Economic Sophisms/241

<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"ready to abandon that wise line of conduct which has hitherto distinguished him."

After such conclusive reasoning as this, we entertain a confident hope, Sire, that if the battle is once begun, the left hand will come off victorious.

Perhaps an association may be formed for the purpose of inquiring whether the right hand and the left are not both wrong, and whether a third hand cannot be found to conciliate everybody.

After having depicted the Dexteristes as seduced by the apparent liberality of a principle, the soundness of which experience has not yet verified, and the Sinistristes as maintaining the position they have gained, they go on to say:—

"We deny that there is any third position which it is possible to take up in the midst of the battle! Is it not evident that the workmen have to defend themselves at one and the same time against those who desire to change nothing in the present situation, because they find their account in it, and against those who dream of an economic revolution of which they have calculated neither the direction nor the extent?"

We cannot, however, conceal from your Majesty that our project has a vulnerable side; for it may be said that twenty years hence left hands will be as skilful as right hands are at present, and that then you could no longer trust to gaucherie for an increase of national employment.

To that we reply, that according to the most learned physicians the left side of the body has a natural feebleness, which is quite reassuring as regards the labour of the future.

Should your Majesty consent to pass the measure now proposed, a great principle will be established: All wealth proceeds from the intensity of labour. It will be easy for us to extend and vary the applications of this principle. We may decree, for example, that it shall no longer be permissible to work but with the foot; for this is no more impossible (as we have seen) than to extract iron from the mud of the Seine. You see then, Sire, that the means of increasing national labour can never fail. And after all has been tried, we have still the practically exhaustless resource of amputation.

To conclude, Sire, if this report were not intended for publicity, we should take the liberty of soliciting your attention to the great influence which measures of this kind are calculated to confer on men in power. But that is a matter which we must reserve for a private audience.