Socialism is a set of political beliefs and principles creating a system that allows all individuals to benefit from the resources of a country (Ebenstein, 1960). Here, the state is the owner of the nation's major industries. Different scholars have provided diverse opinions on socialism.
Herbert Spencer was born in 1820 to a traditional middle-class English family. He was known for his hate towards state of power. Spencer had early interaction with philosophy through a Godwinian anarchist. Herbert absorbed the beliefs and principles held by the anarchist Thomas Hodgkin (Dombrowski, 1966). This paper focuses on socialism; precisely, philosophy associated with Herbert Spencer and Edward Bellamy. The paper analyzes the ideas of these philosophers and compares the application of their beliefs and their significance in life. The individual ideas possessed by these philosophers are weighted in relation to the current situation. The paper uses secondary sources of information in studying the subject matter. These sources include books and journals that offer a reliable basis for argumentative discussions. It is vital to use factual information on the subject to develop a critical evaluation of their ideas.
Herbert Spencer and the contribution he made towards philosophy were related to English industrialism. His ideas formed a coherent structure combining the recent findings in biology and physics. At that time, Darwin formed his ideas on natural selection and other fields like thermodynamics. His system was focused on explicating the steel age and competition, steam engines, struggle, and exploitation. Spencer developed his outlook in light of positive thinking and English science. His synthetic philosophy came from scientific learning that was emphasized in the intellectual environment he lived in. The ideas he had were intelligible in the philosophy setting. Social laws associated with him were unique cases of the general principles he believed in. His social theories in the United States of America brought much appeal because of the association they had with his belief in productive integration of knowledge (Macy, 2000).
Earlier philosophers contributed towards obsolescence just as the pre-Newtonian philosophers did during that time. The change into naturalism was brought about by mechanistic world-systems, as proposed by various philosophers including Spencer (Smith, 2001). Spencer’s ideas related to those of the eighteenth century philosophers. He attempted to merge the implications from science to action and social thought. Spencer's deductive system began with what he termed as the persistence of force or as is popularly known as the Conservation of Energy. Philosophy is expected to build persistence of energy in the form of motion and matter. This manifestation is what makes up human inquiry. All over the universe, man struggles to observe the (incessant) redistribution of motion and matter, which is apportioned rhythmically between dissolution and evolution.
Looking at evolution, it can be defined as the progressive integration of matter followed by the dissipation of motion, while dissolution is disorganization of matter, followed by motion being absorbed in the process (Heilbroner, 199). Life is considered evolutionary as it is made of continuous changes from unrelated homogeneity to a common heterogeneity. This can be explained by the life forms of lowly placed protozoa to complex systems in higher animals and man.
Focusing on persistence of force, Herbert claimed that all homogenous things have unstable incoherence. This is due to the different future results obtained after this force has acted on their parts. After this process, the likely outcome is heterogeneous. It is this transformation that accounts for the change in earth forms from simple to complex forms; for instance, the development of human structures from a common mass of cells or the transformation of human societies. He points out that everything that man associates with has undergone some evolutionary process. The outcome of this process in society and animals is caused by achieving an equilibrium state. This process is called equilibration according to Spencer's ideologies. The final achievement of equilibrium is considered inevitable by many philosophers; this is because the process of evolution cannot proceed towards heterogeneity forever (Masy, 2000). This process has its own end, called limit, where there is no increase in heterogeneity. It is during this time that dissolution comes into effect, universal rhythm affects the process. It is in this way that the process of integration is followed by disintegration. In the case of society, the change is towards the realization of a harmonious, fully adapted and stable state, unlike animals that die and then decay. Here, evolution results into a system of complete happiness and perfection. In America, this positive impact would have been met with mixed reactions, if it were not for its relation to religion. Spencer gave a doctrine called the Doctrine of Unknowable, which bound the ideas he had on evolution (Masy, 2000). The controversial point was whether these beliefs were in accordance to religion, explaining the reconciliation of science and religion.
Herbert satisfied this concern and went on to give an assurance on future scientific progress. He claimed that any new developments from science relating to religion and the world are naturally inviolable. Those religious leaders who could dally with his views in liberalism praised these sentiments. On the other hand, others could not come to terms with his opinion in spite of reason; they insisted that faith could not unite with Spencer's views (Heilbroner, 1999). There were some leaders who connected Christian teachings with his thoughts on evolution.
