A Chronology of Russell's Life

A short chronology of the major events in Russell's life is as follows:

• (1872) Born May 18 at Ravenscroft, Wales.

• (1874) Death of mother and sister.

• (1876) Death of father; Russell's grandfather, Lord John Russell (the former Prime Minister), and grandmother succeed in overturning his father's will to win custody of Russell and his brother.

• (1878) Death of grandfather; Russell's grandmother, Lady Russell, supervises his upbringing.

• (1890) Enters Trinity College, Cambridge.

• (1893) Awarded first class B.A. in Mathematics.

• (1894) Completed the Moral Sciences Tripos (Part II)

• (1894) Marries Alys Pearsall Smith.

• (1900) Meets Peano at International Congress in Paris.

• (1901) Discovers Russell's paradox.

• (1902) Corresponds with Frege.

• (1908) Elected Fellow of the Royal Society.

• (1916) Fined 110 pounds and dismissed from Trinity College as a result of anti-war protests.

• (1918) Imprisoned for five months as a result of anti-war protests.

• (1921) Divorce from Alys and marriage to Dora Black.

• (1927) Opens experimental school with Dora.

• (1931) Becomes the third Earl Russell upon the death of his brother.

• (1935) Divorce from Dora.

• (1936) Marriage to Patricia (Peter) Helen Spence.

• (1940) Appointment at City College New York revoked following public protests.

• (1943) Dismissed from Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania.

• (1949) Awarded the Order of Merit.

• (1950) Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.

• (1952) Divorce from Peter and marriage to Edith Finch.

• (1955) Releases Russell-Einstein Manifesto.

• (1957) Organizes the first Pugwash Conference.

• (1958) Becomes founding President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

• (1961) Imprisoned for one week in connection with anti-nuclear protests.

• (1970) Dies February 02 at Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales.

For more detailed information about Russell's life, readers are encouraged to consult Russell's four autobiographical volumes, My Philosophical Development (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1959) and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (3 vols, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1967, 1968, 1969). In addition, John Slater's accessible and informative Bertrand Russell (Bristol: Thoemmes, 1994) gives an excellent short introduction to Russell's life, work and influence.

Other sources of biographical information include Ronald Clark's The Life of Bertrand Russell (London: Jonathan Cape, 1975), Ray Monk's Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude (London: Jonathan Cape, 1996) and Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness (London: Jonathan Cape, 2000), and the first volume of A.D. Irvine's Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments (London: Routledge, 1999).

For a chronology of Russell's major publications, readers are encouraged to consult Russell's Writings below. For a more complete list see A Bibliography of Bertrand Russell (3 vols, London: Routledge, 1994), by Kenneth Blackwell and Harry Ruja. A less detailed, but still comprehensive, list also appears in Paul Arthur Schilpp, The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, 3rd edn (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), pp. 746-803.

Finally, for a bibliography of the secondary literature surrounding Russell, see A.D. Irvine, Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments, Vol. 1 (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 247-312.

Russell's Work in Logic

Russell's contributions to logic and the foundations of mathematics include his discovery of Russell's paradox, his defense of logicism (the view that mathematics is, in some significant sense, reducible to formal logic), his development of the theory of types, and his refining of the first-order predicate calculus.

Russell discovered the paradox that bears his name in 1901, while working on his Principles of Mathematics (1903). The paradox arises in connection with the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set, if it exists, will be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself. The paradox is significant since, using classical logic, all sentences are entailed by a contradiction. Russell's discovery thus prompted a large amount of work in logic, set theory, and the philosophy and foundations of mathematics.

Russell's own response to the paradox came with the development of his theory of types in 1903. It was clear to Russell that some restrictions needed to be placed upon the original comprehension (or abstraction) axiom of naive set theory, the axiom that formalizes the intuition that any coherent condition may be used to determine a set (or class). Russell's basic idea was that reference to sets such as the set of all sets that are not members of themselves could be avoided by arranging all sentences into a hierarchy, beginning with sentences about individuals at the lowest level, sentences about sets of individuals at the next lowest level, sentences about sets of sets of individuals at the next lowest level, and so on. Using a vicious circle principle similar to that adopted by the mathematician Henri Poincaré, and his own so-called "no class" theory of classes, Russell was able to explain why the unrestricted comprehension axiom fails: propositional functions, such as the function "x is a set," may not be applied to themselves since self-application would involve a vicious circle. On Russell's view, all objects for which a given condition (or predicate) holds must be at the same level or of the same "type."

Although first introduced in 1903, the theory of types was further developed by Russell in his 1908 article "Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types" and in the monumental work he co-authored with Alfred North Whitehead, Principia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913). Thus the theory admits of two versions, the "simple theory" of 1903 and the "ramified theory" of 1908. Both versions of the theory later came under attack for being both too weak and too strong. For some, the theory was too weak since it failed to resolve all of the known paradoxes. For others, it was too strong since it disallowed many mathematical definitions which, although consistent, violated the vicious circle principle. Russell's response was to introduce the axiom of reducibility, an axiom that lessened the vicious circle principle's scope of application, but which many people claimed was too ad hoc to be justified philosophically.

Of equal significance during this period was Russell's defense of logicism, the theory that mathematics was in some important sense reducible to logic. First defended in his 1901 article "Recent Work on the Principles of Mathematics," and then later in greater detail in his Principles of Mathematics and in Principia Mathematica, Russell's logicism consisted of two main theses. The first was that all mathematical truths can be translated into logical truths or, in other words, that the vocabulary of mathematics constitutes a proper subset of that of logic. The second was that all mathematical proofs can be recast as logical proofs or, in other words, that the theorems of mathematics constitute a proper subset of those of logic.

Like Gottlob Frege, Russell's basic idea for defending logicism was that numbers may be identified with classes of classes and that number-theoretic statements may be explained in terms of quantifiers and identity. Thus the number 1 would be identified with the class of all unit classes, the number 2 with the class of all two-membered classes, and so on. Statements such as "There are two books" would be recast as statements such as "There is a book, x, and there is a book, y, and x is not identical to y." It followed that number-theoretic operations could be explained in terms of set-theoretic operations such as intersection, union, and difference. In Principia Mathematica, Whitehead and Russell were able to provide many detailed derivations of major theorems in set theory, finite and transfinite arithmetic, and elementary measure theory. A fourth volume was planned but never completed.

Russell's most important writings relating to these topics include not only Principles of Mathematics (1903), "Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types" (1908), and Principia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913), but also his An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry (1897), and Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919).

Russell's Work in Analytic Philosophy

In much the same way that Russell used logic in an attempt to clarify issues in the foundations of mathematics, he also used logic in an attempt to clarify issues in philosophy. As one of the founders of analytic philosophy, Russell made significant contributions to a wide variety of areas, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political theory, as well as to the history of philosophy. Underlying these various projects was not only Russell's use of logical analysis, but also his long-standing aim of discovering whether, and to what extent, knowledge is possible. "There is one great question," he writes in 1911. "Can human beings know anything, and if so, what and how? This question is really the most essentially philosophical of all questions."[1]

More than this, Russell's various contributions were also unified by his views concerning both the centrality of scientific knowledge and the importance of an underlying scientific methodology that is common to both philosophy and science. In the case of philosophy, this methodology expressed itself through Russell's use of logical analysis. In fact, Russell often claimed that he had more confidence in his methodology than in any particular philosophical conclusion.

Russell's conception of philosophy arose in part from his idealist origins.[2] This is so, even though he believed that his one, true revolution in philosophy came about as a result of his break from idealism. Russell saw that the idealist doctrine of internal relations led to a series of contradictions regarding asymmetrical (and other) relations necessary for mathematics. Thus, in 1898, he abandoned the idealism that he had encountered as a student at Cambridge, together with his Kantian methodology, in favour of a pluralistic realism. As a result, he soon became famous as an advocate of the "new realism" and for his "new philosophy of logic," emphasizing as it did the importance of modern logic for philosophical analysis. The underlying themes of this "revolution," including his belief in pluralism, his emphasis upon anti-psychologism, and the importance of science, remained central to Russell's philosophy for the remainder of his life.[3]

Russell's methodology consisted of the making and testing of hypotheses through the weighing of evidence (hence Russell's comment that he wished to emphasize the "scientific method" in philosophy[4]), together with a rigorous analysis of problematic propositions using the machinery of first-order logic. It was Russell's belief that by using the new logic of his day, philosophers would be able to exhibit the underlying "logical form" of natural language statements. A statement's logical form, in turn, would help philosophers resolve problems of reference associated with the ambiguity and vagueness of natural language. Thus, just as we distinguish three separate sense of "is" (the is of predication, the is of identity, and the is of existence) and exhibit these three senses by using three separate logical notations (Px, x=y, and x respectively) we will also discover other ontologically significant distinctions by being aware of a sentence's correct logical form. On Russell's view, the subject matter of philosophy is then distinguished from that of the sciences only by the generality and the a prioricity of philosophical statements, not by the underlying methodology of the discipline. In philosophy, as in mathematics, Russell believed that it was by applying logical machinery and insights that advances would be made.

Russell's most famous example of his "analytic" method concerns denoting phrases such as descriptions and proper names. In his Principles of Mathematics, Russell had adopted the view that every denoting phrase (for example, "Scott," "blue," "the number two," "the golden mountain") denoted, or referred to, an existing entity. By the time his landmark article, "On Denoting," appeared two years later, in 1905, Russell had modified this extreme realism and had instead become convinced that denoting phrases need not possess a theoretical unity.

While logically proper names (words such as "this" or "that" which refer to sensations of which an agent is immediately aware) do have referents associated with them, descriptive phrases (such as "the smallest number less than pi") should be viewed as a collection of quantifiers (such as "all" and "some") and propositional functions (such as "x is a number"). As such, they are not to be viewed as referring terms but, rather, as "incomplete symbols." In other words, they should be viewed as symbols that take on meaning within appropriate contexts, but that are meaningless in isolation.

Thus, in the sentence

(1) The present King of France is bald,

the definite description "The present King of France" plays a role quite different from that of a proper name such as "Scott" in the sentence

(2) Scott is bald.

Letting K abbreviate the predicate "is a present King of France" and B abbreviate the predicate "is bald," Russell assigns sentence (1) the logical form

(1) There is an x such that (i) Kx, (ii) for any y, if Ky then y=x, and (iii) Bx.

Alternatively, in the notation of the predicate calculus, we have

(1) x[(Kx & y(Ky y=x)) & Bx].

In contrast, by allowing s to abbreviate the name "Scott," Russell assigns sentence (2) the very different logical form

(2) Bs.

This distinction between various logical forms allows Russell to explain three important puzzles. The first concerns the operation of the Law of Excluded Middle and how this law relates to denoting terms. According to one reading of the Law of Excluded Middle, it must be the case that either "The present King of France is bald" is true or "The present King of France is not bald" is true. But if so, both sentences appear to entail the existence of a present King of France, clearly an undesirable result. Russell's analysis shows how this conclusion can be avoided. By appealing to analysis (1), it follows that there is a way to deny (1) without being committed to the existence of a present King of France, namely by accepting that "It is not the case that there exists a present King of France who is bald" is true.

The second puzzle concerns the Law of Identity as it operates in (so-called) opaque contexts. Even though "Scott is the author of Waverley" is true, it does not follow that the two referring terms "Scott" and "the author of Waverley" are interchangeable in every situation. Thus although "George IV wanted to know whether Scott was the the author of Waverley" is true, "George IV wanted to know whether Scott was Scott" is, presumably, false. Russell's distinction between the logical forms associated with the use of proper names and definite descriptions shows why this is so.

To see this we once again let s abbreviate the name "Scott." We also let w abbreviate "Waverley" and A abbreviate the two-place predicate "is the author of." It then follows that the sentence

(3) s=s

is not at all equivalent to the sentence

(4) x[Axw & y(Ayw y=x) & x=s].

The third puzzle relates to true negative existential claims, such as the claim "The golden mountain does not exist." Here, once again, by treating definite descriptions as having a logical form distinct from that of proper names, Russell is able to give an account of how a speaker may be committed to the truth of a negative existential without also being committed to the belief that the subject term has reference. That is, the claim that Scott does not exist is false since

(5) ~x(x=s)

is self-contradictory. (After all, there must exist at least one thing that is identical to s since it is a logical truth that s is identical to itself!) In contrast, the claim that a golden mountain does not exist may be true since, assuming that G abbreviates the predicate "is golden" and M abbreviates the predicate "is a mountain," there is nothing contradictory about

(6) ~x(Gx & Mx).

Russell's emphasis upon logical analysis also had consequences for his metaphysics. In response to the traditional problem of the external world which, it is claimed, arises since the external world can be known only by inference, Russell developed his famous 1910 distinction between "knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description." He then went on, in his 1918 lectures on logical atomism, to argue that the world itself consists of a complex of logical atoms (such as "little patches of colour") and their properties. Together they form the atomic facts which, in turn, are combined to form logically complex objects. What we normally take to be inferred entities (for example, enduring physical objects) are then understood to be "logical constructions" formed from the immediately given entities of sensation, viz., "sensibilia." It is only these latter entities that are known non-inferentially and with certainty.

According to Russell, the philosopher's job is to discover a logically ideal language that will exhibit the true nature of the world in such a way that the speaker will not be misled by the casual surface structure of natural language. Just as atomic facts (the association of universals with an appropriate number of individuals) may be combined into molecular facts in the world itself, such a language would allow for the description of such combinations using logical connectives such as "and" and "or." In addition to atomic and molecular facts, Russell also held that general facts (facts about "all" of something) were needed to complete the picture of the world. Famously, he vacillated on whether negative facts were also required.

Russell's most important writings relating to these topics include not only "On Denoting" (1905), but also his "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description" (1910), "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism" (1918, 1919), "Logical Atomism" (1924), The Analysis of Mind (1921), and The Analysis of Matter (1927).

Russell's Social and Political Philosophy

Russell's social influence stems from three main sources: his long-standing social activism, his many writings on the social and political issues of his day, and his popularizations of technical writings in philosophy and the natural sciences.

Among Russell's many popularizations are his two best selling works, The Problems of Philosophy (1912) and A History of Western Philosophy (1945). Both of these books, as well as his numerous but less famous books popularizing science, have done much to educate and inform generations of general readers. Naturally enough, Russell saw a link between education, in this broad sense, and social progress. At the same time, Russell is also famous for suggesting that a widespread reliance upon evidence, rather than upon superstition, would have enormous social consequences: "I wish to propose for the reader's favourable consideration," says Russell, "a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true."[5]

Still, Russell is best known in many circles as a result of his campaigns against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and against western involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1950s and 1960s. However, Russell's social activism stretches back at least as far as 1910, when he published his Anti-Suffragist Anxieties, and to 1916, when he was convicted and fined in connection with anti-war protests during World War I. Following his conviction, he was also dismissed from his post at Trinity College, Cambridge. Two years later, he was convicted a second time. The result was six months in prison. Russell also ran unsuccessfully for Parliament (in 1907, 1922, and 1923) and, together with his second wife, founded and operated an experimental school during the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Although he became the third Earl Russell upon the death of his brother in 1931, Russell's radicalism continued to make him a controversial figure well through middle-age. While teaching in the United States in the late 1930s, he was offered a teaching appointment at City College, New York. The appointment was revoked following a large number of public protests and a 1940 judicial decision which found him morally unfit to teach at the College.

In 1954 he delivered his famous "Man's Peril" broadcast on the BBC, condemning the Bikini H-bomb tests. A year later, together with Albert Einstein, he released the Russell-Einstein Manifesto calling for the curtailment of nuclear weapons. In 1957 he was a prime organizer of the first Pugwash Conference, which brought together a large number of scientists concerned about the nuclear issue. He became the founding president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958 and was once again imprisoned, this time in connection with anti-nuclear protests in 1961. The media coverage surrounding his conviction only served to enhance Russell's reputation and to further inspire the many idealistic youths who were sympathetic to his anti-war and anti-nuclear protests.

During these controversial years Russell also wrote many of the books that brought him to the attention of popular audiences. These include his Principles of Social Reconstruction (1916), A Free Man's Worship (1923), On Education (1926), Why I Am Not a Christian (1927), Marriage and Morals (1929), The Conquest of Happiness (1930), The Scientific Outlook (1931), and Power: A New Social Analysis (1938).

Upon being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, Russell used his acceptance speech to emphasize, once again, themes related to his social activism.

Russell's Writings

• A Selection of Russell's Articles

• A Selection of Russell's Books

• Major Anthologies of Russell's Writings

• The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell

A Selection of Russell's Articles

• (1901) "Recent Work on the Principles of Mathemtics," International Monthly, 4, 83-101. Repr. as "Mathematics and the Metaphysicians" in Russell, Bertrand, Mysticism and Logic, London: Longmans Green, 1918, 74-96.

• (1905) "On Denoting," Mind, 14, 479-493. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Essays in Analysis, London: Allen and Unwin, 1973, 103-119.

• (1908) "Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types," American Journal of Mathematics, 30, 222-262. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Logic and Knowledge, London: Allen and Unwin, 1956, 59-102, and in van Heijenoort, Jean, From Frege to Gödel, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967, 152-182.

• (1910) "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 11, 108-128. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Mysticism and Logic, London: Allen and Unwin, 1963, 152-167.

• (1912) "On the Relations of Universals and Particulars," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 12, 1-24. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Logic and Knowledge, London: Allen and Unwin, 1956, 105-124.

• (1918, 1919) "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism," Monist, 28, 495-527; 29, 32-63, 190-222, 345-380. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Logic and Knowledge, London: Allen and Unwin, 1956, 177-281.

• (1924) "Logical Atomism," in Muirhead, J.H., Contemporary British Philosophers, London: Allen and Unwin, 1924, 356-383. Repr. in Russell, Bertrand, Logic and Knowledge, London: Allen and Unwin, 1956, 323-343.

A Selection of Russell's Books

• (1896) German Social Democracy, London: Longmans, Green.

• (1897) An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, Cambridge: At the University Press.

• (1900) A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, Cambridge: At the University Press.

• (1903) The Principles of Mathematics, Cambridge: At the University Press.

• (1910, 1912, 1913) (with Alfred North Whitehead) Principia Mathematica, 3 vols, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Second edition, 1925 (Vol. 1), 1927 (Vols 2, 3). Abridged as Principia Mathematica to *56, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962.

• (1912) The Problems of Philosophy, London: Williams and Norgate; New York: Henry Holt and Company.

• (1914) Our Knowledge of the External World, Chicago and London: The Open Court Publishing Company.

• (1916) Principles of Social Reconstruction, London: George Allen and Unwin. Repr. as Why Men Fight, New York: The Century Company, 1917.

• (1917) Political Ideals, New York: The Century Company.

• (1919) Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: The Macmillan Company.

• (1921) The Analysis of Mind, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: The Macmillan Company.

• (1923) A Free Man's Worship, Portland, Maine: Thomas Bird Mosher. Repr. as What Can A Free Man Worship?, Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1927.

• (1926) On Education, Especially in Early Childhood, London: George Allen and Unwin. Repr. as Education and the Good Life, New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926. Abridged as Education of Character, New York: Philosophical Library, 1961.

• (1927) The Analysis of Matter, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner; New York: Harcourt, Brace.

• (1927) An Outline of Philosophy, London: George Allen and Unwin. Repr. as Philosophy, New York: W.W. Norton, 1927.

• (1927) Why I Am Not a Christian, London: Watts, New York: The Truth Seeker Company.

• (1928) Sceptical Essays, New York: Norton.

• (1929) Marriage and Morals, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Horace Liveright.

• (1930) The Conquest of Happiness, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Horace Liveright.

• (1931) The Scientific Outlook, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: W.W. Norton.

• (1938) Power: A New Social Analysis, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: W.W. Norton.

• (1940) An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: W.W. Norton.

• (1945) A History of Western Philosophy, New York: Simon and Schuster; London: George Allen and Unwin, 1946.

• (1948) Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1949) Authority and the Individual, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1949) The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota. Repr. as Russell's Logical Atomism, Oxford: Fontana/Collins, 1972.

• (1954) Human Society in Ethics and Politics, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1959) My Philosophical Development, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1967, 1968, 1969) The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, 3 vols, London: George Allen and Unwin; Boston and Toronto: Little Brown and Company (Vols 1 and 2), New York: Simon and Schuster (Vol. 3).

Major Anthologies of Russell's Writings

• (1910) Philosophical Essays, London: Longmans, Green.

• (1918) Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, London and New York: Longmans, Green. Repr. as A Free Man's Worship and Other Essays, London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1976.

• (1928) Sceptical Essays, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: W.W. Norton.

• (1935) In Praise of Idleness, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: W.W. Norton.

• (1950) Unpopular Essays, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1956) Logic and Knowledge: Essays, 1901-1950, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: The Macmillan Company.

• (1956) Portraits From Memory and Other Essays, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1957) Why I am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1961) The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959, London: George Allen and Unwin; New York: Simon and Schuster.

• (1969) Dear Bertrand Russell, London: George Allen and Unwin; Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

• (1973) Essays in Analysis, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• (1992) The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell, London: Penguin Press.

The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell

The Bertrand Russell Editorial Project is currently in the process of publishing Russell's Collected Papers. When complete, these volumes will bring together all of Russell's writings, excluding his correspondence and previously published monographs.

In Print

• Vol. 1: Cambridge Essays, 1888-99, London, Boston, Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1983.

• Vol. 2: Philosophical Papers, 1896-99, London and New York: Routledge, 1990.

• Vol. 3: Toward the Principles of Mathematics, London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

• Vol. 4: Foundations of Logic, 1903-05, London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

• Vol. 6: Logical and Philosophical Papers, 1909-13, London and New York: Routledge, 1992.

• Vol. 7: Theory of Knowledge: The 1913 Manuscript, London, Boston, Sydney: George Allen and Unwin, 1984.

• Vol. 8: The Philosophy of Logical Atomism and Other Essays, 1914-19, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1986.

• Vol. 9: Essays on Language, Mind and Matter, 1919-26, London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

• Vol. 10: A Fresh Look at Empricism, 1927-42, London and New York: Routledge, 1996.

• Vol. 11: Last Philosophical Testament, 1943-68, London and New York: Routledge, 1997.

• Vol. 12: Contemplation and Action, 1902-14, London, Boston, Sydney: George Allen and] Unwin, 1985.

• Vol. 13: Prophecy and Dissent, 1914-16, London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

• Vol. 14: Pacifism and Revolution, 1916-18, London and New York: Routledge, 1995.

• Vol. 15: Uncertain Paths to Freedom: Russia and China, 1919-1922, London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

• Vol. 28: Man's Peril, 1954-56, London and New York: Routledge, 2003

Planned and Forthcoming

• Vol. 5: Toward Principia Mathematica, 1906-08.

• Vol. 16: Labour and Internationalism, 1922-24.

• Vol. 17: Behaviourism and Education, 1925-28.

• Vol. 18: Science, Sex and Society, 1929-31.

• Vol. 19: Fascism and Other Depression Legacies, 1931-33.

• Vol. 20: Fascism and Other Depression Legacies, 1933-34.

• Vol. 21: How to Keep the Peace: The Pacifist Dilemma, 1934-36.

• Vol. 22: The Superior Virtue of the Oppressed and Other Essays, 1936-39.

• Vol. 23: The Problems of Democracy, 1940-44.

• Vol. 24: Civilization and the Bomb, 1944-47.

• Vol. 25: Civilization and the Bomb, 1948-50.

• Vol. 26: Respectability at Last, 1950-51.

• Vol. 27: Respectability at Last, 1952-53.

• Vol. 29: "Détente" or Destruction, 1955-57.

• Vol. 30: The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1957-60.

• Vol. 31: A New Plan for Peace and Other Essays, 1960-64.

• Vol. 32: The Vietnam Campaign, 1965-70.

• Vol. 33: Newly Discovered Papers.

• Vol. 34: Indexes.

Bibliography

• Selected Articles

• Selected Books

Selected Articles

• Broad, C.D. (1973) "Bertrand Russell, as Philosopher," Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society, 5, 328-341.

• Carnap, Rudolf (1931) "The Logicist Foundations of Mathematics," Erkenntnis, 2, 91-105. Repr. in Benacerraf, Paul, and Hilary Putnam (eds), Philosophy of Mathematics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983, 41-52; in Klemke, E.D. (ed.), Essays on Bertrand Russell, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970, 341-354; and in Pears, David F. (ed.), Bertrand Russell: A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, 175-191.

• Church, Alonzo (1976) "Comparison of Russell's Resolution of the Semantical Antinomies with That of Tarski," Journal of Symbolic Logic, 41, 747-760. Repr. in A.D. Irvine, Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments, vol. 2, New York and London: Routledge, 1999, 96-112.

• Church, Alonzo (1974) "Russellian Simple Type Theory," Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 47, 21-33.

• Gandy, R.O. (1973) "Bertrand Russell, as Mathematician," Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society, 5, 342-348.

• Gödel, Kurt (1944) "Russell's Mathematical Logic," in Schilpp, Paul Arthur (ed.), The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, 3rd ed., New York: Tudor, 1951, 123-153. Repr. in Benacerraf, Paul, and Hilary Putnam (eds), Philosophy of Mathematics, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983, 447-469; and in Pears, David F. (ed.) (1972) Bertrand Russell: A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 192-226.

• Hylton, Peter W. (1990) "Logic in Russell's Logicism," in Bell, David, and Neil Cooper (eds), The Analytic Tradition: Philosophical Quarterly Monographs, Vol. 1, Cambridge: Blackwell, 137-172.

• Irvine, A.D. (1989) "Epistemic Logicism and Russell's Regressive Method," Philosophical Studies, 55, 303-327.

• Irvine, A.D. (1996) "Bertrand Russell and Academic Freedom," Russell, n.s.16, 5-36.

• Kaplan, David (1970) "What is Russell's Theory of Descriptions?," in Yourgrau, Wolfgang, and Allen D. Breck, (eds), Physics, Logic, and History, New York: Plenum, 277-288. Repr. in Pears, David F. (ed.), Bertrand Russell: A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, 227-244.

• Lycan, William (1981) "Logical Atomism and Ontological Atoms," Synthese, 46, 207-229.

• Monro, D.H. (1960) "Russell's Moral Theories," Philosophy, 35, 30-50. Repr. in Pears, David F. (ed.), Bertrand Russell: A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, 325-355.

• Putnam, Hilary (1967) "The Thesis that Mathematics is Logic," in Schoenman, Ralph (ed.), Bertrand Russell: Philosopher of the Century, London: Allen and Unwin, 273-303. Repr. in Putnam, Hilary, Mathematics, Matter and Method, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975, 12-42.

• Quine, W.V. (1938) "On the Theory of Types," Journal of Symbolic Logic, 3, 125-139.

• Ramsey, F.P. (1926) "Mathematical Logic," Mathematical Gazette, 13, 185-194. Repr. in Ramsey, Frank Plumpton, The Foundations of Mathematics, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1931, 62-81; in Ramsey, Frank Plumpton, Foundations, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978, 213-232; and in Ramsey, Frank Plumpton, Philosophical Papers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, 225-244.]

• Schultz, Bart (1992) "Bertrand Russell in Ethics and Politics," Ethics, 102, 594-634.

• Strawson, Peter F. (1950) "On Referring," Mind, 59, 320-344. Repr. in Flew, Anthony (ed.), Essays in Conceptual Analysis, London: Macmillan, 1960, 21-52, and in Klemke, E.D. (ed.), Essays on Bertrand Russell, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970, 147-172.

• Urquhart, Alasdair (1988) "Russell's Zig-Zag Path to the Ramified Theory of Types," Russell, 8, 82-91.

• Weitz, Morris (1944) "Analysis and the Unity of Russell's Philosophy," in Schilpp, Paul Arthur (ed.), The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, 3rd ed., New York: Tudor, 1951, 55-121.

Selected Books

• Blackwell, Kenneth (1985) The Spinozistic Ethics of Bertrand Russell, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• Blackwell, Kenneth, and Harry Ruja (1994) A Bibliography of Bertrand Russell, 3 vols, London: Routledge.

• Chomsky, Noam (1971) Problems of Knowledge and Freedom: The Russell Lectures, New York: Vintage.

• Clark, Ronald William (1975) The Life of Bertrand Russell, London: J. Cape.

• Clark, Ronald William (1981) Bertrand Russell and His World, London: Thames and Hudson.

• Copi, Irving (1971) The Theory of Types, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

• Dewey, John, and Horace M. Kallen (eds) (1941) The Bertrand Russell Case, New York: Viking.

• Eames, Elizabeth R. (1969) Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• Eames, Elizabeth R. (1989) Bertrand Russell's Dialogue with his Contemporaries, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

• Feinberg, Barry, and Ronald Kasrils (eds) (1969) Dear Bertrand Russell, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• Feinberg, Barry, and Ronald Kasrils (1973, 1983) Bertrand Russell's America, 2 vols, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• Grattan-Guinness, I. (1977) Dear Russell, Dear Jourdain: A Commentary on Russell's Logic, Based on His Correspondence with Philip Jourdain, New York: Columbia University Press.

• Griffin, Nicholas (1991) Russell's Idealist Apprenticeship, Oxford: Clarendon.

• Hager, Paul J. (1994) Continuity and Change in the Development of Russell's Philosophy, Dordrecht: Nijhoff.

• Hardy, Godfrey H. (1942) Bertrand Russell and Trinity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

• Hylton, Peter W. (1990) Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon.

• Irvine, A.D. (ed.) (1999) Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments, 4 vols, London: Routledge.

• Irvine, A.D., and G.A. Wedeking (eds) (1993) Russell and Analytic Philosophy, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

• Jager, Ronald (1972) The Development of Bertrand Russell's Philosophy, London: George Allen and Unwin.

• Klemke, E.D. (ed.) (1970) Essays on Bertrand Russell, Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

• Landini, Gregory (1998) Russell's Hidden Substitutional Theory, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

• Linsky, Bernard (1999) Russell's Metaphysical Logic, Stanford: CSLI Publications.

• Monk, Ray (1996) Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude, London: Jonathan Cape.

• Monk, Ray (2000) Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness, London: Jonathan Cape.

• Monk, Ray, and Anthony Palmer (eds) (1996) Bertrand Russell and the Origins of Analytic Philosophy, Bristol: Thoemmes Press.

• Moorehead, Caroline (1992) Bertrand Russell, New York: Viking.

• Nakhnikian, George (ed.) (1974) Bertrand Russell's Philosophy, London: Duckworth.

• Park, Joe (1963) Bertrand Russell on Education, Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

• Patterson, Wayne (1993) Bertrand Russell's Philosophy of Logical Atomism, New York: Lang.

• Pears, David F. (1967) Bertrand Russell and the British Tradition in Philosophy, London: Collins.

• Pears, David F. (ed.) (1972) Bertrand Russell: A Collection of Critical Essays, New York: Doubleday.

• Quine, W.V (1960) Word and Object, Cambridge: MIT Press.

• Quine, W.V (1966) Selected Logic Papers, New York: Random House.

• Quine, W.V (1966) Ways of Paradox, New York: Random House.

• Ramsey, Frank P. (1960) The Foundations of Mathematics, Paterson, NJ: Littlefield, Adams and Co.

• Roberts, George W. (ed.) (1979) Bertrand Russell Memorial Volume, London: Allen and Unwin.

• Rodriguez-Consuegra, Francisco A. (1991) The Mathematical Philosophy of Bertrand Russell: Origins and Development, Basel: Birkhauser Verlag.

• Ryan, Alan (1988) Bertrand Russell: A Political Life, New York: Hill and Wang.

• Savage, C. Wade, and C. Anthony Anderson (eds) (1989) Rereading Russell: Essays on Bertrand Russell's Metaphysics and Epistemology, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

• Schilpp, Paul Arthur (ed.) (1944) The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, Chicago: Northwestern University; 3rd ed., New York: Harper and Row, 1963.

• Schoenman, Ralph (ed.) (1967) Bertrand Russell: Philosopher of the Century, London: Allen and Unwin.

• Slater, John G. (1994) Bertrand Russell, Bristol: Thoemmes.

• Tait, Katharine (1975) My Father Bertrand Russell, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

• Vellacott, Jo (1980) Bertrand Russell and the Pacifists in the First World War, Brighton, Sussex: Harvester Press.

• Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1921) Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung. Trans. as Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1922.

• Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1956) Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, Oxford: Blackwell.

• Wood, Alan (1957) Bertrand Russell: The Passionate Sceptic, London: Allen and Unwin.

Other Internet Resources

• Bertrand Russell Archives

• Bertrand Russell Gallery

• Bertrand Russell Research Centre

• Bertrand Russell Society

• Bertrand Russell's Nobel Prize in Literature 1950

• Principia Mathematica

• Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies

• University of St Andrew's MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive: Bertrand Russell

• Writings by Bertrand Russell

Related Entries

atomism: logical | descriptions | Frege, Gottlob | Gödel, Kurt | knowledge: by acquaintance vs. description | logic: classical | logical constructions | logicism | mathematics, philosophy of | Moore, George Edward | Principia Mathematica | propositional function | Russell’s paradox | type theory | Whitehead, Alfred North | Wittgenstein, Ludwig

Copyright © 1995, 2003

A. D. Irvine

andrew.irvine@ubc.ca

Bertrand Russell Quotes (1872-1970),

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. –

"Televison allows thousands of people to laugh at the same joke and still remain alone."-

"Every advance in civilization has been denounced while it was still recent."

Change is one thing, progress is another. "Change" is scientific, "progress" is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.

("UNPOPULAR ESSAYS"

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. –

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.

I did not know I loved you until I heard myself telling so, for one instance I thought, "Good God, what have I said?" and then I knew it was true.

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

(Autobiography)

Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occured to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.

"In all things it is a good idea to hang a question mark now and then on the things we have taken for granted”

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.

"We know too much and feel too little. At least we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs."

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."

Politics

"Bertrand Russell's best" –

a selection by prof. Robert E. Egner

I am persuaded that there is absolutely no limit in the absurdities that can, by government action, come to be generally believed. Give me an adequate army, with power to provide it with more pay and better food than falls to the lot of the average man, and I will undertake, within thirty years, to make the majority of the population believe that two and two are three, that water freezes when it gets hot and boils when it gets cold, or any other nonsense that might seem to serve the interest of the State. Of course, even when these beliefs had been generated, people would not put the kettle in the refrigerator when they wanted it to boil. That cold makes water boil would be a Sunday truth, sacred and mystical, to be professed in awed tones, but not to be acted on in daily life. What would happen would be that any verbal denial of the mystic doctrine would be made illegal, and obstinate heretics would be 'frozen' at the stake. No person who did not enthusiastically accept the official doctrine would be allowed to teach or to have any position of power. Only the very highest officials, in their cups, would whisper to each other what rubbish it all is; then they would laugh and drink again. (U.E.p94/5)

There are some desires which, though very powerful, have not, as a rule, any great political importance. Most men at some period of their lives desire to marry, but as a rule they can satisfy this desire without having to take any political action. There are, of course, exceptions; the rape of the Sabine women is a case in point (N.P.A.S.)

When the British Government very unwisely allowed the Kaiser to be present at a naval review at Spithead, the thought which arose in his mind was not the one which we had intended. What he thought was: 'I must have a navy as good as Grand mama's. And from this thought have sprung all our subsequent troubles. The world would be a happier place if acquisitiveness were always stronger than rivalry. But in fact, a great many men will cheerfully face impoverishment if they can thereby secure complete ruin for their rivals Hence the present level of the income tax. (N.P.A.S.)

If politics is to become scientific, and if the event is not to be constantly surprising, it is imperative that our political thinking should penetrate more deeply into the springs of human action. What is the influence of hunger upon slogans? How does their effectiveness fluctuate with the number of calories in your diet? If one man offers you democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote? (N.P.A.S.)

One of the troubles about vanity is that it grows with what it feeds on. The more you are talked about, the more you will wish to be talked about. The condemned murderer, I am told-I have had no personal experience- who is allowed to see the account of his trial in the Press is indignant if he finds a newspaper which has reported it inadequately. And the more he finds about himself in other newspapers, the more indignant he will be with the one whose reports are meager. Politicians and literary men are in the same case. And the more famous they become, the more, difficult the press cutting agency finds it to satisfy them. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the influence of vanity throughout the range of human life from the child of three to the potentate at whose frown the world trembles. Mankind have even committed the impiety of attributing similar desires to the Deity, whom they imagine avid for continual praise. (N.P.A.S.)

Most political leaders acquire their position by causing large numbers of people to believe that these leaders are actuated by altruistic desires. It is well understood that such a belief is more readily accepted under the influence of excitement. Brass bands, mob oratory, lynching, and war are stages in the development of the excitement I suppose the advocates of unreason think that there is a better chance of profitably deceiving the populace if they keep it in a state of effervescence. Perhaps it is my dislike of this sort of process which leads people to say that I am unduly rational. (H.S.E.P.preface,p10)

The increase of organization has brought into existence new positions of power. Every body has to have executive officials, in whom, at any moment, its power is concentrated. It is true that officials are usually subject to control, but the control may be slow and distant. From the young lady who sells stamps in a post office all the way up to the Prime Minister, every official is invested, for the time being, with some part of the power of the State. You can complain of the young lady if her manners are bad, and you can vote against the Prime Minister at the next election if you disapprove of his policy. But both the young lady and the Prime Minister can have a very considerable run for their money before (if ever) your discontent has any effect. This increase in the power of officials is a constant source of irritation to everybody else. In most countries they are much less polite than in England; the police, especially in America for instance, seem to think you must be a rare exception if you are not a criminal. This tyranny of officials is one of the worst results of increasing organization, and one against which it is of the utmost importance to find safeguards if a scientific society is not to be intolerable to all but an insolent aristocracy of Jacks-in-office. (I.S.S.p489)

Politics is largely governed by sententious platitudes which are devoid of truth. One of the most widespread popular maxims is, 'Human nature cannot be changed.' No one can say whether this is true or not without first defining 'human nature.' But as used it is certainly false. When Mr. A utters the maxim, with an air of portentous and conclusive wisdom, what he means is that all men everywhere will always continue to behave as they do in his own home town. A little anthropology will d - dispel this belief. Among the Tibetans, one wife has many husbands, because men are too poor to support a whole wife; yet family life, according to travelers, is no more unhappy than elsewhere. The practice of lending one's wife to a guest is very common among uncivilized tribes. The Australian aborigines, at puberty, undergo a very painful operation which, throughout the rest of their lives, greatly diminishes sexual potency. Infanticide, which might seem contrary to human nature, was almost universal before the rise of Christianity, and is recommended by Plato to prevent over-population. Private property is not recognized among some savage tribes. Even among highly civilized people, economic considerations will override what is called 'human nature.' (U.E.p121/2)

The conscientious Radical is faced with great difficulties. He knows that he can increase his popularity by being false to his creed, and appealing to hatreds that have nothing to do with the reforms in which he believes. For example: a community that suffers from Japanese competition can easily be made indignant about bad labor conditions in Japan, and the unfair price-cutting that they render possible. But if the speaker goes on to say that it is Japanese employers who should be opposed, not Japanese employees, he will lose a large part of the sympathy of his audience. The Radical's only ultimate protection against demagogic appeals to misguided hatreds lies in education: he must convince intellectually a sufficient number of people to form the nucleus of a propagandist army This is undoubtedly a difficult task, while the whole force of the State and the plutocracy is devoted to the fostering of unreason. But it is perhaps not so hopeless a task as many are now inclined to believe and in any case it cannot be shirked, since the appeal to unreasoning emotion can always be better done by charlatans. (C.S.p15, Mar 1936)

I cannot be content with a brief moment of riotous living followed by destitution, and however clever the scientists may be, there are some things that they cannot be expected to achieve. When they have used up all the easily available sources of energy that nature has scattered carelessly over the surface of our planet, they will have to resort to more laborious processes, and these will involve a gradual lowering of the standard of living. Modern industrialists are like men who have come for the first time upon fertile virgin land, and can live for a little while in great comfort with only a modicum of labor. It would be irrational to hope that the present heyday of industrialism will not develop far beyond its present level, but sooner or later, owing to the exhaustion of raw material, its capacity to supply human needs will diminish, not suddenly, but gradually. This could, of course, be prevented if men exercised any restraint or foresight in their present frenzied exploitation. Perhaps before it is too late they will learn to do so. (N.H.C.W.p37)

How long will it be before the accessible oil in the world is exhausted? Will all the arable land be turned into dustbowls as it has been in large parts of the United States? Will the population increase to the point where men again, like their remote ancestors, have no leisure to think of anything but the food supply? Such questions are not to be decided by general philosophical reflections. Communists think that there will be plenty of oil; if there are no capitalists. Some religious people think that there will be plenty of food if we trust in Providence. Such ideas are superficial, even when they are called scientific, as they are by the Communists. (N.H.C.W.p33/4)

We all know that the price of food goes up, but most of us attribute this to the wickedness of the Government. If we live under a progressive Government, it makes us reactionary; if we live under a reactionary Government, it turns us into Socialists. Both these reactions are superficial and frivolous. All Governments, whatever their political complexion, are at present willy-nilly in the grip of natural forces which can only be dealt with by a degree of intelligence of which mankind hitherto has shown little evidence. (N.H.C.W.p38/9)

I do not think any reasonable person can doubt that in India, China and Japan, if the knowledge of birth control existed, the birth-rate would fall very rapidly. In Africa the process might take longer, but there also it could be fairly easily achieved if Negro doctors, trained in the West, were given the funds to establish medical clinics in which every kind of medical information would be given. I do not suppose that America would contribute to this beneficent work, because if either party favored it, that party would lose the Catholic vote in New York State, and therefore the Presidency. This obviously would be a greater disaster than the extermination of the human race by atomic war. (N.H.C.W.p144)

Some opponents of Communism are attempting to produce an ideology for the Atlantic Powers, and for this purpose they have invented what they call 'Western Values.' These are supposed to consist of toleration, respect for individual liberty, and brotherly love. I am afraid this view is grossly unhistorical. If we compare Europe with other continents, it is marked out as the persecuting continent. Persecution only ceased after long and bitter experience of its futility; it continued as long as either Protestants or Catholics had any hope of exterminating the opposite party. The European record in this respect is far blacker than that of the Mohammedans, the Indians or the Chinese. No, if the West can claim superiority in anything, it is not in moral values but in science and scientific technique. (N.H.C.W.p118/9)

Everything done by European administrators to improve the lot of Africans is, at present, totally and utterly futile because of the growth of population. The Africans, not unnaturally, though now mistakenly, attribute their destitution to their exploitation by the white man. If they achieve freedom suddenly before they have men trained in administration and a habit of responsibility, such civilization as white men have brought to Africa will quickly disappear. It is no use for doctrinaire liberals to deny this; there is a standing proof in the island of Haiti. (N.H.C.W.p13)

If two hitherto rival football teams, under the influence of brotherly love, decided to co-operate in placing the football first beyond one goal and then beyond the other, no one's happiness would be increased. There is no reason why the zest derived from competition should be confined to athletics. Emulation between teams or localities or organizations can be a useful incentive. But if competition is not to become ruthless and harmful, the penalty for failure must not be disaster, as in war, or starvation, as in unregulated economic competition, but only loss of glory. Football would not be a desirable sport if defeated teams were put to death or left to starve. (A.I.p72)

In a shipwreck the crew obey orders without the need of reasoning with themselves, because they have a common purpose which is not remote, and the means to its realization are not difficult to understand. But if the Captain were obliged, like the Government, to explain the principles of currency in order to prove his commands wise, the ship would sink before his lecture was finished. (A.I.p68)

The savage, in spite of his membership of a small community, lived a life in which his initiative was not too much hampered by the community. The things that he wanted to do, usually hunting and war, were also the things that his neighbors wanted to do, and if he felt an inclination to become a medicine man he only had to ingratiate himself with some individual already eminent in that profession, and so, in due course, to succeed to his powers of magic. If he was a man of exceptional talent, he might invent some improvement in weapons, or a new skill in hunting. These would not put him into any opposition to the community, but, on the contrary, would be welcomed. The modern man lives a very different life. If he sings in the street he will be thought to be drunk and if he dances a policeman will reprove him for impeding the traffic. (A.I.p60)

Two great religions- Buddhism and Christianity- have sought to extend to the whole human race the cooperative feeling that is spontaneous towards fellow tribesmen. They have preached the brotherhood of man, showing by the use of the word 'brotherhood' that they are attempting to extend beyond its natural bounds an emotional attitude which, in its origin, is biological. If we are all children of God, then we are all one family. But in practice those who in theory adopted this creed have always felt that those who did not adopt it were not children of God but children of Satan, and the old mechanism of hatred of those outside the tribe has returned, giving added vigor to the creed, but in a direction which diverted it from its original purpose. Religion, morality, economic self- interest, the mere pursuit of biological survival, all supply to our intelligence unanswerable arguments in favor of worldwide co-operation, but the old instincts that have come down to us from our tribal ancestors rise up in indignation, feeling that life would lose its savor if there were no one to hate, that anyone who could love such a scoundrel as So-and-so would be a worm, that struggle is the law of life, and that in a world where we all loved one another there would be nothing to live for. (A.I.p19/20)

Before the war (World War I) one of the objections commonly urged against votes for women was that women would tend to be pacifists. During the war they gave a large-scale refutation of this charge, and the vote was given to them for their share in the bloody work. (M.M.p67)

There are many points of view from which the life of man may be considered. There are those who think of him primarily in cultural terms as being capable of lofty art and sublime speculation and discovery of the hidden secrets of nature. There are those who think of him as one of those kinds of animals that are capable of government, though in this respect he is completely outshone by ants and bees. There are those who think of him as the master of war; these include all the men in all countries who decide upon the adornment of public squares, where it is an invariable rule obeyed by all right-thinking public authorities that the most delectable object to be seen by the passers-by is a man on horseback, who is commemorated for his skill in homicide. (N.H.C.W.p41)

Organizations are of two kinds, those which aim at getting something done, and those which aim at preventing something from being done. The Post Office is an example of the first kind; a fire brigade is an example of the second kind. Neither of these arouses much controversy, because no one objects to letters being carried, and incendiaries dare not avow a desire to see buildings burnt down. But when what is to be prevented is something done by human beings, not by Nature, the matter is otherwise. The armed forces of one's own nation exist- so each nation asserts- to prevent aggression by other nations. But the armed forces of other nations exist- or so many people believe to promote aggression. If you say anything against the armed forces of your own country, you are a traitor, wishing to see your fatherland ground under the heel of a brutal conqueror. If, on the other hand, you defend a potential enemy State for thinking armed forces necessary to its safety, you malign your own country, whose unalterable devotion to peace only perverse malice could lead you to question. I heard all this said about Germany by a thoroughly virtuous German lady in 1936, in the course of a panegyric on Hitler. (I.S.S.p54/5)

I do not pretend that birth control is the only way in which population can be kept from increasing. There are others, which, one must suppose, opponents of birth control would prefer. War . . . has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove more effective. If a Black Death could be spread throughout the world once in every generation survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full. There would be nothing in this to offend the consciences of the devout or to restrain the ambitions of nationalists. The state of affairs might be somewhat unpleasant, but what of that? Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people's. (I.S.S.)

