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thousand years and more have been of a kind which,
had they unfortunately been adopted, would, Instead
of improving the world, have done it incalculable mis-
chief They have been reactions from actuality, not
without some soul of truth and justice In them, yet so
extreme and unnatural that carrying them into effect,
far from purifying and elevating the Family, would
have degraded it, and brutalised the community.
And Socialism has in this direction made hardly
any progress. Bebel and Lafargue have not got
beyond Plato and Campanella. Socialist critics of
what they call " the bourgeois Family " or " mercan-
tile marriage," can easily point out various imperfec-
tions prevalent In modern domestic life ; but when,
granting their criticisms not to be without more or
less foundation, we ask them how they propose to get
rid of, or at least to lessen, the evils which they
have indicated, they have virtually no other answer
to give us than that they would introduce evils far
worse — absorption of the Family in the community,
free love, the separation of spouses at will, transfer-
ence of children from the charge of their parents to
that of the State.

Without essential injustice the whole practical
outcome of socialistic theorising as to the Family
may be stated in the following sentences from the


joint work of Morris and Bax : " The present mar-
riage system is based on the general supposition of
economic dependence of the woman on the man, and
the consequent necessity for his making provision
for her which she can legally enforce. This basis
w^ould disappear with the advent of social economic
freedom, and no binding contract would be necessary
between the parties as regards livelihood ; while
property in children would cease to exist, and every
infant that came into the world would be born into
full citizenship, and would enjoy all its advantages,
whatever the conduct of its parents might be. Thus
a new development of the family would take place,
on the basis, not of a predetermined lifelong business
arrangement, to be formally and nominally held to,
irrespective of circumstances, but on mutual inclina-
tion and affection, an association terminable at the
will of either party. It is easy to see how great
the gain would be to morality and sentiment in this
change. At present, in this country at least, a
legal and quasi-moral offence has to be committed
before the obviously unworkable contract can be set
aside. On the Continent, it is true, even at the
present day the marriage can be dissolved by
mutual consent ; but either party can, if so inclined,
force the other into subjection, and prevent the
exercise of his or her freedom. It is perhaps
necessary to state that this change would not be
made merely formally and mechanically. There
would be no vestige of reprobation weighing on the
dissolution of one tie and the forminof of another.
For the abhorrence of the oppression of the man by


the woman or the woman by the man (both of
which continually happen to-day under the segis of
our would-be moral institutions) will certainly be an
essential outcome of the ethics of the New Society." *
What mea2:re and uncertain results ! What lame
and impotent conclusions !

A true organisation of the Family cannot be
effected on socialistic lines. It must proceed from
and carefully maintain the autonomy of the Family
against the encroachments of the community. It
must treat the Family as a true society with rights
and duties of its own, and as sacred and binding as
are those of the State or nation. The present Pope
— one of the wisest and worthiest of those who
have occupied the papal throne — has most justly
said that " the idea that the civil o-overnment
should, at its own discretion, penetrate and pervade
the family and the household, is a great and
pernicious mistake." A people which loses sight of
this truth is one in which all personal liberties, and
all regard for justice, will rapidly become extinct.

The economic dependence of the wife on the
husband must always be the rule among the labour-
ing classes. An emancipation of women from their
household duties in order that they may be able to
labour for remuneration in the service of the com-
munity, and of men from obligation to make pro-
vision for their wives and children, would produce a
base kind of freedom economically and morally
ruinous both to women and men, and to the former

* "Socialism," &c., pp. 299, 300.


also cruelly unjust. Where the economic independ-
ence of women or men, in the married state, is actual
or possible, it is not by abolishing the right of
contract and substitutingf for it a condition of status
that satisfactory arrangements can be reached as to
the property of married people, but by the fuller de-
velopment of the right of contract — a development
towards the perfect equality of freedom and justice
as regards husband and wife, and with no other
restrictions than those necessary to guard against
either of the contracting parties swindling the
other, or both conspiring to swindle the public.

The movement towards securing to women equal
rights with men and free scope to exercise all their
faculties, although some have regarded it as likely
to endanger and disorganise the Family, really
tends directly and powerfully to its consolidation
and true development. It favours the formation of
a better class of women. It contributes largely to
increase the number of women who are not necessi-
tated to enter into loveless marriages. Within the
last twenty years there has been decided improve-
ment in this direction ; and there will doubtless be
more. It is a right direction, however, precisely
because it leads away from the slavery which Social-
ism would introduce, and towards full personal