It was Spencer's belief that the evolutionary laws in biology and science could apply to society. He compared the principles of change and social structure to the nature of the universe. Spencer and the next group of social Darwinists did poetic justice to society. Assessing the concept of survival of the fittest, the idea was a generalization of biology for the (cruel) procedures that reflective observers experienced at work early in the nineteenth century society (Dombrowski, 1966). Darwin derived the political economy at that time. The devastating social conditions present during the early times of industrial revolution proved another philosopher, Malthus, who talked about a matrix transformation for the natural selection theory.
The social selection theory, for Spencer, was brought about by his concern for humans. He believed that the human race was benefiting from the pressure of subsistence on population. Progress from past times was entirely caused by the pressure on population. The application for the theory is evident with need to adapt due pressure on skill, self-control, intelligence by way of innovation in technology, which only allowed the best generations to survive. His arguments focused on the mental state of evolution, thus converging with Lamarck's theory of evolution. The thought of relating the development of man to the inheritance of characteristics gave him optimism in evolution (Ebenstein, 1960). He valued his belief in the theory that he could back it up despite any scientific opinion.
Spencer first wrote a book called Social Statics as a reaction attack to the Benthamite beliefs and challenges. This reaction was from the innate notion of Benthamites that legislation plays a positive role in social reforms. The ethics of utilitarianism did not apply to him except for the final standard of value, which relates “greatest happiness for the greatest numbers”. It was his deep belief that human adaptation in terms of character to any conditions of life is due to adaptation.
Edward Bellamy wrote a book talking about the “horrid world” during his childhood in Massachusetts. He speaks of seeing children work hard and families living in harsh conditions. Bellamy, using his experiences, writes that he could not think of letting a human being go through this situation. It is his sensitivity to human pain that made him protest against this organization. This book was embraced by a number of readers, who saw reform in social and political life (Smith, 2001). His Utopian view of the future world put his thoughts in the eyes of many leaders and citizens in America.
The label of the nineteenth century's end, by Mark Twain, was the Gilded Age. This is because of the triumph of the tycoons after amassing huge fortunes (Masy, 2000). This time was only favoring the rich, who struggled to boost their status, according to Marx. Bellamy supports the views of socialism and even called it “nationalism”. In his book, he talks about waking from a long sleep to realize his almost ideal perception of socialism. The year 2000 for him is near perfect for harmony, prosperity, and cooperation. In his Utopian world, the loyalty given to the state is what binds the society together.
Bellamy criticizes the treatment of citizens during these harsh times. He did not support the idea of excessive efforts from individuals for the benefit of equal degree. It was unfair for tyrannical individuals to share in the efforts of the poor; this explains why he did not agree with capitalism. In his Utopian world, Bellamy does not see the “tyranny” and big “corporations” benefiting unfairly (Heilbroner, 1999). Those individuals who subjected mankind to cruel servitude were eliminated in this type socialism, as they only valued greed and ignored others. He calls the corporations hideous as capitalism can only lead to enlargement of these corporations. It is in the Utopian world that Bellamy’s profits are eliminated through creating one large business corporation and the ultimate monopoly. His world is governed by the Principle of Universal Military Service. These principles are not common, but the benefit is that there is satisfaction in working. Socialism is considered the only truth, which can free mankind of these problems.
The nation assures them of support through education, nurture, and the citizens are given maintenance for life. Men who are sensible enough make up the central government and organize the world. They work to ensure that there are traces of inordinate luxury or poverty. Mankind in this world is focused on building the nation, and not personal interests, just like soldiers honor their country. This military approach is designed to organize every detail of the nation. Unlike capitalism, where individuals work to meet the interests of other people, the efforts of individuals are directed towards the nation.
The respect for specialized work is interesting for Bellamy. He compares this with the past scenario and favors the respect and cooperation of citizens. The satisfaction comes from every individual being given something that suites them. Capitalism champions for individualism while socialism promotes cooperation (Heilbroner, 1999). It is only through this type of cooperation that the state can be build; and America was the pioneer for this evolution. Socialists believe that capitalists are greedy farm owners who are out to enslave everyone. The socialists are inclined to perfecting the nation for the general happiness of citizens. The modern corporations do not agree with the thought of individual interests through capitalism. It is this ideal world that talks of a perfect society, but critics argue that socialism is the cause of poverty in society.
