Socialism

Nicholas Paine Gilman

Berry StreetEssay, 1911

 

Socialism is an appropriate subject, I mustthink, to bring before an audience like this. It is a great scheme for social improvement.Where can one find a body of men more likely to be rationally interested insuch a matter than the clergy of the UnitarianChurch? From thebeginnings of our gospel in this country it has been a gospel for man, a gospelfor the actual world, based on reason, respecting human nature and all nature.Building there a doctrine in accord with science and with morality, we havebuilt well, and we have seen the Christian world gradually coming round to ourposition,

"To the solid ground

Of nature trusts themind that builds for aye,

Convinced that there,there only, she can lay

Securefoundations."

Interest in social reform has characterizedUnitarianism from the first. Naturally, because of our long interest, we havenever been hysterical. As we have believed in reason in religion, so we havebelieved in reason in reform. Trusting to human nature in constructing ourtheology, we trust to human nature in laying out our programme of philanthropyand progress. Our ideal is always a realizable ideal: the methods we accept arerational and naturally progressive. The spirit to which we bow is one offairness all around, of justice to all sorts and conditions of men. Everyfriend of the ideal is, inevitably, a critic of the actual. We of the clergyare professional critics every Sunday, as well as helpers, of mankind. We can thereforesympathize with those who criticise human life sharply. But there is no truecriticism which is not, at the same time, appreciation. We have a right,therefore, to criticise the critics, if only we have behind us reason, science,philosophy. If our criticism is scientific, philosophic, above all, reasonable,it will stand. May this spirit characterize this hour!

We are living in a world where capital, themeans of production, is mainly private. We are invited by the socialist totransform this world into one wherein all capitals shall be united into onepublic, non-competing means of production, a collective capital. The modernsocialist who thus invites us is, obviously, a severe critic of existingsociety. He paints a very black picture of the world as it is, and gives us avery rosy view of the world that might he. In the process of reformation humannature might need to undergo great change. Its motives for action might need tobe transformed in large degree, and its scale of values might often need to berevised. Great credulity is required to accept the revolutionary socialisticfaith. Vast confidence would be necessary to risk the throw upon theproductivity of a socialistic regime. This is often called an unbelieving age,but it is in fact an age of Christian Science, of Spiritism, of Socialism: allthese make an unprecedented demand upon man's capacity for belief. This demandis cheerfully met by many an optimistic soul, for whom facts have few terrorsand strict reasoning no attractions. But the critical spirit invoked againstthe present order by the socialist, with the utmost harshness and lack ofproportion, may turn and attack those who raise it so bitterly. Only a smallpart, probably, of the keenness and acerbity which they display would sufficeto destroy their own ideal construction.

Socialism, like pragmatism, is, comparativelyspeaking, a new name for an old thing. The name is hardly seventy-five yearsold: the thing, that is to say, the idea for which the word stands, is as oldas Plato. In the world of ideas, socialism is very venerable,—as venerable asdiscontent is natural. Both the "Lord Christ's heart and Plato'sbrain" have known it. But in the world of external facts it is as yetunborn: many attempts have been made to bring it to the birth, but so far theyhave been attended with little success. The socialist is, therefore, animpassioned advocate, not of things as they are, but of things as they are not:he is an orator of the ideal, an ambassador from Utopia. That fair land, neveryet realized, has all the attractions of the non-existent, and none of thefaults and defects of the actual. Checks may be drawn to any amount on the Bankof Utopia. These who wish to pass them need never be afraid that these checkswill be protested on the ground that they have no funds in the bank; but suchcurrency is valid only in the sphere of the ideal. To reach this sphere, sofamiliar to the imagination, the boldest aviators have not yet flown highenough. Let us try to keep to the solid earth for an hour, in our discussion. Imay only remind you that many things need not be said, but may be taken forgranted on the part of any one who loves his kind. Those who wish to do simplejustice to the society that has the great virtues of having lived manycenturies, and of working passably well still, need not get angry with theadvocates of untried panaceas. The brute force of the existing is with theconservative: reason will be on their side if they are reasonable.

Modern socialism dates from Karl Marx. It issome seventy years old. It began with the "Communist Manifesto" of1848. Marx's notable treatise, "Das Kapital" (1867) has been itsBible. Frederick Engels was the Barnabas of this Paul. All preceding socialismswere authoritatively set down by him as "Utopian;"this one is exalted as "scientific," the highest word of praise inthe month of the socialist; while Utopian is to him, as to the Philistine, asynonym for impossible and irrational. The great preachers of the gospel ofUtopian socialism were Plato and Sir Thomas More, Saint-Simon and Fourier, withothers in recent time. "To all these," says Engels, "Socialismis the expression of absolute truth, reason, and justice." But"absolute truth, reason, and justice are different with the founder ofeach different school." For all these "pocket versions of the NewJerusalem," as he called them, Marx held supreme contempt. "To make ascience of Socialism, it had first to be placed upon a real basis. This basisin reality is due to Marx. Two great discoveries, the materialistic conceptionof history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production throughsurplus-value, we owe to Marx. With these discoveries socialism became ascience." (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, by F. Engels, p. 44.)

