Editorials from the April 1908 issue of the Socialist Standard
In other words, John Burns rampant. In fact, he is overdoing it
His greatness, John Burns himself admits; but it is evident that it was not the “Great Man’’ himself, but the workers who followed him, who were sold to the Liberal Government for lucrative office.
And the capitalist Press is at times cynically frank in discussing the merits of its faithful servants. Thus the Observer, doing the “candid friend,” said (15/3/08)
Mr. Burns may play a strong role in the national struggle against Socialism, and we like his unstooping courage. But he overdoes the part of Boanerges belligerent. We do not want him to lose his influence over the masses. We want him to retain it; but unless he modifies his later manner his words will carry less weight with the masses than those of any man in England. Once that is seen, his present popularity with plutocrats will fade. These are not pleasant things to say, but they must be said if the President of the Local Government Board is to be prevented from spoiling his career by excess of temperament.
Clearly if John is not careful he will have j nothing left to sell.
General Booth says: “The Socialists want to make the world a paradise without having a paradise people.” Is the General fearful of the competition of a paradise here below with his problematic paradise to come? Or does he expect hell to breed angels ?
The Socialist knows that a paradise people could only be born of paradise conditions; but Christians expect figs to grow on thistles.
And does not this reveal a fundamental cleavage between Socialism and Christianity? The Christian looks on man as the creator of his circumstances; the Socialist looks on man as the product, without, of course, ignoring the reflex action of past environment through the individual.
The environment is almost all powerful, and the secret of the promise of man’s future mastery lies in his growing knowledge of the laws of material development and his consequent greater adaptability to these laws.
To the Christian, evolution is man made ; to the Socialist, evolution has made man.
Well does the General serve his masters by directing the gaze of the poor from material conditions to mansions in the sky; but his chief merit must be, in the eyes of the masters, to have organised the greatest '‘free labour” association in existence.