Puslapio vaizdai

mand. Let us abolish these unjust laws of supply and demand." This reads, no doubt, like a burlesque: but is it? What is the whole principle which underlies modern Trades Unionism, as distinguished from the old Associations formed to redress the advantages which Capital gave, or was supposed to give, to the employer in dealing with his workmen? The effect is no longer to secure a balance of power so as to make it as disadvantageous to the employer to be oppressive as to the employed to be rapacious. The new Trades Unionism consciously or unconsciously aims at the establishment and endowment of mediocrity by the elimination of competition. To demand, for instance, the legislative restriction of the hours devoted to labor is to deny to the individual of superior physical or mental endowment the opportunity of profiting by that superiority. The infinitely complex system by which it is sought so to control the sub-division of labor that the reward of labor shall be proportionate, not to the skill or industry of the individual, but to the joint amount earned divided by the number employed, is merely a device to equalize artificially that which is naturally unequal. It is not difficult to see what must result from an attempt to ascertain a mean when the maximum cannot be exceeded, and the minimum is left to develop as it will. The inevitable consequence must be that the mean will be perpetually lowered. With the extinction of competition-were that possible-the spirit of competition must perish too. But the spirit of competition, if there be any truth in evolution at all, is the source of all that development which we so proudly call progress. What if a man were to contemplate his watch, and to qualify his admiration for its marvellous ingenuity by saying, "It would be perfect but for the bore of

winding it up every night; why do I have to wind it up? Obviously, because of the exhaustion of the mainspring. If, therefore, I remove the mainspring I shall enjoy all the advantages of the timekeeper without the nuisance of having to wind it up." The struggle for life, with all its attendant consequences of inequality and poverty, is the mainspring of civilization. There is no substitute for it, and if it be destroyed, the clock stops. Struggle is not only the cause, but it is the condition of progress. Why, in the history of mankind, have the inhabitants of those favored districts of the earth, where you have only to tickle the soil with a hoe and it laughs with a harvest, been always dispossessed by the hardier inhabitants of less fertile soil? The facile answer is covetousness. Yes, covetousness will supply the appetite, but it will not furnish the means of gratifying the appetite, nor is the phenomenon to be explained by the doctrine of original sin or original weakness. The whole history of Spain is a proof that the hardiest of races deteriorate when the stimulus to struggle is diminished by the slackening of resistance. The Italian colonists of Rome went down before the Visigoths. The Visigoths, hardy barbarians, went out of training and could offer no resistance to the Arabs. The Arabs themselves succumbed to their hardier co-religionists across the Straits and so on and so on. What is true of a particular area of the earth is true of the history of man. Let me refer again to Sir E. Ray Lankester. "Nature's inexorable discipline of death," he says (The Kingdom of Man), "to those who do not rise to a standard-survival and parentage for those alone who do has been from the earliest times more and more definitely resisted by the will of man. If we may for the purpose of analysis. as it were, extract man from the rest

of Nature, of which he is truly a product and a part, then we may say that man is Nature's rebel. Where Nature says 'die' man says 'I will live.' According to the law previously in universal operation, man should have been limited in geographical area, killed by extremes of cold or heat, subject to starvation if one kind of diet were unobtainable, and should have been unable to increase and multiply, just as are his animal relatives, without losing his specific structure and acquiring new physical characters, according to the requirements of the new conditions into which he strayedshould have perished, except on the condition of becoming a new morphological 'species.' But man's wits and his will have enabled him to cross rivers and oceans by rafts and boats, to clothe himself against cold, to shelter himself from heat and rain, to prepare an endless variety of food by fire, and to increase and multiply as no other animal can without change of form, without submitting to the terrible acts of selection wielded by ruthless Nature over all other living things on this globe. And as he has more and more obtained this control over his surroundings he has expanded that unconscious protective attitude towards his immature offspring which natural selection had already favored and established in the animal race, into a conscious and larger love for his tribe, his race, his nationality, and his kind. He has developed speech, the power of communicating, and above all, of recording and handing on from generation to generation his thought and knowledge. He has formed communities, built cities, and set up empires. At every step of his progress man has receded further and further from the ancient rule exercised by Nature. He has advanced so far, and become so unfitted to the earlier rule, that to suppose that man can ‘return

to Nature' is as unreasonable as to suppose that an adult animal can return to its mother's womb." All this tale of achievement is the result of struggle. It is indeed the history of persistent and unremitting conflict. But for this constant competition man would never have emerged "from Naure," and if the struggle be abandoned, man will return not "to Nature" but to death-Nature's penalty for defiance of her laws. If I selected the spirit of new Trades Unionism for my illustration, it is because the new Trades Unionism represents Socialism in operation, and Socialism is the product of the sucré Jacobinism, the metaphysics of politics, which elaborates its system in defiance of the natural laws revealed by the patient industry of scientific observation. It recognizes, no doubt, the fact that life is a struggle, but it fails to appreciate the greater truth that all the blessings of life are the direct outcome of that struggle and are out of all proportion to the evils inseparable from the good. Over the goal of the Socialists' aspirations are written the words invisible to them or unappreciated by them, propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.

