A PHENOMENON new to America is the growing sympathy among men and women of education with the ideals and methods of the revolutionary proletariat. An aristocrat deserting his class — a Gracchus, a Mirabeau — is an old, old story. That is not the present situation. What is taking place in America now — something with which Europe has long been familiar — is the formation of an intellectual class, revolutionary in tendency and bound together by a common antipathy for the present order of things. Although not organized, it has coherence; and it exercises power through a number of brilliantly edited journals, which, though recently established, have rapidly gained wide circulation and influence. It may be stated that the weekly which, unlike the daily and the monthly, is primarily an organ of opinion, is now largely in the hands of radicals, who are thus in a position to mobilize a large and influential section of public opinion in favor of their ideals.
The intellectuals are the one class whose power is not based on economic advantages, large numbers, or powerful organization, but on sheer ability to write, to think, and to speak. I use the word ‘intellectual’ in the European sense, as referring to a person of education and culture who is actively interested in radical and revolutionary movements. In this sense a scholar, no matter how learned and how devoted to his subject, is not an intellectual if he holds conservative views. A reader of Tolstoi, Marx, Ibsen, Shaw, and Sorel, no matter how young and superficial, is an intellectual, if his views of life are radical. I use these contrasts in order to emphasize the new meaning of the word, not to disparage the intellectuals, for among them there are to be found scholars and thinkers and scientists of a high order of ability.
It was in France, at the end of the eighteenth century, that the class of intellectuals had its beginning. The philosophers and encyclopædists whose ideas so profoundly influenced the French Revolution established a tradition that writers, teachers, artists, and scientists can exercise power in society provided it is used on the side opposed to the status quo. In the revolutionary history of France during the nineteenth century it was generally an intellectual who led the liberal and radical forces. Thiers, Lamartine, Blanc, Simon,Hugo, Zola, Anatole France, Jaurès are names that recall great crises in French affairs. The masses have willingly followed the leadership of the intellectuals, because they are proud of having their dumbness become vocal through men of letters who are able to voice their aspirations in a manner that makes them attractive and convincing to the public generally. The French tradition has been carried over to the other nations of Europe, and there, too, the intellectuals have generally assumed the leadership of the radical forces. Nowhere has this been more true than in Russia, where, from the very beginning of the revolutionary movement, from Herzen to Lenin, the intelligentsia have been in the forefront of revolutionary activity. Naturally, the universities have been the centres from which has radiated much of the influence of the intellectuals, and the student-agitator has long been a familiar figure in Europe.
In America the young college man who is an intellectual corresponds to the ‘student’ of Continental Europe. A generation ago he was the foe of bossism and political corruption. How many generous-hearted, eager-minded college men entered public life to purify American politics of tyranny and corruption! The activities of young America in this field led to many reform movements, especially in municipal politics, which accomplished lasting good. Then another tendency appeared — social reform. Young Americans now moved to the slums, to live among the poor as settlement workers. They studied the lives of the workers and became ardent advocates of child-labor legislation, factory reform, minimum-wage laws, and social insurance. The muck-raking movement came along and exposed the connection between an inefficient and backward political system and evil social conditions; whereupon Young America ardently embraced radical politics, in order to make our constitutional system more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the day. It helped greatly in the formation of the Progressive Party, and, what is more, it gave to that party the intellectual basis which attracted the support of all forward-looking men and women throughout the country.
