Economic Sophisms/132

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"And still to this fundamental security I should add others. For example, effectually to prevent enlightenment ever reaching the masses, I should appropriate to myself and my accomplices the monopoly of all knowledge, which I would conceal under the veil of a dead language and hieroglyphic characters; and in order that I should never be exposed to any danger, I would take care to establish an institution which would enable me, day after day, to penetrate the secrets of all consciences.

It would not be amiss that I should at the same time satisfy some of the real wants of my people, especially if, in doing so, I could increase my influence and authority. Thus, as men have great need of instruction, and of being taught morals, I should constitute myself the dispenser of these. By this means I should direct as I saw best the minds and hearts of my people. I should establish an indissoluble connexion between morals and my authority. I should represent them as incapable of existing, except in this state of union; so that, if some bold man were to attempt to stir a tabooed question, society at large, which could not dispense with moral teaching, would feel the earth tremble under its feet, and would turn with rage against this frantic innovator.

When things had come to this pass, it is obvious that the people would become my property in a stricter sense than if they were my slaves. The slave curses his chains—they would hug theirs; and I should thus succeed in imprinting the brand of servitude, not on their foreheads, but on their innermost consciences.

Public opinion alone can overturn such an edifice of iniquity; but where can it make a beginning, when every stone of the edifice is tabooed? It is obviously an affair of time and the printing-press.

God forbid that I should desire to shake the consoling religious convictions which connect this life of trial with a life of felicity. But that our irresistible religious aspirations have been abused, is what no one, not even the head of the Church himself, can deny. It appears to me that there is a sure test by which a people can discover whether they are duped or not.

Examine Religion and the Priest, in order to discover whether