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BOOK IX: SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY
The Programme of the International Association
Karl Marx' subtleties—Developments rather than reforms—Set-back to Internationalism—Hervé's logic—Socialists act contrary to their professions.
Herr Werner Sombart1 says of the inaugural address of the International Association of Workmen, “It is a veritable masterpiece of ability, although its scheme is not very clear: but Marx is its author and his obscurity is intentional…. Opposing tendencies had to be reconciled. There is something to satisfy everyone in the address. In its convincing portraiture it exhibits the wretchedness of the working classes under the capitalistic yoke…. It celebrates the advantages of free co-operation, Proudhon, Buchez, the advocates of co-operative production subsidised by the State, Lassalle and Louis Blanc. It contains the common sentimental passages which Marx reluctantly let fall from his pen…. Of the object of the Association there was little question.”
The Socialists continue to carry out this policy; what they desire is developments rather than reforms, and, while courting the mob, they aim, not at the true and the useful, but at the art of exploiting the passions and prejudices of the ignorant and the seekers after chimæras.
The headquarters of the International Association was transferred to New York in 1872. It did not perish in consequence of Government measures taken to destroy it, but was dislocated by the quarrels of Karl Marx and Bakunin, which like those which rage between Guesde, Jaurès and Lagardelle, give us an idea of the harmony which will prevail in the Collectivist Paradise.
Karl Marx concluded his Manifesto of 1847 with the words, “Proletarians of all countries, unite.” Werner Sombart says that Marx had “vainly attempted to introduce the ideals of solidarity and union from without.” They certainly have not radiated from within.
The French Socialists do not display the slightest sympathy for Belgian or Italian workmen who come to France; the English workmen have obtained the passing of the “Aliens' Act,” and the expulsion of the Chinese from the Transvaal; the American workmen have inherited the European immigration difficulties and have prohibited the entry of the Chinese and Japanese.
Socialists nevertheless talk of Society with a big S, of Society with neither frontiers nor nations. When Karl Marx said, “Proletarians of all nations, unite,” he did not say that the proletarians of China were excluded from his appeal. The agrarians of Eastern Prussia have suggested the importation of Chinese coolies. Is the German Socialist Party disposed to welcome them as brothers?
At the Stuttgart Congress, the Germans displayed a strong national sentiment and were very angry with Hervé. Still it is Hervé, and not they, that is logical. Every Socialist who admits the existence of a separate nation, admits individual property; for a nation presupposes the ownership by a group of individuals of a portion of the earth's surface.
Speaking generally, the Socialists act contrary to their professions. They say that they want to place property in the hands of the people, but they will either place it in the hands of bodies of men which, whatever the name by which they may go, are greedier than any Harpagon, or in the hands of the State, which, in its turn, will delegate it to departments of administration; and these will exploit it for their own benefit, not for that of the public.
They talk of liberty, but all their proposed legislation is the legislation of tyranny and police, and we have seen them reassimilate free to the type of servile labour.
They talk of an ideal of government, and instead of limiting its attributes, they endow it with powers as vague and indeterminate as those of Oriental or African potentates.
They say nothing of liberty, for they understand it in the same sense as the maid-servant of Frankfort who, on the day after the Revolution of 1848, said to her mistress, “Now that we are equal, you shall carry the coal-box and I will wear the diamonds.”1
Socialism Versus Democracy
Factors opposed to “social evolution”—Socialism opposed to small industries and small properties—Appeal to workmen's legislation—Sidney Webb opposed to thrift and co-operation—Apology for idleness—The Confederation of Labour and the “slough of democracy”—“The class for itself and the class in itself”—Some leaders of the proletariat class—The primary school teachers and the class in itself.
In order that the “Socialist evolution” may be realised, it is necessary that industry and capital should be concentrated in a few hands, and, on the other hand, that there should be a great mass of wage-earners, increasingly wretched and deprived of all personal property. Such is the process as determined by Marx and Engels in the “Communist Manifesto,” and confirmed by the Erfurt Congress in 1891.
