p.370Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficently has created all things that their endowment be common to all living beings, and that the earth became the common property of all. . .. Only unjust usurpation has created the right of private property.
St. Ambrose.Let the Pope and cardinals, and all the powers of the Catholic world united make the least encroachment on that constitution, we will protect it with our lives. Summon a General Councillet that council interfere in the mode of our electing but an assistant to a turnkey of a prisonwe deny its right; we reject its usurpation. Let that council lay a tax of one cent. only upon our churcheswe will not pay it. Yet, we are most obedient Papistswe believe that the Pope is Christ's vicar on earth, supreme visible head of the Church throughout the world, and lawful successor of St. Peter, prince of the apostles. We believe all this power is in Pope Leo XII and we believe that a General Council is infallible in doctrinal decisions. Yet we deny to Pope and Council united any power to interfere with one title of our political rights, as firmly as we deny the power of interfering with one title of our spiritual rights to the President and Congress. We will obey each in its proper place, we will resist any encroachment by one upon the right of the other.
Rt. Rev. John England, Catholic Bishop of Charleston, U.S.A., 1824.
Nothing is more conducive to the spread of a movement than the discussions arising out of the efforts of a capable opponent to refute its principles. Out of such discussions arise clearness of thought, and the consequent realisation on the part of both sides to the controversy of the necessity of considering the movement under discussion in the light of its essential principles rather than of its accidental accompanimentsthe basic ideas of the movement itself rather than the ideas of the men or women who may for the moment be its principal exponents or representatives. Men perish, but principles live. Hence the recent effort of ecclesiastics to put the Socialist movement under the ban of the Catholic Church, despite the wild and reckless nature of the statements by which the end was sought to be attained, has had a good effect in compelling Catholics to examine more earnestly their position as laymen, and the status of the clergy as such, as well as their relative duties towards each other within the Church and toward the world in general. One point of Catholic doctrine brought out as a result of such examination is the almost forgotten and sedulously suppressed one, that the Catholic Church is theoretically a community in which the clergy are but the officers serving the laity in a common worship and service of God, and that should the clergy at any time profess or teach doctrines not in conformity with the true teachings of Catholicity it is not only the right, but it is the absolute duty of the laity to refuse such doctrines and to disobey such teaching. Indeed, it is this saving clause in Catholic doctrine which has again and again operated to protect the Church
p.372from the result of the mistaken attempts of the clergy to control the secular activities of the laity. It seems to be unavoidable, but it is entirely regrettable, that clergymen consecrated to the worship of God, and supposed to be patterned after a Redeemer who was the embodiment of service and humility, should in their relation to the laity insist upon service and humility being rendered to them instead of by them. Their Master served all mankind in patience and suffering; they insist upon all mankind serving them, and in all questions of the social and political relations of men they require the common laity to bow the neck in a meekness, humility, and submission which the clergy scornfully reject. They have often insisted that the Church is greater than the secular authority, and acted therefore in flat defiance of the secular powers, but they have forgotten or ignored the fact that the laity are a part of the Church, and that therefore the right of rebellion against injustice so freely claimed by the Papacy and the hierarchy is also the inalienable right of the laity. And history proves that in almost every case in which the political or social aspirations of the laity came into opposition to the will of the clergy the laity represented the best interest of the Church as a whole and of mankind in general. Whenever the clergy succeeded in conquering political power in any country the result has been disastrous to the interests of religion and inimical to the progress of humanity. From whence we arrive at the conclusion that he serves religion best who insists upon the clergy of the Catholic Church taking their proper position as servants to the laity, and abandoning their attempt to dominate the public, as they have long dominated the private life of their fellow-Catholics.
The 1910 Lenten Discourses
of Father Kane, S.J., in Gardiner
[Footnote: Socialism, By Robert Kane, S.J., Catholic Truth Society. [The notes in this section are in all cases Connolly's own.]]
p.373Street Church, Dublin, serve to illustrate these, our contentions. The Socialists of Ireland are grateful to those who induced such a learned and eloquent orator in their capital city to attempt combating Socialism. Had it been an antagonist less worthy their satisfaction would not have been so great. But they now feel confident that when an opponent so capable, so wide in his reading, so skilled in his presentation, so admirable in his method of attack, and so eloquent in his language, has said his final word upon the question, they may rest satisfied that the best case against their cause has been presented which can ever be forthcoming under similar auspices. In presenting their arguments against the position of the reverend lectureras against his reverend co-workers who all over the world are engaged in the same unworthy task of combating this movement for the uplifting of humanitywe desire, in the spirit of our preceding remarks, to place before our readers a brief statement of some of the many instances in which the Catholic laity have been compelled to take political action contrary to the express commands of the Pope and the Catholic hierarchy, and in which subsequent events or the more enlightened conscience of subsequent ages have fully justified the action of the laity and condemned the action of the clergy:
Most of our readers are aware that the first Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, in 1169, an invasion characterised by every kind of treachery, outrage, and indiscriminate massacre of the Irish, took place under the authority of a bull issued by his Holiness, Pope Adrian IV. Doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of the bull, but it is certain that neither Adrian nor any of his successors in the Papal chair ever repudiated it.
Every Irish man and woman, most enlightened Englishmen, and practically every foreign nation to-day wish that the Irish had succeeded in preserving their independence against the English king, Henry II, but at a Synod of the Catholic Church, held in Dublin in 1177, according to Rev. P. J. Carew,
p.374Professor of Divinity in Maynooth, in his Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, the Legate of Pope Alexander III set forth Henry's right to the sovereignty of Ireland in virtue of the Pope's authority, and inculcated the necessity of obeying him under pain of excommunication. The English were not yet eight years in Ireland, the greater part of the country was still closed to them, but already the Irish were being excommunicated for refusing to become slaves.
In Ireland, as in all Catholic countries, a church was a sanctuary in which even the greatest criminal could take refuge and be free from arrest, as the civil authority could not follow upon the consecrated ground. At the Synod of 1177, the Pope, in order to help the English monarch against the Irish, abolished the right of sanctuary in Ireland, and empowered the English to strip the Irish churches, and to hunt the Irish refugees who sought shelter there. The greatest criminals of Europe were safe once they reached the walls of the church, but not an Irish patriot.
In the year 1319, Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce of Scotland, was invited into Ireland by the Irish chiefs and people to help them in their patriotic war for independence. He accepted the invitation, was joined by vast numbers of the people in arms, and together the Irish and Scotch forces swept the English out of Ulster and Connacht. The English king appealed for help to Pope John XXII, and that Pontiff responded by at once excommunicating all the Irish who were in arms against the English.
The battle of the Boyne, fought 1st July, 1690, is generally regarded in Ireland as a disaster for the Irish causea disaster which made possible the infliction of two centuries of unspeakable degradation upon the Irish people. Yet that battle was the result of an alliance formed by Pope Innocent XI with William, Prince of Orange, against Louis, King of France. King James of England joined with King Louis to obtain help
p.375to save his own throne, and the Pope joined in the league with William to curb the power of France. When the news of the defeat of the Irish at the Boyne reached Rome the Vatican was illuminated by order of the new Pope, Alexander VIII, and special masses offered up in thanksgiving. See Von Ranke's History of the Popes and Murray's Irish Revolutionary History.
Judge Maguire of San Francisco, California, writing of this period before the Reformation, says truly:
Under all their Catholic majesties, from Henry II to Henry VIII (nearly four hundred years) the Irish people, with the exception of five families, were outlaws. They were murdered at will, like dogs, by their English Catholic neighbours in Ireland, and there was no law to punish the murderers. Yet during all of this unparalleled reign of terror, history fails to show a single instance in which the power of the Catholic Church was ever exerted or suggested by the Pope for the protection of her faithful Irish children.
The Irish people as a whole are proud of the fact that, according to the reported testimony of General Lee of the American army, more than half of the continental soldiers during the War of the Revolution were from Ireland, yet during that War of Independence, Bishop Troy, the Catholic Bishop of Ossory, ordered the Catholics of his diocese to
observe a day's fast and to humble himself in prayer that they might avert the divine wrath provoked by their American fellow-subjects, who, seduced by the specious notions of liberty and other illusive expectations of sovereignty, disclaim any dependence upon Great Britain and endeavour by force of arms to distress their mother country.
Quite recently, in 1909, Professor Monaghan, speaking before the Federation of Catholic Societies in America, declared with the approval of the bishop and clergy that the Catholic hierarchy of the United States would, if need be, sell the sacred vessels off the altar in defence
p.376of the American Republic. Thus the enlightened opinion of the Catholics of our day condemns the Pastoral of the Catholic bishop of the Revolutionary period, and endorses the action of the Catholics who disregarded it.
In 1798 an insurrection in favour of an Irish Republic took place in Ireland, assuming most formidable proportions in County Wexford. The insurrection had been planned by the Society of United Irishmen, many of whose leaders were Protestants and Freethinkers. The Catholic hierarchy and most of the priesthood denounced the society and inculcated loyalty to the Government. The more intelligent of the Catholic masses disregarded these clerical denunciations. In the memoirs of his life, Miles Byrne, a staunch Catholic patriot and revolutionist, who took part in the insurrection, says: The priests did everything in their power to stop the progress of the Association of United Irishmen, particularly poor Father John Redmond, who refused to hear the confession of any of the United Irish, and turned them away from his knees. Speaking of Father John Murphy, he says he was a worthy, simple, pious man, and one of those Roman Catholic priests who used the greatest exertions and exhortations to oblige the people to give up their pikes and firearms of every description. The wisdom of the people and the foolishness of the clergy were amply demonstrated by the fact that the soldiers burned Father Murphy's house over his head, and compelled him to take the field as an insurgent. A heroic fight and a glorious martyrdom atoned for his mistake, but the soldier-like qualities he showed in the field were rendered nugatory by the fact that as a priest he had been instrumental in disarming many hundreds of the men whom he afterwards commanded. As an insurgent officer he discovered that his greatest hope day in the men who had disregarded his commands as a priest, and retained the arms with which to fight for freedom.
Dr. Troy, when Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, was, according
p.377to an incident related in the Viceroy's Post-Bag by Mr. Michael MacDonagh, interrogated by the British authorities as to the duty of a priest who discovered in the confessional a plot against the Government, and answered that, If in confession any plot against the existing Government was disclosed to the priest, he (the priest) would be bound to give information to the Government that such plot was in agitation, taking care that nothing could in any way lead to a suspicion of the person from whom, or the means in which, the information had been obtained. Chief Secretary Wickham, who reports this conversation with the archbishop, goes on to say, I then asked him whether such confession so made to the priest, particularly in the case of a crime against the State, was considered as a full atonement so as to entitle the penitent to absolution without a disclosure of such crime being first made to the police or to the Government of the country. To this the Doctor answered very distinctly that he did not consider the confession to the priest alone, under such circumstances, a sufficient atonement, and that either the priest ought to insist on such confession to the State or to the police being made, or to enjoin the making of such disclosure subsequent to absolution in like manner as penance is enjoined under similar circumstances.
There is little doubt in our mind but that Dr. Troy misrepresented Catholic doctrine, but it is noteworthy that a parish priest at Mallow, Co. Cork, ordered a member of the United Irishmen, who had sought him in the confessional, to give information to the authorities of a plot of the Royal Meath Militia to seize the artillery at that point and turn it over to the revolutionists. This priest, Father Thomas Barry, afterwards drew a pension of £100 per year from the Government for his information; his action was, and is, abhorred by the vast mass of the Irish Catholics, but was in strict accord with his duty as laid down by Archbishop Troy.
All impartial historians recognise that the Legislative Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland was passed
- By perjury and fraud
By slaves who sold
For place or gold
Their country and their God.
Yet we are informed by Mr. Plowden, a Catholic historian that, a very great preponderance in favour of the Union existed in the Catholic Body, particularly in their nobility, gentry, and clergy. On 1st March, 1800, no less than thirty-two Orange lodges protested against the Act of Union, but the Catholic hierarchy endorsed it.
Every year the members of the Irish race scattered throughout the earth celebrate the memory of Robert Emmet, and cherish him in their hearts as the highest ideal of patriot and martyr; but on the occasion of his martyrdom the Catholic Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh presented an address to the Lord Lieutenant, representative of the British Government in Ireland, denouncing Emmet in the strongest possible terms. That this action was in conformity with the position of the whole Catholic Hierarchy was evidenced in 1808, when all the Catholic bishops of Ireland met in Synod on 14th September, and passed the following resolution, as reported in Mitchel's History of Ireland: That the Roman Catholic prelates pledge themselves to adhere to the rules by which they have been hitherto uniformly guided, viz., to recommend to his Holiness (for appointment as Irish Roman Catholic bishops) only such persons as are of unimpeachable loyalty.
After Daniel O'Connell and the Catholics of Ireland had wrested Catholic Emancipation from the British Government they initiated a demand for a repeal of the Union. Their service to Catholic Emancipation was a proof positive of their Catholic orthodoxy, but at the urgent request of the British
p.379Government, Pope Gregory XVI issued a rescript commanding the priests to abstain from attending the repeal meetings. O'Connell said this was an illegal interference with the liberties of the clergy, declared he would take his religion from Rome, but not his politics, and the Catholic opinion of our day emphatically endorses his attitude and condemns the action of the Pope.
In 1847 the Catholics among the Young Irelanders prepared a memorial to be presented to the annual assembly of the Bishops, defending themselves from the charge of infidelity. The Archbishop of Tuam declared he would retire if they were admitted. They were not admitted. To-day the memory of the Young Irelanders is held close to the heart of every intelligent Irish man or woman.
