Catholicism and Socialism
Posted by shane
A series of Lenten Discourses against Socialism delivered by Father Robert Kane, S.J., in Gardiner Street Church, Dublin, 1910.
Nihil obstat: G. DELANY, S.J., Praepositus Provinciae Hibernicae
Nihil obstat: F. E. O’LOUGHLIN, Censor Theologiae Deputat.
Imprimi Potest: +GULIELMUS, Archiep. Dublinensis, Hiberniae Primas.
Dublini die 12 Julii, 1910.
IN offering these lectures to the public at the request of those whose advice is to me a welcome command, I wish to call the marked attention of my readers to some most important points. First, these lectures treat of real Socialism, that is to say, the social theory which would give to the democratic State the exclusive ownership, administration, and distribution of all wealth and of all means of wealthmaking. Thus, once for all the innumerable multitude of men and women who call themselves Socialists merely because they are in favour of philanthropic movements, are ruled out of court. Secondly, I have no quarrel with those who advocate social reform. Nay, rather, I fully recognise how sincerely and how nobly many men and women sigh and strive for the betterment of the masses. They have my most warm sympathy. Thirdly, to some readers, some of my expressions may appear too harsh, some of my condemnations too extreme. To this I answer, that, on the one hand, when dealing with dangerous principles, whether of dreamers or of desperadoes, the extreme of courtesy may be an extreme of cowardice ; and that, on the other hand, in an endeavour to protect our people against principles that lead to irreligion and immorality, it is wiser as well as more honourable, to speak plain Saxon. Fourthly, it has been remarked by some few that the question of Socialism is not at all a practical one in Ireland. But, such a remark can only be made by one unable to perceive that principles distinctly Socialistic in their character are being taught amongst our people, not now by many nor with wide success, but quite sufficiently to call loudly for that prevention which is better than cure.
ROBERT KANE, S.J.
June 29th, 1910.
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS
IN that life which is not of one man, nor merely of many, nor even of one nation only, but of all; in that life which is of the whole world as the human race passes through the successive phases of its history, there have been moments of supreme crisis when the shuddering of social earthquake or the eruption of moral volcano has brought disaster not merely to the home or happiness, but much more to the souls of men. Now such a crisis may be brought about by causes which are facts of the material order, or by causes which are ideas, or principles that act upon the mind.
That iron grasp which old Rome laid upon the civilised earth was mainly physical, while the glory of Athens was in her intellect and in her art. The deluge of Scandinavian inroads was let loose by brutal greed of gold and blood, while the Reformation was in great measure the outcome of the Pagan renaissance. The French Revolution was hurled on to murderous madness by causes that had their human expression in Danton and Robespierre, while modern France has learned her hatred of God from the sensuousness of Rousseau and the cynicism of Voltaire. These two kinds of causes, moral or material, physical or intellectual will never fail in human life to act and re-act upon each other. Yet in one or in the other we often recognise a power whose influence is primal and paramount.
To all thinking minds it is evident that our actual world is being whirled onward towards a crisis more terrible for the magnitude of its conflicting causes, more tremendous for the gravity of its deep issues, and more appalling for the menace of its inevitable doom than any which has ever befouled history with moral refuse or paralysed it with a nation’s agony. The great Pope Leo XIII has pointed this out in words of solemn warning. In his Encyclical on labour, in 1891, he wrote :
It is not to be wondered at that the spirit of restless revolt which has gained such predominating influence over the nations of the world, should have passed beyond the arena of politics to assert itself in the domain of practical economy. The causes likely to create a conflict are unmistakable. They are the marvellous discoveries of science, the colossal development of industry, the changed relations between workmen and masters, the enormous wealth of the few, and the abject misery of the many, the more defiant self-reliance and the more scientific organisation of the workers, and finally, a widespread depravity in moral principle and practice. The momentous seriousness of the coming crisis fills every thoughtful mind with anxiety and dread. Wise men discuss it ; practical men propose schemes ; platforms, Parliaments, clubs, kings, all think and talk of it. Nor is there any subject which so completely engrosses the attention of the world.
Again, ten years later, in 1901, writing on Christian Democracy, Pope Leo XIII said :
The disputes on political economy, which, for some time past have disturbed the peace of many countries are becoming so frequent and so fierce as to rightly fill all thoughtful minds with uneasiness and alarm. These disputes arise from the false philosophic theories, and wrong ethical principles now commonly taught amongst the people. Furthermore, the economic changes which the mechanical inventions of the age have introduced, the rapidity of transit, and the countless methods for lessening labour and increasing gain, all make the strife more bitter. Lastly matters have been brought to such a pass by the struggle between capital and labour, fomented as it is by professional agitators, that the countries where these disputes most frequently take place, find themselves confronted by ruin and disaster.
Remark that the great Pope attributes the impending crisis to three causes. Economic changes in the material order, false philosophy in the intellectual order, and professional agitators in the social order. These matters will afterwards interest our attention.
First, however, we must consider the nature of the crisis. We must face the alternative, we must choose between the path that leads towards the precipice and the royal road of Christ.
It will help much towards a thorough understanding of our subject to begin by taking a short glance at the history of Socialism. We must define the meaning of our words.
Socialism is a sort of Communism. Communism has a wide meaning. Of itself it implies no more than the superseding of private ownership by a community of goods. It may be merely negative so as to do no more than to deny and forbid all private ownership, so that any man would have a perfect right at all times to make use of whatever he wished. The idea of negative communism has faded away from practical politics, because it is plain that it would lead at once to paralysis of energy and utter chaos, since no man would till a field if any other man had a right to reap the harvest of it.
Positive Communism is more logical. It transfers all property to the community, which is to be owner, administrator, and distributor of all. There are three kinds of positive Communism.
First, extreme positive Communism, which leaves nothing whatever to the individual, so that the community should provide common meals, common dormitories, and all other needs and goods of life.
Secondly, moderate positive Communism makes the community the sole owner of capital or means of producing wealth, but leaves to the individual the ownership of whatever the community shall give him, but merely for his own personal use.
Thirdly, we have Anarchist Communism ; it is Communism in the sense that it transfers all ownership to small independent communities of workmen. It is Anarchist in the sense that it excludes all law, all authority, all government, leaving everyone absolutely free to act as he chooses.
It would, however, be unfair to assume that all Anarchists would approve of crime or even of disorder. They trust in the very fairylike, but very false idea, that under their system human nature would become everywhere and always angelic.
The only system about which we need speak much is moderate positive Communism, which is the same thing as Socialism, and which, when it demands, as it almost always does, that all power in the Socialist State should be in the hands of the people, is called democratic Socialism.
In ancient history we read of a sort of Communism existing in Crete, which was taken by Lycurgus as his model for the government of Sparta, and by Plato as a basis for his dream of a republic. This ideal of Plato was masterfully examined and logically condemned by Aristotle. It is to be remembered that the old Communists admitted Slavery, and many other principles particularly objectionable to Christian minds.
Amongst the early Christians, there existed that sort of Communism which consists in the voluntary surrender, from religious motives, of all private property to the ownership and control of the community, but that could not, unless human nature were to cease to be human, become obligatory, universal, permanent. St. Peter declared that it was only voluntary. As time went on, and the Church spread, her communistic ideal was only realised in religious communities. Communism in its strict and aggressive sense, as maintaining the unlawfulness of all private property, was advocated by some heretical sects, such as the Albigenses and the Anabaptists.
Modern Socialist systems aim at grounding their demands on a scientific basis. Scientific Socialism was first formulated by Count Henri de Saint Simon (1760-1825), who laid down the principle, that labour alone is the source of all value, and that, therefore, all profit belongs to the labourer, and that consequently all unearned increment is unjust. That unearned increment is unjust means that any increase in the value of property which is not due to the owner’s personal toil does not belong to him. This principle is denied by Aristotle as well as by Christian philosophy.
But the most celebrated exponent of scientific Socialism was Karl Marx. He was born in 1818. A Jew by birth, he became a Protestant, but afterwards he became an absolute Materialist. “Religion,” he said, “is only the fantastic reflection in the brains of men of those exterior powers which rule their daily life.” The system of Marx has given their substance and their cohesion to all Socialistic systems since his time. His basis is twofold. On the one hand, he asserts that Socialism is a necessary fact arising out of the materialistic evolution of history, and on the other hand, he asserts that it is a necessary theory arising from his idea of surplus value. We will afterwards examine this system. We are now hurrying on through its history. The Anarchists owe their origin as a thought-out theory to Proudhon (1865), to whom is attributed the saying: “All private property is theft.” But they owe much more to Bakunin (1876), the famous Russian Nihilist.
The progress of Socialism has recently been rapid. It has widely spread in America. It is spreading widely in England, in Belgium, and in France. It is spreading very much less in Spain and Italy, because in these two countries the Anarchists are altogether in the ascendant; Socialism has its greatest triumph in Germany, the home of its real scientific founder, Karl Marx. In Germany the Socialists had in round numbers in 1871, 118,000 votes ; in 1881 they had 335,000 votes ; in 1890 they had 1,000,000 votes, and in 1903 they had 3,000,000.
So far we have followed the history of Socialism. We now come to examine its principles. One fundamental principle of Socialism is that labour is the cause of value, and that labour alone can give any title to ownership. This was first formulated by Saint Simon, and is generally adopted by Socialists. This principle is false. It is founded on an incomplete explanation of the origin of value. We will put it to the test later on. At present we need only remark that a thing may be of real use, and therefore of real value to the man who has a right to use it, even independently of any labour spent upon it. Fruit in a forest would have real value for a hungry man, even though no human labour had been given to its growing.
Another principle, one invented by Karl Marx, is what he called the Materialistic Conception of history. It is an application of the wild philosophic dreams of the German, Hegel; it means, in plain English, that the economic, or, broadly speaking, the trade conditions existing in the world, determine the way in which the production of wealth must work out. Now, this working out of production determines what men’s social, ethical, and religious opinions shall be. But the economic conditions are always in a state of evolution, and thus, after a time, they come into collision with the previous social, ethical, and religious state of things. But these latter do not die without a struggle, and consequently react, and limit to some extent the influence of the material evolution which is going on. I have given this principle as fully as I can in a short space. It assumes that everything in the world depends absolutely and exclusively upon the mere action of mere material causes. It is a principle the only proof of which is in the begging of the question, in supposing that there is no God, no soul, no free-will, nothing but mud and the forces of mud. The third principle of Socialism is the theory of Karl Marx, by which he tries to prove that all capital is robbery. He calls it the theory of surplus value. Value is the worth of a thing. Now, the worth of a thing may be in that it satisfies some need, as a piece of bread or a blanket; or the worth of a thing may be in that you can barter it for something else, as if you have more bread than you want, but have not a blanket, you may give some of your bread to a man who has no bread but can spare a blanket.
The first kind of value is use value or own worth.
The second kind of value is exchange value or market worth. Instead of mere direct barter, money is used in civilized nations as an equivalent and standard for exchange value.
Now Karl Marx asserts that exchange value, i.e., the worth of a thing as it may be bought or sold, arises only from the labour spent on it. He goes on to say that a workman only gets his wages according to the market value of his labour, that is to say, he is only paid for his time and toil, whereas the value of his labour, i.e., the worth which results from his labour, may be far in excess of the wage which he gets. Marx calls this value or worth which results from labour over and above the wages of labour, which is equivalent to the labourer’s support, Marx calls this overworth surplus value. He states that while it goes to the pocket of the employer, it is really the property of the workman, because it is the result of his labour. This surplus value is really capital and is used by the employer to create more surplus value, that is to say, more capital. Let me put this in another way, while the value of a thing for a man’s own use may depend on the thing itself, the value of a thing in the market arises only from the labour spent on it. But the labour spent on it may also have its market value in winning its wage, or it may also have its use value in producing greater value than its wage. But this use value arises from labour as well as the exchange value, and, therefore, belongs to the workman, and not to the employer.
All this ingenious and intricate system rests absolutely upon the one assumption that exchange value depends only on the labour spent. Now this assumption is quite false and quite groundless. The worth of a thing in the market will depend first of all upon the nature of the thing’s own worth for use. Secondly, upon the demand and other outside circumstances; and thirdly upon the labour spent. A bottle of good wine will have more exchange value than a bottle of bad wine, even though it may not have cost more labour. A pair of boots carved out of wood with long and careful toil, will fetch less in the market than a simple pair of brogues. The principle that labour alone is the source of value, and the only title to ownership was adopted by the American Socialist platform in 1904, with the recommendation that the workmen of the world should gradually seize on all capital.
Now, as to the Socialist system : in the official declaration of the English Socialists, we read the object of Socialism is “the establishment of a system of society, based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, by, and in the interest of, the whole community.”
Again, one of the most representative Socialists, the editor of the Socialist organ the Clarion, Mr. Blatchford, wrote : “The root idea of Socialism means two things : first, all means of production, transit, etc., to be owned exclusively by the State ; second, all property, wealth, etc., to be administered by the State.”
From all this it ought to be very evident that Socialism is often misunderstood. It is toned down and moderated, until all its essential radical principles are hidden away, and only the genial, kind face of the friend of the toiler is seen. Many call themselves Socialists because they would improve the condition of the poor, or because they would give work to the unemployed, or because they would force masters to give better wages, and in order to secure this they would advocate great social reforms. Such a man is a kind philanthropist, but he is not a Socialist.
Another dreams of how the world might become a paradise, men, angels, and human society a home, like Heaven, but he does not understand, or will not think, of the practical difficulties, or the inviolable principles, which prove his system to be no more real than a fairy tale. Such a man is a dreamer and not a socialist. Another man may think over wild principles which he has learned from German idealists or French materialists, until his judgment is quite unhinged, and he is ready to advocate anything that is opposed to what has gone before, yet he may stop short at the surrender of his right to private ownership. Such a man may be a Radical but he is not a Socialist.
Another man may be a type of very many to be found among the working-classes. He is very anxious to get his share of the wealth of the rich, but he most decidedly objects to giving up his own right to own whatever he has and to gain as much more as he can get. Such a man may be willing to rob the rich, but he is not a Socialist.
Lastly, we have those who call themselves Christian, or sometimes even Catholic, Socialists. On the one hand they dilute Socialism, and on the other hand they dilute Religion, hoping thereby to get both to mingle their waters in the same stream. Perhaps the most characteristic type of this class is Nitti, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Naples. His book on Catholic Socialism, while interesting in its purely historical parts, is not only misleading, but often quite unsound where he undertakes to criticise or to expound revelation. Indeed, his knowledge of revelation is most inaccurate. He confounds the Patriarchal family system with collective Socialism. He confounds the laws of Jehovah in favour of the poor with Social Democracy. He confounds the denunciation by the prophets of the abuses and injustices amongst the wealthy with a condemnation of wealth itself. He asserts that St. John preached community of goods by declaring that the poor man would have the first place in the Kingdom of God. Nitti’s great authority when speaking of Christ is the infidel Renan. Nitti declares that the prophets, probably unconsciously, were Socialists. He asserts that according to Christ poverty is an essential condition for entering the Kingdom of Heaven, and he distorts into this meaning the parable of Dives and Lazarus. He quite misunderstands the teaching of the Early Fathers.
In the early days of the Church, the willing sharing of personal property, the hitherto unknown love for the poor, the wide obligation of alms-giving, the utter absence of avarice or self-seeking, the supernatural way of judging of worldly goods these and such like principles and practice made the Christians appear like Communists in the eyes of the proud, hard, selfish, pitiless, ruthless, sensuous, and brutal pagan world. Nitti and those who think like him are neither sterling Catholics nor staunch Socialists.
Once for all we must understand a Socialist to be that man, and only that man, who holds the essential principle of Socialism, i.e., that all wealth-producing power, and all that appertains to it, belongs to the ownership and control of the State alone.
The means and methods of the Socialist have now to be considered. Here we have to consider their destructive and their constructive methods, what and how they are to knock down, what and how they are to build up. Here, however, we meet with an endless difference of Socialist opinions. As to the knocking down process, some Socialists are very enterprising, and appear to quite fall in with the Anarchist programme of the dagger, the fire-brand, and the bomb. Others prefer to work through Parliament by legal voting and by legal measures. Most of them appear from their speeches and writings to be very little troubled with scruples as to the right or wrong of means to be employed. Some fashionable and aesthetic dabblers in Socialism, amongst whom are men of culture, education and wealth as, for instance, are some prominent members of the Fabian Society would work very quietly and very gently ; they would even contemplate offering some compensation to the owners whose property they stole, but more probably when the real crash came they would gracefully retire with their culture, their education, and their money. A man who makes £25,000 a year by amusing the public is not the sort of man who is likely, when the time comes, to willingly give up all that he owns for the honour of sweeping a streetcrossing as a Socialist. That is only the superficial nonsanse which some people pass off as Socialism.
