Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 117 pages of information about Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays.
this simplicity that are most wanted in this promising revolt of our time.  For this simplicity is perhaps the only thing in which the best type of recent revolutionists have failed.  It has been our sorrow lately to salute the sunset of one of the very few clean and incorruptible careers in the most corruptible phase of Christendom.  The death of Quelch naturally turns one’s thoughts to those extreme Marxian theorists, who, whatever we may hold about their philosophy, have certainly held their honour like iron.  And yet, even in this instant of instinctive reverence, I cannot feel that they were poetical enough, that is childish enough, to make a revolution.  They had all the audacity needed for speaking to the despot; but not the simplicity needed for speaking to the democracy.  They were always accused of being too bitter against the capitalist.  But it always seemed to me that they were (quite unconsciously, of course) much too kind to him.  They had a fatal habit of using long words, even on occasions when he might with propriety have been described in very short words.  They called him a Capitalist when almost anybody in Christendom would have called him a cad.  And “cad” is a word from the poetic vocabulary indicating rather a general and powerful reaction of the emotions than a status that could be defined in a work of economics.  The capitalist, asleep in the sun, let such long words crawl all over him, like so many long, soft, furry caterpillars.  Caterpillars cannot sting like wasps.  And, in repeating that the old Marxians have been, perhaps, the best and bravest men of our time, I say also that they would have been better and braver still if they had never used a scientific word, and never read anything but fairy tales.

The Beastly Individualist

Suppose I go on to a ship, and the ship sinks almost immediately; but I (like the people in the Bab Ballads), by reason of my clinging to a mast, upon a desert island am eventually cast.  Or rather, suppose I am not cast on it, but am kept bobbing about in the water, because the only man on the island is what some call an Individualist, and will not throw me a rope; though coils of rope of the most annoying elaboration and neatness are conspicuous beside him as he stands upon the shore.  Now, it seems to me, that if, in my efforts to shout at this fellow-creature across the crashing breakers, I call his position the “insularistic position,” and my position “the semi-amphibian position,” much valuable time may be lost.  I am not an amphibian.  I am a drowning man.  He is not an insularist, or an individualist.  He is a beast.  Or rather, he is worse than any beast can be.  And if, instead of letting me drown, he makes me promise, while I am drowning, that if I come on shore it shall be as his bodily slave, having no human claims henceforward forever, then, by the whole theory and practice of capitalism, he becomes a capitalist, he also becomes a cad.

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Utopia of Usurers and Other Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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