To transfer, as Socialists have proposed, the care
of children from the Family to the State would be
to rob the Family of a large portion both of its
utility and of its happiness, and to devolve on the
State responsibilities which it must necessarily fail


to meet aright. The State should supplement but
not supersede the education of the Family. To
replace marriage by mere association between man
and woman terminable at the will of either, would
be not, as Morris and Bax imagine, " a great gain to
morality and sentiment," but an incalculable and
irreparable loss. As long as the moral sense was so
deadened and the better feelings of human nature
so perverted as to tolerate the change, sexual pro-
miscuity and hetairism would prevail. So-called
Free Love is untrue and degrading love ; love from
which all the pure, permanent, and elevating ele-
ments are absent ; love reduced to animal passion
and imaginative illusions ; the love which is power-
ful to destroy families but powerless to sustain and
orofanise them.*

The Church draws its chief strength from religion,

* The following observations of Dr. Schaffle may usefully supplement
the preceding remarks as to the Family : " It is true we are told that
things would for the most part remain as they are, and marriage-unions
would still for the most part remain constant ; Free Love would only be
called into play for the loosening of unhappy marriages. Then why not
let the stable marriage-tie be the rule, with separation allowed in cases
where the marriage -union has become morally and physically impossible?
Why not have at least the existing marriage-law as among Protestants ?
But the whole statement, even if made in good faith, will not stand

"What then is an 'unhappy' or relatively a 'happy' marriage? No
one is perfect, and therefore not a single marriage can ever hope to be
entirely 'happy.' First love must always yield to sober reality, after the
cunning of nature has secured its end for the preservation of the species.
In the indissoluble life-union of marriage, with the daily and hourly
contact between the inevitable imperfections of both parties, there neces-
sarily arise frictions and discords, which, if severance is free, will only
too easily give rise to the most ill-considered separations from the effect
of momentary passion ; and all the more readily if the one party have
begun to grow tedious to the other, or pleasant to a third party. The


from what is spiritual in human nature, and as this
is permanent, tiiere is no probabiHty that the
Church will ever cease to be a social force. We have
only to study with intelligence and care the state of
feeling and of opinion, and the relative strength of
parties and of tendencies in Italy, Spain, France,
Belgium, and Britain, to convince ourselves that
the religious question, far from having lost its

very essential advantage of the stable marriagfj-tie is just this, that it
secures the peaceable adjustment of numberless unavoidable disagree-
ments ; that it prevents the many sparrings and jarrings of private life
from reaching the public eye ; that it allows of openness on both sides, and
avoids the possibility of pretence; that it induces self-denial for the &ake
of others ; that it insures a greater proportion of mutuality in both
spiritual and physical cares for the general run of wedded couples — in
short, that for the majority of cases at least a relative possibility of
wedded happiness is attainable. Therefore the indissoluble marriage-tie
must still remain the rule, and separation the exception, confined to cases
where its persistence becomes a moral impossibility. But it is clear that
if once the emancipation of woman made it general for her to step out of
the hou e into public life, and if once the bond of common love and of
common care for the offspring were loosened, or even weakened, frequent
marriage changes would very easily become the rule, and permanent
unions only the exception. The training in self-conquest, in gentleness,
in consideration for others, in fairness, and in patience, which the pre-
sent family and wedded relations entail, would also be lost in the entrance
of all into public life outside the home. The gain to separate individuals
in point of sensual gratification through fugitive unions would be very far
from outweighing the loss of the ideal good attainable by man, and by

man only, through the channel of marriage Existing marriage

rights and married life are suscej^tible of further improvement, but this
is not to say that the problem of their personal, moral, industrial, and
social amelioration will be solved by facilitating for every one the break-
ing of the marriage-tie ; we may rather look to solving it by restoring,
perfecting, and generalising the external and moral conditions of the
highest possible happiness in binding unions. This can be done vdthout
Social Democracy, and cannot be done with it. The new hetairism of
Free Love reduces man to a refined animal, society to a refined herd, a
superior race of dogs and apes, even though all should become productive
labourers, and spend a few hours daily in manual labour." ("Impossibility
of Social Democracy," pages 147-51.)


interest and importance, is likely to be far more
agitated in the twentieth century of our era than it
has been in the nineteenth, to be more interwoven
with political and social questions, and to be the
source of more momentous changes in the develop-
ment of humanity. Those who fancy that they are
indicating a way of solving or of settling it when
they repeat such party catchwords as " Secularise
the State," " Dissociate Politics from Religion,"
" Separate Church and State," and the like, are
mistaken. These phrases solve nothing, settle no-
thing, and recommend what is as impossible as to
separate soul and body without producing death.
The Church may contest the action of the State,
and tyrannise over its subjects all the more for
being in so-called separation from it. The Church
necessarily acts on society with such power either
for good or ill that it is of the highest importance
that it should be for good. An enlightened pure, and
earnest Church, faithful to the principles and ani-
mated by the spirit of its Founder, is not less
essential to the right organisation of society, and to
the prosperity and progi^ess of a nation than a good
civil ofovernment. Individuals become throuofh con-
nection with it far more able to benefit their fellows
and serve their country.

