The World of William Clissold
H. G. Wells, 1929
The Patterson RAH biography references the Wells 1929 novel "The World of William Clissold". I borrowed a copy from the Portland State Library (not checked out since 1983!) to get the context of the following quote (page 189, vol. 1 of "Clissold"):
- "I do not see why thwarted pedants and unlicked youngsters should be allowed to monopolise the excellent name of Revolutionary for ever, nor why restless shop-stewards and the sort of defectives who set fire to things should imagine themselves sole lords of human hope".
The thinly disguised essay this ends (and "Clissold" is a string of Wells essays knitted together into a story, and a prototype for Heinlein) provides an excellent insight into the front end of Heinlein's thinking process; Heinlein may not have read this novel, but it influenced both his thinking and writing style, perhaps through friends.
Pages 152 to 189 indirectly describe Wells' own journey from "scientific socialism" to his rejection of the Soviet monster socialism led to. In the beginning, socialism was mostly a program and rationale for streamlining and defanging the 19th century processes that included capitalism. Only later was the idea hijacked by power-grabbing bureaucrats, resentful downward-mobile failures like Marx, and mobsters like Stalin, then spoonfed to the credulous simpletons who supported them.
Post Wells, the defanging has been accomplished by free market forces. Global migration, competition, and the high value of a healthy happy workforce accomplished what dreamers could not. There are still hundreds of millions of resentful failures in the world, hence the persistence of Marxism and Jihadism and other violent nihilisms, but this essay helps me understand how to patiently defang those, too, by adapting the process that has worked so far to a global completion, through education and elimination of barriers to mobility. Feeding the spite monster with the blood of capitalists does not solve the underlying economic problems, it just makes the monster bigger and hungrier for the blood of the next class of scapegoats.
"Clissold" hasn't been reprinted since 1942, and will enter the public domain in 2022. I found a copy (both volumes) for $7 through Addall.com. There are more available (mostly in the UK). Perhaps I will find the time to scan it (or at least the essay) and spread it around, under the radar of the copyright princes who suppress it now.
Brains weigh 2% of body mass, yet consume 25% of the body's calories. Perhaps the resentful Marxists who reflexively oppose the parasitic 1% can demonstrate their sincerity by removing the pathological parasites above their own necks.