Then individual tendencies and psychological aptitudes will adapt themselves to the environment. It is natural that in an individualist environment, a world of free competition, in which every individual sees in every other if not an adversary, at least a competitor, anti-social egoism should be the tendency which is inevitably most highly developed, as a necessary result of the instinct of self-preservation, especially in these latest phases of a civilization which seems to be driven at full steam, compared to the pacific and gentle individualism of past centuries.
In an environment where every one, in exchange for intellectual or manual labor furnished to society, will be assured of his daily bread and will thus be saved from daily anxiety, it is evident that egoism will have far fewer stimulants, fewer occasions to manifest itself than solidarity, sympathy and altruism will have. Then that pitiless maxim—homo homini lupus—will cease to be true—a maxim which, whether we admit it or not, poisons so much of our present life.
I can not dwell longer on these details and I conclude here the examination of this second pretended opposition between socialism and evolution by again pointing out that the sociological law which declares that the subsequent phase (of social evolution) does not efface the vital and fruitful manifestations of the preceding phases of evolution, gives us, in regard to the social organization in process of formation, a more exact (positive or fact-founded) idea than our opponents think, who always imagine that they have to refute the romantic and sentimental socialism of the first half of this century.
This shows how little weight there is in the objection recently raised against socialism, in the name of a learned but vague sociological eclecticism, by a distinguished Italian professor, M. Vanni.
“Contemporary socialism is not identified with individualism, since it places at the foundation of the social organization a principle which is not that of individual autonomy, but rather its negation. If, notwithstanding this, it promulgates individualist ideas, which are in contradiction with its principles, this does not signify that it has changed its nature, or that it has ceased to be socialism: it means simply that it lives upon and by contradictions."
When socialism, by assuring to every one the means of livelihood, contends that it will permit the assertion and the development of all individualities, it does not fall into a contradiction of principles, but being, as it is, the approaching phase of human civilization, it can not suppress nor efface whatever is vital, that is to say, compatible with the new social form, in the preceding phases. And just as socialist internationalism is not in conflict with patriotism, since it recognizes whatever is healthy and true in that sentiment, and eliminates only the pathological part, jingoism, in the same way, socialism does not draw its life from contradiction, but it follows, on the contrary, the fundamental laws of natural evolution, in developing and preserving the vital part of individualism, and in suppressing only its pathological manifestations which are responsible for the fact that in the modern world, as Prampolini said, 90 per cent. of the cells of the social organization are condemned to anemia because 10 per cent. are ill with hyper-emia and hyper-trophy.