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 Заголовок сообщения: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon . The Federative Principle
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https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/pierre-joseph-proudhon-the-principle-of-federation

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

THE FEDERATIVE PRINCIPLE 
and the Need to Reconstitute the Party of Revolution

Part One

Chapter I: Political Dualism — Authority and Liberty: Opposition and Interconnection of the Two Ideas
Chapter II: A Priori Conceptions of Political Order: Regime of Authority, Regime of Liberty
Chapter III: Forms of Government
Chapter IV: Compromise Between the Principles: Origins of Political Contradictions
Chapter V: De Facto Governments: Social Dissolution
Chapter VI: The Political Problem Posed: The Principle of a Solution
Chapter VII: Isolation of the Idea of Federation
Chapter VIII: A Progressive Constitution
Chapter IX: What Has Delayed Federation; Factors Hindering the Idea
Chapter X: Political Idealism: Efficacy of Federal Guarantees
Chapter XI: Economic Sanctions: The Agro-Industrial Federation

Part Two

Chapter I: The Jacobin Tradition: Federalist Gaul, Monarchical France

Part Three

Chapter IX: Slavery and the Proletariat

Conclusion




Part One

Chapter I: Political Dualism — Authority and Liberty: Opposition and Interconnection of the Two Ideas


Before saying what is meant by federation, it is as well to devote a few pages to the origin and context of the idea. The theory of the federal system is quite new; I think I may even say that no one has ever presented it before. But it is intimately bound up with the theory of government in general -- to speak more precisely, it is its necessary conclusion.

Among the many constitutions proposed by philosophy and put to the test by history, one alone reconciles the demands of justice, order, liberty, and stability, without which neither society nor the individual can live. Truth, like nature, is one. It would be strange if it were otherwise for the mind and for its grandest work, society. All writers have recognized the unity of human legislation; and, without denying the diversity in application dictated by time and place and the special character of each nation, or neglecting the scope of discretion in every political system, all have been obliged to accommodate their doctrines to it. I shall undertake to show that this one constitution, which it will be the greatest triumph of human reason to have grasped, is nothing other than the federal system. Every form of government which departs from it must be considered an empirical creation, a preliminary sketch, more or less useful, under which society finds shelter for a moment, and which, like the Arab's tent, is folded up the morning after it has been erected. Rigorous analysis is therefore essential here, and the first truth which this account should impress upon the reader is that politics, though infinitely flexible as an applied art, is an exact science in its regulative principles, no more or less so than geometry or algebra.

Political order rests fundamentally on two contrary principles: authority and liberty. The one initiates, the other concludes; the one goes hand-in-hand with obedient faith, the other with free reason.

I doubt that a single voice will be raised against this first proposition. Authority and liberty are as old as the human race; they are born with us, and live on in each of us. Let us note but one thing, which few readers would notice otherwise: these two principles form a couple, so to speak, whose two terms, though indissolubly linked together, are nevertheless irreducible one to the other, and remain, despite all our efforts, perpetually at odds. Authority necessarily presupposes a liberty which recognizes or denies it; in turn liberty, in its political sense, likewise presupposes an authority which confronts it, repressing or tolerating it. Suppress one of the two, and the other has no sense: authority, without a Liberty to examine it, to resist or submit to it, is an empty word; liberty, without an authority as counterweight, is meaningless.

The principle of authority, familial, patriarchal, magisterial, monarchical, theocratic, tending to hierarchy, centralization, absorption, is given by nature, and is thus essentially predestined, divine, as you will. Its scope, resisted and impeded by the opposing principle, may expand or contract indefinitely, but can never be extinguished.

The principle of liberty, personal, individualist, critical, the instrument of dividing, choosing, arranging, is supplied by the mind. Essentially a principle of judgment, then, it is superior to the nature which it makes use of, and to the necessity which it masters. Its aspirations are unbounded; it is, like its contrary, subject to extension or restriction, but it likewise cannot be exhausted as it grows, nor can it be nullified by constraint.

It follows that in every society, even the most authoritarian, liberty necessarily plays some part; likewise in every society, even the most liberal, some portion is reserved for authority. This requirement is absolute; no political arrangement is exempt. Despite the efforts of the understanding to resolve diversity into unity, the two principles persist, always in opposition to each other. Political development arises from their inescapable logic and their mutual interaction.

All this, I confess, may contain little that is really new, and some readers will ask me if that is all I have to offer them. No one denies nature or mind, whatever the obscurity that may surround them; not one writer rejects either authority or liberty, even though their reconciliation, separation, or elimination seem equally impossible. What, then, is my purpose in reciting this commonplace?

What I have to say is this: that all political constitutions, all systems of government, including federations, fall within the scope of one formula, the balancing of authority by liberty, and vice versa; that in consequence the categories adopted by the great majority of writers, since Aristotle's time, in order to classify governments, differentiate states, and distinguish among the nations, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, etc. -- the federation excepted here -- are reduced to hypothetical, empirical constructs, in which reason and justice find only imperfect satisfaction; that all established orders, founded upon these incomplete ideas, differ only from the standpoint of interest, prejudice, and habit, and are at bottom similar and equivalent; that were it not for the harm done by these false systems, in which ruffled passions, affronted interests, and vain self-deceptions are at odds with one another, we would be very close to agreement on fundamentals; that, finally, all those partisan divisions which we imagine to be so profound, all those conflicts of opinion which seem insoluble to us, all those random hostilities for which there appears to be no remedy, will instantly find a definitive solution in the theory of federal government.

