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Does Utilitarianism lead into Fabian Socialism?
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Posted on 03/08/2012 9:15:15 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica

It is quickly dawning on me from my courses at my re-education camp that the teachings of Utilitarianism are potentially a means to an end(to cite Alinsky), that a professor does not need to strictly teach socialist dogma in order to make sure that young adults leave colleges indoctrinated into the big government mindset. Just teach the foundations, teach that social justice is a good thing, and teach a handful of other things that complete the picture and the rest will fall into place. So how then, were the Fabians influenced by Utilitarianism? Judging from what I'm reading in Edward Pease's "The History of the Fabian Society", Utilitarianism is probably not the largest influence. But it can't be ignored either. Here are some general observations:

First, as I wrote earlier, Henry George was an important ideological driver for the Fabians. But as Pease's writing makes clear, George was not the only one. Chapter 1 of Pease's 'History' is titled "The Sources of Fabian Socialism" to which:

The ideas of the early eighties—The epoch of Evolution—Sources of Fabian ideas—Positivism—Henry George—John Stuart Mill—Robert Owen—Karl Marx—The Democratic Federation—"The Christian Socialist"—Thomas Davidson

To those of you not well versed in all of these things(and I don't consider myself an expert either, I'm just observing) John Stuart Mill is the Utilitarian key here. I also bolded Positivism, because that's Auguste Comte's ideals. I've not seen that in my classes, but it's something that Mill himself had wrote about, and not in a way that I would consider favorable to liberty.

But keeping with Utilitarianism and Fabianism, here is one of the first things written about Mill in Pease's 'history':

(quoting Mill)"We are too ignorant, either of what individual agency in its best form or Socialism in its best form can accomplish, to be qualified to decide which of the two will be the ultimate form of human society."

More than thirty years had passed since this had been written, and whilst the evils of private property, so vividly depicted by Mill, showed no signs of mitigation, the remedies he anticipated had made no substantial progress. The co-operation of the Rochdale Pioneers had proved a magnificent success, but its sphere of operations was now clearly seen to be confined within narrow limits. Profit-sharing then as now was a sickly plant barely kept alive by the laborious efforts of benevolent professors. Mill's indictment of the capitalist system, in regard to its effects on social life, was so powerful, his treatment of the primitive socialism and communism of his day so sympathetic, that it is surprising how little it prepared the way for the reception of the new ideas. But to some of his readers, at any rate, it suggested that there was an alternative to the capitalistic system, and that Socialism or Communism was worthy of examination.

I could go on quoting Pease at length, but I'm hoping people will click the link and do so for themselves. The above is certainly written favorably to Mill. Other parts of the book are certainly favorable as well, though at several times(as I mentioned at the beginning) the question arises as to just how influential Mill really was. My goal here is not to lay it all at the feet of Utilitarianism, as the facts simply do not warrant that. My goal is to get people thinking that perhaps there's more than one way for professors to get their students to start thinking that big government is the only correct course of action for society. It doesn't have to be communist or socialist propaganda.

Of the things I've found relating to Utilitarianism and Fabianism, four stand out and are worth the read to those interested:

1: "Shaw, the Fabians, and the Utilitarians" by William Irvine Lays out many things pretty well, including those things which are unwritten. For example, Beatrice Webb's parents, and their role in earlier Utilitarianism.

2: The Rise and Fall of England: 11. The Fabian Thrust to Socialism, an article on The Freeman which also details the influence of the Utilitarians.

3: The third is a writing by G. D. H. Cole, titled "Fabianism". Cole was himself a member of the Fabian Society, so he is yet another solid source for this, and to which unlike other writings seems to explain why the Fabians rejected many parts of Mill: (Page 3)

John Stuart Mill they recognized as standing at the point of transition between the two interpretations of utilitarianism. Although he sympathized with the socialism of his day, he was too deeply rooted in the old traditions for a complete conversion. The Fabians regarded themselves as completing the work which he had begun and thus found further cause to emphasize their continuity with older liberal thought.

4: Another member of the Fabian Society, Bertrand Russell, wrote the following, to which is displayed prominently upon one of the home pages of today's utilitarians, utilitarian.net(this comes from Page 39 of his autobiography)

It appeared to me obvious that the happiness of mankind should be the aim of all action, and I discovered to my surprise that there were those who thought otherwise. Belief in happiness, I found, was called Utilitarianism, and was merely one among a number of ethical theories. I adhered to it after this discovery.

I'm satisfied that the answer to the original question is an affirmative - Utilitarianism leads to Fabianism.


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: progressingamerica

1 posted on 03/08/2012 9:15:25 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica
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To: Noumenon; JDoutrider; OneLoyalAmerican; unkus; detective; iceskater; surroundedbyblue; ...

Summary: There's more than one way to indoctrinate a classroom.

