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PREFACE

This work was begun as an investigation, continued as a study, and completed as a conviction. That conviction is that some form of Christian Socialism affords the only basis of peace between the hostile forces of society.

For years we have watched the conflict between labor and capital, regarding it only as a temporary derangement of industrialism, involving no moral issue, and sure to adjust itself in due time. As the conflict continued, widening in extent, and deepening in intensity, it touched every interest of society including that of religion. The author, as a Christian minister, naturally asked himself, what relation, if any, the social question sustained to the phenomenal irreligion of the multitudes ?

Fortunately at this time (1885) The Connecticut Valley Economic Association was organized in Springfield, Mass., of which we became a member. It was a remarkable circumstance that this association included in its inembership such political economists and sociologists as Professor J. B. Clark of Smith College, Professor F. H. Giddings of Bryn Mawr College, Professor Edward W. Bemis of Vanderbilt University, Professor C. S. Walker of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and Dr. G. M. Steele of Wesleyan Academy. To these gentlemen the author, however diverse his views, is deeply indebted for a fresh and sustained interest in a now supremely important subject.

We soon became satisfied that the question that vexed political economy, set labor and capital at war, and threatened all social institutions was primarily a moral one. In other words, the social question is one within the jurisdiction of Christian ethics. Throughout these pages this question is viewed from an ethical standpoint.

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Socialism is a new science of political economy. object is to realize the ethics of the religion of Jesus Christ in the possession of economic goods. The capitalistic system, by its gross inequality in the distribution of wealth, has come to be the arch enemy of this ethical principle. Socialism is an evolution. It is related to capitalism as the butterfly to the chrysalis, as Christianity to Judaism, or as democracy to monarchy. Both Judaism and monarchy have done good service, but they have had their day. The same is true of capitalism as an economy. Society will no longer tolerate its old dogmas respecting private property, freedom of contract, and free competition; its conception of the State as a mere political institution, of labor as a mere commodity, its necessary conclusion that money is of more consequence than men, that might makes right, that men being unequal should take the consequences of their inequality, that some may justly live in idleness and luxury while others toil and starve, that the social grist of vice, crime, want, and misery, ground out by the operation of the economic laws of capitalism, is necessary and natural, and that the only way for the individual to save himself is to thicken his competitive armor and secure a new advantage over his weaker brother. These dogmas, while they prepared the way for a better order, have at length become so offensive to the prevailing sense of right as to be no longer tolerable.

Socialism is a newer and truer economy. We have chosen this term to express the new social movement, because of its generic character. Socialism, like Christianity, admits of variety in form and expression, while it sufficiently differentiates itself from other systems. The integrity of Christianity is not impaired by its various forms. The same is true of Socialism. As all forms of Christianity call for one essential, a Christianized life, so all forms of Socialism have one essential, the socialization of industry.

We are aware of the prejudice against the word, but we confidently believe this will disappear. We warn the reader against the popular delusions that Socialism would divide the property of the rich equally among the people, that it would deprive individuals of all personal property, that it claims that laborers are absolutely no better off than formerly, that it sanctions the social outrage of confiscation, and that it secretly, if not openly, sympathizes with methods of violence.

It will be seen in the following pages that these are gross misrepresentations employed by capitalistic writers to discredit Socialism in the eyes of the people.

Socialism is often summarily dismissed with the remark “That the time is not ripe for it.” Socialists have no idea of harvesting a crop before it is ripe. They do contend, however, that the unripeness of a crop is no reason for not cultivating it. Socialism being the product of the social evolution, the only danger lies in obstructing it. Evolution is a normal development, a growth; revolution is a creation. To obstruct evolution is to invite revolution.

The view that the industrial evolution having passed through the successive stages of slavery and feudalism is now completed and permanently crystallized in capitalism, while the sense of industrial injustice was never so keen and universal, is as unhistorical as it is unphilosophical. No industrial organization is ultimate and permanent that is discordant with recognized and universal principles of truth and right. It is with these great principles and their application to industrial society that we are concerned in this work. Our insistence is, that these principles shall be both recognized and regnant in the organization of industry, from which they have heretofore been excluded ; that “ The Golden Rule shall be the rule for gold.” That this involves great and radical changes we concede.

By these principles, the assumptions and methods of the existing order separately and collectively have been tested and condemned; by these principles, the claims of Socialism have been tested and approved as in accordance with reason, religion, and nature. We have given no private

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interpretation to these regal principles, indulged in no speculations, advanced no theories, ridden no hobbies, demanded no application which is not simple, natural, and necessary to their integrity and supremacy. Upon these principles Socialism confidently and serenely rests her claims.

The controversial character of certain portions of the work was unavoidable. The opponents of Socialism are entitled to have their arguments either admitted or shown to be fallacious. As we could not admit them we have accepted the latter alternative, and this the more readily because no great principle in science, politics, or religion

ever established without controversy. Let there be perfect courtesy, candor, and conscientiousness in the discussion, and truth will be triumphant. We simulate no virtue in saying that we prefer truth to our own opinion. If in these pages we have penned a single sentence which in letter, spirit, or tendency is not approved by the highest Christian ethics, we shall rejoice to discover it, and be swift to withdraw it.

Socialism in the United States is making rapid progress, and is to-day the most important subject before the American people. This book is the first and only one that presents the claims of Socialism from a thoroughly democratic and American standpoint. Gronlund's “Coöperative Commonwealth" is a concise and vigorous presentation of the subject from the German standpoint.

We feel justified in claiming a fair degree of thoroughness and completeness in the treatment of the subject. The reader will find every important phase of Socialism considered. Its many practical advantages have been set forth, and popular objections have been carefully examined and, as we think, fairly answered.

Whatever be our manner of treatment, the importance of the subject will be admitted by all. The social question not only " will not down," but is assuming proportions that in the near future threaten revolution. It is no longer a “theory " that confronts society, but a “situation.” It is of the utmost importance that the coming revolution should

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