That’s Different

A man with an ax flew by Socrates, chasing another man :


“Stop him! Stop him!” cried he of the weapon. “He’s a murderer!”


But the old sage wasn’t taking any chances, and jogged along imperturbably.


“You fool!” quoth he of the ax. “Why didn’t you stop him? He’s a murderer, I tell you!”


“A murderer! What’s a murderer?”


“ Fool! One that kills, of course.”


“Ah! a butcher.”


No, idiot! That’s different. One that kills a man.”


“ Oh! Ah, a soldier.”


No! No! That’s different altogether. One that kills a man in times of peace!”


“A hangman!”


No! No! No! That’s different. One that kills a man in his house!”


“ A doctor, then!”
No! No! No! No! No! That’s different”


Running along after him (2,000 years after) comes another man with flaming eyes : “Stop him! Stop him!” he cries, pointing to something he sees, or thinks he sees, ahead of him. “Stop him! He’s a Socialist!”


“A Socialist! What’s a Socialist?”
“Why a believer in state industries, of course.”


“ Oh. I see? The railways, post offices, customs, drains, and all that.”
“No, that’s different! I mean competing against private enterprise.”


Oh! schools, universities, and the like.”
“No! No! That’s different. I mean state trading. The fellows that expect everything done for them by the state! A loafer that wants to share the earnings of the industrious workers!”


Ah! Ah! A nobleman who has inherited land.”


“No! No! That’s different. I mean—.”


Sydney Bulletin


(The above is reprinted from the Socialist Standard, September, 1909).