« السابقةمتابعة »
This power of prepossession and unconscio
the special difficulty of the Individualists frumt test to prace himself and his frien asime necessary to civilization. The Lib Detence League has the more difficult task of
iary iss, but our modern slaves, who an whese meal the executive power of the com mre allmy. And in this task the Individualis mils help from the chief executive officers of
have forced directly upon their notice the la problem those who are directly responsible for t ess of the community, can now hardly avoid, w
m, taking the Socialist view. Each Ministe gains Socialism in the abstract, but every decisi hiss o department leans more and more away cast Side
Socialism and Liberty. Some persons may object that this gradual collective administration of the nation's life cann a Socialistac development, and that the name o to everything but a complete system of society basis. But whatever Socialism may have meant significance now is the steady expansion of government into the industrial sphere. This in
is, and not any ingenious Utopia, with which In desire to make any effectual resistance to the s lective for individual will, must attempt to de students are, indeed, now prepared to agree wit our restrictive laws and municipal Socialism, so fa gone, do, as a matter of fact, secure a greater well Freedom than that system of complete personal li - sins of legislators have deprived us. The sacr is invoked, by both parties, and the question at i of method. As each " difficulty ” of the present sc itself for solution, the Socialist points to the experie industrial countries, and urges that personal freedo by the great mass of the people only by their subst self-government in the industrial world for that per the Industrial Revolution has placed in the hands class. His opponents regard individual liberty as collective control, and accordingly resist any extens freedom of collective life. Their main difficulty democracy, ever more and more claiming to ext field of industry. To all objections, fears, doubts, to the practicability of doing in the industrial wha done in the political world, the democratic answer lando;" only the e at any time which is p and there pract
such advance is made the sense of pi
nits. But that progres
ne development of individual character is the ick” for the sake of which he seeks to win all
A democracy must therefore necessarily be gradual in its ent; and cannot for long ages be absolutely complete. The ay never arrive, even as regards material things, when indivis entirely merged in collective ownership or control, but it is iter of common observation that every attempt to grapple with ne “difficulties" of our existing civilization brings us nearer to that goal.
BASIS OF THE FABIAN SOCIETY.
The Fabian Society consists of Socialists.
It therefore aims at the re-organization of Society by the emancipation of Land and Industrial Capital from individual and class ownership, and the vesting of them in the community for the general benefit. In this way only can the natural and acquired advantages of the country be equitably shared by the whole people.
The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private property in Land and of the consequent individual appropriation, in the form of Rent, of the price paid for permission to rise the earth, as well as for the advantages of superior soils and sites.
The Society, further, works for the transfer to the community of the administration of such Industrial Capital as can conveniently be managed socially. For, owing to the monopoly of the means of production in the past, industrial inventions and the transformation of surplus income into Capital_have mainly enriched the proprietary class, the worker being a dent on that class for leave to earn a living If these measures !
(though not without such relief
seem fit Rent
YZ be added laborid
rily disa by
Zeith me fer ith
Hence it is that irresponsible personal authority over the actions of others-expelled from the throne, the castle, and the altar-still reigns, almost unchecked, in the factory and the mine. The “captains of industry," like the kings of yore, are indeed honestly unable to imagine how the business of the world can ever go on without the continuance of their existing rights and powers. And truly, upon any possible development of Individualistic principles, it is not easy to see how the worker can ever escape from their i beneficent" rule.
The Growth of Collective Action. But representative government has taught the people how to gain collectively that power which they could never again individually possess. The present century has accordingly witnessed a growing den and for the legal regulation of the conditions of industry which represents a marked advance on previous conceptions of the sphere of legislation. It has also seen a progress in the public management of industrial undertakings which represents an equal advance in the field of government administration. Such an extension of collective action is, it may safely be asserted, an inevitable result of political democracy. When the Commons of England had secured the right to vote supplies, it must have seemed an unwarrantable extension that they should claim also to redress grievances. When they passed from legislation to the exercise of control over the executive, the constitutional jurists were aghast at the presumption. The attempt of Parliament to seize the command of the military forces led to a civil war. Its control over foreign policy is scarcely two hundred years old. Every one of these developments of the collective authority of the nation over the conditions of its own life was denounced as an illegitimate usurpation foredoomed to failure. Every one of them is still being resisted in countries less advanced in political development. In England, where all these rights are admitted, each of them inconsistent with the "complete personal liberty" of the minority, the Individualists of to-day deny the competence of the people to regulate, through their representative committees, national or local, the conditions under which they work and live. Although the tyranny which keeps the tramcar conductor away from his home for seventeen hours a day is not the tyranny of king or priest or noble, he feels that it is tyranny all the same, and seeks to curb it in the way his fathers took.
