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  • BETHINK YOURSELVES - Chapter 12
    czars mikados ministers metropolitans abbots generals editors and contractors or whatever you are called Go yourselves and face the shells and bullets We don t want to go and won t go Leave us in peace to plough sow build and feed you our parasites To say that would be so natural now in Russia amid the weeping and wailing of hundreds of thousands of mothers wives and children from whom their breadwinners the so called reservists are being taken Those same reservists are for the most part able to read They know what the Far East is And they know that the war is carried on not for anything at all necessary for the Russian people but on account of dealings in some alien leased land as they call it where it seemed advantageous to some contractors to build a railway and engage in other affairs for profit They also know or can know that they will be killed like sheep in a slaughter house for the Japanese have the newest and most perfect instruments of murder and we have not for the Russian authorities who are sending our people to death did not think in time of procuring such weapons as the Japanese have Knowing all this it would be so natural to say Go yourselves you who started this affair all of you to whom the war seems necessary and who justify it You go and expose yourselves to the Japanese bullets and torpedoes We will no longer go because it is not only unnecessary for us but we cannot understand why it should be necessary for anyone But they do not say this They go and will go and cannot but go as long as they fear that which destroys the body and not that which destroys both body and soul Whether they will kill or mutilate us in some Chinnampos or whatever they are called where we are being driven is uncertain they argue Perhaps we may get away alive and even with rewards and glory like those sailors who are being so feted all over Russia just now because the Japanese bombs and bullets hit someone else instead of them But if we refuse we shall certainly be put in prison starved beaten and exiled to the province of Yakútsk or perhaps even killed immediately And so they go with despair in their hearts leaving their wives and children and their rational lives Yesterday I met a reservist accompanied by his mother and his wife They were all three riding in a cart He was rather tipsy and his wife s face was swollen with weeping He addressed me Good bye Lëv Nikoláevich I m off to the Far East What Are you going to fight Well someone has to fight No one should fight He considered But what can I do Where can I escape to I saw that he understood me and had understood that the affair on which he was being sent was a bad one Where can I escape to It is the precise expression of the mental condition that is rendered in the official and journalistic world by the words For the Faith the Czar and the Fatherland Those who go to suffering and death abandoning their hungry families say what they feel Where can I escape to Those who sit in safety in their luxurious palaces say that all Russians are ready to lay down their lives for their adored monarch and for the glory and greatness of Russia Yesterday I received two letters one after the other from a peasant I know This was the first Dear Lëv Nikoláevich Well today I have received the official announcement summoning me to serve and tomorrow I must present myself at the place appointed That is all and then to the Far East to meet Japanese bullets I will not tell you of my own and my family s grief for you will not fail to understand all the horror of my position and of war You have painfully realized that long ago and understand it all I have all the time wished to come to see you and talk with you I wrote you a long letter in which I described the torments of my soul but I had not had time to make a clean copy of it when I received this summons What is my wife to do now with our four children Of course you being an old man cannot do anything for my family yourself but you might ask some one of your friends to visit them just for the sake of a walk If my wife finds herself unable to bear the agony of her helplessness with all the children and makes up her mind to go to you for help and advice I beg you earnestly to receive her and console her Though she does not know you personally she believes in you and that means a great deal I cannot resist the summons but I say beforehand that not one Japanese family shall be orphaned by me O God how dreadful all this is How grievous and painful it is to abandon all that one lives by and with which one is concerned The second letter was this Kind Lëv Nikoláevich Only one day of actual service has passed but I have already lived through an eternity of most desperate torments From eight o clock in the morning until nine in the evening we were crowded and pushed about in the barrack yard like a herd of cattle The comedy of a medical examination was repeated three times and all who reported themselves ill did not receive even ten minutes attention before they were marked fit When we two thousand fit men were driven from the military commander s at the barracks a crowd of relations mothers and wives with children in their arms stretched out for nearly a kilometer along the

