British Socialism - An Examination of Its Doctrines, Policy, Aims and Practical Proposals
by J. Ellis Barker
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The celebrated cheapness argument of the Free Traders has little attraction for Socialists. "'Ah,' says the Free Trader, 'but think of the cheaper grocery and the cheaper boots!' Yes, let us think of them. What good does it do me, my countrymen, one of the unemployed, to think of the wealth of the Rothschilds, or the cheap boots and the cheap bread and the cheap clothes of those who benefit by these things? I am one of the nation. Are these things that are so good for the nation good for me? How can these cheap wares do me any good, who have no money at all? The fact is that Free Trade and cheap goods are only good for certain individuals. They are good for those who benefit by them."[782]

Cheapness means low wages. Cheapness may benefit that strange and mythical figure the abstract "consumer" of the text-books, but need not benefit the working man. Very likely it will harm him, because "Cheap goods mean cheap labour, and cheap labour means low wages. You have nothing but your labour to sell, and you are told that it will pay you to sell that cheaply."[783] "All commodities are produced by labour, therefore to drive commodities down to their cheapest rate must result in cheap labour."[784] Cheapness may fill those with joy who have money in their pocket and who do not care how cheap goods are produced. But incidentally the policy of Free Trade and of laisser faire, the policy of cheapness which benefits the consumer and takes no notice of the producer, encourages and causes sweating and untold misery to the workers. "Do you ever consider the lives of the people who make these marvellously cheap things? And do you ever think what kind of homes they have; in what kind of districts the homes are situated; and what becomes of those people when they are too ill, or too old, or too infirm to earn even four shillings as the price of a hundred and twelve hours' work?"[785]

Free Trade may have been beneficial in Cobden's time, when Great Britain was the chief manufacturing country in the world. But what is its effect under the changed conditions of the present time, and how will these changes affect her industries and her workers? "In the early days of our great trade the commercial school wished Britain to be the 'workshop of the world,' and for a good while she was the workshop of the world. But now a change is coming. Other nations have opened world-workshops, and we have to face competition. France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and America are all eager to take our coveted place as general factory, and China and Japan are changing swiftly from customers into rival dealers. Is it likely, then, that we can keep all our foreign trade, or that what we keep will be as profitable as it is at present?"[786] "Suppose we lost a lump of our export trade. Suppose the Japanese, Chinese, or Americans capture some of our markets. Where should we get our food? If we could not sell our exports, we could not buy imports of food. We are walking on thin ice, my countrymen. And if competition became keener, what would the champions of Free Trade do to meet it? They would say: 'We must sell our manufactures, or you will get no food. To sell our manufactures we must reduce the price. To reduce the price we must reduce the cost of production. To reduce the cost of production we must cut down wages.'"[787] "Free Trade means laisser faire all round, not only in regard to inanimate commodities, but in respect to that most important commodity of all—human labour power. Chinese, Japanese, Indians, negroes are all permitted under complete Free Trade to compete freely on their lower standard of life against the white man."[788] "A demand for a general reduction of wages is the end of the fine talk about big profits, national prosperity, and the 'workshop of the world.' The British workers are to emulate the thrift of the Japanese, the Hindoos, and the Chinese, and learn to live on boiled rice and water. Why? So that they can accept low wages and retain our precious foreign trade. Yes, that is the latest idea. With brutal frankness the workers of Britain have been told again and again that, 'If we are to keep our foreign trade, the British workers must accept the conditions of their foreign rivals,' and that is the result of our commercial glory! For that we have sacrificed our agriculture and endangered the safety of our Empire."[789]

The assertion of the Free Traders that Free Trade has made Great Britain prosperous is treated with scorn. "The Free Traders say we, the nation, are richer under this system than we should be under Protection. By employing ourselves in those occupations in which we can produce the cheapest article, we earn the most wealth in money value.—In money value.—They do not consider the twelve million underfed, the hundreds of thousands of unemployed. The nation, we, are richer. That is the test. Well, my countrymen, I think it is a damnable doctrine, and its results are damnable. The Free Traders boast of our wealth. Are twelve million underfed, a million starving children, a million paupers, an infantile death-rate of 150 per 1,000—are these signs of wealth? The question is not 'Is the nation wealthy?' but 'Are the people wealthy?' Judged by this standard, how poor a nation is this, my countrymen! The Free Traders tell us that we earn more wealth under Free Trade than we should under Protection. Again I ask: Who are we?"[790] A Socialist weekly lately said: "Great Britain, I understand, has recovered its prosperity; our exports are going strong, and our imports have nothing much to complain about. Prosperity? Why, Great Britain is simply rolling in—statistics."[791]

Socialists rightly demand that the effect of British fiscal policy should be judged not by its effect upon the wealth of the few, but upon the employment of the many, and they clearly recognise the destructive effect which Free Trade has upon the national industries. "Under Free Trade it is possible for a foreign trader to take trade away from a British trader. If for any reason we lost an important trade, or several small trades, our unemployed would naturally grow. The Free Trade theory that the capital and the labour in the lost trades will find other employment is simply theory. Suppose they didn't. The Free Trader has no answer except: Look at our enormous wealth. My countrymen, looking at another man's wealth does not feed me, clothe me, and house me."[792] "When men are thrown out of work, by competition, or depression, or any cause, they do not so easily 'transfer their services to some other new employment.' It is easy to make them do so—on paper. And when they do get a fresh job, is it always as good as the one lost? Do they not often lose all their belongings, and get into debt, while looking for that new employment which the Free Traders talk about so glibly? and do not capitalists often lose a good deal of capital before they give up the fight for the trade? Nevertheless, say the Free Traders, we, the nation, are richer under this system than we should be under Protection. By employing ourselves in those occupations in which we can produce the cheapest article, we earn the most wealth in money value."[793] To this argument the Socialists reply: "Does your moral law say it is right that men should be thrown on the streets to starve because other men in other countries produce goods 2-1/2 per cent. cheaper?"[794]

The statistics of an enormous foreign trade, which Free Traders triumphantly display for the edification of the masses, give, according to the Socialists, little consolation to the unemployed and ill-employed workers. "Figures, be they never so dazzling, and numbers, be they never so round, will not feed the hungry, house the homeless, or bring light and warmth into the drear, precarious lives of the mass of our people. The increase of trade means only an increase of production, and not necessarily of persons employed or wages gained. With the rapid concentration of industries and the perfection of labour-saving devices, production has been enormously increased without any corresponding increase of employment; in some cases, with an actual decrease of employment. What the workers are interested in is not the mere growth of profitable trade, but the extent to which the industries of their country afford them and their families a security of livelihood, and the reasonable comforts and recreations which their labour has more than earned."[795]

Most Socialists frankly own that Free Trade has been a failure. "In the House of Commons on March 12th, 1906, Mr. P. Snowden, M.P., said: 'Sixty years of Free Trade had failed to mitigate or palliate to any considerable extent the grave industrial and social evils which Free Traders and Protectionists alike were compelled to admit. Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman had admitted them when he said that 30 per cent. of our population were on the verge of hunger. He contended that whatever improvement had been effected in the condition of the people during the last sixty years was due to other causes than Free Trade."[796]

During 1907 the complaints among the Socialists about the effect of Free Trade upon employment have become louder. The fact that British unemployed workmen furnished an apparently inexhaustible supply of strike-breakers to Continental employers, that men fought like wild beasts at the registry offices in order to be allowed to act as strike-breakers in Hamburg and Antwerp, has shown the great prevalence of unemployment. Commenting hereon a Socialist monthly said in bitter irony, under the heading "British Blacklegs": "The intervention in the Antwerp dock-workers' strike of British workmen as blacklegs is a striking commentary on the prosperity of the people of this country. Under Free Trade we have been told—ad nauseam—by Liberal politicians that the British working-man is the most prosperous and well-fed human being on the face of the earth. He, with wages nearly double those of the best-paid Continental workman, with all kinds of provisions infinitely cheaper—thanks to Free Trade—than they can be procured elsewhere, is indeed 'God's Englishman.' It would be as unkind as rude to suggest that these honourable politicians had been lying. The only alternative conclusion to be arrived at is that the British workman is a most disinterested being, willing to sacrifice his prosperity and comfort in order to compel the miserably paid dockers of Antwerp and Hamburg to submit to the conditions against which they have revolted."[797] The action of Mr. Haldane, the present Secretary of State for War, in dismissing a large number of workmen from Woolwich Arsenal and giving a contract for 100,000 horseshoes for the British Army to an American firm on account of greater cheapness, prompted the following verses:

Mr. Haldane was smiling and suave As his views upon horseshoes he gave; He will buy from the Yanks (Who take orders with thanks). And believes that much money he'll save.

How thankful we all ought to be That this most kind and careful M.P. Thus shows Woolwich men They will be employed when They're off to the States—Q.E.D.[798]

Some Socialists take a very pessimistic view of the economic position of Great Britain. Mr. Hyndman said that "Great Britain had lost her commercial and industrial supremacy. The United States now stood first, Germany second, and Great Britain was forced into third place."[799] Many years ago some far-seeing Socialists had prophesied the coming industrial decline of Great Britain. "The notion that Britain can hold a monopoly of engineering, or of any other trade, must be given up. Britain cannot; countries that have been almost wholly agricultural are rapidly becoming manufacturers too."[800] Of late these pessimistic forecasts have become louder and more frequent. The progress of industrial countries can be measured, to some extent, by their output of coal, and "at no distant date Germany will probably also surpass our output and we will be relegated to third place."[801] This event will very likely take place about 1910. The statistics published by the British Board of Trade are deceptive. They leave out Germany's very large and constantly growing output of lignite, which amounts to about 60,000,000 tons per annum, and which increases Germany's coal output, as stated by the Board of Trade, by about 50 per cent.