Come to the practical point. The way in which Karl Marx explains how all capital is to be confiscated is as follows. On the one hand, that fierce competition which is the war of the financial world will result, according to Marx, in the survival of a very few and very grasping capitalists. On the other hand, the army of labour will be more enlightened, better organised., and more scientifically led. It is easy to see what the enormous multitude of the proletariat, with force, votes, and law on their side, can do with the few fat but helpless millionaires whose money is wanted.
In any case, the Socialist intends by one means or another to take private property from all those who have any. As to the constructive methods of the Socialist, we have dreams, visions, castles in the air, fairy tales in which there is much that is pretty, much that is entertaining, much that is amusing, some things that are very sentimental, and some things that are very foul; but in all of them one element is lacking common-sense.
The royal road of Christ branches away at this point from the path that leads towards the precipice. It is the parting of the ways. Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical on Christian Democracy, says :
It is an error to suppose that the social question is only an economic one. As a matter of fact, it is, above all, a question of morality and religion. Even though wages were multiplied, the hours of labour shortened, the means of support and comfort increased and cheapened, yet, if the workman hearkens to the teaching and follows the practice of those who have no reverence for God and no regard for morality, his labour and his gains will bring him neither happiness nor comfort.
The great Pope continues :
Social democracy, even making allowance for the wild utterances of many of its adherents, goes so far as to deny that there is anything real beyond the material nature of things. It places man’s happiness solely in the enjoyment of material and worldly pleasure. It aims at giving all power exclusively to the proletariat, at reducing all ranks to the same level, at abolishing all class distinctions, and finally at introducing common ownership of goods.
Listen to the present Pope, Pius X:
Socialism, breathing hatred of Christianity, advances with ruin in its train blotting out the hope of Heaven from the hearts of the people to destroy the whole fabric of society.
At this point we must guard against a misconception. There is no friend so true or so faithful to the poor as the Catholic Church. Founded by the Workman, Christ, she has always received the warm allegiance of the toilers amongst her children, and she has always given them the first place in her warm sympathy, as well as the first right to her practical help. Through all the ages of her historic life, it is to the poor, above all, that she owes her healthfulness as well as her honour, her success as well as her holiness. She is the only wise and disinterested champion of the workman. She teaches him, indeed, that he has duties, but she also fearlessly and emphatically defends his rights. Listen to Leo XIII :
Let it be granted that master and workman may make free agreements as to wages, nevertheless there is a dictate of natural law more imperious as well as more ancient than any bargain between man and man. It is, that the remuneration must be sufficient to support the wage-earner in reasonable and frugal comfort. If through necessity or fear, or a worse evil, the workman accepts harder conditions, he is the victim of force and injustice.
These principles have no kinship with Socialism. Christ promulgated for all time and place the law of the Ten Commandments. It is contrary to Divine Law even to covet our neighbour’s field. The Church of Christ has always approved, both in principle and in practice, of private and personal property. It is utterly and irreconcilably against the teaching of the Catholic Church to deny man’s right to hold personal property, even independently of the sanction of the State, or to brand such ownership as theft. Pope Leo XIII wrote :
Christian democracy, by the very fact that it is Christian, must be based upon the principles of Divine Faith in its endeavours for the betterment of the masses. Hence, to Christian democracy justice is sacred. It must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be gainsaid, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth. It is clear, therefore, that there is nothing in common between Social and Christian democracy. They differ from each other as much as the sect of Socialism differs from the Church of Christ.
Pope Leo XIII calls our attention to the fact, that the term Democracy is not to be understood here in a political but in a social sense. It is, indeed, difficult in practice, as Leo XIII reminds us, to decide accurately between the rights of capital and the rights of labour. For such decision he recommends arbitration boards, sanctioned and enforced by the authority of the State. But he calls attention to a principle of Catholic teaching which, if put in practice, would remove much of the hostility which exists between the upper and lower classes. He tells us that it is one thing to own wealth, and another thing to spend it. He quotes with approval the words in which the great St. Thomas of Aquin formulates the doctrine of Catholic theology on the obligation of the rich to help the poor.
Briefly, the teaching is this: While the wealthy man has a right to his wealth, he has no right either to squander or to hoard it. In the spending of his wealth, after every reasonable expense in the present and provision for the future has been made, not merely according to his wants, but according to his family rank or position, he is not free to do with the remainder as he may choose; for it becomes common property. This does not mean that it becomes common property in the sense that anyone who likes may take it, but it is common property in the sense that the owner is bound before God to give it to the poor. This is not merely my own teaching. It is the teaching of the Catholic Church.
The inevitable standpoint of the Church is unmistakable. Her duty to Christ is her standard of judgment as it is her motive for action. As regards the social question, the Church is slow to accept all the mere statements of Socialists. To begin, she seeks to disentangle the actual facts from the artificial web which has been woven round them by the sophistries of mental lunatics or by mis-statements of moral desperadoes. Take one mild instance: we hear much of the concentration of all the wealth of the world into the hands of a few with the result of further magnifying capital at the expense of labour. There is at least much exaggeration here.
First, the great concentration in the domain of industries has no corresponding concentration in other different domains.
In the second place, much of the actual concentration is by the creation of companies where the receivers of profit are not diminished but multiplied.
Thirdly, in some branches of human labour the greater concentration after a rather low point brings less profit, as in farming.
When the actual facts, be they as they may, have been ascertained, the Church will face the problem, not in the murky gloom or uncanny glare of the theories of wild or wicked men, but in the serene light of the eternal truth of Heaven. In her advice, in her decision, she will reverence the inviolable rights which God has given unto man ; and where right stops short she will bid love to stand forward, and proclaim that where the brain is uncertain the heart can give the wisest answer.
Whither, then, will our modern world turn its steps? On the one side, the Church of Christ beckons you to follow the road made royal by the tread of the footsteps of God. It is the road which leads, in the words of Leo XIII “to improvement, not to Anarchy.” On the other side, the Socialist tells you that whether you will it or no, you shall be forced down the path shrouded in shadow, through which strange flashes fitfully gleam, the path that leads towards the social precipice. Hear what Nitti, a real although not professed friend of Socialism, wrote in his preface. Speaking of the spread and power of Socialism, he gives his explanation of it from the fact that society has been undermined by popular discontent, and that demagogues, partly through ambition, partly through vanity, partly through ignorance, speculate on this feeling, promising impossibilities. The Socialist answers that it is progress. I ask, Progress ? Whither ?
There has been in our modern ages a progress in science which has been marvellous for its rapidity, for its completeness, and for its accuracy. Man has weighed the distant stars, measured their movements, diagnosed their elements and studied their character. He has also analysed the atoms, traced their kinships, surprised the secrets of their influence, and compelled the allegiance of their service. He has made the ocean a highway for his floating palaces, and he is preparing to force the air to carry his flying homes. He has caught the electric spark, and made it transform the nights of his cities into the brilliancy of day; he has made it flash his words to ears that listen beyond the seas; he has made it yoke its lightning to the wheels of his chariot, and control its thunder into the echo of his voice. Furthermore, man has applied this progress in science to the healing of the sick and to the comfort of the healthy, to the rescue of the poor and to the luxury of the rich, to the beauty of a nation’s home in its peace, or to the immolation of a nation’s manhood in its war. Never was such progress in science even dreamt of before. But it has its drawbacks ; it has been the occasion of fraud, counterfeit, robbery, grinding down the poor, extermination of the unlucky, cynical selfishness amongst the rich, and ruthless rancour amongst the poor.
There has been progress, too, in the world of ideas. Progress in science is, indeed, a progress in the world of ideas, in so far as it gives the analysis of facts, and the synthesis of their principles. But beyond that, there is a progress possible in the order of ideas, beneath, beyond, and above mere fact. This is the world of ideas that rule man’s thought, and guide his action in the progress of his own life. Can we hope for progress here ? Progress ? Many men boast of being men of progress because they have advanced ideas. They deny all that has been held sacred of old. That an idea, a principle, or a practice be ancient is enough for them that it should be condemned. Their strength is in the audacity of their denials. To deny God, to deny authority, to deny the bond of marriage or the right of ownership, is so audacious that it makes them feel quite heroic. And this denial is so easy that any half-witted or half-educated boy can plume himself with the feathers of an eagle, and pose before the stupid and credulous mob as a man of advanced ideas.
Progress ! Yes ! It is progress, but downwards. It is a progress towards lower and lower depths of wild, unbalanced, incoherent ideas. It is a progress towards a more and more foul riot of passions that are drunk even before being let loose. It is a progress towards the ignoring of all that is innocent, noble, chivalrous. It is a progress towards all that is base, filthy, devilish. Progress! That kind of progress is the self-given diploma of youths who have become idiotic from vanity or from immorality, and of men who have become demons from lust of power or hatred of God. Progress ! there is no true progress possible, but such as is the outcome of order, the order which is the complete and thorough harmony of intellectual, moral, social, and economic laws, under the guidance, control, sanction and blessing of the great Lawgiver, Our Father Who is in Heaven. Now, such order can only arise from the development, evolution, and perfecting of what has gone before. It cannot be the offspring of ruin, debasement, defilement, disaster. Nay, nay; order that is true is the essential condition of progress that is good. Whither, then, will our modern world turn its steps ? Towards the path that leads towards the precipice, or towards the royal road of Christ ? May God grant that this crisis find us men of sterling grit, true to Christ’s teaching, loyal to Christ’s allegiance, masters of our own souls, and brothers to our brother men.
THE RIGHTS OF MAN.
MAN is made unto the likeness of God. His spirit has been breathed forth from the spirit of uncreated love. Yet the spirit of man does not live its life unto the alone ; it lives with and within its living shrine of clay. Hence its mind, that is able of itself to survey all truth and gaze upon the innermost reasons of things, can only look out through the dim, vague shadows of material sense, and only from material forms and fancies can it gather material pictures and impressions to ponder over in the studio of its intellectual thought. Its will, that of itself is born twin sister of the angel with angelic force and with angelic freedom, is now wooed by every touch of material freedom and answers to every throb of material blood. That ideal was realised in all its majesty and beauty in the first paradise, but not in its mere natural type ; for it was tuned by its Creator’s touch to such divine harmony that every material faculty or force thrilled always, and thrilled only in obedient sweetness, to the stirring of its spiritual chords. When Paradise was lost, that supernatural ideal fell back into its natural weakness, and within it there arose its natural war. Since then, ’tis true, that the “flesh lusteth against the spirit.” Feeling flouts reason’s judgment, and passion is ever in reckless rebellion against the kingship of the will. The body that had been its shrine became the prison of the soul.
The history of human life is a chronicle of the outward evidences of this inward war. As long as human nature shall remain the same, the character of man will continue to show forth the same characteristics as in the past ; and human nature will remain the same as long as man’s soul shall dwell within a body, whose faculties are not divinely rendered obedient to the dictate of his spiritual will. To look forward to an evolution of human nature, which shall by mere natural impulse, and mere natural power change it into the perfectness of Paradise, is to dream Nature can change Nature into something quite other than itself. So long shall human nature remain the same as it has been in history, as long as man is made of that kind of soul and body which we know.
Men vary indefinitely in quality and degree of every human attribute, but in kind they have all the same nature ; they are all men. Herbert Spencer, indeed, dreamt of a distant era when altruism should become extreme, when unselfishness should so overrule all the hearts of all men as to make each and all of them strongly inclined to go too far. When clever men dream dreams, they dream the wildest dreams of all. Most Socialists suppose something of this sort. But putting aside those Socialist leaders who wickedly invent such sophisms in order to delude the open-mouthed mob, and speaking only of those Socialists who are earnest believers in the truth of what they say, we answer that their supposition is as foolish as it is unfounded. Human nature is a definite fact, and we have now to deal with facts, not with dreams.
Man lives in two worlds. He lives in the world of physical fact, and he lives in the world of moral right. In the world of physical fact man owns his natural strength, the strength that moves his foot to walk, the strength that moves his hand to hold. That strength loses all its power on the threshold of the moral world. In the moral world force is without force. Not all the machines of industry, not all the batteries of war nay, the tide of the ocean, nor the gravitation of the stars can touch the inner world of thought and will. Thought is independent of the oscillations of the earth, and will may be motionless in the midst of the cyclone, or active in the midst of motionless oceans of ice.
Yet the moral world has a power of its own. That power is right. The word right is not a simple one, but has many meanings. It may mean what is good as opposed to what is wrong, in that way in which right and wrong divide the moral action into what is evil, and what is good. That rather refers to the kind or sort of moral things, and we are now speaking not of moral kind or character, but of moral force or strength. Man as a moral being, has, besides his moral existence, his moral power. His moral power is in this, that he can not only think out and choose his moral action, but can also carry out that moral action to its fulfilment in outward human life, so that no other power can withstand its results. This is abstract thought; we will put it in a concrete way. I have a right to bare my head when I utter the Sacred Name. That power may be restrained by a physical force that holds my hand, but no moral force can hinder my action, for all moral influence that should attempt it would be wrong. Wherefore, plainly and briefly, right means the moral power to act, and, therefore, also the moral power to hold. Hence, fully, moral right is an inviolable moral power, the power of doing, of acquiring, and of exacting from others. It acts through evidence on the mind, and through the mind it acts on will, binding it with the force of moral necessity, the force of moral law.
Now we take a further step ; right must be founded on fact; or, rather, a moral right is the moral aspect of a physical fact. The fact that a babe is born means in its moral aspect that its parents who have given the child its life have the moral power to require its reverence, its obedience, and its love. As facts, and the real relations of facts, are more and more fundamental, so will the rights which arise from them be more and more predominant.
The fact that a babe owes its life to its father brings a more real relation, and, therefore, a stronger moral right than the fact that the child has had some favour from a friend, and recognises the right of gratitude. This point is of supreme importance. Study it well. In the moral world there are many different orders of right, as in the physical world there are many different orders of thing. There is the order of relations which exist between us and our Creator ; there is the order of relations which have reference to a man’s own personal life ; there is the order of relations which have interwoven other lives into his own life; there is the order of relations that arise perforce or by choice between man and his brother man ; in each of these orders there are rights which give a moral power that no power of a lesser order can destroy or withstand. Our allegiance to God is utterly and absolutely above and beyond all control that is created.
A man’s own personal right, as it is bound up with his own physical existence, so is it independent of all other power that is human : that bond which binds two lives into one life that from their love other lives may bud is so intimate, so deep, so fundamental a fact that it is presupposed by all other relations which may exist amongst men, and, therefore, it is, in its moral aspect, a right before which all the rights of nations are of no account, and with which no human power can interfere ; the harmony of these orders of moral right brings with it its own safeguard ; no human right exists apart. It is encircled with other moral rights. Hence a right, however forceful in itself, may yet in contact with another right fail to have its power applied: for the presence of another right may so alter the real relative of things that the action of the first right could not rightly be allowed; or it may happen that a right, in itself morally irresistible, may fail to act at all, or may act in a manner that is not in accordance with what is truly moral right. Thus, a father has a right to guide the education of his child. Should he neglect this, or be unable to do it as it ought to be done, the Commonwealth has a right to intervene ; not because the father’s right ceases to exist or is supplemented by the State, but because the State has a right, when the father’s right is not or cannot be applied, to take towards the child, as far as is needful, and only in so far, its parent’s place.
This brings us to another thought. Right and duty are correlative. Right is the moral power to do or hold, duty is the moral obligation to respect and practise to recognise that right. As a man has a right to his life so it is the duty of other men to refrain from what would injure him, and to yield to him the means wherewithal he may continue to exist. Yet here again the harmony of moral order requires that a right which would be a violation of a nobler right shall cease to have its power; thus, were a miscreant to be a wilful peril to the lives of other men, he has no longer any moral right to live, and so he may be rightly cast out of life by the right moral use of the nation’s sword.
In this balancing of clashing rights into an equilibrium of order, we must take, as standard of judgment between these rights, in the first place, the order to which those rights belong ; for, if one right be of a higher and more universal order, that moral power must prevail. Should both rights be of the same order, then the importance or the gravity of the subject matter of the rights shall decide. If both are in the same order, and the subject matter of each be of equal moment, the decision shall be come to according to the evidence of the title which gives to one, rather than to the other, hold on the matter in dispute.
To sum up the chief ideas which we have so far gleaned. Right is a moral power that is of itself inviolable. Right springs from those relations of fact of which it is the moral counterpart. Right has its various orders, according to its fact foundation. In the conflict of rights, that right must prevail which is first and fundamental. Right has its counterpart in duty. We hasten on to build upon these unassailable foundations.
