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The Radical creed, as I understand it, is this: We have not abandoned our old belief in liberty, justice, and Self-help, but we say that under certain conditions the people cannot help themselves, and that then they should be helped by the State representing directly the whole people. In giving this State help, we make three conditions: first, the matter must be one of primary social importance; next, it must be proved to be practicable; thirdly, the State interference must not diminish self-reliance. Even if the chance should arise of removing a great social evil, nothing must be done to weaken those habits of individual self-reliance and voluntary association which have built up the greatness of the English people. But — to take an example of the State doing for a section of the people what they could not do for themselves — I am not aware that the Merchant Shipping Act has diminished the self-reliance of the British sailor. We differ from Tory Socialism in so far as we are in favour, not of paternal, but of fraternal government, and we differ from Continental Socialism because we accept the principle of private property, and repudiate confiscation and violence. With Mazzini, we say the worst feature in Continental Socialism is its materialism. It is this indeed which utterly separates English Radical Socialists from Continental Socialists — our abhorrence and detestation of their materialistic ideal. To a reluctant admission of the necessity for State action, we join a burning belief in duty, and a deep spiritual ideal of life. And we have more than an abstract belief in duty, we do not hesitate to unite the advocacy of social reform with an appeal to the various classes who compose society to perform those duties without which all social reform must be merely delusive.
To the capitalists we appeal to use their wealth, as many of their order already do, as a great national trust, and not for selfish purposes alone. We exhort them to aid in the completion of the work they have well begun, and, having admitted the workmen to political independence, not to shrink from accepting laws and carrying out plans of social reform directed to secure his material independence.
To the workman we appeal by the memory and traditions of his own sufferings and wrongs to be vigilant to avoid the great guilt of inflicting upon his fellow-citizens the injustice from which he has himself escaped.
Arnold J. Toynbee (more quotes by Arnold J. Toynbee or books by/about Arnold J. Toynbee)
(1889-1975) British historian
Lectures on The Industrial Revolution in England (1884), p. 219. "Are Radicals Socialists?"
Radical, Materialism, Socialism, Statism, Liberty, Justice, Self-Reliance, Independence, Dependence, Culture, Spiritual, Vigilance