British Socialists have found out that the Free Trade doctrine with its hypothetical "consumer" for a centre is opposed to science, to experience, and to common-sense. "The present system of trade is, in my opinion, opposed entirely to reason and justice. Nearly all our practical economists of to-day put the consumer first and the producer last. This is wrong. There can be no just or sane system which does not first consider the producer and then widely and equitably regulates the distribution of the things produced."[802] They recognise that Free Trade has caused ill-balanced production, and that, through the stagnation and decay of industries, men who ought to be engaged in production have been forced into more or less unprofitable and more or less useless employments. "What this country is rotting for is the want of more and better producers of necessaries—more and better market-gardeners, fruit-growers, foresters, general farmers, wool-workers, builders, and useful makers generally. Instead of which, the present system is giving us more and more non-producers—more and more shopkeepers, middlemen, commercial travellers, advertising agents, dealers, and wasters generally. According to the last census returns, we find that whilst the agricultural class shows a terrible decline, and the industrial class has barely kept pace with the population as a whole, on the other hand the commercial, or selling class, shows an increase of over 42 per cent. inside ten years."[803]

Free Trade has been tried and has been found wanting, and a return to Protection, which is in accordance with the needs of the times and the spirit of the workers, especially of the trade unionists, is inevitable. "Capitalist Free Trade is a manifest failure. Trade unionism is, in its essence, a very sturdy form of Protection, as we can see, if not here in Great Britain, certainly in America and in Australia."[804] "Society is constantly changing its form of living: every day some supposed old truth goes into the limbo of forgotten things, and, looking around us, those who have eyes to see and ears to hear may see and hear on all hands the death-knell of the old Manchester school of political economy."[805]

The claims of Free Trade and the cheap-food cry are disregarded and treated with contempt. "Free Traders talk about the folly of Protection. But Free Trade itself is a form of Protection. It protects the strong and the cunning against the weaker and the more honest. It protects the cheap and nasty against the good."[806] The founder of modern Socialism had stated already in 1847: "What is Free Trade under the present conditions of society? Freedom of capital."[807] Free Trade undoubtedly directly protects capital and leaves labour unprotected. "Your food will cost you more! I am to bow down to the idol of cheapness. I, one of the unemployed. What is cheapness to me, who have no money at all?"[808] "Your Manchester school treat all social and industrial problems from the standpoint of mere animal subsistence."[809] Declarations such as "The Social-Democratic Federation stands for universal free trade or free exchange and for the abolition of all indirect taxation,"[810] and "The only form of Protection advocated by the Social-Democratic Federation is the protection of the proletariat against the robbery and exploitation of the master-class"[811] have not the ring of seriousness about them.

Only very rarely are utterances in favour of Free Trade to be found in Socialist writings. However, frequently the demand is made that Tariff Reform and Socialism must go hand in hand, and doubt is expressed whether the Tariff Reform agitation is carried on for the benefit of the manufacturer or for that of the workers. "Mr. Chamberlain is not a Socialist. His Government will not be a Socialist Government. His plan would protect only the rich. This fiscal fight is a fight between capitalists as to who shall make the profits. It is not a fight for the benefit of the 'nation.' That is what they tell you. The capitalist who loses his trade through foreign competition is a Tariff Reformer. He wants Protection. The capitalist who depends on cheap foreign imports for raw material is a Free Trader. He does not want his prices raised."[812] "Preferential trade is the proposal of individual capitalists who desire to make profits out of our Imperial connections."[813]

The Fabian organ looks at Free Trade and Protection merely as a business proposition. "We care nothing for abstract Cobdenite economics, and are quite willing to welcome Tariff Reform if its advocates show us that it can be used as a lever for raising the standards of life and labour. The Labour party is therefore eminently wise in seeing how far it can be used for their advantage. Protectionism of the Australian Labour party is the right kind of Protectionism—Labour-Protectionism: a very different thing from the Capital-Protectionism which is (with a few exceptions) the characteristic mark of Tariff Reformers in this country."[814]

Some revolutionary Socialists are in favour of Free Trade because they hope that it will bring on a revolution in Great Britain. Their great leader, Karl Marx, taught sixty years ago, when Free Trade was being introduced: "The Protective system is nothing but a means of establishing manufacture upon a large scale in any given country. Besides this, the Protective system helps to develop free competition within a nation. Generally speaking, the Protective system in these days is conservative, while the Free Trade system works destructively. It breaks up old nationalities and carries the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie to the uttermost point. In a word, the Free Trade system hastens the social revolution. In this revolutionary sense alone I am in favour of Free Trade."[815] Those Socialist revolutionaries who wish to increase the misery of the people, hoping that unbearable poverty, owing to increasing unemployment and consequent want, will at least madden the people and cause a revolution—they remember that the great French revolutions were also brought about by unemployment and consequent widespread misery—are the most determined champions of Free Trade.


[766] Macdonald, Socialism, p. 16.

[767] Lecky, History of the Eighteenth Century, quoted in Fabian Essays in Socialism, p. 81.

[768] Ellis Barker, Modern Germany, p. 531.

[769] Fabian Essays in Socialism, pp. 80, 81.

[770] F. Engels in Marx, Discourse on Free Trade, p. 5.

[771] Fabian Essays in Socialism, p. 90.

[772] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, p. 154.

[773] Blatchford, Merrie England, p. 33.

[774] Blatchford, Merrie England, p. 33.

[775] Ibid. pp. 33, 34.

[776] Ibid. p. 35.

[777] Ibid. p. 34.

[778] Ibid. p. 12.

[779] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 100.

[780] Blatchford, Britain for the British, pp. 97, 98, and 118.

[781] Hall, Land, Labour, and Liberty, p. 11.

[782] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 82.

[783] Blatchford, Merrie England, p. 92.

[784] Ibid. p. 97.

[785] Ibid. p. 97.

[786] Blatchford, Britain for the British, p. 100.

[787] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 103.

[788] Justice, November 23, 1907.

[789] Blatchford, Britain for the British, p. 100.

[790] Suthers, My Right to Work, pp. 102, 103.

[791] Clarion, October 25, 1907.

[792] Suthers, My Right to Work, pp. 96, 97.

[793] Ibid. p. 101.

[794] Ibid. p. 104.

[795] Labour Leader, January 12, 1906.

[796] National Union Gleanings, vol. xxvi. January-June 1906, p. 220.

[797] Social-Democrat, September 1907, pp. 519, 520.

[798] Battersea Vanguard, November 1907, p. 5.

[799] Report, 27th Annual Conference Social-Democratic Federation 1907, p. 29.

[800] Mann, The International Labour Movement, p. 8.

[801] Jones, Mining Royalties, p. 14.

[802] Blatchford, Competition, p. 9.

[803] Hall, Land, Labour, and Liberty, pp. 9, 10.

[804] Justice, November 23, 1907.

[805] George Lansbury, The Principles of the English Poor Law, p. 16.

[806] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 104.

[807] Karl Marx, A Discourse on Free Trade, p. 39.

[808] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 100.

[809] Blatchford, Merrie England, p. 15.

[810] H. Quelch, The Social-Democratic Federation, p. 11.

[811] Ibid.

[812] Suthers, My Right to Work, p. 119.

[813] J. Ramsay Macdonald, Labour and the Empire, p. 97.

[814] New Age, October 10, 1907, p. 369.

[815] Karl Marx, A Discourse on Free Trade, p. 42.



The attitude of Socialists towards education is a peculiar one. They see in it apparently less an agency for distributing knowledge and discovering ability than an instrument for the propagation of Socialism and an institution for relieving parents of all cost and responsibility for the maintenance and the bringing up of their children. Hence most Socialists, in discussing education, consider it rather from the point of view of those who are desirous of State relief than from the point of view of those who wish for good education.

Among the "Immediate Reforms" demanded by the Social-Democratic Federation, the following embody its education programme: "Elementary education to be free, secular, industrial, and compulsory for all classes. The age of obligatory school attendance to be raised to sixteen. Unification and systematisation of intermediate and higher education, both general and technical, and all such education to be free. Free maintenance for all attending State schools. Abolition of school rates; the cost of education in all State schools to be borne by the national Exchequer."[816] An influential Socialist writer demands: "Education should be fee-less from top to bottom of the ladder, the universities included."[817] In accordance with the Socialist views regarding the relation of the sexes, which are described in Chapter XXV. "Socialism and Woman, the Family and the Home,"[818] most Socialists demand co-education and identical education for both sexes. "Under Socialism boys and girls will receive exactly the same training and exercise in the fundamentals of a liberal education. Success in examinations of whatever character shall bring equal reward and distinction. There will be no separation into boys' classes and girls' classes. The instruction being the same, they shall receive it at the same time."[819] "Education will be the same for all and for both sexes. The sexes will be separated only in cases in which functional differences make it absolutely necessary."[820]