Man’s kingship over the earth is founded on a right more fundamental still, the right to the kingship of himself, that his life itself be subject to no Man’s lordship but his own, under God ; that his sojourn upon earth, be at the command of no master. One’s outward actions may, and must, be under social control to be guided, limited or repressed according to the right harmony of social relations, but one’s life itself, as long as it is not maliciously misused for crime against others, is independent of all human authority. No human authority can condemn to death a man who is innocent; hence, there is one right at least in man which is prior to all right of the State and superior to it. As man is a unit, in the material universe, his life must yield to the action of material causes. As man is member of the social State, he must bow to the dictates of social order. But as man is king within the moral world of his own life, he need bow before no power that has not the Divine sanction of the right of Nature’s God. The dignity of man is in his personality, and his personality is in that his fate is not fashioned by the force of matter nor his destiny decreed by the choice of man; but since his mind can scan the intellectual horizon and his will can decide his moral steps, so his life must be his own. Now, this right of man to own and keep his own life is no mere abstract truth. It is a fact, and like every other fact it lays down its own inevitable consequences. Man’s right to live is also the right to take the means wherewith to live. Hence he can make use of such material means as are necessary in order that he should live. But he cannot make use of certain necessary means if others may use them also. Hence, his right to use these means is at the same time a right to exclude others from their use. If a man has a right to eat a definite piece of bread he has a right that no one else shall eat it. We will set this truth in another light.
The right of private ownership may be considered either in the abstract, or as it is realised in concrete form. That right in the abstract means that by the very law ofnature there is inherent in man a right to take hold of and apply for his own support those material means of livelihood which are not already in the right possession of another man. What those particular means are is not decided in the concrete by nature’s law.
Nature gives the right to acquire, and by acquiring to own. But some practical fact is required, in order to apply that abstract law to a concrete thing. That fact is naturally the occupying or taking hold of, or entering into possession of a thing, by which practical action the abstract law of nature becomes realised in a concrete practical fact. With this, or upon this, follows another right of man, the right to own his labour, and the right to what his labour does.
Furthermore, this right to exclusive personal ownership is not restricted to the means of one’s daily bread from day to day ; it is a right to be secure against want, when the needed means may not be at hand. The man who has tilled a field through the winter and spring has a right to hold as his own the harvest which he has earned. Hence the right of ownership is by nature’s law not merely passing, but permanent ; it does not come and go at haphazard ; it is stable. Hear the teaching of Pope Leo XIII in his Pontifical explanation of this point (Encyclical on Labour) :
The Socialists, working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, endeavour to destroy private prosperity, and maintain that personal property should become the common property of all. They are emphatically unjust, because they would rob the lawful possessor. . . if one man hires out to another his strength or his industry, he does this in order to receive in return the means of livelihood, with the intention of acquiring a real right, not merely to his wage, but also to the free disposal of it. Should he invest this wage in land, it is only his wage in another form……..
It is precisely in this power of disposal that ownership consists, whether it be question of land or other property.Socialists …. strike at the liberty of every wageearner, for they deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages. Every man has, by the law of Nature, the right to possess property of his own. . . .
It must be within his right to own things not merely for the use of the moment, not merely things that perish in their use, but such things whose usefulness is permanent and stable. . . Man is prior to the State, and he holds his natural rights prior to any right of the State. . . .
When man spends the keenness of his mind and the strength of his body in winning the fruits of nature, he thereby makes his own that spot of Nature’s field which he tills, that spot on which he sets the seal of his own personality. It cannot but be just that that spot should be his own, free from outside intrusion. . . .
The commonsense of mankind has recognised in the law of Nature the reasons for the division of property, and the principle of private ownership.
Let me bring from another world, the old pagan world, the greatest philosopher of pure reason as witness to the truth of the same principle. Aristotle wrote:
Socialism wears a goodly face and affects an air of philanthropy. The moment it speaks it is eagerly listened to. It speaks of a marvellous love that shall grow out from it between man and man. This impression is emphasised when the speaker rails against the shortcomings of existing institutions,-giving as the reason for all our shortcomings the fact that we are not Socialists. These evils of human life are not, however, owing to the absence of Socialism, but to the always inevitable presence of human frailty.
Here, again, we turn back to the teaching of Jehovah, under the Old Covenant, and under the New Covenant to the teaching of Christ, emphatically endorsing the right to private ownership: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s field.” The idea of private ownership brings us at once to the idea of the rights of labour. The rights of labour are understood by Socialists to be their greatest argument against private ownership, and the rights of labour are understood by Christians to be their greatest argument against Socialism. On which side stands common sense ? The Socialists must stand or fall by the truth or falsehood of the principle that labour is the only source of value. This is the definite statement of Saint Simon and of Karl Marx. Now, that statement is inaccurate. We will go back to the old Greek philosopher, Aristotle, the philosopher compared to whom our Kant, Hegel, Comte, Hobbes, and Locke are merely dreaming boys or blundering students. Aristotle founded his philosophy on fact, and worked it out through common sense. Our modern philosophers, with marvellous talent, evolve their principles out of their own inner consciousness, and ground their conclusions on their own mental mood.
Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of use or usefulness or value in material goods. The one belongs to a thing by reason of its own kind or character, the other is common to it with all other material things. Aristotle gives this example : a shoe has its own peculiar use or value in that it is suited to protect the foot; but it has also this other use or value, it can be exchanged for other goods. The first may be called own use or own value ; the second may be called market value, or, as Aristotle calls it, common value, because it is common to the shoe with all other objects of merchandise.
What constitutes market value or value in exchange ? First of all the goods in question must be capable of becoming private property, because exchange means that a man gives up what he owns, but does not want, in order to get something else which he has not, but wants to own. Such exchange presupposes, therefore, private ownership of some sort. Secondly, in order to have exchange value, an object must be limited in quantity because no one would buy what can be had without buying. What is it that determines exchange value or market value? First, the greater and more urgent need which that object supplies; secondly, the smallness of its quantity; third, the greater trouble or labour required to get or make it the greater will be the exchange value of a thing.
In most cases this determination of exchange value does not depend on the judgment of the individual, but on the common estimate of society. Karl Marx, the “pathfinder of Socialism,” as Socialists call him, asserts that use value or the own worth of a thing has nothing to do with exchange value or market value. He asserts this without any real proof, and it is not true. He asserts that exchange value is only determined by the human labour embodied in it. This also is unfounded and false. His sophism consists in this, that he confounds use value considered in the abstract with the abstracting from that use value. In other words, he takes it to be the same thing to consider usefulness in its general and universal sense, and not to consider it at all.
Aristotle, on the other hand, reminds us that there is a common element of usefulness in all material goods, according to which they can be compared to one another, and their relative exchange value estimated, and this independently of the idea of human labour except in so far as human labour gives use value, and by means of use value enters into the calculation of exchange value. All material goods, however, different in their own kind, agree in this, that in one way or another they are each and all useful or desirable. This furnishes a basis for comparison, and a standard of measurement. Labour alone cannot create use value, and, therefore, labour alone cannot constitute exchange value. Thus this fundamental principle of Socialism is false. Thus, again, since labour alone is not the only cause, source, and standard of value, the Socialist attack on the right of private ownership is absolutely foiled.
As this principle is the key to the whole question of Socialism we will examine it more closely. Socialists say “Labour alone is the only source of value.” Is that so? What do you mean by labour ? Do you mean mere musclework? Test this principle. A cabman sits on his box and drives his horse, and gets his fare. Who has a right to his fare ? Certainly not the cabman. He only drove the horse. It was the horse that gave the labour, and, therefore, the horse owns all the cab-fare. Put this in another shape. There are three hundred men working at a tunnel. They ply their pickaxe, crowbar, shovel. They all work hard except one man who smokes his pipe, and sees that they do their work in the right way. Is it the cabhorse or the cabman who owns the cab-fare ? Is it the hand that holds the pickaxe or the head which directs the labour which contributes most to the success of the work ? It is quite absurd to say that all value comes only from muscle work. What about work that combines both muscle and brain ? Take the cabhorse and the cabman together. Will that do ? No ! The horse may be strong, and the man may be skilled, but they cannot get on without a cab, and the cab means money. Besides muscle-work and brain -work, there is money-work. Value may come from muscle or brain or money. It need not come from labour alone.
Take another view of this matter, suppose the State to be actually Socialist. The State has all the labour of its fellows. It has the brains of some of them. What about its money ? The Socialist State must have its capital. It must be able to provide all materials for work of every kind, all means of transit in every direction. That needs capital. Hence, the Socialist State owns capital which it has got from the labour of its fellows. Hence, the Socialist State is the biggest capitalist of all ; and, therefore, as you Socialists call capitalists robbers, the Socialist State is the biggest and blackest robber of all.
How can any sensible workman accept that absurdity about Labour being the only source of value ? Does he not know that gold gathered near the surface is yet more valuable than lead or iron that is dug out in the depths of the earth ? The trouble and toil of the mining may increase the price of the metal ; but gold without labour has its market value, and that value is greater than the value of another metal which has cost the same trouble, and toil.
The thing itself has its own value with or without labour. Hence labour is not the only source of value. Again one part of a vineyard in France may have a stony soil, and a sunny aspect. Its wine will be far better than the wine of another part of the vineyard where the soil is richer, but the position less favourable, and yet the bad part of the vineyard will need more labour. Labour is not the only source of value. Again, if labour is the only source of value, there is no other source of value. Hence the more labour you have the more value you get, and the less labour you have, the less value you hold. That is not true.
You may spend days of hard toil in carving boots out of wood, yet they will not have the value which a cobbler can get from the few hours he has spent on a pair of brogues.
This leads us to a kindred matter, unearned increment. Unearned increment means an increase of value which is not the result of the owner’s personal labour. Socialists say that a man has no right to unearned increment. Why not ? A father has a perfect right to give out of his own earnings enough to his son to start him in life, or enough to his daughter to enable her to marry. Neither son nor daughter have earned the money, but they have a perfect right to accept and to own it.
Again, if a fine summer comes, and the farmer can look on while his crops are ripening as never they had ripened since the old days of his grandfather, has the farmer no right to this unearned increment. It came from the sunshine with the blessing of God, and not from his own labour, but the unearned increase is his own. Again if a man own a plot in a city which he has bought in the days in which it was peopled with fashion and fun, has he any right to claim compensation when the fashion and fun have flown ? No ! It is his bad luck, the value of his property has gone down.
But if the fun and fashion come back again ten times more funny and fashionable than ever they were before, is he to give up this increase in the value of his plot ? No ! It is his good luck. The property is his property, and its value whether it “go up” or “down,” is the value of his property, and, therefore, it is his property.
Look back at labour value from another point of view. The worth of labour is itself different not merely as to its quantity, but also as to its quality ; not merely as to its amount, but also as to its kind. How will you estimate these different values of different kinds of labour ? Not by labour itself, because that is the very thing to be valued. You must then have some other standard of appreciation. But if labour must be valued according to another and different standard of value, it is not the only standard of value, and, therefore, it is not the only source of value. Again the result of labour is not the result of labour alone. Other causes combine with labour to produce the profit. Talent, skill, care, capital, are essentially required by labour as partners in producing its result.
If labour alone were the only source of value, a tunnel of the same length dug straight down into the earth would be more valuable than the tunnel through the Alps, because it would mean far more labour. If even the place or position of a thing alters its value, then labour alone is not the only source of value.
It is mere sophistry to exclude the usefulness of a thing itself, the kind of value that is its own, from its exchange value. But that own value does not come from labour alone. Therefore, labour is not the only source of value.
Another natural right of man is his birthright freedom. Karl Marx grounded his Scientific Socialism on what he calls the Materialistic Conception of history. We need not enter into the details of this system. Broadly, but most accurately, it means that material causes alone, determine not merely the physical results which we meet with in the earth, but also the intellectual, moral, social, and even the religious facts or conditions which we behold within the life of man.
Thus, according to Marx, matter, and the forces of matter, always determine, only determine, and inevitably determine, the fate and fortune of the souls of men. This is a blunt denial of freedom.
This denial has been also flung against our birthright by the most prominent of English Socialists, Mr. Blatchford, who informs us that : “Freewill is a myth.” Against such wild and reckless denial there is no need to appeal ; there is no reason to appeal against a denial of common sense. All men, when morally sane and intellectually sober, know that they are free.
Now, man’s love of freedom revolts against the tyranny that would enslave all men into “Equal Rights.” There is much foolish philosophy taught about the equality of men. Are all men equal ? Emphatically and decidedly, No ! ! If you are dreaming about human nature in the abstract, if it is merely the idea of a human soul and body, that flits before your mind, you will indeed recognise that human nature is the same in all mankind. But we are not now dreaming, nor are we even thinking of the abstract man. We are speaking of the men who are actual facts.
Are all men equal ? No ! they are unequal in every actual circumstance and condition. They are unequal in body, in mind, in character. No two men are equal. All men are unlike.
Those fundamental rights and duties which arise from human nature itself are indeed the same in all men, as, for instance, the right of personal ownership and the right of personal freedom, because in all men human nature is the same. But as to the countless rights which arise from the actual facts of life, men are as unequal as they are unequal in the muscle of their body or in the masterhood of their will, in the wit of their brain, or in the worth of their soul.
To enchain men with fetters of equality would be to degrade the wise, the good, the energetic, the noble amongst them, to the depths of the men who are nearest to the brute.
Freedom must have fair play. Man must be free to make and mould his own life according to his own talent, his own opportunity, his own energy, his own ambition, his own merit, and his own will, according to the circumstances in which Providence has placed him. But you say is it not a pity that, owing to the mere accident of birth, a brainless and worthless creature should wear a ducal crown while a man of mind and character is sweeping the crossing of a street ? Yes, to merely human view it is a pity, just as it is a pity that one girl should be born beautiful while another girl is born ugly ; just as it is a pity that one man should be born weak-minded and weak-kneed, while another man is born with a treasure trove of talent and with a golden mine of sterling character ; just as it is a pity that one more man, by the accident of birth, is born to be himself.
There is accident all round, if you wish to call it accident. No man deserves what he gets with him when he is born into the world, and no man has deserved anything different.
What you may, perhaps, call accident I call Providence. We do not choose our own lot ; it is given to us ; it is our duty to make the best we can of it. The State might, indeed, rightly reform our laws so as to make it easy for the worthless to sink to the bottom, and for the deserving to rise more quickly to the top. But Socialism could at the most get rid only of outward trifling differences between men.
It could never reach so far as to even touch the real deep inequalities between men. Rather Socialism would be the most unjust tyrant of all, for it would make the man of genius no better than the dunce ; it would put the slut on equal footing with the heroine, and as it could not lift up the stupid, the sensual, the lazy, or the coarse-grained types of human nature, it would have to drag down to their level the fairest and most fruitful characters that are the types of Heaven. This would be tyranny, meaningless, heartless, demon-like tyranny.
We might consider the further development of this tyranny, that it would of necessity decide each child’s calling in life ; that it would decide each man’s kind of work and the spot where he should work ; that it would decide his food, his lodging, his dress, his everything, and probably his wife, or more probably his wives, for Socialists are extremely amiable in matters of morality. There would be no adultery in the Socialist State, because there would be absolute absence of any bond of fidelity, and absolute licence for free love. But that is not true liberty, for true liberty means, indeed, independence of men, but it also means obedience to truth, to right, to honour, and to God.
Socialist equality would be the most slavish inequality of all. I quote Pope Leo XIII (on Labour) :
That ideal equality of the Socialist would in reality be the levelling down of all to the same condition of misery and dishonour. … A most grave mistake made in this matter is that men allow themselves to be deluded by the idea that class is by nature hostile to class, that rich and poor are constrained by Nature to live at war with one another, the contrary is quite the truth ; just as the symmetry of the human body is a result of the right setting of the members of the body, so it is by Nature ordained that in a State these two classes should exist in harmony and good fellowship, and should, as it were, fit into one another so as to maintain the equilibrium of the body politic. Each requires the other ; capital cannot do without labour, nor labour without capital. Mutual good understanding must result in pleasantness and good order. Perpetual strife and struggle cannot but bring about disorder and crime. Religion draws rich and poor together ; Religion reminds each class of its duties to the other ; Religion teaches the workman to do his work honestly and well, never to injure property or person ; never to employ violence as the advocate of his own cause ; never to engage in riot, however plausibly it may be recommended. Religion teaches the employer that his work people are not his slaves, that labour is nothing to be ashamed of ; it is an honourable employment ; but it is a shameful thing to treat men as chattels to make money by.
This latter would be a result of the Socialist scheme in spite of their protestations. They do not appear to understand what our idea of freedom is. One of the worst and most menacing features in Socialistic slavery is that once its tyranny had taken hold there would remain to free men no possible outlet of escape.
