actions of men the thought precedes the thing.
You cannot have a dinner without thinking it out beforehand, nor build a house without plans.
You might wait till doomsday for “economic conditions” to roast a potato for you. The will of man must intervene before the miracle is performed, and sometimes he wills to rise above his economic conditions and refuses to bend before them.
In short, the “economic interpretation of history” is equivalent to the brick interpretation of a house (leaving the architect and the owner who ordered it built out of the question)-that is, no interpretation at all. Economic conditions are more often the limitation than the source of evolution.
The exertion of our powers is more or less bounded by our materials, and events which are not economically possible are not likely to happen; but things are not yet in the saddle and the socialist movement, with its devoted and self-forgetful leaders, gives ample proof of it. It is curious to note that our extreme materialists call themselves “scientific socialists,” and our extreme idealists, who deny the existence of matter, take the name of “Christian scientists.”
True “science” lies between these extremes, and perhaps it is wise to fight shy of those who advertise their “science” too conspicuously.
In the history of slavery the element of