The final decade of the nineteenth century is of vital importance in the intellectual history of America. The revolutionary literature of Europe came to us overnight. Matthew Arnold, John Stuart Mill, Huxley, Lowell, Emerson, Hugo, Taine were put into handsome bookcases with closed doors. On the open shelves appeared Shaw, Wells, Nietzsche, Marx, Anatole France, Ibsen, Tolstoi, Dostoievsky. New American voices were also heard, — some soft, some loud, but all in the same key, — in politics, in economics, in philosophy, and in literature. The rising generation heard the new voices from Europe and America with rapt attention; and the adventurous among them felt a call to explore this new planet that swam within their ken. The old appeals to political and social reform now fell flat. Fighting bosses no longer had the romantic glamour of the days of George William Curtis. Agitation for social reform no longer had the zest of the days of Theodore Roosevelt. Reformers are now regarded as dull, unimaginative, and narrow-minded. Let anyone today appeal to the intelligent young college man to join a good-government club or to live in a social settlement, and the response will be a disdainful smile. The young intellectual is absorbed in the study of movements whose revolutionary tenets make political and social reform look sickly and pale, fit for maiden ladies and unsophisticated suburbanites.
The radical pace gained momentum as it proceeded. First it was Fabianism, a pink variety of Socialism; then it was Marxian Socialism; then Syndicalism; now they are flirting with Guild Socialism and Bolshevism. The muchadmired Fabian, Sidney Webb, has lived to see himself denounced as a stupid tool of capitalism. The veteran Marxian scholar, Karl Kautsky, long respected as a Socialist oracle, is now derided as a dull pedant. Shaw and Wells too have now reached the end of their influence, for they no longer appeal to the rising generation of intellectuals. In reading the preface to Heart-break House one becomes conscious that Shaw’s pessimism is due to a feeling of loneliness. Once he gayly charged full tilt at heavily armored conventions, cheered on by an enthusiastic, if small, audience. Now he is still in the arena, but his audience has vanished.
Nor is it only in social and political matters that the intellectual has taken an advanced stand. In philosophy he avows pragmatism; in art, futurism; in poetry, vers libre; in psychology, psycho-analysis. The subject in which he is not in the least interested is religion. That is not even a private matter; it is no matter at all. He does not pay the church the compliment of being hostile to her. He is not filled with hatred for religion, as were the philosophers of the eighteenth century; he simply ignores it as a force incapable of good or evil.
The rise of the intellectual class is a phenomenon of comparatively recent times. It is my purpose to attempt to explain its origin and evolution, in the hope that a clearer understanding may be had of the important rôle that it is now playing in the world. Human emotions are generally regarded as natural and unchangeable. Few suspect that emotions, like ideas and institutions, have undergone profound changes during the long history of mankind. During the centuries preceding the French and Industrial revolutions, the emotion that dominated society and determined one’s attitude toward life might be described by the word sentiment. By sentiment I mean an attachment to a person, calling, institution, or locality, not to an abstract ideal or to a clearly defined principle. Sentiment was the supreme emotion of former days. Around institutions hoary with age, about persons symbolic of power,—the king, the priest, — men’s imaginations wove a magic spell of awe and reverence. Within the confines of the mediæval town and manor there pulsated an intense emotional life, all the more intense because narrow; and it centred around the family, the guild, the commune, the province. Tradition was the bond that united the various elements among the living; it was also the bond that united the living with the dead. As generation succeeded generation, there was added layer upon layer of tradition. The older the tradition, the deeper the sentiment. Men of all temperaments, of all stations, of all ages, were insensibly permeated with this emotion. When Englishmen died for Charles I, when Frenchmen died for Louis XIV, they did not do so for love of country, or for the cause of monarchy, but because of the sentiment of loyalty to their sovereign. When the burghers of the Middle Ages rose against their lords, they were inspired by the sentiment of devotion to their commune, not by the principles of democratic government. When the explorers set sail for the New World, they were inspired by the sentiment of adventure, not by the cause of colonial expansion.
The French and Industrial revolutions destroyed, not only political and social systems, but also the power of sentiment. As these movements created new institutions, they also created a new emotion, unquestioned loyalty to principles and ideals. A man of principle, an idealist, will die for an abstraction, a cause, which in the social and political field has the same psychologic quality that dogma has in the religious field. It is absolute and true from first to last. It is of vital importance to note that a principle, unlike a sentiment, can be realized. On the way to realization it arouses on the part of its adherents an intense fervor; but once it is realized, it dies as a propelling force and becomes accepted as a convention.