Let us examine briefly the bases of thisscientific socialism. First, let us look at "the materialistic conceptionof history." The phrase "the materialistic conception ofhistory" should be discarded in favor of one free from a misleading word.Marx was, in truth, a philosophical materialist; but this fact should notprejudice one against the very important truth in his theory. As ProfessorSeligman says, in his eminently fair and scientific treatment of the matter,"The Economic Interpretation of History" is the proper phrase for theidea. As Marx gives the definite statement in the third volume of his"Capital": "It is always the immediate relation of the owner ofthe conditions of production to the immediate producers—a relation each ofwhose forms always naturally corresponds to a given stage in the methods andconditions of Labor, and thus in its social productivity—in which we find theinnermost secret, the hidden basis of the entire social structure, and thusalso of the political forms" (III. 2, pp. 324, 325.) Now, "iforiginality can properly he claimed only for those who not alone formulate adoctrine, but first recognize its importance and its implications, … there isno question," says Professor Seligman, "that Marx must be recognizedas, in the truest sense, the originator of the economic interpretation ofhistory." He continues: "We understand, then, by the theory ofeconomic interpretation of history, not that all history is to be explained ineconomic terms alone, but that the chief considerations in human progress arethe social considerations, and that the important factor in social change is theeconomic factor. Economic interpretation of history means, not that theeconomic relations exert an exclusive influence, but that they exert a preponderantinfluence, in shaping the progress of society." For the extreme vigor andability with which Karl Marx treated this theory he must be ranked high amongeconomists. But his socialism is not bound up with the application of thetheory to existing society. History shows us that economic changes take placeslowly, as in the case of feudalism advancing into modern society. As Rodbertussaid, correcting one error in Marx's application of his theory, socialism, ifit is to triumph at all, can only triumph in a distant future. The expectationof a cataclysm of our society at some undated time is very naive, and veryunscientific, and very contradictory of a true economic interpretation ofhistory.

Again, Marx was certainly in error when he madethe chief phenomenon in history, the class struggle, the conflict of classes.No reasonable person can doubt the existence of class-conflict in our day. Onegreat strike is sad proof enough of its reality. Even the peaceful actions ofthe trade unions are a steady reminder of the probability of long-continuedclass struggle. But it is altogether untrue to fact to make the conflict ofclasses the one important matter in the economic interpretation of history, asMarx proceeded to do. The co-operation of employer and employee is a far moreimportant and constant factor in the history of civilization, and thisco-operation is steadily becoming more steadfast and unbroken, as methods ofindustrial peace are being perfected all over the world. An irreconcilableconflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat belongs only to the Hegeliandialectic, which pervades so much of Marxian socialism. This dialectic is thesource and reason of its simplicity and clear-cut antagonisms. The workmanrepresents the thesis of the always developing idea; the capitalist representsthe antithesis; the synthesis will be socialism, the complete triumph of theproletariat. Now the multiplicity and complexity of the actual world areentirely missed by such philosophy. Lines of division and union, instead ofbeing few and broad, are very many and very intricate: the classes arevariously made up on the different lines.

When one reads the literature of socialism,nothing is more striking than the monotony of its all-too-simple division ofthe world of man into two classes only, the poor and the rich, the proletariatand the bourgeoisie. But look around you here in America, and see how little thisclear-cut division is true to the complexity of the actual situation. Everydegree of poverty is here, every degree of wealth is here, and there is no suchthing existing as a union of all those who have against all those who have not.There is constant movement upward and downward, the vast number of changesbeing from poverty to possession, as, e. g., the swarms of immigrants areassimilated and become propertied Americans. Marx's Hegelian formula gives way,in this Darwinian evolutionary world, to a complexity and diversity which findno real recognition in "Das Kapital." The result is class-conflicthere and there, now and then; but, on the whole great field of our America,class union, class co-operation.

In this country more than in any other socialismmust go to school to democracy, not to class, but to Demos, if it is to makeany headway. Democracy is over a hundred years old here. Socialism has scarcelycut its eye-teeth. This tuition is likely to be severe and unrelenting. Thedistinction is at once to be made between the social programme and thedemocratic programme of the social-democratic party of Germany. Intheir list of demands to be made of the present state they ask for universalsuffrage, a two-year term for representatives, payment for representatives,local government, the rights of free speech and of public meeting, freeschools, and numerous other privileges which have long been realities with us.Other demands made in the standard programme of Erfurt, such as directlegislation, woman suffrage, the income tax, the eight-hour day, are beingdebated among us; and the decision will be made by a majority of the voters,fairly counted, as they do not count them in Prussia. We are familiar with theobstacles and difficulties encountered by any proposed reform in the United States.Each has to meet the need of long discussion and the probability of muchvariation in the popular mind from time to time. But the substantial methodswhich democracy has here tried and approved for more than a hundred years willlong continue, and the fundamental principles of which the social democrat demandsthe recognition will be thoroughly tested by the reason of the whole public. Wedo not need instruction from the socialists how to run a democratic state. Butwe can safely say, after a hundred years and more of experience with democracy,that socialism is not competent to teach us with authority the fundamentalprinciples of government. Socialism is raw and untrained in the art of doingthings. If the world is coming round to democracy, as we believe, all the moreconfidently do we assert that socialism must carefully go to school to it.

