We have faith, on the contrary, in the eternal virtus medicatrix naturae (healing power of Nature), and socialism is precisely that breath of a new and better life which will free humanity—after some access of fever perhaps—from the noxious products of the present phase of civilization, and which, in a more advanced phase, will give a new power and opportunity of expansion to all the healthy and fruitful energies of all human beings.
Rome, June, 1894.
 The word in the original means a mariner’s compass.—Tr.
Virchow and Haeckel at the congress of Munich.
On the 18th of September, 1877, Ernest Haeckel, the celebrated embryologist of Jena, delivered at the Congress of Naturalists, which was held at Munich, an eloquent address defending and propagating Darwinism, which was at that time the object of the most bitter polemical attacks.
A few days afterward, Virchow, the great pathologist,—an active member of the “progressive” parliamentary party, hating new theories in politics just as much as in science—violently assailed the Darwinian theory of organic evolution, and, moved by a very just presentiment, hurled against it this cry of alarm, this political anathema: “Darwinism leads directly to socialism.”
The German Darwinians, and at their head Messrs. Oscar Schmidt and Haeckel, immediately protested; and, in order to avert the addition of strong political opposition to the religious, philosophical, and biological opposition already made to Darwinism, they maintained, on the contrary, that the Darwinian theory is in direct, open and absolute opposition to socialism.
“If the Socialists were prudent,” wrote Oscar Schmidt in the “Ausland” of November 27, 1877, “they would do their utmost to kill, by silent neglect, the theory of descent, for that theory most emphatically proclaims that the socialist ideas are impracticable.”
“As a matter of fact,” said Haeckel, “there is no scientific doctrine which proclaims more openly than the theory of descent that the equality of individuals, toward which socialism tends, is an impossibility; that this chimerical equality is in absolute contradiction with the necessary and, in fact, universal inequality of individuals.
“Socialism demands for all citizens equal rights, equal duties, equal possessions and equal enjoyments; the theory of descent establishes, on the contrary, that the realization of these hopes is purely and simply impossible; that, in human societies, as in animal societies, neither the rights, nor the duties, nor the possessions, nor the enjoyments of all the members of a society are or ever can be equal.