One might write continuously while he lived for or against Socialism and yet at the end of a long and misspent life have said nothing that others had not said before him. Nevertheless, new generations come on and have to learn about Socialism as they learn about other things, for there always have been and always will be Socialists.
It is a habit of mind which becomes fixed in a certain number of each generation; and succeeding generations seem to prefer fresh statements of the theory to the study of the ancient texts. Besides, Socialistic endeavor, while its ultimate object in all ages is the same, assumes different forms at different periods and is best dealt with in terms of the day. I am opposed to Socialism because of its inhumanity;
Adams, Edward Francis
San Francisco, June Nineteen hundred and thirteen
Blurb from the book:
And the fourth count in the indictment of Socialism is that it is contradictory to Nature to such a degree as to make its permanence unthinkable because destructive not only of human comfort and happiness but of human life. Expressed in briefest form the four counts are as follows
I. Public servants produce less for consumption than private workers. Decrease of consumption means increase of human misery. Therefore, Socialism, making all of us public servants would increase human misery.
II. Brains, not Labor, creates the social dividend. Ability is demonstrated only under strenuous competition inspired by self-interest. Therefore, Socialism, excluding competition inspired by self-interest would obliterate the social dividend.
III. The accumulating man inspired by selfishness is essential to any social saving. Social saving is essential to the support of an increasing population. Therefore, Socialism by eliminating the Capitalist would make life impossible to many who now live.
IV. To fight Nature is to die. Socialism fights Nature. Therefore, Socialism would destroy the race. It is a matter of premises, and I have already said that the premises in these syllogisms can neither be proved or disproved.
People, I suppose, will continue to fight over them but I shall not. No human life is long enough and no human intellect strong enough to demonstrate or disprove any one of them. Experimentally mankind is always somewhere trying out one or the other of these postulates but success or failure only proves that they did or did not prove true in that particular case.
An underlying fallacy of Socialism is the concept that poverty or at least extreme poverty, can be banished from the world. It cannot. It is impossible for the effective to produce and save as fast as the ineffective will waste and destroy if they can get at it. No truth in the Bible is more profound than the saying: "The poor ye have always with you."
The concept is based upon an unfounded belief in the competence of the average man. He is not nearly so competent an animal as he has taught himself to believe. We read our Nordau and with but the very slightest ability to judge what he says we declare him a libeler. We read our Le Bon and declare off-hand that it is absurd and wicked to say that the crowd has no more sense than a flock of sheep. When we hear of an alienist who cites the increase of murder, suicide and insanity as evidence that mankind is losing its mental balance, we declare that the man is crazy himself.
I do not say that such men are or are not right or anywhere near right in the views they express, but I do say that they are writing in cold blood in the light of a great deal of exact knowledge and certainly are much better judges of the truth in those matters than most of us who dispose of them so brusquely.
The fact is that man, like other animals, differs greatly in individual ability but he differs from other animals in that the difference between the most competent and the least competent is enormously greater than such difference in any other species.
The highest type of man is almost Godlike in the scope and keenness of his intellect. The lowest type reaches depths of degradation not touched by any other animal. There is no degradation so utterly degraded as a degraded mind.
If you ask what all this has to do with Socialism, the reply is that it has everything to do with it. The sole object which I have in this address is to impress upon you the concept of man as an animal in the grip of an all-powerful Nature, and differing from other animals solely in his greater ability to dodge and evade, and so prolong the processes through which Nature will surely get him in the end; to conceive of him also as subject to the same law which enthralls other animals, whereby the fittest who demonstrate their fitness in the economic struggle shall survive while the least fit shall perish; to conceive of him as prepared and inspired for the struggle by the love of self which Nature has implanted in his soul in order that the race may endure to the utmost limit possible for it, by the survival of those having the greatest capacity for happiness. And, having fixed this conception in your minds, form your own judgment of the probable outcome of a contest which would begin by eliminating from man the one principle—selfishness—through which he must survive if he survives at all.
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