In every scheme of economics the conception ofvalue is central. What is the source of value? Adam Smith answered,"Labor," and he held to this view throughout his great treatise,though with some modifications. Ricardo, his great successor as an economist,held the same general view, but with essential modifications; which have beenwell stated by Professor Marshall and Professor Conner, the latest editor ofRicardo. "When he [Ricardo] speaks of Labor with a capital, including underit the exertion of capital, they [modern socialistic schools] speak of laborwith a small initial, meaning plain toil, often plain manual toil. When heintroduces the important modifications consequent no alterations in theStandard of Comfort, into the law of wages, they omit the modifications, andoften cite his authority to justify what he denied…. The modern socialisticschools, we are told, base themselves on Ricardo. It is quite true. They do,and they do so justly, we are assured by writers who ought to know better. As amatter of fact, this claim is based on a series of misunderstandings"(Conner, p. lvii, I.)

Marx's demonstration that value is due to laborbegins with the statement that, when any two commodities are exchanged, thisshows that there is in them a third something which the two commodities possessin common. Using his dialectic method of straining out all other properties, hefinds only one common property left, that both are the products of labor. Thebroad proposition is that "the magnitude of value contained in a commodityis measured by the quantity of abstract human labor embodied in it, and thisquantity is measured again by the duration of the effort." Now, in thesearch for the common quality which is the cause of value, Marx begins, asBöhm-Bawerk says, by carefully putting into the sieve only "thoseexchangeable things which contain the property which he desires finally to siftout as a common factor. . . . He acts as one who urgently desiring to bring awhite ball out of the urn takes care to secure this result by putting in whiteballs only." He limits his inquiries to commodities, and "adopts,without explicit warning, a definition of commodities which includes onlyproducts of labor and excludes virgin soil, natural meadows, and all othergifts of nature." But, passing over this, we know that goods upon whichvery different amounts of labor have been spent have the same price. So Marx,to meet this objection, declares that the labor, which is the cause of value is"not the actual effort put forth by any specific individual, but ahomogeneous funded quantity, socially necessary labor, the labor required undernormal conditions of skill, intensity, and up-to-date appliances." Theunit in this homogeneous fund is a quantum of unskilled labor, simply averagelabor, the labor power, which on the average, apart from any specialdevelopment, exists in the organism of every individual. Skilled labor countsonly as multiplied "simple labor." Without quoting here any of theeconomists who object to this extraordinary statement, it may be enough to saythat abstract human labor is a thing with which most people may safely be saidto have no acquaintance, while the "actual effort put forth by a specificindividual," which Marx rejects, is precisely what the ordinary man meansby labor. It does not require so keen a mind as Böhm-Bawerk's to detect themetaphysical juggling which Marx here practices. His "homogeneous fundedquantity" exists nowhere, outside of the sophistical pages of "DasKapital." It is not, you see, the amount of labor actually put into acommodity that makes its value, but the amount of "socially necessarylabor." If one stupid man takes a day to make a chair of wood and acapable man makes three in the same time, Marx says only one-third of a day'swork is "socially necessary," shifting the whole matter of thedetermination of value upon society. The fact is, of course, that the amount oflabor used in making the chair is only one item in the account: the amount ofintelligence is another item—the amount not of work of hand, but skill of mind.

Here, as elsewhere, the socialist disciple willpoint out that Marx says, or implies, precisely the opposite thing on anotherpage. This is true, and it marks a constant habit of his mind.On scarcely any point has he failed to assumedirectly contradictory positions: the only thing the economist can do is totake the most frequent, the most emphatic assertions on a given point, and getwhat harmony he can out of them. Obviously, the proof of such a statement asthis would be out of place in an address like this. Be it enough for me to saythat here is the most common of objection on the part of the economists. Havingassumed an indefensible definition of value as due to labor only, Marx shiftsfrom one line of defence to another, usually without warning. If labor is thecause of value, where does society come in with its "sociallynecessary" judgment? Society is to pass this judgment, and this judgmentis not an ascertainment of how many hours men actually spend on a job or acommodity, but a statement of society's own feelings as to the necessity ordesirability of the thing; that is to say, its utility.

