Under the term "socialism" are grouped numerous more or less quixotic and unscientific plans to end the sufferings due to overpopulation and inequality of men. Communists honestly believe that property belongs to all equally and not to the exceptional men who do most to create it. The Utopians look for a future condition of society in which all are equal. These are all unnatural and therefore mere vagaries of reasoning of minds ignorant of facts. There is a scientific socialism, nevertheless, which is becoming more and more known because it takes into account the past evolution of society and tries to predict its future. Modern industrialism which made it possible to live in supersaturated masses fed from distant farms, did not become evident until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a large number of clear-headed thinkers and observers accurately saw its course. Karl Marx was the chief of these, and he with Friedrich Engels seem to be the joint authors of the modern school of scientific socialism - a name badly chosen, by the way, for in the minds of most people it has become associated with anarchy, and other absurdities. This evolution of a new socialism has been described by John Spargo in his recent work,* and should be read by all Americans who wish to know the direction we are drifting in our civilization. There is good reason for thinking that some of the things for which even the scientific socialists are striving can never be accomplished because they are unnatural, but that does not alter the fact that most of their desires are in actual process of realization by the evolution of democracy. The only mistake is to try to bring about these conditions prematurely by human law, instead of waiting until they come by natural law.
All attempts to create communistic societies have failed because the units - men - are as yet wholly unfit for such a life, and it will require the evolution due to natural selection of proper variations through thousands of generations to cause a communistic type to be created. That is, the units necessary for the future democracy are being evolved at the same time as the organism itself. Already we are hopelessly unfit for the first primitive Aryan society of Scandinavia.*
We are already socialistic as to compulsory education, which was formerly a private matter. We are almost furnishing free medical and surgical care as though the sick already expected to be cared for by society as a right, and perhaps he ought to be in the extreme future, but not now by a long shot. Patients in all public hospitals should be compelled to pay, and after recovery should be put to labor if they refuse to pay for saving their lives. David Lloyd-George, the British Minister for Trade, has even gone to the extreme of stating that surplus wealth should be taken to support "those who have ceased to be able to maintain themselves," which is a step toward preventing exceptional men absorbing all the wealth then abilities permit in an unbridled democracy. The alarm felt at the progress of socialism is therefore wholly needless, for it cannot go faster than the evolution of man permits. Nevertheless, the evolution is extremely rapid now, in accordance with the law that civilizations increase in a geometric ratio. Every invention being added to all past ones, becomes a multiplying factor, not a mere addition. Only a small proportion of people invent anything new, and when populations were sparse inventions were few and far between, and the paleolithic stage of culture lasted a long time, but each succeeding one was a mere fraction of its predecessor. A decade now makes more advances than in 50,000 years of primitive society.
* An interesting account of New Harmony and other communistic colonies founded by Robert Owen, is found in his biography by Frank Podmore.