The nineteenth century was the Age of Principle. The dynamic changes which wore taking place during that period in every department of human life compelled each generation to begin its life almost anew. Traditions, long the inspiration of past generations, now had neither a favorable soil in which to grow nor sufficient time in which to mature. Men were therefore compelled to seek new sources of inspiration, which they found in ‘principles.’ A traditionless society realized that the stuff of spiritual life must of necessity be a principle, first conceived as a great truth and then applied in the social order. Each generation has its own principles to formulate and to realize. That is progress.
The movements of the nineteenth century were all ‘progressive.’ The principle of democracy swept on till all political power was in the hands of the people. The principle of nationalism strengthened the bonds that united old nations like England and France, and created new nations like Germany, Italy, and the United States. The principle of religious freedom was realized to a degree little dreamed of by the skeptics of the Renaissance and by the Protestant Reformers. The principle of universal literacy was freely accepted and applied in the creation of national systems of education. The industrial classes, who succeeded the aristocrats as the controlling element in society, were liberal and progressive, being driven along by the dynamic society that had come into existence. They reformed and abolished, with scant regard for institutions for which there existed no rational or utilitarian basis. Something old was something no longer to be cherished, but to be thrown away. The middle-class revolutionists and reformers were doctrinaires believing in liberty, freedom, equality, progress, which were the motive power behind their incessant activity. They were in the grip of principles, and they could have no peace until these principles were realized.
In politics nationalism and democracy were constantly to the fore; and these two principles appealed to the idealistic youth of those days with an intensity that made them undergo all manner of self-sacrifice. History is only too full of illustrations: French revolutionists fighting behind barricades; Young Germany and Young Italy agitating for free and united fatherlands; Russian nihilists conspiring against autocracy; English liberals organizing reform movements. The protagonists of these movements were the rising generation of intellectuals, the flower of bourgeois youth, who sadly lived and gladly died to realize their principles.
By the end of the nineteenth century the great ideals that had stirred the period, nationalism and democracy, were in large part attained in Western Europe; and they became accepted conventions that no one dared, or even cared, to question. An emotional void was thus created for the new generation of ardent spirits. They came into existence in a world that had once struggled but was now satiated and content. What had been a hope was now a memory. The intellectuals of the new generation could not feed on old principles as once, in the aristocratic past, they could feed on the store of sentiment accumulated throughout the ages. The older a sentiment, the richer, the nobler, the more attractive it is. But the older a principle, the more attenuated, the more ragged, the more commonplace it becomes. Can anyone imagine H. G. Wells dying for Jugo-Slavia as Byron died for Greece! Or Bernard Shaw and Anatole France fighting behind the barricades for woman suffrage! Or Max Eastman and Edgar Lee Masters dedicating their lives to the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall? The tragedy of nationalists and democrats, according to the intellectual, lies in the fact that they have realized their ideals. Their road to freedom has become a rut.
The passionate devotion of the intellectuals to the cause of the proletariat is not due primarily to their interest in the welfare of the poor. They know little of the lives of the poor because few, very few, of them have been workingmen, or have intimately associated with workingmen. Nearly all intellectuals are ‘artists,’ in the sense that they are individuals in whom the craving for self-expression is too great to be satisfied by conventional ideals. They do not find any emotional content in ‘principles’ which they abhor as characteristic of bourgeois doctrinaires. They desire opportunities for the expression of their personality in all forms and in all ways, and they are as opposed to new ‘principles’ as to old ones. For this reason many of them have reacted against Marxian Socialism, with its rigid logic and its dogmatic formulations; and they have gone over to the newer revolutionary movements, whose appeal is more mystical than rational. To the intellectual these movements hold out enchanting prospects for selfexpression. In them they see possibilities of a new and richer emotional life, because they challenge the present world-order in its entirety, and propose to build a system of society on new foundations. Primarily these revolutionary movements are economic, but it is an economics touched with emotion, a strange and haunting phenomenon. One who is bored with the life about him, if he be of an adventurous temperament, will gladly set sail for strange and unknown shores. The journey alone is full of compensation, even if no goal is reached.