There are two methods, both artificial and both effective, by which the advantages derived from this struggle may be checked or even extinguished. They may be applied to the top and the bottom of the struggling mass of humanity. On the one hand, the prizes of success may be artificially reduced until, in the opinion of those who would otherwise be the competitors, they are not worth gaining. And it must be remembered that the value of the prize is what it seems to the competitor to be, and not what a philosopher may deem it ought to be. A fortune, the blue ribbon of the turf, a cup, a peerage, any or all of these rewards for success may seem futile and worthless to the doctrinaire, but

it is quite certain that if these prizes were withheld the number of competitors for the respective races of which such are the prizes would be very materially reduced. The late Professor Bonamy Price was fond of saying that the best answer he had ever received from a pupil was the reply of a schoolgirl to the somewhat alarming question: "What is the first cause of civilization?" The answer was, "Progressive desires." And it is true that if the gratification of desire is denied the desire itself will fade, and with it every stimulus to the gratification of that desire. On the other hand, and at the bottom of the scale, the struggle for bare existence may be arrested by the artificial supply of the necessaries of life and with the starvation of the primary instincts will disappear many, if not all, of the virtues developed by the free operation of these instincts. In the story of life we have a curious illustration of this truth amongst the amphibia. There is a low order of these creatures known as the soZObranchia (Gilled amphibia), which retain their gills throughout life like the fishes. In the second order of the salamanders the gills are lost in the metamorphosis, and when fully grown they have only pulmonary respiration. Some of the tailed amphibia still retain the gill cleft in the sides of the neck, though they have lost the gills themselves. If we force the larvæ of our salamanders and tritons to remain in the water and prevent them from reaching the land, we can in favorable circumstances make them retain their gills. In this fish-like condition they reach maturity, and remain throughout life at the lower stage of the gilled amphibia. We have the reverse of this experiment in a Mexican gilled salamander, the fish-like axolotl. It was formerly regarded as a permanent gilled amphibian, persisting throughout life at the fish stage. But

some of the hundreds of these animals that are kept in the botanical garden at Paris got on to the land for some reason or other, lost their gills and changed into a form closely resembling the salamander. In like manner, as has been already pointed out, in districts of the earth's surface where Nature, like a benign Radical Government provides the elementary necessaries of life without exertion on the part of the recipients, men lose their competitive instinct, and with it the vigor which spells progress. It is in these two respects that the tendency of modern Socialism runs counter to the direct teaching of science. Nothing has contributed so largely to the formation of British national character as love of independence and hatred of all that is summarized in the term "parish relief." Out of these feelings have grown the virtues of providence and self-denial. The heroism displayed in the struggle to avoid the workhouse as the asylum of old age has been as invaluable to the State as it has been to the formation of individual character. The tendency today is artificially to remove all incentives to the attainment of this virtue by assuring a modest prize to all who enter for the race, whether they take a place in the competition or not. What happened to the once sturdy sons of Rome after they had been taught the fatal lesson that panis et circenses could be had for the asking, without money or without work, and therefore without exertion or self-denial, wil! happen to all countries which undertake to provide for the individual what the individual is able to provide for himself. At the other end of the scale the constant reduction of the value of the prizes by means of graduated taxation must inevitably tend to diminish and ultimately to extinguish the number of

3 Haeckel. "The Evolution of Man." Cheap Edition, pp. 342-343

competitors. To sentimentalists who will not give themselves the trouble of thinking, nothing seems more just or more generous than the principle dressed up in the attractive euphemism "of placing the burdens upon the shoulders best able to bear them." That is the motto, not of the statesman, but of the gentlemanly highwayman. It is the boast of your "Starlights" that they never robbed any but the rich, and that often they have replenished the slender purse of the indigent with the spoils ravished from the bloated portemonaie of the opulent. Philanthropy is not a Department of State. Politics are business; statesmen, and especially Chancellors of the Exchequer, are not the almoners of the public charity, but the trustees of the national wealth. They have no more right to use the money entrusted to them for public purposes in order to redress the so-called inequalities of Naure than have trustees under a will or a marriage settlement. The principle of regarding the State, meaning thereby the Government and the Parliament of the day, as merely a business concern requires, of course, some qualification. Nobody denies that it is the duty of the State to make provision for life's actual failures, just as it is the business of the organizers of armies to provide not only for those who actually succumb upon the stricken field-for such provision is part of the terms of their contractbut also for the sick and for those that fall out by the way. But just as the Commander-in-Chief would be mad who subordinated his whole plan of campaign to the requirements of the Army Medical Corps, so is a Government unworthy of trust which bases its fiscal policy wholly or mainly upon considerations of the wants and requirements of the least fit section of the community. Yet upon a thousand platforms orators declaim as if the

whole policy of a great Empire ought to be determined solely by the duty of administering to the wants of its less fit, and, therefore, of its less efficient members.

