Economic Sophisms/170

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"I think I hear you answer, "It is not we who have established it. Alas! we are neither Peers, nor Deputies, nor Councillors of State. The capitalists have done it all.

Verily, they must have been in a good humour that day! What! these capitalists have made the law; they have established a policy of prohibition for the express purpose of enabling you to profit at their expense!

But here is something stranger still.

How does it come to pass that your pretended friends, who hold forth to you on the goodness, the generosity, and the self-abnegation of capitalists, never cease condoling with you on your being deprived of your political rights? From their point of view, I would ask what you could make of such rights if you had them? The capitalists have a monopoly of legislation;—granted. By means of this monopoly, they have adjudged themselves a monopoly of iron, of cloth, of textile fabrics, of coal, of wood, of meat,—granted likewise. But here are your pretended friends, who tell you that in acting thus, capitalists have impoverished themselves, without being under any obligation to do so, in order to enrich you who have no right to be enriched! Assuredly, if you were electors and deputies tomorrow, you could not manage your affairs better than they are managed for you; you could not manage them so well.

If the industrial legislation under which you live is intended for your profit, it is an act of perfidy to demand for you political rights; for these new-fashioned democrats never can get quit of this dilemma—the law made by the bourgeoisie either gives you more, or it gives you less than your natural wages. If that law gives you less, they deceive you, in soliciting you to maintain it. If it gives you more, they still deceive you, by inviting you to demand political rights at the very time when the bourgeoisie are making sacrifices for you, which, in common honesty, you could not by your votes exact, even if you had the power.

Workmen! I should be sorry indeed if this address should excite in your minds feelings of irritation against the rich. If self-interest, ill understood, or too apt to be alarmed, still maintains monopoly, let us not forget that monopoly has its root in errors which are common to both capitalists and labourers.

Instead of exciting the one class against the other, let us try to bring them together. And for that end what ought we to do? If it be true that the natural social tendencies concur in levelling inequalities among men, we have only to allow these tendencies to act, remove artificial obstructions which retard their operation, and allow the relations of the various classes of society to be established on principles of Justice—principles always mixed up, in my mind at least, with the principle of Liberty.