Economic Sophisms/145

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"religion their own proper and peculiar means of working for the cultivation and improvement of man.

Let us admit, then, the simultaneous action of morality, properly so called, and of political economy; the one branding the injurious act in its motive, and exposing its unseemliness, the other discrediting it in our judgment, by a picture of its effects.

Let us admit even that the triumph of the religions moralist, when achieved, is more beautiful, more consoling, more fundamental. But we must at the same time acknowledge that the triumph of the economist is more easy and more certain. In a few lines, which are worth many large volumes, J. B. Say has said that, to put an end to the disorder introduced into an honourable family by hypocrisy there are only two alternatives: to reform Tartuffe, or sharpen the wits of Orgon. Molière, that great painter of the human heart, appears constantly to have regarded the second of these processes as the more efficacious.

It is the same thing in real life, and on the stage of the world.

Tell me what Cæsar did, and I will tell you what the character was of the Romans of his time.

Tell me what modern diplomacy accomplishes, and I will tell you what is the moral condition of the nations among whom it is exercised.

We should not be paying nearly two milliards [£80,000,000 sterling] of taxes, if we did not empower those who live upon them to vote them.

We should not have been landed in all the difficulties and charges to which the African question has given rise, had we had our eyes open to the fact that two and two make four, in political economy, as well as in arithmetic.

M. Guizot would not have felt himself authorized to say that France is rich enough to pay for her glory, if France had never been smitten with the love of false glory.

The same statesman would never have ventured to say that liberty is too precious a thing for France to stand higgling about its price, had France only reflected that a heavy budget and liberty are incompatible.