Is there so much, you will ask, in a semantic opposition, authority-liberty? Indeed, yes! I have observed that the ordinary mind, even the child, can better grasp the truth cast in an abstract formula than when it is inflated with a mass of explanations and facts. I wished both to condense this study for those who cannot read books, and to make it more compelling by appealing to simple ideas. Authority and liberty: two concepts opposed to another, destined to live in struggle or to perish together; here, indeed, is something not very hard to grasp. Have the patience to continue, dear reader, and if you have understood this first and very short chapter, you will tell me your opinion afterward


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 Заголовок сообщения: Re: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon . The Federative Principle
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Chapter II: A Priori Conceptions of Political Order: Regime of Authority, Regime of Liberty

We know the two fundamental and antithetical principles of all governments: authority and liberty.

Because of the tendency of the human mind to bring all its ideas under a single principle, proceeding to eliminate those which seem to be incompatible with it, two different regimes are derived, a priori, from these two primordial ideas, according to the preference or partiality accorded one or the other: the regime of authority and the regime of liberty.

Moreover, since society is composed of individuals, and the relation of the individual to the group may be conceived, from a political standpoint, in four different ways, four forms of government result, two for each regime:

Regime of authority

A) Government of all by one -- monarchy or patriarchy;

a) Government of all by all -- panarchy or communism.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the non-division of power.

Regime of liberty

B) Government of all by each -- democracy;

b) Government of each by each -- an-archy or self-government.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the division of power.

Nothing more, nothing less. This classification, which derives a priori by deduction from the nature of things, is mathematical. In so far as politics is thought to rest upon a logical construct, as all the ancient legislators naturally assumed, it cannot stop short of this or go beyond it. Its simplistic character is striking; it shows us that from the very beginning, in each regime, the head of state strives to derive the constitution from a single premise. Logic and ingenuousness are primordial in politics: and that is exactly where the trap lies.

Remarks

I. We know how monarchical government, the original expression of the principle of authority, arises. De Bonald has told us: by paternal authority.

The family is the embryo of monarchy. The first states were generally families or tribes governed by their natural leader -- husband, father, patriarch, finally a king.

Under this regime, the state develops in two ways: 1. by generation, or the natural increase of the family, 2. by adoption, that is, the voluntary or forced incorporation of neighbouring families and tribes, but in such a way that the united tribes, together with the mother tribe, form but one family, a single domesticity. The monarchical state may develop thus to an enormous size, reaching a population of hundreds of millions, spread over hundreds of square leagues.

Panarchy, pantocracy, or communism, arises naturally through the death of the monarch or family head, and by the declared intention of the subjects, brothers, children, or members to remain together, without choosing a new leader. This political form is rare -- if indeed there are any examples of it at all -- authority here being more oppressive and individuality more crushed than in any other form. It has scarcely ever been adopted except by religious associations, which, of whatever country and whatever faith, have tended to extinguish liberty. But all the same the idea is given a priori, like the idea of monarchy; it will find its application in existing governments, and we must mention it if only for the record.

Thus monarchy, founded upon nature, justified, therefore, on its own terms, has its own legitimacy and morality; and the same goes for communism. But we shall soon see that these two varieties of the one regime, despite their concrete basis and logical derivation, cannot maintain themselves in the full rigour of their principles and their essential purity, that they are condemned as a result to a hypothetical status. In truth, despite their patriarchal origin, their complacent mood, their pretences to absolutism and divine right, monarchy and communism, as developed expressions of a type, exist nowhere.

II. How, in turn, does democratic government arise, that spontaneous expression of the principle of liberty? Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Revolution have taught us: by agreement. Here physiology counts for nothing; the state figures as the product, not of organic nature, of the flesh, but of intelligible nature, that is, the mind.

Under this regime, the state develops by free accession or adhesion. Just as all the citizens are held to have signed a contract, so the foreigner who joins the city is held to agree to it in his turn; it is on this condition that he acquires his rights and privileges as citizen. If the state goes to war and is victorious, its principle leads it to accord to the conquered peoples the same rights as its own nationals enjoy; this is called isonomy. Such, among the Romans, was the granting of civic right. Even children are held to have sworn to the pact on coming of age; it is not because they are sons of citizens that they become citizens in turn, as in monarchies a subject's children are subjects by birth, or, as in Lycurgus' or Plato's cities, because they belong to the state.

To be a member of a democracy, one must, by right, quite apart from the qualification of birth, have chosen the liberal system.

The same goes for the accession of a family, a city, or a province; it is always liberty which constitutes its principles and supplies its motives.

Thus the development of the authoritarian state, patriarchal, monarchical, or communist, confronts the development of the liberal, contractual, democratic state. Just as there is no natural limit to the scale of a monarchy, so that throughout time and among all peoples the idea of a universal or messianic monarchy has arisen, so there is no natural limit to the scale of the democratic state, which has prompted the idea of a universal democracy or republic.

As a variety of the liberal regime I have mentioned anarchy -- the government of each by himself, self-government. Since the phrase anarchic government involves a kind of contradiction, the thing seems impossible and the idea absurd. However, there is nothing to find fault with here but language; politically, the idea of anarchy is quite as rational and concrete as any other. What it means is that political functions have been reduced to industrial functions, and that social order arises from nothing but transactions and exchanges. Each may then say that he is the absolute ruler of himself, the polar opposite of monarchical absolutism.

Just as monarchy and communism, founded in nature and reason, have their legitimacy and morality, though they can never be realized as absolutely pure types, so too democracy and anarchy, founded in liberty and justice, pursuing an ideal in accordance with their principle, have their legitimacy and morality. But we shall see that in their case too, despite their rational and juridical origin, they cannot remain strictly congruent with their pure concepts as their population and territory develop and grow, and that they are fated to remain perpetual desiderata. Despite the powerful appeal of liberty, neither democracy nor anarchy has arisen anywhere, in a complete and uncompromised form.