In superstitious moments I am tempted to believe in the myth of the Tower of Babel, and to suppose that in our own day a similar but greater impiety is about to be visited by a more tragic and terrible punishment. Perhaps- so I sometimes allow myself to fancy- God does not intend us to understand the mechanism by which He regulates the material universe. Perhaps the nuclear physicists have come so near to the ultimate secrets that He thinks it time to bring their activities to a stop. And what simpler method could He devise than to let them carry their ingenuity to the point where they exterminate the human race? If I could think that deer and squirrels, nightingales and larks, would survive, I might view this catastrophe with some equanimity, since man has not shown himself worthy to be the lord of creation. But it is to be feared that the dreadful alchemy of the atomic bomb will destroy all forms of life equally, and that the earth will remain forever a dead clod senselessly whirling round a futile sun. I do not know the immediate precipitating cause of this interesting occurrence. Perhaps it will be a dispute about Persian oil, perhaps a disagreement as to Chinese trade, perhaps a quarrel between Jews and Mohammedans for the control of Palestine. Any patriotic person can see that these issues are of such importance as to make the extermination of mankind preferable to cowardly conciliation. (U.E.p173/4)

Men, quite ordinary men, will compel children to look on while their mothers are raped. In pursuit of political aims men will submit their opponents to long years of unspeakable anguish. We know what the Nazis did to Jews at Auschwitz. In mass cruelty, the expulsions of Germans ordered by the Russians fall not very far short of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. And how about our noble selves; We would not do such deeds. Oh no! But we enjoy our juicy steaks and our hot rolls while German children die of hunger because our governments dare not face our indignation if they asked us to forgo some part of our pleasures. If there were a Last Judgment as Christians believe, how do you think our excuses would sound before that final tribunal? (U.E.p175)

Stalin could neither understand nor respect the point of view which led Churchill to allow himself to be peaceably dispossessed as a result of a popular vote. I am a firm believer in democratic representative government as the best form for those who have the tolerance and self-restraint that is required to make it workable. But its advocates make a mistake if they suppose that it can be at once introduced into countries where the average citizen has hitherto lacked all training in the give-and-take that it requires. In a Balkan country, not so many years ago, a party which had been beaten by a narrow margin in a general election retrieved its fortunes by shooting a sufficient number of the representatives of the other side to give it a majority. People in the West thought this characteristic of the Balkans, forgetting that Cromwell and Robespierre had acted likewise. (U.E.p180/1)

The American legislators who made the immigration laws consider the Nordics superior to Slavs or Latins or any other white men. But the Nazis, under the stress of war, were led to the conclusion that there are hardly any true Nordics outside Germany; the Norwegians, except Quisling and his few followers, had been corrupted by intermixture with Finns and Lapps and such. Thus politics are a clue to descent. The biologically pure Nordics love Hitler, and if you did not love Hitler, that was proof of tainted blood. (U.E.p117)

Very little remains of institutions and ways of life that when I was a child appeared as indestructible as granite. I grew up in an atmosphere impregnated with tradition. My parents died before I can remember, and l was brought up by my grandparents.... I was taught a kind of theoretic republicanism which was prepared to tolerate a monarch so long as he recognized that he was an employee of the people and subject to dismissal if he proved unsatisfactory. My grandfather, who was no respecter of persons, used to explain this point of view to Queen Victoria, and she was not altogether sympathetic. She did, however, give him the house in Richmond Park in which I spent all my youth. I imbibed certain political principles and expectations, and have on the whole retained the former in spite of being compelled to reject the latter. There was to be ordered progress throughout the world, no revolutions, a gradual cessation of war, and an extension of parliamentary government to all those unfortunate regions which did not yet enjoy it. My grandmother used to laugh about a conversation she had had with the Russian Ambassador She said to him, 'Perhaps some day you will have a parliament in Russia,' and he replied, 'God forbid, my dear Lady John.' The Russian Ambassador of today might give the same answer if he changed the first word. (P.F.M.p7/8)

Neither misery nor folly seems to me any part of the inevitable lot of man. And I am convinced that intelligence, patience, and eloquence can, sooner or later, lead the human race out of its self-imposed tortures provided it does not exterminate itself meanwhile. On the basis of this belief, I have had always a certain degree of optimism, although, as I have grown older, the optimism has grown more sober and the happy issue more distant. But I remain completely incapable of agreeing with those who accept fatalistically the view that man is born to trouble. The causes of unhappiness in the past and in the present are not difficult to ascertain. There have been poverty, pestilence, and famine, which were due to man's inadequate mastery of nature. There have been wars, oppressions and tortures which have been due to men's hostility to their fellow men. And there have been morbid miseries fostered by gloomy creeds, which have led men into profound inner discords that made all outward prosperity of no avail. All these are unnecessary. In regard to all of them, means are known by which they can be overcome. In the modern world, if communities are unhappy, it is because they choose to be so. Or to speak more precisely, because they have ignorances, habits, beliefs, and passions, which are dearer to them than happiness or even life. I find many men in our dangerous age who seem to be in love with misery and death, and who grow angry when hopes are suggested to them. (P.F.M.p53/4)

A Free Man’s Worship

Bertrand Russell 

A brief introduction: "A Free Man's Worship" (first published as "The Free Man's Worship" in Dec. 1903) is perhaps Bertrand Russell's best known and most reprinted essay. Its mood and language have often been explained, even by Russell himself, as reflecting a particular time in his life; "it depend(s)," he wrote in 1929, "upon a metaphysic which is more platonic than that which I now believe in." Yet the essay sounds many characteristic Russellian themes and preoccupations and deserves consideration--and further serious study--as an historical landmark of early-twentieth-century European thought. For a scholarly edition with some documentation, see Volume 12 of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, entitled Contemplation and Action, 1902-14 (London, 1985; now published by Routledge).

To Dr. Faustus in his study Mephistopheles told the history of the Creation, saying:

 "The endless praises of the choirs of angels had begun to grow wearisome; for, after all, did he not deserve their praise? Had he not given them endless joy? Would it not be more amusing to obtain undeserved praise, to be worshipped by beings whom he tortured? He smiled inwardly, and resolved that the great drama should be performed.

 "For countless ages the hot nebula whirled aimlessly through space. At length it began to take shape, the central mass threw off planets, the planets cooled, boiling seas and burning mountains heaved and tossed, from black masses of cloud hot sheets of rain deluged the barely solid crust. And now the first germ of life grew in the depths of the ocean, and developed rapidly in the fructifying warmth into vast forest trees, huge ferns springing from the damp mould, sea monsters breeding, fighting, devouring, and passing away. And from the monsters, as the play unfolded itself, Man was born, with the power of thought, the knowledge of good and evil, and the cruel thirst for worship. And Man saw that all is passing in this mad, monstrous world, that all is struggling to snatch, at any cost, a few brief moments of life before Death's inexorable decree. And Man said: `There is a hidden purpose, could we but fathom it, and the purpose is good; for we must reverence something, and in the visible world there is nothing worthy of reverence.' And Man stood aside from the struggle, resolving that God intended harmony to come out of chaos by human efforts. And when he followed the instincts which God had transmitted to him from his ancestry of beasts of prey, he called it Sin, and asked God to forgive him. But he doubted whether he could be justly forgiven, until he invented a divine Plan by which God's wrath was to have been appeased. And seeing the present was bad, he made it yet worse, that thereby the future might be better. And he gave God thanks for the strength that enabled him to forgo even the joys that were possible. And God smiled; and when he saw that Man had become perfect in renunciation and worship, he sent another sun through the sky, which crashed into Man's sun; and all returned again to nebula.

 "`Yes,' he murmured, `it was a good play; I will have it performed again.'"

 Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins--all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.

 How, in such an alien and inhuman world, can so powerless a creature as Man preserve his aspirations untarnished? A strange mystery it is that Nature, omnipotent but blind, in the revolutions of her secular hurryings through the abysses of space, has brought forth at last a child, subject still to her power, but gifted with sight, with knowledge of good and evil, with the capacity of judging all the works of his unthinking Mother. In spite of Death, the mark and seal of the parental control, Man is yet free, during his brief years, to examine, to criticise, to know, and in imagination to create. To him alone, in the world with which he is acquainted, this freedom belongs; and in this lies his superiority to the resistless forces that control his outward life.

 The savage, like ourselves, feels the oppression of his impotence before the powers of Nature; but having in himself nothing that he respects more than Power, he is willing to prostrate himself before his gods, without inquiring whether they are worthy of his worship. Pathetic and very terrible is the long history of cruelty and torture, of degradation and human sacrifice, endured in the hope of placating the jealous gods: surely, the trembling believer thinks, when what is most precious has been freely given, their lust for blood must be appeased, and more will not be required. The religion of Moloch--as such creeds may be generically called--is in essence the cringing submission of the slave, who dare not, even in his heart, allow the thought that his master deserves no adulation. Since the independence of ideals is not yet acknowledged, Power may be freely worshipped, and receive an unlimited respect, despite its wanton infliction of pain.

 But gradually, as morality grows bolder, the claim of the ideal world begins to be felt; and worship, if it is not to cease, must be given to gods of another kind than those created by the savage. Some, though they feel the demands of the ideal, will still consciously reject them, still urging that naked Power is worthy of worship. Such is the attitude inculcated in God's answer to Job out of the whirlwind: the divine power and knowledge are paraded, but of the divine goodness there is no hint. Such also is the attitude of those who, in our own day, base their morality upon the struggle for survival, maintaining that the survivors are necessarily the fittest. But others, not content with an answer so repugnant to the moral sense, will adopt the position which we have become accustomed to regard as specially religious, maintaining that, in some hidden manner, the world of fact is really harmonious with the world of ideals. Thus Man creates God, all-powerful and all-good, the mystic unity of what is and what should be.

 But the world of fact, after all, is not good; and, in submitting our judgment to it, there is an element of slavishness from which our thoughts must be purged. For in all things it is well to exalt the dignity of Man, by freeing him as far as possible from the tyranny of non-human Power. When we have realised that Power is largely bad, that man, with his knowledge of good and evil, is but a helpless atom in a world which has no such knowledge, the choice is again presented to us: Shall we worship Force, or shall we worship Goodness? Shall our God exist and be evil, or shall he be recognised as the creation of our own conscience?

 The answer to this question is very momentous, and affects profoundly our whole morality. The worship of Force, to which Carlyle and Nietzsche and the creed of Militarism have accustomed us, is the result of failure to maintain our own ideals against a hostile universe: it is itself a prostrate submission to evil, a sacrifice of our best to Moloch. If strength indeed is to be respected, let us respect rather the strength of those who refuse that false "recognition of facts" which fails to recognise that facts are often bad. Let us admit that, in the world we know, there are many things that would be better otherwise, and that the ideals to which we do and must adhere are not realised in the realm of matter. Let us preserve our respect for truth, for beauty, for the ideal of perfection which life does not permit us to attain, though none of these things meet with the approval of the unconscious universe. If Power is bad, as it seems to be, let us reject it from our hearts. In this lies Man's true freedom: in determination to worship only the God created by our own love of the good, to respect only the heaven which inspires the insight of our best moments. In action, in desire, we must submit perpetually to the tyranny of outside forces; but in thought, in aspiration, we are free, free from our fellow-men, free from the petty planet on which our bodies impotently crawl, free even, while we live, from the tyranny of death. Let us learn, then, that energy of faith which enables us to live constantly in the vision of the good; and let us descend, in action, into the world of fact, with that vision always before us.

 When first the opposition of fact and ideal grows fully visible, a spirit of fiery revolt, of fierce hatred of the gods, seems necessary to the assertion of freedom. To defy with Promethean constancy a hostile universe, to keep its evil always in view, always actively hated, to refuse no pain that the malice of Power can invent, appears to be the duty of all who will not bow before the inevitable. But indignation is still a bondage, for it compels our thoughts to be occupied with an evil world; and in the fierceness of desire from which rebellion springs there is a kind of self-assertion which it is necessary for the wise to overcome. Indignation is a submission of our thoughts, but not of our desires; the Stoic freedom in which wisdom consists is found in the submission of our desires, but not of our thoughts. From the submission of our desires springs the virtue of resignation; from the freedom of our thoughts springs the whole world of art and philosophy, and the vision of beauty by which, at last, we half reconquer the reluctant world. But the vision of beauty is possible only to unfettered contemplation, to thoughts not weighted by the load of eager wishes; and thus Freedom comes only to those who no longer ask of life that it shall yield them any of those personal goods that are subject to the mutations of Time.

 Although the necessity of renunciation is evidence of the existence of evil, yet Christianity, in preaching it, has shown a wisdom exceeding that of the Promethean philosophy of rebellion. It must be admitted that, of the things we desire, some, though they prove impossible, are yet real goods; others, however, as ardently longed for, do not form part of a fully purified ideal. The belief that what must be renounced is bad, though sometimes false, is far less often false than untamed passion supposes; and the creed of religion, by providing a reason for proving that it is never false, has been the means of purifying our hopes by the discovery of many austere truths.

 But there is in resignation a further good element: even real goods, when they are unattainable, ought not to be fretfully desired. To every man comes, sooner or later, the great renunciation. For the young, there is nothing unattainable; a good thing desired with the whole force of a passionate will, and yet impossible, is to them not credible. Yet, by death, by illness, by poverty, or by the voice of duty, we must learn, each one of us, that the world was not made for us, and that, however beautiful may be the things we crave, Fate may nevertheless forbid them. It is the part of courage, when misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes, to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of submission to Power is not only just and right: it is the very gate of wisdom.

 But passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom; for not by renunciation alone can we build a temple for the worship of our own ideals. Haunting foreshadowings of the temple appear in the realm of imagination, in music, in architecture, in the untroubled kingdom of reason, and in the golden sunset magic of lyrics, where beauty shines and glows, remote from the touch of sorrow, remote from the fear of change, remote from the failures and disenchantments of the world of fact. In the contemplation of these things the vision of heaven will shape itself in our hearts, giving at once a touchstone to judge the world about us, and an inspiration by which to fashion to our needs whatever is not incapable of serving as a stone in the sacred temple.

 Except for those rare spirits that are born without sin, there is a cavern of darkness to be traversed before that temple can be entered. The gate of the cavern is despair, and its floor is paved with the gravestones of abandoned hopes. There Self must die; there the eagerness, the greed of untamed desire must be slain, for only so can the soul be freed from the empire of Fate. But out of the cavern the Gate of Renunciation leads again to the daylight of wisdom, by whose radiance a new insight, a new joy, a new tenderness, shine forth to gladden the pilgrim's heart.

 When, without the bitterness of impotent rebellion, we have learnt both to resign ourselves to the outward rules of Fate and to recognise that the non-human world is unworthy of our worship, it becomes possible at last so to transform and refashion the unconscious universe, so to transmute it in the crucible of imagination, that a new image of shining gold replaces the old idol of clay. In all the multiform facts of the world--in the visual shapes of trees and mountains and clouds, in the events of the life of man, even in the very omnipotence of Death--the insight of creative idealism can find the reflection of a beauty which its own thoughts first made. In this way mind asserts its subtle mastery over the thoughtless forces of Nature. The more evil the material with which it deals, the more thwarting to untrained desire, the greater is its achievement in inducing the reluctant rock to yield up its hidden treasures, the prouder its victory in compelling the opposing forces to swell the pageant of its triumph. Of all the arts, Tragedy is the proudest, the most triumphant; for it builds its shining citadel in the very centre of the enemy's country, on the very summit of his highest mountain; from its impregnable watchtowers, his camps and arsenals, his columns and forts, are all revealed; within its walls the free life continues, while the legions of Death and Pain and Despair, and all the servile captains of tyrant Fate, afford the burghers of that dauntless city new spectacles of beauty. Happy those sacred ramparts, thrice happy the dwellers on that all-seeing eminence. Honour to those brave warriors who, through countless ages of warfare, have preserved for us the priceless heritage of liberty, and have kept undefiled by sacrilegious invaders the home of the unsubdued.

 But the beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which, in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in life. In the spectacle of Death, in the endurance of intolerable pain, and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness, an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the inexhaustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow. In these moments of insight, we lose all eagerness of temporary desire, all struggling and striving for petty ends, all care for the little trivial things that, to a superficial view, make up the common life of day by day; we see, surrounding the narrow raft illumined by the flickering light of human comradeship, the dark ocean on whose rolling waves we toss for a brief hour; from the great night without, a chill blast breaks in upon our refuge; all the loneliness of humanity amid hostile forces is concentrated upon the individual soul, which must struggle alone, with what of courage it can command, against the whole weight of a universe that cares nothing for its hopes and fears. Victory, in this struggle with the powers of darkness, is the true baptism into the glorious company of heroes, the true initiation into the overmastering beauty of human existence. From that awful encounter of the soul with the outer world, enunciation, wisdom, and charity are born; and with their birth a new life begins. To take into the inmost shrine of the soul the irresistible forces whose puppets we seem to be--Death and change, the irrevocableness of the past, and the powerlessness of Man before the blind hurry of the universe from vanity to vanity--to feel these things and know them is to conquer them.

 This is the reason why the Past has such magical power. The beauty of its motionless and silent pictures is like the enchanted purity of late autumn, when the leaves, though one breath would make them fall, still glow against the sky in golden glory. The Past does not change or strive; like Duncan, after life's fitful fever it sleeps well; what was eager and grasping, what was petty and transitory, has faded away, the things that were beautiful and eternal shine out of it like stars in the night. Its beauty, to a soul not worthy of it, is unendurable; but to a soul which has conquered Fate it is the key of religion.

 The life of Man, viewed outwardly, is but a small thing in comparison with the forces of Nature. The slave is doomed to worship Time and Fate and Death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour. But, great as they are, to think of them greatly, to feel their passionless splendour, is greater still. And such thought makes us free men; we no longer bow before the inevitable in Oriental subjection, but we absorb it, and make it a part of ourselves. To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things--this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship. And this liberation is effected by a contemplation of Fate; for Fate itself is subdued by the mind which leaves nothing to be purged by the purifying fire of Time.

 United with his fellow-men by the strongest of all ties, the tie of a common doom, the free man finds that a new vision is with him always, shedding over every daily task the light of love. The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death. Very brief is the time in which we can help them, in which their happiness or misery is decided. Be it ours to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows by the balm of sympathy, to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection, to strengthen failing courage, to instil faith in hours of despair. Let us not weigh in grudging scales their merits and demerits, but let us think only of their need--of the sorrows, the difficulties, perhaps the blindnesses, that make the misery of their lives; let us remember that they are fellow-sufferers in the same darkness, actors in the same tragedy as ourselves. And so, when their day is over, when their good and their evil have become eternal by the immortality of the past, be it ours to feel that, where they suffered, where they failed, no deed of ours was the cause; but wherever a spark of the divine fire kindled in their hearts, we were ready with encouragement, with sympathy, with brave words in which high courage glowed.

 Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned to-day to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power.

PROPOSED ROADS TO FREEDOM

SOCIALISM, ANARCHISM AND SYNDICALISM

BERTRAND RUSSELL, F.R.S.

NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

1919

   This book is an attempt to compress into a small compass a discussion which would require many volumes for its adequate treatment. It was completed in April, 1918, in the last days before a period of imprisonment. At that time few would have ventured to prophesy that the fighting would end before the New Year. The coming of peace has made the problems of reconstruction more urgent. The author has attempted to examine briefly the growth and scope of those pre-war doctrines which aimed at fundamental economic change. These doctrines are considered first historically, then critically, and it is urged that, while none can be accepted en bloc, all have something to contribute to the picture of the future society which we should wish to create.

   In the historical parts of the work I was much assisted by my friend Mr. Hilderic Cousens, who supplied me with facts on subjects which I had not time to investigate thoroughly myself.

LONDON, January, 1919.

CONTENTS

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii

PART I. HISTORICAL

I. Marx and Socialist Doctrine . . . . . 1

II. Bakunin and Anarchism . . . . . . . . 32

III. The Syndicalist Revolt. . . . . . . . 56

PART II. PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE

IV. Work and Pay. . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

V. Government and Law. . . . . . . . . .111

VI. International Relations . . . . . . .139

VII. Science and Art under Socialism . . .164

VIII. The World as it Could Be Made . . . .186

INTRODUCTION

   The attempt to conceive imaginatively a better ordering of human society than the destructive and cruel chaos in which mankind has hitherto existed is by no means modern: it is at least as old as Plato, whose "Republic" set the model for the Utopias of subsequent philosophers. Whoever contemplates the world in the light of an ideal -- whether what he seeks be intellect, or art, or love, or simple happiness, or all together -- must feel a great sorrow in the evils that men needlessly allow to continue, and -- if he be a man of force and vital energy -- an urgent desire to lead men to the realization of the good which inspires his creative vision. It is this desire which has been the primary force moving the pioneers of Socialism and Anarchism, as it moved the inventors of ideal commonwealths in the past. In this there is nothing new. What is new in Socialism and Anarchism, is that close relation of the ideal to the present sufferings of men, which has enabled powerful political movements to grow out of the hopes of solitary thinkers. It is this that makes Socialism and Anarchism important, and it is this that makes them dangerous to those who batten, consciously or unconsciously upon the evils of our present order of society.

   The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large. They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires. Almost as instinctively as the beasts of the field, they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole conditions of their lives could be changed. A certain percentage, guided by personal ambition, make the effort of thought and will which is necessary to place themselves among the more fortunate members of the community; but very few among these are seriously concerned to secure for all the advantages which they seek for themselves. It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present. But in the past such men have, as a rule, failed to interest the very victims of the injustices which they wished to remedy. The more unfortunate sections of the population have been ignorant, apathetic from excess of toil and weariness, timorous through the imminent danger of immediate punishment by the holders of power, and morally unreliable owing to the loss of self-respect resulting from their degradation. To create among such classes any conscious, deliberate effort after general amelioration might have seemed a hopeless task, and indeed in the past it has generally proved so. But the modern world, by the increase of education and the rise in the standard of comfort among wage-earners, has produced new conditions, more favorable than ever before to the demand for radical reconstruction. It is above all the Socialists, and in a lesser degree the Anarchists (chiefly as the inspirers of Syndicalism), who have become the exponents of this demand.

   What is perhaps most remarkable in regard to both Socialism and Anarchism is the association of a widespread popular movement with ideals for a better world. The ideals have been elaborated, in the first instance, by solitary writers of books, and yet powerful sections of the wage-earning classes have accepted them as their guide in the practical affairs of the world. In regard to Socialism this is evident; but in regard to Anarchism it is only true with some qualification. Anarchism as such has never been a widespread creed, it is only in the modified form of Syndicalism that it has achieved popularity. Unlike Socialism and Anarchism, Syndicalism is primarily the outcome, not of an idea, but of an organization: the fact of Trade Union organization came first, and the ideas of Syndicalism are those which seemed appropriate to this organization in the opinion of the more advanced French Trade Unions. But the ideas are, in the main, derived from Anarchism, and the men who gained acceptance for them were, for the most part, Anarchists. Thus we may regard Syndicalism as the Anarchism of the market-place as opposed to the Anarchism of isolated individuals which had preserved a precarious life throughout the previous decades. Taking this view, we find in Anarchist-Syndicalism the same combination of ideal and organization as we find in Socialist political parties. It is from this standpoint that our study of these movements will be undertaken.

   Socialism and Anarchism, in their modern form, spring respectively from two protagonists, Marx and Bakunin, who fought a lifelong battle, culminating in a split in the first International. We shall begin our study with these two men -- first their teaching, and then the organizations which they founded or inspired. This will lead us to the spread of Socialism in more recent years, and thence to the Syndicalist revolt against Socialist emphasis on the State and political action, and to certain movements outside France which have some affinity with Syndicalism -- notably the I. W. W. in America and Guild Socialism in England. From this historical survey we shall pass to the consideration of some of the more pressing problems of the future, and shall try to decide in what respects the world would be happier if the aims of Socialists or Syndicalists were achieved.

   My own opinion -- which I may as well indicate at the outset -- is that pure Anarchism, though it should be the ultimate ideal, to which society should continually approximate, is for the present impossible, and would not survive more than a year or two at most if it were adopted. On the other hand, both Marxian Socialism and Syndicalism, in spite of many drawbacks, seem to me calculated to give rise to a happier and better world than that in which we live. I do not, however, regard either of them as the best practicable system. Marxian Socialism, I fear, would give far too much power to the State, while Syndicalism, which aims at abolishing the State, would, I believe, find itself forced to reconstruct a central authority in order to put an end to the rivalries of different groups of producers. The best practicable system, to my mind, is that of Guild Socialism, which concedes what is valid both in the claims of the State Socialists and in the Syndicalist fear of the State, by adopting a system of federalism among trades for reasons similar to those which are recommending federalism among nations. The grounds for these conclusions will appear as we proceed.

   Before embarking upon the history of recent movements In favor of radical reconstruction, it will be worth while to consider some traits of character which distinguish most political idealists, and are much misunderstood by the general public for other reasons besides mere prejudice. I wish to do full justice to these reasons, in order to show the more effectually why they ought not to be operative.

   The leaders of the more advanced movements are, in general, men of quite unusual disinterestedness, as is evident from a consideration of their careers. Although they have obviously quite as much ability as many men who rise to positions of great power, they do not themselves become the arbiters of contemporary events, nor do they achieve wealth or the applause of the mass of their contemporaries. Men who have the capacity for winning these prizes, and who work at least as hard as those who win them, but deliberately adopt a line which makes the winning of them impossible, must be judged to have an aim in life other than personal advancement; whatever admixture of self-seeking may enter into the detail of their lives, their fundamental motive must be outside Self. The pioneers of Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism have, for the most part, experienced prison, exile, and poverty, deliberately incurred because they would not abandon their propaganda; and by this conduct they have shown that the hope which inspired them was not for themselves, but for mankind.

   Nevertheless, though the desire for human welfare is what at bottom determines the broad lines of such men's lives, it often happens that, in the detail of their speech and writing, hatred is far more visible than love. The impatient idealist -- and without some impatience a man will hardly prove effective -- is almost sure to be led into hatred by the oppositions and disappointments which he encounters in his endeavors to bring happiness to the world. The more certain he is of the purity of his motives and the truth of his gospel, the more indignant he will become when his teaching is rejected. Often he will successfully achieve an attitude of philosophic tolerance as regards the apathy of the masses, and even as regards the whole-hearted opposition of professed defenders of the status quo. But the men whom he finds it impossible to forgive are those who profess the same desire for the amelioration of society as he feels himself, but who do not accept his method of achieving this end. The intense faith which enables him to withstand persecution for the sake of his beliefs makes him consider these beliefs so luminously obvious that any thinking man who rejects them must be dishonest, and must be actuated by some sinister motive of treachery to the cause. Hence arises the spirit of the sect, that bitter, narrow orthodoxy which is the bane of those who hold strongly to an unpopular creed. So many real temptations to treachery exist that suspicion is natural. And among leaders, ambition, which they mortify in their choice of a career, is sure to return in a new form: in the desire for intellectual mastery and for despotic power within their own sect. From these causes it results that the advocates of drastic reform divide themselves into opposing schools, hating each other with a bitter hatred, accusing each other often of such crimes as being in the pay of the police, and demanding, of any speaker or writer whom they are to admire, that he shall conform exactly to their prejudices, and make all his teaching minister to their belief that the exact truth is to be found within the limits of their creed. The result of this state of mind is that, to a casual and unimaginative attention, the men who have sacrificed most through the wish to benefit mankind appear to be actuated far more by hatred than by love. And the demand for orthodoxy is stifling to any free exercise of intellect. This cause, as well as economic prejudice, has made it difficult for the "intellectuals" to co-operate practically with the more extreme reformers, however they may sympathize with their main purposes and even with nine-tenths of their program.

   Another reason why radical reformers are misjudged by ordinary men is that they view existing society from outside, with hostility towards its institutions. Although, for the most part, they have more belief than their neighbors in human nature's inherent capacity for a good life, they are so conscious of the cruelty and oppression resulting from existing institutions that they make a wholly misleading impression of cynicism. Most men have instinctively two entirely different codes of behavior: one toward those whom they regard as companions or colleagues or friends, or in some way members of the same "herd"; the other toward those whom they regard as enemies or outcasts or a danger to society. Radical reformers are apt to concentrate their attention upon the behavior of society toward the latter class, the class of those toward whom the "herd" feels ill-will. This class includes, of course, enemies in war, and criminals; in the minds of those who consider the preservation of the existing order essential to their own safety or privileges, it includes all who advocate any great political or economic change, and all classes which, through their poverty or through any other cause, are likely to feel a dangerous degree of discontent. The ordinary citizen probably seldom thinks about such individuals or classes, and goes through life believing that he and his friends are kindly people, because they have no wish to injure those toward whom they entertain no group-hostility. But the man whose attention is fastened upon the relations of a group with those whom it hates or fears will judge quite differently. In these relations a surprising ferocity is apt to be developed, and a very ugly side of human nature comes to the fore. The opponents of capitalism have learned, through the study of certain historical facts, that this ferocity has often been shown by the capitalists and by the State toward the wage-earning classes, particularly when they have ventured to protest against the unspeakable suffering to which industrialism has usually condemned them. Hence arises a quite different attitude toward existing society from that of the ordinary well-to-do citizen: an attitude as true as his, perhaps also as untrue, but equally based on facts, facts concerning his relations to his enemies instead of to his friends.

   The class-war, like wars between nations, produces two opposing views, each equally true and equally untrue. The citizen of a nation at war, when he thinks of his own countrymen, thinks of them primarily as he has experienced them, in dealings with their friends, in their family relations, and so on. They seem to him on the whole kindly, decent folk. But a nation with which his country is at war views his compatriots through the medium of a quite different set of experiences: as they appear in the ferocity of battle, in the invasion and subjugation of a hostile territory, or in the chicanery of a juggling diplomacy. The men of whom these facts are true are the very same as the men whom their compatriots know as husbands or fathers or friends, but they are judged differently because they are judged on different data. And so it is with those who view the capitalist from the standpoint of the revolutionary wage-earner: they appear inconceivably cynical and misjudging to the capitalist, because the facts upon which their view is based are facts which he either does not know or habitually ignores. Yet the view from the outside is just as true as the view from the inside. Both are necessary to the complete truth; and the Socialist, who emphasizes the outside view, is not a cynic, but merely the friend of the wage-earners, maddened by the spectacle of the needless misery which capitalism inflicts upon them.

   I have placed these general reflections at the beginning of our study, in order to make it clear to the reader that, whatever bitterness and hate may be found in the movements which we are to examine, it is not bitterness or hate, but love, that is their mainspring. It is difficult not to hate those who torture the objects of our love. Though difficult, it is not impossible; but it requires a breadth of outlook and a comprehensiveness of understanding which are not easy to preserve amid a desperate contest. If ultimate wisdom has not always been preserved by Socialists and Anarchists, they have not differed in this from their opponents; and in the source of their inspiration they have shown themselves superior to those who acquiesce ignorantly or supinely in the injustices and oppressions by which the existing system is preserved.

PROPOSED ROADS TO FREEDOM

SOCIALISM, ANARCHISM AND SYNDICALISM

PART I

HISTORICAL

CHAPTER I

MARX AND SOCIALIST DOCTRINE

   Socialism, like everything else that is vital, is rather a tendency than a strictly definable body of doctrine. A definition of Socialism is sure either to include some views which many would regard as not Socialistic, or to exclude others which claim to be included. But I think we shall come nearest to the essence of Socialism by defining it as the advocacy of communal ownership of land and capital. Communal ownership may mean ownership by a democratic State, but cannot be held to include ownership by any State which is not democratic. Communal ownership may also be understood, as Anarchist Communism understands it, in the sense of ownership by the free association of the men and women in a community without those compulsory powers which are necessary to constitute a State. Some Socialists expect communal ownership to arrive suddenly and completely by a catastrophic revolution, while others expect it to come gradually, first in one industry, then in another. Some insist upon the necessity of completeness in the acquisition of land and capital by the public, while others would be content to see lingering islands of private ownership, provided they were not too extensive or powerful. What all forms have in common is democracy and the abolition, virtual or complete, of the present capitalistic system. The distinction between Socialists, Anarchists and Syndicalists turns largely upon the kind of democracy which they desire. Orthodox Socialists are content with parliamentary democracy in the sphere of government, holding that the evils apparent in this form of constitution at present would disappear with the disappearance of capitalism. Anarchists and Syndicalists, on the other hand, object to the whole parliamentary machinery, and aim at a different method of regulating the political affairs of the community. But all alike are democratic in the sense that they aim at abolishing every kind of privilege and every kind of artificial inequality: all alike are champions of the wage-earner in existing society. All three also have much in common in their economic doctrine. All three regard capital and the wages system as a means of exploiting the laborer in the interests of the possessing classes, and hold that communal ownership, in one form or another, is the only means of bringing freedom to the producers. But within the framework of this common doctrine there are many divergences, and even among those who are strictly to be called Socialists, there is a very considerable diversity of schools.

   Socialism as a power in Europe may be said to begin with Marx. It is true that before his time there were Socialist theories, both in England and in France. It is also true that in France, during the revolution of 1848, Socialism for a brief period acquired considerable influence in the State. But the Socialists who preceded Marx tended to indulge in Utopian dreams and failed to found any strong or stable political party. To Marx, in collaboration with Engels, are due both the formulation of a coherent body of Socialist doctrine, sufficiently true or plausible to dominate the minds of vast numbers of men, and the formation of the International Socialist movement, which has continued to grow in all European countries throughout the last fifty years.

   In order to understand Marx's doctrine, it is necessary to know something of the influences which formed his outlook. He was born in 1818 at Treves in the Rhine Provinces, his father being a legal official, a Jew who had nominally accepted Christianity. Marx studied jurisprudence, philosophy, political economy and history at various German universities. In philosophy he imbibed the doctrines of Hegel, who was then at the height of his fame, and something of these doctrines dominated his thought throughout his life. Like Hegel, he saw in history the development of an Idea. He conceived the changes in the world as forming a logical development, in which one phase passes by revolution into another, which is its antithesis -- a conception which gave to his views a certain hard abstractness, and a belief in revolution rather than evolution. But of Hegel's more definite doctrines Marx retained nothing after his youth. He was recognized as a brilliant student, and might have had a prosperous career as a professor or an official, but his interest in politics and his Radical views led him into more arduous paths. Already in 1842 he became editor of a newspaper, which was suppressed by the Prussian Government early in the following year on account of its advanced opinions. This led Marx to go to Paris, where he became known as a Socialist and acquired a knowledge of his French predecessors.1 Here in the year 1844 began his lifelong friendship with Engels, who had been hitherto in business in Manchester, where he had become acquainted with English Socialism and had in the main adopted its doctrines.2 In 1845 Marx was expelled from Paris and went with Engels to live in Brussels. There he formed a German Working Men's Association and edited a paper which was their organ. Through his activities in Brussels he became known to the German Communist League in Paris, who, at the end of 1847, invited him and Engels to draw up for them a manifesto, which appeared in January, 1848. This is the famous "Communist Manifesto," in which for the first time Marx's system is set forth. It appeared at a fortunate moment. In the following month, February, the revolution broke out in Paris, and in March it spread to Germany. Fear of the revolution led the Brussels Government to expel Marx from Belgium, but the German revolution made it possible for him to return to his own country. In Germany he again edited a paper, which again led him into a conflict with the authorities, increasing in severity as the reaction gathered force. In June, 1849, his paper was suppressed, and he was expelled from Prussia. He returned to Paris, but was expelled from there also. This led him to settle in England -- at that time an asylum for friends of freedom -- and in England, with only brief intervals for purposes of agitation, he continued to live until his death in 1883.

   The bulk of his time was occupied in the composition of his great book, "Capital."3 His other important work during his later years was the formation and spread of the International Working Men's Association. From 1849 onward the greater part of his time was spent in the British Museum, accumulating, with German patience, the materials for his terrific indictment of capitalist society, but he retained his hold on the International Socialist movement. In several countries he had sons-in-law as lieutenants, like Napoleon's brothers, and in the various internal contests that arose his will generally prevailed.

   The most essential of Marx's doctrines may be reduced to three: first, what is called the materialistic interpretation of history; second, the law of the concentration of capital; and, third, the class-war.

   1. The Materialistic Interpretation of History. -- Marx holds that in the main all the phenomena of human society have their origin in material conditions, and these he takes to be embodied in economic systems. Political constitutions, laws, religions, philosophies -- all these he regards as, in their broad outlines, expressions of the economic régime in the society that gives rise to them. It would be unfair to represent him as maintaining that the conscious economic motive is the only one of importance; it is rather that economics molds character and opinion, and is thus the prime source of much that appears in consciousness to have no connection with them. He applies his doctrine in particular to two revolutions, one in the past, the other in the future. The revolution in the past is that of the bourgeoisie against feudalism, which finds its expression, according to him, particularly in the French Revolution. The one in the future is the revolution of the wage-earners, or proletariat, against the bourgeoisie, which is to establish the Socialist Commonwealth. The whole movement of history is viewed by him as necessary, as the effect of material causes operating upon human beings. He does not so much advocate the Socialist revolution as predict it. He holds, it is true, that it will be beneficent, but he is much more concerned to prove that it must inevitably come. The same sense of necessity is visible in his exposition of the evils of the capitalist system. He does not blame capitalists for the cruelties of which he shows them to have been guilty; he merely points out that they are under an inherent necessity to behave cruelly so long as private ownership of land and capital continues. But their tyranny will not last forever, for it generates the forces that must in the end overthrow it.

   2. The Law of the Concentration of Capital. -- Marx pointed out that capitalist undertakings tend to grow larger and larger. He foresaw the substitution of trusts for free competition, and predicted that the number of capitalist enterprises must diminish as the magnitude of single enterprises increased. He supposed that this process must involve a diminution, not only in the number of businesses, but also in the number of capitalists. Indeed, he usually spoke as though each business were owned by a single man. Accordingly, he expected that men would be continually driven from the ranks of the capitalists into those of the proletariat, and that the capitalists, in the course of time, would grow numerically weaker and weaker. He applied this principle not only to industry but also to agriculture. He expected to find the landowners growing fewer and fewer while their estates grew larger and larger. This process was to make more and more glaring the evils and injustices of the capitalist system, and to stimulate more and more the forces of opposition.

   3. The Class War. -- Marx conceives the wage-earner and the capitalist in a sharp antithesis. He imagines that every man is, or must soon become, wholly the one or wholly the other. The wage-earner, who possesses nothing, is exploited by the capitalists, who possess everything. As the capitalist system works itself out and its nature becomes more clear, the opposition of bourgeoisie and proletariat becomes more and more marked. The two classes, since they have antagonistic interests, are forced into a class war which generates within the capitalist régime internal forces of disruption. The working men learn gradually to combine against their exploiters, first locally, then nationally, and at last internationally. When they have learned to combine internationally they must be victorious. They will then decree that all land and capital shall be owned in common; exploitation will cease; the tyranny of the owners of wealth will no longer be possible; there will no longer be any division of society into classes, and all men will be free.

   All these ideas are already contained in the "Communist Manifesto," a work of the most amazing vigor and force, setting forth with terse compression the titanic forces of the world, their epic battle, and the inevitable consummation. This work is of such importance in the development of Socialism and gives such an admirable statement of the doctrines set forth at greater length and with more pedantry in "Capital," that its salient passages must be known by anyone who wishes to understand the hold which Marxian Socialism has acquired over the intellect and imagination of a large proportion of working-class leaders.

   "A spectre is haunting Europe," it begins, "the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre -- Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its re-actionary adversaries?"

   The existence of a class war is nothing new: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." In these struggles the fight "each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes."

   "Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie . . . has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat." Then follows a history of the fall of feudalism, leading to a description of the bourgeoisie as a revolutionary force. "The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part." "For exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation." "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe." "The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together." Feudal relations became fetters: "They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder. . . . A similar movement is going on before our own eyes." "The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself. But not only has the bourgoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons -- the modern working class -- the proletarians."

   The cause of the destitution of the proletariat are then set forth. "The cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and diversion of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases."

   "Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful, and the more embittering it is."

   The Manifesto tells next the manner of growth of the class struggle. "The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual laborers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves."

   "At this stage the laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so."

   "The collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (Trades Unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest breaks out into riots. Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry, and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years. This organization of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself."

   "In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family-relations; modern industrial labor, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests. All the preceding classes that got the upper hand, sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property. All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole super-incumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air."

   The Communists, says Marx, stand for the proletariat as a whole. They are international. "The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality. The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got."

   The immediate aim of the Communists is the conquests of political power by the proletariat. "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."

