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Martin Eden 149

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

across the table with benignant and fatherly pity. Martin smiled to himself. "Youll grow out of it, young man," he said soothingly. "Time is the best cure for such youthful distempers." He turned to Mr. Morse. "I do not believe discussion is good in such cases. It makes the patient obstinate." "That is true," the other assented gravely. "But it is well to warn the patient occasionally of his condition." Martin laughed merrily, but it was with an effort. The day had been too long, the days effort too intense, and he was deep in the throes of the reaction. "Undoubtedly you are both excellent doctors," he said; "but if you care a whit for the opinion of the patient, let him tell you that you are poor diagnosticians. In fact, you are both suffering from the disease you think you find in me. As for me, I am immune. The socialist philosophy that riots half-baked in your veins has passed me by." "Clever, clever," murmured the judge. "An excellent ruse in controversy, to reverse positions." "Out of your mouth." Martins eyes were sparkling, but he kept control of himself. "You see, Judge, Ive heard your campaign speeches. By some henidical process--henidical, by the way is a favorite word of mine which nobody understands--by some henidical process you persuade yourself that you believe in the competitive system and the survival of the strong, and at the same time you indorse with might and main all sorts of measures to shear the strength from the strong." "My young man--" "Remember, Ive heard your campaign speeches," Martin warned. "Its on record, your position on interstate commerce regulation, on regulation of the railway trust and Standard Oil, on the conservation of the forests, on a thousand and one restrictive measures that are nothing else than socialistic." "Do you mean to tell me that you do not believe in regulating these various outrageous exercises of power?" "Thats not the point. I mean to tell you that you are a poor diagnostician. I mean to tell you that I am not suffering from the microbe of socialism. I mean to tell you that it is you who are suffering from the emasculating ravages of that same microbe. As for me, I am an inveterate opponent of socialism just as I am an inveterate opponent of your own mongrel democracy that is nothing else than pseudo- socialism masquerading under a garb of words that will not stand the test of the dictionary." "I am a reactionary--so complete a reactionary that my position is incomprehensible to you who live in a veiled lie of social organization and whose sight is not keen enough to pierce the veil. You make believe that you believe in the survival of the strong and the rule of the strong. I believe. That is the difference. When I was a trifle younger,--a few months younger,--I believed the same thing. You see, the ideas of you and yours had impressed me. But merchants and traders are cowardly rulers at best; they grunt and grub all their days in the trough of money-getting, and I have swung back to aristocracy, if you please. I am the only individualist in this room. I look to the state for nothing. I look only to the strong man, the man on horseback, to save the state from its own rotten futility." "Nietzsche was right. I wont take the time to tell you who Nietzsche was, but he was right. The world belongs to the strong--to the strong who are noble as well and who do not wallow in the swine-trough of trade and exchange. The world belongs to the true nobleman, to the great blond beasts, to the noncompromisers, to the yes-sayers. And they will eat you up, you socialists--who are afraid of socialism and who think yourselves individualists. Your slave-morality of the meek and lowly will never save you.--Oh, its all Greek, I know, and I wont bother you any more with it. But remember one thing. There arent half a dozen individualists in Oakland, but Martin Eden is one of them." He signified that he was done with the discussion, and turned to Ruth. "Im wrought up to-day," he said in an undertone. "All I want to do is to love, not talk." He ignored Mr. Morse, who said:- "I am unconvinced. All socialists are Jesuits.

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