Translator: Ian Harvey
The French people are demoralised because they need an idea. They lack understanding of the time and situation and only retain pride in an initiative, the principle and goal of which have escaped them. None of the political systems they have tried have completely met their expectations, and they cannot imagine any others.
An observation to be made in general on moral and political sciences is that the difficulty of their problem comes above all from the figurative way basic reason designed their elements. In the popular imagination politics, as well as morals, is a mythology. There all becomes fiction, symbol, mystery, idol. And it is this idealism which, adopted with confidence by philosophers as an expression of reality, causes them so much embarrassment later.
History and analysis, theory and empiricism, have led us, through the agitations of Liberty and Power, to the idea of political contract.
Since, in theory and in history, Authority and Liberty follow one another as by a kind of polarisation;
That the first declines imperceptibly and withdraws whilst the second grows and reveals itself;
That a kind of subordination results from this double movement in accordance of which Authority takes up more and more the cause of Liberty [au droit de la Liberté];
If the reader has followed with some diligence the previous exposition, human society must appear to him like a fantastic creation, full of surprises and mysteries. We shall briefly recall the different terms:
a) Political order rests on two related, opposed and irreducible principles: Authority and Liberty.
Translators: Nathalie Colibert (First Part) and Ian Harvey (Conclusion)
As with any book, some errors were not spotted before publication. This page lists these few minor mistakes as well as the appropriate corrections. The errors are few and far between and not that significant.
Editor of The Voice of the People, and senior editor of The People.
The Voice of the People, October 29, 1849
Translator: Shawn Wilbur
Editor: Iain McKay
QUESTION. What is Socialism?
ANSWER. It is the doctrine of universal conciliation.