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have waited in vain for a sign or word that you are awake to the living issues of the day. The country spoke, and only you were silent. What interpretation do you expect us to place on this instance of your obtuseness to the real perils of civilization?
Hardly had the tumult subsided in the distracted House, before the temper of the members could be composed by adjournment, another and more threatening scene was enacted in their presence. It is not my intention to elaborate. I merely ask, where is your account, where is your "record "; where is your exposition of the causes, conditions, and probable effects of displacing discussion with fisticuffs? How are your readers expected to know that their representatives are engaged in studying feints and parries instead of POLITICS? Is there anything at all so important as the placing before the public of the living realities of legislation, taking the people, as it were, into the Capitol itself,
There to see the annual dog-fight,
Even the daily papers, with no space to spare from advertising to record the details of the ten thousand bills which are pushed forward in Congress, even they realized the momentous nature of this emergency. Column upon column was devoted by them to placing before the people the true representation and explanation of this impressive exhibition of the earnestness and ability of representatives.
In the midst of these stirring events came the election in Maine - the Kittery election, as some have irrelevantly called it. Not a single report or comment have you offered of that adventure. Yet, for a Democrat, there is much food for reflection here. What is it you expect to win, if not to win elections? Yet, how have you been put to rout by the noble company that marched down there on victory intent! I call no names, and if comparisons are invidious, it is the fault of those who draw them. But I will briefly describe the Republican leaders of that campaign, for the benefit of those who have not had the
advantage of personal observation; and Hudibras will do as well as any to furnish us with the analogies:
I' the head of all this warlike rabble,
A squeaking engine he applied,
In Staffordshire, where virtuous worth
(His friends know very well that his physical structure is complete and sound. At the most, the broken leg must be taken in an intellectual sense.)
Next marched brave Orsin, famous for
(But I will not tell where the contents of the pouch were extracted. It is enough that they were neither "fat" nor "soap," but an entirely new composition, especially adapted to Navy-yards.) Then comes the Bear himself, for whom the expedition was organized:
The gallant Bruin march'd next him,
(No one will claim, in this case, that the ring has any reference to being led about by the nose.)
About his neck a threefold gorget,
Of Talgol, Cerdic and the rest of the gallant band lately engaged in Maine, I will not speak now. For I have said enough to show you that you have yet to learn the rudiments of POLITICS. Until such time as you may have devoted yourself to that study to more purpose than in the past, you may discontinue my paper; or better still, mail it to the chairman of the Democratic Committee, for no one else can vie with you in ignorance of the practical details of elections.
In conclusion, what have you to say of that flagrant, but now fortunately smothered, attack on the personal character of one of our most distinguished Senators, from the
"A thoughtful French writer defends state intervention for the purpose of social amelioration as being a mere duty of what he calls reparative justice.' Popular misery and decadence, he would say, is always very largely the result of bad laws and other bad civil conditions, as we see it plainly to have been in the case of the Irish cottiers, the Scotch crofters, and the rural laborers of England, and when the community has really inflicted the injury, the community is bound, in the merest justice, to repair it."
JOHN RAE, Contemp. Rev.
The above extract is from the article entitled State Socialism and Social Reform, and the considerations suggested are merely thrown in as a make-weight in the scale of argument which the author believes to be already overbalanced in favor of what he chooses to call" Social Reform." The main purpose of the article is to insist upon an alleged distinction between State Socialisın and this so-called Social Reform by means of governmental agency. The difference between the two methods seems to lie in the use of the two words, State and Government, for the attempt to display any other difference is as wholly unsuccessful as well could be. The proposition which the writer practically sets before himself to
great State of Pennsylvania? Has it come to the pass that accusations such as these may fall from the envenomed tongue of spite, and feeding on the vague rumors that delight the envious rabble, spit forth their slimy poison in the halls of legislation? And yet, an editor who aspires to political insight can reconcile it to himself to hang idly by, while the battle rages on every side. Truly, your assurance is admirable.