Utility Marx has ruled out; but now he brings itin by the side door, raising a good deal of metaphysical dust to cover thetransaction, telling us, e. g., that the value of each single yard of linencloth "is the materialized form of the same definite and socially fixedquantity of homogeneous human labor." "Homogeneous human labor,"—'tisa fine phrase; but what can it mean, except that all human effort is reducibleto a statement, in hours or days, of simple muscular exertion? So the labor ofRaphael on his Sistine Madonna is just so many times that of the hod-carrier onthe palace which holds it! This being conceded, Marx has to answer only twodemands made upon him by the inquisitive mind. How many times is the labor ofthe artist superior to that of the workman? And how do you ascertain theirproportions scientifically? To such reasonable inquiries, Marx replies, insubstance, "Society determines how much 'socially necessary' labor goesinto each work." The plain man will be content to call this pure claptrap.In his innocence he will say that valuation is a social judgment; that societyrecognizes the general importance of the amount of labor of hand or head spentupon a commodity as a factor in fixing its price, but that this is far frombeing the only factor; and, as for human labor being homogeneous, it is highlyheterogeneous, and the higher forms are not capable of being stated in terms ofday labor on the street. Shakespeare's "Hamlet" differs in kind fromthe corn and potatoes of the ordinary farmer. How many days' labor inbricklaying can be called equal to one day's work of the Chief Justice of the United Statesin writing opinions?

But, says the Marxian, labor is not labor exceptwhen applied to making a useful object in the quantity required by society."This," says Prof. O. D. Skelton, in his very clever "CriticalAnalysis of Socialism," recently issued, "is as though one shouldassert that the air is the sole factor in the growth of a tree, and afterwardshedge by explaining that air is not air unless certain conditions of soil andsunshine be present." It is not uncommon, one may say here, for theenthusiastic disciple of Marx to speak of him as on a par with Darwin. If Darwin had had as little success inconverting naturalists to "natural selection" as Marx has had inconverting the economists to his doctrine of value and surplus-value, thecomparison would be more striking. "The modern Aristotle" is anothersocialistic judgment on Marx, but, as some one has said, "the modernThomas Aquinas" would be much more appropriate, in view of Marx'sscholastic methods and his super-subtlety in defining what is plain and hisneglect of much that is important and real. "Das Kapital" is a work ofgreat ability; but its atmosphere is that of the BritishMuseum,where it was written, far more than of the farm or the factory. The practicallyunanimous voice of the economists of the world rejects the whole theoreticbasis of so-called "Scientific Socialism."

On the side of theory the standing of so-called"Scientific Socialism" with the leading economists of today, whorepresent the only science in question, is a lack of standing. The manner inwhich the ablest and most candid of them speak of it may be seen in quotations,which I must make brief, from two or three. Prof. Alfred Marshall is theforemost of English economists today. In his unfinished "Principles ofEconomics" he thus speaks of the "surplus value" doctrine ofMarx, which Engels declared to be his second great contribution to ScientificSocialism (pp. 630-631): Marx and his followers argue "that labor alwaysproduces a surplus above its wages, and the weal and tear of capital used inaiding it; and that the wrong done to labor lies in the exploitation of thissurplus by others. But this assumption that the whole of this surplus is theproduct of labor already takes for granted what they ultimately profess toprove by it; they make no attempt to prove it, and it is not true. It is nottrue that the spinning of yarn in a factory, after allowance has been made forthe wear and tear of the machinery, is the product of the labor of theoperatives. It is the product of their labor (together with that of theemployer and subordinate managers) and of the Capital; and that Capital itselfis the product of labor and waiting; and therefore, the spinning is the productof labor (of many kinds), and of waiting.... The strength of Rodbertus' andMarx's sympathies with suffering must always command our respect; but what theyregarded as the scientific foundations of their practical proposals appears to belittle more than a series of arguments in a circle to the effect that there is noeconomic justification for interest, while that result has been all alonglatent in their premises; though in the case of Marx, it was shrouded by themysterious Hegelian phrases with which, to us his own phrase, he 'coquetted.'

I will quote Prof. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, thefamous Austrian economist, a little more fully. Marx, he says, "has notproved his fundamental proposition that labor alone governs exchange relationseither objectively from the external, tangible, objective world of facts, withwhich, on the contrary, they are in opposition; or subjectively, from themotive of the exchanging parties; but he gives it to the world in the form ofan abortive dialectic, more arbitrary and untrue to facts than has probably everbefore been known in the history of our science" ("Karl Marx and theClose of his System," p. 216.) "What will be the final judgment ofthe world? Of that I have no manner of doubt. The Marxian system has a past anda present, but no abiding future. Of all sorts of scientific systems those which,like the Marxian system, are based on a hollow dialectic, are most surelydoomed. A clever dialectic may make a temporary impression en the human mind,but cannot make a lasting one. In the long run, facts and the secure linking ofcauses and effects win the day. In the domain of natural science, such a workas Marx's would even now be impossible. Socialism will certainly not beoverthrown with the Marxian system, neither practical nor theoretic Socialism.As there was a Socialism before Marx, so there will be one after him. Marx willretain a permanent place in the history of the social sciences for the samereasons, and with the same mixture of positive and negative merits as hisprototype, Hegel. Both of them were philosophical geniuses. Both of them, eachin his own domain, had an enormous influence upon the thought and feeling ofwhole generations, one might almost say upon the spirit of the age; thespecific theoretical work of each was a most ingeniously conceived structurebuilt up by a magical power of combination, of numerous storeys of thought heldtogether by a marvellous mental grasp, but—a house of cards" (Ibid., pp. 220-221 ) .

