Mr Belloc and the Servile State

Mr. Hilaire Belloc lectured recently on a favourite topic – the Servile State – at the Co-operative Summer School, held at the L.C.C. Training College. His address (delivered on Tuesday, August 27th) was reported in the Co-operative News on 7th September. After some very sound remarks on the dominance which belongs to the capitalist class through their ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, Mr. Belloc went on to air his views on Socialism. He said: –

‘Under Socialism all men were to be in the servile state. There were to be no free men ordering other men about, but the politicians were to do that instead.’

When Mr. Belloc uses the word ‘Socialism’, he possibly has in mind the administration of capitalism by Government experts, a theory beloved by the Fabians, who do the thinking for the Labour Party; but that is to give the word a meaning which robs it of sense and usefulness.

The existing subjection of the workers is due – as Mr. Belloc agrees – to the private ownership of the means of life.

How, then, can Socialism, i.e., social ownership, lead to the servile state? And how else than by social ownership can the evils of private or non-social ownership be eradicated? We are told that Mr. Belloc offers to enter into written controversy on the subject. We shall be pleased to offer him space in the SOCIALIST STANDARD to defend his extraordinary statements about Socialism.

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