A Critical Examination of Socialism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about A Critical Examination of Socialism.

One of my reasons, then, for beginning the present examination of socialism with exposing the fallacy of principles which the intellectual socialists of to-day are so eager to proclaim that they have long since abandoned, is the fact that these principles are still the principles of the multitude; that for practical purposes they are those which most urgently require refutation; and that the intellectual socialists who have doubtless repudiated them personally, not only do not attempt to discredit them in the eyes of the ignorant, but themselves continue to appeal to them as instruments of popular agitation.

My other reason for following the course in question is that the theory of socialism in its higher and more recent forms, which recognises directive intellect in addition to manual effort as one of the forces essential to the production of modern wealth, cannot be understood and estimated in any profitable way, without a previous examination of those earlier doctrines and ideas, some of which it still retains, while it modifies and rejects others.

And now let us take up again the thread of our main argument.  We laid this down early in the present chapter, having emphasised the fact that, the intellectual socialists of to-day agree, on their own admission, with one proposition at all events which has been elucidated in this volume—­namely, that labour alone, as one of their spokesmen puts it, “is impotent to produce the wealth of modern nations,” the faculties and the functions of the minority by whom labour is directed and organised being no less essential to the result than the labour of the majority itself.  In the following chapter we shall see that this agreement extends yet further.


[3] Mr. Hillquit—­a lawyer, who has adopted the business of propagating socialism in America—­is unknown in England; but his name, not long ago, was to be found in the English papers, as that of one of the representatives sent from America to a recent Socialistic Congress in Europe.  Amongst the socialists of the United States he holds a position analogous to that enjoyed by Mr. Shaw, Mr. Webb, and Mr. Ramsey Macdonald in England.

[4] Whilst this work was in the press a “Catechism,” lately published in England, for use of children, was sent me.  It was proposed to use this Catechism on Sundays in the London County Council Schools.  The first economic “lesson” in it begins thus:  “Who creates all wealth?  The working-class.  Who are the workers?  Men who work for wages.”  All who are not wage-workers are declared in this catechism to be absolutely idle and not productive.

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A Critical Examination of Socialism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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