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parrot, with whom I was on intimate terms, were not creatures like myself, but were brutal whilst I was reasonable, I not only did not believe it, but quite consciously and intellectually formed the opinion that the distinction was false; so that afterwards, when Darwin’s views were first unfolded to me, I promptly said that I had found out all that for myself before I was ten years old; and I am far from sure that my youthful arrogance was not justified; for this sense of the kinship of all forms of life is all that is needed to make Evolution not only a conceivable theory, but an inspiring one.  St Anthony was ripe for the Evolution theory when he preached to the fishes, and St Francis when he called the birds his little brothers.  Our vanity, and our snobbish conception of Godhead as being, like earthly kingship, a supreme class distinction instead of the rock on which Equality is built, had led us to insist on God offering us special terms by placing us apart from and above all the rest of his creatures.  Evolution took that conceit out of us; and now, though we may kill a flea without the smallest remorse, we at all events know that we are killing our cousin.  No doubt it shocks the flea when the creature that an almighty Celestial Flea created expressly for the food of fleas, destroys the jumping lord of creation with his sharp and enormous thumbnail; but no flea will ever be so foolish as to preach that in slaying fleas Man is applying a method of Natural Selection which will finally evolve a flea so swift that no man can catch him, and so hardy of constitution that Insect Powder will have no more effect on him than strychnine on an elephant.

WHY DARWIN PLEASED THE SOCIALISTS

The Humanitarians were not alone among the agitators in their welcome to Darwin.  He had the luck to please everybody who had an axe to grind.  The Militarists were as enthusiastic as the Humanitarians, the Socialists as the Capitalists.  The Socialists were specially encouraged by Darwin’s insistence on the influence of environment.  Perhaps the strongest moral bulwark of Capitalism is the belief in the efficacy of individual righteousness.  Robert Owen made desperate efforts to convince England that her criminals, her drunkards, her ignorant and stupid masses, were the victims of circumstance:  that if we would only establish his new moral world we should find that the masses born into an educated and moralized community would be themselves educated and moralized.  The stock reply to this is to be found in Lewes’s Life of Goethe.  Lewes scorned the notion that circumstances govern character.  He pointed to the variety of character in the governing rich class to prove the contrary.  Similarity of circumstance can hardly be carried to a more desolating dead level than in the case of the individuals who are born and bred in English country houses, and sent first to Eton or Harrow, and then to Oxford or Cambridge, to have

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