But this phenomenon does not appear if the “artisan” works in isolated independence; neither does it appear if those who carry on small industries, working in their own houses, have not been previously absorbed in the proletariat crowd of workmen employed in the great industries; nor does it appear if the small proprietor preserves his love of individual property. The prophesied social evolution miscarries; the heralded paradise of the socialisation of all the means of production and exchange vanishes. Democracy and Socialism are antagonistic.
Have I invented and formulated this proposition for polemical purposes? It comes from a Socialist, Herr Werner Sombart.1
“What should be the attitude of socialism with regard to the masses which have not yet fallen into the ranks of the proletariat, such as the lower middle class (petite bourgeoisie) and of that part of the population which may perhaps never exhibit any tendency to inclusion in the proletariat? Should the object of the proletariat be essentially proletarian or should it be democratic? If it become democratic, what becomes of its programme? Is it to be socialism or democracy? The fundamental contention is expressed in the opposition between these two points of view.”
Bernstein published a series of articles in 1905 under the title, “Will Social Democracy Become Popular?”1
In order to obtain recruits for the Socialist army it is necessary to “proletariarise” those who carry on small industries as well as small trades, and the owners of small properties, all of whom display elements of resistance to the socialisation of the means of production. The movement of concentration, which does not take place naturally, must be obtained by force, in order to arrive at the catastrophe foretold by Karl Marx, as “on the one hand a few large industrial establishments and on the other the masses who possess nothing at all, the former absorbing the latter without their being able to offer resistance.”
In order to reach this point, the simplicity and ignorance of the very persons is to be exploited whom it is proposed to ruin, and of their representatives in Parliament. And legislation is to be carried out on the lines of social insurance and regulation of labour, in such a manner as to annihilate the small men, to overburden them with general expenses and risks, to close their shops and businesses and to try by artificial means to bring about the concentration of industries to which economic liberty fails to lend itself.
Werner Sombart frankly recognises this when he says that “a good system of workmen's legisla tion is a weapon of the highest order for proprietors of undertakings on a large scale, wherewith to ruin the small men and disembarrass themselves of their competition.1
M. E. Vandervelde also demands this factitious concentration. “We must,” he says, “wish for, and even foster by legislative measures, the passing of the degenerate forms of individual production into the superior forms of production in common.”2
People exclaim that the small or family workshop gets out of control, and demand its suppression. It will be the compulsory stage on the road to proletarisation, if small proprietors, small industrialists and small traders, in fact all persons with a moderate position in life, fail to remember that democracy and socialism are antagonistic. They have already, in spite of numerous warnings, frequently been the dupes of those who lured them to work for their own destruction. Laws, such as those with reference to a weekly day of rest, are of a nature to give them such warning.
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb protest against a group of careful artisans carrying on an enterprise by themselves. They would be supporting a minor industry, “which is diametrically opposed to the Socialist ideal.” They would be producing for their own profit, and the community would obtain no more power over their industry than over the industry of the individual.
While the Belgian Socialists make use of Vooruit and of some other co-operative societies, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb declare that they present “the worst aspect of current affairs.” Work and thrift are considered as vices by Socialists. M. Paul Lafargue has written the apology of idleness. This is one way of flattering the lowest instincts, and it is evident that if these excellent apostles were listened to, pauperism would increase instead of diminishing.
Socialism or Democracy. The two are in conflict, as the German Socialists declare; and Werner Sombart and Bernstein, like the rest of the Socialists, only suggest temporary and embarrassed solutions of the difficulty.
In France, the theorists and the leaders of the Confederation of Labour, MM. Georges Sorel, Hubert Lagardelle and Griffuelhes, with greater hardihood, clearly say that they intend to put all the lower middle class-outside the door of Socialism, in order to extricate the workman from the “slough of democracy.” Their aim is that the economic and the political classes be united into one, and they distinguish between “the class in itself” and “the class for itself,” the former constituting the “economic group” and the latter the “psychological group.”
