John Beattie Crozier.

Sociology applied to practical politics online

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University of California.





FOURTH EDITION. Revised and Enlakged. 8vo, 14s.



Vol. I. Greek and Hindoo Thought ; Grasco-
Roman Paganism; Judaism; and Christianity
down to the Closing of the Schools of Athens
by Justinian, 529 a.d.

Second Edition. Revised and with New Introduction.
8vo, 14«.

Vol. II. (In Preparation.)

Vol. III. Political, Educational, Social : In-
cluding an attempted reconstruction of the
Politics of England, France and America for
the Twentieth Century,
8vo, 10». 6d.


8to. 12«. 6d. net.



Cheap Edition, Bvo, 7s. net.







Hon. LL.D.,

Ani/ior of

'■'Civilization and Progress,''' ^'■History of Intellectual Drrelopmeiit,"

"The Wheel of Wealth," ^-c.










Canada's premier Novelist, and one of the

most i)rominent exponents of her interests

in the Imperial Parliament,

i dedicate

This Volume.



T N my first volume, Civilization and Progreifx^ I endeavoured
to lay down the First Principles of Sociology with their
laws and dependencies, in so far, that is to say, as these could
be extracted from a general survey of the evolution of Societies
and Nations as a whole. In the third volume of my Jiistory of
Intellectual Development 1 went a step farther, and endeavoured
to exhibit the practical use to which such First Principles
might be 2>ut, if tiiey were applied to the Politics of different
nations, over periods of time sufficiently long to allow tempor-
ary disturbances calculated to deflect them from their normal
course of evolution to work themselves out. For this purpose,
I selected as object-lessons for my forecast the Political and
Social Evolution of England, France, and America, respec-
tively, for the Twentieth Century, as foreshadowed from their
evolution in the Past ; my idea being to sec to what extent
Sociology could supply Politics with an instrument, or set of
principles, which, like a ship's compass and chart, would enable
practical Statesmen to embark with more confidence and on
longer voyages over the open political sea of the Future, than
would be possible at present, where from the absence of such
compass and chart they are obliged, like ancient mariners, to
hug the shore, and living from hand to mouth, to wait patiently on
Providence for wind and tide. Now. should Sociology be able
to furnish us with such general guidance, it would at least help
to keep the evolution of nations up to the highest possibilities
marked out for them by their special natural powers and advan-
tages ; as well as keej) that evolution in as straight a path as
possible, and so avoid those to-and-fro tackings and zig-zags of
political reaction, which obscure a nation's political bearings,
confuse its judgments, and waste its force.

But in the present volume I am prepared to go still farther,
and have endeavoured to show that if Sociology is to fully
justify itself as a science whose principles cannot be neglected
with impunity by practical Statesmen, it ought to be able
to render some assistance in the solution of the political, social.


and economic problems of the passing day as well ; and it is to
just these problems that I propose to apply, in the present
volume, such of the First Principles of Sociology as seem to
me to be at once relevant and indispensable.

And accordingly, when questions like those of Socialism,
Tariff Reform, Imperial Preference, the Mixing of Races, Race
Degeneration, etc., chanced to come to the front. I seized the
opportunity to get a hearing, in one or other of our Reviews,
for the treatment of them from the side of Sociology ; and it is
of these articles that the present volume forms a collection.

Each section of the book has, I may mention, a unity of its
own running through its chapters ; so much so, indeed, that
they may be said to form rather a number of small books, than
a bundle of heterogeneous magazine articles merely. In most
of these divisions, small as they are, I have practically said,
without padding, all that 1 had to say on the subjects discussed.

As rewards my method of treatment of these various subjects,
it has in all cases been the same ; and consists simply in
driving back the logical arguments of my opponents to their
First Principles, that is to say, to those presuppositions of a
sociological nature (often held by them quite unconsciously) of
which I propose to exhibit the fallacy, — presuppositions on
which their whole logical train of argumentation proceeds. 1
then try to plant my own flag of First Principles or Pre-
suppositions in their place on the mast-head ; deducing all such
sequences and connexions as occur to me from my own special
principles, and— after comparing them with those of my oppo-
nents — leaving the issue to the reader.