The captains of war have been reduced to the position of salaried officers acting for public ends under public control; and the art of war has not decayed. In a similar way the captains of industry are gradually being deposed from their independent commands, and turned into salaried servants of the public. Nearly all the railways of the world, outside of America and the United Kingdom, are managed in this way. The Belgian Government works its own line of passenger steamers. The Paris Municipal Council opens public bakeries. The Glasgow Town Council runs its own common lodging houses, Plymouth its own tramways. Everywhere, schools, water
works, gas-works, dwellings for the people, and many other forms of capital, are passing from individual into collective control. And there is no contrary movement. No community which has once municipalized" any public service ever retraces its steps or reverses its action.
Such is the answer that is actually being given to this difficulty of Individualism. Everywhere the workman is coming to understand that it is practically hopeless for him, either individually or co-operatively, to own the constantly growing mass of capital by the use of which he lives. Either we must, under what is called "complete personal freedom," acquiesce in the personal rule of the capitalist, tempered only by enlightened self-interest and the "gift of sympathy,", or we must substitute for it, as we did for the royal authority, the collective rule of the whole community. The decision is scarcely doubtful. And hence we have on all sides, what to the Individualist is the most incomprehensible of phenomena, the expansion of the sphere of government in the interests of liberty itself. Socialism is, indeed, nothing but the extension of democratic selfgovernment from the political to the industrial world, and it is hard to resist the conclusion that it is an inevitable outcome of the joint effects of the economic and political revolutions of the past century.
Competition. Individualists often take refuge in a faith that the extension of the proprietary class, and the competition of its members, will always furnish an adequate safeguard against the tyranny of any one of them. But the monopoly of which the democracy is here impatient is not that of any single individual, but that of the class itself. What the workers are objecting to is, not the rise of any industrial Buonaparte financially domineering the whole earth—though American experience makes even this less improbable than it once was—but the creation of a new feudal system of industry, the domination of the mass of ordinary workers by a hierarchy of property owners, who compete, it is true, among themselves, but who are nevertheless able, as a class, to preserve a very real control over the lives of those who depend upon their own daily labor.
Moreover, competition, where it still exists, is in itself one of the Individualist's difficulties, resulting, under a system of unequal incomes, not merely in the production, as we have seen, of the wrong commodities, but also of their production in the wrong way and for the wrong ends. The whole range of the present competitvie Individualism manifestly tends, indeed, to the glorification, not of honest personal service, but of the pursuit of personal gain--not the production of wealth, but the obtaining of riches. The inevitable outcome is the apotheosis, not of social service, but of successful financial speculation, which is already the special bane of the American civilization. With it comes inevitably a demoralization of personal character, a coarsening of moral fibre, and a hideous lack of taste.
The Lesson of Evolution. This, indeed, is the lesson which economics brings to ethics. The “fittest to survive" is not necessarily the best, but much more probably he who takes the fullest possible advantage of the conditions of the struggle, heedless of the result to his rivals. Indeed, the social consequences of complete personal liberty in the struggle for existence have been so appalling that the principle has had necessarily to be abandoned. It is now generally admitted to be a primary duty of government to prescribe the plane on which it will allow the struggle for existence to be fought out, and so to determine which kind of fitness shall survive. We have long ruled out of the conflict the appeal to brute force, thereby depriving the stronger man of his natural advantage over his weaker brother. We stop as fast as we can every development of fraud and chicanery, and so limit the natural right of the cunning to overreach their neighbors. We prohibit the weapon of deceptive labels and trade marks. In spite of John Bright's protest, we rule that adulteration is not a permissible form of competition. We forbid slavery: with Mill's consent, we even refuse to enforce a lifelong contract of service. We condemn long hours of labor for women and children, and now even for adult men, and insanitary conditions of labor for all workers.
The whole history of social progress is, indeed, one long series of definitions and limitations of the conditions of the struggle, in order to raise the quality of the fittest who survive. This service can be performed only by the government. No individual competitor can lay down the rules of the combat. No individual can safely choose the higher plane so long as his opponent is at liberty to fight on the lower. In the face of this experience, the Individualist proposal to rely on complete personal liberty and free competition is not calculated to gain much acceptance. A social system devised to encourage "the art of establishing the maximum inequality over our neighbors ”—as Ruskin puts it-appears destined to be replaced, wherever this is possible, by one based on salaried public service, with the stimulus of duty and esteem, instead of that of fortunemaking
The Struggle for Existence between Nations. But perhaps the most serious difficulty presented by the present concentration of energy upon personal gain is its effect upon the position of the community in the race struggle. The lesson of evolution seems to be that interracial competition is really more momentous in its consequences than the struggle between indi. viduals. It is of comparatively little importance, in the long run, that individuals should develop to the utmost, if the life of the community in which they live is not thereby served. Two generations ago it would have been assumed, as a matter of course, that the most efficient life for each community was to be secured by each individual in it being left complete personal freedom. But that