E. Belfort Bax

Socialism and Dogma

(30 September 1899)

Letter – Socialism and Dogma, Justice, 30th September 1899, p.3.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrade,

Without attempting to answer in detail the two letters which appeared in Justice on September 9, there are just one, or two points to which I wish to call attention. As regards Mr. Kerr’s letter, I think for most members of our body; it will be sufficient to note that, according to him, most Christians indignantly repudiate the right (so warmly welcomed by the atheist and Socialist) of others to discuss their views in open forum. Whether all Christians adopt this attitude, I know not, but I certainly admit that the majority would be with Mr. Kerr. When this gentleman asks me how I would compel the Christian to accord that measure of common fairness to his opponents which the Socialist arid the atheist freely give, my reply is that I would have “gospel-shops” licensed in the same way as “gin-shops,” and would in this way keep the whip hand of the clerical gentry in question on the point mentioned. An endorsed or forfeited licence is quite as effective an instrument as the bayonet, and is more humane.

The long letter of our friend, “Looker-On,” deserves a rather fuller answer than I can now give him. I shall hope in the course of the next few months to be able to return to the subject in the pages of the Social-Democrat, a more suitable medium for such discussions than the columns of Justice. The only point in his letter on which I would say one word here is the accusation of “faddism” made against me by “Looker-On’s” Fabian friend. A subject which might be worthy of separate treatment in an article would be the correct identification of a faddist. I have my own clearly-cut definition, with which I will not occupy your space at the present moment, but certainly the Fabian who regards the question of the speculative beliefs and standard of conduct of men as being a mere fads “in my humble judgment” writes himself down an ass. There are people in the world who regard the cherished belief of Webb and his followers in the regeneration of mankind by means of municipal tramways and sewage as also not quite removed from the accusation of faddism. – yours fraternally,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 25.5.2004