Socialists see in the schools chiefly a means whereby to abolish parental responsibilities and to secure "free State maintenance" for all children. In claiming free State maintenance, Socialists grossly exaggerate with regard to the number of underfed children. "It is doubtful if half the children at present attending school are physically fit to be educated, and medical men of eminence have unhesitatingly expressed the opinion that the alarming increase of insanity, which is one of the most terrible characteristics of modern social life, is largely, if not entirely, due to the attempt to educate those who are too ill-nourished to stand the mental strain that even the most elementary school-training involves. As a remedy for this, the Social-Democratic Federation advocates a complete system of free State maintenance for all children attending school. This is an essential corollary of compulsory education. Only complete free maintenance will meet the requirements of the case."[821] "All children, destitute or not, should be fed, and fed without charge, at the expense of the State or municipality. We propose that the regular school course should include at least one meal a day. Thus only can we make sure that all the children who need feeding will be fed."[822] "To cram dates into the poor little skulls of innocent children when you ought to be cramming dates down their throats is not a right thing to do, especially when you remember that the most precious thing in this world is a human life, and when you realise that you are murdering systematically thousands of children every year because they cannot get proper food—they cannot even get pure milk in the great cities of our land. One of our first duties in this nation is to see that every child has a right to the best and most ample provision for its physical needs. That should be the primary charge upon the nation. I am not here to-night to discuss the great question of the State maintenance of children. Personally I am absolutely in favour of it."[823] Experience of other nations has taught that the institution of free meals for necessitous school-children is immediately and very grossly abused by unscrupulous parents easily able to feed their children. From Milan, for instance, we learn that "When in 1900 this service began, meals were given on only 133 days out of a possible 174 days of school attendance. The outlay was then set down at 98,300 francs. During the second year, however, free meals were served on 153 days and cost 149,337 francs. In 1903 the free meals cost the municipality 247,766 francs and 277,603 in 1904. The outlay will now exceed 300,000 francs, and the number of pupils who manage to establish their claim to be fed gratuitously is ever increasing."[824] British experiments of free feeding on a smaller scale have shown that "In the large majority of cases the children who are sent to school hungry are so sent, not by honest and poor parents, but by those who have an imperfectly developed sense of parental responsibility and are willing to shuffle out of the duty of providing for their children if they think anybody else will undertake it for them. These parents are not in need of assistance—they are perfectly well able to feed their own children; but if free meals can be had for the asking, they are not too proud to tell the child to ask. It relieves the mother of the trouble of preparing a meal for the child, and the money saved can be used for some more attractive form of personal expenditure."[825] At Birmingham, for example, numerous applications were made by the teachers to the relieving officers on behalf of children under their care, but when inquiries were made into the circumstances of the parents it was found that many of them were earning over thirty shillings a week, and in one case the parent was in constant employment with an average wage of 3l. 17s. 6d. a week.[826] In Bolton, where during the winter of 1904-5 a charitable society provided free meals for children in certain centres of the town, it was found that the parents of some of the children who were partaking of the free meals so provided, and even reported as being underfed, were in receipt of as much as from 2l. to 3l. a week.[827] In Fulham (London) "More than one hundred names were sent to the Boards of Guardians of children who were adjudged to be underfed and were receiving meals from public charity. In hardly one of these cases did the relieving officer consider the complaint well founded. One family was found by him to be earning an income of 4l. 4s. a week, and yet the children were sent to share in the charitable meals."[828] "Some of the parents who sent their children to the Johanna Street school in Lambeth said that they did not give their children food before going to school as they knew that if they did not do so they would receive it at the school, as the children of other people got food there and they did not see why theirs should not too."[829] The fact that Socialists grossly exaggerate in giving the proportion of underfed school children, and in ascribing the cause of underfeeding solely to the poverty of parents, is clear to all who have studied the problem of poverty. Mr. Cyril Jackson, the chief inspector of public elementary schools, for instance, in summarising the evidence of the women inspectors appointed to inquire into the age of admission of infants into elementary schools, says: "The question of underfed children cannot fail to be touched in the course of such an inquiry. It is interesting to find a general agreement that it is unsuitable rather than insufficient feeding that is responsible for sickly children. Want of sufficient sleep, neglect of personal cleanliness, badly ventilated homes, are contributory causes of the low physical standard reached."[830]

Some Socialists, though only a few, have been honest enough to express similar views. A Fabian tract, for instance, says: "We have said that universal free feeding appears to be the only way in which the evil of improper (as distinct from insufficient) feeding can be removed. At present many children whose parents get fairly good wages cannot feed their children properly, either because they do not know what is the best food to give, or because they have not the time or the skill to prepare it. Manifestly the case of these will not be met by any system which feeds only the patently starved and destitute child. But it will be met both directly and indirectly by a universal system; directly, because the children, whatever they get at home, will at least get proper food at school; indirectly, because it will serve to educate the next generation of mothers in the knowledge of what is the best and most economical way of providing for their families. This is not the place to go into the very large question of what is the ideal diet for a child. All that need be insisted on here is that the provision should be bought and prepared under expert advice, and that consideration of cheapness should never be allowed to count as against the needs of nourishment. Every child should receive at least one solid meal in the middle of the day, and perhaps a glass of hot milk on arrival in the morning."[831]

The "hungry children" argument is a valuable one for purposes of agitation, and it is used by the Socialists to the fullest extent. The workers are told: "The children are too ill provided for to be educated. This is not because the worker is idle or thriftless, but actually because he is too industrious and produces so much that his labour as a producer is at a discount. It is objected that to provide free State maintenance for all the children would be to destroy parental responsibility. But it is too late in the day to urge this objection, seeing that the State has taken upon itself the education of the children and is prepared to undertake, and does undertake, their maintenance and bringing-up when the parents are so careless of their responsibilities as to neglect them entirely."[832] "The old-fashioned prejudice fostered by the capitalists and their hangers-on that it is degrading to accept anything from the State is fast dying out"[833]—That workmen who are daily told by their leaders that it is unreasonable to expect that they should bring up their children frequently desert their family is natural. Every year many thousands of wives and children are deserted. At every police station the names of such men may be seen posted up, and those desertions are undoubtedly largely due to Socialistic teaching.

The real object of the Socialists in demanding free maintenance for the children is not humanity. In making that demand they do not even think of the welfare of the children, as the following extracts will prove, which clearly reveal the real object of their demands. "Free maintenance for children should be accepted by trade unionists as tending to raise the standard of comfort. All should demand it with the object of personally benefiting themselves."[834] "In nine cases out of ten it is the hungry child who breaks the back of the strike. Let them feel assured that their children's dinner is secure, and they will continue the struggle to a victorious end."[835] "Free maintenance for children would be a tax on that surplus wealth which the capitalists and the aristocracy share between them. To the worker free maintenance for his children would be equivalent to an additional income. His standard of living would rise. No doubt the capitalist would reduce his wages as much as possible, but the worker would then be able to fight him on more equal terms. His children being well cared for, he would be able to hold out against the capitalist for an indefinite period."[836] "We counsel the workers to accept the offer as a small payment on account of a huge debt, but to accept it with no more gratitude than is shown by the class which is maintained in luxury, parents and children alike, by the collective industry of the workers. By dint of organisation they may be able very soon to exact payment of a more substantial sum—State maintenance, to wit."[837]

The doctrines above given have unfortunately been accepted by many organised workers. A resolution of the Trades Union Congress at Leeds, in September 1904, asserted:

"That having regard to the facts (a) that twelve millions of the population are living in actual poverty, or close to the poverty line; (b) that physical deterioration of the people is the inevitable result of this; (c) that it is impossible to teach starving and underfed children, this Congress urges the Government to introduce, without further delay, legislation instructing education authorities to provide at least one free meal a day for children attending State-supported schools."

A resolution passed at the Scottish Miners' Conference on December 30, 1904, stated:

"That this Conference is in favour of State maintenance of children, but that in the meantime we identify ourselves with the movement in favour of free meals for school children."

Resolutions passed by the National Labour Conference on the State maintenance of children, at the Guildhall, City of London, Friday, January 20, 1905, declared:

"That this Conference of delegates from British Labour Organisations, Socialist and other bodies, declares in favour of State maintenance of children as a necessary corollary of universal compulsory education and as a means of partially arresting that physical deterioration of the industrial population of this country which is now generally recognised as a grave national danger. As a step towards such State maintenance this Conference, supporting the decision of the last Trades Union Congress upon this question, calls upon the Government to introduce without further delay such legislative measures as will enable the local authorities to provide meals for children attending the common schools, to be paid for out of the National Exchequer; and in support of this demand calls attention to the evidence given by Dr. Eichholz, the official witness of the Board of Education on the Committee on Physical Deterioration, in which he stated that the question of food is at the base of all the evils of child degeneracy, and that if steps were taken to ensure the proper adequate feeding of the children the evil will rapidly cease."

A Socialist has worked out in a widely read book the cost of free education and State maintenance, which will require a yearly expenditure of 458,750,000l., a sum four times as large as the entire national Budget. This outlay does not deter him. Combining the State schools with State workshops, he promises that they will yield a profit of exactly 105,850,000l. a year.[838] This scheme should recommend itself to Chancellors of the Exchequer in search of a few millions.

Another imaginative Socialist would make the abolition of all existing languages part of his educational scheme: "Socialism will steadfastly aim at the adoption of a universal language, be it English or volapuk. All the modern languages—and for the matter of that, the ancient also—are but jungles of verbiage which retard, rather than facilitate, human thought and progress. They have grown up anyhow; but what we now want is a made language, constructed on scientific principles, and so easy of comprehension that any intelligent person can acquire it in a few months."[839]

Across the educational, as most other, proposals of British Socialists should be written in large letters, Utopia!


[816] See Appendix.

[817] Davidson, Democrat's Address, p. 5.

[818] See p. 330.

[819] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, pp. 39, 40.

[820] Bebel, Woman, p. 218.