During the great Irish famine of 1845-6-7-8-9, the Irish people died in hundreds of thousands of hunger, whilst there was food enough in the country to feed three times the population. When the starving peasantry was called upon to refuse to pay rent to idle landlords, and to rise in revolt against the system which was murdering them, the clergy commanded them to pay their rents, instructed them that they would lose their immortal souls should they refuse to do so, and threw all the weight of their position against the revolutionary movement for the freedom of Ireland. Mr. A. M. Sullivan, an extremely ardent Catholic, writing in New Ireland, says of this attitude of the clergy during that crisis that, Their antagonism was fatal to the movementmore surely and infallibly fatal to it than all the powers of the British Crown.
The Irish revolutionary movement known popularly as the Fenian Brotherhood was denounced by all the Catholic Hierarchy and most of the clergy, Bishop Moriarty of County Kerry saying that Hell was not hot enough nor eternity long enough to punish such miscreants. The Fenians were represented as being enemies of religion and of morality, yet the
p.380three representatives of their cause who died upon the scaffold died with a prayer upon their lips, and Irish men and women the world over to-day make the anniversary of their martyrdom the occasion for a glorification and endorsement of the principles for which they dieda glorification and endorsement in which many of our clergymen participate.
In January, 1871, the Catholic Bishop of Derry denounced the Home Rule movement of Isaac Butt. To-day priests and people agree that the movement led by Isaac Butt was the mildest, most inoffensive movement ever known in Ireland.
The Irish Land League, which averted in 1879 a repetition of the famine horrors of 1847, which broke the back of Irish landlordism, and abolished the worst evils of British rule, was denounced by Archbishop M'Cabe in September, 1879, October, 1880 and October, 1881.
In 1882 the Ladies' Land League, an association of Irish ladies organised for the patriotic and benevolent purpose of raising funds for the relief of distress, of inquiring into cases of eviction, and affording relief to evicted tenants, was denounced by Archbishop M'Cabe as immodest and wicked. After this attack upon the character of patriotic Irish womanhood, Archbishop M'Cabe was created a Cardinal.
On 11th May, 1883, in the midst of the fight of the Irish peasantry to save themselves from landlord tyranny, his Holiness the Pope issued a Rescript condemning disaffection to the English Government, and also condemning the testimonial to Charles Stewart Parnell. The Irish people answered by more than doubling the subscription to the testimonial. The leader of that fight of the Irish against their ancient tyrants was Michael Davitt, to whose efforts much of the comparative security of peasant life in Ireland is due. Davitt was denied an audience by the Pope, but at his death priests and people alike united to do tribute to his character and genius.
In 1883 Dr. M'Glynn, a Catholic priest in America, was
p.381invited to deliver a lecture for the purpose of raising funds to save from starvation the starving people of the West of Ireland. The Vatican sent a telegram to Cardinal M'Closkey ordering him to suspend this priest M'Glynn for preaching in favour of the Irish revolution. The telegram was signed by Cardinal Simeoni. Afterwards Father M'Glynn was subjected to the sentence of complete excommunication for preaching revolutionary doctrines upon the land question, but after some years the Vatican acknowledged its error, and revoked the sentence without requiring the victim to change his principles.
In all the examples covered by this brief and very incomplete retrospective glance into history the instances of the reformer and revolutionists have been right, the political theories of the Vatican and the clergy unquestionably wrong. The verdict of history as unquestionably endorses the former as it condemns the latter. And intelligent Catholics everywhere accept that verdict. In so far as true religion has triumphed in the hearts of men, it has triumphed in spite of, not because of, the political activities of the priesthood. That political activity in the past, like the clerical opposition to Socialism at present, was and is an attempt to serve God and Mammonan attempt to combine the service of Him who in His humbleness rode upon an ass, with the service of those who rode roughshod over the hearts and souls and hopes of suffering humanity.
The capitalist class rose upon the ruins of feudal Catholicism; in the countries where it gained power its first act was to decree the confiscation of the estates of the Church. Yet to-day that robber class, conceived in sin and begotten in iniquity, asks the Church to defend it, and from the Vatican downwards the clergy respond to the call. Just as the British Government in Ireland on 21st January, 1623, published a royal proclamation banishing all priests from Ireland, and in 1795 established a College at Maynooth for the education of priests, and found the latter course safer for British rule than the former, so the
p.382capitalist class has also learned its lesson and in the hour of danger enlists as its lieutenants and champions the priesthood it persecuted and despised in the hour of its strength. Can we not imagine some cynical supporter of the capitalist class addressing it to-day as the great Catholic orator, Richard Lalor Shiel, addressed the British Government on the occasion of the Maynooth Grant of 1845, and saying in his words:
You are taking a step in the right direction. You must not take the Catholic clergy into your pay, but you can take the Catholic clergy under your care. . .. Are not lectures at Maynooth cheaper than State prosecutions? Are not professors less costly than Crown Solicitors? Is not a large standing army and a great constabulary force more expensive than the moral police with which by the priesthood of Ireland you can be thriftily and efficaciously supplied?
. Encyclical on Labour by Pope Leo XIII, 1891.
It is not to be wondered at that the spirit of restless revolt which has gained such predominating influence over the nations of the world should have passed beyond the arena of politics to assert itself in the domain of practical economy. The causes likely to create a conflict are unmistakable. They are the marvellous discoveries of science, the colossal development of industry, the changed relations between workmen and masters, the enormous wealth of the few and the abject misery of the many, the more defiant self-reliance and the more scientific organisation of the workers, and finally a widespread depravity in moral principle and practice. The momentous seriousness of the coming crisis fills every thoughtful mind with anxiety and dread. Wise men discuss it; practical men propose schemes; platforms, Parliaments, clubs, kings, all think and talk of it. Nor is there any subject which so completely engrosses the attention of the world
In our analysis of the discourses against Socialism which formed the burden of the Lenten Lectures of Father Kane, S.J., we propose to cite at all times the text we are criticising, and we regret it is not practicable within our space to quote in full the entire series of lectures, and can only trust that our readers before making up their minds upon the question will procure a verbatim report of these discourses in order that they may satisfy themselves upon the correctness of our quotations. As far as it is possible, without destroying the unity of our argument, we shall follow the plan of the lecture itself, and attempt to answer each objection as it was formulated. But when an objection is merely stated, and no attempt made to follow it by a reasoned argument sustaining the objection we shall not waste our readers' time or our own by wandering off in an attempt to answer. One point stated by our reverend opponent, and then immediately forgotten or systematically ignored, requires to be restated here as the veritable anchor from which the argument should not be allowed to drift. Had our opponent clung to that anchor it would not have been possible for him to introduce so much extraneous matter, so much senseless speculation and foolish slander as he did introduce in the course of his long-drawn-out criticism. That point, as stated by Father Kane, is:
Once for all we must understand a Socialist to be that man, and only that man, who holds the essential principle of Socialism, i.e. that all wealth-producing power, and all that pertains to it, belongs to the ownership and control of the State.
Thus, at the outset of his lectures, in his first discourse, the reverend gentleman makes it clear that Socialists are bound as Socialists only to the acceptance of one great principlethe ownership and control of the wealth-producing power by the State, and that, therefore, totally antagonistic interpretations of the Bible or of prophecy and revelation, theories of marriage, and of history, may be held by Socialists without in the slightest degree interfering with their activities as such, or with their
p.384proper classification as supporters of Socialist doctrine. If this great central truth had been made as clear as its importance justifies, and as firmly adhered to by our opponent as the Socialists themselves adhere to it, then it would not be necessary for the present writer to remind our critics of those uncomfortable facts in Irish history to which we have referred in our introduction, nor to those other facts in universal history we shall be forced to cite ere our present survey is finished.
Says our critic:
We now come to examine its principles. One fundamental principle of Socialism is that labour alone is the cause of value, and that labour alone can give any title to ownership. This was first formulated by Saint Simon, and is generally adopted by Socialists. This principle is false. It is founded on an incomplete explanation of the origin of value. We will put it to the test later on. At present we need only remark that a thing may be of real use and therefore of real value to a man who has a right to use it, even independently of any labour spent upon it. Fruit in a forest would have real value for a hungry man, even though no human labour had been given to its growing. Another principle, one invented by Karl Marx, is what he calls the materialistic conception of history. It is an application of the wild philosophic dreams of the German, Hegel; it means, in plain English, that the economic or, broadly speaking, the trade conditions existing in the world determine the way in which the production of wealth must work out. Now, this working out of production determines what men's social, ethical, and religious opinions shall be. But the economic conditions are always in a state of evolution, and thus, after a time, they come into collision with the previous social, ethical and religious state of things. But these latter do not die without a struggle, and consequently re-act, and limit to some extent the influence of the material evolution which is going on. I have given this principle as fully as I can in a short
p.385space. It assumes that everything in the world depends absolutely and exclusively upon the mere action of mere material causes. It is a principle the only proof of which is in the begging of the question, in supposing that there is no God, no soul, no free will, nothing but mud and the forces of mud.
We are indebted to our critic for his statement of the importance of this doctrine of the materialistic conception of history, although we are amused at his characterisation of the doctrine itself. In the beginning of his description, ever mindful of the necessity of prejudicing his hearers, he describes it as an application of the wild philosophic dreams of Hegel; in the middle it is stated that the doctrine rejects dreams as a foundation of religious belief and bases our ideas of religion upon the impression derived from material surroundings, and in a final sentence, so far from it being dreams, it is nothing but mud and the forces of mud.
Let us examine briefly the true context of this doctrine. While remembering that there are many good Socialists who do not hold it, and that a belief in it is not an essential to Socialism, it is still accepted as the most reasonable explanation of history by the leading Socialists of this world. It teaches that the ideas of men are derived from their material surroundings, and that the forces which made and make for historical changes and human progress had and have their roots in the development of the tools men have used in their struggle for existence, using the words tools in its broadest possible sense to include all the social forces of wealth-production. It teaches that since the break-up of common ownership and the clan community all human history has turned around the struggle of contending classes in societyone class striving to retain possession, first of the persons of the other class and hold them as chattel-slaves, and then of the tools of the other class and hold them as wage-slaves; that all the politics of the world resolved themselves in the last analysis into a struggle for the
p.386possession of that portion of the fruits of labour which labour creates, but does not enjoy, i.e. rent, interest, profit. Here let us say that no Socialist claims for Marx the discovery or original formulation of the doctrine of the materialistic conception of historyindeed, the brilliant Irish scholastic, Duns Scotus, taught it in the Middle Ages; but that more precise formulation of the guiding forces of history which relate to the influence of economic factors, and which we call economic determinism, has indeed Marx as its clearest expositor, although the Irish economist, William Thompson of County Cork, in 1826, had pointed it out before Marx was out of swaddling clothes.
On the first point, viz., the influence of our material surroundings upon our mental processes and conceptions, a few words should be sufficient to establish its substantial truth in the minds of all those who do not fear the light.
Down on the western coast of Ireland the fishermen use, or did until quite recently, as their sole means of sea-going, a little boat made simply of a framework covered with animal hides or tarpaulin, and known as a coracle. At one time in the history of the world such boats represented the sole means of ocean travel. Now, is it not as plain as that two and two make four that the outlook upon life, the conceptions of Man's relation to nature, the theories of international relations, of life which characterise the age of the Lusitania, the flying machine, and the wireless message, could not possibly have been held by even the wisest men of the age of the coracle. The brains of men were as able then and as subtle in their conceptions as they are to-day, in fact the philosophers of ancient Asia have never been surpassed and seldom equalled in brain power in the modern world; but the most subtle, acute and powerful mind of the ancient world could not even understand the terms of the social, political, or moral problems which confront us to-day, and are intelligently understood by the average day
p.387labourer. We are confronted with a salient instance of this in Holy Scripture. We read the inspired revelation of prophets, judges, and saints giving the world instructions for its future guidance; we read of commands to go forth and convey the gospel to the heathen; but nowhere do we read that those inspired men knew or spoke of a continent beyond the Atlantic in which immortal souls were sitting in darkness, if souls can be said to sit. The wise men of the ancient world, the inspired men of the Holy Land, the brilliant philosophers and scholastics of mediaeval Europe, were all limited by their material surroundings, could only think in terms of the world with which they were acquainted, and their ideas of what was moral or immoral were fashioned for them by the social system in which they lived. Slavery is held to-day to be immoral, and no chattel slaveowner would be given absolution; but when Constantine the Great accepted the Christian religion the Pope of the period received him with acclamation, and no one suggested to him the need of surrendering his slaves, of which he held thousands. Queen Elizabeth of England, Good Queen Bess, engaged in slave trading and made a good profit in the venture; but no Catholic historian or pamphleteer of the period ever attacked her for that offence, although attacks for other causes were made in plenty. How is it that the point of view as to the morality of slavery has changed? It cannot be that religion is changed, for we are told that religion is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever. If it is not because it has been discovered that it is cheaper to hire men and discharge them when the job is done, than it was to buy men and be compelled to feed them all the time, working or idle, sick or well, for what reason has the change in our conceptions come? Stated brutally, the fact is that slavery is immoral because it is dearer than wage labour. And so with all our other intellectual processes. They change with the change in our environment, particularly our economic or social environment.
A negro slave in the Southern States of America was told by his owner to go up and fasten the shingles on the top of the roof of his master's dwelling. Boss, said he to the slaveowner, if I go up there and fall down and get killed you will lose that 500 dollars you paid for me; but if you send up that Irish labourer and he falls down and breaks his neck you won't even have to bury him, and can get another labourer to-morrow for two dollars a day. The Irish labourer was sent up. Moral: Slavery is immoral because slaves cost too much.
