied that he had so nicely settled in his scheme of the universe,
return sharpened and deepened in his natural philosophy.

Further Herr Duehring says: "Where a fixed element of existence is
capable of measurement, it will remain in unalterable stability. This
is evident from material and mechanical force." The former quotation
gives, it may be incidentally mentioned, a good example of Herr
Duehring's axiomatic grandiloquence. Fixed quantities remain exactly
the same, the quantity of mechanical force, once in the universe, is
always the same. We will not dwell on this, so far as it is true,
Descartes knew and said it three hundred years ago as regards
philosophy, while in mechanical science the doctrine of the
conservation of energy has been preached for the last twenty years.
Herr Duehring has not improved upon it in so far as he limits it to
mechanical energy. But where was mechanical energy at the period of
unchangeableness? To this question Herr Duehring stubbornly refuses an

Where was the unchangeable mechanical force then, Herr Duehring, and
what was it busy about? Answer: "The original state of the universe,
or, better, the existence of unchangeable matter, not allowing of any
changes in time, is a question which no mind can pass except one which
sees the acme of wisdom in the destruction of its own powers."
Therefore you must either take my original condition with your eyes
shut, or I, the lusty Eugene Duehring, brand you as an intellectual
eunuch. Some people might be quite alarmed about this, but we who have
seen a few examples of Herr Duehring's powers, can let the elegant
abuse pass and reiterate the question, "But how about that mechanical
energy, Herr Duehring, if you please?"

Herr Duehring is staggered at once. In fact, he stammers, "There is no
proof of the actual existence of that original condition. Let us
remember that this is also the case with each new step in the series
with which we are acquainted. He therefore who will make difficulties
in the foregoing case may see that he does not avoid them in the
smaller apparent cases. Besides, the possibility exists that there are
successively graduated intermediate states inserted, and thus there is
a stable bridge by the means of which we can work backwards to the
solution of the problem. As a matter of fact this notion of stability
does not assist the main thought, but it is for us the fundamental
form of regular progression, and of each transition known so far, so
that we have a right to consider it as intermediate between the first
original state and its disturbance. But if we consider the independent
condition of equipoise from the point of view of mathematical concepts
as, admittedly, without independent existence, there is no need of
indicating the mode in which matter came into a dynamic condition."
Outside of the mechanics of matter a change in movement of matter
depends upon a change in the movement of the most insignificant
particles. "Up to the present we have no universal principle of
knowledge and we must therefore not be surprised if we are somewhat in
the dark as to these matters."

That is all that Herr Duehring has to say, and we should seek the very
pinnacle of wisdom not alone in a mutilation of the creative faculty,
but in blind superstition, if we were to let the matter pass with
these foolish evasions and statements. Absolute stability has no power
of change in itself, Herr Duehring admits this. The absolute condition
of equipoise possesses no means by which it can pass into a dynamic
state. What have we then? Just three false and foolish phrases.

In the first place, Herr Duehring says that to show the transition
from each most insignificant step in the chain of things with which we
are acquainted to the next presents the same difficulty. He seems to
think that his readers are infants. The proof of the transitions and
interrelations of the most insignificant links in the chain of
existence is just what constitutes the subject matter of natural
science. If there is an impediment anywhere, nobody, not even Herr
Duehring, thinks to explain the development as proceeding from
nothing, but on the other hand as only proceeding from transition,
change, and forward movement from a completed evolutionary stage.
Here, however, he undertakes to show with reference to matter that it
proceeds from absence of movement and therefore from nothing.

In the second place, we have the "stable bridge." This does not help
us appreciably over the difficulty, but we have a right to use it as a
bridge between rigid stability and motion. Unfortunately stability
consists in absence of motion, and the question as to the generation
of motion remains as dark a secret as before. And if Herr Duehring
shifts his no-movement at all to universal movement in infinitely
small particles and ascribes to this ever so long a duration of time,
we are still not the thousand part of an inch further from the place
whence we started. Without a creative act we can get nothing from
nothing, not even anything as small as a mathematical differential.
The bridge of stability is therefore not even a _pons asinorum_. Herr
Duehring is the only person able to cross it.

Thirdly, as long as the present theories of mechanics prevail, this
constitutes one of Herr Duehring's most reliable props, we cannot
indicate how anything passes from a state of quiescence to one of
motion. But the mechanical theory of heat teaches us that the movement
of the mass depends upon the movements of the molecules, (so that even
in this case movement proceeds from other movement and not from lack
of movement) and this Herr Duehring shyly points out might serve as a
bridge between the entirely static (the state of equipoise) and the
dynamic (self-movement). But here Herr Duehring leaves us entirely in
the dark. All his deepening and sharpening has dug a pit of folly and
we are brought up necessarily in "darkness." But Herr Duehring
troubles himself very little about that. He says right on the next
page, with considerable audacity that he has been able to endow the
self contained stability with real significance by means of the
properties of matter and the mechanical forces.

In spite of all these errors and confused statements we have still an
inspiring faith remaining that "The mathematics of the inhabitants of
other planets cannot rest on any axioms other than our own."

_Cosmogony, Physics, and Chemistry._

Proceeding we come to theories respecting the mode by which the world,
as it is to-day, came into being. A universal separation of matter
from one element was the notion of the Ionic philosophers, but, since
Kant, the conception of an original nebulous state has played a new
role and according to this gravitation and heat expansion have built
up the worlds, little by little and one by one. The mechanical theory
of heat of our time has fixed the origin of the earlier condition of
the universe with much greater precision.

In spite of all this "the universal condition of the gaseous form can
only be a point of departure for serious conclusions if one can define
the mechanical system of it more precisely beforehand. If not, the
idea becomes not only very cloudy, but the original nebula becomes
really in the progress of those conclusions denser and more
impenetrable."... For the present everything remains in the vagueness
and formlessness of an indefinite idea, and so with regard to the
gaseous universe we have only an insubstantial conception.

The theory of Kant that all existing worlds were created from a mass
of rotating vapor was the greatest advance made by astronomy since the
days of Copernicus. The idea that nature had no history in time was
then shaken for the first time. Up to then the worlds were fixed in
bounds and conditions from their very beginning, and though the
individual organisms on the separate worlds were transient, the
species remained unalterable. Nature was conceived as an apparently
limited movement and its motion seemed to be the repetition of the
same movements perpetually. It was in this conception which is entire
accord with the metaphysical mode of thought that Kant made the first
breach and so scientifically that most of his grounds of proof stand
good to-day. Really the theory of Kant is a mere hypothesis even
to-day. The Copernican theory of the universe has no longer any weight
and since the spectroscope discovered such glowing gaseous matter in
space all objections have been disposed of and scientific opposition
to Kant's theory has been silenced. Even Herr Duehring cannot produce
his universe without the nebulous state and he takes his revenge by
asking to be shown the mechanical system of this nebulous state and
because this cannot be done he inflicts all sorts of contemptuous
remarks upon this nebulous state. Unfortunately modern science cannot
show this system and please Herr Duehring. But there are many other
questions which it cannot answer. For example regarding the question
why toads have no tails it can only answer so far "Because they have
lost them." But if people get angry and say that this is all vague and
formless, a mere fanciful idea, incapable of being made definite and a
very poor notion, such views would not carry us a step further,
scientifically. Such insults and exaggerations are sufficiently
numerous. What is there to hinder Herr Duehring himself from
discovering the mechanical system of the original nebular state?

Fortunately we are informed that the nebular hypothesis of Kant "is
far from showing a fully distinct condition of the world-medium or of
explaining how matter arrived at a similar state." This is really very
fortunate for Kant who is to be congratulated on having been able to
trace the existing celestial bodies to the nebular condition, and who
yet does not allow himself to dream of the self-contained unchanged
condition of matter. It is to be remarked by the way that although the
nebular condition of Kant is supposed to be the original vapor-form of
matter, this is to be understood merely relatively. It is to be
understood on the one hand as the original vapor form of the heavenly
bodies, as they are at present, and on the other hand as the earliest
form of matter to which we have been able to trace our way backwards.
The fact that matter passed through an endless series of other forms
before arriving at the nebular state is not excluded from this
conception but is on the other hand rather included in it.

Herr Duehring is at an advantage here. Whereas science comes to a halt
at the existence of the nebulous state his quack science carries him
back to that "Condition of the development of the world which cannot
be called actually static in the present sense of the word but most
emphatically cannot be called dynamic. The unity of matter and
mechanical force which we call the world is, so to speak, a formula
of pure logic, to signify the self-contained condition of matter as
the point of departure of all enumerable stages of material progress."

We have obviously not yet got away from the original self-contained
condition of matter. Here it is explained as consisting of mechanical
force and matter, and this as a formula of pure logic, etc. As soon
then as the unity of matter and mechanical force is at an end
evolution proceeds.

The formula of pure logic is nothing but a lame attempt to make the
Hegelian categories "an Sich and fuer Sich" of use in a philosophy of
realism. In "an Sich" according to Hegel the original unity of a thing
consists; in "fuer Sich" begins the differentiation and movement of
the concealed elements, the active antithesis. We shall therefore
depict the original condition as one in which there is a unity of
matter and mechanical force and the transition to movement as the
separation and antithesis of these two elements. But we have not
thereby established the proof of the real existence of the fantastic
original condition but only this much that it exists according to the
Hegelian category "an Sich" and just as fantastically disappears
according to the Hegelian category "fuer Sich."

Matter, says Duehring, implies all that is real, therefore there is no
mechanical force outside of matter. Mechanical force is furthermore a
condition of matter. In the original condition where no change
occurred matter and its mechanical force were a unity. Afterwards when
the change commenced there was a differentiation from matter. Thus we
are obliged to be satisfied with these mystical phrases and with the
assurance that the self contained original state was neither static
nor dynamic, neither in a state of rest nor of motion. We are still
without information with regard to the whereabouts of mechanical force
at that period and how we arrived at a condition of motion from one of
rest without a push from the outside, that is without God.

Before the time of Herr Duehring materialists were wont to speak of
matter and motion. He reduces motion to mechanical force as its
necessary original form and so renders incomprehensible the real
connection between matter and motion which was also not evident to the
earlier materialists. Yet the thing is easy enough. Matter has never
existed without motion, neither can it. Motion in space, the
mechanical motion of smaller particles to single worlds, the motion of
molecules as in the case of heat, or as electric or magnetic currents,
chemical analysis or synthesis, organic life, each single atom of the
matter of the world--they all discover themselves in one or other of
the forms of motion or in several of them together at any given
moment. All quiescence, all rest, is only significant in relation to
this or that given form of motion. A body for example may be upon the
ground in mechanical quiescence, in mechanical rest. This does not
prevent its participation in the movements of the earth and of the
whole solar system, just as little does it prevent its smallest
component parts from completing the movements conditioned by the
temperature or its atoms from going through a chemical process. Matter
without motion is just as unthinkable as motion without matter. Motion
is just as uncreatable or indestructible as matter itself, the older
philosophy of Descartes proclaimed precisely that the quantity of
motion in the world has been fixed from the beginning. Motion cannot
be generated therefore it can only be transferred. If motion is
transferred from one body to another, one may as far as it is
regarded as transferring itself, as active, consider it as the
original cause of motion, but so far as it is transferred, as passive.
This active motion we call force; the passive, expression of force. It
is therefore just as clear as noon that force is just as great as its
expression because the same motion fulfils itself in both.

A motionless condition of matter is therefore one of the hollowest and
most absurd notions, a mere delirium. In order to arrive at it one is
obliged to consider the relative absence of motion in the case of a
body lying on the ground, as absolute rest, and then to transfer this
idea to the entire universe. This is made easier by the reduction of
motion in general to mere mechanical force. By the limitation of
motion to mere mechanical force we can conceive of a force as at rest,
as confined, as momentarily ineffective. If for example in the
transference of motion which transference is very frequently a
somewhat complicated process in the carrying out of which various
intermediate steps are necessary, one may stay the actual transference
at a chosen point and stop the process, as for example if one loads a
gun and delays the moment when the charge shall be set at liberty by
the pull of the trigger, through the firing of powder. Therefore one
may conceive of matter as being loaded with force in the unprogressive
static period, and this Herr Duehring appears to mean by his unity of
matter and force if indeed he means anything at all. This notion is
absurd, since it pictures as absolute for the entire universe a
condition which is by nature only relative and to which therefore only
a portion of matter can be subjected at one and the same time. Let us
look at it from this point of view and we do not escape the difficulty
of explaining first how the universe came to be loaded and in the
second place, whose finger drew the trigger. We may revolve all we
please but under the guidance of Herr Duehring we always come back
over and over again to the finger of God.

From astronomy our realist philosopher passes on to mechanics and
physics and complains that the mechanical theory of heat has brought
us no further in the course of a generation than the point which
Robert Mayer reached by his own efforts. Moreover the whole thing is
very obscure. We must "always remember that with conditions of the
movement of matter statical conditions are also given and that these
last are not measured in mechanical work. If we have earlier typified
nature as a great workwoman, and we still hold to the statement, we
must now add that the static condition, the condition of rest, does
not imply any mechanical labor. We are again without the bridge from
the static to the dynamic and if latent heat, so called, is up to the
present a stumbling block to the theory we can recognise a lack which
may be denied in the cosmic process."

This whole oracular utterance is again merely an outpouring of bad
science which very clearly perceives that it has got itself into a
place from which it cannot be saved by creating motion from a state of
absolute freedom from motion, and is ashamed to call upon its only
saviour, the Creator of heaven and earth. If in mechanics, heat
included, there is no bridge to be found from statics to dynamics,
from equipoise to motion, why should Herr Duehring be obliged to find
a bridge from his condition of absence of motion to motion? Thus he
would have the luck to escape from his dilemma.

In ordinary mechanics the bridge from statics to dynamics is--the push
from the outside. If a stone of the weight of a hundred grammes be
lifted ten meters high and then flung free so that it should remain
hanging in a self-contained condition and in a state of rest, you
would have to appeal to a public of sucking infants to declare that
the existing condition of that body represents no mechanical labor and
that its removal from its earlier condition has no measure in
mechanical work. Any passerby would tell Herr Duehring that the stone
did not come on the string by its own efforts and the first good hand
book in mechanics would inform him that if he let the stone fall
again, the latter in its fall does just as much mechanical work as is
necessary to lift it to the height of ten meters. The very simple fact
that the stone is suspended represents mechanical force in itself,
since if it remain long enough, the string breaks, as soon as it, as a
result of its chemical constitution, is no longer strong enough to
hold the stone. All mechanical phenomena, may, we must inform Herr
Duehring, be reduced to just such simple fundamental forms, and the
engineer is still unborn who cannot discover the bridge from statics
to dynamics as long as he has sufficient initial force at his

It is quite a hard nut and bitter pill for our metaphysician that
motion should find its measure in its opposite rest. It is such a
glaring contradiction, and every contradiction is an absurdity in the
eyes of Herr Duehring. It is nevertheless true that the hanging stone
by reason of its weight and its distance from the ground represents a
means of mechanical movement sufficiently easily measured in different
ways, as for example through gravity direct, through glancing on an
incline or through the undulation of a wave--and it is just the same
with a loaded gun. The expression of motion in terms of its opposite
rest presents no difficulty at all to the dialectic philosophy. The
whole contradiction in its eyes is merely relative, for absolute
rest, complete equipose does not exist. The movement of the particles
strives towards equipose, the movement of the mass in turn destroys
the equipose, so that rest and equipose where they occur are the
results of arrested motion, and it is evident that this motion is
capable of being measured in respect of its results, of being
expressed in itself and of being restored in some form or other
external to itself. But Herr Duehring would never be satisfied with
such a simple explanation of the matter. Like a good metaphysician he
creates a yawning gulf between motion and equipose which does not
really exist and then wonders if he can find no bridge across the
self-created chasm. He might just as well bestride his metaphysical
Rosinante and hunt the "Ding an Sich" of Kant since it is in the last
analysis nothing else than this which stands behind the undiscoverable

But what about the mechanical theory of heat and of latent heat which
is a "stumbling block" in the path of the theory?

If one convert a pound of ice at freezing point under normal
atmospheric pressure into a pound of water of the same temperature by
means of heat there vanishes a quantity of heat which could heat the
same pound of water from 0° centigrade to 79° centigrade, or
seventy-nine pounds of water one degree centigrade. If one heat this
pound of water to boiling point, that is, to one hundred degrees
centigrade and change it into steam of the heat of one hundred degrees
centigrade there vanishes up to the time when the last of the water is
changed into steam a seven fold greater quantity of heat, capable of
raising the temperature of 537.2 pounds of water one degree. This
dissipated heat is called latent. It is transformed, by cooling the
steam, into water again, and the water into ice, so the same mass of
heat which was formerly latent, is again set free, that is, as heat
capable of being felt and measured. This setting free of heat by the
condensation of steam and the freezing of water is the reason that
steam if it is cooled off at 100° transforms itself little by little
into water, and that a mass of water at freezing point is but slowly
transformed into ice. These are the facts. The question is what
becomes of the heat while it is latent?

The mechanical theory of heat according to which the heat of a body at
a certain temperature is dependent upon the greater or less vibration
of the smallest physical parts (molecules) a vibration which can,
under certain conditions, be transformed into some other form of
motion, shows the whole thing completely, that the latent heat has
performed work, has been expended in work. By the melting of the ice
the close connection of the separate particles is broken asunder and
changed into a loose relationship; by the conversion of water into
steam at boiling point a condition is entered where the separate
molecules exercise no noticeable influence upon each other, and under
the influence of heat fly from one another in all directions. It is
now evident that the separate molecules of a body in the gaseous state
are endowed with much greater energy than in the fluid state, and in
the fluid state than in the solid. Latent heat is therefore not
dissipated, it is merely transformed and has taken on the form of
molecular elasticity.

As soon as conditions are at an end under which the molecules can
exercise this relative freedom with regard to each other as soon
namely as the temperature falls below one hundred degrees to zero,
this elasticity becomes released and the molecules come together with
the same force with which they formerly flew apart, but only to
appear again as heat, as exactly the same quantity of heat as was
latent before. This explanation is of course a hypothesis, as is the
whole mechanical theory of heat, in so far as no one has yet seen a
molecule, much less a molecule in motion. Like all recent theories,
this hypothesis is full of flaws but it can at least offer an
explanation which does not conflict with the uncreatability and
indestructibility of motion and it is able to give an account of the
whereabouts of the heat in the transformation. Latent heat is
therefore by no means an obstacle in the way of the mechanical theory
of heat. On the contrary this theory for the first time provides a
rational explanation of the subject and an obstacle arises from the
fact in particular that the physicists make use of the old and
ineffective expression "latent heat" to signify the heat transformed
into some other shape by molecular energy.

The static conditions of the solid, liquid and gaseous states
therefore represent mechanical work in so far as mechanical work is a
measure of heat. Thus the solid crust of the earth, like the water of
the ocean, represents in its present form a certain quantity of heat
set free which implies the same quantity of mechanical force. By the
passing of the vaporous state which was the original form of the earth
into the fluid state and later into a condition, for the most part
solid, a certain quantity of molecular energy was set free in space,
the difficulty of which Herr Duehring whispers does not therefore
exist. We are frequently brought to a stop in our cosmic observations
by lack of knowledge, but nowhere by insuperable theoretical
difficulties. The bridge from statics to dynamics is therefore the
push from the outside caused by the cooling or heating occasioned by
other bodies which influence certain objects in equipoise. The
further we explore Herr Duehring's philosophy, the more impossible
appear all his attempts to explain rotation from absence of rotation,
or to discover the bridge by which that which is purely static,
self-contained, can without disturbance come to be the dynamic, in

We should here be glad to get rid of the whole self-contained
condition business. Herr Duehring, however, goes to chemistry and
gives us three permanent natural laws established by the philosophy of
realism as follows, 1. The constant amount of matter in the universe.
2. The simple chemical elements, and 3. The mechanical forces are

Therefore the impossibility of creating or destroying matter, the
simple forms of its existence as far as they exist, and motion, these
old, well known facts, inadequately expressed, that is the only
positive thing which Herr Duehring is in a position to offer us as a
result of his real philosophy of the inorganic world. All these things
we have long known. But what we have not known is that they are
permanent laws and as such natural properties of the system of things.
It is just the same thing over again as in the case of Kant. Herr
Duehring takes some universally known expressions, pastes the Duehring
label on them and calls them "fundamentally original results and
views, system shaping thoughts, profound science."

We have not long to hesitate on this account. Whatever deficiencies
the most profound science and the best contrived social theories may
have, for once Herr Duehring can say precisely "The quantity of gold
in the universe must always remain the same and cannot be increased or
diminished any more than matter in general. But unfortunately Herr
Duehring does not tell us what we may buy with this gold."

_The Organic World._

"From mechanics in rest and motion to the relation of sensation and
thought there is a uniform progression of interruptions." With this
assurance Herr Duehring spares himself from saying anything further
about the origin of life, though one might reasonably expect that a
thinker who has followed the development of the world from its
self-contained condition, and who is so much at home with the other
heavenly bodies would be here at home also. Besides this assurance is
only half true in so far as it is not yet completed by means of the
log line of Hegel, of which mention has been made already. In all its
gradations the transition from one form of evolution to another
remains a leap, a differentiating movement. So in the transition from
the mechanics of the worlds to those of the smaller amounts of matter
in each single world, just so also in that from the mechanics of the
mass to that of the molecule--the motion which we examine particularly
in physics, so-called, heat, light, electricity, magnetism, just in
the same way also the transition from the physics of the molecule to
the physics of the chemical atom is completed by a differentiating
leap, and it is just the same with the transition from ordinary
chemical action to the chemistry of albumen which we call life. Within
the sphere of life the changes become less frequent and less
remarkable. Therefore Hegel must again correct Herr Duehring.

The idea of purpose furnishes Herr Duehring with his conception of the
transition to the organic world. This is again borrowed from Hegel,
who in his "logic"--teachings of the concept--mingled with teachings
of teleology or of purpose, passes over from chemistry to life.
Whichever way we look we discover Herr Duehring to be in possession
of Hegelian lore which he gives forth without any embarrassment as his
own fundamental philosophy. It would be too long a task to find out
here just how far the application of the ideas of purpose is correctly
stated and applied to the organic world. The application of the
Hegelian "inner purpose" at all events is evident, that is, of a
purpose which is imported into nature not through a consciously acting
third party, like the wisdom of Providence, but which is inherent in
matter itself, which among people who are not well versed in
philosophy proceeds to the unthinking supposition of a conscious and
all-wise agent; the same Herr Duehring who breaks out into unmeasured
moral indignation at the least tendency towards spiritism on the part
of other people, tells us that "sex sensations are certainly mainly
directed towards the gratification which is bound up in their
exercise." He tells us moreover that "poor Nature must always hold the
objective world in order" and it has besides to perform acts which
require more subtlety from Nature than we usually attribute to her.
But nature knows not only why she does this and that. She has not only
her housemaid's duties to perform, she has not only subtlety, which is
a very pretty accomplishment, in subjective conscious thought, she has
also a will, for "we must regard the additional natural desires which
occur, such as feeding and propagation, not as directly but as
indirectly willed." We now arrive at a consciously thinking and acting
nature, and we therefore stand right at the bridge, not indeed between
the static and dynamic but between pantheism and deism, or perhaps
Herr Duehring is pleased to indulge himself in a little
"natural-philosophical half-poetry."

Impossible. All that the realistic philosophy has to say on organic
nature is limited to a war against this natural philosophical
half-poesy against "Charlatanism with its wanton superficialities and
pseudo-scientific mysticism, against the poetic features of

Darwin comes in for a share of blame chiefly because he transferred
the Malthusian theory of population from political economy to natural
science, because he is entangled by his notions of breeding, so that
his work is a sort of unscientific half-poetic attack against design
in creation, and that the whole of Darwinism, after what he has
borrowed from Lamark has been deducted, is a piece of brutality aimed
against humanity.

Darwin had brought home with him as the result of his scientific
journeys the conclusion that species of plants and animals are not
fixed but are subject to variations. In order to pursue this idea he
entered upon experiments in the breeding of plants and animals. Just
for this reason England has become a classic land. The scientists of
other countries, Germany, for example, have nothing to offer
comparable with England in this respect. Moreover, most of the
conclusions belong to the last century so that the establishment of
the facts presented few difficulties. Darwin found that this
artificial breeding produced differences in the species of plants and
animals greater than occur among those which are universally
recognised as belonging to different species. Therefore it was, up to
a certain point, proved that species can change and furthermore there
was established the possibility of a common ancestry for organisms
which partake of the characteristics of different species.

Darwin now examined the question whether there were not in nature
causes--which without the conscious intention of the breeder--might in
the course of time, by means of heredity, produce changes in the
living animal analogous to those produced by scientific breeding.
These causes he found in the disproportion between the enormous number
of germs made by nature and the small number of beings which actually
come to maturity. But as the germ struggles for its own development
there is of necessity a consequent struggle for existence, which not
only shows itself directly in the wear and tear of the body, but also
as a struggle for space and light, as in the case of plants. And it is
evident that in this fight those individuals have the best prospect of
coming to maturity and reproducing themselves which possess certain
qualities, perhaps insignificant, but advantageous in their fight for
existence. There is a tendency towards the inheritance of these
individual properties, and if they occur in several individuals of the
same species towards development in the direction once taken, by
virtue of the accumulated heredity, while the individuals which are
not possessed of these qualities succumb more easily and little by
little disappear in the struggle for existence. Thus a species
naturally changes by the survival of the fittest.

Against this theory of Darwin Herr Duehring urges that the origin of
the idea of the struggle for existence is, as Darwin himself
confessed, based on the views of the political economist and theorist,
Malthus, on the population question, and he covers it with all the
abuse appropriate to the clerical Malthusian views on keeping down the
population. Now it happens that Darwin never said that the cause of
the struggle for existence theory was to be sought from Malthus. He
only said that his theories respecting the struggle for existence are
the theories of Malthus applied to the entire vegetable and animal
world. How great a blunder Darwin made when he so naively accepted the
teachings of Malthus without examination may be seen from the fact
that there is no need to employ the spectacles of Malthus in order to
detect the struggle for existence in nature,--the contradiction
between the innumerable mass of germs which nature produces in such
prodigality and the slight number which can manage to reach maturity,
a contradiction which resolves itself into an apparently grim fight
for existence. And with regard to the law of wages the Malthusian
doctrines are widely advertised and Ricardo based his contentions upon
them,--so the struggle for existence in nature may find a standing
even without the Malthusian interpretation. Besides the organisms of
nature have their law of population, the establishment of which would
decide the theories of the development of species. And who gave the
decisive impetus in that direction? Nobody but Darwin.

Herr Duehring is on his guard against entering upon the positive side
of this question. Instead he must again find fault with the struggle
for existence. There can be no argument about a struggle for existence
between plants and the genial eaters of plants "in a sufficiently
accurate sense the struggle for existence only occurs within the
sphere of brutality, in so far as nourishment depends upon robbery and
consumption." And after he has reduced the concept struggle for
existence to these narrow limits he gives his wrath free play as
regards the brutality of this conception which he himself has narrowed
down to a brutal conception. But this moral wrath simply reacts on
Herr Duehring himself, the inventor of this sort of struggle for
existence. It is not Darwin therefore who seeks among the lower
animals the "conditions of the operations of nature" (as a matter of
fact Darwin would have included the whole of organic nature in the
struggle), but one of Herr Duehring's bugaboos. The expression
"struggle for existence" in particular excites Herr Duehring's lofty
moral scorn. That this actually exists among plants every meadow,
every cornfield and every wood can show him. We need not trouble about
the name, whether one call it "struggle for existence" or "lack of the
conditions of existence and want of mechanical realisation," but as to
how this fact operates as regards the maintenance or transformation of
species. With regard to this Herr Duehring persists in a
characteristically stubborn silence. We cannot trouble ourselves any
more about natural selection.

But "Darwinism produces its changes and differentiations out of
nothing." Darwin thoroughly understands that he is engaged with the
causes which have produced changes in individuals and in the second
place he is engaged with the mode in which such individual
differentiations tend to mark off a race, a genus, or a species.
Darwin moreover was less occupied in discovering these causes, which
up to the present are either entirely unknown or on which there is
only general information, than in discovering a rational form in which
to establish their reality, to embrace their permanent significance.
But Darwin ascribed too wide a reach to his discovery in this that he
made it an exclusive means of variation in species and neglected the
causes of individual differentiations from the general form. This
mistake however is common to most people who make a step forwards.
Next, if Darwin produces his changes in individual types out of
nothing and thereby excludes the wisdom of the breeder, the breeder on
his part must not only display his wisdom but he must produce out of
nothing real changes in plant and animal forms. But who has given the
impetus to the investigation as to whence these variations and
differentiations proceed? It is again no one but Darwin.

Lately the conception of natural selection has been broadened, by
Haeckel, in particular, and the variation of species has been shown to
be the result of actual change owing to adaptation and inheritance,
whereby adaptation is considered as the source of variations and
heredity as the conserving element in the process. Even this is not
correct in Herr Duehring's eyes. "Peculiar adaptation to the
circumstances of life as they are offered or withheld by nature
supposes impulses and facts which answer to the conception. Hence
adaptation is only apparent and actual causality does not elevate
itself above the lowest steps of physical, chemical and plant
physiology." It is again the name which provokes Herr Duehring. But
how does he deal with the matter? The question is if such changes do
take place in the species of organic beings or not. And again Herr
Duehring has no reply.

"If a plant in the course of its growth takes a direction by which it
gets the most light the result is nothing but a combination of
physical forces and chemical agents, and if we are to call it an
adaptation, not metaphorically but strictly, confusion is certain to
arise in the motion." This man is so exacting with other people
because he is quite well acquainted with the intentions of nature and
speaks of the subtlety of nature, even of its will. There is
confusion, indeed, but with whom, with Haeckel or with Herr Duehring?

And the confusion is not only spiritual but logical. We have seen that
Herr Duehring put forth all his efforts to make the purpose idea in
nature real. "The relation of means and end does not by any means show
a conscious intention." But what is adaptation without conscious
intention, without any intrusion of design of which he complains so
loudly, but an unconscious teleology?

