The chief value of this little work is in the fact that it goes to the true sources of socialism, whether considered as a scientific economic theory or as a living social and political movement. There is nothing second-hand about it. The author did not shrink from the toil of examining the most voluminous and abstruse works as well as the ephemeral productions of the daily press and of socialistic oratory. Socialists themselves give him credit for having interpreted their meaning and their aims more faithfully and accurately than some of their own followers. It is this accurate interpretation of the principles and policy of socialism that gives a universal and permanent value to Father Cathrein's treatise. Socialism is the same all the world over. It is the translation of German social democracy and its adaptation to the views of other civilized nations. It is the theory of Marx, Bebel, and Liebknecht in English, American, or some other foreign dress. The Germans have the very questionable merit of having given to modern socialism a systematic and scientific form. Whatever there is in our English and American socialistic life and literature is but an importation, a plagiarism, or bad imitation of German socialism. It is well, then, that a German, who has carefully examined the genuine article on its native soil, should become our guide in the study of this peculiar phenomenon of social and economic life. The method of treatment will speak for itself. Forming a portion of a large scientific work, it is necessarily condensed; but it will be found, none the less, to contain all that is worth knowing to the general reader on the important subject of which it treats. Some questions-as, for instance, the scope and limits of civil power; the notion, origin, and lawfulness of property-have been omitted or only briefly touched upon, because they had been treated at full length in other parts of the work. Partly for this same reason, and partly because the author does not consider it as belonging to socialism strictly so called, which forms the subject of this treatise, nothing has been said of agrarian socialism, or the land question. For the rest, the author's masterly refutation of the land theories of Henry George and De Laveleye is before the English-reading public under the title of "The Champions of Agrarian Socialism " (Buffalo, N. Y., Peter Paul & Bro.). The present translation was made from the fourth German edition, but corrected and enlarged somewhat from the fifth edition. The editor, however, being left entirely free to use his discretion in getting out the English version, did not deem it desirable to adopt all the additions of the latest German edition, but only those that bear more directly upon recent developments in the socialistic movement (e.g., the Erfurt programme of 1891, p. 24, sq.). For the rest, he was careful not to omit anything which he deemed of importance for the full understanding of the principles and tactics of socialists. He confidently trusts that his humble painstaking may at least to some extent help to arouse the English-speaking world to a sense of the grave dangers that threaten society, that they may the more eagerly grasp the right hand of safety held out to them in the recent Encyclical (Rerum Novarum) by our Holy Father Leo XIII.
Rev Victor Cathrein SJ, Brother Hermenegild TOSF James Conway SJ, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1495477975, ISBN 13: 9781495477973