Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Socialism Means Slavery for the Working Man By P. H. Scullin 1910
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According to the Socialists, all the affairs of men should be managed by the government regardless of individual choice. Who would make the laws is the first thing to be considered. The people, of course, say the Socialists. Well, that of itself could not improve things, for that is just what they are doing now and have been ever since the Declaration of Independence. Yes, say the Socialists, but under our system there would be no incentive to corruption. Our representatives could not sell our interests to the corporations. There would be no corporations to sell to. The people themselves would own everything, hence selling the people, or legislative corruption, would be impossible. Every incentive to corruption is eliminated because of the fact that no man can or will be allowed to accumulate. Everything is to belong to everybody. Just so, but as everything is to belong to everybody and everybody is to share equally with everybody else, it follows that there must be established an elaborate system of both production and distribution. This system must not only be established by the government, but must at all times be under government supervision and control; and, as production comes before distribution, I will deal with production first as governed by law for the best interests of all the people. The State, being the supreme power, would also be the supreme and only judge of what was best for all the people, as it would also be the sole and only employer. Therefore as a business proposition and in justice to the State it must put its employees to work at the kind of work for which they are best adapted in order that each shall do that which is for the best interest of all. This is not alone a logical deduction, but the doctrine propounded from the Socialistic platform. Do not pass this phase of the question lightly. This is where slavery begins. The boy leaving school at a certain age specified by law, must begin to contribute his quota to the State's support and could not choose his own calling or attempt in any manner, by his own determination and effort to realize the future of his boyish dreams or youthful ambition. He is not to be the judge, neither shall his parents interfere. He and they are blotted out. Neither he nor they shall even assist in his destiny. He belongs to the State. Every individual human desire, however high or holy, if not considered by those in authority to be for the best interests of all, must be crushed and obliterated. The budding genius, the fore-ordained poet, painter or sculptor must go serve his time to be a bricklayer, a plumber or a horse doctor, dig in a quarry or work at any other occupation that the wise men in authority may decide he is best adapted to. I shall have something to say about these same wise men directly and how they got there.
I hope there is no difficulty about understanding that under Socialism neither man nor boy could choose his own vocation. They assure us that every man must work, and as the State would decide the kind and quantity of the work to be done, it would also select the employees which it considered the best adapted to perform the different kinds of work necessary for the proper support and comfort of society.
Cannot any average intelligence grasp the fact that this in itself would be slavery black and damnable? Each toiler, in whatever calling, performing an allotted task at something in which he had no choice, perhaps, against which his every inclination was in rebellion. And all for what? That he might live? No, but that he might exist. That he might eat, drink and sleep like a hog to-day, to the end that he could do the same to-morrow. No hope of better things; no gratifying of honest pride in wife or child. No lifting up of those he loves through the ennobling process of hardships suffered and toil endured in behalf of hearth and home and those that go to make that home the toiler's all in all on earth. But all this is but an introduction to the slave market. Let us see how this system is to be inaugurated and conducted. To do so I must go back somewhat to be clearly understood.
I have never yet heard the most advanced Socialist advance the theory that human nature could be changed by either a majority vote, a united vote of all the people, or by legislative enactment. I think I am therefore justified in saying that human nature is a fixed and unalterable quantity with which even the Socialists would have to deal. What, then, is the source from which flows every injustice of which we justly complain? Is it not the inordinately selfish desire of the unscrupulous and dishonest to get the best of their fellow men? This is the very thing that the Socialists themselves declare they are going to checkmate, and especially do they complain of and condemn the politicians as professional human cormorants, gorging themselves at the expense of the people whom they betray. Well, how is it that these bad men get into office? Has not every man a vote? And is it not we that elect these very men of whom we complain?
I will tell you, my Socialistic friend, and you, business man. They get there for two reasons. First, because they want to, and secondly because we, the complainers, don't care a straw about our neighbors or the community's interests. It's ourselves that we are interested in. Let us see what bearing this has upon the question at issue.
Take away from man the incentive to accumulate, and thereby deprive him of the chance, hope or opportunity to gratify his tastes or desires; leave him without the chance to rise through enterprise in commerce, labor or the arts, and to what will he turn for an outlet for his natural energy and laudable ambition to climb above his fellows? (This is an inborn desire in the heart of man that even slavery cannot quench.) He could only turn to politics. As the only preferment under Socialism must come through the State, all would of a necessity be political preferment. Then would we become a nation of politicians and office seekers. Now, here is what I want to ask the Socialists, the working men or any man: Who do you think would get there under Socialism; in a word, who would rule; who would at all times hold the reins of power and conduct the affairs of the State? As a matter of course, it would be the very class of men who have ruled the world since the beginning, and will rule until time is no more; the men of intellect and force of character, and the more forceful and unscrupulous, the surer would they be to rule, as ruling would be the only outlet for their ambition. Neither would there be any other occupation or diversion for the viciously inclined, the rogue, the cheat, the sneakthief, the hold-up man and all their kind, except that of turning their ability and cunning to the gaining of office, as henchmen to political aspirants. They and their kind would become the overseers and foremen whose commands the honest workman must obey. To preserve order and conduct business there must be men in authority, and the men in authority must receive their commission from the government, granted of course through political influence.