The “class in itself” is supplied by proletarians of the type conceived by Karl Marx, whose hours of labour constantly increase in length, while their wages decrease; the “class for itself” overruns them and annexes owners of small properties, small and even great traders and employers, clerks, officials, philanthropists, millionaires, Protestant pastors, priests, professors, men of letters, etc. But Karl Marx, a doctor of the University of Berlin, and the son-in-law of a Prussian “junker,” was not a member of the proletariat of which he declared himself to be the great chief. The same was the case with Engels, who was entrusted by his father with the management of a large cotton mill at Manchester, and who, while following the hounds and leading the life of a gentleman, was not ruined by his efforts. How many men are there at the head of the German Socialist Party, who are entitled to be ranked with the “class in itself”? Mr. Hyndman, the founder of Social Democracy in London, is a rich member of the middle class. Is Frances Evelyn, Countess of Warwick, with her castle and her 20,000 acres—a lady who is a firstrate horsewoman and a member of the Social Democratic Federation—a member of the “class in itself?”
All these people combine discontents more or less justified, deceptions more or less deserved, fancies more or less intelligent, ideas more or less vague, and ambitions more or less considerable.
This “party for itself” answers to the idea conceived by Jules Guesde in 1878—79 of combining all the proletarians found in the different middle-class parties for the purposes of the impending revolution, in order to organise the revolt against the capitalist world. The party was to possess a revolutionary and extra-Parliamentary character. The “revolutionary preface” ended in electoral combinations which returned Paul Lafargue. Jules Guesde, and several others by means of coalitions. Jules Guesde supported M. Léon Bourgeois in his ministry in 1896. M. Combes in his ministry succeeded in closing the Labour Exchanges and the Parliamentary Socialists did not desert him.
The theorists of the Confederation of Labour do not desire that the “class in itself” and “the class by itself” should be superimposed and that the one should be overrun and carried away by the other. They consider that the policy of the struggle of classes, as understood by the followers of Marx, ends in the constitution of a bourgeois political party and pour all their contempt upon it.
With reference to the claim of the primary school teachers to be admitted to the Labour Exchanges, they say that “an association of primary school teachers cannot be interested in questions arising out of the relations between trades unions, or in such as concern stoppage of work or internal disputes, general strikes, shortening the hours of labour, etc. It cannot itself go on strike. The teachers cannot be present at the sittings of the Confederation of Labour, at which they have no interest to defend; they cannot take part in discussions within the Unions, Trade Societies and Labour Exchanges for the same reason.”
If they have now admitted them,1 and look upon them with a sympathetic eye, like the associations of officials, that is only because they look upon them as elements in the political dissolution aimed at by the Confederation of Labour.
How Many are There
The trade unions represent minorities—English Trade Unions—American Labor Unions—Number of members in France—Electoral results—Elections to the Reichstag — England — Socialist set-backs at the municipal elections—The United States—Strength of the socialists in France.
In actual fact, a minority of the workmen in a particular trade are members of trade unions, a small minority of the members leads the union, and this small oligarchy expects to impose its will upon the rest.
The leaders of the Confederation of Labour expect the Government, the municipalities and the whole body of ratepayers to obey their commands.
In England, where the Trade Unions are the most powerful, they only represent 15 per cent. of the number of workmen; in the United States, the Labour Unions, so far as it is possible to ascertain with reference to organisations which remain shrouded in mystery, do not represent one-tenth of the workmen; in France there is no means of ascertaining the number of members.
The Labour Office gave the number of workmen who are members of trade unions as 836,000 out of a total of 4,032,000 on January 1st, 1906, and as 896,000 on January 1st, 1907, exclusive of agricultural labourers, or a percentage of 20 and 25 respectively; but how many of them pay their subscriptions regularly and remain members of a union from one year's end to another? And how many of their number does the Socialist Party count as paying their subscriptions? Fifty to sixty thousand, according to the statements of their representatives at their Congresses, when they are discussing their respective forces. According to the reports of the Confederation of Labour at the Marseilles Congress in October, 1908, the receipts from June 1st, 1906, to June 30th, 1908, a period of 25 months, were 27,339 francs. Adding to this the proceeds of the “Bourses” and of the sale of their newspaper, “La Voix du Peuple,” the total receipts would be 124,430 francs, or 4,900 francs per month.
