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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/139

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89
The Privileged Classes

"It must follow the path of legislation without injuring any one, but with a firm purpose and an unchangeable ideal.

"Even those who now enjoy privileges and monopolies ought to be made to understand that we do not propose to adopt any violent or sudden measures against those whose position is now sanctioned by law, and that we are resolved, in the interests of a peaceful and harmonious evolution, to bring about the transition from legal injustice to legal justice with the greatest possible consideration for the individuals who are now privileged monopolists.

"We recognise that it would be unjust to hold those who have built up a privileged situation for themselves on the basis of bad legislation personally responsible for that bad legislation, and to punish them personally.

"We especially state that in our opinion it is the duty of the State to give an indemnity to those whose interests will be injured by the necessary abolition of laws contrary to the common good in so far as this indemnity is consistent with the interests of the nation as a whole.

"We have a higher conception of the duty of the State toward the individual than our adversaries have, and we shall not lower it, even if we are dealing with our adversaries."

I do not quote these splendid words with the idea of covering my own Socialist policy with the mantle of a revolutionary authority. The Social-