essays on socialism

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT. Sons good-hearted people must have felt an uncomfortable thrill when they heard Professor Huxley declare that he would rather have been born a savage in one of the Fiji Islands than have been born in a London slum. The advantages of civilisation, from the slum point of view, must appear somewhat doubtful; and as a considerable part of the population of every large city live in the slums, the slum view has an importance of its own as a factor in the future social evolution. For it must be remembered that the slum population is not wholly composed of criminals and ne'er-do-weels—the " good-for-nothings " -of Herbert Spencer. The honest workman and struggling seamstress live there cheek by jowl with the thief and and the harlot; and with the spread of education has arisen an inclination to question whether, after all, everything has been arranged quite as well as it might be in this best of all possible worlds. The question, Whether on the whole civilisation has been an advantage? has been a theme of academical discussion since Kousseau won the prize for an essay on " Has the restoration of the .Sciences contributed to purify or to corrupt Manners ? " and laid down the audacious thesis that riches gave birth to luxury and idleness, and from luxury sprang the arts, from idleness the sciences. But it has now changed its form, and has entered the arena of practical life: men .are asking now, Is it rational that the progress of society should be as lopsided as it is? Is it necessary that, while civilisation brings to some art, beauty, refinement— all that makes life fair and gracious—it should bring to -others drudgery, misery, degradation, such as no uncivilised people know; and these emphasised and rendered the bitterer by the contrast of what life is to many...
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