Modern society has a tendency toward uniformity and universality. The various classes, with their special privileges or discriminations, and with their distinctive dress; the various localities, with their peculiar customs and dialects; the various racial groups, with their traditions, which existed universally in former times, have now been amalgamated into a common national body and forced into a common national mould. Once Kent was as different from Northumbria as England now is from Italy. Strange to say, the artistic temperament was much freer to express itself in the aristocratic world of the past than it is in the democratic world of to-day. Was one dissatisfied with his environment, all he had to do was to journey a few miles to find himself in a totally new world. But now the differences between countries are ever becoming smaller, and a uniform civilization is rapidly spreading throughout the world, even in picturesque Asia and savage Africa. Calcutta, Tokio, Pekin, Cairo, and Cape Town are not so different from Paris, Berlin, London, and New York as they once were.
The triumphant middle classes have imposed upon society their morals and ideas, as well as their political and economic systems. A subconscious fear has seized upon those of artistic temperament, that the world will soon become a vast prison from which there will be no escape for one who desires to express himself in his own way. The freedom of the individual established by modern society has meant that individuals are free to contract; but once the contract is made, they are limited by its terms. This freedom of contract in whatever form, whether business, professional, or matrimonial, is especially hateful to the intellectual. He deems it a cunningly devised method to entrap the individual into a surrender of his personality. What the intellectual desires is not freedom to contract but freedom to expand. He wishes to construct a society in which responsibilities will be borne by the community, leaving the individual free to develop his personality unhampered by obligations political, economic, or family. It is against modern society and what he calls ‘bourgeois ideology’ that the intellectual has raised the standard of revolt. What is more natural than that he should ally himself with the mortal enemy of the present system, the proletariat ?
As has already been stated, the intellectual is primarily interested in the social problem as a form of self-expression. Hence he is the leading protagonist of freedom of speech and of the press. Like all other great abstract rights, freedom of speech is as frequently honored in the breach as in the observance. Since the invention of printing every generation has had to fight anew for this right. It has never been freely granted anywhere by a government to those of its opponents who desired to overthrow the existing social system. Universal literacy, popular newspapers, and cheap books have made the power of the press the chief weapon in social control. It is likewise the chief weapon of those in opposition. A printing-press is more than a match for a regiment. Through the press the agitator may address thousands, and even millions, at the same time. This enables a propaganda to spread rapidly, and organized opposition becomes infinitely more easy of accomplishment than it otherwise could be.
Formerly the government was not only the most powerfully and the most comprehensively organized force in the community: it was the only force coextensive with it. Nowadays a counter-organization on the same scale can easily be set up; and though unarmed, it can reduce a government to helplessness by the simple expedient of having millions ‘fold their arms’ at a given signal. This is the terror of the general strike; and it brought to bay the Russian Tsar in 1905, and obliged him to call the Duma. The general strike is no ‘social myth’; and any government may suddenly be brought face to face with a situation of passive resistance which can reduce its decrees to motions in a void. Freedom of the press is therefore assuming an importance little dreamed of in former days. Far more effective than censorship laws is the self-imposed censorship of the ordinary paper which steers the news into safe channels and directs public opinion through the editorial columns. So important is the press deemed to-day, that the newspaper offices were among the first to be seized by the Communists in Russia, Hungary, and Germany.
The intellectual finds that what he has to say is not welcome in the columns of the ordinary journal. On the other hand, the radical papers more than welcome his contributions because, in the first place, they pay little or nothing for them; and, in the second place, they are willing to print articles on all kinds of subjects of varied interest, such as free verse, futurism, psychoanalysis and feminism, which supplant the sporting news, society notes, and sensational stories found in regular journals. A Socialist paper filled with Socialist propaganda and labor news only would be so dull and uninteresting that even its most devoted readers would soon cease to buy it. Hence the editor throws his columns wide open to the intellectuals, many of whom are thereby given their first opportunity to write. A young man with literary talent, after his manuscript has been rejected by conservative papers, sends it to radical ones, and finds to his delight that it is accepted. In this way the radical press becomes a sort of salon des refusés, and not infrequently the exhibition is of very high quality.