If the color of tree frogs and leaf eating insects is as a rule green
and that of beasts that inhabit the desert sandy-yellow, and that of
polar animals white, they have certainly not come into possession of
this coloring intentionally or through any kind of mental process, on
the contrary the coloring can only be explained by means of the
operation of physical substances and chemical agents. And yet it
cannot be denied that by these colors these animals are particularly
adapted to the conditions in which they are and it is certain that
they are by their means rendered less visible to their enemies. Just
of a similar nature are the organs by which certain plants seize and
consume certain insects (the means being on their under side, suited
to this purpose and adapted to this end). Now if Herr Duehring insists
that the adaptation must be realised through the operation of thought,
he only says that the purpose must be carried out through mental
operation, must be conscious and intentional. Thus again, just as in
the philosophy of realism we arrive at the Creator with a purpose, at
God. Formerly this kind of declaration was called "deism" and Herr
Duehring says that we had not much regard for it, but it now appears
that the world has gone backwards in this respect also.

From adaptation we come to heredity and here according to Herr
Duehring Darwinism is quite out. "The whole organic world, Darwin
explained, came from a single germ, is, so to speak, the brood of a
single being. Independent similar products of nature according to
Darwin do not exist without heredity and his retrogressive philosophy
must come to a full stop when the end of the thread of ancestry is
reached, or the original vegetable form."

The statement that Darwin traced all existing organisms from one
original germ is to put it politely a piece of pure imagination on the
part of Herr Duehring. Darwin says distinctly on the last page of the
Origin of Species, Sixth Edition, that he regards all living beings
not as separate creations but as the descendants in a direct line from
some fewer beings and Haeckel makes a distinct advance on this
ascribes "an entirely distinct source for plants and another for the
animal kingdom" and on and between both of them "a number of original
stems each of which has developed independently from one single
primary monistic form." (History of Creation page 397.) This original
form of life Herr Duehring discovers solely to bring it into contempt
by paralleling it with the first man according to Jewish tradition,
Adam. Here, unfortunately for Herr Duehring, he does not know how this
original Jew turns out, according to Smith's Assyrian discoveries to
have been the original Semite, and that the entire Biblical story of
the Creation and the Flood has been shown to have been taken from a
legendary store common to the Jews, Babylonians, Chaldeans, and

It is brought forward as a severe and irrefutable reproach to Darwin
that he is at an end where the thread of descent fails him.
Unfortunately the whole of our science deserves the same reproach.
When the thread of descent fails it it is "at an end." It has not yet
come to the point of creating organic beings without an ancestry, not
even once has it been able to make simple protoplasm or other
albuminous bodily forms out of the chemical elements. It can only say
therefore with any certainty regarding the origin of life, that it
must have come about by a chemical process. But perhaps the
philosophy of realism can give us some assistance here since it is
engaged with independent organic natural products, without any descent
one from another. How can these come into being? By original creation?
But up to the present not even the most audacious advocates of
spontaneous generation have claimed to create in this way anything
except bacteria, fungi, or other very elementary organisms, but not
insects, birds, fish or mammals. If these homogeneous products of
nature--it is understood for all this discussion that they are
organic--are not related through descent, they or their ancestors,
then "where the thread of descent breaks" they must have been placed
in the world by a separate act of creation, and this again requires a
creator, what we call "deism."

Herr Duehring further explains that "it was a piece of superficiality
on the part of Darwin to make the mere fact of the sex-composition of
qualities the foundation for the existence of these qualities." Here
we have again a piece of pure imagination on the part of our profound
philosopher. On the contrary Darwin says that natural selection has to
do only with the maintenance of variations and not with their origin.
This new supposition however of things which Darwin did not say serves
to assist us to this deep idea of Duehring. "If a principle of
individual variation had been sought in the inner scheme of creation
it would have been an entirely rational idea. For it is natural to
unite the idea of universal generation with that of sex propagation,
and to regard the so-called original creation from the higher point of
view, not as absolutely antagonistic to reproduction but even as
reproduction itself." And the man who could write this is not ashamed
to reproach Hegel with writing jargon.

Let us call a halt to the vexatious and contradictory babble with
which Herr Duehring proclaims his wrath against the advance given to
science by the theory of Darwin. Neither Darwin nor his followers
among the natural scientists have any idea of belittling Lamark's
tremendous services, in fact they are the very people who first
restored his fame. But we are unable to ignore the fact that in the
time of Lamark science was still far from supplied with competent
material to enable it to answer the question of the origin of species
other than in a prophetic or, as it were anticipatory, manner. In
addition to the enormous amount of material in the realm of general,
as well as of that of anatomical, botany and zoology, accumulated
since that time, two entirely new sciences have since come into
existence--the investigation of the development of plant and animal
germs (embryology), and the investigation of the organic survivals in
the earth's crust which still remain. There is a distinct similarity
between the steps in the development of the organic germ to mature
organism, and the successive steps by which plants and animals succeed
each other in the history of the world. It is just this similarity
which has placed the evolution theory on its most secure foundations.
The theory of evolution is however still very young and it is beyond
question that upon further investigation the rigid Darwinian ideas
upon the origin of species will be considerably modified.

But what has the realist philosophy of a positive nature to contribute
with respect to the evolution of organic life? "The variation of
species is an acceptable supposition, but there exists, in addition,
the independent order of the products of nature belonging to the same
species without any intervention of descent." According to this we
are to conclude that products of unlike species, that is species which
vary, are descended from one another, but those of similar species
not. But even this is not altogether correct, for he ventures to say
of the varying species, "The part played by descent is on the contrary
a very secondary activity of nature." There is heredity, then, but it
is only to be reckoned as a factor of the second class. Let us be glad
that heredity of which Herr Duehring has said so much that is evil and
mysterious is at least let in by the back door. It is just the same
with natural selection, since after all his moral indignation with
respect to the struggle for existence by means of which natural
selection fulfils itself he suddenly exclaims, "The most important
constituent is to be found in the conditions of life and cosmic
conditions, while natural selection as set forth by Darwin may be
considered as secondary." Natural selection still exists, even if a
factor of the second class, like the struggle for existence, and the
clerical malthusian surplus-population theory. That is all, for the
rest Herr Duehring refers us to Lamark.

Finally, he warns against misuse of the terms metamorphosis and
evolution. Metamorphosis, he says, is a very obscure notion, and the
concept of evolution is only admissible in so far as a law of
evolution can be really proved. Instead of either of these expressions
we should employ the term "composition" and then everything would be
all right. It is the same old story over again, Herr Duehring is
satisfied if we change the names. If we speak of the evolution of the
chicken in the egg we give rise to confusion because we have only an
incomplete knowledge of the law of evolution. But if we speak of its
"composition" everything becomes clear. We must therefore say no
longer "this child is growing nicely" but, "he composes himself
splendidly," and we congratulate Herr Duehring upon the fact that he
is not only a peer of the author of the Niebelungen Ring in his
opinion of himself but in his own particular capacity is also a
composer of the future.

_Organic World (Conclusion)._

"One reflects upon our natural philosophical portion of positive
knowledge in order to fix it relatively to all one's scientific
hypotheses. Next in importance come all the actual acquisitions of
mathematics as well as the leading principles of exact science in
mechanics, physics and chemistry and particularly the scientific
results in physiology, zoology, and antiquarian investigation."

Herr Duehring speaks in this confident and decided fashion with
respect to the mathematical and scientific scholarship of Herr
Duehring. One cannot detect in its meager shape and in its scanty and
audacious results the extent of positive knowledge which lies behind.
Every time the oracle is consulted for a definite statement as regards
physics or chemistry we get nothing as regards physics but the
equation which expresses the mechanical equivalent of heat, and
concerning chemistry only this that all bodies are divisible into
elements and combinations of elements. He who can speak as Duehring
does about "gravitating atoms" shows at once that he is quite at a
loss to understand the difference between an atom and a molecule.
Atoms, of course, exist, not with respect to gravitation or any other
physical or mechanical form of motion, but only as concerns chemical
action. And if the last chapter on organic nature is read, the empty,
self-contradictory, assertive, oracular, stupid, circuitous absolute
nothingness of the final result lead one to the conclusion that Herr
Duehring talks about things of which he knows very little and this
conclusion becomes a certainty when we come to his proposal in the
course of his writing on organic life (biology) to use the term
"composition" instead of evolution. He who can make such a suggestion
as that gives evidence that he is not acquainted with the building up
of organic bodies.

All organic bodies, the very lowest excepted, develop from small cells
by the increment of visible pieces of albumen with a central cell. The
cell generally develops an outer skin and the contents are more or
less fluid. The lowest cell-bodies develop from one cell; the enormous
majority of organic beings are many-celled and among the lower forms
these take on similar, and among the higher forms greater variations
of, groupings and activities. In the human body for example are bones,
muscles, nerves, sinews, ligaments, cartilage, skin, all either made
up of cells or originating in them. But for all organic bodies, from
the amoeba which is a simple and for the most part unprotected piece
of albumen with a cell centre in the midst to man, and from the
smallest one-celled desmidian to the highest developed plant, the mode
is one and the same by which the cells propagate themselves, that is
by division. The cell centre is first laced across its midst, the
lacing which separates the centre into two knobs becomes stronger and
stronger and at last they become separated and two cell centres are
formed. The same occurrence takes place in the cell itself. Each of
the cell centres becomes the middle point of a collection of cell
stuff which by knitting ever closer becomes combined with the other,
and finally both of them part and live on as separate cells. Through
such repeated cell divisions the full sized animal gradually develops
from the germ of the animal egg after fructification and the
substitution of used up cells in the full grown animal is brought
about similarly. To call such a process "composition" and to speak of
the term "evolution" as a purely imaginary term belongs to one who
does not know anything of the matter, hard as it is to imagine such
ignorance at this date.

We have still somewhat to say with respect to Herr Duehring's views of
life in general. Elsewhere he sets forth the following statement with
respect to life. "Even the inorganic world is a self-regulated system
but one may undertake to speak of life in the proper sense first when
the organs and the circulation of matter through special separate
channels from a central point to another germ collection of a minor
formation begin."

If life begins where the separate organs begin then we must hold all
Haeckel's protozoa (Protistenreich) and probably many others as dead;
all organisms at least up to those composed of one cell and those
included are not capable of life. If the means of circulation of
matter through different channels is the distinguishing mark of life
we must place outside of this definition all the upper classes of the
colenterata entirely, with the exception of the medusae, and therefore
all the polypi and other plant animals are also to be considered as
being outside the class of living creatures. And if the circulation of
matter through different canals from an inner point is the
distinguishing characteristic of life we must reckon all animals as
dead which either have no heart or several hearts. Besides these there
belong also to this category all worms, starfish and ringed creatures
(annuloids and annulous according to Huxley's definition) a portion of
the shell fish, crabs, and finally a vertebrate animal, the lancelet
(amphioxus) and all plants.

When Herr Duehring therefore undertakes to distinguish life narrowly
and strictly, he gives four mutually contradictory modes of
distinguishing life, one of which condemns not only the whole of plant
life but about half the animal kingdom to eternal death. No one can
accuse him of having deceived us when he promised us peculiar results
based on individual ideas.

In another place he says "There is a simple fundamental type in nature
belonging to all organisms from the lowest to the highest" and this
type is to be met "in the subordinate movements of the most
undeveloped plants." This is again an absolutely false statement. The
simplest type in the whole of organic nature is the cell, and it lies
universally at the foundation of the highest organisms. On the other
hand there is a substance among the lowest organisms lower even than
the cell, the protomoeba, a single piece of undifferentiated
protoplasm, without any differentiation, a complete series of monads
and the entire class of siphoneae. All of these are connected with the
higher organisms only by virtue of the fact that protoplasm is its
substantial foundation, and that they fulfill the functions of
protoplasm, that is they live and die.

Further Herr Duehring tells us "physiologically the concept of
existence consists in this, that it embraces a single nerve apparatus.
Sensation is therefore the characteristic of all animal organisms that
is the capacity of conscious subjective recognition of circumstances.
The sharp line of differentiation between plants and animals consists
in the leap to sensation. This distinguishing line cannot any more be
abolished by known forms of transition than it can be brought into
existence by the logical necessity of externally distinguishable
characteristics." And further "Plants are totally and eternally
without sensation and are devoid of the faculty for it."

In the first place Hegel says that "sensation is the specific
differentiation, the distinguishing mark of the animal." Thus one of
Hegel's erudite statements becomes an indubitable truth of the last
instance merely by being copied into Herr Duehring's book.

In the second place we now arrive for the first time at the forms of
transition between animals and plants. That these intermediate forms
exist, that there are organisms concerning which we are unable to say
flatly whether they are plants or animals, that we are therefore
unable to fix accurately the frontiers between plant and animal life,
all these things make Herr Duehring logically anxious to fix a
decisively distinguishing line, which in the next breath he declares
cannot be thoroughly relied on. But there is no need for us to go to
the doubtful region; intermediate between plants and animals are
sensitive plants which at the least contact fold their leaves or close
their petals. Are insect eating plants utterly without sensation? Even
Herr Duehring cannot make such an assertion without indulging in
"unscientific half-poetry."

In the third place Herr Duehring is again giving free rein to his
imagination when he says that sensation is psychologically existent,
even when the nerve apparatus is exceedingly simple. This is found
regularly among reptiles yet Herr Duehring is the first to say that
they have no sensation because they have no nerves. Sensation is not
necessarily bound up with nerves but it is bound up with some
albuminous substance the true nature of which has not yet been

In addition, the biological knowledge of Herr Duehring becomes
exceedingly evident in that he is not ashamed to fling at Darwin the
question do animals develop from plants? so that it is a question
whether he is more ignorant with regard to plants or animals.

Of life in general Herr Duehring can only tell us "The change in the
form of matter which fulfills itself by plastic constructive
arrangement remains a distinguishing characteristic of the individual

That is all that we learn of life and with respect to the plastic
creative arrangement we sink knee deep in the nonsense of Duehring's
jargon. If we want to learn what life is we shall have to look at the
problem a little more closely on our own account.

That organic change in matter is the most universal and distinctive
evidence of life has been declared by physiological chemists and
chemical physiologists times without number during the last thirty
years and their utterances are translated by Herr Duehring into his
own clear and elegant language. But to define life as an organic
change of matter is simply to define life as life, for organic change
of matter, or change of matter with plastic creative arrangement is a
statement which must itself be explained by life, and the explanation
in its turn by the difference between organic and inorganic, that is
between that which is alive and that which is not alive. So that with
this explanation we do not get at the problem.

Organic change, as such, is frequently found where life does not
exist. There are whole series of processes in chemistry, which by the
proper combination of the elements, produce again their own
conditions, so that thereby a certain body is the creator of a
process. Thus in the manufacture of sulphuric acid by the burning of
sulphur, there is created in this process sulphuric dioxide SO_{2},
and if one add steam and nitric acid thereto, the sulphuric dioxide
takes up the water and the oxygen and becomes H_{2} SO_{4}. Nitric
acid gives off oxygen and becomes nitric oxide, this nitric oxide
simultaneously takes up new oxygen from the atmosphere and is
transformed into a higher oxide of nitrogen and from this acid
sulphuric dioxide is again given off and made by the same process, so
that, theoretically, an infinitely small amount of nitric acid should
be effective to transform an unlimited quantity of sulphuric dioxide,
oxygen and water into sulphuric acid. Change in matter regularly
occurs through the passing of fluids through dead organic and
inorganic membranes as in the artificial cells of Traube. It therefore
appears that there is no progress by the way of organic change for the
quality of organic change which was to explain life must itself be
explained by life. We must therefore seek it elsewhere.

Life is a mode of existence of protoplasm and consists essentially in
the constant renewal of the chemical constituents of this substance.
Protoplasm is here understood in the modern chemical sense and
comprises under this name all substances analogous to the white of an
egg, otherwise called protein substances. The name is not
satisfactory, for the ordinary white of egg plays the least active
role of all transformed substances, since it only serves as mere
nourishment for the yolk, for the self-developing germ. As long
however as so little is known of the chemical constituents of
protoplasm the name is better than any other because more inclusive.

Whenever we discover life we also find it bound up with protoplasm,
and when we find a piece of protoplasm not in solution there we find
also life, without exception. Doubtless the presence of other chemical
constituents is necessary to a living body, to produce the various
differentiations of these elements of life. They are not necessary to
life in itself, hence they enter as food and become transformed into
protoplasm. The lowest forms of life with which we are acquainted are
nothing but simple pieces of protoplasm and yet they have all the
appearance of living objects.

But in what consist these signs of life which are common to all living
objects? In this, that the protoplasm takes from its surroundings
other matter suitable to itself and assimilates it while other former
portions of the body become decomposed and are thrown off. Other
things, not living bodies, decompose or make combinations, but cease
thereby to be what they were. The rock worn by atmospheric action is
no longer rock, the metal which becomes oxidised goes off in rust. But
what causes the destruction of dead bodies is the essential of the
existence of living protoplasm. From the very moment when the unbroken
interchange in the constituents of protoplasm ceases, the continual
interchange of receiving and throwing off, from that moment the
protoplasmic substance itself ceases, becomes decomposed, that is,

Life, the mode of existence of protoplasmic substance, therefore
consists in this, that at one and the same moment it is itself and
something else, and this is not the result of a process to which it is
compelled by external agency, since this may happen also with objects
which are dead. On the contrary life, which is change of matter, is
consequent upon nourishment and throwing off, is a self-fulfilling
process inherent in its medium, protoplasm, without which it cannot
exist. Hence, it follows that if chemistry should ever discover how to
make protoplasm artificially, this protoplasm must show some signs of
life, even if very insignificant. It is, of course, doubtful if
chemistry will discover the proper food for this protoplasm at the
same time as the protoplasm.

Through the changes in matter produced by nourishment and throwing
off, as actual functions of the protoplasm, and through its own
plasticity, proceed all the other most simple factors of life,
sensibility which consists in the interchange between the protoplasm
and its food, contractibility which shows itself at a very low stage
in the consumption of food, possibility of growth which is shown in
the lowest stages of development by splitting, and internal motion
without which neither the consumption nor assimilation of food is

Our definition of life is, of course, very incomplete since in order
to include all the widely differing manifestations of life it must
confine itself to the most universal and simple. Definitions are of
little scientific worth. In order to determine what life is we must
examine all forms of its manifestation from the lowest to the highest.
For ordinary use such definitions are very convenient and in a certain
sense indispensable, and they can do no harm as long as their
inevitable deficiencies are not forgotten.

(The remainder of this section simply teases Herr Duehring.)



_Eternal Truths._

We refrain from offering examples of the hodge podge of stupidity and
sham solemnity with which Herr Duehring regales his readers for fifty
full pages as fundamental knowledge on the elements of consciousness.
We merely quote the following: "He who merely conceives of thought
through the medium of speech has never understood what is signified by
abstract and true thought." Hence, animals are the most abstract and
true thinkers, for their thought is never obscured by the importunate
interference of speech. With regard to Herr Duehring's thought in
particular, it may be perceived that they are but little suited to
speech and that the German language in particular is quite inadequate
to express them.

The fourth part of his book, however, possesses some redeeming
features, for here and there it offers us some comprehensible notions
on the subject of morals and law in spite of the tedious and involved
rhetoric. Right at the beginning we are invited to take a journey to
the other heavenly bodies. Thus, the elements of morality are to be
found among superhuman beings among whom exist an understanding of
things and a regular system of the harmonious conduct of life. Our
share in such conclusions must then be small, but there always remains
a beneficent and enlarging idea in picturing that even in other
spheres individual and social life follows one purpose which cannot
be escaped or evaded by any intelligent living creature.

There is good reason for our altering the position of the statement
that Herr Duehring's truth is good for all possible worlds from the
close to the beginning of the chapter. When once the correctness of
Herr Duehring's notions of morals and law have been established so as
to apply to all world the beneficent notion may easily be extended to
all time. Here again, however, we run across another final truth of
last instance. The moral universe has "just as well as that of
universal knowledge its general principles and simple elements." Moral
principles are beyond history and the national distinctions of to-day
... the various truths from which in the course of development the
fuller moral consciousness, and, so to speak, conscience itself is
derived, can, as far as their origin is investigated, claim a similar
acceptation and extent to that of mathematics and its applications.
Real truths are immutable and it is folly to conceive of correct
knowledge as liable to the attacks of time or of change in material
conditions. "Hence the certainty of sound knowledge and the
sufficiency of general acceptation forbid to doubt the absolute
correctness of the fundamental principles of knowledge.... Continual
doubt is in itself an evidence of weakness and is merely the
expression of a barren condition of confusion, which although
conscious of possessing nothing still seeks to maintain the appearance
of holding on to something. Regarding morals, it denies universal
principles with respect to the manifold variations in moral ideas
owing to geographical and historical conditions, and thinks that with
the admission of the unavoidable necessity of evil and wickedness
there is no need for it to acknowledge the truth and efficiency of
moral impulses. This mordant scepticism which is not directed against
any false doctrine in particular, but against human capacity to
recognise morality resolves itself finally into nothingness, it is no
more than mere nihilism. It flatters itself that it can attain
supremacy and give free rein to unprincipled pleasures by destroying
moral ideas and creating chaos. It is greatly deceived, however, if
merely pointing at the inevitable fate of the intellect with respect
to error and truth is sufficient to show by analogy that natural
liability to error does not exclude the arriving at a correct decision
but rather tends to that end."

Up to now we have not commented upon Herr Duehring's pompous opinions
on final truths of the last instance, sovereignty of the will,
absolute certainty of knowledge, and so forth, until the matter could
first be brought to an issue. Up to this point the investigation has
been useful to show how far the separate assertions of the philosophy
of realism had "sovereign validity" and "unrestricted claim to truth"
but we now come to the question if any and what product of human
knowledge can have in particular "sovereign validity" and
"unrestricted claims to truth." If I speak of human knowledge I do not
do so as an affront to the dwellers in other worlds whom I have not
the honor to know, but only because animals have knowledge also, not
sovereign, however. The dog recognises a divinity in his master, who
may, however, be a great fool.

"Is human thought sovereign?" Before we can answer "yes" or "no" we
must first examine what human thought is. Is it the thought of an
individual man? No. It exists only as the individual thoughts of many
millions of men, past, present and to come. If I now say, having
comprehended the thought of all men in the future also under my
concept, that it is able to understand the entire universe, if man
only lasts long enough, and the organs of perception are unlimited,
and the objects to be comprehended have no limits upon their
comprehensibility, my statement is banal and barren. The most valuable
result of such a conclusion would be to cause in us a tremendous
distrust of present day knowledge. Because, to all appearance, we are
just standing at the threshold of human history and the generations
which will correct us will be much more numerous than those whose
knowledge--often with little enough regard,--we ourselves correct.
Herr Duehring himself explains the necessity of consciousness,
knowledge and perception only becoming apparent in a collection of
separate individuals. We can only apply the word sovereignty to the
thought of these individuals in so far as we do not know of any force
which can defeat thought. But we all know that there is no
significance to nor power of interpretation of the sovereign power of
the knowledge of the thought of each individual, and, according to our
experience, there is much more that requires improvement and
correction in it than not.

In other words, the sovereignty of thought is realised in a number of
highly unsovereign men capable of thinking, the knowledge which has
unlimited pretensions to truth is realised in a number of relative
blunders; neither the one nor the other can be fully realised except
through an endless eternity of human existence.

We have here again the same contradiction as above between the
necessary, as an absolute conceived characteristic of human thought,
and its reality in the very limited thinking single individual, a
contradiction which can only be solved in the endless progression of
the human race, that is endless as far as we are concerned. In this
sense human thought is just as sovereign as not--sovereign, and its
possibility of knowledge just as unlimited as limited. It is sovereign
and unlimited as regards its nature, its significance, its
possibilities, its historical end, it is not sovereign and limited
with respect to individual expression and its actuality at any
particular time.

It is just the same with eternal truths. If mankind only operated with
eternal truths and with thought which possessed a sovereign
significance and unlimited claims to truth, mankind would have arrived
at a point where the eternity of thought becomes realised in actuality
and possibility. Thus the famous miracle of the enumerated innumerable
would be realised.

But what about those truths which are so well established that to
doubt them is to be, as it were, crazy? That twice two is four, that
the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, that
Paris is in France, that a man will die of hunger if he does not
receive food, etc.? Do we not perceive then that there are eternal
truths, final truths of last instance? Quite so. We can divide the
entire field of knowledge in the old-fashioned way into three great
divisions. The first includes all the sciences which are concerned
with inanimate nature and which can be treated mathematically, more or
less--mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, physics and chemistry. If one
like to use big words to express simple things, it may be said that
certain results of these sciences are eternal truths, final truths of
last instance, whence they are called the exact sciences. But all the
results are by no means of this character. With the introduction of
variable quantities and the extension of the variability to the
infinitely small and the infinitely large, mathematics, otherwise
erect, meets with its fall, it has eaten of the apple of knowledge and
there has been opened up to it the path of limitless progress as well
as that of error. The virgin condition of absolute purity, the
undisturbable certainty of all mathematics has vanished forever, a
period of controversy has intervened, and we have now arrived at the
state of affairs in which most people carry on the operations of
multiplication and division not because they really understand what
they are engaged in, but from mere belief because the operation has so
far always given correct results. Astronomy and mechanics, physics and
chemistry are in a still more confused state, and hypotheses crowd one
another thick as a swarm of bees. It cannot be otherwise. In physics
we investigate the movements of molecules, in chemistry the
development of molecules from atoms, and if the theory of light waves
should not be correct we have no absolute knowledge that we even see
these interesting things. The lapse of time produces a very thin crop
of final truths of last instance. In geology we are in a still more
embarrassing situation for we are here involved in the study of
preceding epochs in which, as a matter of fact, neither we ourselves
nor any other human being ever existed. Here there is much labor spent
in the harvesting of truths of last instance, and they are a scanty
crop withal.

The second division of knowledge is occupied in the investigation of
living organisms. In this field the changes and causalities are so
complex that not only does the solution of each question bring about
the rise of an unlimited number of new questions, but the solution of
each of these separate new questions depends upon years, frequently
centuries, of investigation, and can then be only partially completed.
So that the need of systematic arrangement of the various
interrelations continually surrounds the final truths of the last
instance with a prolific and spreading growth of hypotheses. Look at
the long succession of progressive steps from Galen to Malpighi
necessary to establish correctly so simple a thing as the circulation
of the blood of mammals, yet how little we know of the origin of blood
corpuscles and how many mistakes we make in, for example, rationally
connecting the symptoms and cause of a disease. Besides there are
frequently discoveries like those of the cell which compel us to
entirely revise all hitherto firmly established truth of the last
instance in biology, and to lay numbers of such truths aside for good
and all. He who would therefore in this science undertake the
proclamation of absolute and immutable truths must be content with
such platitudes as the following: "All men must die; all female
mammals have mammary glands, etc." He will not even be able to say
that the greater animals digest their food by means of the stomach and
bowels and not with the head because the centralised system of nerves
in the head is not adapted to digestion.

But things are worse with regard to final truths of last instance in
the third group of sciences--the historical. These are concerned with
the conditions of human life, social conditions, forms of law and the
state with their idealistic superstructure of philosophy, religion,
art, etc., in their historic succession and in their present day
manifestations. In organic nature we have at least to do with a
succession of regular phenomena which regularly repeat themselves as
far as our immediate observation goes, within very wide limits.
Organic species have remained on the whole unaltered since the time of
Aristotle. In social history, on the other hand, repetitions of
conditions are the exception, not the rule, directly we leave behind
the prehistoric conditions of humanity, the stone-age, so-called.
Where such repetitions do occur, moreover, they never recur under
precisely similar conditions, as for example the occurrence of early
tribal communism among all peoples anterior to civilisation and the
form of its break up. As regards human history, then, as far as
science is concerned, we are at a greater disadvantage than in
biology. Furthermore, when the intimate relations existing between a
social and political phenomenon come to be recognised it is not, as a
rule, perceived until the conditions are actually on the way to decay.
Knowledge is therefore entirely relative, since it is limited to a
given people and a given epoch, and their nature under transitory
social and political forms, when it examines relations and forms
conclusions. He who therefore is after final truths of last instance,
pure and immutable, will only manage to catch flat phrases and the
most arrant commonplaces, like these--man cannot, generally speaking,
live without working; up to the present men have for the most part
been divided into masters and servants; Napoleon died on May 5th,
1821, and things of that sort.

It is worth noting that in this department of knowledge pretended
final truths of last instance are met with most frequently. Only the
person who wishes to show that there are eternal truth, eternal
morality, and eternal justice in human history, and that these are
similar in scope and application to those of mathematics, will
proclaim that twice two is four and that birds have beaks and the like
to be eternal truths. We can also certainly rely upon the same friend
of humanity taking the opportunity to explain that all former
inventors of eternal truths have been more or less asses or
charlatans, that they have been circumscribed by error and have made
mistakes. The fact of their error, however, is natural and proves the
existence of the truth, and that it can be reached, and the newly
arisen prophet has a ready-to-hand stock of final truths of last
instance, eternal law and eternal justice. This has happened hundreds,
nay, thousands of times, so that it is a wonder that men are still
sufficiently credulous to believe it not only of others, but even of
themselves. Here we find a prophet clad in the armour of righteousness
who proclaims in the old-fashioned way that whoever else may deny
there is still one left to declare final truths of last instance.
Denial, nay, doubt even, is a weakness, barren confusion, mole-like
scepticism, worse than blank nihilism, confusion worse confounded and
other little amiabilities of this sort. As with all prophets, there is
no scientific investigation, but merely off-hand condemnation.

We might have made mention of the sciences which investigate the laws
of human thought, logic and dialectics. Here we are, however, no
better off as regards eternal truths. Herr Duehring explains that the
dialectic proper is pure nonsense, and the many books which have been
and are still being written on logic prove clearly that final truths
of last instance are more sparsely distributed than many believe.