It must, moreover, be remembered that what may be called the Poor Relief Department of State was called into existence in this country by the sudden dissolution of the monasteries. which imposed upon the State as a whole the duties voluntarily assumed by the charitable through the agency of religious institutions. As it is, the instinct of individual charity inculcated by the Christian faith has never disappeared. London alone, apart from accumulated bequests, contributes annually the equivalent of a twopenny Income-tax to charitable purposes. If the State arrogates to itself the functions of grand almoner extorting contributions by statute, the stream of individual charity will dry up to the disadvantage alike of those who give and those who receive. Modern Radicalism is identifying itself more closely every day with Socialism, and the object of Socialism is ex vi termini to destroy individualism. Individualism, however, cannot be destroyed without eliminating individual character. It may, of course, be asked what reason is there for believing that Collectivism is not the goal to which society should ultimately aspire. The answer is that the motto of Nature, to use the symbolism from which one cannot escape, is vestigia nulla retrorsum. Return to stages from which an organism has emerged means degradation or, in other words, a step towards ultimate destruction. In the lower forms of life we find instances of degeneration; but it must be remembered that degeneration is what it implies. Darwin in his celebrated voyage observed the free swimming larvæ of the ascidia. These larvæ resemble tadpoles in outward appear

ance and use their tails as oars, as the tadpoles do. This lively and highlydeveloped condition does not last long. At first there is a progressive development; the foremost part of the medullary tube enlarges into a brain, and inside this two single-sense organs are developed a dorsal auditory vesicle and a ventral eye. Then a heart is formed, &c. But as Haeckel informs us, "with the formation of these organs the progressive development of the ascidia comes to an end, and degeneration sets in. The free swimming larva sinks to the floor of the sea, abandons its locomotive habits, and attaches itself to stones, marine plants, mussel shells, corals, and other objects. This is done with the part of the body that was foremost in movement . the tail is lost, as there is no further use for it. It undergoes a fatty degeneration and disappears with the chorda dorsalis. The tailless body changes into an unsightly tube." The same degeneration is observed in many parasites. Socialism is a primitive stage through which mankind has passed in the process of development. It was a useful stage, of course, and suited to the then environment. It survives in the communal, or mir, system of Russia, which by universal consent is doomed. It may be seen in full work amongst the Kaffirs. Mr. Dudley Kidd, in his absorbing book, Kaffir Socialism, the result of long and intelligent personal observation, has given us an invaluable account of primitive Socialism in being. Take, for instance, the question of land. If Collectivism is the highest stage attainable, the Kaffir system is already far ahead of that attained in Europe. "All the land." he tells us (Kaffir Socialism, p. 17), "owned by the tribe is vested in the chief, who allows every man to use as much ground as his wives can till. No land can be sold, entailed, or de

vised, and yet a man knows that his gardens will never be taken from him so long as he cultivates them. All unalloted land that is not required for gardens, together with all wood and water, is regarded as common property for the grazing of cattle or for the needs of all the members of the clan. Nationalization of land is, therefore, absolute." Mr. Lloyd George's Budget in so far as it affects the land, might be based upon this principle. Perhaps it was. The consequences, as Mr. Kidd tells us p. (40), are those aimed at by Socialism, and likely to be realized if modern Radicalism, which Socialism painted yellow, has its way. "It is often said," Mr. Kidd writes, "with not a little truth, that in a Kaffir kraal there is not only no incentive, but no room for individual initiative. The consequence of this is that the entire tribe reaches-for it aims at-a low, dull level of mediocrity in which no one is behind or in front of the mass. The result of this unprogressive state of affairs is seen in the fact that the Kaffirs to-day cling to the customs of their ancestors, build the same type of rude hut, use the same primitive implement and methods of agriculture and warfare, and have borrowed little or nothing from the civilization of the white man." And so it turns out as might have been expected that the new Radicalism is not so new after all, but is a remarkably close imitation of an extinct form of Toryism belonging to a period of development long since past. So, indeed, Mr. Kidd tells us. "The clan system seems to enshrine a conservatism that is nearly absolute: all innovations are regarded with suspicion simply because they are innovations; the status of woman will apparently remain low so long as the system continues. Polygamy will vanish slowly, if at all; the belief in witchcraft will never die out, and many poor wretches will continue

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