The socialists had a speculation that concerned the ideal politician. This is the practicability of the concept. According to Spencer, the defects that are found in a society are not wiped out but are carried on to the next generations. The passing of these evils in society does not have to do with the society's structure. In Spencer's view, the evils surrounding greed and oppression will thrive on in society through human nature. This is completely different from the idea of Bellamy's ideal world, where he talks of a system that is free from evil intent. In spite of the organization in Bellamy's Utopia, its sources end up becoming irresistible for the leaders. This leads to various evils in society like greed and corruption.
According to Bellamy's world, the system of work is focused on achieving the greater good. The state is the main concern for socialists, who work in cooperation to build the state. Individualism is only purposed to give more to the rich and oppress the poor. For instance, Spencer's argument assumes that a government system wisely and honestly uses its citizens to build its political economy, but the notion of embezzlement state is inevitable. The two philosophers do not contrast in terms of philosophical stands, but their application of the concept is different. Herbert does not ignore the presence of evil or potential greed in the socialism concept. On the other hand, Bellamy does not account for evil, as the new society is transformed and united for one cause (Heilbroner, 1999). The fact that Bellamy disqualifies envy and fighting in his world prompted doubts. For a state to be fully united, the citizens must be perfect in terms of character.
Humans cannot co-exist completely without fighting and envying. The Utopia created by Bellamy is not practical for the real situation. Spencer, in his evolutionary analysis of society and its transformation, talked of a society that would inherit the characteristics of their predecessors. This explains why he supports the idea of evil moving throughout all social transformations. Bellamy argues that, in his Utopia, the ideal government takes care of this inordinate greed for resources and supplies the citizens’ needs fully. His belief in having state support forever is impractical, as Spencer does not argue for full support for all citizens.
In his idea of a perfect world, the transformations of one generation to the next discard evil in the society (Smith, 2001). He compares the year 2000 with the notion he had on society and politics. The only impracticability was human nature. He discarded the idea of individuals working for the benefit of others. These greedy individuals only care about their market competition for better profits. The conditions of citizens are not important for them, they are mere slaves and a source of labor. In his book, he talks of families living in wild scenarios without the concern for their masters.
Social ethics advocate for humane working conditions. For the leaders to ignore the needs of their slaves and only anticipate their labor, they must have had a perception of social classes. This puts the citizens at the lowest of classes while the masters rule with cruelty. This marginalization in terms of social status affects American citizens before the dawn of socialism. It was not until the concept of socialism was created that citizens had taken interest and understood its benefits. This harmony in terms of working would improve the status of the state thus benefiting the citizens.
Another difference in terms of concepts in socialism for Bellamy and Spencer is the satisfaction of the work given (Dombrowski, 1966). Bellamy speaks of the work given to the citizens by the central system. The process of allocation considers the qualifications and merits of citizens. For instance, working positions would be allocated through a transparent system. Spencer's view of human nature disputes this point. Still focusing on the evil character of citizens, the different levels of performance and income would finally bring envy and evil intent amongst people. This will cause social crimes like stealing, looting, and hijacking for the well-off individuals. In order to work, one needs some experience and knowledge of what they can do. A society cannot boost their social status by using unskilled individuals in their system. The application of these concepts is not practical. Bellamy claims that the support from the state on education would ensure a literate and satisfied society.
Looking at the present scenario in America, the social system is more inclined to Spencer's ideology. Bellamy's Utopia is not suitable to the present times in America; this is because the idea of perfection in terms of character is not popular. For instance, the country has recorded deadly criminal attacks for many years. Internal conflicts by citizens of states are a result of envy or corruption. This means that his long dream lacked its practicality in terms of human nature. The expected outcome from Bellamy would have been a socially united generation. This proved Spencer's concept on the evolution of character from one generation to another. Just like the “horrid society”, the social generation still possesses these traits despite their development.
Another disapproving example to Bellamy is the international wars that have occurred. The World Wars and the Cold War showed that there was no full cooperation or understanding in the current system. Many nations fought against each other with fatal results; for example, Japan suffered from nuclear bombings in these conflicts (Masy, 2000). Spencer's idea on human nature can satisfy this concern over socialism and character. It explains the violation of Bellamy's concept of the ideal world.
The idea of state support to its citizens is not practically available. Educational needs are not fully met for every individual in America. This puts those who are illiterate at a disadvantaged position, as they would not face standard qualifications with the learned. It marginalizes this group of people, thus forming a disadvantaged minority. The elimination of poverty from the state is far from being true. In America, many states have ghettos that consist of the poor and needy. According to Bellamy, the present case of socialism is inadequate to qualify as his Utopia.