As man has progressed in his conquest of the secrets of Nature, he has been compelled to accept as eminently natural that from which his forefathers shrank as a manifestation of the power of the supernatural; as the progress of commerce has taken wealth, and the power that goes with wealth, out of the exclusive ownership of kings and put it in the possession of capitalists and merchants, political power has acquired a new basis, and diplomatic relations, from being the expression of the lust for family aggrandisement, have become the servants of the need for new markets and greater profitskings wait in the ante-chambers of usurers like Rothschild and Baring to get their consent for war or peace; Popes have for hundreds of years excommunicated those who put their money out at usury and have denied them Christian burial, but now a Pierpont Morgan, as financier of the Vatican, lends out at interest the treasures of the Popes. And man, caught in the grasp of the changing economic conditions, changes his intellectual conceptions to meet his changed environment. The world moves even although men stand still, and not the least of the changes have been those of the ghostly fathers of the Church towards the world and its problems. Like the girl to the kisses of her sweetheart, the Church has ever to the blandishments of the world
- Swearing she would ne'er consent, consented.
Our critic proceeds:
The third principle of Socialism is the theory of Karl Marx, by which he tries to prove that all capital is robbery. He calls it the theory of Surplus Value. Value is the worth of a thing. Now, the worth of a thing may be in that it satisfies some need, as a piece of bread or a blanket; or the worth of a thing may be in that you can barter it for something else, as if you have more bread than you want, but have not a blanket, you may give some of your bread to a man who has no bread but can spare a blanket. The first kind of value is use value, or own worth. The second kind of value is exchange value, or market worth. Instead of mere direct barter, money is used in civilized nations as an equivalent and standard for exchange value. Now, Karl Marx asserts that exchange value, i.e. the worth of a thing as it may be bought or sold, arises only from the labour spent on it. He goes on to say that a workman only gets his wages according to the market value of his labourthat is to say, he is only paid for his time and toilwhereas the value of his labour, i.e. the worth which results from his labour, may be far in excess of the wages which he gets. Marx calls this value or worth which results from labour over and above the wages of labour, which is equivalent to the labourer's support, Marx calls this overworth surplus value. He states that while it goes to the pocket of the employer, it is really the property of the workman, because it is the result of his labour. This surplus value is really capital, and is used by the employer to create more surplus valuethat is to say, more capital. Let me put this in another way: while the value of a thing for a man's own use may depend on the thing itself, the value of a thing in the market arises only from the labour spent on it. But the labour spent on it may also have its market value in winning its wage, or it may also have its use value in producing greater value than its wage. But this use value arises from labour as well as the exchange value, and, therefore,
p.390belongs to the workman and not to the employer. All this ingenious and intricate system rests absolutely upon the one assumption that exchange value depends only on the labour spent. Now, this assumption is quite false and quite groundless. The worth of a thing in the market will depend first of all upon the nature of the thing's own worth for use. Secondly, upon the demand and other outside circumstances. And thirdly, upon the labour spent. A bottle of good wine will have more exchange value than a bottle of bad wine, even though it may not have cost more labour. A pair of boots carved out of wood with long and careful toil will fetch less in the market than a simple pair of brogues. The principle that labour alone is the source of value and the only title to ownership was adopted by the American Socialist platform in 1904, with the recommendation that the workmen of the world should gradually seize on all capital.
Now, as to the Socialist system. In the official declaration of the English Socialists we readThe object of Socialism is the establishment of a system of society, based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, by, and in the interest of, the whole community.
There is little to refute here that will not have readily occurred to the mind of the intelligent reader. In fact, the haste with which Father Kane left this branch of the subject evinced his knowledge of its dangerous nature. The exposition of the true nature of capital, viz., that it is stored-up, unpaid labour, forms the very basis of the Socialist criticism of modern society, and its method of wealth production; it is the fundamental idea of modern Marxist Socialism, and yet in a discourse covering four columns of small type in the Irish Catholic (what a misnomer!) the full criticism of this really fundamental position takes up only twelve lines. And such a criticism!
A bottle of good wine will have more exchange value
p.391than a bottle of bad wine, even though it may not have cost more labour. Does the reverend father not know that if good wine can be produced as cheaply as bad wine, and in as great quantity, then good wine will come down to the same price as the inferior article? And if good wine could be produced as cheaply as porter it would be sold at the same price as porter is nowheavenly thought! It is the labour embodied in the respective articles, including the labour of keeping in storage, paying rental for vaults, etc., that determines their exchange value. Wine kept in vaults for years commands higher prices than new wine, but could chemists give new wine the same flavour as is possessed by stored-up wine, then the new would bring down the price of the old to a price governed by the amount of labour embodied in the new.
A pair of boots carved out of wood with long and careful labour will fetch less in the market than a simple pair of brogues. How illuminating! But what governs the price of the brogues? Why, the amount of labour socially necessary to produce them. The amount of labour necessary to produce an article under average social conditions governs its exchange value. Boots carved out of wood with long and careful labour are not produced under average social conditions; in discussing the economic question we discuss governing conditions, not exceptions. Hence the exchange value of boots such as those instanced by Father Kane is as problematical as the moral value of his hair-splitting. If you do not believe labour cost governs the exchange value of a commodity, ask a Dublin master builder to tell you what factors he takes into account when he is asked to give an estimate for building an altar. If he is a Catholic he will cast up his estimate with the same items as if he were a Protestantthat is to say, he will count the cost of labour, including the cost of labour embodied in the raw material, and he will base his estimate upon that cost. Ask any manufacturer, whether employing two men or two
p.392thousand, how he determines the price at which he can sell an article, and he will tell you that the cost of labour embodied in it settles that question for the market and for him. Yet it is this simple truth that Father Kane and such enemies of Socialism deny. Altars, beads, cassocks, shoes, buildings, ploughs, booksall articles upon the market except a politician's consciencehave their exchange value, determined in like mannerby their labour cost.
The learned gentleman winds up his lecture with a sneer at Socialist proposals, and an unwilling admission of the terrible logic of our position in future politics. He says:
The means and method of the Socialist have now to be considered. Here we have to consider their destructive and constructive methodswhat and how they are to knock down, what and how they are to build up. Here, however, we meet with an endless difference of Socialist opinions. As to the knocking down process, some Socialists are very enterprising, and appear to quite fall in with the anarchist programme of the dagger, the firebrand and the bomb. Others prefer to work through parliament by legal voting and by legal measures. Most of them appear from their speeches and writings to be very little troubled with scruples as to the right or wrong of means to be employed. Some fashionable and aesthetic dabblers in Socialism, amongst whom are men of culture, education and wealthas, for instance, are some prominent members of the Fabian Societywould work very quietly and very gently; they would even contemplate offering some compensation to the owners whose property they stole, but more probably when the real crash came they would gracefully retire with their culture, their education and their money. A man who makes £25,000 a year by amusing the public is not the sort of man who is likely, when the time comes, to willingly give up all that he owns for the honour of sweeping a street crossing as a Socialist. That is only the superficial
p.393nonsense which some people pass off as Socialism. Come to the practical point. The way in which Karl Marx explains how all capital is to be confiscated is as follows. On the one hand, that fierce competition which is the war of the financial world will result in the survival of a very few and very grasping capitalists. On the other hand, the army of labour will be more enlightened, better organised, and more scientifically led. It is easy to see what the enormous multitude of the proletariatwith force, votes and law on their sidecan do with the few fat but helpless millionaires whose money is wanted. In any case the Socialist intends by one means or another to take private property from all those who have any. As to the constructive methods of the Socialist, we have dreams, visions, castles in the air, fairy tales in which there is much that is amusing, some things that are very sentimental, and some things that are very foul, but in all of them one element is lackingcommon sense.
It is surely not necessary to point out that according to the Socialist doctrine the capitalist class are themselves doing much of the constructive work; they, pushed by their economic necessities, concentrate industries, eliminate useless labour and abolish useless plants, and prepare industry for its handling by officials elected by the workers therein. On the other hand, the army of labour, more enlightened, better organised and more scientifically led, banded into industrial unions patterned after the industry in which they are employed, will have prepared the workers to take possession of the productive and distributive forces on the day the incapable capitalist class are forced to surrender to a proletariat with force, votes, and law on their side.
The Rights of Man is a doctrine popularised by the bourgeois (capitalist) philosophers of the eighteenth century, and has no
p.394place in Socialist literature. Although Father Kane is kind enough to credit Socialism with the doctrine, it is in reality the child of that capitalist class he is defending, and was first used by them as a weapon in their fight for power against the kings and hierarchy of France. Now that capitalism has attained to power and made common cause with its old enemies, royalty and hierarchy, it would fain disavow much of the teaching of its earlier days, and hence listens complacently whilst Father Kane attacks the Rights of Man, and sneers at the mob, as he elegantly terms the common people for whom his Master died upon the Cross. We do not propose to follow the reverend gentlemen in all his excursions away from the subject, but shall content ourselves with citing and refuting those passages which have a real and permanent bearing upon the question at issue.
Man's right to live is also the right to take the means wherewith to live. Hence he can make use of such material means as are necessary in order that he should live. But he cannot make use of certain necessary means if others may use them also. Hence his right to use these means is at the same time a right to exclude others from their use. If a man has a right to eat a definite piece of bread, he has a right that no one else shall eat it. We will set this truth in another light. The right of private ownership may be considered either in the abstract, or as it is realised in concrete form. That right in the abstract means that by the very law of nature there is inherent in man a right to take hold of and apply for his own support those material means of livelihood which are not already in the right possession of another man. What those particular means are is not decided in the concrete by Nature's law. Nature gives the right to acquire, and by acquiring to own. But some partial fact is required in order to apply that abstract law to a concrete thing. The fact is naturally the occupying
p.395or taking hold of, or entering into possession of, a thing, by which practical action the abstract law of Nature becomes realised in a concrete practical fact. With this, or upon this, follows another right of man, the right to own his labour and the right to what his labour does. Furthermore, this right to exclusive personal ownership is not restricted to the means of one's daily bread from day to day; it is a right to be secure against want, when the needed means may not be at hand. The man who has tilled a field through the winter and spring has a right to hold as his own the harvest which he has earned. Hence the right of ownership is by Nature's law not merely passing, but permanent; it does not come and go at haphazard; it is stable. Hear the teaching of Pope Leo XIII in his pontifical explanation of this point ( Encyclical on Labour):
The Socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, endeavour to destroy private property, and maintain that personal property should become the common property of all. They are emphatically unjust, because they would rob the lawful possessor. . .. If one man hires out to another his strength or his industry, he does this in order to receive in return the means of livelihood, with the intention of acquiring a real right, not merely to his wage, but also to the free disposal of it. Should he invest this wage in land it is only his wage in another form. . ..
It is precisely in this power of disposal that ownership consists, whether it be question of land or other property. Socialists. . .strike at the liberty of every wage-earner, for they deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages. Every man has, by the law of Nature, the right to possess property of his own. . ..
It must be within his right to own things, not merely for the use of the moment, not merely things that perish in their use, but such things whose usefulness is permanent and stable. . .. Man is prior to the state, and he holds his natural rights prior to any right of the State. . ..
When man spends the keenness of his mind and the strength of his body in winning the fruits of Nature, he thereby makes his own that spot of Nature's field which he tills, that spot on which he sets the seal of his own personality. It cannot but be just that that spot should be his own, free from outside intrusion.
If one of the boys at the National Schools could not reason more logically than that he would remain in the dunce's seat all his schooldays. Imagine a priest who defends landlordism as Father Kane and the Pope does saying, The man who has tilled a field through the winter and spring has a right to hold as his own the harvest which he has earned, and imagining that he is putting forward an argument against Socialism. Socialists do not propose to interfere with any man's right to hold what he has earned; but they do emphatically insist that such a man, peasant or worker, shall not be compelled to give up the greater part, or any, of what he has earned, to an idle class whose members toil not, neither do they spin, but who have attained their hold upon the nation's property by ruthless force, spoliation and fraud.
Man's right to live is also the right to take the means wherewith to live.
His right to use these means is at the same time a right to exclude others from their use.
That is to say,
that a man has the right to take the means wherewith to live, and he has
also the right to prevent other men taking the means wherewith to live.
The one right cancels the other. When the supply of a thing is limited,
and that thing is necessary, absolutely necessary, to existence, as is
land, water, and the means of producing wealth, does it not follow that
to allow those things to be made private property enable the owners of
them to deny Man the right to live, except he agrees to surrender
the greater portion of the fruits of his toil to the owners?
Capitalism and Landlordism are based upon
p.397the denial to Man of his right to live except as a dependent upon Capitalists and Landlords; they exist by perpetually confiscating the property which the worker has in the fruits of his toil, and establish property for the capitalist by denying it to the labourer. Why talk about the right to live under capitalism? If a man had all the patriotism of a Robert Emmet or a George Washington, if he had all the genius of a Goldsmith or a Mangan, if he had all the religion of a St. Simeon Stylites or a St. Francis d'Assisi, if he belongs to the working class he has no effective right to live in this world unless a capitalist can see his way to make a profit out of him. Translated into actual practice these natural rights of which the reverend gentleman discoursed so eloquently mean for 23,000 families in Dublin the right to live in one room per familyliving, sleeping, eating and drinking and dying in the narrow compass of the four walls of one room.
When man spends the keenness of his mind and the strength of his body in winning the fruits of Nature he thereby makes his own that spot of Nature's field which he tills, so says his Holiness, as quoted by Father Kane. It follows then that the Irish peasantry, like the peasantry of Europe in general, are and were the real owners of the soil, and that the feudal aristocracy, the landlord class, whose proudest boast it was, and is, that they have never soiled their hands by labour, are and were thieves exacting by force tribute from the lawful owners of the soil. Yet those thieves have ever been supported by the hierarchy in their possession of property against the peasants who had made it their own by spending the keenness of their mind and the strength of their body in tilling it.
