The “practical man,” oblivious or contemptuous of any theory of the Social Organism or general principles of social organization, has been forced by the necessities of the time, into an ever deepening collectivist channel. Socialism, of course, he still rejects and despises. The Individualist City Councillor will walk along the municipal pavement, lit by municipal gas and cleansed by municipal brooms with municipal water, and seeing by the municipal clock in the municipal market, that he is too early to meet his children coming from the municipal school hard by the county lunatic asylum and municipal hospital, will use the national telegraph system to tell them not to walk through the municipal park but to come by the municipal tramway, to meet him in the municipal reading room, by the municipal art gallery, museum and library, where he intends to consult some of the national publications in order to prepare his next speech in the municipal town-hall, in favor of the nationalization of canals and the increase of the government control over the railway system. “Socialism, sir,” he will say, “don’t waste the time of a practical man by your fantastic absurdities. Self-help, sir, individual self-help, that’s what’s made our city what it is.”
Sidney Webb, “Socialism in England,” Publications of the American Economic Association 4 (no. 2, 1889): pp. 7–73.