A few months ago I was asked to present “The Case Against Socialism” to the League of the Republic, an organization within the student body of the University of California, it being the last of a series in which a member of the Faculty of Stanford University and a much respected Socialist of the State took part, neither of whom, much to my regret, was I able to hear. What I said seemed to please some of the more vigorous non-Socialists present who thought it should be printed. Those who prefer pleasant reading should skip the “Case” and read the “Critique.” Edward F. Adams
San Francisco, June
Nineteen hundred and thirteen
The Case Against Socialism
The postponement of this address, which was to have been delivered two weeks ago, was a real disappointment to me for I did not then know that another opportunity would be arranged. As one approaches maturity, it becomes a joy to talk to a group of young people in the light of whose pleasant faces one seems to renew his own youth. Youth is the most precious thing there is — it knows so little it never worries.
It is difficult for me to be here at this hour of the day and it has been impossible for me to hear those who have preceded me in this course. What I have to say may therefore have too little relation to what has been presented from other points of view to be satisfactory in what seems to have been designed as a debate. Nor have I, in recent years, read much Socialistic or anti-Socialistic literature of which the world is full. From my point of view, as will presently be seen, perusal of this literature would be a waste of time for none of it that I have seen or heard of discusses what seems to me essential, but in saying this I must not be understood as disparaging either the sincerity or the ability of writers on this subject.
When I was more or less familiar with Socialistic controversy the Socialistic propaganda was devoted in different countries to the accomplishment of the immediate program which in the respective countries was considered the essential thing to be done next, very little being said about the ultimate end which it was hoped to reach in due time. Thus it happened that in some countries what was called the Socialistic agitation was directed to the accomplishment of what was already established by non-Socialists in other countries. That is doubtless so still. Those discussions do not interest me and I have not followed them and shall not discuss any of them here. I shall consider only the ultimate aims of theoretical Socialism and whether if accomplished they probably would or would not make for the general welfare and especially for the welfare of the least efficient.