The working class of the world, by their keenness of mind and their strength of body, have made everything in the world their ownits land, its factories, its ships, its railroads, its houses, everything on earth and sea has been consecrated
p.398by the labour of the working class, and therefore belongs to that class; and as factories, ships, railroads and buildings cannot be divided up in pieces, they must be owned in common. If land belongs to those who have tilled it, by what means, other than common ownership, shall we re-establish the right of that seventy-five per cent. of the Irish people who, according to Mulhall, were evicted between 1837 and 1887, or of those agricultural labourers who toil upon the land but own no one foot of it, or of all those labourers in towns and cities whose forefathers have been hunted like wild beasts from the land they had made their own, by the keenness of mind and strength of body applied to labour, and who are now compelled to herd in towns, dependent upon the greed of capitalists for the chance to exist?
Father Kane, in this portion of his address, came to curse Socialism, but his arguments serve to bless it.
Let me bring from another worldthe old Pagan worldthe greatest philosopher of pure reason, as witness to the truth of the same principle. Aristotle wrote: Socialism wears a goodly face and affects an air of philanthropy. The moment it speaks it is eagerly listened to. It speaks of a marvellous love that shall grow out from it between man and man. This impression is emphasised when the speaker rails against the shortcomings of existing institutions, giving as the reason for all our shortcomings the fact that we are not Socialists. These evils of human life are not, however, owing to the absence of Socialism, but to the always inevitable presence of human frailty.
This is a puzzle. The word Socialism, and the Socialist principles, were unheard of until the beginning of the nineteenth century; and Aristotle flourished in the year 384 B.C. Hence to quote Aristotle as writing about Socialism is like saying that Owen Roe O'Neill sent a telegram to the Catholic Confederation at Kilkenny in 1647, or that George Washington
p.399crossed the Delaware in a flying machine. It is an absurd anachronism. For hundreds of years the works of Aristotle were used to combat Christianity, principally by the Arabians in the Middle Ages, and now the same works are used by a Christian priest to combat Socialism. Truly misfortune makes strange bedfellows.
Father Kane says:
We will go back to the old Greek philosopher, Aristotle, the philosopher compared to whom our Kant, Hegel, Comte, Hobbes and Locke are merely dreaming boys or blundering students. Aristotle founded his philosophy on fact, and worked it out through common sense. Our modern philosophers, with marvellous talent, evolve their principles out of their own inner consciousness, and ground their conclusions on their own mental mood.
In a criticism of Draper's Conflict between Religion and Science, published by the Catholic Truth Society as the report of a lecture delivered in Cork and Limerick by the Rev. Dr. O'Riordan, the author says, Owing to the use which the Arabians had made of the name of Aristotle, his name had become a word of offence to Christians, so much so that even Roger Bacon said that his works should be burnt; and further on, St. Thomas (Aquinas) took up the philosophy of Aristotle and, purifying it of its Pagan errors, he established Christian truth out of the reasoning of the Greek philosopher. So that, according to Father Kane, Aristotle founded his philosophy on fact, and worked it out through common sense, and according to Dr. O'Riordan this philosophy of fact and common sense was subversive of Christianity until it was purified of its Pagan errors. Well, we Socialists, while second to none in our admiration for the encyclopaedic knowledge of Aristotle, will carry the purifying process begun by St. Thomas Aquinas a step further. We will purify Aristotle's philosophy of the teaching he derived from the slave-world in which he lived,
p.400and make it Socialistic. Let us remind Father Kane that Aristotle's mind was so completely dominated by his economic environment that he was unable to conceive of a world in which there would be no chattel slaves, and so declared that slaves must always exist. A prophecy now falsified for hundreds of years.
We do not propose to follow the reverend gentleman in his wonderful attempt to discredit the Marxist position on value; that has been dealt with sufficiently already in the passage upon value in exchange, in the criticism of the first discourse, and the attempt to elaborate his position by our opponent in his second discourse is about as enlightening as an attempt to square the circle generally is. It is summed up in his declaration that Labour alone cannot create use value, therefore Labour alone cannot constitute exchange value. Which is equivalent to saying that appetite and desire are the real arbiters in civilised life and under normal conditions of the basis on which articles exchange among human beings. The appetite and desire of human beings for water and for bicycles will illustrate to the simplest mind the absurdity of our opponents' position. Water under normal conditions in a modern community will not fetch a half-penny the bucketful, but bicycles retail easily at £7 and £8 apiece. Yet our desire and appetite for water is based upon a human necessity so imperative that we would die without its satisfaction, but countless millions go through life without even straddling a bicycle. What makes so cheap the article without which we would die? The small amount of labour necessary to convey it from the mountains to our doors, of course. And what makes so costly the article that is not a necessity at all? The comparatively great amount of labour embodied in its production, of course. Then, what fixes the exchange value of an article in the normal, modern market? Its cost in labour, certainly.
It is contrary to Divine Law even to covet our neighbour's field. The Church of Christ has always approved, both in
p.401principle and in practice, of private and personal property. It is utterly and irreconcilably against the teaching of the Catholic Church to deny man's right to hold personal property, even independently of the sanction of the State, or to brand such ownership as theft. Pope Leo XIII wrote:
Christian democracy, by the very fact that it is Christian, must be based upon the principles of Divine Faith in its endeavours for the betterment of the masses. Hence to Christian democracy justice is sacred. It must maintain that the right of acquiring and possessing property cannot be gainsaid, and it must safeguard the various distinctions and degrees which are indispensable in every well-ordered commonwealth. It is clear, therefore, that there is nothing common between Social and Christian democracy. They differ from each other as much as the sect of Socialism differs from the Church of Christ.
Dear, oh dear! What heretics we must be! And yet we are in good company. Saints and Pontiffs of the Catholic Church have gone before us on this road, and the wildest sayings of modern Socialist agitators are soft and conservative beside some of the doctrines which ere now have been put forth as sound Catholic teachings. Read:
The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest iniquity makes one say to the other, This belongs to me, that to you. Hence the origin of contention among men.St. Clement.
What thing do you call yours? What thing are you able to say is yours? From whom have you received it? You speak and act like one who upon an occasion going early to the theatre, and possessing himself without obstacle of the seats destined for the remainder of the public, pretends to oppose their entrance in due time, and to prohibit them seating themselves, arrogating to his own sole use property that is really destined to common use. And it is precisely in this manner act the rich.St. Basil the Great.
Therefore if one wishes to make himself the master of every wealth, to possess it and to exclude his brothers even to the third or fourth part (generation), such a wretch is no more a brother but an inhuman tyrant, a cruel barbarian, or rather a ferocious beast of which the mouth is always open to devour for his personal use the food of the other companions.St. Gregory. Nic.
Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficently has created all things that their enjoyment be common to all living beings, and that the earth become the common possession of all. It is Nature itself that has given birth to the right of the community, whilst it is only unjust usurpation that has created the right of private poverty.St. Ambrose.
The earth of which they are born is common to all, and therefore the fruit that the earth brings forth belongs without distinction to all.St. Gregory the Great.
The rich man is a thief.St. Chrysostom.
Our reverend critic proceeds:
To enchain men with fetters of equality would be to degrade the wise, the good, the energetic, the noble amongst them, to the depths of the men who are nearest to the brute. Freedom must have fair play. Man must be free to make and mould his own life according to his own talent, his own opportunity, his own energy, his own ambition, his own merit, and his own will, according to the circumstances in which Providence has placed him. But you say is it not a pity that, owing to the mere accident of birth, a brainless and worthless creature should wear a ducal crown, while a man of mind and character is sweeping the crossing of a street? Yes, to merely human view it is a pity, just as it is a pity that one girl should be born beautiful while another girl is born ugly; just as it is a pity that one man should be born weak-minded and weak-kneed while another man is born with a treasure-trove of talent and with a golden mine of sterling character; just as
p.403it is a pity that one more man, by the accident of birth, is born to be himself. There is accident all round, if you wish to call it accident. No man deserves what he gets with him when he is born into the world, and no man has deserved anything different. What you may, perhaps, call accident I call Providence. We do not choose our own lot; it is given to us. It is our duty to make the best we can of it.
The first part of this is clap-trap: the second is rank blasphemy. The clap-trap consists in the pretence that the Socialist idea of equality involves the idea that men should be reduced to one moral or intellectual level. Trade unionists are generally and rightfully in favour of a minimum wagea wage below which no worker shall be depressed. Unscrupulous employers and ignorant journalists and politicians dealing with this demand strive to make the thoughtless believe that a minimum wage will prevent higher wages being paid for extra skill. In other words, they speak as if it were a maximum wage that was demanded. So with the Socialist idea of equality. Like the trade unionist our demand is for a level below which no man shall be driven, a common basis of equality of opportunity to all. That whatever promotion, distinction, reward or honour be given to or attained by a man shall not confer upon him the right to exploit, to degrade, to dominate, to rob or humiliate his fellows. And our hope and belief is that in the future, sane men and women will find as much delight in, strive as eagerly for, the honour of serving their fellows as they do now for the privilege of plundering them. Men and women are at all times zealous for honour, for the esteem of their fellows; and when the hope of plunder is removed out of the field of human possibility those specially gifted ones who now exhaust their genius in an effort to rule, will as vehemently exert themselves to win the honour accorded to those who serve.
The second part is, we repeat, rankly blasphemous. The reverend gentleman, unable to answer the obvious question
p.404he supposes, attempts to draw an analogy between what he would call the hand of God in shaping the faces, forms, minds and characters of His creatures, and the historical and social conditions which have created dukes and crossing-sweepers, brainless aristocrats and intelligent slum-dwellers, morally poisonous kings and Christian-minded hod-carriers, vile ladies idling in mansions and clean-souled women slaving over the washtub. The attempt is an insult to our intelligence. We, as individuals, are not personally responsible for our faces, forms or minds; these are the result of forces over which we had and have no control. But the gross injustices of our social system we are responsible for, in the degree in which we help or acquiesce in their perpetuation. In the degree in which we support them to-day we become participators in the crimes upon which they were built. And what were those crimes? Need we remind our readers of the origin of private property in Ireland? It had its root in the adulterous treason of an Irish chief; it was founded upon the betrayal of liberty, and enforced by the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of the Irish people. Must we remind our readers that if they seek for the origin of aristocratic property in Ireland they must seek for it not in the will of a beneficent Deity, as this bold blasphemer alleges, nor in titles won by honest labour on the soil, but in the records of English marauders in the stories of poisonings and treacheries told in the state papers of the English ruling class, in the light of the burning homes of Munster in the wake of the armies of Inchiquin,
in the despatches of the English nobleman who boasted to Elizabeth
[Footnote: Inchiquin was an Irish apostate in the service of the English. Taken as a hostage into England when a child he was reared up in hatred of the religion and people of his fathers. As an English general in the Irish rebellion of 1641 he became infamous for his cruelties and purposeless massacres; the march of his armies could always be traced by the fire and smoke from burning homes and villages.]
p.405that his army had left in Ulster nothing save carcases and ashes, in the piteous tale of the imprisoned jurors of Connaught
who refused to perjure themselves and yield up Irish tribe lands to greedy aristocratic thieves from England, or in the log of the emigrant ships, whose course across the Atlantic was marked by the floating corpses of hunted Irishmen, Irish women and Irish children.
[Footnote: The English Government under Charles I appointed a Commission to inquire into defective titles in Connaught. As all lands in Ireland under the ancient Celtic system were common property it followed that all Irish titles were defective under the feudal law of England. Much land fell into the hands of the English adventurers under this Commission, and when the Irish juries refused to be bribed or terrorised into returning verdicts to suit the Commissioners they were promptly imprisoned and their property confiscated.]
Or shall it be necessary to recall to our readers the grim fact that the origin of great estates in England is found in the court records, which tell us that in the reign of Good Queen Bess, 72,000 workers were hanged in the name of law and order, hanged as vagrants after they had been driven off the lands they had tilled; that during the peasant wars of Germany the nobility slaughtered so many poor peasants that one of the aristocracy eventually called a halt, saying, If we kill them all we shall have no one to live upon; that in Scotland 15,000 people were evicted off one estate in the nineteenth centurythe Sutherland clearances; that in fact in every European country the title deeds to aristocratic property have been written in the blood of the poor, and that the tree of capitalism has been watered with the tears of the toilers in every age and clime and country.
Next, wonder of wonders, our clerical friend becomes solicitous for a free press and free speech. He declares:
In Socialism there could be no healthy public opinion, no public opinion at all except that manufactured by officialdom
p.406or that artificially cultivated by the demagogues of the mob. There could be no free expression of free opinion. The press would be only the press of the officials. Printing machines, publishing firms, libraries, public halls, would be the exclusive property of the state. We do not indeed advocate utter licence for the press, but we do advocate its legitimate liberty. There would be no liberty of the press under Socialism; no liberty even of speech, for the monster machine of officialdom would grind out all oppositionfor the monster machine would be labelled, The Will of the People, and The Will of the People would be nothing more than the whim of the tyrant mob, the most blind and ruthless tyrant of all, because blindly led by blind leaders. Brave men fear no foe, and free men will brook no fetter. You will have thought, in your boyhood, with hot tears, of the deeds of heroes who fought and fell in defence of the freedom of their fatherland. That enthusiasm of your boyhood will have become toned down with maturer years in its outward expression, but mature years will have made it more strong and staunch for ever, more ready to break forth with all the energy of your life and with all the sacrifice of your death in defiance of slavery. You may have rough times to face; you may have rough paths to tread, you may have hard taskmasters to urge you toil, and hard paymasters to stint your wage; you may have hard circumstances to limit your life within a narrow field; but after all your life is your own, and your home is your own, and your wage is your own, and you are free. Freedom is your birthright. Even our dilapidated modern nations allow to a man his birthrightfreedom. You would fight for your birthright, freedom, against any man, against any nation, against the world; and if you could not live for your freedom, you would die for it. You would not sell your birthright, freedom, to Satan; and I do not think that you are likely to surrender your birthright, freedom, to the Socialist. Stand back! We are free men.
p.407Stand back, Socialist! God has given us the rights of man, to our own life, to our own property, to our own freedom. We will take our chance in the struggle of life. We may have a hard time or a good time, we may be born lucky or unlucky, but we are free men. Stand back, Socialist! God has given us our birthright, freedom, and, by the grace of God, we will hold to it in life and in death.