What have Socialists to propose regarding organi-
sation in this sphere? Nothing, certainly, of any
value. The main body of them cherish the expecta-
tion of the disappearance of the Church. This only
shows their inability and unwillino-ness to look at
facts as they are. Even if a man disbelieve in the


truth of Christianity he must be credulous to sup-
pose that the power of the Christian Church will
not continue for centuries to be felt. Other Social-
ists say, we shall treat religion as a private affair,
and leave the Church to itself. That is so far good.
The Church can only organise itself aright by
working freely, and from within. Yet who that
will reflect can fail to see how utterly inadequate a
solution the answer is ? It simply means that with
a large portion of the work of social organisation
Socialism acknowledges itself to be incompetent to
deal. Socialism will let the Church alone, because
conscious of its inability to deal with it consistently
otherwise than in ways which would be deemed
intolerant and oppressive. Socialists forget in this
connection to ask, Will the Church let the social-
istic commonwealth alone ? Is neutrality possible
between a religious and an atheistic society ? Can
a self-governed Church co-operate or even perma-
nently coexist with a commuuistically or coUectivis-
tically governed State ? Must the conditions on
which a Free Church holds property not be irrecon-
cilable with the laws by which a Socialist State
regulates property ? In none of the more prevalent
forms of contemporary Socialism is the Church
contemplated as an enduring and influential agent
of social amelioration.

Within the limits at my disposal it is impossible
to treat of the process of organisation which, in
consequence of the latest extension of the electorate,
is most visible at present — organisation in the
direction of more local self-government, of a greater


representation of the poorer classes in the manage-
ment of municipal, parochial, and county affairs ; in
other words, organisation towards a fuller realisa-
tion of the democratic ideal, now supreme and
dominant in political life. This process involves
the devolution of power from a central legislature
to bodies with more limited spheres of control
and administration, and the more varied and
vigorous development of representative govern-
ment ; but it is in no respect of a necessarily
socialistic nature.

Nor can the organisation of science, art, and
literature, as bearing on that of society, be dis-
cussed, intimate and comprehensive although the
connection be ; but manifestly such organisation
should be chiefly brought about by the exertions of
scientists, artists, and literary men themselves — i.e.
by those most qualified to effect, and most directly
interested in effecting it — and only to a compara-
tively small extent by State regulation and encour-

Even as to industrial organisation my remarks
must be few and brief It can only be satisfactorily
accomplished if effectuated chiefly from within by
the free yet combined action of those who are
specially engaged in industry. They have no right
to expect that it will be done for them by the
State, or at the expense of the community. There
is no need that it should be done for them, as they
have wealth and power enough to do it for them-
selves. Their own history is a conclusive proof,
whatever Socialists may say to the contrary, of


their power to combine, organise, and prosper under
a regime of lil^erty.

It is greatly to be desired that there were more
concerted and united action on the part of the
employers of labour in the various departments of
industry with a view to bringing their departments
into a thoroughly sound condition : that capitalists
and masters combined and co-operated, not merely
for self-defence against the workers, but also on
behalf of the workers, and for the general good of
trade. It is obvious that they are strong enough
and rich enough, if united and earnest, to remove
some of the most grievous of the evils of which
labour has to complain.

One of these is that exemplary men may, without
any fault of their own^ after a lifetime of toil, when
strength fails, be left in utter destitution, solely
dependent on public charity. Can it be supposed
that the employers of labour in such departments as
the coal and iron trade, paper-making and publish-
ing, ship-building, brewing, etc., could not, if they
would, remove this stain on the civilisation of a
nation like Britain, and provide for their labourers
in old age pensions which would be as honourable as
those of the soldiers ? In some dejoartments a
childless millionaire might do it at his death for the
whole trade in which he had gained his fortune, and
at the same time leave behind him a monument
whicli would most honourably perpetuate his name.

Then there is the evil of concurrent periods of
protracted dej)ression of trade and scarcity of
employment, urgently calling for provision against


it being made when trade is prosperous and employ-
ment plenty ; for a system of organised insurance
which would carry those thrown out of work
through the evil days. The burden of such a
system should be borne partly by employers and
partly by employed. What is to be aimed at is
that in each industry all willing labourers should be
saved from the degradation of becoming the reci-
pients of charity. It is an aim which might in
some respects be more satisfactorily realised by
combined voluntary effort than by enforced taxa-
tion, although it is probably less likely to be so
realised. Employers would act wisely were they
freely to tax themselves, even to no small extent, in
order to attain it.