I remain, Sir, Yours, Figuratively, if not Politically, but never again Subscriptively,
(The writer wishes his name withheld; but I betray no confidence in saying that the initial letter is neither a vowel, a palatal, a lingual, a labial, nor x, y, z, and when used at all is invariably followed by the fourth letter below in alphabetical order.)
defend is that social reform enforced by government is not socialism. I have once before remarked of Prince Bis narck's hostility to socialism that his conception of this might be accurately defined as the belief that good socialism was his, bad socialism was any one else's. With at least equal propriety the same might be said of Mr. Rae. For my part, I am ready to confess that Mr. Rae's socialism as described by himself scems less bal, on the whole, than that put in practice by Prince Bismarck. But I am quite unable to discover any advantage that can possibly flow from the persistence in calling things by the wrong name. Social Reform by means of the Government, that is the full description of the belief which has been briefly called "State Socialism." In support of this belief Mr. Rae produces some evidence on both sides; when the evidence is that government inte: ference has been injurious, straightway he dubs those acts as socialistic. When the evidence is, or seems to him to be, that the effect of government interference has been good, forthwith he rejects the description of the acts as socialistic and insists upon calling them acts of social reform. The evidence he adduces to show the benefits of government interference is
so extremely slight, and his verbal juggling seems to me withal so unworthy a performance, that I will hasten over this portion of the subject to the passage quoted above in which considerations of the profoundest importance are suggested. I will first justify the statement that he does not really show an understanding of State Socialism, and that he does not adduce evidence in favor of the opinion that government interference is ever beneficial.
In the first place, as to what Mr. Rae himself calls State Socialism":
"The Socialism of the present time extends the State's intervention from those industrial undertakings it is fitted to manage well to all industrial undertakings whatever, and from establishing securities for the full use of men's energies to attempting to equalize, in some way, the results of the use of them. It may be shortly described as aiming at the progressive nationalization of industries, with a view to the progressive equalization of incomes."
Here is the description Mr. Rae gives of Socialism, for the purpose of introducing his argument against Communism in general or equality of sharing in the products. But only three pages below, having disposed of this aspect of the question, he introduces us to a new description of Socialism :
"As most modern Socialists put their trust entirely in the old motive of self-interest, and propose to pay every man according to his work, their only resource against such a result would be a stern system of poor-law administration," etc.
It is surely no part of my purpose to fight on the side of the Socialists. But it would be as agreeable to me as to them, that their belief should be correctly described, so that one may know where to lay hold of it. I admit that the task is a very difficult one, but, at any rate, both of the above descriptions cannot be true, and I think we may well exercise the greatest caution before trusting ourselves to the guidance of a man who can thus define his subject in two utterly contradictory ways.
In the next place, as regards the evidence that some kinds of interference on the part
So I say that, from a controversial point of view, it is very unfortunate, after elaborately showing the inefficiency of the State as regards stability, permanency, and unity of administration," to claim for the State, in the same breath, these same advantages. Of course, it is impossible to feel sure what Mr. Rae means by a socialistic State, for, as I have shown, his conception of Socialism is hazy, to say the least; but it certainly would not be through lack of force, as compared with present governments, that virtues now so efficacious would then become worse than useless. If
"State management," as Mr. Rae delights to call his little scheme, acquires stability and unity from its recourse to force, then why not equally "State Socialism"? Yet we are warned that a socialistic State would suffer from "divided counsels and departmental delays"!
Then come the illustrations of "government management." First, of course, the post-office; so to Mr. Rae I turn with enthusiasm to learn what some of the benefits of government interference are in this case. We are told that unity and stability are virtues of the government; extravagance, unprogressiveness, uninventiveness are its. faults. Then we are informed:
"That is the reason governments always manage the postal service well."
Let us pause here for a moment while we indulge in sober, and it may be also in sad reflections. Assume for the present that we are willing to accept Mr. Rae's description of the advantages and disadvantages of government management. Let us admit that, though inconsistent with his own view of the vice of Socialism, his claim for the government is a true one, that it really does secure stability and unity of administration, and that it is best fitted to control those branches of industry which gain most by centralized management and suffer least from routine and extravagance. Let all this be granted: does there not remain, when we come to consider the post-office, or any other particular case, does there not linger an unsatisfied craving for some. small crumbs of evidence?-evidence that in this particular case the virtues of government management have been realized, and the disadvantages reduced to a minimum? Do we not yearn for some small display of the facts? and when we yearn in vain are we not seized with violent disgust for the whole rigmarole through which we have been tempted to wander, only to arrive at this barren result? It seems to me that we are left in a mood vacillating between melancholy and fierceness,
That is the reason governments always manage the postul service well.