The articles on Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wells, and the note on
Herr Houston Chamberlain, have been embodied in this volume,
with the object of showing what kind of Sociology it is from
whose First Principles no help need be looked for by Practical
Politicians ; and what kind, on the other hand, is likely to be
useful; as well as of exhibiting by these means the diagnostic
symptoms which will enable the reader to judge in each case


for himself. In the chapter on Taxation Schemes, I have made
special reference to the schemes of Mr. IJernard Shaw and
Mr. Sidney Webb, inasmuch as in these schemes, the way by
which they came to their Socialism, and especially to their
Fabian variety of it, as well as the carefully hidden devices
by which they covered up their tracks, is clearly seen.

A word or two, perhaps, may here be said in reference to the
articles on Free Trade and Protection. As the title of the first
of them indicates — A Plea for Reconsideration, — they were
the first attempt made in England to re-open, from the
speculatit)e side, the then long-closed Tariff Controversy, by
the presentation of a fresh set of arguments in favour of
Protection. Like all the younger men of a generation ago, I
had been brought up in the simple unquestioning belief in Free
Trade ; and it was not until I began to concentrate my
attention on the materials which I had for years been collect-
ing for my volume on Political Economy, The Wheel of
Wealth, that I became aware, to my surprise, that the entire
drift and trend of my deductions from these materials ran
steadily and uniformly in the direction of Protection — and not
of Free Trade. As these fresh considerations emersfed one
after another in my mind, they became the occasion for a
series of articles in the Fortnightly Review. With the
exception of one or two sentences here and there added or
subtracted, I have left them as they appeared, with the many
personal and political associations and allusions of the time still
clinging to them ; in the hope that this local colouring may in
the future prove a useful historical document bearing on the
attitude of the public and the Press to Protection in the year
or two immediately preceding the taking up of the question
by Mr. Chamberlain. But the main reason for my publishing
the articles as they were written is, that they represent
successively higher stages of the argument in favour of Pro-
tection ; beginning with the most general considerations, and
ascending to more and more definite positions ; until in the


article on Professor Marshall's Memorandum, more recently
written, the argument reached not only the highest point of
condensation of which I was capable, but put into a single
proposition the essence and upshot of all the preceding-
argumentation; so much so, indeed, that were it alone fairly
and squarely refuted, I personally should be prepared frankly
to throw Protection overboard altogether. I trust, therefore,
that I have made the argument in that particular section so
clear and free from ambiguity, that my opponents may join
issue with me on its few main points alone, if on no others.

I regret that when the articles are read consecutively, the
repetition of certain doctrines may be felt by some readers to
have been carried to excess. My apology must be, firstly, that
they are the few central doctrines for the sake of which all the
rest of the book has been written ; secondly, that all along the
years during which the articles were appearing, these doctrines
were not recognised by any of the political parties in the
State; thirdly, that fresh situations and complications were
constantly arising to enforce anew the necessity of their
reiteration and application ; and lastly, that even to-day they
have scarcely yet got beyond the threshold of our political
consciousness, let alone come into their full heritage.
Especially is this the case with three of the more important of
these political principles drawn from Sociology ; first, the atrocity
of mixing antagonistic races, colours, and creeds on the same
areas of political soil ; second, the fallacy of applying the purely
abstract ideal oi Justice to any political situation whatever —
instead of that relatively concrete justice (made up of many
co-operating elements) which orderly evolution demands;
thirdly, the thick and thin devotion to that mischievous
doctrine of Laissez-faire (now at last in its dotage, thank
Heaven ! ) which has allowed the concentrated dust heaps and
slumdom of degenerate humanity to accunudate unchecked,
until they have reached that point of despair which we see to-
day ; and fourthly, that it is impossible, except by constant


repetition, for any mere writer to get a serious hearincr for
any political doctrine whatever, until or unless he can manage
to get it proclaimed by responsible Statesmen from within the
four walls of Parliament.