In Socialism there could be no healthy public opinion no public opinion at all except that manufactured by officialdom or that artificially cultivated by the demagogues of the mob. There could be no free expression of free opinion. The Press would be only the Press of the officials. Printing machines, publishing firms, libraries, public halls, would be the exclusive property of the State.
We do not indeed advocate utter licence for the Press, but we do advocate its legitimate liberty. There would be no liberty of the Press under Socialism ; no liberty even of speech ; for the monster machine of officialdom would grind out all opposition for the monster machine would be labelled “The Will of the People,” and “The Will of the People,” would be nothing more than the whim of the tyrant mob, the most blind and ruthless tyrant of all, blindly led by blind leaders.
Brave men fear no foe, and free men will brook no fetter. You will have thought in your boyhood, with hot tears, of the deeds of heroes who fought and fell in defence of the freedom of their Fatherland. That enthusiasm of your boyhood will have become toned down with maturer years in its outward expression, but mature years will have made it more strong and staunch for ever, more ready to break forth with all the energy of your life and with all the sacrifice of your death in your defiance of slavery. You may have rough times to face ; you may have rough paths to tread, you may have hard task masters to urge your toil, and hard paymasters to stint your wage ; you may have hard circumstances to limit your life within a narrow field ; but after all your life is your own, and your home is your own, and your wage is your own, and you are free. Freedom is your birthright. Even our dilapidated modern nations allow to a man his birthright freedom. You would fight for your birthright, freedom, against any man, against any nation, against the world, and if you could not live for your freedom you would die for it.
You would not sell your birthright, freedom, to Satan and I do not think that You are likely to surrender your birthright, freedom,to the Socialist. Stand back ! We are free men. Standback Socialist ! God has given us the rights of man, to own our life, to own our property, to own our freedom. We will take no chance in the struggle of life. We may have a hard time or a good time, we may be born lucky or unlucky ; but we are free men. Stand back ! Socialist. God has given us our birthright, freedom, and by the grace of God we will hold to it in life and in death.
THE HONOUR OF THE HOME.
HOME has a meaning so true, so full, yet so cherished and so sacred, that it is hard to set it forth in words. Words are too cold and too cumbersome to aptly express truths that are thrilling with tender emotion, or facts that appeal less to the brain than they do to the heart. Home must mean some spot on earth, for it is the material dwelling place whence young loves flutter forth on life and whither old loves return to rest. But that material dwelling place is not merely what it appears to be to the eyes of the stranger ; for its simple realities have been transformed, for those who dwell under its spell by the welcome that waits at the threshold, by the memories that nestle under the roof tree, by the sympathies that draw close and closer round the hearthstone, into something more soft than silk, more strong than steel, more precious than gold, something so sacred that it bears within it the blessing of our Father in Heaven.
It may happen that a home is unhappy, but it may also happen that its clouds and its tears make the spot where we wept or suffered or mourned more sweet than its sunshine, and the home itself more dear to our heart ; or at least the unhappy home haunts the soul with the vision of what that home should be and teaches us with the lesson of its loss the worth of the boon we lament. Above all, in the home there is a hallowed whispering of deathless messages from beyond the grave, a hallowed hope that the old home will be given back to us in the land where there is no good-bye, a hallowed echo of Heaven.
Do you doubt this ? Why, then, is it that when you hear that old air sung a heart-mist softly clouds your eye, there is a strange feeling in your throat, you listen with a silence that is deep and reverential until you can only control your emotion by the wild outburst of your applause. Ah ! ’tis true ! ‘Tis true there is no place like home ; home, sweet home ! Can you, then, at all realise what that strange savage system is which would ruin and efface the very idea of home ?
The old Pagan idea that the State is everything and owns everything, so as to leave the individual man without any right except such as is conceded to him by the State has been adopted by the Socialist. That idea is distinctly contrary to natural law as well as to the law of Christ. That idea is absolutely antagonistic to our idea of home. It would change our home into a mere lodging-house, where are fed and sheltered the submissive vassals of the State. Socialism has taken up that Pagan idea and pushed it even further than the Pagan. For the Pagan left the father home’s master, and left the wife and child at home. Socialism would ruin the home : firstly, because it would rob the father of the home, of his God-given right to be master in the citadel of his own home ; secondly, because it would banish home’s queen from what ought to be her kingdom ; it would break the marriage bond which alone can safeguard the innocence and the stability of the home, it would make the wife of the home practically a tenant at will : thirdly, because it would kidnap the child. In our last lecture we proved that a man’s personal right to life, liberty, and ownership, belongs to him by the law of Nature, and is prior to any right of the State and sacred against all human authority. Home, too, has its rights even as against the State. Home holds its rights not from the State but from God. Home is a sanctuary where the State dare not enter.
We will examine the principles that shield the honour of the home. We will first listen to the voice of the Vicar of Christ. Pope Leo XIII., as teacher of the whole world, wrote :
The rights of each individual man become more evident when considered in relation to the duties of his home. . . .No human law can abolish the natural primal right of marriage, nor can it in any way constrain the first and chief purpose of marriage ordained by God’s authority from the beginning. Thus we have the family … a true ‘society’ anterior to every kind of State or nation with rights and duties of its own totally independent of the Commonwealth. . . . Since the home is anterior both in idea and in fact to the gathering of men into a commonwealth, the home must of necessity have rights and duties which are prior to those of the State, and which are more immediately the dictate of Nature’s law. . . . The idea that the civil Government can, at the mere discretion of its officials, enter into and give laws to the household and the home is a grave and pernicious error. . . . Parental authority can neither be abolished by the State nor absorbed into it, for its right has the same cause and reason as human life itself. . . . The child belongs to the father, and it is as it were the continuation of the father’s personality. And strictly speaking, the child takes its place in society, not in its own right, but as a member of the family in which it is begotten.
Mark well the reasoning that underlies this teaching. The first and most fundamental principle of ethics is that, whereas amongst lesser creatures physical force or animal instinct impels each thing to act as is befitting its nature, to act in its actual circumstances, so as to achieve the right order of its kind and the right end of its existence, man, not flung forward by unreasoning power, but led by reason’s light, contemplates the order of relations that are around him, and weighing their relative necessity or importance, acts so that his action shall be in keeping with his own right nature, and in harmony with the conditions in which his life is cast.
Now, right and duty are the moral aspects of these fact-relations, and have their moral force according to the deeper order and more fundamental necessity of these fact-relations which are the cause of their existence and the measure of their power.
The reason for man’s personal rights is in his actual existence. Hence such rights are paramount above all. The reason of the family is in the insufficiency of man alone to secure the right development of human nature. The reason of civil society is in the insufficiency of the family alone to attain that fuller perfection of human nature which is the heritage of its birth, but which it can only reach through the help of many homesteads united into one commonweal. Hence civil society is only intended by Nature to be the helper of the family, not master; to be its safeguard, not its destroyer ; to be in a right true sense its servant, but in no sense its owner. Hence those Socialistic theories which would hand over the family and the individual to the supreme command of the State are false to reason and rebel against right. Rather it is the interest of the State itself to recognise that its welfare and its security rest upon the right, independence, and deep-rooted stability of the families of which it is the flower and the fruit.
A State that is tossed about in its social and political existence by the fluctuating tide of transient individual opinions, ambitions, actions, cannot have that healthy, tardy, deathless spirit which vivifies into the same life, not merely the chance companions of a day, but the successive generations of a nation. The State whose roots are deep set in its ancestral homes, be these rich or poor, humble or powerful, is hard-grained by its traditions into oak-like staunchness, and can defy the winds that blow and storms that burst because it has laid its grip upon the very foundations of the moral world.
From this it follows that the family has its rights quite independently of the State – rights which the State cannot control, much less annihilate. The State also has its rights, which are also sanctioned by Nature’s law. In the borderland between these rights what criterion must we take as standard of justice between the nation and the home ? This first principle, that the rights of the home, considered in themselves, belong to a higher order, and are, therefore, superior to the rights of the State ; but that when and where the outward social action of family rights would interfere, in the same order of things, with the rights of the State, that action must cease and yield to the necessity of the common good. But, again and again, the State is the helper and defender, not the owner nor the assailant of its homes.
The marriage bond is the one absolutely essential link in the union of the home ; without this there can be no true home. Here we come to the chasm which separates the Christian and the Socialist. Remember that we are not speaking of those amateur Socialists, who are as undefined in their opinion as they are indefinite in their number. We are speaking of recognised leaders of Socialism, who hold to the root ideas of Socialism, and their logical conclusions. Now, these real Socialists deny the unbreakable character of the marriage bond, and admit that it can be undone at the mere will of those who have been married.
This brings us face to face with that terrible alternative for man between the divine sacredness of the marriage bond, and the selected herding of human cattle. Here the Christian must absolutely and irrevocably stand by the word of God. We hold more than we hold to life to the truth of what Christ taught when He said: “Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” Yet we can understand the attitude of minds taught by mistaken teachers. We can understand that the Protestant should so far yield his judgment to the civil authority which is the standard of his creed, as to admit that marriage may be dissolved not merely as we admit it can be dissolved to the extent of separation, but even that when grave reasons have been proven before a high open court of justice, the bond may be itself broken. Yet further, we may, perhaps, understand that to a pagan, or to a savage, whether this savage be a most cultured member of a most cultured set, or whether he be an honest savage decorated exclusively with feathers and with paint ; to a pagan or to a savage, it may appear not absolutely disreputable, that a married pair should be authorised to break their contract when sufficient cause for this has been shown before some public authority. But what we cannot understand is this, that man and wife may on their own authority alone, bid each other good-bye in order to meet the embrace of other loves, that marriage should become the mere indulgence of the moment, that it should be at the arbitrament of what the Socialistic Sages call incompatibility of temper, that when the man wants to chuck the girl, or the girl loves another man, they should be free to try other partners until they get tired of them too.
This brings what is called marriage down to the level of the dog ; this is brutish ; this is abominable ; this is foul. Do not think that I am painting the picture in too vivid colours. Listen, Bebel, one of the greatest baders of Socialistic thought, wrote
This alliance (marriage) is a private agreement without the intervention of any functionary (neither priest, parson, magistrate, nor registrar). Man should be free to dispose of the strongest instinct of his nature as of every other natural instinct. The gratification of the sex instinct is no less the personal affair of every individual than is the satisfaction of any other natural appetite. Therefore, no one is obliged to render an account of such gratification, nor is any uncalled for intermeddler permitted to interfere in this matter.
Lest you should think that this is only the German idea, listen to the English “Labour Leader “: “Marriage is a sham if it turns out unhappy. The real thing is to be found in such a union as that of Lewes and George Eliot“- that is to say, a marriage union without a marriage. Listen to another Socialist authority. Mr. Leatham wrote: “Social Democrats . . . believe in marriage . . . only in so far as the contracting parties are satisfied with their lot.” This surely is ample evidence that the Socialist repudiates the very idea of the Plain Gold Ring consecrated unto death by the blessing of Christ.
Divorce ? Divorce in its accepted sense as a breaking of the marriage bond, is a sin against God, an insult to woman, and a step towards her degradation. It is strange that learned people learn so little from what they read. We have the records of the past written in mud and dirt, with blood and tears to moisten them where we read how this theory of divorce has worked itself out into humiliating human defilement.
In the very glory of the culture of old Rome, ‘mid the song of its poets, the eloquence of its orators, and the masterful plans of its statesmen, Seneca laments the daily repetition of divorce in the noonday of Rome’s most brilliant era. Juvenal, who had caught quickness from the finest culture and sharpness from the most cultured sin, lashed the sins of Rome’s society with the thongs and knots of his wicked wisdom. One of his instructive facts is that one woman, under the genial law of divorce, which our Socialists would bring into common use, had wooed and won and lost eight husbands within five months. Socialists indeed exclaim in hot indignation against such cruel invective. They protest that their model man would be without passion, without selfishness, without lust ; that their woman would be sweet as a rose and pure as a lily. Where will they get their men and women when they train them on principles that flavour much of the fragrance of the swine ? What difference is there between this sort of thing and the strange painted woman shapes that flit through the midnight street or haunt the dens of hell ? Divorce is an insult to womanhood, and a step towards her degradation.
Divorce is an insult to womanhood. In this matter woman can never stand on equal footing with man. Her place is higher than man’s place, when there is question of what is chaste. A man may be a most immoral man, yet if in outward social life he is a gentleman, his weakness is readily condoned by the weak, wicked world, and once he is well conducted again, he can leave his shame behind him, where he has left the victim of his sin. But a woman who has fallen from her throne of purity carries her shame about with her, and brings it back with her to be the dishonour of her home. It is an insult to womanhood to think that her love can be tasted and then flung aside like a fruit that has lost its flavour. A man may stand this, but a woman cannot, for the love of a chaste woman is the gift of her whole life, and either it is reverently to be left untouched or it is to be lovingly cherished until death. Divorce is a step towards woman’s degradation. I need not explain this. The world knows what foul and hideous reptiles women may become when they have lost their sense of shame and their allegiance to the highest ideal of the innocence of the maiden or of the mother. Divorce in the Socialist sense means that woman would be willing to stoop to be the mistress of one man after another. It is shameful ; it is appalling.
Turn from that weird, wicked picture to the true ideal of woman’s dignity. Woman ! She was created queen, and whether innocent or fallen, whether she must stoop to lift up or be herself lifted up, she must always, if she is to bear him blessing, she must always be man’s queen ; queen of his infancy, when, as home’s queen she bent over his cradle teaching him, without knowing it, how good and loving and beautiful our great good God is ; queen of his boyhood, when, as a weak sister that played with him, she was yet a something that he unconsciously venerated, a queentype of sweetness, of fondness, of sympathy, queen of his manhood, when that strange revelation came before him, a face, a voice, a presence that abashed all his thought into wonder, that absorbed all his heart in emotion, that subdued all his soul with the nearness of a boon that came from heaven, that took hold of all his life with a love that could only end with death, and in death must hope for its resurrection ; queen, woman ! if thou be true woman, thou art always queen ; and if man be true man, thou art always his star, his helpmate, his comfort, his strength, his wisdom, his crown, his queen. O, look upon that ideal type of womanhood, which like a very star of hope and holiness, shines above our storm-tossed and tear-distracted world. With all the innocence of a maiden, yet with all the fondness of a mother’s love, Mary, simple daughter of our race, yet august Queen of Heaven, turns our thought towards what is noblest, yet tones our heart to what is dear. The ideal of true womanhood she sang in her Magnificat, the canticle of the triumph of pure womanhood : “Behold all generations shall call me blessed.” She, the Madonna blessed above all, but also blessed and blessing is every woman who is pure. To insult or to ignore the sacredness of the marriage bond is high treason against the Madonna.
Is the babe to become the child of the home or the chattel of the State ? Listen to a passage already quoted from Pope Leo XIII., but which is the babe a must have its place here :
Parental authority can neither be abolished by the State nor absorbed into it, for its right has the same cause and reason as human life itself. The child belongs to the father, and is as it were the continuation of the father’s personality ; and, strictly speaking, the child takes its place in civil society, not in its own right, but as a member of the family in which it is begotten. Wherefore, Socialists, in thrusting aside the parents and forcing into the home the authority of the State, act against natural justice.
Now listen to the Socialist statement. Mr. Robert Owen wrote:
In the new moral world the irrational names of husband and wife, parent and child, will be heard no more. All connection will be the result of affection ; the child would undoubtedly be the property of the whole community.
It is indeed an inevitable principle of Socialism that the child is the direct property of the State, even as against its parents’ right, and that both the support and education of the child should be a function of the State. This is contained in the Gotha, Erfurt, and American Socialist platforms. To their credit, however, it must be allowed that on this point some English Socialists shirk the logical conclusion of their principles. But Socialism would work itself out logically in spite of individual whim or choice. See how this would be worked out in practical life. Listen now to one of the great German Socialist authorities, Bebel, who in his famous book, Die- Frau, wrote:
Every child that comes into the world, whether male or female, is a welcome addition to society ; for society beholds in every child the continuation of itself, and its own further development, it, therefore, perceives from the very outset that its duty according to its power, is to provide for the new-born child. … It is evident that the mother herself must nurse the child as long as possible and necessary. . . .When the child waxes stronger, the other children await it for common amusement under public direction.
Behold their plan ; all boys and girls, as soon as they are weaned, are to be taken from their parents, and brought up boys and girls together, first in State nurseries, and then, boys and girls, together in State boardingschools, but brought up without any religion whatever. Thus the child would grow up a stranger to its father and mother, without the hallowed influence of a happy home, without any knowledge of God or of religion, to become a mere mechanical unit in the machinery of the State, or to become one more human brute moved onward only by human pleasure, deterred only by human pain, until its time should come to sink into a death corruption less foul than was its life’s sensuality, to be buried like any other human dog.