Why? Is there any creature besides myself so utterly lost to moderation and reason, that, reading that sentence, he starts forward with childish curiosity, and asks of Mr. Rae, Why? Again I say, Why? Mr. Rae's answer is, if he will permit me to supply it from what precedes, because governments ought to manage the postal service well. If other reason, there is none to be found. But do governments manage the postal service well? Not a word, not a syllable, not a jot or tittle of evidence is produced to show that government interference is here a relatively good thing. We are left to fall back upon the presumption in favor of government-the presumption which we granted above. But what does that presumption amount to? Let us review it carefully, lest we sink into one of the worst pitfalls of reasoning. The claim we granted was that government "is best fitted to control those branches of industry which gain most by centralized management and suffer least from routine and extravagance." And this is all that Mr. Rae asks us to concede. Now let us measure the concession. We admit that of all kinds of industry those suffer least from government control which gain most from centralization and lose least from routine and extravagance. Is the inference from this that the post-office is managed (relatively) well by the government a sound inference? Certainly if by relatively is meant relatively to the efficacy with which some other concerns would be managed by the government. But the point at issue is not the relative efficiency of government control for various kinds of industry; the point at issue is the relative efficiency of governmental and private or corporate (voluntarily co-operative) management. And as to this we have made absolutely no concession, nor has any been asked; therefore we are thrown back on the evidence. If we accept Mr. Rae's description of government, he may logically demand that we should infer with him that
this is the reason why governments manage the post-office with so much less injury than they do some other things.
But that the governments manage the postal service well-as well as voluntary dividend-earning associations-never. Nor, as I have said, is there a syllable of evidence to this effect. And it is a matter of amazement to me that the same writer who can deal so loftily with a disputed matter of such importance should go on to observe, with no small acuteness:
"To do as well as joint stock management, uncontrolled by competition, is one thing; to do as well as individual management, subject to competition, is another. ..
For even if it were granted that railroads the chief part of the postal serviceoffer a case of "joint stock management, uncontrolled by competition," still, the part of the postal service performed by the government, if left to voluntary enterprise, would not be uncontrolled by competition, whether the place were supplied by individuals or by stock companies. Witness the express companies of this country how the case may be in England I do not know; but it is evident that absence of competition is by no means implied by corporate management; nor is even absence of individual management thereby implied. Witness, again, the most successful of American railroads, which was, under forms of corporate existence, in reality, the private property of Cornelius. Vanderbilt for a number of years, and of his son and successor for at least six or seven years longer. The same may be said of other railroads, and still more of other companies, where the ownership of a majority of the stock carries with it the control of the whole business, often much to the detriment of the minority holders.
I have dwelt at this length on the question of the post-office, because the fatal defect of Mr. Rae's argument here — namely, the absence of evidence- extends to the other examples of State management given by him. One case on which he seems to rely
But the old man lived to plant flowers on the graves of them all. On second thought, however, fables are not the best arguments, even though they call our attention to the fact that men do plant trees in spite of the uncertainty of life. The truth is that Mr. Rae's assumption is purely gratuitous. Men make many investments for the sake of their children from which they expect never to see the gains themselves. Those with sufficient means to permit of their doing so pay taxes for year after year on property from which they derive not the smallest income, knowing or thinking that they are thus laying by for their descendants. Forests have not seemed to be a profitable investment until within comparatively recent times. But just as soon as it transpires that timber culture is a profitable investment, with sufficient clearness for governments to be incited to the preservation of forests, it is found that individuals are ready to engage their capital in the same undertaking. If men have sufficient foresight to pay taxes on land for years and years, the same men, by the slight divergence given to their attention by increased knowledge, will engage in the preservation