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~Bethink_Yourselves/BY_chapter12.html (2016-04-28)
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  • BETHINK YOURSELVES - Chapter 13
    was very pleasant reading for me I am very fond of reading what you write and as we are now in military action Lëv Nikoláevich will you please tell me whether or not it is pleasing to God that our commanders compel us to kill I beg you to write me Lëv Nikoláevich please whether or not truth exists now on earth At the church service the priest speaks of the Christ loving army Is it true or not that God loves war Please Lëv Nikoláevich have you any books showing whether truth exists on earth or not Send me such books and I will pay what they cost I beg you not to neglect my request Lëv Nikoláevich If there are no such books then write to me I shall be very glad to receive a letter from you and shall await it with impatience Now farewell I remain alive and well and wish you the same from the Lord God Good health and good success in your work Then follows the address Port Arthur the name of his ship his rank and his Christian name patronymic and family name I cannot reply directly to that good serious and truly enlightened man He is in Port Arthur with which there is no longer any communication either by post or by telegraph But we still have a means of mutual communication God in whom we both believe and concerning whom we both know that military action displeases him The doubt that has arisen in the man s soul is at the same time its own solution And that doubt has now arisen and lives in the souls of thousands and thousands of men not Russians and Japanese only but all those unfortunate people who are forcibly compelled to do things

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~Bethink_Yourselves/BY_chapter13.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 2
    indifference In all times even in peaceful activities inconsistent with the spirit of Christianity Christian nations could not compete with non Christian nations So it was and continues to be in the monetary strife with non Christians However badly and fallaciously Christianity may be interpreted the Christian recognizes and the more so the more he is a Christian that wealth is not the highest good and therefore he cannot devote all his powers to it as does he who has no ideals higher than wealth or who regards wealth as a divine blessing The same is true in the sphere of non Christian science and art In these spheres both of positive experimental science and of art which places pleasure as its aim the precedence has belonged does and always must belong to the least Christian individuals and nations What we see in the manifestation of peaceful activities was bound to exist all the more in the activity of war which is directly repudiated by true Christianity It is this inevitable advantage in the military art of non Christian over Christian nations which given equal means of military science has been so unmistakably demonstrated in the brilliant victory of the Japanese over the Russians And it is in this inevitable and necessary superiority of non Christian nations that the enormous significance of the Japanese victory lies The significance of the Japanese victory is that this victory has shown in the most obvious way not only to vanquished Russia but also to the whole Christian world all the futility of the external culture of which Christian nations were so proud It has proven that this external culture which appeared to them to be some kind of an especially important result of the age of long efforts of Christendom is something very unimportant and insignificant The Japanese nation was distinguished by no especially superior spiritual qualities But when it needed this culture it could in a few decades assimilate all the scientific wisdom of the Christian nations inclusive of bacteria and explosives and could so well adapt this wisdom to practical purposes that in its adaptation to the military art and in the military art itself so highly valued by Christian nations it could surpass all these nations For ages the Christian nations under the pretext of self defense have competed in inventing the most effectual methods of destroying each other methods immediately adopted by all their opponents and have made use of these methods both for the intimidation of each other and for the acquirement of every kind of advantage over uncivilized nations in Africa and Asia And lo Among the non Christian nations there appears one warlike adroit and imitative nation that having seen the danger threatening it together with other non Christian nations assimilated with extraordinary facility and speed all that military superiority had given Christian nations It became stronger than them having understood the simple truth that if you are beaten with a stout and strong club you

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter02.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 3
    that nation wherein the greater numbers of men are conscious of this contradiction As to the revolutionary methods these depend on the object toward which the revolution tends In 1793 the consciousness of the contradiction between the idea of the equality of men and the despotic power of kings priesthood nobility and bureaucracy was felt not only by the nations suffering from oppression but also by the best men of the ruling classes in all Christendom But nowhere were these classes so sensitive to this inequality and nowhere was the consciousness of the people so little stultified by servitude as in France and therefore the revolution of 1793 began precisely in France And the most adequate means of realizing equality naturally seemed to be to forcibly take back that which the authorities possessed and therefore the participants of that revolution realized their aims by violence Governments arbitrarily deprive people of the product of their labor for lands that can have no end and are capable at any moment of compelling nations to participate in senseless and cruel manslaughter At the present date 1905 there is a contradiction between the consciousness of the possibility and lawfulness of free life on the one hand and of the unreason and disaster of obedience to such coercive authority on the other This contradiction is felt not only by the masses suffering from this coercion but also by the best men of the ruling classes and nowhere is this contradiction felt so strongly as among the Russian people This contradiction is felt especially strongly in the Russian nation owing both to the insane and humiliating war into which they have been drawn by the government and to the agricultural life yet retained by the Russian people but above all owing to the particularly vital Christian consciousness of this people This is why I think that the revolution of 1905 having for its object the liberation of men from coercion must begin and has already begun in Russia The means of realizing the objects of a revolution for the freedom of men obviously must be other than that violence by which men have hitherto attempted to realize equality The men of the great French revolution wishing to attain equality might make the mistake of thinking that equality is attainable by coercion although it would seem evident that equality cannot be secured by coercion as coercion is in itself the keenest manifestation of inequality The freedom constituting the chief aim of the present revolution cannot in any case be attained by violence Yet at present the people who are producing the revolution in Russia think that by overthrowing the existing government and instituting a constitutional monarchy or even a socialistic republic they will attain the object at which the revolution aimed They are repeating all that has taken place in European revolutions with their solemn funeral processions destruction of prisons brilliant speeches Allez dire a votre maitre 1 constitutional assemblies and so forth But history does not