If we refer to electoral forces, we find a recoil in the successes of the German Socialists, whom Engels announced in 1892 to be about to come into power in 1898. At the elections to the Reichstag in 1907, the social democratic members were reduced to 79, as against 81 in 1902; the elections of January 25th and February 6th, 1909, reduced their number to 43. But, it may be said, the number of electors has increased. It has in fact increased from 3,010,000 to 3,251,000, an increase of 250,000 or 8 per cent., but the centre vote has increased by 400,000, and the liberal vote by 240,000 or 40 per cent.
In England also, Mr. Keir Hardie announced in 1892 that the country was Socialist. In 1894 the Trade Union Congress at Norwich passed a resolution in favour of the socialisation of all the means of production and exchange; in 1895, at Cardiff, the Congress confined itself to nationalisation of land, mines and railways. At the General Election of 1895, the members of the Labour Party were reduced from 12 to 4, Mr. Keir Hardie being among the victims. The Trade Unions freed themselves from Socialism. At present, the Labour Party, having opposed Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal policy, numbers fifty members in the House of Commons. But how many Socialists are there among them? Twenty-nine style themselves Socialists, but decline to make any confession of faith in the doctrine of the class war or to give expression to collectivist aspirations. The Fabians, or temporising Socialists, want to begin with Municipal Socialism. I was not disturbed at the result which would be obtained from experi ments of this kind. Practical Socialism will always be curbed by one thing—the Budget. And the electors of members of the London County Council and the London Borough Councils, have taken fright at the increase of expenditure and have recently cut short the experiments in Municipal Socialism which had been attempted in that City.
In the United States the number of Socialists is insignificant, and one may say that all the Socialist writers, journalists and agitators are of German origin. At the elections to the Chamber of Representatives in 1904, they numbered 408,000; at the elections in 1906, they had fallen to 285,300 out of a total of eleven millions of electors, a proportion of about 2½ per cent.: and yet this is the country which Socialists ought to consider as having advanced furthest on the road to collectivism marked out by Karl Marx, by reason of the enormous size of a number of its industrial establishments and of the accumulations of capital to be found in certain hands.
In France they have drawn all their power from the weakness entertained for them by the Radicals and Radical-Socialists. There are fifty-three members owning allegiance to the party in the Chamber of Deputies, but many of them were elected with a balance of Radical votes; and how many are there, among those who voted for them, who would care to see Socialism, in however attenuated a form, put into practice? As regards independent Socialists, there are a certain number who have been rejected by the united Socialist Party and by all honest parties. Combining the 160,000 votes obtained by these buffoons with the 960,000 votes given to the United Socialist Party, we have a total of 1,120,000 votes out of 8,900,000, or 7 per cent. And three-fourths of them are only voting for a word, while hostile to the things for which it stands.
The Havre Programme and M. JaurÈ' Solutions
How many Socialist electors are there who accept the programme of the Havre Congress of 1880, as drawn up by Karl Marx and proposed by Jules Guesde? It is as follows:—
“Whereas the emancipation of the producing class is that of all human beings, without distinction of sex or race; whereas the producers can only be free in so far as they are in possession of the means of production (lands, factories, shops, banks, credit, etc.):
And whereas there are only two forms in which the means of production can belong to them:—
This collective appropriation can only be the issue of the revolutionary action of the producing class—or proletariat—organised as a distinct political party;
Such an organisation should be promoted by all the means at the disposal of the proletariat, including universal suffrage, which is thus transformed from an instrument of deception into an instrument of emancipation;
The French Socialist workers, in setting up as the object of their efforts the political and economic expropriation of the capitalist class and the return to collectivity of all the means of production, have decided, as a means of organisation and of warfare, to take part in the elections with the following platform:—
A. Political Part
B. Economic Part.
What are the solutions which M. Jaurès offers to each question? He wants to take us back to the Egypt of the Pharoahs by entrusting the State with the monopoly of corn. He said ironically,1 “Guyot still accuses us of being retrogressive.” I certainly cannot call him progressive.