[821] Quelch, The Social-Democratic Federation, p. 8.

[822] Fabian Tract, After Bread, Education, No. 120, p. 9.

[823] Kirtlan, Socialism for Christians, p. 8.

[824] Free Feeding of School Children, p. 23.

[825] Cox, Socialism, p. 16.

[826] Local Government Board Report, Cd. 3105, p. 495.

[827] Ibid. p. 506.

[828] Times, March 17, 1906.

[829] Cox, Socialism, pp. 16, 17.

[830] Cd. 2726, p. iii.

[831] Fabian Tract, After Bread, Education, No. 120, p. 14.

[832] Quelch, Social-Democratic Federation, p. 9.

[833] Socialism and Trade Unionism, p. 5.

[834] Socialism and Trade Unionism, p. 5.

[835] Fabian Tract, After Bread, Education, No. 120, p. 11.

[836] Socialism and Trade Unionism, p. 5.

[837] Watts, State Maintenance for Children, p. 4.

[838] Richardson, How It Can Be Done, pp. 50-61.

[839] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 166.



Socialism thrives upon the poverty, unhappiness, and misery of the workers. Starving and desperate men may easily be aroused to rebellion. Contented men will not become Socialists. Therefore it lies in the interest of the professional Socialist agitators to maintain poverty and misery among the masses, and if possible to increase it. With this object in view, many Socialist agitators oppose all measures which are likely to turn the propertyless wage-earner—the "wage slave" as the Socialists like to call him, in order to exasperate him—into an owner of property, a small capitalist. That might make him a contented man. Therefore, as we have seen in Chapter XVIII., the Socialist leaders strenuously oppose "for scientific reasons" the creation of peasant proprietors. They distinctly encourage improvidence and oppose, also "for scientific reasons," providence, thrift, and abstinence among the workers. The philosopher of British Socialism informs us: "Thrift, the hoarding up of the products of labour, it is obvious, must be without rhyme or reason, except on a capitalist basis,"[840] and the Socialists do not wish the workers to become capitalists.

Some Socialists were indiscreet enough to confess that they opposed providence, thrift, and temperance among the workers, as practised especially by the members of trade unions, co-operative societies, and friendly societies, because these are likely to elevate the masses and rob the Socialist leaders of supporters. We read, for instance: "The so-called thrift and temperance movements are essentially antagonistic to Socialism."[841] "The trade co-operator canonises the bourgeois virtues, but Socialist vices, of 'over-work' and 'thrift.'"[842] "Co-operation, though regarded by the individual trader as an enemy, does not necessarily enter into conflict with the capitalist at all. Indeed, so far as it transforms workmen into shareholders, it forms a bulwark for capitalism, the same as the creation of small landholders or any other class of small proprietors would do."[843] "Co-operation, as carried on in England, is an obstacle and a danger to the Socialist cause. Being capitalist concerns pure and simple, co-operative societies are subjected to the same influences as all other capitalistic ventures."[844] "The friendly societies are the least promising of any of the democratic movements from the political point of view. The doctrine of 'thrift' also has been preached very vigorously to them. There is at present little prospect of the friendly societies identifying themselves with the general political labour movement of the country."[845] The Anarchist Congress of 1869 at Marseilles stated very truly: "La cooperation demoralise les ouvriers en faisant des bourgeois."[846]

Now let us take note of the "scientific" arguments with which British Socialists oppose providence, thrift, and sobriety among the workers.

"Under present circumstances, the more frugal, thrifty, and abstemious working people as a class become, the more cheaply they have to live, the more cheaply they have to sell their labour power to the capitalist class, wages being determined by the cost of subsistence."[847] "Temperance, thrift, industry only serve to make labour an easier or more valuable prey to capital. If they reduce the cost of living in any particular, they but reduce the cost of labour to the capitalist."[848] "If all the workers were very thrifty, sober, industrious, and abstemious they would be worse off in the matter of wages than they are now."[849] "The mere cheapening of the cost of living only tends to reduce wages, and thus cannot advantage the worker."[850] "If all workers were to become teetotalers and vegetarians, wages would inevitably fall to the wretched level, perchance, of Oriental countries like India and China, where thrift in every form is carried to incredible lengths."[851] "Is it not proved that the Hindoos and the Chinese, who are the most temperate and the most thrifty people in the world, are always the worst paid? And don't you see that if the Lancashire workers would live upon rice and water, the masters would soon have their wages down to rice and water point?"[852]

The foregoing arguments, which are based on the "Iron Law of Wages," of which a refutation has been given in Chapter IV.,[853] may sound plausible to the unthinking workman. They may infuriate him and therefore serve the ends of the Socialist agitator, but they are utterly false and dishonest, as all Socialist leaders know. Wages depend partly on the supply and demand for labour, partly on the productiveness of labour. In machineless countries, such as China and India, the average worker produces very little, and the supply of workers is unlimited. Hence their wages are low. If the Socialistic arguments were right, Chinese and Hindoos could double or treble their wages by becoming drunkards, and English navvies could earn 5l. a week by agreeing among themselves to drink champagne instead of beer. If the cost of subsistence determined the rate of wages, the wages for all workers in London ought to be approximately the same. In reality, however, we find that wages range in London from 3l. 10s. to 18s. per week. The most skilled workers receive the highest, the least skilled the lowest, wages. It is therefore evident that wages are determined by the cost of subsistence only in the case of the least skilled workers, provided an unlimited supply of such workers and unrestricted competition among them for work drive down their wages to the bare existence level.

Providence, thrift, and temperance are habitually attacked by Socialists not only on "scientific" but also on moral and philosophical grounds. For instance, Mr. Keir Hardie tells us: "As for thrift, much which passes for such at present is little different from soul-destroying parsimony. Men and women starve their years of healthy activity that they may have enough to keep alive an attenuated old age scarcely worth preserving."[854] In other words, he advises the workers to spend all they earn and to become paupers in their old age. A very influential Socialist writer says: "A man by starving his mind and his body is able to save money. He borrows books instead of buying them. He starves his emotional nature by neglecting to go to the theatre, because to go to the theatre costs money. He doesn't go to concerts because concerts cost money. He is a teetotaler, not so much because he wishes to keep his stomach clean and his head clear, but because his ideal men are teetotalers, grad-grinds, who mortify the flesh in order to save. And the money is saved with a bad intention. The aim is either to start independently in business, or else to secure shares in the undertaking paying the highest dividends compatible with security. The object of this man is to leave his class behind him, and to live upon labour rather than by it"[855]—According to this authority it would be immoral for the rural labourer to save in order to be able to till his own field and to live in his own cottage; it would be immoral for the artisan to endeavour to have a workshop and a house of his own; it would be immoral for the worker to put his savings into a savings-bank or a friendly society, or some limited company, and to live upon his savings during his old age. It would almost seem as if from the Socialist point of view the only moral way of obtaining property was by plundering the rich. "Waste all you earn and die in the workhouse" is at present their advice to the worker, and the worker who follows that advice and who lives from hand to mouth easily becomes a pauper. For him a short spell of unemployment means starvation and despair. This is evidently a state of affairs which Socialist agitators favour because it will increase their following.—Another prominent Socialist writer says: "Among the many quack remedies for poverty, the most venerable and the most illusive is thrift or saving. The habit of saving is always represented by the rich as the highest of social virtues; but it is one they are careful rarely to practise themselves"[856]—If the rich are so wasteful, how is it then that the national capital, held by the rich, as the Socialists tell us, has increased from 4,000,000,000l. to 12,000,000,000l. during the last sixty years, notwithstanding huge capital losses caused by suffering industries? The decay of agriculture alone has caused a capital loss which approximates 2,000,000,000l.

The great co-operative movement in England was created by the celebrated Rochdale Pioneers, the name given to the weavers of Rochdale who started it. On a rainy night in November 1843, twelve men met in the back room of a mean inn and commenced the co-operative movement by organising themselves as "The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers." They agreed to pay twenty pence a week into a common fund, but only a few of these twelve men were able to pay their pence that evening. They began by buying a little tea and sugar at wholesale prices, which they sold to their members at little more than cost. In a year their number had grown to twenty-eight, and they had collected 28l., with which they rented a little store and stocked it with 15l. worth of flour. During the first year they made no profit. In its second year the society had seventy-four members, 181l. in funds, 710l. of business, and made 22l. profit, 2-1/2 per cent. of which was used as a fund for education.[857]

Gradually but constantly growing, this movement has branched out in every direction, and the result is that there are now in Great Britain 1,685 co-operative societies with 2,263,562 members. These co-operative societies are manufacturers, ship owners, bankers, brokers, factors, merchants, millers, printers, bookbinders, and shopkeepers of every kind on the largest scale. The rapidly growing assets of the various undertakings represent a value of about 50,000,000l., the combined nominal capital comes to 42,813,348l., and the yearly net profits amount to about 11,000,000l., or to more than 35 per cent. per annum on the subscribed capital. In 1905 the net profits amounted to 37.4 per cent., in 1906 to 36.4 per cent. on the share capital.

Capitalised at 4 per cent, the co-operative societies represent an investment value of about 300,000,000l., or about 100l. per co-operator. The societies maintain an army of 107,727 employees. Their progress during the last decade may be seen at a glance from the following figures:

Total Trade of British Co-operative Societies.

1896 L58,729,643 1901 88,394,304 1906 110,085,826[858]

Already the income of the co-operative societies is twice as large as the interest paid on the whole of the deposits in the British savings-banks. There is no reason why the co-operative movement should not further grow and increase, and it is to be hoped that it will further extend in every direction to the benefit of the industrious and thrifty workers. There ought to be no propertyless workers in Great Britain.