As for the Young Turks and their Constitution, I am afraid
that my over-confident and perhaps gratuitous prophecy cannot
be said to have as yet been justified by the event ; still, I think
it right to let it remain as written, on the ground that ofttimes
in a reasoned and connected argument, as much of value comes
out of an author's misses and mistakes as out of his more
palpable or fortunate hits.

The articles on Banking are illustrations i-ather of the appli-
cation of Political Economy to the subject, than of Sociology ;
but I have introduced them here, not only with the view of
giving the unfamiliar reader, through the medium of a pictorial
presentation, some idea of the mechanism of a great Banking
System in operation, but of making him realize how all-import-
ant is the question of Credit for a nation, as for an individual.
The contrast between English and American Banking was
introduced to bring out the profound effect which the stage of
Industry reached in a country may have on the stability of its
Credit System. As regards the forecast itself, which I have
ventured to make, of the future of Banking in England and
America respectively, it makes no pretension to any authori-
tative or dogmatic value — that is a question for the experts to
decide — but it may serve as a kind of hypothetical object-lesson
for the purpose of exhibiting how great a part is played both
by the Sociological and Political conditions of the environment,
even on so apparently self-enclosed and independent a depart-
ment of business as that of Banking.

I have to thank the Editors of the Fortnightly Review and of
the Daily Mail for their kind permission to re-publish the
articles which originally appeared in their respective columns.

J.B. C.

Athen^um Club,

Pall Mall, S.W.

July, 1911.



Chap. 1. — The Street-Corner Men . . . 3-20

„ II. — On Social Justice .... 21-39

„ III. — The Fabians and Parliamentarians . 40-57

„ IV. — A Dialogue with Marx . . . 58-76



Chap. I. — Mr. Kidd's " Principles of Western

Civilisation" 79-97

„ II. — Mr. Wells as a Sociologist. . . 98-112

„ III. — A Sociological Symposium . . .113-119

„ IV. — Race, Colour, and Creed . . . 120-131

V. — A Note on Race Degeneration . . 132-13G



Chap. I. — Free Trade or Protection for England 139-148

„ II. — IIow to Ruin a Free Trade Nation . 149-174

„ III. — The Condition of England Question . 175-199

„ IV. — Free Trade, Protection, and Prefer-
ence 200-221

„ V. — Suggestions for a New Political Party 222-244

„ VI. — Taxation Schemes and their Values . 245-265

„ VII. — Professor Marshall's " Memorandum

ON Fiscal Policy " . . . . 266-286

„ VIII. — The Exi^LisH Banking System in

Oi'eration 287-306

„ IX. — English and American Banking

Contrasted 307-316





X PROPOSE in this article to touch only on those under-
lying doctrines of Socialism on which all the " street-
corner " orators of the party are practically agreed, as it is on
the opinions of these men, owing to the mass of votes they
control, that Socialism as a working scheme for the organic
reconstruction of society, if it ever come at all, wiD have to be
built. As for the " intellectuals " of the party in Parliament
and in the Fabian Society, on the other hand — men like Mr.
Ramsay McDonald, Mr. Snowden, Mr. AVells, and Mr. Bernard
Shaw — I have myself so much in common with them, that my
criticism of them will be confined to a much narrower belt of
doctrine, though one even more important, namely, their
scheme of Social Reorg-anisation itself.