The sense of power that a writer has when he feels that his pen is influencing many minds makes a deep appeal to the intellectual. Through the radical press he satisfies his hunger for power and influence as well as his desire for self-expression. The intellectual has discovered that he can be far more influential as a radical than as a conservative; that only in opposition can his abilities be fully utilized and developed; and this discovery has profoundly affected the trend of his mind. The editor of the Liberator has a wide influence, not only over his readers, but over the community. What would he be as editor of the Outlook? The editor of the London New Age, a Guild-Socialist journal with a small circulation, is an important figure in English political journalism. What would he be as editor of the conservative Spectator? Bertrand Russell, long known and respected by students of philosophy, no sooner becomes an intellectual than he leaps into fame, and millions of readers in both England and America hail him as a prophet. No one would for a moment question Mr. Russell’s sincerity, but would anyone question his enjoyment of his rôle as the popular author of Proposed Roads to Freedom?
Many of the intellectuals are of the class called in Europe ‘the intellectual proletariat.’ They are highly educated men and women who barely manage to make a living as writers, teachers, ministers, or artists. Their tastes are high, but their income is low; which conduces to a sense of irritation. I do not say that they are discontented with their lot. On the contrary, they are well satisfied with their work and wish for nothing better than to continue in their professions. But they are irritated. At what? At the sight of their prosperous relatives and friends who have money, but neither refined taste nor intellectual aspiration.
It is an error to suppose that the poor envy the rich. A poor workingman, looking at the mansion of the millionaire, is filled, not with envy, but with curiosity. To be envious would require far more imagination than he ordinarily possesses. We envy those only who are a little more prosperous than we, not those who are immeasurably so. A man getting a salary of twenty dollars a week envies the one who gets fifty, not his employer, who enjoys an income of a hundred thousand dollars a year.
From all that one can judge, the ability to make money is a special gift that some possess and others do not. This gift seems to be in no way related to any other, such as scientific ability, artistic taste, intellectual acuteness, or philosophic temperament. A man may be ignorant, dull, stupid, commonplace, and yet be an excellent business man. The modern industrial system has given full rein to those possessed of a peculiar gift for making money, and it has resulted in making the nouveau riche a common and irritating phenomenon. Take the struggling journalist or teacher, who hears that his cousin, a shoedrummer, earned a commission of ten thousand dollars a year; or that his wife’s uncle made twenty-five thousand dollars in a real-estate deal; or that his hustling school-fellow made fifty thousand in a lucky investment. All these successful ones he knows and despises as commonplace; yet they have the wherewithal to satisfy tastes such as he has, and to achieve ideals such as his.
Nature has dowered him with riches, but society has disinherited him. Being a reflective person, he sees himself in relation to the social order, and the incongruity of his position seems natural in a society that puts a premium on property. Were the existing system abolished, with it would go those who control through the possession of property. In a propertyless world who would lead, who would control, if not the man of brains and of ideas? So reasons the intellectual.
De Tocqueville remarks, in his study of France before the Revolution, that the great error of the ancien régime was that it did not employ the philosophers; for, being free of institutional control, they developed the revolutionary ideas which inspired those who destroyed it. This was taken deeply to heart by Germany, where the Gelehrte were under the direct control of the government or under its strict supervision. The intellectual has not flourished in Germany. In democratic countries the atmosphere has been favorable to the growth of radicalism, either because the authorities have been liberal, or because numerous private enterprises, such as schools, journals, and societies, have been permitted to flourish entirely independent of government control.
