Some years ago in a book of which I was guilty, I wrote the following: “There is implied in all Socialistic writing the doctrine that organized man can override, and as applied to himself, repeal the fundamental law of Nature, that no species can endure except by the production of more individuals than can be supported, of whom the weakest must die, with the corollary of misery before death. Competitive Society tends to the death of the weakest, Socialistic Society would tend to the preservation of the weak. There can be no question of the grandeur of this conception. To no man is given nobler aspirations than to him who conceives of a just distribution of comfort in an existence not idle, but without struggle. It would be a Nirvana glorious only in the absence of sorrow, but still perhaps a happy ending for our race. It may, after all, be our destiny. Nor can any right-minded man forbear his tribute to the good which Socialistic agitation has done. No man can tell how much misery it has prevented, or how much it will prevent. So, also, while we may regret the emotionalism which renders even so keen an intellect as that of Karl Marx an unsafe guide, we must, when we read his description of conditions for which he sought remedy, confess that he had been less a man had he been less emotional. The man whom daily contact with remediable misery will not render incompetent to always write logically, I would not wish to know. But it is the mission of such men to arouse action and not to finally determine its scope. The advocate may not be the judge. My animus is that I heartily desire most if not all the ends proposed by abstract Socialism, which I understand to be a perfectly just distribution of comfort. If, therefore, I am a critic of Socialism, I am a friendly critic, my objections to its progress resting mainly on a conviction that it would not remove, but would intensify, the evils which it is intended to mitigate.” That is quite sufficient in regard to the personal equation.
There appear to be, unfortunately, as many sects of Socialists as of Christians, and if “Capital” were a more clearly written book I should be of the opinion that it would be as much better for Socialists if all other books on Socialism were destroyed as it would be for Christians and Jews if all books on Theology were destroyed, except the Bible. By Socialism I mean what some Socialist writers call “Scientific Socialism.” “Marxism,” it might be called. “Humanism,” I think Marx would have preferred to call it, and I believe did call it, for he dealt with abstract doctrine applicable to men and not to nations, and his propaganda was the “International.” Incidentally, as we pass on, we may notice in this connection the dilemma of American Socialists which they do not seem to realize. State Socialism has no logical place in a Socialistic program, for it merely substitutes the more deadly competition of nations for that of the individual, or even “trust” competition now existing, while Humanism, or Marxism, tends to a uniform condition of humanity which the American proletariat would fight tooth and nail because they would rightly believe that for them it would at present be a leveling down instead of leveling up.