After you have done laughing at this hysterical outburst we will proceed to calmly discuss its central propositions. To take the latter part first, it is very amusing to hear a man, to whom a comfortable living is assured, assure us that we ought to tell the Socialist that we will take our chance in the struggle of life.
He speaks of our birthright, freedom, which is allowed us even by dilapidated modern nations, and that we ought not to surrender it to the Socialists. In Ireland 87 per cent. of the working class earn less than 20s. per week; in London a million of people, according to the non-Socialist investigator, Charles Booth, live below the poverty linenever getting enough to eat; in all civilisation, according to Huxley, the lot of the majority of the working class is less desirable than the lot of the mere savage; and this awful condition of the only class in society that is really indispensable is the result of the capitalist system, which mocks the workers with a theoretical freedom and an actual dependence. The freedom of the worker is freedom to sell himself into slavery to the class which controls his supply of food; he is free as the wayside traveller is free of clothes after highwaymen have robbed and stripped him. Says well the poet Shelley:
- What is Freedom? Ye can tell
That which slavery is too well,
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.
- 'Tis to work, and have such pay,
As just keeps life, from day to day,
In your limbs as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell.
How can a person, or a class, be free when its means of life are in the grasp of another? How can the working class be free when the sole chance of existence of its individual members depends upon their ability to make a profit for others?
The argument about the freedom of the pressa strange argument from such a sourceis too absurd to need serious consideration. Truly, all means of printing will be the common property of all, and if any opposition party, any new philosophy, doctrine, science, or even hair-brained scheme has enough followers to pay society for the labour of printing its publications, society will have no more right nor desire to refuse the service than a government of the present day has to refuse the use of its libraries to the political enemies who desire to use those sources of knowledge to its undoing. It will be as possible to hire a printing machine from the community as it will be to hire a hall. Under Socialism the will of the people will be supreme, all officials will be elected from below and hold their position solely during good behaviour, and as the interests of private property, which according to St. Clement are the sole origin of contention among men, will no longer exist, there will be little use of law-making machinery, and no means whereby officialdom can corrupt the people.
This will be the rule of the people at last realised. But says Father Kane, at last showing the cloven foot, the will of the people would be nothing more than the whim of the tyrant mob, the most blind and ruthless tyrant of all, because blindly led by blind leaders. Spoken like a good Tory and staunch friend of despotism! What is the political and social record of the mob in history as against the record of the other classes? There
p.409was a time, stretching for more than a thousand years, when the mob was without power or influence, when the entire power of the governments of the world was concentrated in the hands of the kings, the nobles and the hierarchy. That was the blackest period in human history. It was the period during which human life was not regarded as being of as much value as the lives of hares and deer; it was the period when freedom of speech was unknown, when trial by jury was suppressed, when men and women were tortured to make them confess crimes before they were found guilty, when persons obnoxious to the ruling powers were arrested and kept in prison (often for a lifetime) without trial; and it was the period during which a vindictive legal code inflicted the death penalty for more than one hundred and fifty offenceswhen a boy was hung for stealing an apple, a farmer for killing a hare on the roadside. It was during this undisturbed reign of the kings, the nobles, and the hierarchy that religious persecutions flourished, when Protestants killed Catholics, Catholics slaughtered Protestants, and both hunted Jews, when man made in God's image murdered his fellow-man for daring to worship God in a way different from that of the majority; it was then that governments answered their critics by the torture, when racks and thumbscrews pulled apart the limbs of men and women, when political and religious opponents of the state had their naked feet and legs placed in tin boots of boiling oil, their heads crushed between the jaws of a vice, their bodies stretched across a wheel while their bones were broken by blows of an iron bar, water forced down their throats until their stomachs distended and burst, and when little children toiled in mine and factory for twelve, fourteen and sixteen hours per day. But at last, with the development of manufacturing, came the gathering together of the mob, and consequent knowledge of its numbers and power, and with the gathering together also came the possibility of acquiring education. Then the
p.410mob started upon its upward march to powera power only to be realised in the Socialist Republic. In the course of that upward march the mob has transformed and humanised the world. It has abolished religious persecution and imposed toleration upon the bigots of all creeds; it has established the value of human life, softened the horrors of war as a preliminary to abolishing it, compelled trial by jury, abolished the death penalty for all offences save one, and in some countries abolished it for all; and to-day it is fighting to keep the children from the factory and mine, and put them to school. The mob, the most blind and ruthless tyrant of all, with one sweep of its grimy, toil-worn hand, swept the stocks, the thumbscrew, the wheel, the boots of burning oil, the torturer's vice and the stake into the oblivion of history, and they who to-day would seek to view those arguments of kings, nobles, and ecclesiastics must seek them in the lumber room of the museum.
In this civilising, humanising work the mob had at all times to meet and master the hatred and opposition of kings and nobles; and there is not in history a record of any movement for abolishing torture, preventing war, establishing popular suffrage, or shortening the hours of labour led by the hierarchy. Against all this achievement of the mob its enemies have but one instance of abuse of powerthe French reign of terrorand they suppress the fact that this classic instance of mob fury lasted but eight months, whereas the cold-blooded cruelty of the ruling classes which provoked it had endured for a thousand years.
All hail, then, to the mob, the incarnation of progress!
The old pagan idea that the state is everything and owns everything, so as to leave the individual man without any right except such as is conceded to him by the statethat
p.411old pagan idea has been adopted by the socialist. That idea is distinctly contrary to natural law as well as to the law of Christ. That idea is absolutely antagonistic to our ideas of home. It would change our home into a mere lodging-house, where are fed and sheltered the submissive vassals of the State. Socialism has taken up that pagan idea and pushed it even further than the pagan. For the pagan left the father, home's master, and left the wife and child at home. Socialism would ruin the home firstly, because it would rob the father of the home, of his God-given right to be master in the citadel of his home; secondly, because it would banish home's queen from what ought to be her kingdom; it would break the marriage bond which alone can safeguard the innocence and the stability of the home; it would make the wife of the home practically a tenant at will; thirdly, because it would kidnap the child.
The intelligent reader will note that the reverend critic is entirely incapable of grasping the conception of a state in which the people should rule instead of being creatures of an irresponsible power, as the people were under the pagan powers of Rome, to whom he is referring. He says, It (Socialism) would change our home into a mere lodging-house where are fed and sheltered the submissive vassals of the state. Thus it is that he cannot clear his mind of the monarchical conception of the state; a state which should be a social instrument in the hands of its men and women, where state powers would be wielded as a means by the workers instead of being wielded as a repressive force against the workers is so strange an idea to him that he simply cannot understand what it signifies. The reader who understands this, and perceives the enormous gap in this clerical reasoning, will understand also that all the terrific bogies which our critics conjure up as a necessary result of the Socialist state areonly bogies.
This attempt to develop this theory of the state plunges him into a mass of contradictions. Read:
The first and most fundamental principle of ethics is that whereas amongst lesser creatures physical force or animal instinct impels each thing to act as is befitting its nature, to act in the actual circumstances, so as to achieve the right order of its kind and the right end of its existence, man, not flung forward by unreasoning power, but led by reason's light, contemplates the order of relations that are around him, and weighing their relative necessity or importance, acts so that his action shall be in keeping with his own nature and in harmony with the right conditions in which his life is cast. Now, right and duty are the moral aspects of these fact-relations, and have their moral force according to the deeper order and more fundamental necessity of these fact-relations which are the cause of their existence and the measure of their power. The reason for man's personal rights is in his actual existence. Hence, such rights are paramount above all. The reason of the family is in the insufficiency of man alone to secure the right development of human nature. The reason of civil society is in the insufficiency of the family alone to attain that fuller perfection of human nature which is the heritage of its birth, but which it can only reach through the help of many homesteads united into one common weal. Hence, civil society is only intended by nature to be the helper of the family, not its master; to be its safeguard, not its destroyer; to be in a right true sense its servant, but in no sense its owner. Hence, those Socialistic theories which would hand over the family and the individual to the supreme command of the state are false to reason and rebel against right. Rather it is the interest of the state itself to recognise that its welfare and its security rest upon the right, independence, and deep-rooted stability of the families of which it is the flower and the fruit.
A state that is tossed about in its social and political existence by the fluctuating tide of transient individual opinions, ambitions, actions, cannot have that healthy, hardy, deathless spirit which
p.413vivifies into the same life not merely the chance companions of a day, but the successive generations of a nation.
Surely here is a Daniel come to judgment! We had to read this passage over several times to satisfy ourselves that it was not a quotation from a Socialist writer, instead of what it purports to bea part of the discourse of the reverend gentleman himself. For it is the reasoning upon which is built that materialist interpretation of history the lecturer has so eloquently denounced. If the reader will turn to the first lecture he will see that the doctrine of Marx, as explained by Father Kane, teaches that the economic conditions in which man moves, governs or determines his conceptions of right and wrong, his social, ethical and religious opinions. Father Kane there denounced this doctrine in his most violent language. Now, in the part just quoted, he himself affirms the same doctrine. He says:
The first and most fundamental principle of ethics is that. . .man not flung forward by unreasoning power, but led by reason's light, contemplates the order of relations that are around him, and weighing their relative necessity or importance, acts so that his action shall be in keeping with his own right nature, and in harmony with the conditions in which his life is cast. Now, right and duty are the moral aspects of these fact-relations, and have their moral forces according to the deeper order and more fundamental necessity of those fact-relations which are the cause of their existence and the measure of their power.
If this is not an affirmation of the Socialist doctrine that our conceptions of right and wrong, and the political and governmental systems built upon them, have the cause of their existence and the measure of their power in the fact-relation of man and his fellow-man and not in any divine or philosophical system of mere thought, then language fails to convey any meaning. The remainder of the quotation quite as effectually cuts the ground from under the lecturer's
p.414own feet. Observe the last sentence: A state that is tossed about in its social and political existence by the fluctuating tide of transient individual opinions, ambitions, actions, cannot have that healthy, hardy, deathless spirit which vivifies into the same life not merely the chance companions of a day, but the successive generations of a nation. Is not this a lifelike picture of the capitalist state and its endeavour to build a system of society which seeks a healthy national existence and social conscience in transient individual opinions, ambitions, and actions, instead of in an ordered co-operation of all for the common good of all? The whole passage we have quoted is essentially Socialist, and opposed to that capitalism its author defends. If the doctrine of economic determinism is heresy, then Father Kane was preaching heresy from the pulpit.
As if conscious of his slip our critic immediately makes haste to divert attention by a lurid description of the Socialist doctrine of divorce. Socialists as such have no doctrine of divorce, but a little inconsistency like that does nor deter our opponents.
There is no Socialist government in the world to-day, but almost every civilised nation has divorce laws, and the least Socialist nations and classes have the most divorces; America and its capitalist class, for example. Our clerical friends proceed upon the maxim of their sister profession, the lawyersWhen you have a bad case abuse your opponent's attorney, and hence the constant attempt to slander Socialists upon this point. Now, what is the real truth on this matter? It is easily stated. Socialists are bound to agree upon one fundamental, and upon that only. That fundamental is, in the language of Father Kane, that all wealth-producing power, and all that pertains to it, belongs to the ownership and control of the State. Hence, upon all other subjects there is, and will be, the widest possible diversity of opinion. Divorce is one of those non-essential, non-fundamental points upon which
p.415Socialists may and do disagree. But observe this. The law-making authority for Socialists is their national and international congresses; the law-making authority of capitalism is its Parliaments, chambers, congresses, reichstags, etc. Nowhere has a national or international congress of Socialists imposed divorce upon Socialists as something they must accept, but in almost every capitalist state the capitalist law-makers, the spokesmen and defenders of capitalism, have established divorce as a national institution. Who, then, are the chief supporters of divorce? The capitalists. And who can come fresh from the divorce courts, reeking with uncleanness and immorality, to consummate another marriage, and yet know that he can confidently rely upon Catholic prelates and priests to command the workers to order themselves reverently before their superiors, with him as a type? The capitalist.
The divorce evil of to-day arises not out of Socialist teaching, but out of that capitalist system, whose morals and philosophy are based upon the idea of individualism, and the cash nexus as the sole bond in society. Such teaching destroys the sanctity of the marriage bond, and makes of love and the marriage bed things to be bought and sold. Can it be wondered at that such teaching as that which exalts the individual pursuit of riches as the absolutely necessary cement of society should produce a loosening of all social bonds, including that of marriage, and threaten to suffocate society with the stench of its own rottenness? Yet it is such capitalist ethics and practice our priests and prelates are defending, and it is of such Father Kane arises as the champion and expounder.