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Chapter III: Forms of Government

Nevertheless, it is with the help of these metaphysical toys that governments have been established since the beginning of the world, and it is with their help that we shall come to resolve the enigma of politics, if we are willing to make the slightest effort to do so. I hope I will be forgiven, then, for labouring this point, as one does in teaching the rudiments of grammar to children.
In the above discussion, there is not a word that does not have perfect precision. One reasons no differently in pure mathematics. It is not in the use which we make of ideas that the source of our errors lies; it is in the omissions which we permit ourselves, under the pretext of being logical, in applying them.
a) Authority and liberty: here indeed are the two poles of politics. Their opposition -- antithetical, diametrical, contradictory -- is our certain guarantee that a third term is impossible, that it does not exist. Between yes and no, between being and non-being, logic permits nothing.
b) The interconnection of these two ideas, their irreducibility, their life, have also been displayed. One does not come without the other; one cannot suppress one or the other, or resolve the two into a single expression. As to their life, one has only to confront them together, and, tending to absorb one another, to develop at one another's expense, they at once spring into action.
c) From these two ideas society receives two different regimes which we have called the regime of authority and the regime of liberty; each of these may then adopt two different forms, no more, no less. Authority appears in all its splendour only in the collectivity; hence it cannot express itself or act except in the collectivity itself or through an agent which personifies it; likewise, liberty is perfect only when it is guaranteed to all, either by all men taking part in government, or else by their delegating the trust to no one. It is impossible to escape these alternatives: government of all by all or government of all by one, in the case of the regime of authority; participation of each in the government of all or government of each by himself, in the case of the regime of liberty. All this is as necessary as unity and plurality, heat and cold, light and shadow.
But, I will be asked, have we never seen government become the property of some part, large or small, of the nation, the rest being excluded: aristocracy, government by the upper classes, ochlocracy, government by the poor, oligarchy, government by a faction? A fair objection, granted. But such governments are de facto, the work of usurpation, violence, reaction, transition, empiricism, in which all the principles are simultaneously adopted, and then all violated, misunderstood, confused; and we are dealing here with a priori governments, conceived according to logic, and upon a single principle.
There is nothing arbitrary, to repeat, in the politics of reason, which sooner or later must cease to separate itself from practical politics. The arbitrary belongs neither to nature nor to the mind; it is generated neither by the necessity of things nor by the infallible logic of concepts. The arbitrary is the child -- of what? Its name will tell you: of free will, of liberty. How fine! The only enemy liberty has to fear is not, at bottom, authority, which all men adore as though it were justice; it is liberty itself, the liberty of the prince, of the great, of the mass, disguised under the mask of authority.
From the a priori definition of the various types of government, let us now turn to their forms.
What is called the form of government is the manner in which power is distributed and exercised. By nature and logic these forms are related to the principle, origin, and law of each regime.
Just as the father of the primitive family and the patriarch of the tribe are at once master of the household, of the chariot, or the tent, herus, dominus, owner of the land, and beasts, and the crops, farmer, craftsman, manager, trader, performer of sacrifices, warrior; so too, in a monarchy, the prince is at once legislator, administrator, judge, general, high priest. He has the eminent domain in land and rent; he rules over the arts and professions, commerce, agriculture, navigation, public education, and is invested with every right and all authority. In short, the king is representative of the society, its incarnation; he is the state. The union or non-division of powers is characteristic of royalty. To the principle of authority which distinguishes the father and the king, there is added as corollary the principle of unlimited attribution. A military chieftain, like Joshua; a judge, like Samuel; a priest, like Aaron; a king, like David; a legislator, like Moses, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa -- all these titles are united in the same bearer. That is the spirit of monarchy, those are its forms.
