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of subsistence? We have already seen that if the State seized the whole available wealth of the country at this moment the income of each of us would be less than the income of the average labourer now. Unless some new source of wealth were tapped, our incomes would dwindle with the birth of each new claim upon the commune. But no source of new wealth would be tapped. The business of Ability, which is the only source of wealth, would be wound up. The men who possessed Ability would not use it. Unlike poets, men of mechanic Ability look beyond fame, beyond the insignificance of mortal neglect, for their reward. They are what are called practical men. Although when they are on the verge of a great discovery, or of perfecting a great invention, they may have no thoughts beyond their laboratories or their studios, the prospect of riches, which will make themselves and their families happy or powerful, is never absent from their minds. It is what moves them to the exercise of their abilities. They would certainly not be moved to that exercise if they knew that success would bring them no special gain. Lest this statement should make Ability seem self-seeking unto sheer cruelty, let it be remarked that none of us, other than a poet, are entitled to reproach it. Labour is especially disqualified from administering reproach. It has no humanitarian tenderness towards the black-leg and the destitute alien. Besides, the business of Ability would be wound up even if Ability itself did not wish a sequestration. Allowing it to go on in its own way would be an infringement of equality, the cardinal doctrine of the Socialist State. Labour is jealous of its rights, which in one aspect of them are the right to prevent privileges other than its own. The hardworking populace of the Socialist State would be unwilling that men making declaration that they were capable of becoming inventors should be relieved from the common lot and allowed to pass their time in the leisure of laboratories or other studios. They would be averse from the exception on two accounts. In the first place, they would perceive the possibility of much contracting-out on false pretences. They would be quick to realise that all the lazy rogues in the commonwealth would declare themselves savants or inventors in order to escape the discomfiture of manual toil. They would be justified by the experience of ages that not one discovery or invention out of a hundred is of much utility. In the second place, working men as a whole, whilst many of them are Liberal in politics, are staunch conservatives as regards the usages of industry. Like men generally, they have a rooted unbelief in the inventor, and Vol. 179.--No. 358. 2 F invariably

invariably neglect him when he arises, needing aid in money
or in sympathy; and, true to themselves in every ‘society
house' in the land, they are tooth-and-nail opposed to the
introduction of labour-saving machines. It is quite certain
that with the establishment of the Socialist State we should
close the chief source of the national wealth.
Thus far, in our consideration of the anti-social menace, we
have given the reformers, to whatever sects they belong, the
advantage of certain fundamental assumptions which are
common to all. The deductions which we have examined are
drawn from the principles that Rousseau formulated in three
familiar maxims. In the first place, all men are born free and
politically equal ; and, consequently, it is the natural right of
all men to remain free and politically equal. In the second
place, all men being free by natural right, none can have any
right to encroach upon another's equal right. No man can
appropriate any part of the common means of subsistence,
the land and what the land produces, without the unanimous
consent of all other men. Property, therefore, is robbery.
In the third place, by corollary, political rights are based
on contract. What has been called the right of conquest is
no right at all, and property acquired by force may be taken
away by force.
The falsity of these maxims has been repeatedly exposed;
but they still survive, and flourish with perilous pertinacity.
Rousseauism, as Mr. Huxley says, “has gradually come to the
front again, and at present promises to exert once more a
very grave influence on practical life.” However wide may be
their differences as to modes of action, all the sects are at
one, if not in any definitive notion of the end to be attained,
at least in unhesitating acquiescence in the ideas under the
compulsion of which they are more deeply disaffected with the
established order of society than, in modern times, any great
body of the electorate has ever been before. It is this which
we have cause to fear. Practical propositions in politics,
projects of reform stated, or about to be stated, in Bills to be
laid before Parliament, can usually be disposed of without
either exasperating the people or otherwise doing any very
grave harm to the realm. A wide-spread disaffection springing
from abstract ideas of justice which the law and order of a nation
seem to repudiate is much more serious. It is impatient at the
thought of orderly procedure towards redress; it distrusts and
despises Parliament, which it conceives to be part and parcel of
the organized evil to be shattered; it is the cause of riots, some.
times of revolutions. It occurs when some conflict between
labour

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labour and capital, or a series of conflicts, or any other cause, has brought about discomfort, or destitution, among large masses of the community. The suffering pity themselves, and are embittered; the people as a whole, who, as we have noted, have a curious passion of pity for poverty in the mass, the poverty which they hear or read of and do not see, also pity the sufferers, and are moved to doubt the character of the social system under which such distress is possible; and the minds of the ignorant and the emotional become inflamed with all the old primary ideas of revolutionary Radicalism. That is the state of affairs in England now. Maxim number one is contradicted by the most flagrant facts. Man at his birth is not free in any sense. He can squall and squirm ; but he is absolutely at the disposal of his mother, or of whoever else is in charge of him. It may be said that he becomes free; but that is equally ridiculous. He is not free to choose his language, his habits, his standard of right and wrong. All these are imposed upon him by his surroundings. To call men equal at their births, or afterwards, is a similar falsification of facts. The maxim does not mean that at birth men are equal in the total lack of freedom. Therefore, it means nothing at all as regards men at the moments of their births. It is obviously inapplicable to their conditions in afterlife, in every stage of which the innate inequalities of capacity, and their results, become more and more marked. The evidence that the facts of nature refute the first maxim of Radicalism destroys the premiss of the second. , Amy doctrine of the rights of man logically deduced from the theory that men are equal is necessarily false. It has to be noted, however, that, whilst the deduction of Rousseau was inexorably logical, that of the modern Radical is an amendment; and that it is a variation of the pure creed which makes a curious addition to the general falsification. Rousseau affirmed the unrighteousness of private property in the products of the land as well as that of severalty in land itself. The average revolutionary Radical is inclined to think that, whilst private property in land is undoubtedly unjustifiable, there may be a real right to property, in certain measures, in the products of the land. That view, whilst it is not consistent with the principles of symmetrical Socialism, asserts itself in the Radical's own practice, and in his support of the demand for a ‘living wage. If he were asked to defend it, he would say that the land, which is a gift to all men, is limited; and in saying so he would imply that land is the only limited commodity. Now, every product of land is limited just as the 2 F 2 land