Moreover, we are not at all alarmed because the step of science upon
which we to-day stand is not a bit more final than any of the
preceding steps. Already it includes an immense amount of material for
investigation and offers a great chance for specialisation and study
to anyone who desires to become expert in any particular branch.
Whoever expects to find final and immutable truths in observations
which in the very nature of things must remain relative for successive
generations, and can only be completed piecemeal, as in cosmogony,
geology and human history, which must always be incomplete owing to
the complexity of the historical material, shows perverse ignorance
even where he does not, as in the present case, set up claims of
personal infallibility.

Truth and error, like all such mutually antagonistic concepts, have
only an absolute reality under very limited conditions, as we have
seen, and as even Herr Duehring should know by a slight acquaintance
with the first elements of dialectics, which show the insufficiency of
all polar antagonisms. As soon as we bring the antagonism of truth and
error out of this limited field it becomes relative and is not
serviceable for new scientific statements. If we should seek to
establish its reality beyond those limits we are at once confronted by
a dilemma, both poles of the antagonism come into conflict with their
opposite; truth becomes error and error becomes truth. Let us take,
for example, the well-known Boyle's law, according to which, the
temperature remaining the same, the volume of the gas varies as the
pressure to which it is subjected. Regnault discovered that this law
does not apply in certain cases. If he had been a realist-philosopher
he would have been obliged to say, "Boyle's law is mutable, therefore
it does not possess absolute truth, therefore it is untrue, therefore
it is false." He would thus have made a greater error than that which
was latent in Boyle's law, his little particle of truth would have
been drowned in a flood of error; he would in this way have elaborated
his correct result into an error compared with which Boyle's law with
its particle of error fastened to it would have appeared as the truth.
Regnault, scientist as he was, did not trouble himself with such
childish performances. He investigated further and found that Boyle's
law is only approximately correct, having no validity in the case of
gases which can be made liquid by pressure when the pressure
approaches the point where liquefaction sets in. Boyle's law therefore
is shown only to be true within specific bounds. But is it absolute, a
final truth of last instance within specific bounds? No physicist
would say so. He would say that it is correct for certain gases and
within certain limits of pressure and temperature, and even then
within these somewhat narrow limits he would not exclude the
possibility of a still narrower limitation or change in application as
the result of further investigation. This is how final truths of last
instance stand in physics, for example. Really scientific works as a
rule avoid such dogmatic expressions as truth and error, but they are
constantly cropping up in works like the Philosophy of Reality, where
mere loose talking vaunts itself the supreme result of sovereign

But a naïve reader may say, "Where has Herr Duehring expressly stated
that the content of his philosophy of reality is final truth of the
last instance?" Well, for example, in his dithyramb on his system
which we quoted above, and again where he says "Moral truths as far as
they are known are as sound as those of mathematics." Does not Herr
Duehring explain that by reason of his powers of criticism and
searching investigations, the fundamental philosophy has been brought
to light and that he has thus bestowed upon us final truths of last
instance? But if Herr Duehring does not set up such a claim either on
his own behalf or that of his time, if he says that some time in the
misty future final truths of last instance will be established, and
that therefore his own statements are merely accidental and confused,
a kind of "mole-like scepticism" and "barren confusion," what is all
the fuss about, and what useful purpose is served by Herr Duehring?

If we gain no ground in the matter of truth and error we gain less in
respect of good and evil. Here we have an antagonism of ethical
significance, and ethics is a department of human history in which
final truths are but slight and few. From people to people, from age
to age, there have been such changes in the ideas of good and evil
that these concepts are contradictory in different periods and among
different peoples. But some one may remark, "Good is still not evil
and evil is not good; if good and evil are confused all morality is
abolished, and each may do what he will." When the rhetoric is
stripped away this is the opinion of Herr Duehring. But the matter is
not to be disposed of so easily. If things were as easy as that there
would be no dispute about good and evil. Everybody would know what was
good and what was evil. How is it to-day, however? What system of
ethics is preached to us to-day? There is first the Christian-feudal,
a survival of the early days of faith, which is as a matter of fact
subdivided into Catholic and Protestant, of which there are still
further subdivisions, from the Jesuit-Catholic and orthodox Protestant
to loosely drawn ethical systems. There figure also the modern or
bourgeois, and still further the proletarian future system of
morality, so that the progressive European countries alone present
three contemporaneous and coexistent actual theories of ethics. Which
is the true one? No single one of them, regarded as a finality, but
that system assuredly possesses the most elements of truth which
promises the longest duration, which existent in the present is also
involved in the revolution of the future, the proletarian.

But if we now see that the three classes of modern society, the feudal
aristocracy, the bourgeoisie and the proletarian, have their
distinctive ethical systems, we can only conclude therefrom that
mankind consciously or unconsciously shapes its moral views in
accordance with the material facts upon which in the last instance the
class existence is based--upon the economic conditions under which
production and exchange are carried on.

But in the three above mentioned systems of ethics there is much which
is common to all three of them, and might not this at least constitute
a portion of an eternally stable system of ethics? These ethical
theories pass through three distinct steps in their historical
development, they have therefore a common historical basis and hence
necessarily much in common. Further, for approximately similar
economic stages there must, necessarily be a coincidence of similar
stages of economic development, and ethical theories must of necessity
coincide with a greater or less degree of closeness. From the very
moment when private property in movables developed there had to be
ethical sanctions of general effect in all communities in which
private property prevailed, thus: Thou shalt not steal. Is this
commandment, then, an eternal commandment? By no means. In a society
in which the motive for theft did not exist stealing would only be the
practice of the weak-minded, and the preacher of morals who proclaimed
"Thou shalt not steal" as an eternal commandment would only be laughed
at for his pains.

We here call attention to the attempt to force a sort of moral
dogmatism upon us as eternal, final, immutable moral law, upon the
pretext that the moral law is possessed of fixed principles which
transcend history and the variations of individual peoples. We state,
on the contrary, that up to the present time all ethical theory is in
the last instance a testimony to the existence of certain economic
conditions prevailing in any community at any particular time. And in
proportion as society developed class-antagonisms, morality became a
class morality and either justified the interests and domination of
the ruling class, or as soon as a subject class became strong enough
justified revolt against the domination of the ruling class and the
interests of the subject class. That, by this means, there is an
advance made in morals as a whole, just as there is in all other
branches of human knowledge, there can be no doubt. But we have not
yet advanced beyond class morals. Real human morality superior to
class morality and its traditions will not be possible until a stage
in human history has been reached in which class antagonisms have not
only been overcome but have been forgotten as regards the conduct of
life. Now the colossal egotism of Herr Duehring may be understood when
it is seen that, on the eve of a revolution which will bring about a
state of society devoid of classes, he claims from the midst of an old
and class divided society to proclaim an eternal system of morals
independent of time and material change. He himself declares what up
to the present has been hid from the rest of us that he understands
the structure of this future society at least as regards its salient

In conclusion he makes a revelation which is essentially original but
none the less "fundamental respecting the origin of evil." We have the
fact that the type of the cat with its inherent treachery is pictured
as the representative animal type, and this also displays a form of
character to be found also in man. There is no mystery then about evil
if one can detect a mysticism in the cat or any other beast of prey.
Evil is--the cat. Goethe was evidently wrong when he introduced
Mephistopheles as a black dog instead of a cat similarly colored. This
is ethics suited not only to all worlds but to cats also.


By dint of experience we have come to learn Herr Duehring's "method."
It consists in separating each department of knowledge into what are
assumed to be its most simple elements, then of making so called self
evident axioms with regard to these simple elements, and thereupon
operating with the results obtained in this way. Thus a sociological
question is to be "decided on simple axiomatic principles just as if
it were a matter of elementary mathematics." Thus the application of
the mathematical method to history, ethics and law gives mathematical
certainty to the final results which appear as pure and immutable

This is only another form of the old ideological, _a priori_ method so
called, which learned the properties of an object not from the object
itself but derived them by proof from the concept of the object. First
you derive a concept of the object from the actual object, then you
turn the spit and measure the object in terms of its derivative the
concept. The concept is not shaped after the pattern of the object but
the object after the pattern of the concept. In Herr Duehring's
method, the simplest elements, the last abstractions to which he can
attain do duty for the concept which is unchangeable, the simplest
elements are under the best conditions purely imaginary in their
nature. The philosophy of realism hence appears to be mere ideology,
and has no derivation from real life but is absolutely dependent upon
the imagination. When such an ideologist proceeds to construct a
system of morals and law from his concept of the so-called simplest
elements of society instead of from the real social conditions of the
men about him, where does he get his material for construction? The
material evidently consists of two kinds--firstly, the slim vestiges
of reality which are still present in every fundamental abstraction,
and secondly in the actual content which our ideologist evolves from
his own consciousness. And what does he discover in his consciousness?
For the most part moral and ethical philosophic ideas and these
constitute an expression corresponding more or less closely, whether
positive or negative, harmonious or hostile, with the social and
political conditions which environ him. Besides he probably has
notions derived from literature pertaining to these conditions, and
finally he has possibly personal idiosyncrasies. Let our ideologist
dodge all that he can, the historical reality which he has thrown out
of doors comes in again at the window and although he may fancy that
he is employed in the manufacture of moral and legal doctrines good
for all worlds and all ages he is actually making a distorted,
counterfeit of the conservation or revolutionary tendencies of his
time, because torn from its real place, as things seen in a concave
mirror are upside down.

Herr Duehring therefore resolves society into its simplest elements
and discovers accordingly that the most elementary society consists of
at least two human beings. He thereupon operates with these two human
beings to produce his axiom. Then he delivers himself of the
fundamental maxim of morals, "Two human wills, as such, are entirely
identical, and the one can in consequence make no positive demands
upon the other." Here the "foundation of moral law" is apparent, so
"in order to develop the principal concepts of justice we require two
human beings under absolutely simple and elementary conditions."

That two human wills or two human beings are just alike is not only no
axiom, it is a glaring exaggeration. In the first place two human
beings may differ as regards sex, and this simple fact shows us, if we
look at childhood for a moment, that the elements of society are not
two men, but a little man and a little woman, which constitute a
family, the simplest and earliest form of association for productive
purposes. But Herr Duehring cannot by any means agree to this. On the
one hand the two constituents of society might very possibly be made
alike and on the other Herr Duehring would not be able to construct
the moral and legal equality of man and woman from the original
family. Therefore one of two things must take place. Either the
molecules of Herr Duehring's society from the multiplication of which
all society is built up is merely _a priori_ and destined to fail,
since two men cannot produce a child, or we must consider them as two
heads of families. In this case the entire foundation is made its very
opposite. Instead of the equality of man we have at the most the
equality of two heads of families, and since women are not
comprehended we have the consequent subjection of women.

We are sorry to warn the reader that these two notorious men cannot be
got rid of, for a long time. They take up in the realm of social
conditions the role heretofore played by the dwellers in the other
world with whom it is to be hoped we have now finished. Should any
question of political economy, of politics or any other such matter
require solution, out come the two men and make the thing axiomatic
forthwith. This is a remarkable, clever, and system-shaping discovery
of our system-shaping philosopher. But to give the truth its due we
are regretfully bound to say that he did not discover the two men.
They are common to the whole of the eighteenth century. They appear in
Rousseau's Treatise on Equality, 1754, where, by the way, they serve
to prove axiomatically the direct opposite of Herr Duehring's
contentions. They play an important part in political economy from
Adam Smith to Ricardo, but here they are so far unequal that they
follow different trades, principally hunting and fishing, and they
exchange their mutual products. They serve through the entire
eighteenth century principally as mere illustrative examples, and the
originality of Herr Duehring consists in the fact that he elevates
this method of illustration to a fundamental method for all social
science and to a measure of all historical instruction. There is no
easier way to arrive at "a really scientific philosophy of things and

In order to create the fundamental axiom the two men and their wills
are mutually equal and neither has any right to lord it over the
other. We cannot find two suitable men. They must be two men who are
so free from all national, economic, political and religious
conditions, from sex and personal peculiarities that nothing remains
of either of them but the mere concept "man" and then they are
entirely equal. They are therefore two fully-equipped ghosts conjured
up by that very Herr Duehring who particularly ridicules and denounces
"spiritistic" movements. These two phantoms must of course do all that
their wizard wants of them and so their united productions are a
matter of complete indifference to the rest of the world.

Now let us follow Herr Duehring's axiomatic utterances a little
further. These two men cannot make positive demands upon each other.
The one who does so and enforces his demand thereupon performs an
unjust act, and with this idea as a foundation Herr Duehring explains
the injustice, the tyranny, the servitude, in short all the evil
happenings of history up to the present time. Now Rousseau has in the
work above mentioned proved the contrary just as axiomatically, by
means of two men. A. cannot forcibly enslave B. except by putting B.
in a place where he cannot do without A. This is far too materialistic
an idea for Herr Duehring. He has accordingly put the same matter
somewhat differently. Two shipwrecked men being by themselves on an
island form a society. Their wills are, theoretically speaking,
entirely equal and this is acknowledged by both. But in reality the
inequality is tremendous. A. is resolute and energetic, B. inert,
irresolute and slack. A. is sharp, B. is stupid. How long will it be
before A. imposes his will upon B., first by taking the upper hand,
and keeping it habitually, under the pretence that B.'s submission is
voluntary. Whether the form of voluntariness continues or force is
resorted to slavery still is slavery. Voluntary entering into a state
of slavery lasted all through the Middle Ages in Germany up to the
Thirty Years War. When serfdom was abolished in Prussia after the
defeats of 1806 and 1807 and with it the duty of the nobility to take
care of their subjects in need, sickness and old age the peasants
thereupon petitioned to be allowed to remain in slavery--for who would
care for them when they were in trouble? The concept of the two men is
just as applicable to inequality and slavery as it is to equality and
mutual aid, and since, under the penalty of extinction, men must
assume the headship of a family, hereditary slavery may be foreseen in

Let us put this view of the case on one side for a moment. We assume
that we are convinced by Herr Duehring's maxim and that we are zealous
for the full equalisation of the two wills, for the "universal
sovereignty of man" for the "sovereignty of the individual,"
magnificent expressions, in comparison with which Stirner's
"individual" with his private property is a mere bungler though he
might claim his modest part therein. Then we are all free and
independent. All? No, not even now. There are still "occasional
dependent relations" but these are to be explained "on grounds which
must be sought not in the action of two wills as such but in a third
consideration, in the case of children, for example, in the
inadequateness of their self-assertion."

Indeed, the foundations of independence are not to be sought in the
realisation of the two wills as such. Naturally not, since the
realisation of one of the wills is thus interfered with. But they must
be sought in a third direction. And what is the third direction? The
actual fixing of a subjected will as an inadequate one. So far has our
realistic philosopher departed from reality that will, the real
content, the characteristic determination of this will serves him as a
third ground, for abstract and indefinite speech. However this may be
we must agree that equality has its exceptions. It does not apply to a
will which is infected with inadequateness of self expression.

Further, "Where the animal and the human are intermingled in one
person can one in the name of a second fully developed human being
demand the same actions as in the case of a single human being ... our
supposition is here of two morally unequal persons of which one has a
share of purely animal characteristics in a certain sense the typical
fundamental conception which characterises the differences in and
between groups of men." Now the reader may see by these modest excuses
in which Herr Duehring turns and winds like a Jesuit priest to
establish a casuistical position, how far the human human can prevail
over the bestial human, how far he can employ deceit, warlike, keen
terrorising means of deceit against the latter without overstepping
immutable ethical bounds.

Therefore, if two persons are "morally unequal" there is an end of
equality. It was therefore not worth while to conjure up two fully
equal men, since there are no two individuals who are morally equal.
But inequality consists in this that one is a human being and the
other has some part of the animal in his composition. It is evident
that since man is descended from the animal creation he is not free
from animality. So that as regards man degrees of animality can only
be differentiated to a greater or less degree. A division of men into
two sharply differentiated groups, into humans and human beasts, into
good and bad, into sheep and goats, even Christianity, let alone the
realist philosophy, is aware, implies a judge who makes the
distinction. But who shall be judge as regards the realist philosophy?
We must follow the practice of Christians according to which the pious
little sheep undertake to act as judges of the universe against their
unworthy neighbors the goats, with results which are too well known.
The sect of the realist philosophers supposing it ever comes into
existence will certainly not give up anything quietly. This is indeed
a matter of small concern to us but we are interested in the
confession that as a conclusion of the moral inequality between men
equality no longer exists.

Again "If the one acted in accordance with truth and science but the
other in accordance with a superstition or prejudice a mutual
disagreement would generally occur. At a certain stage of incapacity
barbarism or an evil tendency of character must in all circumstances
produce an antagonism. Force is the last resort not alone with
children and incapables. The peculiar characteristics of whole classes
of men, whether in a state of nature or civilised, may render
necessary the subjection of their inimical will, due to their own
impotency, in order to bring them into harmony with social
arrangements. But such a man has challenged his own equality by the
perversity of his inimical and hurtful actions, and if he suffers at
the hands of a superior force he only reaps the recoil of his own

Thus not only moral but spiritual inequality is sufficiently potent to
do away with the "full equality" of two wills and to furnish an
ethical rule by which all the shameful acts of civilised plundering
states against backward peoples down to the atrocities of the Russians
in Turkestan may be justified. When General Kaufmann, in the summer of
1873, fell upon the Tartar tribes of the Jomuden, burnt their tents,
mowed down their wives and families, as the command ran, he explained
that the destruction was due to the perversity, the inimical minds of
the people of the Jomuden, and was employed for the purpose of
bringing them back to the social order, and the means used by him had
been the most efficient.

But he who wills the end wills also the means. But he was not so cruel
as to insult the Jomuden people in addition and to say that he
massacred them in the name of equality, that he considered their wills
equal to his own. And again in this conflict the select, those who
pose as champions of truth and science, the realist philosophers in
the last instance must be able to distinguish superstition, prejudice,
barbarism, evil tendencies of character, and when force and subjection
are necessary to bring about equality. So that equality now means
equalisation by means of force, and the will of one recognises the
will of the other as equal by overthrowing it.

The phrase that an external will in its bringing about equalisation by
force is only to be regarded as producing equality is nothing but a
distortion of the Hegelian theory that punishment is a right of the
criminal. "That punishment is to be regarded as implying a right to it
in accordance with which the criminal is respected as a rational
being." (Rechtsphil, 100.)

We may pause here. It would be superfluous to follow Herr Duehring any
further in the piecemeal destruction of his axiomatically established
equality, universal human sovereignty, etc., to observe how he brings
society into existence with two men and produces yet a third in order
to establish the state, because to put the matter briefly, no majority
can be had without the third, and without him, that is, without the
domination of the majority over the minority, no state can exist.
There is no need either for us to observe how he launches his future
social state on the more peaceful waters of construction, where we may
have the honor some fine morning of beholding it. We have seen so far
that the complete equality of two wills only exists as long as they do
not will anything. That as soon as they cease to become human wills as
such and to be converted into real individual wills, into wills of
real persons, that is, equality ceases; that childhood, idiocy,
animality so called, superstition, prejudice, supposed lack of power
on the one hand and supposed humanity and insight into truth and
science on the other hand, that therefore every difference in the
quality of the two wills and in the degree of intelligence
accompanying it justifies an inequality which may go as far as
subjection. Why should we seek further since Herr Duehring has brought
his own edifice of equality which he so laboriously constructed
tumbling to the ground?

But if we are now prepared to meet Herr Duehring's silly and
incompetent consideration of equality of rights we are not yet ready
to take issue with the idea itself which through the influence of
Rousseau has played a theatrical part, and since the days of the great
Revolution a practical and political part, and now plays no
insignificant role in the agitation carried on by the socialist
movement of all countries. The establishment of its scientific
soundness has a value for the proletarian agitation.

The idea that all men have something in common as men and that they
are equal with respect to that common quality is naturally older than
history. But the modern doctrine of equality is something quite
different than that. This derives from the property of humanity,
common to man, the equality of man, as man, or at least of all
citizens of a given state or of all members of a given society. Until
the conclusion of equality of rights in the state and society was
deduced from the original notion of relative equality, and until this
conclusion was to be stated as something natural and self evident,
many thousands of years had to pass and indeed have passed. In the
oldest and most elementary communities it may be said that equality of
rights among the members existed in the highest degree, women, slaves,
and foreigners, however, being excluded. Among the Greeks and Romans
inequality existed to a greater degree. Greeks and barbarians, freemen
and slaves, citizens and subjects, Roman citizens and Roman subjects
(to employ a comprehensive expression) that these should have any
claim to equality of political rights would have been regarded by the
ancients necessarily as madness. Under the Roman Empire there was a
complete elimination of all these distinctions with the exception of
those of freemen and slaves. There arose therefore as far as the
freemen were concerned that equality of private individuals upon which
Roman law was founded and developed as the most perfect system of
jurisprudence based on private property with which we are acquainted.
But while the contradiction of freemen and slaves existed there could
be no statement based upon the universal equality of man as such, as
was recently shown in the slave states of the Northern American Union.

Christianity recognised one equality on the part of all men, that of
an equal taint of original sin, which entirely corresponded with its
character as a religion of slaves and the oppressed. In the next place
it recognised completely the equality of the elect but it only
declared this at the beginning of its teaching. The traces of common
property in possessions which may be found occasionally in the
earliest days of the religion was based rather upon the mutual
assistance which persecuted people hold out to each other, than upon
any real concepts of human equality. Very soon the establishment of
the antithesis between the priesthood and the laity put an end to even
this expression of Christian equality. The inundation of Western
Europe by the Germans abolished for centuries all concepts of equality
by the creation of a universal, social and political gradation of rank
of a much more complicated nature than had existed up to that time.
Contemporaneously with this Western and Middle Europe entered upon a
historical development, shaped for the first time a compact
civilisation, and a system which was on the one hand dynamic and on
the other conservative, the leading national states. Thereupon a soil
was prepared for the declaration of the equality of human rights so
recently made.

The feudal middle ages moreover developed the class in its womb
destined to be the apostle of the modern agitation for equality, the
bourgeois class. In the beginning even under the feudal system the
bourgeois class had developed the prevalent hand-industry and the
exchange of products even within feudal society to a high degree
considering the circumstances, until with the close of the fifteenth
century the great discoveries of lands beyond the seas opened before
it a new and individual course. The trade beyond Europe which up to
that time had been carried on between the Italians and the Levant was
now extended to America and the Indies and soon exceeded in amount the
reciprocal trade of the European countries as well as the internal
commerce of any particular land. American gold and silver flooded
Europe and like a decomposing element penetrated all the fissures,
crevices and pores of feudal society. The system of hand-labor was no
longer sufficient for the growing demand, it was replaced by
manufacture in the leading industries of the most highly developed

A corresponding change in the political structure followed this
powerful revolution in the economic conditions of society but by no
means immediately. The organisation of the State remained feudal in
form while society became more and more bourgeois. Trade, particularly
international, and to a greater degree world-commerce demanded for its
development the free and unrestricted possessors of commodities, who
have equality of right to exchange commodities at least in one and the
same place. The transition from hand labor to manufacture presupposes
the existence of a number of free laborers, free on the one hand from
the fetters of the gild and on the other free to employ their labor
force in their own behalf, who could make contracts for the hire of
their labor force to the manufacturers and therefore face him as if
endowed with equal rights as contracting parties. At last then there
arose equality of rights and actual equality of all human labor, for
labor force finds its unconscious but strongest expression in the law
of value of modern bourgeois economy according to which the value of a
commodity finds its measure in the socially necessary labor
incorporated in it. But where the economic circumstances render
freedom and equality of rights necessary, the political code, gild
restrictions and peculiar privileges oppose them at every step. Local
provisions of a legal character, differential taxation, exceptional
laws of every description, interfere not only with foreigners or
colonials but frequently enough also with whole categories of citizens
in the nation itself. Gild privileges in particular constituted a
continual impediment to the development of manufacture. The course was
nowhere open and the chances of the bourgeois victory were by no means
equal, but to make the course open was the first and ever more
pressing necessity.

As soon as the demand for the abolition of feudalism and for the
equality of rights was set on the order of the day it had necessarily
to take an ever widening scope. As soon as the claim was made in
behalf of commerce and industry it had also to be made in behalf of
the peasants who, being in every stage of slavery from serfdom labored
for the most part without any return for the feudal lords and were
obliged in addition to perform innumerable services for them and for
the State. Also it became desirable to abolish feudal privileges, the
immunity of the nobility from taxation, and the superiority which
attached to a certain status. And as men no longer lived in a world
empire like the Roman, but in an independent system with states which
approximated to a similar degree of bourgeois development and which
had intercourse with one another on an equal footing, the demand took
on necessarily a universal character reaching beyond the individual
state, and freedom and equality were thus proclaimed as human rights.
But as regards the special bourgeois character of these human rights,
it is significant that the American Constitution which was the first
to recognise these rights of man in the same breath established
slavery among the colored people: class privileges were cursed, race
privileges were blessed.

As is well known, the bourgeois class as soon as it escaped from the
domination of the ruling class in the cities, by which process the
medieval stage passes into the modern, has been steadily and
inevitably dogged by a shadow, the proletariat. So also the bourgeois
demands for equality are accompanied by the proletarian demands for
equality. Directly the demand for the abolition of class privileges
was made by the bourgeois there succeeded the proletarian demand for
the abolition of classes themselves. This was first made in a
religious form and was based upon early Christianity, but later
derived its support from the bourgeois theories of equality. The
proletarians take the bourgeois at their word, they demand the
realisation of equality not merely apparently, not merely in the
sphere of government but actually in the sphere of society and
economics. Since the French bourgeoisie of the great Revolution placed
equality in the foreground of their movement, the French proletariat
has answered it blow for blow with the demand for social and economic
equality, and equality has become the special battle cry of the French

The demand for equality as made by the proletariat has a double
significance. Either it is, as was particularly the case at first, in
the Peasants' War, for example, a natural reaction against social
inequalities which were obvious, against the contrast between rich and
poor, masters and slaves, luxurious and hungry, and as such it is
simply an expression of revolutionary instinct finding its
justification in that fact and in that fact alone. On the other hand
it may arise from reaction against the bourgeois claims of equality
from which it deduces more or less just and far reaching claims,
serves as a means of agitation to stir the workers, by means of a cry
adopted by the capitalists themselves, against the capitalists, and in
this case stands or falls with bourgeois equality itself. In both
cases the real content of the proletarian claims of equality is the
abolition of classes. Every demand for equality transcending this is
of necessity absurd. We have already given examples and can furnish
many more when we come to consider Herr Duehring's prophecies of the

So the notion of equality, in its proletarian as well as in its
bourgeois form, is itself a historic product. Certain circumstances
were required to produce it and these in their turn proceeded from a
long anterior history. It is therefore anything but an eternal truth.
And if the public regards it as self-evident in one sense or another
if it, as Marx remarks "already occupies the position of a popular
prejudice" it is not due to its being an axiomatic truth but to the
universal broadening of conception in accordance with the spirit of
the eighteenth century. If Herr Duehring then can set up his two
famous men in housekeeping on the grounds of equality, it is apparent
that the prejudices of the mass of men in its favor is an antecedent
condition. In fact Herr Duehring calls his philosophy the "natural"
because it proceeds from generally recognised things, which appear to
him to be entirely natural. But why they seem to him to be natural he
does not take the trouble to enquire.

_Freedom and Necessity._

(The former part of this section is taken up with a criticism of Herr
Duehring's knowledge of law of which he had boasted. It is a purely
technical discussion and is of merely local interest. Having disposed
of Duehring's juristic claims Engels proceeds to discuss "Freedom and
Necessity" as follows.)

One cannot deal properly with the question of morals and law without a
discussion of free will, human responsibility, and the limits of
necessity and freedom. The realistic philosophy has not only one but
two solutions of these questions.

"One must substitute for false theories of freedom the actual
conditions in which reason on the one hand and instinct on the other
unite upon a middle ground. The fundamental facts of this sort of
dynamics are to be learned from observation and as regards the
calculation in advance of phenomena which have not yet occurred, we
must judge of them in general terms according to their special
qualities. In this way the silly speculations with respect to the
freedom of the will which have wasted thousands of years are not only
entirely removed but are replaced by something positive, something
useful for practical life." So freedom of the will consists in this
that reason impels men to the right and irrationality to the left and
according to this parallelogram of forces the true direction is that
of the diagonal. Freedom would therefore be the average between
insight and impulse, between understanding and lack of understanding,
and its degree would to use an astronomical expression be empirically
established by the "personal equation." But a few pages later we read
"We establish moral responsibility upon freedom by which we only mean
susceptibility to known motives according to the measure of natural
and acquired reason. All such motives in spite of antagonism realise
themselves in action with the inevitability of natural law, but we
count upon this inevitable necessity when we deal with morals."

This second definition of freedom which is quite opposed to the first
is nothing but a very weak paraphrase of Hegel's notions on the
subject. Hegel was the first man to make a proper explanation of the
relations of freedom and necessity. In his eyes freedom is the
recognition of necessity. "Necessity is blind only in so far as it is
not understood." Freedom does not consist in an imaginary independence
of natural laws but in a knowledge of these laws and in the
possibility thence derived of applying them intelligently to given
ends. This is true both as regards the laws of nature and of those
which control the spiritual and physical existence of man
himself,--two classes of laws which we can distinguish as an
abstraction but not in reality. Freedom of the will consists in
nothing but the ability to come to a decision when one is in
possession of a knowledge of the facts. The freer the judgment of a
man then in relation to a given subject of discussion so much the more
necessity is there for his arrival at a positive decision. On the
other hand lack of certainty arising from ignorance which apparently
chooses voluntarily between many different and contradictory
possibilities of decision shows thereby its want of freedom, its
control by things which it should in reality control. Freedom,
therefore, consists in mastery over ourselves and external nature
founded upon knowledge of the necessities of nature, it is, therefore,
necessarily a product of historical development. The first human
beings to become differentiated from the lower animals were in all
essentials as devoid of freedom as these animals themselves but each
step in human development was a step towards freedom. At the threshold
of human history stands the discovery of the transformation of
mechanical motion in heat, the generation of fire by friction; at the
close of development up to the present stands the discovery of the
transformation of heat into mechanical motion, the steam engine. In
spite of the tremendous revolution in the direction of freedom which
the steam engine has produced in society it is not yet half complete.
There is no question that the production of fire by friction still
surpasses it as an agent in the liberation of humanity. Because the
production of fire by friction for the first time gave man power over
the forces of nature and separated him for ever from the lower
animals. The steam engine can never bridge so wide a chasm. It appears
however as the representative of all those productive forces by the
help of which alone a state of society is rendered possible in which
no class subjection or pain will be produced by reason of the lack of
means for the sustenance of the individual, in which moreover it will
be possible to speak of real human freedom as arising from living in
accordance with the recognised laws of nature. But considering the
youth of humanity it would be absurd to wish to impute any universal
absolute validity to our present philosophical views, and it follows
from the mere facts that the whole of history up to the present time
is to be regarded as the history of the period extending from the time
of the practical discovery of the transformation of mechanical
movement into heat to that of the transformation of heat into
mechanical movement.