Christian mother, what do you think of this ? I do not ask whether you be prepared to accept as your model that sort of female who is daughter, sister’ mistress of divorce. I could not face the withering scorn of your answer to such an insult. I do not even ask whether you be prepared to remember your home no more, to be a mere wayfarer in life without one spot on earth of which by right of your heart love you are the beloved queen, chosen by man, crowned by God. But I do ask in order that I may be able with your answer to hurl the Socialist back down to the depths of his infamy, I do ask you, Christian mother, whether you be prepared to let your child be stolen from you. The tigress would not suffer that. Nay, and many a weak, timid thing that fears and flies at any sound or stir will dash its poor wings against the hawk in order to save its little ones. Christian mother, you are woman, but you can be tigress too, the armies of the world might be marshalled against you with all the force of their steel, and all the dungeons of the earth might be dug for you with all their iron fetters and bolts ; but what could they do but kill you, and surely, surely they must kill you before they can take your child.
Christian fathers to whose God-like care God has given his God-like gift your child, do you acknowledge your divine duty unto your babe and unto God ? Do you recognise your divine right against man and against devil. Fathers, guard unto death the sacred citadel of your home. This is no question of politics, in a sense it is scarcely a question of Socialism ; it is a question of that strange, wild, upheaval which threatens to convulse the earth with the turmoil and tumult and terror, and torture of all that is good with the filthiest dregs of all that is evil flung up in seething poison and foam to the top, with a bewildering earthquake of old world opinions, with a bewildering avalanche of new world ideas, tossed about like the snowflakes in winter.
It is a question of war, not of the war of the elements ; not, perhaps, at once and straightforwardly of the war of the sword ; but it is a question of war, of the war of Hell against Heaven ; of the war of Satan against Christ ; of the war of the Atheist State against the Christian child. They know, those apostles of Antichrist, they know that if they can kidnap the child, they can make the State Atheist, Materialist, Socialist. They will feed the child, and make it fat and make it merry, but they will suck out the soul of the child and leave it a human life that has no God and a human heart that has no love. No ! not even the love of its father or mother. They have been busy at that kind of work in France, apostate France. Watch the result. Their school teachers, male and female, are without God, and consequently with that special kind of morality which is found amongst those who have no God. The children of France may or may not be learning letters or science or art, but this they are certainly learning crime.
Not many years ago it was a fact to shudder at when at rare intervals in the year there were instances of juvenile crime. That has prospered with the French Republic. They got into hundresd a year, then thousands a year, then ten thousand a year, then twenty thousand a year, then thirty thousand a year. Now that great Republic which has despoiled the Church, and which selected Good Friday to take down the cross from over the tribunal of justice, and from above the benches of the school that glorious Republic can now boast of forty thousand juvenile offenders a year, guilty, not of fault nor of violence, merely, but of grave, deliberate, unvarnished, unforgivable crime. Christian fathers, you may have to face this question sooner than you think : you may have to face financial cyclones, political earthquakes, national tidal waves or social volcanoes, and you will get through them or sink under them like men, aye, like brave men, but there is one point where you must not be mere men ; you must be heroes. However other things may turn, however terribly they turn to evil, may matter much, but it does not matter most. There is one point where you must stop and say, that no power of earth or hell can conquer, you have the grit of martyrs ; that is not enough, you must have the grit that wilJ not merely suffer, you must have the grit that will conquer. If they would touch your child, say : “Hands off,” if the hand is not withdrawn you will say more emphatically, with a sound in your voice, and an echo in your heart, that means warning. “Hands off, it is my child.” Yea, if the State itself with its Parliaments, and its battalions, and its dreadnoughts, and its intrigueiies, and its knaves, and its scoundrels, if the State that is Socialist should say : “That child is mine,” you will answer, with a sound in your voice and an echo in your heart that means war, war to the knife, war to the death : “Hands off ! hands off ! My child is mine, and God‘s.” Then, even should you be overcome by the brute violence of the brute world, God will guard your child; for your child belongs to its father and mother, and to God.
THE SUICIDE OF A NATION.
A NATION is more than a mere collection of units, more than a heap of stones which chance or design has set together. It is more than a number of living things which instinct has drawn into union, more than a herd of cattle. In the physical order, indeed, a nation is made up of many men who tread the same soil, breathe the same atmosphere, belong to the same blood, labour for mutual benefit, and stand by mutual defence. But in the moral world a nation has its own personality. It is not merely the added units of its members, it is the union of the minds and wills of all into the moral identity of one thought and purpose, and therefore into one moral life. Hence a nation has its own ideal, its own character, its own responsibilities, its own duties and its own rights. The reason as well as the cause of nationhood comes from the dictate of Nature’s law. It is two-fold, the interest of mutual help and the instinct of mutual benevolence. Now that ideal of nationhood will be realised under the pressure of actual circumstance.
It is in obedience to the right prompting of nature that the people who dwell upon the same soil, sundered by an encircling sea from the peoples of other shores, whose race and blood and character are unlike the type of men of other lands, whose kind of sky has influenced their temperament, and whose spot on earth has defined their interests, whose mental and moral kinship has grown into a sameness of sympathy, should, standing apart from the rest of men, be drawn into closer brotherhood, into the allegiance of one wide human family, into the love of one great human home. The bonds of nature bind the children of one father into the helpfulness and love of one home ; so, too, although in a broader moral sense, the bonds of nature bind the sons of the same soil into the helpfulness and love of one fatherland.
A nation has its own life. It also has its own history. That history is not rightly written if it be merely made a chronicle of material circumstance or outward event. To be truly told, it must recount the joys, the woes, the hopes, the fears, the sad or sweet memories of long ago ; the sympathies and the aspirations of the hour ; its ambition. its ideal, its love, when its eager eyes are fixed upon the horizon. History must not forget that beyond and beneath its commerce or war, its misfortune or success, its knowledge or energy, its science or art, there is in a nation’s life something deeper and dearer. History must not forget that a nation has a heart.
The arguments advanced in favour of Socialism may be grouped under three headings :
First, justice. Labour alone is the source of value, and therefore capital is theft. To this we have already answered ; it is not only unproven, but false, that labour is the only source of value.
Second, ethical ; all men are equal and therefore all class distinctions are wrong. To this we have already answered ; it is false that all men are equal.
Third, economic ; Socialism would increase the world’s wealth and secure the welfare of the masses. We will examine this assertion.
Universal ownership by the State of all means of wealth production is one cardinal doctrine of Socialism. The Erfurt platform lays down : “Private universal property in the means of production has become incompatible with their proper utilisation and full development.”
The platform of the Socialists of the United States lays down : “The aim of Socialism is the organisation of the working classes for the purpose of transforming the present system of private ownership of the means of production into collective ownership by the entire people.”
We had better mark here a most important point, which otherwise might confuse our notions about Socialism. The federation of independent groups, or small communities, is the idea of the Anarchist or of the extreme Communist. This ideal would merely reproduce the present system on a larger scale where rival groups would take the place of individuals in the struggle for existence. Some groups would succeed while others would fail. Would any individual be free to leave a bad group and enter a good group ? If not he would be a slave, and if free no group could count on its labour power. The good groups would absorb and ruin the bad. Again, no group could satisfy its own wants. This would necessitate commerce, competition, quarrel, war. But Socialism in its strict sense essentially requires one central, supreme authority ; legislative, judicial executive ; owning all means of production and distributing all products ; provincial or municipal authorities could only be its officials in its subordinate bureaus.
Now consider the colossal magnitude of such a scheme. The taking of a census entails a strange amount of time and trouble. Try to imagine what it would mean to ascertain the wants, needs, desires, helps or difficulties of every man, woman and child in a nation, not merely in one branch, but in every possible branch of human life ; all possible food stuffs, all possible dress stuffs, all possible lodging accommodation, all possible means of transit, travel or communication. Then imagine what it would mean that all this should be catered for ; that all the possible labour should be applied in the right time, place and manner ; that all the possible materials and tools for work should be made ready beforehand ; that all possible difficulties or accidents should be anticipated. Surely so vast, so unending, so complex, so intricate a task would require many men of most surpassing genius ; further, consider the enormous multitude of officials which all this would require. The percentage of officials amongst the people would be really alarming, and these flunkeys would grow fat on the labour of the common fellows. It is absurd to suggest that every man would get his turn at being a full-blown flunkey with a pet position, or a full private with hard and nasty work to do. To do their work well, the flunkeys should have experience of their work and knowledge of its details. This would necessitate their continuing in office. It would mean a huge army of men who, by the very nature of things would become a class with power and influence, and with the natural readiness of human nature to feather their own nest. Out of such a multitude with such power in their hands, how many would be honest ; how many energetic in unselfishness ; how many disinterested and devoted in a work which would be of no direct advantage to themselves ? To meet such difficulties, Socialists always call in their imaginary man. He has no human nature about him. He has genius, education, culture ; he has only the highest ideals of unselfishness, of honour, and of kindness ; he is more pure than any saint, more chivalrous than any hero, more warmhearted than any mother. This imaginary man is still more necessary when we come to consider the distribution of the nation’s wealth and the administration of its power.
The impossibilities involved in the organisation of the whole nation into one gigantic firm of universal production so as to supersede in every branch of human activity all initiative or interference of private ability or energy are indefinitely multiplied and intensified when we come to consider the distribution of national produce and the administration of national authority. Socialists generally shirk giving definite schemes. Many of them, like Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, answer, “Solvitur ambulando“, go ahead, and you will find out your way as you go. That means a leap in the dark. When there is a question of a nation’s life or death, it sounds like a reckless recommendation of national suicide. Some Socialists do attempt to offer definite schemes ; but they not only bring in their “imaginary man,” but they postulate their imaginary conditions. They suppose that the government of an absolute democracy would be wise and just and kind. But such government would mean the rule of the proletariat, the rule of those who have nothing to lose and much to gain. Now, all history points out that the rule of the mob has always been the rule of the favourite demagogue of the mob. They suppose that in their huge horde of clerks there will be nothing like dishonesty, favouritism, selfishness. They suppose that the Socialist flunkey would be true as steel against the menace of a dangerous man, and cold as stone against the imperious pleading of a pair of pretty eyes. That is not in keeping with actual human nature.
In our big business firms the masters are personally interested in the firm’s success, and even also in their workmen’s well-being, while the workmen are personally interested in working well and being honest. The Socialist head flunkey or travelling flunkey would have within his hands enormous value and manifold opportunities of placing it in friends’ pockets, or in his own. They suppose that a Socialist State could survive amongst non-Socialist States. But a Socialist State with the maximum of wage and the minimum of work could not compete with a State where there is moderate wage and moderate work. They suppose that they could avoid class distinctions, but unless the State should lapse into barbarism, it must have its specialists, its great engineers, its great doctors, its great scientists, its great writers, its great statisticians, its great inventors, its great administrators, and, above all, its great officials. All these men should have their lives devoted to their profession with material comfort and studious ease, with high incentive to their talents’ use, and with right reward for their labour done. These men would essentially constitute a class above the ignorant, the dull and the coarse. Those Socialist suppositions are as imaginary as their imaginary man. Now, what standard would Socialists take to regulate the distribution of the nation’s wealth ?
Before any distribution of produce or of the nation’s wealth to the individual workers could be made, an immense proportion of it should be set aside for an innumerable army of officials. These officials, especially the upper flunkeys and their Socialist masters, would very naturally expect, and would very inevitably bestow upon themselves, very nice sugar plums, very choice and very rich rewards for their able and valuable services. Officialdom would certainly devour the lion’s share. How would the individual jackal’s share be decided ? There are five different standards of distribution suggested by different Socialists.
First: each man is to get an equal share. This would be unfair. The work done by different men would be of very different value, and the wants or needs of different men would be of very different degree or importance.
Second: the time spent in labour. This would be unfair. The quantity and quality of work done by one man in a given time would be incomparably more valuable than the work done by another man within the same time.
Third: energy and industry of work. This standard would leave the decision to the appreciation of officials, who would naturally and inevitably side with the majority against the real hard worker, and probably in favour of the good-humoured and popular lazy fellow.
Fourth: the wants or desires of the work-people. Who is to decide how far these are reasonable ? The least deserving people often want most. It cannot be left merely to the asking. The officials must decide. Hence you should have an infallible commission that knows everything about everybody and would be quite competent to decide how many glasses of beer are to be allowed to big, fat X, and how many to diminutive Y, and how many hats may be allowed to the frolicsome Miss A, and how many to the demure old maid Miss B.
Fifth: the value of the work done. This is really the least foolish standard of Socialism, but it upsets Socialism. It would mean that high-class mental or artistic work would be paid very much more than vulgar material work. This would be a most emphatic class distinction. Again, this different value of work should be appreciated and judged so as to proportion the different ratio of rewards. Here, also, appreciation, prejudice, or favour, would influence the decision much more than the actual work done. In answer to this the different schools of Socialism have their different answers. Their answers all suppose the imaginary man and the imaginary conditions.
There is, however, one aspect of their answers which may appear to have some foundation in fact. It is that the present system provokes competition, and that competition wastes in mutual strife the time, toil, and money which should be spent on the wealth-making of the nation. In reply to this, some great economists say that the waste of competition is not real waste ; it brings down prices, it stimulates invention, industry, attention, energy, economy and prudence ; while it tends to get rid of monopolies and rings. But even should we allow that the removal of competition would tend to increase the amount of wealth produced, yet the enormous expenditure on enormous multitudes of State flunkeys, would lose more than competition ever lost. But were Socialism to be the most perfect economic system that man’s brain could devise, it might yet be the most disastrous system with which the heart of man could meet.
We will now consider the social character of the Socialist State. When we men born in the hardy North, trained from our boyhood to love fresh air, rough exercise, and manly self-reliance, travel through countries where a milder sky and a softer air seem to make the character of man in many ways less manly, we often wonder how they can brook such constant intimate and uncalled-for interference with their own personal life and liberty. The “paternal government“of the Kaiser is an instance of this. To make a joke about the Kaiser’s travels or other of his eccentricities, to resent one’s private letters or one’s luggage being examined at the post office or in the hotel, to overlook some one trifle of the innumerable useless prohibitions printed everywhere, may seem a crime in German eyes. As for us Northmen, we would gladly put up with much more expense and with much less comfort if we could avoid such interminable red tape and such meddlesome police control.
Now, instead of encouraging self-reliance and personal independence amongst men, Socialism would change us into a world of big babies. The unfortunate common crowd, including all the ladies and gentlemen, most of the middle class and some of the lowest, would be absolutely at the mercy of the nominees of the majority of the proletariat who would occupy the thrones of officialdom. Here, however, we admit that if men were not men according to actual human nature, but elevated to supernatural angelhood, Socialism might be possible ; but the imaginary man is not a fact even amongst officials. The officials of Socialism would have no personal interest in doing their work properly, and on the other hand, they would inevitably, as I have said, constitute a sort of aristocracy. It is scarcely possible to limit even in thought the extent to which official despotism might reach. There would be no appeal, because the official world would represent the rowdy and aggressive mob, or if the mob threw out those actual officials, other officials with equally despotic powers would take their place. The officials would decide the education and calling of the child. They would decide the kind of work to be done by every man or woman. They would probably decide marriage questions or even marriage choice. They would decide all salaries, all rewards. They would balance the different merits of their learned or artistic men. They would be a most “paternal government.” To officialdom would correspond a world of big babies.
Socialism on a small scale might perhaps resuscitate a Paradise of Niggers. It would be quite a mistake to suppose that the majority of the nigger plantations in the Southern States were fairly portrayed in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Many of them were happy colonies where the niggers lived happy lives under a parental rule. They had their work to do each day during reasonable hours, but the rest of their time was their own. They could marry as easily as soldiers, sailors, or policemen ; each family had its own comfortable cabin, with its garden, the produce of which they could sell, and they could do what they liked with the money they got, in that or in other ways. They could not go away from the plantation. They had to live and die there ; their children grew up to live the same peaceful, comfortable, working, and enjoyable existence. They had no care, no responsibility, no anxiety, and when in the evening they danced their nigger dances, and sang their nigger songs, they were happy. But they were only big babies. Now Socialism cannot even give us a “paradise of niggers” for it is artificially worked up and set in ferment by dreamers or by desperadoes, by unmitigated scoundrels or by irremediable enthusiasts, by professionals who know how to bleed the foolish mob, or by theatrical characters who want an audience before which to pose. Even were the Socialists able to transform us into big babies or happy niggers we would scarcely wish to accept the change.
Reference is sometimes made to religious orders ; now, no religious order would survive one single day were it not for supernatural motives, and if it were not for supernatural principles the ordinary members of religious orders would rapidly degenerate into big babies, as indeed, even in spite of supernatural principle, they sometimes do.