Certain Socialists, horrified at this rising stream of immorality, have sought to find a remedy in the proposal that marriage be regarded as a private matter over which the state shall have no authority. They do so as individuals, and many equally good Socialists believe that such an idea is flatly opposed to the Socialist philosophy; but in itself the proposal carries
p.416none of that loathsomeness the critic imputes to it. It is an insult to the entire human race to say that husbands and wives are only kept together by law, and that women would become mistresses of one man after another if the law did not prevent them. Yet this is what Father Kane said:
Divorce in the Socialist sense means that woman would be willing to stoop to be the mistress of one man after another.
A more unscrupulous slander upon womanhood was never uttered or penned. Remember that this was said in Ireland, and do you not wonder that some Irishwomensome persons of the same sex as the slanderer's motherdid not get up and hurl the lie back in his teeth, and tell him that it was not law which kept them virtuous, that if all marriage laws were abolished to-morrow, it would not make women willing to stoop to be the mistress of one man after another? Aye, verily, the uncleanness lies not in this alleged Socialist proposal, but in the minds of those who so interpret it. The inability of Father Kane to appreciate the innate morality of womanhood, and the superiority of the morals of the women of the real people to that of the class he is defending, recalls to mind the fact that the Council of the Church held at Mâcon in the sixth century gravely debated the question as to whether woman had or had not a soul, and that the affirmation that she had was only carried by a small majority. Many of the early Fathers of the Church were, indeed, so bitter in their denunciation of women and of marriage that their opinions read like the expressions of madmen when examined in the cold light of the twentieth century. Origen said: Marriage is unholy and uncleana means of sensual lust. St. Jerome declared: Marriage is at the least a vice; all that we can do is to excuse and justify it; and Tertullian, in his hatred of women, thundered forth boldly that which Father Kane dared only insinuate: Woman, he preaches, thou oughtest always to walk in mourning and rags, thine eyes filled with
p.417tears of repentance to make men forget that thou hast been the destruction of the race. Woman! thou art the Gates of Hell. Thus throughout the centuries persists the idea of the churchmen that women can only be kept virtuous by law.
In his further quotation Father Kane is equally disingenuous. Thus:
Listen now to one of the great German Socialist authorities, Bebel, who, in his famous book, Die Frau, wrote:
Every child that comes into the world, whether male or female, is a welcome addition to society; for society beholds in every child the continuation of itself and its own further development. It, therefore, perceives from the very outset that its duty, according to its power, is to provide for the new-born child. . .. It is evident that the mother herself must nurse the child as long as possible and necessary. . .. When the child waxes stronger, the other children await it for common amusement under public direction.
Behold their plan: All boys and girls, as soon as they are weaned, are to be taken from their parents and brought up, boys and girls together, first in State nurseries, and then, boys and girls together, in state boarding schools, but brought up without any religion whatever. Thus the child would grow up a stranger to its father and mother, without the hallowed influence of a happy home.
The reader will observe there is nothing whatever in the words quoted from Bebel which justifies the statement that the child is to be taken from the parents, or brought up a stranger to its father and mother, or without the influence of a home. There is simply the statement that it is the duty of the state to provide for the care, education, and physical and mental development of the child. All the rest is merely read into the statement by the perverted malevolence of our critic. And yet this same critic had declared, as already quoted in this chapter, the reason of civil society is in the insufficiency of the family alone to attain that fuller perfection of human
p.418nature which is the heritage of its birth. But when he comes across the Socialist proposal to supplement and help out that insufficiency he forthwith makes it the occasion for the foulest slanders.
Most scientific Socialists appear to follow Karl Marx in his theory that economic forces alone determine the evolution of all else in the world. In other words, to put the matter in a broad, blunt way, they assert that financial or business or trade conditions determine and decide the inevitable course and development of all other mattersintellectual, moral, social, and religious. Marx says:
The sum total of the conditions of wealth production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real basis on which is raised an ethical and political superstructure to which correspond certain forms of social consciousness. . .. It is not the mind of man which determines his life in society, but it is this material economic life that determines his mind.
The world has beheld one fact which gives the lie to all that flimsy theory. Christ brought into the world so deep and wide and lasting a change that there has been no other ever like it. That change was hostile to economic causes; it came from outside the business world. But it determined a new world of thought and conduct, and through these moral causes it changed the social and economic lives of men. It brought into the civilised world the duty and honour of labour, the breaking of the fetters of the slave, the lifting up of woman to be man's helpmate and equal, not his mere plaything or his property, the recognition of the rights of the poor to the ownership of the super-abundance of the wealthy.
Such a statement as that Christ brought into the world a change hostile to economic causes could only be made by a lecturer who presumed either upon lack of historical knowledge on the part of his audience, or upon the fact that as he spoke
p.419from a pulpit none of his immediate listeners would dare to point out his errors upon the spot. All but the merest dabblers in Scriptural history know that the economic oppression of the Jewish people was so great immediately before the coming of Christ that the whole nation had been praying and hoping for the promised Redeemer, and it was just at the psychological moment of their bondage as a nation and their slavery as a race that Christ appeared. And it is equally well known that the priests and comfortable classesthe canting, fed classesrefused to acknowledge His message and intrigued to bring about His crucifixion, whereas it was the common people who heard Him gladly in Judea, as it was the slaves and labourers who formed the bulk of His believers throughout the Gentile world until the fury of the persecutions had passed. Roman and Jewish historians alike speak contemptuously of early Christianity as a religion of slaves and labourers. These early Christians had been socially enslaved. Christ and His disciples spoke to them of redemption, of freedom. They interpreted, rightly or wrongly, the words to mean an earthly redemption, a freedom here and now as a prelude possibly to the freedom hereafter; and hence they joined with enthusiasm the sect hated by their oppressors. We have had a similar experience in Ireland. The passionate adherence of the Irish to Catholicity in Reformation times was no doubt largely due to the fact that the English Government had embraced Protestantism.
For the last portion of the part quoted it should not be necessary to point out to anyone other than Father Kane that of all those things which he asserts Christianity has brought into the world most are not here yet. The duty and honour of labour. The greatest honours of church and state are reserved for those classes whose members do not labour, and highest honours of all for those who claim that their ancestors have not laboured for a hundred generations. The lifting up of
p.420woman to be man's helpmate and equal, not his plaything or his property. She has not yet attained to that elevation in fact, and the Socialists are the only ones who claim it for her in their programmes, whereas his Holiness the Pope has recently denounced her for seeking the right to vote. The rights of the poor to the superabundance of the wealthy is so far from being recognised that a starving man would be sent for seven years to prison for stealing a loaf of bread, and a rich man sent to the House of Lords for stealing a nation's liberty.
Universal ownership by the state of all means of wealth production is one cardinal doctrine of Socialism. The Erfurt platform lays down: Private property in the means of production has become incompatible with their proper utilisation and full development. The platform of the Socialists of the United States lays down: The aim of Socialism is the organisation of the working classes for the purpose of transforming the present system of private ownership of the means of production into collective ownership by the entire people. The International Socialist Convention at Paris, 1900, lays down as an essential condition of membership the admission of the essential principles of Socialism; amongst them, the socialisation of the means of production and distribution.
Now consider the colossal magnitude of such a scheme. The taking of a census entails a strange amount of time and trouble. Try to imagine what it would mean to ascertain the wants, needs, desires, helps or difficulties of every man, woman and child in a nation, not merely in one branch, but in every possible branch of human life; all possible food stuffs, all possible dress stuffs, all possible lodging accommodation, all possible means of transit, travel or communication. Then imagine what it would mean that all this should be catered for; that all the possible labour should be applied in the right time, place and manner; that all the possible materials and
p.421tools for work should be made ready beforehand; that all possible difficulties or accidents should be anticipated. Surely so vast, so unending, so complex, so intricate a task would require many men of most surpassing genius. Further, consider the enormous multitude of officials which all this would require. The percentage of officials amongst the people would be really alarming, and these flunkeys would grow fat on the labour of the common fellows. It is absurd to suggest that every man would get his turn at being a full-blown flunkey with a pet position, or a full private with hard and nasty work to do.
With a childishness born of a training in a profession not concerned with this world, the reverend gentleman does not realise that the task of ascertaining and catering for the wants, needs, desires, etc., of the nation is done every day by the common everyday men and women he sees around himdone in a blundering, imperfect manner it is true, but still it is done. And what is done imperfectly by the competing forces of capitalism to-day can be done more perfectly by the organised forces of industry under Socialism. Government under Socialism will be largely a matter of statistics. The chief administrative body of the nation will be a collection of representatives from the various industries and professions. From the industries they represent these administrators will learn of the demand for the articles they manufacture; the industries will learn from the storekeepers of the national stores and warehouses what articles arc demanded by the general public who purchase at these stores, and the cumulative total of the reports given by storekeepers and industries will tell the chief administrative body (Congress, if you will) how much to produce, and where to place it to meet the demand. Likewise the reports brought to the representatives from their industrial union as to the relative equipment and power of their factories in each district will enable them to place their orders in the places most suited to fill them, and to supervise and push forward
p.422the building and developing of new factories and machinery. All this is so obvious to a mind acquainted with the processes of modern industry that it gives the Socialist a feeling of talking to the baby class when he has to step aside in order to explain it. All the talk of Socialist flunkeys, bosses, corruption, favouritism, etc., is the product of minds who are imagining the mechanism of capitalist business at work in a Socialist commonwealth, which is as absurd as to suppose that an Atlantic liner of the present day could be handled on the methods of a fishing boat on the sea of Galilee in the days of St. Peter. When the workers elect their foremen and superintendents, and retain them only during effective supervision and handling of their allotted duties, when industries elect their representatives in the National Congress and the Congress obeys the demand emanating from the public for whom it exists, corruption and favouritism will be organically impossible. Being a merely human society there will be faults and imperfections of course, but it has also been whispered that faults and imperfections exist even in the Society of Jesus. And yet that institution does its work.
Father Kane says:
They suppose that they could avoid class distinctions, but unless the state should lapse into barbarism it must have its specialists, its great engineers, its great doctors, its great scientists, its great writers, its great statisticians, its great inventors, its great administrators, and, above all, its great officials. All these men should have their lives devoted to their profession with material comfort and studious ease, with high incentive to their talents' use, and with right reward for their labour done.
Observe the phrase, with high incentive to their talents' use, and its implied meaning, with great monetary reward. It is a strange fact that when Socialists preach the necessity and duty of the men and women of genius serving their fellows, instead of using their God-given genius to rob their fellow
p.423brothers and sisters of Christ, it is always a paid servant of Christ who gets up to denounce the idea, and to insist that progress will cease unless men gifted by God get the right to plunder their fellow-men. And yet Christ said, Give, hoping for nothing in return. Fortunately, history knows and teaches us better than the churchmen. It teaches us that the greatest engineers, doctors, scientists, writers, statisticians, and inventors reaped nothing but their labour for their pains, that for the most part they died in poverty, and that the highest incentive they ever possessed was the inward desire to give outward expression to the divine passion to create, planted in their bosoms by Him who knew better than Father Kane. Under Socialism all will enjoy a full, free, and abundant life, with every possibility and appliance provided them to serve well their fellows. And what more could the specialists desire?
At present the two great Socialist organisations in the United States are at war. Amongst other choice epithets bandied between them, one stigmatised the other as a party of scabs. Amongst German Socialists there are signs of a cleavage, which must inevitably split in twain any Socialist state. A fierce jealousy between the educated and the proletarians; between on the one hand, writers or speakers of good family, mostly the madcaps of atheistic universities, and, on the other hand, the mere workmen, who are suspicious of any leaders who do not belong to the labour class. This is easily understood, for Socialism must logically work out into a solid class, organisms to steady it, must oscillate wildly between a despotism, an oligarchy, and universal muddle; for a pure democracy has no other standard of right than the will of the masses, and the will of the masses is at the mercy of wire-pullers and demagogues. Thus a Socialist State would in theory be under the sovereignty of the mob in the street, but in reality it would be under the slavery of the conspirators in their den.