In Mr. Robert Blatchford, however, who, as the leader of
the street-corner men, has been hailed by one writer as the
" Rousseau of Socialism," and by another as " the most
influential force in socialistic literature," I am glad to recognise
an opponent of the highest honour and sincerity, and one, too,
whose views and expositions have commended themselves to
the great masses of the party, more, perhaps, than those of any
other single writer. If, then, in this friendly passage of arms 1
am obliged, in order to bring out my points more clearly, to

• Fortnightly lleciew, January, 1908


represent my opponent's positions as moves in a somewhat
slippery game, it is on the distinct understanding that no
unworthy moral implication is anywhere involved, — any more,
indeed, than in all sincere party controversy, where the rival
leaders, if they have managed to deceive their followers, have
only done so after first having deceived themselves.

Without further preliminary, then, I shall plunge at once
into the heart of my subject, and let my story tell itself as it
goes along ; the upshot of my demonstration being to prove
that, until the intellectual world has entirely lost its centre of
gravity, Socialism, except by a physical-force revolution,
cannot, and will not, come.

Now, the proposals of the Socialists are so well known that
they need only detain us for a moment. They may be formu-
lated as follows : — Firstly, the taking over by the State of the
whole of the instruments of Production, of Distribution, and
of Exchange, to be worked in the interests of the great mass
of the people ; secondly, the contention that in the normal
course of Social Evolution the time is now ripe for this to be
inaugurated, and for the process of social reconstruction
founded on it to begin ; and, lastly, that this reorganisation is
not only to be sanctioned, but to be initiated, directed, and
controlled, by the Working Classes or by those of their leaders
in whom they may choose to repose confidence.

On these positions there is a practical unanimity of opinion
among all classes of Socialists ; but as to the amount of
compensation to be paid to the owners for their expropriation
by the State, this will differ according to the wing of the
Socialist camp to which they happen to belong. The street-
corner men, with their vast army of followers, would give the
owners but a short shrift, with scant compensation or none ;
the Parliantcntary cohort would be somewhat more liberal,
perhaps even indulgent ; while the Intellectuals of the Fabian
right wing would make tlieir terms with the dispossessed
landlords and capitalists so easy, and tlieir absorption by the


State so gmdual, that in a cause at once so noble, patriotic,
and honourable, noblesse oblige itself would almost suffice to
secure their acquiescence, and make them doff their liats to it
all, in token of their courtesy and goodwill ! But however
much the different wings of the party may differ on this
matter of compensation, whether on the ground of principle, of
expediency, or of common social decency, all are agreed in the
three points 1 have mentioned above. But these are so
complete a turning upside down of all the recognised processes
of human evolution up to the present hour (except as episodes
in times of revolution), are so clearly a case of the tail wagging
the doff instead of the docj its tail, that what I have to do here
is to show where these curious conceptions came from, what
the intellectual illusions are which have given colour to them,
and made them seem plausible, and what the reasons are which
have made it appear that the time is ripe for their inauguration
and advent.

For all practical purposes, then, we may say that these
fundamental conceptions of Socialism arose and gained currency
through the peculiar Political Economy of Karl Marx. He
had observed that Modern Machine Production, unlike the
hand production of the preceding centuries, yielded a large
surplus over and above what was necessary for a decent sub-
sistence ; and that this surplus, ever mounting up higher and
higher, was being drained off and diverted into the pockets of
a small body of men — the Capitalists — who had had the good
fortune, while playing the game of wealth according to the
constitution and laws of the country, to get hold of these
machines. And as the question with Marx was one, not so
much of ordinary legal justice as of strict economic justice in
the division of the surplus — whereby each man should get the
fruits of his labour, neither more nor less — it became necessary
as a preliminary for him to enquire as to precisely what men
or body of men it was to whom this surplus was due, and
without whose special exertions it could not have come into


