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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The Clash of Ideas

The Position and Prospects of Communism

Courtesy Reuters

"A SPECTRE is haunting Europe -- the spectre of communism." Eighty-five years have passed since the Communist Manifesto opened with those fateful words. It is little less since Tocqueville predicted that the democracy, weary of the inadequate results of their political emancipation, would one day turn to the destruction of the rights of property as the condition precedent to their economic emancipation. "In matters of social construction," he wrote,[i] "the field of possibilities is much more extensive than men living in their various societies are willing to imagine."

After the breakdown of the revolutions of 1848 there was little disposition among the statesmen of Europe and America to take the growth of socialism with any profound seriousness until the epoch of the war. A moment of horror at the events in Paris in 1871, a sense that the abortive revolution in Russia of 1905 might be the prelude to a vaster drama, exhausted

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