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of a tax which men would feel. American financiering since our treasury surplus began is proof of this. To sum up, desirable as it would be to fasten our chief tax upon land, we should not be beguiled by the seductive idea of simplicity into the exclusion of other kinds of impost, since that course would, among many things, (I) aggravate the wrong of all imperfect assessments, which are unavoidable, (2) produce a most inelastic revenue system, (3) cut us off from a much needed weapon for disciplining minatory and refractory businesses, and (4) gravely threaten free institutions.
SOCIALISM AND THE FARMING INTEREST
F I have any special qualification for discussing socialism it is that of sympathetic opposition. I was once as near being a disciple of Rodbertus as I could come without baptism into the church. I thought I saw in Rodbertian socialism, socialism scientifically wrought out and applied, a remedy for the most glaring of our social evils. In time and upon study, however, the system which had seemed to me so desirable grew to look quite otherwise, the difficulties connected with it assuming vaster and vaster proportions, until in my thought they towered above and outnumbered those necessarily bound up with the present order. I was thus converted to the opinion that society has greater hope of reform on the general basis of individualism than by flying to the unknown though
inevitable ills accompanying a socialistic regime. None the less I retain for the manner of thinking which so long engaged me a respect which most of its opponents do not have. I cannot condemn socialists so unqualifiedly as is commonly done. Not only are the majority of them true philanthropists at heart but their ideas and ideals are worthy the most careful thought. Indeed, one not versed in Marx's reasonings can hardly be called fit to discuss any leading social theme. I rejoice in socialistic study and agitation; vast net good must issue from it. Few can help going far with the socialists in their indictment of present industry: Much wealth without merit; much poverty without demerit; cross purposes in production, inducing glut, scarcity, waste and injustice; idle wealth that might be supporting industry but is not; enforced idleness and poverty; fraud in trade; and the tyranny and menace of corporate power. These and such evils exist and they are