Soon, due to the growth of the state, the exercise of authority surpasses the capacity of one man. The prince thus equips himself with the aid of counsellors, officers, or ministers, chosen by him, who act in his place as his delegates, or attorneys, in relation to the people. As much as the prince whom they represent, these envoys, satraps, proconsuls, or prefects acquire through their mandate all the attributes of authority. But it is understood that they must give account of their conduct to the king their master, in whose interest and name they govern, who directs them, and who makes them watch over one another in such a way as to ensure that he retains the highest authority, the honour of commanding, and the profits of the state, and that he is secure from any usurpation or sedition. As for the nation, it has no right to demand an account, nor do the agents of the prince have to give it one. In this system, the subjects' only security is the interest of the sovereign, who, however, knows no law but his own good pleasure.
In the communist regime, the forms of government are the same, that is, power is exercised in an undivided fashion by the collectivity just as it was before by the king alone. Thus it was that among the Germans, in May, the whole people, without distinction of age and sex, deliberated and judged; thus the Cimbri and Teutons, accompanied by their women, fought against Marius.
Knowing nothing about strategy or tactics, what need had they of generals? There was a vestige of this communism in Athens, where criminal judgments were rendered by the whole mass of citizens; and it was through an inspiration of the same kind that in 1848 the Republic gave itself nine hundred legislators, regretting that it could not bring together into one assembly the ten million electors, who had to content themselves with casting votes. Projects today for direct legislation, by yes and no, spring from the same source.
The forms of the liberal or democratic state likewise correspond to the generative principle and developmental law of this system; as a result, they differ radically from that of monarchy. They consist in the fact that power, instead of being collectively and indivisibly exercised as in the primitive community, is dispersed among the citizens, in one of two ways. In the case of a task which is physically divisible, such as the construction of a road, the commanding of a fleet, the policing of a town, or the education of the young, one divides the work into segments, the fleet into squadrons or even single ships, the town into districts, the teaching into classes, to each of which one assigns a contractor, manager, admiral, captain, or master. The Athenians were in the habit of appointing ten or twelve generals in wartime, each of whom in turn commanded for a day -- a practice which now seems distinctly odd, but the Athenian democracy would stand for nothing more. If the function is not divisible, it is left intact. Several officials may be appointed to deal with it (despite Homer's precept that more than one commander is a bad thing) -- thus, where we send but one ambassador, the ancients sent a whole company of them; or else one may assign each function to a single official who makes it his profession, his skill -- which tends to introduce into the body politic a special class of citizens, public functionaries. From that moment, democracy is in danger: the state separates itself from the nation; its personnel almost become what they were under the monarchy, more loyal to the prince than to nation or state. In reaction, a great idea is born, one of the greatest ideas of science: that of the division or separation of powers. Thanks to this idea, society takes a strongly organic form; revolutions may come and go like the seasons, but there is something which will never perish, this fine organization of the public power by categories: justice, administration, war, finance, religion, education, commerce, etc.
The organization of liberal or democratic government is more complicated and more sophisticated, its practice more laborious and less dramatic than that of monarchical government; consequently, it is less popular. Almost always the masses have regarded forms of free government as aristocratic, and they have preferred absolute monarchy. Hence that vicious circle in which progressives are trapped, and which will trap them still for many years to come. Naturally, it is in order to improve the lot of the masses that republicans demand liberties and securities; it is, therefore, upon the people that they must rely. But is is always the people who, through their distrust of or indifference to democratic forms, stand in the way of liberty.
The forms of anarchy depend upon the will of each individual, within the limits of his rights, and are indifferently monarchical or democratic.
Such are, in principle and form, the four fundamental governments, supplied a priori by the human understanding as a basis for all the political establishments of the future. But, to repeat, these four types, though suggested by the nature of things as well as by the sense of liberty and justice, are not in themselves, strictly conceived, ever to be realized. They are ideal conceptions, abstract formulas, in the light of which real governments will emerge empirically and by intuition, but they themselves can never become real. Reality is inherently complex; the simple never leaves the realm of the ideal, never arrives at the concrete. In these antithetic formulas we have the foundation for a correct constitution, the future constitution of man; but centuries must have passed, a series of revolutions must have unfolded, before the definitive formula can spring from the mind which must conceive it, the mind of humanity.


