Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I: Saint Simon - Socialistic Fallacies
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CHAPTER I: Saint Simon - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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French socialistic formulæ—Spiritual power according to Saint Simon—The National and anti-National parties—The parable—Productive society—Political error—Producers versus consumers—Industrial liberty—“The caravan.” The exploitation of man by man—Saint Simon's theocracy—Sacerdotalism and Secularism—Enfantin as Pope; Industrial feudalism—Declaration of Count Jaubert—Slaves of industry—Genesis of Socialistic conceptions from 1830 to 1848.
Let us pass from these monotonous Utopias, condemned as they are by experiences which are as constant as they are cruel. There now appear the Socialists with scientific pretensions, of whom France presents a lavish supply. Why then should we scorn them? Are they not French formulæ which we find at the root of all these recent foreign conceptions? “The land belongs to no one and its fruits to all,” says Rousseau in 1753. Are the rules of Morelly's “Code de la Nature” so far removed from actual schemes.
The works of Saint Simon from 1808 to 1825 disclose a strange medley of religious survivals, scientific aspirations, and profound insight into the future. He adopts the old conception of Gregory VII. by proposing to organise two powers, the one spiritual, composed of the philosophers and artists, the other temporal, but this temporal power must be devoted to industry, so that when Le Play at a later date proposes to constitute the industrial chiefs the “authorities of society,” he is adopting Saint Simon's idea in another form.
Saint Simon divided the nation into two parts, a national and an anti-national. The former is composed of those who perform useful labour, direct this labour or employ their capital in it. The anti-national party is composed of those who consume but do not produce, of those whose labour is not useful, and of those who profess political principles which are inimical to production. It follows that the anti-national part must be eliminated from the performance of the public functions of government, and that part of the nation must be placed at its head which produces its wealth and its greatness.
He set forth this conception in 1819, in the famous parable which involved him in a prosecution and an acquittal at the assizes. He says, “We assume that France suddenly loses her fifty best physicists, her fifty best chemists, etc., her fifty best engineers, her fifty best physicians, her fifty best bankers, her two hundred best merchants, her fifty best iron masters, etc., her fifty best masons, her fifty best carpenters, etc. Let us admit that France retains all the men of genius whom she possesses, but that she has the misfortune to lose Monsieur, the brother of His Majesty and the Duc d'Angoulême, and that she also loses all the great officers of the Crown, all the ministers of State, all the councillors of State, all the prefects, judges, etc.”
Saint Simon made no account of the intangible results ensured by a good minister, a good administrator, and a good magistrate. Were they to disappear we should find ourselves in a condition of anarchy which would compromise or destroy the action and the labours of the fifty men of genius whom Saint Simon has enumerated.
The essential element which it is necessary to recognise in this conception is the protest against the preponderant part played by noblemen, soldiers, and prelates in public affairs. He knew that the further we advanced, the more the centre of gravity of power would shift, but by a strange lack of political perception he aims at creating a parliament, representative in its character, composed of industrial chiefs, and despite the experience of the past, he imagines that these industrial chiefs will refrain from making their respective interests prevail to the detriment of the general interest. There is a true as well as a false side to his motto of “Everything for industry,” true because he foresaw that a civilisation on a competitive basis would become increasingly productive, false because he made of industry an end in itself. He only saw the producer and forgot that without the consumer the producer has no raison d'être. In his political conception he had no doubt that if he invested the producers with all the powers of government, they would abuse them. How then did he fail to perceive that he was constituting a new caste, a privileged order, to the particular detriment of the most numerous and the most needy?
He defined politics as the “science of production,” but at the same time he said “Government is always injurious to industry when it interferes with the progress of events, even when it attempts to encourage it; whence it follows that Governments should limit their efforts to the preservation of industry from every kind of trouble and interference.”1 Why then found the industrial parliament, the scheme of which he has set out in “l'Organisateur.”
It is true that in Saint Simon's conception the sole function of government is to execute the decrees of a consciously formed opinion. He recites the following parable: The caravan says lead us where we shall be happiest, or it says lead us to Mecca. In the former case it relies on its leader, in the latter it clearly indicates its wishes to him, and thereby acquires the right to control the directions which he gives. It is clear that opinion can have no effective and useful action upon public affairs, unless it has a definite object.
Saint Simon merely followed after the philosophers of the eighteenth century, and repeated Condorcet's words, when he said that the golden age is before and not behind us. But he overburdened his economic forecasts with religious aspirations. In his “Nouveau Christianisme” (1825) he repeated the precept of Christ, “Love one another; love thy neighbour as thyself.” But the tradition of the Church is otherwise. He substitutes the declaration that “the best theologian is he who makes the most general applications of the fundamental principle of divine morality, to the effect that he is the true Pope and speaks in the name of God.” Thus inspired he asserts, “that it is the duty of religion to direct society to the great end of ameliorating as rapidly as possible the lot of the poorest class. Except for the word “religion” and for the substitution of “the poorest class” for “the greatest number,” this formula is that which Priestley and Bentham borrowed from the materialist Helvetius.
Saint Simon denounces the exploitation of man by man. “The way to grow rich is to make others work for one.” The State is to be the sole recipient of the instruments of labour, of land, and of capital, and is to apportion them so that they may be utilised in common and distributed in accordance with his hierarchical system; to each according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works. The “Globe,” which became the organ of Saint Simon's disciples, bore among its mottoes, “All privileges of birth are abolished.” A central bank is to regulate production and to prevent over-production and want. We arrive, therefore, at a condition of complete nationalisation as well as of complete sacerdotalism.
Saint Simon's disciples tried to christianise industry. Enfantin believed that he had power to fascinate the judges by his look, and considered himself an incarnation. “I am the departed Saint Simon, living and being, past, present, and future, that Saint Simon who, eternally progressive, is now manifest by the name of Enfantin. It is by me and in me, that Saint Simon asserts himself a God.” Saint Simonism ends in the priestly couple, man and woman, the confused conception of whom lends itself to all kinds of interpretations. With the establishment of Ménilmontant it was to bury itself in ridicule. Nevertheless, the majority of its inmates approved themselves as practical men in after life and achieved brilliant careers in industry and finance.
Saint Simon had applied to Napoleon and afterwards to Louis XVIII. Enfantin and Bayard asked Lafayette to take the dictatorship. After the Coup d'Etat of December 2nd, they nearly all became ardent Bonapartists; they never had any conception of political liberty, and were always full of the retrograde notion of class distinctions. After the insurrection of Lyons, the “Globe” said, “The lower orders cannot raise themselves except so far as the upper classes give them a hand; it is from the latter that the initiative must come.” And they adopted State socialism by talking of assuring pensions for the workers and procuring capital for them through the State bank. The fundamental fallacy of Saint Simon lies in these class politics, which elevate the industrial chiefs into a dominant class, a conception which Count Jaubert adopted in 1836, when he said: “No society can do without an aristocracy; shall I tell you what is the aristocracy of the Government of July? It is that of the great industrial chiefs and manufacturers. These are the feudatories of the new dynasty.” Strange! The object of the Revolution of 1789 was to destroy feudalism, and here is a new feudalism proclaiming itself and withholding all political rights through the franchise. These barons of industry exploit the serfs of industry who are the true producers. Such is the simple genesis of the democratic and revolutionary conceptions of socialism from 1830 to 1848.
De I'Industrie (1816).