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crude vision has long since been demolished. Fifty years' social experience have convinced every statesman that, although there is no common sensorium, a society is something more than the sum of its meinbers; that a social organism has a life and health distinguishable from those of its individual atoms. Hence it is that we have had Lord Shaftesbury warning us that without Factory Acts we should lose our textile trade; Matthew Arnold, that without national education we were steering straight into national decay ; and finally even Professor Huxley taking up the parable that, anless we see to the training of our residuum, France and Germany and the United States will take our place in the world's workshop. This “difficulty" of Individualism can be met, indeed, like the rest, only by the application of what are essentially Socialist principles.

Argument and Class Bias. These “ difficulties” will appeal more strongly to some persons than to others. The evils of inequality of wealth will come home more forcibly to the three millions of the submerged tenth in want of the bare necessaries of life than they will to the small class provided with every luxury at the cost of the rest. The ethical objection to any diminution in the incomes of those who own our land will vary in strength according, in the main, to our economic or political prepossessions. The indiscriminate multiplication of the unfit, like the drunkenness of the masses, will appear as a cause or an effect of social inequality according to our actual information about the poor, and our disposition towards them. The luxury of the rich may strike us as a sign either of national wealth or of national maladjustment of resources to needs. The autocratic administration of industry will appear either as the beneficent direction of the appropriate captains of industry, or as the tyranny of a proprietary class over those who have no alternative but to become its wageslaves. The struggle of the slaves among themselves, of the proprietors among themselves, and of each class with the other, may be to us “the beneficent private war which makes one man strive to climb on the shoulders another, and remain there ;

or it may loom to us, out of the blood and tears and misery of the strife, as a horrible remnant of the barbarism from which man has half risen


"We dined, as a rule, on each other :

What matter ? the toughest survived." That survival from an obsolescent form or the struggle for existence may seem the best guarantee for the continuance of the community and the race ; or it may, on the other hand, appear a suicidal internecine conflict, as fatal as that between the belly and the members. All through the tale two views are possible, and we shall take the one or the other according to our knowledge and temperament.

* Sir Henry Maine, Popular Government, pp. 49, 50."

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This power of prepossession and unconscious bias constitutes, indeed, the special difficulty of the Individualists of to-day. Aristotle found it easy to convince himself and his friends that slavery was absolutely necessary to civilization. The Liberty and Property

nce League has the more difficult task of convincing, not the proprietary class, but our modern slaves, who are electors and into whose control the executive power of the community is more and more falling. And in this task the Individualists receive ever less and less help from the chief executive officers of the nation. Those who have forced directly upon their notice the larger aspects of the problem, those who are directly responsible for the collective interests of the community, can now hardly avoid, whether they like it or not, taking the Socialist view. Each Minister of State protests against Socialism in the abstract, but every decision that he gives in his own department leans more and more away from the Individualist side.

Socialism and Liberty. Some persons may object that this gradual expansion of the collective administration of the nation's life cannot fairly be styled a Socialistic development, and that the name ought to be refused to everything but a complete system of society on a Communist basis. But whatever Socialism may have meant in the past its real significance now is the steady expansion of representative selfgovernment into the industrial sphere. This industrial democracy it is, and not any ingenious Utopia, with which Individualists, if they desire to make any effectual resistance to the substitution of collective for individual will, must attempt to deal. Most political students are, indeed, now prepared to agree with the Socialist that our restrictive laws and municipal Socialism, so far as these have yet gone, do, as a matter of fact, secure a greater well-being and general freedom than that system of complete personal liberty, of which the “sins of legislators" have deprived us." The sacred name of liberty is invoked, by both parties, and the question at issue is merely one of method. As each “difficulty" of the present social order presents itself for solution, the Socialist points to the experience of all advanced industrial countries, and urges that personal freedom can be obtained by the great mass of the people only by their substituting democratic self-government in the industrial world for that personal power which the Industrial Revolution has placed in the hands of the proprietary class. His opponents regard individual liberty as inconsistent with collective control, and accordingly resist any extension of this “higher freedom of collective life. Their main difficulty is the advance of democracy, ever more and more claiming to extend itself into the field of industry. To all objections, fears, doubts, and difficulties, as to the practicability of doing in the industrial what has already been done in the political world, the democratic answer is "solvitur ambulando ; " only that is done at any time which is proved to be then and there practicable; only such advance is made as the progress in the sense of public duty permits. But that progress is both our hope

and our real aim : the development of individual character is the Socialist's “odd trick” for the sake of which he seeks to win all others.

Industrial democracy must therefore necessarily be gradual in its development; and cannot for long ages be absolutely complete. The time may never arrive, even as regards material things, when individual is entirely merged in collective ownership or control, but it is matter of common observation that every attempt to grapple with the “difficulties” of our existing civilization brings us nearer to

that goal.


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 use 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 now dependent on that class for leave to earn a living

If these measures be carried out, without compensation ( though not without such relief to expropriated individuals as may seem fit to the community), Rent and Interest will be added to the reward of labor, the idle class now living on the labor of others will necessarily disappear, and practical equality of opportunity will be maintained by the spontaneous action of economic forces with much less interference with personal liberty than the present system entails.


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