(The above constitutes a reply to the view which regards history
simply as the record of human error and is followed by a discussion of
Duehring's opinions in that regard.)



_Quantity and Quality._

(Here Herr Duehring contends "The first and most important statement
with respect to the foundation logical properties of existence points
to the exclusion of contradiction. Contradiction is a category which
can belong to thought alone but which can pertain to nothing real.
There are no contradictions in things; in other words the law of
contradiction is itself the crowning point of absurdity." To which
Engels replies as follows):

The thought content of the foregoing passages is contained in the
statement that contradiction is an absurdity and cannot occur in the
actual world. This statement will have for people of average common
sense the same self-evident truth as to say that straight cannot be
crooked nor crooked straight. But the differential calculus shows in
spite of all the protests of common sense that under certain
conditions straight and crooked are identical, and reaches thereby a
conclusion which is not in harmony with the common sense view of the
absurdity of there being any identity between straight and crooked.
Considering moreover the significant role which the so called
Dialectic of the Contradiction played in the ancient Greek philosophy,
a stronger opponent than Herr Duehring would be obliged to meet it
with better arguments than a mere affirmation and a number of

As long as we regard things as static and without life, each by
itself, separately, we do not run against any contradictions in them.
We find certain qualities sometimes common, sometimes distinctive,
occasionally contradictory, but in this last case they belong to
different objects and are hence not self contradictory. While we
follow this method we pursue the ordinary metaphysical method of
thought. But it is quite different when we consider things in their
movement, in their change, their life and their mutually reciprocal
relations. Then we come at once upon contradictions. Motion is itself
a contradiction since simple mechanical movement from place to place
can only accomplish itself by a body being at one and the same moment
in one place and simultaneously in another place by being in one and
the same place and yet not there. And motion is just the continuous
establishing and dissolving the contradiction.

Here we have a contradiction which is "objective, and so to speak
corporeal in things and events." And what does Herr Duehring say about
it? He affirms that "in rational mechanics there is no bridge between
the strictly static and the dynamic." Finally the reader is able to
see that there is behind this pretty little phrase of Herr Duehring
nothing more than this--that the metaphysical mode of thought can
absolutely not pass from the idea of rest to that of motion because
the aforesaid contradiction intervenes. Motion is absolutely
inconceivable to the metaphysician, because a contradiction. And as he
affirms the inconceivability of motion he admits the existence of this
contradiction against his will and therefore admits that it
constitutes an objective contradiction in actual facts and events, and
is moreover an actual fact.

But if simple mechanical motion contains a contradiction in itself
still more so do the higher forms of motion of matter and to a high
degree organic life and its development. We saw above that life
consists chiefly in this that a being is at one and the same time
itself and something different. Life itself then is likewise a
contradiction contained in things and events, always establishing and
dissolving itself, and as soon as the contradiction ceases life also
ceases, death comes on the scene. Thus we saw also that we cannot put
an end to the Contradictions in the realm of thought, and how for
example the contradiction between the intrinsically unlimited
possibilities of human knowledge and its actual existence in the
persons of human beings with limited faculties and powers of
knowledge, is dissolved in the, for us at least, practically endless
progression of the race, in unending progress.

We stated just now that higher mathematics holds as one of its basic
principles that straight and crooked may be identical under certain
circumstances. It shows another contradiction, that lines which
apparently intersect yet are parallel from five to six centimeters
from the point of intersection, should be such as should never
intersect although indefinitely produced, and yet, notwithstanding
these and even greater contradictions, it produces not only correct
results but results which are unattainable by lower mathematics.

But even in the latter there is a host of contradictions. It is a
contradiction, for example, that a root of A should be and actually is
a power of A. A to the power of one-half equals the square root of A.
It is contradiction that a negative magnitude should be the square of
anything, since every negative magnitude multiplied by itself gives a
positive square. The square root of minus one is therefore not only a
contradiction but an absurd contradiction, a veritable absurdity. And
yet the square root of minus one is in many instances the necessary
result of correct mathematical operations, nay further, where would
mathematics higher or lower be if one were forbidden to operate with
the square root of minus one.

Mathematics itself enters the realm of the dialectic and significantly
enough it was a dialectic philosopher, Descartes, who introduced this
progressiveness into mathematics. As is the relation of the
mathematics of variable magnitudes to that of invariable quantities,
so is the relation of the dialectic method of thought to the
metaphysical. This does not prevent the great majority of
mathematicians from only recognising the dialectic in the realms of
mathematics, a condition of things satisfactory to those who operate
in the antiquated, limited, metaphysical fashion by methods attained
by means of the dialectic.

       *       *       *       *       *

(Duehring having made an attack upon Marx's "Capital" because of its
reliance upon the dialectic, and having indulged in the epithets to
which he is too prone with respect to this work, Engels takes up its
defence in that respect as follows):

It is not our business to concern ourselves at this point with the
correctness or incorrectness of the investigations of Marx as regards
economics, but only with the application which he makes of the
dialectic method. So much is certain, that it is only now that the
readers of "Capital" will by the aid of Herr Duehring understand what
they have read properly, and among them Herr Duehring himself, who in
the year 1867 was still in a position, as far as possible to a man of
his calibre, to review the book rationally. He did not then, it may be
noted, first translate the arguments of Marx into Duehringese, as now
seems indispensable to him. Even if he at that time made the blunder
of identifying the Marxian dialectic with that of Hegel he had not
altogether lost the ability to distinguish methods from the results
attained by them and to comprehend that an abuse of the former is no
contradiction of the latter.

Herr Duehring's most astonishing observation is that from the Marxian
standpoint, "in the last analysis everything is identical," that
therefore in the eyes of Marx, for example, capitalists and wage
workers, feudal, capitalistic and social methods of production are
"all one." In order to show the possibility of such sheer stupidity it
only remains to point out that the mere word "dialectic" makes Herr
Duehring mentally irresponsible and makes what he says and does so
inaccurate and confused as to be in the last analysis "all one."

       *       *       *       *       *

(Herr Duehring remarks, "How comical for example is the declaration
based upon Hegel's confused notions that quantity becomes lost in
quality and that money advanced [i.e. for productive purposes. Ed.]
becomes capital when it reaches a certain limit merely through
quantitative increase." To which Engels replies thus):

This seems peculiar when presented in this washed out fashion by Herr
Duehring. On page 313 (2nd ed. "Capital") Marx, after an investigation
of fixed and variable capital and surplus value, derives from his
investigations the conclusion that "not every amount of gold or value
capable of being transformed into capital is so transformed; rather a
certain minimum of gold or of exchange value is presupposed to be in
the possession of the individual owner of gold or goods." He thereupon
gives an example, thus, in a branch of industry the worker works eight
hours per day for himself, i.e. in order to produce the value of his
wages, and the following four hours for the capitalist in producing
surplus value to go into their pockets. One must have sufficient
values to permit of the setting up of two workmen with raw material,
means of labor and wages, in order to live as well as a workman. But
since capitalistic production is not undertaken for mere livelihood
but for increase of wealth, our individual with his two workmen would
still be no capitalist. If he lives twice as well as an ordinary
workman and transforms half of the surplus value produced into capital
he will have to employ eight workmen and possess four times the
aforementioned amount of value, and only after this and other examples
for the purpose of illustrating and establishing the fact that not
every small amount of value can effect a transformation of itself into
capital, but that each period of industrial development and each
branch of industry has its own minimum, fixed, Marx remarks "Here, as
in nature, the correctness of the law of logic, as discovered by
Hegel, is established--that mere quantitative changes at a certain
point suddenly take on qualitative differences."

One may remark the elevated and dignified fashion in which Duehring
makes Marx say the exact opposite of what he did say. Marx says "The
fact that a given amount of value can only transform itself into
capital as soon as it has attained a definite minimum, varying with
circumstances, in each individual case,--this fact is proof of the
correctness of the law of Hegel. Herr Duehring makes him say "Because,
according to the law of Hegel, quantity is transformed into quality
therefore 'a sum of money when it has reached a certain amount becomes
capital.'" He says just the opposite.

We have seen above in the Scheme of the Universe that Herr Duehring
had the misfortune to acknowledge and apply, in a weak moment, this
Hegelian system of calculation, according to which at a given point
quantitative changes suddenly become qualitative. We then gave one of
the best known examples, that of the transformation of the form of
water which at 0° C. changes from a liquid to solid and at 100° C.
from liquid to gaseous, where thus at both these points of departure a
mere quantitative change in temperature produces a qualitative change
in the water.

We might have cited from nature and human society a hundred more such
facts in proof of this law, thus the whole fourth section of Marx's
"Capital" entitled "Production of Relative Surplus Value in the realm
of co-operative industry, the Division of Labor, and Manufacture,
Machinery and the Great Industry," goes to show innumerable instances
in which qualitative change alters the quantity of the thing, and
where also, to use Herr Duehring's exceedingly odious expression,
quantity is converted and transformed into quality. So also the mere
coöperation of large numbers, the melting of several diverse crafts
into one united craft, to use Marx's expression, produces a new
"industrial power" which is substantially different from the sum of
the individual crafts.

Marx, in the interest of the entire truth, has remarked, in complete
contrast to the perverted style of Herr Duehring "The molecular theory
employed in modern chemistry, first scientifically developed by
Laurent and Gerhardt, rests upon no other law." But what does Herr
Duehring care for that? He knows that "the eminently modern
constructive elements of scientific thought make just the same mistake
as was made by Marx and his rival Lassalle; half-knowledge and a touch
of pseudo-philosophy furnish the tools necessary for a display of
learning." While with Herr Duehring "elevated notions of exact
knowledge in mechanics, physics and chemistry" are, as we have seen,
the foundations. But that the public may be in a position to decide we
shall examine somewhat more closely the example cited by Marx in his

Here we have, for example, the homologous series of compounds of
carbon of which many are known and each has its own algebraic formula.
If we, for example, according to the practice of chemistry, represent
an atom of carbon by C, an atom of hydrogen by H, an atom of oxygen by
O and the number of atoms contained in each combination of carbon by
n, we can express the molecular formula of each one of this series

C_{n}H_{2n+2}--Series of normal paraffin.

C_{n}H_{2n+2}O--Series of primary alcohol.

C_{n}H_{2n}O_{2}--Series of the monobasic oleic acids.

Let us take, for example, the last of this series and set one after
the other n = 1, n = 2, etc., we get the following results omitting
the compounds.

CH_{2}O_{2}--Formic Acid--boiling point 100°--melting point 1°.

C_{2}H_{4}O_{2}--Acetic Acid--boiling point 118°--melting point 17°.

C_{3}H_{6}O_{2}--Propionic Acid--boiling point 140°--melting point--.

C_{4}H_{8}O_{2}--Butyric Acid--boiling point 162°--melting point--.

C_{5}H_{10}O_{2}--Valerianic Acid--boiling point 175°--melting

And so on to C_{30}H_{60}O_{2}, Melissic Acid, which melts first at
180°, and which has no boiling point, because it does not evaporate
without splitting up.

Here we see therefore a whole series of qualitatively different
bodies, produced by single quantitative additions of the elements and
always in the same proportions. This occurs absolutely where all
elements of the combinations change their quantity in the same
proportions, so with normal paraffin, C_{n}H_{2n} + 2: the lowest is
CH_{4} a gas, the highest known is C_{16}H_{34}, a body forming a hard
colorless crystal which melts at 21° and boils at 278°. In both the
series each new step is reached through the introduction of CH_{2}, an
atom of carbon and two atoms of hydrogen, to the molecular form of the
preceding step, and this quantitative change in the molecular form
brings about a qualitatively different body.

These series are merely obvious examples. Almost universally in
chemistry, particularly in the different oxides of nitrogen, in the
oxi-acids of phosphorus or sulphur, one can see how "quantity suddenly
changes into quality" and how this so called "confused Hegelianism"
is, so to speak, inherent in things and events, and no one is ever
confused or beclouded by it, except Herr Duehring. If Marx is the
first to observe this, and if Herr Duehring points this out, without
understanding it (since he could not let so unheard of a crime pass),
he should explain which of the two, Marx or Duehring, is without
elementary conceptions of natural science and the established
principles of chemistry, and do it without boasting about his own
ideas on natural philosophy.

In conclusion, let us call attention to a witness on the change of
quantity into quality, namely Napoleon. He describes the conflicts
between the French cavalry, bad riders but disciplined, with the
Mamelukes who, as regards single combat were better horsemen but
undisciplined, as follows--"Two Mamelukes were a match for three
Frenchmen, one hundred Mamelukes were equal to one hundred Frenchmen,
three hundred Frenchmen could beat three hundred Mamelukes and a
thousand Frenchmen invariably defeated fifteen hundred Mamelukes."
Just as in the statement of Marx, that a certain amount of money,
variable in amount, is necessary as a minimum, to make its
transformation into capital possible, so, according to Napoleon, a
certain minimum number of cavalrymen is required to bring into being
the force of discipline inherent in military organisation, to make
them evidently superior to greater numbers of individually better
riders and fighters, cavalry at least as brave, though irregular. But
what effect has this argument on Herr Duehring? Was not Napoleon
utterly defeated in his conflict with Europe? Did he not suffer defeat
after defeat? And why? Simply as a result of his introduction of
confused Hegelian ideas into cavalry tactics.

_Negation of the Negation._

"The historical sketch (of the so called original accumulation of
capital in England) is comparatively the best part of Marx's book and
it would be even better if it had been developed scientifically and
not by means of the Dialectic. The Hegelian negation of the negation
is called upon to serve here as a midwife, in default of anything
better and clearer, and by means of it the future is brought into
existence from the present. The abolition of private property which is
shown to have been going on since the sixteenth century is the first
negation. Another negation must follow which is characterised as the
negation of the negation and therefore the restoration of individual
private property, but in a higher form, founded on the common
ownership of land and instruments of labor. If this new 'individual
private property' is called also 'social property' by Herr Marx, the
higher Hegelian unity is here manifested in which the contradiction
will be destroyed, that is, in accordance with this juggling of words,
be destroyed and preserved.... The dispossession of the dispossessor
is, as it were, in this case the automatic product of historical
reality in its material external form.... It would be difficult for a
cautious man to convince himself of the necessity of communism in land
and property on the credit of Hegel's shiftiness, of which the
negation of the negation is an example.... The confusion of the
Marxian philosophic notions will not be strange to him who knows what
can be done by means of the Hegelian dialectic or rather what cannot
be done. For those who do not know the trick, it must be noted that
the first negation of Hegel is the teaching of the catechism with
respect to the Fall, and the second is a higher unity leading to the
Redemption. On these analogies, which pertain to religion no logic of
facts can be established.... Herr Marx consoles himself in the midst
of his simultaneously individual and social property and leaves his
disciples to solve his profound dialectic puzzle." (Thus far Herr
Duehring is quoted.)

So Marx cannot prove the necessity of the social revolution, the
restoration of a common property in land and the means of production,
except by a reliance upon Hegel's negation of the negation. And, since
he founds his socialistic theories upon analogies pertaining to
religion, he comes to the conclusion that in future society a
simultaneously individual and social property will prevail, as the
Hegelian higher unity of the contradiction destroyed.

Let us leave the negation of the negation for a little and look at
"the coexistent individual and social property." This will be called
by Herr Duehring a "cloud realm," and, strange to say he is really
right in this regard. But sad to say it is not Marx who is found to be
in the cloud realm but on the contrary Herr Duehring himself. Since by
virtue of his wonderful versatility in the vagaries of Hegel he does
not experience any difficulty in telling us the necessary contents of
the as yet unpublished volume of "Capital," so, after setting Hegel
right, he is able to correct Marx without any trouble in that he
ascribes to him a higher unity of a private property of which Marx has
not said a word.

Marx says "It is the negation of the negation. This reestablishes
private property but on the basis of the acquisitions of the
capitalistic era, of the cooperation of free laborers and their common
ownership of the land and the means of production. The transformation
of the private property of individuals, depending upon the labor of
individuals, into capitalistic property is naturally a process much
more tedious, hard and difficult than the transformation of
capitalistic private property, as it now exists, resting upon social
production, into social property." That is all. The condition attained
by the dispossession of the dispossessor is here shown as the
restoration of individual private property resting however on a basis
of social property in the land and means of production. For people who
can understand English, the meaning of this is that social property
extends to the land and means of production, and private property to
the products, therefore to consumption. And that the matter should be
evident even to infants Marx shows on page 56. "A society of free men
who labor with social means of production, and consciously expend
their individual labor power as social labor power," therefore a
socialistically organised society, and he says further "The total
product of the society is a social product. A portion of this product
serves again as a means of production. It remains social. But another
portion is consumed by the members of the society. It must therefore
be distributed among them." And that ought to be clear, even to Herr
Duehring, in spite of his having Hegel on the brain. The coexistent
individual and social property, this confused and indefinite thing,
this nonsense proceeding from the Hegelian dialectic, this misty
world, this deep dialectic puzzle which Marx leaves his pupils to
solve is merely a creation of Herr Duehring's imagination. Marx, as a
so-called Hegelian, is obliged, as a result of the negation of the
negation, to furnish a correct higher unity, and since he does not do
this in accordance with the taste of Herr Duehring, the latter has to
take a lofty stand and to smite Marx in the interests of the full
truth of things upon which Herr Duehring holds a patent.

What attitude did Marx take to the negation of the negation? On page
761 and following he states the conclusion with respect to his
economic and historical investigations into the so-called accumulation
of original capital, extending over the fifty preceding pages. Before
the capitalistic era in England, at least, small production existed,
based upon the private property of the worker in his tools. The
so-called accumulation of capital consists in the expropriation of
these immediate producers, that is in the abolition of private
property resting on the labor of individuals. This was possible
because the aforesaid small production is only compatible with a
narrow and primitive stage of production and of society and at a
certain grade of development furnishes the means of its own suicide.
This suicide, the transformation of individual and divided modes of
production into social production, constitutes the early history of
capitalism. As soon as the workers are transformed into proletarians
and their means of labor into capital, as soon as the capitalistic
methods of production are firmly established, the growing association
of labor and the further transformation of the land and other means of
production and hence the further expropriation of the owners of
private property takes on a new form, "there is no longer the
self-employing worker to expropriate, but the capitalist who
expropriates many workers. This expropriation fulfils itself through
the play of laws immanent in capitalistic production itself, through
the concentration of capital. One capitalist kills many. Hand in hand
with this concentration, or the expropriation of many capitalists by a
few, there develop continually the conscious technical application of
science, the deliberate organised exploitation of the soil, the
transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor
which can only be employed collectively, and the economising of all
means of production through their employment as the common means of
production of combined social labor. With the constantly diminishing
numbers of capitalist magnates who usurp and monopolise all the
advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of
misery, pressure, slavery, degradation and robbery but there grows
also revolt and the constant progress in union and organisation of the
working class brought about through the mechanism of the capitalistic
process of production. Capitalism becomes an impediment to the methods
of production developed with and under it. The concentration of the
means of production and the organisation of labor reach a point where
it comes into collision with its capitalistic covering. It is broken.
The hour of capitalistic private property strikes. The expropriators
are expropriated."

And now I ask the reader, where are the dialectic twists and twirls,
the intellectual arabesques, where the confused thought the result of
which is the identity of everything, where the dialectic mystery for
the faithful, where the dialectic hocus pocus, and the Hegelian
intricacies, without which, Marx, according to Herr Duehring, cannot
develop his own ideas? Marx simply pointed to history and showed
briefly that just as the small industry necessarily produced the
conditions of its own downfall, by its own development, that is to say
by the expropriation of the small holders of private property so now
the capitalistic method of production has itself developed likewise
the material circumstances which must cause its downfall. The process
is a historical one and, if it is at the same time dialectic, it is
not to the discredit of Marx, that it happens to be so fatal to Herr

In the first place, since Marx is ready with his historical economic
proof, he proceeds "The capitalistic method of production and method
of appropriation, that is to say capitalistic private property is the
first negation of individual private property founded on labor of
individuals, the negation of capitalistic production will be
self-produced with the necessity of a natural process, etc." (as
quoted above).

Although Marx therefore shows the occurrence of this event as negation
of the negation, he has no intention of proving by this means that it
is a historical necessity. On the contrary "After he has shown that
the actual fact has partially declared itself, and has, as yet
partially to declare itself, he shows it also as a fact which fulfils
itself in accordance with a certain dialectic law." That is all. It is
therefore again merely supposition on Herr Duehring's part to assert
that the negation of the negation must act as a midwife by whose
means the future is brought out of the womb of the present, or that
Marx wants to convince anyone of the necessity of social ownership of
land and capital upon the credit of the negation of the negation.

It shows a complete lack of comprehension of the nature of the
dialectic to regard it as Herr Duehring does, as an instrument of mere
proof, just as one can after a limited fashion employ formal logic or
elementary mathematics. Formal logic is itself more than anything else
a method for the discovery of new results, for advancing from the
known to the unknown, and so, but in a much more distinguished sense,
is the dialectic, which, since it transcends the narrow limits of
formal logic, attains a more comprehensive philosophical position. It
is the same with mathematics. Elementary mathematics, the mathematics
of constant quantities, proceeds within the limits of formal logic, at
least as a rule: the mathematics of variable quantities which is
peculiarly concerned with calculations running to the infinite, is
substantially nothing but the application of the dialectic in
mathematics. Mere proof becomes secondary before the manifold
application of the method to new fields of investigation. But nearly
all the proofs of higher mathematics from the first of the
differential calculus, are, strictly speaking, false from the
standpoint of elementary mathematics. This cannot be otherwise, if
one, as is here the case, wishes to establish results won in the realm
of dialectics by means of formal logic. For a crass metaphysician like
Herr Duehring to want to prove anything by means of the dialectic
would be the same wasted labor as Leibnitz and his pupils went through
when they tried to establish the thesis of calculation to infinity by
means of the mathematics of their time. The differential gave them
the same spasms as the negation of the negation gives Herr Duehring
and it played a role in it as we shall see. They admitted it at last,
at least as many as did not die first, not because they were convinced
but because it always worked out right. Herr Duehring, is, as he says,
just in his forties, and if he attains old age, as we hope he will, he
may also experience the same.

But what is this dreadful negation of the negation which makes life so
bitter to Herr Duehring and which is to him what the unpardonable sin,
the sin against the Holy Ghost, is to Christianity? It is a very
simple process, and one, moreover, which fulfils itself every day,
which any child can understand when it is deprived of mystery, under
which the old idealistic philosophy found a refuge, and beneath which
it will pay unprotected metaphysicians to take refuge from the stroke
of Herr Duehring. Let us take a grain of barley. Millions of such
grains of barley will be ground, cooked and brewed and then consumed.
But let such a grain of barley fall on suitable soil under normal
conditions; a complete individual change at once takes place in it
under the influence of heat and moisture, it germinates. The grain, as
such disappears, is negated, in its place arises the plant, the
negation of the grain. But what is the normal course of life of this
plant? It grows, blossoms, bears fruit and finally produces other
grains of barley and as soon as these are ripe the stalk dies, and
becomes negated in its turn. As the result of this negation of the
negation, we have the original grains of barley again, not singly,
however, but ten, twenty or thirty fold. Forms of grain change very
slowly and so the grain of barley remains practically the same as a
hundred years ago. But let us take a cultivated ornamental plant, like
the dahlia or orchid. Let us consider the seed and the plants
developed from it by the skill of the gardener, and we have in
testimony of this negation of the negation, no longer the same seeds
but qualitatively improved seed which produces more beautiful flowers,
and every repetition of this process, every new negation of the
negation, increases the tendency to perfection. Similarly this process
is gone through by most insects, butterflies, for example. They come
out of the egg by a negation of the egg, they go through certain
transformations till they reach sex maturity, they copulate and are
again negated, since they die as soon as the process of copulation is
completed, and the female has laid her innumerable eggs. That the
matter is not so plainly obvious in the case of other plants and
animals, seeing that they produce seeds, plants, and animals not once
but oftener, does not affect us in this case, we are now only
concerned in showing that the negation of the negation actually does
occur in both kingdoms of the organic world. Besides, all geology is a
series of negated negations, one layer after another following the
destruction of old and the establishment of new rock foundations.
First, the original crust of the earth, through the cooling of the
fluid mass, and through oceanic, meteorological, and chemical
atmospheric action, being broken up into small parts, these broken
masses form layers in the seas. Local elevations of the seas, through
the ebb and flow of the waters, bring portions of these layers afresh
under the influence of rain, the warmth of the seasons, and the oxygen
and carbon in the atmosphere: melted and almost cooled masses of rock
from the interior of the earth underlie these and break through the
layers. Through millions of centuries new layers are continually being
formed, always to a large extent destroyed and serving again as
building materials for new layers. But the result of the process is
always positive, the restoration of a piece of ground made up of
exceedingly diverse chemical elements to a condition of mechanical
pulverisation, which is the cause of a most abundant and diverse

It is the same also in mathematics. Let us take an ordinary algebraic
quantity a. Let us negate it, then we have-a (minus a). Let us negate
this negation, that is let us multiply --a by --a and we have + a^2,
that is the original positive quantity but in a higher form that is to
the second power. It does not matter that we can attain the same a^2
by the multiplication of a positive by itself. The negated negation is
established so completely in a^2 that under all circumstances it has
two square roots a and --a. And this impossibility, the negated
negation, the getting rid of the negative root in the square has much
significance in quadratic equations. The negation of the negation is
more evident in the higher analyses, in those "unlimited summations of
small quantities," which Herr Duehring himself explains as being the
highest operations of mathematics and which are usually called the
differential and integral calculus. How do these forms of calculation
fulfil themselves? I have for example in a given problem two variable
quantities x and y, of which one cannot vary without causing the other
to vary also under fixed conditions. I differentiate x and y, that is
I consider x and y as being so infinitesimally small that they do not
represent any real quantities, even the smallest, so that, of x and y
nothing remains, except their reciprocal relations, a quantitative
relation without any quantity; therefore dx/dy, the relation of the
two differentials of x and y, is 0/0 but 0/0 is fixed as the
expression of y/x. That this relation between two vanished quantities,
the fixed moment of their vanishing, is a contradiction I merely
mention in passing, it should give us as little uneasiness as it has
given mathematics for the two hundred or so years past. What have I
done except to negate x and y; not as in metaphysics so as not to
trouble myself any further about them, but in a manner demanded by the
problem? Instead of x and y, I have therefore their negation dx and dy
in the formulæ or equations before me. I now calculate further with
these formulæ. I treat dx and dy as real quantities, as quantities
subject to certain exceptional laws, and at a certain point I negate
the negation, that is, I integrate the differential formula. I get
instead of dx and dy the real quantities x and y again, and am thereby
no further forward than at the beginning, but I have thereby solved
the problem over which ordinary geometry and algebra would probably
have gnashed their teeth in vain.

It is not otherwise in history. All civilised peoples began with
common property in land. Among all peoples which pass beyond a certain
primitive stage the common property in land becomes a fetter upon
production in the process of agricultural development. It is cast
aside, negated, and, after shorter or longer intervening periods, is
transformed into private property. But at a higher stage, through the
development still further of agriculture, private property becomes in
its turn a bar to production, as is to-day the case with both large
and small land proprietorship. The next step, to negate it in turn,
to transform it into social property, necessarily follows. This
advance however does not signify the restoration of the old primitive
common property, but the establishment of a far higher better
developed form of communal proprietorship, which, far from being an
impediment to production, rather, for the first time is bound to put
an end to its limitations and to give it the full benefit of modern
discoveries in chemistry and mechanical inventions.

But again; ancient philosophy was primitive naturalistic materialism.
In the state of thought at that period it was, as such, incapable of
clear conceptions of matter. But the necessity of clearness on this
point led to the doctrine of a soul which could leave the body, then
to the idea of the immortality of the soul, finally, to monotheism.
The old materialism was therefore negated by idealism. But in the
further development of philosophy idealism became untenable, and is
negated by modern materialism. This, the negation of negation, is not
the mere reestablishment of the old, but unites, with the surviving
foundations, the whole thought content of a two thousand years'
development of philosophy and science, as well as the history of these
two thousand years. It is in a special sense no philosophy but a
single concept of the universe which has to prove and realise itself
not in a science of sciences apart, but in actual science. Philosophy
is here also cast aside, that is "destroyed and preserved," destroyed
as to its form, preserved as to its real content. Where Herr Duehring
only sees word-jugglery a more real content is brought to light by the
newer point of view.

