Liberty, equality and fraternity depend on and lead to nationhood, family and property. The reverse also holds. These six principles may be placed in a circle, and one may begin at any point. Liberty (the freedom to be virtuous, and to do everything not specifically proscribed) depends on equality (which must never be confused with mechanical uniformity, to which it is antithetical), which depends on active expressions of fraternity (trade unions, co-operatives, and so on). Fraternity leads naturally to nationhood (a space in which to unselfish), which leads naturally to the family as the domestic nation-in-miniature, and thence to the urgent need for every family to enjoy real property as its security both against over-mighty commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, legitimate, and indeed necessary, though both commerce and the State are in themselves. And what is thus secured? Precisely liberty, as above defined.
Engels understood this, rightly regarding the family, property, and the State as having a common origin. After all, why bother having the State, if not to defend the family and property? Why bother having property, if not to defend the family and the State? And why bother having the family, if not to defend property and the State? Those who now advocate the withering away of the State undoubtedly know that it is a Marxist term for a Marxist aspiration. But do they know that it would also be the withering away of the family and of property? They ought to be able to work this out, but nevertheless it is time that someone told them, in no uncertain terms.
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Libert, Equality and Fraternity
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