Monday, December 28, 2015
Why I am Opposed to Socialism 1913
Why I am Opposed to Socialism by George Lansing Raymond (Author and University Professor.)
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I am opposed to Socialism because I think it founded on a misconception of the requirements of human nature; and this, mainly, for three reasons:
First: A great many people will not practice diligence and thrift, unless stimulated to do so by a possibility of obtaining, possessing and using something that they can call their own. This is something that Socialism theoretically, and so far as it has been applied, practically, would deny them.
Second: A great many will not work at all, when their only inducement is that others wish them to work, or need their help. Socialism, if established, would be obliged merely to secure support for the community to force such people to work against their own wills. This would inevitably involve the re-establishment of a system of human slavery.
Third: All a man's mental and moral development in this world - to say nothing of what may come after death needs training. According to a law apparently divine, but certainly human, this training, whether in home, school, business or society, is imparted by means of discipline. The discipline is mainly derived from the circumstances of life in which one finds himself placed, and, in such cases, is always accompanied by dissatisfaction with one's alloted place, and by actual suffering. The Socialist aims to escape from this dissatisfaction and suffering by making a change in his circumstances such a change, for instance, as would make a king a servant, or make all men kings or servants. But history and experience show that kings, whose friends die, courtiers flatter, and enemies trick, are no more free from the sufferings attendant upon discipline than are servants. The truth seems to be that to occupy a different position in life means merely to be placed in a different part of the same apparently divine and certainly social machine which as some have faith to believe is at work grinding out of the coarse grain of humanity what shall, some day, prove to be its fine flour. One who has the wisdom to apply this theory to life, will, in no position that a man can fill, feel either too haughty or too humiliated to sympathize with everybody, and to do his best everywhere to alleviate suffering, lessen oppression, equalize opportunity, enthrone justice, and prove himself, in every sense of the term, a fellow-man. The result upon individual consciousness and conscience of this attitude of mind is the most important of any that can be exerted in order to secure human welfare. It differs from Socialism in being derived as Socialism is not from a recognition of the exact and entire truth a truth that includes, both that which is material and spiritual, philosophical and religious.
Why I am Opposed to Socialism by Horace Ellis (President Vincennes University.)
Socialism originally meant to become an effective protest against the tyrannies of all forms of monarchy. If it had succeeded in its ambition we all had been Socialists. But it failed utterly. Its failure may be traced to certain fundamental errors as to the means it should employ to realize its purpose. It presumed that most practices it found in the economic world were inherently bad because they had been employed by heartless men in furthering their individual interests. Socialism denies the accepted maxim relating to competition in spite of the evidences of history which have fully established the fact that, in every realm of human activity, competition has been one of the mightiest factors for individual, community, national and racial prestige. Socialism would deny to virile, purposeful, masterful leaders of men the privilege of leadership because, forsooth, some such leaders have misused authority reposed in them. In lieu of this practice, it would constitute society at large the rightful leader in all economic matters because some evidences appear which indicate that society possesses some attributes of stability. Fatal both of these deductions. There are many thousands of good Socialists, but few substantial economic contentions behind them.
Why I am Opposed to Socialism by Boyd-Carpenter, William B., B.A., F.R.G.S.
The world has always sighed after novelty. Even St. Paul found that the Athenians of old longed to hear some new thing. The craze for novelty, or an increasing curiosity are the symptoms of the decline of a philosophic outlook on life. It is the idea that a change means reform. Now reform can never be a change in the substance, but rather an application, a direct and precise application of a thought-out remedy for a particular and authentic grievance. Nor is innovation a real reform we have to change our clothes because they are wet, but this does not mean we reform ourselves or our clothes. "Woman makes an innovation in the shape of her clothes or her hats she does not reform her clothes or her hats. But Socialists and syndicalists demand the immediate alteration of the capitalists' system of production by which they mean, if they mean anything, such a reform as will give to them, as a political party within any State, the power of using the forces, political
and capitalistic within the State on behalf of their own section of the community, unless they mean this, they cannot hope to benefit wages and employment. If they do not mean this, they are hoodwinking workingmen and merely are seeking a change, not a reform. Change is impermanent therefore transitory change is merely the expression of want of tone in the political health of a people. But Socialism and syndicalism by seeking the benefit of the many workers at the expense of the few capitalists, is creating a form of injustice, which in their main doctrines Socialists assert they are hoping to avoid. Injustice to any section of a community is the creation of inequality again in a community. If we cannot reform with equity, let us not reform at all. As we put back the hands of the clock's progress, so we recreate inequalities. Life at best is a matter of compensation; it is the disturbance of this balance which makes for injustice and inequality.
Then again, Socialism has been tried and has always resulted in the re-erection of the capitalist system. The Revolutions of France 1789, 1832, 1848, 1871 all were to usher in the millennium. But France is capitalistic today and amongst the wealthiest nations on the earth. The German Revolution, 1848, or the Spanish Revolution all began in high hopes of republics to be ruled by Democrats. All these countries have gone back to what the world has tried and found stands best the test of time. Nations, like individuals, are impatient and do damage in fits of temper for which many years of steady care are required to effect the repairs. The world wants more religion in active life and more ostracism of the irreligious. The fear of public disgust is the beginning of ordered honesty. The strength of a public opinion is the poor man's friend. "To complain of the age in which we live; to revile the possessors of power; to lament the past; to conceive wild hopes for the
future, are the common dispositions of the vast majority of men." They are also the attributes of laziness and the form of a vulgar levity. A nation must have all classes grumblers and saints, happy and querulous, in order to make strong men.
Why I am Opposed to Socialism by Henry Louis Mencken. (Author of "The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche," editor of The Players' Ibsen, part-author with Robert Rives LaMonte of "Men vs. the Man." Member of the editorial staff of the Baltimore Evening Sun.)
I am opposed to Socialism because, in general, it means a vain and costly attack upon the immutable natural law that the strong shall have advantage over the weak. I do not defend that law as perfect, nor do I even maintain that it is just. If I had the world to make over I should probably try to find something to take its place, something measurably less wasteful and cruel. But the world is as it is and the law is as it is. Say what you will against it, you must at least admit that it works, that it tends to destroy the botched and useless, that it places a premium upon enterprise and courage, that it makes for health and strength, that it is the most powerful of all agents of human progress. "Would brotherhood, supposing it to be achieved, do as well? I doubt it. Brotherhood would help the soft man, the clinging man, the stupid man. But would it help the alert and resourceful man? Answer for yourself. Isn't it a fact that difficulties make daring, that effort makes efficiency? Do not functions develop by use? Does the cell act or react?
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