land itself, and the attempted distinction is a contradiction
of obvious facts.
The mere Radical, then, is temporarily out of court. It
is with the whole-souled disciple of Rousseau, the thorough-
going Socialist, that we have to deal. Now, if the con-
flict were between the abstract theory that private property
of all kinds is unjustifiable and the abstract denial of that
theory, the issue could be no more than a matter of opinion,
The conflict of two abstract theories can never, in any case,
result in a judgment acceptable to the champions of both. Our
discussion, fortunately, is not thus destitute of subject-matter.
The Socialist does not propose that all the world shall be
reformed. He allows that the French, and the Germans, and
the Chinese, and the Hottentots, and all other peoples, are at
liberty to settle their polities for themselves. He applies his
principles to his own country alone. This, it should be ob-
served, is not an oversight on his part. It seems to be an
integral principle in his philosophy. We perceive this when,
happening to be a Home Ruler as well as a Socialist, he sup-
ports the “cause' of Ireland or that of any other oppressed
nationality. Nationality, indeed, excepting when an Inter-
national Congress of Socialists is in session, is a word which is
constantly at the tips of the reformer's tongue and pen. That
is unfortunate. If, being limited, the land and the products of
the land are rightfully the property of all men, to say that Ire-
land is “for the Irish, or England for the English, or any
country whatsoever for the people who dwell in it, is rank
heresy against the Socialist theory of right. To say, in answer,
that we must be practical, and that any idea of socialising the
whole earth is impracticable, would not be valid reasoning.
Socialism professes to be an absolute philosophy of human life
deduced from absolute theories of the rights of man. We cannot,
at present, judge of it, in fairness to itself, as anything less than
that. Therefore, we may dismiss the second of its maxims in
concurrence with Mr. Huxley's ‘strong impression’ that, if it
came to a struggle for the possession of England, the most
ardent of our Socialists “might be safely depended upon to
hold their native soil against all intruders, and in the teeth of
the most absolute of ethical politicians.’
The third maxim collapses with the others. Thinkers who
hold that, although the earth belongs to the human race in
common, a nation is entitled to possess its own part of it, have
no authority for affirming that lands in any country may not
rightfully be possessed by families, or by individual persons,
in that country. The third maxim of Radicalism, however,
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contains an error peculiar to itself. In founding upon the theory that there cannot naturally be a right of private property the denial that there is a right of conquest, it, like each of the two others, is set against patent facts. If a pirate ship is soundly beaten and forced to surrender, Mr. Huxley's ship, as he himself feels, is not only legally, but ethically, entitled to the prize. If we were attacked by the French, and seized France, England would have a right to her new possessions exactly similar. There is, however, an objection to the third maxim of Radicalism deeper than that which Mr. Huxley states. Radicalism admits that contract establishes a political right. Now, all contracts involve conquest. The man in a savage community who produces something which other men desire becomes possessed of what he himself desires by conquering the reluctance of other men to part with it. That is a type of all transactions between men and men. We conquer all men from whom, in return for supplying their wants, we take any things which they would not part with if, while keeping them, they could accomplish their own desires; and they conquer us when theirs is the greater power in bargaining. Force is no less force because, in civilised communities, men are usually wise enough to own its sway without a fight; and a contract does not the less involve a conquest because, being unfelt physically, the force unwittingly

dissembles. The principles of the reformers, Socialist and Radical alike, are absurd to the last degree; but at the back of them all there is an assumption in which we willingly concur. It is that the rights of man are determined naturally. Where Rousseauism goes astray is at the stage, its very starting point, at which it believes that the mind of man can explain the nature of things without having experienced life. Rousseau, it is true, had lived when he wrote, and men have lived when they accept his teachings; but he and they deliberately cast from their minds all the materials necessary to the formation of a sane judgment on the subject which they profess to expound. They say ‘This is so’ when nature declares it not to be, and “That ought to be thus' when nature proclaims it impossible; and all the while they fancy that Nature is inspiring them. They forget that Nature can be apprehended only through its phenomena; and that as regards the polities of mankind the phenomena which are capable of teaching are the very, phenomena which they discard, the usages and the results of civilisation. They reject history and contemporary experience; and are thus, on their a priori heights of mental desolation, as clearly incapable of teach

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