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Chapter IV: Compromise Between the Principles: Origins of Political Contradictions

Since the two principles which form the basis of all social order, authority and liberty, on the one hand are contradictory and always at odds and on the other can neither exclude one another nor find a resolution, a compromise between them is unavoidable. Whatever system one prefers, monarchical or democratic, communist or anarchic, it cannot last for long unless it is able to make use, in varying degrees, of the premises of its contrary.
For example, it would be wide of the mark to suppose that the authoritarian regime, with its paternalist character, its familial ties, and its absolutism, could satisfy its own needs unaided. Let the state expand but slightly, and its revered paternalism soon declines into impotence, confusion, folly, and tyranny. The prince cannot attend to everything; he must rely upon servants who deceive him, steal from him, discredit him, dishonour him, supplant him, and finally dethrone him. The disorder inherent in absolute power, the demoralization which it causes, the disasters which threaten it perpetually, are the bane of society and state. So one may take it as axiomatic that monarchy is more kindly, moral, just, tolerable, and stable -- setting aside for the moment the question of external affairs -- the more modest its dimensions are and the closer it is to a family; and, vice versa, that this government is more inadequate, oppressive, disliked by its subjects and consequently unstable, the larger the state becomes. History informs us, and modern times furnish examples, of such dreadful monarchies, shapeless monsters, true political mastodons, which civilization must gradually render extinct. In all such states, absolutism is a direct function of scale; it persists through its own prestige. In a small state, on the contrary, tyranny may survive for a while only through the use of mercenary troops; seen close up, it vanishes.
To compensate for this inherent vice, monarchical governments have been led in varying degrees to make use of the forms of liberty, notably the separation of powers or the division of sovereignty.
The reason for this reform is easy to see. If one man can scarcely manage an estate of a few hundred acres, or an industry employing a few hundred workers, or administer a town with five or six thousand inhabitants, how can he shoulder the burden of an empire of forty million men? Here, therefore, monarchy has been obliged to adapt itself to two principles, borrowed from political economy: 1. that the greatest volume of work is done and the greatest value produced where the worker is free and works on his own account as businessman or farmer; 2. that the quality of products or services is improved where the producer knows his work and devotes himself to it exclusively. There is yet another reason for these borrowings by monarchies from democracy, namely, that the wealth of society increases proportionately with the division and interdependence of industries; which means, in a political context, that government will be better and involve less danger to the prince where functions are better divided and balanced -- something which is impossible in an absolutist regime. That is how princes have been led to republicanize themselves, so to speak, in order to avoid certain ruin: recent years have provided striking examples, in Piedmont, Austria, and Russia. In the dreadful condition in which Tsar Nicholas left his empire, the introduction of the division of powers in government was among the major reforms introduced by his son, Alexander.
Parallel but inverse phenomena may be seen in democratic governments.
It is no easy task to settle with due wisdom and precision the rights and duties of citizens and the tasks of officials, to foresee circumstances, exceptions, and anomalies. The unforeseeable far surpasses in its richness the prudence of the statesman, and the more one legislates the more ligitation one provokes. All this requires that office-holders must have initiative and discretion, which, in order to be effective, must be authoritatively sanctioned. Take away from the democratic principle and from liberty the supreme sanction of authority, and the state will be ruined on the spot. It is clear, moreover, that we are no longer in the domain of free contract, unless we assume that the citizens specifically consent, in matters of litigation, to submit to the decision of one man, a magistrate designated in advance -- which is precisely to renounce the principle of democracy for that of monarchy.
Let a democracy multiply indefinitely its legal guarantees and means of controlling its civil servants, let it surround its agents with formalities and call its citizens incessantly to elections, debates, and votes: willy-nilly its officials are men of authority, expressly so; and if among its personnel one or several have general responsibility for affairs, this head of government, individual or collective, is what Rousseau himself called a prince; he is but a hair's-breadth away from a king.
Similar considerations apply to communism and anarchy. There has never been an example of perfect communism; and it is scarcely likely, however far the human race may progress in civilization, morality, and wisdom, that all traces of government and authority will vanish. And yet, while communism remains the dream of the majority of socialists, anarchy is the ideal of the economists, who attempt strenuously to put an end to all governmental institutions and to rest society upon the foundations of property and free labour alone.
I shall not multiply examples any further. What I have just said is enough to prove the truth of my proposition: that monarchy and democracy, communism and anarchy, all of them unable to realize themselves in the purity of their concepts, are obliged to complement one another by mutual borrowings.
There is surely something here to dampen the intolerance of fanatics who cannot listen to a contrary opinion to their own without exasperation. They should learn, then, poor wretches, that they are themselves necessarily disloyal to their principles, that their political creeds are tissues of inconsistencies; and may those in power, for their part, learn not to see seditious sentiments in the discussion of alternative modes of government! In grasping once and for all that terms such as monarchy, democracy, and so on express merely theoretical conceptions, the royalist will remain calm when faced with words such as social contract, popular sovereignty, universal suffrage, and so on; the democrat, in hearing of dynasties, absolute power, divine right, will smilingly preserve his sang-froid. There is no true monarchy; there is no true democracy. Monarchy is the primitive, physiological, and so to speak patronymic form of the state; it lives in the people's hearts, and attests visibly and forcibly to the general tendency to unity. Democracy in turn is in ferment all around us; it entrances generous souls, and everywhere seizes hold of the elite of society. But the dignity of our time requires us to break once and for all with these illusions, which all too often degenerate into lies. Contradiction lies at the root of all programs. The tribunes of the people swear unwittingly by monarchy; the kings, by democracy and anarchy. After the coronation of Napoleon I, the words French Republic were long to be seen on one face of our coins, while the other bore, with Napoleon's picture, the title Emperor of the French. In 1830 Lafayette termed Louis-Phillippe's reign the best of republics; was he not also termed the king of the landlords? Garibaldi honoured Victor Emmanuel as Lafayette had Louis-Phillipe. Later, indeed, Lafayette and Garibaldi seemed to regret this; but their first views are to be remembered, especially as any retraction would be deceptive. No democrat can claim to be innocent of all monarchism; no partisan of monarchy can pride himself on his freedom from all republicanism. It is the case that since democracy has not been able to reject the dynastic position, any more than the unitary idea, the partisans of the two systems have no right to excommunicate one another, and tolerance is appropriate to them both.
What, then, is politics, if it is impossible for a society to found itself exclusively upon the principle which it favours; if, whatever the legislator may do, any government, whether it is called monarchical or democratic, must always covertly be a mixed form, in which contrary elements mingle in arbitrary proportions according to caprice and interest; in which the most precise definitions lead inescapably to confusion and laxness; in which, as a result, all changes of heart and all defections are permissible, and versatility figures as honourable? The way is open for charlatanism, intrigue, treachery! What state can survive in the midst of such corrosion? No sooner is the state born than its internal contradictions condemn it to mortality. A strange creation, in which logic remains powerless, while inconsistency alone seems practical and rational!