   The materialistic interpretation of history is used to answer such charges as that Communism is anti-Christian. "The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination. Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, man's consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations, and in his social life?"

   The attitude of the Manifesto to the State is not altogether easy to grasp. "The executive of the modern State," we are told, "is but a Committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie." Nevertheless, the first step for the proletariat must be to acquire control of the State. "We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible."

   The Manifesto passes on to an immediate program of reforms, which would in the first instance much increase the power of the existing State, but it is contended that when the Socialist revolution is accomplished, the State, as we know it, will have ceased to exist. As Engels says elsewhere, when the proletariat seizes the power of the State "it puts an end to all differences of class and antagonisms of class, and consequently also puts an end to the State as a State." Thus, although State Socialism might, in fact, be the outcome of the proposals of Marx and Engels, they cannot themselves be accused of any glorification of the State.

   The Manifesto ends with an appeal to the wage-earners of the world to rise on behalf of Communism. "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!"

   In all the great countries of the Continent, except Russia, a revolution followed quickly on the publication of the Communist Manifesto, but the revolution was not economic or international, except at first in France. Everywhere else it was inspired by the ideas of nationalism. Accordingly, the rulers of the world, momentarily terrified, were able to recover power by fomenting the enmities inherent in the nationalist idea, and everywhere, after a very brief triumph, the revolution ended in war and reaction. The ideas of the Communist Manifesto appeared before the world was ready for them, but its authors lived to see the beginnings of the growth of that Socialist movement in every country, which has pressed on with increasing force, influencing Governments more and more, dominating the Russian Revolution, and perhaps capable of achieving at no very distant date that international triumph to which the last sentences of the Manifesto summon the wage-earners of the world.

   Marx's magnum opus, "Capital," added bulk and substance to the theses of the Communist Manifesto. It contributed the theory of surplus value, which professed to explain the actual mechanism of capitalist exploitation. This doctrine is very complicated and is scarcely tenable as a contribution to pure theory. It is rather to be viewed as a translation into abstract terms of the hatred with which Marx regarded the system that coins wealth out of human lives, and it is in this spirit, rather than in that of disinterested analysis, that it has been read by its admirers. A critical examination of the theory of surplus value would require much difficult and abstract discussion of pure economic theory without having much bearing upon the practical truth or falsehood of Socialism; it has therefore seemed impossible within the limits of the present volume. To my mind the best parts of the book are those which deal with economic facts, of which Marx's knowledge was encyclopædic. It was by these facts that he hoped to instil into his disciples that firm and undying hatred that should make them soldiers to the death in the class war. The facts which he accumulates are such as are practically unknown to the vast majority of those who live comfortable lives. They are very terrible facts, and the economic system which generates them must be acknowledged to be a very terrible system. A few examples of his choice of facts will serve to explain the bitterness of many Socialists: --

   Mr. Broughton Charlton, county magistrate, declared, as chairman of a meeting held at the Assembly Rooms, Nottingham, on the 14th January, 1860, "that there was an amount of privation and suffering among that portion of the population connected with the lace trade, unknown in other parts of the kingdom, indeed, in the civilized world. . . . Children of nine or ten years are dragged from their squalid beds at two, three, or four o clock in the morning and compelled to work for a bare subsistence until ten, eleven, or twelve at night, their limbs wearing away, their frames dwindling, their faces whitening, and their humanity absolutely sinking into a stone-like torpor, utterly horrible to contemplate."4

   Three railway men are standing before a London coroner's jury -- a guard, an engine-driver, a signalman. A tremendous railway accident has hurried hundreds of passengers into another world. The negligence of the employés is the cause of the misfortune. They declare with one voice before the jury that ten or twelve years before, their labor only lasted eight hours a day. During the last five or six years it had been screwed up to 14, 18, and 20 hours, and under a specially severe pressure of holiday-makers, at times of excursion trains, it often lasted 40 or 50 hours without a break. They were ordinary men, not Cyclops. At a certain point their labor-power failed. Torpor seized them. Their brain ceased to think, their eyes to see. The thoroughly "respectable" British jurymen answered by a verdict that sent them to the next assizes on a charge of manslaughter, and, in a gentle "rider" to their verdict, expressed the pious hope that the capitalistic magnates of the railways would, in future, be more extravagant in the purchase of a sufficient quantity of labor-power, and more "abstemious," more "self-denying," more "thrifty," in the draining of paid labor-power.5

   In the last week of June, 1863, all the London daily papers published a paragraph with the "sensational" heading, "Death from simple over-work." It dealt with the death of the milliner, Mary Anne Walkley, 20 years of age, employed in a highly respectable dressmaking establishment, exploited by a lady with the pleasant name of Elise. The old, often-told story was once more recounted. This girl worked, on an average, 16 1/2 hours, during the season often 30 hours, without a break, whilst her failing labor-power was revived by occasional supplies of sherry, port, or coffee. It was just now the height of the season. It was necessary to conjure up in the twinkling of an eye the gorgeous dresses for the noble ladies bidden to the ball in honor of the newly-imported Princess of Wales. Mary Anne Walkley had worked without intermission for 26 1/2 hours, with 60 other girls, 30 in one room, that only afforded 1/3 of the cubic feet of air required for them. At night, they slept in pairs in one of the stifling holes into which the bedroom was divided by partitions of board. And this was one of the best millinery establishments in London. Mary Anne Walkley fell ill on the Friday, died on Sunday, without, to the astonishment of Madame Elise, having previously completed the work in hand. The doctor, Mr. Keys, called too late to the death bed, duly bore witness before the coroner's jury that "Mary Anne Walkley had died from long hours of work in an over-crowded workroom, and a too small and badly ventilated bedroom." In order to give the doctor a lesson in good manners, the coroner's jury thereupon brought in a verdict that "the deceased had died of apoplexy, but there was reason to fear that her death had been accelerated by over-work in an over-crowded workroom, &c." "Our white slaves," cried the "Morning Star," the organ of the free-traders, Cobden and Bright, "our white slaves, who are toiled into the grave, for the most part silently pine and die."6

   Edward VI: A statue of the first year of his reign, 1547, ordains that if anyone refuses to work, he shall be condemned as a slave to the person who has denounced him as an idler. The master shall feed his slave on bread and water, weak broth and such refuse meat as he thinks fit. He has the right to force him to do any work, no matter how disgusting, with whip and chains. If the slave is absent a fortnight, he is condemned to slavery for life and is to be branded on forehead or back with the letter S; if he runs away thrice, he is to be executed as a felon. The master can sell him, bequeath him, let him out on hire as a slave, just as any other personal chattel or cattle. If the slaves attempt anything against the masters, they are also to be executed. Justices of the peace, on information, are to hunt the rascals down. If it happens that a vagabond has been idling about for three days, he is to be taken to his birthplace, branded with a redhot iron with the letter V on the breast and be set to work, in chains, in the streets or at some other labor. If the vagabond gives a false birthplace, he is then to become the slave for life of this place, of its inhabitants, or its corporation, and to be branded with an S. All persons have the right to take away the children of the vagabonds and to keep them as apprentices, the young men until the 24th year, the girls until the 20th. If they run away, they are to become up to this age the slaves of their masters, who can put them in irons, whip them, &c., if they like. Every master may put an iron ring around the neck, arms or legs of his slave, by which to know him more easily and to be more certain of him. The last part of this statute provides that certain poor people may be employed by a place or by persons, who are willing to give them food and drink and to find them work. This kind of parish-slaves was kept up in England until far into the 19th century under the name of "roundsmen."7

   Page after page and chapter after chapter of facts of this nature, each brought up to illustrate some fatalistic theory which Marx professes to have proved by exact reasoning, cannot but stir into fury any passionate working-class reader, and into unbearable shame any possessor of capital in whom generosity and justice are not wholly extinct.

   Almost at the end of the volume, in a very brief chapter, called "Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation," Marx allows one moment's glimpse of the hope that lies beyond the present horror: --

   As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the laborers are turned into proletarians, their means of labor into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialization of labor and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many laborers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many, and in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever extending scale, the co-operative form of the labor-process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialized labor, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic régime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this, too, grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated,8

   That is all. Hardly another word from beginning to end is allowed to relieve the gloom, and in this relentless pressure upon the mind of the reader lies a great part of the power which this book has acquired.

   Two questions are raised by Marx's work: First, Are his laws of historical development true? Second, Is Socialism desirable? The second of these questions is quite independent of the first. Marx professes to prove that Socialism must come, but scarcely concerns himself to argue that when it comes it will be a good thing. It may be, however, that if it comes, it will be a good thing, even though all Marx's arguments to prove that it must come should be at fault. In actual fact, time has shown many flaws in Marx's theories. The development of the world has been sufficiently like his prophecy to prove him a man of very unusual penetration, but has not been sufficiently like to make either political or economic history exactly such as he predicted that it would be. Nationalism, so far from diminishing, has increased, and has failed to be conquered by the cosmopolitan tendencies which Marx rightly discerned in finance. Although big businesses have grown bigger and have over a great area reached the stage of monopoly, yet the number of shareholders in such enterprises is so large that the actual number of individuals interested in the capitalist system has continually increased. Moreover, though large firms have grown larger, there has been a simultaneous increase in firms of medium size. Meanwhile the wage-earners, who were, according to Marx, to have remained at the bare level of subsistence at which they were in the England of the first half of the nineteenth century, have instead profited by the general increase of wealth, though in a lesser degree than the capitalists. The supposed iron law of wages has been proved untrue, so far as labor in civilized countries is concerned. If we wish now to find examples of capitalist cruelty analogous to those with which Marx's book is filled, we shall have to go for most of our material to the Tropics, or at any rate to regions where there are men of inferior races to exploit. Again: the skilled worker of the present day is an aristocrat in the world of labor. It is a question with him whether he shall ally himself with the unskilled worker against the capitalist, or with the capitalist against the unskilled worker. Very often he is himself a capitalist in a small way, and if he is not so individually, his trade union or his friendly society is pretty sure to be so. Hence the sharpness of the class war has not been maintained. There are gradations, intermediate ranks between rich and poor, instead of the clear-cut logical antithesis between the workers who have nothing and the capitalists who have all. Even in Germany, which became the home of orthodox Marxianism and developed a powerful Social-Democratic party, nominally accepting the doctrine of "Das Kapital" as all but verbally inspired, even there the enormous increase of wealth in all classes in the years preceding the war led Socialists to revise their beliefs and to adopt an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary attitude. Bernstein, a German Socialist who lived long in England, inaugurated the "Revisionist" movement which at last conquered the bulk of the party. His criticisms of Marxian orthodoxy are set forth in his "Evolutionary Socialism."9 Bernstein's work, as is common in Broad Church writers, consists largely in showing that the Founders did not hold their doctrines so rigidly as their followers have done. There is much in the writings of Marx and Engels that cannot be fitted into the rigid orthodoxy which grew up among their disciples. Bernstein's main criticisms of these disciples, apart from such as we have already mentioned, consist in a defense of piecemeal action as against revolution. He protests against the attitude of undue hostility to Liberalism which is common among Socialists, and he blunts the edge of the Internationalism which undoubtedly is part of the teachings of Marx. The workers, he says, have a Fatherland as soon as they become citizens, and on this basis he defends that degree of nationalism which the war has since shown to be prevalent in the ranks of Socialists. He even goes so far as to maintain that European nations have a right to tropical territory owing to their higher civilization. Such doctrines diminish revolutionary ardor and tend to transform Socialists into a left wing of the Liberal Party. But the increasing prosperity of wage-earners before the war made these developments inevitable. Whether the war will have altered conditions in this respect, it is as yet impossible to know. Bernstein concludes with the wise remark that: "We have to take working men as they are. And they are neither so universally paupers as was set out in the Communist Manifesto, nor so free from prejudices and weaknesses as their courtiers wish to make us believe."

   Berstein represents the decay of Marxian orthodoxy from within. Syndicalism represents an attack against it from without, from the standpoint of a doctrine which professes to be even more radical and more revolutionary than that of Marx and Engels. The attitude of Syndicalists to Marx may be seen in Sorel's little book, "La Décomposition du Marxisme," and in his larger work, "Reflections on Violence," authorized translation by T. E. Hulme (Allen & Unwin, 1915). After quoting Bernstein, with approval in so far as he criticises Marx, Sorel proceeds to other criticisms of a different order. He points out (what is true) that Marx's theoretical economics remain very near to Manchesterism: the orthodox political economy of his youth was accepted by him on many points on which it is now known to be wrong. According to Sorel, the really essential thing in Marx's teaching is the class war. Whoever keeps this alive is keeping alive the spirit of Socialism much more truly than those who adhere to the letter of Social-Democratic orthodoxy. On the basis of the class war, French Syndicalists developed a criticism of Marx which goes much deeper than those that we have been hitherto considering. Marx's views on historical development may have been in a greater or less degree mistaken in fact, and yet the economic and political system which he sought to create might be just as desirable as his followers suppose. Syndicalism, however, criticises, not only Marx's views of fact, but also the goal at which he aims and the general nature of the means which he recommends. Marx's ideas were formed at a time when democracy did not yet exist. It was in the very year in which "Das Kapital" appeared that urban working men first got the vote in England and universal suffrage was granted by Bismarck in Northern Germany. It was natural that great hopes should be entertained as to what democracy would achieve. Marx, like the orthodox economists, imagined that men's opinions are guided by a more or less enlightened view of economic self-interest, or rather of economic class interest. A long experience of the workings of political democracy has shown that in this respect Disraeli and Bismarck were shrewder judges of human nature than either Liberals or Socialists. It has become increasingly difficult to put trust in the State as a means to liberty, or in political parties as instruments sufficiently powerful to force the State into the service of the people. The modern State, says Sorel, "is a body of intellectuals, which is invested with privileges, and which possesses means of the kind called political for defending itself against the attacks made on it by other groups of intellectuals, eager to possess the profits of public employment. Parties are constituted in order to acquire the conquest of these employments, and they are analogous to the State."10

   Syndicalists aim at organizing men, not by party, but by occupation. This, they say, alone represents the true conception and method of the class war. Accordingly they despise all political action through the medium of Parliament and elections: the kind of action that they recommend is direct action by the revolutionary syndicate or trade union. The battle-cry of industrial versus political action has spread far beyond the ranks of French Syndicalism. It is to be found in the I. W. W. in America, and among Industrial Unionists and Guild Socialists in Great Britain. Those who advocate it, for the most part, aim also at a different goal from that of Marx. They believe that there can be no adequate individual freedom where the State is all-powerful, even if the State be a Socialist one. Some of them are out-and-out Anarchists, who wish to see the State wholly abolished; others only wish to curtail its authority. Owing to this movement, opposition to Marx, which from the Anarchist side existed from the first, has grown very strong. It is this opposition in its older form that will occupy us in our next chapter.

Footnotes:

[1] Chief among these were Fourier and Saint-Simon, who constructed somewhat fantastic Socialistic ideal commonwealths. Proudhon, with whom Marx had some not wholly friendly relations, is to be regarded as a forerunner of the Anarchists rather than of orthodox Socialism.

[2] Marx mentions the English Socialists with praise in "The Poverty of Philosophy" (1847). They, like him, tend to base their arguments upon a Ricardian theory of value, but they have not his scope or erudition or scientific breadth. Among them may be mentioned Thomas Hodgskin (1787-1869), originally an officer in the Navy, but dismissed for a pamphlet critical of the methods of naval discipline, author of "Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital" (1825) and other works; William Thompson (1785-1833), author of "Inquiry into the Principles of Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness" (1824), and "Labour Rewarded" (1825); and Piercy Ravenstone, from whom Hodgskin's ideas are largely derived. Perhaps more important than any of these was Robert Owen.

[3] The first and most important volume appeared in 1867; the other two volumes were published posthumously (1885 and 1894).

[4] Vol. i, p. 227.

[5] Vol. i, pp. 237, 238.

[6] Vol. i, pp. 239, 240.

[7] Vol. i, pp. 758, 759.

[8] Vol. i pp. 788, 789.

[9] "Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozial-Demokratie."

   In March, 1914, Bernstein delivered a lecture in Budapest in which he withdrew from several of the positions he had taken up (vide Budapest "Volkstimme," March 19, 1914).

[10] La Décomposition du Marxisme," p. 53.

CHAPTER II

BAKUNIN AND ANARCHISM

   In the popular mind, an Anarchist is a person who throws bombs and commits other outrages, either because he is more or less insane, or because he uses the pretense of extreme political opinions as a cloak for criminal proclivities. This view is, of course, in every way inadequate. Some Anarchists believe in throwing bombs; many do not. Men of almost every other shade of opinion believe in throwing bombs in suitable circumstances: for example, the men who threw the bomb at Sarajevo which started the present war were not Anarchists, but Nationalists. And those Anarchists who are in favor of bomb-throwing do not in this respect differ on any vital principle from the rest of the community, with the exception of that infinitesimal portion who adopt the Tolstoyan attitude of non-resistance. Anarchists, like Socialists, usually believe in the doctrine of the class war, and if they use bombs, it is as Governments use bombs, for purposes of war: but for every bomb manufactured by an Anarchist, many millions are manufactured by Governments, and for every man killed by Anarchist violence, many millions are killed by the violence of States. We may, therefore, dismiss from our minds the whole question of violence, which plays so large a part in the popular imagination, since it is neither essential nor peculiar to those who adopt the Anarchist position.

   Anarchism, as its derivation indicates, is the theory which is opposed to every kind of forcible government. It is opposed to the State as the embodiment of the force employed in the government of the community. Such government as Anarchism can tolerate must be free government, not merely in the sense that it is that of a majority, but in the sense that it is that assented to by all. Anarchists object to such institutions as the police and the criminal law, by means of which the will of one part of the community is forced upon another part. In their view, the democratic form of government is not very enormously preferable to other forms so long as minorities are compelled by force or its potentiality to submit to the will of majorities. Liberty is the supreme good in the Anarchist creed, and liberty is sought by the direct road of abolishing all forcible control over the individual by the community.

   Anarchism, in this sense, is no new doctrine. It is set forth admirably by Chuang Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, who lived about the year 300 B. C.: --

   Horses have hoofs to carry them over frost and snow; hair, to protect them from wind and cold. They eat grass and drink water, and fling up their heels over the champaign. Such is the real nature of horses. Palatial dwellings are of no use to them.

   One day Po Lo appeared, saying: "I understand the management of horses."

   So he branded them, and clipped them, and pared their hoofs, and put halters on them, tying them up by the head and shackling them by the feet, and disposing them in stables, with the result that two or three in every ten died. Then he kept them hungry and thirsty, trotting them and galloping them, and grooming, and trimming, with the misery of the tasselled bridle before and the fear of the knotted whip behind, until more than half of them were dead.

   The potter says: "I can do what I will with Clay. If I want it round, I use compasses; if rectangular, a square."

   The carpenter says: "I can do what I will with wood. If I want it curved, I use an arc; if straight, a line."

   But on what grounds can we think that the natures of clay and wood desire this application of compasses and square, of arc and line? Nevertheless, every age extols Po Lo for his skill in managing horses, and potters and carpenters for their skill with clay and wood. Those who govern the empire make the same mistake.

   Now I regard government of the empire from quite a different point of view.

   The people have certain natural instincts: -- to weave and clothe themselves, to till and feed themselves. These are common to all humanity, and all are agreed thereon. Such instincts are called "Heaven-sent."

   And so in the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied, trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into the raven's nest. For then man dwelt with birds and beasts, and all creation was one. There were no distinctions of good and bad men. Being all equally without knowledge, their virtue could not go astray. Being all equally without evil desires, they were in a state of natural integrity, the perfection of human existence.

   But when Sages appeared, tripping up people over charity and fettering them with duty to their neighbor, doubt found its way into the world. And then, with their gushing over music and fussing over ceremony, the empire became divided against itself.1

   The modern Anarchism, in the sense in which we shall be concerned with it, is associated with belief in the communal ownership of land and capital, and is thus in an important respect akin to Socialism. This doctrine is properly called Anarchist Communism, but as it embraces practically all modern Anarchism, we may ignore individualist Anarchism altogether and concentrate attention upon the communistic form. Socialism and Anarchist Communism alike have arisen from the perception that private capital is a source of tyranny by certain individuals over others. Orthodox Socialism believes that the individual will become free if the State becomes the sole capitalist. Anarchism, on the contrary, fears that in that case the State might merely inherit the tyrannical propensities of the private capitalist. Accordingly, it seeks for a means of reconciling communal ownership with the utmost possible diminution in the powers of the State, and indeed ultimately with the complete abolition of the State. It has arisen mainly within the Socialist movement as its extreme left wing.

   In the same sense in which Marx may be regarded as the founder of modern Socialism, Bakunin may be regarded as the founder of Anarchist Communism. But Bakunin did not produce, like Marx, a finished and systematic body of doctrine. The nearest approach to this will be found in the writings of his follower, Kropotkin. In order to explain modern Anarchism we shall begin with the life of Bakunin2 and the history of his conflicts with Marx, and shall then give a brief account of Anarchist theory as set forth partly in his writings, but more in those of Kropotkin.3

   Michel Bakunin was born in 1814 of a Russian aristocratic family. His father was a diplomatist, who at the time of Bakunin's birth had retired to his country estate in the Government of Tver. Bakunin entered the school of artillery in Petersburg at the age of fifteen, and at the age of eighteen was sent as an ensign to a regiment stationed in the Government of Minsk. The Polish insurrection of 1880 had just been crushed. "The spectacle of terrorized Poland," says Guillaume, "acted powerfully on the heart of the young officer, and contributed to inspire in him the horror of despotism." This led him to give up the military career after two years' trial. In 1834 he resigned his commission and went to Moscow, where he spent six years studying philosophy. Like all philosophical students of that period, he became a Hegelian, and in 1840 he went to Berlin to continue his studies, in the hope of ultimately becoming a professor. But after this time his opinions underwent a rapid change. He found it impossible to accept the Hegelian maxim that whatever is, is rational, and in 1842 he migrated to Dresden, where he became associated with Arnold Ruge, the publisher of "Deutsche Jahrbuecher." By this time he had become a revolutionary, and in the following year he incurred the hostility of the Saxon Government. This led him to go to Switzerland, where he came in contact with a group of German Communists, but, as the Swiss police importuned him and the Russian Government demanded his return, he removed to Paris, where he remained from 1843 to 1847. These years in Paris were important in the formation of his outlook and opinions. He became acquainted with Proudhon, who exercised a considerable influence on him; also with George Sand and many other well-known people. It was in Paris that he first made the acquaintance of Marx and Engels, with whom he was to carry on a lifelong battle. At a much later period, in 1871, he gave the following account of his relations with Marx at this time: --

   Marx was much more advanced than I was, as he remains to-day not more advanced but incomparably more learned than I am. I knew then nothing of political economy. I had not yet rid myself of metaphysical abstractions, and my Socialism was only instinctive. He, though younger than I, was already an atheist, an instructed materialist, a well-considered Socialist. It was just at this time that he elaborated the first foundations of his present system. We saw each other fairly often, for I respected him much for his learning and his passionate and serious devotion (always mixed, however, with personal vanity) to the cause of the proletariat, and I sought eagerly his conversation, which was always instructive and clever, when it was not inspired by a paltry hate, which, alas! happened only too often. But there was never any frank intimacy between as. Our temperaments would not suffer it. He called me a sentimental idealist, and he was right; I called him a vain man, perfidious and crafty, and I also was right.

   Bakunin never succeeded in staying long in one place without incurring the enmity of the authorities. In November, 1847, as the result of a speech praising the Polish rising of 1830, he was expelled from France at the request of the Russian Embassy, which, in order to rob him of public sympathy, spread the unfounded report that he had been an agent of the Russian Government, but was no longer wanted because he had gone too far. The French Government, by calculated reticence, encouraged this story, which clung to him more or less throughout his life.

   Being compelled to leave France, he went to Brussels, where he renewed acquaintance with Marx. A letter of his, written at this time, shows that he entertained already that bitter hatred for which afterward he had so much reason. "The Germans, artisans, Bornstedt, Marx and Engels -- and, above all, Marx -- are here, doing their ordinary mischief. Vanity, spite, gossip, theoretical overbearingness and practical pusillanimity -- reflections on life, action and simplicity, and complete absence of life, action and simplicity -- literary and argumentative artisans and repulsive coquetry with them: `Feuerbach is a bourgeois,' and the word `bourgeois' grown into an epithet and repeated ad nauseum, but all of them themselves from head to foot, through and through, provincial bourgeois. With one word, lying and stupidity, stupidity and lying. In this society there is no possibility of drawing a free, full breath. I hold myself aloof from them, and have declared quite decidedly that I will not join their communistic union of artisans, and will have nothing to do with it."

   The Revolution of 1848 led him to return to Paris and thence to Germany. He had a quarrel with Marx over a matter in which he himself confessed later that Marx was in the right. He became a member of the Slav Congress in Prague, where he vainly endeavored to promote a Slav insurrection. Toward the end of 1848, he wrote an "Appeal to Slavs," calling on them to combine with other revolutionaries to destroy the three oppressive monarchies, Russia, Austria and Prussia. Marx attacked him in print, saying, in effect, that the movement for Bohemian independence was futile because the Slavs had no future, at any rate in those regions where they happened to be subject to Germany and Austria. Bakunin accused Marx of German patriotism in this matter, and Marx accused him of Pan-Slavism, no doubt in both cases justly. Before this dispute, however, a much more serious quarrel had taken place. Marx's paper, the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung," stated that George Sand had papers proving Bakunin to be a Russian Government agent and one of those responsible for the recent arrest of Poles. Bakunin, of course, repudiated the charge, and George Sand wrote to the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung," denying this statement in toto. The denials were published by Marx, and there was a nominal reconciliation, but from this time onward there was never any real abatement of the hostility between these rival leaders, who did not meet again until 1864.

   Meanwhile, the reaction had been everywhere gaining ground. In May, 1849, an insurrection in Dresden for a moment made the revolutionaries masters of the town. They held it for five days and established a revolutionary government. Bakunin was the soul of the defense which they made against the Prussian troops. But they were overpowered, and at last Bakunin was captured while trying to escape with Heubner and Richard Wagner, the last of whom, fortunately for music, was not captured.

   Now began a long period of imprisonment in many prisons and various countries. Bakunin was sentenced to death on the 14th of January, 1850, but his sentence was commuted after five months, and he was delivered over to Austria, which claimed the privilege of punishing him. The Austrians, in their turn, condemned him to death in May, 1851, and again his sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life. In the Austrian prisons he had fetters on hands and feet, and in one of them he was even chained to the wall by the belt. There seems to have been some peculiar pleasure to be derived from the punishment of Bakunin, for the Russian Government in its turn demanded him of the Austrians, who delivered him up. In Russia he was confined, first in the Peter and Paul fortress and then in the Schluesselburg. There be suffered from scurvy and all his teeth fell out. His health gave way completely, and he found almost all food impossible to assimilate. "But, if his body became enfeebled, his spirit remained inflexible. He feared one thing above all. It was to find himself some day led, by the debilitating action of prison, to the condition of degradation of which Silvio Pellico offers a well-known type. He feared that he might cease to hate, that he might feel the sentiment of revolt which upheld him becoming extinguished in his hearts that he might come to pardon his persecutors and resign himself to his fate. But this fear was superfluous; his energy did not abandon him a single day, and he emerged from his cell the same man as when he entered."4

   After the death of the Tsar Nicholas many political prisoners were amnested, but Alexander II with his own hand erased Bakunin's name from the list. When Bakunin's mother succeeded in obtaining an interview with the new Tsar, he said to her, "Know, Madame, that so long as your son lives, he can never be free." However, in 1857, after eight years of captivity, he was sent to the comparative freedom of Siberia. From there, in 1861, he succeeded in escaping to Japan, and thence through America to London. He had been imprisoned for his hostility to governments, but, strange to say, his sufferings had not had the intended effect of making him love those who inflicted them. From this time onward, he devoted himself to spreading the spirit of Anarchist revolt, without, however, having to suffer any further term of imprisonment. For some years he lived in Italy, where he founded in 1864 an "International Fraternity" or "Alliance of Socialist Revolutionaries." This contained men of many countries, but apparently no Germans. It devoted itself largely to combating Mazzini's nationalism. In 1867 he moved to Switzerland, where in the following year he helped to found the "International Alliance of Socialist Democracy," of which he drew up the program. This program gives a good succinct résumé of his opinions: --

   The Alliance declares itself atheist; it desires the definitive and entire abolition of classes and the political equality and social equalization of individuals of both sexes. It desires that the earth, the instrument of labor, like all other capital, becoming the collective property of society as a whole, shall be no longer able to be utilized except by the workers, that is to say, by agricultural and industrial associations. It recognizes that all actually existing political and authoritarian States, reducing themselves more and more to the mere administrative functions of the public services in their respective countries, must disappear in the universal union of free associations, both agricultural and industrial.

   The International Alliance of Socialist Democracy desired to become a branch of the International Working Men's Association, but was refused admission on the ground that branches must be local, and could not themselves be international. The Geneva group of the Alliance, however, was admitted later, in July, 1869.

   The International Working Men's Association had been founded in London in 1864, and its statutes and program were drawn up by Marx. Bakunin at first did not expect it to prove a success and refused to join it. But it spread with remarkable rapidity in many countries and soon became a great power for the propagation of Socialist ideas. Originally it was by no means wholly Socialist, but in successive Congresses Marx won it over more and more to his views. At its third Congress, in Brussels in September, 1868, it became definitely Socialist. Meanwhile Bakunin, regretting his earlier abstention, had decided to join it, and he brought with him a considerable following in French-Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy. At the fourth Congress, held at Basle in September, 1869, two currents were strongly marked. The Germans and English followed Marx in his belief in the State as it was to become after the abolition of private property; they followed him also in his desire to found Labor Parties in the various countries, and to utilize the machinery of democracy for the election of representatives of Labor to Parliaments. On the other hand, the Latin nations in the main followed Bakunin in opposing the State and disbelieving in the machinery of representative government. The conflict between these two groups grew more and more bitter, and each accused the other of various offenses. The statement that Bakunin was a spy was repeated, but was withdrawn after investigation. Marx wrote in a confidential communication to his German friends that Bakunin was an agent of the Pan-Slavist party and received from them 25,000 francs a year. Meanwhile, Bakunin became for a time interested in the attempt to stir up an agrarian revolt in Russia, and this led him to neglect the contest in the International at a crucial moment. During the Franco-Prussian war Bakunin passionately took the side of France, especially after the fall of Napoleon III. He endeavored to rouse the people to revolutionary resistance like that of 1793, and became involved in an abortive attempt at revolt in Lyons. The French Government accused him of being a paid agent of Prussia, and it was with difficulty that he escaped to Switzerland. The dispute with Marx and his followers had become exacerbated by the national dispute. Bakunin, like Kropotkin after him, regarded the new power of Germany as the greatest menace to liberty in the world. He hated the Germans with a bitter hatred, partly, no doubt, on account of Bismarck, but probably still more on account of Marx. To this day, Anarchism has remained confined almost exclusively to the Latin countries, and has been associated with, a hatred of Germany, growing out of the contests between Marx and Bakunin in the International.

   The final suppression of Bakunin's faction occurred at the General Congress of the International at the Hague in 1872. The meeting-place was chosen by the General Council (in which Marx was unopposed), with a view -- so Bakunin's friends contend -- to making access impossible for Bakunin (on account of the hostility of the French and German governments) and difficult for his friends. Bakunin was expelled from the International as the result of a report accusing him inter alia of theft backed; up by intimidation.

   The orthodoxy of the International was saved, but at the cost of its vitality. From this time onward, it ceased to be itself a power, but both sections continued to work in their various groups, and the Socialist groups in particular grew rapidly. Ultimately a new International was formed (1889) which continued down to the outbreak of the present war. As to the future of International Socialism it would be rash to prophesy, though it would seem that the international idea has acquired sufficient strength to need again, after the war, some such means of expression as it found before in Socialist congresses.

   By this time Bakunin's health was broken, and except for a few brief intervals, he lived in retirement until his death in 1876.

   Bakunin's life, unlike Marx's, was a very stormy one. Every kind of rebellion against authority always aroused his sympathy, and in his support he never paid the slightest attention to personal risk. His influence, undoubtedly very great, arose chiefly through the influence of his personality upon important individuals. His writings differ from Marx's as much as his life does, and in a similar way. They are chaotic, largely, aroused by some passing occasion, abstract and metaphysical, except when they deal with current politics. He does not come to close quarters with economic facts, but dwells usually in the regions of theory and metaphysics. When he descends from these regions, he is much more at the mercy of current international politics than Marx, much less imbued with the consequences of the belief that it is economic causes that are fundamental. He praised Marx for enunciating this doctrine,5 but nevertheless continued to think in terms of nations. His longest work, "L'Empire Knouto-Germanique et la Révolution Sociale," is mainly concerned with the situation in France during the later stages of the Franco-Prussian War, and with the means of resisting German imperialism. Most of his writing was done in a hurry in the interval between two insurrections. There is something of Anarchism in his lack of literary order. His best-known work is a fragment entitled by its editors "God and the State."6 In this work he represents belief in God and belief in the State as the two great obstacles to human liberty. A typical passage will serve to illustrate its style.

   The State is not society, it is only an historical form of it, as brutal as it is abstract. It was born historically in all countries of the marriage of violence, rapine, pillage, in a word, war and conquest, with the gods successively created by the theological fantasy of nations. It has been from its origin, and it remains still at present, the divine sanction of brutal force and triumphant inequality.

   The State is authority; it is force; it is the ostentation and infatuation of force: it does not insinuate itself; it does not seek to convert. . . . Even when it commands what is good, it hinders and spoils it, just because it commands it, and because every command provokes and excites the legitimate revolts of liberty; and because the good, from the moment that it is commanded, becomes evil from the point of view of true morality, of human morality (doubtless not of divine), from the point of view of human respect and of liberty. Liberty, morality, and the human dignity of man consist precisely in this, that he does good, not because it is commanded, but because he conceives it, wills it and loves it.

   We do not find in Bakunin's works a clear picture of the society at which he aimed, or any argument to prove that such a society could be stable. If we wish to understand Anarchism we must turn to his followers, and especially to Kropotkin -- like him, a Russian aristocrat familiar with the prisons of Europe, and, like him, an Anarchist who, in spite of his internationalism, is imbued with a fiery hatred of the Germans.

   Kropotkin has devoted much of his writing to technical questions of production. In "Fields, Factories and Workshops" and "The Conquest of Bread" he has set himself to prove that, if production were more scientific and better organized, a comparatively small amount of quite agreeable work would suffice to keep the whole population in comfort. Even assuming, as we probably must, that he somewhat exaggerates what is possible with our present scientific knowledge, it must nevertheless be conceded that his contentions contain a very large measure of truth. In attacking the subject of production he has shown that he knows what is the really crucial question. If civilization and progress are to be compatible with equality, it is necessary that equality should not involve long hours of painful toil for little more than the necessaries of life, since, where there is no leisure, art and science will die and all progress will become impossible. The objection which some feel to Socialism and Anarchism alike on this ground cannot be upheld in view of the possible productivity of labor.

   The system at which Kropotkin aims, whether or not it be possible, is certainly one which demands a very great improvement in the methods of production above what is common at present. He desires to abolish wholly the system of wages, not only, as most Socialists do, in the sense that a man is to be paid rather for his willingness to work than for the actual work demanded of him, but in a more fundamental sense: there is to be no obligation to work, and all things are to be shared in equal proportions among the whole population. Kropotkin relies upon the possibility of making work pleasant: he holds that, in such a community as he foresees, practically everyone will prefer work to idleness, because work will not involve overwork or slavery, or that excessive specialization that industrialism has brought about, but will be merely a pleasant activity for certain hours of the day, giving a man an outlet for his spontaneous constructive impulses. There is to be no compulsion, no law, no government exercising force; there will still be acts of the community, but these are to spring from universal consent, not from any enforced submission of even the smallest minority. We shall examine in a later chapter how far such an ideal is realizable, but it cannot be denied that Kropotkin presents it with extraordinary persuasiveness and charm.

   We should be doing more than justice to Anarchism if we did not say something of its darker side, the side which has brought it into conflict with the police and made it a word of terror to ordinary citizens. In its general doctrines there is nothing essentially involving violent methods or a virulent hatred of the rich, and many who adopt these general doctrines are personally gentle and temperamentally averse from violence. But the general tone of the Anarchist press and public is bitter to a degree that seems scarcely sane, and the appeal, especially in Latin countries, is rather to envy of the fortunate than to pity for the unfortunate. A vivid and readable, though not wholly reliable, account, from a hostile point of view, is given in a book called "Le Péril Anarchiste," by Félix Dubois,7 which incidentally reproduces a number of cartoons from anarchist journals. The revolt against law naturally leads, except in those who are controlled by a real passion for humanity, to a relaxation of all the usually accepted moral rules, and to a bitter spirit of retaliatory cruelty out of which good can hardly come.

   One of the most curious features of popular Anarchism is its martyrology, aping Christian forms, with the guillotine (in France) in place of the cross. Many who have suffered death at the hands of the authorities on account of acts of violence were no doubt genuine sufferers for their belief in a cause, but others, equally honored, are more questionable. One of the most curious examples of this outlet for the repressed religious impulse is the cult of Ravachol, who was guillotined in 1892 on account of various dynamite outrages. His past was dubious, but he died defiantly; his last words were three lines from a well-known Anarchist song, the "Chant du Père Duchesne": --

Si tu veux être heureux,

Nom de Dieu! Pends ton propriétaire.

   As was natural, the leading Anarchists took no part in the canonization of his memory; nevertheless it proceeded, with the most amazing extravagances.

   It would be wholly unfair to judge Anarchist doctrine, or the views of its leading exponents, by such phenomena; but it remains a fact that Anarchism attracts to itself much that lies on the borderland of insanity and common crime.8 This must be remembered in exculpation of the authorities and the thoughtless public, who often confound in a common detestation the parasites of the movement and the truly heroic and high-minded men who have elaborated its theories and sacrificed comfort and success to their propagation.

   The terrorist campaign in which such men as Ravachol were active practically came to an end in 1894. After that time, under the influence of Pelloutier, the better sort of Anarchists found a less harmful outlet by advocating Revolutionary Syndicalism in the Trade Unions and Bourses du Travail.9

   The economic organization of society, as conceived by Anarchist Communists, does not differ greatly from that which is sought by Socialists. Their difference from Socialists is in the matter of government: they demand that government shall require the consent of all the governed, and not only of a majority. It is undeniable that the rule of a majority may be almost as hostile to freedom as the rule of a minority: the divine right of majorities is a dogma as little possessed of absolute truth as any other. A strong democratic State may easily be led into oppression of its best citizens, namely, those those independence of mind would make them a force for progress. Experience of democratic parliamentary government has shown that it falls very far short of what was expected of it by early Socialists, and the Anarchist revolt against it is not surprising. But in the form of pure Anarchism, this revolt has remained weak and sporadic. It is Syndicalism, and the movements to which Syndicalism has given rise, that have popularized the revolt against parliamentary government and purely political means of emancipating the wage earner. But this movement must be dealt with in a separate chapter.

Footnotes:

[1] "Musings of a Chinese Mystic." Selections from the Philosophy of Chuang Tzu. With an Introduction by Lionel Giles, M.A. (Oxon.). Wisdom of the East Series, John Murray, 1911. Pages 66-68.

[2] An account of the life of Bakunin from the Anarchist standpoint will be found in vol. ii of the complete edition of his works: "Michel Bakounine, OEuvres," Tome II. Avec une notice biographique, des avant-propos et des notes, par James Guillaume. Paris, P.-V, Stock, Éditeur, pp. v-lxiii.

[3] Criticism of these theories will be reserved for Part II.

[4] Ibid. p. xxvi.

[5] "Marx, as a thinker, is on the right road. He has established as a principle that all the evolutions, political, religious, and juridical, in history are, not the causes, but the effects of economic evolutions. This is a great and fruitful thought, which he has not absolutely invented; it has been glimpsed, expressed in part, by many others besides him; but in any case to him belongs the honor of having solidly established it and of having enunciated it as the basis of his whole economic system. (1870; ib. ii. p. xiii.)

[6] This title is not Bakunin's, but was invented by Cafiero and Elisée Reclus, who edited it, not knowing that it was a fragment of what was intended to he the second version of "L'Empire Knouto-Germanique" (see ib. ii. p 283).

[7] Paris, 1894.

[8] The attitude of all the better Anarchists is that expressed by L. S. Bevington in the words: "Of course we know that among those who call themselves Anarchists there are a minority of unbalanced enthusiasts who look upon every illegal and sensational act of violence as a matter for hysterical jubilation. Very useful to the police and the press, unsteady in intellect and of weak moral principle, they have repeatedly shown themselves accessible to venal considerations. They, and their violence, and their professed Anarchism are purchasable, and in the last resort they are welcome and efficient partisans of the bourgeoisie in its remorseless war against the deliverers of the people." His conclusion is a very wise one: "Let us leave indiscriminate killing and injuring to the Government -- to its Statesmen, its Stockbrokers, its Officers, and its Law." ("Anarchism and Violence," pp. 9-10. Liberty Press, Chiswick, 1896.)

[9] See next Chapter.

CHAPTER III

THE SYNDICALIST REVOLT

   Syndicalism arose in France as a revolt against political Socialism, and in order to understand it we must trace in brief outline the positions attained by Socialist parties in the various countries.

   After a severe setback, caused by the Franco-Prussian war, Socialism gradually revived, and in all the countries of Western Europe Socialist parties have increased their numerical strength almost continuously during the last forty years; but, as is invariably the case with a growing sect, the intensity of faith has diminished as the number of believers has increased.

   In Germany the Socialist party became the strongest faction of the Reichstag, and, in spite of differences of opinion among its members, it preserved its formal unity with that instinct for military discipline which characterizes the German nation. In the Reichstag election of 1912 it polled a third of the total number of votes cast, and returned 110 members out of a total of 397. After the death of Bebel, the Revisionists, who received their first impulse from Bernstein, ovecame the more strict Marxians, and the party became in effect merely one of advanced Radicalism. It is too soon to guess what will be the effect of the split between Majority and Minority Socialists which has occurred during the war. There is in Germany hardly a trace of Syndicalism; its characteristic doctrine, the preference of industrial to political action, has found scarcely any support.

   In England Marx has never had many followers. Socialism there has been inspired in the main by the Fabians (founded in 1883), who threw over the advocacy of revolution, the Marxian doctrine of value, and the class-war. What remained was State Socialism and a doctrine of "permeation." Civil servants were to be permeated with the realization that Socialism would enormously increase their power. Trade Unions were to be permeated with the belief that the day for purely industrial action was past, and that they must look to government (inspired secretly by sympathetic civil servants) to bring about, bit by bit, such parts of the Socialist program as were not likely to rouse much hostility in the rich. The Independent Labor Party (formed in 1893) was largely inspired at first by the ideas of the Fabians, though retaining to the present day, and especially since the outbreak of the war, much more of the original Socialist ardor. It aimed always at co-operation with the industrial organizations of wage-earners, and, chiefly through its efforts, the Labor Party1 was formed in 1900 out of a combination of the Trade Unions and the political Socialists. To this party, since 1909, all the important Unions have belonged, but in spite of the fact that its strength is derived from Trade Unions, it has stood always for political rather than industrial action. Its Socialism has been of a theoretical and academic order, and in practice, until the outbreak of war, the Labor members in Parliament (of whom 30 were elected in 1906 and 42 in December, 1910) might be reckoned almost as a part of the Liberal Party.