The British co-operative societies have proved to the dismay of the Socialists that working men may improve their position unaided and may become capitalists. They have proved that thrift and ability create prosperity, and they have therefore incurred the hatred of the Socialist agitators. The philosopher of British Socialism complains: "Co-operation so far from being Socialism is the very antithesis of Socialism. Trade co-operation is simply a form of industrial partnership, in which the society of co-operators is in the relation of capitalist to the outer world. The units of the society may be equal amongst themselves, but their very existence in this form presupposes exploitation going on above, below, and around them."[859] The editor of "Justice" seems to regret that co-operation encourages and rewards ability and thrift, for he says: "Co-operation is most valuable to those among the workers who are best off. The artisan earning a regular weekly wage has not only a better opportunity of becoming a member of the co-operative society than the more precariously employed and more poorly paid labourer, but the advantage to him is greater by reason of his having more money to spend at the store. In many cases the poorer members have to sell out, and then the affair becomes simply a joint-stock company of the more fortunate, the race being once more to the swift, the battle to the strong."[860] "The ordinary workman can if he likes become a shareholder in the "co-op." So he may become a shareholder in a railway if he likes; but this does not make the capitalist domination of our railways less a fact. In a co-operative store, as elsewhere, the man with 2l. a week is worth just twice as much as the man with 1l. Co-operation as a factor in social progress has effected nothing, and is absolutely valueless except to a certain extent as an educational influence."[861]

Some Socialist writers show their hatred of the co-operative societies and the co-operators by bitter and almost vicious attacks upon them. One of them complains: "Instances of successful co-operation in production have, as yet, been very few, and their moral results disappointing. Their general tendency has been, not to raise the workers as a class, but to raise a certain number of prudent—I had almost said selfish—workmen out of their class, and so to constitute a Labour Caste. Such co-operators employ and exploit other workmen even more mercilessly than the capitalist employers, and in struggles between Labour and Capital their sympathies have nearly always been on the side of the capitalists."[862] Another says: "The Rochdale Pioneers hire and fleece labourers in the usual manner. Experience teaches, indeed, that such associations are the hardest taskmasters. Their interest becomes identified with Capital; and if ever circumstances should make it easier for the smarter labourers to start companies of the kind successfully, the creation of a Labour Caste would be the result. In a general dispute between Labour and Capital these associations, instead of being a vanguard of Labour, will go over to the side of Capital. The sons of Rochdale Pioneers, living in luxury, and imitating the airs and fashions of the wealthy of all times, point the moral. Where, then, is the gain to the labouring class? No, instead of advising workmen to save and to invest their savings in such risky enterprises, it would be much better to advise them to put their savings into their own flesh and bone."[863]

The foregoing extracts, and many similar ones which might be given, display a regrettable hatred of ability, providence, and thrift—qualities which, it is true, are not easily reconcilable with the tenets of Socialism.

The British nation spends on intoxicating drink about 160,000,000l. per annum. Out of this enormous sum—a sum much larger than the national Budget—between 100,000,000l. and 120,000,000l. is spent by the working class alone. Drink is a fearful evil in Great Britain. The average working man spends every year two months' earnings in drink, and as there are many moderate drinkers and abstainers, there must be many who spend three months' earnings and more—that is, one-quarter of their wages, sometimes one-half, and sometimes more than one-half, on intoxicants. According to some of the foremost authorities on social science, and according to some of the most prominent medical men, drink is chiefly responsible for poverty, underfeeding, ill-health, and racial degeneration. Nevertheless, the British Socialists, instead of condemning drunkenness, rather encourage, or at least excuse, this terrible vice; and again, the universally discredited Iron Law of Wages is solemnly brought forth to prove "scientifically" that sobriety and abstinence on the part of the workers would not benefit the workers but the capitalists. "We are not prepared to admit that, if all workers were to become teetotalers, as I am, the 140,000,000l. now spent on intoxicants would benefit the workers to any appreciable extent. On the contrary, all economists tell us that wages always tend towards the minimum subsistence point—the level at which the wage-slave is willing to subsist and to reproduce his kind."[864]

The Iron Law of Wages has been abandoned by all scientists because of its manifest absurdity. However, supposing the Iron Law of Wages were true, it would not by any means follow that general abstinence would lead to a lower rate of wages. Non-abstemious wage-earners live frequently in the most wretched homes, and are dressed in rags because they spend all they can spend in drink. If they should become sober, they would find better houses, better clothing, better furniture as indispensable as drink is now to them. In reality abstinence, instead of lowering wages, would probably increase them very considerably in accordance with the increased productive power of the worker. It is a general experience that the steady and abstemious worker commands a higher wage than his more or less drunken, unreliable, and untidy colleague.

Socialists are fond of excusing drunkenness by arguing that the worker gets drunk "because he is physically and mentally exhausted, used up with the day's work";[865] "because the wretched social condition of the mass of workers of this country—the long hours, the uncertainty of work, the insufficient food and clothing, and degrading home-life, which are their daily portion—makes drunkards."[866] Another well-known writer states: "If thousands of the workers drink to drown the cares and sorrows of their dreary, degraded, wretched existence, they do so at the expense of going without some of the merest necessaries."[867] This is, unfortunately, only too true. But it is not true that "Our damnable, infernal, profit-mongering system manufactures and produces drunkards because huge profits can be made out of the business for the brewer and the publican."[868]

The above statements, which excuse drunkenness as something natural and unavoidable in Great Britain, are untrue. All civilised countries are based upon the private possession of capital, and in all large profits can be made by brewers and publicans. Now, if it were true, as has been stated in the foregoing, that hard work and long hours cause drunkenness, drunkenness should be greater in the United States, Germany, and France than in Great Britain, for in these countries and most others workers work much harder and work much longer hours than in Great Britain. The British nation should therefore be the most sober nation, but it is in reality the most drunken nation, a fact which is known to all who have studied this question.

The majority of British Socialist leaders apparently desire to keep the workers drunken, for every suggestion that the worker might improve his position by greater moderation in drinking is passionately denounced by them. In a speech Andrew Carnegie mentioned that "he had employed forty-five thousand men at one time, and his experience was that the man who drank was good for drinking and for nothing else. He had nothing to do with the man who drank. He did not believe in the Submerged Tenth, but what he wanted to do, remembering he was a working man himself, was to take an honest, sober, well-doing, hard-working man by the hand and help him if he could. He only wanted to help those who could help themselves." Commenting on this speech, one of the Socialist weeklies said: "According to the foregoing, no drunkard, no matter how chronic, could display a greater specimen of human demoralisation than does that reported speech of Dr. Andrew Carnegie depict himself; soulless beyond imagination almost, in spite of his self-advertised respect and sympathy for the honest, sober working man." In the same article we read: "Total abstainers are capable of viler actions than those of certain drunkards, while the profoundest depth of ignorance and incapacity to think are attributes of millions of total abstainers."[869] When Mr. John Burns advised the workmen to help themselves by abstaining from drink and gambling, the whole Socialist press raged, and he was called a traitor to the cause and an agent of capitalism.

Only rarely does a Socialist rebuke drunkenness. In "Socialism for Christians" we find a passage: "As long as you have a democracy sodden in drink you will have a democracy under the hoofs of capitalists. There is no hope for the democracy as long as it is content to grovel before the great pewter pot which it has made into a god."[870] However, that passage was not penned by a professional Socialist, but by a clergyman, an outsider, and an amateur in Socialism.

While British Socialist leaders try to degrade the masses and to increase their misery by encouraging them to waste a very large part of their wages in drink, instead of spending the money on necessary food and clothing, on sufficient living room and furniture, foreign Socialists try to elevate their followers and to combat the drinking evil among them. The foremost Belgian Socialist, who constantly agitates against drunkenness, wrote:

"How often have we not found in Socialist pamphlets, or in our newspapers, statements such as the following: 'Misery produces alcoholism,' or 'Drink is a consequence of capitalism, and will only disappear with the capitalistic system itself.' These are comfortable theories indeed, but they unfortunately come in conflict with the facts. The labourer must not only regard alcohol as one of the causes of poverty, demoralisation, and degeneration, but as a canker which destroys his strength and powers of resistance. We therefore address to all our comrades this warning: The more earnest you are and the stricter towards yourself, the greater will be the authority you bring to bear upon the branding of this evil. Everything which decreases the consumption of alcohol increases the helping powers of labour movements, raises the moral tone of the working class, and gives it fresh strength in its struggle for emancipation. Therefore all Socialistic societies should break away from out-of-date ideas with regard to alcoholism, and leave off expecting results from a social revolution which they themselves can attain to-day. It is our bounden duty to declare war against alcohol. War to the knife, for it is all the more dangerous as it dwells in our midst in the guise of friendship. When addicted to drink, the working class cannot do what must be done. Alcohol, by its paralysing qualities, naturally leads to fatigue, negligence, weakness, and impotence. Only those who can rule themselves are able and worthy to rule the world."[871]

The German Socialist leaders also endeavour to elevate their followers by fighting drunkenness. At the Congress at Essen in 1907, a resolution was unanimously passed by the German Social-Democratic party in which various recommendations were made to the Government regarding the diminution of drunkenness, and which concluded with the words: "The working-class organisations are invited to suppress in their meeting all compulsion to consume alcoholic liquors, to put a stop to its sale in schools, in registry offices, and in places where collections are made for strikers, and to inform children and young men by word of mouth and by the Press of the danger of alcohol, and to watch over drinking habits which lead to the abuse of alcohol."[872] A German Socialist periodical recently wrote: "Workers who drink neglect their duties towards their family, drink away their wages, bring disorder into their unions, lose the sympathy of the quiet and industrious citizens, become the slaves of the public-house, and damage Socialism. Therefore Socialists should abstain absolutely from drinking intoxicating drinks. Ordinary capitalism exploits the proletariat, but does not poison them too in their own persons and in their posterity. But alcohol does both; it lames the power of a whole nation and leads to the degeneration of the race, as does opium in China. The drinker loses his self-respect, his higher aims as a human being. It must be made a fundamental principle of the German Social-Democratic party that the proletariat can vanquish capital only after it has first vanquished drink. The sooner that victory is won, the sooner the fate of society will be decided."[873]

Continental Socialist leaders recommend to their followers thrift, sobriety, and co-operation. British Socialist leaders, who have taken the whole of their doctrines from the Continent, condemn "on scientific and moral grounds," thrift, sobriety, and co-operation.


