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nistic state is only, if at all, possible at its foundation. The wholesale distribution of the good things of the rich would be but little "among so many.” The late Anselm Rothschild, when confronted by a few proletarians, during the troublesome days of 1848, in the streets of Frankfort, offered a dollar each as their proper share in a general division of property, such as they desired.
And even this little, which would be available at first, would be abstracted by indulgence and fraud from the mass of the people by degrees.
The axiom, too, that immorality and crime are the consequence of present social conditions is but partly true. All men are prone to immorality more or less. This is not the result merely of inequality of fortune, nor is it likely that by removing it that evil would entirely disappear from the world. That section of society which is peculiarly sound in a moral sense is the middle class, who work with their own property. But in this moral zone of society we find property in its magnitude and mode of expenditure developed most unequally. Communistic criticism deserves attention, however, when it points out how external social conditions become the occasion of immorality. We are too apt to overlook this painful fact, to be indulgent to the crimes and immoralities of the wealthy; and our clerical censors as a rule are far too loath to acknowledge how much of sin and wretchedness among the poor is owing to present institutions of society. But on the other hand we cannot help considering it excessive exaggeration when communistic writers call the ruling and moneyed classes for the last six thousand years or more a band of robbers.
All the objections now urged against communism simply amount to this: disregard of individual rights,
REAL OBJECTIONS AGAINST COMMUNISM.
its for and the abolition of all that peculiarly belong to the person. ngs oft. Just as liberalism in its exaggerated form permits an unhe late di bounded diversity at the expense of equality, and thus arians, è abolishes equality directly and true liberty of the greater of Frati number indirectly ; so communism, whilst vastly exaggerin a g ating the importance of equality at the expense of liberty,
And would destroy directly the personal rights of the indit, won vidual, and so interferes with its free development; and he me it also indirectly suppresses the principle of equality,
for only where labour and enjoyment are meted out ether in equal proportion to personal capacity and willingness rtly tr. to exertion, can there be true equality. Hence too the weakness of communism as
a productive system of economy. The enjoyment which generally accompanies labour in the anticipation of reward, and the individual interest which persons take in
the small capital they create and save up by frugality Big
and care, would disappear if the amount of labour were assigned by authority and no deviation were allowed in the modicum and quality of commodities for consumption in return. No one will take the trouble to produce most effectively where the diligent and thrifty eventually fare no better than the drone and the spendthrift; where talent is of no value, technical skill will only remain stationary.
Domestic economy too, which presupposes every individual starting with his own plans for life, is rendered nugatory to some extent by being overruled in the regulations of communistic authority. And what would become of national wealth without private or collective separate economic establishments ? The greatest economic mistake, however, made by communists is this, that they do not see that where every individual is free to act on its own responsibility it contributes, willingly
or unwillingly, towards the common good.
He who, incited by the prospect of a good income, labours, saves, and speculates most economically, does not only benefit in doing so himself, but society ; in fact, he is a most effective communist. It must never be forgotten too that the economic world cannot be controlled from one common centre; for if so, the few who could rule the universe would most probably turn out worse taskmasters than the present leading capitalists. Economy must begin in the household. How could an army of officials, commanded by one central head, prescribe and execute laws for the myriads of human beings separated in space and time? Some communists solve this problem by subdividing the human family into communes and family circles, simply because small bodies only could be directed according to their plan.
This is going backwards in civilization. It would be arresting the course of that mighty stream of universal production and consumption, as carried on by a widely diffused system of commercial enterprise, to lose itself in small rivulets in the sand. The fact is, in the institutions of the state, the corporation, and the family, we have even now this kind of communism, less monotonous and more economic than those recommended. Besides we have, what communism would destroy, those benevolent and other institutions which are founded for the common welfare, and that community of ideas in the writings, discoveries, and ideal products, of men of science and other benefactors of the human race whose works become the common treasury of mankind.
One word in conclusion with regard to those commuuistic experiments which have been made already in times past. Stress has been laid on the success of these experiments, especially in the case of Christian brother
COMMUNISM ON A SMALL SCALE.
hoods. But they are not cases in point. They either were peculiar in adopting the principle of celibacy, and thus preventing the dangers of over population for which modern communism provides no remedy, although colonization is recommended by more ancient communists; or the communities are so small that they are no pattern for society at large, they depend in all their economic arrangement on the outer capitalistic world, and buy and sell in its markets which are regulated by the principle of competition. It has to be remembered that the exercise of authority becomes more difficult in proportion to its extension over a wider area, and that the links of friendship and sympathy are weakened as the circle widens; so that communism on a large scale, comprehending the whole world, is a very different thing from communism as applicable to the small community of the cloister or the sect.
But in conclusion we may say thus much in favour of communism: in demanding so decisively that public authority shall direct the economic process in the universe, and in excluding from it the present order of things with the leadership of capital, it is at least consistent, it recognises the necessity of some binding power, in order to combine the multifarious individual forces scattered all over the world. In this it is more satisfactory than those socialistic theories which we are about to examine; they, equally anxious to get rid of competition and capitalistic speculation, have however nothing to offer in their stead.
Transition from Communism to Federalism (or Co-operative
Systems).—I. Half-Communism, or Socialism proper. -
ABSOLUTE equality in communism, as well as absolute liberty in the abstract in liberalism, was found to be impracticable in its extreme consequences. Attempts were made accordingly to reconcile the two extremes, in the systems of half-communism and half-liberalism. Halfcommunism (or socialism proper), standing midway between communism and federalism, we shall consider first.
Its object is to avoid the extreme of abstract equality demanded by communism, and it requires labour and enjoyment in proportion to individual capacity and requirements. Although leaning rather towards communism, and only dimly foreshadowing federalism, it nevertheless paved the way to those ideas which would reconcile liberalism and communism, liberty and equality, in federalism. It is like its predecessor essentially anti-capitalistic. Morelli, a distinguished contemporary of Quesnay, was one of the first who approached this system, but his ideas have influenced later generations rather than his
He maintained what has been so beautifully expressed by a later eminent representative of similar ideas, Louis Blanc, that talent being the gift of God must be used in the service of our less favoured fellow-mortals, that the strong must assist the weak in the social system. But, however excellent this principle may be in itself, it