On June 11th he offered his solution of the crisis in the vineyards. “On and after July 1st, 1907, estates in which the culture of vines constitutes the principal source of income are national property. The nation is to entrust their exploitation to a general association of workers employed in wine growing, formed by wage-earners of all kinds employed in viticulture.” The owners of the estates did not display enthusiasm for the scheme.
M. Deslinières has made an attempt, in a bulky volume entitled, “Le Collectivisme,” to endow it with a legal organisation. The “urgent and provisional laws” which he proposes are as follows:—
And how long is this system to remain in force? M. Deslinières' answer is—Not only until the final enactment of laws, but until their complete application.
M. Georges Renard, who aims at an eclectic and attractive form of Socialism, says, “Socialism will be a régime of authority.”1 On this point I agree with him.
Social and National Policy
While the Socialists declare at their Congresses, beginning with the Congress of Limoges, that they cannot ally themselves, even temporarily, with one of the sections of the Republican bourgeoisie, why do the members of the Radical Party desire to carry out a Socialist policy? Why does M. Clemenceau denounce the capitalist régime, which he “has attacked and is going to attack again,” and proclaim himself a “Socialist”? Why does he adopt as his programme a portion of the working programme of the Gotha and Erfurt Congresses, and of the Harve Congress in 1880, as drafted by Karl Marx and proposed by Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue?
The programme of the Radical-Socialist Party, adopted by M. Clemenceau, is:—
Which of these should be sacrificed to the other?
Positive and Negative Policy
You cannot, you may say, carry out a negative policy; and in order to carry out a positive one, you take the property belonging to one class of persons and give it to others. Your policy of spoliation is positive, but the guarantee for the security of property, ensuring you from being robbed by force or fraud, is negative; the police, whose duty it is to exercise its supervision for your benefit without your perceiving it, is negative; the undoubted duties of the Government for the purpose of ensuring internal security and preserving you from external dangers are negative duties, although they produce positive results, in the shape of liberty of action for everyone and the assurance that he will reap the benefits of such action.
Tactics of the Social War
Creation of the Socialist spirit—The legality of violence—Jules Guesde and Georges Sorel.
How is the Social Revolution to be precipitated? What are the best tactics for the Social War? These are the subjects of discussion at Socialist Congresses.
At the Nancy Congress, on August 13th, 1907, M. Firancette made a very interesting declaration. “In the Paris Labour Exchange,” he said, “there is only a small number of Socialists among the three thousand members of the trade union to which I belong.”
M. Emmanuel Lévy, Professor in the Faculty of Law at Lyons, considers that “the true creation of the Socialist spirit is the class war itself. Political action will have to complete by laws of expropriation what the trade union has already succeeded in conquering.” This reassuring Professor of Law is a supporter of “direct action,” but he contemplates a legalised robbery and seeks to reconcile the unionism which is to perform the first act with the political Socialism which is to perform the second.
Jules Guesde looks upon the destruction of property and plant with a certain amount of contempt. He prefers a struggle conducted with ballot papers, but inasmuch as this method might appear bourgeois, he adds that “it is only the prelude to the struggle with musket-fire.” This weapon is somewhat out of date. But M. Jules Guesde has never believed in “natural necessity.” He is able to say that he has constantly repeated that “revolution by force remains the only final solution. Collective property can only issue from the revolutionary action of the producing class—or proletariat—organised as a class party.”
M. Georges Sorel, one of the pundits of the Confederation of Labour, for his part says, “the greater the development of trade unions, the more will social conflicts assume the character of pure struggles like those of armies in the field.”1
The leaders of the Workmen's Socialist Party and of the Confederation of Labour are in fundamental agreement. M. Jules Guesde alone asks for the collaboration of those whom he wishes to destroy, while MM. Georges Sorel, Lagardelle and Griffuelhes only count upon the class which is interested in destruction. They have less faith in human simplicity than M. Jules Guesde.
