The Soul of Man under Socialism (Forgotten Books) Paperback – 16 Oct 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Wilde waxes lyrical on what he believes could be the result of a permanent relief of poverty, similar to William Morris, here is an uplifting account of a world of improved social obligations. Reasoning that a world without the sorts of obligations compelled by sympathy for others in chronic states of want or poverty would be one where a more profound, convivial, civilised and altogether more honest individualism prevails.
Entirely removed from concrete proposals for policy, personal choices or practices this account has a certain sort of timelessness and doesnt appear arcane, antiquated or dated like a lot of socialist books. It certainly is the ideology at its most romantic, smiley and would appeal to any post-eighties reader who's a libertarian, or even libertine, at heart.
I would recommend this to all readers, politically interested and not so politically interested alike, to anyone more or less hostile towards much maligned and misunderstood (not least by its dearest supporters) socialism. It is a story of sorts and it has more literary than political merit, infact it is to contemporary politics what Jules Verne is to contemporary world travellers, cavers or submariners.
For this is really an essay on art and a warning against artists pandering to the public. In short, the artist knows what he is doing - the public doesn't know what it wants; If the artist panders to the public, neither will be satisfied.
I like Wilde. But wit, and beauty and other special effects are not enough. We need individual freedom, dignity, and responsibility. We need to restore the rights of free expression, free association, self-defense, property, trade and trial-by-jury, and prune the rapacious, ever-growing, deadly-thorned bureaucracy of the state back to the roots. Simply put, we are all under attack by a globalist fascism that, like Hitler's facism, is using the utopian, redistributionist rhetoric of "socialism" to co-opt (and, where strategic, foment) popular revolution. In this context, tripping out on "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" may provide some escape and solace. But don't get confused.
So, how do we do this? Basically, Wilde wants machines to do all the menial work, the thankless soul destroying tasks, and he wants to abolish all social tiering, so no man has any advantage over any other and is free to pursue the goal of beauty (pretty young boys I presume).
It's an interesting work. Wilde' s main focus is on those factors about society that hinder aesthetic individualism- which he believes to be the goal and the right of all people to attain - and in positing a world where these hindrances have been negated.