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Socialism: Positive and Negative   By:

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SOCIALISM: POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

by

ROBERT RIVES LA MONTE

"I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Isaiah xiii, 12.

Chicago Charles H. Kerr & Company 1907

Copyright 1907 by Charles H. Kerr & Company

[Illustration: logo]

Press of John F. Higgins Chicago

TO

M. E. M. AND L. H. M.

PREFACE

Of the papers in this little volume two have appeared in print before: "Science and Socialism" in the International Socialist Review for September, 1900, and "Marxism and Ethics" in Wilshire's Magazine for November, 1905. My thanks are due to the publishers of those periodicals for their kind permission to re print those articles here. The other papers appear here for the first time.

There is an obvious inconsistency between the treatment of Materialism in "Science and Socialism" and its treatment in "The Nihilism of Socialism." I would point out that seven years elapsed between the composition of the former and that of the latter essay. Whether the inconsistency be a sign of mental growth or deterioration my readers must judge for themselves. I will merely say here that the man or woman, whose views remain absolutely fixed and stereotyped for seven years, is cheating the undertaker. What I conceive the true significance of this particular change in opinions to be is set forth in the essay on "The Biogenetic Law."

Some Socialists will deprecate what may seem to them the unwise frankness of the paper on "The Nihilism of Socialism." To them I can only say that to me Socialism has always been essentially a revolutionary movement. Revolutionists, who attempt to maintain a distinction between their exoteric and their esoteric teachings, only succeed in making themselves ridiculous. But, even were the maintenance of such a distinction practicable, it would, in my judgment, be highly inexpedient. As a mere matter of policy, ever since I first entered the Socialist Movement, I have been a firm believer in the tactics admirably summed up in Danton's " De l'audace! Puis de l'audace! Et toujours de l'audace! "

Should any reader find himself repelled by "The Nihilism of Socialism," let me beg that he will not put the book aside until he has read the essay on "The Biogenetic Law."

I do not send forth this little book with any ambitious hope that it will be widely read, or even that it will convert any one to Socialism. My hope is far more modest. It is that this book may be of some real service, as a labor saving device, to the thinking men and women who have felt the lure of Socialism, and are trying to discover just what is meant by the oft used words 'Marxian Socialism,' Should it prove of material aid to even one such man or woman, I would feel that I had been repaid a hundred fold for my labor in writing it.

ROBERT RIVES LA MONTE. Feb. 7, 1907.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

SCIENCE AND SOCIALISM 15

I. THE MATERIALISTIC CONCEPTION OF HISTORY 25

II. THE LAW OF SURPLUS VALUE 34

III. THE CLASS STRUGGLE 46

MARXISM AND ETHICS 57

INSTEAD OF A FOOTNOTE 75

THE NIHILISM OF SOCIALISM 81

THE BIOGENETIC LAW 131

KISMET 143

SCIENCE AND SOCIALISM[1]

(International Socialist Review, September, 1900.)

Until the middle of this (the nineteenth) century the favorite theory with those who attempted to explain the phenomena of History was the Great Man Theory. This theory was that once in a while through infinite mercy a great man was sent to the earth who yanked humanity up a notch or two higher, and then we went along in a humdrum way on that level, or even sank back till another great man was vouchsafed to us... Continue reading book >>




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