In previous portions of his tirade the reverend lecturer has
p.424been insisting vehemently that Socialism will inevitably mean a despotism in which political freedom will be impossible, and all must conform to the common mould. In this portion he finds fault with the Socialists because, while in perfect agreement as to their object, they quarrel over other matters. He says this must inevitably split in twain the Socialist state, but he carefully avoids explaining how the existence of two or more parties will destroy Socialism any more than it destroys capitalism. There are two, and more than two, purely capitalist parties in every nation in the civilised world. The fact that Socialists are as a rule men and women of strong individuality who fiercely contest for their rights, while it makes occasional unseemly squabbles in the Socialist ranks to-day, is the best guarantee that they are not likely to be working for a system which will crush their individuality or destroy their personal or political liberty. Also if splits in the party, harsh words among the members, and even hatreds could destroy the movement it would have died long ago, instead of growing stronger and more rapidly every day. And surely when we remember how fiercely hatreds have developed within the Christian foldhow the Dominicans have fought the Jesuits and the Jesuits have denounced the Dominicans, how the Lutherans have burned the Calvinists and the Calvinists have burned the Lutheranswe have no right to demand from an organisation of mere earthly origin more than was shown by organisations claiming Divine inspiration. Quarrels among Socialists, forsooth! Have we not had quarrels among Catholics? For sixty-eight years the Christian world saw two Popes directing and claiming its allegiance. The Pope at Avignon, supported by half of the bishops and clergy of the world, excommunicated the Pope at Rome and all his supporters; and his Holiness at Rome hurled back his curse in return. In 1046 Henry III of Germany entered Italy and found three Popes in Romeall claiming the allegiance of the Catholic world, and denouncing
p.425each other worse than Socialists are denounced to-day. In 1527 an army of 30,000 troops under the Catholic Constable of Bourbon attacked and captured Rome, killed the Pope's soldiers, imprisoned his Holiness Clement VII in the Castle of St. Angelo, and put the sacred city to the sack. They were all Catholic soldiers under Catholic officers, and they plundered and ravished the centre of Catholicity. But, it will be said, these were only quarrels; they were not disputes over doctrine. Father Kane is a Jesuit; the majority of priests who at present are in the forefront of the attack upon Socialism are also Jesuits. Let us remind our reverend critics of a few incidents in the history of their own orderinstances of the fierce disputes between the Jesuits and other Catholics on points of important Catholic doctrine:
In India Jesuit missionaries adopted the life and practices of the Brahmins in 1609 in order to make converts, and in their desire to conciliate that caste they even refused the Holy Sacrament to no-caste pariah converts. This outrage upon Catholic teaching and practice was reported to the Pope by a Capuchin Friar, Norbert, and by the Bishop of Rosalia, and condemned in the strongest terms by Pope Innocent X in 1645, by Clement IX in 1669, by Clement XII in 1739, and by Benedict XIV in 1745. Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 denounced the Jesuits as disobedient, contumacious, captious, and reprobate persons. Melchior Cano, Bishop of the Canary Islands, banished the Jesuits from his diocese for teaching false doctrines, and for the same reason St. Charles Borromeo expelled them from the diocese of Milan, as did also his successor, Cardinal Frederick Borromeo. We do not presume to say which side was right in these controversies, but we submit that if Popes and Jesuits could be wrong, then on a point of doctrine they can be wrong now on Socialisma point of economics and politics.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century a Jesuit missionary,
p.426Father Ricci, gained the favour of the Chinese Emperor, and he appointed Catholics to all high positions. The Catholic religion gained a strong foothold in China, established scientific observatories, and founded schools and universities. But the Dominican Fathers accused the Jesuits of allowing their converts to practise their old idolatry, and a fight started between the Jesuits and Dominicans over this question of what were called the Chinese Rites. Nine different Popes condemned these Chinese Rites, but the Jesuits refused to obey the Popes, and in 1710 imprisoned the Papal Legate of Clement XI in the prison of the Inquisition of Macao, where he died. Sixtus V, Urban VIII, and Clement VIII all died so soon after opposing the Jesuits that popular prejudice accused the Society of having had them assassinated. The Bishop of Pistoia, Scipio de Ricci, accused the Jesuits of having poisoned Pope Clement XIV, as did also Cardinal de Bernis, and the Spanish ambassador to the Court of Madrid declared that several Jesuits had told the Vicar General of Padua the approximate date on which the Pope would die. In China the Jesuits in 1700 got an edict from the Pagan Emperor defending them against the charges of heresy brought by the Pope, but eventually the fight between the Catholics became so scandalous that the heathens withdrew their toleration and suppressed the Christian religion in the empire. In 1661 the Jesuits alone had possessed one hundred and fifty-one churches and twenty-eight residences in China, had written one hundred and thirty-one works upon religion, one hundred and three on mathematics, and fifty-three on physical and moral science. All this was lost to Catholicity because of Jesuit perversion of Catholic doctrine, and consequent disgraceful feuds between Catholics. As the Jesuits perverted Catholic doctrine in India and China to gain the support of the great and powerful, is it wonderful if some think that they and other ecclesiastics are now again perverting Catholic doctrine for a like purpose?
The reader who has studied the facts set forth in our little excursion into Irish history in the introduction will appraise at its full value our reverend opponent's disquisition upon patriotism in the next passage:
There is a patriotism that is false. It is a mere morbid, hysterical idolatry of a fetish, with an unreasoning rancorous hatred of those people who are not of its own ilk. But there is a patriotism that is true. It is a thoughtful, manly worship for the nation of which one is the son; it is a chivalrous allegiance to her honour, a disinterested service of her fortune, a prayerful veneration for her name, a devotedness unto death to her life. The Socialist will say that that is sentiment. No wonder, then, that the Socialist is the enemy of his country. The French Socialists are the worst enemies of France. The German Socialists are the worst enemies of Germany. The English Socialists are the worst enemies of the power, the greatness, and the empire of England. But our sentiment is the heartbeat of men true to their country, their Socialism is the heartburn of traitors to their Fatherland. If it be sentiment that a child should love its mother, that a man should love his home, then it is sentiment that a citizen should love his country, that a patriot should love his nature. But if this be sentiment, then I say that is the power which makes a nation. Ah! there is something in your inmost nature that affirms the truth and re-echoes the enthusiasm of what the poet sang:
- Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land.
The Socialist doctrine teaches that all men are brothers, that the same red blood of a common humanity flows in the veins of all races, creeds, colours and nations, that the interests of labour are everywhere identical, and that wars are an abomination. Is not this also good Catholic doctrinethe
p.428doctrine of a Church which prides itself upon being universal or Catholic? How, then, can that doctrine which is high and holy in theory on the lips of a Catholic become a hissing and a blasphemy when practised by the Socialist? The Socialist does not cease to love his country when he tries to make that country the common property of its people; he rather shows a greater love of country than is shown by those who wish to perpetuate a system which makes the great majority of the people of a country exiles and outcasts, living by sufferance of capitalists and landlords in their native land. Under Socialism we can all voice the saying of the poet; at present our native land is in pawn to landlords and capitalists.
When the reverend lecturer hurls at the Socialists the taunt that they are the worst enemies of their own country, whatever that country be, he is only repeating against us the accusation made more truly in times past against the order of which he is such an ornament. The Jesuits have been expelled from every Catholic country in Europe, and the grounds on which they have been expelled were everywhere the same, viz., that they were the worst enemies of their country, and were constantly intriguing against the government and national welfare, that their teaching made bad subjects, and all their influence was against the welfare of the statejust what they allege against Socialists to-day. They were expelled from Venice during the first half of the seventeenth century, from Portugal in 1759, from the French dominions in 1764 and 1767, from Spain in 1767, from Naples, Parma and Modena about the same time. Maria Theresa of Austria and Emperor Joseph, her son, also expelled them. The kings of Spain, Portugal and France united in an ultimatum to the Pope threatening to withdraw their countries from fealty to Rome and to create a schism unless the Pope suppressed them, and finally in a Brief issued July 21st, 1773, his Holiness, Pope Clement XIV, suppressed the Jesuits in all the States of Christendom.
p.429As the Catholic author of the article on the Jesuits in the Encyclopaedia Americana truly says, They have been expelled over and over again from almost every Catholic country in Europe. In 1601 the secular priests of England issued a pamphlet entitled, Important Considerations, in which they laid the blame of the Penal Laws against Catholics upon the Jesuits. The author of this work, William Watson, afterwards died a martyr for the Catholic faith. The Papal Brief, Dominus ac Redemptor, speaks of their defiance of their own constitution, expressly revised by Pope Paul V, forbidding them to interfere in politics, of the great ruin to souls caused by their quarrels with local ordinaries and other religious orders, the conformity to heathen usages in the East, and the disturbances resulting in persecution of the Church which they have stirred up even in Catholic countries, so that several Popes have been obliged to punish them. It is instructive to recall that upon their suppression the Jesuits took refuge in Russia under Catherine, and in Prussia under Frederick, both sovereigns being freethinkers. Not until the French Revolution had frightened all liberal ideas out of the crowned heads of Europe, and the fall of Napoleon enabled the sceptred tyrants of England and the Continent to place their iron heels upon the necks of the people, did the Jesuits once more receive an invitation to resume their activity and their existence as an order. That invitation was coincident with the suppression of all popular liberties, and the enthronement of absolute power.
Is it not, then, a joke to see Socialists accused of being unpatriotic, and accused by a Jesuit?
In his fifth lecture our reverend critic simply refurbishes and places upon exhibition all the individual opinions of individual Socialists he can find antagonistic to religion, and
p.430tells us that their individual opinions are orthodox Socialist doctrines. After having for four weeks beaten the air in a wild endeavour to convince us that the Church is and always was against Socialism, that Socialists were and are beasts of immorality, uncleanness and treason, he affects to be horrified at the idea of those Socialists thinking and saying harsh things about the religion whose priests have been so busy slandering and vilifying them. We would say to him, and all others, that if the pioneers of the Socialist movement were indeed freethinkers, so much the more shame to the Church that, by neglecting its obvious duty, left freethinkers to do the work in which churchmen ought to have been their leaders
Sufficient to remind our readers that, even according to the oft-repeated assertion of Father Kane, Socialism means a state of society in which the will of the people should be supreme, that therefore Marx and Bebel and Liebknecht and Vandervelde and Blatchford were not and are not working for the establishment of a system in which they would be able to force their theories about religion upon the people, but for a system in which the people would be free to accept only that of which their conscience approved. In the light of that central truth how absurd seems the following passage:
Now, in Socialism there are principles which no real Catholic can hold. First, Socialists hold that private ownership is in itself wrong; that, no Catholic can admit. Secondly, Socialists maintain that the child is the property of the state as against the father's right; that, no Catholic can admit. Thirdly, Socialists recognise divorce as a breaking of the marriage bond; that, no Catholic can admit. Fourth, Socialists limit and confine religion to mere personal private worship; that, no Catholic can admit.
We have seen that saints and Popes denounced private ownership of the means of life. We challenge the reverend father to produce from any Socialist congress or party a
p.431declaration that Socialists desire to take the child from the father or mother, but we will produce many declarations that it is the right of the state to help fathers and mothers to support their children, and, finally, we flatly deny, and brand as an unqualified falsehood, the statement that the Socialist programme declares for the breaking of the marriage bond. Our reverend and holy critics make it appear that the Socialist idea of society must be responsible for the other ideas held by some of its sponsors. Why not apply this to the Catholic Church then? When King Edward VII of England ascended the throne he swore that the Mass was blasphemous and idolatrous; and when he died the Vatican went into mourning. Did the Vatican believe that the institution of monarchy was not to be blamed for the official declarations of its supporters? And if so, why blame Socialism for the private, non-official, declaration of a few of its supporters?
Recently there died in Europe a kingKing Leopold of Belgiumwhose private life was so disgracefully immoral that it was the scandal of Europe. A married man with a grown-up family, he kept a Parisian actress as his mistress, and led so scandalous a life that the females of his family refused to follow his body to the grave. Yet when he died the whole official Catholic world went into mourning for him. He was more of a representative of the institution of monarchy than any private individual can ever be of Socialism; but the Rev. Father Kane or his Holiness the Pope did not therefore deliver sermons against the wickedness of supporting kings. And what is true in these two striking examples is also true of kings, nobles, and capitalists all the world over. In the United States the divorce rate for 100,000 of the population rose from 23 in 1880 to 73 in 1900. Between 1887 and 1906 the total number of divorces was 945,625. This enormous increase of divorces was almost entirely among the classes least affected by Socialist teachingthe middle and upper capitalist class.
p.432That is to say, among the class our reverend opponent is defending. Why all this howl about supposed Socialist theories of divorce, and all this silence about the capitalist practice thereof?
Is there any logical connection between Socialism and atheism? This question has two aspects; first, does atheism logically lead to Socialism? and, secondly, does Socialism logically lead to atheism? As regards the first question it is very evident that a wealthy atheist is little likely to be a genuine Socialist. For him his wealth and pleasure will be the only objects of his worship, and he will not sacrifice them in order to secure the honour of being a Socialist labourer. But with the atheist who is penniless it is quite another matter. For him there is no moral law, because there is no law without a lawgiver, and there is no lawgiver but God; hence, there is no right that can restrain him from taking all the wealth on which he can lay his hands, and Socialism supplies him with the means of doing this. A beggar atheist is a Socialist, unless he be a fool. The answer to the second question is not so clear. Does Socialism logically lead to atheism? If we understand Socialism exclusively in its real and essential sense as a social system, which would give exclusively to the state all ownership of capital, of means of wealth production, and kindred powers, with also the exclusive right of distribution and administration of such goods, then we admit that Socialism is not logically the same thing as atheism. However wrong a man may be in ethical or economic matters, he may yet be right in recognising God. This, however, is vague and abstract. Is Socialism logically incompatible with Catholicity? To this we must fearlessly answer thus: a true Catholic cannot be a real Socialist. Understand what this does not mean and what it does mean. It does not mean that the Catholic who calls himself a Socialist is thereby a heretic. It does not even follow that a Catholic who is a real Socialist is thereby a heretic; but it does logically follow that a real
p.433Catholic cannot be a real Socialist. Do not push this statement unfairly towards one side or towards the other.
When he makes the damaging admission he does in the point we have put in italic type, our reverend friend knocks the feet from under his own case; and when he goes on to wriggle still further in an attempt to cloud the issue he reveals that his purpose is not to discuss Socialism so much as to traduce it. He admits that logically there is no connection between Socialism and atheism, and yet his whole discourse was a long-drawn-out attempt to prove such a connection. In what other walk of life would a man be tolerated who indulged in such senseless hair-splitting as the foregoing, or in such vilification as the following?
What will you then have in your Socialist paradise? A herd of human cattle, some of them intelligent, educated, cultured, a very suspected lot in the Socialistic state, most of them, practically all of them, a Godless, unprincipled, immoral crowd. In our Christian commonwealths there are many criminals, but they are the exception. They are an offence against our principles and rebels against our right. Under Socialism criminals would be the authorised spokesmen of your principles and the ruthless henchmen of your lawlessness. Again and again, without God there is no morality, and without morality there is only left the God of the Socialistirreligion, immorality, degradation of the man and suicide of the nation.