Finally, even the Rousseau doctrine of equality, of which that of Herr
Duehring is only a feeble and false plagiarism, has no existence
unless the Hegelian negation of the negation serve it as a midwife,
although it originated twenty years prior to the birth of Hegel. Far
from being ashamed of this it bears in plain sight the stamp of its
dialectic derivation in its earliest manifestation. In a state of
nature and savagery men were equal, and, since Rousseau regards speech
as a falsifying of natural conditions, he is quite right in
predicating equality of animals of one species as far as this reaches,
and the same also with regard to those speechless animal-men, recently
hypothetically classified by Haeckel as Alali. But these equal animal
men had one quality beyond the other animals,--perfectibility, the
power of further development and this was the reason of inequality.
Rousseau sees therefore in the existence of equality a step forward.
But this advance was self contradictory, it was at the same time a
retrogression. "All further advances (beyond the primitive stage) were
so many steps, seemingly in the development of individual men, but
actually in the decay of the species. Working in metals and
agriculture were the two arts whose discovery brought about this great
revolution" (the transformation of the primitive forests into
cultivated lands, but also the introduction of poverty and slavery
together with private property). "The poets hold that gold and silver,
the philosophers that iron and corn have civilised men and ruined the
human race." Each new advance of civilisation is at the same time an
advance of inequality. All contrivances with which society endows
itself by means of civilisation are in direct opposition to their
original purpose. "It is beyond question and a foundation principle of
the entire public law that people made rulers to defend their
liberties, not to destroy them." And yet these rulers become of
necessity the oppressors of the people and they carry the oppression
to the point where inequality is brought to a climax and, then,
transformed into its opposite, again becomes the reason of equality,
for to despots all are equal, that is equally of no account. Here is
the extreme of inequality, the crowning point which closes the circle,
and touches the point from which we have proceeded; here all private
individuals are equal, since they are of no account, and subjects have
no law other than the will of their master. "But the despot is master
only as long as he has the power, and for this reason he cannot
complain of the use of force if he is banished.... Force upholds him,
force throws him down, everything goes according to a straight and
naturally appointed path." And thus again inequality is transformed
into equality, but not into the old materialistic equality of
speechless, primitive men, but into the higher equality of organised
society. The oppressor is oppressed, it is negation of the negation.

We have then, as regards Rousseau, not merely a method of thought
which is quite analogous to that pursued in Marx's "Capital," but also
a whole series of single dialectic turns of which Marx avails himself:
Processes, which are antagonistic in their nature, containing a
contradiction in themselves, are transformed from one extreme to its
opposite, finally, as the quintessence of the whole, negation of the
negation. Although Rousseau in 1754 could not speak the jargon of
Hegel, he was then, at a period twenty-three years before the birth of
Hegel, deeply infected with the Hegel contagion, the dialectic of
contradiction, doctrine of logic, theology, etc. And if Duehring in
his misapplication of Rousseau's theory of equality, operates with his
two victorious men, he having lost his feet, falls, of necessity into
the arms of the negation of the negation.

The conditions under which the equality of the two men flourishes and
which is set forth as an ideal condition is shown on page 271 of the
Philosophy as the original condition. This original condition on page
279 is of necessity destroyed by the "robber system"--first negation.
But we have now, thanks to the philosophy of reality, arrived at the
point of abolishing the "robber system" and substituting for it the
economic commune discovered by Herr Duehring--negation of the
negation, equality on a higher plane.

What is the negation of the negation, therefore? It is a very far
reaching, and, just, for this reason, a very important law of
development of nature, human history and thought, a law which we see
realised in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, in geology, in
mathematics, in history, and philosophy, and which Herr Duehring
himself, in spite of his opposition and resistance, must follow, after
his own fashion. It is evident that I say nothing of the special
development of the grain of barley from the germ to the crop bearing
plant, if I say it is negation of the negation. Since the integral
calculus is likewise negation of the negation, with the other
assertion I should only affirm that the life process of a grain of
barley is integral calculus or even socialism. But that is just the
kind of thing which the metaphysicians push off on the dialectic. If I
say that all these processes constitute negation of the negation, I
embrace them all under this one law of progress, and leave the
distinctive features of each special process without particular
notice. The dialectic is, as a matter of fact, nothing but the science
of the universal laws of motion, and evolution in nature, human
society and thought.

At this point, however, the objection may be urged that the final
negation is no true negation, I negate a grain of barley also when I
grind it, an insect when I crush it, a positive quantity when I
eliminate it, etc. Or I negate the statement "the rose is a rose" if I
say "the rose is no rose" and what happens if I negate this negation
again and say "but the rose is a rose"? These objection are, in fact,
the chief arguments of the metaphysicians against the dialectic and
are quite worthy of this idiotic method of reasoning. To negate in the
dialectic is not simply to say "No," or to describe a thing as
non-existent, or to destroy it after any fashion that you may choose.
Spinoza says "omnis determinatio est negatio," every limitation or
determination is at the same time a negation. Furthermore, the sort of
negation here is shown first by means of the universal and in the
second place by means of the distinctive nature of the process. I must
not only negate but I must also restore the negation again. I must
therefore so direct the first negation that the second remains
possible or shall be so. How? Just according to the peculiar nature of
each particular case. I grind a grain of barley, I crush an insect, I
have certainly fulfilled the first act but have made the second
impossible. Every species of things has therefore its own peculiar
properties to be negated in order that a progression may proceed, and
every species of properties and ideas is precisely the same in this
regard. In infinitesimal calculations the negation is brought about
after a different fashion than in the restoration of positive powers
from negative roots. That has to be learnt like everything else. With
the mere knowledge that the stalk of barley and infinitesimal
calculation fall under the principle of the negation of the negation,
I cannot cultivate more barley nor can I differentiate and integrate,
just as I cannot play the violin by virtue of a mere knowledge of the
laws of harmony. But it is evident that a merely childish negation of
the negation such as writing down a and erasing it, or by affirming
that a rose is a rose and that it is not a rose leads to no conclusion
other than to show the silliness of the people who undertake processes
so tedious. And yet metaphysicians would inform us that that is the
right way to carry out the negation of the negation.

Herr Duehring is therefore a mystifier when he asserts that the
negation of the negation was an analogy made by Hegel derived from
religion and built up on the story of the Fall and the Redemption. Men
thought dialectically a long time before they knew what the dialectic
really was, just as they spoke prose a long time before the term
"prose" was used. The law of the negation of the negation which
operates in history and which until it is once learned goes on in our
brains unconsciously to ourselves, was first clearly formulated by
Hegel, and if Herr Duehring desires to employ it in secret but cannot
stand the name, he should discover a better name. But if he insist on
expelling it from the processes of thought, he must first be good
enough to expel it from nature and from history, and find a system of
mathematics in which --a multiplied by --a does not give us + a^2 and
where the differential and integral calculus are both forbidden by


In this short section Engels leaves the general discussion in order to
again pay his respects to the shortcomings and deficiencies of Herr
Duehring. The matter possesses no general interest for Engels merely
teases his opponent upon the magnificence of his claims and the
slightness of his performances.




_I. Objects and Methods._

Political economy is, in the widest sense, the science of the laws
controlling the production and exchange of the material necessities of
life in human society. Production and exchange are two entirely
different functions. Production may exist without exchange,
exchange--since there can only be exchange of products--cannot exist
without production. Each of the two social functions is controlled by
entirely different external influences and thus has, generally
speaking, its own peculiar laws. But on the other hand they become so
mutually involved at a given time and react one upon the other that
they might be designated the abscisses and ordinates of the economic

The conditions under which men produce and exchange develop from land
to land, and in the same land from generation to generation. Political
economy cannot be the same for all lands and for all historical
epochs. From the bow and arrow, from the stone knife and the
exceptional and occasional trading intercourse of the barbarian to the
steam engine with its thousands of horse-power, to the mechanical
weaving machine, to the railway and the Bank of England is a
tremendous leap. The Patagonians do not have production on a large
scale and world-commerce any more than they have swindling or
bankruptcy. Anyone who should attempt to apply the same laws of
political economy to Patagonia as to present-day England would only
succeed in producing stupid commonplaces. Political economy is thus
really a historical science. It is engaged with historical material,
that is, material which is always in course of development. At the
close of this investigation it can, for the first time, show the few
(especially as regards production and exchange) general laws which
apply universally. In this way it is made evident that the laws which
are common to certain methods of production or forms of exchange are
common to all historical periods in which these methods of production
and forms of exchange are the same. Thus for example with the
introduction of specie, there came into being a series of laws which
holds good for all lands and historical epochs in which specie is a
means of exchange.

The method of distributing the product is in accordance with the
method of production and exchange of a given society at a given time.
In the tribal or village community with communal ownership of land, of
which there are obvious survivals in the history of all civilized
peoples, there is practically an equal distribution; where a greater
inequality of distribution of the product has been introduced among
the members of a society, it is a sign of the coming dissolution of
the community--large and small farming have very different modes of
distribution according to the historical circumstances from which they
have developed. But it is apparent that large farming requires a
different mode of distribution than small farming; that the large
farming shows the existence of class antagonism--slave-holders and
slaves, landlords and tenants, capitalists and wage workers,--but
that, on the contrary, in small farming, class distinction does not
arise from the farming operations of separate individuals but from the
mere beginnings of farming on a large scale. The introduction and
development of the use of gold into a country where formerly exchange
of actual goods was the exclusive or general practice, is closely
associated with a slow or rapid revolution of the mode of distribution
hitherto prevailing, and to such an extent that inequality of
distribution among individuals and, so, antagonism between rich and
poor becomes more and more apparent. Local gild hand-production as it
prevailed in the Middle Ages made great capitalists and life-long
wage-workers just as impossible as the great modern industry, the
credit system of to-day, and form of exchange, corresponding with the
development of these, free competition, render them inevitable.

With the difference in distribution however class differences are
introduced. Society becomes divided into upper and lower classes, into
plunderers and plundered, into master and servant classes, and the
state which the original groups composed of societies claiming the
same ancestry only regarded as a means of protection of the common
interests (remnants of which remain in the Orient, e.g.) and against
foreign force, takes upon itself the duty of maintaining the economic
and political supremacy of the dominant class against the dominated
class by means of force.

So distribution is not a mere passive witness of production and
exchange; it has an immediate influence on both. Every new method of
production and form of exchange is impeded, not only through the old
forms and their particular forms of political development, but also
through the old method of distribution. It can only bring about its own
method of distribution as the result of long conflict. But just in
proportion as a given method of production and exchange is built up and
develops, distribution all the more rapidly reaches a point where it
outstrips its predecessor and where it comes into collision with the
system of production and exchange existing up to that time. The old
tribal communistic forms of which we have already spoken may last
thousands of years, as is seen in the case of the Indians and Slavs of
to-day, until intercourse with the outside world develops causes of
disruption within them as a conclusion of which their dissolution comes
about. Modern capitalistic production on the other hand which is hardly
three hundred years old and which first became dominant with the
introduction of the greater industry about one hundred years ago, has,
in this short time, developed antagonisms in distribution--concentration
of capital on the one hand in the possession of a few persons and, on
the other, concentration of propertyless masses in the great
cities--which must of necessity bring it to an end.

The connection between the form of distribution and the material
economic conditions of a society is so much in the nature of things
that it is generally reflected in the popular instinct. As long as a
method of production is in the course of development, even those whose
interests are against it, who are getting the worst of the particular
method of production, are highly satisfied. It was just so with the
English working class at the introduction of the greater industry. As
long as this method of production remained the normal social method,
satisfaction with the methods of distribution was, on the whole,
prevalent; and when a protest against it rose even in the bosom of the
dominant class itself (Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen) it found at first
practically no sympathy among the masses of the exploited. But
directly the method of production has travelled a good portion of its
upward progress, when half of its life was over, when its destiny was
in a great measure accomplished and its successor was knocking at the
door--then for the first time the ever increasingly unequal
distribution appeared as unjust. Then was the first appeal made from
actual facts to so-called eternal justice. This appeal to morality and
justice does not bring us a step further scientifically. Economic
science can find no grounds of proof in moral indignation, however
justifiable, but merely a symptom. Its task is to show the newly
developing social wrongs as the necessary results of existing methods
of production and, at the same time, as signs of its approaching
dissolution, and to point out, amid the break up of the existing
economic system, the elements of the new organization of production
and exchange which will abolish those social wrongs. The feeling
stirred up by the poets whether in the picturing of these social
wrongs or by attack upon them or, on the other hand, by denial of them
and the glorification of harmony in the interests of the dominant
class, is quite timely, but its slight value as furnishing proof for a
given period is shown by the fact that one finds an abundance of it in
every epoch.

Political economy, as the science of the conditions and forms under
which various human societies have produced and exchanged and
according to which they have distributed the products of their
labor,--political economy, in this broad sense, has yet to be planned
for the first time. All that we have so far of political economic
science is almost entirely limited to the beginning and development of
the capitalistic mode of production. It begins with the genesis and
growth of the capitalistic mode of production, and exchange,
recognises the necessity of the disappearance of these by means of the
capitalistic forms, then develops the laws of the capitalistic
methods of production and their corresponding forms of exchange on the
positive side, that is on the side on which they further the objects
of society, as a whole and closes with the socialist criticism of the
capitalistic methods of production, that is, with the exhibition of
its laws on the negative side, with the proof that this method of
production arrives at the point, by its own development, where it is
no longer possible. This criticism proves that the capitalistic
methods of production and exchange constitute more and more an
insufferable fetter upon production itself. The mode of distribution
which is necessarily associated with this form of production has
brought about a class condition which grows daily more unbearable. It
has produced the daily sharpening antagonism between the continually
less numerous but constantly richer capitalists and the more numerous,
but on the whole, continually poorer propertyless wage-workers.
Finally the tremendous productive forces of the capitalistic methods
of production, which are practically unlimited, are only awaiting
their seizure at the hands of an organized co-operative society to
secure for all the members of that society the means of existence and
the fuller development of their faculties in an ever increasing

In order to fully accomplish this criticism of the bourgeois economy
acquaintance with the capitalistic form of production of exchange and
of distribution was not enough. Preceding forms and others, existing
side by side with the capitalistic mode in a few highly developed
countries, had to be examined and compared at least in their chief
features. Such an investigation and comparision has been undertaken as
a whole by Marx alone and we consider that this investigation
practically sums up all that has been established respecting
theoretical economy prior to that of the bourgeois.

While political economy in a narrow sense arose in the minds of a few
geniuses of the seventeenth century, it is, in its positive
formulation by the physiocrats and Adam Smith, substantially a child
of the eighteenth century, and expresses itself in the acquisitions of
the great contemporary French philosophers with all the excellencies
and defects of that time. What we have said of the French philosophers
applies also to the economists of that day. The new science was with
them not the expression of the condition and needs of the time but the
expression of eternal reason; the laws of production and exchange
discovered by them were not the laws of a given historical form of
those facts but were eternal natural laws; they derived them from the
nature of man. But this man, seen clearly, was a burgher of the Middle
Ages on the high road to becoming a modern bourgeois, and his nature
consisted in this that he had to manufacture commodities and carry on
his trade according to the given historical conditions of that period.

(Herr Duehring having applied the two man theory to political economic
conditions and having decided that such conditions are unjust, upon
which conclusion he bases his revolutionary attitude, Engels remarks
as follows):

"If we have no better security for the revolution in the present
methods of distribution of the products of labor with all their crying
antagonisms of misery and luxury, of poverty and ostentation, than the
consciousness that this method of distribution is unjust and that
justice must finally prevail, we should be in evil plight and would
have to stay there a long time. The mystics of the Middle Ages who
dreamed of an approaching thousand years kingdom of righteousness had
the consciousness of the injustice of class antagonisms. At the
beginning of modern history three hundred years ago, Thomas Muenzer
shouted it aloud to all the world. In the English and French bourgeois
revolutions the same cry was heard and died away ineffectually. And if
the same cry, after the formation of class antagonisms and class
distinctions left the working, suffering classes cold until 1830, if
it now takes hold of one land after another with the same results and
the same intensity, in proportion as the greater industry has
developed in the individual countries if, in one generation, it has
acquired a force which defies all the powers opposed to it and can be
sure of victory in the near future--how comes it about? From this,
that the greater industry has created the modern proletariat, a class,
which for the first time in history can set about the abolition not of
this or that particular class organization or of this or that
particular class privilege but of classes in general, and it is in the
position that it must carry out this line of action on the penalty of
sinking to the Chinese coolie level. And that the same greater
industry has on the other hand produced a class which is in possession
of all the tools of production and the means of life but in every
period of prosperity (Schwindelperiode) and in each succeeding panic
shows that it is incapable of controlling in the future the growing
productive forces; a class under whose leadership society runs
headlong to ruin like a locomotive whose closed safety valve the
engine driver is too weak to open. In other words it has come about
that the productive forces of the modern capitalistic mode of
production as well as the system of distribution based upon it are in
glaring contradiction to the mode of production itself and to such a
degree that a revolution in the modes of production and distribution
must take place which will abolish all class differences or the whole
of modern society will fall. It is in these actual material facts,
which are necessarily becoming more and more evident to the exploited
proletariat, that the confidence in the victory of modern socialism
finds its foundation and not in this or that bookworm's notions of
justice and injustice.

_II. The Force Theory._

(Herr Duehring argues that the causes of class subjection are to be
sought in political conditions and that political force is the
primary, and economic conditions merely the secondary, cause of class
distinctions Engels makes the following reply to these arguments):

       *       *       *       *       *

This is Herr Duehring's theory. It is set out, decreed so to say, here
and in several other places. But we cannot find the slightest attempt
to prove it or to disprove the opposite theory in the three thick
volumes. Moreover if there was an abundance of proof we should get
none from Herr Duehring, for the matter is proven by the famous fall
of man in that Robinson Crusoe made Friday his slave. That was an act
of force and so a political act. And this slavery constitutes the
point of departure and fundamental fact of history up to the present
time and inoculates the heirs of sin with injustice so certainly that
only lately it has become milder and "transformed into the more
indirect forms of economic dependency." Since the whole of the
remaining actual "force-possession" rests upon this original
enslavement, it is clear that all economic phenomena can be explained
from original political causes, that is from force. And whoever is not
satisfied with this is a secret reactionary.

Let us first remark that one has to be as much in love with himself as
Herr Duehring is to consider this idea as "original" since it is not
so by any means. The idea that the political doings of monarch and
states are decisive events in history is as old as the writing of
history itself and is the reason why we are so little aware of the
real and quietly developing progress of the peoples which goes on
behind these noisy and spectacular activities. This idea has dominated
the whole of history in the past and got its first shock at the hands
of the French bourgeois historians of the Restoration period.

To proceed, let us grant for the present that Herr Duehring is correct
when he says that all history up to now has been the slavery of man by
men, and we are still a long way from the root of the matter. Let us
ask now how it was that Robinson came to enslave Friday. Was it merely
for the pleasure of doing so? Surely not. On the contrary we are
informed that Friday "was subjugated as a slave or mere tool for
economic service and was kept in subjection merely as a tool."
Robinson only enslaved Friday that he might work for the benefit of
Robinson. And how could Robinson derive benefit from the labor of
Friday? Only by virtue of the fact that Friday produced more means of
livelihood by his labor than Robinson had to give him to keep him able
to work. Robinson has therefore, contrary to Herr Duehring's pretty
prescription, made, by the enslavement of Friday, a political
organization, not just because he wanted to, but simply as a means of
providing himself with food, and he ought to see how little he has in
common with his lord and master Herr Duehring.

The childish example therefore which Herr Duehring has discovered in
order to show that force is the "historical fundamental" proves that
force is only a means to further an economic interest, and in history
the economic side is likewise more fundamental than the political. The
example therefore proves just the opposite of what it ought to prove.
And, as with Robinson and Friday, so it is also with all the examples
of lordship and slavery up to now. Slavery, to use Duehring's own
elegant expression, always implies a means for supplying sustenance
(using the term in its broadest sense) and never merely implies a
political organization which has been developed by its own will. One
would have to be a Herr Duehring to venture to call taxes only a
secondary feature of government, or, to say that the political
groupings of the dominant bourgeois of to-day and the subjugated
proletariat are purely voluntary and not made to serve the material
interests of the bourgeois, namely profit making and the accumulation
of capital.

Let us give our attention again to our two men. Robinson "sword in
hand" makes Friday his slave. But to do this Robinson uses something
else besides his sword. A slave is not made by that means solely. In
order to be able to keep a slave one has to be superior to him in two
respects, one must first have control over the tools and objects of
labor of the slave and over his means of subsistence also. Therefore,
before slavery is possible, a certain point in production has to be
reached and a certain degree of inequality in distribution attained.
And when slave labor becomes the dominant mode of production of an
entire society a higher development of the powers of production, of
trade and of wealth, accumulation occurs. In early tribal communities
which had common ownership of the soil, slavery is either nonexistent
or its role is very subordinate. So it was at first in Rome, as a
state of farmers, but when Rome became the capital city of the world
and the soil of Italy came more and more to be owned by a numerically
small class of enormously wealthy property owners, the population of
farmers perished in front of the slave population. When at the time
of the Persian War, the number of slaves in Corinth was 460,000, and
in Ægina 470,000, and there were ten slaves to every freeman in the
population, the explanation must be sought in something other than
force; there were a highly developed art and handicraft and foreign
commerce. Slavery in the United States of America was much less due to
force than to the English cotton industry; where there was not cotton
grown or where slaves were not raised, as in the border states, for
the cotton producing states, it perished of its own accord and without
any employment of force simply because it did not pay.

When Herr Duehring therefore calls the property of the present day
property resting on force and designates it as "that form of
domination which does not merely signify the exclusion of one's fellow
beings from the use of the natural means of sustenance, but implies in
addition that the subjection of man has lain at the foundation of
human slavery" he puts the matter upside down. The subjection of
humanity to slavery in all its forms means the control by the master
of the means of labor by virtue of which alone he can employ his
slaves upon them and the disposal of the means of livelihood by which
he can keep his slaves alive. In all cases therefore it implies a
certain power of possession which transcends the ordinary? How did
this arise? Occasionally it is clear that it was seized and can
therefore be said to rest upon force but this is by no means
essential. It can be got by labor, be robbed, be obtained by trade, or
taken by fraud. It must be worked for generally before it can be

Private property does not historically come into existence by any
means as a rule as the product of robbery and violence. On the
contrary. It arises from the limitation of certain things in the
early tribal communes. It develops in the first place within the tribe
and afterwards in exchange with peoples outside of the tribe in the
form of wares. In proportion as the products of the tribe assume the
form of commodities, i.e., the less they are produced for the use of
the producer and the more for the purpose of exchange, the exchange
destroys the original form of distribution in the commune itself, and
the more unequal become the shares of the individual members of the
community with respect to material possessions. So the old communal
ownership of land becomes more and more invaded, the communal property
is rapidly converted into a village of farmers, each tilling his own
piece of ground. Oriental despotism and the changing government of
conquering nomads had no power to alter the old form of communal
ownership for a thousand years. But the continual destruction of the
primitive domestic industry through the competition of the products of
the great industry is bringing about its dissolution. The thing has
little to do with force as has lately appeared in the matter of the
division of the communal property of the feudal societies on the
Moselle and in Hochwald. The peasants are finding the substitution of
individual for communal holdings to their interests. Even the growth
of a primitive aristocracy as among the Celts, the Germans, and in
Mesopotamia, is a result of the communal ownership of landed property,
and does not depend upon force in the slightest degree but upon free
will and custom. Especially where private property arises it appears
as the result of a change in the methods of production and exchange in
the interests of the increase of production and the development of
commerce and therefore arises from economic causes. Force plays no
role in this. It is clear that the institution of private property
must have already existed before the robber is able to possess himself
of other people's goods and that force may change the possession but
cannot alter private property as such.

But to explain the "subjection of men to slavery" in its modern form,
in wage-labor, we can make no use of either force or property acquired
by force. We have already mentioned the part which the transformation
of the products of labor into commodities, their production not for
use alone, but for exchange, plays in the destruction of the primitive
communal property and therefore in the bringing into existence
directly or indirectly the universality of private property. But Marx
has proved in his "Capital"--and Herr Duehring does not venture to
intrude upon the matter--that at a certain stage in economic
development the production of commodities is transformed into
capitalistic production and that at this point "the law of
appropriation resting upon the production and circulation of
commodities, the law of private property, by its own inevitable
dialectic becomes changed into its opposite, the exchange of
equivalents, which appeared as its original mode of operation, but has
now become so twisted that there is only an appearance of exchange
since. In the first place, the portion of capital exchanged for
labor-force is itself only a portion of the product of another's labor
taken without an equivalent, and in the second place, it is not only
supplied by its producers, the workers, but it must be supplied also
with a new surplus. Originally property seemed to us to be established
on labor only--property now appears (as a conclusion of the Marxian
argument), on the side of the capitalist, as the right to unpaid labor
and, on the side of the workingman, as an impossibility, the ownership
of his own product. The difference between property and labor is the
result of a law which apparently proceeded from their identity." In
other words if we exclude the possibility of force, robbery, and
cheating absolutely, if we take the position that all private property
originally depended upon the personal labor of its possessor and that
equivalents are always exchanged we nevertheless come, in the course
of the development of production and exchange, of necessity, to the
modern capitalistic methods of production, to the monopolisation of
the means of production and livelihood in the hands of a single class
few in numbers, to the degradation of the other consisting of the
immense majority of producers to the position of propertyless
proletarians, to the periodical alternations of swindling operations
and trade crises and to the whole of the present anarchy in
production. The entire result rests on purely economic grounds without
robbery, force, or any intervention of politics or the government
being necessary. Property resting on force becomes a mere phrase which
merely serves to obscure the understanding of the real development of

This course, historically expressed, is the story of the development
of the bourgeoisie. If "political conditions are the decisive causes
of economic conditions," the modern bourgeoisie would necessarily not
have progressed as the result of a fight with feudalism, but would be
the darling child of its womb. Everybody knows that the opposite is
the case. The bourgeoisie, originally bound to pay feudal dues to the
dominant feudal nobility, recruited from bond slaves and thralls, in a
subject state, has, in the course of its conflict with the nobility
captured position after position, and finally has come into possession
of the power in civilized countries. In France it directly attacked
the nobility, in England it made the aristocracy more and more
bourgeois and finally incorporated it with itself as a sort of
ornament. And how did this come about? Entirely through the
transformation of economic conditions which was sooner or later
followed either by the voluntary or compulsory transformation of
political conditions. The fight of the bourgeoisie against the feudal
nobility is the fight of the city against the country, of industry
against landlordism, of economy based on money against economy based
on natural products. The distinctive weapons of the bourgeois in this
fight were those which came into existence through the development of
increasing economic force by reason of the growth at first of hand
manufacture and afterwards machine-manufacture and through the
extension of trade. During the whole of this conflict the political
power was in the hands of the nobility, with the exception of a period
when the king employed the bourgeoisie against the nobility in order
to hold one in check by means of the other. From the very moment,
however, in which the bourgeoisie still deprived of political power
began to be dangerous because of the development of its economic power
the monarchy again turned to the nobility and thereby brought about
the revolution of the bourgeois first in England and then in France.
The political conditions in France remained unaltered until the
economic conditions outgrew them. In politics the noble was
everything, the bourgeois nothing. As a social factor the bourgeoisie
was of the highest importance while the nobility had abandoned all its
social functions and yet pocketed revenues, social services which it
did not any longer perform. Even this is not sufficient. Bourgeois
society was, as far as the whole matter of production is concerned,
tied and bound in the political feudal forms of the Middle Ages, which
this production, not only as regards manufacture but as regards
handwork also had long transcended amid all the thousandfold
gild-privileges and local and provincial tax impositions which had
become mere obstacles and fetters to production. The bourgeois
revolution put an end to them. But the economic condition did not, as
Herr Duehring would imply, forthwith adapt itself to the political
circumstances,--that the king and the nobility spent a long time in
trying to effect--but it threw all the mouldy old political rubbish
aside and shaped new political conditions in which the new economic
conditions might come into existence and develop. And it has developed
splendidly in this suitable political and legal atmosphere, so
splendidly that the bourgeoisie is now not very far from the position
which the nobility occupied in 1789. It is becoming more and more not
alone a social superfluity but a social impediment. It takes an ever
diminishing part in the work of production and becomes more and more,
as the noble did, a mere revenue consuming class. And this revolution
in its position and the creation of a new class, that of the
proletariat, came about without any force-nonsense but by purely
economic means. Further more, it has by no means accomplished it by
its own willful act. On the other hand it has accomplished itself
irresistibly against the wish and intentions of the bourgeoisie. Its
own productive forces have taken the management of affairs and are
driving modern bourgeois society to the necessity of revolution or
destruction. And if the bourgeoisie now appeals to force to ward off
the ruin arising from the decrepit economic condition it proves
thereby that it suffers from the same error as Herr Duehring, in that
it thinks that "political conditions are the distinctive causes of
economic condition" and that by the use of the prime factor of mere
political force it can manufacture the secondary factor of economic
conditions. It thinks that it can shape economic conditions and their
inevitable development, and therefore eliminate the economic effects
of the steam engine, and the modern industry which has proceeded from
it. It thinks that it can abolish the world commerce and the bank
credit development of to-day from the universe by means of Krupp guns
and Mauser rifles.

_III. Force Theory (Continued)._

Let us look at this omnipotent "force" of Herr Duehring a little more
closely. Robinson enslaved Friday "sword in hand." How did he get the
sword? Robinson's imaginary island never grew swords on trees and some
answer to this question is due from Herr Duehring. We might just as
well assume that as Robinson became possessed of a sword so, one fine
morning, Friday appeared with a loaded revolver in his hand. Thereupon
the "force" is entirely reversed. Friday takes command and Robinson
must submit. We beg pardon of the reader for returning to the story of
Robinson Crusoe, which is more appropriate to the nursery than to an
economic discussion, but what can we do about it? We are compelled to
pursue Herr Duehring's axiomatic scientific methods and it is not our
fault if we always find ourselves in the realms of childishness. The
revolver then triumphs over the sword and it should be apparent even
to the maker of childish axioms that superior force is no mere act of
the will but requires very real preliminary conditions for the
carrying out of its purposes, especially mechanical instruments, the
more highly developed of which have the superiority over the less
highly developed. Furthermore these tools must be produced, whence it
appears that the producer of the more highly developed tool of force,
commonly called weapon, triumphs over the producer of the less highly
developed tool. In a word, the triumph of force depends upon the
production of weapons, therefore upon economic power, on economic
conditions, on the ability to organize actual material instruments.