Among the intellectuals in America three groups are to be distinguished: the ‘free lances,’ the poorly paid brainworkers, and the parlor revolutionists. The ‘free lance’ is ideally fitted to carry on the war against society. Having few or no home-ties, unattached to institutions public or private, earning his living spasmodically, caring little for public opinion, the natural enemy of everything solid and established, he is free to attack and offers no point for a counter-attack. To be held up to scorn and contumely by the respectable merely adds to his zest in life. The ‘free lances’ are generally the leading spirits among the intellectuals.
Although highly skilled, the poorly paid brain-workers are now the ‘submerged tenth’ of the labor world. Unlike the hand-workers, they cannot very well organize trade-unions, because they are scattered in small groups over the community, not concentrated in large masses as are the industrial workers. The strike is the one powerful weapon at the command of the handworkers; it is, in fact, the raison d’être of the trade-union. But a strike of brain-workers, say of teachers, would work little hardship on a community, as intellectual labor, unlike hand labor, is a luxury, not a necessity. The inconvenience that such a strike would cause the general public would be trifling compared with a strike by coal, railway, or textile workers. A teachers’ strike would be broken by the children, who would gladly welcome it as an unlooked-for holiday. The brain-workers can therefore improve their lot but slowly, as they are obliged to make their appeal to the general public; and what is everybody’s business is nobody’s duty. Actually they are in the same economic position as the unskilled, unorganized, low-grade laborers. Having no unions to fight their battles, their salaries falling ever further behind the rapid stride of the cost of living, secretly despised by their superiors, objects of sympathetic ridicule to the public, is it any wonder that many among the ‘intellectual proletariat’ listen to the voice of the revolutionary siren that bids them discard the ideals which they are urged to preach and which have brought them to so sorry a lot?
Much has been said of the college professors who are influencing the minds of their students in the direction of revolutionary thought. In fact, a veritable panic has been created in certain circles, for fear of what might lurk behind that calm exterior of the professor. One who is acquainted with academic life knows that these fears are groundless. As a whole there exists no more conservative-minded body of men than college professors. Everything in their environment. and in their training makes for conservatism. They are attached to institutions, which tends to a corporate sense of responsibility and loyalty. They are specialists, which inclines them to be cautious and slow in accepting radical theories. Moreover, they are in the main engaged in gathering and disseminating the knowledge of the past, and that gives them a historic sense which makes for conservative views.
Yet now and then some professor, always a man of romantic temperament, breaks away from his traditions, environment, and intellectual moorings to venture forth into radical paths. He becomes a marked man in the academic world, and before long he makes, or is forced to make, his exit. In former days the academic martyr found himself in a sad plight. Being generally unsuited for other occupations, he drifted rapidly toward the ragged edge. But times have changed. Outside the established world of opportunity, there is growing up another world of opportunity which is offering careers open to radical talent. I refer to the radical publications, some of which pay well for contributions; to the social and educational activities of the labor-unions, and to the new schools which seek to orient themselves in the problems of the new day. A radical college professor fleeing from the wrath of his trustees is welcomed with open arms in influential circles which give him far better opportunities than those which he left behind. The martyr is crowned, not with a crown of thorns, but with a wreath of laurel. Those who take up teaching in the labor colleges find to their surprise that they are held in profound respect by the workingmen, the ancient awe of the unlettered for the learned. These institutions will before long draw to themselves scholars of distinction, who may feel that they will be freer to conduct their investigations and to express their views under the new auspices.