   France, unlike England and Germany, was not content merely to repeat the old shibboleths with continually diminishing conviction. In France2 a new movement, originally known as Revolutionary Syndicalism -- and afterward simply as Syndicalism -- kept alive the vigor of the original impulse, and remained true to the spirit of the older Socialists, while departing from the letter. Syndicalism, unlike Socialism and Anarchism, began from an existing organization and developed the ideas appropriate to it, whereas Socialism and Anarchism began with the ideas and only afterward developed the organizations which were their vehicle. In order to understand Syndicalism, we have first to describe Trade Union organization in France, and its political environment. The ideas of Syndicalism will then appear as the natural outcome of the political and economic situation. Hardly any of these ideas are new; almost all are derived from the Bakunist section of the old International.3 The old International had considerable success in France before the Franco-Prussian War; indeed, in 1869, it is estimated to have had a French membership of a quarter of a million. What is practically the Syndicalist program was advocated by a French delegate to the Congress of the International at Bâle in that same year.4

   The war of 1870 put an end for the time being to the Socialist Movement in France. Its revival was begun by Jules Guesde in 1877. Unlike the German Socialists, the French have been split into many different factions. In the early eighties there was a split between the Parliamentary Socialists and the Communist Anarchists. The latter thought that the first act of the Social Revolution should be the destruction of the State, and would therefore have nothing to do with Parliamentary politics. The Anarchists, from 1883 onward, had success in Paris and the South. The Socialists contended that the State will disappear after the Socialist society has been firmly established. In 1882 the Socialists split between the followers of Guesde, who claimed to represent the revolutionary and scientific Socialism of Marx, and the followers of Paul Brousse, who were more opportunist and were also called possibilists and cared little for the theories of Marx. In 1890 there was a secession from the Broussists, who followed Allemane and absorbed the more revolutionary elements of the party and became leading spirits in some of the strongest syndicates. Another group was the Independent Socialists, among whom were Jaurès, Millerand and Viviani.5

   The disputes between the various sections of Socialists caused difficulties in the Trade Unions and helped to bring about the resolution to keep politics out of the Unions. From this to Syndicalism was an easy step.

   Since the year 1905, as the result of a union between the Parti Socialiste de France (Part; Ouvrier Socialiste Révolutionnaire Français led by Guesde) and the Parti Socialiste Français (Jaurès), there have been only two groups of Socialists, the United Socialist Party and the Independents, who are intellectuals or not willing to be tied to a party. At the General Election of 1914 the former secured 102 members and the latter 30, out of a total of 590.

   Tendencies toward a rapprochement between the various groups were seriously interfered with by an event which had considerable importance for the whole development of advanced political ideas in France, namely, the acceptance of office in the Waldeck-Rousseau Ministry by the Socialist Millerand in 1899. Millerand, as was to be expected, soon ceased to be a Socialist, and the opponents of political action pointed to his development as showing the vanity of political triumphs. Very many French politicians who have risen to power have begun their political career as Socialists, and have ended it not infrequently by employing the army to oppress strikers. Millerand's action was the most notable and dramatic among a number of others of a similar kind. Their cumulative effect has been to produce a certain cynicism in regard to politics among the more class-conscious of French wage-earners, and this state of mind greatly assisted the spread of Syndicalism.

   Syndicalism stands essentially for the point of view of the producer as opposed to that of the consumer; it is concerned with reforming actual work, and the organization of industry, not merely with securing greater rewards for work. From this point of view its vigor and its distinctive character are derived. It aims at substituting industrial for political action, and at using Trade Union organization for purposes for which orthodox Socialism would look to Parliament. "Syndicalism" was originally only the French name for Trade Unionism, but the Trade Unionists of France became divided into two sections, the Reformist and the Revolutionary, of whom the latter only professed the ideas which we now associate with the term "Syndicalism." It is quite impossible to guess how far either the organization or the ideas of the Syndicalists will remain intact at the end of the war, and everything that we shall say is to be taken as applying only to the years before the war. It may be that French Syndicalism as a distinctive movement will be dead, but even in that case it will not have lost its importance, since it has given a new impulse and direction to the more vigorous part of the labor movement in all civilized countries, with the possible exception of Germany.

   The organization upon which Syndicalism depended was the Confédération Générale du Travail, commonly known as the C. G. T., which was founded in 1895, but only achieved its final form in 1902. It has never been numerically very powerful, but has derived its influence from the fact that in moments of crisis many who were not members were willing to follow its guidance. Its membership in the year before the war is estimated by Mr. Cole at somewhat more than half a million. Trade Unions (Syndicats) were legalized by Waldeck-Rousseau in 1884, and the C. G. T., on its inauguration in 1895, was formed by the Federation of 700 Syndicats. Alongside of this organization there existed another, the Fédération des Bourses du Travail, formed in 1893. A Bourse du Travail is a local organization, not of any one trade, but of local labor in general, intended to serve as a Labor Exchange and to perform such functions for labor as Chambers of Commerce perform for the employer.6 A Syndicat is in general a local organization of a single industry, and is thus a smaller unit than the Bourse du Travail.7 Under the able leadership of Pelloutier, the Fédération des Bourses prospered more than the C. G. T., and at last, in 1902, coalesced with it. The result was an organization in which the local Syndicat was federated twice over, once with the other Syndicat in its locality, forming together the local Bourse du Travail, and again with the Syndicats in the same industry in other places. "It was the purpose of the new organization to secure twice over the membership of every syndicat, to get it to join both its local Bourse du Travail and the Federation of its industry. The Statutes of the C. G. T. (I. 3) put this point plainly: `No Syndicat will be able to form a part of the C. G. T. if it is not federated nationally and an adherent of a Bourse du Travail or a local or departmental Union of Syndicats grouping different associations.' Thus, M. Lagardelle explains, the two sections will correct each other's point of view: national federation of industries will prevent parochialism (localisme), and local organization will check the corporate or `Trade Union' spirit. The workers will learn at once the solidarity of all workers in a locality and that of all workers in a trade, and, in learning this, they will learn at the same time the complete solidarity of the whole working-class."8

   This organization was largely the work of Pellouties, who was Secretary of the Fédération des Bourses from 1894 until his death in 1901. He was an Anarchist Communist and impressed his ideas upon the Fédération and thence posthumously on the C. G. T. after its combination with the Fédération des Bourses. He even carried his principles into the government of the Federation; the Committee had no chairman and votes very rarely took place. He stated that "the task of the revolution is to free mankind, not only from all authority, but also from every institution which has not for its essential purpose the development of production."

   The C. G. T. allows much autonomy to each unit in the organization. Each Syndicat counts for one, whether it be large or small. There are not the friendly society activities which form so large a part of the work of English Unions. It gives no orders, but is purely advisory. It does not allow politics to be introduced into the Unions. This decision was originally based upon the fact that the divisions among Socialists disrupted the Unions, but it is now reinforced in the minds of an important section by the general Anarchist dislike of politics. The C. G. T. is essentially a fighting organization; in strikes, it is the nucleus to which the other workers rally.

   There is a Reformist section in the C. G. T., but it is practically always in a minority, and the C. G. T. is, to all intents and purposes, the organ of revolutionary Syndicalism, which is simply the creed of its leaders.

   The essential doctrine of Syndicalism is the class-war, to be conducted by industrial rather than political methods. The chief industrial methods advocated are the strike, the boycott, the label and sabotage.

   The boycott, in various forms, and the label, showing that the work has been done under trade-union conditions, have played a considerable part in American labor struggles.

   Sabotage is the practice of doing bad work, or spoiling machinery or work which has already been done, as a method of dealing with employers in a dispute when a strike appears for some reason undesirable or impossible. It has many forms, some clearly innocent, some open to grave objections. One form of sabotage which has been adopted by shop assistants is to tell customers the truth about the articles they are buying; this form, however it may damage the shopkeeper's business, is not easy to object to on moral grounds. A form which has been adopted on railways, particularly in Italian strikes, is that of obeying all rules literally and exactly, in such a way as to make the running of trains practically impossible. Another form is to do all the work with minute care, so that in the end it is better done, but the output is small. From these innocent forms there is a continual progression, until we come to such acts as all ordinary morality would consider criminal; for example, causing railway accidents. Advocates of sabotage justify it as part of war, but in its more violent forms (in which it is seldom defended) it is cruel and probably inexpedient, while even in its milder forms it must tend to encourage slovenly habits of work, which might easily persist under the new régime that the Syndicalists wish to introduce. At the same time, when capitalists express a moral horror of this method, it is worth while to observe that they themselves are the first to practice it when the occasion seems to them appropriate. If report speaks truly, an example of this on a very large scale has been seen during the Russian Revolution.

   By far the most important of the Syndicalist methods is the strike. Ordinary strikes, for specific objects, are regarded as rehearsals, as a means of perfecting organization and promoting enthusiasm, but even when they are victorious so far as concerns the specific point in dispute, they are not regarded by Syndicalists as affording any ground for industrial peace. Syndicalists aim at using the strike, not to secure such improvements of detail as employers may grant, but to destroy the whole system of employer and employed and win the complete emancipation of the worker. For this purpose what is wanted is the General Strike, the complete cessation of work by a sufficient proportion of the wage-earners to secure the paralysis of capitalism. Sorel, who represents Syndicalism too much in the minds of the reading public, suggests that the General Strike is to be regarded as a myth, like the Second Coming in Christian doctrine. But this view by no means suits the active Syndicalists. If they were brought to believe that the General Strike is a mere myth, their energy would flag, and their whole outlook would become disillusioned. It is the actual, vivid belief in its possibility which inspires them. They are much criticised for this belief by the political Socialists, who consider that the battle is to be won by obtaining a Parliamentary majority. But Syndicalists have too little faith in the honesty of politicians to place any reliance on such a method or to believe in the value of any revolution which leaves the power of the State intact.

   Syndicalist aims are somewhat less definite than Syndicalist methods. The intellectuals who endeavor to interpret them -- not always very faithfully -- represent them as a party of movement and change, following a Bergsonian élan vital, without needing any very clear prevision of the goal to which it is to take them. Nevertheless, the negative part, at any rate, of their objects is sufficiently clear.

   They wish to destroy the State, which they regard as a capitalist institution, designed essentially to terrorize the workers. They refuse to believe that it would be any better under State Socialism. They desire to see each industry self-governing, but as to the means of adjusting the relations between different industries, they are not very clear. They are anti-militarist because they are anti-State, and because French troops have often been employed against them in strikes; also because they are internationalists, who believe that the sole interest of the working man everywhere is to free himself from the tyranny of the capitalist. Their outlook on life is the very reverse of pacifist, but they oppose wars between States on the ground that these are not fought for objects that in any way concern the workers. Their anti-militarism, more than anything else, brought them into conflict with the authorities in the years preceding the war. But, as was to be expected, it did not survive the actual invasion of France.

   The doctrines of Syndicalism may be illustrated by an article introducing it to English readers in the first number of "The Syndicalist Railwayman," September, 1911, from which the following is quoted: --

   "All Syndicalism, Collectivism, Anarchism aims at abolishing the present economic status and existing private ownership of most things; but while Collectivism would substitute ownership by everybody, and Anarchism ownership by nobody, Syndicalism aims at ownership by Organized Labor. It is thus a purely Trade Union reading of the economic doctrine and the class war preached by Socialism. It vehemently repudiates Parliamentary action on which Collectivism relies; and it is, in this respect, much more closely allied to Anarchism, from which, indeed, it differs in practice only in being more limited in range of action." (Times, Aug. 25, 1911).

   In truth, so thin is the partition between Syndicalism and Anarchism that the newer and less familiar "ism" has been shrewdly defined as "Organized Anarchy." It has been created by the Trade Unions of France; but it is obviously an international plant, whose roots have already found the soil of Britain most congenial to its growth and fructification.

   Collectivist or Marxian Socialism would have us believe that it is distinctly a Labor Movement; but it is not so. Neither is Anarchism. The one is substantially bourgeois; the other aristocratic, plus an abundant output of book-learning, in either case. Syndicalism, on the contrary, is indubitably laborist in origin and aim, owing next to nothing to the "Classes," and, indeed,, resolute to uproot them. The Times (Oct. 13, 1910), which almost single-handed in the British Press has kept creditably abreast of Continental Syndicalism, thus clearly set forth the significance of the General Strike:

   "To understand what it means, we must remember that there is in France a powerful Labor Organization, which has for its open and avowed object a Revolution, in which not only the present order of Society, but the State itself, is to be swept away. This movement is called Syndicalism. It is not Socialism, but, on the contrary, radically opposed to Socialism, because the Syndicalists hold that the State is the great enemy and that the Socialists' ideal of State or Collectivist Ownership would make the lot of the Workers much worse than it is now under private employers. The means by which they hope to attain their end is the General Strike, an idea which was invented by a French workman about twenty years ago,9 and was adopted by the French Labor Congress in 1894, after a furious battle with the Socialists, in which the latter were worsted. Since then the General Strike has been the avowed policy of the Syndicalists, whose organization is the Confédération Générale du Travail."

   Or, to put it otherwise, the intelligent French worker has awakened, as he believes, to the fact that Society (Societas) and the State (Civitas) connote two separable spheres of human activity, between which there is no connection, necessary or desirable. Without the one, man, being a gregarious animal, cannot subsist: while without the other he would simply be in clover. The "statesman" whom office does not render positively nefarious is at best an expensive superfluity.

   Syndicalists have had many violent encounters with the forces of government. In 1907 and 1908, protesting against bloodshed which had occurred in the suppression of strikes, the Committee of the C. G. T. issued manifestoes speaking of the Government as "a Government of assassins" and alluding to the Prime Minister as "Clemenceau the murderer." Similar events in the strike at Villeneuve St. Georges in 1908 led to the arrest of all the leading members of the Committee. In the railway strike of October, 1910, Monsieur Briand arrested the Strike Committee, mobilized the railway men and sent soldiers to replace strikers. As a result of these vigorous measures the strike was completely defeated, and after this the chief energy of the C. G. T. was directed against militarism and nationalism.

   The attitude of Anarchism to the Syndicalist movement is sympathetic, with the reservation that such methods as the General Strike are not to be regarded as substitutes for the violent revolution which most Anarchists consider necessary. Their attitude in this matter was defined at the International Anarchist Congress held in Amsterdam in August, 1907. This Congress recommended "comrades of all countries to actively participate in autonomous movements of the working class, and to develop in Syndicalist organizations the ideas of revolt, individual initiative and solidarity, which are the essence of Anarchism." Comrades were to "propagate and support only those forms and manifestations of direct action which carry, in themselves, a revolutionary character and lead to the transformation of society." It was resolved that "the Anarchists think that the destruction of the capitalist and authoritary society can only be realized by armed insurrection and violent expropriation, and that the use of the more or less General Strike and the Syndicalist movement must not make us forget the more direct means of struggle against the military force of government."

   Syndicalists might retort that when the movement is strong enough to win by armed insurrection it will be abundantly strong enough to win by the General Strike. In Labor movements generally, success through violence can hardly be expected except in circumstances where success without violence is attainable. This argument alone, even if there were no other, would be a very powerful reason against the methods advocated by the Anarchist Congress.

   Syndicalism stands for what is known as industrial unionism as opposed to craft unionism. In this respect, as also in the preference of industrial to political methods, it is part of a movement which has spread far beyond France. The distinction between industrial and craft unionism is much dwelt on by Mr. Cole. Craft unionism "unites in a single association those workers who are engaged on a single industrial process, or on processes so nearly akin that any one can do another's work." But "organization may follow the lines, not of the work done, but of the actual structure of industry. All workers working at producing a particular kind of commodity may be organized in a single Union. . . . The basis of organization would be neither the craft to which a man belonged nor the employer under whom he worked, but the service on which he was engaged. This is Industrial Unionism properly so called.10

   Industrial unionism is a product of America, and from America it has to some extent spread to Great Britain. It is the natural form of fighting organization when the union is regarded as the means of carrying on the class war with a view, not to obtaining this or that minor amelioration, but to a radical revolution in the economic system. This is the point of view adopted by the "Industrial Workers of the World," commonly known as the I. W. W. This organization more or less corresponds in America to what the C. G. T. was in France before the war. The differences between the two are those due to the different economic circumstances of the two countries, but their spirit is closely analogous. The I. W. W. is not united as to the ultimate form which it wishes society to take. There are Socialists, Anarchists and Syndicalists among its members. But it is clear on the immediate practical issue, that the class war is the fundamental reality in the present relations of labor and capital, and that it is by industrial action, especially by the strike, that emancipation must be sought. The I. W. W., like the C. G. T., is not nearly so strong numerically as it is supposed to be by those who fear it. Its influence is based, not upon its numbers, but upon its power of enlisting the sympathies of the workers in moments of crisis.

   The labor movement in America has been characterized on both sides by very great violence. Indeed, the Secretary of the C. G. T., Monsieur Jouhaux, recognizes that the C. G. T. is mild in comparison with the I. W. W. "The I. W. W.," he says, "preach a policy of militant action, very necessary in parts of America, which would not do in France."11 A very interesting account of it, from the point of view of an author who is neither wholly on the side of labor nor wholly on the side of the capitalist, but disinterestedly anxious to find some solution of the social question short of violence and revolution, is the work of Mr. John Graham Brooks, called "American Syndicalism: the I. W. W." (Macmillan, 1913). American labor conditions are very different from those of Europe. In the first place, the power of the trusts is enormous; the concentration of capital has in this respect proceeded more nearly on Marxian lines in America than anywhere else. In the second place, the great influx of foreign labor makes the whole problem quite different from any that arises in Europe. The older skilled workers, largely American born, have long been organized in the American Federation of Labor under Mr. Gompers. These represent an aristocracy of labor. They tend to work with the employers against the great mass of unskilled immigrants, and they cannot be regarded as forming part of anything that could be truly called a labor movement. "There are," says Mr. Cole, "now in America two working classes, with different standards of life, and both are at present almost impotent in the face of the employers. Nor is it possible for these two classes to unite or to put forward any demands. . . . The American Federation of Labor and the Industrial Workers of the World represent two different principles of combination; but they also represent two different classes of labor."12 The I. W. W. stands for industrial unionism, whereas the American Federation of Labor stands for craft unionism. The I. W. W. were formed in 1905 by a union of organizations, chief among which was the Western Federation of Miners, which dated from 1892. They suffered a split by the loss of the followers of Deleon, who was the leader of the "Socialist Labor Party" and advocated a "Don't vote" policy, while reprobating violent methods. The headquarters of the party which he formed are at Detroit, and those of the main body are at Chicago. The I. W. W., though it has a less definite philosophy than French Syndicalism, is quite equally determined to destroy the capitalist system. As its secretary has said: "There is but one bargain the I. W. W. will make with the employing class -- complete surrender of all control of industry to the organized workers."13 Mr. Haywood, of the Western Federation of Miners, is an out-and-out follower of Marx so far as concerns the class war and the doctrine of surplus value. But, like all who are in this movement, he attaches more importance to industrial as against political action than do the European followers of Marx. This is no doubt partly explicable by the special circumstances of America, where the recent immigrants are apt to be voteless. The fourth convention of the I. W. W. revised a preamble giving the general principles underlying its action. "The working class and the employing class," they say, "have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes, a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system. . . . Instead of the conservative motto, `A fair day's wages for a fair day's work,' we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, `Abolition of the wage system.'"14

   Numerous strikes have been conducted or encouraged by the I. W. W. and the Western Federation of Miners. These strikes illustrate the class-war in a more bitter and extreme form than is to be found in any other part of the world. Both sides are always ready to resort to violence. The employers have armies of their own and are able to call upon the Militia and even, in a crisis, upon the United States Army. What French Syndicalists say about the State as a capitalist institution is peculiarly true in America. In consequence of the scandals thus arising, the Federal Government appointed a Commission on Industrial Relations, whose Report, issued in 1915, reveals a state of affairs such as it would be difficult to imagine in Great Britain. The report states that "the greatest disorders and most of the outbreaks of violence in connection with industrial disputes arise from the violation of what are considered to be fundamental rights, and from the perversion or subversion of governmental institutions" (p. 146). It mentions, among such perversions, the subservience of the judiciary to the military authorities,15 the fact that during a labor dispute the life and liberty of every man within the State would seem to be at the mercy of the Governor (p. 72), and the use of State troops in policing strikes (p. 298). At Ludlow (Colorado) in 1914 (April 20) a battle of the militia and the miners took place, in which, as the result of the fire of the militia, a number of women and children were burned to death.16 Many other instances of pitched battles could be given, but enough has been said to show the peculiar character of labor disputes in the United States. It may, I fear, be presumed that this character will remain so long as a very large proportion of labor consists of recent immigrants. When these difficulties pass away, as they must sooner or later, labor will more and more find its place in the community, and will tend to feel and inspire less of the bitter hostility which renders the more extreme forms of class war possible. When that time comes, the labor movement in America will probably begin to take on forms similar to those of Europe.

   Meanwhile, though the forms are different, the aims are very similar, and industrial unionism, spreading from America, has had a considerable influence in Great Britain -- an influence naturally reinforced by that of French Syndicalism. It is clear, I think, that the adoption of industrial rather than craft unionism is absolutely necessary if Trade Unionism is to succeed in playing that part in altering the economic structure of society which its advocates claim for it rather than for the political parties. Industrial unionism organizes men, as craft unionism does not, in accordance with the enemy whom they have to fight. English unionism is still very far removed from the industrial form, though certain industries, especially the railway men, have gone very far in this direction, and it is notable that the railway men are peculiarly sympathetic to Syndicalism and industrial unionism.

   Pure Syndicalism, however, is not very likely to achieve wide popularity in Great Britain. Its spirit is too revolutionary and anarchistic for our temperament. It is in the modified form of Guild Socialism that the ideas derived from the C. G. T. and the I. W. W. are tending to bear fruit.17 This movement is as yet in its infancy and has no great hold upon the rank and file, but it is being ably advocated by a group of young men, and is rapidly gaining ground among those who will form Labor opinion in years to come. The power of the State has been so much increased during the war that those who naturally dislike things as they are, find it more and more difficult to believe that State omnipotence can be the road to the millennium. Guild Socialists aim at autonomy in industry, with consequent curtailment, but not abolition, of the power of the State. The system which they advocate is, I believe, the best hitherto proposed, and the one most likely to secure liberty without the constant appeals to violence which are to be feared under a purely Anarchist régime.

   The first pamphlet of the "National Guilds League" sets forth their main principles. In industry each factory is to be free to control its own methods of production by means of elected managers. The different factories in a given industry are to be federated into a National Guild which will deal with marketing and the general interests of the industry as a whole. "The State would own the means of production as trustee for the community; the Guilds would manage them, also as trustees for the community, and would pay to the State a single tax or rent. Any Guild that chose to set its own interests above those of the community would be violating its trust, and would have to bow to the judgment of a tribunal equally representing the whole body of producers and the whole body of consumers. This Joint Committee would be the ultimate sovereign body, the ultimate appeal court of industry. It would fix not only Guild taxation, but also standard prices, and both taxation and prices would be periodically readjusted by it." Each Guild will be entirely free to apportion what it receives among its members as it chooses, its members being all those who work in the industry which it covers. "The distribution of this collective Guild income among the members seems to be a matter for each Guild to decide for itself. Whether the Guilds would, sooner or later, adopt the principle of equal payment for every member, is open to discussion." Guild Socialism accepts from Syndicalism the view that liberty is not to be secured by making the State the employer: "The State and the Municipality as employers have turned out not to differ essentially from the private capitalist." Guild Socialists regard the State as consisting of the community in their capacity as consumers, while the Guilds will represent them in their capacity as producers; thus Parliament and the Guild Congress will be two co-equal powers representing consumers and producers respectively. Above both will be the joint Committee of Parliament and the Guild Congress for deciding matters involving the interests of consumers and producers alike. The view of the Guild Socialists is that State Socialism takes account of men only as consumers, while Syndicalism takes account of them only as producers. "The problem," say the Guild Socialists, "is to reconcile the two points of view. That is what advocates of National Guilds set out to do. The Syndicalist has claimed everything for the industrial organizations of producers, the Collectivist everything for the territorial or political organizations of consumers. Both are open to the same criticism; you cannot reconcile two points of view merely by denying one of them."18 But although Guild Socialism represents an attempt at readjustment between two equally legitimate points of view, its impulse and force are derived from what it has taken over from Syndicalism. Like Syndicalism; it desires not primarily to make work better paid, but to secure this result along with others by making it in itself more interesting and more democratic in organization.

   Capitalism has made of work a purely commercial activity, a soulless and a joyless thing. But substitute the national service of the Guilds for the profiteering of the few; substitute responsible labor for a saleable commodity; substitute self-government and decentralization for the bureaucracy and demoralizing hugeness of the modern State and the modern joint stock company; and then it may be just once more to speak of a "joy in labor," and once more to hope that men may be proud of quality and not only of quantity in their work. There is a cant of the Middle Ages, and a cant of "joy in labor," but it were better, perhaps, to risk that cant than to reconcile ourselves forever to the philosophy of Capitalism and of Collectivism, which declares that work is a necessary evil never to be made pleasant, and that the workers' only hope is a leisure which shall be longer, richer, and well adorned with municipal amenities.19

   Whatever may be thought of the practicability of Syndicalism, there is no doubt that the ideas which it has put into the world have done a great deal to revive the labor movement and to recall it to certain things of fundamental importance which it had been in danger of forgetting. Syndicalists consider man as producer rather than consumer. They are more concerned to procure freedom in work than to increase material well-being. They have revived the quest for liberty, which was growing somewhat dimmed under the régime of Parliamentary Socialism, and they have reminded men that what our modern society needs is not a little tinkering here and there, nor the kind of minor readjustments to which the existing holders of power may readily consent, but a fundamental reconstruction, a sweeping away of all the sources of oppression, a liberation of men's constructive energies, and a wholly new way of conceiving and regulating production and economic relations. This merit is so great that, in view of it, all minor defects become insignificant, and this merit Syndicalism will continue to possess even if, as a definite movement, it should be found to have passed away with the war.

Footnotes:

[1] Of which the Independent Labor Party is only a section.

[2] And also in Italy. A good, short account of the Italian movement is given by A. Lanzillo, "Le Mouvement Ouvrier en Italie," Bibliothèque du Mouvement Prolétarien. See also Paul Louis, "Le Syndicalisme Européen," chap. vi. On the other hand Cole ("World of Labour," chap. vi) considers the strength of genuine Syndicalism in Italy to be small.

[3] This is often recognized by Syndicalists themselves. See, e.g., an article on "The Old International" in the Syndicalist of February, 1913, which, after giving an account of the struggle between Marx and Bakunin from the standpoint of a sympathizer with the latter, says: "Bakounin's ideas are now more alive than ever."

[4] See pp. 42-43, and 160 of "Syndicalism in France," Louis Levine, Ph.D. (Columbia University Studies in Political Science, vol. xlvi, No. 3.) This is a very objective and reliable account of the origin and progress of French Syndicalism. An admirable short discussion of its ideas and its present position will be found in Cole's "World of Labour" (G. Bell & Sons), especially chapters iii, iv, and xi.

[5] See Levine, op. cit., chap. ii.

[6] Cole, ib., p. 65.

[7] "Syndicat in France still means a local union -- there are at the present day only four national syndicats" (ib., p. 66).

[8] Cole, ib. p. 69.

[9] In fact the General Strike was invented by a Londoner William Benbow, an Owenite, in 1831.

[10] "World of Labour," pp. 212, 213.

[11] Quoted in Cole, ib. p. 128.

[12] Ib., p. 135.

[13] Brooks, op. cit., p. 79.

[14] Brooks, op. cit., pp. 86-87.

[15] Although uniformly held that the writ of habeas corpus can only be suspended by the legislature, in these labor disturbances the executive has in fact suspended or disregarded the writ. . . . In cases arising from labor agitations, the judiciary has uniformly upheld the power exercised by the military, and in no case has there been any protest against the use of such power or any attempt to curtail it, except in Montana, where the conviction of a civilian by military commission was annulled" ("Final Report of the Commission on Industrial Relations" (1915) appointed by the United States Congress," p. 58).

[16] Literary Digest, May 2 and May 16, 1914.

[17] The ideas of Guild Socialism were first set forth in "National Guilds," edited by A. R. Orage (Bell & Sons, 1914), and in Cole's "World of Labour" (Bell & Sons), first published in 1913. Cole's "Self-Government in Industry" (Bell & Sons, 1917) and Rickett & Bechhofer's "The Meaning of National Guilds" (Palmer & Hayward, 1918) should also be read, as well as various pamphlets published by the National Guilds League. The attitude of the Syndicalists to Guild Socialism is far from sympathetic. An article in "The Syndicalist" for February, 1914, speaks of it in the following terms: a Middle-class of the middle-class, with all the shortcomings (we had almost said `stupidities') of the middle-classes writ large across it, `Guild Socialism' stands forth as the latest lucubration of the middle-class mind. It is a `cool steal' of the leading ideas of Syndicalism and a deliberate perversion of them. . . . We do protest against the `State' idea . . . in Guild Socialism. Middle-class people, even when they become Socialists, cannot get rid of the idea that the working-class is their `inferior'; that the workers need to be `educated,' drilled, disciplined, and generally nursed for a very long time before they will be able to walk by themselves. The very reverse is actually the truth. . . . It is just the plain truth when we say that the ordinary wage-worker, of average intelligence, is better capable of taking care of himself than the half-educated middle-class man who wants to advise him. He knows how to make the wheels of the world go round."

[18] The above quotations are all from the first pamphlet of the National Guilds League, "National Guilds, an Appeal to Trade Unionists."

[19] "The Guild Idea," No. 2 of the Pamphlets of the National Guilds League, p. 17.

PART II

PROBLEMS OF THE FUTURE

CHAPTER IV

WORK AND PAY

   The man who seeks to create a better order of society has two resistances to contend with: one that of Nature, the other that of his fellow-men. Broadly speaking, it is science that deals with the resistance of Nature, while politics and social organization are the methods of overcoming the resistance of men.

   The ultimate fact in economics is that Nature only yields commodities as the result of labor. The necessity of some labor for the satisfaction of our wants is not imposed by political systems or by the exploitation of the working classes; it is due to physical laws, which the reformer, like everyone else, must admit and study. Before any optimistic economic project can be accepted as feasible, we must examine whether the physical conditions of production impose an unalterable veto, or whether they are capable of being sufficiently modified by science and organization. Two connected doctrines must be considered in examining this question: First, Malthus' doctrine of population; and second, the vaguer, but very prevalent, view that any surplus above the bare necessaries of life can only be produced if most men work long hours at monotonous or painful tasks, leaving little leisure for a civilized existence or rational enjoyment. I do not believe that either of these obstacles to optimism will survive a close scrutiny. The possibility of technical improvement in the methods of production is, I believe, so great that, at any rate for centuries to come, there will be no inevitable barrier to progress in the general well-being by the simultaneous increase of commodities and diminution of hours of labor.

   This subject has been specially studied by Kropotkin, who, whatever may be thought of his general theories of politics, is remarkably instructive, concrete and convincing in all that he says about the possibilities of agriculture. Socialists and Anarchists in the main are products of industrial life, and few among them have any practical knowledge on the subject of food production. But Kropotkin is an exception. His two books, "The Conquest of Bread" and "Fields, Factories and Workshops," are very full of detailed information, and, even making great allowances for an optimistic bias, I do not think it can be denied that they demonstrate possibilities in which few of us would otherwise have believed.

   Malthus contended, in effect, that population always tends to increase up to the limit of subsistence, that the production of food becomes more expensive as its amount is increased, and that therefore, apart from short exceptional periods when new discoveries produce temporary alleviations, the bulk of mankind must always be at the lowest level consistent with survival and reproduction. As applied to the civilized races of the world, this doctrine is becoming untrue through the rapid decline in the birth-rate; but, apart from this decline, there are many other reasons why the doctrine cannot be accepted, at any rate as regards the near future. The century which elapsed after Malthus wrote, saw a very great increase in the standard of comfort throughout the wage-earning classes, and, owing to the enormous increase in the productivity of labor, a far greater rise in the standard of comfort could have been effected if a more just system of distribution had been introduced. In former times, when one man's labor produced not very much more than was needed for one man's subsistence, it was impossible either greatly to reduce the normal hours of labor, or greatly to increase the proportion of the population who enjoyed more than the bare necessaries of life. But this state of affairs has been overcome by modern methods of production. At the present moment, not only do many people enjoy a comfortable income derived from rent or interest, but about half the population of most of the civilized countries in the world is engaged, not in the production of commodities, but in fighting or in manufacturing munitions of war. In a time of peace the whole of this half might be kept in idleness without making the other half poorer than they would have been if the war had continued, and if, instead of being idle, they were productively employed, the whole of what they would produce would be a divisible surplus over and above present wages. The present productivity of labor in Great Britain would suffice to produce an income of about £1 per day for each family, even without any of those improvements in methods which are obviously immediately possible.

   But, it will be said, as population increases, the price of food must ultimately increase also as the sources of supply in Canada, the Argentine, Australia and elsewhere are more and more used up. There must come a time, so pessimists will urge, when food becomes so dear that the ordinary wage-earner will have little surplus for expenditure upon other things. It may be admitted that this would be true in some very distant future if the population were to continue to increase without limit. If the whole surface of the world were as densely populated as London is now, it would, no doubt, require almost the whole labor of the population to produce the necessary food from the few spaces remaining for agriculture. But there is no reason to suppose that the population will continue to increase indefinitely, and in any case the prospect is so remote that it may be ignored in all practical considerations.

   Returning from these dim speculations to the facts set forth by Kropotkin, we find it proved in his writings that, by methods of intensive cultivation, which are already in actual operation, the amount of food produced on a given area can be increased far beyond anything that most uninformed persons suppose possible. Speaking of the market-gardeners in Great Britain, in the neighborhood of Paris, and in other places, he says: --

   They have created a totally new agriculture. They smile when we boast about the rotation system having permitted us to take from the field one crop every year, or four crops each three years, because their ambition is to have six and nine crops from the very same plot of land during the twelve months. They do not understand our talk about good and bad soils, because they make the soil themselves, and make it in such quantities as to be compelled yearly to sell some of it; otherwise it would raise up the level of their gardens by half an inch every year. They aim at cropping, not five or six tons of grass on the acre, as we do, but from 50 to 100 tons of various vegetables on the same space; not £5 worth of hay, but £100 worth of vegetables, of the plainest description, cabbage and carrots.1

   As regards cattle, he mentions that Mr. Champion at Whitby grows on each acre the food of two or three head of cattle, whereas under ordinary high farming it takes two or three acres to keep each head of cattle in Great Britain. Even more astonishing are the achievements of the Culture Maraîchères round Paris. It is impossible to summarize these achievements, but we may note the general conclusion: --

   There are now practical Maraîchers who venture to maintain that if all the food, animal and vegetable, necessary for the 3,500,000 inhabitants of the Departments of Seine and Seine-et-Oise had to be grown on their own territory (3250 square miles), it could be grown without resorting to any other methods of culture than those already in use -- methods already tested on a large scale and proved successful.2

   It must be remembered that these two departments include the whole population of Paris.

   Kropotkin proceeds to point out methods by which the same result could be achieved without long hours of labor. Indeed, he contends that the great bulk of agricultural work could be carried on by people whose main occupations are sedentary, and with only such a number of hours as would serve to keep them in health and produce a pleasant diversification. He protests against the theory of excessive division of labor. What he wants is integration, "a society where each individual is a producer of both manual and intellectual work; where each able-bodied human being is a worker, and where each worker works both in the field and in the industrial workshop."3

   These views as to production have no essential connection with Kropotkin's advocacy of Anarchism. They would be equally possible under State Socialism, and under certain circumstances they might even be carried out in a capitalistic régime. They are important for our present purpose, not from any argument which they afford in favor of one economic system as against another, but from the fact that they remove the veto upon our hopes which might otherwise result from a doubt as to the productive capacity of labor. I have dwelt upon agriculture rather than industry, since it is in regard to agriculture that the difficulties are chiefly supposed to arise. Broadly speaking, industrial production tends to be cheaper when it is carried on on a large scale, and therefore there is no reason in industry why an increase in the demand should lead to an increased cost of supply.

   Passing now from the purely technical and material side of the problem of production, we come to the human factor, the motives leading men to work, the possibilities of efficient organization of production, and the connection of production with distribution. Defenders of the existing system maintain that efficient work would be impossible without the economic stimulus, and that if the wage system were abolished men would cease to do enough work to keep the community in tolerable comfort. Through the alleged necessity of the economic motive, the problems of production and distribution become intertwined. The desire for a more just distribution of the world's goods is the main inspiration of most Socialism and Anarchism. We must, therefore, consider whether the system of distribution which they propose would be likely to lead to a diminished production.

   There is a fundamental difference between Socialism and Anarchism as regards the question of distribution. Socialism, at any rate in most of its forms, would retain payment for work done or for willingness to work, and, except in the case of persons incapacitated by age or infirmity, would make willingness to work a condition of subsistence, or at any rate of subsistence above a certain very low minimum. Anarchism, on the other hand, aims at granting to everyone, without any conditions whatever, just as much of all ordinary commodities as he or she may care to consume, while the rarer commodities, of which the supply cannot easily be indefinitely increased, would be rationed and divided equally among the population. Thus Anarchism would not impose any obligations of work, though Anarchists believe that the necessary work could be made sufficiently agreeable for the vast majority of the population to undertake it voluntarily. Socialists, on the other hand, would exact work. Some of them would make the incomes of all workers equal, while others would retain higher pay for the work which is considered more valuable. All these different systems are compatible with the common ownership of land and capital, though they differ greatly as regards the kind of society which they would produce.

   Socialism with inequality of income would not differ greatly as regards the economic stimulus to work from the society in which we live. Such differences as it would entail would undoubtedly be to the good from our present point of view. Under the existing system many people enjoy idleness and affluence through the mere accident of inheriting land or capital. Many others, through their activities in industry or finance, enjoy an income which is certainly very far in excess of anything to which their social utility entitles them. On the other hand, it often happens that inventors and discoverers, whose work has the very greatest social utility, are robbed of their reward either by capitalists or by the failure of the public to appreciate their work until too late. The better paid work is only open to those who have been able to afford an expensive training, and these men are selected in the main not by merit but by luck. The wage earner is not paid for his willingness to work, but only for his utility to the employer. Consequently, he may be plunged into destitution by causes over which he has no control. Such destitution is a constant fear, and when it occurs it produces undeserved suffering, and often deterioration in the social value of the sufferer. These are a few among the evils of our existing system from the standpoint of production. All these evils we might expect to see remedied under any system of Socialism.

   There are two questions which need to be considered when we are discussing how far work requires the economic motive. The first question is: Must society give higher pay for the more skilled or socially more valuable work, if such work is to be done in sufficient quantities? The second question is: Could work be made so attractive that enough of it would be done even if idlers received just as much of the produce of work? The first of these questions concerns the division between two schools of Socialists: the more moderate Socialists sometimes concede that even under Socialism it would be well to retain unequal pay for different kinds of work, while the more thoroughgoing Socialists advocate equal incomes for all workers. The second question, on the other hand, forms a division between Socialists and Anarchists; the latter would not deprive a man of commodities if he did not work, while the former in general would.

   Our second question is so much more fundamental than our first that it must be discussed at once, and in the course of this discussion what needs to be said on our first question will find its place naturally.

   Wages or Free Sharing? -- "Abolition of the wages system" is one of the watchwords common to Anarchists and advanced Socialists. But in its most natural sense it is a watchword to which only the Anarchists have a right. In the Anarchist conception of society all the commoner commodities will be available to everyone without stint, in the kind of way in which water is available at present.4 Advocates of this system point out that it applies already to many things which formerly had to be paid for, e.g., roads and bridges. They point out that it might very easily be extended to trams and local trains. They proceed to argue -- as Kropotkin does by means of his proofs that the soil might be made indefinitely more productive -- that all the commoner kinds of food could be given away to all who demanded them, since it would be easy to produce them in quantities adequate to any possible demand. If this system were extended to all the necessaries of life, everyone's bare livelihood would be secured, quite regardless of the way in which he might choose to spend his time. As for commodities which cannot be produced in indefinite quantities, such as luxuries and delicacies, they also, according to the Anarchists, are to be distributed without payment, but on a system of rations, the amount available being divided equally among the population. No doubt, though this is not said, something like a price will have to be put upon these luxuries, so that a man may be free to choose how he will take his share: one man will prefer good wine, another the finest Havana cigars, another pictures or beautiful furniture. Presumably, every man will be allowed to take such luxuries as are his due in whatever form he prefers, the relative prices being fixed so as to equalize the demand. In such a world as this, the economic stimulus to production will have wholly disappeared, and if work is to continue it must be from other motives.5

   Is such a system possible? First, is it technically possible to provide the necessaries of life in such large quantities as would be needed if every man and woman could take as much of them from the public stores as he or she might desire?

   The idea of purchase and payment is so familiar that the proposal to do away with it must be thought at first fantastic. Yet I do not believe it is nearly so fantastic as it seems. Even if we could all have bread for nothing, we should not want more than a quite limited amount. As things are, the cost of bread to the rich is so small a proportion of their income as to afford practically no check upon their consumption; yet the amount of bread that they consume could easily be supplied to the whole population by improved methods of agriculture (I am not speaking of war-time). The amount of food that people desire has natural limits, and the waste that would be incurred would probably not be very great. As the Anarchists point out, people at present enjoy an unlimited water supply but very few leave the taps running when they are not using them. And one may assume that public opinion would be opposed to excessive waste. We may lay it down, I think, that the principle of unlimited supply could be adopted in regard to all commodities for which the demand has limits that fall short of what can be easily produced. And this would be the case, if production were efficiently organized, with the necessaries of life, including not only commodities, but also such things as education. Even if all education were free up to the highest, young people, unless they were radically transformed by the Anarchist régime, would not want more than a certain amount of it. And the same applies to plain foods, plain clothes, and the rest of the things that supply our elementary needs.

   I think we may conclude that there is no technical impossibility in the Anarchist plan of free sharing.

   But would the necessary work be done if the individual were assured of the general standard of comfort even though he did no work?

   Most people will answer this question unhesitatingly in the negative. Those employers in particular who are in the habit of denouncing their employes as a set of lazy, drunken louts, will feel quite certain that no work could be got out of them except under threat of dismissal and consequent starvation. But is this as certain as people are inclined to suppose at first sight? If work were to remain what most work is now, no doubt it would be very hard to induce people to undertake it except from fear of destitution. But there is no reason why work should remain the dreary drudgery in horrible conditions that most of it is now.6 If men had to be tempted to work instead of driven to it, the obvious interest of the community would be to make work pleasant. So long as work is not made on the whole pleasant, it cannot be said that anything like a good state of society has been reached. Is the painfulness of work unavoidable?

   At present, the better paid work, that of the business and professional classes, is for the most part enjoyable. I do not mean that every separate moment is agreeable, but that the life of a man who has work of this sort is on the whole happier than that of a man who enjoys an equal income without doing any work. A certain amount of effort, and something in the nature of a continuous career, are necessary to vigorous men if they are to preserve their mental health and their zest for life. A considerable amount of work is done without pay. People who take a rosy view of human nature might have supposed that the duties of a magistrate would be among disagreeable trades, like cleaning sewers; but a cynic might contend that the pleasures of vindictiveness and moral superiority are so great that there is no difficulty in finding well-to-do elderly gentlemen who are willing, without pay, to send helpless wretches to the torture of prison. And apart from enjoyment of the work itself, desire for the good opinion of neighbors and for the feeling of effectiveness is quite sufficient to keep many men active.

