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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 11
    them from the poor to the rich must necessarily retain the enactments about the ownership of land implements of production and other commodities to which the whole burden of taxation is transferred But the retention of the enactments about land and property by freeing the working people from the taxes turns them over into slavery to the landowners and capitalists And those who like Henry George and his followers do away with the enactments about ownership propose new enactments about a compulsory land rent But the compulsory land rent will inevitably establish a new form of slavery because a man obliged to pay the rent or single tax will be compelled at every failure of crops and at every misfortune to borrow money from him who has it and will again fall into slavery And those who like the socialists do away with the enactments about the ownership of land and the implements of production retain the enactments about the taxes and besides are obliged to introduce enactments about compelling men to work they again establish slavery in its primitive form Thus in one way or another all the practical and theoretical abolitions of one set of enactments which produce slavery of one kind have so far always been followed by new enactments which produce slavery of another a new kind What is taking place is very much like what a jailer does when he changes the chains from the neck to the arms or from the arms to the legs or when he takes them off but fastens the bolts and bars All the ameliorations for the working people so far proposed have consisted of nothing else The enactments about the masters right to force the slaves to do work have given way to enactments about the ownership of the whole land by the masters The enactments about the ownership of the whole land by the masters have given way to enactments about taxes the establishment of which is in the power of the masters The enactments about taxes have given way to the strengthening of the right to own articles of use and implements of labor The enactments about the right to own land articles of use and implements of production are now to be abandoned for enactments about compulsory labor The primitive form of slavery was the direct compulsion to work Having made the whole circle of the different latent forms ownership of land taxes ownership of articles of use and implements of production slavery now returns to its primitive form though in a changed aspect to the direct compulsion to work Therefore it is obvious that the abolition of one of the enactments which produces the slavery of our day either of the taxes or of the ownership of land or of the ownership of articles of use and implements of production will not destroy slavery but will only abolish one of its forms which will immediately give way to another as was the case with

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 12
    about the obligation for every man to do military service or be a juror or about not carrying certain objects beyond a certain line or about not using land that is considered to be the property of another or about not making any monetary tokens or about not using articles that are considered to be the property of someone else All these enactments and many others are extremely varied and may have the most varied motives but not one of them expresses the will of the whole people There is but one common feature to all these enactments that if a man will not fulfill them those who established them will send armed men and the armed men will beat deprive of liberty and even kill him who does not fulfill them If a man does not wish to give the portion of his labor demanded of him in the form of taxes armed men will come and take from him what is demanded If he offers resistance they will beat him deprive him of liberty or even kill him The same thing will be done with a man who will use land that is regarded as somebody else s property The same thing will happen to a man who will make use of articles considered to be the property of someone else which he needs for the gratification of his needs or for work Armed men will come will take from him what he has taken and if he offers resistance will beat him deprive him of liberty or even kill him The same thing will happen to a man who will not show respect to that which enactments say must be respected and to him who will not comply with the demand to become a soldier and to him who will make monetary tokens For every non fulfillment of established enactments those who do not fulfill them will be punished They will be subjected to personal injury to the loss of liberty and even to being killed at the hands of those men who have established these enactments Very many constitutions have been invented beginning with the English and the American and ending with the Japanese and the Turkish by which people are led to believe that all the enactments established in their state are established by their own will But all men know that not only in despotic but also in assumedly free countries such as England America and France the enactments are established not by the will of all men but only by the will of those who have the power and so they always are such as are advantageous for those who have the power be they many a few or even one man And the enactments are always and everywhere executed by the same means by which men have always and everywhere been compelled to do the will of others by means of personal injury loss of liberty and murder Indeed it cannot be

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 13
    the vast majority of the people are landless and in the power of those who do not work You do not protect landed property with your laws but instead take it away from those who work You say that you ensure to each man the products of his labor whereas you do the very opposite All people who produce costly articles are thanks to your supposed protection put in such a condition that they can never get the value of their labor and that their whole lives are dependent on the non working people and on their power Thus the people of the end of our century are beginning to understand matters and to talk This awakening from the lethargy in which the governments held them is taking place in a rapidly increasing progression Within the last five or six years the public opinion of the masses not only in the cities but also in the villages not only in Europe but also in Russia has strikingly changed We are told that without the governments we shall not have those cultural educational and social establishments which all need But why assume this Why think that non governmental people will not be able to arrange their lives for themselves as well as the governmental people arrange them We see on the contrary that in the most varied circumstances of life people in our time arrange their lives for themselves incomparably better than they are arranged by the men who govern them People establish all kinds of public enterprises labor unions cooperative societies railway companies collectives and syndicates without any interference from the government and frequently in spite of the government s interference If levies are needed for public works why do we think that free people will not be able to collect the necessary means and to establish everything that is established with the taxes but voluntarily and without violence Why must we think that there cannot be any courts without violence The judgment of men in whom the litigants have confidence has always existed and always will exist and does not need violence We have been so corrupted by a long slavery that we cannot imagine a government without violence But that is not true The Russian Communes when settling in distant regions where our government does not interfere with their life arrange their own levies courts and police And they always prosper so long as governmental violence does not interfere with their management Even so there is no reason for the assumption that people are unable to distribute the use of the land among themselves by common agreement I have known of people the Ural Cossacks who have lived without recognizing the ownership of land and the prosperity and order in their whole society have been such as do not exist in the society in which the ownership of land is protected by violence I know of Communes at the present time that exist without recognizing the right of

