Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 177 pages of information about Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx).

[85] See the lectures of DE AMICIS. Osservazioni sulla questione sociale, Lecce, 1894.  LABRIOLA, Il Socialismo, Rome, 1890.  G. OGGERO, Il Socialismo, 2nd edition, Milan, 1894.

[86] There are, however, certain forms of this mysticism which appeal to our sympathies very strongly.  Such forms I will call social mysticism.  We may instance the works of Tolstoi, who envelops his socialism with the doctrine of “non-resistance to evil by violent means,” drawn from the Sermon on the Mount.

Tolstoi is also an eloquent anti-militarist, and I am pleased to see quoted in his book le Salut est en vous, Paris, 1894, a passage from one of my lectures against war.

But he maintains a position aloof from contemporary experimental science, and his work thus fails to reach the mark.


   Editor, etc.


I have read in your journal a letter from Mr. Herbert Spencer in which he, relying on indirect information conveyed to him, regarding my book, Socialism and Modern Science, expresses “his astonishment at the audacity of him who has made use of his name to defend socialism.”

Permit me to say to you that no socialist has ever dreamt of making Mr. Spencer (who is certainly the greatest of living philosophers) pass as a partisan of socialism.  It is strange, indeed, that anyone could have been able to make him believe that there is in Italy enough ignorance among writers as well as among readers for one to misuse so grotesquely the name of Herbert Spencer, whose extreme individualism is known to all the world.

But the personal opinion of Herbert Spencer is a quite different thing from the logical consequence of the scientific theories concerning universal evolution, which he has developed more fully and better than anyone else, but of which he has not the official monopoly and whose free expansion by the labor of other thinkers he can not inhibit.

I myself, in the preface of my book, pointed out that Spencer and Darwin stopped half-way on the road to the logical consequences of their doctrines.  But I also demonstrated that these very doctrines constituted the scientific foundation of the socialism of Marx, the only one who, by rising above the sentimental socialism of former days, has arranged in a systematic and orderly fashion the facts of the social economy, and by induction drawn from them political conclusions in support of the revolutionary method of tactics as a means of approach to a revolutionary goal.

As regards Darwinism, being unable to repeat here the arguments which are already contained in my book and which will be more fully developed in the second edition, it suffices for me to remind you—­since it has been thought fit to resort to arguments having so little weight as appeals to the authority of individuals—­that, among many others, the celebrated Virchow foresaw, with great penetration, that Darwinism would lead directly to socialism, and let me remind you that the celebrated Wallace, Darwinian though he is, is a member of the English League for the Nationalization of the Land, which constitutes one of the fundamental conclusions of socialism.[88]

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