The profound evil of any such social state, is that it would make men unmanly ; it would enervate all energy, it would utterly sap all self-reliance. There can be no general energy, no general economy amongst a people which is not enforced by personal interest or by personal ambition.
Socialism, to be a success, would essentially require a universal realisation amongst its people of ungrudging and unfailing unselfishness, and of heroic self-sacrifice. That is not to be found, nor will it ever be found, in human nature : and as shrewd old Horace said : Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque redibit : Were you to fling out human nature with a pitchfork, it would ever come back again. Actual facts are very unkind to the Socialist. Socialism has been tried in a small way under favourable circumstances in the United States, with the result that rows arose even when things went well, followed by bitter squabbles and breaking up amidst a storm of fierce mutual abuse.
A memorable instance of this kind is the Socialistic settlement founded by a Frenchman named Etienne Cabet, in 1848, first in Texas, and when this broke up, in the abandoned Mormon city, Nauvoo, Illinois. This latter settlement prospered at first, and at one time contained five hundred members. But disputes arose, and its young blood expelled Cabet and his adherents from Icaria. Cabet founded another community at Cheltenham, St. Louis, but squabbles soon again smashed it up. Soon also the youth of Icaria, as the original settlement was called, became unmanageable. Their colony went to California, where disputes closed the last chapter of its history. At present the two great Socialist organisations in the United States are at war. Amongst other choice epithets bandied between them, one stigmatised the other as a party of “scabs.” Amongst German Socialists there are signs of a cleavage, which must inevitably split in twain any Socialist State. A fierce jealousy between the educated and the proletarians; between, on the one hand, writers or speakers of good family, mostly the madcaps of atheistic universities ; and, on the other hand, the mere workmen, who are suspicious of any leaders who do not belong to the labour class. This is easily understood, for Socialism must logically work out into a pure democracy ; but a pure democracy, without any stable, solid class organisms to steady it, must oscillate wildly between a despotism, an oligarchy, and a universal muddle ; for a pure democracy has no other standard of right than the will of the masses, and the will of the masses is at the mercy of wire-pullers and demagogues. Thus a Socialist State would in theory be under the sovereignty of the mob in the street, but in reality it would be under the slavery of the conspirators in their den.
A nation, in order to have a healthy life, must have its unity of authority. That authority may exist under the form of a kingship or of a constitutional monarchy, or of a Republic. Each of these forms is good ; not one is absolutely faultless. Each has its own advantages and its own defects.
Our modern age seems to be in favour of the Republic, and many wise and good men appear to think that the spread of education, culture, and self-reliance requires that the people should have a supreme voice in the decision of their own fortunes, and of their own destiny. But if this be true, that voice must be the true expression of the wisdom and worth of the nation. If it be unjust that an absolute king or a few wealthy aristocrats should dictate their fate to the whole body of the people, it must also be unjust that one section which has the least knowledge, the least prudence, the least stake to lose, and the biggest booty to win, that section which is naturally the most easily duped and the most easily mislead, should be the despotic masters of all the other members of the Commonwealth.
In spite of the theories of enthusiasts, and in spite of the rant of demagogues, nature will always inevitably divide a people into the intelligent and the dull, the educated, and the ignorant, the sensible and the reckless, the law-abiding and the criminal, and the lower classes will always look for leaders. It is not practical to suppose that a people could be like the regiment of Mark Twain, where, in order to avoid jealousy, every man was colonel. A people must be led, but by whom ?
The Socialist spider will spin his web in which the foolish flies will lose their property, their liberty, and their higher human life, while the vampire of Officialdom will suck the blood of the unconscious toilers of the State. Were Socialism realised amongst a people made up of men like the man we have known in history, like the men we meet to-day, it would entail the loss of personal liberty, the loss of the independence of the home, the loss of the energy, power, and freedom of the Commonwealth. If entered into freely and deliberately it would be the suicide of the nation.
There is a patriotism that is false ; it is a mere morbid hysterical idolatry of a fetish, with an unreasoning rancorous hatred of those people who are not of its own ilk. But there is a patriotism that is true, it is a thoughtful, manly worship for the nation of which one is the son ; it is a chivalrous allegiance to her honour, a disinterested service of her fortune, a prayerful veneration for her name, a devotedness unto death, to her life. The Socialist will say that that is sentiment. Sentiment ? Yes ! The Socialist stigmatises patriotism as mere sentiment. No wonder, then, that the Socialist is the enemy of his country. The French Socialists are the worst enemies of France. The German Socialists are the worst enemies of Germany. But our sentiment is the heartbeat of men true to their country ; their Socialism is the heart-burn of traitors to their fatherland. If it be sentiment that a child should love its mother, that a man should love his home, then it is sentiment that a citizen should love his country, that a patriot should love his nation. But if this be sentiment, then I say that is the power which makes men, and this is the power which makes a nation.
Ah ! there is something in your inmost nature that affirms the truth, and re-echoes the enthusiasm of what the poet sang :
Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land.
Ah, our lives are more nobly spent when in public and political life we recognise that it is not in mere economic success that consists the true greatness of a nation. In the words of Emerson : “The truest test of civilisation is not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crop, but the kind of man a country turns out.”
In this dear land of ours, at least, we recognise that our highest duty to our country is in our true, frank, fearless, manly, loyal love, and that our highest privilege is to share in all those sacred sympathies that bind us children to our fatherland ; for we know that our nation has a heart.
GOD OR MAMMON ?
SHOULD Socialism fasten its fetters upon the freedom of the man ; should it dislink the bonds of home, dethroning the wife of a lifetime for the mistress of a day, and stealing the God-given gift of the child in order to materialise it into a living fraction of a living machine; should it kill nationhood, leaving it a fermenting and disintegrating mass, to be the food of human vultures, the sunshine could give no light or warmth to the minds or hearts of men, the stars would look with cold calm pity upon the ruins of what had been a civilised world. Yet still in such a catastrophe there might yet be left a Divine truth and a Divine love to renew the face of the earth. But if God Himself were banished from His own Creation, if men could no longer know of their Father Who is in Heaven nor hope for a future home beyond their abandoned exile, if there were no resurrection to cling to, then indeed man’s lot would be one of irremediable gloom, disaster, and despair. That at least, the hope of a hereafter must be left to us or we die the double death of body and of soul.
Is Socialism Atheist ? If so be it is, then Socialism is an evil born of hell, and fraught with the threat of the triumph of Satan over God. What do Socialists themselves say ?
Vandervelt, a leader of the Belgian Socialists, declared that “the opposition between Christianity and Socialism is essential.” Karl Marx said : “Religion is only the fantastic reflection in the brains of men of those exterior powers which rule their daily life.” He also said: “Religion is only a costume or a mask“; he contemptuously asserts that there is no need of attacking religion; “it need not be suppressed by violence, as under Socialism it will die out.” Marx further said, “Religion is an absurd popular sentiment“; “a fantastic degradation of human nature.” ” Man makes religion,” he said, “not religion man.” And again, “Religion is the sentiment of a heartless world“;”it is the opium of the people.” “The abolition of religion is a necessary condition for true happiness.”
There is no need to multiply quotations of this kind from German Socialists. The leader of the German Socialists in the German Reichstag (December 3ist, 1881) officially declared : “In politics we profess Republicanism, in economics Socialism, in religion Atheism.”
German Socialist newspapers and German Socialist songs teem with the most disgusting refuse from the rotting hearts of blasphemous and brutal men. Such sentiments are universal amongst Continental Socialists. Count Soderini tells us that there is scarcely a speech or demonstration of Italian Socialists without a direct attack on God and on Christianity. He quotes a declaration applauded by a Socialist Congress :
We shall have the delight of assisting at the agony of the priests prostrated in the gutter of the street. They shall pine away of hunger, slowly, fearfully, before our eyes. This shall be our revenge, and for the relish of such a revenge, accompanied by a bottle of Bordeaux, we will willingly sell our place in Heaven. What say we ? Heaven ? We want it not. What we do wish for is hell hell with all the delights that go before it, and we leave Heaven to the God of the Papist.
We may be met with a protestation that these are not the sentiments of English Socialists. Why, then, do they stand on the same platform, why do they subscribe to the same principles ? Why do they adopt the same plan of campaign ? Socialism, they admit, is, and must be international. When the English Socialist is arm in arm with the Socialist of Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, he will walk the same way. It is true that a certain sense of public decency deters the English Socialist from flinging forth the literary filth which defiles the Continental and even the American Socialist Press.
But English Socialists do sometimes break out, and give bluntly their ideas about religion. Listen to Mr. Blatchford, editor of the Clarion, the official organ of the Socialists : “I do not like the Catholic Church. The Church was the enemy of popular education, the enemy of popular freedom, the friend of superstition, and of tyranny, and of the robber.” Again : “I am working for Socialism, when I attack a religion which is hindering Socialism.” Again : “I cannot believe in the existence of Jesus Christ.” Mr. Blatchford has in his book, God and My Neighbour, sections entitled “The Immorality of Jehovah,” “The Injustice of Jehovah,” “The Cruelty of Jehovah,” Mr. Blatchford has other peculiar ideas, “Determinism,” he says, “the negation of freewill, this is scientific, this is ideal. It is greater than Plato, greater than Christ.” Again, “Freewill is a myth.” Again : “There is no such thing as sin, man could not and cannot sin.” Again he wrote : “Carlyle is more moral than Jeremiah ; Ruskin is superior to Isaiah ; Ingersoll, the Atheist, is a nobler moralist and a better man than Moses.”
Another and rather different type of Socialist is Mr. George Bernard Shaw. From him we naturally expect a more artistic expression, but we find the substance of his opinion to be the same. In editing the Fabian Essays he informs us that his distinguished Socialist writers hold that “the social system based on religion and a common belief in the Divine order has broken down.” In a speech to Christian Socialists he said : “The Bible must go. Till you get rid of the Bible, religion in this country will be impossible.”
What else Mr. Bernard Shaw said was of such a kind that, according to the Clarion, no editor in the country would dare to publish it. Some specimens are, however, given. They are reeking with horrible and revolting profanity. Now, from foul mouths of foul slums, one might not be surprised to hear foul abuse of what is sacred or foul insult against what is dear ; for foulness is a hindrance to the understanding of the pure, beautiful, majestic character of Jesus Christ.
But, that a man who is educated up to the level of an artist, and cultured up to the position of a gentleman, should pass beyond abuse, beyond insult, beyond all foulness of the slum in order to rush into the outrage of turning into contemptuous ridicule and holding up for derisive laughter that supreme moment on Calvary, that Adorable Figure on the Cross, towards which the noblest minds of men are turned, and round which the sympathies of noblest men are entwined, surely, surely this is worse than what is foul, this is the stinging of a venomous reptile, this is the loathsome scum that oozes from the lips of the hating and hateful Satan. Perhaps, however, it may yet be possible, that for some reason Mr. Bernard Shaw was not sane when he spoke, or perhaps he forgot that he is not always on the stage. That is the attitude taken by Socialists against religion.
Is there any logical connection between Socialism and Atheism ? This question has two aspects ; first, does Atheism logically lead to Socialism ? and secondly, does Socialism logically lead to Atheism?
As regards the first question it is very evident that a wealthy Atheist is little likely to be a genuine Socialist. For him his wealth and pleasure will be the only objects of his worship, and he will not sacrifice them in order to secure the honour of being a Socialist labourer. But with the Atheist, who is penniless, it is quite another matter. For him there is no moral law, because there is no law without a lawgiver, and there is no moral lawgiver but God ; hence there is no right that can restrain him from taking all the wealth on which he can lay his hands, and Socialism supplies him with the means of doing this. A beggar Atheist is a Socialist, unless he be a fool.
The answer to the second question is not so clear. Does Socialism logically lead to Atheism ? If we understand Socialism exclusively in its real and essential sense as a social system, which would give exclusively to the State all ownership of capital, of means, of wealth production, and kindred powers, with also the exclusive right of distribution and administration of such goods, then we admit that Socialism is not logically the same thing as Atheism.
However wrong a man may be in ethical or economic matters he may yet be right in recognising God. This, however, is vague and abstract. Is Socialism logically incompatible with Catholicity ? To this we must fearlessly answer yes ; a true Catholic cannot be a real Socialist. Understand what this does not mean, and what it does mean. It does not mean that the Catholic who calls himself a Socialist is thereby a heretic. It does not even follow that a Catholic who is a real Socialist is thereby a heretic ; but it does logically follow that a real Catholic cannot be a real Socialist. Do not push this statement unfairly towards one side or towards the other. A heretic is one who denies an article of faith, but beyond the articles of faith there is a wide domain of revealed truths which every real Catholic must by faith admit. All those truths are proposed for our belief by the Church, but not all under the same penalty for refusal to believe. They are all equally true. They are all equally revealed. They are all equally and infallibly certain. But some are insisted on by the Church with such uncompromising emphasis that if they are not accepted she excludes the recusant from her fold. Others are insisted on, but with less urgent and peremptory punishment in case they should be denied. In all cases, however, it is wrong and sinful not to accept what is the certain teaching of the Church. Thus the Resurrection of Christ and the Assumption of His Virgin Mother are both revealed truths. But the first has been promulgated as an article of faith ; the second was not. Hence to deny the Resurrection would be the sin of heresy ; to deny the Assumption would be a sin of error. Both denials would be sinful, although not in the same degree. Now, in Socialism there are principles which no real Catholic can hold.
First, Socialists hold that private ownership is in itself wrong ; that, no Catholic can admit.
Second, Socialists maintain that the child is the property of the State as against the father’s right ; that, no Catholic can admit.
Third, Socialists recognise divorce as a breaking of the marriage bond ; that, no Catholic can admit.
Fourth, Socialists limit and confine religion to mere personal private worship ; that, no Catholic can admit.
There are many other points to which I need not now allude where the Catholic and the Socialist are in direct and uncompromising antagonism. Mark, when I speak of a Catholic I mean one who is a loving and loyal child of his Mother Church, the infallible Spouse of Christ. I do not mean one who has been baptised a Catholic and who, perhaps, lives outwardly at least as a Catholic, but who is a self-commissioned and cynical critic of her teaching. I do not mean the Catholic whose mind is suspicious and distrustful of his Church’s teaching, and whose heart is hostile to her command ; but one who is at home and happy teachable and affectionate with his mother Church.
Read the practical lesson of all this. The English people have little faith in dreams or even in theories when there is question of practical politics. Hence it is that they do not take the Utopias or fables or follies of real Socialists too seriously ; they do not take them seriously enough. Hence it is that there are in England so many sham Socialists. So many who only look to the practical way of making the Social world happier, brighter, better, and do not understand that this practical scheme grounded on Socialist principles will work out far otherwise in fact than it did in their dream. But there is another aspect of this crisis which is still more practical. What sort of men are these to whom you are entrusting your life, your home, your property, and your nation. I do not now ask whether you understand their principles, but I do ask whether you understand the consequences of their practice. They are men who belong to a strange, startling, desperate sect. All the members of that sect are not of the same height or colour, or weight or bulk, but that sect has its character, and its character is more or less stamped on its members ; the character of that sect is : it hates God, it abhors religion, it confiscates all private property, it rejects the bond of marriage, it unroofs the home, it kidnaps the child, it jeers at patriotism, and it sets the pleasure of a servile mob as king upon the nation’s throne.
The service of Mammon means the idolatry of wealth. Mammon was the Syriac name for the pagan god of riches, whom the Romans called Dis, and the Greeks Pluto- In those old mythologies there was much metaphor, but it had its deep meaning. Mammon was worshipped by the sacrifice of dark-fleeced flocks immolated with averted face. Of dark and forbidding aspect, pitiless character and gloomy mind ; his daughters were the Furies, his kingdom Hell. Our modern Mammon is no divinity of metal or of stone ; but the idea is not dead. Gold is still the world’s god.
This means in principle the service of material gain, and in practice it means the supremacy of material pleasure. This further means the idol of materialist, wealth the only end of life as an object and pleasure, the only aim of life as a motive. The ideal of sensual enjoyment is put before the workman by the German Socialist Stern, in these words taken from Heine, the poet of cynicism, of sensuality, and of Socialism: “You demand simplicity of apparel, chasteness of life, insipid enjoyments ; we, on the contrary, demand nectar and ambrosia, garments of purple, and fragrant perfumes, luxury and magnificence, dancing, music, and comedy. This we demand for all, and shall grant to all.”