   But, it will be said, the sort of work that a man would voluntarily choose must always be exceptional: the great bulk of necessary work can never be anything but painful. Who would choose, if an easy life were otherwise open to him, to be a coal-miner, or a stoker on an Atlantic liner? I think it must be conceded that much necessary work must always remain disagreeable or at least painfully monotonous, and that special privileges will have to be accorded to those who undertake it, if the Anarchist system is ever to be made workable. It is true that the introduction of such special privileges would somewhat mar the rounded logic of Anarchism, but it need not, I think, make any really vital breach in its system. Much of the work that needs doing could be rendered agreeable, if thought and care were given to this object. Even now it is often only long hours that make work irksome. If the normal hours of work were reduced to, say, four, as they could be by better organization and more scientific methods, a very great deal of work which is now felt as a burden would quite cease to be so. If, as Kropotkin suggests, agricultural work, instead of being the lifelong drudgery of an ignorant laborer living very near the verge of abject poverty, were the occasional occupation of men and women normally employed in industry or brain-work; if, instead of being conducted by ancient traditional methods, without any possibility of intelligent participation by the wage-earner, it were alive with the search for new methods and new inventions, filled with the spirit of freedom, and inviting the mental as well as the physical cooperation of those who do the work, it might become a joy instead of a weariness, and a source of health and life to those engaged in it.

   What is true of agriculture is said by Anarchists to be equally true of industry. They maintain that if the great economic organizations which are now managed by capitalists, without consideration for the lives of the wage-earners beyond what Trade Unions are able to exact, were turned gradually into self-governing communities, in which the producers could decide all questions of methods, conditions, hours of work, and so forth, there would be an almost boundless change for the better: grime and noise might be nearly eliminated, the hideousness of industrial regions might be turned into beauty, the interest in the scientific aspects of production might become diffused among all producers with any native intelligence, and something of the artist's joy in creation might inspire the whole of the work. All this, which is at present utterly remote from the reality, might be produced by economic self-government. We may concede that by such means a very large proportion of the necessary work of the world could ultimately be made sufficiently agreeable to be preferred before idleness even by men whose bare livelihood would be assured whether they worked or not. As to the residue let us admit that special rewards, whether in goods or honors or privileges, would have to be given to those who undertook it. But this need not cause any fundamental objection.

   There would, of course, be a certain proportion of the population who would prefer idleness. Provided the proportion were small, this need not matter. And among those who would be classed as idlers might be included artists, writers of books, men devoted to abstract intellectual pursuits -- in short, all those whom society despises while they are alive and honors when they are dead. To such men, the possibility of pursuing their own work regardless of any public recognition of its utility would be invaluable. Whoever will observe how many of our poets have been men of private means will realize how much poetic capacity must have remained undeveloped through poverty; for it would be absurd to suppose that the rich are better endowed by nature with the capacity for poetry. Freedom for such men, few as they are, must be set against the waste of the mere idlers.

   So far, we have set forth the arguments in favor of the Anarchist plan. They are, to my mind, sufficient to make it seem possible that the plan might succeed, but not sufficient to make it so probable that it would be wise to try it.

   The question of the feasibility of the Anarchist proposals in regard to distribution is, like so many other questions, a quantitative one. The Anarchist proposals consist of two parts: (1) That all the common commodities should be supplied ad lib. to all applicants; (2) That no obligation to work, or economic reward for work, should be imposed on anyone. These two proposals are not necessarily inseparable, nor does either entail the whole system of Anarchism, though without them Anarchism would hardly be possible. As regards the first of these proposals, it can be carried out even now with regard to some commodities, and it could be carried out in no very distant future with regard to many more. It is a flexible plan, since this or that article of consumption could be placed on the free list or taken of as circumstances might dictate. Its advantages are many and various, and the practice of the world tends to develop in this direction. I think we may conclude that this part of the Anarchists' system might well be adopted bit by bit, reaching gradually the full extension that they desire.

   But as regards the second proposal, that there should be no obligation to work, and no economic reward for work, the matter is much more doubtful. Anarchists always assume that if their schemes were put into operation practically everyone would work; but although there is very much more to be said for this view than most people would concede at first sight, yet it is questionable whether there is enough to be said to make it true for practical purposes. Perhaps, in a community where industry had become habitual through economic pressure, public opinion might be sufficiently powerful to compel most men to work;7 but it is always doubtful how far such a state of things would be permanent. If public opinion is to be really effective, it will be necessary to have some method of dividing the community into small groups, and to allow each group to consume only the equivalent of what it produces. This will make the economic motive operative upon the group, which, since we are supposing it small, will feel that its collective share is appreciably diminished by each idle individual. Such a system might be feasible, but it would be contrary to the whole spirit of Anarchism and would destroy the main lines of its economic system.

   The attitude of orthodox Socialism on this question is quite different from that of Anarchism.8 Among the more immediate measures advocated in the "Communist Manifesto" is "equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture." The Socialist theory is that, in general, work alone gives the right to the enjoyment of the produce of work. To this theory there will, of course, be exceptions: the old and the very young, the infirm and those whose work is temporarily not required through no fault of their own. But the fundamental conception of Socialism, in regard to our present question, is that all who can should be compelled to work, either by the threat of starvation or by the operation of the criminal law. And, of course, the only kind of work recognized will be such as commends itself to the authorities. Writing books against Socialism, or against any theory embodied in the government of the day, would certainly not be recognized as work. No more would the painting of pictures in a different style from that of the Royal Academy, or producing plays unpleasing to the censor. Any new line of thought would be banned, unless by influence or corruption the thinker could crawl into the good graces of the pundits. These results are not foreseen by Socialists, because they imagine that the Socialist State will be governed by men like those who now advocate it. This is, of course, a delusion. The rulers of the State then will bear as little resemblance to the present Socialists as the dignitaries of the Church after the time of Constantine bore to the Apostles. The men who advocate an unpopular reform are exceptional in disinterestedness and zeal for the public good; but those who hold power after the reform has been carried out are likely to belong, in the main, to the ambitious executive type which has in all ages possessed itself of the government of nations. And this type has never shown itself tolerant of opposition or friendly to freedom.

   It would seem, then, that if the Anarchist plan has its dangers, the Socialist plan has at least equal dangers. It is true that the evils we have been foreseeing under Socialism exist at present, but the purpose of Socialists is to cure the evils of the world as it is; they cannot be content with the argument that they would make things no worse.

   Anarchism has the advantage as regards liberty, Socialism as regards the inducements to work. Can we not find a method of combining these two advantages? It seems to me that we can.

   We saw that, provided most people work in moderation, and their work is rendered as productive as science and organization can make it, there is no good reason why the necessaries of life should not be supplied freely to all. Our only serious doubt was as to whether, in an Anarchist régime, the motives for work would be sufficiently powerful to prevent a dangerously large amount of idleness. But it would be easy to decree that, though necessaries should be free to all, whatever went beyond necessaries should only be given to those who were willing to work -- not, as is usual at present, only to those in work at any moment, but also to all those who, when they happened not to be working, were idle through no fault of their own. We find at present that a man who has a small income from investments, just sufficient to keep him from actual want, almost always prefers to find some paid work in order to be able to afford luxuries. So it would be, presumably, in such a community as we are imagining. At the same time, the man who felt a vocation for some unrecognized work of art or science or thought would be free to follow his desire, provided he were willing to "scorn delights and live laborious days." And the comparatively small number of men with an invincible horror of work -- the sort of men who now become tramps -- might lead a harmless existence, without any grave danger of their becoming sufficiently numerous to be a serious burden upon the more industrious. In this ways the claims of freedom could be combined with the need of some economic stimulus to work. Such a system, it seems to me, would have a far greater chance of success than either pure Anarchism or pure orthodox Socialism.

   Stated in more familiar terms, the plan we are advocating amounts essentially to this: that a certain small income, sufficient for necessaries, should be secured to all, whether they work or not, and that a larger income, as much larger as might be warranted by the total amount of commodities produced, should be given to those who are willing to engage in some work which the community recognizes as useful. On this basis we may build further. I do not think it is always necessary to pay more highly work which is more skilled or regarded as socially more useful, since such work is more interesting and more respected than ordinary work, and will therefore often be preferred by those who are able to do it. But we might, for instance, give an intermediate income to those who are only willing to work half the usual number of hours, and an income above that of most workers to those who choose a specially disagreeable trade. Such a system is perfectly compatible with Socialism, though perhaps hardly with Anarchism. Of its advantages we shall have more to say at a later stage. For the present I am content to urge that it combines freedom with justice, and avoids those dangers to the community which we have found to lurk both in the proposals of the Anarchists and in those of orthodox Socialists.

Footnotes:

[1] Kropotkin, "Fields, Factories and Workshops," p. 74.

[2] Ib. p. 81.

[3] Kropotkin, "Field, Factories, and Workshops," p. 6.

[4] "Notwithstanding the egotistic turn given to the public mind by the merchant-production of our century, the Communist tendency is continually reasserting itself and trying to make its way into public life. The penny bridge disappears before the public bridge; and the turnpike road before the free road. The same spirit pervades thousands of other institutions. Museums, free libraries, and free public schools; parks and pleasure grounds; paved and lighted streets, free for everybody's use; water supplied to private dwellings, with a growing tendency towards disregarding the exact amount of it used by the individual, tramways and railways which have already begun to introduce the season ticket or the uniform tax, and will surely go much further on this line when they are no longer private property: all these are tokens showing in what direction further progress is to be expected." -- Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism."

[5] An able discussion of this question, at of various others, from the standpoint of reasoned and temperate opposition to Anarchism, will be found in Alfred Naquet's "L'Anarchie et le Collectivisme," Paris, 1904.

[6] "Overwork is repulsive to human nature -- not work. Overwork for supplying the few with luxury -- not work for the well-being of all. Work, labor, is a physiological necessity, a necessity of spending accumulated bodily energy, a necessity which is health and life itself. If so many branches of useful work are so reluctantly done now, it is merely because they mean overwork, or they are improperly organized. But we know -- old Franklin knew it -- that four hours of useful work every day would be more than sufficient for supplying everybody with the comfort of a moderately well-to-do middle-class house, if we all gave ourselves to productive work, and if we did not waste our productive powers as we do waste them now. As to the childish question, repeated for fifty years: `Who would do disagreeable work?' frankly I regret that none of our savants has ever been brought to do it, be it for only one day in his life. If there is still work which is really disagreeable in itself, it is only because our scientific men have never cared to consider the means of rendering it less so: they have always known that there were plenty of starving men who would do it for a few pence a day." Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism."

[7] "As to the so-often repeated objection that nobody would labor if he were not compelled to do so by sheer necessity, we heard enough of it before the emancipation of slaves in America, as well as before the emancipation of serfs in Russia; and we have had the opportunity of appreciating it at its just value. So we shall not try to convince those who can be convinced only by accomplished facts. As to those who reason, they ought to know that, if it really was so with some parts of humanity at its lowest stages -- and yet, what do we know about it? -- or if it is so with some small communities, or separate individuals, brought to sheer despair by ill-success in their struggle against unfavorable conditions, it is not so with the bulk of the civilized nations. With us, work is a habit, and idleness an artificial growth." Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism," p. 30.

[8] "While holding this synthetic view on production, the Anarchists cannot consider, like the Collectivists, that a remuneration which would be proportionate to the hours of labor spent by each person in the production of riches may be an ideal, or even an approach to an ideal, society." Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism," p. 20.

CHAPTER V

GOVERNMENT AND LAW

   Goverment and Law, in their very essence, consist of restrictions on freedom, and freedom is the greatest of political goods.1 A hasty reasoner might conclude without further ado that Law and government are evils which must be abolished if freedom is our goal. But this consequence, true or false, cannot be proved so simply. In this chapter we shall examine the arguments of Anarchists against law and the State. We shall proceed on the assumption that freedom is the supreme aim of a good social system; but on this very basis we shall find the Anarchist contentions very questionable.

   Respect for the liberty of others is not a natural impulse with most men: envy and love of power lead ordinary human nature to find pleasure in interferences with the lives of others. If all men's actions were wholly unchecked by external authority, we should not obtain a world in which all men would be free. The strong would oppress the weak, or the majority would oppress the minority, or the lovers of violence would oppress the more peaceable people. I fear it cannot be said that these bad impulses are wholly due to a bad social system, though it must be conceded that the present competitive organization of society does a great deal to foster the worst elements in human nature. The love of power is an impulse which, though innate in very ambitious men, is chiefly promoted as a rule by the actual experience of power. In a world where none could acquire much power, the desire to tyrannize would be much less strong than it is at present. Nevertheless, I cannot think that it would be wholly absent, and those in whom it would exist would often be men of unusual energy and executive capacity. Such men, if they are not restrained by the organized will of the community, may either succeed in establishing a despotism, or, at any rate, make such a vigorous attempt as can only be defeated through a period of prolonged disturbance. And apart from the love or political power, there is the love of power over individuals. If threats and terrorism were not prevented by law, it can hardly be doubted that cruelty would be rife in the relations of men and women, and of parents and children. It is true that the habits of a community can make such cruelty rare, but these habits, I fear, are only to be produced through the prolonged reign of law. Experience of backwoods communities, mining camps and other such places seems to show that under new conditions men easily revert to a more barbarous attitude and practice. It would seem, therefore, that, while human nature remains as it is, there will be more liberty for all in a community where some acts of tyranny by individuals are forbidden, than in a community where the law leaves each individual free to follow his every impulse. But, although the necessity of some form of government and law must for the present be conceded, it is important to remember that all law and government is in itself in some degree an evil, only justifiable when it prevents other and greater evils. Every use of the power of the State needs, therefore, to be very closely scrutinized, and every possibility of diminishing its power is to be welcomed provided it does not lead to a reign of private tyranny.

   The power of the State is partly legal, partly economic: acts of a kind which the State dislikes can be punished by the criminal law, and individuals who incur the displeasure of the State may find it hard to earn a livelihood.

   The views of Marx on the State are not very clear. On the one hand he seems willing, like the modern State Socialists, to allow great power to the State, but on the other hand he suggests that when the Socialist revolution has been consummated, the State, as we know it, will disappear. Among the measures which are advocated in the Communist Manifesto as immediately desirable, there are several which would very greatly increase the power of the existing State. For example, "Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly;" and again, "Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State." But the Manifesto goes on to say:

   When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms, and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

   In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which; the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.2

   This attitude Marx preserved in essentials throughout his life. Accordingly, it is not to be wondered at that his followers, so far as regards their immediate aims, have in the main become out-and-out State Socialists. On the other hand, the Syndicalists, who accept from Marx the doctrine of the class war, which they regard as what is really vital in his teaching, reject the State with abhorrence and wish to abolish it wholly, in which respect they are at one with the Anarchists. The Guild Socialists, though some persons in this country regard them as extremists, really represent the English love of compromise. The Syndicalist arguments as to the dangers inherent in the power of the State have made them dissatisfied with the old State Socialism, but they are unable to accept the Anarchist view that society can dispense altogether with a central authority. Accordingly they propose that there should be two co-equal instruments of Government in a community, the one geographical, representing the consumers, and essentially the continuation of the democratic State; the other representing the producers, organized, not geographically, but in guilds, after the manner of industrial unionism. These two authorities will deal with different classes of questions. Guild Socialists do not regard the industrial authority as forming part of the State, for they contend that it is the essence of the State to be geographical; but the industrial authority will resemble the present State in the fact that it will have coercive powers, and that its decrees will be enforced, when necessary. It is to be suspected that Syndicalists also, much as they object to the existing State, would not object to coercion of individuals in an industry by the Trade Union in that industry. Government within the Trade Union would probably be quite as strict as State government is now. In saying this we are assuming that the theoretical Anarchism of Syndicalist leaders would not survive accession to power, but I am afraid experience shows that this is not a very hazardous assumption.

   Among all these different views, the one which raises the deepest issue is the Anarchist contention that all coercion by the community is unnecessary. Like most of the things that Anarchists say, there is much more to be urged in support of this view than most people would suppose at first sight. Kropotkin, who is its ablest exponent, points out how much has been achieved already by the method of free agreement. He does not wish to abolish government in the sense of collective decisions: what he does wish to abolish is the system by which a decision is enforced upon those who oppose it.3 The whole system of representative government and majority rule is to him a bad thing.4 He points to such instances as the agreements among the different railway systems of the Continent for the running of through expresses and for co-operation generally. He points out that in such cases the different companies or authorities concerned each appoint a delegate, and that the delegates suggest a basis of agreement, which has to be subsequently ratified by each of the bodies appointing them. The assembly of delegates has no coercive power whatever, and a majority can do nothing against a recalcitrant minority. Yet this has not prevented the conclusion of very elaborate systems of agreements. By such methods, so Anarchists contend, the useful functions of government can be carried out without any coercion. They maintain that the usefulness of agreement is so patent as to make co-operation certain if once the predatory motives associated with the present system of private property were removed.

   Attractive as this view is, I cannot resist the conclusion that it results from impatience and represents the attempt to find a short-cut toward the ideal which all humane people desire.

   Let us begin with the question of private crime.5 Anarchists maintain that the criminal is manufactured by bad social conditions and would disappear in such a world as they aim at creating.6 No doubt there is a great measure of truth in this view. There would be little motive to robbery, for example, in an Anarchist world, unless it were organized on a large scale by a body of men bent on upsetting the Anarchist régime. It may also be conceded that impulses toward criminal violence could be very largely eliminated by a better education. But all such contentions, it seems to me, have their limitations. To take an extreme case, we cannot suppose that there would be no lunatics in an Anarchist community, and some of these lunatics would, no doubt, be homicidal. Probably no one would argue that they ought to be left at liberty. But there are no sharp lines in nature; from the homicidal lunatic to the sane man of violent passions there is a continuous gradation. Even in the most perfect community there will be men and women, otherwise sane, who will feel an impulse to commit murder from jealousy. These are now usually restrained by the fear of punishment, but if this fear were removed, such murders would probably become much more common, as may be seen from the present behavior of certain soldiers on leave. Moreover, certain kinds of conduct arouse public hostility, and would almost inevitably lead to lynching, if no other recognized method of punishment existed. There is in most men a certain natural vindictiveness, not always directed against the worst members of the community. For example, Spinoza was very nearly murdered by the mob because he was suspected of undue friendliness to France at a time when Holland was at war with that country. Apart from such cases, there would be the very real danger of an organized attempt to destroy Anarchism and revive ancient oppressions. Is it to be supposed, for example, that Napoleon, if he had been born into such a community as Kropotkin advocates, would have acquiesced tamely in a world where his genius could find no scope? I cannot see what should prevent a combination of ambitious men forming themselves into a private army, manufacturing their own munitions, and at last enslaving the defenseless citizens, who had relied upon the inherent attractiveness of liberty. It would not be consistent with the principles of Anarchism for the community to interfere with the drilling of a private army, no matter what its objects might be (though, of course, an opposing private army might be formed by men with different views). Indeed, Kropotkin instances the old volunteers in Great Britain as an example of a movement on Anarchist lines.7 Even if a predatory army were not formed from within, it might easily come from a neighboring nation, or from races on the borderland of civilization. So long as the love of power exists, I do not see how it can be prevented from finding an outlet in oppression except by means of the organized force of the community.

   The conclusion, which appears to be forced upon us, is that the Anarchist ideal of a community in which no acts are forbidden by law is not, at any rate for the present, compatible with the stability of such a world as the Anarchists desire. In order to obtain and preserve a world resembling as closely as possible that at which they aim, it will still be necessary that some acts should be forbidden by law. We may put the chief of these under three heads:

1. Theft.

2. Crimes of violence.

3. The creation of organizations intended to subvert the Anarchist régime by force.

   We will briefly recapitulate what has been said already as to the necessity of these prohibitions.

   1. Theft. -- It is true that in an Anarchist world there will be no destitution, and therefore no thefts motivated by starvation. But such thefts are at present by no means the most considerable or the most harmful. The system of rationing, which is to be applied to luxuries, will leave many men with fewer luxuries than they might desire. It will give opportunities for peculation by those who are in control of the public stores, and it will leave the possibility of appropriating such valuable objects of art as would naturally be preserved in public museums. It may be contended that such forms of theft would be prevented by public opinion. But public opinion is not greatly operative upon an individual unless it is the opinion of his own group. A group of men combined for purposes of theft might readily defy the public opinion of the majority unless that public opinion made itself effective by the use of force against them. Probably, in fact, such force would be applied through popular indignation, but in that case we should revive the evils of the criminal law with the added evils of uncertainty, haste and passion, which are inseparable from the practice of lynching. If, as we have suggested, it were found necessary to provide an economic stimulus to work by allowing fewer luxuries to idlers, this would afford a new motive for theft on their part and a new necessity for some form of criminal law.

   2. Crimes of Violence. -- Cruelty to children, crimes of jealousy, rape, and so forth, are almost certain to occur in any society to some extent. The prevention of such acts is essential to the existence of freedom for the weak. If nothing were done to hinder them, it is to be feared that the customs of a society would gradually become rougher, and that acts which are now rare would cease to be so. If Anarchists are right in maintaining that the existence of such an economic system as they desire would prevent the commission of crimes of this kind, the laws forbidding them would no longer come into operation, and would do no harm to liberty. If, on the other hand, the impulse to such actions persisted, it would be necessary that steps should be taken to restrain men from indulging it.

   3. The third class of difficulties is much the most serious and involves much the most drastic interference with liberty. I do not see how a private army could be tolerated within an Anarchist community, and I do not see how it could be prevented except by a general prohibition of carrying arms. If there were no such prohibition, rival parties would organize rival forces, and civil war would result. Yet, if there is such a prohibition, it cannot well be carried out without a very considerable interference with individual liberty. No doubt, after a time, the idea of using violence to achieve a political object might die down, as the practice of duelling has done. But such changes of habit and outlook are facilitated by legal prohibition, and would hardly come about without it. I shall not speak yet of the international aspect of this same problem, for I propose to deal with that in the next chapter, but it is clear that the same considerations apply with even greater force to the relations between nations.

   If we admit, however reluctantly, that a criminal law is necessary and that the force of the community must be brought to bear to prevent certain kinds of actions, a further question arises: How is crime to be treated? What is the greatest measure of humanity and respect for freedom that is compatible with the recognition of such a thing as crime? The first thing to recognize is that the whole conception of guilt or sin should be utterly swept away. At present, the criminal is visited with the displeasure of the community: the sole method applied to prevent the occurrence of crime is the infliction of pain upon the criminal. Everything possible is done to break his spirit and destroy his self-respect. Even those pleasures which would be most likely to have a civilizing effect are forbidden to him, merely on the ground that they are pleasures, while much of the suffering inflicted is of a kind which can only brutalize and degrade still further. I am not speaking, of course, of those few penal institutions which have made a serious study of reforming the criminal. Such institutions, especially in America, have been proved capable of achieving the most remarkable results, but they remain everywhere exceptional. The broad rule is still that the criminal is made to feel the displeasure of society. He must emerge from such a treatment either defiant and hostile, or submissive and cringing, with a broken spirit and a loss of self-respect. Neither of these results is anything but evil. Nor can any good result be achieved by a method of treatment which embodies reprobation.

   When a man is suffering from an infectious disease he is a danger to the community, and it is necessary to restrict his liberty of movement. But no one associates any idea of guilt with such a situation. On the contrary, he is an object of commiseration to his friends. Such steps as science recommends are taken to cure him of his disease, and he submits as a rule without reluctance to the curtailment of liberty involved meanwhile. The same method in spirit ought to be shown in the treatment of what is called "crime." It is supposed, of course, that the criminal is actuated by calculations of self-interest, and that the fear of punishment, by supplying a contrary motive of self-interest affords the best deterrent.

The dog, to gain some private end,

Went mad and bit the man.

   This is the popular view of crime; yet no dog goes mad from choice, and probably the same is true of the great majority of criminals, certainly in the case of crimes of passion. Even in cases where self-interest is the motive, the important thing is to prevent the crime, not to make the criminal suffer. Any suffering which may be entailed by the process of prevention ought to be regarded as regrettable, like the pain involved in a surgical operation. The man who commits a crime from an impulse to violence ought to be subjected to a scientific psychological treatment, designed to elicit more beneficial impulses. The man who commits a crime from calculations of self-interest ought to be made to feel that self-interest itself, when it is fully understood, can be better served by a life which is useful to the community than by one which is harmful. For this purpose it is chiefly necessary to widen his outlook and increase the scope of his desires. At present, when a man suffers from insufficient love for his fellow-creatures, the method of curing him which is commonly adopted seems scarcely designed to succeed, being, indeed, in essentials, the same as his attitude toward them. The object of the prison administration is to save trouble, not to study the individual case. He is kept in captivity in a cell from which all sight of the earth is shut out: he is subjected to harshness by warders, who have too often become brutalized by their occupation.8 He is solemnly denounced as an enemy to society. He is compelled to perform mechanical tasks, chosen for their wearisomeness. He is given no education and no incentive to self-improvement. Is it to be wondered at if, at the end of such a course of treatment, his feelings toward the community are no more friendly than they were at the beginning?

   Severity of punishment arose through vindictiveness and fear in an age when many criminals escaped justice altogether, and it was hoped that savage sentences would outweigh the chance of escape in the mind of the criminal. At present a very large part of the criminal law is concerned in safeguarding the rights of property, that is to say -- as things are now -- the unjust privileges of the rich. Those whose principles lead them into conflict with government, like Anarchists, bring a most formidable indictment against the law and the authorities for the unjust manner in which they support the status quo. Many of the actions by which men have become rich are far more harmful to the community than the obscure crimes of poor men, yet they go unpunished because they do not interfere with the existing order. If the power of the community is to be brought to bear to prevent certain classes of actions through the agency of the criminal law, it is as necessary that these actions should really be those which are harmful to the community, as it is that the treatment of "criminals" should be freed from the conception of guilt and inspired by the same spirit as is shown in the treatment of disease. But, if these two conditions were fulfilled, I cannot help thinking that a society which preserved the existence of law would be preferable to one conducted on the unadulterated principles of Anarchism.

   So far we have been considering the power which the State derives from the criminal law. We have every reason to think that this power cannot be entirely abolished, though it can be exercised in a wholly different spirit, without the vindictiveness and the moral reprobation which now form its essence.

   We come next to the consideration of the economic power of the State and the influence which it can exert through its bureaucracy. State Socialists argue as if there would be no danger to liberty in a State not based upon capitalism. This seems to me an entire delusion. Given an official caste, however selected, there are bound to be a set of men whose whole instincts will drive them toward tyranny. Together with the natural love of power, they will have a rooted conviction (visible now in the higher ranks of the Civil Service) that they alone know enough to be able to judge what is for the good of the community. Like all men who administer a system, they will come to feel the system itself sacrosanct. The only changes they will desire will be changes in the direction of further regulations as to how the people are to enjoy the good things kindly granted to them by their benevolent despots. Whoever thinks this picture overdrawn must have failed to study the influence and methods of Civil Servants at present. On every matter that arises, they know far more than the general public about all the definite facts involved; the one thing they do not know is "where the shoe pinches." But those who know this are probably not skilled in stating their case, not able to say off-hand exactly how many shoes are pinching how many feet, or what is the precise remedy required. The answer prepared for Ministers by the Civil Service is accepted by the "respectable" public as impartial, and is regarded as disposing of the case of malcontents except on a first-class political question on which elections may be won or lost. That at least is the way in which things are managed in England. And there is every reason to fear that under State Socialism the power of officials would be vastly greater than it is at present.

   Those who accept the orthodox doctrine of democracy contend that, if ever the power of capital were removed, representative institutions would suffice to undo the evils threatened by bureaucracy. Against this view, Anarchists and Syndicalists have directed a merciless criticism. French Syndicalists especially, living, as they do, in a highly democratized country, have had bitter experience of the way in which the power of the State can be employed against a progressive minority. This experience has led them to abandon altogether the belief in the divine right of majorities. The Constitution that they would desire would be one which allowed scope for vigorous minorities, conscious of their aims and prepared to work for them. It is undeniable that, to all who care for progress, actual experience of democratic representative Government is very disillusioning. Admitting -- as I think we must -- that it is preferable to any previous form of Government, we must yet acknowledge that much of the criticism directed against it by Anarchists and Syndicalists is thoroughly justified.

   Such criticism would have had more influence if any clear idea of an alternative to parliamentary democracy had been generally apprehended. But it must be confessed that Syndicalists have not presented their case in a way which is likely to attract the average citizen. Much of what they say amounts to this: that a minority, consisting of skilled workers in vital industries, can, by a strike, make the economic life of the whole community impossible, and can in this way force their will upon the nation. The action aimed at is compared to the seizure of a power station, by which a whole vast system can be paralyzed. Such a doctrine is an appeal to force, and is naturally met by an appeal to force on the other side. It is useless for the Syndicalists to protest that they only desire power in order to promote liberty: the world which they are seeking to establish does not, as yet, appeal to the effective will of the community, and cannot be stably inaugurated until it does do so. Persuasion is a slow process, and may sometimes be accelerated by violent methods; to this extent such methods may be justified. But the ultimate goal of any reformer who aims at liberty can only be reached through persuasion. The attempt to thrust liberty by force upon those who do not desire what we consider liberty must always prove a failure; and Syndicalists, like other reformers, must ultimately rely upon persuasion for success.

   But it would be a mistake to confuse aims with methods: however little we may agree with the proposal to force the millennium on a reluctant community by starvation, we may yet agree that much of what the Syndicalists desire to achieve is desirable.

   Let us dismiss from our minds such criticisms of parliamentary government as are bound up with the present system of private property, and consider only those which would remain true in a collectivist community. Certain defects seem inherent in the very nature of representative institutions. There is a sense of self-importance, inseparable from success in a contest for popular favor. There is an all-but unavoidable habit of hypocrisy, since experience shows that the democracy does not detect insincerity in an orator, and will, on the other hand, be shocked by things which even the most sincere men may think necessary. Hence arises a tone of cynicism among elected representatives, and a feeling that no man can retain his position in politics without deceit. This is as much the fault of the democracy as of the representatives, but it seems unavoidable so long as the main thing that all bodies of men demand of their champions is flattery. However the blame may be apportioned, the evil must be recognized as one which is bound to occur in the existing forms of democracy. Another evil, which is especially noticeable in large States, is the remoteness of the seat of government from many of the constituencies -- a remoteness which is psychological even more than geographical. The legislators live in comfort, protected by thick walls and innumerable policemen from the voice of the mob; as time goes on they remember only dimly the passions and promises of their electoral campaign; they come to feel it an essential part of statesmanship to consider what are called the interests of the community as a whole, rather than those of some discontented group; but the interests of the community as a whole are sufficiently vague to be easily seen to coincide with self-interest. All these causes lead Parliaments to betray the people, consciously or unconsciously; and it is no wonder if they have produced a certain aloofness from democratic theory in the more vigorous champions of labor.

   Majority rule, as it exists in large States, is subject to the fatal defect that, in a very great number of questions, only a fraction of the nation have any direct interest or knowledge, yet the others have an equal voice in their settlement. When people have no direct interest in a question they are very apt to be influenced by irrelevant considerations; this is shown in the extraordinary reluctance to grant autonomy to subordinate nations or groups. For this reason, it is very dangerous to allow the nation as a whole to decide on matters which concern only a small section, whether that section be geographical or industrial or defined in any other way. The best cure for this evil, so far as can be seen at present, lies in allowing self-government to every important group within a nation in all matters that affect that group much more than they affect the rest of the community. The government of a group, chosen by the group, will be far more in touch with its constituents, far more conscious of their interests, than a remote Parliament nominally representing the whole country. The most original idea in Syndicalism -- adopted and developed by the Guild Socialists -- is the idea of making industries self-governing units so far as their internal affairs are concerned. By this method, extended also to such other groups as have clearly separable interests, the evils which have shown themselves in representative democracy can, I believe, be largely overcome.

   Guild Socialists, as we have seen, have another suggestion, growing naturally out of the autonomy of industrial guilds, by which they hope to limit the power of the State and help to preserve individual liberty. They propose that, in addition to Parliament, elected (as at present) on a territorial basis and representing the community as consumers, there shall also be a "Guild Congress," a glorified successor of the present Trade Union Congress, which shall consist of representatives chosen by the Guilds, and shall represent the community as producers.

   This method of diminishing the excessive power of the State has been attractively set forth by Mr. G. D. H. Cole in his "Self-Government in Industry."9 "Where now," he says, "the State passes a Factory Act, or a Coal Mines Regulation Act, the Guild Congress of the future will pass such Acts, and its power of enforcing them will be the same as that of the State" (p. 98). His ultimate ground for advocating this system is that, in his opinion, it will tend to preserve individual liberty: "The fundamental reason for the preservation, in a democratic Society, of both the industrial and the political forms of Social organization is, it seems to me, that only by dividing the vast power now wielded by industrial capitalism can the individual hope to be free" (p. 91).

   Will the system suggested by Mr. Cole have this result? I think it is clear that it would, in this respect, be an improvement on the existing system. Representative government cannot but be improved by any method which brings the representatives into closer touch with the interests concerned in their legislation; and this advantage probably would be secured by handing over questions of production to the Guild Congress. But if, in spite of the safeguards proposed by the Guild Socialists, the Guild Congress became all-powerful in such questions, if resistance to its will by a Guild which felt ill-used became practically hopeless, I fear that the evils now connected with the omnipotence of the State would soon reappear. Trade Union officials, as soon as they become part of the governing forces in the country, tend to become autocratic and conservative; they lose touch with their constituents and gravitate, by a psychological sympathy, into co-operation with the powers that be. Their formal installation in authority through the Guilds Congress would accelerate this process. They would soon tend to combine, in effect if not obviously, with those who wield authority in Parliament. Apart from occasional conflicts, comparable to the rivalry of opposing financiers which now sometimes disturbs the harmony of the capitalist world, there would, at most times, be agreement between the dominant personalities in the two Houses. And such harmony would filch away from the individual the liberty which he had hoped to secure by the quarrels of his masters.

   There is no method, if we are not mistaken, by which a body representing the whole community, whether as producers or consumers or both, can alone be a sufficient guardian of individual liberty. The only way of preserving sufficient liberty (and even this will be inadequate in the case of very small minorities) is the organization of citizens with special interests into groups, determined to preserve autonomy as regards their internal affairs, willing to resist interference by a strike if necessary, and sufficiently powerful (either in themselves or through their power of appealing to public sympathy) to be able to resist the organized forces of government successfully when their cause is such as many men think just. If this method is to be successful we must have not only suitable organizations but also a diffused respect for liberty, and an absence of submissiveness to government both in theory and practice. Some risk of disorder there must be in such a society, but this risk is as nothing compared to the danger of stagnation which is inseparable from an all-powerful central authority.

   We may now sum up our discussion of the powers of Government.

   The State, in spite of what Anarchists urge, seems a necessary institution for certain purposes. Peace and war, tariffs, regulation of sanitary conditions and of the sale of noxious drugs, the preservation of a just system of distribution: these, among others, are functions which could hardly be performed in a community in which there was no central government. Take, for example, the liquor traffic, or the opium traffic in China. If alcohol could be obtained at cost price without taxation, still more if it could be obtained for nothing, as Anarchists presumably desire, can we believe that there would not be a great and disastrous increase of drunkenness? China was brought to the verge of ruin by opium, and every patriotic Chinaman desired to see the traffic in opium restricted. In such matters freedom is not a panacea, and some degree of legal restriction seems imperative for the national health.

   But granting that the State, in some form, must continue, we must also grant, I think, that its powers ought to be very strictly limited to what is absolutely necessary. There is no way of limiting its powers except by means of groups which are jealous of their privileges and determined to preserve their autonomy, even if this should involve resistance to laws decreed by the State, when these laws interfere in the internal affairs of a group in ways not warranted by the public interest. The glorification of the State, and the doctrine that it is every citizen's duty to serve the State, are radically against progress and against liberty. The State, though at present a source of much evil, is also a means to certain good things, and will be needed so long as violent and destructive impulses remain common. But it is merely a means, and a means which needs to be very carefully and sparingly used if it is not to do more harm than good. It is not the State, but the community, the worldwide community of all human beings present and future, that we ought to serve. And a good community does not spring from the glory of the State, but from the unfettered development of individuals: from happiness in daily life, from congenial work giving opportunity for whatever constructiveness each man or woman may possess, from free personal relations embodying love and taking away the roots of envy in thwarted capacity from affection, and above all from the joy of life and its expression in the spontaneous creations of art and science. It is these things that make an age or a nation worthy of existence, and these things are not to be secured by bowing down before the State. It is the individual in whom all that is good must be realized, and the free growth of the individual must be the supreme end of a political system which is to re-fashion the world.

Footnotes:

[1] I do not say freedom is the greatest of all goods: the best things come from within -- they are such things as creative art, and love, and thought. Such things can be helped or hindered by political conditions, but not actually produced by them; and freedom is, both in itself and in its relation to these other goods the best thing that political and economic conditions can secure.

[2] Communist Manifesto, p. 22.

[3] "On the other hand, the State has also been confused with government. As there can be no State without government, it has been sometimes said that it is the absence of government, and not the abolition of the State, that should be the aim.

   "It seems to me, however, that State and government represent two ideas of a different kind. The State idea implies quite another idea to that of government. It not only includes the existence of a power placed above society, but also a territorial concentration and a concentration of many functions of the life of society in the hands of a few or even of all. It implies new relations among the members of society.

   "This characteristic distinction, which perhaps escapes notice at first sight, appears clearly when the origin of the State is studied." Kropotkin, "The State." p. 4.

[4] Representative government has accomplished its historical mission; it has given a mortal blow to Court-rule; and by its debates it has awakened public interest in public questions. But, to see in it the government of the future Socialist society, is to commit a gross error. Each economical phase of life implies its own political phase; and it is impossible to touch the very basis of the present economical life -- private property -- without a corresponding change in the very basis of the political organization. Life already shows in which direction the change will be made. Not in increasing the powers of the State, but in resorting to free organization and free federation in all those branches which are now considered as attributes of the State." Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism," pp. 28-29.

[5] On this subject there is an excellent discussion in the before-mentioned work of Monsieur Naquet.

[6] "As to the third -- the chief -- objection, which maintains the necessity of a government for punishing those who break the law of society, there is so much to say about it that it hardly can be touched incidentally. The more we study the question, the more we are brought to the conclusion that society itself is responsible for the anti-social deeds perpetrated in its midst, and that no punishment, no prisons, and no hangmen can diminish the numbers of such deeds; nothing short of a reorganization of society itself. Three-quarters of all the acts which are brought every year before our courts have their origin, either directly or indirectly, in the present disorganized state of society with regard to the production and distribution of wealth -- not in the perversity of human nature. As to the relatively few anti-social deeds which result from anti-social inclinations of separate individuals, it is not by prisons, nor even by resorting to the hangmen, that we can diminish their numbers. By our prisons, we merely multiply them and render them worse. By our detectives, our `price of blood,' our executions, and our jails, we spread in society such a terrible flow of basest passions and habits, that he who should realize the effects of these institutions to their full extent, would be frightened by what society is doing under the pretext of maintaining morality. We must search for other remedies, and the remedies have been indicated long since." Kropotkin, "Anarchist Communism," pp. 31-32.

[7] "Anarchist Communism," p. 27.

[8] This was written before the author had any personal experience of the prison system. He personally met with nothing but kindness at the hands of the prison officials.

[9] Bell, 1917.

CHAPTER VI

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

   The main objects which should be served by international relations may be taken to be two: First, the avoidance of wars, and, second, the prevention of the oppression of weak nations by strong ones. These two objects do not by any means necessarily lead in the same direction, since one of the easiest ways of securing the world's peace would be by a combination of the most powerful States for the exploitation and oppression of the remainder. This method, however, is not one which the lover of liberty can favor. We must keep account of both aims and not be content with either alone.

   One of the commonplaces of both Socialism and Anarchism is that all modern wars are due to capitalism, and would cease if capitalism were abolished. This view, to my mind, is only a half-truth; the half that is true is important, but the half that is untrue is perhaps equally important when a fundamental reconstruction of society is being considered.

   Socialist and Anarchist critics of existing society point, with perfect truth, to certain capitalistic factors which promote war. The first of these is the desire of finance to find new fields of investment in undeveloped countries. Mr. J. A. Hobson, an author who is by no means extreme in his views, has well stated this point in his book on "The Evolution of Modern Capitalism."1 He says:

   The economic tap-root, the chief directing motive of all the modern imperialistic expansion, is the pressure of capitalist industries for markets, primarily markets for investment, secondarily markets for surplus products of home industry. Where the concentration of capital has gone furthest, and where a rigorous protective system prevails, this pressure is necessarily strongest. Not merely do the trusts and other manufacturing trades that restrict their output for the home market more urgently require foreign markets, but they are also more anxious to secure protected markets, and this can only be achieved by extending the area of political rule. This is the essential significance of the recent change in American foreign policy as illustrated by the Spanish War, the Philippine annexation, the Panama policy, and the new application of the Monroe doctrine to the South American States. South America is needed as a preferential market for investment of trust "profits" and surplus trust products: if in time these states can be brought within a Zollverein under the suzerainty of the United States, the financial area of operations receives a notable accession. China as a field of railway enterprise and general industrial development already begins to loom large in the eyes of foresighted American business men; the growing trade in American cotton and other goods in that country will be a subordinate consideration to the expansion of the area for American investments. Diplomatic pressure, armed force, and, where desirable, seizure of territory for political control, will be engineered by the financial magnates who control the political destiny of America. The strong and expensive American navy now beginning to be built incidentally serves the purpose of affording profitable contracts to the shipbuilding and metal industries: its real meaning and use is to forward the aggressive political policy imposed upon the nation by the economic needs of the financial capitalists.

   It should be clearly understood that this constant pressure to extend the area of markets is not a necessary implication of all forms of organized industry. If competition was displaced by combinations of a genuinely coöperative character in which the whole gain of improved economies passed, either to the workers in wages, or to large bodies of investors in dividends, the expansion of demand in the home markets would be so great as to give full employment to the productive powers of concentrated capital, and there would be no self-accumulating masses of profit expressing themselves in new credit and demanding external employment. It is the "monopoly" profits of trusts and combines, taken either in construction, financial operation, or industrial working, that form a gathering fund of self-accumulating credit whose possession by the financial class implies a contracted demand for commodities and a correspondingly restricted employment for capital in American industries. Within certain limits relief can be found by stimulation of the export trade under cover of a high protective tariff which forbids all interference with monopoly of the home markets. But it is extremely difficult for trusts adapted to the requirements of a profitable tied market at home to adjust their methods of free competition in the world markets upon a profitable basis of steady trading. Moreover, such a mode of expansion is only appropriate to certain manufacturing trusts: the owners of railroad, financial and other trusts must look always more to foreign investments for their surplus profits. This ever-growing need for fresh fields of investment for their profits is the great crux of the financial system, and threatens to dominate the future economics and the politics of the great Republic.

   The financial economy of American capitalism exhibits in more dramatic shape a tendency common to the finance of all developed industrial nations. The large, easy flow of capital from Great Britain, Germany, Austria, France, etc., into South African or Australian mines, into Egyptian bonds, or the precarious securities of South American republics, attests the same general pressure which increases with every development of financial machinery and the more profitable control of that machinery by the class of professional financiers.

   The kind of way in which such conditions tend toward war might have been illustrated, if Mr. Hobson had been writing at a later date, by various more recent cases. A higher rate of interest is obtainable on enterprises in an undeveloped country than in a developed one, provided the risks connected with an unsettled government can be minimized. To minimize these risks the financiers call in the assistance of the military and naval forces of the country which they are momentarily asserting to be theirs. In order to have the support of public opinion in this demand they have recourse to the power of the Press.