The Socialists may quarrel among themselves about personal matters, but they are all agreed upon one point—the social war. One needs to be deeply versed in the subtleties of the Socialist vocabulary in order to understand the distinctions between the motion of La Dordogne, which was supported by 141 votes, and the du Cher motion which obtained 167, and was adopted. I quote the latter:—
The congress, convinced that the working classes will only be able to completely emancipate themselves by the combined force of political action and of the action of the trade unions, by the trade unions proceeding to the length of a general strike and by the conquest of all political power in view of the general expropriation of capitalism:
Convinced that this double action will be all the more effective in proportion as the political and the economic organisms maintain their full autonomy, the aims of the trade unions being the same as those of Socialism:
Seeing that this fundamental agreement of political and of economic action on the part of the proletariat will necessarily ensure a liberal co-operation between the two organisations, free from confusion, subordination or distrust:
Accordingly invites all militant members to labour to the utmost of their power to dissipate every misunderstanding between the corporate and the political organisations of the working classes.
The 34 millions of owners of property, large and small, the bourgeois and capitalists of France, certainly keep their tempers well, seeing that these organisations for the purpose of pillage, either by violence or by law, are carried on in the exercise of a legitimate right!
This indifference is sufficiently humiliating to the Socialists, for it proves the profound confidence entertained by those who own property in the vanity of their efforts. And how many among those Socialists who are richly provided with worldly goods expect to be called upon to lay their quota upon the altar of conquering Socialism?
Against the Law
“The will of your class”—Edgar Quinet: democracy and the law—The disciples of force—The class war according to Aristotle.
In the “Communist Manifesto” (§45) Karl Marx says: “What is your law, unless it be the will of your class?” Socialists are logical in making light of the advice given by Edgar Quinet to the democracy to “cling inflexibly to the law.” Yet where will it go, if it does not cling to it? If it travels without a compass, does it expect to take a reasonable course? Does not the whole of history teach us how deceptive and precarious are the triumphs of force? Does not the history of our insurrections contain the most terrible lessons? Socialists may celebrate the anniversary of the Commune; do they look upon it as a victory?
Even admitting that they are strong enough to succeed in giving a legal aspect to their policy of pillage by a second-hand majority in an assembly, they would only find themselves on the morrow in the presence of ruins and would be obliged to reconstitute a legal system which recognises the capacity of each individual to own property and to contract.
The Socialists have consistently attacked me, and rightly so, for I attacked them at the time when the Radical party placed itself at their disposal.
The members of the Socialist party claim equality before the law, and protection for their goods and persons, and declare themselves, at the same time, to be a party committed to social war, in search of the best means of robbing you. I really cannot conduct colloquies in an amicable way with people who force me to keep my hand on my purse.
This class war is of far earlier date than the great industries. The honour of discovering it is not to be ascribed to Karl Marx. Twenty-three centuries before his time Aristotle said: “The demagogues, when the multitude are above the law, are always cutting the city in two by quarrels with the rich.”1
In the cities of Greece they demanded the confiscation of lands and the cancellation of debts, and they expected to throw the whole burden of fiscal charges upon the rich. The Socialists of to-day are merely plagiarists of the demagogues whose works Aristotle had beheld. Only, in those days of servile labour, a man who neither owned land nor carried on a small trade, could not live except by the generosity of the public treasury, and he was obliged to assume these advantages for himself by the conquest of power. Nowadays, the exercise of a profession or trade guarantees him the enjoyment of normal resources, and he knows that, if he goes too far in his threats or his measures against the capitalist, he will dry them up at the fountain-head. The demagogues of old threw the cities in which they were dominant into anarchy, and most frequently it was a stranger who came to re-establish an oligarchy or a tyranny.
Depressing Effect upon Wealth
Income tax—Mr. Hearst and Mr. Roosevelt—Death duties in France.
Socialist action has a depressing effect upon all fixed capital. Not only do threats of confiscation cause uneasiness for the future; the proceedings of an unscrupulous policy are disquieting for the present. A suggested income tax, the effect of which is to place an instrument of pressure in the hands of the Socialists destined to annihilate large fortunes and to exhaust moderate ones, does not invite people to embark in enterprises or to buy properties or transferable securities. Since the same spirit prevails, in different degrees, in countries whose evolution is advanced, everyone looks uneasily around him. Furthermore, in order to carry on a policy of preserving the political equilibrium, of giving a few bones to the demagogues to gnaw, concessions are made to the policy of spoliation. In order to contend against Mr. Hearst, the wealthy demagogue, Mr. Roosevelt feels the need of declaring war upon the corporations and threatening the millionaires with confiscation of a portion of their estates upon their decease.
