Freedom Pa mphlets.
Even Collectivists suspect that a man of forty, the father of three
children, has greater needs than a youth of twenty. They suspect
that a woman who is suckling her child and spends sleepless nights
by its cot, cannot get through so much work as a man who has
enjoyed tranquil slumber.
They seem to understand that a man or woman worn out by
having, perhaps, worked over hard for society in general may find
themselves incapable of performing so many '' deeds " as those who
take their hours of labor quietly and pocket their " notes " in the
privileged offices of State statisticians.
And they hasten to temper their principle. Oh, certainly, they
say, society will feed and bring up its children. Oh, certainly it will
assist the old and infirm. Oh, certainly needs not deeds will be the
measure of the cost which society will impose on itself to temper
the principle of deeds.
What, Charity ? Yes, our old friend, " Christian Charity,"
organised by the State.
Improve the foundling hospital, organise insurance against age
and sickness, and the principle of deeds will be "tempered.1' " Wound
that they may heal," they can get no further.
Thus, then, after having, forsworn Communism, after having
sneered at their ease at the formula, " To each according to his
needs," is it rot obvious that they, the great economists, also perceive that they have forgotten something, i.e., the needs of the
producers ? And thereupon they hasten to recognise these needs.
Only it is to be the State by which they are to be estimated ; it is
to be the State which will undertake to find out if needs are disproportionate to deeds.
It is to be the State that will give alms to him who is willing to
recognise his inferiority. From thence to the Poor Law and the
Workhouse is but a stone's throw.
There is but a stone's throw, for even this step-mother of a society,
against which we are in revolt, has found it necessary to temper
its individualistic principle. It too has had to make concessions irr
a Communistic sense, and in this same form of charity.
It also distributes halfpenny dinners to pi-event the pillage of its
shops. It also builds hospitals, often bad enough, but sometimes
.splendid, to prevent the ravages of contagious disease. It also.
after having paid for nothing but the hours of labor, receives the
-children of those whom it has itself reduced to the extremity of
distress. It also takes account of needs—as a charity.
Poverty, the existence of the poor, was the first cause of riches.
This it was which created the earliest capitalist. For, before the