Economic Sophisms/129

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"and think little of justice when they have no reprisals to fear, as the Himalaya, the Atlas, and the Caucasus bear witness.

If religion is powerless, and if philosophy is equally powerless, how then are wars to be put an end to?

Political economy demonstrates, that even as regards the nation which proves victorious, war is always made in the interest of the few, and at the expense of the masses. When the masses, then, shall see this clearly, the weight of public opinion, which is now divided, will come to be entirely on the side of peace.

Spoliation by force assumes still another form. No man will engage voluntarily in the business of production in order to be robbed of what he produces. Man himself is therefore laid hold of, robbed of his freedom and personality, and forced to labour. The language held to him is not, "If you do this for me, I will do that for you;" but this, "Yours be the fatigue, and mine the enjoyment." This is slavery, which always implies abuse of force.

It is important to inquire whether it is not in the very nature of a force which is incontestably dominant to commit abuses. For my own part, I should be loath to trust it, and would as soon expect a stone pitched from a height to stop midway of its own accord, as absolute power to prescribe limits to itself.

I should like, at least, to have pointed out to me a country and an epoch in which slavery has been abolished by the free, graceful, and voluntary act of the masters.

Slavery affords a second and striking example of the insufficiency of religious and philanthropical sentiments, when set in opposition to the powerful and energetic sentiment of self-interest. This may appear a melancholy view of the subject to certain modern schools who seek for the renovating principle of society in self-sacrifice. Let them begin, then, by reforming human nature.

In the West Indies, ever since the introduction of slavery, the masters, from father to son, have professed the Christian religion. Many times a day they repeat these words, "All men

are brethren: to love your neighbour is to fulfil the whole law."