Force at the present day implies the army and the navy, and the two of
them cost, to our sorrow, a heap of money. But force cannot make
money, on the contrary it gets away very fast with what is made, and
it does not make good use of it as we have just discovered painfully
with respect to the French indemnity. Money must therefore finally be
provided by means of economic production, force is thus again limited
by the economic conditions which shape the means of making and
maintaining the instruments of production. But that is not all by any
means. Nothing is more dependent upon economic conditions than armies
and fleets. Arming, concentration, organization, tactics, strategy,
depend before anything else upon the degree of development in
production and transportation. In the trade of war the free
inventiveness of liberal-minded generals has never worked a
revolution, but the discovery of better weapons and the change in
military equipment have never failed to do so. The inventiveness of
the general under the most favorable conditions finds its limitations
in the adaptation of methods of warfare to the new weapons and the new

At the beginning of the fourteenth century gunpowder was brought from
the Arabs to Western Europe and, as every schoolboy knows, entirely
revolutionized warfare. The introduction of gunpowder and firearms was
however by no means an act of force but an industrial and therefore
economic advance. Industry is still industry whether its object in
the creation or the destruction of material things. The introduction
of firearms not only produced a revolution in the methods of warfare
but also in the relations of master and subject. Trade and money are
concomitants of gunpowder and firearms and these former imply the
bourgeoisie. Firearms from the first were bourgeois instruments of
warfare employed on behalf of the rising monarchy against the feudal
nobility. The hitherto unassailable stone castles of the nobles
submitted to the cannon of the burghers, the fire of their guns
pierced the mail armor of the knights. The supremacy of the nobility
fell with the heavily armed cavalry of the nobility. With the
development of the bourgeoisie, infantry and artillery became more and
more the important arms of the service and because of artillery the
trade of war had to create another industrial subdivision, to-wit,

The development of firearms proceeded very slowly. Shooting remained
clumsy and small arms were ineffective in spite of many individual
inventions. Three hundred years elapsed before a musket was produced
which sufficed for the arming of a complete infantry. First at the
beginning of the eighteenth century, a musket with a bayonet attached,
which discharged a stone superseded the pike as an infantry weapon.
The infantry of that day was exceedingly unreliable, only kept
together by physical force, composed of the basest elements of
society, frequently made up of men picked up by the press gang and
prisoners of war intermingled with soldiers recruited by the various
princes. The only fighting formation in which these soldiers could be
made to use the new weapon was the linear tactic, which reached its
highest development under Frederick II. The whole infantry of an army
was drawn up in a very long hollow square three files deep and
advanced in battle array en masse. It was usually permitted to one of
the two wings to be a little in advance or a little in the rear. This
helpless body could only advance and keep its formation on perfectly
level ground and then only at a slow marching time (seventy-five steps
to the minute) a change of formation during the fight was impossible
and victory or defeat was determined rapidly at a stroke as soon as
the infantry came under fire.

These helpless lines in the American Revolutionary War came into
collision with the rebel troops, which certainly could not drill but
could shoot so much the better in that they were fighting for their
own interests and therefore did not desert like the enlisted soldiers.
These did not, like the English, deploy in massed bodies on the open
field, but in rapidly moving bodies of sharpshooters in the thick
woods. The organised lines were here powerless and had to contend
against invisible and unapproachable foes. The sharpshooters thereupon
were brought into existence as a part of the army organization--a new
method of fighting arising from a change in the military material.

What the American Revolution began the French completed in the
military realm. To the drilled troops of the Coalition the French
Revolution opposed soldiers who were badly drilled but who constituted
large masses, the product of the whole nation. Some means had to be
discovered of protecting Paris with these masses. That could not be
done without victory in the open field. A mere musketry engagement
would not suffice, a form would have to be discovered by which the
masses could be utilized and this was found in the column. The column
formation allowed slightly drilled troops to keep better order and by
means of a better marching speed (one hundred steps to the minute)
allowed it to break through the stiff old-fashioned line arrangement.
It was possible by this formation to fight in country unsuitable to
the line formation, to mass troops in places suitable, to associate
scattered sharpshooters with the columns, to keep back, occupy and
wear the lines of the enemy, until the decisive movement came when a
charge could be made by the troops held in reserve. This new method of
combining riflemen and columns and making a complete army corps
consisting of all arms, which was fully developed on its tactical and
strategic side by Napoleon, was only rendered possible by the change
in military material brought about by the French Revolution. There
were still two very important technical preliminaries, first the
making of light carriages for field pieces which were constructed by
Gribevaul by means of which alone the required quick advance was
rendered possible, and making the army rifle a more precise weapon by
adapting to it some of the features of the hunting rifle. Without
these improvements military sharpshooting would have been impossible.

The revolutionary method of arming the entire population was subjected
to certain limitations and chiefly as regards the excusing of the well
to do, and in this form became common to most of the great continental
countries. Prussia alone sought by its militia system to make the
entire force of its people available for military purposes. Prussia
was the first state to provide its entire infantry with the latest
weapons, and to place officers in the rear, since between 1830 and
1860 trained officers leading their troops had played an unimportant
part. The results of 1866 were largely due to these innovations.

In the Franco Prussian War two armies came into contact both of which
had their officers in the rear and which both used substantially the
same tactics as in the time of the old smooth bore flintlocks. The
Prussians however by the introduction of company columns had made an
attempt to discover a method of fighting more suitable to the new
system of arming. But on the 18th of August at St. Privat the Prussian
guard which employed the company column formation lost the most part
of five regiments, over a third of its strength in two hours (176
officers and 5114 men) after which the company column form of battle
order came in for no less criticism than the battalion column form and
the line formation. Every attempt to oppose a solid formation to the
fire of the enemy was thereafter abandoned. The battle was thereafter,
on the German side, carried on by dense swarms of riflemen into which
the columns dissolved under the fire of the enemy spontaneously,
without orders from the superior officers, and this was, in fact, the
only possible method of advance under fire. The private soldier was
again cleverer than his officer; he had discovered the only form of
fighting formation, and set himself to follow it in spite of the
resistance of his leaders.

In the Franco-German war there is a point of departure of entirely
different significance from all preceding wars. In the first place the
weapons are now so complete that a new revolutionary departure in this
respect is no longer possible. When you have cannon with which you can
decimate a battalion as far as your eye can make it out, and when you
have rifles by which you can aim at individuals, and which take less
time to load than to aim, all further advances as far as battle in the
field goes are immaterial. The era of progress on this side is
substantially closed. In the second place, however, this war has
induced all the great states of the continent to adopt the highly
developed Prussian militia system and thus to take up a military
burden which will ruin them in a few years. The army has become the
main object of the state, it has become an object in itself. The
people only exist to furnish and maintain soldiers. Militarism
dominates and devours Europe. But this militarism has in it the seeds
of its own destruction. The competition of the various states with
each other necessitates the spending of more money every year on the
army, the fleet, weapons of destruction, etc., and thus accelerates
financial breakdown. On the other hand, with the increasingly rigid
military service, the whole people becomes familiar with the use of
military weapons. It therefore becomes able at some time to impose its
will upon the dominating military authority. And this time arrives as
soon as the mass of the people--country and city workers and
farmers--has the will. At this point the army of the classes becomes
the army of the masses, the machine refuses to do the work, militarism
goes under in the dialectic of its own development. What the bourgeois
democrats of 1848 could not accomplish, just because they were
bourgeois and not proletarian, namely the endowment of the laboring
masses with a will, the content of which corresponded with their class
condition, socialism will certainly accomplish. And that means the
destruction of militarism and with it of all standing armies
absolutely and entirely.

That is the moral of our history of modern infantry. The second moral
which brings us back to Herr Duehring is that the entire organization
and methods of warfare of modern armies and, with them, victory and
defeat, are dependent upon material things, that is upon economic
conditions, upon soldier material and upon weapon material and
therefore upon the quality of a population and upon technique. Only a
hunting people like the Americans could rediscover the sharpshooter.
Now the Yankees of the old States have, from purely economic causes,
become transformed into farmers, industrialists, sailors and
merchants, who no longer shoot in the primeval forests and on that
account have become all the more successful in the field of
speculation where they have developed into colossal appropriators.
Only a Revolution like the French which emancipated the burghers and
still more the peasants could discover the simultaneously massed
armies and free advance by which they overcame the stiff old line
formation, the military product of the absolutism against which they
fought. And as for the advances in technique as soon as they were
applicable and were applied, forthwith changes, nay revolutions, in
the methods of warfare were at once made, often against the will of
the military leaders as we have seen over and over again to be the
case. A diligent subaltern could explain to Herr Duehring how at the
present day the making of war is dependent upon the productivity and
means of communication of the back country as well as of the theatre
of war. In short, economic conditions and means of power are always
the things which help "force" to victory, and without them "force"
comes to an end. So that he who would reform the art of war according
to the axioms of Herr Duehring would only get a flogging for his

If we go from the land to the sea we shall discover a complete
revolution, even within the last twenty years. The warship of the
Crimean War was the wooden three decker, with from sixty to a hundred
guns, which depended upon its sailing power and had only a weak
auxiliary steam engine. It carried in general thirty-two pounders of
about sixty hundred weight and only a few sixty-eight pounders of
ninety-five hundred weight. At the end of the war ironclad floating
batteries were used, clumsy and slow but impregnable to the artillery
of that time. Very soon iron plates were placed on the warships, at
first thin, four inches thickness of iron was then considered to
constitute a remarkably great thickness. But the progress in artillery
soon discounted the thickness of armour, for every addition to the
armour there was a new and more powerful artillery which pierced it
with the greatest ease. So now we have warships with ten, twelve,
fourteen, twenty-four inches of armour plate (the Italians are going
to build a warship with armourplate three feet thick) on the one hand
and on the other hand guns which reach to a hundred tons and which
hurl projectiles amounting to two thousand pounds in weight to unheard
of distances. The modern war vessel is a rapid travelling armoured
screw steamer of eight to ten thousand tons and of from six to eight
thousand horse power provided with turrets and four or six very
powerful big guns, together with a ram at the bow below the water line
for the purpose of destroying the ship of the enemy. It is a colossal
machine in which steam not only furnishes the driving power but also
steers, raises the anchor, moves the towers, aims and loads the guns,
works the pumps, takes in and lowers the boats, which are frequently
steamers, and so forth. And the contest between the armour plate and
the projectile is so far from having been settled that a ship is
to-day practically obsolete as soon as it has left the ways. The
modern warship is not only a product of modern industry but a
masterpiece, a product of the dissipation of wealth. The country in
which the greater industry has developed the most completely has a
monopoly of shipbuilding. All the Turkish, almost all the Russian and
the greater part of the German warships are built in England. Armour
plate of the best type is made almost exclusively in Germany. Of the
three iron foundries which are alone in the position to turn out the
heaviest artillery, two of them, Woolwich and Elswick, are in England,
the third Krupp's is in Germany. Here it may be seen that the pure
political power which Herr Duehring maintains to be the original
reason for economic conditions is on the contrary inseparable from
economic conditions and that not only the existence but the very
management of the tool of force on the sea, the warship, is in itself
a branch of modern industry. And that this is so gives nobody more
trouble than just that force, the state, which has now to pay more for
one ship than it had formerly for a small fleet and sees that these
expensive ships are obsolete as soon as they are launched. And the
state is just as much upset as Herr Duehring would be over the fact
that the controller of the economic force of the ship, the engineer,
is a much more important person than the man of pure force, the
captain. On the other hand we have no further grounds for annoyance
when we see that how as a result of this contest between armour plate
and projectile the battle ship has arrived at the point when it is as
expensive as it is unfit for fighting and that this contest shows the
dialectic law of progress at work in naval warfare according to which
militarism like every other historical phenomenon must come to an end
as a result of its own development.

We can thus see as plain as noonday that it is not true that "the
original reason must be sought in pure political force and not in
indirect economic force." Quite the contrary. Economic force is the
control of the power of the great industry. Political force in naval
matters which is dependent upon modern ships of war is by no means
"pure force" but is involved in economic force, in the advanced
development of metallurgy, in the mastery of historical technique and
the possession of rich coal-fields.

_IV. Force Theory (Conclusion)._

(Herr Duehring makes an argument which is briefly summarised by Engels
as follows and which may be said to involve the notion that the
monopolization of land is the cause of human slavery and is the
product of force. Engels proceeds):

Thesis--The domination of nature by man is the reason of the
domination of man by man.

Proof--The existence of landlordism on a large scale cannot be carried
on anywhere except by means of slavery.

Proof of proof--Landlordism on a large scale cannot exist without
slavery because the great landlord with his own family without the
help of slaves can only cultivate a small piece of his property.

Therefore, in order to show that man cannot subdue nature without the
subjugation of his fellowman, Herr Duehring transforms "nature"
forthwith into "private ownership of large tracts of land" and this
indefinite private ownership into the ownership exercised by a great
landlord, who naturally cannot cultivate his land without slaves.

In the first place the domination of nature and the cultivation of
private landed property do not imply the same thing. The domination of
nature in industrial affairs is displayed in a manner altogether
different from that in agricultural affairs, for these latter are
always at the mercy of the climate instead of being supreme over the

In the second place if we limit ourselves to the exploitation of
private property in land in large amounts we come to the question as
to whom the land belongs. We find that in the beginnings of civilised
peoples the land was not owned by great landlords but was held in
common by tribal and village communities. From India to Ireland the
exploitation of land property in large tracts has proceeded from the
tribal and village communal ownership which was the original form.
Sometimes the land was cultivated in common for the benefit of the
common members, sometimes in separate pieces, parcelled by the
community to separate families from time to time with wood and willow
land retained for communal use.

It is pure imagination on the part of Herr Duehring to declare that
the exploitation of landed property is responsible for the existence
of master and servant. Who is the owner of private landed property in
the entire Orient where the land is possessed by the community or the
State and the word landlord is not to be found in the language? The
Turks first introduced a species of feudalism into the lands which
they conquered. The Greeks in heroic times had a classified system of
rank which itself bore witness to a long unknown preceding history,
but the land was then cultivated by an independent peasantry. The
large possessions of the nobles and leaders of the tribes were the
exception and had no permanence. Italy was originally cultivated by
small peasant farmers; when in the latter days of the Roman Republic
the great holdings, the _latifundia_ destroyed the small
farmer-holdings, cattle raising was substituted for agriculture, and
as Pliny points out Italy was ruined (_latifundia Italiam perdidere_).
In the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages small farming was the
rule and it is very appropriate to the above discussion to note what
tasks these peasants were obliged to perform for the feudal lords. The
Frisians, lower Saxons, Flemings and people from the lower Rhine who
invaded the lands of the Slavs to the east of the Elbe and cultivated
them did so under very favorable terms of rent but by no means under a
species of slavery. In North America, by far the greatest amount of
the land is cultivated by the labor of free small farmers, while the
great landed proprietors of the South with their slaves and
extravagant farming methods destroyed the soil until the land ceased
to be productive and the cultivation of cotton travelled ever
Westward. In Australia and New Zealand the attempts to artificially
establish an agrarian aristocracy by the British government have
failed. In short, if we except the tropical and sub-tropical colonies,
in which the climate is prohibitive of agriculture by Europeans, it
seems that the idea of a great land holding class originally
dominating nature by means of the employment of slaves and serfs is a
pure product of the imagination. Things are quite otherwise. If one
goes to the older countries like Italy the land was not waste
originally but the transformation of the agricultural land cultivated
by the small farmers into cattle-land utterly ruined the country.

Latterly, for the first time since the growth in the intensity of the
population has increased the value of land and especially since the
progress in agriculture has made possible the reclamation of poor
lands, the greater landlordism has begun to obtain possession of waste
and pasture lands and has stolen the old communal lands of the
peasants in this country, as well in England as in Germany. And this
has not happened without a counter-poise. For every acre of common
land which the great landlords in England converted into arable land
they have made at least three acres of arable land in Scotland into
shooting preserves and mere places for the hunting of wild animals.

We have to consider the declaration of Herr Duehring to the effect
that the cultivation of large parcels of land has not come into
existence otherwise than through great landlords and their slaves, a
declaration which we have seen implies an entire ignorance of history.
We have now to see how far at different epochs the cultivation of the
soil has been carried on by means of slaves, as in the palmy days of
Greece, or by means of tenants, like the socage tenure, since the
Middle Ages, and then what has been the social function of the greater
landlordism at different periods of history.

If Herr Duehring means that the mastery of man by men as a preliminary
to the mastery of nature by man is a universal law, that our present
economic condition, the stage attained to-day in agriculture and
industry, is the result of a society which has developed itself in
class antagonisms, in mastership on the one hand and in slavery on the
other hand, he says something which is a mere commonplace since the
publication of the Communist Manifesto. We have thus to explain the
existence of these classes and when Herr Duehring has no further
explanation to give than "force" we are right back at the beginning
again. The mere fact that the subject and the plundered have always
been more numerous and that therefore the actual force has rested with
them is enough to show the stupidity of the entire force theory. We
have therefore still to explain the origin of master and subject
classes. They have come into being in two ways.

When men originally sprang from the lower animals they came into
history, still half-wild animals, elementary, with no power over the
forces of nature, still unacquainted with their own powers, as poor as
the animals and hardly more productive than they. There prevailed a
certain equality in the conditions of life and as far as the heads of
families were concerned an equality of social condition--there was at
least an absence of those class distinctions which developed later in
the agricultural communities. In such a social state there were
certain common interests which overrode the interests of the
individual in certain respects, the settlement of disputes, the
repression of individuals who exceeded their rights, the looking after
the water supply, particularly in hot countries, and finally under the
conditions of life in the primeval forests, religious functions. We
find analogous communal duties exercised by communal officials at all
periods as well in the oldest German mark communities as in India
to-day. These are contemporaneous with a sort of beginning of
authority and state power in a rudimentary form. The productive forces
develop; a denser population produces common and then conflicting
interests between members of the society, the grouping of which in
accordance with a new division of labor causes the creation of new
organs for the purpose of maintaining the society on the one hand and
repressing the antagonistic interests on the other. These organs which
act for the entire group have different forms according to the varying
circumstances of the individual groups, partly through the natural
growth of a hereditary leadership in a world where everything proceeds
naturally and partly through a growing need owing to the development
of conflicts with other groups. How these social functions which were
subsidiary to society came in the course of time to triumph over
society; how the original servant, under favorable conditions became
transformed into the master, how, according to circumstances, this
master made his appearance as Oriental despot or satrap, as Greek
chieftain, as Celtic clan chief, etc., how far he relied on force for
this transformation and finally how the individual leaders associated
themselves into a dominant class we have here no opportunity to
consider. We can only state that real social duties lay at the base of
the political domination and that the political supremacy has only
existed as long as the politically supreme fulfilled these social
functions. How many despotisms have risen and fallen among the
Persians and Hindoos, and everybody knows quite well that the public
management of the irrigation was the prime necessity of agriculture in
those places. The "educated" English were the first to observe this
among the Hindoos; they let the canals and locks fall into disuse and
they have now discovered by the regular recurrence of famine that they
have neglected the only opportunity to make their rule at least as
righteous as that of their predecessors.

But there is another form of class distinction besides the one
described. The natural division of labor in the agricultural families
permitted at a certain point of prosperity the introduction of foreign
labor power. This was particularly the case in countries where the old
common ownership of the soil had disappeared or where at least the old
system of common cultivation had become supplanted by the cultivation
of separate plots by individual families. Production had so far
developed that the human labor force was able to produce more than was
necessary for the support of the individual laborer. The time was ripe
for the employment of more labor-power, labor-power had become a
value. But the limitations of the communal system did not afford any
attainable surplus labor power. Yet war did give such an opportunity
for getting surplus labor power and war was as old as the simultaneous
existence of groups of communal groups in close juxtaposition. Up to
this time men did not take prisoners of war, they killed them right
off, and, at a still earlier date, they ate them. But at the stage of
economic development of which we speak they had a value and they were
not only allowed to live but were set to work. So force instead of
being the master of economic conditions was pressed into the service
of those conditions. Slavery was discovered. It soon became the
dominant form of production among all people who had developed beyond
the tribal communal stage and as a matter of fact was at the end one
of the main reasons for the break up of the communal system. Slavery
first made the division of labor between agriculture and industry
completely possible and brought into existence the flower of the old
world, Greece. Without slavery there would have been no Grecian state,
no Grecian art and science and no Roman Empire. There would have been
no modern Europe without the foundation of Greece and Rome. We must
not forget that our entire economic, political and intellectual
development has its foundation in a state of society in which slavery
was regarded universally as necessary. In this sense we may say that
without the ancient slavery there would have been no modern socialism.

It is very easy to make preachments about slavery and to express our
moral indignation at such a scandalous institution. Unfortunately the
whole significance of this is that it merely says that these old
institutions do not correspond with our present conditions and the
sentiments engendered by these conditions. We do not however in this
way explain how these institutions came into existence, why they came
into existence and the role which they have played in history. And
when we enter upon this matter we are obliged to say in spite of all
contradiction and accusations of heresy that the introduction of
slavery under the conditions of that time was a great step forwards.
It is a fact that man sprang from the lower animals and has had to
employ barbaric and really bestial methods in order to rid himself of
barbarism. The old communal system where it persisted built up the
most elementary form of the state, Oriental despotism, from India to
Russia. Only where it has been dissolved has the people progressed and
the next economic step lay in the development of production by means
of slave labor. It is evident that as long as human labor was so
little productive that it afforded only a small surplus over the
necessary means of life, the development of the productive forces, the
institution of commerce, the development of the State and of law and
the foundation of art and science were only possible through an
increase in the subdivision of labor. This implied the broad division
between the mass of the workers and the directors of labor, trade,
state, state-business, and later the occupation of a few privileged
persons in art and science. The simplest and most natural form of this
subdivision of labor was slavery. In the conditions of the ancient,
and especially the Greek world, the advance to a society founded on
class distinction could only be for the slaves, the prisoners of war
from whom the majority of slaves were recruited instead of being
murdered as they would have been at an earlier date or instead of
being eaten as they would have been at a stage still earlier.

Here we add that all the historical antitheses of robbers and robbed of
master and subject classes find their explanation in the relatively
undeveloped productivity of human labor. As long as the actual working
people claim that they have no time left at the close of their necessary
labors to attend to the common business of society--the organization of
labor, the business of the government, the administration of justice,
art, science, etc., just so long will distinct classes exist which are
free from actual labor to carry on these functions. Naturally these
classes do not hesitate to lean more and more and more upon the
shoulders of the working class for their own advantage. The development
of the great industry with its enormous increase in the forces of
production for the first time permitted of the subdivision of labor in
all social grades and thus allowed of the reduction of the time
necessary for labor so that enough leisure remains for all to take part
in the actual public business--theoretical as well as practical. So that
now for the first time the dominant and exploiting classes have become
superfluous and even an obstacle to social progress, and so now for the
first time they will be unceremoniously brushed aside in spite of their
"pure force."

When Herr Duehring then shows his scorn of the Greek civilisation
because it was founded on slavery he might just as reasonably reproach
the Greeks for not having steam engines and electric telegraphs. And
when he explains that our modern wage slavery is only a somewhat
transformed and ameliorated inheritance of chattel slavery and not to
be explained from itself (that is from the economic laws of modern
society) it only signifies that wage slavery, like chattel slavery, is
a form of class domination and class subjection as every child knows,
or it is false. So we might with the same right maintain that wage
slavery is only a milder form of cannibalism, the established
original method of disposing of conquered enemies.

The role which force has played in history with respect to economic
development is therefore clear. In the first place, all political
force rests originally on an economic social function, and developed
in proportion as the old tribal communistic society was dissolved and
transformed into various grades of private producers, and the
administrators of the communal functions therefore became more widely
separated from the rest of the community. In the second place, when
political force, independent of society, has transformed itself from
the position of servant to that of master, it may work in two
directions. In the first place, it may work sensibly and in the
direction of general economic development. In this case there is no
quarrel between the two, economic development is advanced. Or it may
work against it and then with few exceptions it succumbs to the
economic development. These few exceptions consist of individual cases
of tyranny where barbaric conquerors have overcome a country and have
destroyed the economic forces which they did not know how to handle.
Thus the Christians in Spain destroyed the irrigation works upon which
the highly developed agriculture and horticulture of that country
depended. Every conquest by a more barbarous people interferes with
economic development and destroys numerous productive forces. But in
the great majority of instances of the permanent conquest of a
country, the more barbaric conquerors are obliged to adopt the higher
economic conditions into which their conquest has brought them. They
are assimilated into the conquered people and are compelled to adopt
their language. But where--apart from instances of conquest--the inner
political forces of a country comes in conflict with its economic
development, which at the present day is practically true of all
political force, the battle has always ended with the destruction of
the political force. Without exception and inexorably, economic
development has attained its goal. The last most striking example of
which we have already called attention to, the French Revolution. If,
as according to Herr Duehring's teachings, the economic development
and the economic conditions of a certain country are altogether
dependent upon political forces there is no explanation of the fact
that Frederick William IV after 1848 could not succeed, in spite of
his army, in attaching the guilds of the Middle Ages and other
romantic tomfooleries to the steam-engines, railroads and the newly
developing greater industry, or why the Czar who is still much more
powerful could not only not pay his debts but could not collect his
forces without drawing on the credit of the economic conditions of
Western Europe.

According to Herr Duehring force is the absolute evil. The first act
of force is to him the first fall into sin. His whole conception is a
preachment over the infection of all history up to the present time
with the original sin. He talks about the disgraceful falsifying of
all natural and social laws by the invention of the devil, force. That
force plays another role in history, a revolutionary role, that it is
in the words of Marx, the midwife of the old society which is pregnant
with the new, that it is the tool by the means of which social
progress is forwarded, and foolish, dead political forms
destroyed,--of that Herr Duehring has no word to say, only with sighs
and groans does he admit the possibility that force may be necessary
for the overthrow of a thievish economic system. He simply declares
that every application of force demoralizes him who uses it. And this
in spite of the moral and intellectual uplift which has followed every
victorious revolution. He says this in Germany, too, where a powerful
and necessary uprising would at least have the advantage of abolishing
the slavish snobbery of the national mind which has prevailed since
the humiliation of the Thirty Years War. And this foolish and
senseless sort of preaching is set up in opposition to the most
revolutionary party known to history.

_V. Theory of Value._

It is now about a hundred years since a book appeared in Leipsic which
by the beginning of this century had gone through thirty-one editions
and which was distributed throughout the towns and the country
districts by officials, preachers and humanitarians, of all sorts, and
which was universally adopted in the schools as a reader. This book
was called, "The Children's Friend" by Rochow. It had the object of
teaching the children of the peasant and laboring classes their
vocation in life and their duties to their social and political
superiors, and making them satisfied with their lot in life, with
black bread and potatoes, compulsory servitude, low wages, fatherly
beatings and other similar agreeable things. In pursuit of this end,
the youth in town and country was informed what a wise provision of
nature it was that man was obliged to get his food and enjoyment by
means of his labor, and how fortunate the peasant and handworker ought
to feel that they were able to spice their food with hard labor while
the spendthrift and the picture suffered the pangs of indigestion or
lack of appetite. These commonplaces which old Rochow thought good
enough for the peasant children of his day have been elevated into
the "absolute fundamental" of the newest political economy by Herr

Value is defined as follows by Herr Duehring "Value is what economic
goods and activities will fetch in exchange." What they will fetch is
shown "by the price or some other equivalent, wages for example." In
other words Value is price. Or not to do Herr Duehring an injury and
to show the absolute absurdity of his definition in his own language,
"Value is prices." On page 19 he says "Value and its prices expressed
in money" and he also affirms that the same value has very different
prices and therefore has different values. If Hegel had not died long
ago he would hang himself out of pure jealousy, for, with all his
theology, he could not have produced this value which has as many
different values as it has prices. One would have to possess the
confidence of Herr Duehring to begin a new and more profound treatment
of political economy with the declaration that there is no difference
between value and price except that one is expressed in terms of money
and the other is not.

(After gentle raillery of Duehring's statements Engels proceeds.)

The actual, practical value of an object according to Herr Duehring
consists in two things, first in the amount of human labor contained
in it and secondly in a forcibly imposed tax. In other words value as
it exists to-day is a monopoly price. If all wares have this monopoly
price, as according to this theory, only two things are possible.
Either every buyer, as buyer, loses what he made as seller, for prices
have only changed their names, they are really the same, everything
remains as it was and the much talked of exchange value is merely
imaginary, or the imposed cost represents real values, values
produced by the working value-making class, but taken by the
monopolising class, and this sum of values is simply unpaid labor. In
this latter case we come, in spite of the force theory, and the
compulsory taxation theory and the special exchange value theory back
again to the Marxian theory of value.

The fixing of the value of a commodity by wages which is frequently
confused by Adam Smith with the fixing of value by the time expended
in labor has been, since the time of Ricardo, denounced by political
economists and only to-day persists in popular economics. It is now
the sycophants of the existing capitalistic system who declare that
value is fixed by wages and therefore declare the profits of the
capitalists to be higher kind of wages, wages of abstinence, in that
the capitalist has not dissipated his capital, wages of
superintendence, premiums on risks, etc. Herr Duehring only differs
from them in that he calls profits robbery. In other words Herr
Duehring founds his socialism on the worst teachings of the popular
economists. His popular economics and his socialism stand or fall

It is clear that what a workman accomplishes and what he costs are
different matters from what a machine makes and what it costs. The
value which a workman makes in a day of twelve hours has nothing in
common with the value of the means of life which he consumes in this
working day and the periods of rest in connection with it. There may
be one, three, four or seven hours of labor time incorporated in these
means of livelihood according to the stage of the productivity of
labor. Let us take seven hours as the necessary time for the
production of them. Then Herr Duehring and the vulgar economists
declare that the product of twelve hours labor has the value of the
product of seven hours labor or in other words twelve is equal to
seven. To make the matter more explicit, a peasant produces say twenty
hectolitres of wheat in a year. During this time he consumes a sum of
values which may be expressed by fifteen hectolitres. Then the twenty
hectolitres have the same value as the fifteen in the same market
under identical conditions. In other words 20 equals 15. And this is
called political economy!