Prof. E. R. A. Seligman, perhaps our ablestliving American economist, certainly one of the fairest-minded of them, in histreatment of socialism thus sums up: "The economic theory of 'scientificsocialism', as we have seen, is completely erroneous. It starts out with thedefective labor theory of value; it unjustifiably restricts labor to manuallabor; it misconceives the theory of profits; and it erects into a veritablefetish the doctrine of class-conflict." "Socialism as a movement,however," he adds, like Professor Böhm-Bawerk," is not bound up withany such• scientific or unscientific theories. Practical discontent, notscientific formulae, has engendered modern socialism. To Lasalle, and not toMarx, must be ascribed the real paternity of socialism, as a practicalmovement" ("Principles of Economics," first ed., PP. 561-562.)

The case, then, for Marxian socialism, which issocialism distinctively, stands in brief thus. It is largely acloset-philosophy, drawn not from study of real life, but from a viciousdialectic. It omits factors in value which are important, and hence it distortsand misrepresents the actual situation. Every now and then it comes into fatalcollision with ordinary effort. It mistakes the nature of profits. It omits inits rewards the all-important employer, or entrepreneur, and gives to manuallabor a primacy which in the real world it never has held. Its sympathies forthe poor are strong, but its sense of justice for all others is very deficient.In a word, it is a theory forced upon facts, not a theory drawn from them. Itis not strange, therefore, that acute observers consider the days of Marxiansocialism numbered.

In Germany whether theSocial-Democratic party shall split in a few years or not is problematical; butAmericans, who have observed our own recent politics, cannot consider thefuture of the socialist "stand-patters" brilliant. The Germaninsurgents against: the party creed are well led by strong men: a minority of80 against 289 in the last Congress at Magdeburgis a body not to be despised. It represents the feeling and thought of South Germany, and may safely be taken as the spokesmanof the future. These German revisionists are at one with the Fabians ofEngland, the Moderates of Italy, Holland, and France: they arethe party of "animated moderation" in the socialism of the future.They will be the majority of the party in time, and their lines of agreementwith radical reforms will be plainer and plainer as the days go by. Marxianism,as a whole, may be said to have much of the imposing nature of a logicalsystem. At the least, it makes a great showing of logical force andconsistency. This showing does not satisfy the experts in economics orpolitics, while it seems to satisfy the multitude. The consensus of theincompetent is with the socialist majority, they may well claim. But, as I havesaid, socialists will have to learn a great deal from democracy in this countryand in England.An occasional mayor is elected here as a rebuke to both the national parties,going through our masquerade of national politics in municipal elections. Intwo or three years he is dropped, and the party appears no more in that place.As a national party, the socialists of the United States, in 1908, made thesmall gain of 4 per cent. on their vote of 1904. They elected an able man,Victor L. Berger, as a representative from Milwaukee. He, by the way, is a strongrevisionist, and it is not probable that he will play the ridiculous part ofrefusing to vote appropriations in Congress after the manner of the orthodoxsocialists in Germany.In elections other than national in our country, in the "off-years,"the socialists will probably throw a larger vote than in the Presidentialyears. But students of American politics will be very much surprised if anythird party obtains a permanent success in our country, so wedded to thetwo-party system. Third parties come and go with us; but they do not succeed inpermanently dispossessing either of the other two. We have had our Grangers andour Farmers' Alliances, calling for government ownership of all means of publiccommunication and transportation, for twenty years or more. We have had ourPopulists, but these have gone as they came, many of their ideas surviving. Itwould not be strange if the socialists, as a national party, do likewise intime.