   The Press is the second great factor to which critics of capitalism point when they wish to prove that capitalism is the source of modern war. Since the running of a big newspaper requires a large capital, the proprietors of important organs necessarily belong to the capitalist class, and it will be a rare and exceptional event if they do not sympathize with their own class in opinion and outlook. They are able to decide what news the great mass of newspaper readers shall be allowed to have. They can actually falsify the news, or, without going so far as that, they can carefully select it, giving such items as will stimulate the passions which they desire to stimulate, and suppressing such items as would provide the antidote. In this way the picture of the world in the mind of the average newspaper reader is made to be not a true picture, but in the main that which suits the interests of capitalists. This is true in many directions, but above all in what concerns the relations between nations. The mass of the population of a country can be led to love or hate any other country at the will of the newspaper proprietors, which is often, directly or indirectly, influenced by the will of the great financiers. So long as enmity between England and Russia was desired, our newspapers were full of the cruel treatment meted out to Russian political prisoners, the oppression of Finland and Russian Poland, and other such topics. As soon as our foreign policy changed, these items disappeared from the more important newspapers, and we heard instead of the misdeeds of Germany. Most men are not sufficiently critical to be on their guard against such influences, and until they are, the power of the Press will remain.

   Besides these two influences of capitalism in promoting war, there is another, much less emphasized by the critics of capitalism, but by no means less important: I mean the pugnacity which tends to be developed in men who have the habit of command. So long as capitalist society persists, an undue measure of power will be in the hands of those who have acquired wealth and influence through a great position in industry or finance. Such men are in the habit, in private life, of finding their will seldom questioned; they are surrounded by obsequious satellites and are not infrequently engaged in conflicts with Trade Unions. Among their friends and acquaintances are included those who hold high positions in government or administration, and these men equally are liable to become autocratic through the habit of giving orders. It used to be customary to speak of the "governing classes," but nominal democracy has caused this phrase to go out of fashion. Nevertheless, it still retains much truth; there are still in any capitalist community those who command and those who as a rule obey. The outlook of these two classes is very different, though in a modern society there is a continuous gradation from the extreme of the one to the extreme of the other. The man who is accustomed to find submission to his will becomes indignant on the occasions when he finds opposition. Instinctively he is convinced that opposition is wicked and must be crushed. He is therefore much more willing than the average citizen to resort to war against his rivals. Accordingly we find, though, of course, with very notable exceptions, that in the main those who have most power are most warlike, and those who have least power are least disposed to hatred of foreign nations. This is one of the evils inseparable from the concentration of power. It will only be cured by the abolition of capitalism if the new system is one which allows very much less power to single individuals. It will not be cured by a system which substitutes the power of Ministers or officials for the power of capitalists This is one reason, additional to those mentioned in the preceding chapter, for desiring to see a diminution in the authority of the State.

   Not only does the concentration of power tend to cause wars, but, equally, wars and the fear of them bring about the necessity for the concentration of power. So long as the community is exposed to sudden dangers, the possibility of quick decision is absolutely necessary to self-preservation. The cumbrous machinery of deliberative decisions by the people is impossible in a crisis, and therefore so long as crises are likely to occur, it is impossible to abolish the almost autocratic power of governments. In this case, as in most others, each of two correlative evils tends to perpetuate the other. The existence of men with the habit of power increases the risk of war, and the risk of war makes it impossible to establish a system where no man possesses great power.

   So far we have been considering what is true in the contention that capitalism causes modern wars. It is time now to look at the other side, and to ask ourselves whether the abolition of capitalism would, by itself, be sufficient to prevent war.

   I do not myself believe that this is the case. The outlook of both Socialists and Anarchists seems to me, in this respect as in some others, to be unduly divorced from the fundamental instincts of human nature. There were wars before there was capitalism and fighting is habitual among animals. The power of the Press in promoting war is entirely due to the fact that it is able to appeal to certain instincts. Man is naturally competitive, acquisitive, and, in a greater or less degree, pugnacious. When the Press tells him that so-and-so is his enemy, a whole set of instincts in him responds to the suggestion. It is natural to most men to suppose that they have enemies and to find a certain fulfillment of their nature when they embark upon a contest. What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index to his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts, he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way, and much of what is currently believed in international affairs is no better than myth. Although capitalism affords in modern society the channel by which the instinct of pugnacity finds its outlet, there is reason to fear that, if this channel were closed, some other would be found, unless education and environment were so changed as enormously to diminish the strength of the competitive instinct. If an economic reorganization can effect this it may provide a real safeguard against war, but if not, it is to be feared that the hopes of universal peace will prove delusive.

   The abolition of capitalism might, and very likely would, greatly diminish the incentives to war which are derived from the Press and from the desire of finance to find new fields for investment in undeveloped countries, but those which are derived from the instinct of command and the impatience of opposition might remain, though perhaps in a less virulent form than at present. A democracy which has power is almost always more bellicose than one which is excluded from its due share in the government. The internationalism of Marx is based upon the assumption that the proletariat everywhere are oppressed by the ruling classes. The last words of the Communist Manifesto embody this idea –

   Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!

   So long as the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains, it is not likely that their enmity will be directed against other proletarians. If the world had developed as Marx expected, the kind of internationalism which he foresaw might have inspired a universal social revolution. Russia, which developed more nearly than any other country upon the lines of his system, has had a revolution of the kind which he expected. If the development in other countries had been similar, it is highly probable that this revolution would have spread throughout the civilized world. The proletariat of all countries might have united against the capitalists as their common enemy, and in the bond of an identical hatred they might for the moment have been free from hatred toward each other. Even then, this ground of union would have ceased with their victory, and on the morrow of the social revolution the old national rivalries might have revived. There is no alchemy by which a universal harmony can be produced out of hatred. Those who have been inspired to action by the doctrine of the class war will have acquired the habit of hatred, and will instinctively seek new enemies when the old ones have been vanquished.

   But in actual fact the psychology of the working man in any of the Western democracies is totally unlike that which is assumed in the Communist Manifesto. He does not by any means feel that he has nothing to lose but his chains, nor indeed is this true. The chains which bind Asia and Africa in subjection to Europe are partly riveted by him. He is himself part of a great system of tyranny and exploitation. Universal freedom would remove, not only his own chains, which are comparatively light, but the far heavier chains which he has helped to fasten upon the subject races of the world.

   Not only do the working men of a country like England have a share in the benefit accruing from the exploitation of inferior races, but many among them also have their part in the capitalist system. The funds of Trade Unions and Friendly Societies are invested in ordinary undertakings, such as railways; many of the better-paid wage-earners have put their savings into government securities; and almost all who are politically active feel themselves part of the forces that determine public policy, through the power of the Labor Party and the greater unions. Owing to these causes their outlook on life has become to a considerable extent impregnated with capitalism and as their sense of power has grown, their nationalism has increased. This must continue to be true of any internationalism which is based upon hatred of the capitalist and adherence to the doctrine of the class war. Something more positive and constructive than this is needed if governing democracies are not to inherit the vices of governing classes in the past.

   I do not wish to be thought to deny that capitalism does very much to promote wars, or that wars would probably be less frequent and less destructive if private property were abolished. On the contrary, I believe that the abolition of private ownership of land and capital is a necessary step toward any world in which the nations are to live at peace with one another. I am only arguing that this step, necessary as it is, will not alone suffice for this end, but that among the causes of war there are others that go deeper into the roots of human nature than any that orthodox Socialists are wont to acknowledge.

   Let us take an instance. In Australia and California there is an intense dislike and fear toward the yellow races. The causes of this are complex; the chief among them are two, labor competition and instinctive race-hatred. It is probable that, if race-hatred did not exist, the difficulties of labor competition could be overcome. European immigrants also compete, but they are not excluded. In a sparsely populated country, industrious cheap labor could, with a little care, be so utilized as to enrich the existing inhabitants; it might, for example, be confined to certain kinds of work, by custom if not by law. But race-hatred opens men's minds to the evils of competition and closes them against the advantages of co-operation; it makes them regard with horror the somewhat unfamiliar vices of the aliens, while our own vices are viewed with mild toleration. I cannot but think that, if Australia were completely socialized, there would still remain the same popular objection as at present to any large influx of Chinese or Japanese labor. Yet if Japan also were to become a Socialist State, the Japanese might well continue to feel the pressure of population and the desire for an outlet. In such circumstances, all the passions and interests required to produce a war would exist, in spite of the establishment of Socialism in both countries. Ants are as completely Socialistic as any community can possibly be, yet they put to death any ant which strays among them by mistake from a neighboring ant-heap. Men do not differ much from ants, as regards their instincts in this respect, where-ever there is a great divergence of race, as between white men and yellow men. Of course the instinct of race-hostility can be overcome by suitable circumstances; but in the absence of such circumstances it remains a formidable menace to the world's peace.

   If the peace of the world is ever to become secure, I believe there will have to be, along with other changes, a development of the idea which inspires the project of a League of Nations. As time goes on, the destructiveness of war grows greater and its profits grow less: the rational argument against war acquires more and more force as the increasing productivity of labor makes it possible to devote a greater and greater proportion of the population to the work of mutual slaughter. In quiet times, or when a great war has just ended, men's moods are amenable to the rational grounds in favor of peace, and it is possible to inaugurate schemes designed to make wars less frequent. Probably no civilized nation would embark upon an aggressive war if it were fairly certain in advance that the aggressor must be defeated. This could be achieved if most great nations came to regard the peace of the world as of such importance that they would side against an aggressor even in a quarrel in which they had no direct interest. It is on this hope that the League of Nations is based.

   But the League of Nations, like the abolition of private property, will be by no means sufficient if it is not accompanied or quickly followed by other reforms. It is clear that such reforms, if they are to be effective, must be international; the world must move as a whole in these matters, if it is to move at all. One of the most obvious necessities, if peace is to be secure, is a measure of disarmament. So long as the present vast armies and navies exist, no system can prevent the risk of war. But disarmament, if it is to serve its purpose, must be simultaneous and by mutual agreement among all the Great Powers. And it is not likely to be successful so long as hatred and suspicion rule between nations, for each nation will suspect its neighbor of not carrying out the bargain fairly. A different mental and moral atmosphere from that to which we are accustomed in international affairs will be necessary if agreements between nations are to succeed in averting catastrophes. If once such an atmosphere existed it might be perpetuated and strengthened by wise institutions; but it cannot be created by institutions alone. International co-operation requires mutual good will, and good will, however it has arisen, is only to be preserved by co-operation. The international future depends upon the possibility of the initial creation of good will between nations.

   It is in this sort of matter that revolutions are most useful. If the Russian Revolution had been accompanied by a revolution in Germany, the dramatic suddenness of the change might have shaken Europe, for the moment, out of its habits of thought: the idea of fraternity might have seemed, in the twinkling of an eye, to have entered the world of practical politics; and no idea is so practical as the idea of the brotherhood of man, if only people can be startled into believing in it. If once the idea of fraternity between nations were inaugurated with the faith and vigor belonging to a new revolution, all the difficulties surrounding it would melt away, for all of them are due to suspicion and the tyranny of ancient prejudice. Those who (as is common in the English-speaking world) reject revolution as a method, and praise the gradual piecemeal development which (we are told) constitutes solid progress, overlook the effect of dramatic events in changing the mood and the beliefs of whole populations. A simultaneous revolution in Germany and Russia would no doubt have had such an effect, and would have made the creation of a new world possible here and now.

   Dis aliter visum: the millennium is not for our time. The great moment has passed, and for ourselves it is again the distant hope that must inspire us, not the immediate breathless looking for the deliverance.2 But we have seen what might have been, and we know that great possibilities do arise in times of crisis. In some such sense as this, it may well be true that the Socialist revolution is the road to universal peace, and that when it has been traversed all the other conditions for the cessation of wars will grow of themselves out of the changed mental and moral atmosphere.

   There is a certain class of difficulties which surrounds the sober idealist in all speculations about the not too distant future. These are the cases where the solution believed by most idealists to be universally applicable is for some reason impossible, and is, at the same time, objected to for base or interested motives by all upholders of existing inequalities. The case of Tropical Africa will illustrate what I mean. It would be difficult seriously to advocate the immediate introduction of parliamentary government for the natives of this part of the world, even if it were accompanied by women's suffrage and proportional representation. So far as I know, no one supposes the populations of these regions capable of self-determination, except Mr. Lloyd George. There can be no doubt that, whatever régime may be introduced in Europe, African negroes will for a long time to come be governed and exploited by Europeans. If the European States became Socialistic, and refused, under a Quixotic impulse, to enrich themselves at the expense of the defenseless inhabitants of Africa, those inhabitants would not thereby gain; on the contrary, they would lose, for they would be handed over to the tender mercies of individual traders, operating with armies of reprobate bravos, and committing every atrocity to which the civilized barbarian is prone. The European governments cannot divest themselves of responsibility in regard to Africa. They must govern there, and the best that can be hoped is that they should govern with a minimum of cruelty and rapacity. From the point of view of preserving the peace of the world, the problem is to parcel out the advantages which white men derive from their position in Africa in such a way that no nation shall feel a sense of injustice. This problem is comparatively simple, and might no doubt be solved on the lines of the war aims of the Inter-Allied Socialists. But it is not this problem which I wish to discuss. What I wish to consider is, how could a Socialist or an Anarchist community govern and administer an African region, full of natural wealth, but inhabited by a quite uncivilized population? Unless great precautions were taken the white community, under the circumstances, would acquire the position and the instincts of a slave-owner. It would tend to keep the negroes down to the bare level of subsistence, while using the produce of their country to increase the comfort and splendor of the Communist community. It would do this with that careful unconsciousness which now characterizes all the worst acts of nations. Administrators would be appointed and would be expected to keep silence as to their methods. Busybodies who reported horrors would be disbelieved, and would be said to be actuated by hatred toward the existing régime and by a perverse love for every country but their own. No doubt, in the first generous enthusiasm accompanying the establishment of the new régime at home, there would be every intention of making the natives happy, but gradually they would be forgotten, and only the tribute coming from their country would be remembered. I do not say that all these evils are unavoidable; I say only that they will not be avoided unless they are foreseen and a deliberate conscious effort is made to prevent their realization. If the white communities should ever reach the point of wishing to carry out as far as possible the principles underlying the revolt against capitalism, they will have to find a way of establishing an absolute disinterestedness in their dealings with subject races. It will be necessary to avoid the faintest suggestion of capitalistic profit in the government of Africa, and to spend in the countries themselves whatever they would be able to spend if they were self-governing. Moreover, it must always be remembered that backwardness in civilization is not necessarily incurable, and that with time even the populations of Central Africa may become capable of democratic self-government, provided Europeans bend their energies to this purpose.

   The problem of Africa is, of course, a part of the wider problems of Imperialism, but it is that part in which the application of Socialist principles is most difficult. In regard to Asia, and more particularly in regard to India and Persia, the application of principles is clear in theory though difficult in political practice. The obstacles to self-government which exist in Africa do not exist in the same measure in Asia. What stands in the way of freedom of Asiatic populations is not their lack of intelligence, but only their lack of military prowess, which makes them an easy prey to our lust for dominion. This lust would probably be in temporary abeyance on the morrow of a Socialist revolution, and at such a moment a new departure in Asiatic policy might be taken with permanently beneficial results. I do not mean, of course, that we should force upon India that form of democratic government which we have developed for our own needs. I mean rather that we should leave India to choose its own form of government, its own manner of education and its own type of civilization. India has an ancient tradition, very different from that of Western Europe, a tradition highly valued by educated Hindoos, but not loved by our schools and colleges. The Hindoo Nationalist feels that his country has a type of culture containing elements of value that are absent, or much less marked, in the West; he wishes to be free to preserve this, and desires political freedom for such reasons rather than for those that would most naturally appeal to an Englishman in the same subject position. The belief of the European in his own Kultur tends to be fanatical and ruthless, and for this reason, as much as for any other, the independence of extra-European civilization is of real importance to the world, for it is not by a dead uniformity that the world as a whole is most enriched.

   I have set forth strongly all the major difficulties in the way of the preservation of the world's peace, not because I believe these difficulties to be insuperable, but, on the contrary, because I believe that they can be overcome if they are recognized. A correct diagnosis is necessarily the first step toward a cure. The existing evils in international relations spring, at bottom, from psychological causes, from motives forming part of human nature as it is at present. Among these the chief are competitiveness, love of power, and envy, using envy in that broad sense in which it includes the instinctive dislike of any gain to others not accompanied by an at least equal gain to ourselves. The evils arising from these three causes can be removed by a better education and a better economic and political system.

   Competitiveness is by no means wholly an evil. When it takes the form of emulation in the service of the public, or in discovery or the production of works of art, it may become a very useful stimulus, urging men to profitable effort beyond what they would otherwise make. It is only harmful when it aims at the acquisition of goods which are limited in amount, so that what one man possesses he holds at the expense of another. When competitiveness takes this form it is necessarily attended by fear, and out of fear cruelty is almost inevitably developed. But a social system providing for a more just distribution of material goods might close to the instinct of competitiveness those channels in which it is harmful, and cause it to flow instead in channels in which it would become a benefit to mankind. This is one great reason why the communal ownership of land and capital would be likely to have a beneficial effect upon human nature, for human nature, as it exists in adult men and women, is by no means a fixed datum, but a product of circumstances, education and opportunity operating upon a highly malleable native disposition.

   What is true of competitiveness is equally true of love of power. Power, in the form in which it is now usually sought, is power of command, power of imposing one's will upon others by force, open or concealed. This form of power consists, in essence, in thwarting others, for it is only displayed when others are compelled to do what they do not wish to do. Such power, we hope, the social system which is to supersede capitalist will reduce to a minimum by the methods which we outlined in the preceding chapter. These methods can be applied in international no less than in national affairs. In international affairs the same formula of federalism will apply: self-determination for every group in regard to matters which concern it much more vitally than they concern others, and government by a neutral authority embracing rival groups in all matters in which conflicting interests of groups come into play; lout always with the fixed principle that the functions of government are to be reduced to the bare minimum compatible with justice and the prevention of private violence. In such a world the present harmful outlets for the love of power would be closed. But the power which consists in persuasion, in teaching, in leading men to a new wisdom or the realization of new possibilities of happiness -- this kind of power, which may be wholly beneficial, would remain untouched, and many vigorous men, who in the actual world devote their energies to domination, would in such a world find their energies directed to the creation of new goods rather than the perpetuation of ancient evils.

   Envy, the third of the psychological causes to which we attributed what is bad in the actual world, depends in most natures upon that kind of fundamental discontent which springs from a lack of free development, from thwarted instinct, and from the impossibility of realizing an imagined happiness. Envy cannot be cured by preaching; preaching, at the best, will only alter its manifestations and lead it to adopt more subtle forms of concealment. Except in those rare natures in which generosity dominates in spite of circumstances, the only cure for envy is freedom and the joy of life. From populations largely deprived of the simple instinctive pleasures of leisure and love, sunshine and green fields, generosity of outlook and kindliness of dispositions are hardly to be expected. In such populations these qualities are not likely to be found, even among the fortunate few, for these few are aware, however dimly, that they are profiting by an injustice, and that they can only continue to enjoy their good fortune by deliberately ignoring those with whom it is not shared. If generosity and kindliness are to be common, there must be more care than there is at present for the elementary wants of human nature, and more realization that the diffusion of happiness among all who are not the victims of some peculiar misfortune is both possible and imperative. A world full of happiness would not wish to plunge into war, and would not be filled with that grudging hostility which our cramped and narrow existence forces upon average human nature. A world full of happiness is not beyond human power to create; the obstacles imposed by inanimate nature are not insuperable. The real obstacles lie in the heart of man, and the cure for these is a firm hope, informed and fortified by thought.

Footnotes:

[1] Walter Scott Publishing Company, 1906, p. 262.

[2] This was written in March, 1918, almost the darkest moment of the war.

CHAPTER VII

SCIENCE AND ART UNDER SOCIALISM

   Socialism has been advocated by most of its champions chiefly as a means of increasing the welfare of the wage earning classes, and more particularly their material welfare. It has seemed accordingly, to some men whose aims are not material, as if it has nothing to offer toward the general advancement of civilization in the way of art and thought. Some of its advocates, moreover -- and among these Marx must be included -- have written, no doubt not deliberately, as if with the Socialist revolution the millennium would have arrived, and there would be no need of further progress for the human race. I do not know whether our age is more restless than that which preceded it, or whether it has merely become more impregnated with the idea of evolution, but, for whatever reason, we have grown incapable of believing in a state of static perfection, and we demand, of any social system, which is to have our approval, that it shall contain within itself a stimulus and opportunity for progress toward something still better. The doubts thus raised by Socialist writers make it necessary to inquire whether Socialism would in fact be hostile to art and science, and whether it would be likely to produce a stereotyped society in which progress would become difficult and slow.

   It is not enough that men and women should be made comfortable in a material sense. Many members of the well-to-do classes at present, in spite of opportunity, contribute nothing of value to the life of the world, and do not even succeed in securing for themselves any personal happiness worthy to be so called. The multiplication of such individuals would be an achievement of the very minutest value; and if Socialism were merely to bestow upon all the kind of life and outlook which is now enjoyed by the more apathetic among the well-to-do, it would offer little that could inspire enthusiasm in any generous spirit.

   "The true rôle of collective existence," says M. Naquet,1 " . . . is to learn, to discover, to know. Eating, drinking, sleeping, living, in a word, is a mere accessory. In this respect, we are not distinguished from the brute. Knowledge is the goal. If I were condemned to choose between a humanity materially happy, glutted after the manner of a flock of sheep in a field, and a humanity existing in misery, but from which emanated, here and there, some eternal truth, it is on the latter that my choice would fall."

   This statement puts the alternative in a very extreme form in which it is somewhat unreal. It may be said in reply that for those who have had the leisure and the opportunity to enjoy "eternal truths" it is easy to exalt their importance at the expense of sufferings which fall on others. This is true; but, if it is taken as disposing of the question, it leaves out of account the importance of thought for progress. Viewing the life of mankind as a whole, in the future as well as in the present, there can be no question that a society in which some men pursue knowledge while others endure great poverty offers more hope of ultimate good than a society in which all are sunk in slothful comfort. It is true that poverty is a great evil, but it is not true that material prosperity is in itself a great good. If it is to have any real value to society, it must be made a means to the advancement of those higher goods that belong to the life of the mind. But the life of the mind does not consist of thought and knowledge alone, nor can it be completely healthy unless it has some instinctive contact, however deeply buried, with the general life of the community. Divorced from the social instinct, thought, like art, tends to become finicky and precious. It is the position of such art and thought as is imbued with the instinctive sense of service to mankind that we wish to consider, for it is this alone that makes up the life of the mind in the sense in which it is a vital part of the life of the community. Will the life of the mind in this sense be helped or hindered by Socialism? And will there still be a sufficient spur to progress to prevent a condition of Byzantine immobility?

   In considering this question we are, in a certain sense, passing outside the atmosphere of democracy. The general good of the community is realized only in individuals, but it is realized much more fully in some individuals than in others. Some men have a comprehensive and penetrating intellect, enabling them to appreciate and remember what has been thought and known by their predecessors, and to discover new regions in which they enjoy all the high delights of the mental explorer. Others have the power of creating beauty, giving bodily form to impalpable visions out of which joy comes to many. Such men are more fortunate than the mass, and also more important for the collective life. A larger share of the general sum of good is concentrated in them than in the ordinary man and woman; but also their contribution to the general good is greater. They stand out among men and cannot be wholly fitted into the framework of democratic equality. A social system which would render them unproductive would stand condemned, whatever other merits it might have.

   The first thing to realize -- though it is difficult in a commercial age -- is that what is best in creative mental activity cannot be produced by any system of monetary rewards. Opportunity and the stimulus of an invigorating spiritual atmosphere are important, but, if they are presented, no financial inducements will be required, while if they are absent, material compensations will be of no avail. Recognition, even if it takes the form of money, can bring a certain pleasure in old age to the man of science who has battled all his life against academic prejudice, or to the artist who has endured years of ridicule for not painting in the manner of his predecessors; but it is not by the remote hope of such pleasures that their work has been inspired. All the most important work springs from an uncalculating impulse, and is best promoted, not by rewards after the event, but by circumstances which keep the impulse alive and afford scope for the activities which it inspires. In the creation of such circumstances our present system is much at fault. Will Socialism be better?

   I do not think this question can be answered without specifying the kind of Socialism that is intended: some forms of Socialism would, I believe, be even more destructive in this respect than the present capitalist régime, while others would be immeasurably better. Three things which a social system can provide or withhold are helpful to mental creation: first, technical training; second, liberty to follow the creative impulse; third, at least the possibility of ultimate appreciation by some public, whether large or small. We may leave out of our discussion both individual genius and those intangible conditions which make some ages great and others sterile in art and science -- not because these are unimportant, but because they are too little understood to be taken account of in economic or political organization. The three conditions we have mentioned seem to cover most of what can be seen to be useful or harmful from our present point of view, and it is therefore to them that we shall confine ourselves.

   1. Technical Training. -- Technical training at present, whether in science or art, requires one or other of two conditions. Either a boy must be the son of well-to-do parents who can afford to keep him while he acquires his education, or he must show so much ability at an early age as to enable him to subsist on scholarships until he is ready to earn his living. The former condition is, of course, a mere matter of luck, and could not be preserved in its present form under any kind of Socialism or Communism. This loss is emphasized by defenders of the present system, and no doubt it would be, to same extent, a real loss. But the well-to-do are a small proportion of the population, and presumably on the average no more talented by nature than their less fortunate contemporaries. If the advantages which are enjoyed now by those few among them who are capable of good work in science or art could be extended, even in a slightly attenuated form, to all who are similarly gifted, the result would almost infallibly be a gain, and much ability which is now wasted would be rendered fruitful. But how is this to be effected?

   The system of scholarships obtained by competition, though better than nothing, is objectionable from many points of view. It introduces the competitive spirit into the work of the very young; it makes them regard knowledge from the standpoint of what is useful in examinations rather than in the light of its intrinsic interest or importance; it places a premium upon that sort of ability which is displayed precociously in glib answers to set questions rather than upon the kind that broods on difficulties and remains for a time rather dumb. What is perhaps worse than any of these defects is the tendency to cause overwork in youth, leading to lack of vigor and interest when manhood has been reached. It can hardly be doubted that by this cause, at present, many fine minds have their edge blunted and their keenness destroyed.

   State Socialism might easily universalize the system of scholarships obtained by competitive examination, and if it did so it is to he feared that it would be very harmful. State Socialists at present tend to be enamored of the systems which is exactly of the kind that every bureaucrat loves: orderly, neat, giving a stimulus to industrious habits, and involving no waste of a sort that could be tabulated in statistics or accounts of public expenditure. Such men will argue that free higher education is expensive to the community, and only useful in the case of those who have exceptional abilities; it ought, therefore, they will say, not to be given to all, but only to those who will become more useful members of society through receiving it. Such arguments make a great appeal to what are called "practical" men, and the answers to them are of a sort which it is difficult to render widely convincing. Revolt against the evils of competition is, however, part of the very essence of the Socialist's protest against the existing order, and on this ground, if on no other, those who favor Socialism may be summoned to look for some better solution.

   Much the simplest solution, and the only really effective one, is to make every kind of education free up to the age of twenty-one for all boys and girls who desire it. The majority will be tired of education before that age, and will prefer to begin other work sooner; this will lead to a natural selection of those with strong interests in some pursuit requiring a long training. Among those selected in this way by their own inclinations, probably almost all tho have marked abilities of the kind in question will be included. It is true that there will also be many who have very little ability; the desire to become a painter, for example, is by no means confined to those who can paint. But this degree of waste could well be borne by the community; it would be immeasurably less than that now entailed by the support of the idle rich. Any system which aims at avoiding this kind of waste must entail the far more serious waste of rejecting or spoiling some of the best ability in each generation. The system of free education up to any grade for all who desire it is the only system which is consistent with the principles of liberty, and the only one which gives a reasonable hope of affording full scope for talent. This system is equally compatible with all forms of Socialism and Anarchism. Theoretically, it is compatible with capitalism, but practically it is so opposite in spirit that it would hardly be feasible without a complete economic reconstruction. The fact that Socialism would facilitate it must be reckoned a very powerful argument in favor of change, for the waste of talent at present in the poorer classes of society must be stupendous.

   2. Liberty to follow the creative impulse. -- When a man's training has been completed, if he is possessed of really great abilities, he will do his best work if he is completely free to follow his bent, creating what seems good to him, regardless of the judgment of "experts." At present this is only possible for two classes of people: those who have private means, and those who can earn a living by an occupation that does not absorb their whole energies. Under Socialism, there will be no one with private means, and if there is to be no loss as regards art and science, the opportunity which now comes by accident to a few will have to be provided deliberately for a much larger number. The men who have used private means as an opportunity for creative work have been few but important: one might mention Milton, Shelley, Keats and Darwin as examples. Probably none of these would have produced as good work if they had had to earn their livelihood. If Darwin had been a university teacher, he would of course have been dismissed from his post by the influence of the clerics on account of his scandalous theories.

   Nevertheless, the bulk of the creative work of the world is done at present by men who subsist by some other occupation. Science, and research generally, are usually done in their spare time by men who live by teaching. There is no great objection to this in the case of science, provided the number of hours devoted to teaching is not excessive. It is partly because science and teaching are so easily combined that science is vigorous in the present age. In music, a composer who is also a performer enjoys similar advantages, but one who is not a performer must starve, unless he is rich or willing to pander to the public taste. In the fine arts, as a rule, it is not easy in the modern world either to make a living by really good work or to find a subsidiary profession which leaves enough leisure for creation. This is presumably one reason, though by no means the only one, why art is less flourishing than science.

   The bureaucratic State Socialist will have a simple solution for these difficulties. He will appoint a body consisting of the most eminent celebrities in an art or a science, whose business it shall be to judge the work of young men, and to issue licenses to those whose productions find favor in their eyes. A licensed artist shall be considered to have performed his duty to the community by producing works of art. But of course he will have to prove his industry by never failing to produce in reasonable quantities, and his continued ability by never failing to please his eminent judges -- until, in the fulness of time, he becomes a judge himself. In this way, the authorities will insure that the artist shall be competent, regular, and obedient to the best traditions of his art. Those who fail to fulfil these conditions will be compelled by the withdrawal of their license to seek some less dubious mode of earning their living. Such will be the ideal of the State Socialist.

   In such a world all that makes life tolerable to the lover of beauty would perish. Art springs from a wild and anarchic side of human nature; between the artist and the bureaucrat there must always be a profound mutual antagonism, an age-long battle in which the artist, always outwardly worsted, wins in the end through the gratitude of mankind for the joy that he puts into their lives. If the wild side of human nature is to be permanently subjected to the orderly rules of the benevolent, uncomprehending bureaucrat, the joy of life will perish out of the earth, and the very impulse to live will gradually wither and die. Better a thousandfold the present world with all its horrors than such a dead mummy of a world. Better Anarchism, with all its risks, than a State Socialism that subjects to rule what must be spontaneous and free if it is to have any value. It is this nightmare that makes artists, and lovers of beauty generally, so often suspicious of Socialism. But there is nothing in the essence of Socialism to make art impossible: only certain forms of Socialism would entail this danger. William Morris was a Socialist, and was a Socialist very largely because he was an artist. And in this he was not irrational.

   It is impossible for art, or any of the higher creative activities, to flourish under any system which requires that the artist shall prove his competence to some body of authorities before he is allowed to follow his impulse. Any really great artist is almost sure to be thought incompetent by those among his seniors who would be generally regarded as best qualified to form an opinion. And the mere fact of having to produce work which will please older men is hostile to a free spirit and to bold innovation. Apart from this difficulty, selection by older men would lead to jealousy and intrigue and back-biting, producing a poisonous atmosphere of underground competition. The only effect of such a plan would be to eliminate the few who now slip through owing to some fortunate accident. It is not by any system, but by freedom alone, that art can flourish.

   There are two ways by which the artist could secure freedom under Socialism of the right kind. He might undertake regular work outside his art, doing only a few hours' work a day and receiving proportionately less pay than those who do a full day's work. He ought, in that case, to be at liberty to sell his pictures if he could find purchasers. Such a system would have many advantages. It would leave absolutely every man free to become an artist, provided he were willing to suffer a certain economic loss. This would not deter those in whom the impulse was strong and genuine, but would tend to exclude the dilettante. Many young artists at present endure voluntarily much greater poverty than need be entailed by only doing half the usual day's work in a well-organized Socialist community; and some degree of hardship is not objectionable, as a test of the strength of the creative impulse, and as an offset to the peculiar joys of the creative life.

   The other possibility2 would be that the necessaries of life should be free, as Anarchists desire, to all equally, regardless of whether they work or not. Under this plan, every man could live without work: there would be what might be called a "vagabond's wage," sufficient for existence but not for luxury. The artist who preferred to have his whole time for art and enjoyment might live on the "vagabond's wage" -- traveling on foot when the humor seized him to see foreign countries, enjoying the air and the sun, as free as the birds, and perhaps scarcely less happy. Such men would bring color and diversity into the life of the community; their outlook would be different from that of steady, stay-at-home workers, and would keep alive a much-needed element of light-heartedness which our sober, serious civilization tends to kill. If they became very numerous, they might be too great an economic burden on the workers; but I doubt if there are many with enough capacity for simple enjoyments to choose poverty and freedom in preference to the comparatively light and pleasant work which will be usual in those days.

   By either of these methods, freedom can be preserved for the artist in a socialistic commonwealth -- far more complete freedom, and far more widespread, than any that now exists except for the possessors of capital.

   But there still remain some not altogether easy problems. Take, for example, the publishing of books. There will not, under Socialism, be private publishers as at present: under State Socialism, presumably the State will be the sole publisher, while under Syndicalism or Guild Socialism the Fédération du Livre will have the whole of the trade in its hands. Under these circumstances, who is to decide what MSS. are to be printed? It is clear that opportunities exist for an Index more rigorous than that of the Inquisition. If the State were the sole publisher, it would doubtless refuse books opposed to State Socialism. If the Fédération du Livre were the ultimate arbiter, what publicity could be obtained for works criticising it? And apart from such political difficulties we should have, as regards literature, that very censorship by eminent officials which we agreed to regard as disastrous when we were considering the fine arts in general. The difficulty is serious, and a way of meeting it must be found if literature is to remain free.   Kropotkin, who believes that manual and intellectual work should be combined, holds that authors themselves should be compositors, bookbinders, etc. He even seems to suggest that the whole of the manual work involved in producing books should be done by authors. It may be doubted whether there are enough authors in the world for this to be possible, and in any case I cannot but think that it would be a waste of time for them to leave the work they understand in order to do badly work which others could do far better and more quickly. That, however, does not touch our present point, which is the question how the MSS. to be printed will be selected. In Kropotkin's plan there will presumably be an Author's Guild, with a Committee of Management, if Anarchism allows such things. This Committee of Management will decide which of the books submitted to it are worthy to be printed. Among these will be included those by the Committee and their friends, but not those by their enemies. Authors of rejected MSS. will hardly have the patience to spend their time setting up the works of successful rivals, and there will have to be an elaborate system of log-rolling if any books are to be printed at all. It hardly looks as if this plan would conduce to harmony among literary men, or would lead to the publication of any book of an unconventional tendency. Kropotkin's own books, for example, would hardly have found favor.

   The only way of meeting these difficulties, whether under State Socialism or Guild Socialism or Anarchism, seems to be by making it possible for an author to pay for the publication of his book if it is not such as the State or the Guild is willing to print at its own expense. I am aware that this method is contrary to the spirit of Socialism, but I do not see what other way there is of securing freedom. The payment might be made by undertaking to engage for an assigned period in some work of recognized utility and to hand over such proportion of the earnings as might be necessary. The work undertaken might of course be, as Kropotkin suggests, the manual part of the production of books, but I see no special reason why it should be. It would have to be an absolute rule that no book should be refused, no matter what the nature of its contents might be, if payment for publication were offered at the standard rate. An author who had admirers would be able to secure their help in payment. An unknown author might, it is true, have to suffer a considerable loss of comfort in order to make his payment, but that would give an automatic means of eliminating those whose writing was not the result of any very profound impulse and would be by no means wholly an evil.

   Probably some similar method would be desirable as regards the publishing and performing of new music.

   What we have been suggesting will, no doubt, be objected to by orthodox Socialists, since they will find something repugnant to their principles in the whole idea of a private person paying to have certain work done. But it is a mistake to be the slave of a system, and every system, if it is applied rigidly, will entail evils which could only be avoided by some concession to the exigencies of special cases. On the whole, a wise form of Socialism might afford infinitely better opportunities for the artist and the man of science than are possible in a capitalist community, but only if the form of Socialism adopted is one which is fitted for this end by means of provisions such as we have been suggesting.

   3. Possibility of Appreciation. -- This condition is one which is not necessary to all who do creative work, but in the sense in which I mean it the great majority find it very nearly indispensable. I do not mean widespread public recognition, nor that ignorant, half-sincere respect which is commonly accorded to artists who have achieved success. Neither of these serves much purpose. What I mean is rather understanding, and a spontaneous feeling that things of beauty are important. In a thoroughly commercialized society, an artist is respected if he makes money, and because he makes money, but there is no genuine respect for the works of art by which his money has been made. A millionaire whose fortune has been made in button-hooks or chewing-gum is regarded with awe, but none of this feeling is bestowed on the articles from which his wealth is derived. In a society which measures all things by money the same tends to be true of the artist. If he has become rich he is respected, though of course less than the millionaire, but his pictures or books or music are regarded as the chewing-gum or the button-hooks are regarded, merely as a means to money. In such an atmosphere it is very difficult for the artist to preserve his creative impulse pure: either he is contaminated by his surroundings, or he becomes embittered through lack of appreciation for the object of his endeavor.

   It is not appreciation of the artist that is necessary so much as appreciation of the art. It is difficult for an artist to live in an environment in which everything is judged by its utility, rather than by its intrinsic quality. The whole side of life of which art is the flower requires something which may be called disinterestedness, a capacity for direct enjoyment without thought of tomorrow's problems and difficulties. When people are amused by a joke they do not need to be persuaded that it will serve some important purpose. The same kind of direct pleasure is involved in any genuine appreciation of art. The struggle for life, the serious work of a trade or profession, is apt to make people too solemn for jokes and too pre-occupied for art. The easing of the struggle, the diminution in the hours of work, and the lightening of the burden of existence, which would result from a better economic system, could hardly fail to increase the joy of life and the vital energy, available for sheer delight in the world. And if this were achieved there would inevitably be more spontaneous pleasure in beautiful things, and more enjoyment of the work of artists. But none of these good results are to be expected from the mere removal of poverty: they all require also a diffused sense of freedom, and the absence of that feeling of oppression by a vast machine which now weighs down the individual spirit. I do not think State Socialism can give this sense of freedom, but some other forms of Socialism, which have absorbed what is true in Anarchist teaching, can give it to a degree of which capitalism is wholly incapable.

   A general sense of progress and achievement is an immense stimulus to all forms of creative work. For this reason, a great deal will depend, not only in material ways, upon the question whether methods of production in industry and agriculture become stereotyped or continue to change rapidly as they have done during the last hundred years. Improved methods of production will be much more obviously than now to the interest of the community at large, when what every man receives is his due share of the total produce of labor. But there will probably not be any individuals with the same direct and intense interest in technical improvements as now belongs to the capitalist in manufacture. If the natural conservatism of the workers is not to prove stronger than their interest in increasing production, it will be necessary that, when better methods are introduced by the workers in any industry, part at least of the benefit should be allowed for a time to be retained by them. If this is done, it may be presumed that each Guild will be continually seeking for new processes or inventions, and will value those technical parts of scientific research which are useful for this purpose. With every improvement, the question will arise whether it is to be used to give more leisure or to increase the dividend of commodities. Where there is so much more leisure than there is now, there will be many more people with a knowledge of science or an understanding of art. The artist or scientific investigator will be far less cut off than he is at present from the average citizen, and this will almost inevitably be a stimulus to his creative energy.

   I think we may fairly conclude that, from the point of view of all three requisites for art and science, namely, training, freedom and appreciation, State Socialism would largely fail to remove existing evils and would introduce new evils of its own; but Guild Socialism, or even Syndicalism, if it adopted a liberal policy toward those who preferred to work less than the usual number of hours at recognized occupations, might be immeasurably preferable to anything that is possible under the rule of capitalism. There are dangers, but they will all vanish if the importance of liberty is adequately acknowledged. In this as in nearly everything else, the road to all that is best is the road of freedom.

Footnotes:

[1] "L'Anarchie et le Collectivisme," p. 114.

[2] Which we discussed in Chapter IV.

CHAPTER VIII

THE WORLD AS IT COULD BE MADE

   In the daily lives of most men and women, fear plays a greater part than hope: they are more filled with the thought of the possessions that others may take from them, than of the joy that they might create in their own lives and in the lives with which they come in contact.

   It is not so that life should be lived.

   Those whose lives are fruitful to themselves, to their friends, or to the world are inspired by hope and sustained by joy: they see in imagination the things that might be and the way in which they are to be brought into existence. In their private relations they are not pre-occupied with anxiety lest they should lose such affection and respect as they receive: they are engaged in giving affection and respect freely, and the reward comes of itself without their seeking. In their work they are not haunted by jealousy of competitors, but concerned with the actual matter that has to be done. In politics, they do not spend time and passion defending unjust privileges of their class or nation, but they aim at making the world as a whole happier, less cruel, less full of conflict between rival greeds, and more full of human beings whose growth has not been dwarfed and stunted by oppression.

   A life lived in this spirit -- the spirit that aims at creating rather than possessing -- has a certain fundamental happiness, of which it cannot be wholly robbed by adverse circumstances. This is the way of life recommended in the Gospels, and by all the great teachers of the world. Those who have found it are freed from the tyranny of fear, since what they value most in their lives is not at the mercy of outside power. If all men could summon up the courage and the vision to live in this way in spite of obstacles and discouragement, there would be no need for the regeneration of the world to begin by political and economic reform: all that is needed in the way of reform would come automatically, without resistance, owing to the moral regeneration of individuals. But the teaching of Christ has been nominally accepted by the world for many centuries, and yet those who follow it are still persecuted as they were before the time of Constantine. Experience has proved that few are able to see through the apparent evils of an outcast's life to the inner joy that comes of faith and creative hope. If the domination of fear is to be overcome, it is not enough, as regards the mass of men, to preach courage and indifference to misfortune: it is necessary to remove the causes of fear, to make a good life no longer an unsuccessful one in a worldly sense, and to diminish the harm that can be inflicted upon those who are not wary in self-defense.

   When we consider the evils in the lives we know of, we find that they may be roughly divided into three classes. There are, first, those due to physical nature: among these are death, pain and the difficulty of making the soil yield a subsistence. These we will call "physical evils." Second, we may put those that spring from defects in the character or aptitudes of the sufferer: among these are ignorance, lack of will, and violent passions. These we will call "evils of character." Third come those that depend upon the power of one individual or group over another: these comprise not only obvious tyranny, but all interference with free development, whether by force or by excessive mental influence such as may occur in education. These we will call "evils of power." A social system may be judged by its bearing upon these three kinds of evils.

   The distinction between the three kinds cannot be sharply drawn. Purely physical evil is a limit, which we can never be sure of having reached: we cannot abolish death, but we can often postpone it by science, and it may ultimately become possible to secure that the great majority shall live till old age; we cannot wholly prevent pain, but we can diminish it indefinitely by securing a healthy life for all; we cannot make the earth yield its fruits in any abundance without labor, but we can diminish the amount of the labor and improve its conditions until it ceases to be an evil. Evils of character are often the result of physical evil in the shape of illness, and still more often the result of evils of power, since tyranny degrades both those who exercise it and (as a rule) those who suffer it. Evils of power are intensified by evils of character in those who have power, and by fear of the physical evil which is apt to be the lot of those who have no power. For all these reasons, the three sorts of evil are intertwined. Nevertheless, speaking broadly, we may distinguish among our misfortunes those which have their proximate cause in the material world, those which are mainly due to defects in ourselves, and those which spring from our being subject to the control of others.