The movement for compulsory labour-insurance
against the evils involved in loss of work or of
capacity for work is still far from advanced, yet it
has within recent years made considerable progress
in various countries of Europe. It has, in all pro-
bability, an important future before it, and in con-
junction with the already established Savings Bank
system, may greatly improve the position of the
wage-earning classes. The principle on which it
proceeds is not in itself socialistic, but rather the
reverse ; it is the principle of requiring of indi-
viduals, trades, or classes which can provide for
themselves protection against the contingencies of
evil to which they are specially exposed that they
do so, instead of leaving the commonwealth to bear
the burdens which must fall upon it from their not
doing so. Long before Socialism took any interest


in the principle it had been embodied in such
institutions as the Scottish Ministers' Widows'
Fund, &c/=^

The various forms of co-oj^erative production and
industrial partnership which have been tried within
the last sixty years are the beginnings of a perfectly
legitimate movement which may be reasonably
hoped to have a great future before it. Its aim —
to make labourers also capitalists, sharers of profits
as well as recipients of wages — is admirable. In
principle it is unassailable. The difficulties im-
peding it are only difficulties of application, and
arise from causes which the grow^th of intelligence
and self-control, the spread of mutual confidence,
the acquisition of commercial experience, and the
increase of pecuniary means, will diminish. At the
same time it is easy to form visionary hopes in
regard to it. The goal at which it aims may be
reached otherwise, and often better otherwise.
While it can hardly be too earnestly desired that
workmen in general should be also capitalists, there
may be in many cases no special advantage in their
being capitalists in the same business or concern in
which they are workmen. It is the union of capital
and labour in the same hands, in the same persons,
w^hich is the great point. f

* Those who may wish to know what has been done through legislation
in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Holland, Belgium,
Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland regarding such insurance as is referred to
in this paragraph will find full information in M. Maurice Bellom's
" Assurance contra la maladie." 1893.

+ For a statement of opposite views as to the relation of Co-operation
and Socialism, see " Co-operation v. Socialism : being a report of a debate


One of the most interesting yet difficult of the
themes connected with the industrial oro-anisation
of society is that of participation in the product of
labour or profit-sharing by employes. It is plain
that the condition of workmen must be greatly
improved even in countries like our own before this
system can become more than subordinate and
supplemental to that of wages ; but that in this
latter form it may increasingly, and with ever-
growing advantage, be introduced seems also certain.
The regularity and certainty of the labourer's re-
muneration, which are the great merits of the wages-
system, are necessarily gained at the expense of a con-
comitant variation in relation to demand and prices,
which is also a merit, and which can only be secured
through profit-sharing. Profit-sharing has many
modes, none of them without defects or easy of suc-
cessful adoption, but also none of them without advan-
tages or incapable of being followed within certain
limitations. As the great obstacle to the develop-
mrent of profit-sharing is the want of a right under-
standing and of sufficient trust between employers
and employed, the extension of the system will be
at least a good criterion of the progress of a truly
harmonious social organisation.*

Hitherto workmen have combined chiefly in order

between H. H. Champion and B. Jones at Toynbee Hall." Manchester,
1887. As to Co-operation itself G. J. Holyoake's " History oi Co-operation
in England," and V. P. Hubert's " Associations Co-operatives en France et
a I'Etranger " are specially Informative works.

* On profit-sharing the two most instructive studies, perhaps, are Victor
Bohmert's " Gewinnbetheiligung," 1878, and Nicholas P. Gilman's "Profit-
Sharing between Employer and Employee," 1S89.


to secure favourable terms for labour in the struggle
with capital. Such combination is necessary, yet
far from the only kind of combination necessary to
them. And one may well wish to see some combina-
tion of a higher and more constructive kind among
them ; more organisation for their general good, for
purposes of intellectual and moral improvement, and
even for rational amusement. The possibilities of
organisation of this kind, far from having been
exhausted by them, are as yet almost untouched.
Workmen cannot too clearly realise that any institu-
tion or movement which will prove of much benefit
to their class must either be their own work, or made
their own by cordial co-operative appropriation. Ex-
ternal help without self-help will come to little ; and
the self-help of a class, to be effective, must be
earnest, general, and systematised.

It is not difficult to perceive where the crux of
the problem of industrial organisation lies. In
ordinary times steady, intelligent, skilled, efficient
workmen are, in Britain at least, neither out of
work nor wretchedly paid. They have fully proved
that they can organise themselves ; and owing to
their organisation, numbers, and the importance of
the services which they render to the community,
they can give effective expression to their wishes as
to wages, the duration of the working day, and other
conditions of labour. They are probably as able to
protect themselves as are their emj^loyers. They
have manifestly outgrown the need for exceptional
State-protection, for grandmotherly legislation. Such
Socialism as Collectivists advocate, by restricting


their liberty would only diminish their influence and

While there is a large amount of destitution
among operatives, it is chiefly confined to two grades

Online LibraryRobert FlintSocialism → online text (page 22 of 38)