Germany, of course, is the countryto which we most commonly look to form an idea of the probable future ofsocialism. We have to bear in mind that it is a Social-Democratic party whichis there in question. A few words first about the facts of recent elections. In1903 the party threw something more than three millions of votes, an increaseof 43 per cent. over the preceding election. In 1907 it threw a little overthree and a quarter millions, an increase of 8.2 per cent. over 1903. Thesocialist vote in 1903 was 31.7 per cent. of the whole vote. In 1907 it was 29per cent. Absolutely, and relatively to the population, there was a gain,though not on such a scale as before; but, in spite of the larger vote in 1907,they retained but 40 out of the 79 seats which they held in the previousReichstag. This was due to the very antiquated and unfair electoral system of Prussia. In thelast three years, in the by-elections, the socialists have gained twelvemembers, making 52 seats they now hold. Rebel had confidently predicted for1907 a vote of four millions and an increase of seats from 79 to 100. The chiefreasons for the slightness of the gain on the popular vote were two, says Mr.William Harbutt Dawson in his able work on "The Evolution of ModernGermany" (1908.) (Mr. Dawson is a veteran student of German conditions,concerning which he has written some seven authoritative works. Especially uponsocialism in that country is he first-class, impartial authority.) One cause ofthe comparative set-back was the greater unity which prevailed among theopponents of socialism. The middle classes, which had been apathetic, awoke,believing that they had been allowing socialism to become too strong. In 1907the middle classes, therefore, combined against socialism, with the resultsseen. Mr. Dawson repeats in his latest volume an earlier forecast, which he hasseen no reason to change: "The time will come when the adherents of SocialDemocracy will no longer be contented with purely theoretical propagandism…. The transformation of the State and societyaccording to the patterns prepared by Marx and Lasalle, by Bebel andLiebknecht, is not to be thought of. Even did the Socialists attain, not onlyin the Imperial Diet, but in every State Legislature, a representation fullyequal to their electoral strength, they would always be at the mercy of acombination of the other parties, every one of them bound, in spite of thewidest differences in political theories, to the maintenance of the presentsocial order. For it is not true that the possibilities of the growth ofSocialism in Germanyare indefinite. In general its converts will, in the future, as in the past, berestricted to the laboring classes. And even from these two great deductionsmust be made. In the first place, the Roman Catholics, who form a third of thepopulation of the country, may safely be left out of account; and in the secondplace, the rural laborers will never be wholly won over to Socialism, howevergreat the conquests possible in that, as yet, almost unexplored ground. Thus inthe Legislature the Social-Democrats can never become a majority party."

The second cause of the halt in the high tide ofsocialist success in Germanyis the lessened unity among the socialists themselves. This is shown in theincreasing numbers who have turned their backs on the orthodox creed of theparty. "Almost without exception," says Mr. Dawson, "theliterary spokesmen of Social Democracy agree that the last elections haveentirely shattered the entire system of Socialist dogma, so far as the middle classesare concerned.” It has been a favorite prophecy from Marx down that modernsociety steadily tends to become divided into only two classes, the few rich,always growing richer, and the many poor, always growing poorer. But there hasbeen growing up in flat contradiction of this prophecy a middle class drawnfrom the laboring class, and this class, as the latest election showed, holdsthe balance of political power. As a well-known socialist wrote: "Thedisappointment at the result is nothing else than disappointment that the viewhitherto dominant in Socialist circles as to the evolution of the proletariatand the middle class was a fallacious one. The theory of social impoverishmentand economic catastrophe has had to be abandoned. Its more tenacious defendershave even today not admitted it, but they conceal their retreat behind allsorts of phrases. The fact is, nevertheless, incontrovertible, that this viewhas gone the way of all outlived theories, and has no longer an openrepresentative in our party. We have, however, hitherto feared to draw thelogical consequences from the altered situation. The attempt is still made tobuild up our movement on the proved fallacy that an ever-increasing part of thepopulation is cast into the proletariat, to become wage-earners; that thesum-total of misery increases, at least relatively; that the middle class isgradually disappearing.... Yet all the time we see a new and numerous middleclass growing up." The right of this class to exist, one might say, is deniedby the Social Democracy, but still it exists. "We have shown the smallpeasant that, under the pressure of the large estates, he will becrushed." Yet he is not crushed: "the small farmers have greatlyincreased and economically have strengthened their position. The small peasantis better off today than ten or fifteen years ago." The new middle classis estimated at five and a half millions, counting in it "all thepeasants, tradesmen, artisans, foremen, the minor civil and municipal servants,teachers, and other professional men who have, during the past two decades,emerged from the wage-earning class, by an evolution which is still in fulloperation today." Yet this class "has been absolutely ignored by theSocial Democracy," which has identified its triumph with the destructionof the small middle class. "The influences which are slowly but surelydiminishing the sum and degree of poverty" cannot be ignored, and"this hope of Socialism is tacitly regarded as lost."

A further and powerful cause of the temporaryeclipse of German socialism in 1907 was the comparative barrenness of itsparliamentary activity. "No political party in Germany is so strong numerically asthe Social Democratic party, yet intrinsically none is so weak, and inpractical influence none is so ineffectual. The reason is that, throughout thewhole of its history, the party has been trying to achieve positive results bynegative means." "The fact is that Socialism does not know and hasnever known what it wants. Challenged to affirm a positive State policy, ittakes refuge in phrases, or flatly denies its obligation to contemplate thepractical realization of its own theories. If a reason be sought for thisbarrenness, the petrified dogmas and programme which lie so heavily upon the partywill furnish all the explanation that is needful" (Dawson.) Said HerrParvus: "Our party forms a rich assortment of the most various opinionswhich are in contradiction to our programme. The one and indivisible Socialistparty is made up of a mass of schools and directions, for the most partincoherent and incompatible, and they are only kept together by a commonantagonism to individualistic Capitalism. Officially and before the world, theparty still rests on the theories of Marx and the programmes which have beendrawn up in accordance with them. Yet opposed to this superstitious reverencefor hoary dogma is an energetic body of young revisionists and outspokenrebels."

