Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
The Superior Classes
By George D. Herron
(American clergyman and college professor, born 1862; resigned to become an active Socialist)
IT is customary to speak of the unpreparedness of the proletary for Socialism. But I am sure that, even today, the working-class would give a vastly better organization of industrial forces, a profoundly nobler and freer society, than ever the world has had. The ignorance of the working-class and the superior intelligence of the privileged class are superstitionsare superstitions fostered by intellectual mercenaries, by universities and churches, and by all the centers of privilege. And the assumption of superior intelligence on the part of the privileged is not warranted by a single historical experience. The derangements and miseries of mankind are precisely due to the ignorant and arrogant rule of superior classes and persons. The mental and spiritual capacity of these classes is a myth; their so-called culture but thinly veneers their essential savagery, their social rapacity and impudence.
The system that divides society into classes can bring forth no true knowledge, no living truth, no industrial competence, no fundamental social decency. It can only continue the desolation of labor and increase the blindness and depravity of the privileged. So long as some people own the tools upon which others depend for bread, so long as the few possess themselves of the fruits of the labor of the many, so long as the arts and the institutions and the sciences are built upon exploited workers, just so long will our so-called progress be through the perennial exhaustion of generations and races; just so long will successive civilizations be but voracious parasites upon the spirit and body of mankind.