Socialism can be explained partially by man’s eternal desire and faith in a better life to come .
The very attitude of dogmatism and cock-sureness brands Socialism as unscientific.
The socialists hold an exaggerated idea of the importance of economics in the materialistic interpretation of history.
They hold the incorrect labor-cost theory of value .
Their wage theory is incorrect.
Because of their exaggerated stress on economic determinism they take a fatalistic attitude of the inevitability of the “social revolution” not realizing the many factors that are likely to retard or totally eliminate what they consider the inevitable impoverishment of the masses.
They have an unbounded faith in the justice, humanity, and wisdom of an all-inclusive State. A faith for which there are no scientific grounds to substantiate.
They have a perverted notion of the importance of men to react upon their environment and class all such attempts by the derogatory name of “utopian.”
Their replies to the criticism that the vast centralization which socialism implies would mean incompetence, tyrrany, corruption, a condition of classes, an insufferable bureaucracy with no limits to the denial of individual freedom give evidence to their utopian faith that such would not be so. This unfounded faith they brand as “scientific”.
History can best be explained by man’s will to live, that is his unquenchable desire to express himself to the full extent of his potentialities, and the economic factor is but a part of the manifestation of this will .
This will to live expresses itself in many non-economic phases such as art, religion, sex, power, ambition, contest, display, pleasure, play, love of emulation, etc. which though inseparably bound up with economic processes are more or less distinct from them. In other words life is much more complex than the Marxians seem to think. Tho it is true that to a hungry man the filling of his belly seems to him to be the most important thing in life.
Man is more than the passive recipient of progress, but also the active creator of it.
While history can largely be explained by a theory of class struggle to say that this struggle is based only on economic grounds is to take a lop-sided view of things. The fact is that these struggles were seldom between those who had and those who had not as Marxians think but between those who had and desired more with those who had not doing the fighting.
- “Man’s” mistakenly spelled as non-possessive.
- The original document has a typo double “the.”
- “Man’s” mistakenly spelled as non-possessive.
Commentary – Eric Fleischmann
Probably written sometime in the early to mid 1930s and archived by the Joseph A. Labadie Collection of the University of Michigan Library, this addition to the Laurance Labadie Archival Project is his brief but direct response to Marxism. I was very excited when I came across this because, as I’ve written before, “my own Marxian and materialist influences are fairly public.” It was unsurprising to me that he argues that Marxists “hold the incorrect labor-cost theory of value,” as Labadie maintains—in a manner that, as I’ve pointed out before, anticipates Kevin Carson’s interpretation of the labor theory of value—a mutualist perspective on the LTV. According to this view, as Labadie writes, “granting free competition, that is, free and equal access to the means of production, to the raw materials, and to an unrestricted market, the price of all articles will always tend to be measured by the effort necessary for their production. In other words, labor as a factor in measuring value will become predominant.” However, his claim that Marxist “wage theory is incorrect”—by which I assume he means the exploitation theory of surplus value—surprised me as he points, in the piece cited earlier, to profit as being one of the “three main forms of usury.” Apparently Labadie holds a different perspective than that of Marx on the difference between profit and wages being theft from producers, but whatever it is I have yet to come across it spelled out exp. And of course, Labadie stands alongside all other anarchists in condemning the “vast centralization,” “mean incompetence, tyrrany, corruption, . . . condition of classes, [and] . . . insufferable bureaucracy” implied in the “all-inclusive State” of authoritarian Marxism.
Labadie outrightly rejects the historical materialist view of reality, holding it to have an “exaggerated idea of the importance of economics in the materialistic interpretation of history” that leads to “economic determinism” and a “a fatalistic attitude of the inevitability of the ‘social revolution’ not realizing the many factors that are likely to retard or totally eliminate what they consider the inevitable impoverishment of the masses.” This is a bit (maybe more than a bit) of a strawman, but there is no denying that some—particularly in the Marxist-Leninist camp—have taken to an undialectical, clockwork materialism. Mario Cutajar writes on this subject in “The Crisis of Dialectical Materialism and Libertarian Socialism,” arguing that the original goal of Marxism was “to go beyond idealism and materialism” but overshot the mark in its post-Marx application because of the overly naturalist influence of secular liberalism. This ultimately “led to the belief that human behaviour could be reduced to the rigid and ‘exact’ laws of nature” and “replaced the ‘life-world’ (the world of actual, human experience) with a lifeless, abstract world composed of mathematical relationships.” But Labadie takes another stance, one that speaks to his Schopenhauerian and Neitzchean influences. According to him, “History can best be explained by man’s will to live, that is his unquenchable desire to express himself to the full extent of his potentialities, and the economic factor is but a part of the manifestation of this will,” thereby laying the emphasis on individuals and their wills—the blind, instinctual will but moreso the self-actualizing will-to-power—as the driving force of history and society.