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clearer consciousness of the meaning of its own struggle for existence in the social world as a whole. And, just as it raises the plane of competition within its own social group, so it raises it in relation to other groups in the wider social organism. The study of great social experiments in Germany, the comparison of " experiences" at International Congresses, and other movements, suggest that there may be a more valuable kind of rivalry between nations than that of mere power, mere trade, or mere territory—a rivalry of social type and efficiency, within the limits of the specific part each is most fitted to discharge in the whole. The law of national self-preserva. tion, upon such a view, passes from a non-moral to a moral stage, for it is not a mere and exclusive, but a specific and inclusive Anyhow, one effect of Collectivism would be to increase the selfconsciousness of a State as organized for the attainment of a common good and a certain kind of social existence; and this consciousness is, from the Socialist's point of view, an increasingly determinate factor in social evolution, just as it is the worst effect of competitive industry that the idea of the State and the conception of a social ideal either disappears or becomes vulgarized and materialized.
The Distinction Between “ State” and “Society.”
It is worth while to dwell for a moment upon à distinction which is often placed to the credit of modern, as distinguished from Greek, political philosophy—the distinction between “Society" and “the State." When the political community is regarded as “Society” it is looked at as a number of individuals or classes, or professions—as an aggregate of units. When we speak of the
State," we understand a single personality, as it were, representing all these interests and endowed with force which it can exercise against any one of them. In other words, “ the State " cannot be reduced to “ Society” or to “Government,” which is only one of its functions, but is Society organized and having force. This distinction in one way implies an advance : we can and do leave more than the Greeks to social influence, as distinguished from the action of the State, because the foundation of social morality is stronger and deeper, and because we lay more stress on individual freedom and the value of the individual. But, in another way, it implies a loss, and is apt to degenerate into the idea that the State has no moral function, and that the individual possesses separate rights which only belong to him as a member of a community. To vulgar political Economy, for instance, as to the Liberty and Property Defence League, “the State" simply means Society; and there has been a tendency on the part of Économists who start with the commercial point of view to push to the extreme the view that the best result will come from the free interaction of conflicting interests, to take this view as final and make it a "law." Modern thought and modern practice are reverting to the position of Aristotle, that the State ought to put before itself "the good of the whole," by interfering with the "natural" course of economic events in favor of collective ends. And it is Democracy that has made Collectivism
possible: the State is not some mysterious entity outside individuals, but simply represents the individuals organized for a common purpose, whether in parochial or national assembly./ When, therefore, German Social-Democracy avows its aim to be the substitution of
Society” for the "State," this is simply a sign of arrested political and social development : the State is not co-extensive with the selfgoverning community, but represents oligarchic and centralized bureaucracy. To depreciate the stress which Collectivists lay upon
organization” is really to depreciate the value of the moral atmosphere any particular manifestation of Collectivism may generate in familiarizing the members of the community with the idea of the social reference and destiny of industry, and of the State as the expression of the nation's will and conscience.
General View of Socialism and its Justification.
Whatever else, then, Socialism may be, it certainly implies organized action for a social purpose, and this purpose may always be reduced to the conception of a certain standard of life other than mere animal existence.
I am aware that this representation of Socialism, as concerned with the maintenance of natural selection under rational human conditions, does not cover all the visible phenomena of Socialism. But the philosophic student is justified in limiting his view to the conception of Socialism as a reasoned idea of social progress; and it is its shortcomings in this respect that the "moral reformer" selects for condemnation. His criticism may, perhaps, be roughly indicated as follows: Socialism, it is suggested, aims at the substitution of machinery for character, in the
sense that it fails to recognize that the individual is above all things a character and a will, and that society, as a whole, is a structure in which will and character are the blocks with which we build ”; it attaches, therefore, undue, it not exclusive, importance to material conditions and organization ; and, further, it is fatal to the conditions of the formation of character these conditions being private property competition (of character). In all these points we may discover a confusion between the "Appear. ance" and the “Reality” of Socialism. Socialism and Machinery.