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter03.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 4
    the rulers by their servile submission and imitation of the rulers One thousand nine hundred years ago Christianity appeared and confirmed the law of mutual service with new force and further explained the reasons why this law had not been fulfilled The Christian teaching showed with extraordinary clarity that this reason was the false idea about the lawfulness and necessity of coercion for retribution Having demonstrated from various sides the unlawfulness and harmfulness of retribution it showed that the greatest calamities of men proceeded from acts of violence which are committed by some men upon others under the excuse of retribution The Christian teaching demonstrated not only the injustice but also the harmfulness of vengeance it showed that the only means of deliverance from violence is the submissive and peaceful endurance of it You have heard that it was said Eye for eye and tooth for tooth But I tell you do not resist an evil person If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic let him have your cloak as well If someone forces you to go one mile go with him two miles Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you Matthew 5 38 42 This teaching pointed out that if the man who uses force is the judge of when force is admissible then there will be no limit to violence and therefore that if violence is to be abolished then it is necessary that no one should use violence under any pretext whatever especially under the most usual pretext of retribution This teaching confirmed the simple self evident truth that evil cannot be abolished by evil

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter04.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 5
    of the Christians to the authorities completely changed Governments by the help of a servile priesthood taught their subjects that violence and murder might be perpetrated when they were resorted to for just retribution and in defense of the oppressed and weak Besides this by forcing men to swear allegiance to the authorities vowing before God that they would unreservedly fulfill all that might be commanded by the authorities the governments reduced their subjects to such a state that people regarding themselves as Christians ceased to look upon violence and murder as forbidden Committing violence and murder themselves they naturally submitted to the same when perpetrated upon them And it came to be that Christian men instead of the freedom proclaimed by Jesus and instead of regarding the endurance of every violence as a duty while obeying no one except God as they did formerly began to understand their duties in a directly opposite sense They began to regard peaceful endurance as humiliating and to regard obedience to the authority of governments as their most sacred duty Thus they became slaves of government Educated in these traditions they were not only unashamed of their slavery but were also proud of the power of their governments just as slaves are always proud of the greatness of their masters From this distortion of Christianity there has lately developed yet a new deceit which has secured the Christian nations in their oppression This deceit consists in convincing the people of a given nation that by becoming participants in governmental power they are only obeying themselves when obeying the government and so are presumably free This is accomplished by means of a complicated organization of suffrage and representation in governmental institutions by electing the one who will then with others elect this or that score of candidates unknown to them or by directly electing their representatives This deceit it would seem ought to have been obvious both theoretically and practically since people cannot express their will with even the most democratic organization and universal suffrage They cannot express it first because there does not and cannot exist such a universal will of a nation of many millions Secondly even if such a universal will of the whole people did exist a majority of votes could never express it and they do not themselves know nor can know what they require The elected representatives who participate in the government do not institute laws and rule the people with a view to their welfare but in most cases are guided only by the object of retaining their position and power The deceit corrupts the nation by every kind of fraud stultification and bribery and is especially pernicious in the voluntary slavery to which it reduces men who fall under its influence Those fallen under the influence of this deceit imagine that in obeying the government they obey themselves and never make up their minds to disobey the ordinances of human authority even though the latter may

