restricted access Chapter 1. Equality Naturally Gives Men the Taste for Free Institutions
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

1191 s4s4s4s4s4 c h a p t e r 1 Equality Naturally Gives Men the Taste for Free Institutions Equality, which makes men independent of each other, makes them contractthehabitandthetastetofollowonlytheirwillintheirpersonalactions . This complete independence, which they enjoy continually vis-à-vis their equals and in the practice of private life, disposes them to consider all authority with a discontented eye, and soon suggests to them the idea and the love of political liberty. So men who live in these times march on a natural slope that leads them toward free institutions. Take one of thematrandom; go back, if possible, to his primitive instincts; you will discoverthat,among the different governments, the one that he conceives first and that he prizes most, is the government whose leader he has elected and whose actions he controls.a Of all the political effects that equality of conditions produces, it is this love of independence that first strikes our attention and that timid spirits fear even more; and we cannot say that they are absolutely wrong to be afraid, for anarchy has more frightening features in democratic countries than elsewhere.b Since citizens have no effect on each other, at the instant a. In the manuscript: “. . . government based on the principle of sovereignty of the people.” b. What to do to combine the spirit of equality and the spirit of liberty and make liberty reign amid a leveled society. This part is the most important for me./ The hydra of anarchy is the sacramental phrase of all the enemies of liberty. The cowardly, the corrupt, the servile try to outdo each other in repeating it. The weak and the honest say it also. It is a monster that I must look in the face. For it is after all the great enemy of my ideas. What I want to bring along and to convince are honest souls. Well! The 1192 the taste of free institutions when the national power that keeps them all in their place becomes absent, it seems that disorder must immediately be at its height and that, with each citizen on his own, the social body is suddenly going to find itself reduced to dust. I am convinced nevertheless that anarchy is not the principal evil that democratic centuries must fear, but the least. latter, at the point we have reached, are not afraid of despotism. They tremble before the hydra of anarchy. The fact is that there exists today a singular phenomenon for which we must account. [To the side: It is honest men led by rogues who have always enslaved the world. They do not see that in this way they are preparing habits, ideas, laws for all types of despotism, that of all or of one man. These men who today ask of power only to save them from anarchy resemble those drowning men who cling to a dead body and drag it away with them. By violent and reactionary laws, by the violation of existing laws, by the absence of laws, they destroy the ideas of the just and the unjust, of the permissible and the forbidden, of the legal and the illegal, and they thus open the door to all anarchical tyrannies. They are the pioneers of anarchy.] Liberty and power gradually become weaker and each one in its own way. They are two exhausted and stiff old men who struggle with each other without either one winning, because their weaknesses, not their strengths, are equal; and grappling with each other, they roll together in the same dust. Thus, those who say that liberty is weak are right. Those who maintain thatpower is weak are also right. What to conclude from that? Fix all the force of my mind on that. [To the side: I believe, moreover, that the same symptoms presented themselves before the temporary or definitive enslavement of all peoples.] To show that arbitrary and anti-liberal measures will not save us from the hydra of anarchy and to demonstrate that legal and liberal measures will not lead there,that is what we must above all work hard to do. What modern nation (three illegible words) despotism, and how to break despotism without anarchy. Despotism is party to anarchy. [To the side] What to think of the future of an unfortunate country inwhichthere is an honest and pure man who says that he is not concerned about its posterity, but about himself; who says that country in the general sense is a word, that he...


pdf