COMMUNISTS: Dr. Crankley's Children

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One of the Webbs' best works was the English Poor Law History. Gradually, the semi-Marxist influence of the Webbs might make Britain the most efficiently, equitably, and humanely operated poorhouse the world had ever seen. But there was always the possibility that it would turn back from socialism. As Engels put it despairingly: "The English have all the material conditions necessary for . . . revolution. What they lack is the spirit of generalization. . . ."

Then there were the children of hate. Their archetype is Benito Mussolini. As a young Socialist, he was poor, sickly and beset by strange anguish. "I am afraid of trees, of dogs, of the sky and my own shadow." He was always hungry and he despised the rich. Once, in a Lausanne park, he saw two elderly Englishwomen on a bench, lunching on hard-boiled eggs; he pounced on the women and snatched their lunch.

Mussolini seized the state as he had grabbed the eggs, and out of hatred and hunger men followed him. He never tried seriously to control The Machine or resolve the basis of class conflict. He put the machines and the classes to work for war.

The most important and the most terrible in the Marxist brood are those who inherited the cold, disciplined logic necessary for the serious pursuit of power. Their leader is the late Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin. When the Russian people, without his help, snatched at democracy, he snatched it away from them. Like Father Marx, he knew what was best. He organized riots (see cut) that weakened and, finally, a coup that overpowered the Kerensky government. He organized, as Marx had taught, a dictatorship of the proletariat (i.e., a disciplined little gang of power monopolists). In 1917, in the assembly hall of a swank girls' school in Petrograd, behind unwashed windows that excluded the sky, Lenin stood up. His ill-fitting, overlong trousers flapped about his feet. Gripping the rostrum, he said quietly: "We shall now proceed to construct the proletarian socialist order in Russia."

In the process of reconstructing humanity to fit The Machine, Lenin's followers smashed men as freely as the idiot boy of Nottingham had smashed machines.

"Yours Forever." Today, the children of pity are largely ineffectual; the children of hate are at bay. The West faces the children of power who rule Russia and all Communist parties throughout the world. Against them stands capitalist democracy, which has certainly not fulfilled the shiny, steam-driven dreams of some of its early prophets. There is no need, however, for capitalism to cringe silently beneath the Marxist indictment. The Communist Manifesto made better reading before Marxism had been tried. Capitalism, for all the regimentation and degradation that occasionally went with it, has made a compromise with The Machine which is, on the record, superior to the Marxist compromise with human nature. Capitalism does not get all it can out of The Machine, or give men all they should have. But it has left man essentially free, while it gets more out of The Machine than Marxism does. But capitalism has failed to proclaim, so that the world can hear—and that is not to capitalism's credit—the victory it has won over the argument of the Manifesto.

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