On one point, of the first political importance,there is an open break between these revisionists and the main body of thesocialist "stand-patters," to give them an American name. TheSocialist Congress has voted repeatedly in late years that socialist members ofthe legislature shall not "vote the budget,"—that is, help to passappropriation bills,—as this would he equivalent to indorsing the existingsystem. The inconsistency of such an order with voting, holding seats, andvarious other acts of all the socialists, is very evident. In spite of thisorder, however, the socialist deputies in Bavaria,Würtemberg, and Baden persist in voting thebudget. At the latest Congress held in Magdeburg,Sept. 10-24, 1910, resolutions of practical expulsion from the party for suchsinners, if they continue to sin, were voted by a large majority. But theundaunted delegates from these countries declared that they should hereafteract as before, according to their own best judgment. The Socialists of SouthGermany are much more moderate than those of the North, and they live onpleasant terms with their governments. As Mr. Dawson writes:-

"It is not likely, that the uncompromisingattitude which has doomed the party to barrenness and failure in the past willlong he allowed to continue, . . . but the concessions which will have to bemade will weaken some of the characteristics of Socialism which are mostpernicious in the eyes of the burgher parties. An alliance between Radicalismand Social Democracy no longer seems inconceivable today." "Lookingto the immediate future, therefore, it seems less likely that the existingdivisions within the Socialist ranks upon questions of doctrine and policy willlead to disintegration, than that they will be resolved by such modificationsin the party's attitude toward questions of practical politics as will facilitateaction with other groups equally interested in the welfare of the people. Norenunciation of ultimate aims will be required of the idealists of the party,but they will probably see the wisdom of joining their 'realist' colleagues inconcentrating attention upon reforms realizable in the present, and making eachof these a starting-point for new effort" (Evolution of Modern Germany, p.466.)

German socialism has passed through variousstages of evolution toward a rational and energetic political party, and there isno good reason for supposing that the evolution has ended. In 1848 Marx andEngels called upon the proletarians of all countries to unite. "TheCommunists seek not to conceal their views and purposes. They declare openlythat their aims can be attained only by a violent overthrow of the existingsocial order. Let the ruling classes tremble before a counter-revolution. Theproletariat have nothing to lose except their chains they have a world togain." We may allow Mr. Spargo, writing in 1909, to claim that thesewords, written in the revolutionary year 1848, meant only a peacefulrevolution. Sixty years ago to the men of 1848, there was probably more bloodand iron in them. However that may be, the new conditions of 1871 made armedrevolution very unwise. The grant of universal suffrage in 1871 called for newtactics, for new weapons. Twenty years later the Erfurt Congress declared thatthe Social Democratic party is "henceforth a political and parliamentaryparty." A future revolution was discountenanced, as well as violentrevolution in the past; and the socialist State is to evolve gradually, fromthe present State. Marx abandoned the "iron law of wages," andLiebknecht called it "unscientific" in the Halle Congress of 1890.Referring in 1900 to the doctrine, "Labor is the source of allwealth," Bebel says, "We know better now." This process oflearning to know better continues steadily in the field of German socialism: asBebel says, the party has its moultings. It has had them in the past, and itwill have them in the future. Enough, perhaps too much, of Marxian socialism.Let those who will read the recent crushing analyses of the doctrines byProfessor Skelton and by Professor Simkhovich (in the Political Science Quarterly for 1908-09.)

But, as there was socialism before Marx, sothere will be socialism after his day is gone by. State socialism, as they callit in Germany,is one of the forms which seem most likely to continue. This is not thesupersession of all private capital and private business, but the extension ofthe sphere of the State in various directions. Again, we naturally think of Germany firstin this connection. Bismarck, following out thelines of the paternal PrussianState, introduced thegreat German system of insurance against sickness, accident, and old age. Thefunds providing against these constant ills of man do not supersede the privateemployer. He, as well as the workman himself, contributes in variousproportions to these purposes. In Germany you see the State railroad,in many respects admirably managed, and the State telegraph system. It is, ofcourse, simply a matter of comparative fitness to our American conditionswhether we, too, shall have a parcel-post, a telegraph service, and a telephoneservice carried on by the nation or the city. While the parcel-post is a verynatural extension of the mail service, the size of our country militatesagainst a national telegraph or telephone service, and it would seemprohibitory of a national railway service. In all these directions the vastincrease necessary in the number of the government employees to carry out suchplans would be a matter of the first importance to consider. It would be adangerous factor in future politics unless civil service reform methods should becomethoroughly rooted in our national life. Regulation of a strict kind of allpublic utility services by the government, withprivate operation, appears at present to be the natural alternative: WhenNew Zealand is named, we at once see that the main question to consider is notthat of a difference of race,—for New Zealand is thoroughly English,—but a vastdifference of size. Would State insurance of all kinds work well here? Thatdoes not seem to be a matter within close range at present, but it is by nomeans impossible in the distant future, as a matter for our separateCommonwealths. If Mr. Lloyd George makes a brilliant success of his new plans,the question might become a live one over here. The States of our nation, in myopinion, would do wisely to experiment carefully and soon with the legalregulation of labor disputes,—a matter strangely outside of law altogether toomuch by us, so far. The State might well raise the general level of allcompetition by regulations which would apply to railroads and other publicutilities. The State can moralize their labor relationships, as it hasmoralized certain fields of trade and manufacture already. In State regulation is a prodigious field ofextension of State activity, far to he preferred to State ownership.

