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1 Hence the term "sympathetic," usually applied to the hero. 2 This is what is so often referred to as the star "system."
IFE of poor Ibycus, listen; a word
How can you seem so outrageously gay! Think of your years-it is sad and absurd, with you
GROWING OLD DISGRACEFULLY
(TRANSLATION OF AN ODE BY HORACE; BOOK III. ODE 15)
BY LOUIS UNTERMEYER
PICTURES BY THELMA CUDLIPP
Acting this way.
Truly, old lady, it 's time that you ceased all this.
Here, with young girls, you should never be found
Stop those ridiculous antics; at
least all this
"THERE'S A LOT FOR YOU AT HOME!"
It's all very well for a kitten
To smile at the lads who repay her in kind, But when you approach them, they rapidly stroll away
Lord, are you blind!
Strange-you won't see that the thing
Is always the dancer and seldom the
A Thyiad with white hair and wrinkles affrights a man;
He looks askance.
Roses and romance and wine-jars are not for you-
THE SENIOR WRANGLER
I ADMIT that freedom of thought includes the freedom of not thinking; that it includes the inalienable rights of absent-mindedness, complete irrelevance, forgetfulness, divagation, ambiguity, and confusion, all of which are essential to the mind's pursuit of happiness, especially in the happy hunting-grounds of political discourse. I am not one of those inhuman folk who would pin a Socialist to his premises; but I do think our present-day Socialists are far too careless in what they say of brotherly love. It is possible, says one of them, for men to live like brothers, each working for the good of all, and he sees signs that we are now approaching that blessed consummation. But human nature once perfected, any social system would work well, and brotherly love would shine as brightly through a trust, or a pool, or a poker-game, or one's own personal and private capitalistic peanut-stand, as through the very best of brand-new Utopian world devices.
Why bother with Socialism if the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand? Why socialize further the prince of a biscuit factory who has already risen to the conception of his private business as a sort of consecrated social job? To expropriate him, and shut him up in a phalanstère, and pay him in labor checks, and exact of him his due share of chamberwork, garbage-collecting, iron-puddling, and tailoring, is altogether superfluous, if he is an all-round, fully developed, social proto-martyr at the start.
That is the trouble with this latter-day breed of spineless, lukewarm, and propitiatory Socialists. They let the life-blood out of their thoughts, and their arguments die of weak concessions. Give us back the good old two-seed-in-the-word supralapsarian Marxist if there is to be a debate of the matter. He gave the enemy something to think about and the faithful something to do. He did not wait for "eternal justice" or assume a brotherly love. He assumed that the employer never had any, and never could have any, except through Socialism. "A vampire sucking the blood of the workingman"—that was the way he spoke of him. And a good, rousing sentiment it was, and made people feel that they should be up and doing something, if it were only pounding the table and letting the beard grow long.
Professor Simkhovitch in his new and admirable book on Marxism has shown how one after another the Socialist leaders have abandoned their faith. And a social movement "can no more keep alive without faith than faith can keep alive without miracles." The overwhelming majority of Socialists to-day are, he says, tending to be mere reformers. They even say that "industries expropriated in a revolution would prove to be empty shells," and though they remain members of the Socialist parties and repeat the same old "melodramatic phrases," they have long since explained Socialism away.
It seems to be in the very nature of a Socialist, as soon as he has found and settled on his premises, to long for escape. For fifty years Socialists have never seemed so much at home as when living outside their definitions. I suppose it is not right at the present time to try to limit the term Socialism to any particular way of thinking, though it may still imply some peculiar activity of feeling whether with or without thought. Find the greatest common factor of a Socialist Church Leaguer, Laborite, Reformist, Guesdist, Marxist, Neo-Marxist, Social Democratic Federationist, North German Orthodox, South German Heterodox, Biological Sociologist, Sociological Biologist, Syndicalist, Shavian, Fabian, Hervéist, an H. G. Wells, and a Eugene V. Debs, and I doubt very much if it will turn out to be a principle. I doubt if it will be anything more definable than a sort of mental glow.
The "economic interpretation of history" has gone by the board, and so has the Marxian theory of value, and so has the "revolution," and so has the "class war," and there is little to be hoped from the Socialism of the future, for if we may believe Professor Simkhovitch, Socialists will become even tamer than they now are, though it is hard to conceive how that is possible. I have known the completest of fogies, even a leading citizen of the city of New York, to confess in a coquettish way and in a sort of stage-whisper, that he is, after all, a bit of a Socialist himself.