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Chapter V: De Facto Governments: Social Dissolution

Since monarchy and democracy, to confine myself henceforth to these two alone, are ideals deriving from theory, unrealizable in accordance with their strict definitions, we are obliged to come to terms, as I have explained, with practical compromises of various kinds. From these enforced compromises arise all existing governments. Such governments, the work of empiricism, infinitely variable, are therefore essentially and without exception composite or mixed.
I may point out here that writers have mistakenly introduced a political assumption as false as it is dangerous, in failing to distinguish practice from theory, the real from the ideal; they have put on one plane pure concepts of government that are unrealistically simple, such as monarchy and democracy, and de facto or mixed governments. The truth, to repeat, is that governments of the first type do not and cannot exist except in theory; every real government is necessarily mixed, whether it is called a monarchy or a democracy. This is an important consideration; it alone permits us to trace the countless frauds, corruptions, and revolutions of politics to a logical error.
All varieties of existing government, in other words, all the political compromises attempted or proposed from the most ancient times to our own day, may be reduced to two principal types, which I shall call, using their current names, empire and constitutional monarchy. This calls for an explanation.
Since men have lived from the very beginning with war and inequality of wealth, society divides naturally into a certain number of classes: warriors or nobles, priests, landlords, merchants, mariners, industrialists, peasants. Where royalty exists, it forms a class of its own, the highest of all -- a dynasty.
The struggle of classes among one another, the opposition of their interests, the manner in which these interests coalesce, determine the political regime, and consequently the choice of government in its numerous varieties and yet more numerous variations. Step by step all these classes are resolved into two: an upper class, aristocracy, bourgeoisie, or patrician class; and a lower, plebs or proletariat, between which is suspended royalty, the organ of power, the expression of authority. If the aristocracy unites with royalty, the resulting government will be a moderated monarchy, currently called constitutional; if it is the people who unite with authority, the government will be an empire or autocratic democracy. Medieval theocracy was a pact between the priesthood and the emperor; the Caliphate, a religious and military monarchy. In Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, royalty allied itself with the merchant caste when this rose to power. It seems that in Rome royalty at first respected patricians and plebeians alike; then, when the two classes united against the crown, royalty was abolished, and the state took the name of a republic. The patrician class retained its dominance; but this aristocratic constitution was as nebulous as that of Athenian democracy. Government rested upon expediency, and, while the Athenian democracy collapsed under the impact of the Peloponnesian war, world conquest was the outcome of the senate's need to keep the people occupied. When the world had been pacified, civil war raged bitterly; to end it the plebs gave itself a leader, destroyed the patricians and the republic, and created the empire.
Surprise is occasioned by the fact that a government founded by bourgeois or patricians in alliance with a dynasty should generally be more liberal than one founded by the masses under the leadership of a dictator or a tribune. The phenomenon may indeed seem all the more surprising in that the people are at bottom more interested in and more genuinely attached to liberty than the bourgeoisie. But this paradox, the great stumbling-block of politics, is explained by the situation of the parties: in the case of a popular victory, the people must think and act autocratically, but when the bourgeois enjoy supremacy they think and act as republicans. Let us return to the fundamental dualism of authority and liberty, and we shall understand the matter.
From the divergence of these two principles, and under the influence of contrary passions and interests, two opposite tendencies, two currents of opinion, emerge. The partisans of authority tend to reduce the scope of liberty -- individual, corporative, or local -- as much as possible, and by this means to exploit to their own profit and at the expense of the mass the power with which they ally themselves. The partisans of the liberal regime, on the other hand, tend to restrain authority and to conquer the aristocracy by relentlessly limiting public functions and the acts and forms of power. Because of their position, because of the modesty of their wealth, the people seek equality and liberty from governments; for the opposite reason, the land-owning, financial, and industrial patricians favour a monarchy which will protect the great interests and secure order for their own profit, and as a result stress authority at the expense of liberty.
Thus all existing governments, whatever their motives and however circumspect they may be, fall under one or other of these two headings: the subordination of authority to liberty, or the subordination of liberty to authority.
But the same cause which sets the bourgeoisie and the people against each other soon leads both of them full circle. In order to ensure victory, democracy, since it is ignorant of the requirements of power and incapable of exercising it, equips itself with an absolute leader, before whom all privileges of caste disappear; the bourgeoisie, fearing despotism as much as it does anarchy, prefers to consolidate its position by establishing a constitutional monarchy. At the end of the day, indeed, it is the party with the strongest need for liberty and legality that creates absolutism, and the party of privilege which institutes liberal government, which it preserves by restricting political rights.
It is clear from this that if one abstracts away the economic considerations which bear upon the matter, there is no difference between bourgeoisie and democracy, imperialism and constitutionalism, or however these opposing governments may be styled; and that questions such as whether the regime of 1814 was better than the regime of 1804; whether the nation would do well to abandon the 1852 constitution for that of 1830; whether the republican party will merge with the Orleanists or ally itself with the empire -- all such questions, I say, from the point of view of law and principle, are puerile. A government, from the perspective given here, is to be measured by the considerations which sway it and the men who represent it, and all theoretical disputes on this topic are futile and can lead only to absurdity.
The contradictions of politics, the changes of front by the parties, the perpetual inversion of positions, are so frequent in history and play so large a part in human affairs that I cannot resist labouring the point. The dualism of authority and liberty supplies the key to all enigmas; without the aid of this primordial explanation, the history of states would be the despair of the mind and the scandal of philosophy.
