Studies in Communism
to the student that the whole of being is reducible to no explanation that turns upon the existence of either moral or immoral conscious sources of being, but that the basis of all physical and social activity is an un-moral tendency to be?
If this be granted, as needs it reasonably must, then we are faced with the fact of man not merely being a social animal, but also a selfish one; the development of the selfish instinct being of such a kind as to increasingly occasion the production of those types of character which serve to give an ethical turn to the survival of the fittest, and to make for a state of society in which the purest and ethically fittest can survive. This assertion is founded on no mere Anarchist's dream, but is the substance of the well- reasoned address on "Evolution and Ethics" which Professor Huxley delivered as the Romanes Lecture for 1893. And even though this distinguished scientist and veteran philosopher confessed that 'strict Anarchy may be the highest conceivable grade of perfection of social existence," no one will accuse him of basing his expositions of ethical evolution on romantic musings, or on data other than that which he had submitted to severe analysis. Nor is it necessary to rely on Huxley's testimony. It is sufficient that we trace up the evolution of species, watch the development of the social spirit in man, examine the basis of "duty," and read pages of history. All these studies will but serve to vindicate the truth of Huxley's contention.
What, then, is man as we know him in the highest stage of actual and potential development? What is his relation as actual or potential being, respectively to his present environment and Communist state of society? Let us see.
Man as we know him, in the highest actual stage of development, loves learning, yearns after truth, and identifies his personal happiness with the realisation and maintenance of his ideals. The vast number of artists, poets, philosopher's, and scientists who have suffered penury and persecution for their principles prove this. The numerous pioneers of Freethought and social liberty who have been burned at the stake2 murdered by the Inquisition, racked, tortured, hanged and strangled, bear a like testimony. The willingness of the mother to suffer for her children lends further testimony to the inherent social idealism of the individual. Whilst the fact that those who would prey on their fellows do so in the name of Justice. of spirituality, and of truth, supplies the final emphasis. Hence we see humanity is not ruled, at bottom, by coercion, nor by fear, nor yet by injustice. That these things should exist but means that ignorance abounds. Let ignorance be removed, and it will be seen that knowledge is virtue as well as power. Knowledge spells Justice, freedom, happiness. But neither justice. nor freedom, nor happi-
The Case For Anarchism
ness can exist where the many are dominated by the few. For, self-contained as each individual should be, loyal unto the internal canons of thought as opposed to external authority, man is, nevertheless, so far as his sense impressions and social existence is concerned, a part of the social organism, an ethical unit, and an intellectual cellular activity acting and reacting upon the society of which he is a part, and upon the cellular activities to which he is related. Each of these activities or social atoms is dominated by the will to be, adaptation to and of the being. Hence we find that adaptation to and of the environments is continual, those organisms surviving longest which adapt themselves the more readily to their environment.
This process of development tends to become an ethical one and to identify individual ability and power to survive with the evolution of the social instinct and desire to serve. It follows, most distinctly, that capitalist environment not only favours, but creates the Communist.
Our right to live, is conditioned by the intellectual and economic forces which surround us. These forces demand that each organism shall perform certain social functions in order to maintain its own right to existence. To exhibit vitality the prirnorial law of life. But it is impossible to obey this law, without which being cannot be manifested, unless we harmonise with our environment. It is impossible to live and to impoverish. The law of life is that, only by enriching our environment, by rendering it more vital and depriving it of death and decay, can we survive. Only by nourishing can we gather nourishment. Selfishness teaches us to discharge duties as well as to preserve rights.
The logical expression of this selfishness of the individual is the doing of good because it is good. We incline to abolish suffering because pain to others occasions agony for ourselves. We are impelled to produce the best of which we are capable because our natures demand thoroughness in the discharge of those functions for which our organisms are fitted. Equally, we are compelled to take from the community all that is necessary to the maintenance of our being, because the welfare of all requires that the individual craving or appetite should be satisfied. Thus rights involve duties and duties proclaim rights.
Idiosyncrasies vary and cannot be crushed. Men and women insist on discovering hobbies with which to amuse themselves after having sweated for a master. Does it not follow that, in a free society, not only would each work for all, but each would toil with earnest devotion at that which best suited and expressed his or her temperament? There would exist, in consequence, not merely a purer and freer society, not only happier and nobler individual
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