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host of young clerics, of whom Mr. J. Adderley may be taken as the type and, in some sense, the leader. Mr. G. Russell, M.P., represents the Union in the Government; and Alderman Phillips combines with his membership the presidency of one of the newest labour combinations. Its official organ, the ‘Economic Review, seems destined to secure a permanent place in current literature. In the more popular journalism, the Union may be said to enjoy the regular patronage of the ‘Daily Chronicle.' The Christian Social Union is especially strong in the ancient Universities, where many names of weight are found in the list of members. This may be, perhaps, to some extent due to the neutral character of the Union, a character which we sincerely trust may not be forfeited by its conversion into a fighting organization through the mistaken zeal of the London branch, which has already figured prominently in municipal contests, and may be led to do so still more prominently in the future. There are all the signs of life and prosperity about the Union, and neither economist nor Churchman can be indifserent to the direction in which so much learning, enthusiasm, and self-sacrifice are to be bestowed. We propose, therefore, to examine a few specimens of its literature, with the view of appreciating its position, and of stating with necessary brevity some of the reasons why, both as economists and as Churchmen, we regard it with considerable misgiving. Any tendency, however unauthorized it may be, to link the fortunes of the Church of England with those of the New Unionism, and to pledge the support of historic Christianity to the cause of State Socialism, may well move the anxiety of Churchmen, and compel their severest scrutiny. We trust that our criticism will not be misunderstood. We deplore, as sincerely as the members of the Union themselves, the reality of many of the evils which they combat. We clearly recognize the good objects for the furtherance of which they have banded themselves together. We warmly appreciate the excellence of motive, the disinterested ability, earnestness, and energy which they bring into the conduct of their cause. But the more elevated the enthusiasms which inspire the Christian Socialists, the more dangerous they may become, if they are directed towards unwise ends or lead to an imprudence of speech and writing which identifies the Union with aims and methods that lie outside their sympathies and range of action. We begin by reminding ourselves that the increased interest in what are called Social questions arises from causes at once adequate, obvious, and creditable. That the spirit of ChrisB 2 tianity tianity should imbue and guide our business and economic lives as well as our private conduct is, we imagine, an incontrovertible proposition. The infusion and extension of this spirit into relations where it formerly did not enter is the end to which the characteristic movements of the century—political, social, ecclesiastical—have uniformly tended. Statesmen and Churchmen have thus from their respective standpoints found an increasing attraction in social questions. For the one, the wide diffusion of political power has invested with a new importance the circumstances in which the masses of the voters live. For the other, this political cause has synchronized with a great awakening of the religious sense and a consequent quickening of the social conscience, which, perhaps, will in the long run be seen to constitute the principal glories of the nineteenth century. However it may be explained, the fact is certain: social questions have forced themselves to the front, and now exact from both politicians and Churchmen a measure of attention which can scarcely any longer be secured for the
familiar subjects of party conflict and ecclesiastical ambition. That the Church should concern herself with the material condition of the multitude is neither astonishing in itself, nor unwarranted by the experience of the past. The impartial historian of society counts the Church as one of the most potent promoters of that material well-being which is on the whole distinctive of Western civilization. The novel element in the existing situation is the tendency which has manifested itself with very marked results during the present century, and which, as we have seen, seems likely to affect very powerfully the younger generation of English clergy, to abandon the attitude of reserve which the Church has generally taken up towards schemes of social change, and to embrace with enthusiasm the ideals, and even the practical proposals, of Socialism. This tendency derives strength from a reaction, which if extreme is not altogether unjustified, from the hard theories of economic science, inadequate rather than mistaken, which held sway in England far into this century. The humanitarian sentiment of the upper classes, at once eager and ignorant, has found the benevolent professions of Socialism supremely attractive. Veterans may shake their heads over projects that depend for their success on the masses of the population possessing resources of character which human experience has never yet acknowledged; but the general attitude of philanthropists is something more than sympathetic. The clergy have reasons of their own for regarding with kindly eyes a movement which combines an undoubtedly “democratic’ character with a liberal liberal profession of unselfishness. They are sadly conscious of the wide gulf which now severs the Church from the main body of the artisans. They are not disposed to criticize with excessive severity a policy which may bridge that gulf, and reconcile to religion the alienated multitudes. Thus circumstances are favourable for a resuscitation, under somewhat altered conditions, of that interesting blend of religion and economy which Frederick Denison Maurice conceived and defended under the name of “Christian Socialism.” But the new movement is far more revolutionary than the old. Scientific Socialism has little in common with co-operation. It is perhaps matural that much of the literature before us should be disfigured by exaggeration. The authors are generally either preachers or popular writers, and exaggeration is the recognized privilege of both. Yet it must be allowed that, though easily explicable, this trait is not therefore the less unfortunate in discussions which above all things demand selfrestraint and sobriety of judgment. And it will be found that, even in descriptions of the evils which it is proposed to redress, wide discrepancies of observation exist. Where the imagination of Canon Scott Holland beholds nothing but hideous anarchy working out in oppression and squalor, the at least equally experienced gaze of Canon Barnett sees redeeming elements of comfort and hope. Thus while the former speaks" of ‘the intolerable situation in which our industrial population now finds itself,’ and demands “urgency’ for the “social question,’ the latter bidst us remember that “the majority of the people are occupants of happy homes’; that ‘excessive poverty is no more common than excessive wealth’; that “there is more of good-will than of ill-will among men'; that “unhappiness, like disease, is the exception: happiness, like wealth, is the rule’; that “there are few sweeter sights on earth than a workman's home, and there is a sort of blasphemy in the exaggerations which speak of universal wretchedness.’ It is well to remember this significant divergence between men who are both endeavouring to describe the same conditions of popular life. The literature of Christian Socialism is thus very unequal in merit: it would not be difficult to establish against it a charge of self-contradiction; it is almost always disfigured by an excess of rhetoric over argument. In many cases the ardour of the writers' feelings, rather than the soundness of their judgment or the strength of their intelligence, is most conspicuous. In all this, however, it but corresponds to the familiar type of philanthropic and propagandist composition. Exaggeration may be pardoned to earnest men, who feel strongly about great evils, and are entirely free from self-seeking or other personal motives. We may remind ourselves that no crusade can be successful which is not preached with the enthusiasm of strong convictions, and that the inseparable adjunct of such enthusiasm is exaggeration. But exaggeration is not the most serious defect of the Christian Socialists. They are open to the graver accusation of perilously misconceiving the problem, of which they propose the solution. There is underlying the servid rhetoric and forcible argumentation of these writings a mistaken conception of the ultimate origin of the evils which unquestionably afflict modern society. “Moral” law is continually opposed to ‘economic' law as in some sense its superior, and always its antagonist. Thus Canon Scott Holland describes," as the bases of membership in the Christian Social Union, these “two convictions: first, that the present situation is intolerable; and, secondly, that its solution must be found in the unfaltering assertion of moral as supreme over mechanical laws.’ This sentence enshrines the cardinal fallacy of Christian Socialism. It explains the copious abuse of the ‘dismal science' of political economy, and the righteous wrath which a reference to its ‘inexorable laws’ never fails to arouse. The fallacy consists in the assumption that “moral' and ‘mechanical' laws admit of comparison. They operate within different spheres: they deal with different subject-matters. Neither is above or below the other, since they have no relation. The loftiest moral purpose may not alter the axioms of Euclid, or over-ride the laws of arithmetic. Equally futile is it to suggest a moral control of economics, or a ‘Christian organization of industry.’ The morality of economics can only mean truth; the Christianity of industrial organization can but mean its soundness. There are manifest objections to the discussion of one class of subjects in the distinctive terms of another. A visionary economical project will not become practicable because it is labelled Christian. No amount of morality can confer value upon goods for which there is no market. The singular conception of economic law as subject to moral law came prominently into view during the recent coal strike, when it inspired the demand for a ‘living wage.’ The Christian Socialist leaders endorsed the cause of the miners with fiery zeal. No serious attempt was made to define a ‘living wage,’ but it was none the less declared to represent the requirement of Christianity itself. Wages, it was affirmed, ought to determine prices; and not prices wages. It was forgotten that prices are but the convenient registrars of the ever-varying desires of men; and that the claim to fix wages by an ethical standard, independently of the market, really involves the assertion that human desires can be, and ought to be, unalterable in direction, and constant in extent. This aspect of the question never seems to have occurred to the enthusiastic Christian apologists of the Miners' Federation.
* Christian Social Union Papers. f “Lombard Street in Lent, p. 85. and * Christian Social Union Papers. affirmed, * “Economic Review, vol. ii. No. 4, p. 442. t Ibid. p. 446. Ibid. p. 450. who
In other directions, however, the same temper is apparent. An almost pathetic belief in the efficacy of exhortation is strangely linked to an overweening confidence in the power of organization. Organization is Canon Scott Holland's formula of battle; the ‘free labourer' is his bete noire. If only the workers were organized, the abominations which constitute the “Social Question’ would speedily cease. This ample faith in organization inspires his indignant demand that the Church shall not only tolerate, but sanction, advocate, and, in a manner, enforce the programme of the ‘New Unionism.’
‘No! It is not the mood of one adopting an appropriate attitude that we should look for in the Church. Rather it is the eager and active movement of one who instinctively apprehends what is forward, and comes forward with both hands to greet what is so intimately congenial to his own temper.' * So the Church is to add her influence to the other forces which are driving the workman to join the Union.
‘Labour which would be free must be combined labour. Isolated labour means enslaved labour. The Church should know this by her native instinct.’ f
Lack of skill and character are the real conditions of that powerlessness to obtain employment which Canon Scott Holland means by slavery. The additional disqualification of ‘isolation’ is the creation of the Unions, which now use it as an argument for their own necessity. “Combination would cure sweating,’ we read, but this statement is almost immediately contradicted by the assertion that “labour combinations . . . . fail to touch the most serious and terrible evils incident to our present system—the evils of the unskilled, sweated population.’f Thus the eloquent Canon does not after all carry us very far; and the article from which we have quoted concludes rather helplessly with a renewed profession of faith in “combination.’
“An unorganized trade is a demoralized trade; it opens the door to the sweater; it creates an unhappy population of casual workers,