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 14
    a story about a traveler who having been brought to an uninhabited island finds an old man with dried up legs sitting on the ground on the bank of a brook The old man asks the traveler to take him on his shoulders and carry him across the brook The traveler agrees to do this But the moment the old man seats himself on his shoulders he winds his legs tightly around the traveler s neck and does not let go of him Having taken possession of the traveler the old man orders him about as he pleases plucks and eats fruits from the trees without giving anything to the one who carries him and in every other way scorns the traveler The same is done to the nations that have given money and soldiers to the governments With the money the governments buy guns and hire or prepare through education irresponsible bestialized military chiefs But the chiefs by means of artful methods of stultification which were worked out through the ages and are called discipline prepare a disciplined army out of the men who are taken into the army This discipline consists in the men undergoing the instruction and following it for a certain time while completely deprived of everything that is precious to a man deprived of rational freedom These men become submissive machine like implements of murder in the hands of their organized hieratic authorities There is good reason why the kings emperors and presidents esteem discipline so highly fear the violation of it so much and consider their most important business to be inspections maneuvers parades ceremonial marches and similar foolish things They know that all these things maintain discipline and on discipline alone is based not only their power but also their existence The disciplined army is the means with which they can commit the greatest malefactions through other people s hands and the ability to do so subjugates the people In this disciplined army lies the essence of the deception in consequence of which the governments of modern times dominate the nations When this unwilled implement of violence and murder is in the power of a government the whole nation is in its power The government no longer lets go of it and not only ruins it but also scorns it impressing it with loyalty and even veneration for the government by means of a pseudo religious and patriotic education And it is this venerated government that keeps the nation in slavery and torments it Consequently the only means for the destruction of the governments is not violence but the arraignment of this deception It is necessary for the people to understand that in the first place there is no need to defend the nations against one another amidst the Christian world All the hostilities between nations are provoked only by the governments themselves The armies are needed only to keep a small number of ruling men in power but are not needed by

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Chapter 15
    no demands of other people are brought forward in regard to these articles I shall be told But such an activity is impossible To refuse all participation in governmental affairs means to renounce life A man who will refuse to do military service will be imprisoned A man who will not pay his taxes will be subjected to penalties and the taxes will be levied on his property A man who will refuse to enter the service of the government without having any other means of existence will perish with his family from hunger The same thing will happen to a man who will refuse the governmental protection of his property and person And it is quite impossible not to use articles that are burdened with taxes and not to use the governmental institutions since often it is articles of prime necessity that are taxed It is similarly impossible to get along without governmental institutions such as the post office and roads It is quite true that it is hard for a man of our time to renounce every participation in governmental violence but the fact that not every man is able to arrange his life such that he is not a participant in governmental violence to some degree does not by any means show that it is impossible to wean oneself away from it more and more Not every man will have the strength to refuse to do military service but there are and will be such but it is in the power of every man not to enter military police judicial or fiscal service of his own free will and it is possible for him to prefer a less paying private activity to more profitable governmental service Not every man will have the strength to renounce his ownership of land though there are some men who do so but it is possible for every man if he understands the criminality of such property to limit its scope Not every man will be able to renounce the possession of capital there are men who do and the use of articles protected by violence but it is possible for every man diminishing his needs to make less and less use of articles that provoke the envy of other people Not every person is able to give up a governmental salary there are also those who prefer starving to a dishonest governmental position but it is possible for every man to prefer a small salary to a larger one if only the duties to be performed are less connected with violence Not every person can renounce the use of the governmental schools there are also those who do but it is possible for every man to prefer a private school to a government school And so it is possible for every man to use articles that are burdened with duties and the institutions of the government less and less Between the existing order of things which is based on coarse violence

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  • THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIME - Epilog
    with impunity People who are accustomed to the protection of person and property by means of violence imagine that there will be constant disorder without this protection and constant struggle of all against all I will not repeat what I have said in another place about this that the protection of property by means of violence does not diminish but increases disorder But even if we admit that disorders may arise with the absence of protection what are people to do who have come to understand the cause of those calamities from which they suffer If we understand that we are sick from intoxication we cannot continue drinking and hope to improve our condition by drinking moderately or continue drinking and take medicine that is prescribed to us by shortsighted physicians The same is true of diseases of society If we have come to understand that one set of people does violence to other people it is impossible to improve the condition of society by continuing to maintain the governmental violence that exists or by introducing a new and revolutionary socialistic violence That was possible so long as the fundamental cause of men s calamities was not clearly discernible But as soon as it becomes indubitably clear that men suffer from violence that is exerted by one class of men over another it is no longer possible to improve the condition of men by continuing the old violence or introducing a new kind Just as for an alcoholic patient there is but one means for his liberation abstinence from liquor the cause of the disease so too there is but one means for the liberation of men from the bad structure of society That means is abstinence from violence which is the cause of calamities abstinence from personal violence abstinence