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter05.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 6
    violence of the strong and pugnacious over those who are weak and not desirous of struggling The legion of the call of the Variags 3 obviously composed after the Variags had already conquered the Slavonians fully expresses the relation of the Russian people toward power even before Christianity We ourselves do not wish to participate in the sins of power If you do not regard it as a sin come and govern us The submission of the Russian people to the most cruel and insane autocrats from Ivan IV down to Nicholas II often even not Russian can be explained by this same attitude toward power Thus in older times did the Russian people regard power and their relation toward it Even now most look upon it in the same way It is true that as in other states the same deceits by which Christian people have been unconsciously compelled not only to submit but even to obey in deeds contrary to Christianity have been perpetrated also in relation to the Russian people But these deceits reached only the upper corrupt layers of the people whereas most have retained that view of power by which man regards it as better to bear suffering from violence than to participate in the violence The cause of such an attitude of the Russian people toward power consists I think in that the Russian nation more than other nations has preserved true Christianity as a teaching of brotherhood equality humility and love a Christianity that sees a radical difference between submitting to violence and obeying it A true Christian may submit he even cannot do anything but submit without strife to every violence but he cannot obey it i e recognize its lawfulness However much governments in general and the Russian government in particular have striven and are striving to replace this truly Christian attitude toward power by the orthodox Christian teaching the Christian spirit and distinction between submission to power and obedience continues to live in the great majority of the Russian working people The incompatibility between governmental coercion and Christianity has never ceased to be felt by the majority of the Russian people and this contradiction has been especially keenly and distinctly felt by the more sensitive Christians who did not embrace the distorted teaching of orthodoxy by the so called sectarians These Christians of various denominations did not recognize the lawfulness of governmental power From fear the majority submitted to government demands which they regarded as unlawful while some of the minority circumvented the demands by various devices or else fled from them Many Orthodox Russian people began to understand the incompatibility of Christianity with power when state coercion threw as it were a challenge to all true Christians by introducing universal conscription demanding from every man readiness to kill At the same time non Orthodox Christians of various denominations began to categorically refuse to become soldiers And although there were not many such refusals hardly one in a thousand conscripts

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter06.html (2016-04-28)
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  • THE END OF THE AGE - Chapter 7
    land is always obliged to work beyond his strength to suffer and to starve and can never for one minute be completely provided for He cannot be set free from the arbitrary will of men and principally from the arbitrariness of evil and avaricious men Yet even this is not the chief calamity of the land slave His chief calamity is that he cannot live a moral life Not living by labor on the land not struggling with nature he is inevitably obliged to struggle with men to endeavor to take from them by force or cunning that which they have acquired from the land and from the labor of others Land slavery is not as is thought even by those who recognize deprivation of land as slavery one of the remaining forms of slavery but is the radical and fundamental slavery from which has grown every form of slavery and which is incomparably more painful than personal slavery Personal slavery is merely one of the particular cases of exploitation by land slavery The emancipation of men from personal slavery without their emancipation from land slavery is not emancipation but merely the cessation of only one form of exploitation by slavery In many cases as it was in Russia when the serfs were emancipated with only a small portion of land it is a deceit that can only for a time conceal from the slaves their true position The Russian people always understood this during serfdom saying We are yours but the land is ours During the emancipation they unceasingly and unanimously demanded and expected the emancipation of the land During the emancipation from serfdom the people were cajoled by a little land being given them and for a time they were pacified but with the increase of population the question of the insufficiency of land again arose before them and that in the clearest and most definite form While the people were serfs they used the land as much as was necessary for their existence The government and the landowners had the care of distributing the increasing population on the land and so the people did not see the essential injustice of the seizure of the land by private individuals But as soon as serfdom was abolished the care of the government and landowners concerning the people s economic agricultural possibility of existence I shall not say welfare was also abolished The quantity of land that the peasants might possess was once and for all determined without the possibility of increasing it while the population increased and the people saw more and more clearly that it was impossible to live thus They waited for the government to rescind the laws that deprived them of the land They waited ten twenty thirty and forty years but the land has been seized ever more and more by private landowners A choice was placed before the people starve stop multiplying or altogether abandon rural life and form generations of unskilled laborers weavers

    Original URL path: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_htm/Tolstoy/~End_of_Age/EOA_chapter07.html (2016-04-28)
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