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- The Inhumanity of Socialism - 6/7 -


propose, therefore, O Phaedo, that you propound someone statement which all you who have been discussing the matter believe.

PHAEDO - Of a truth, Socrates, we discussed the matter till the sun went down, but I do not remember any one thing to which we all agreed except that there is such a vale at the foot of Mount Olympus, as Hippocrates describes, and that he lived therein for a year. That we believe because Hippocrates so told us, and all Athens knows Hippocrates for a truthful man.

SOCRATES - That is something, for all truth is useful; but it does not seem to me to be such a truth as will well serve for a foundation from which we may penetrate, as one might say, the very bowels of the subject. I pray you to propound some other.

PHAEDO - Truly, Socrates, I cannot, nor can we any of us, for upon nothing else pertaining to the matter are we able to agree.

SOCRATES - If it please you, then, I will propound a saying and see if you agree with me.

PHAEDO - We shall be very glad if you will.

SOCRATES - I suggest, then, that we begin by agreeing, if we are able to do so, that the gods have given the earth to man for his use.

PHAEDO - Surely that seems to be true.

SOCRATES - I am glad that you think favorably of it, but that is not sufficient if we are to reason upon it, because that upon which we found our argument must be what we accept as absolute truth.

PHAEDO - I think the earth was made for mankind, but if in our conversation something should also seem true, and yet contradictory to that, I know not what I should think.

SOCRATES - Let us, then, think of something else: The earth is at any rate surely for the use of some beings. The mighty Atlas would never sustain it upon his broad shoulders if it did nobody good.

PHAEDO - That, at least, is certain, Socrates.

SOCRATES - And it must be for beings who can make use of it and enjoy it.

PHAEDO - That also is true.

SOCRATES - And beings which can use and enjoy the earth must be living beings.

PHAEDO - Nobody will deny that.

SOCRATES - And there are no living things except the gods, mankind, the lower animals, and plants.

PHAEDO - I agree to that.

SOCRATES - And it is plain that the gods did not build the earth for themselves, for they do not live upon it, except on Olympus, and nowhere does the earth produce ambrosia and nectar, which are the food of the gods.

PHAEDO - That is true, for the gods live in the heavens and in the nether world, and not upon the earth.

SOCRATES - And the plants do not use the earth, or enjoy it, although they live upon it, but they are themselves used and enjoyed by man and beasts.

PHAEDO - Certainly the earth was not made for the plants.

SOCRATES - And surely as between man and the lower animals, the earth was intended for man.

PHAEDO - Certainly, that is what we think, but I do not know what the lion and the horse and the ox might say, for they certainly use the earth and enjoy it.

SOCRATES - But man is superior to the lower animals, and the superior cannot be subordinate to the inferior.

PHAEDO - I do not know how we can tell which is superior. The primordial cell in differentiating out of homogeneity into heterogeneity developed different qualities in different beings, and of the organs integrated from the heterogeneous elements each has its use and many are essential to life. In man the brain is more powerful than in the ox, but in the ox the stomach is more powerful than the brain, and while both stomach and brain are necessary, yet is one with a weak brain and strong stomach doubtless happier than one with a weak stomach and strong brain. Is it not, then, true that the stomach is nobler than the brain, and if so, then the pig and the lion and the goat, which have strong stomachs, nobler than man, whose stomach could in nowise digest carrion, or alfalfa, or tin cans, and therefore may it not be that the earth was made for the lower animals, who can use more of its products than man?

SOCRATES - That is a deep thought, O Phaedo, which shows that you are well up in your Spencer, although shy in your surgery, for it is true that the stomach has been removed from a man who lived happy ever after, while neither man nor beast ever lived a minute after his brains were knocked out; but, is it not true that it is by the function of the brain that man makes his powers more effective than those of animals stronger than he, so that he is able to bear rule over all the lower animals and either exterminate them from the earth or make them to serve him?

PHAEDO - Yes, that is true.

SOCRATES - And we cannot say that the earth was made for beasts which themselves are made to serve the purpose of man, for as plants are consumed by beasts, so beasts are consumed by man who acquires for his own use and enjoyment whatever power is generated by the organs of all other living things.

PHAEDO - That is true, and I can now see that the earth was not made by the gods for themselves, or for plants or beasts.

SOCRATES - Therefore, it appears to me that it must have been made for man.

PHAEDO - That is true, and I now agree that the earth was made for man.

SOCRATES - Then, since we have found a common starting point, we may go on with our conversation. We have proved that the earth was made for man, because man, by powers inherent in himself, can overcome all other living things on the earth and subject them to his uses.

PHAEDO - Yes, we have proved that.

SOCRATES - And the real source of his kingship is power.

PHAEDO - That must be true.

SOCRATES - And force is power applied to some object, so that power and force may be spoken of as the same thing.

PHAEDO - Certainly.

SOCRATES - And where power lies, there and there only is sovereignty, and where power ends sovereignty finds its limit. So that, for example, if the lion could subdue man and the other animals, the earth would be for the use of the lion.

PHAEDO - That is plain.

SOCRATES - And if a company of men should find an island and go and live upon it and be strong enough to subdue the wild animals and keep out other men, that island would be for their use.

PHAEDO - That follows, because sovereignty goes with power exercised in force.

SOCRATES - And so if one man should find a vacant space and take possession, it would be his.

PHAEDO - That is true.

SOCRATES - And what belongs to man, man may dispose of as he will.

PHAEDO - All men agree to that.

SOCRATES - And, therefore, since Hippocrates has found a vacant space on the earth and taken possession thereof, and no man disputes his possession, it is his and he may sell it.

PHAEDO - That is certainly true, and I do not doubt that Hipparchus will now pay down his talent of silver and take over the vale in the Olympian forest.

SOCRATES - And if instead of finding an island the company of men had found an entire continent it would be theirs if they were strong enough to keep it.

PHAEDO - Surely that is so, for power is but concentrated ability to enjoy, and where most power lies, there lies most ability to enjoy, and therefore the highest possible aggregate of human happiness, in the attainment of which the will of the gods shall be done.

SOCRATES - And if a company can take part of a continent, but not the whole, whatever they are able to take is theirs.

PHAEDO - Undoubtedly.

SOCRATES - And what is theirs is not the property of others.

PHAEDO - By no means.

SOCRATES - And if it does not belong to others, others may not lawfully use it.

PHAEDO - Surely not.

SOCRATES - And they who do own it may prevent others from entering it.

PHAEDO - Surely, for hath not the poet said:

"That they shall take who have the power, And they may keep who can."

SOCRATES - Therefore it is plain that the United States may keep Chinamen out of America.


The Inhumanity of Socialism - 6/7

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