[840] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 95.

[841] Bax and Quelch, A New Catechism, p. 40.

[842] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 94.

[843] Quelch, Trade Unionism, p. 16.

[844] Social-Democrat, April 1907, p. 212.

[845] Penny, Political Labour Movement, p. 11.

[846] Roscher, Politik, p. 575.

[847] Bax and Quelch, A New Catechism, p. 41.

[848] Quelch, Economics of Socialism, p. 16.

[849] Blatchford, Britain for the British, p. 127.

[850] Quelch, Economics of Socialism, p. 16.

[851] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 107.

[852] Blatchford, Britain for the British, p. 129.

[853] See p. 53 ff, ante.

[854] Keir Hardie, Can a Man be a Christian on a Pound a Week? p. 13.

[855] Leatham, The Class War, p. 8.

[856] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 105.

[857] Bliss, Encyclopedia of Social Reform, pp. 358 and 1195.

[858] Labour Gazette, December 1907.

[859] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 94.

[860] Quelch, Trade Unionism, p. 10.

[861] Ibid. p. 13

[862] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 109.

[863] Gronlund, Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 51.

[864] Muse, Poverty and Drunkenness, p. 3.

[865] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 11.

[866] Muse, Poverty and Drunkenness, p. 12.

[867] Glyde, Britain's Disgrace, p. 20.

[868] Ibid. p. 20.

[869] Forward, November 16, 1907.

[870] Kirtlan, Socialism for Christians, p. 15.

[871] Vandervelde, Drink and Socialism, pp. 3, 8.

[872] Social-Democrat, October 1907, p. 620.

[873] Die Neue Gesellschaft, November 1907, pp. 332, 337.



Most Socialists have a very strong objection to the existing laws. "Law is only a masked form of brute force."[874] "The laws to-day are defences of the foolish rich against the ignorant and hungry poor. The laws to-day, like the laws of the past, make more criminals than they punish. The laws keep the people ignorant and poor, and the rich idle and vicious."[875] "The laws were made by ignorant and dishonest men; they are administered by men ignorant and selfish; they are dishonest laws, good for neither rich nor poor; evil in their conception, evil in their enforcement, evil in their results."[876]

Most Englishmen are proud of the English judges because of their learning, high character, and integrity. To many Socialists the judges are the most contemptible and mercenary of men. The philosopher of British Socialism informs us: "It is an undoubted truth that no judge can be strictly an honest man. The judge must necessarily be a man of inferior moral calibre. A judge, by the fact of his being a judge, proclaims himself a creature on a lower moral level than us ordinary mortals, and this without any assumption of moral superiority above the average on our part. He deliberately pledges himself, that is, to be false to himself. He may any day have to pass sentence on one whom he believes to be innocent. He lays himself under the obligation of administering a law which he may know to be bad on any occasion when called upon, merely because it is a law. He makes this surrender of humanity and honour for what? For filthy lucre and tawdry notoriety. Now, I ask, can we conceive a more abjectly contemptible character than that which acts thus?"[877]

The cause of the hatred with which the British Socialists contemplate the law and the judges is obvious:

They're blocking up the highway; yes, they think to keep us back By piling barriers of law and falsehood on the track; We'll break the barriers down, and burn them into cinders black, As we go marching to liberty.[878]

Come every honest lad and lass! Too long we've been kept under By rusty chains of fraud and fear— We'll snap them all asunder!

That robbers' paction styled the Law To frighten honest folk, sirs, We'll set ablaze and fumigate The country with the smoke, sirs.[879]

When Jack Cade, whom the Socialists praise as a social reformer, marched at the head of the insurrectionists into London, one of his first acts was to burn the stored-up documents of the law, an act which Shakespeare immortalised in his "Henry VI." in the following words:

"Cade: Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o'er, should undo a man?... Away, burn all the records of the realm: my mouth shall be the parliament of England.

"John (aside): Then we are like to have biting statutes, unless his teeth be pulled out.

"Cade: And henceforward all things shall be in common."[880]

Socialism will abolish the law: "The great act of confiscation will be the seal of the new era; then, and not till then, will the knell of Civilisation, with its rights of property and its class-society, be sounded; then, and not till then, will justice—the justice not of Civilisation but of Socialism—become the corner-stone of the social arch."[881] Therefore one of the first acts of Socialist government will be "the abrogation of 'civil law,' especially that largest department of it which is concerned with the enforcement of contract and me recovery of debt."[882]

Socialists never tire of denouncing the barbarity of the existing law. According to their religious views given in Chapter XXVI. (see p. 360), man is an irresponsible being. He does not know the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil. Therefore it is according to their opinion unjust and cruel to punish criminals. "The Christian regards the hooligan, the thief, the wanton, and the drunkard as men and women who have done wrong. But the humanist regards them as men and women who have been wronged."[883] "Human law, like divine law, is based upon the false idea that men know what is right and what is wrong, and have power to choose the right."[884] "Man becomes that which he is by the action of forces outside himself."[885] "All human actions are ruled by heredity and environment. Man is not responsible for his heredity and environment. Therefore all blame and all punishment are unjust. Blame and punishment, besides being unjust, are ineffectual."[886]

"To the Socialist, for every crime committed the State, or the society in which it is committed, is as much or more responsible than the individual."[887] "A society that employs the gallows and the 'cat' pretty much deserves all it gets at the hands of criminals. If the criminal, when he gets the chance of doing so with impunity, commits the crime for which the gallows or the lash is reserved, society has only itself to thank."[888]

From the foregoing considerations it logically follows that "a Socialist administration would treat delinquents with the utmost leniency consistent with the existence of society."[889] "A man of average sense ought to be able to protect himself against fraud. Theft only requires the restitution of the stolen property plus an addition, such as the Roman law provided. The ideal condition of a community is that the remorse following the commission of a crime should be an adequate preventive of its commission"[890]—By its attitude towards crime, Socialism should secure for itself the enthusiastic support of the criminal classes. By abrogating the enforcement of contract and the recovery of debt, it should secure for itself the equally enthusiastic support of all fraudulent debtors. Conspirators and revolutionaries since the time of Catiline have opened the gaols and have relied on criminal desperadoes for the realisation of their ambitions. It is worth noting that most Anarchists also recommend the abolition of law and the law courts.[891]

Until the ideal Socialist commonwealth has been firmly established, and "until the economic change has worked itself out in ethical change, it is clear that a criminal law must exist. The only question is whether its basis shall be a mass of anomalous statutes and precedents or a logical system."[892] Bax decides that the logical system and the Code Napoleon is to be introduced after the Socialist revolution.[893] The fact that the people do not know the French laws apparently does not matter.

Many Socialists complain that British laws, and American laws too, are not collected and codified. Hence the citizen does not, and cannot, know the law. "What is called 'the law' is something that no lawyer can learn in a lifetime, both on account of the bulk of the Reports, and because he never can be absolutely certain what is good and what is bad law. The profession chooses rather than ascertains the law."[894] Owing to lack of a code of laws, the law is uncertain and exceedingly costly. Hence the poor man can obtain justice only with difficulty, if at all. Besides, "The fear of litigation is a weapon society places in the hands of the rich man to coerce the poor man, irrespective of the merits of the case, by dangling ruin before him."[895] There is much justification for these complaints.

We have seen in former Chapters that Socialism teaches that property is theft and that rich men are criminals. In the present Chapter we have learned that criminals are men wronged by society. The Socialist conception of law and justice should recommend itself to all criminals, and all criminals should be Socialists.


[874] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, p. 107.

[875] Blatchford, Not Guilty, p. 258.

[876] Ibid. p. 259.

[877] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 108.

[878] Independent Labour Party Song Book, p. 17.

[879] Social-Democratic Federation Song Book, p. 19.

[880] King Henry VI., Part II. Act IV. Scenes 2 and 7.

[881] Bax, The Ethics of Socialism, pp. 82, 83.

[882] Ibid. pp. 85, 86.

[883] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, p. 100.

[884] Blatchford, Not Guilty, p. 19.

[885] Ibid. p. 23.

[886] Blatchford, Not Guilty, p. 251.

[887] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, p. 146.

[888] Ibid. p. 105.

[889] Bax, Ethics of Socialism, p. 59.

[890] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, p. 104.

[891] See Stirner, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum; Bakounine, Dieu et l'Etat; Kropotkine, Paroles d'un Revolte, &c.

[892] Bax, The Ethics of Socialism, p. 88.

[893] Ibid. p. 89.

