Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book

By John Spargo; George Louis Arner | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVII
THE IDEALS OF MODERN SOCIALISM

Socialist ideals, old new: While he may not dream with the Utopian Socialist of a perfected humanity, the Marxian Socialist has many ideals in common with the Utopian Socialist. The main difference between the two types lies in the bases of their hopes for the attainment of their ideals, rather than in the nature of the ideals themselves. For example, the Marxian Socialist is as conscious of the wastefulness and anarchy of the modern system of production as Fourier himself could possibly have been, and just as anxious to have a well-ordered productive system with all its waste and disorder eliminated. Moreover, he is quite as confident as Fourier ever could have been in his most sanguine moments that sooner or later the system of production will be so transformed. But he does not rest his hope for the attainment of that ideal of a well-ordered plan of production upon the merits of any scheme or plan, nor yet upon the ability of himself or others to persuade the world to improve its industrial methods. He simply rests upon the facts of evolution and their logic. If order is to be established in production it will not be because men have been persuaded that waste is the moral law, but because that force which lies back of all progress, which is forever reducing the pain cost of life, impels the change. In a word, because they have discovered a better way.

Socialism essentially idealistic: Every Socialist is of necessity an idealist. He could not be a Socialist in any real sense of the word unless he had first measured the existing reality by some standard. That standard is his ideal. He measures the world as it is by some conception of what it might be, and that conception translates itself into what it ought to be. It is sometimes said that the Marxian theory robs Socialism of its idealism and makes it harsh and mechan

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