   The main methods of combating these evils are: for physical evils, science; for evils of character, education (in the widest sense) and a free outlet for all impulses that do not involve domination; for evils of power, the reform of the political and economic organization of society in such a way as to reduce to the lowest possible point the interference of one man with the life of another. We will begin with the third of these kinds of evil, because it is evils of power specially that Socialism and Anarchism have sought to remedy. Their protest against Inequalities of wealth has rested mainly upon their sense of the evils arising from the power conferred by wealth. This point has been well stated by Mr. G. D. H. Cole: --

   What, I want to ask, is the fundamental evil in our modern Society which we should set out to abolish?

   There are two possible answers to that question, and I am sure that very many well-meaning people would make the wrong one. They would answer POVERTY, when they ought to answer SLAVERY. Face to face every day with the shameful contrasts of riches and destitution, high dividends and low wages, and painfully conscious of the futility of trying to adjust the balance by means of charity, private or public, they would answer unhesitatingly that they stand for the ABOLITION OF POVERTY.

   Well and good! On that issue every Socialist is with them. But their answer to my question is none the less wrong.

   Poverty is the symptom: slavery the disease. The extremes of riches and destitution follow inevitably upon the extremes of license and bondage. The many are not enslaved because they are poor, they are poor because they are enslaved. Yet Socialists have all too often fixed their eyes upon the material misery of the poor without realizing that it rests upon the spiritual degradation of the slave.1

   I do not think any reasonable person can doubt that the evils of power in the present system are vastly greater than is necessary, nor that they might be immeasurably diminished by a suitable form of Socialism. A few fortunate people, it is true, are now enabled to live freely on rent or interest, and they could hardly have more liberty under another system. But the great bulk, not only of the very poor, but, of all sections of wage-earners and even of the professional classes, are the slaves of the need for getting money. Almost all are compelled to work so hard that they have little leisure for enjoyment or for pursuits outside their regular occupation. Those who are able to retire in later middle age are bored, because they have not learned how to fill their time when they are at liberty, and such interests as they once had apart from work have dried up. Yet these are the exceptionally fortunate: the majority have to work hard till old age, with the fear of destitution always before them, the richer ones dreading that they will be unable to give their children the education or the medical care that they consider desirable, the poorer ones often not far removed from starvation. And almost all who work have no voice in the direction of their work; throughout the hours of labor they are mere machines carrying out the will of a master. Work is usually done under disagreeable conditions, involving pain and physical hardship. The only motive to work is wages: the very idea that work might be a joy, like the work of the artist, is usually scouted as utterly Utopian.

   But by far the greater part of these evils are wholly unnecessary. If the civilized portion of mankind could be induced to desire their own happiness more than another's pain, if they could be induced to work constructively for improvements which they would share with all the world rather than destructively to prevent other classes or nations from stealing a march on them, the whole system by which the world's work is done might be reformed root and branch within a generation.

   From the point of view of liberty, what system would be the best? In what direction should we wish the forces of progress to move?

   From this point of view, neglecting for the moment all other considerations, I have no doubt that the best system would be one not far removed from that advocated by Kropotkin, but rendered more practicable by the adoption of the main principles of Guild Socialism. Since every point can be disputed, I will set down without argument the kind of organization of work that would seem best.

   Education should be compulsory up to the age of 16, or perhaps longer; after that, it should be continued or not at the option of the pupil, but remain free (for those who desire it) up to at least the age of 21. When education is finished no one should be compelled to work, and those who choose not to work should receive a bare livelihood, and be left completely free; but probably it would be desirable that there should be a strong public opinion in favor of work, so that only comparatively few should choose idleness. One great advantage of making idleness economically possible is that it would afford a powerful motive for making work not disagreeable; and no community where most work is disagreeable can be said to have found a solution of economic problems. I think it is reasonable to assume that few would choose idleness, in view of the fact that even now at least nine out of ten of those who have (say) £100 a year from investments prefer to increase their income by paid work.

   Coming now to that great majority who will not choose idleness, I think we may assume that, with the help of science, and by the elimination of the vast amount of unproductive work involved in internal and international competition, the whole community could be kept in comfort by means of four hours' work a day. It is already being urged by experienced employers that their employes can actually produce as much in a six-hour day as they can when they work eight hours. In a world where there is a much higher level of technical instruction than there is now the same tendency will be accentuated. People will be taught not only, as at present, one trade, or one small portion of a trade, but several trades, so that they can vary their occupation according to the seasons and the fluctuations of demand. Every industry will be self-governing as regards all its internal affairs, and even separate factories will decide for themselves all questions that only concern those who work in them. There will not be capitalist management, as at present, but management by elected representatives, as in politics. Relations between different groups of producers will be settled by the Guild Congress, matters concerning the community as the inhabitants of a certain area will continue to be decided by Parliament, while all disputes between Parliament and the Guild Congress will be decided by a body composed of representatives of both in equal numbers.

   Payment will not be made, as at present, only for work actually required and performed, but for willingness to work. This system is already adopted in much of the better paid work: a man occupies a certain position, and retains it even at times when there happens to be very little to do. The dread of unemployment and loss of livelihood will no longer haunt men like a nightmare. Whether all who are willing to work will be paid equally, or whether exceptional skill will still command exceptional pay, is a matter which may be left to each guild to decide for itself. An opera-singer who received no more pay than a scene-shifter might choose to be a scene-shifter until the system was changed: if so, higher pay would probably be found necessary. But if it were freely voted by the Guild, it could hardly constitute a grievance.

   Whatever might be done toward making work agreeable, it is to be presumed that some trades would always remain unpleasant. Men could be attracted into these by higher pay or shorter hours, instead of being driven into them by destitution. The community would then have a strong economic motive for finding ways of diminishing the disagreeableness of these exceptional trades.

   There would still have to be money, or something analogous to it, in any community such as we are imagining. The Anarchist plan of a free distribution of the total produce of work in equal shares does not get rid of the need for some standard of exchange value, since one man will choose to take his share in one form and another in another. When the day comes for distributing luxuries, old ladies will not want their quota of cigars, nor young men their just proportion of lap-dog; this will make it necessary to know how many cigars are the equivalent of one lap-dog. Much the simplest way is to pay an income, as at present, and allow relative values to be adjusted according to demand. But if actual coin were paid, a man might hoard it and in time become a capitalist. To prevent this, it would be best to pay notes available only during a certain period, say one year from the date of issue. This would enable a man to save up for his annual holiday, but not to save indefinitely.

   There is a very great deal to be said for the Anarchist plan of allowing necessaries, and all commodities that can easily be produced in quantities adequate to any possible demand, to be given away freely to all who ask for them, in any amounts they may require. The question whether this plan should be adopted is, to my mind, a purely technical one: would it be, in fact, possible to adopt it without much waste and consequent diversion of labor to the production of necessaries when it might be more usefully employed otherwise? I have not the means of answering this question, but I think it exceedingly probable that, sooner or later, with the continued improvement in the methods of production, this Anarchist plan will become feasible; and when it does, it certainly ought to be adopted.

   Women in domestic work, whether married or unmarried, will receive pay as they would if they were in industry. This will secure the complete economic independence of wives, which is difficult to achieve in any other way, since mothers of young children ought not to be expected to work outside the home.

   The expense of children will not fall, as at present, on the parents. They will receive, like adults, their share of necessaries, and their education will be free.2 There is no longer to be the present competition for scholarships among the abler children: they will not be imbued with the competitive spirit from infancy, or forced to use their brains to an unnatural degree with consequent listlessness and lack of health in later life. Education will be far more diversified than at present; greater care will be taken to adapt it to the needs of different types of young people. There will be more attempt to encourage initiative young pupils, and less desire to fill their minds with a set of beliefs and mental habits regarded as desirable by the State, chiefly because they help to preserve the status quo. For the great majority of children it will probably be found desirable to have much more outdoor education in the country. And for older boys and girls whose interests are not intellectual or artistic, technical education, undertaken in a liberal spirit, is far more useful in promoting mental activity than book-learning which they regard (however falsely) as wholly useless except for purposes of examination. The really useful education is that which follows the direction of the child's own instinctive interests, supplying knowledge for which it is seeking, not dry, detailed information wholly out of relation to its spontaneous desires.

   Government and law will still exist in our community, but both will be reduced to a minimum. There will still be acts which will be forbidden -- for example, murder. But very nearly the whole of that part of the criminal law which deals with property will have become obsolete, and many of the motives which now produce murders will be no longer operative. Those who nevertheless still do commit crimes will not be blamed or regarded as wicked; they will be regarded as unfortunate, and kept in some kind of mental hospital until it is thought that they are no longer a danger. By education and freedom and the abolition of private capital the number of crimes can be made exceedingly small. By the method of individual curative treatment it will generally be possible to secure that a man's first offense shall also be his last, except in the case of lunatics and the feeble-minded, for whom of course a more prolonged but not less kindly detention may be necessary.

   Government may be regarded as consisting of two parts: the one, the decisions of the community or its recognized organs; the other, the enforcing of those decisions upon all who resist them. The first part is not objected to by Anarchists. The second part, in an ordinary civilized State, may remain entirely in the background: those who have resisted a new law while it was being debated will, as a rule, submit to it when it is passed, because resistance is generally useless in a settled and orderly community. But the possibility of governmental force remains, and indeed is the very reason for the submission which makes force unnecessary. If, as Anarchists desire, there were no use of force by government, the majority could still band themselves together and use force against the minority. The only difference would be that their army or their police force would be ad hoc, instead of being permanent and professional. The result of this would be that everyone would have to learn how to fight, for fear a well-drilled minority should seize power and establish an old-fashioned oligarchic State. Thus the aim of the Anarchists seems hardly likely to be achieved by the methods which they advocate.

   The reign of violence in human affairs, whether within a country or in its external relations, can only be prevented, if we have not been mistaken, by an authority able to declare all use of force except by itself illegal, and strong enough to be obviously capable of making all other use of force futile, except when it could secure the support of public opinion as a defense of freedom or a resistance to injustice. Such an authority exists within a country: it is the State. But in international affairs it remains to be created. The difficulties are stupendous, but they must be overcome if the world is to be saved from periodical wars, each more destructive than any of its predecessors. Whether, after this war, a League of Nations will be formed, and will be capable of performing this task, it is as yet impossible to foretell. However that may be, some method of preventing wars will have to be established before our Utopia becomes possible. When once men believe that the world is safe from war, the whole difficulty will be solved: there will then no longer be any serious resistance to the disbanding of national armies and navies, and the substitution for them of a small international force for protection against uncivilized races. And when that stage has been reached, peace will be virtually secure.

   The practice of government by majorities, which Anarchists criticise, is in fact open to most of the objections which they urge against it. Still more objectionable is the power of the executive in matters vitally affecting the happiness of all, such as peace and war. But neither can be dispensed with suddenly. There are, however, two methods of diminishing the harm done by them: (1) Government by majorities can be made less oppressive by devolution, by placing the decision of questions primarily affecting only a section of the community in the hands of that section, rather than of a Central Chamber. In this way, men are no longer forced to submit to decisions made in a hurry by people mostly ignorant of the matter in hand and not personally interested. Autonomy for internal affairs should be given, not only to areas, but to all groups, such as industries or Churches, which have important common interests not shared by the rest of the community. (2) The great powers vested in the executive of a modern State are chiefly due to the frequent need of rapid decisions, especially as regards foreign affairs. If the danger of war were practically eliminated, more cumbrous but less autocratic methods would be possible, and the Legislature might recover many of the powers which the executive has usurped. By these two methods, the intensity of the interference with liberty involved in government can be gradually diminished. Some interference, and even some danger of unwarranted and despotic interference, is of the essence of government, and must remain so long as government remains. But until men are less prone to violence than they are now, a certain degree of governmental force seems the lesser of two evils. We may hope, however, that if once the danger of war is at an end, men's violent impulses will gradually grow less, the more so as, in that case, it will be possible to diminish enormously the individual power which now makes rulers autocratic and ready for almost any act of tyranny in order to crush opposition. The development of a world where even governmental force has become unnecessary (except against lunatics) must be gradual. But as a gradual process it is perfectly possible; and when it has been completed we may hope to see the principles of Anarchism embodied in the management of communal affairs.

   How will the economic and political system that we have outlined bear on the evils of character? I believe the effect will be quite extraordinarily beneficent.

   The process of leading men's thought and imagination away from the use of force will be greatly accelerated by the abolition of the capitalist system, provided it is not succeeded by a form of State Socialism in which officials have enormous power. At present, the capitalist has more control over the lives of others than any man ought to have; his friends have authority in the State; his economic power is the pattern for political power. In a world where all men and women enjoy economic freedom, there will not be the same habit of command, nor, consequently, the same love of despotism; a gentler type of character than that now prevalent will gradually grow up. Men are formed by their circumstances, not born ready-made. The bad effect of the present economic system on character, and the immensely better effect to be expected from communal ownership, are among the strongest reasons for advocating the change.

   In the world as we have been imagining fit, economic fear and most economic hope will be alike removed out of life. No one will be haunted by the dread of poverty or driven into ruthlessness by the hope of wealth. There will not be the distinction of social classes which now plays such an immense part in life. The unsuccessful professional man will not live in terror lest his children should sink in the scale; the aspiring employe will not be looking forward to the day when he can become a sweater in his turn. Ambitious young men will have to dream other daydreams than that of business success and wealth wrung out of the ruin of competitors and the degradation of labor. In such a world, most of the nightmares that lurk in the background of men's minds will no longer exist; on the other hand, ambition and the desire to excel will have to take nobler forms than those that are encouraged by a commercial society. All those activities that really confer benefits upon mankind will be open, not only to the fortunate few, but to all who have sufficient ambition and native aptitude. Science, labor-saving inventions, technical progress of all kinds, may be confidently expected to flourish far more than at present, since they will be the road to honor, and honor will have to replace money among those of the young who desire to achieve success. Whether art will flourish in a Socialistic community depends upon the form of Socialism adopted; if the State, or any public authority, (no matter what), insists upon controlling art, and only licensing those whom it regards as proficient, the result will be disaster. But if there is real freedom, allowing every man who so desires to take up an artist's career at the cost of some sacrifice of comfort, it is likely that the atmosphere of hope, and the absence of economic compulsion, will lead to a much smaller waste of talent than is involved in our present system, and to a much less degree of crushing of impulse in the mills of the struggle for life.

   When elementary needs have been satisfied, the serious happiness of most men depends upon two things: their work, and their human relations. In the world that we have been picturing, work will be free, not excessive, full of the interest that belongs to a collective enterprise in which there is rapid progress, with something of the delight of creation even for the humblest unit. And in human relations the gain will be just as great as in work. The only human relations that have value are those that are rooted in mutual freedom, where there is no domination and no slavery, no tie except affection, no economic or conventional necessity to preserve the external show when the inner life is dead. One of the most horrible things about commercialism is the way in which it poisons the relations of men and women. The evils of prostitution are generally recognized, but, great as they are, the effect of economic conditions on marriage seems to me even worse. There is not infrequently, in marriage, a suggestion of purchase, of acquiring a woman on condition of keeping her in a certain standard of material comfort. Often and often, a marriage hardly differs from prostitution except by being harder to escape from. The whole basis of these evils is economic. Economic causes make marriage a matter of bargain and contract, in which affection is quite secondary, and its absence constitutes no recognized reason for liberation. Marriage should be a free, spontaneous meeting of mutual instinct, filled with happiness not unmixed with a feeling akin to awe: it should involve that degree of respect of each for the other that makes even the most trifling interference with liberty an utter impossibility, and a common life enforced by one against the will of the other an unthinkable thing of deep horror. It is not so that marriage is conceived by lawyers who make settlements, or by priests who give the name of "sacrament" to an institution which pretends to find something sanctifiable in the brutal lusts or drunken cruelties of a legal husband. It is not in a spirit of freedom that marriage is conceived by most men and women at present: the law makes it an opportunity for indulgence of the desire to interfere, where each submits to some loss of his or her own liberty, for the pleasure of curtailing the liberty of the other. And the atmosphere of private property makes it more difficult than it otherwise would be for any better ideal to take root.

   It is not so that human relations will be conceived when the evil heritage of economic slavery has ceased to mold our instincts. Husbands and wives, parents and children, will be only held together by affection: where that has died, it will be recognized that nothing worth preserving is left. Because affection will be free, men and women will not find in private life an outlet and stimulus to the love of domineering, but all that is creative in their love will have the freer scope. Reverence for whatever makes the soul in those who are loved will be less rare than it is now: nowadays, many men love their wives in the way in which they love mutton, as something to devour and destroy. But in the love that goes with reverence there is a joy of quite another order than any to be found by mastery, a joy which satisfies the spirit and not only the instincts; and satisfaction of instinct and spirit at once is necessary to a happy life, or indeed to any existence that is to bring out the best impulses of which a man or woman is capable.

   In the world which we should wish to see, there will be more joy of life than in the drab tragedy of modern every-day existence. After early youth, as things are, most men are bowed down by forethought, no longer capable of light-hearted gaiety, but only of a kind of solemn jollification by the clock at the appropriate hours. The advice to "become as little children" would be good for many people in many respects, but it goes with another precept, "take no thought for the morrow," which is hard to obey in a competitive world. There is often in men of science, even when they are quite old, something of the simplicity of a child: their absorption in abstract thought has held them aloof from the world, and respect for their work has led the world to keep them alive in spite of their innocence. Such men have succeeded in living as all men ought to be able to live; but as things are, the economic struggle makes their way of life impossible for the great majority.

   What are we to say, lastly, of the effect of our projected world upon physical evil? Will there be less illness than there is at present? Will the produce of a given amount of labor be greater? Or will population press upon the limits of subsistence, as Malthus taught in order to refute Godwin's optimism?

   I think the answer to all these questions turns, in the end, upon the degree of intellectual vigor to be expected in a community which has done away with the spur of economic competition. Will men in such a world become lazy and apathetic? Will they cease to think? Will those who do think find themselves confronted with an even more impenetrable wall of unreflecting conservatism than that which confronts them at present? These are important questions; for it is ultimately to science that mankind must look for their success in combating physical evils.

   If the other conditions that we have postulated can be realized, it seems almost certain that there must be less illness than there is at present. Population will no longer be congested in slums; children will have far more of fresh air and open country; the hours of work will be only such as are wholesome, not excessive and exhausting as they are at present.

   As for the progress of science, that depends very largely upon the degree of intellectual liberty existing in the new society. If all science is organized and supervised by the State, it will rapidly become stereotyped and dead. Fundamental advances will not be made, because, until they have been made, they will seem too doubtful to warrant the expenditure of public money upon them. Authority will be in the hands of the old, especially of men who have achieved scientific eminence; such men will be hostile to those among the young who do not flatter them by agreeing with their theories. Under a bureaucratic State Socialism it is to be feared that science would soon cease to be progressive and acquired a medieval respect for authority.

   But under a freer system, which would enable all kinds of groups to employ as many men of science as they chose, and would allow the "vagabond's wage" to those who desired to pursue some study so new as to be wholly unrecognized, there is every reason to think that science would flourish as it has never done hitherto.3 And, if that were the case, I do not believe that any other obstacle would exist to the physical possibility of our system.

   The question of the number of hours of work necessary to produce general material comfort is partly technical, partly one of organization. We may assume that there would no longer be unproductive labor spent on armaments, national defense, advertisements, costly luxuries for the very rich, or any of the other futilities incidental to our competitive system. If each industrial guild secured for a term of years the advantages, or part of the advantages, of any new invention or methods which it introduced, it is pretty certain that every encouragement would be given to technical progress. The life of a discoverer or inventor is in itself agreeable: those who adopt it, as things are now, are seldom much actuated by economic motives, but rather by the interest of the work together with the hope of honor; and these motives would operate more widely than they do now, since fewer people would be prevented from obeying them by economic necessities. And there is no doubt that intellect would work more keenly and creatively in a world where instinct was less thwarted, where the joy of life was greater, and where consequently there would be more vitality in men than there is at present.

   There remains the population question, which, ever since the time of Malthus, has been the last refuge of those to whom the possibility of a better world is disagreeable. But this question is now a very different one from what it was a hundred years ago. The decline of the birth-rate in all civilized countries, which is pretty certain to continue, whatever economic system is adopted, suggests that, especially when the probable effects of the war are taken into account, the population of Western Europe is not likely to increase very much beyond its present level, and that of America is likely only to increase through immigration. Negroes may continue to increase in the tropics, but are not likely to be a serious menace to the white inhabitants of temperate regions. There remains, of course, the Yellow Peril; but by the time that begins to be serious it is quite likely that the birth-rate will also have begun to decline among the races of Asia If not, there are other means of dealing with this question; and in any case the whole matter is too conjectural to be set up seriously as a bar to our hopes. I conclude that, though no certain forecast is possible, there is not any valid reason for regarding the possible increase of population as a serious obstacle to Socialism.

   Our discussion has led us to the belief that the communal ownership of land and capital, which constitutes the characteristic doctrine of Socialism and Anarchist Communism, is a necessary step toward the removal of the evils from which the world suffers at present and the creation of such a society as any humane man must wish to see realized. But, though a necessary step, Socialism alone is by no means sufficient. There are various forms of Socialism: the form in which the State is the employer, and all who work receive wages from it, involves dangers of tyranny and interference with progress which would make it, if possible, even worse than the present régime. On the other hand, Anarchism, which avoids the dangers of State Socialism, has dangers and difficulties of its own, which make it probable that, within any reasonable period of time, it could not last long even if it were established. Nevertheless, it remains an ideal to which we should wish to approach as nearly as possible, and which, in some distant age, we hope may be reached completely. Syndicalism shares many of the defects of Anarchism, and, like it, would prove unstable, since the need of a central government would make itself felt almost at once.

   The system we have advocated is a form of Guild Socialism, leaning more, perhaps, towards Anarchism than the official Guildsman would wholly approve. It is in the matters that politicians usually ignore -- science and art, human relations, and the joy of life -- that Anarchism is strongest, and it is chiefly for the sake of these things that we included such more or less Anarchist proposals as the "vagabond's wage." It is by its effects outside economics and politics, at least as much as by effects inside them, that a social system should be judged. And if Socialism ever comes, it is only likely to prove beneficent if non-economic goods are valued and consciously pursued.

   The world that we must seek is a world in which the creative spirit is alive, in which life is an adventure full of joy and hope, based rather upon the impulse to construct than upon the desire to retain what we possess or to seize what is possessed by others. It must be a world in which affection has free play, in which love is purged of the instinct for domination, in which cruelty and envy have been dispelled by happiness and the unfettered development of all the instincts that build up life and fill it with mental delights. Such a world is possible; it waits only for men to wish to create it.

   Meantime, the world in which we exist has other aims. But it will pass away, burned up in the fire of its own hot passions; and from its ashes will spring a new and younger world, full of fresh hope, with the light of morning in its eyes.

Footnotes:

[1] "Self-Government in Industry," G. Bell & Sons, 1917, pp. 110-111.

[2] Some may fear that the result would be an undue increase of population, but such fears I believe to be groundless. See above, (Chapter IV, on "Work and Pay." Also, Chapter vi of "Principles of Social Reconstruction" (George Allen and Unwin, Ltd.).

[3] See the discussion of this question in the preceding chapter.

INDEX (page numbers from original)

   

Academy, Royal, 107

Africa, 149, 155

Agriculture, 90 ff.

Alexander II, 43

Allemane, 60

America, xi, 31, 74 ff., 125, 140, 210

American Federation of Labor, 76

Anarchism, passim --

defined, 33

and law, 33, 51, 111 ff., 198 ff.

and violence, 33, 52-4, 72, 121 ff.

and distribution, 93 ff.

and wages, 96 ff.

anti-German, 46

attitude to syndicalism, 72

congress in Amsterdam, 72

Ants, 152

Army, private, 120, 123

Art, 109, 111, 138, 166 ff., 203

and appreciation, 169, 181-5

and commercialism, 181

and freedom, 182

Artists, 103

under State Socialism, 174

Asia, 149, 158, 210

Australia, 151

Authors, Guild of, 179

Autonomy, 133, 136, 137, 160

   

Backwoods, 133

Bakunin, x, 36-49

biography, 37-47

writings, 47-49

and Marx, 38 ff., 59 n.

and Pan-Slavism, 41, 45

and Dresden insurrection, 41

imprisonments, 41

anti-German, 45

and production, 50

Bebel, 66

Benbow, William, 71 n.

Bergson, 68

Bernstein, 27-29, 56

Bevington, 53n.

Bismarck, 30

Books under Socialism, 178

Bornstedt, 39

Bourgeoisie, 11

Bourses du Travail, 54, 63

Boycott, 68

Briand, 72

Bright, 21

Brooks, John Graham, 75, 77n.

Brousse, Paul, 60

Bureaucracy, 128, 174

Button-hooks, 182

   

Cafiero, 48n.

Capital, 6, 10, 18-25

Capitalism, 2, 202

and war, 139 ff.

California, 151

Censor of plays, 107

Champion, 91

Charlton, Broughton, 19

Chewing-gum, 182

China, 137, 140

Christ, 187

Chuang Tzu, 33

Churches, 201

Civil Service, 128

Class war, xvi, 9 ff., 27, 29, 51, 65, 115, 149

Clemenceau, 71

Cobden, 21

Cole, G. D. H., 59n., 63, 64n., 73, 76, 81n., 134, 190

Communism, 10 ff.

anarchist, 1, 35 ff., 60, 96n., 100n., 106n.

Communist Manifesto, 5, 9-18, 114, 148

Competitiveness, 160

Concentration of Capital, Law of, 8, 23-5

Confederation Générale du Travail, 63-65, 71, 74

Conquest of Bread, The, 50, 87

Constantine, 108, 187

Creativeness, 186-7

Crime, 118 ff.

Cultivation, intensive, 89

Cultures maraîchères, 91

   

Darwin, 173

Deleon, 76

Democracy, 2, 30, 129 ff., 148, 167

Deutche Jahrbuscher, 38

Devolution, 200

Disarmament, 153

Disraeli, 30

Distribution, 92 ff.

Dubois, Felix, 52

Duelling, 123

   

Education, 169 ff., 189, 193, 196

Edward VI, 22

Empire Knouto-Germanique, 48

Engels, 3, 6, 17, 38

Envy, 160-162

Evils --

physical, 188, 207-11

of character, 188, 207-11

of power, 188 ff.

Evolution, 164

   

Fabians, 57

Fear, 186, 203

Feudalism, 10

Fields, Factories and Workshops, 50, 87 ff.

Finance and war, 140

Finland, 144

Fourier, 4n.

Franco-Prussian War, 46, 56, 59

Franklin, 100n.

Freedom, see Liberty

George, Lloyd, 156

German Communist League, 5

German Working Men's Association, 5

Germany, 144

Giles, Lionel, 35n.

God and the State, 48

Godwin, 207

Gompers, 76

Gospels, The, 187

Government, 111 ff., 198 ff.

representative, 117, 129 ff., 137 ff.

Guesde, Jules, 59-60

Guild Congress, 83, 134 ff., 194

Guild Socialism, xi, 80 ff., 133, 192, 211

and the State, 82-4, 114, 184-5

Guillaume, James, 36n., 37

   

Haywood, 77

Hegel, 4

Herd instinct, xv

Heubner, 41

History, materialistic interpretation of, 7

Hobson, J. A., 140

Hodgskin, 5n.

Hulme, T. E., 29

Hypocrisy, 132

   

Idleness, 103 ff.

Independent Labor Party, 57

India, 158

Individual, 138

Industrial Relations, American Commission on, 78

Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), xi, 31, 74

International alliance of socialist democracy, 44

International fraternity, 43

International Working Men's Association, 6, 44 ff., 59

Internationalism, 148, 150

   

Japan, 151

Jaurès, 60

Jouhaux, 75

Joy of Life, 206

   

Keats, 173

Knowledge, 165

Kropotkin, 36, 46, 50-51, 87 ff., 96n., 100n., 102, 106n., 116 ff., 179, 192

Kultur, 159

   

Labor, integration of, 92

Labor Party, 57, 150

Lagardelle, 64

Law, 111 ff., 198

Levine, Louis, 59n., 60n.

Liberal Party, 28, 30

Liberty, 33, 111 ff., 192, 201

and syndicalism, 85

and anarchism, 108

and creative impulse, 169, 172-81

and art, 182-3, 204

and human relations, 204

Liquor Traffic, 137

Livre, Fédération du, 178

Lunatics, 119

Lynching, 122

   

Magistrates, 101

Majorities, divine right of, 130, 200

Malthus, 86 ff., 207 ff.

Manchesterism, 29

Marriage, 204

Marx, x, 1-31, 36, 60, 77, 148, 164

biography, 3-7

doctrines, 7-31, 113

and Bakunin, 38 ff.

and International Working Men's Association, 44 ff., 59n.

Marxisme, La décomposition du, 29

Mazzini, 43

Millennium by force, 131, 164

Millerand, 60, 61

Milton, 173

Miners, Western Federation of, 76, 78

Money, 195

Monroe Doctrine, 140

Morning Star, 21

Morris, William, 175

   

Napoleon, 120

Napoleon III, 46

Naquet, Alfred, 98n., 118n, 165

National Guilds, 81n.

National Guilds League, 82

Nationalism, 17, 25, 28, 32

Nations --

relations of, 139 ff.

League of, 132, 200

Necessaries, free? 109, 196

Neue Reinische Zeitung, 41

Nicholas, Tsar, 43

   

Opera Singers, 195

Opium Traffic, 137

Orage, 81n.

Owen, Robert, 5n.

   

Pellico, Silvio, 42

Pelloutier, 54, 63

Permeation, 57

Persia, 158

Plato, vii

Poets, 104

Poland, 37, 144

Population, 197n.

Possibilists, 60

Poverty, 190

Power, love of, 111, 144, 160, 161

Press, 143

Production, methods of, 87 ff.

Proletariat, 11 ff.

Proportional Representation, 155

Proudhon, 4n., 38

Pugnacity, 147

Punishment, 123 ff.

   

Ravachol, 53

Ravenstone, Piercy, 5n.

Reclue, Elisée, 48n.

Revisionism, 27, 56

Revolution --

French, 7

Russian, 18, 67, 148, 154

Social, 6, 17, 70, 113, 148, 154, 164

of 1848, 3, 5, 40

Ruge, 38

   

Sabotage, 66

Saint-Simon, 4n.

Sand, George, 38, 41

Sarajevo, 32

Scholarships, 170, 197

Science, 86, 109, 138, 166 ff., 189, 207

men of, 207

Self-interest, 125

Sharing, free, 96 ff., 195

Shelley, 173

Single Tax, 82

Slavery, 190

Socialism, passim --

defined, 1

English, 5

French, 4, 59

German, 56

evolutionary, 27

State, 57, 107, 115, 128, 170, 174, 202, 208

and distribution, 93 ff.

and art and science, 164 ff., 203

Guild, see Guild Socialism

Socialist Labor Party, 76

Socialist Revolutionaries, Alliance of, 43

Socialists, Inter-Allied, 156

Sorel, 29, 67

Spinoza, 120

State, x, xi, 1, 16, 30, 48, 60, 68, 78, 82-4, 107 ff., 138, 145

Strikes, 66, 67, 70, 78 ff., 130

Syndicalism, passim --

and Marx, 28, 115

and party, 30

and liberty, 85

and political action, 30, 69, 129 ff.

and anarchism, x, 55, 72, 115

in France, 58 ff.

in Italy, 58n.

reformist and revolutionary, 62

and class-war, 65, 115

and general strike, 67, 69, 130

and the State, 68, 115

and Guild Socialism, 81n., 134

Syndicalist Railwayman, 69

Syndicats, 65

   

Tariffs, 137

Technical Training, 169 ff., 197

Theft, 121

Thompson, William, 5n.

Tolstoy, 32

Trade Unionism, x, 13, 62

industrial, 31, 74 ff.

craft, 73

Trusts, 75, 141

   

Utopias, vii, 3, 200

   

Vagabond's wage, 177, 193, 208, 212

Villeneuves Saint Georges, 71

Violence, crimes of, 121, 122, 199

Violence, Reflections on, 29

Viviani, 60

Volkstimme, 27n.

Volunteers, 121

   

Wages, 2, 78, 93 ff., 192

iron law of, 26

and art and science, 168 ff.

Wagner, Richard, 41

Waldeck-Rousseau, 61, 63

Walkley, Mary Anne, 20

War --

avoidance of, 139 ff., 199

and capitalism, 139 ff.

and the Press, 143 ff.

Women --

votes for, 155

economic independence of, 196

Work --

and wages, 93 ff., 194

hours of, 102, 193, 209

can it be made pleasant? 100, 193, 204

   

Yellow races, 151, 210

The Twilight Of Science Is The Universe Running Down

Bertrand Russell

The Century Magazine, July 1929, Vol. 118, No. 3, Pgs. 311-315

It is a curious fact that just when the man in the street has begun to believe thoroughly in science, the man in the laboratory has begun to lose his faith. When I was young, no physicist entertained the slightest doubt that the laws of physics give us real information about the motions of bodies, and that the physical world does really consist of the sort of entities that appear in the physicist's equations. The philosophers, it is true, throw doubt upon this view, and have done so ever since the time of Berkeley; but since their criticism never attached itself to any point in the detailed procedure of science, it could be ignored by scientists and was in fact ignored. Nowadays matters are quite different; the revolutionary ideas of the philosophy of physics have come from the physicists themselves and are the outcome of careful experiments. The new philosophy of physics is humble and stammering where the old philosophy was proud and dictatorial. It is, I suppose, natural to every man to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of belief in physical laws as best he may, and to use for this purpose any odds and ends of unfounded belief which had previously no room to expand. When the robustness of the Catholic faith decayed at the time of the Renaissance, it tended to be replaced by astrology and necromancy, and in like manner we must expect the decay of the scientific faith to lead to a recrudescence of pre-scientific superstitions.

Whoever wishes to know how and why, scientific faith is decaying cannot do better than read Eddington's ton's Gifford lecturer, entitled "The Nature of the Physical World." He will learn there that physics is divided into three departments. The first contains all the classical physics, such as the conservation of energy and momentum, and the Jaw of gravitation. All these according to Professor Eddington boil down to nothing but conventions as to measurement true, the laws they state are universal, but so is the law that there are three feet in a yard, which, according to him, is just as informative concerning the course of nature. The second department of physics is concerned with large aggregates, and the laws of chance. Here we, do not attempt to prove that such and such an event is impossible, but only that it is wildly improbable. The third department of physics, which is the most modern, is the quantum theory, and this is the most disturbing of all since it seems to show that the law of causality, in which science has hitherto implicitly believed, cannot be applied to the doings of individual electrons. I shall say a few words about each of these three matters in turn.

To begin with classical physics. Newton's law of gravitation, as every one knows, was somewhat modified by Einstein, and the modification was experimentally confirmed. But if Eddington's view is right, this experimental, confirmation does not have the signification that one would naturally attribute to it. After considering three possible views as to what the law of gravitation assert about the motion of the earth round the sun, Eddington plumps for a fourth, to the effect that " the earth goes anyhow it likes," that is to say, that the law of gravitation tells us absolutely nothing about the way the earth moves. He admits that this view is paradoxical, but he says: "The key to the paradox is that we ourselves, our conventions, the kind of thing that attracts our interest, are much more concerned than we realize in any account we give of how the objects of the physical world are behaving. And so an object which, viewed through our frame of conventions, may seem to be behaving in a very special and remarkable way may, viewed according to another set of conventions, be doing nothing to excite particular comment. " I must confess that I find this view a very difficult one; respect for Eddington prevents me from. saying that it is, untrue, but there are various points in his argument which I have difficulty in following. Of course all the practical consequences which we deduce from the abstract theory, as for example that we shall perceive daylight at certain times and not at certain other times, lie outside the scheme of official physics, which never reach our sensations at all. I cannot but suspect, however, that official physics is just a little bit too official in Eddington's hands, and that it would not be impossible to allow it a little more significance than it has in his interpretation. However that may be, it is an important sign of the times that one of the leading exponents of scientific theory should advance so modest an opinion.

I come now to the statistical part of physics which is concerned with the study of large aggregates. Large aggregates behave almost exactly as they were supposed to do before the quantum theory was invented, so that in regard to them the older physics is very nearly right. There is, however, one supremely important law which is only statistical; this is the second law of thermodynamics. It states, roughly speaking, that the world is growing continuously more disorderly. Eddington illustrates it by what happens when you shuffle a pack of cards. The pack of cards comes from the makers with the cards arranged in their proper order; after you have shuffled them, this order is lost, and it is in the highest degree improbable that it will ever be restored by subsequent shuffling. It is this sort of thing that makes the difference between past and future. In the rest of theoretical physics we are dealing with processes that are reversible; that is to say, where the laws of physics show that it is possible for amaterial system to pass from state A at one time to state B at another, the opposite transition will be equally possible according to these same laws; but where the second law of thermodynamics comes in, this is not the case. Professor Eddington enunciates the law as follows: "Whenever anything happens that cannot be undone, it is always reducible to the introduction of a random element analogous to that introduced by ,shuffling." This law, unlike most of the laws of physics, is concerned only with probabilities. To take our previous illustration: it is of course possible that, if you shuffle a pack of cards long enough, the cards may happen to get into the right order by chance. This is very unlikely, but it is far less unlikely than the orderly arrangement of many millions of molecules by chance. Professor Eddington gives the following illustration: suppose a vessel divided into two equal parts by a partition, and suppose that in one part there is air, while in the other there is a vacuum; then a door in the partition is opened and the air spreads itself evenly throughout the whole vessel. It might happen by chance that at some future time the moleculesthe air in the course of their random movements would all find themselves again in the partitions in which they originally were. This is not impossible; it is only improbable, but it is v" improbable. "'If I let my fingers wander idly over the keys of a typewriter it might happen that my screed made an intelligible sentence. If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books in the British Museum. The chance of their doing so is decidedly more favorable than the chance of the molecules returning to one half of the vessel."

There are an immense number of illustrations of the same kind of thing. For example, if you drop one drop of ink into a glass of clear water, it will gradually diffuse itself throughout the glass. It might happen by chance that it would afterwards collect itself again into a drop, but we should certainly regard it as a miracle if it happened. When a hot body and a cold body are put in contact, we all know that the hot body cools and the cold body gets warm until the two reach the same temperature, but this also is only a law of probability. It might happen that a kettle filled with water put on the fire would freeze instead of boil; this also is not shown to be impossible by any of the laws of physics, it is only shown to be highly improbable by the second law of thermodynamics. This law states, speaking generally, that the universe tends toward democracy, and that when it has achieved that state, it will be incapable of doing anything more. It seems that the world was created at some not infinitely remote date, and was then far more full of. inequalities than it is now; but from the moment of creation it has been continually running down, and will ultimately stop for all practical purposesunless it is again wound up. Professor Eddington for some reason does not like the idea that it can be wound up again, but prefers to think that the world drama is only to be performed once, in spite of the fact that it must end in aeons of boredom, in the course of which the whole audience will gradually go to sleep. Quantum theory, which is concerned with individual atoms and electrons, is still in a state of rapid development, and is probably far from its final form. In the hands of Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Co., it has become more disturbing and more revolutionary than the theory of relativity ever was. Professor Eddington expounds its recent developments in a manner which conveys more of it to the non-mathematical reader than I should have supposed possible. It is profoundly disturbing to the prejudices which have governed physics since the time of Newton. The most painful thing about it from this point of view is that, as mentioned above, it throws doubt upon the universality of causality; the view at present is that atoms have a certain amount of free-will, so that their behavior even in theory, is not wholly subject to law. Moreover, some things which we thought definite, at least in theory, have quite ceased to be so. There is what Eddington calls the "principle of indeterminancy"; this states that "a particle may have position or it may have velocity, but it cannot in any exact sense have both," that is to say, if you know where you are, you cannot tell how fast you are moving, and if you know how fast you are moving, you cannot tell where you are. This cuts at the root of traditional physics, in which position and velocity were fundamental. You can only see an electron when it emits light, and it only emits light when it jumps, so that to see where it was, you have to make it go elsewhere. This breakdown of physical determinism is utilized by Eddington in his concluding chapters to rehabilitate free-will.

Professor Eddington proceeds to base optimistic and pleasant conclusions upon the scientific nescience which he has expounded in previous pages. This optimism based uponthe time- honored principle that any. thing which cannot be proved untrue may be assumed to be true a principle whose falsehood is proved by the fortunes of bookmakers. If we discard this principle, it is difficult to see what ground for cheerfulness modern physics provides. It tells us that the universe is running down, and if Eddington is right, it tells us practically nothing else, since all the. rest is merely the rules of the game. From a pragmatic or political point of view probably the most important thing about such a theory of physics is that it will destroy, if it becomes widespread, that faith in science which has been the only constructive creed of modern times, and the source of virtually all change both for good and for evil. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had a philosophy of natural law based upon Newton. The law was supposed to imply a Lawgiver, though as time went on this inference was less emphasized; but in any case the universe was orderly and predictable. By learning nature's laws we could hope to manipulate nature, and thus science became the source of power, This is still the outlook of most energetic practical men, but it Is no longer the outlook of men of science. The world according to them i's a more higgledy-piggledy and haphazard affair than it was thought to be. And they know much less about it than was thought to be known by, their predecessors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Perhaps the scientific skepticism of which Eddington is an exponent may lead in the end to the collapse of the scientific era, just as the theological skepticism of the Renaissance has led gradually to the collapse of the theological era. I suppose that machines will survive the collapse of science, just as parsons have survived the collapse of theology, but in the one case as in the other they will cease to be viewed with reverence and awe. Perhaps this is not to be regretted.

In Praise of Idleness

Bertrand Russell

In this essay, Lord Bertrand Russell proposes a cut in the definition of full time to four hours per day. As this article was written in 1932, he has not the benefit of knowing that, as we added more wage-earners per family (women entered the work force) and families shrunk (fewer kids), and the means of production become more efficient (better machines) the number of hours each wage-earner must work to support the family has stayed constant. These facts seem to uphold Russell's point.

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.' Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. Whenever a person who already has enough to live on proposes to engage in some everyday kind of job, such as school-teaching or typing, he or she is told that such conduct takes the bread out of other people's mouths, and is therefore wicked. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread. What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment. As long as a man spends his income, he puts just as much bread into people's mouths in spending as he takes out of other people's mouths in earning. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment. If he invests his savings, the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise.

One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling.

But, I shall be told, the case is quite different when savings are invested in industrial enterprises. When such enterprises succeed, and produce something useful, this may be conceded. In these days, however, no one will deny that most enterprises fail. That means that a large amount of human labor, which might have been devoted to producing something that could be enjoyed, was expended on producing machines which, when produced, lay idle and did no good to anyone. The man who invests his savings in a concern that goes bankrupt is therefore injuring others as well as himself. If he spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those upon whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger. But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface card in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person.

All this is only preliminary. I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.

First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.

Throughout Europe, though not in America, there is a third class of men, more respected than either of the classes of workers. There are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work. These landowners are idle, and I might therefore be expected to praise them. Unfortunately, their idleness is only rendered possible by the industry of others; indeed their desire for comfortable idleness is historically the source of the whole gospel of work. The last thing they have ever wished is that others should follow their example.

From the beginning of civilization until the Industrial Revolution, a man could, as a rule, produce by hard work little more than was required for the subsistence of himself and his family, although his wife worked at least as hard as he did, and his children added their labor as soon as they were old enough to do so. The small surplus above bare necessaries was not left to those who produced it, but was appropriated by warriors and priests. In times of famine there was no surplus; the warriors and priests, however, still secured as much as at other times, with the result that many of the workers died of hunger. This system persisted in Russia until 1917 [1], and still persists in the East; in England, in spite of the Industrial Revolution, it remained in full force throughout the Napoleonic wars, and until a hundred years ago, when the new class of manufacturers acquired power. In America, the system came to an end with the Revolution, except in the South, where it persisted until the Civil War. A system which lasted so long and ended so recently has naturally left a profound impress upon men's thoughts and opinions. Much that we take for granted about the desirability of work is derived from this system, and, being pre-industrial, is not adapted to the modern world. Modern technique has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.