Governments in democratic countries like the United States and France, carry on a system of class policies, which—contrary to the principle of the equality of all before the law and of the law as the same for all—brings us back to the old system.
Optimists would do well to cast an eye upon the following table of estates, passing by inheritance and deed of gift, in France.
In the two periods 1896–1900 and 1901–1904 there was a decline as compared with the period 1891–1895, and the period 1905–1907 only exceeds the period 1891–1895 by 14 millions. Between the two extreme periods covering a space of 26 years, the increase is only 12 per cent., or less than ½ per cent. per annum. Contrary to certain optimistic assertions, the increase of wealth in France, even if its development has not been arrested, is at all events extremely slow, and among the causes which are answerable for this, it may safely be stated that Socialism must be placed in the front rank.
The Impotence of Socialism
what remains of Socialism, then, when we come to close quarters with it? And what are the future prospects of this policy of spoliation and of tyranny?
The Socialist party cannot balance up a governmental majority without destroying government itself, for it cannot admit that government fulfils the minimum of its duties. When a strike breaks out, the intention of the strikers is that security of person and of property shall not be guaranteed; and they have been preceded, supported and followed in this by certain Radicals who, when put to the test, have been obliged to commit acts such as they have violently laid to the charge of preceding governments. Socialist policy represents contempt for law, and all men, whether rich or poor, have an interest in liberty, security and justice, for the private interest of each individual is bound up with these common blessings. Socialists despise them all.
A law, the object of which is to protect each man's property, is supported by all who possess anything, and where is the man in advanced societies who is incapable of being robbed because he possesses nothing?
A law, the object of which is to despoil a portion of the citizens of a State, unites in opposition to it all those against whom it is directed and those whom it alarms, for they are afraid that it may extend to them. It has not even the support of those for whose benefit it is made, for only a very small number obtain a direct benefit; the great majority only experience disappointments, and cause the feelings of envy and rapacity which procured the demand and approval of such a law to recoil upon those who have benefited by it.
A law of spoliation may be passed and carried into effect, but in the event of its results becoming permanent, it runs the risk of destroying the government which has assumed the responsibility for it.
Socialist policy is a permanent menace to the liberty and security of citizens, and cannot therefore be the policy of any government, the primary duty of which is to exact respect for internal and external security. If it fail therein, it dissolves and is replaced by anarchy; and inasmuch as everyone has a horror of that condition which betrays itself by the oppression of violent men, banded together solely by their appetites, an appeal is made to a strong government and to a man with a strong grip, and the risk is incurred of falling back into all the disgraces and disasters of Cæsarism.
There are three words which Socialism must erase from the facades of our public buildings—the three words of the Republican motto:—
Liberty, because Socialism is a rule of tyranny and of police.
Equality, because it is a rule of class.
Fraternity, because its policy is that of the class war.
the wessex press, ltd.
Loc. cit. pp. 118-127.
Quoted by M. Georg Simmel, “Philosophie de la Souverainete” Fournal des Economistes, 15 juillet, 1907.
“Le Socialisme et le mouvement social au xixe siecle,” p. 144 foll.
“Socialistische Monatshefte,” August, October and November, 1905. See the “Mouvement socialiste,” January 15th, 1906, p.117.
Werner Sombart, op, cit.
“Le Collectivisme et l'evolution industrielle,” p. 53.
See “The Times,” August 13th, 1909
Georges Renard, “Le Regime Socialiste,” 1888 (Paris, F. Alcan); “Le Socialisme à l'œuvre,” p. 300.
“Réflexions sur la violence,” Mouvement Socialiste, 15 juin, 1906, p. 162.
Aristotle, “Politics,” v. chap. ix. §10 (Jowett's translation).