Note the words, Under Socialism criminals would be the authorised spokesmen of your principles. He has repeatedly asserted that under Socialism the will of the people would rule, and now he asserts that the people would choose criminals as their spokesmen. Yet such a thing as a Socialist criminal is practically unknown in the records of the police courts of the world. Can any sane man believe that if the means of wealth production and kindred powers were common property the people would be so debased by the enjoyment
p.434of the full fruits of their labour that they would elect criminals to be their spokesmen and rulers? Or that a man cannot worship God unless he concedes the right of a capitalist to three-fourths or more of the fruits of his labour? Or that a people cannot love their country if they own it as their common property? Or that a nation would commit suicide if it refused to allow a small class to monopolise all its natural resources and means of life? Or that the nation which refused to allow a class to use the governmental machinery for personal aggrandisement to stir up wars and slaughter thousands of men made in the image of God for the sake of more profits for a few, that the nation which should refuse to allow this would be powerless in the moral order, and hastening on to decay? Yet it is this monstrous farrago of nonsense Rev. Father Kane attempts to establish in his fifth lecture.
Socialists will not shrink from resorting to brute force. A Socialist ring will not scruple when there is a question of finally superseding the old order of society to snatch up anarchist weaponsthe dagger, the torch, the bomb. Listen to the candid utterances of the great founder of Socialism, Karl Marx, with his henchman, Engels, declared in their manifesto that their purpose can be obtained only by a violent subversion of the existing order. Let the ruling classes tremble at the Communist revolution.
Again, at the Congress of The Hague, Karl Marx, as the mouthpiece of Socialists, officially declared: In most countries of Europe violence must be the lever of our social reform. This violent upheaval must be universal. A proof of this was witnessed in the Commune of Paris, which only failed because in other capitalsBerlin and Madrida simultaneous revolutionary movement did not break out in connection with the
p.435mighty upheaval of the proletariat in Paris. Again, Bebel, one of the greatest leaders of Socialist thought, dared to say in the German Reichstag: The Commune in Paris was only a slight skirmish in the war which the proletariat is prepared to wage against all palaces. Again, Bebel said elsewhere this Socialistic change cannot be brought about by sprinkling rose-water. At the Socialist Convention at Ghent in 1877 one of their leaders said: When our day comes, rifle and cannon will face about to mow down the foes of the Socialist people. At a public meeting during the recent elections in England an M.P. supporter of the Liberal Government is reported to have said: I honour the man or woman who throws a bomb.
That some Socialists believe that force may be used to inaugurate the new social order only indicates their conviction that the criminal capitalist and ruling classes will not peacefully abide by the verdict of the ballot, but will strive by violence to perpetuate their robber rule in spite of the declared will of the majority of the people. In this conviction such Socialists are strengthened by the record of all the revolutions of the world's history. It is a well-established fact that from the earliest revolutionary outbreak known down to the Commune of Paris, or Red Sunday in Russia, the first blood has been shed, the first blow struck, by the possessing conservative classes. And we are not so childish as to imagine that the capitalist class of the future will shrink from the shedding of the blood of the workers in order to retain their ill-gotten gains. They shed more blood, destroy more working class lives every year, by the criminal carelessness with which they conduct industry and drive us to nerve-racking speed, than is lost in the average international war. In the United States there are killed on the railroads in one year more men than died in the Boer War on both sides. When the capitalists kill us so rapidly for the sake of a few pence extra profit it would be suicidal to expect
p.436that they would hesitate to slaughter us wholesale when their very existence as parasites was at stake. Therefore, the Socialists anticipate violence only because they know the evil nature of the beast they contend with. But with a working class thoroughly organised and already as workers in possession of the railroads, shops, factories and ships, we do not need to fear their violence. The hired assassin armies of the capitalist class will be impotent for evil when the railroad men refuse to transport them, the miners to furnish coal for their ships of war, the dock labourers to load or coal these ships, the clothing workers to make uniforms, the sailors to provision them, the telegraphists to serve them, or the farmers to feed them. In the vote, the strike, the boycott and the lockout exercised against the master class, the Socialists have weapons that will make this social revolution comparatively bloodless and peaceable, despite the tigerish instincts or desires of the capitalist enemy, and the doleful Cassandra-like prophecies of our critic.
And if the capitalists do abide the issue of the ballot and allow this battle to be fought out on lines of peaceful political and economic action, gladly we will do likewise. But if not
But the real point is this: it is not merely the Rothschilds or other millionaires who are to be robbed; it is nor merely the fashionable people who live in palaces and drive in motor cars who are to be robbed, but the shopkeepers are also to be robbed; it is not merely the great big shopkeepers who are to be robbed, but every small business house will be robbed. The professional classes, the barristers and the doctors will be robbed. The small farmer, the small cottager will be evicted. The cabman's horse and cab will be taken from him. The poor woman who sells apples in the street will have her basket seized upon. These are all ways of making money, and the Socialist says that nobody has any right to make money except the Socialist state. Do you think that men would stand this? Do you think that a tenant who has bought out his land will
p.437willingly give it up to the Socialist who promises to spoonfeed him? Do you think that any respectable shopkeeper would give up his shop for the honour of being the shop-boy of a Socialist flunkey? Do you think that any manly man would give up the few shillings that are his own in order to become an irresponsible easy-going loafer in an idealised workhouse? No.
This argument is brought in after telling a silly story about a Socialist who wanted Rothschild to divide up, and the story is told despite the fact that the reverend and pious lecturer has frequently explained that Socialism has nothing to do with dividing up. In fact Socialists want to stop dividing up with the irresponsible easy-going loafers, called aristocrats and capitalists, in the idealised workhouses, known as palaces and mansions. All those poor workers whom he mentionsthe small farmer, the cottager, the cabman, the apple-woman, the doctorall are compelled to divide up with the capitalist, speculator and landlord, and Socialism proposes to them that instead of wearing life out working night and day as in the case of the doctor, or shivering and suffering as in the case of the farmer, the cottager, the cabman, and the apple-woman, they shall help to establish a system of society where the functions they now perform shall be performed better through more perfect organisation, with equipment supplied by the community, and where they shall be honoured co-workers with all their fellow-workers, with an old age guaranteed against the want and privation they know awaits them under the present order. And they are hearkening to this Socialist promise of relief from their present social purgatory.
Father Kane next proceeds to quote Socialists to prove the beneficence of medieval Catholicism. He says:
The contrast is reproduced under a different aspect when we compare the Church of Christ with the Church of Luther, King Harry and Queen Bess. Whoever studies Socialism will
p.438find that there is much to learn from this contrast. We read in Professor Nitti, of Naples: An English Socialist, Hyndman, whose profound historical and economic learning cannot be questioned even by his adversaries, has understood and admirably expressed the many benefits society has derived from the Church of the Middle Ages. Hyndman wrote:
It is high time that the nonsense that has been foisted on to the public by men interested in suppressing the facts should be exposed. It is not true that the Church of our ancestors was the organised fraud which it suits fanatics to represent it. The monasteries and priests did far more for elementary education than is at all known. . .. As to university education, where would Oxford be to-day but for the munificence of bishops, monks, and nuns? Fourteen of her finest colleges were founded by churchmen or abbots for the benefit of the children of the people. The Reformation converted these colleges into luxurious preserves for the sons of the aristocracy.
He tells us how the Reformation converted the lands of the monasteries into the properties of rack-renting landlords. Abbots and priors were the best landlords in England. While the Church had power, permanent or general pauperism was unknown. One-third of all tithes, one-third of all ecclesiastical revenue was first set aside to be given to the poor. The monks were the road-makers, alms-givers, teachers, doctors, nurses of the country. They built, furnished and attended the hospitals, and gave the poor relief out of their own funds. While the monasteries stood, the poor or unemployed were always sure of food and shelter. Look at the other side of the contrast. When Harry VIII was king in Merrie England he wanted to get rid of his wife and he wanted to get money. Both motives moved him to break away from the Church of Christ, and to confiscate the monasteries. One sad and most pitiful result was that thousands and thousands were driven out on the roads to beg. They were all able men and willing to work, but the monasteries had
p.439disappeared, and with them work and shelter and food. These sturdy beggars, or stalwart vagabonds, as they were called, thronged the road. They had been able to earn their bread under the old Church of Christ, but under the new church of King Hal and his merry men, these sturdy beggars were a nuisance. In 1547 a law was passed that these sturdy beggars should be branded with hot irons and handed over as slaves to the person who denounced them, or if again caught they were to be hanged. Under good Queen Bess unlicensed beggars over fourteen were flogged and branded on the left ear unless someone would take them into service for two years. If they begged again, all over eighteen were executed unless someone was willing to take them into service for two years; caught a third time, death was the penalty, without reprieve. Hollingshead asserts that in the reign of the good King Henry VIII, 72,000 sturdy beggars were hanged for begging. That was the contrast between the Reformation and the love of Christ's Church for Christ's poor. It was the way in which the Reformation solved the difficulty of the unemployed. Queen Bess, the virgin queen, the good, sweet Queen Bess, found a woman's way of following her father's mood. She had her stalwart vagabonds strung up in batches, like flitches of bacon along the rafters, in order to teach the people the godly way in which they should walkthe way of her Reformation of the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ has always protected the poor.
This long extract should be enlightening and illuminating to our readers. It shows that the Socialists have been uniformly fair in their treatment of the attitude of the Catholic Church of the past towards the poor, that they have defended that Church from the attacks of unscrupulous Protestant historians, upon that point, so that our reverend friend has to admit that a correct knowledge of the contrast between the attitude of the Church and that of the Protestant reformers can be best
p.440attained by whoever studies Socialist literature. But, as we pointed out in a previous chapter, when Father Kane is recounting the numberless murders, outrages, and barbarities practised upon the poor by the aristocracy of the Reformation he is telling also where we are to find the title deeds of the landed estates of England and Ireland. And it is just those landed estates, gained by such means, that Father Kane and his like are fighting to perpetuate in the ownership of the English and Irish aristocracy to-day. How do the Catholic clergy dare to defend the possessors in the present possession of their stolen property, when they publicly proclaim from the altar their knowledge of the inhuman crimes against God and man by which that property passed out of the hands of Church and people? The Reformation was the capitalist idea appearing in the religious field; as capitalism teaches that the social salvation of man depends solely upon his own individual effort, so Protestantism, echoing it, taught that the spiritual salvation of man depends solely upon his own individual appeal to God; as capitalism abolished the idea of social interdependence which prevailed under feudalism, and made men isolated units in a warring economic world, so Protestantism abolished the interdependent links of priests, hierarchy, and pontiffs which in the Catholic system unites man with his Creator, and left man at the mercy of his own interpretations of warring texts and theories. In fine, as capitalism taught the doctrine of every man for himself, and by its growing power forced such doctrines upon the ruling class, it created its reflex in the religious world, and that reflex, proclaiming individual belief was the sole necessity of salvation, appears in history as the Protestant Reformation. Now, the Church curses the Protestant Reformationthe child; and blesses capitalismits parent.
Now listen to the peroration of our critic:
Nothing will do but Socialism.
Not so! not so! The Church of Christ teaches both men and masters that for their own sake they should be friends not foes, that their mutual interests are inseparably interwoven, and that they are bound together not merely by the duties or rights of justice, but by a sacred bond of kindliness, which is the same virtue that moves a man to fondly love his home and nobly love his fatherland. Still, still!that misery! that most sad poverty, that despairing wretchedness of utter want! Surely! surely were the kind Christ here, Whose heart was moved to tender pity for the hungering crowd; surely He would give them food. He is not here, but in His stead He has placed you, Christian men and women, that you may do His blessed work. Have pity! have pity on the poor. We cannot stand idly by with folded arms while so many starve, nor can we suffer, while we have wealth to spare, that such multitudes who are brothers and sisters of our human blood should eke out in lingering death a life that is not worth the living. There is no need, no excuse for Socialism. But there is sore need of social reform. The state is indeed bound to enforce such remedial measures as are needed, and of these, whatever be our politics or party, we must all approve. But in our own way and in our own measure we should recognise in actual practice that Christians should be like the great Christ Who had pity on the poor.
And so he concludeswith an appeal for pity for the poor. After all his long discourse, after again and again admitting the tyranny, the extortions, the frauds, the injustices perpetrated in our midst every day by those who control and own our means of existence, he has no remedy to offer but pity! After all his brave appeal to individuality, to national honour, to the heroic spirit in poor men and women, he shrinks from appealing to that individuality, to that national honour, to that heroic spirit in the poor and asking them so to manifest themselves as to rescue their lives from the control of the forces
p.442of mammon. Professing to denounce mammon, he yet shrinks from leading the forces of righteousness against it, and by so shrinking shows that all his professed solicitude for justice, all his vaunted hatred of tyranny, were mere sound and fury signifying nothing.
Is not this attitude symbolic of the attitude of the Church for hundreds of years? Ever counselling humility, but sitting in the seats of the mighty; ever patching up the diseased and broken wrecks of an unjust social system, but blessing the system which made the wrecks and spread the disease; ever running divine discontent and pity into the ground as the lightning rod runs and dissipates lightning, instead of gathering it and directing it for social righteousness as the electric battery generates and directs electricity for social use.
The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go. And in the work of abolishing it the Catholic and the Protestant, the Catholic and the Jew, the Catholic and the Freethinker, the Catholic and the Buddhist, the Catholic and the Mahometan will co-operate together, knowing no rivalry but the rivalry of endeavour toward an end beneficial to all. For, as we have said elsewhere, Socialism is neither Protestant nor Catholic, Christian nor Freethinker, Buddhist, Mahometan, nor Jew; it is only HUMAN. We of the Socialist working class realise that as we suffer together we must work together that we may enjoy together. We reject the firebrand of capitalist warfare and offer you the olive leaf of brotherhood and justice to and for all.