Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book

By John Spargo; George Louis Arner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Socialism and Individualism: It is a very common error to regard Socialism and Individualism as antithetical concepts. As a matter of fact, there is no antagonism between the two. The Socialist contends that true individualism is impossible under capitalism and that fact constitutes no small part of his indictment of the existing social order.

Individualism is not an absolute but a relative term. There has never been a time when any individual could live his life within the boundaries of human society absolutely untrammeled by the lives of others or their requirements. The most despotic monarch has always been bound in some degree by convention, influenced by advice, restrained by fear of revolt or coerced by circumstance. Even when exceptional liberties of individual activity are enjoyed by favored individuals or classes they are never absolute and unlimited. Absolute individual freedom is hardly conceivable, even as an abstract conception. It is very evident that by its very nature society places upon the liberty of every individual some limitation, some restraint. It is equally evident that when excessive individual liberty is granted to an individual or a class, enabling that individual or class to oppress other individuals or other classes, true individualism does not exist. Neitzsche's Superman is often referred to as the perfect apotheosis of individualism, but that view is not warranted, for the reason that he could only exist by crushing the individuality of others. True individualism is inseparable from equality of opportunity. The freedom and opportunities of each individual must be bounded by the equal freedom and opportunities of every other individual.

Capitalism and Individualism: Under a system which is properly described as wage-slavery the workers have little

-53-

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Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • PART I SOCIALISM AS CRITICISM 1
  • Chapter I: INTRODUCTION 3
  • Chapter II Capitalist Society 7
  • LITERATURE 18
  • Chapter III Planless Production 19
  • LITERATURE 29
  • Chapter IV Poverty 30
  • LITERATURE 43
  • Chapter V Leisure and Luxury 44
  • LITERATURE 52
  • Chapter VI Individual and Social Responsibility 53
  • LITERATURE 58
  • PART II SOCIALIST THEORY 59
  • Chapter VII: INTRODUCTORY 61
  • Chapter VIII Social Evolution 65
  • LITERATURE 75
  • Chapter IX the Economic Interpretation of History 76
  • LITERATURE 90
  • Chapter X Industrial Evolution 91
  • LITERATURE 99
  • Chapter XI the Class Struggle Theory 100
  • LITERATURE 115
  • Chapter XII Value and Price 116
  • LITERATURE 140
  • Chapter XIII Surplus-Value 141
  • LITERATURE 156
  • Chapter XIV the Law of Concentration 157
  • LITERATURE 167
  • Chapter XV Monopolies and Trusts 168
  • LITERATURE 184
  • PART III THE SOCIALIST IDEAL 185
  • Chapter XVI the Utopian Socialist Ideal 187
  • LITERATURE 200
  • Chapter XVII the Ideals of Modern Socialism 201
  • LITERATURE 211
  • Chapter XVIII Socialist State--Political 212
  • LITERATURE 223
  • Chapter XIX: THE SOCIALIST STATE--ECONOMIC 224
  • Chapter XX Socialism and the Family 240
  • LITERATURE 251
  • PART IV THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT 253
  • Chapter XXI the Rise and Growth of Modern Socialism 255
  • LITERATURE 265
  • Chapter XXII the National Socialist Movemenis 266
  • LITERATURE 314
  • PART V POLICY AND PROGRAM 315
  • Chapter XXIII Socialism and Social Reform 317
  • LITERATURE 336
  • Chapter XXIV the Reform Program of Socialism 337
  • LITERATURE 353
  • Chapter XXV Some Objections to Socialism Considered 354
  • LITERATURE 369
  • Index 371
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