[894] Gronlund, Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 138.

[895] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 147.



Men in all classes of society save and endeavour to become owners of some property, not so much for their own sake as for the sake of their wives and of their children, whom they wish to leave "provided for." Married men are notoriously more provident and thrifty than unmarried ones. Property is the defence of the family. The fundamental aim of Socialism is the abolition of that private property which is the prop of the family. Consequently every prudent head of a family is likely to resist Socialism, and thus there exists a natural and innate hostility between Socialism and the family.

Besides, the idea of the family is not easily reconcilable with the idea of the Socialistic State. The maintenance of the family requires private capital, and the present capitalistic and individualistic system of society, the modern State and modern civilisation, are based upon the family and have sprung from it. The citizen of the modern civilised State places the interest of his family above the interest of the community. Socialism wishes to reverse the situation and to subordinate the interest of the family to the interest of the community.

Socialism strives after equality among the citizens. Therefore many British Socialists are avowed communists, as will be shown in Chapter XXIX. Now it is clear that a perfect equality among the citizens cannot be created by abolishing merely the institution of private property. The man who envied his neighbour for the exclusive possession of his property may, after the abolition of private property, envy him for the exclusive possession of a particularly attractive wife. Therefore most of the great thinkers since Plato who have mapped out systems for the equalisation of fortunes, have logically insisted on the community of wives.

Lastly, the subordination of the private family under the State, the control of work and food for all by the State, must logically lead also to State control of the increase of the population. Two thousand two hundred years ago, when in Athens the idea of the equalisation of fortunes had come to the front, Aristotle wrote: "Whoever would regulate the extent of private fortunes must also regulate the increase of families. If children multiply beyond the means of supporting them, the intention of the law will be frustrated and families will be suddenly reduced from opulence to beggary, a revolution always dangerous to public tranquillity."[896] At the same time Aristophanes showed in his comedy "Ecclesiazusae" that the community of goods would necessarily lead to the community of wives.

The assertion of the opponents of Socialism that Socialism means the dissolution of the marriage tie and the abolition of the family has been met with an indignant denial by many Socialists: "Socialism does not 'threaten the sanctity of the home.' Socialism has no more to do with the marriage laws than Toryism has."[897] "No party—neither Socialist nor non-Socialist—has openly identified itself with the views of its prominent members on this question. The idea that marriage, as an institution, ought to be abolished has never received the sanction of any political organisation in Great Britain."[898] "No Socialist entertains the remotest idea of 'abolishing' the family, whether by law or otherwise. Only the grossest misrepresentation can fasten upon them such a purpose; moreover, it takes a fool to imagine that any form of family can either be created or abolished by decree."[899]

The above is confirmed by an official declaration of recent date. At a meeting of the National Council of the Independent Labour Party, which took place in London on October 4 and 5, 1907, the following resolution was adopted:

"The National Council of the Independent Labour Party repudiates the attack upon Socialism on the ground that Socialism is opposed to religion, and declares that the Socialist movement embraces men and women of all religions and forms of belief, and offers the most complete freedom in this respect within its ranks. It further repudiates the charge that Socialism is antagonistic to the family organisation, and reminds the public that the disintegration of the family, which has been in progress for some generations, has been owing to the creation of slums, the employment of children in factories, the dragging of mothers into workshops and factories, owing to the economic pressure created by low wages, sweating, and other operations of capitalism which the anti-Socialist campaign is designed to support, and which it is the purpose of Socialism to supplant."

Now let us compare with these emphatic denials addressed to the general public the deliberate statements of the intellectual leaders of British and foreign Socialism regarding marriage and the family, addressed to their followers.

The celebrated "Manifesto" issued by the founder of modern international Socialism declares: "On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes. Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common, and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised, community of women."[900] The founders of British Socialism state: "Even now it is necessary that a certain code of morality should be supposed to exist, and to have some relation to that religion which, being the creation of another age, has now become a sham. With this sham, moreover, its accompanying morality is also stupid, and this is clung to with a determination, or even ferocity, natural enough, since its aim is the perpetuation of individual property in wealth, in workman, in wife, in child."[901]

"Like every other institution of existing society, marriage, as we know it, is a consequence of private property. The primitive swag-monger could think of no better method of keeping his swag together after his death than by making the child of a particular slave-wife his heir. The chief pre-eminence of the Sultana of the harem lay in the fact that she acted, so to speak, as the conveyancer of the estate."[902] The spokesmen of the Social-Democratic Federation say: "What is the position of Socialism towards the question of marriage as at present constituted? The existing monogamic relation is simply the outcome of the institution of private or individual property. It has developed, in proportion to the accentuation of the institution of private, as against communal, property. When private property ceases to be the fulcrum around which the relations between the sexes turn, any attempt at coercion, moral or material, in these relations must necessarily become repugnant to the moral sense of the community."[903]

The foregoing statements lead to the inevitable conclusion that "The transformation of the current family form into a freer, more real, and therefore a higher form, must inevitably follow the economic revolution which will place the means of production and distribution under the control of all for the good of all."[904]

Another authority informs us "Socialism, Communism, or whatever one chooses to call it, by converting private property into public wealth and substituting co-operation for competition, will restore society to its proper condition of a thoroughly healthy organism, and ensure the material well-being of each member of the community. It will, in fact, give life its proper basis and its proper environment. Socialism annihilates family life, for instance. With the abolition of private property, marriage in its present form must disappear. This is part of the programme."[905] A distinguished Fabian proclaims: "The Socialist no more regards the institution of marriage as a permanent thing than he regards a state of competitive industrialism as a permanent thing."[906] The leading book of the Fabian Society states: "The economic independence of women and the supplanting of the head of the household by the individual as the recognised unit of the State will materially alter the status of children and the utility of the institution of the family."[907] The leading periodical of the Fabians says: "Of all the stupid theories regarding the family, the most stupid is the belief that it is natural. On the contrary, the trinitarian family organisation is plainly a work of art, a deliberate device of man's. Nothing is more plain than the fact that the hierarchy of the family has been employed, and is still employed, as a model for the hierarchy of the State and of human society generally; in other words, as a prop of aristocracy."[908] A leading member of the Independent Labour Party tells us: "I do not believe it is desirable to cultivate the family idea as at present understood, which in the main is designed to teach the children to think more of their own family than any other; I want to see the broader family life of society taught in the spirit of the West Country motto, 'One for all and all for each.'"[909]

Marriage is, according to many Socialists, not only incompatible with Socialistic progress, but is also immoral. The philosopher of British Socialism, going a step further than did Marx in his Manifesto, endeavours to prove that marriage and prostitution are equally immoral. "Both legalised monogamic marriage and prostitution are based essentially on commercial considerations. The one is purchase, the other hire. The higher and only really moral form of the marriage relation which transcends both is based neither on sale nor hire. Prostitution is immoral as implying the taking advantage by the woman of a monopoly which costs her no labour for the sake of extorting money from the man. But the condition of legal marriage—maintenance—does the same."[910] This opinion is shared by the leading American Socialist writer, who says: "The one has sold her person for money under cover of marriage, the other has done the same thing outside marriage."[911] Other Socialists express similar opinions: "The present marriage system cannot be claimed by anyone as a success. Complete economic independence of women will, however, solve the question. Under Communism will and affection will be supreme. Marriage will be infinitely holier and more permanent than it is to-day."[912] "Mere legal matrimony and familism could not survive the communalisation of property, and it may be well so. Marriage as we know it is merely one of the many unwholesome fungi that grow out of the reeking, rotting corpus of private property, and it would not be difficult to conceive of a sexual order infinitely more angelic."[913]

There is no reason why an "infinitely more angelic sexual order" should not replace marriage as at present conceived and constituted, for "Marriage is no more a Christian ethic than it is a Mohammedan ethic, or a Japanese custom. We have already 'considered' the marriage laws and altered them. Where, then, is the immorality in demanding a further consideration? Our notions concerning the relations of men and women have changed with the changing times, and at each stage we have reached a more exalted plane of understanding. What right have we to assume, therefore, that the future does not hold a nobler ideal than our present one?"[914]

The direction in which inter-sexual relations should be changed in order to attain a nobler ideal than the present one is obvious: "What we need is freedom from the restraints of an artificial existence; liberty to make the most of our inherent capacity, and human longing for a higher life will do all the rest."[915] "Socialism will strike at the root at once of compulsory monogamy and of prostitution by inaugurating an era of marriage based on free choice and intention, and characterised by the absence of external coercion. For where the wish for the maintenance of the marriage relation remains, there external compulsion is unnecessary; where it is necessary, because the wish has disappeared, there it is undesirable."[916] "The present marriage system was based on the general supposition of the economic dependence of the woman on the man, and the consequent necessity for his making provision for her which she can legally enforce. This basis would disappear with the advent of social economic freedom, and no binding contract would be necessary between the parties as regards livelihood; while property in children would cease to exist, and every infant that came into the world would be born into full citizenship and would enjoy all its advantages, whatever the conduct of its parents might be. Thus a new development of the family would take place, on the basis not of a predetermined life-long business arrangement to be formally and nominally held to, irrespective of circumstances, but on mutual inclination and affection, an association terminable at the will of either party. There would be no vestige of reprobation weighing on the dissolution of one tie and the forming of another."[917]

