Which Form of Society the Least Cruel?
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Which Form of Society the Least Cruel? book
We condemn the numerous cruelties of the Bolsheviks, and their victims do indeed deserve our pity. The cruelties belong to a policy of inspiring Fear, which, by arousing the hostility of many who might otherwise be wholly friendly, demonstrates one of the ways in which Force defeats its own purposes. At the same time it is grossly unfair to forget that the Bolsheviks on their side condemn our cruelties—cruelties not incidental to a period of special struggle and difficulty, but apparently inherent in the ruthless social order which we accept. They see our victims in the innumerable beings born to lifelong hardship and degradation, crushed to death under the chariot wheels of an unmerciful ‘upper class. ‘ The Communists are out to abolish the sufferings of the workers, and to do it as rapidly as possible. Our measures of social reform work so slowly that the policy of changing conditions gradually and peacefully presents itself to them as an unnecessary and cruel prolonging of the agony, even if it could ultimately be successful (and even this they do not admit). Drastic methods of Revolution, followed by a period of despotism—this process seems to them far more certain and far more merciful than our long-drawn-out struggle of classes and parties.