Behold the workingman in his Socialist paradise ! Before him are fountains of Bordeaux, Bavarian beer, champagne, whiskey, gin, cognac, from which any workman can, when he will, drink deep draughts. He can sit down in a superb hotel, or in his own comfortable residence, at a table laden with a profusion of the best and most dainty dishes. He will, indeed, have done some little interesting labour during the day, and when he is filled with meat and drink he may take a drive in his carriage or motor car before he goes to the theatre or to the dance. Stern does not say where all the means will come from to procure such a life for every man and woman in the State ; nor does he say who will do the cooking, or who will do the cleaning up, or who will brush his lordship’s boots.
All this is, of course, arrant nonsense, but the pitiful point of this murderous joke is that it is put before the proletariat as the ideal of the life that is worth living. The enthusiastic Socialists paint their paradise in fairy colours, while the more plodding English Socialists are satisfied with more sober hues ; but the idea lurking under both is quite the same the idea that the aim and end of life, its object and its motive, are in material pleasure, and that Socialism alone is able to glut the populace with sensuous joy. That idea, brutal though it be, is own child of such false philosophy as that of Herbert Spencer, where is taught the doctrine that pleasure is the aim of existence and the standard of worth. That doctrine is false, unworthy of man ; it is born and bred in the kingdom of Mammon. They speak indeed of utilitarianism, which makes utility or usefulness the test of right and wrong. But utility has no good of its own. What is the thing or action useful for ? They answer Happiness. But, I reply, happiness may be good or bad ; it may be right or wrong. By what standard do you judge happiness ? What is the test to show whether it be right or wrong ?
Surely it is quite plain that the happiness which is the result of a right action is right happiness, and that the happiness which comes from a wrong action is wrong happiness. See, it is right that decides happiness ; it is not happiness that decides right itself ? I answer in the name of common sense, and in the name of all sane philosophy, right is decided by the conformity of that action with the judgment of reason, and the judgment of reason rightly judges according to the conformity of that action with the relations of order in which the doer of that action actually exists. Wherefore, the only true and the only noble ideal of life is in the living to do what is right, be it pleasant or be it hard, be it to follow the path strewn with flowers or be it to dare like a hero a height that is difficult and dark. To make wealth-producing the supreme object of life and material pleasure life’s supreme aim and motive is not merely the setting of a false god for the adoration of the people. It further means, as a necessary and inevitable consequence, that as the furies were the daughters of Mammon, so the daughters of materialistic Socialism will be violence, horror, war.
Without God there is no moral law. Without moral law there is no moral right. Without moral right there is nothing left in human life, but the grasp of the strong hand. Think of what this means. It would be very difficult, it would be practically impossible, for most of you to realise what it means, and it would be very much more impossible for you to realise what it might mean. Try calmly to put yourself face to face with facts. In our Christian lands children are taught to say their prayers when their infant life is budding into thoughtfulness. They are taught that there is a Father in Heaven Whose will is to be done, Who rewards the good and Who punishes the bad. When the children say their prayers there is borne in upon them a knowledge which they do not then fully understand, but which comes back clearly upon them as they grow older the knowledge that their father and mother bear them a message from another world. They recognise the truth and the reality of the Great God, and from that recognition follows their recognition of their duty towards their home, towards their neighbour, and towards their nation. It is all very sacred, very reverential, and very binding. Their life must be lived on those grand noble reverential lines. That is the ideal of life of the Christian. Christians recognise a moral law coming from God, and they bow before it.
What about your Socialists ? You have no God, and you have no Christ ; you have no Moral Law ; you have no moral power. You may tell your audience what is right to do, but what right have you to tell them. You can impose no moral precept, nor can you even explain to them the idea of moral obligation. You are absolutely powerless in the moral order. You can issue no moral command by Divine right. Consequently, you can only coax them by pleasure, and the god of pleasure is Mammon or Satan ; it is Hedonism or the devil, but that God is contemptible, and not worth even the song of the Socialist. Teach them that there is no God. Teach them that they have no moral conscience. Teach them that there is no heaven hereafter for the good, and for the bad no hell. Teach them to aim at only pleasure and only to fly from pain. What will you then have in your Socialist paradise ? A herd of human cattle, some of them intelligent, educated, cultured, a very suspected lot in the Socialistic state, most of them, practically all of them, a Godless, unprincipled, immoral crowd. In our Christian commonwealths there are many criminals, but they are the exception. They are an offence against our principles and rebels against our right. Under Socialism criminals would be the authorised spokesmen of your principles, and the ruthless henchmen of your lawlessness. Again, and again, without God there is no morality, and without morality there is only left the God of the Socialist, irreligion, immorality, degradation of the man and suicide of the nation.
Retribution by the uncompromising law of things follows the footsteps of false principle. We have seen in history how the fates of nations have been foilowed by Divine chastisements on their misdoings. There are nations that have done many a wrong, and yet have done many a right. There are nations which in some ways have been cruel and unjust, and yet in other ways have broken the fetter of the slave and honoured womanhood.
History proclaims the benediction of God on nations that have upheld the true ideal of freedom and have stood by the right that was oppressed. But when nations officially reject God they must expect their doom, and as they do not live for another world they must expect in this world their damnation. “The nation that will not serve God shall perish.”
This leads us to a kindred thought the duty of a nation. Both those who uphold what are called conservative principles, and those who shelter themselves under what they are pleased to call liberal principles appeal one and the other to the rights of a nation. They are both equally and utterly wrong. They must first appeal to a nation’s duty, for a nation has no right except by reason of its duty. A nation is not for itself, it is for its subjects. If a nation be of no use to its subjects it is an absurdity. Its first right is to serve, and its only right arises from its duty to serve. A nation having duties and having rights must recognise a master of right and wrong. “The nation that will not serve God shall perish.” We cannot require practically that every nation, though it be Christian, should offer official service unto God ; that might be too much to expect from our worldly and effete Christendom, but we must expect, and we must exact that the nation recognise God, that it recognises the law of Christ, that it give at least full liberty to Christ to teach, and give to Christ full reverence, that He be not spat upon or again crucified.
The fatherland has very sacred duties to fulfil towards the children of its homes. In the first place it must look to the education of the young. In this it must above all look to their religious education ; whatever children of a nation may learn of science or of art or of literature, that is all of no avail unless the children learn of God. Hence everything else in education is secondary compared to the knowledge which the child must get of the knowledge of God. Upon this first duty of the State towards the family, including the giving of right education for the child, follows the State’s duty towards the poor.
There is another duty of the State which statesmen shirk and from which the worthiest and strongest politicians draw back ; they are all cowards in face of a big antagonist. A nation has a double duty, it has its duty towards its friends, and it has its duty towards its foes. Its duty towards its friends is that its crown, its sceptre, and its sword be absolutely pledged to their welfare. All that you readily admit. But all that enforces the corresponding duty the sheltering of the sheep-fold against the wolf. To one who stands aloof
in philosophic meditation from all these petty squabbles of political life it is very sad and very disheartening to be forced to recognise how very unmanly men often are. If a man were to insult your wife in your presence, Nature would tell you what to do. When men blaspheme your God, vituperate your nation, insult your home, do you know what to say to them, or under certain circumstances would you know what to do with them ? Look at the matter very broadly. There is a terrible amount of evil and misery brought into innocent, happy homes by swindlers and speculators, whatever name these choose to take. Is it not high treason against the nation to let those scoundrels escape, without their being first flogged and then ignominiously hanged ? No murderer was ever murderer as they are.
It is an infamy to any civilised country that these wealthy men should be authorised criminals when their thousands of victims are starving in despair or struggling in suicide. There is the reverse of the medal. If the police were informed that a man is prepared to murder you, do you not think that you might claim police protection ? It is treason, treason against the good, treason against the high-minded, treason against the pure, treason against humanity. A nation that has any manliness in it ought to know what to do with these vipers.
I pass from this thought to another, the underlying thought of this discourse. Man is better than matter. God is above Mammon. Man must hunger for something nobler than his food. “Not by bread alone doth man live.” The soil may teem with golden corn, the trees may bend with luscious fruit, the wind may bring freshness and the sun warmth ; the slow kine may fatten in the field ; and the swift birds throng the wood ; nature may give him bread to eat ; but were the earth a garden for his pleasure, and a storehouse for his food, man must hunger still. Man may learn the histories of the past or the peoples of the present ; he may be able to read the records of the rocks, or to unravel the texture of the trees ; he may understand the laws that rule the lightning or the changefulness of the sea ; he may measure the waves of the ether, or he may weigh the mass of the sun ; he may travel to far-off places with the unwearied strength of steam, or he may talk to far-off friends with the speed of the electric spark ; he may gather facts of every form, and garner them into sciences of every kind ; he may thrive in knowledge until his mind is filled with intellectual food, but man must hunger still. The bread of corn feeds the body. The bread of knowledge feeds the mind. They cannot appease the cravings of the soul. They may give strength or power. But the Word of God alone can turn man’s strength to noble service, or guide man’s power to noble aim.
The prosperity and learning of a people, were they great as those of Athens or of Rome, may only breed a more contemptible national decrepitude, and a more loathsome moral degradation. Man or nation is not good without God. Without goodness, strength is brutal, and knowledge demon-like. Man is more than matter, and better than the wisdom of the earth. These things he must have to use for his life, not to live for. He looks for a light that comes from beyond the furthest horizon of time. He leans upon a hope that out-reaches the uttermost limit of space. Not alone by food for body or for mind doth man live. His soul hungers for an eternal truth, and for an all-pervading love. No ! “Not by bread alone doth man live, but by every word that cometh from the mouth of God.”
THE FIREBRAND OR THE OLIVE BRANCH.
THE rumblings of earthquake have been already heard. The shudderings of social eruption and the strange lurid threatenings of volcanic war have made men pause in new alarm to wonder what this unmeasured and uncontrolled upheaval may bring. As happens often in great conflict of physical or moral causes some stray phenomena have given us typical instances of the character of the crisis.
Such an instance is the history of Signor Ferrer’s crime and doom. What Ferrer’s principles were we learn from his own words “God is a childish conception of fear.” “Property is the theft, the artifice, the dishonesty of industry and commerce.” ” The national flag is nothing more than a piece of calico fastened to a stick.” “Free love and free conscience are to be allowed and honoured.” ” There is neither God nor soul.” “Comrades, let us be men ; let us blot out of life the infamous upper and middle classes; let us pull everything into ruin.” “If amongst politicians any make appeal to your humanity kill them.” “Abolish all law.” “Demolish the churches.” As to Ferrer’s practice, he deserted his wife and children to live with another woman, and did this on principle, as he himself said. He succeeded in getting for himself £24,000, the property of a French girl whom he had led astray, and who, strangely, happened to die a few days after she had made her will in his favour. With this money he founded schools in Barcelona, where the children were taught downright blasphemy and irreligion, unvarnished and unmitigated immorality, and not only hatred of all law, revolt against all authority, but even the actual making of explosive anarchist bombs. Ferrer was the brainscarrier and organiser of the 50,000 anarchists in Catalonia.
Now, mark a strange momentous fact. It is so strange a fact as to be almost incredible. It is so momentous a fact as to be almost immeasurable in the gravity of its menace. After the appalling outrage and anarchy at Barcelona, when Ferrer, murderer, ringleader of murderers, had been court-martialled and shot, there was not only a savage outburst of rage amongst the anarchists and Socialists of France, Germany, Spain, London, and especially of Italy, but leading newspapers in civilised England took the part of the anarchist, and sought to mislead the public by throwing the blame on the Spanish Government, which had only done its duty in protecting the lives and property of its citizens ; but they reserved their most malignant censure for the Catholic Church, which was as a fact the victim, not the assailant, of the anarchist.
Such weird wickedness, followed by such wilful perversion of facts, points to the truth of what Pope Leo XIII wrote (Encyclical on Christian Democracy) in 1901 :
All thoughtful minds are filled with alarm at the approaching crisis ; the peril is indeed occasioned in part by the great economic changes that have taken place in the world, but the peril is mainly caused by the false philosophy which is widely taught amongst the people, and very much caused by the baneful influence of professional, unprincipled, and reckless agitators.
Again, the great Pope reminds us that the aim and action of Socialist conspiracies is to provoke sedition, immorality, and atheism.
Face the facts frankly. Those demagogues who preach materialism to the masses, who invite the proletariat to plunder the property of their betters, who envenom the rancour of the discontented against the upper classes, who persuade the ignorant or the malicious that they have no God and need have no master, who condone crime and applaud loose morals, who pander to the lowest passions of the most animal men these demagogues, blind or Satanic leaders of the blind or Satanic mob, are preparing the proletariat of many nations for the wildest possible extremes. Newspapers, statesmen or fashionable orators in England may mildly try to soothe the Socialist, or blandly expostulate with the Anarchist, but they patronise the principles that lead logically to social catastrophe, although they do not wish in the practice of those principles to venture too far. But the people are logical. They follow out with inexorable rigour to their very last issues the teachings they have received. If robbed of Christ the Saviour, they will follow Bakunin the Nihilist.
Democracy – that is to say, the holding of the supreme power of the State by the majority, and, therefore, by the lower classes of society appears to be now an idea before which Kings and statesmen submissively bow, and up towards which politicians, speculators, and professional agitators reverently look. Democracy in its first plain meaning has a good, honest, sterling ring about it. But Democracy, understood as it must practically be understood, as the holding of the supreme power of the State by a populace which is under the supreme power of leaders, who use the enthusiastic obedience of that populace, according to their own ideas or inclinations, cannot be the best and safest form of government. Democracy is a dangerous force. It naturally tends to swing more and more downwards, but the force which is directed from the lowest depths through its leaders of the lowest depths is not likely to work for the commonweal. In our clay we are face to face with Social Democracy. That might, indeed, prove to be no irreconcilable enemy if it were only to mean a movement of the people towards a legitimate share of political power, so as to ensure the removal of grave social evils which actually exist. But there is no question whatever of meeting the Social Democrat on level ground under sure conditions of fair play, and with mutual eagerness to clasp friendly hands in a brotherly bargain. The world has whirled along far past that point. The Socialist will accept no friendly terms, no bargain, no compromise, no surrender, except the absolute acceptance of the halter. Socialists are irremediably committed to the irremediable robbery of everybody who has anything worth robbing. This means war war to the knife. It is strange how very sleepy people sometimes are when they ought to have their wits about them.
Socialism does not merely mean that the property of the millionaires would be divided amongst the poor. That would really give very little to the poor. Some years ago the great French Rothschild was caught by a Socialist who, with loaded revolver, demanded his share of Rothschild’s money. Rothschild pleaded that he should calculate the sum, and gave his word of honour that on the next day he would pay the Socialist his proportion of the Rothschild property. Next day Rothschild honourably kept his promise ; he gave the Socialist an account of the Rothschild property in France, which amounted to nearly as many million of francs as the population of France, and he politely handed the Socialist his proportion of the spoil, nine-pence sterling.
But the real point is this ; it is not merely the Rothschilds or other millionaires who are to be robbed, it is not merely the fashionable people who live in palaces and drive in motor cars who are to be robbed, but the shopkeepers are also to be robbed ; it is not merely the great big shopkeepers who are to be robbed, but every small business house will be robbed. The professional classes, the barristers, and the doctors will be robbed. The small farmer, the small cottager, will be evicted. The cabman’s horse and cab will be taken from him. The poor woman who sells apples in the street will have her basket seized upon. These are all the ways of making money, and the Socialist says that nobody has any right to make money or to own money except the Socialist State.
Do you think that men would stand this ? Do you think that a tenant who has bought out his land will willingly give it up to the Socialist who promises to spoon-feed him ? Do you think that any respectable shopkeeper would give up his shop for the honour of being the shop-boy of a Socialist flunkey ? Do you think that any manly man would give up the few shillings that are his own in order to become an irresponsible easy-going loafer in an idealised workhouse ? No ; no man would accept that. It is not a question of the wealthy ; it is a question of every man who owns anything that is worth having. Most men are manly, and if the Socialist forces them to put their backs to the wall they will fight. It will be a very terrible war when on one side you have the Socialist rabble all the refuse of humanity and a certain amount of deluded, hysterical, intoxicated humanity, and on the other side men who fight for their nationhood, for their home, for the souls of their children, for the manhood of their sons, for the chastity of their daughters, for their property, for their life. It will be a very terrible war. It will be a war between hell and heaven.
But that war will be anticipated. Socialists will not wait until honest folk are driven to desperation. They mean to hasten the result, to invade and conquer. Socialists will not shrink from resorting to brute force. A Socialist ring will not scruple when there is question of finally superseding the old order of society to snatch up Anarchist weapons the dagger, the torch, the bomb.