i No doubt, at first sight, it seems to be the common idea of all Socialists that, by reconstructing the machinery of the actual material organization of life, certain evils incidental to human life, of which that organization is regarded as the stronghold, can be greatly mitigated, if not wholly removed. The theory of modern Socialism gives no countenance to this conception of the matter. It suggests neither utopias nor revolutions in human nature or modern business : it does suggest a method of business which makes rather larger demands upon human nature, but which, at the same time, and for the same reason, is “better" business. Even if that were not so, it is clear that Collectivism is, as I have said, not machinery, but machinery with a purpose ; what it is concerned with is, the machinery appropriate to a certain spirit and conception of industry. It implies therefore emphatically ideas, and can only operate through "will and character." "If, for instance, the machinery of public industry is not directed to keeping this idea before its employees from the highest to the lowest, then they stand in just as much a material and mechanical relation to their work as the employee of a private person or company ; and, on the other hand, in proportion as the employee, through want of will or character or intelligence, fails to enter into that social purpose, his work would be as inferior in itself and in its relation to his character as it might be under any individualistic administration. As a practical corollary, the machinery of public industry must be organized in such a way that the workman can feel its interest and purpose as his interest and purpose. The mere substitution of public for private administration is the shadow and not the substance. The forces required to work Collectivist machinery are nothing if not moral ; and so we also hear the complaint that Socialists are too ideal, that they make too great a demand upon human nature and upon the social will and imagination. Of the two complaints, this is certainly the more pertinent. A conception, however, which is liable to be dismissed, now as mere mechanism, now as mere morality, may possibly be working towards a higher synthesis. May it not be the truth that Socialism is emphatically a moral idea which must have the machinery fitted to maintain and exercise such an idea for a moral idea which is not a working idea is not moral at all—and this machinery is, formally speaking, the public control and administration of industry. Every advance in ethics must be secured by a step taken in politics or economics. Socialism implies both a superior moral idea and a superior method of business, and neither could work without the other. The superiority of the moral idea can only show itself by its works, by its business capacity, so to speak ; and the superiority of a method of business lies in what it can do with and for human nature. It follows, therefore, that, just as Democracy is the most difficult form of government, Socialism is the most difficult form of industry, because, like Democracy, it requires the operation of ideas; and the test of the perfection of Socialist machinery is just its capacity to give to the routine industries of the community that spirit and temper which are the note of the freest and highest work. Apart from this atmosphere of interest and purpose, the State and municipality are distinctly inferior as employers of labor, and the history of the co-operative movement itself provides a series of object lessons in the divorce of machinery from ideas. In its complete form as the organization of production by the consumers, Socialism presupposes a responsiveness in producer and consumer, and Trades-Unions of producers would be as much a part of Socialist as of individualistic organization, as witness the National Union of
* This is the proper significance of the principle of the Co-partnership of Labor, which is apt to be too exclusively envisaged in the self-governing workshop" or (private) profit-sharing, and is for that reason hardly given the recognition or prominence by Socialists it deserves.