Spencer's argument on evolution characteristics is seen as more practical than the Utopian concept. Greed in society is at its climax, as cases of corruption at the highest levels are reported and heard daily. This means that the rich still possess the propensity for greed and opportunism. They struggle to build more assets despite the relative social differences; this is just like capitalism and greed. The ideal authority, according to Bellamy, should prevent social greed but socialism in the United States does not show this Utopia (Masy, 2000). Ironically, the authorities are the key figures in mismanagement and corruption.
The future socialism, according to Edward, is nowhere near to be attained; this is because social evils like greed are still found in the modern socialism in these states. This puts the applicability of his ideas in question. Utopia is seen as an impractical dream. Character is thus seen to move from one generation to another despite other social changes. A society, whether united or separated, maintains its evil characteristics.
The Utopian experience is considered a perfect example of socialism due the ease on human life (Smith 2001). Consider where the citizens of a state are provided with both primary and secondary needs by the state. There would be no hardships in life due to sufficient provisions from the system. This is a desirable condition for any state, as the central government would receive equal participation. This would eliminate greed as the state caters for all citizens in the equitable manner. The society would be truly free from criminal activities, as all citizens would be income earners. Financial capabilities would be the same and the economic strain would be minimal.
The present international relations need this Utopian concept. It would promote international cooperation among current enemy states. The resources present in these nations would be developed for the benefit of citizens and not individual interests of leaders. Human fatalities and government instabilities would be averted. The social structure of Bellamy's Socialism is ideal for full realization of societal evolution (Dombrowski, 1966).
Socialism is a set of political beliefs and principles creating a system that allows all individuals to benefit from the resources of a country. Herbert Spencer and the contribution he made towards philosophy were related to English industrialism. His ideas formed a coherent structure involving the recent findings in biology and physics. Social laws associated with him were unique cases of the general principles he believed in. His social theories in the United States of America brought much appeal. Spencer put forth ideas relating to the eighteenth century philosophers. He attempted to merge the implications of science to action and social thought. Spencer's deductive system began with what he termed as the persistence of force; this was popularly known as the Conservation of Energy.
Looking at evolution, it can be defined as the integration of matter that is progressive followed by the dissipation of motion, while dissolution is matter disorganization that is followed by motion being absorbed in the process (Heilbroner, 1999). Herbert claimed that all things that are homogeneous have unstable incoherence. This is due to the different future results obtained after this force has acted on their parts. After this process, the developed outcome is heterogeneous. The outcome of this process in society is caused by achieving an equilibrium state. This process is called equilibration according to Spencer's ideologies. The final state of equilibrium is considered inevitable by many philosophers.
Bellamy supports the views of socialism and even calls them “nationalism”. In his book, he talks about waking from a long sleep to realize almost ideal concept to his perception of socialism. Bellamy supports the views of socialism and even called it “nationalism”. In his book, he talks about waking from a long sleep to realize almost ideal concept to his perception of socialism. He did not support the idea of excessive efforts from individuals for the benefit of equal degree. It was unfair for the tyrannical individuals to share in the efforts of the poor; this explains why he did not agree with capitalism. His world is governed by the Principle of Universal Military Service. These principles are not common but the benefit is that there is satisfaction in working.
Spencer's argument assumes that a government system uses its citizens to build their political economy and is administered by honest minds, but the notion of embezzlement state is inevitable. Humans cannot co-exist completely without fighting and envying. The Utopia created by Bellamy is not practical for the real situation. Spencer, in his evolutionary analysis of society and its transformation, talked of a society that would inherit the characteristics of their predecessors. The two philosophers do not contrast in terms of philosophical stands but their application of the concepts is different. The state is the main concern for socialists, who work in cooperation to build the state. Individualism is only purposed to give more to the rich and oppress the citizens.
In his idea of a perfect world, the transformations of one generation to the next discard evil in society (Smith, 2001). He compares the year 2000 with the notion he had on society and politics. The only impracticality was human nature. Spencer's argument on evolution characteristics is seen as more practical than the Utopian concept. This means that the rich still possess the trait of greed and opportunism. They struggle to build more assets despite the relative social differences. The future socialism, according to Edward, is far from attainment; this is because social evils like greed are still found in the modern socialism in these states. There would be no hardships in life due to sufficient provisions from the system. This is a desirable condition for any state, as the central government would receive equal participation.