In the churches as in the colleges, the intellectuals now and then make their appearance, greatly disturbing the peace of mind of their congregations. The clerical intellectual is usually a man who has realized that people will no longer come to church to hear the pure gospel preached. In the country, the church has almost no rivals as a social institution. Where is one to go on Sunday — the day of recreation — to meet his fellows, if not to church? But in the cities the situation is different. There the many opportunities for social intercourse have put the church in the position of being one of many institutions — and by no means the most interesting one — which seek to bring people together. Even the eloquent preacher of doctrinal Christianity in a city church will before long find his congregation dwindling. The plain truth of the matter is that under present conditions it takes almost a moral genius to make a sermon interesting. Every possible interpretation of every text in the Bible has already been given. There is nothing new to say on the subject, and the urbanite is always eager to hear something new. That the old is true, good, and beautiful makes no difference. People may believe it and stay at home, or go to hear a popular lecturer, or go away for an outing. What is the preacher of righteousness to do? How is he to be an influence for good in the community? Or, in other words, how is he to satisfy his desire for self-expression? At one time the preacher who attacked orthodox beliefs could attract an audience. But to-day, so little interest is there in theological matters that even heresy excites but languid interest.
The clerical intellectual has found an answer to these questions. By taking a radical stand on the social problem that is so constantly and so insistently before the public eye, he can rouse the enthusiasm of many, and they will fill his church to overflowing. From the days of Kingsley and Manning, the preacher of social righteousness has been a potent influence in the community; for, as the representative of an ancient institution, he becomes an intensely dramatic figure when he appears as the spokesman of revolutionary ideals. He may not succeed in making converts, but he certainly does succeed in bringing crowds to his church. Some go to hear him out of curiosity; some because he is an able speaker on topics that interest them; others because they devoutly believe that Christianity has another message for the world — the salvation of mankind through social action.
I am now entering upon a phase of the subject that has been much discussed and little understood. I refer to what is commonly called parlor Bolshevism. It would be very easy to heap ridicule on the parlor revolutionists, and laugh them out of court as sensation-hunters, dilettante dabblers in dangerous doctrines, shallow, and superficial. But their numbers and influence are sufficiently important to warrant one in saying that parlor radicalism is a social phenomenon worthy of study.
Wherein lies the chief value of an independent income? Obviously in that it frees one from the necessity of daily labor and so gives the great desideratum — leisure. The chief use of leisure among the wealthy generally is play, which takes many forms, such as golf, yachting, gambling, motoring, travel, love-making. Most wealthy people are satisfied with these forms of play and with the players. But here and there adventurous individuals among them, those gifted with a highly sensitive temperament or with more imagination than is common in their ‘set,’ begin to feel that there is not enough interest in the games that they have played so many times in the same way. Their fellow players bore them. Take away the zest of play and what becomes of the advantages of leisure? Indeed, what is the good of being rich!
These have discovered a new game which is endlessly interesting and feverishly exciting — to play with new ideas. The parlor revolutionists are amateurs at this game, not professionals like their poor brethren; and like amateurs, they stand to lose nothing and yet have all the fun that the game affords. A contribution to a radical journal or to a radical organization is an excellent investment, for it yields handsome returns. It brings the donors into contact with truly interesting people; it gives them the open sesame to what is to them an exotic world; it gives them a new emotion — unconventionality in thought. What fascinating people one meets at radical dinners and clubs! Once the rich were philanthropists, and patrons of welfare-workers and social reformers. But these are notoriously dull, therefore their patrons are rapidly deserting them for the intellectuals, who are brilliant, original, and interesting. A parlor revolutionist lives a richer, a fuller life than he can in his own set. He is made acquainted with the newest ideas in art, literature, and philosophy; and all this without very much effort on his part; for those who create them bring their thoughts, their pictures, and their manuscripts directly to him. And, moreover, a parlor revolutionist is always safe. He does nothing.
Man is an artistic animal, and selfexpression is the law of his being. In most of us this artist-quality flickers faintly; in a few it burns with a ‘hard, gem-like flame.’ Starved, suppressed, this artist-quality in man dies, and he becomes as the beasts of the field, a creature of habit treading well-worn paths and abiding peacefully in the shade of his traditions. In a society such as ours, which is constantly being dislocated by industrial progress and by wars of nations and of classes, the artistic spirit, as embodied in the intellectual, finds many opportunities to express itself. By nature anarchistic, eternally at war with traditions and institutions, the intellectual is quick to step forth as the protagonist of those ideals which mean for the world a new order, and for him a new life.