Mr. Crocker, author of
Elbert Hubbard was a kindly man who searched for the good in socialism 60 years ago. He eventually defined it as "a sincere, sentimental, beneficent theory, which has but one objection, and that is, it will not work."
He was almost correct, but not completely. Socialism can be made to work—albeit badly—by the imposition of sheer coercion. The dream passes; the tyranny endures, an encrusting slag that seals out the air of freedom. In our times many important people have been slow to learn this. One of them was Ferhat Abbas.
He is a wiser man today. As nationalization proceeded, he became the last influential voice speaking for parliamentary and popular freedom in
Ferhat Abbas has now resigned and will live abroad. Freedom, he learned, has to be sought elsewhere. To find it, he must go to a capitalist country with a relatively free economic system and a respect for private property. This is not what those books had told him.
Our home-grown socialist will smile and demur: "Ah, that is different; the socialism we advocate is the democratic kind." That was the kind poor Ferhat Abbas advocated. He learned too late what Elbert Hubbard told us long ago. It has to do with the nature of the human animal. That kind "will not work."
But, as our century is proving, it is a road to tyranny. Like the road to Hell, it is sometimes paved with good intentions.