0 thoughts on “Dead Proto-Socialist, #166”

  1. chris y @ 1:05PM | 31/08/2006| permalink

    I’ve never understood the idea that the Levellers were in any sense proto-socialist. Certainly they were a lot more sympathetic to modern sensibilities than the man of blood or most anti-royalist factions, but they were all about individual property rights (which, since so many of them were small businessmen, is hardly surprising). I’ve never seen anything about collective ownership in their writings – that was the province of the True Levellers. “The poorest he that is in England” may have a perfect right to exist and do business under the law, but I doubt if even Rainbrowe would have looked kindly on him combining with others against his master.

    If the Levellers had any political heirs, I suggest they would have been among the radical Whigs. Wildman ended up in the cabinet under Dutch William, and I do’t see any inconsistency in that.

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