being at all. Now, Marx himself quite recognised that the
Working Men without machines or rude implements of some
kind, must, metaphorically speaking, " eat their heads oflf "
from day to day, with as little hope or chance of accumulating
any surplus for themselves as the swarming millions of Hindoo
peasants. He saw, in fact, that it was to the machines, and to
them alone, that the surplus was due; or, in other words, to
those Powers of Nature which were embodied in the machines,
and which, when yoked to human labour, added, after all
deductions for their upkeep, a hundredfold power at every
moment of time to that labour. And he saw further that
these machines, without which the powers of Nature could not
be enchained, were the result of the toils of a small class of
men whose united brains had produced them — namely, the
Scientists of various orders engaged in discovering the laws of
Nature which regulated the operations of the steam power, the
electricity, the chemical or other processes involved in the
machines ; the Inventors, who devised the mechanical con-
structions necessary to bring them into concerted action and
use ; the men of organising capacity who brought the machines
together into factories and workshops, in combinations involving
the greatest output with a minimum of waste ; and the men
of financial or business ability whose schemes brought the
product to market in the cheapest and most effective way. If,
therefore, his cue was to insist on strict ideal economic justice,
instead of the ordinary maimed and imperfect justice of the
existing laws of the State, it was to these men that the surplus
really belonged, as being directly the result of their labour, and
not to the ordinary working men at all. As for the division
of this surplus, again, among the various orders of this small
body of men of brains, we have it on the published authority
of Mr. Carnegie that in his judgment (and it was right honest
of him to admit as much) the lion's share ought to go, on lines
of strict economic justice, to the Scientists, Inventors, and
Discoverers of the first rank engaged ; and only a much lesser


amount to the great Organisers and Capitaliste like himself, or
to the great Financiers ; inasmucli as without the Scientist,
the Inventor, and the Discoverer of new processes, the labours
of the Organisers, Capitalists, and Financiers, would be as
barren of surplus as those of the whole united body of ordinary
Working Men. But Marx saw as well that by the existing
laws of the State, on which the game of wealth was being
played, the money capitalists (Mr. Carnegie's lower grade men)
who had managed to get hold of the machines, held the whip-
hand not only over the Working Men, but over the Scientists,
Inventors, and the non-capitalist section of the Organisers as
well, and that, from their coign of vantage, they could, under
the aegis of certain injustices in the existing laws, squeeze, and
in the end (as we see in America on the large scale) skin them
all alike ; even Edison admitting that had he not started
capitalist on his own account, his inventions would have left
him as poor as before. Now, it was this yawning gap between
the ordinary code of social justice as embodied in the existing
laws, and the strict ideal economic code which Marx professed
— whereby each man was to be fully compensated for his
labour, neither more nor less — that gave this astute Economist
his opening ; and, like a skilled attorney, he seized on it at
once as just what he wanted in order to play his cards in the
interests of his clients, the great body of Working Men. And
the series of intellectual manoeuvres and illusions by which he
sought to accomplish his end were, it must be confessed, as
bold and ingenious as they were successful. Observing, on
the one hand, that by the existing laws of property the small
company of really great men who in their various ways were
the originators, and, in the true sense, masters of the surplus,
had been despoiled of their birthright ; and, on the other, that
this fraud and injustice, having come down to them from long
past ages, had become so consecrated by tradition and custom
as a thing of course, that it was scarcely even felt by its
victims to be an injustice at all ; and further, being alert


enough to see that it was neither to the interest of the Capitalist
masters, nor of the miscellaneous millions of their workers, to
raise the point, but rather to keep it dark ; finding, I say, that
this conspiracy of silence, like a guilty secret, was covered by
a seal which neither the Capitalists nor the Workmen dare
break, on pain of cutting off their own claim to the inheritance ;
and knowing, besides, that he could prove that the surplus, to
whomsoever it was due, was not due to the mere Capitalists,
as such, who had managed to get hold of it as their private
property : — seeing all this, Marx boldly stepped forward and
with every appearance of sincerity announced that it was to
the Workers alone that the whole of this surplus was due !
The ivhole of the surplus — and to the ivorkers alone ! Well,
here was indeed curious doctrine for the world to hear for the
first time ; but nothing daunted, he proceeded to make it good,

Online LibraryJohn Beattie CrozierSociology applied to practical politics → online text (page 1 of 27)