It is obvious that, in primitive communities, peasants, left to themselves, would not have parted with the slender surplus upon which the warriors and priests subsisted, but would have either produced less or consumed more. At first, sheer force compelled them to produce and part with the surplus. Gradually, however, it was found possible to induce many of them to accept an ethic according to which it was their duty to work hard, although part of their work went to support others in idleness. By this means the amount of compulsion required was lessened, and the expenses of government were diminished. To this day, 99 per cent of British wage-earners would be genuinely shocked if it were proposed that the King should not have a larger income than a working man. The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. Of course the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity. Sometimes this is true; Athenian slave-owners, for instance, employed part of their leisure in making a permanent contribution to civilization which would have been impossible under a just economic system. Leisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labors of the many. But their labors were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization.

Modern technique has made it possible to diminish enormously the amount of labor required to secure the necessaries of life for everyone. This was made obvious during the war. At that time all the men in the armed forces, and all the men and women engaged in the production of munitions, all the men and women engaged in spying, war propaganda, or Government offices connected with the war, were withdrawn from productive occupations. In spite of this, the general level of well-being among unskilled wage-earners on the side of the Allies was higher than before or since. The significance of this fact was concealed by finance: borrowing made it appear as if the future was nourishing the present. But that, of course, would have been impossible; a man cannot eat a loaf of bread that does not yet exist. The war showed conclusively that, by the scientific organization of production, it is possible to keep modern populations in fair comfort on a small part of the working capacity of the modern world. If, at the end of the war, the scientific organization, which had been created in order to liberate men for fighting and munition work, had been preserved, and the hours of the week had been cut down to four, all would have been well. Instead of that the old chaos was restored, those whose work was demanded were made to work long hours, and the rest were left to starve as unemployed. Why? Because work is a duty, and a man should not receive wages in proportion to what he has produced, but in proportion to his virtue as exemplified by his industry.

This is the morality of the Slave State, applied in circumstances totally unlike those in which it arose. No wonder the result has been disastrous. Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?

The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England, in the early nineteenth century, fifteen hours was the ordinary day's work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busybodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban working men had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say: 'What do the poor want with holidays? They ought to work.' People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much of our economic confusion.

Let us, for a moment, consider the ethics of work frankly, without superstition. Every human being, of necessity, consumes, in the course of his life, a certain amount of the produce of human labor. Assuming, as we may, that labor is on the whole disagreeable, it is unjust that a man should consume more than he produces. Of course he may provide services rather than commodities, like a medical man, for example; but he should provide something in return for his board and lodging. to this extent, the duty of work must be admitted, but to this extent only.

I shall not dwell upon the fact that, in all modern societies outside the USSR, many people escape even this minimum amount of work, namely all those who inherit money and all those who marry money. I do not think the fact that these people are allowed to be idle is nearly so harmful as the fact that wage-earners are expected to overwork or starve.

If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons. Oddly enough, while they wish their sons to work so hard as to have no time to be civilized, they do not mind their wives and daughters having no work at all. the snobbish admiration of uselessness, which, in an aristocratic society, extends to both sexes, is, under a plutocracy, confined to women; this, however, does not make it any more in agreement with common sense.

The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education. A man who has worked long hours all his life will become bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things. There is no longer any reason why the bulk of the population should suffer this deprivation; only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.

In the new creed which controls the government of Russia, while there is much that is very different from the traditional teaching of the West, there are some things that are quite unchanged. The attitude of the governing classes, and especially of those who conduct educational propaganda, on the subject of the dignity of labor, is almost exactly that which the governing classes of the world have always preached to what were called the 'honest poor'. Industry, sobriety, willingness to work long hours for distant advantages, even submissiveness to authority, all these reappear; moreover authority still represents the will of the Ruler of the Universe, Who, however, is now called by a new name, Dialectical Materialism.

The victory of the proletariat in Russia has some points in common with the victory of the feminists in some other countries. For ages, men had conceded the superior saintliness of women, and had consoled women for their inferiority by maintaining that saintliness is more desirable than power. At last the feminists decided that they would have both, since the pioneers among them believed all that the men had told them about the desirability of virtue, but not what they had told them about the worthlessness of political power. A similar thing has happened in Russia as regards manual work. For ages, the rich and their sycophants have written in praise of 'honest toil', have praised the simple life, have professed a religion which teaches that the poor are much more likely to go to heaven than the rich, and in general have tried to make manual workers believe that there is some special nobility about altering the position of matter in space, just as men tried to make women believe that they derived some special nobility from their sexual enslavement. In Russia, all this teaching about the excellence of manual work has been taken seriously, with the result that the manual worker is more honored than anyone else. What are, in essence, revivalist appeals are made, but not for the old purposes: they are made to secure shock workers for special tasks. Manual work is the ideal which is held before the young, and is the basis of all ethical teaching.

For the present, possibly, this is all to the good. A large country, full of natural resources, awaits development, and has has to be developed with very little use of credit. In these circumstances, hard work is necessary, and is likely to bring a great reward. But what will happen when the point has been reached where everybody could be comfortable without working long hours?

In the West, we have various ways of dealing with this problem. We have no attempt at economic justice, so that a large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork. When all these methods prove inadequate, we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks. By a combination of all these devices we manage, though with difficulty, to keep alive the notion that a great deal of severe manual work must be the lot of the average man.

In Russia, owing to more economic justice and central control over production, the problem will have to be differently solved. the rational solution would be, as soon as the necessaries and elementary comforts can be provided for all, to reduce the hours of labor gradually, allowing a popular vote to decide, at each stage, whether more leisure or more goods were to be preferred. But, having taught the supreme virtue of hard work, it is difficult to see how the authorities can aim at a paradise in which there will be much leisure and little work. It seems more likely that they will find continually fresh schemes, by which present leisure is to be sacrificed to future productivity. I read recently of an ingenious plan put forward by Russian engineers, for making the White Sea and the northern coasts of Siberia warm, by putting a dam across the Kara Sea. An admirable project, but liable to postpone proletarian comfort for a generation, while the nobility of toil is being displayed amid the ice-fields and snowstorms of the Arctic Ocean. This sort of thing, if it happens, will be the result of regarding the virtue of hard work as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a state of affairs in which it is no longer needed.

The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. We have been misled in this matter by two causes. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. The other is the new pleasure in mechanism, which makes us delight in the astonishingly clever changes that we can produce on the earth's surface. Neither of these motives makes any great appeal to the actual worker. If you ask him what he thinks the best part of his life, he is not likely to say: 'I enjoy manual work because it makes me feel that I am fulfilling man's noblest task, and because I like to think how much man can transform his planet. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.' I have never heard working men say this sort of thing. They consider work, as it should be considered, a necessary means to a livelihood, and it is from their leisure that they derive whatever happiness they may enjoy.

It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake. Serious-minded persons, for example, are continually condemning the habit of going to the cinema, and telling us that it leads the young into crime. But all the work that goes to producing a cinema is respectable, because it is work, and because it brings a money profit. The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring a profit has made everything topsy-turvy. The butcher who provides you with meat and the baker who provides you with bread are praiseworthy, because they are making money; but when you enjoy the food they have provided, you are merely frivolous, unless you eat only to get strength for your work. Broadly speaking, it is held that getting money is good and spending money is bad. Seeing that they are two sides of one transaction, this is absurd; one might as well maintain that keys are good, but keyholes are bad. Whatever merit there may be in the production of goods must be entirely derivative from the advantage to be obtained by consuming them. The individual, in our society, works for profit; but the social purpose of his work lies in the consumption of what he produces. It is this divorce between the individual and the social purpose of production that makes it so difficult for men to think clearly in a world in which profit-making is the incentive to industry. We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer.

When I suggest that working hours should be reduced to four, I am not meaning to imply that all the remaining time should necessarily be spent in pure frivolity. I mean that four hours' work a day should entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life, and that the rest of his time should be his to use as he might see fit. It is an essential part of any such social system that education should be carried further than it usually is at present, and should aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently. I am not thinking mainly of the sort of things that would be considered 'highbrow'. Peasant dances have died out except in remote rural areas, but the impulses which caused them to be cultivated must still exist in human nature. The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on. This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy pleasures in which they took an active part.

In the past, there was a small leisure class and a larger working class. The leisure class enjoyed advantages for which there was no basis in social justice; this necessarily made it oppressive, limited its sympathies, and caused it to invent theories by which to justify its privileges. These facts greatly diminished its excellence, but in spite of this drawback it contributed nearly the whole of what we call civilization. It cultivated the arts and discovered the sciences; it wrote the books, invented the philosophies, and refined social relations. Even the liberation of the oppressed has usually been inaugurated from above. Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism.

The method of a leisure class without duties was, however, extraordinarily wasteful. None of the members of the class had to be taught to be industrious, and the class as a whole was not exceptionally intelligent. The class might produce one Darwin, but against him had to be set tens of thousands of country gentlemen who never thought of anything more intelligent than fox-hunting and punishing poachers. At present, the universities are supposed to provide, in a more systematic way, what the leisure class provided accidentally and as a by-product. This is a great improvement, but it has certain drawbacks. University life is so different from life in the world at large that men who live in academic milieu tend to be unaware of the preoccupations and problems of ordinary men and women; moreover their ways of expressing themselves are usually such as to rob their opinions of the influence that they ought to have upon the general public. Another disadvantage is that in universities studies are organized, and the man who thinks of some original line of research is likely to be discouraged. Academic institutions, therefore, useful as they are, are not adequate guardians of the interests of civilization in a world where everyone outside their walls is too busy for unutilitarian pursuits.

In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be. Young writers will not be obliged to draw attention to themselves by sensational pot-boilers, with a view to acquiring the economic independence needed for monumental works, for which, when the time at last comes, they will have lost the taste and capacity. Men who, in their professional work, have become interested in some phase of economics or government, will be able to develop their ideas without the academic detachment that makes the work of university economists often seem lacking in reality. Medical men will have the time to learn about the progress of medicine, teachers will not be exasperatedly struggling to teach by routine methods things which they learnt in their youth, which may, in the interval, have been proved to be untrue.

Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever.

[1] Since then, members of the Communist Party have succeeded to this privilege of the warriors and priests.

Of Co-Operation

Bertrand Russell

In these days, under the influence of democracy, the virtue of co-operation has taken the place formerly held by obedience. The old-fashioned schoolmaster would say of a boy that he was disobedient; the modern schoolmistress says of an infant that he is non-co-operative. It means the same thing: the child, in either case, fails to do what the teacher wishes, but in the first case the teacher acts as the government and in the second as the representative of the People, i.e. of the other children. The result of the new language, as of the old, is to encourage docility, suggestibility, herd-instinct and conventionality, thereby necessarily discouraging originality, initiative and unusual intelligence. Adults who achieve anything of value have seldom been ``co-operative'' children. As a rule, they have liked solitude: they have tried to slink into a corner with a book and been happiest when they could escape the notice of their barbarian contemporaries. Almost all men who have been distinguished as artists, writers or men of science have in boyhood been objects of derision and contempt to their schoolfellows; and only too often the teachers have sided with the herd, because it annoyed them that a boy should be odd.

It ought to be part of the training of all teachers to be taught to recognise the marks of unusual intelligence in children and to restrain the irritation caused in themselves by anything so unusual. Until this is done, a large proportion of the best talent in America will be persecuted out of existence before the age of fifteen. Co-operativeness, as an ideal, is defective: it is right to live with reference to the community and not for oneself alone, but living for the community does not mean doing what it does. Suppose you are in a theatre which catches fire, and there is a stampede: the person who has learnt no higher morality than what is called ``co-operation'' will join in the stampede since he will possess no inner force that would enable him to stand up against the herd. The psychology of a nation embarking on a war is at all points identical.

I do not wish, however, to push the doctrine of individual initiative too far. Godwin, who became Shelley's father-in-law because Shelley so much admired him, asserted that ``everything that is usually understood by the term `co-operation' is in some degree an evil.'' He admits that, at present, ``to pull down a tree, to cut a canal, to navigate a vessel requires the labour of many'', but he looks forward to the time when machinery is so perfected that one man unaided will be able to do any of these things. He thinks also that hereafter there will be no orchestra. ``Shall we have concerts of music?'' he says. ``The miserable state of mechanism of the majority of the performers is so conspicuous as to be even at this day a topic of mortification and ridicule. Will it not be practicable hereafter for one man to perform the whole?'' He goes on to suggest that the solitary performer will insist on playing his own productions and refuse to be the slave of composers dead and gone.

All this is, of course, ridiculous, and for my part I find it salutary to see my own opinions thus caricatured. I remain none the less convinced that our age, partly as a result of democratic sentiment, and partly because of the complexity of machine production, is in danger of carrying the doctrine of co-operativeness to lengths which will be fatal to individual excellence, not only in its more anarchic forms, but also in forms which are essential to social progress. Perhaps, therefore, even a man like Godwin may have something to teach those who believe that social conformity is the beginning and end of virtue.

18 May 1932

It may be noted that Russell himself was educated by tutors at home until he went to Cambridge, and so is unlikely to be expressing personal animus against his own teachers and school-fellows, of which he had none.

On Sales Resistance

Bertrand Russell

Throughout recent years, a vast amount of money and time and brains has been employed in overcoming sales resistance, i.e. in inducing unoffending persons to waste their money in purchasing objects which they had no desire to possess. It is characteristic of our age that this sort of thing is considered meritorious: lectures are given on salesmanship, and those who possess the art are highly rewarded. Yet, if a moment's consideration is given to the matter, it is clear that the activity is a noxious one which does more harm than good. Some hard-working professional man, for example, who has been saving up with a view to giving his family a pleasant summer holiday, is beset in a weak moment by a highly trained bandit who wants to sell him a grand piano. He points out that that he has no room large enough to house it, but the bandit shows that, by knocking down a bit of wall, the tail of the piano can be made to project from the living room into the best bedroom. Paterfamilias says that he and his wife do not play the piano and his oldest daughter has only just begun to learn scales. ``The very reason why you should buy my piano'' says the bandit. ``On ordinary pianos scales may be tiresome, but on mine they have all the depth of the most exquisite melody.'' The harassed householder mentions that he has an engagement and cannot stay any longer. The bandit threatens to come again next day; so, in despair, the victim gives way and his children have to forgo their seaside holiday, while his wife's complaints are a sauce to every meal throughout the summer.

In return for all this misery, the salesman has a mere commission and the man whose piano is being sold obtains whatever percentage of the price presents his profits. Yet, both are thought to have deserved well of their country since their enterprise is supposed to be good for business.

All this topsy-turvydom is due to the fact that everything economic is looked upon from the standpoint of the producer rather than of the consumer. In former times, it was thought that bread is baked in order to be eaten; nowadays we think that it is eaten in order to be baked. When we spend money, we are expected to do so not with a view to our enjoyment of what we purchase but to enrich those who have manufactured it. Since the greatest of virtues is business skill and since skill is shown in making people buy what they don't want rather than what they do, the man who is most respected is the one who has caused the most pain to purchasers. All this is connected with a quite elementary mistake, namely, failure to realise that what a man spends in one direction he has to save in another so that bullying is not likely to increase his total expenditure. But partly also it is connected with the notion that a man's working hours are the only important part of his life and that what he does with the rest of his time is unimportant unless it affects other men's working hours. A few clergymen, it is true, speak of the American home and the joys of family life, but that is regarded merely as their professional talk, against which a very considerable sales resistance has grown up. And so everything is done for the sake of something else. We make money not in order to enjoy what it provides but in order that in spending it we may enable others to make money which they will spend in enabling yet others to make money which.... But the end of this is bedlam.

22 June 1932

Ideas that Have harmed Mankind

Bertrand Russell

from "Unpopular Essays"

The misfortunes of human beings may be divided into two classes: First, those inflicted by the non-human environment and, second, those inflicted by other people. As mankind have progressed in knowledge and technique, the second class has become a continually increasing percentage of the total. In old times, famine, for example, was due to natural causes, and although people did their best to combat it, large numbers of them died of starvation. At the present moment large parts of the world are faced with the threat of famine, but although natural causes have contributed to the situation, the principal causes are human. For six years the civilized nations of the world devoted all their best energies to killing each other, and they find it difficult suddenly to switch over to keeping each other alive. Having destroyed harvests, dismantled agricultural machinery, and disorganized shipping, they find it no easy matter to relieve the shortage of crops in one place by means of a superabundance in another, as would easily be done if the economic system were in normal working order. As this illustration shows, it is now man that is man's worst enemy. Nature, it is true, still sees to it that we are mortal, but with the progress in medicine it will become more and more common for people to live until they have had their fill of life. We are supposed to wish to live for ever and to look forward to the unending joys of heaven, of which, by miracle, the monotony will never grow stale. But in fact, if you question any candid person who is no longer young, he is very likely to tell you that, having tasted life in this world, he has no wish to begin again as a 'new boy' in another. For the future, therefore, it may be taken that much the most important evils that mankind have to consider are those which they inflict upon each other through stupidity or malevolence or both.

I think that the evils that men inflict on each other, and by resection upon themselves, have their main source in evil passions rather than in ideas or beliefs. But ideas and principles that do harm are, as a rule, though not always, cloaks for evil passions. In Lisbon when heretics were publicly burnt, it sometimes happened that one of them, by a particularly edifying recantation, would be granted the boon of being strangled before being put into the flames. This would make the spectators so furious that the authorities had great difficulty in preventing them from lynching the penitent and burning him on their own account. The spectacle of the writhing torments of the victims was, in fact, one of the principal pleasures to which the populace looked forward to enliven a somewhat drab existence. I cannot doubt that this pleasure greatly contributed to the general belief that the burning of heretics was a righteous act. The same sort of thing applies to war. People who are vigorous and brutal often find war enjoyable, provided that it is a victorious war and that there is not too much interference with rape and plunder. This is a great help in persuading people that wars are righteous. Dr Arnold, the hero of Tom Brown's Schooldays, and the admired reformer of Public Schools, came across some cranks who thought it a mistake to flog boys. Anyone reading his outburst of furious indignation against this opinion will be forced to the conclusion that he enjoyed inflicting floggings, and did not wish to be deprived of this pleasure.

It would be easy to multiply instances in support of the thesis that opinions which justify cruelty are inspired by cruel impulses. When we pass in review the opinions of former times which are now recognized as absurd, it will be found that nine times out of ten they were such as to justify the infliction of suffering. Take, for instance, medical practice. When anesthetics were invented they were thought to be wicked as being an attempt to thwart God's will. Insanity was thought to be due to diabolic possession, and it was believed that demons inhabiting a madman could be driven out by inflicting pain upon him, and so making them uncomfortable. In pursuit of this opinion, lunatics were treated for years on end with systematic and conscientious brutality. I cannot think of any instance of an erroneous medical treatment that was agreeable rather than disagreeable to the patient. Or again, take moral education. Consider how much brutality has been justified by the rhyme:

A dog, a wife, and a walnut tree,

The more you beat them the better they be.

I have no experience of the moral effect of flagellation on walnut trees, but no civilized person would now justify the rhyme as regards wives. The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.

But although passions have had more to do than beliefs with what is amiss in human life, yet beliefs, especially where they are ancient and systematic and embodied in organizations, have a great power of delaying desirable changes of opinion and of influencing in the wrong direction people who otherwise would have no strong feelings either way. Since my subject is 'Ideas that have Harmed Mankind,' it is especially harmful systems of beliefs that I shall consider.

The most obvious case as regards past history is constituted by the beliefs which may be called religious or superstitious, according to one's personal bias. It was supposed that human sacrifice would improve the crops, at first for purely magical reasons, and then because the blood of victims was thought pleasing to the gods, who certainly were made in the image of their worshippers. We read in the Old Testament that it was a religious duty to exterminate conquered races completely, and that to spare even their cattle and sheep was an impiety. Dark terrors and misfortunes in the life to come oppressed the Egyptians and Etruscans, but never reached their full development until the victory of Christianity. Gloomy saints who abstained from all pleasures of sense, who lived in solitude in the desert, denying themselves meat and wine and the society of women, were, nevertheless, not obliged to abstain from all pleasures. The pleasures of the mind were considered to be superior to those of the body, and a high place among the pleasures of the mind was assigned to the contemplation of the eternal tortures to which the pagans and heretics would hereafter be subjected. It is one of the drawbacks to asceticism that it sees no harm in pleasures other than those of sense, and yet, in fact, not only the best pleasures, but also the very worst, are purely mental. Consider the pleasures of Milton's Satan when he contemplates the harm that he could do to man. As Milton makes him say:

The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a heav'n hell, a hell of heav'n.

and his psychology is not so very different from that of Tertullian, exulting in the thought that he will be able to look out from heaven at the sufferings of the damned. The ascetic depreciation of the pleasures of sense has not promoted kindliness or tolerance, or any of the other virtues that a non-superstitious outlook on human life would lead us to desire. On the contrary, when a man tortures himself he feels that it gives him a right to torture others, and inclines him to accept any system of dogma by which this right is fortified.

The ascetic form of cruelty is, unfortunately, not confined to the fiercer forms of Christian dogma, which are now seldom believed with their former ferocity. The world has produced new and menacing forms of the same psychological pattern. The Nazis in the days before they achieved power lived laborious lives, involving much sacrifice of ease and present pleasure in obedience to the belief in strenuousness and Nietzsche's maxim that one should make oneself hard. Even after they achieved power, the slogan 'guns rather than butter' still involved a sacrifice of the pleasures of sense for the mental pleasures of prospective victory - the very pleasures, in fact, with which Milton's Satan consoles himself while tortured by the fires of hell. The same mentality is to be found among earnest Communists, to whom luxury is an evil, hard work the principal duty, and universal poverty the means to the millennium. The combination of asceticism and cruelty has not disappeared with the softening of Christian dogma, but has taken on new forms hostile to Christianity. There is still much of the same mentality: mankind are divided into saints and sinners; the saints are to achieve bliss in the Nazi or Communists heaven, while the sinners are to be liquidated, or to suffer such pains as human beings can inflict in concentration camps - inferior, of course, to those which Omnipotence was thought to inflict in hell, but the worst that human beings with their limited powers are able to achieve. There is still, for the saints, a hard period of probation followed by 'the shout of them that triumph, the song of them that feast', as the Christian hymn says in describing the joys of heaven.

As this psychological pattern seems so persistent and so capable of clothing itself in completely new mantles of dogma, it must have its roots somewhat deep in human nature. This is the kind of matter that is studied by psycho-analysts, and while I am very far from subscribing to all their doctrines, I think that their general methods are important if we wish to seek out the source of evil in our innermost depths. The twin conceptions of sin and vindictive punishment seem to be at the root of much that is most vigorous, both in religion and politics. I cannot believe, as some psycho-analysts do, that the feeling of sin is innate, though I believe it to be a product of very early infancy. I think that, if this feeling could be eradicated, the amount of cruelty in the world would be very greatly diminished. Given that we are all sinners and that we all deserve punishment, there is evidently much to be said for a system that causes the punishment to fall upon others than ourselves. Calvinists, by the fiat of undeserved mercy, would go to heaven, and their feelings that sin deserved punishment would receive a merely vicarious satisfaction. Communists have a similar outlook. When we are born we do not choose whether we are to be born capitalists or proletarians, but if the latter we are among the elect, and if the former we are not Without any choice on our own parts, by the working of economic determinism, we are fated to be on the right side in the one case, and on the wrong side in the other. Marx'' father became a Christian when Marx was a little boy, and some, at least, of the dogmas he must have then accepted seem to have borne fruit in his son's psychology.

One of the odd effects of the importance which each of u attaches to himself, is that we tend to imagine our own good or evil fortune to be the purpose of other people's actions. I you pass in a train a field containing grazing cows, you ma sometimes see them running away in terror as the train passes. The cow, if it were a metaphysician, would argue: 'Everything in my own desires and hopes and fears has reference to myself; hence by induction I conclude that everything in the universe has reference to myself. This noisy train, therefore, intends to do me either good or evil. I cannot suppose that it intends to do me good, since it comes in such a terrifying form, and therefore, as a prudent cow, I shall endeavor to escape from it.' If you were to explain to this metaphysical ruminant that the train has no intention of leaving the rails, and is totally indifferent to the fate of the cow, the poor beast would be bewildered by anything so unnatural. The train that wishes her neither well nor ill would seem more cold and more abysmally horrifying than a train that wished her ill. Just this has happened with human beings. The course of nature brings them sometimes good fortune, sometimes evil. They cannot believe that this happens by accident. The cow, having known of a companion which had strayed on to the railway line and been killed by a train, would pursue her philosophical reflections, if she were endowed with that moderate degree of intelligence that characterizes most human beings, to the point of concluding that the unfortunate cow had been punished for sin by the god of the railway. She would be glad when his priests put fences along the line, and would warn younger and friskier cows never to avail themselves of accidental openings in the fence, since the wages of sin is death. By similar myths men have succeeded, without sacrificing their selfimportance, in explaining many of the misfortunes to which they are subject. But sometimes misfortune befalls the wholly virtuous, and what are we to say in this case? We shall still be prevented by our feeling that we must be the centre of the universe from admitting that misfortune has merely happened to us without anybody's intending it, and since we are not wicked by hypothesis, our misfortune must be due to somebody's malevolence, that is to say, to somebody wishing to injure us from mere hatred and not from the hope of any advantage to himself. It was this state of mind that gave rise to demonology, and the belief in witchcraft and black magic. The witch is a person who injures her neighbors from sheer hatred, not from any hope of gain. The belief in witchcraft, until about the middle of the seventeenth century, afforded a most satisfying outlet for the delicious emotion of self-righteous cruelty. There was Biblical warrant for the belief, since the Bible says: 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' And on this ground the Inquisition punished not only witches, but those who did not believe in the possibility of witchcraft, since to disbelieve it was heresy. Science, by giving some insight into natural causation, dissipated the belief in magic, but could not wholly dispel the fear and sense of insecurity that had given rise to it. In modem times, these same emotions find an outlet in fear of foreign nations, an outlet which, it must be confessed, requires not much in the way of superstitious support.

One of the most powerful sources of false belief is envy. In any small town you will find, if you question the comparatively well-todo, that they all exaggerate their neighbors' incomes, which gives them an opportunity to justify an accusation of meanness. The jealousies of women are proverbial among men, but in any large office you will find exactly the same kind of jealousy among male ofiicials. When one of them secures promotion the others will say: 'Humph! So-and so knows how to make up to the big men. I could have riser quite as fast as he has if I had chosen to debase myself by using the sycophantic arts of which he is not ashamed. No doubt his work has a flashy brilliance, but it lacks solidly, and sooner or later the authorities will find out their mistake.' So all the mediocre men will say if a really able man is allowed to rise as fast as his abilities deserve, and that is why there is a tendency to adopt the rule of seniority, which, since it has nothing to do with merit, does not give rise to the same envious discontent.

One of the most unfortunate results of our proneness to envy is that it has caused a complete misconception of economic selfinterest, both individual and national. I will illustrate by a parable. There was once upon a time a medium sized town containing a number of butchers, a number of bakers, and so forth. One butcher, who was exceptionally energetic, decided that he would make much larger profits if all the other butchers were ruined and he became a monopolist. By systematically under-selling them he succeeded in his object, though his losses meanwhile had almost exhausted his command of capital and credit. At the same time an energetic baker had had the same idea and had pursued it to a similar successful conclusion. In every trade which lived by selling goods to consumers the same thing had happened. Each of the successful monopolists had a happy anticipation of making a fortune, but unfortunately the ruined butchers were no longer in the position to buy bread, and the ruined bakers were no longer in the position to buy meat. Their employees had had to be dismissed and had gone elsewhere. The consequence was that, although the butcher and the baker each had a monopoly, they sold less than they had done in the old days. They had forgotten that while a man may be injured by his competitors he is benefited by his customers, and that customers become more numerous when the general level of prosperity is increased. Envy had made them concentrate their attention upon competitors and forget altogether the aspect of their prosperity that depended upon customers.

This is a fable, and the town of which I have been speaking never existed, but substitute for a town the world, and for individuals nations, and you will have a perfect picture of the economic policy universally pursued in the present day. Every nation is persuaded that its economic interest is opposed to that of every other nation, and that it must profit if other nations are reduced to destitution. During the first World War, I used to hear English people saying how immensely British trade would benefit from the destruction of German trade, which was to be one of the principal fruits of our victory. After the war, although we should have liked to find a market on the Continent of Europe, and although the industrial life of Western Europe depended upon coal from the Ruhr, we could not bring ourselves to allow the Ruhr coal industry to produce more than a tiny fraction of what it produced before the Germans were defeated. The whole philosophy of economic nationalism, which is now universal throughout the world, is based upon the false belief that the economic interest of one nation is necessarily opposed to that of another. This false belief, by producing international hatreds and rivalries, is a cause of war, and in this way tends to make itself true, since when war has once broken out the conflict of national interests becomes only too real. If you try to explain to someone, say, in the steel industry, that possibly prosperity in other countries might be advantageous to him, you will find it quite impossible to make him see the argument, because the only foreigners of whom he is vividly aware are his competitors in the steel industry. Other foreigners are shadowy beings in whom he has no emotional interest. This is the psychological root of economic nationalism, and war, and manmade starvation, and all the other evils which will bring our civilization to a disastrous and disgraceful end unless men can be induced to take a wider and less hysterical view of their mutual relations.

Another passion which gives rise to false beliefs that are politically harmful is pride - pride of nationally, race, sex, class, or creed. When I was young France was still regarded as the traditional enemy of England, and I gathered as an unquestionable truth that one Englishman could defeat three Frenchmen. When Germany became the enemy this belief was modified and English people ceased to mention derisively the French propensity for eating frogs. But in spite of governmental efforts, I think few Englishmen succeeded in genuinely regarding the French as their equals. Americans and Englishmen, when they become acquainted with the Balkans, feel an astonished contempt when they study the mutual enmities of Bulgarians and Serbs, or Hungarians and Rumanians. It is evident to them that these enmities are absurd and that the belief of each little nation in its own superiority has no objective basis. But most of them are quite unable to see that the national pride of a Great Power is essentially as unjustifiable as that of a little Balkan country.

Pride of race is even more harmful than national pride. When I was in China I was struck by the fact that cultivated Chinese were perhaps more highly civilized than any other human beings that it has been my good fortune to meet. Nevertheless, I found numbers of gross and ignorant white men who despised even the best of the Chinese solely because their skins were yellow. In general, the British were more to blame in this than the Americans, but there were exceptions. I was once in the company of a Chinese scholar of vast learning, not only of the traditional Chinese kind, but also of the kind taught in Western universities, a man with a breadth of culture which I scarcely hoped to equal. He and I went together into a garage to hire a motor car. The garage proprietor was a bad type of American, who treated my Chinese friend like dirt, contemptuously accused him of being Japanese, and made my blood boil by his ignorant malevolence. The similar attitude of the English in India, exacerbated by their political power, was one of the main causes of the friction that arose in that country between the British and the educated Indians. The superiority of one race to another is hardly ever believed in for any good reason. Where the belief persists it is kept alive by military supremacy. So long as the Japanese were victorious, they entertained a contempt for the white man, which was the counterpart of the contempt that the white man had felt for them while they were weak. Sometimes, however, the feeling of superiority has nothing to do with military prowess. The Greeks despised the barbarians, even at times when the barbarians surpassed them in warlike strength. The more enlightened among the Greeks held that slavery was justifiable so long as the masters were Greek and the slaves barbarian, but that otherwise it was contrary to nature. The Jews had, in antiquity, a quite peculiar belief in their own racial superiority; ever since Christianity became the religion of the State Gentiles have had an equally irrational belief in their superiority to Jews. Beliefs of this kind do infinite harm, and it should be, but is not, one of the aims of education to eradicate them. I spoke a moment ago about the attitude of superiority that Englishmen have permitted themselves in their dealings with the inhabitants of India, which was naturally resented in that country, but the caste system arose as a result of successive invasions by 'superior' races from the North, and is every bit as objectionable as white arrogance.

The belief in the superiority of the male sex, which has now officially died out in Western nations, is a curious example of the sin of pride. There was, I think, never any reason to believe in any innate superiority of the male, except his superior muscle. I remember once going to a place where they kept a number of pedigree bulls, and what made a bull illustrious was the milk-giving qualities of his female ancestors. But if bulls had drawn up the pedigrees they would have been very different. Nothing would have been said about the female ancestors, except that they were docile and virtuous, whereas the male ancestors would have been celebrated for their supremacy in battle. In the case of cattle we can take a disinterested view of the relative merits of the sexes, but in the case of our own species we find this more difficult. Male superiority in former days was easily demonstrated, because if a woman questioned her husband's he could beat her. From superiority in this respect others were thought to follow. Men were more reasonable than women, more inventive, less swayed by their emotions, and so on. Anatomists, until the women had the vote, developed a number of ingenious arguments from the study of the brain to show that men's intellectual capacities must be greater than women's. Each of these arguments in turn was proved to be fallacious, but it always gave place to another from which the same conclusion would follow. It used to be held that the male fetus acquires a soul after six weeks, but the female only after three months. This opinion also has been abandoned since women have had the vote. Thomas Aquinas states parenthetically, as something entirely obvious, that men are more rational than women. For my part, I see no evidence of this. Some few individuals have some slight glimmerings of rationality in some directions, but so far as my observations go, such glimmerings are no commoner among men than among women.

Male domination has had some very unfortunate effects. It made the most intimate of human relations, that of marriage, one of master and slave, instead of one between equal partners. It made it unnecessary for a man to please a woman in order to acquire her as his wife, and thus confined the arts of courtship to irregular relations. By the seclusion which it forced upon respectable women it made them dull and uninteresting; the only women who could be interesting and adventurous were social outcasts. Owing to the dullness of respectable women, the most civilized men in the most civilized countries often became homosexual. Owing to the fact that there was no equality in marriage men became confirmed in domineering habits. All this has now more or less ended in civilized countries, but it will be a long time before either men or women learn to adapt their behavior completely to the new state of affairs. Emancipation always has at first certain bad effects; it leaves former superiors sore and former inferiors self-assertive. But it is to be hoped that time will bring adjustment in this matter as in others.

Another kind of superiority which is rapidly disappearing is that of class, which now survives only in Soviet Russia. In that country the son of a proletarian has advantages over the son of a bourgeois, but elsewhere such hereditary privileges are regarded as unjust. The disappearance of class distinction is, however, far from complete. In America everybody is of opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards. There is on this subject a profound and widespread hypocrisy whenever people talk in general terms. What they really think and feel can be discovered by reading second-rate novels, where one finds that it is a dreadful thing to be born on the wrong side of the tracks, and that there is as much fuss about a mesalliance as there used to be in a small German Court. So long as great inequalities of wealth survive it is not easy to see how this can be otherwise. In England, where snobbery is deeply ingrained, the equalization of incomes which has been brought about by the war has had a profound effect, and among the young the snobbery of their elders has begun to seem somewhat ridiculous. There is still a very large amount of regrettable snobbery in England, but it is connected more with education and manner of speech than with income or with social status in the old sense.

Pride of creed is another variety of the same kind of feeling. When I had recently returned from China I lectured on that country to a number of women's clubs in America. There was always one elderly woman who appeared to be sleeping throughout the lecture, but at the end would ask me, somewhat portentously, why I had omitted to mention that the Chinese, being heathen, could of course have no virtues. I imagine that the Mormons of Salt Lake City must have had a similar attitude when non-Mormons were first admitted among them. Throughout the Middle Ages, Christians and Mohammedans were entirely persuaded of each other's wickedness and were incapable of doubting their own superiority.

All these are pleasant ways of feeling 'grand'. In order to be happy we require all kinds of supports to our self-esteem. We are human beings, therefore human beings are the purpose of creation. We are Americans, therefore America is God's own country. We are white, and therefore God cursed Ham and his descendants who were black. We are Protestant or Catholic, as the case may be, therefore Catholics or Protestants, as the case may be, are an abomination. We are male, and therefore women are unreasonable; or female, and therefore men are brutes. We are Easterners, and therefore the West is wild and woolly; or Westerners, and therefore the East is effete. We work with our brains, and therefore it is the educated classes that are important; or we work with our hands, and therefore manual labor alone gives dignity. Finally, and above all, we each have one merit which is entirely unique, we are Ourself. With these comforting reflections we go out to do battle with the world; without them our courage might fail. Without them, as things are, we should feel inferior because we have not learnt the sentiment of equality. If we could feel genuinely that we are the equals of our neighbors, neither their betters nor their inferiors, perhaps life would become less of a battle, and we should need less in the way of intoxicating myth to give us Dutch courage.

One of the most interesting and harmful delusions to which men and nations can be subjected, is that of imagining themselves special instruments of the Divine Will. We know that when the Israelites invaded the Promised Land it was they who were fulfilling the Divine Purpose, and not the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizites, the Hivites, or the Jebbusites. Perhaps if these others had written long history books the matter might have looked a little different. In fact, the Hittites did leave some inscriptions, from which you would never guess what abandoned wretches they were. It was discovered, 'after the fact', that Rome was destined by the gods for the conquest of the world. Then came Islam with its fanatical belief that every soldier dying in battle for the True Faith went straight to a Paradise more attractive than that of the Christians, as houris are more attractive than harps. Cromwell was persuaded that he was the Divinely appointed instrument of justice for suppressing Catholics and malignants. Andrew Jackson was the agent of Manifest Destiny in freeing North America from the incubus of Sabbath-breaking Spaniards. In our day, the sword of the Lord has been put into the hands of the Marxists. Hegel thought that the Dialectic with fatalistic logic had given supremacy to Germany. 'No,'said Marx,'not to Germany,but to the Proletariat'. This doctrine has kinship with the earlier doctrines of the Chosen People and Manifest Destiny. In its character of fatalism it has viewed the struggle of opponent' as one against destiny, and argued that therefore the wise man would put himself on the winning side as quickly as possible. That is why this argument is such a useful one politically. The only objection to it is that it assumes a knowledge of the Divine purposes to which no rational man can lay claim, and that in the execution of them it justifies a ruthless cruelty which would be condemned if our programme had a merely mundane origin. It is good to know that God is on our side, but a little confusing when you find the enemy equally con vinced of the opposite. To quote the immortal lines of the poet during the first World War:

Gott strafe England, and God save the King.

God this, and God that, and God the other thing.

'Good God,' said God, 'I've got my work cut out.'

Belief in a Divine mission is one of the many forms of certainty that have afflicted the human race. I think perhaps one of the wisest things ever said was when Cromwell said to the Scots before the battle of Dunbar: 'I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.' But the Scots did not, and so he had to defeat them in battle. It is a pity that Cromwell never addressed the same remark to himself. Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. To know the truth is more difficult than most men suppose, and to act with ruthless determination in the belief that truth is the monopoly of their party is to invite disaster. Long calculations that certain evil in the present is worth inflicting for the sake of some doubtful benefit in the future are always to be viewed with suspicion, for, as Shakespeare says: 'What's to come is still unsure.' Even the shrewdest men are apt to be wildly astray if they prophesy so much as ten years ahead. Some people will consider this doctrine immoral, but after all it is the Gospel which says 'take no thought for the morrow'.

In public, as in private life, the important thing is tolerance and kindliness, without the presumption of a superhuman ability to read the future.

Instead of calling this essay 'Ideas that have harmed mankind', I might perhaps have called it simply 'Ideas have harmed mankind', for, seeing that the future cannot be foretold and that there is an almost endless variety of possible beliefs about it, the chance that any belief which a man may hold may be true is very slender. Whatever you think is going to happen ten years hence, unless it is something like the sun rising tomorrow that has nothing to do with human relations, you are almost sure to be wrong. I find this thought consoling when I remember some gloomy prophesies of which I myself have rashly been guilty.

But you will say: how is statesmanship possible except on the assumption that the future can be to some extent foretold} I admit that some degree of prevision is necessary, and I am not suggesting that we are completely ignorant. It is a fair prophecy that if you tell a man he is a knave and a fool he will not love you, and it is a fair prophecy that if you say the same thing to seventy million people they will not love you. It is safe to assume that cutthroat competition will not produce a feeling of good fellowship between the competitors. It is highly probable that if two States equipped with modern armament face each other across a frontier, and if their leading statesmen devote themselves to mutual insults, the population of each side will in time become nervous, and one side will attack for fear of the other doing so. It is safe to assume that a great modern war will not raise the level of prosperity even among the victors. Such generalizations are not difficult to know. What is difficult is to foresee in detail the long-run consequences of a concrete policy. Bismarck with extreme astuteness won three wars and unified Germany. The long run result of his policy has been that Germany has suffered two colossal defeats. These resulted because he taught Germans to be indifferent to the interests of all countries except Germany, and generated an aggressive spirit which in the end united the world against his successors. Selfishness beyond a point, whether individual or national, is not wise. It may with luck succeed, but if it fails failure is terrible. Few men will run this risk unless they are supported by a theory, for it is only theory that makes men completely incautious.

Passing from the moral to the purely intellectual point of view, we have to ask ourselves what social science can do in the way of establishing such causal laws as should be a help to statesmen in making political decisions. Some things of real importance have begun to be known, for example how to avoid slumps and largescale unemployment such as afflicted the world after the last war. It is also now generally known by those who have taken the trouble to look into the matter that only an international government can prevent war, and that civilization is hardly likely to survive more than one more great war, if that. But although these things are known, the knowledge is not effective; it has not penetrated to the great masses of men, and it is not strong enough to control sinister interests. There is, in fact, a great deal more social science than politicians are willing or able to apply. Some people attribute this failure to democracy, but-it seems to me to be more marked in autocracy than anywhere else. Belief in democracy, however, like any other belief, may be carried to the point where it becomes fanatical, and therefore harmful. A democrat need not believe that the majority will always decide wisely; what he must believe is that the decision of the majority, whether wise or unwise, must be accepted until such time as the majority decides otherwise. And this he believes not from any mystic conception of the wisdom of the plain man, but as the best practical device for putting the reign of law in place of the reign of arbitrary force. Nor does the democrat necessarily believe that democracy is the best system always and everywhere. There are many nations which lack the self-restraint and political experience that are required for the success of parliamentary institutions, where the democrat, while he would wish them to acquire the necessary political education, will recognize that it is useless to thrust upon them prematurely a system which is almost certain to break down. In politics, as elsewhere, it does not do to deal in absolutes; what is good in one time and place may be bad in another, and what satisfies the political instincts of one nation may to another seem wholly futile. The general aim of the democrat is to substitute government by general assent for government by force, but this requires a population that has undergone a certain kind of training. Given a nation divided into two nearly equal portions which hate each other and long to fly at each other's throats, that portion which is just less than half will not submit tamely to the domination of the other portion, nor will the portion which is just more than half show, in the moment of victory, the kind of moderation which might heal the breach.

The world at the present day stands in need of two kinds of things. On the one hand, organization - political organization for the elimination of wars, economic organization to enable men to work productively, especially in the countries that have been devastated by war, educational organization to generate a sane internationalism. On the other hand it needs certain moral qualities the qualities which have been advocated by moralists for many ages, but hitherto with little success. The qualities most needed are charity and tolerance, not some form of fanatical faith such as is offered to us by the various rampant isms. I think these two aims, the organizational and the ethical, are closely interwoven; given either the other would soon follow. But, in effect, if the world is to move in the right direction it will have to move simultaneously in both respects. There will have to be a gradual lessening of the evil passions which are the natural aftermath of war, and a gradual increase of the organizations by means of which mankind can bring each other mutual help. There will have to be a realization at once intellectual and moral that we are all one family, and that the happiness of no one branch of this family can be built securely upon the ruin of another. At the present time, moral defects stand in the way of clear thinking, and muddled thinking encourages moral defects. Perhaps, though I scarcely dare to hope it, the hydrogen bomb will terrify mankind into sanity and tolerance. If this should happen we shall have reason to bless its inventors.