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Part Two: Note

Note: The two following chapters, “The Word Socialism” and “Socialism and Human Nature,” were originally one essay, and were written with the thought of condensation in the Reader’s Digest. Writing for the Reader’s Digest, while not exactly an art, is a highly specialized craft. The magazine is largely concerned with the life of ideas, but as it is addressed to some fifty or sixty million readers—the actual copies printed numbering over seventeen million—the ideas have to be presented with a self-explanatory simplicity. I have learned this craft by thinking of myself as a teacher when writing essays of this kind for the Reader’s Digest. If the present reader is too learned to be approached in this way, I trust he will be magnanimous. I doubt if it will really do him any harm to run over briefly, while we are discussing the subject, what he already knows about socialism. If the mode of presentation seems a little elementary, the effort was not the less intense. This was the first announcement, written in 1941, of my changed opinion about socialism, and I weighed every word of it.

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