Listen to the candid utterances of the great founder of Socialism. Karl Marx, with his henchman, Engels, declared in their manifesto that their purpose “can be obtained only by a violent subversion of the existing order. Let the ruling classes tremble at the Communist revolution.” Again, at the Congress of The Hague, Karl Marx, as the mouthpiece of Socialists, officially declared : “In most countries of Europe violence must be the lever of our social reform. This violent upheaval must be universal. A proof of this was witnessed in the Commune of Paris, which only failed because in other capitals – Berlin and Madrid – a simultaneous revolutionary movement did not break out in connection with the mighty upheaval of the proletariat in Paris.”
Again, Bebel, one of the greatest leaders of Socialistic thought, dared to say in the German Reichstag : “The Commune in Paris was only a slight skirmish in the war which the proletariat is prepared to wage against all palaces.” Again, Bebel said elsewhere, this Socialistic change cannot be brought about by “sprinkling rosewater.”
At the Socialist Convention at Ghent in 1877, one of their leaders said : “When our day comes, rifle and cannon will face about to mow down the foes of the socialist people.” At a public meeting during the recent elections in England an M.P. supporter of the Liberal Government is reported to have said : “I honour the man or woman who throws a bomb.” It is useless for Socialists to protest that they do not mean this. Socialists are at the mercy of Socialism, and Socialism will work out logically and remorselessly its own way through its dupes, its victims, its satellites, and its demons.
Whether it be by moderate men, or by fanatics, or by fools, that the initial movement is first stirred which lets the waters loose, it will be then too late to stem that tide, and it will sweep them all away with the mad whirl of its vortex. Can you at all fancy what a mad mob is like ? Come in thought to Barcelona. There is a strange, subtle magnetism exercised by the feelings of a crowd which when roused above their normal tension react with ever heightening concentration and intensity upon each member of that human mass until the whole multitude is caught and carried away with the fire of fever with the force of madness, into one wild delirium of panic or of joy, or of rage, or of cruelty, or of despair. Gaze upon that scene, the glory of the Spanish sun is blackened on that July evening by the huge clouds of smoke that roll upwards from the burning convents, churches, asylums, orphanages, while the daylight is mocked by the lurid flames that flash like eruptions of hell, where the work of ruin and death goes on. Round about the burning buildings the seething crowd pours in fiendish delight, heaping materials to feed their Anarchist bonfire ; aye, women, too, and boys even.
Oh, horror ! Young girls with clamorous joy bear their burden of fuel, while above in the windows white faces of nuns flit like ghosts panic-stricken at the sight and threat of new demons and of a new hell. Before you ten thousand maniacs march, howling their menace of death to the rich, carrying the mutilated members of murdered men or the limbs of the desecrated dead that they have robbed from the grave a multitude of beings that had been human, but who are now transformed into furies by the spell of a passion more fierce than fire, more blind than lunacy, more cruel than Satan.
Was that only possible at Barcelona ? Nay, it is possible anywhere when a mob is intoxicated with false principles that appeal to its brute passions. We need not go to Paris to witness its reign of terror or its Commune. London has had its riots, England its persecutions as savage as any in history. History repeats itself. It will repeat itself with terrible emphasis and with horrible accuracy if the people are taught that they have no God but Mammon, no master but pleasure.
‘Mid the shrieking winds and the stinging spray, as the waves were flung up to the clouds, and the clouds flung down to the waves, ‘mid the storm that night upon the Gallilean Sea, a tall, white, phantom-like figure, appeared walking on the waters. Terrified, paralysed, not now at the touch of death, but at the sight of the Supernatural, the disciples shouted aloud, “It is an apparition!” But the voice that they knew rang out clear through the night and calm through the storm. “Be of good heart ; it is I. Be not afraid !”
Over the tempest-tossed tide of the ages, over the surges of frailty, passion, or sin, through the darkness of doubt, denial, or despair, the Church of Christ has safely passed. Each moment, as the great Augustine remarks, she seemed to the worldly or wicked about to be engulfed by the sea. But ever and always the figure which looked like a phantom, yet held in a form that was human a power that was Divine, has brought to each generation of men the light of the Eternal Word with the human comfort of Christ : “Be of good heart ; it is I. Be not afraid.” The Church alone can save the world.
Consider first what the Church has done. Born into a world of idolatry, superstition, deep-dyed iniquity, and foul-tainted crime, how utterly helpless, impotent, useless that child-Church seemed in the face of the power of the Roman or of the culture of the Greek. Yet the child-Church conquered the world, and as she grew stronger and statelier she brought the great nations of the world not only to bow in adoration before her hidden God, not only to bow in loving obedience beneath her law, but also to learn from her a civilisation more true, more noble, more chivalrous, more refined, more pure, than ever dawned upon the dreams of warrior, poet, philosopher, or statesman.
Our civilisation is the triumph of the Church over the Pagan world. The Pagan hated or ignored the poor ; the Church is the friend and protectrix of the poor. She leans upon the poor as her most faithful and most fond children. Her history has been the history of ceaseless efforts to help, comfort, and elevate the poor. Again, the Church has been a true mother to the child. Aristotle informs us that in his day it was a common, public, legal act for parents to expose to death the children they did not want. A law of the great Lycurgus ordained that all deformed children in Sparta should be straightway killed. The fourth of the “Twelve Tables of Roman Law” gave the father absolute right to sell or slay his child. Sometimes in Rome, Lactantus tells us, new-born babes were flung out to be devoured by dogs. It is the Church of Christ that has changed all this. Further, the Pagan looked on woman as a black or white slave, according to her colour. The Pagan woman was stamped with the degradation of polygamy, whether her owner had his many wives at once or turned each one out in turn as he took a fancy to another. The Church lifted woman up and set her upon the throne within her home to be man’s helpmate and queen, not his slave.
The Church has brought about another change, of which ordinary folk can have not even a faint idea. She has almost effaced from men’s hearts the passion of cruelty. Cruelty can be a most appalling passion. Think of the prisoners of war, soldiers, nobles, kings, dragged in chains ‘mid laughter and derision through the crowded streets of Pagan Rome in her most cultured day. Slaves or gladiators, these men who had fought for their homes and fatherland, were doomed to live a brute’s life or die a brute’s death. Aye ! and when from the wide, red, open gash the gladiator’s heart-blood flowed it was caught in cups to be handed round to be sipped still warm by the cultured Pagan men, as Pliny, the Pagan, and Tertullian, the Christian, both record, to be sipped still warm from the dying man’s heart, to be sipped, oh ! horror ! by the dainty lips of cultured Pagan women.
It is the Church that was first to break the fetter of the slave ; and it is the influence of the Church that has enforced the right of man to freedom. The action of the Church for good in another domain of Ethics is thus described by a hostile critic : Mr. Lecky wrote (History of Rationalism) :
The history of self-sacrifices during the last 1800 years has been mainly the history of the action of Christianity upon the world.
. . . The necessary results of the increased elaboration of material civilisation have given our age a mercenary, venial, and unheroic character. The utilitarian can never rise to the conception of the purely disinterested
. . . . When we look back on the cheerful alacrity with which in former days men sacrificed all their material interests to what they believed to be right, and when we realise the unclouded assurance that was their reward, it is impossible to deny that we have lost something.
. . . .It is the moral type and beauty, the enlarged conception, and persuasive power of the Christian Faith that have during many centuries called self-sacrifice into being. The power of Christianity in this respect can only cease with the annihilation of the moral nature of mankind.
It is not to the Agnostic nor to the Socialist that we owe our civilisation. They, like the rest of the world, have learned from the Church any culture to which they can lay claim. Listen to Mr. Lecky :
Freethinkers take essentially Christian conceptions. They resolve round ideals of Christianity. They represent its spirit without its doctrine. They derive all their strength and nourishment from Christian ethics.
That contrast between the Christian and the Pagan world should force a plain conclusion upon many minds. That contrast is reproduced under a different aspect when we compare the Church of Christ with the Church of Luther, King Harry, and Queen Bess. Whoever studies Socialism will find that there is much to learn from this contrast. We read in Professor Nitti, of Naples : “An English Socialist, Hyndman, whose profound historical and economic learning cannot be questioned even by his adversaries, has understood and admirably expressed the many benefits society has derived from the Church of the middle ages.”
Hyndman wrote :
“It is high time that the nonsense that has been foisted on to the public by men interested in suppressing the facts should be exposed. It is not true that the Church of our ancestors was the organised fraud which it suits fanatics to represent it. The monasteries and priests did far more for elementary education than is at all known….
As to University education, where would Oxford be to-day but for the munificence of Bishops, monks, and nuns ? Fourteen of her finest colleges were founded by Churchmen or abbots for the benefit of the children of the people. The Reformation converted these colleges into luxurious preserves for the sons of the aristocracy.
He tells us how the Reformation converted the lands of the monasteries into the properties of rack-renting landlords. Abbots and priors were the best landlords in England. While the Church had power permanent or general pauperism was unknown. One-third of all tithes, one-third of all ecclesiastical revenue was first set aside to be given to the poor. The monks were the road-makers, alms-givers, teachers, doctors, nurses of the country. They built, furnished, and attended the hospitals, and gave the poor relief out of their own funds. While the monasteries stood the poor or unemployed were always sure of food and shelter.
Look at the other side of the contrast. When Harry VIII was king in merrie England he wanted to get rid of his wife, and he wanted to get money. Both motives moved him to break away from the Church of Christ, and to confiscate the monasteries. One sad and most pitiful result was that thousands and thousands were driven out on the roads to beg. They were all able men and willing to work, but the monasteries had disappeared, and with them work and shelter and food.
These “sturdy beggars,” or “stalwarth vagabonds,” as they were called, thronged the road. They had been able to earn their bread under the old Church of Christ, but under the new Church of King Hal and his merry men, these “sturdy beggars” were a nuisance. In 1547 a law was passed that these “sturdy beggars” should be branded with hot irons, and handed over as slaves to the person who denounced them, or if again caught they were to be hanged.
Under good Queen Bess, unlicensed beggars over fourteen were flogged and branded on the left ear unless someone would take them into service for two years. If they begged again, all over eighteen were executed unless some one was willing to take them into service for two years ; caught a third time death was the penalty, without reprieve.
Hollingshead asserts that in the reign of the good King Henry VIII, 72,000 sturdy beggars were hanged for begging. That was the contrast between the Reformation, and the love of Christ’s Church for Christ’s poor. It was the way in which the Reformation solved the difficulty of the unemployed.
Queen Bess the “virgin queen,” the good, sweet Queen Bess, found a woman’s way of following her father’s mood. She had her “stalwarth vagabonds” strung up in batches, like flitches of bacon along the rafters, in order to teach the people the godly way in which they should walk ; the way of her Reformation of the Church of Christ.
The Church of Christ has always protected the poor. As in old England the Norman bishops defended the Saxon poor against Norman exactions, so in North and South America the Catholic priests protected the Indians against their ruthless oppressors. Now, Socialism would utterly efface Christianity, and would, therefore, swing back into the barbaric callousness or the cultured cruelty of the Pagan.
Christ’s power is as actual now as when He trod our actual earth ; nor shall His promise made unto His Church that she shall triumph to the end of time fail while the world lasts. His Church is independent of economic change. She is the same, unshaken and unshakeable, in her principles, and in her essential means. As Christ is the way, the truth, and the life of men, so is it only through His Church, which is His moral self, that man or nation can survive in healthful life and steadfast happiness. Therefore did the great Pope Leo XIII write :
Doubtless this most grave question of social reform calls for the attention and energy of others besides ourselves : of the rulers of nations, of the wealthy classes, of the employers of labour, and of the workingmen themselves, for whom we plead, but we affirm without hesitation that all the striving of men will be vain if they leave out the Church. It is the Church that proclaims from the Gospel those teachings by which this conflict can be put an end to, or at least rendered less bitter.
On the one hand, the Church teaches the rich that they are only stewards of their wealth. That their right of ownership brings with it an imperious duty to give to the poor whatever is above their own reasonable needs. That modern idea of the absolute independence of the wealthy in the spending of their wealth was born of the Reformation. It is not the old Catholic idea. Listen to an English Catholic Catechism of the 14th century : “All that the rich man hath passing his becoming living after the degree of his dispensation, it is other men’s, not his, and he shall give full, hard reckoning thereof at the day of doom.”
On the other hand, the Church teaches the poor that they also have their duties as well as their rights. They must recognise that, in the words of Pope Leo XIII,
Human nature must continue to be of the same kind, and, therefore, it is impossible, to reduce human society to the same level. Socialists may work as they will, but all striving against nature is vain. There must by the very force of nature exist amongst men countless differences of the most important kind. Unequal fortunes must follow upon unequal conditions. . . .
Social inequality is far from being a disadvantage either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only go on by the help of various kinds of class.
Here we must take occasion to deny much Socialist rhetoric. Their uninformed enthusiasts or misguided demagogues strangely exaggerate the condition of the people. For instance, the condition of the working classes has within a century generally improved. The income of the lower classes has been increasing. Thus in Great Britain and Ireland in 1881, in spite of an increase in population of 26, there was more money in the hands of non-taxpayers than among the whole nation in 1851, and twice as much as the other classes had in 1851.
Again, while wages are better the price of ordinary provisions has not gone up, but has rather been reduced. Instead of financial cyclones being on the increase, as they should be in the theory of Marx they are less frequent and less fierce, and they very generally arise not from trade conditions, but from the colossal frauds of speculators and swindlers. Again, want of employment has not increased, except for a few years, since the middle of last century, while the number of workmen has enormously increased. The number of unemployed is, therefore, relatively less.
Again, modern methods of production do not always get rid of the workman. For instance, in the cotton mills of Lancashire between 1839 and 1890, the number of workmen had nearly doubled. In Germany also there has been an enormous increase of wage earners in industry. Machinery does not of necessity supersede the workman, but rather it opens new fields and widens old fields of work.
Still, true as these facts are, the grim, gaunt fact remains that side by side with the riotous luxury of the wealthy there is the appalling misery of Poverty the poor, that side by side with thousands of useless and ignoble lives there are tens of thousands who have neither work to do nor bread to eat. Alas ! alas ! this misery makes the profit of the Socialist.
Socialists wish to keep the wounds of society in a chronic state of festering fierceness. They never exhort to hard work, economy, thrift, temperance, much less to patience. Nay, their prominent leaders even in England exhort them to reckless extravagance as well as to rancorous hatred, to thirst of pillage as well as to hunger of revenge. One great Socialist leader wrote :
Sobriety, thrift, industry, skill, self-denial, holiness, are all good things, but they would, if adopted by all the workers, simply enrich the idle and the wicked and reduce the industrious and righteous to slavery. Teetotalism will not do ; industry will not do ; saving will not do … nothing will do but Socialism.
Not so ! not so ! the Church of Christ which teaches both men and masters that for their own sakes they should be friends not foes, that their mutual interests are inseparably interwoven, and that they are bound together not merely by the duties or rights of justice, but by a sacred bond of kindliness, which is the same virtue that moves a man to fondly love his home and nobly love his fatherland.
Still, still ! that misery ! that most sad poverty, that despairing wretchedness of utter want ! Surely ! surely ! were the kind Christ here, whose heart was moved to tender pity for the hungering crowd ; surely He would give them food.He is not here, but in His stead He has placed you, Christian men and women, that you may do His blessed work. Have pity ! Have pity on the poor. We cannot stand idly by with folded arms while so many starve, nor can we suffer, while we have wealth to spare, that such multitudes who arc brothers and sisters of our human blood should eke out in lingering death a life that is not worth the living. There is no need, no excuse for Socialism. But there is sore need of social reform.
The State is indeed bound to enforce such remedial measures as are needed, and of these, whatever be our politics or party, we must all approve. But in our own way and in our own measure we should recognise in actual practice that Christians should be like the great Christ Who had pity on the poor.
There has been many a moment in the life of the Church when the day seemed dark as night, and the night seemed dark as death ; moments when the bravest, sturdiest, holiest heroes of their time thought that their day was done ; moments when all above seemed to fall, and all below to give way, when all around there was nothing but doubt or despair, fear or frenzy, riot of sin or rancour of Satan ; moments when Hell seemed open and Heaven seemed shut ; moments when all to be hoped for or loved seemed lost in the storm, and when the storm seemed lost in a deluge of death ; but at one word that came from God through the heart and the lips of a man, the mad sea crouched in stillness and the mad wind hushed in silence, and there was a great calm.
The crisis came in the life of the Church, and threatened her life, and then fell at her feet. Today, in face of this crisis, we can wait without dismay. The storm may burst as never perhaps a storm had burst before, but we fear not the night or the sea or the storm. We are with the Church to whom Christ hath sworn that she shall not perish for evermore. We are with the Church, the Church is with Christ, and Christ is with God. Listen, you can hear that voice in the darkness of any night, in the terror of any storm, “Be of good heart ; it is I. Be not afraid.”