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Belfort Bax

The Sentimental Socialist

 "The sentimental Socialist, though not necessarily Christian, retains essentially the introspective attitude of the Christian ethics. He forms societies, the members of which are supposed to pledge themselves to indefinitely high aims, aims that tower above the clouds from which it requires the practised eye to distinguish them. These aims ‘won from the void and formless infinite’ seem to be won only for the sake of being handed over to the equally formless indefinite. The only shape approaching articulation into which they wreath themselves, is that of resolutions and letters. The young people of the well-to-do middle-class, for whom sentimental Socialism possesses attractions, think human nature susceptible of higher aims than the current ones, and meet in drawing rooms for the apparent purpose of passing resolutions to that effect. The sentimental Socialist desires above all things to be broad and comprehensive.

Is There a Class War?

Mr. J. Keir-Hardie, M.P., answers "YES-NO" and "NO-YES!"

The "Socialist" humorist of the day is Mr. J. Keir Hardie, M.P. At least, Mr. Hardie claims to be a Socialist. Of his humour there is no question. That it is unconscious humour makes the gentleman's contortions even a little pitiful. Mr. Hardie has Capitalist friends. He is a Reform politician. One of his methods of advancing Socialism is to give electoral support to non-Socialists ― he would, in fact, cast out Beelzebub by means of Beelzebub. Consequently, he appears to find himself in this dilemma : he desires to "moralise" the capitalists; thinks it possible that the wolves of Commercialism will loose their hold upon their prey voluntarily, and, whilst he is incapable of arguing the position, feels instinctively that he cannot reconcile reform with the fundamental principle of the class war, without recognition of which no scientific theory of Socialism is possible.

Belfort Bax and the Ethics of Socialism

Part of the series 'Socialist Thinkers: People Who History Made'

Islington Branch

Recorded: 
Sunday, 28 November 1982

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