2 posted on 03/08/2012 9:16:36 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

I would say that it’s the other way around. Socialism leads to utilitarianism, because when socialism is about dividing resources amongst the existing members of society artificially, which lends to the concept of designating some as deserving a share of resources and those who do not.


3 posted on 03/08/2012 9:20:02 AM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

The flaw in the writer’s logic is that so-called “social justice” IS socialist dogma.


4 posted on 03/08/2012 9:27:49 AM PST by WayneS (Comments now include 25% more sarcasm for no additional charge...)
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To: ProgressingAmerica
"I'm satisfied that the answer to the original question is an affirmative - Utilitarianism leads to Fabianism."

I think these are just two links in a larger chain. Driving all of this is the left's insistence on an empirical epistemology. Once that is establilshed as the dominant worldview then ultilitarianism follows as a matter of course. From that socialism, totalitarianism and genocide will come on each other's heels, like falling dominos. Just as night follows day. (unless of course the population is able to figure out that the logical conclusion of pure utilitarianism is solipsism. But that realization generally comes too late for anyone to do anything about it. Anarchy is restrained by an iron fist.)

5 posted on 03/08/2012 9:29:25 AM PST by circlecity
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To: ProgressingAmerica
I absolutely agree with your principal point; indeed, have been pointing out the huge philosophic chasm between the moral bases for American Conservatism, including our respect for the free market & property rights & the misleading Utilitarian argument for the free market & property rights. The latter is a philosophic trap, where we are always under attack; while the former, based upon the concepts enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, is inherently consistent not only with what works best, but what is also morally right.

Interestingly, although hardly anyone recognizes the fact, America's greatest literary figure, Edgar Allan Poe, recognized that the Utilitarians were playing dishonest word games, back in the 1840s. (See Poe Rebukes British Utilitarians.)

Your point is very important to a fuller understanding of the nature of the ideological conflict over the future.

Thank you for posting this.

William Flax

6 posted on 03/08/2012 9:32:09 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: Jonty30

There’s a bit of irony there. Utilitarianism is about the greatest good for the greatest number. It shouldn’t be any wonder that the two run so closely together.


7 posted on 03/08/2012 9:34:57 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Socialism is rooted in the thought that we are all on a small planet with limited resources. Supposedly, if things were let be, we’d eventually run out of resources and perish as a species.

Socialism, everything that extends from that, is really the elites ensuring they have enough for themselves.

There is no real concern about the well-being of man overall.


8 posted on 03/08/2012 9:38:33 AM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: WayneS

I certainly agree with your sentiment about it being socialist dogma, but that’s not how it’s taught in class. ‘Social justice’ is taught as the purist form of justice.(at a minimum, one of the purist)

That’s how I tried to structure what I wrote. Partly, anyways.


9 posted on 03/08/2012 9:40:24 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: WayneS
The flaw in the writer’s logic is that so-called “social justice” IS socialist dogma.

The term is grossly misused by the Egalitarian Collectivists (Jacobins, Socialists & Communists). For a response to this misuse, see Not "Social" & Not Just.

William Flax

10 posted on 03/08/2012 9:49:37 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: WayneS
My link does not appear workable. Let me try again: Not Social & Not Just.

William Flax

11 posted on 03/08/2012 9:53:09 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: Ohioan

You’ve been to college, and seen how all of this is done, haven’t you?


12 posted on 03/08/2012 10:02:15 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: ProgressingAmerica
The Fabian rationale for destroying the wealth of a people, via Keynesian economics, is of course premised upon utilitarian concepts--basically that the end justifies the means. Whereas the morally premised doctrines, like those of the Founding Fathers of America, reject such dogma.

To add perspective on just how truly neither moral nor actually pragmatic are the Fabians & their perverted economics, see Keynes & The Keynesians.

William Flax

13 posted on 03/08/2012 10:10:13 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: ProgressingAmerica
I have seen how it is done by those committed to destroying our heritage. (My Alma Mater, Oberlin, has been active in promoting a Leftward course since its founding in the 1830s. I went there precisely because as a young Conservative--back then--I wanted to take on the committed Leftist intellectuals as a training exercise to confront them, later. In the course of a very few weeks, I grasped the fundamental emotion driven underpinnings of Leftist arguments, found in verbal rationalizations, not for reasoned approaches, but for pursuing "wish lists.")

I may seem to be unkind, in that description. But if you look more closely, at almost any of their great projects in the 20th Century, both in how they approached them--via very selective sifting of any context;--and how they put them over, you will see my point confirmed.

Poe's little analysis of Mill, above, captured the basic intellectual dishonesty of the utilitarians; but that pales compared to the intellectual dishonesty of those using utilitarian arguments to pursue the fantasy of Egalitarian Collectivism. (And many of them are so far gone in compulsion limited thinking, that they are not even aware of what in the context of their programs they are ignoring to make those programs sound reasonable to those lacking good analytic skills.)

