Socialism and Modern Science Enrico Ferri 1900


The theory of universal evolution which – apart from such or such a more or less disputable detail – is truly characteristic of the vital tendency of modern scientific thought, has also been made to appear in absolute contradiction with the theories and the practical ideals of socialism.

In this case the fallacy is obvious.

If socialism is understood as that vague complex of sentimental aspirations so often crystallized into the artificial utopian creations of a new human world to be substituted by some sort of magic in a single day for the old world in which we live; then it is quite true that the scientific theory of evolution condemns the presumptions and the illusions of artificial or utopian political theories, which, whether they are reactionary or revolutionary, are always romantic, or in the words of the American Senator Ingalls, are “iridescent dreams.”

But, unfortunately for our adversaries, contemporary socialism is an entirely different thing from the socialism which preceded the work of Marx. Apart from the same sentiment of protest against present injustices and the same aspirations toward a better future, there is nothing in common between these two socialisms, neither in their logical structure nor in their deductions, unless it be the clear vision, which in modern socialism becomes a mathematically exact prediction (thanks to the theories of evolution) of the final social organization – based on the collective ownership of the land and the means of production.

These are the conclusions to which we are led by the evidence of the facts – facts verified by a scientific examination of the three principal contradictions which our opponents have sought to set up between socialism and scientific evolution.

From this point it is impossible not to see the direct causal connection between Marxian socialism and scientific evolution, since it must be recognized that the former is simply the logical consequence of the application of the evolutionary theory to the domain of economics.