The aristocracy of England produced Magna Carta; the Puritans produced Cromwell. In France, it is the bourgeoisie which forms the permanent base for all our liberal constitutions. In Rome, the patriarchate organized the republic; the plebs gave birth to the caesars and the praetorians. In the sixteenth century the Reformation was at first aristocratic; the people remained Catholic or adopted masses in the style of John of Leyden: it was the opposite of what had happened four hundred years before, when the nobles burned the Albigensians. In the middle ages, as Ferrari notes, how often Ghibellines became Guelfs, and Guelfs became Ghibellines! In 1813, France fought on the side of despotism, the allies for liberty, the precise opposite of what had happened in 1792. Today the Legitimists and the clerical interests support federation; the democrats believe in unity. Such examples cannot be conclusive; but the fact remains that ideas, men, and things cannot always be placed in terms of their natural tendencies and their origins, that the blues will not always be blues, nor the whites always whites.
Because of their inferiority and their distress, the people will always form the army of liberty and progress. Work is republican by nature; to deny this involves contradiction. But because of their ignorance, the crudeness of their instincts, the violence of their needs, and the impatience of their desires, the people favour forms of summary authority. What they seek is not at all legal guarantees, of which they have no idea, nor understand the power; it is not at all a mechanical contrivance or a balance of forces, which they see as of little account: it is a leader whose word they can trust, whose intentions are known, and who is devoted to their own interests. This leader will enjoy unlimited authority and irresistible power. By their nature the people accept as just everything they deem to be useful, laugh at formalities, and impose no conditions on those who hold power. Quick to suspect and to slander, but incapable of methodical discussion, they believe fundamentally in nothing but human will; they pin their hopes to man, they trust only in their own creatures, 'in princes, in the sons of men.' They expect nothing from principles, which alone can save them; they do not worship ideas.
Thus the people of Rome, after seven centuries of a progressively liberal regime and a series of victories over the patricians, thought they could solve all their problems by abolishing the party of authority and, enlarging the tribune's function, they made Caesar permanent dictator, silenced the senate, closed down the comitia, and for a bushel of corn, annona, founded imperial autocracy. What is remarkable is that this popular movement was genuinely convinced of its own liberalism, supposing that it represented the cause of justice, equality, and progress. Caesar's soldiers, worshipping their emperor, were full of hate and mistrust of kings; if those who murdered the tyrant were not slaughtered on the spot, it was only because the night before Caesar had been seen setting a royal wreath upon his bald brow. Thus Napoleon's entourage, sometime Jacobins, enemies of the nobles, priests, and kings, calmly took the title of baron or duke or prince and played courtier to the emperor, but they could not forgive him for marrying a Habsburg princess.
Left to themselves or led by their tribunes, the masses will never create anything. They set their face towards the past; no tradition forms among them, there is no sense of continuity, no idea which acquires the force of law. They understand nothing of politics but intrigue, nothing of government but waste and force, nothing of justice but revenge, nothing of liberty but the ability to set up idols whom they destroy the next day. The advent of democracy would begin an era of decadence which would lead nation and state to their graves, if they did not resist the fate which threatens them by means of a contrary revolution, a topic to which we shall turn.
Just as the people, living from day to day, without property, business, or public employment, have nothing to lose under tyranny and scarcely worry about the prospect, so the bourgeoisie, owning property, trading and manufacturing, hungry for land and patronage, has an interest in forestalling disasters and keeping power under its own control. Its need for order leads it to liberal ideas; hence the constitutions which it imposes upon its kings. While surrounding its preferred government with legal restraints and subjecting it to parliamentary control, it confines political rights to property-owners and abolishes universal suffrage; but it keeps its hands off centralized administration, the bastion of industrial order. If the separation of powers is useful to it in balancing the power of the crown and restraining the personal will of the prince, and if a restricted electorate is a useful defence against popular aspirations, centralization is no less precious -- firstly, for the employment which it provides, giving the bourgeoisie its share of power and tax revenues, secondly, for making possible the peaceful exploitation of the masses. Under a system of centralized administration and restricted suffrage, as long as the bourgeoisie retains control of government through its votes, the life of the locality is suppressed and any agitation easily contained; under such a system, the working class, penned up in its factories, is inevitably condemned to wage-slavery. Liberty exists, but only within the realm of bourgeois society, cosmopolitan like its capital cities; as for the masses, they are resigned to their fate, not only politically, but economically too.
Need I add that the suppression or maintenance of a dynasty does not change the system at all? A unitary republic and a constitutional monarchy are one and the same thing; a mere change of name, and one official more or less, distinguish the two.
But if democratic absolutism is unstable, bourgeois constitutionalism is no less so. The former is retrogressive, without restraint, without principles, contemptuous of law, hostile to liberty, destructive of all security and trust. The constitutional system, with its legal forms, its juridical spirit, its moderate temperament, its parliamentary rituals, is in the last analysis nothing but a vast system of exploitation and intrigue, in which politics is at the service of speculation, tax revenues nothing but the civil list of a caste, and monopolistic power the servant of monopoly. The people have a dim sense of this immense plunder; constitutional guarantees mean little to them, and we have seen, especially in 1815, that they prefer their emperor, despite his bad faith, to their legitimate kings, despite their liberalism.
The repeated failures of democratic empire and bourgeois constitutionalism in turn have led to the creation of a third party, which, mustering under the flag of scepticism, holding no principle sacred, fundamentally and systematically immoral, tends to rule (as has been said) like a see-saw, by ruining all authority and all liberty, in a word by corruption. This is what is called the doctrinaire system.
Brought into being by hate and contempt for the old parties, this system gained considerable momentum, sustained by growing disappointment, and justified after a fashion by the spectacle of universal contradictions. It soon became the secret faith of power, restrained by modesty and decorum from professing scepticism publicly; but it is the avowed faith of the bourgeoisie and of people who are no longer inhibited from displaying their indifference and who are proud of it. Authority and liberty having been lost to view, justice and reason being taken for empty words, society is dissolved, the nation collapses. All that remains is matter and brute force; on pain of moral death, revolution becomes imminent. What will it lead to? History tells us the answer; examples may be counted by the thousand. The doomed system will give way, thanks to the succession of forgetful but endlessly renewed generations, to a new compromise, which will follow the same course, and, exhausted in turn and discredited by its own contradictions, will come to the same end. And this will continue until reason has found the means of harmonizing the two principles and of bringing society into equilibrium by coming to terms with the antagonism between them.