Many Socialists, led by Bax, the philosopher of Socialism in Great Britain, and by Bebel, the head of the Social-Democratic party in Germany, take a very broad and a very primitive view with regard to marital relations and to the greater freedom in these relations in the Socialistic State of the future: "The whole of our sexual morality (as such), in so far as it has a rational, as opposed to a mystical, basis, is nothing but a 'plant' to save the ratepayers' pockets by fixing the responsibility for the maintenance of children on the individuals responsible for the procreation of them. To the consistent Socialist, the sexual relation is, per se, morally indifferent (neither moral nor immoral) like any other bodily function, but it may easily become immoral per accidentem, i.e., from the special circumstances under which it takes place, and whereby it acquires the character of an act of injustice or treachery, such as seduction of a friend's wife or daughter."[918] A very influential Socialist writer asks: "Is chastity a virtue, and is there such a vice as unchastity?" and he answers his question by quoting the above statement of Bax.[919] "If it be asked, Is marriage a failure? the answer of any impartial person must be—monogamic marriage is a failure—the rest is silence. We know not what new form of the family the society of the future, in which men and women will be alike economically free, may evolve and which may be generally adopted therein. Meanwhile, we ought to combat by every means within our power the metaphysical dogma of the inherent sanctity of the monogamic principle. Economic development on the one side and the free initiative of individuals on the other will do the rest."[920]

Bebel thinks, "The satisfying of amatory desires is a law which every individual must fulfil as a sacred duty towards himself, if his development is to be healthy and normal, and he must refuse gratification to no natural impulse. The so-called animal passions occupy no lower rank than the so-called mental passions. A healthy manner of life, healthy employment, and a healthy education in the broadest sense of the word, combined with the natural gratification of natural and healthy instincts, must be brought within the reach of all."[921] Freedom of love is to be equal to men and women: "In the choice of love woman is free just as man is free. She woos and is wooed and has no other inducement to bind herself than her own free will. The contract between the two lovers is of a private nature as in primitive times. The gratification of the sexual impulse is as strictly the personal affair of the individual as the gratification of every other natural instinct. No one has to give an account of him or herself and no third person has the slightest right of intervention."[922]

A prominent British Socialist shares Bebel's views: "For the non-childbearing woman the sex-relationship, both as to form and substance, ought to be a pure question of taste, a simple matter of agreement between the man and her, in which neither the society nor the State would have any need to interfere, a free sexual union, a relation solely of mutual sympathy and affection, its form and direction varying according to the feelings and wants of the individuals."[923] The founders of British Socialism agree with the foregoing opinion. "Under a Socialistic system contracts between individuals would be free and unenforced by the community. This would apply to the marriage contract as well as others, and it would become a matter of simple inclination. Nor would a truly enlightened public opinion, freed from mere theological views as to chastity, insist on its permanently binding Nature in the face of any discomfort or suffering that might come of it."[924]

"Socialists expect that, under Socialism, the terrible evil of prostitution will disappear. If it does not, it will be either because women are still denied political power, or because their votes have decided that the prostitute must remain. But if, as at present, the 'unfortunate woman' be regarded as a necessity in those days of advanced thought and increased opportunities, then her status must be raised. She must not be an acknowledged necessity and a scorned outcast at the same time, as is the case now. Her position in the State will be clearly defined. She will be held to be performing a necessary social service. Whether this idea meets with favour or not, it is the only fair, the only possible, solution, if the prostitute is to remain."[925]

"In a Socialistic State, no woman will be economically dependent upon any one man, father, brother, or husband. Her living will be assured to her by the community. Marriage will not make her the more dependent. If she should have children, she will be salaried, or otherwise supported, according to the number and the healthiness of her offspring. If no children are born to her, she will be at liberty to occupy herself with some other profitable work—not necessarily household labour, certainly not household labour all the time—for that will be reduced to a minimum. But she will engage in such useful work as her special tastes will direct. A free woman, she will thus be able to give her love freely."[926] "The 'subjection of woman' being at an end in consequence of her economic emancipation, actions for breach of promise or seduction, as well as prostitution itself, will be rendered meaningless. When a woman sues for breach of promise she is really suing for loss of a lucrative situation. When she plies for hire on the public street, she does so because the scourge of starvation is laid on her shoulders. Remove that scourge, and instead of the hideous commerce between lust and lucre we shall, in all cases, have the fair exchange of genuine human love for love."[927] "Free as the wind, the Socialist wife will be bound only by her natural love for husband and children."[928]

Men and women being sexually free in the Socialist State of the future, the law will take cognisance neither of breach of promise, seduction, prostitution, and desertion of the family, nor of even graver offences against the present code of morality. The philosopher of British Socialism informs us: "Society is directly concerned—(1) with the production of offspring, (2) with the care that things sexually offensive to the majority shall not be obtruded on public notice, or obscenity on 'young persons.' Beyond this, all sexual actions (of course excluding criminal violence or fraud) are matters of purely individual concern."

"Offences connected with sexual matters, from rape downwards, may be viewed from two or three different sides, and are complicated in ways which render the subject difficult of discussion in a work intended for promiscuous circulation. Here, as in the last case—viz. of theft or robbery—we must be careful in considering such offences to eliminate the element of brutality or personal injury, which may sometimes accompany the crime referred to, from the offence itself. For the rest I confine myself to remarking that this class also, though not so obviously as the last, springs from an instinct legitimate in itself but which has been suppressed or distorted. The opinions of most, even enlightened, people on such matters are, however, so largely coloured by the unconscious survival in their minds of sentiment derived from old theological and theosophical views of the universe, that they are not of much value. This is partly the reason why the ordinary good-natured bourgeois, who can complacently pass on by the other side after casting a careless look on the most fiendish and organised cruelty in satisfaction of the economic craving—gain—is galvanised into a frenzy of indignation at some sporadic case of real or supposed ill-usage perpetrated in satisfaction of some bizarre form of the animal craving—lust. Until people can be got to discuss this subject in the white light of physiological and pathological investigation rather than the dim religious gloom of semi-mystical emotion, but little progress will be effected towards a due appreciation of the character of the offences referred to. It is a curious circumstance, as illustrating the change of men's view of offences, that an ordinary indecent assault, which in the Middle Ages—in Chaucer's time, for instance—would evidently have been regarded as a species of rude joke, should now be deemed one of the most serious of crimes."[929]

"When a sexual act, from whatever cause, is not, and cannot be, productive of offspring, the feeling of the majority has no locus standi in the matter. Not only is it properly outside the sphere of coercion, but it does not concern morality at all. It is a question simply of individual taste. The latter may be good or bad, but this is an aesthetic, and not directly a moral or social question."[930] "No social and secular argument readily presents itself against the act for which the brilliant and wretched Wilde is to-day the associate of felons. In view of the exclamations of bated horror over this offence, and the tacit assumption that it stands second only to murder in its enormity, it may be worth while to point out that, tested by a non-theological ethic, it is not quite certain that such practices are immoral at all."[931] "It has been well said that there are few laws so futile as those that profess to seek out and punish acts—normal or abnormal—done in secret and by mutual consent between adult persons. There are also few laws more unjust when the acts thus branded by law are the natural outcome of inborn disposition and not directly injurious to the community at large. The Moltke-Harden case brings these considerations clearly before us afresh, and compels us to ask ourselves whether it would not be possible to amend our laws in the direction not only of social purity and sincerity but of reason and humanity."[932]

The "social purity" of Socialism would be the purity of Sodom and Gomorrah. It would be unrestricted bestiality.

The majority of Socialists who have seriously considered the marriage problem in the Socialist State of the future—Marx, Lassalle, Rodbertus, and others, consider only the economic problems—have pronounced themselves in favour of free love in some form or the other. In this the conclusions of the Socialists agree with those of the Anarchists.[933] Indeed, "collective" marriage and other abominations have been freely practised during a long time in the Socialist colonies of North America, such as Oneida and Wallingsford.[934] Some Socialist thinkers, such as Saint-Simon and Enfantin, following the footstep of Plato, condemn marriage for life and recommend the organisation of procreation by the State. Others, such as Fourier, favour polygamy and polyandry. Others, such as Bellamy[935] and Kautsky,[936] believe that the people will remain attached to marriage as at present constituted. Others again find consolation in the fact that "despite the marital customs of the East, there is in the average human animal a strong monogamous instinct."[937] Anton Menger compares free love with free competition, and therefore objects to it[938] for the same reason for which Aristophanes objected to it in his "Ecclesiazusae" 2200 years ago. He thinks that free love would benefit the young, strong and good-looking, and believes that the doctrine of free love owes its rise to hatred of Christianity among Socialists,[939] monogamous marriage being a Christian institution.

Socialists propose to break all the bonds which at present connect woman with her husband and her children, and to put her into an artificial and unnatural position calculated to unsex her. "For the first time since the world began, woman will in every respect be the equal of man. She will be the guardian of her own honour, and marriage will assume an entirely novel character. All unions will be unions of affection and esteem, and children, as of old, will primarily be the children of the mother. Her right to select the father of her own children is absolute. In such a society all children will be equally 'legitimate,' and the Seventh Commandment will become practically obsolete, because the economic circumstances in which it was formulated will have passed away. She will be the complete arbiter of her own destiny. Her unsullied conscience will be the foundation of a purer morality than is at present even conceivable."[940] The principles expressed in the foregoing recall to one's mind the decree of the French Convention, dated June 28, 1793, which runs as follows: "La nation se charge de l'education physique et morale des enfants abandonnes. Desormais ils seront designes sous le seul nom d'orphelins. Aucune autre qualification ne sera permise"; and the principle of the French Code, "La recherche de la paternite est interdite," will become a principle of British law. The State will have to become the protector of the husbandless mothers and the fatherless children.

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