William Flax

14 posted on 03/08/2012 10:33:01 AM PST by Ohioan
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To: Ohioan

There is a big gulf there. Try talking to a modern day Brit about the concept of Natural Law and they look at you like you are speaking Greek.


15 posted on 03/08/2012 10:55:21 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: Ohioan
See, that explains it right there, you've also seen it first hand and you know exactly how this works. This also shows me how big of a blind spot this really is.

The way I'm being taught Utilitarianism I find to be alarming.(it's only one segment of the teaching, to be fair) Something that has been stated several times in class is that "in Utilitarianism, the individual does not matter" And that's also been in my book:

(click for larger)

I used a program to smudge parts of the image, college books are from what I've seen heavily, heavily guarded by copyright.(I can't blame them, I'd want to keep this stuff hidden from public view if I were a professional propagandist as well) but I left the relevant line visible. You can plainly see, "Individuals don't matter with this approach", and it is referring without question, to Utilitarianism.

16 posted on 03/08/2012 11:01:12 AM PST by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Yup.

So does democracy.

Constitutional Republics, when upheld, do not.


17 posted on 03/08/2012 11:18:19 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: ProgressingAmerica
Utilitarianism is about the greatest good for the greatest number.

Ultimately, and in a practical sense, it is about who decides what greatest good for the greatest number actually is. Utilitarianism - and all of the other collectivist 'isms' - is the perfect hijackable vehicle for those driven by the will to power. History is my witness to the consequences.

18 posted on 03/08/2012 11:23:57 AM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: ProgressingAmerica
I would argue Toryism is also a precursor to Fabianism. Tories historically backed the crown and the oppressive “betters” in the Anglican establishment. It was Tories who were behind the Poor laws and who sneered at the business class.
19 posted on 03/08/2012 11:32:48 AM PST by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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To: Jonty30
Socialism is rooted in the thought that we are all on a small planet with limited resources. Supposedly, if things were let be, we’d eventually run out of resources and perish as a species.

Socialism, everything that extends from that, is really the elites ensuring they have enough for themselves.

There is no real concern about the well-being of man overall.

Nice! Socialism is fear and loathing. And the obsessive need to count other peoples' money.

20 posted on 03/08/2012 11:54:16 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: Boogieman
Try talking to any Obama supporter about Natural Law!

But, yes, modern Britain is a disaster. But our present immigration policy--since 1965--coupled with various pieces of Legislation, already in place; puts us pretty clearly on the same path.

No one benefits from adopting the fantasies that drive Leftist thinking in America; that is, no one but demagogues & scoundrels. We have been allowing them to systematically deconstruct the social fabric; and we are getting near a loss of the critical cohesion necessary to prevent absolute chaos. The future--unless more of us wake up--will be incredibly ugly. (See Collectivist/Egalitarianism Sabotages Human Potential.)

William Flax

21 posted on 03/08/2012 12:09:38 PM PST by Ohioan
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To: ProgressingAmerica
Of course the sacrifice of the individual is inherent in the concept of the "greatest good," etc.. It is also the key to the inevitable failure of utilitarian societies. Why? Because in all areas of social interaction--not just the free market--the more individual responsibility involved, the better the outcome. It is virtually a mathematically demonstrable aspect of human action--or interaction.

I suspect that you are probably also encountering Professors with varied degrees of enthusiasm for what they are serving up. Not all are really motivated to impose the dogma, but very few have the moral & intellectual courage to challenge the new Egalitarian orthodoxy that underlies what is being taught.

William Flax

22 posted on 03/08/2012 12:17:14 PM PST by Ohioan
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To: Sam Gamgee
The Tories certainly did not embrace the idea of undermining the existing social order & institutions by tactics of deception. Deception--the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing approach--is the essence of Fabian Socialism, as opposed to other forms of the malady.

Now some of the leading Jacobins, also of the affluent classes, donned Peasant dress to march on the Bastille in 1789 & the Bolshevik Communists, as J. Edgar Hoover wrote, were "Masters Of Deceit." But these other Collectivist Egalitarian movements did not deliberately hide their long term objectives in the same way that the Fabians did--and do.

William Flax

23 posted on 03/08/2012 12:24:41 PM PST by Ohioan
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To: Ohioan

That’s a fair point and in fact the brilliance of the Fabians. The Fabians knew the Bolshevists were eventually doomed to failure. The Fabian way is to infiltrate our institutions and movements year by year, decade by decade. The fact they have turned the greatest Republic into a socialist haven is a testament to their success. I would argue the environmental movement was either hatched or taken over by the Fabians.


24 posted on 03/08/2012 2:41:07 PM PST by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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