The entire development of human society from the position of savagery
began from the day when the labor of a family resulted in the
production of more than was necessity for its support, from the day
when a part of the labor was no longer expended on mere means of
living but was transformed into means of production. A surplus of
labor product over and above the cost of the maintenance of labor, and
the creation and increase of a social production and reserve fund out
of this surplus was and is the foundation of all social, political and
intellectual development. In history up to the present time this fund
has been the property of a certain superior class which has, with its
possession, also the political mastery and the spiritual supremacy.
The approaching social revolution will make this social production and
reserve fund that is the entire mass of raw material, instruments of
production, and means of life for the first time really social
property, in that it will put an end to its monopolisation by the
superior class and make it the common possession of the entire

It is one of two things. Suppose value shows itself in the cost of
maintenance of the necessary labor, that is in present society in
wages. If such is the case every worker gets the value of his product
in wages and the robbery of the working class by the capitalistic
class is an impossibility. Let it be granted that the cost of
maintaining a worker in a given society is three marks. Then the daily
product of the worker is, according to the popular economist, of the
value of three marks. Now let us consider that the capitalist who
employs this worker takes a profit on this product and sells it for
four marks. Other capitalists do the same thing. But thereupon the
worker can no longer maintain himself with three marks a day, it will
cost him four marks. Other conditions remaining the same, wages
expressed in terms of the means of life must remain the same and wages
expressed in gold will rise therefore from three to four marks daily.
What the capitalists gain in the form of profit on the working class
they have to return in the form of wages. So we are just where we were
at the beginning. If wages signify value, no plunder of the working
class by the capitalist is possible. But the creation of a surplus is
impossible if, according to our hypothesis the workers consume as much
as they produce. And since the capitalists produce no value it is
impossible to see how they can live. And if such a surplus of
production over consumption does exist, if such a production and
reserve fund exists in the hands of the capitalists there is no other
explanation possible than that the working class uses only enough
values for its own maintenance and turns over the rest of the goods
which it produces to the capitalist.

On the other hand, if this production and reserve fund actually exists
in the hands of the capitalist class, if it has really come into
existence through the piling up of profits, (we will leave rent out of
the question for the present); it necessarily comes from the
accumulated profits of the capitalist class taken from the working
class over and above the sums paid by the capitalist class to the
working class in the form of wages. Value therefore does not depend
upon wages, but upon amount of labor. The working class renders to the
capitalist class a greater amount of value than it receives in wages
and thus the profit of capital as of all other forms of the
appropriation of unpaid for products of labor is to be explained on
the simple ground of the surplus value discovered by Marx.

_VI. Simple and Compound Labor._

(The argument of Duehring against which Engels here directs his
efforts may be best summed up in Duehring's concluding words "Marx in
his utterances on value cannot escape the lurking ghost of highly
skilled labor. The prevalent notion of the intellectual classes has
been a hindrance to him in this matter, for according to this idea it
is an enormity to reckon the labor time of a barrow pusher and an
architect as economic equivalents.")

Engels thereupon says "the passage in the works of Marx which caused
this outbreak on the part of Duehring is very short." Marx is
examining the question as to the basis of the value of commodities and
answers it by the statement that it is the amount of human labor
contained in them. "This" he goes on "is the expression of that simple
labor force which belongs to the average human being without any
special development. Skilled labor is a power or rather a multiple of
simple labor, so that a small amount of skilled labor is equivalent to
a larger amount of unskilled labor. Practice shows that this reduction
to the terms of unskilled labor takes place. A commodity may be the
product of skilled labor, its value may be equivalent to a product of
unskilled labor skilled labor. The proportion in which different forms
of labor are reduced to their general standard in unskilled labor is
established by a social process going on behind the backs of the
producers, and appears to them merely customary."

Here Marx is only dealing with the value of commodities, that is of
objects produced and exchanged by private producers in a society
consisting of private producers producing for their own profit. He is
therefore not concerned here with "absolute value" whatever that may
be but only with the value which is realised in a given form of
society. This value under the given social conditions is shaped and
measured by the human labor incorporated in the commodities and this
human labor shows itself as the expression of simple human energy. But
every piece of work is not merely an expression of simple labor force.
Very many labor products require the expenditure of more or less time,
money, trouble, and acquired skill or knowledge. Do these kinds of
compound labor show at the same period of time the same commodity
values as simple labor, are they the expression of merely simple labor
force? Evidently not. The product of an hour of compound labor is a
commodity of higher, double or three times the value of a product of
an hour of simple labor. The value of the product of compound labor
can in this comparison be expressed through the measure of simple
labor; and this reduction of compound labor is carried on by means of
a social progress behind the back of the producer, by means of which
can here be established according to the theory of value but not

The thing which Marx states here is a simple fact which happens every
day before our eyes in the present capitalistic society.

(After some invective and satire hurled at Duehring Engels proceeds:)

Let us examine with regard to equality of value a little more closely.
All labor time is of equal value, that of the barrow pusher and that
of the architect. Therefore labor time and consequently labor itself
has a value. But labor is the creator of all values. It is the only
thing which gives the original products of nature a value in the
economic sense. Value in itself is nothing but the expression in a
given object of necessary, social, human labor. One might just as well
speak of and fix a value to labor as speak of the value of value, of
the weight, not of a specific body, but of gravity itself. Herr
Duehring calls people like Owen, St. Simon and Fourier, social
alchemists. When he invents a value for labor time, that is for labor,
he shows that he is far below these same alchemists.

For Socialism, which will emancipate human labor force from its place
as a commodity, the understanding that labor has no value and can have
none is a matter of the greatest importance. With an understanding of
it, all attempts made by Herr Duehring by means of his crude
worker-socialism (Arbeitersozialismus) to regulate the division of the
means of existence, as a kind of higher wages, fall to the ground.
From it there follows the broader view, since it is controlled by
purely economic motives, that distribution regulates itself in the
interests of production, and production is advanced in the greatest
degree by a method of distribution which permits all the social
departments to develop, maintain, and express their capacities to the
fullest possible extent. To the ideas of the intellectuals which have
come into Herr Duehring's possession, it must always seem to be an
enormity that it will abolish barrow pushing and architecture
simultaneously as professions, and that the man who has given half an
hour to architecture will also push the cart a little until his work
as architect is again in demand. It would be a pretty sort of
socialism which perpetuated the business of barrow-pushing.

If the equality of value of labor time has the significance that
workers produce equal products in equal periods of time it is
evidently false, unless an average is first taken. Of two workmen at
the same branch of industry the value of the product of their labor
time will differ according to the intensity of labor and their
respective ability. No scheme of economic equality, at least on our
planet, can remedy this unfortunate state of affairs. What then is
left of the equality of all and every sort of labor? Nothing but high
sounding phrases which have no economic value, nothing but the evident
inability of Herr Duehring to distinguish between the fixing of value
by labor and the fixing of value by the wages of labor, only the
ukase, which is the foundation of the new social economy, that wages
shall be equal for equal amounts of labor time. Really the old French
communists and Weitling had much better grounds for their equality of
wages theories.

How then do we solve the whole weighty question of the higher wages of
compound labor? In a society of private producers, private individuals
or their families have to bear the cost of creating intellectual
workers. An intellectual slave always commanded a better price, an
intellectual wage worker gets higher wages. In an organized socialist
society, society bears the cost and to it therefore belong the fruits,
the greater value produced by intellectual labor. The laborer himself
has no further claim. Whence it follows that there are many
difficulties connected with the beloved claim of the worker for the
full product of his toil.

_VII. Capital and Surplus Value._

("Marx does not have the usual economic idea of capital that it is
means of production already produced, but he seeks to endow it with a
special dialectic history in the metamorphosis of a historical idea.
Capital is expressed in gold, it creates an historical period which
has its beginning in the sixteenth century and the establishment of a
world-market. Any keen economic analysis is impossible with such a
notion. Such barren conceptions which are half historical and half
logical destroys the possibility of any proper discrimination with
respect to the matter." These remarks of Duehring are answered as
follows by Engels:)

According to Marx, then, capital manifested itself as gold at the
beginning of the sixteenth century. It is just as if anybody were to
say that specie had expressed itself as cattle for three thousand
years, because formerly cattle had performed the gold functions along
with others. Only Herr Duehring could be guilty of such a crude and
distorted expression. Marx in his analysis of the economic forms in
which the process of the circulation of commodities takes places
simply declares gold to be the last form. "This last product of the
circulation of commodities is the form in which capital first appears.
Historically capital comes with the possession of property in the form
of money, as hoards of money, merchant-capital, and usury-capital....
This history is going on every day before our eyes. New capital comes
on the scene, that is the market,--the market for commodities, the
labor market or the money market, simply as money, money which is
transformed into capital by a definite process." Again Marx states the
fact. It is useless for you to struggle against it, Herr Duehring,
Capital must express itself in gold.

Marx further examines the process by which money is transformed into
capital and discovers that the form in which money circulates as
capital is the inversion of the form in which it circulates as the
universal equivalent. The individual owner of commodities sells to
buy, he sells what he does not need, and buys with the money thus
obtained what he does need. The budding capitalist buys on the
contrary what he does not want himself, he buys to sell, and to sell
for a higher money value than he put into the business, he makes a
money profit, and this profit Marx calls surplus value.

What is the origin of this surplus value? Either the buyer buys goods
below their value or the seller sells them above their value. In both
cases gain and loss would balance one another, since every buyer is
also a seller. It can also not arise from extortion, for extortion
might enrich one at the expense of the other but it could not increase
the total sum of money neither could it increase the amount of
commodities in circulation. "The entire capitalist class of a country
cannot overreach itself."

Now, we find that the totality of the capitalist class in every
country grows richer before our very eyes, by the process of selling
dearer than it bought, by appropriating surplus value. So we are just
at the beginning of the discussion. Where does this surplus value come
from? This question has to be answered on purely economic grounds to
the exclusion of all cheating, and all invasion of force. How is it
possible to keep selling dearer than one buys under the assumption
that equal values are always exchanged for equal values?

The solution of this problem is the crowning glory of the work of
Marx. He sheds clear daylight in economic places where the earlier
socialists no less than the bourgeois economists have groped in utter
darkness. From his work dates the origin of scientific socialism.

The solution is as follows. The power of increase in money which is
transformed into capital cannot proceed from the money neither does it
depend upon trade, since the money only realizes the price of the
commodities and this price is, since we hold that only equal values
are exchanged, no different from its value. On the same grounds the
power of increase cannot come from the exchange of commodities. The
change therefore depends upon the commodities which are exchanged, but
not upon their value, since they are bought and sold at their value.
It arises from their consumption-value as such; that is the change
must arise out of the consumption of commodities. "In order for a
commodity to derive value from consumption our possessor of money must
be fortunate enough to discover a commodity whose use-value has the
peculiar property of being a source of value, whose consumption would
imply the expenditure of labor and thus be value-producing. And the
possessor of money finds such a specific commodity on the market in
the shape of labor-power." If, as we have seen, labor has no value
this is by no means the case with labor-force. This has a value, as it
is a commodity, and, as a matter of fact, it is a commodity to-day and
this value is fixed "like that of every other commodity by the amount
of labor time necessary for the production and reproduction of this
specific commodity." It is fixed by the labor time which is necessary
for the procuring of the means of livelihood required to maintain the
laborer in a condition to continue laboring and reproduce his kind.
Let us suppose that these means of livelihood represent, taking one
day with another, six hours labor-time a day. Our budding capitalist
who buys labor force for his business, that is hires a laborer, pays
this laborer the full daily value of his labor force, if he pays him a
sum of money which represents six hours of labor. If the laborer has
only expended six hours in the service of the capitalist he has got
the full return of his expenditure, the day's value of his labor-force
has been paid. But money could not be transformed into capital in this
fashion, it would have produced no surplus value. The buyer of
labor-power has quite another view of the nature of his business.
Since only six hours' work is necessary to maintain the laborer for
twenty-four hours, it does not follow that the laborer cannot work
twelve hours out of the twenty-four. The value of labor force and its
realization in the labor-process are two different magnitudes. The
owner of money pays out a day's value of labor-force but there belongs
to him its use for the day, the whole day's labor. That the value
which it produces in the course of a day is double its own value for
the day is fortunate for the buyer but according to the laws of
exchange no injustice to the seller. The laborer then costs the owner
of money according to our calculation the value product of six hours'
labor, but he gives him daily the value product of twelve hours'
labor. The difference to the credit of the owner of the money is six
hours' unpaid extra labor, an unpaid for surplus product, in which the
labor of six hours is incorporated. The trick is done. Surplus value
is produced, money is transformed into capital.

While Marx, in this way, proved how surplus value exists and the only
possible way in which it can exist, under the laws which regulate the
exchange of commodities he also exposed the present capitalistic
methods of production and the methods of appropriation resting upon
them and unveiled the secret upon which the whole arrangement of the
society of to-day depends.

There is a necessary presupposition to this origin and birth of
capital. "For the transformation of money into capital the money owner
must first find free laborers in the market, free in the double sense
that as a free person the laborer can use his labor power as a
commodity, that he has no other wares to sell, that he is unemployed
and that he is free of everything necessary to the realisation of his
labor power." But this condition of a possessor of money or
commodities on the one hand, and, on the other, of the possessor of
nothing, except his own labor force, is no natural condition of
affairs nor is it common to all periods of history; "it is clearly the
result of a historical development, the product of a whole series of
older forms of social production." And this free laborer first strikes
our notice as a historical phenomenon at the end of the fifteenth and
the beginning of the sixteenth century as a result of the dissolution
of feudal society. Thereupon with the creation of the world trade and
the world market which dates from the same period the foundation was
laid for the mass of moveable wealth to become more and more
transformed into capital and for the capitalistic system, directed
more and more to the production of surplus value, to become the
dominant system.

_VIII. Capital and Surplus Value (Conclusion)._

(Duehring having said that the term surplus value merely signifies in
ordinary language, rent, profit and interest, Engels still further

We have already seen that Marx does not say that the surplus product
of the industrial capitalist, of which he is the first owner, is
always exchanged for its value, as Herr Duehring points out. Marx
plainly says that trade profit only constitutes a portion of the
surplus value and under the foregoing conditions this is only possible
if the factory proprietor sells his product under value to the trader
and thus parts with a portion of the booty. Marx' contention
rationally put is How is surplus value transformed into its
subordinate forms, profit, interest, trade-profits, ground rents etc.?
and this question Marx undertakes to answer in the third volume of
Capital. But since Herr Duehring cannot wait long enough for the
second volume to appear he has in the meantime to take a close look at
the first volume. He thereupon reads that the immanent laws of
capitalistic production, the course of the development of capitalism,
realise themselves as the necessary laws of competition and thus are
brought to the consciousness of the individual capitalists as dominant
motives. That therefore a scientific analysis of competition is only
possible when the real nature of capital is grasped, just as the
apparent movement of heavenly bodies can only be understood by
apprehending their real movement, and not merely those movements which
are perceptible to the senses. So Marx shows how a certain law, the
law of value, appears under given conditions in the competitive system
and makes evident its impelling force. Herr Duehring might have
understood that competition plays an important role in the
distribution of surplus values, and, after sufficient thought, might
have grasped at least the outlines of the transformation of surplus
value into its subordinate forms from the examples given in the first

Herr Duehring finds competition to be the stumbling block in the way
of his comprehension. He cannot understand how competing
entrepreneurs can manage to sell the entire product of labor including
the surplus product for so much more than the natural cost of
production. Here again that "force" of his which, in his estimation,
is the very evil thing, comes into play. According to Marx, the
surplus product does not have any cost of production, it is the part
of the product which costs the capitalist nothing. If the
entrepreneurs were to sell the surplus product at its real cost of
production they would have to give it away. Is it not a fact that the
competing entrepreneurs really sell the product of labor every day at
its natural cost of production? According to Herr Duehring the cost of
production consists "in the expenditure of labor or force and
therefore in the last analysis must be measured by cost of
maintenance," and therefore, in present day society, is to be
estimated at the cost of the raw material, instruments of labor and
actual wages paid in distinction to taxation, profit and compulsory
raising of prices. It is well recognised that in modern society the
competing entrepreneurs do not sell their wares at the natural cost of
production but calculate on a profit and generally get it. This
question which Herr Duehring fancies will level the walls of Marxism
as the blast of Joshua did those of Jericho is a question which the
economic doctrines of Duehring have to meet also.

"Capitalistic property," he says, "has no practical value and only
realises itself because it implies the exercise of indirect power over
man. The testimony to the existence of this force is capitalistic
profit, and the amount of this latter depends upon the extent and
intensity of the power of 'force.'... Capitalistic profit is a
political and social institution which manifests itself very strongly
as competition. The entrepreneurs take their stand on this relation
and each one of them maintains his position. A certain amount of
profit is a necessity of the dominant economic condition."

We know quite well that the entrepreneurs are in a position to sell
the products of labor at a cost above the natural cost of production.
Surely Herr Duehring does not think so meanly of his public as to hold
the position that profit on capital stands above competition as the
King of Prussia used to stand above the law. The proceeding by which
the King of Prussia reached his position of superiority to the law we
all know, the methods by which profit has come to be mightier than
competition is just what Herr Duehring has to explain and what he
stubbornly refuses to explain. It is no argument when he says that the
entrepreneurs trade from this position and each one of them maintains
his own place. If we take him at his word, how is it possible for a
number of people each to be able to trade only on certain terms and
yet each one of them to keep his position? The gildmen of the Middle
Ages and the French nobility of 1789 operated from a decidedly
superior position, and yet they came to grief. The Prussian army at
Jena occupied an advantageous position and yet it had to abandon it
and surrender piecemeal. It is not enough to tell us that a certain
measure of profit is a necessary concomitant of domination in the
economic sphere, it is necessary to tell us why. We do not get a step
further by the statement of Duehring. "Capitalistic superiority is
inseparable from landlordism. A portion of the peasantry is
transformed in the cities into factory hands and in the final analysis
into factory material. Profit appears as another form of rent." This
is a mere assertion and only repeats what should have been explained
and proved. We can come to no other conclusion, then, except that
Herr Duehring does not like to tackle the answer to his own question
how the capitalists are in a position to sell products of labor for
more than the natural cost of production, in short Herr Duehring
shirks an explanation of profit. He takes the only path open to him, a
short cut, and simply declares that profit is the product of "force."
This has been stated by Herr Duehring in his economic theory under the
statement "force distributes." That is all very well; but the question
still persists what does force distribute? There must be something to
distribute otherwise force cannot distribute it. The profit which the
competing capitalists pocket is something actual and tangible. Force
may take but it cannot create. And if Herr Duehring still obstinately
persists in his statement that "force" takes the profits for the
entrepreneurs he is as silent as the grave as to whence it takes it.
Where there is nothing the Kaiser, as all other "force," ceases to
operate. From nothing comes nothing, particularly nothing in the shape
of profits. If capitalistic private property has not practical
actuality, and cannot realize itself, except by the exercise of
indirect force over men, the question still persists, in the first
place, how did the capitalist government come into possession of this
"force" and in the second place how has this force been transformed
into profits, and in the third place where does it get these profits?

(The remainder of this section is merely further elaboration of this
idea with more caustic satire at the expense of the antagonist of

_IX. Natural Economic Laws--Ground Rent._

(In this chapter Engels proceeds to examine what Herr Duehring called
the "fundamental laws" of his theory of economic science.)

LAW NO. I. "The productivity of economic instruments, natural
resources and human force are capable of being increased by invention
and discovery."

We are amazed. Herr Duehring treats us like that joke of Moliere on
the parvenu who was informed that he had talked prose all his life
without being aware of it. That inventions and discoveries increase
the productive force of labor in many cases (but in many cases not, as
the patent records everywhere show) we have been for a long time

LAW NO. II. "Division of Labor. The formation of branches of work and
the splitting up of activities increases the productivity of labor."

As far as this is true it is a mere commonplace since the time of Adam
Smith. How far it is true will appear in the third division of this

LAW NO. III. "Distance and transportation are the most important
causes of the advance or hindrance of the organization of productive

LAW NO. IV. "The industrial state has incomparably greater capacity
for population than the agricultural state."

LAW NO. V. "In economics only material interests count."

These are the natural laws on which Herr Duehring founds his new
economics. He remains true to his philosophic methods.

(Hereupon Engels proceeds to the discussion of Duehring's opinions on

Herr Duehring defines ground-rent as "that income which the landowner
as such derives from ground and land." The economic idea of
ground-rent, which Herr Duehring undertakes to explain to us, is
transformed right away into the juristic concept so that we are no
further than at first. He compares the leasing of a piece of land with
the loan of capital to an entrepreneur but finds, as is so often the
case, that the comparison will not hold. Then he says "to pursue the
analogy the profit which remains to the lessee after the payment of
ground-rent, answers to that portion of the profit on capital which
remains to the entrepreneur who operates with borrowed capital after
the interest on the borrowed capital has been paid."

(To these arguments Engels replies:)

The theory of ground-rent is a special English economic matter, and
this of necessity because only in England does a mode of production
exist by which rent is separated from profit and interest. In England
there prevail the greater landlordism and the greater agriculture. The
individual landlords lease their lands in great farms to lessees who
are able to cultivate them in a capitalistic fashion and do not, like
our peasants, work with their own hands, but employ laborers just like
capitalistic entrepreneurs. We have here then the three classes of
bourgeois society, and the income which each receives--the private
landlord in the form of ground-rent, the capitalist in that of profit
and the laborer in the form of wages. No English economist has ever
regarded the profit of the lessee as Herr Duehring does and still less
would he have to explain that the profit of the lessee is what it
indubitably is, profit on capital. In England there is no use to
discuss this question for the question as well as its answer are
obvious from the facts and, since the time of Adam Smith, there has
been no doubt at all about it.

The case in which the lessee cultivates his own land, as the rule in
Germany, for the profit of the ground landlord does not make any
difference in this respect. If the landlord cultivates the land for
his own profit and furnishes the capital he puts the profit on capital
in his pocket as well as the ground-rent for it cannot be otherwise
under existing conditions. And if Herr Duehring thinks that rent is
something different when the lessee cultivates the land for himself it
is not so and only shows his ignorance of the matter.

For example:--

"The revenue derived from labor is called wages; that derived from
stock by the person who manages or employs it is called profit. The
revenue which proceeds from land is called rent and belongs altogether
to the landlord. The revenue of the farmer is derived partly from his
labor and partly from his stock.... When those three different sorts
of labor belong to different persons they are readily distinguished,
but when they belong to the same they are sometimes confounded with
one another at least in common language. A gentleman who farms part of
his own estate, after paying the expenses of cultivation, should gain
both the rent of the landlord and the profit of the farmer. He is apt
to denominate, however, his whole gain, profit, and thus confounds
rent with profit, at least in common language. The greater part of our
North American and West Indian planters are in this situation. They
farm, the greater part of them, their own estates, and accordingly we
seldom hear of the rent of a plantation but frequently of its
profit.... A gardener who cultivates his own garden with his own
hands, unites in his own person the three different characters of
landlord, farmer, and laborer. His produce, therefore, should pay him
the rent of the first, the profit of the second and the wages of the
third. The whole, however, is commonly considered as the wages of his
labor. Both rent and profit are in this case confounded with wages."

This passage is in the sixth chapter of the first book of Adam Smith.
The case of the landholder who tills his own land has been examined a
hundred years ago and the doubts which perplex Herr Duehring so much
are caused entirely by his own ignorance.

_X. With Respect to the "Critical History"._

This which is the concluding portion of the Second Division of the
work and which deals with Herr Duehring's estimates of economic
writers is omitted as being of too limited and polemic a character for
general interest.




The first two chapters of this Division, which deal respectively with
the historical and the theoretical sides of Socialism, are omitted.
They have been already translated. The well known pamphlet "Socialism,
Utopian and Scientific" contains both of them. The second has also
been translated by R.C.K. Ensor and published in his "Modern


For him (Herr Duehring) socialism is by no means a necessary product
of economic development, and, still less, a development of the purely
economic conditions of the present day. He knows better than that. His
socialism is a final truth of the last instance, it is "the natural
system of society." He finds its root in a "universal system of
justice." And if he cannot take notice of the existing conditions
which are the product of the sinful history of man up to the present
time in order to improve them that is so much the worse, we must look
upon it as a misfortune for the true principles of justice. Herr
Duehring forms his socialism as he does everything else on the basis
of his two famous men. Instead of these two marionnetes, as
heretofore, playing the game of lord and slave they are converted to
that of equality and justice and the Duehring socialism is already

Clearly in the view of Herr Duehring the periodic industrial crises
have by no means the same significance as we must attribute to them.
According to Herr Duehring they are only occasional departures from
normality and furnish a splendid motive for the institution of a
properly regulated system.

(Duehring attributes crises to underconsumption; to which Engels

It is unfortunately true that the underconsumption of the masses and
the limitation of the expenditures of the great majority to the
necessities of life and the reproduction thereof is not by any means a
new phenomenon. It has existed as long as the appropriating and the
plundered classes have existed. Even in those historic periods where
the condition of the masses was exceptionally prosperous, as in
England in the fifteenth century, there was underconsumption; men were
very far from having their entire yearly product at their own
disposal. Although underconsumption has been a constant historical
phenomenon for a thousand years, the general break down in trade, due
to overproduction, has appeared, for the first time, within the last
fifteen years. Yet the vulgar political economy of Herr Duehring
attempts to explain the new phenomenon, not by means of the new factor
of overproduction, but by means of the exceedingly old factor of
underconsumption. It is just as if one were to try and explain a
change in the relation of two mathematical quantities, one of which is
constant and the other variable, not from the fact that the variable
quantity has varied, but that the constant has remained constant. The
underconsumption of the masses is a necessary condition of all forms
of society in which robbers and robbed exist, and therefore of the
capitalist system. But it is the capitalist system which first brings
about the economic crisis. Underconsumption is a prerequisite of
crises and plays a very conspicuous role in them, but it has no more
to do with the economic crisis of the present day than it had with the
former absence of such crises.

       *       *       *       *       *

In every society in which production has developed naturally, to which
class that of to-day belongs, the producers do not master the means of
production but the means of production dominate the producers.

In such a society every new leverage of production is converted into a
new means of subduing the producers beneath the means of production.
This was the cause of that instrument of production, the mightiest up
to the time of the introduction of the greater industry, the division
of labor. The first great division of labor, the separation of the
city and country, doomed the inhabitants of the rural districts to a
thousand years of stupidity and the people of the towns to be the
slaves of their own handiwork. It denied the chance of intellectual
development to the one and of physical development to the other. If
the peasant had his land and the town dweller his handiwork, it is
just as true to say that the land had the peasant and the handiwork
the townsman. As far as there was a division of labor there was also a
division of man. The rise of one single fact slaughtered all former
intellectual and bodily capacities. This annexation of man grew in
proportion as the division of labor developed and reached its
culmination in manufacture. Manufacture distributes production into
its separate operations, makes one of these operations the function of
the individual worker, and imprisons the worker for his whole life to
a given function and to a given tool. "It forces the workingman to
become an abnormality, since it makes him concentrate his efforts on
detail at the expense of the sacrifice of a world of forces and
capacities.... The individual himself becomes subdivided, he is
transformed into the automatic tool of the division of labor" (Marx).
This tool in many cases finds its perfection in the literal crippling
of the worker, body and soul. The machinery of the greater industry
degrades the workingman from a machine to being the mere appendage of
a machine. "From the lifelong specialization of looking after a
machine there comes the lifelong specialization of serving a part of a
machine. The abuse of machinery transforms the worker from childhood
into a portion of a part of a machine" (Marx). And not only the
workingman but the classes which indirectly or directly plunder the
workingman are also themselves involved in the division of labor and
become the slaves of their own tools. The spiritually-barren bourgeois
is the slave of his own capital and his own profit-getting, the jurist
is dominated by his ossified notions of justice which rule him as a
self-contained force; the "refined classes" are dominated by the local
limitations and prejudices, by their own physical and spiritual
astigmatism, by their specialised education and their lifelong bondage
to this specialty, even though the specialty be doing nothing.

The Utopists were thoroughly aware of the effects of the division of
labor, of the effect on the one hand of crippling the worker and on
the other of crippling the work, the unavoidable result of the
lifelong, monotonous repetition of one and the same act. The rise of
the antagonism between town and country was regarded by Fourier as
well as Owen as the beginning of the rise of the old division of
labor. According to both of them the population should be divided into
groups of from six hundred to three thousand each, distributed over
the country. Each group has an enormous house in the midst of its
territory and the housekeeping is done in common. Fourier occasionally
speaks of towns but these only consist of four or five of the big
communal houses in close proximity to each other. By both of them the
work of society is divided into agriculture and industry. According to
Fourier, handwork and machine manufacture were both included in the
latter while Owen made the great industry play the most important
part, and the steam engine and machinery performed the work of the
community. But both in agriculture and manufacture the two writers
named gave the greatest possible variety of occupation to individuals,
and accordingly the education of the young provided for the most
universal technical training. Both of them think that there will be a
universal development of the human race as a result of a universal
practical participation in practical work, and that work will recover
its old attractiveness, which has been lost as a result of the
division of labor, by virtue of this variety and the shortening of the
time expended upon it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Just as far as society obtains the domination of the social means of
production in order to organize them socially it abolishes the
existing servitude of man to his own means of production. Society
cannot be free without every member of society being free. The old
methods of production must be completely revolutionized and the old
form of the division of labor must be done away with above all. In its
place an organization of production will have to be made in which, on
the one hand, no single individual will be able to shift his share in
productive labor, in providing the essentials of human existence,
upon another, and on the other hand productive labor instead of being
a means of slavery will be a means towards human freedom, in that it
offers an opportunity to everyone to develop his full powers, physical
and intellectual, in every direction and to exercise them so that it
makes a pleasure out of a burden.

This is no longer at the present time a phantasy, a pious wish. Owing
to the present development of the powers of production, production has
proceeded far enough, provided that society endows itself with the
possession of the social forces and abolishes the checks and
impediments, as well as the waste of products and productive forces,
which springs from the capitalistic methods, to make a general
reduction of labor time, to an amount, small as compared with present
day ideas.