To my mind there is just one method, and only one, by which the State's business could be carried on; namely, the system under which the Roman legions were organized, or the government of the Incas in Peru. There would be chiefs of departments all the way from the President, cabinet or head governing Council down to the veriest petty foreman. Let us say a corporal who would have charge of ten men. The corporal would be responsible and report to a sergeant, who in turn would be over ten corporals. The sergeants would report to their captains; the captains to the colonels, and so on up to the highest authority.
Working men, pause here and just think a little about what such a system would mean to you. Every man in authority from the corporal or foreman up would represent the law. He would be the Law. He must of necessity enforce his every command, or all law would be at an end and chaos and disorder would follow. He would be a soldier or policeman, and must arrest all lawbreakers or law defiers, and to disobey him would be to defy the law. The average man is not an angel, but what would be the condition of the country if the cunning and unscrupulous sought office and desired to rise in office by a display of vigilance that might pass for efficiency? What kind of a hell, I ask, is the honest working man who embraces Socialism trying to create for himself? The State or Nation would become one vast system of militarism. Every working man would cease to be a man and become a thing, a pawn on the political chess board, to somebody higher up whose position is something and whose office is somewhere. This is the promised Utopia where all men are to be equal and all are to be treated upon the equality principle.
I will now deal with this same equality and how it will figure out when we come to distribution. Under Socialism every honest man at least is entitled to the same treatment, and to an equal share of everything, and why not, if he is an equal owner in all wealth?
Now here is one of the Socialistic problems that I cannot solve: How are they to give the people something that is not? There is no such thing as equality, either in Heaven or in earth. Are the Socialists going to manufacture it? Can they make the earth produce fruits of equal flavor, or make every part of a steer, sheep, goat or hog, equally tender, palatable and acceptable? Can they produce enough silk, satin, and fine linen to clothe all the people? I think they will admit that they cannot do all or any of these things. There are hundreds of other things they cannot do, yet equally necessary to be done before we could begin to think of an equal distribution of this world's wealth, but the above is enough for my purpose. I would now ask the advocates of Socialism or any thinking man: who will wear silk, satin, fine linen and broadcloth, eat the porterhouse steaks, lamb chops, fried oysters and turtle soup, drink champagne and ride in automobiles, and who will eat the plainest and poorest food, drink the cheaper grades of tea and coffee, wear overalls, hobnail shoes, and hickory shirts? Will it be the politicians and the office holders, the men in command, their wives and children, or the men commanded, that will have the choice? Who will live the better, the man of honest toil or the scheming trickster, the man who lies and fawns and carries stories, the inferior who reports your every weakness, your every shortcoming, and, worst of all for you at least, reports your every opposition to the powers that be? What a prospect lies in the change!
Working men of America, what is the most sacred, the most cherished, and, as it ought to be, the most highly prized thing of which you are in possession of to-day? In spite of all your hardships, poverty and perpetual struggle for existence, IS IT NOT YOUR INDEPENDENCE, your right to work for whom you choose; your right to refuse to work at any kind of work you do not like, or for any man whom you dislike; your right to strike against injustice? In a word, your right to assert your manhood and your independence as a freeman? Could you do this under Soicalism? YOU COULD NOT. To combine or form a union to protect the laborer against real or fancied wrongs would be an act of conspiracy and treason against the government. To protest upon the public platform would be sedition. TO STRIKE WOULD BE REBELLION. Every Socialist expounder asserts that under Socialism labor will not only have justice but that poverty will disappear and that Jack would be upon an equal footing with John. But not one Socialist has ever defined the plan by which they propose to operate, and in all friendship and with every respect for their blind faith in their mythical cause, I challenge them individually or as a body to formulate and present a working plan whereby Socialism could be made operative, while leaving to mankind that which has cost him so many thousands of years to achieve: His Liberty, Individuality and Personal Independence.
In trying to paint conditions as they surely would, and must, exist under this kind of governmental rule. I am wholly unable to place before others my realization of the horrible state of injustice, indignity, suffering and slavery that would inevitably be the lot of the toiling masses, could Socialism prevail. I do not write this because I am afraid of Socialistic control, but in the hope that I may be the means of keeping some honest men, however few, from blindly joining in a propaganda they do not understand, simply taking it for granted that the promised change will be for the better as far as they are concerned.
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