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  • BETHINK YOURSELVES - Chapter 2
    the human brain because it has been carefully encouraged and cultivated for thousands of years One likes to hope that a humanity superior to ours will succeed in correcting this original vice but what will it then think of this civilization calling itself refined and of which we are so proud Even now at one and the same time we think of ancient Mexico and of its cannibalism as pious warlike and bestial Charles Letourneau Sometimes one ruler attacks another out of fear in order that the latter should not fall upon him Sometimes war is begun because the foe is too strong and sometimes because he is too weak Sometimes our neighbors desire our possessions or they possess what we want Then begins war which lasts until they seize what they may require or surrender the possession that is demanded by us Jonathan Swift Something incomprehensible and impossible in its cruelty falsehood and stupidity is taking place The Russian Czar the very man who summoned all the nations to peace 3 publicly announces that despite his efforts to maintain the peace so dear to his heart efforts expressed by the seizure of other peoples lands and the strengthening of the army for the defense of these stolen lands in consequence of attacks by the Japanese he is compelled to order the same to be done to them as they have begun doing to the Russians that is that they should be killed In announcing this call to murder he mentions God evoking a Divine blessing on the most dreadful crime in the world The Japanese Emperor has proclaimed the same thing in regard to the Russians Learned jurists Messieurs Muravev and Martens are assiduous in demonstrating that because other peoples lands have been seized there is no contradiction at all between the former general call to universal peace and the present incitement to war Diplomats publish and send out circulars in the refined French language proving circumstantially and diligently though they know that no one believes them that after all its efforts to establish peaceful relations in reality after all its efforts to deceive other countries the Russian government has been compelled to have recourse to the only means for a rational solution of the question the murder of men And the Japanese diplomats write the same thing Learned men for their part comparing the present with the past and deducing profound conclusions from these comparisons argue interminably about the laws of the movements of nations about the relation of the yellow to the white race and about Buddhism and Christianity On the basis of these deductions and reflections they justify the slaughter of the yellow race by Christians And in the same way the Japanese learned men and philosophers justify the slaughter of the white race Journalists with unconcealed joy trying to outdo one another and not stopping at any falsehood however impudent and transparent prove in various ways that the Russians alone are right and strong and

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~Bethink_Yourselves/BY_chapter02.html (2016-04-28)
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  • BETHINK YOURSELVES - Chapter 3
    if you remain alive and are no longer fit to carry your knapsack and you can go and die where you like That will no longer concern me Claude Tillier I learned discipline namely that the corporal is always right when he addresses a private the sergeant when he addresses a corporal the sub lieutenant when he addresses a sergeant major and so on up to the Field Marshal even should they say that twice two is five It is at first difficult to grasp this but there is something that will help you to understand it It is a notice stuck up in the barracks and which is read to you from time to time in order to clear your ideas This notice sets out all that a soldier may wish to do to return to his village to refuse to serve to disobey his commander and so on and for all this the penalty is mentioned capital punishment or five years penal servitude Erckmann Chatrian I have bought a Negro and he is mine He works like a horse I feed him badly I clothe him similarly and he is beaten when he disobeys Is there anything surprising in that Do we treat our soldiers any better Are they not deprived of liberty like this Negro The only difference is that the soldier costs much less A good Negro is now worth at least five hundred écus but a good soldier is hardly worth fifty Neither the one nor the other may quit the place where he is confined Both are beaten for the slightest fault Their salaries are about the same But the Negro has this advantage over the soldier he does not risk his life but passes it with his wife and children Questions sur l Encyclopédie par des amateurs Art Esclavage It is as if neither Voltaire nor Montaigne nor Pascal nor Swift nor Kant nor Spinoza had ever existed nor the hundreds of other writers who have very forcibly exposed the madness and futility of war and described its cruelty immorality and savagery Above all it is as if Jesus and his teaching of human brotherhood and love of God and man had never existed Recalling all this and looking around on what is happening now one experiences horror less at the abominations of war than at that most horrible of all horrors the consciousness of the impotence of human reason Reason which alone distinguishes man from the brutes and constitutes his true dignity is now regarded as an unnecessary useless and even pernicious attribute that simply impedes action like a bridle dangling from a horse s head merely entangling his legs and irritating him It is understandable that a pagan a Greek a Roman or even a medieval Christian ignorant of the Gospel and blindly believing all the prescriptions of the Church might fight and while fighting pride himself on his military calling But how can a believing Christian or even a skeptic

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~Bethink_Yourselves/BY_chapter03.html (2016-04-28)
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