The abolition of the old method of division of labor is not an advance
which would not be possible except at the expense of the productivity
of labor, quite otherwise. It is a condition of production which has
come about spontaneously through the great industry. "The machine
industry does away with the necessity of constantly distributing
groups of workmen at the different machines by keeping the worker
constantly at the same task. Since the total product of the factory,
proceeds not from the worker but from the machine, a continual
changing about of individuals could not exist, without an interruption
of the labor-process. Finally the speed with which work at the machine
is learnt even by children does away with the necessity of training a
distinct class of workmen exclusively as machine laborers." But while
the capitalistic method of use of machinery does away with the old
limited particularity of labor, and, in spite of the fact, that
technique is rendered superfluous, machinery itself rebels against the
anachronism. The technical basis of the greater industry is
revolutionary. "Through machinery, chemical processes and other
methods, the functions of the working class and the social labor
process are revolutionized along with the technical basis of
production. The division of labor is also revolutionized and masses of
capital and labor are hurled incontinently from one branch of industry
to another. The nature of the greater industry demands mobility of
labor, a fluidity of functions and a complete adaptibility on the part
of the laborers. We have seen how this absolute contradiction shows
itself in the continual sacrifice of the working class, the most
complete waste of labor force, and the dominance of social anarchy.
But if the mobility of labor now appears to be a law of nature beyond
human control which realizes itself, in spite of all obstacles, it
also becomes a matter of life and death for the greater industry,
owing to its catastrophic character, to recognise the mobility of
labor and hence the greatest possible adaptibility of the working
class, as a universal law of social production, and to accommodate
circumstances to its normal development. It becomes a question of life
and death for the greater industry to keep an enormous number of
people on the edge of starvation always in reserve, in order that they
may be able to be placed at the disposal of the needs of capital as
these vary."

While the greater industry has taught us how to transform molecular
movement into mass movement in order to fulfill technical needs, it
has, in the same measure, freed industrial production from local
limits. Water power was local, steam power is free. If water power
belongs to the country, steam power is by no means limited to the
town. It is capitalistic practice which causes concentration into
cities and which makes manufacturing towns of manufacturing villages.
But thereby at the same time it undermines the essentials of its own
motive force. The first requisite of the steam engine and a prime
requisite of all branches of motive power is a sufficient quantity of
pure water. The factory town transforms all water into evil smelling
sewage. Therefore, in proportion as the concentration into cities is
the foundation of capitalistic production, each individual capitalist
tries to get away from the towns which have been necessarily produced
to the motive forces of the country. This process may be individually
observed in the textile districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The
greater industry creates new towns in the course of its progress from
the town to the country. The same phenomenon was to be observed in the
districts of the metal industry where somewhat different causes
produce identical results.

The capitalistic character of the greater industry is responsible for
this aimless blundering and these new contradictions. Only a society
which organizes its industrial forces according to a single great
harmonious plan, can permit industry to settle itself in such a manner
throughout the land as to secure its own development and the retention
and development of the most important elements of production.

The abolition of the antagonism between town and country is now not
only possible, it has become an absolute necessity for industrial
production itself. It has also become a necessity for agricultural
production, and is, above all, essential to the maintenance of the
public health. Only through the amalgamation of city and country can
the present poisoning of air, water, and localities, be put at an end
and the waste filth of the cities be used for the cultivation of
vegetation rather than the spreading of disease.

The capitalistic industry has made itself relatively independent of
local limitations for its raw materials. The textile industry works
with imported raw materials for the most part. Spanish iron ores are
worked up in England and Germany, and South American copper ores in
England. Every coal field supplies a yearly increasing number of
places beyond its own confines. The whole coast of Europe has steam
engines driven by English and, occasionally German and Belgian, coal.
A society freed from the limits of capitalistic production could make
still further advances. While it makes a sort of all round skilled
producers, who are acquainted with the scientific requirements of
general industrial production, and by whom every new succession of
branches of production is completely developed from beginning to end,
it creates a new productive force which undertakes the transportation
of a superabundance of raw material or fuel.

The abolition of the separation between town and country is no Utopia,
it is an essential condition of the proportionate distribution of the
greater industry throughout the country. Civilization has left us a
number of large cities, as an inheritance, which it will take much
time and trouble to abolish. But they must and will be done away with,
however much time and trouble it may take. Whatever fate may be in
store for the German nation, Bismarck may have the proud consciousness
that his dearest wish, the downfall of the great city, will be

And now we can see the childishness of Herr Duehring's notion that
society can obtain possession of the means of production without
revolutionizing the old methods of production from the ground up and
above all doing away with the old form of the division of labor.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is easy to see that the revolutionary elements which will abolish
the old division of labor together with the separation of town and
country and will revolutionize production as a whole are already in
embryo in the methods of production of the modern great industry and
their unfolding is only hindered by the capitalistic methods of
production of to-day. But to see all this, it is necessary to have a
broader outlook than the mere limitations of the Prussian Code, the
country where schnapps and beet sugar are the staple industries, and
you have to study industrial crises by way of the book-trade. (This is
a sneer at one of Duehring's illustrations: Ed.) One has to understand
the history and the present manifestations of the greater industry
particularly in that land where it has its home and where it has had
its classic development. It must not be imagined that modern
scientific socialism can be done away with by the specific Prussian
Socialism of Herr Duehring.


We have seen that Duehring's economics depend upon the statement that
the capitalistic method of production is good enough and can be kept
up, but that the capitalistic method of distribution is bad and must
be done away with. We now discover that the "sociality" of Herr
Duehring is merely the imaginary putting into force of this statement.
In fact it appears that Herr Duehring has nothing to declare
respecting the method of production as such in a capitalistic society,
and that he will maintain the old division of labor in all its
essential features. So he has hardly a word to say about production in
his social state. Production is too dangerous a ground for him to
tread on. On the other hand, in his estimation, distribution is not
bound up with production but can be settled by an act of the will.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us consider all the ideas of Herr Duehring as realized. Let us
then assume that the society pays each of its members for his work a
sum in gold in which are incorporated six hours of labor, say twelve
marks. Let us now imagine that prices and values are in full accord,
so that under our hypothesis only the cost of raw materials, the wear
and tear of machinery, the use of tools and wages are comprehended. A
society then of a hundred working members produces daily goods of the
value of 1200 marks, and in a year of three hundred working days three
hundred and sixty thousand marks and expends the entire amount on its
working members and thus each member has his share of three thousand
six hundred marks a year. At the end of the year and at the end of a
hundred years the society is no better off than it was at the
beginning. Accumulation is entirely overlooked. Worse than that, since
accumulation is a social necessity and the hoarding of gold is an
elementary form of accumulation, the organization of a society on this
basis will necessitate private accumulation on the part of its members
and consequently the destruction of the society.

How can this difficulty with respect to the economic society be
overcome? Refuge might be taken in a forcible raising of proceeds and
the produce of the society sold at four hundred and eighty thousand
marks instead of for three hundred and sixty thousand. But all other
economic societies would be in the same fix and each would have to
make it out of the other with the result that they would only be
extorting tribute from their own members.

Or it might find an easy way out by paying for six hours work less
than the product of six hours work, eight marks a day instead of
twelve, prices remaining the same. It accomplishes in this way plainly
and openly what formerly it did secretly, it adopts the Marx surplus
value notion to the amount of one hundred and twenty thousand marks a
year, since it pays the members under the value of their work and
reckons the goods which they are only able to buy by its means at
their full value. His economic society therefore can only get a
reserve fund by adopting the truck system. Therefore one of two things
is certain, either the economic society practices "equal work for
equal work" and then it can get no funds for the maintenance and
development of industry except through private sources, or it does
create such a fund and ceases to practice "equal work for equal work."

This is the fact about the exchange in the economic society, but what
about the form of it? According to Herr Duehring in his economic
society money does not function as money between the members of the
society. It serves merely as a labor certificate; it corresponds with
the expression of Marx "only the share of the individual of the common
labor, and his individual claim to the consumption of a certain
portion of the common product" and in this function, says Herr
Duehring, it is just as little money as a theater ticket. In short it
functions in exchange like Owens "labor-time money." As far as the
mere calculating between amount due for production and the amount to
be expended in consumption of the individual member of the society is
concerned, paper markers or gold would serve the purpose equally well.
But it would not do for other purposes as will appear.

If the specie does not function as money among the members of a given
society, but as a mark of labor, it functions still less as money in
the exchange between different economic societies. According to the
theory of Herr Duehring, therefore, specie as money is entirely
superfluous. In fact it would be mere bookkeeping to set off the
products of equal labor against the products of equal labor, according
to the natural measure of labor-time, taking the labor-hour as a
unit--if the labor hours are first translated into terms of money.
Exchange is in reality only simple exchange; all surpluses are easily
and simply equalized by means of bills of exchange on other societies.
But when one community has a deficit in its dealings with another
community it can only make it up by increasing its labor output, if it
is not to suffer disgrace in the eyes of other communities. The reader
will notice here that this is no attempt at social reconstruction. We
are simply taking the notions of Herr Duehring and showing their
unavoidable conclusions.

Therefore neither in exchange among the individual members of a
society nor in exchange between different economic societies can gold
realize itself as money. Yet Herr Duehring says that the function of
money is carried out even in his "sociality." We must therefore
discover another field of activity for this money function. Herr
Duehring predicates a quantitatively equal consumption. But he cannot
compel that. On the other hand, he prides himself that in his
community one can do with his money as he will. He cannot prevent one
man, therefore, from saving money and another from not making his
wages sufficient. This is indisputable, for he recognises the common
property of the family in inheritance and talks about the duty of
parents to provide for their children. Thereby his quantitatively
equal consumption comes a cropper. The young unmarried man can get
along splendidly on twelve marks a day, but the widower with eight
young children has a hard time of it. On the other hand the community,
since it takes money in payment without ceremony, lets money be
acquired otherwise than by individual labor when the opportunity
offers. _Non olet._ It does not know whence it comes. But now arises
the chance for money which has up to now played the role of a standard
of work performed to operate as real money. The opportunities and the
motives arise for saving money on the one hand and squandering it on
the other. The needy borrows from the saver. The borrowed money taken
by the community in payment for means of living becomes again, what it
is in present day society, the social incarnation of human labor, the
real measure of labor, the universal means of circulation. All the
laws in the world are powerless against it, just as powerless as they
are against the multiplication table or the chemical composition of
water. And the saver of money is in a position to demand interest so
that specie functioning as money again becomes a breeder of interest.

So far as we have only dealt with the operation of specie inside of
Herr Duehring's economic society. But beyond the confines of that
society the world goes peacefully along its old way. Gold and silver
remain in the world-market, as world money, as the universal means of
purchase and payment, as the absolute social incorporation of wealth.
And in this ownership of the precious metals the individual societies
find a new motive for saving, for getting rich, for increasing their
supply,--the motive of becoming free and independent of the
communities beyond their borders and of converting into money their
piled up wealth in the world market. The profit hunters transform
themselves into traders in the means of circulation, into bankers,
into controllers of the means of production, though these may remain
forever as the property of the economic and trading communities in
name. Therewith the savers and profit mongers who have been converted
into bankers become the lords of the economic and trading communes.
The "sociality" of Herr Duehring is very distinct from the "cloudy
ideas" of the earlier socialists. It has no other end than the
resurrection of the high finance.

The only value with which political economy is acquainted is the value
of commodities. What are commodities? Products produced in a society
composed of more or less separated private producers and therefore
private products. But these private products first become commodities
when they are made not for private use but for the use of someone
else, that is for social use. They are converted into objects of
social use by means of exchange. The private producers are therefore
in a social relationship, they constitute a society. Their private
products, while the private products of each individual, are at the
same time, unconsciously and indeed involuntarily, social products
also. Wherein does the social character of these private products
consist? Plainly in two properties, in the first place because they
satisfy human needs but have no use-value for the producers, and in
the second place that, while they are the products of individual
private producers, they are at the same time plainly the products of
human labor, of human labor in general. In so far as they have a
use-value for other people they can be exchanged; in so far as they
all possess the common quality of human labor in general, they can be
mutually compared in exchange by means of this labor. In two similar
products under identical social conditions there may be unequal
amounts of private labor, but equal amounts of human labor in general.
An unskillful smith might take as long to make five horseshoes as it
would take a skillful smith to make ten. But society does not fix the
price according to accidental lack of skill of the one, it recognises
only human labor in general, the human labor of the ordinary normal
skilled smith. Each of the five horseshoes then made by the first does
not have any more value than each of the other ten which were made in
the same time as the five. Only so far as is socially necessary does
private labor comprehend human labor in general.

Therefore I maintain that a commodity has a certain value, 1st.
because it is a socially useful product, 2nd. because it is produced
by a private individual for private profit, 3d. because while it is a
product of private labor, it is, at the same time, unconsciously and
involuntarily a social product and exchanges socially according to a
definite social standard, 4th. this standard is not expressed in terms
of labor, in so many hours, but in another commodity. If, therefore, I
say that this clock is worth this piece of cloth and that they are
both worth fifty marks, I say that in the clock, the cloth and the
gold there is an equal amount of social labor. I also affirm that the
amounts of social labor time in them are socially measured and found
to be equal, not directly and absolutely however, as one measures
labor time in hours or days, but in a round about fashion, relatively,
by means of exchange. I cannot therefore express this certain amount
of labor-time in labor hours, since their number is not known to me,
but I can express it relatively in terms of another commodity, which
has the same amount of labor time incorporated in it. The clock is
worth as much as the piece of cloth.

But while the production of commodities and the exchange of
commodities compel the society resting upon them to take this
roundabout course, they are impelled to a shortening of the process.
They separate from the mass of commodities one sovereign commodity, in
which the value of all other commodities can be universally expressed,
a commodity which is the complete incarnation of social labor, and,
against which, all other commodities may be set in direct
comparison--gold. Gold already germinates in the idea of value, it is
only developed value. But since the commodity value exists in gold
also, itself being a commodity, a new factor arises in the society
which produces and exchanges commodities, a factor with new social
functions and operations. We can now examine this a little more

The economy of the production of commodities is by no means the only
science which has to reckon with relatively known factors. Even in
physics, we do not know how many single gas molecules there are in a
given volume of gas, pressure and temperature being given. But we
know, as far as Boyle's law is correct, that a given volume of that
gas has as many molecules as a similar volume of another selected gas
at the same pressure and the same temperature. We can therefore
compare the different volumes of different gases with respect to their
molecular content, and, if we take one litre of gas at 0° Fahrenheit
as the unit we can refer the molecular content of each to this
standard. In chemistry the absolute atomic weights of separate
elements is unknown to us. But we know them relatively when we know
their mutual conditions. And just as the production of commodities and
their economy has a relative expression for the unknown quantities of
labor existing in commodities, since it compares these commodities
according to the relative amounts of labor which they contain, so
chemistry makes a relative expression for the amounts of atomic
weights unknown to it, since it compares the separate elements
according to their atomic weights and expresses the weight of the one
as multiples or factors of the other. And just as the production of
commodities elevates gold to the position of an absolute commodity, to
the universal equivalent for other commodities, the measure of values,
so chemistry elevates hydrogen to the position of a chemical
gold-commodity, since it fixes the atomic weight of hydrogen at 1 and
reduces the atomic weights of all the other elements in terms of
hydrogen and expresses them as multiples of its atomic weight.

The production of commodities is by no means the exclusive form of
social production. In the ancient Indian communities and the family
communities of the Southern Slavs products were not transformed into
commodities. The members of the community were directly engaged in
social production, the work was distributed as custom and
circumstances required as were the products as they came into the
realm of consumption. Direct social production and direct social
consumption exclude all exchange of commodities and hence the
transformation of products into commodities (at least within the
confines of the society) and therewith their transformation into

As soon as society comes into direct possession of the means of
production and undertakes production as a society, the labor of each,
however distinctive its special useful character may be, becomes
direct social labor. The amount of social labor existing in a product
does not then have to be established in a roundabout way, daily
experience shows the average amount of human labor necessary. Society
can easily determine how many hours of labor there are in a steam
engine, how many in a hectolitre of wheat of last harvest, how many in
a hundred square yards of cloth of a given quality. It cannot
therefore happen that the quantities of labor embodied in commodities,
which will then be absolutely and directly known, will be expressed in
terms of a measure which is only relative, fluctuating, inadequate and
absolute, in a third product, and not in their natural, adequate and
absolute measure, time. This would not happen any more than in
chemistry. One would express the atomic weights indirectly by means of
hydrogen if it were possible to express them absolutely in their
adequate measure, that is in real weight, that is in billions or
quadrillions of grammes. Under the foregoing conditions, then, society
ascribes no value to products. The simple fact that a hundred yards of
cloth have taken a thousand hours in their production need not be
expressed in any distorted or foolish fashion, they would be worth a
thousand labor hours. Society would then know how much labor each
object of use required for its creation. It would have to direct the
plan of production in accordance with the means of production to which
labor-force also belongs. The advantageous effects of the different
objects of use and their relations to each other and the creation of
the necessary means of labor would be the sole determinants of the
plan of production. People make things very easily without any
interference on the part of the much discussed "value."

The value idea is the most universal and the most comprehensive
expression of the economic conditions of the production of
commodities. In the idea of value there is not only the germ of gold
but also of those more highly developed forms of commodity production
and exchange. Since value is the expression of the social labor
incorporated in individual products, there lies the possibility of a
difference between this and the individual labor embodied in the same
product. This difference becomes very apparent to a private producer
who abides by an old fashioned method of production while the social
method of production has taken a step forward. It then appears that
the sum of all the private manufacturers of a given commodity produce
an amount in excess of the social needs. Then, since the value of a
commodity is expressed only in terms of other commodities and can only
be realised in exchange with them, the possibility arises that either
exchange will cease or that the commodity will not realise its full
value. Finally, the specific commodity labor-force finds its value
like that of other wares in the social labor time necessary for its
production. In the value form of the product there is already in
embryo the entire capitalistic form of production, the antagonism
between the capitalists and the wage-workers, the industrial reserve
army, the crisis. The capitalistic system will be abolished by the
restoration of true value (just as Catholicism will be abolished by
the restoration of the true Pope), or by the restoration of a society
in which the producer finally dominates his product, by the doing away
of an economic category which is the most comprehensive expression of
the slavery of the producer to his own product.

When the society producing commodities has developed the inherent
value form of the commodities, as such, to the gold-form, various
germs of value hitherto hidden thereupon begin to sprout. The next
substantial step is the generalising of commodity forms. Gold makes
objects directly produced for use into commodities by driving them
into exchange. Thereupon the commodity and the gold smite the
community which is engaged in social production, break one social tie
after another and finally dissolve the society into a mass of private
producers. Gold establishes, as in India, individual cultivation of
the land in the place of communal cultivation, then it destroys the
system of regular distribution of communal lands among individuals and
makes ownership final, and lastly it leads to the division of the
communal wood land. Whatever other causes arising from the industrial
development may work along with it, gold is always the most powerful
instrument for the destruction of the communal society.

_The State, the Family, and Education._

(Herr Duehring says "In the free society there will be no religion,
since, in all its degrees, it tends to destroy the originality of the
child, in that it places something above nature or behind it, which
may be affected by means of works or prayers" also "a properly
constituted socialist state will do away with all the paraphernalia of
spiritualistic magic, and all the actual forms of religion." Engels

Religion will be forbidden. Now, religion is nothing but the fantastic
reflection in men's minds of the external forces which dominate their
every day existence, a reflection in which earthly forces take the
form of the super-natural. In the beginning of history it is the
forces of nature which first produce this reflection and in the course
of development of different peoples give rise to manifold and various
personification. This first process is capable of being traced, at
least as far as the Indo-European peoples are concerned, by
comparative mythology, to its source in the Indian Vedas and its
advance can be shown among the Indians, Greeks, Persian, Romans, and
Germans, and, as far as the material is available, also among the
Celts, Lithuanians, and Slavs. But, besides the forces of nature, the
social forces dominated men by their apparent necessity, for these
forces were, in reality, just as strange and unaccountable to men as
were the forces of nature. The imaginary forms in which, at first,
only the secret forces of nature were reflected, became possessed of
social attributes, became the representatives of historical forces. By
a still further development the natural and social attributes of a
number of gods were transformed to one all-powerful god, who is, on
his part, only the reflection of man in the abstract. So arose
monotheism, which was historically the latest product of the Greek
vulgar philosophy, and found its impersonation in the Hebrew
exclusively national god, Jahve. In this convenient, handy and
adaptible form religion can continue to exist as the direct, that is,
the emotional form of the relations of man to the dominating outside,
natural, and social forces, as long as man is under the power of these
forces. But we have seen over and over again in modern bourgeois
society that man is dominated by the conditions which he has himself
created and that he is controlled by the same means of production
which he himself has made. The fundamental facts which give rise to
the reflection by religion therefore still persist and with them the
reflection persists also. And just because bourgeois economy has a
certain insight into the relations of the original causes of this
phenomenon, it does not alter it a particle. Bourgeois economy can
neither prevent crises, on the whole, nor can it stop the greed of the
individual capitalists, their disgrace and bankruptcy, nor can it
prevent the individual laborers from suffering deprivation of
employment and poverty. Man proposes and God (to wit, the outside
force of the capitalistic method of production) disposes. Mere
knowledge even though it be broader and deeper than bourgeois
economics is of no avail to upset the social forces of the master of
society. That is fundamentally a social act. Let us suppose that this
act is accomplished and society in all its grades freed from the
slavery to the means of production which it has made but which now
dominate it as an outside force. Let us suppose that man no longer
merely proposes but that he also disposes. Under such conditions the
last vestiges of the external force which now dominates man are
destroyed, that force which is now reflected in religion. Therewith,
the religious reflection itself is destroyed owing to the simple fact
that there is nothing more to reflect.

But Herr Duehring cannot wait until religion dies a natural death. He
treats it after a radical fashion. He out Bismarcks Bismarck, he makes
severe "May laws" not only against Catholicism but against all
religion. He sets his gendarmes of the future on religion and thereby
gives it a longer lease of life by martyrdom. Wherever we look we find
that Duehring's socialism has the Prussian brand.

After Herr Duehring has blithely got rid of religion he says "Man can
now, since he is dependent upon himself and nature alone,
intelligently direct the social forces in every way which open to him
the course of things and his own existence." Let us look for a little
while at that course of things to which the self-reliant human can
give direction.

The first in the course of things by which man becomes self-reliant is
being born. Then during the time of his immaturity his education is in
the hands of his mother. "This period may, as in the old Roman law,
reach to the age of puberty, that is to about fourteen years of age."
Only where the older boys do not respect the authority of the mother
does the father's assistance play a part and the public method of
education robs this of all harm. With puberty the boy comes under the
natural care of his father, where this is exercised in a truly
fatherly manner, in other cases society takes charge of his education.

As Herr Duehring has already maintained the position that it is
possible to convert the capitalistic methods of production into social
methods without disturbing the mode of production itself, so he here
seems to think that one can separate the modern bourgeois family from
its entire economic foundations without any change in the whole form
of the family. This form is so permanent in his estimation that he
thinks of the old Roman jurisprudence, in an "improved" form, as the
model of the family for ever, and he does not conceive of the family
otherwise than as a permanent unit. The Utopists have the superiority
over Herr Duehring here. In their estimation a really free mutual
condition would arise in all the family relations as a result of the
free association and the public ownership of the instruments of
production together with the institution of a system of public
education. And Marx has shown furthermore in his "Capital" how "the
greater industry, which takes widows, young persons and children of
both sexes from the home, and employs them in organized social
productive processes, lays the foundation for a higher form of the
family and better conditions for people of both sexes."



The foregoing pages will have given the reader some idea of the
infinite care which Engels expended in order to keep abreast of the
chief scientific discoveries of his times. He was as painstaking as a
genius. On the other hand, his modesty was almost absurd, for he never
ventured to claim anything for himself, and such ability as was
displayed in the laying of the economic political foundations of the
socialist movement was invariably credited by him to the superior
talent and comprehension of Marx.

There is no question that the work constitutes a most effective reply
to the arguments of Duehring, with whom, poor fellow, we need no
longer trouble ourselves. It constitutes, moreover, a very formidable
answer to all those who seek for a justification of the socialist
movement in those abstract conceptions which the average man finds it
so hard to escape. In fact, so removed is the point of view of the
writer of the foregoing pages from that of the man in the street that
it is doubtful whether it is possible for more than a comparatively
few students thoroughly to grasp the significance of the dialectic and
to apply it in a satisfactory and effective fashion. Still, there is
no question that this understanding of the socialist movement, as a
movement, is absolutely required of all who can be considered as
taking an intelligent and useful attitude with regard to social and
political questions.

The possession of this key gave the two founders of the modern
socialist movement such a comprehension of the tendencies of modern
civilization as enabled them to make those economic and political
predictions which have been so completely fulfilled.

There is little need to call attention to the fact that much of
Engels' argument is now antiquated in face of the growth of science
and the almost incredible development of mechanical invention and the
material progress consequent upon it. It could not have been
otherwise. The wonders of Engels' day are the commonplaces of our
existence. The machines, which he considered so wonderful and so
change-compelling have already been "scrapped" for new machines of
greater power and capacity for production. The remark that the
battleship had in his time arrived at a point where it was as
expensive as it was unfit for fighting sounds almost ridiculous in
face of the tremendous development of the engines of naval warfare
since he wrote, and the invention and use of the submarine. Still it
must be remembered that there has been no really great test of ships
of war since Engels' day and that the expense of modern navies is
worrying the governments to distraction. Only a few weeks ago Lord
Charles Beresford refused to accept the command of the Channel
Squadron unless provided with an equipment the expense of which seemed
almost intolerable to Great Britain, wealthy as that country is and
dependent as she is on the maintenance of the sea power. Great armies
are still on the increase and the expense of their support combined
with the unsatisfactoriness of their performances is by no means
reassuring to those who have the responsibility for national military
organization. The Boer War proved the unreliability of the armed
forces of one power, at all events, and the performances of great
masses of trained men in the Russo-Japanese conflict have not inspired
any very great respect for the effectiveness of these colossal and
expensive fighting machines. Together with the breakdown of armies and
navies, as a material fact, there has grown up a strong prejudice
against their employment, and the anti-war attitude of the
international proletariat has been supplemented and strengthened by
the distinct growth of an international peace spirit in certain
sections of the middle class. So that in spite of superficial
appearances it does not seem to be so very unlikely that the action of
the dialectic will be manifest in the destruction of modern armaments,
at least as far as the greater nations are concerned, though there is
little doubt that military forces will still be maintained for the
purpose of bullying and overawing the smaller and weaker peoples.

Mention has already been made of the fact that Engels never really
divested himself of the old "forty-eight" spirit. The notion that a
revolution would break out somewhere in the near future finds a
curiously fixed, if unexpressed, lodgment in his mind. One cannot help
feeling that he expected things to mature earlier than they have done
and that he anticipated that changes in the mode of production and the
development of industry would have made a stronger impression upon the
mind of the proletarian than history shows to have been the case. This
latent, but still persistent, notion is in curious contrast to the
almost detached way in which, particularly in his later years, he
views the course of economic and political events. He never really in
fact divested his mind of the notion of the imminence of social
revolution, for in his 1892 preface to "The Condition of the Working
Class in England in 1844" he says, "I have taken care not to strike
out of the text the many prophecies, amongst others that of an
imminent social revolution in England, which my youthful ardor induced
me to venture upon." His youthful ardor seems never to have really
abated in that respect. The dreams of boyhood seem to have haunted him
and the old fighter stirred uneasily in his study chair at the echoes
of past conflicts in which he also heard the bugles of the coming
fight. To those who have watched the development of Engels' thought,
as shown in his works, this philosophic, unemotional way of looking at
things proves the effect of experience and age upon the fighter. He
started with a heart inflamed with the wrongs of the suffering, as the
damning pages of the work above cited show; he ends with a calm and
dispassionate enquiry (apart from what he considered to be the
exigencies of controversy) into the fundamental causes of economic and
social progress. The burning enthusiasm and white-hot indignation had
died down in him ere he reached the stage of the Duehring controversy.
He finds that although not everything that is real is reasonable, to
use the phrase against which he has fulminated in "Feuerbach,"
nevertheless every step in human progress has been an essential step
and it is impossible to hurry things. To the proletarian he looks of
course as the next great actor in the drama of social development. But
the proletarian, while his destiny is indubitable, is still not a
being apart from existing conditions. He exists in the conditions, is
in fact part of the conditions, and, while at war with them, takes on
the color of his surroundings. The facts of life have driven him to
an unconscious rejection of old faiths and old philosophies but they
have not forced him to take up the sword against the actual realities
of modern life, to which he appears, in fact, to submit himself with a
humility which is at least provoking to the eager and enthusiastic

What wonders of economic organization, what triumphs in mechanical
production have been achieved since Engels gave the last revision to
this book in 1894 we in the United States at least have cause to know.
The entire structure of production has been modified from top to
bottom, the old individual doctrine has fallen victim to its
dialectic, and concentrated industry and collective capital now rise
supreme over the ruins of that individualism which gave them birth and
to which they owe their existence. In the name of the individual the
individual is denied. The courts hand down decisions in the name of
individual liberty which have for their result the dethroning and
extermination of the individual. The conglomeration of individual
states which was considered the very foundation of the American
government, and the outward and visible sign of collective sovereignty
is already in its death throes. The dialectic of the United States is
in course of development and there comes about in consequence the
birth of the United Imperial Republic, a republic which is so only in
name, which is, in fact, as little of a republic as were those
oligarchies of the Middle Ages whose very existence defamed the name
of republic. The old things have passed away, all things have become

Still there is one factor which has not really appreciably changed,
one factor which is always confronted by the same necessity, the
necessity of maintaining its existence. This factor is the working
class. The dialectic is at work with the working class also, and that
which according to the individualistic notion consisted of isolated
units seeking their daily bread in meek conformity with the laws of
contract and property will disappear into that great collective
organized body of labor which spurns the theories of contract and
thereby makes itself no longer subject but master.

                                                    AUSTIN LEWIS.

       *       *       *       *       *

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