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Chapter VI: The Political Problem Posed: The Principle of a Solution

If the reader has followed the above account with some care, human society should appear to him as a fantastic creation, full of surprises and mysteries. Let us briefly recall the steps of the argument.
a) Political order rests upon two complementary, opposed, and irreducible principles: authority and liberty.
b) From these two principles are derived two correspondingly opposed regimes: the absolutist or authoritarian regime, and the liberal regime.
c) The forms of these two regimes are no less different, incompatible, and irreconcilable than their principles; we have defined them in terms of two words, indivisibility and separation.
d) Now, reason tells us that every theory must unfold in accordance with its principle, that everything that exists must correspond with its law. Logic is a necessity of life as it is of thought. But precisely the contrary occurs in politics: neither authority nor liberty can be realized alone or give rise to a system founded exclusively upon itself; indeed, the two are condemned, in their respective institutions, to make endless mutual borrowings.
e) The result is that in politics fidelity to principle belongs to the realm of the ideal; that since practice must accept compromises of every kind, government is reduced in the last resort, with all the good will and virtue imaginable, to a hybrid, equivocal thing, a promiscuity of rule which strict logic condemns and innocence shrinks from. No government escapes this contradiction.
f) Conclusion: since arbitrariness enters necessarily into politics, corruption soon becomes the soul of power, and society is led without rest or reprieve along the path of incessant revolution.
Everything is there. It is not the result of an evil will, or of some weakness of our nature, or of a providential curse, or of a whim of fortune or a decree of fate. Things are thus, that is all. It is up to us to make the best of this strange situation.
Let us bear in mind that for eight thousand years -- historical records reach back no further -- all the varieties of government, all social and political arrangements, have been successively tried, abandoned, taken up again, modified, travestied, exhausted, and that failure has rewarded the zeal of reformers and disappointed the hopes of nations. Always the flag of liberty has served to disguise despotism; always the privileged classes have surrounded themselves with liberal and egalitarian institutions in order to protect their privileges; always parties have been unfaithful to their programs, and always faith has given way to indifference and civic spirit to corruption, and states have been ruined by the logic of the ideas upon which they have been founded. The most vigorous and intelligent peoples have been exhausted in this work; history amply records their struggles. Now and then a run of successes has lent states the illusion of strength, and men have seen in them constitutional excellence and political wisdom which was not really theirs. But when peace returned, the vices of their systems emerged for all to see, and their subjects took rest from the fatigue of foreign war in civil war. Humanity has thus gone from revolution to revolution: even the most notable and long-lived nations have maintained themselves in this way. Among all the governments ever known and tried, there is not one that would live out the span of man's life if it relied upon its own resources. What is odd is that heads of state and their ministers, of all people, are least convinced of the stability of the system which they stand for; until science takes over, it is the faith of the masses that government rests upon. The Greeks and Romans, who left us their institutions and their example, relapsed into despair when the most interesting point of their development arrived; and modern society seems to have arrived in turn at its hour of anguish. Do not heed the agitators who call for liberty, equality, nationality. They know nothing; they are dead men who claim the power to make the dead live. The people listen to them for a while, as they do to clowns and quacks; then they pass on, with empty minds and despairing spirits.
A sure sign that collapse is near and that a new era is soon to dawn is that the confusion of language and thought has reached such a point that anyone may describe himself at will as a republican, monarchist, democrat, bourgeois, conservative, distributivist, liberal -- and as all these at once, without fear of being accused of deception or error. The princes and barons of the First Empire had revolutionary credentials. The bourgeoisie of 1814, bloated with the nation's wealth -- the one thing they had really understood in 1789 -- was liberal, even revolutionary; 1830 made them conservative again; 1848 made them reactionary, Catholic, and above all monarchist. Currently they are republicans of February who support the royal cause of Victor Emmanuel, while the socialists of June are adherents of unity.
Some of Ledru-Rollin's old comrades rallied to the empire as the true vehicle of revolution and the most paternal form of government; others, it is true, regard them as traitors, but furiously attack federalism.
It is systematic muddle, organized confusion, permanent apostasy, universal treachery.
What we need to know is whether society can arrive at some settled, equitable, and stable state of things, acceptable to our reason and our conscience, or whether we are condemned for all eternity to this Ixion's wheel. Is the problem insoluble? A little more patience, dear reader; and if I cannot soon rescue you from this imbroglio, then you have the right to say that logic is false, progress an illusion, liberty a Utopia. Consent to follow my argument for a few minutes more, even though to think about such a thing is to risk deceiving oneself and wasting one's time as well as one's reason.
1. You will notice first of all that these two principles, authority and liberty, which are at the root of all the trouble, appear in history in logical and temporal sequence. Authority, like the family, the father, genitor, appears first; it has the initiative, it is affirmation. Liberty is reflective and comes later: it criticizes, protests, concludes. This sequence arises from the definition of terms and from the nature of things, and all history bears witness to it. It cannot be inverted, there is nothing arbitrary about it.
2. No less worthy of note is that the authoritarian, paternal, monarchic regime is more distant from its ideal to the extent that the family, tribe, or city expands in population and territory: the more extensive authority is, the more intolerable it becomes. Hence the concessions which it is obliged to make to liberty. Conversely, the libertarian system approaches its ideal more closely and has a greater chance of success to the extent that the state expands in population and scale, to the extent that relations among men multiply and the realm of science develops. At first the demand for a constitution is heard from all sides; later the demand will be for decentralization. Follow this a little further, and you will see the idea of federation emerge; one may say of liberty and authority what John the Baptist said of himself and Jesus: 'Illam oportet crescere, hanc autem minui.'
This double movement, of regress on the one hand and progress on the other, both converging upon a single outcome, results likewise from the definition of principles, from their relative position and their roles. Here again there is no uncertainty, not the least room for arbitrariness. The fact is empirically proved and of mathematical certainty; it is what we shall call a law.
3. The result of this law, which may be called a necessary one, is that the principle of authority, which appears first and serves as material to be worked upon by liberty, reason, and law, gives way step by step to the juridical, rationalist, and liberal principle. The head of state, at first inviolable, irresponsible and absolute like the head of a family, becomes responsible to reason, the first subject of law, and eventually a mere agent, instrument, or servant of liberty itself.
This third proposition is as certain as the first two, beyond all doubt or denial, and fully demonstrated by history. In the eternal struggle between these two principles the French Revolution, like the Reformation, is a turning point. It marks the point in political development where liberty took precedence over authority, just as in religious development the Reformation marks the point where freedom took precedence over faith. Since Luther's time belief has everywhere become reflective; orthodoxy no less than heresy claims to justify faith by reason; Saint Paul's maxim, 'rationabile sit obsequium vestrum' (Let your obedience be reasoned), has been interpreted broadly and put into practice; Rome enters into debate with Geneva; religion tends to turn itself into a science; submission to the church becomes subject to so many conditions and reservations that only the acceptance of articles of faith marks off the Christian from the atheist. They are not of the same opinion, that is all; as for the rest, they rely equally upon thought, reason, and conscience. Likewise, respect for authority has become weaker since the French Revolution; deference to the prince's orders has become conditional; the sovereign has been required to make agreements, to give guarantees; the political mood has changed; the most fervent royalists have demanded charters like John Lackland's barons, and Messrs Berryer, de Falloux, de Montalembert, and so on can claim to be as liberal as the democrats.
Chateaubriand, the bard of the Restoration, regards himself as a philosopher and a republican; it was by an act of his own free will that he chose to defend altar and throne.We know what became of the militant Catholicism of Lamennais.
While authority crumbles and becomes more precarious day by day, law becomes more determinate, and liberty, though still suspect, gains in reality and power. Absolutism struggles as best it can but is on its way out; it seems that the republic, always resisted, slandered, betrayed, proscribed, comes closer with each day. What conclusions are we to draw from this fact which is so crucial for political constitutions?


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