Correspondence: Is Socialism Atheism?

Sir,—As you have thought it worth your while to notice my pamphlet under the above title it may be worth while my trying to correct one or two false impressions that F.C.W. has received from it. When I say that the whole community, “rich and poor alike,” shall own the land and capital, I obviously mean those who are now rich and poor. Of course they will not be “rich and poor” when they have become a Socialist State. I was trying to guard against the stupid idea that Socialism is ” robbery by the poor.” It is the act of the whole community who happen now to be ” rich and poor,” but eventually will have ceased to be so divided. I may mention in passing that I do not call myself a “Christian Socialist,” so his mentality is not necessarily my mentality. Nor do I see why it shows my ignorance of human nature to say that Socialism is against human nature as we know it. I should have thought it showed my knowledge, not my ignorance. Perhaps I ought to have said my own human nature because that happens to be the only one that I know much about. Probably even F.C.W. knows little about any other than his own. I know for instance that I am by nature very selfish and that my Socialism is distinctly against that selfishness. I do not see why F.C.W. need be so cross because I reply in the negative to what he would answer in the affirmative. It is surely best to have both answers given to the question, and if my NO is so contemptible it only strengthens his YES, and should make him glad, not angry.


Comrades Editors,—I gladly accept Father Adderley’s correction that he did not mean there would be both rich and poor under Socialism, but only that the whole community-—rich and poor alike—will institute that system. The correction, however, does not mend matters ; and it need not be supposed that I am cross if I simply proceed to call a spade a spade in reply.

In view of my knowledge of my own human nature and that of Father Adderley (I refer, of course, to our common selfishness) I hold that the idea that the rich and poor alike will co-operate in the inauguration of the Socialist system betrays an ignorance of both Socialism and “human nature.” It is the poor, the working class, who will inaugurate Socialism, in the teeth of the opposition of the wealthy. The workers will do this because ripening economic conditions are making it clear to them that only Socialism can promote their self-interest. On the other hand the bitter opposition of the wealthy is due to their knowledge that their selfish interests will be sacrificed to the interests of those who now produce their wealth.

From this it is evident that so far is Socialism from being antagonistic to the selfishness of human nature, that it is actually based upon it. The class struggle is the practical expression of this fact. And religion, instead of being a possible help to Socialist propaganda, is a positive hindrance because it obscures the truth and keeps workers duped by the idea of the fraternity of robber and robbed, when they should be fighting the robbers.

Finally, whether Father Adderley calls himself a “Christian Socialist” or a “Church-Socialist” is of small importance beside the fact, made plain by his pamphlet and his present letter, that his Christianity stands in the way of his acceptance of the basic principles of Socialism.

F. C. W.

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