Elementary Teachers. On the other hand, if it has sufficient ground-work in moral and intellectual conditions, then the material organization itself helps to create the character it presupposes, and will be educative, in proportion as the employee of the community feels his social recognition in a raised standard of life all roundshorter hours, dignity and continuity of status, direct responsibility. It cannot be said that Socialists are insensible to the amount of education - in ideas and character - that is required before any sensible advance can be made in the direction of co-operative industry. On the other hand they do not believe that grapes can grow upon_thorns : they believe that things make their own morality. The idea of industry is what habit and institutions make it : it is impossible to put the social idea into institutions * which make for the artificial preservation and encouragement of an antagonistic idea—the plutocratic ideal ; and it is impossible to get it out of them. It is not enough to modify the bias of the individualistic organization of society: that organization itself makes the whole idea of the organization of society on the basis of public service or labor “the baseless fabric of a vision.” The moralist demands, and rightly (in theory) demands, that the working-man should realize that he exists only on the terms of recognizing and discharging a definite social function. But what is there in the economic arrangements under which he finds himself, to suggest such an idea-the idea on which Socialism rests—either to the propertied or to the propertyless man? How is a man who depends for his employment upon a mechanism he can in no wise control or count upon, and upon the ability of a particular employer to maintain himself against rivals, enabled to realize a definite position in the social structure ? What he does feel, for the most part, is that he is dependent on a system in which the element of chance is incalculable, and it is just this feeling which makes for a materialistic and hand-to-mouth conception of life. Or what is there in the economic structure of society which suggests to the employer or the capitalist, that their raison d'être is not so much to make a fortune as to fulfil a function? In what way, in a word, does the individualistic organizationt of industry make for the extension of the sense of duty which a man owes to society at large ? Moral ideas must have at least a basis in the concrete relations of life. In the same way, we are told, and rightly told, that the value of property lies in its relation to the needs of personality. But how can a man who cannot count on more than ten shillings a week, or at any rate the man who depends upon casual employment or speculative trades, regard property as
Cf. J. S. Mill's “Autobiography," pp. 230-234, 4.g., " Interest in the common good is so weak a motive in the generality, not because it can never be otherwise, but because the mind is not accustomed to dwell on it as it dwells, from morning to night, on things which tend only to personal advantage."
+ The private organization of industry is often defended on the ground that it provides the morality of "faithful service.' But democracy requires the substitution for private or personal services of public service, which admits of just as much personal, and certainly more social, "faithfulness"; and Socialism is bound up with democracy.
“the unity of his material life"? “A man must know what he can count on and judge what to do with,"—this is stated to be a requirement of morality (as it is certainly is of Socialism). But how is this condition realized under a system which not only lends itself to the most violent contrasts between careless ease and careworn want, between lavish indulgence and narrow penury, but makes it the (apparent) interest of the employing classes that the employed shall not have property-a situation which Trades-Unions were meant to meet. Moral ideas are, after all, relevant to a particular working organization of life. The "moral Socialist" seems to require a Socialist ethics of property and employment from an economic system which is worked upon an individualistic conception of property and employment. But the moralist who insists on the fulfilment by society of ideas for which its actual institutions and every day life give no warrant seems to suggest that ethics are not relative, that moral conceptions are not ideas of life, but ideas about life. To this abstract moral idealism and transcendentalism, Socialism, at any rate, furnishes a needful corrective. Is there anything, the Socialist asks, in men's ordinary industrial life which suggests the “lofty and ennobling” ideas they are to have about it? And I conceive that the Socialist who criticises the economic arrangements of society from the standpoint of these ideas is the more helpful moralist of the two. He has done well if he has simply called attention to the antinomy; and, in a sense, that is the only remedy, for, unless it is felt and recognized, there is nothing from which anything better can grow up. If institutions depend on character, character depends on institutions: it is upon their necessary interaction that the Socialist insists. The greatness of Ruskin as a moralist lies in his relevance, and in his recognition of the inseparability of the moral and the material, of ethics and economics. But the practical man calls him a moral rhetorician and an insane economist.
“ Moral ” and “ Material ” Reform. Apart from the general value of economic organization or of the consideration of it, the moral Socialist certainly tends (in theory) to minimize, if not to discount, the influence of material conditions on the betterment of life. The great thing, we are told, is to “moralize" the employer, or “moralize" the workman. The only radical cure for the sanitary atrocities of the Factory system lies, it is said, in a wider interpretation of their duty by the employers. Why is it, one may ask, that a system against which it is considered superficial, or indeed immoral, to " agitate," lends itself to this appeal from the employer's sense of interest to the employer's sense of duty ? The Socialist suggests a system of industry in which self-interest does not require to be checked. And is it quite reasonable or consistent to complain, on the one hand, that Socialism does not provide the economic motive of private profit, and, on the other hand, to look for the improvement of the conditions of the laborer to the moralization or socialization of the motives of the employer? The evils which the moral Socialist admits are just those for which a radical