The Rise Of Scientific Socialism

The Rise Of Scientific Socialism

The earlier French and English Socialism, down to 1848, was largely Utopian and idealistic. Down to 1848, too, it was dom­inated by a bourgeois or middle-class spirit, and was not of and for the wage-earning class; though, with Louis Blanc and Proud-hon, the transition to a proletarian spirit, opposing labor to capital, is manifest. Moreover, none of the writers who have been discussed can be called "State Socialists," that is, Socialists who accept the government as the agency for carrying out their programs. True, Louis Blanc and Proudhon relied to some ex­tent upon the state; but the former was half an associationist, or group Socialist, and the latter was an anarchist in his way.

We are now to pass to thought in Germany and the purely proletarian Socialism of the second half of the nineteenth cen­tury; a Socialism which, though it draws.largely from its French and English predecessors, ridicules the Utopian ideals of the earlier group, and prides itself upon its "scientific" realism. And first, it is logical to take up the thought of a group of thinkers commonly known as "State Socialists," chief of whom are Rodbertus and Lassalle.

As just intimated, they accept the state as the agency for applying their theories, and seek to enlarge its economic func­tions accordingly. Properly speaking, a "State Socialist," then, is one who advocates a radical scheme of social reform to be carried out by government. They are, therefore, generally nationalists, and stand opposed to the cosmopolitan, interna­tional, or universal Socialism of Marx, on the one hand, and to the associationist or group Socialism of Owen and Fourier, and Louis Blanc, on the other.