It seems to me very probable that here, as in Germany, the socialistswill lose most of their strength to some radical reform party, each step to hetaken deliberately by one of our two great parties, which will profit or willsuffer by the results, according to its wisdom.

Marxian socialism is the most formidable attemptyet made to establish socialism on a foundation of logic and science. Comparedwith it, all other recent systems of socialism lack foundation and backbone.They spring out of a warm heart for the sorrows of man, but in theirconstructive work they lack connection with fact, and justice to the men whorepresent the established order' at its best is conspicuously absent. Most of ourpopular socialists do not suffer from the "intolerable disease ofthought." An epigrammatic clergyman of our body, in the last half of thelast century, used to say that Radicalism had two great friends, Death andThought. They are the two great enemies of socialism. Death is graduallyremoving the pillars of the old orthodox socialism, and Thought is destroyingthe validity of their so-called scientific claims. The places of Bebel andLiebknecht will be poorly supplied by such men as H. C. Wells and John Spargo,with all their merits. These agreeable writers have no powerful and consistentscheme to offer us, and they cannot play fast-and-loose for long with the logicof the accepted order. It is in vain for one to attempt to smuggle under Marx'scloak the opportunism which Marx rejected, or for another to slip graduallyaway from all that is most characteristic of reasoned socialism, and retain thename. Socialism, for most people who lightly take the name nowadays, meansnothing tangible or expressible. You read Mr. Wells' books, for example, withmuch sympathy. After you have read several of them, you are told that the newsis that he is no longer a socialist, but has left even the Fabians! Such is thelatest phase of one who has been telling us that our economic system mightbecome "almost infinitely more productive than it is, if we took thesocialist path."! Pleased with the poetry of socialism (in Rev. C. R.Brown's excellent antithesis), you call yourself, perhaps, a Christiansocialist, forgetting that its prose has to reckon with the economists and to answerthe hard question, "Who shall pay the bills of socialism?" Abroad,socialism has had occasionally to reckon with the acceptance of Power andResponsibility in high places by its members. But John Burns and M. Millerandsoon cease to be orthodox. Their statesmanship soon swallows, up their extremesocialistic theories.

Moderation, then! I would suggest to all whocommend to us the historic example of our Abolitionists, that the actual remedyfor slavery was not found by them. History should be read more wisely. A trueranalogy might say that, as the Abolitionists did not abolish slavery, so thesocialists will not abolish capitalism. Instead of taking a name which marks atheory already decadent and discredited among thinking men, let ourphilanthropists consider the vast possibilities of persistent social reform. Itis a process always needed, never ended,—a work demanding all our wisdom, allour patience, all our discrimination, all our zeal, all our consecration. Manyare the special problems of our present day. Each of us will do his best byturning his hand, by preference, to a single task instead of simply shoutingone remedy for all our ills. Socialism is an exploded cure-all, foreign to ourgenius as a people, not taught by our past, not indicated as our probablefuture. An indication of its probable future in our country may be seen by thevote taken by the socialists in 1908 to drop the public ownership of land fromits programme. I believe in opportunism, but not in such opportunism, for the simplepurpose of catching votes. A party capable of taking such action as this justmentioned ought to write over its shop-windows the sign, "Our convictionsaltered while you wait."

Individualism is but the name of one tendency inour life. In our present civilization we are all socialists when Together in the word of the hour. So weare all individualists when the single soul is called to do its best. As oursound psychologists tell us, society is as unreal as the individual: both arebut aspects of the one reality, human life. Let us cease, then, to contendabout partial theories, and unite on the common life, which needs all thewealth of our secular power, all the force of our common sense, the strength ofour general mind, the power of our entire nature. The right way is the way ofnatural evolution, which we are largely following now. Let us seek to moralizethe rich, that they may increase the Common wealth by fair taxes and bygenerous gifts. Let us try to moralize the poor out of the worship of wealthand into the fuller practice of cooperation. Let us all increase fraternity,while retaining liberty. More of humane interest, more of the brotherly touch,more of reasonableness! So shall we reach and practice the enduringindividualism and the persistent socialism that are but two aspects of manthoroughly socialized.