Dear Sir,

Although I am not a member of your party, I read Questions of the Dayand Socialist Comment with great enjoyment. These pamphlets were well written, and it is a refreshing change to read some political propaganda which has some literary merit. However, two points—one minor, the other major—need answering.

Firstly, when talking of the Class and Colour problems in South Africa your writer says: “Many British clergymen have gained a cheap reputation of liberality by pointing out these evils, although they close their eyes to the exploitation of workers on their own doorsteps; i.e., in Britain.” This seems to me to be a rather cheap and ill-founded attack on Father Huddleston, who really is concerned about the plight of the native in South Africa. I should like your correspondent to justify his remark.

Secondly, your definition of the Marxist interpretation of history, although I realise that it has to be compressed for reasons of space, is utterly misleading. The economic interpretation of history does not mean that men are wholly or primarily actuated by economic motives. To use the words of Professor Schumpeter: “The explanation of the role and mechanism of non-economic motives and the analysis of the way in which social reality mirrors itself in the individual psyches is an essential element of the theory, and one of its most significant contributions. Marx did not hold that religions, metaphysics, and political volitions were either reducable to economic motives or of no importance. He only tried to unveil the economic conditions which shape them and which account for their rise and fall.”

Finally, the economic interpretation of history has often been called the materialistic interpretation of history. Your writer in Socialist Comment makes this mistake. Marx’s philosophy is no more materialistic than is Hegel’s, and his theory of history is not more materialistic than is any other attempt to account for the historical process by the means of empirical science. It should be clear that this is logically compatible with any metaphysical or religious belief—exactly as any physical picture of the world is. Medieval theology itself supplies methods by which it is possible to establish this compatibility. Several Catholic radicals declare themselves Marxists in everything except in matters relating to their faith.

Thank you again for some interesting reading.

Yours faithfully,
“History Sixth”

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